Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma says the African Union has committed to ending conflicts and silencing the guns on the continent by the year 2020, so that people can live in peace.
The President said this on Thursday when he addressed guests at the Africa Day celebration held at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse.
He said the loss of life and displacement of thousands of people, who remain refugees in a decolonised Africa, remains of serious concern and requires more effort from African Union (AU) member states.
He said the challenge of terrorism and extremism in some parts of the continent is another key concern of the AU and this gets ongoing attention.
Working with partners in other regions beyond the continent, the President said, can be a vehicle towards achieving peace and stability in every corner of the continent.
Progress in building a better Africa
President Zuma said African countries continue to make progress in building a better Africa.
He said Africa has made a lot of progress since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
“The promotion of democracy in the continent has taken root. This is visible through the democratic elections that take place at the end of terms of governments, which have led to peaceful transitions from one government to another in many countries on the continent.
“The zero tolerance for coup d’ tats and the action that is taken against leaders who refuse to accept the outcomes of democratic elections by the AU leaders, has set a new tone on the continent with regards to promoting constitutional changes to governments.
“The AU programme, the African Peer Review Mechanism, remains a key instrument of promoting democracy and good governance, and is one of the key innovations of our continent,” said the President.
He said South Africa continues to contribute troops for peace-making, peacekeeping and in mediation efforts on the continent.
“We are proud of our soldiers, who are always ready to be deployed for peace. Africa has made progress in the social level as well.”
President Zuma praised other aspects of African achievement. “The continent has produced acclaimed authors, academics, musicians, performers, poets and scientists who are respected all over the world.
“We have also produced outstanding political leaders, some of whom have played a leading role on the world stage, including at the United Nations as Secretaries-General. Africa Day, for South Africa, is about celebrating the cosmopolitan nature of our country,” said President Zuma.