SA’s international affairs role lauded

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iol news pic freedom day Union Buildings GCIS The 20th celebration of Freedom Day held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria. It was all rather underwhelming with not as much excitement on the ground as there should have been, says the writer. Picture: Siyabulela Duda

Pretoria - South Africa is playing a pivotal role in the attainment and maintenance of peace across the world, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba said on Sunday.

“We recognise the leading role that this great country continues to play in the SADC region, continental and the international community,”he said at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

“South Africa is making immense contribution to international peace and security, suitable economic development and the creation of fair global trade.”

Pohamba, who is also chair of the Southern Africa Development Community's Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, was addressing South Africa's annual Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings.

He said the regional bloc was confident that Pretoria would preside over fair and credible national elections on May 7.

President Jacob Zuma was warmly greeted with ululations and cheering by a jubilant crowd when he arrived at the ceremony earlier.

The president was ushered onto the lawns of the Union Buildings after 10am amidst loud cheers from supporters waving small replicas of the South African flag.

Several giant tents and a stage had been erected, and adorned with balloons. A large public address system was used to address the crowd.

Top government officials including Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Arts Minister Paul Mashatile were present at the event.

Zuma's arrival was followed by a 20-gun salute and aerial displays by the Silver Falcons of the SA Air Force.

This year's celebrations are being held under the theme “South Africa - a better place to live in”.


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