The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed MEPs in a formal sitting on Wednesday.
Commemorating the centenary of the birth of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who in 1994 became the country’s first black head of state following the dismantling of the oppressive apartheid regime, Mr Ramaphosa said:
“As we celebrate the birth of Nelson Mandela, the founding father of our democratic nation, a revered statesman and a committed internationalist, we do so knowing that he does not only belong to South Africa, but to all of us, and indeed to the world”.
EU-South Africa strategic relations and cooperation, peace, sustainable development, economic prospects for Africa and migration were among other issues addressed during Mr Ramaphosa’s first official visit to the European Parliament.
“Unity and partnership, as well as solidarity, are the principles that have underpinned our cooperation, against a promising new dawn. South Africa, Africa and the EU are all bound by the shared values of democracy and respect for human rights”, Mr Ramaphosa said.
Marking 100 years of armistice since the end of World War I, the President also paid tribute to all soldiers, including South African ones, who fought and perished on European shores.