South African High Commissioner, His Excellency Obed Mlaba, called on all those that attended South Africa’s 21st Freedom Day celebration on Friday to observe a period of silence in memory of those who died in recent violence directed at Africans from other countries living in South Africa.
“We feel ashamed of the violent criminality of the recent attacks and we in the South African government will do everything possible to prevent further attacks,” he said.
Mlaba, giving the keynote address to mark the beginning of the third decade of freedom “through accelerating radical economic transformation”, said that the attacks were also an attack on the basic values contained in the South African Constitution.
“Extending dignity, freedom and protection were basic tenets of the humane South African Constitution,” he said.
“We must move with greater speed to remove this scourge,” the High Commissioner said.
He said that the United Kingdom was still one of South Africa’s most important trade and investment partners and he announced the launch of a new publication – Invest in South Africa 2015 – which details the country’s industrialisation policy and investment offerings within the context of the National Development Plan.
The British Government’s Sandy Moss acknowledged the High Commissioner’s remarks in relation to the trade and investment relationship between the two countries and paid tribute to outgoing Deputy High Commissioner as an “outstanding diplomat” and to Baroness Scotland, the British Prime Minister’s special envoy on trade and investment with South Africa.
He said the two had made a major contribution to maintaining the momentum to increase two-way trade and investment between the two countries.
The ceremony ended with the reading by four young South African children of a poem and other writings of the late Nelson Mandela and former President Thabo Mbeki and the cutting of a cake by the High Commissioner and Mr Moss to celebrate the democratic South Africa’s 21st birthday.