Welcome remarks by the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, to the Brazilian Delegation
10 Apr 2012
Your Excellency Deputy Minister Paes and your delegation,
Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee,
Deputy Minister, Ms Maria Ntuli,
MEC for Social Development present,
Director-General, Mr Vusi Madonsela,
Senior officials of the Department of Social Development and Agencies.
It is indeed a great pleasure for the South African government and for me personally to welcome you, Mr Deputy Minister, to the southern tip of our continent and to the beautiful City of Tshwane.
I also wish to thank the Honourable Minister Tereza Campello for allowing you to undertake this important visit which further strengthens relations between our two countries.
Pass our regards to the Minister and assure her that she is in our prayers and we wish her a speedy recovery.
South Africa is privileged to have Brazil as a development and bilateral partner. There are many reasons for us to strengthen our bilateral relations further. Both our countries have emerged from troubled pasts to establish democracies and build unity amongst our diverse societies.
We share the need to overcome wide disparities between the rich and poor. We also face tremendous challenges to eliminate poverty, create employment and provide health and welfare services to the majority of our people.
South Africa and Brazil continue to interact in different platforms including through trilateral engagements in IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) where we also have a working group on social development. We are convinced that exchanges in this platform will continue to be beneficial for our countries.
In addition, we also welcome the magnitude of platforms such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). As early as last month, President Jacob Zuma held a successful bilateral meeting with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi, India.
We are therefore happy that beyond promoting cooperation on economic issues during that meeting, Brazil offered to cooperate with South Africa on social development issues, especially in the fight against hunger. As countries of the South, it is important that we strengthen South-South relations by sharing experiences with the view to find solutions to the similar challenges we face. In the context of this meeting, we have no doubt that your experiences in the fight against hunger will be beneficial to us.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In the year 2010, I had the privilege to visit Brazil while serving as the Deputy Minister of Social Development, where we signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on social security and social development. Since we signed the MoUs, there have been a number of exchanges which included sending South African delegations to Brazil.
Through our visits to your beautiful country we have come to notice that you have made the fight against poverty a priority and an essential step in the development of Brazil. You continue to implement various activities aimed at reaching the most vulnerable citizens, wherever they are. We are eager to learn about your comprehensive national poverty alleviation plan and your successful Zero Hunger program.
We note with appreciation that through the comprehensive national poverty alleviation plan named “Brasil Sem Misera” your objective is to lift 16.2 million Brazilians out of extreme poverty through cash transfers initiatives, increased access to education, health, welfare, sanitation, electricity and productive inclusion and that another 800 000 families and 1.3 million children will be added to the Bolsa Familia program. These are initiatives that excite us and we eagerly await your presentations on these.
The challenges of poverty and unemployment in South Africa have contributed significantly to the worrying living conditions and many of our people live, and our bilateral engagement during these two days is a confirmation that we are indeed committed to tackling this challenge.
The South African Constitution commits government to take reasonable measures, within its available resources, to ensure that all South African have access to adequate housing, healthcare, education, food, water and social security.
My department recently launched the Food for All Campaign as a measure to address incidents of extreme hunger and malnutrition. This is also as a vehicle to restore the dignity of many South Africans, including children, who experience particularly hunger and malnutrition.
This meeting today is a continuation of our engagement as we share experiences in the area of social development and it is my sincere wish that this will lead to stronger ties between our two countries.
We hope that you will enjoy the hospitality of South Africans like we enjoyed our stay in Brazil in the previous times that we visited.
Once again, welcome to South Africa!
Issued by: Department of Social Development
10 Apr 2012
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