Advancing the AU Agenda 2063 may remain an idyllic pipe dream

Issued by Darren Bergman – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
07 Nov 2019 in Speeches


Ben Okri says that “the magician and the politician have much in common. They both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing”.

Unfortunately for us Agenda 2063 seems like an idyllic pipe dream of which there is more fantasy than reality. It seems to be an agenda created to grow hope and keep the people complacent whilst the common occurring tragedies continue to befall our continent.

Facing climate change, terrorism and migration the politicians have come out with a distraction or delaying tactic to buy time and favour whilst the outlook remains negative and stagnant. The DA realizes that Africa needs hope and we are committed to being part of the solution that turns hope into reality. We believe that South Africa has a great opportunity to push the process of implementation and monitoring the agenda on a continual basis.

We offer four key elements that can get us closer to that reality:

Commit to strengthening regional structures that commit their agendas to AU 2063

Being part of SADC the Africa Liberal Network and having served on the ACP, we are not short of plans and ideas, but we are poor on implementation.

All structures seem to work in isolation and have not aligned their output to that of

Agenda2063. South Africa must use their memberships on all regional bodies to ensure that  those plans speak to the ultimate AU vision and that we are constantly benchmarking performance to target.

Election observations and human rights monitoring

As a country and as a region, we need to be consistently speaking out against any election infringements, attacks on democracy in terms of free and fair elections; ensure regular elections and limited terms of office for leaders.

It is sad to note that this year SADC was not able to monitor elections in our region even though some were considered high risk. We have a duty to all citizens in our region to police the politicians and parties to ensure that the choice of the people is upheld. More importantly we should be more vocal and vigilant when citizens of other countries are attacked and abused by the very people in power to protect. We must be guided by principle and not friendships. We must also be fearless and broad in our approach.

We must live in the present and plan for the future even if it means challenging former allies

We have been blindly loyal to allies of the ANC for far too long. This has led to hypocrisy in our foreign affairs approach. In some instances, we cozy up to the identified aggressor and in others we cry with the perceived victims. Our approach needs to be helpful to the growth of Africa and for the safety of South Africa. We can play a constructive role in securing unity from South to North and West to East by selling the SADC vision of role model law and by ensuring peace in our continent first. The DA have well researched ways to bring finalization to the

Moroccan issue and would gladly partner with government to bring about a fair end to this highlighted region.

For agenda 2063 to be successful we need a united and peaceful Africa cohesive in their trade and approach to lift Africa.

We need to fight terrorism, migration and climate change together. Terrorism is affecting many Countries in Africa. The latest news informs us that terrorists have been active in Mozambique only a few kms away from us.

Terrorism has a huge cost burden to it and forces poor countries to spend more on defence and policing and less on social and human development. No Country in Africa can turn a blind eye to the plight of their fellow members and make it a “their problem” rather than an “our problem”. Piracy, terrorism and ongoing wars will keep Africa down and open to exploitation.

The vultures have been circling since post-colonialism and have already made a few key swoops to endear their prey.

Secure borders and domestic safety

It is therefore important for us to ensure that we know who comes in and who goes out our Country. That our borders are secure and that whilst people are in our country, they feel protected and are safe.

We cannot harbour international fugitives or allow them to leave our country. We need to work more intently with international bodies and respect the judgements and penalties meted out. Citizens and tourists must welcome at all times and criminals should be the ones feeling scared and targeted.

As the African proverb teaches us: Milk and honey is different, but they share the same house peacefully. Africa is home to all that live, invest and contribute to making it grow.

Taking loans, grants and “gifts” from certain countries could place the continent at risk of another rise of colonisation. It would be sad to invest time, effort, funds and energy into something that could be taken or stolen away from us just before the finish line.  With this in mind hear the call of the DA that says if we do not learn from our history, we will repeat our mistakes.

The DA commitment to the AU agenda 2063

The Democratic Alliance is committed as a party and through its vast network of sister parties and other political bodies to help find the solutions and to be a proactive and productive participant to help drive projects that will bring us closer to making the dream of AU Agenda 2063 a reality. We believe that the future of Africa transcends political parties and that we are stronger together.

As President Barack Obama once said:

“In a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy”

South Africa we have a chance to lift Africa – let us be on the right side of good decisions.

Thank you