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Africa's destiny is in its own hands - Zuma

15 June 2015, 11:21 Adam Wakefield, News24

Johannesburg - Africa's destiny was in its own hands, South Africa's President, Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

"This year marks fifteen years since the adoption of perhaps one of the most important instruments for not only our organisation but also our peoples, the Constitutive Act of the African Union," Zuma said in prepared remarks at the opening of the AU heads of state summit in Johannesburg.

"The Act, amongst others, also acknowledges our impediments to the continent's socio-economic development. Since the adoption of the Constitutive Act, Africa has taken its destiny, specifically its socio-economic development and integration, in its own hands."

Africa was thus on a new path of development and growth which would enable it to take its rightful place in global affairs.

"In this regard, we wish to congratulate the commission and the member states of the union on the excellent work done since 2013, to develop and finalise Agenda 2063," Zuma said.

"However, the expectations from our people are high and we cannot fail in the implementation of Agenda 2063 to redefine, lead and fund our own development and future."

To realise Africa's vision, efforts were continually being supported to establish sustainable and predictable funding sources for the African Union.

This would ensure less reliance on development partners for the implementation of "our African projects and programmes".

"As the AU we also need to create the necessary enabling environment for our socio-economic development and integration," Zuma said.

"In particular, we need to continue to address the conflicts on the continent and come up with a decisive plan of action to address the current scourge of terrorism."

As such, it was important to establish the needed preventative measures. New ways were also needed in which Africa managed its own conflicts, and not its partners.

"The twenty fifth Ordinary Summit of the African Union provides us the specific opportunity to express our resolve on the challenges and opportunities Africa is experiencing; and to affirm our strong political will to rid ourselves of these challenges," Zuma said.

The summit has been overshadowed by the SA Litigation Centre approaching the High Court in Pretoria to order the South African government to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

On Sunday, Judge Hans Fabricius ordered that the Department of Home Affairs ensure that all points of entry and exit be informed that Al-Bashir is not allowed to leave until the SA Litigation Centre's (SALC) application that South Africa arrest him is concluded.

According to a Bloomberg report, al-Bashir has already left SA.

Al-Bashir was in South Africa to attend the AU summit. South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has also been brokering a peace deal between South Sudan, and Sudan, with oil supplies between the two a sticking point.

Following Fabricius' order, justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said South Africa would take reasonable steps to ensure that officials at all points of entry and exit were told of the court order.

"In so far is practically possible reasonable steps will be taken to comply with the interim order given the fact that we will now be preparing our arguments for the main argument tomorrow on the substantive issues," Mhaga said outside court.

The SALC had applied for South Africa to enforce two warrants for Al-Bashir's arrest issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 and 2010 relating to alleged war crimes and genocide. It said that on Saturday the ICC ruled that diplomatic immunity did not apply to heads of state wanted for trial and issued a plea to South Africa to arrest him to stand trial.

The application started after 11:00 on Sunday with officials hastily brought to court in Pretoria, but the government said it was not ready because of the short notice, having received papers at around 10:30.

It asked for an adjournment, but the SALC, fearing that Al-Bashir would leave in the meantime, obtained an interim order preventing his departure.

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- News24


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