South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged the Southern African region to continue its efforts to tackle widespread poverty and insecurity to certify economic development.
He said that the region must continue strengthening its economic relations by enhancing cooperation among people and increasing trade and investment between countries.
President Ramaphosa was delivering remarks on the occasion of the 53rd commemoration of the assassination of the founding President of Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO), Dr Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane. The ceremony was held on Thursday in Mueda, Cabo Delgado Province.
“We must strengthen our partnership to pursue our common objectives, which are the promotion of peace and security, sustainable economic development as well as regional and continental integration.
“We must intensify our efforts to silence the guns on our continent, because there can be no economic development or social progress where there is conflict,” he said.
The region must draw inspiration from the life of Dr Mondlane to confront the challenges of underdevelopment, lack of diversity in economies, slow industrialisation, widespread poverty, youth unemployment, insecurity, climate change and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking about Dr Mondlane as a leader, President Ramaphosa said that he was a giant of the Mozambican liberation struggle, a revolutionary Pan-Africanist and an unquestionable internationalist who paid the ultimate price for the freedom of his people.
Dr Mondlane stood for human dignity, equality, freedom and social justice and fiercely fought against the racial inequality and oppression upon which colonialism was founded.
“We therefore have a revolutionary duty, in his honour, to continue the fight against racial discrimination, oppression and inequality wherever they occur and whatever form they take. A revered scholar and academic, Dr Mondlane chose the difficult path of a revolutionary, to fight for national liberation, justice, equality and the restoration of the dignity of the oppressed.”
President Ramaphosa credited Dr Mondlane with the ability to unite the broadest sections of the oppressed masses behind a common vision. He added that the unity of the people of Mozambique against colonialism was best expressed in the unity of FRELIMO and became the basis for the defeat of the colonisers.
“President Mondlane believed in the importance of a conscious and empowered citizenry. He understood that the education of young people is one of the most important instruments that any nation has to liberate itself from suffering and want.”
President Ramaphosa emphasised that the education of the youth must continue and that they must be provided with opportunities not only to fight poverty and unemployment, but also to become conscious, active and responsible citizens.
He said that South Africa and Mozambique share a special relationship, which was forged over decades of their protracted struggle against colonialism and apartheid.
“Our relationship is a reflection of the personal sacrifices made by the people of Mozambique in their support for South African freedom fighters. The people of Mozambique understood that without the liberation of South Africa there could never be freedom in Southern Africa.
“South Africa will always be grateful for this profound gesture from the people of Mozambique, who risked life and limb for the freedom of their neighbours,” the President said.
In his capacity as Chair of the South African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President Ramaphosa also visited military troops that are part of the SADC Mission in Mozambique to commend their efforts towards the restoration of peace and stability in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
South Africa has deployed some 1,500 troops to help Mozambican forces in the northern region, where Islamists last year seized large parts of Cabo Delgado province.