By – SAnews.gov.za
President Jacob Zuma on Saturday evening hosted a dinner to commemorate the Centenary celebrations of President Nelson Mandela on the sidelines of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
“It is a great honour that the first celebration of Nelson Mandela’s Centenary takes place here, in Africa, the place of his birth.
“Madiba is a global icon, but he will always be rooted in Africa. We must thank the AU and its member states for keeping Mandela’s legacy alive through a myriad of symbols and tributes.
“We once again call for your support for the proposed Declaration, to be adopted during our Summit, calling on us to observe the year 2018 as the Centenary of Nelson Mandela,” said President Zuma.
President Zuma arrived in Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia, on Saturday ahead of the two-day AU Summit scheduled to start on Sunday.
The Year 2018 marks the Centenary of former President of the ANC, first President of the Democratic South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
This year South Africa and the entire globe is organising a range of activities to celebrate and honour the former statesman. Former President Nelson Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013 and on 18 July 2018 he would have turned 100 years.
During the 2018 January Statement of the African National Congress, the AU Summit was identified as a critical platform to launch the celebrations.
President Zuma said the Nelson Mandela Centenary is a perfect opportunity for Africans to share ideas on how to positively change the prevailing human condition in Africa and beyond.
“Today the African continent is home to more than a billion people most of whom are young people. All these people deserve a better life.
“It is true that African leaders took the baton from Madiba and introduced robust and innovative policies and programmes to expedite the development of the continent.
“Agenda 2063 is our flagship programme that can unleash the continent’s potential and bring about hope and prosperity to all. I appeal to all of you, fellow leaders of our peoples, to consolidate our efforts and contribute to the upliftment of our people.
“Like Madiba, we are hopeful that the day will come when Africa will be freed of the scourge of conflict and underdevelopment and focus its energies and resources on the creation of a better and sustainable livelihood for all,” President Zuma said.
The Dinner was attended by all Heads of State and Government at the Summit.
The theme of this year’s AU summit is: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation”. The theme presents a unique opportunity to reflect on and address specific challenges related to the fight against corruption on the Continent.
The AU Summit is expected to deliberate on a number of issues, including institutional reforms of the AU, continental free trade and the state of peace and security on the continent.
South Africa, in its capacity as Chair of SADC, has been mandated to present the SADC common position on the AU Institutional Reforms as adopted by the 37th SADC Summit in August 2017.
The Report of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) on its activities and the State of Peace and Security in Africa is a standard item on the agenda of the Assembly.
According to the Presidency, the report provides a summary of key meetings and activities of the PSC since the Summit in July 2017.
Some of the countries under consideration include Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Libya, Mali and the Sahel, Somalia, South Sudan and Western Sahara.
The Assembly will also consider the Report of the PSC on the Implementation of the Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020.
It is also expected that the 36th Session of the NEPAD HSGOC will convene on the margins of the Summit. President Zuma will also participate in the session.
The President is accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi; Minister of Public Service and Administration, Faith Muthambi and the Minister of State Security, Adv Bongani Bongo.