Thabo Mbeki: South Africa must lead the African continent out of poverty

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The Independent Online

I would like sincerely to thank the nation and the ANC for having given me the opportunity to serve in public office during the last 14 years as the Deputy President and President of South Africa.

Among other things, the vision, principles and values of the ANC teach the cadres of this movement life-long lessons that inform us that wherever we are and whatever we do, we should ensure that our actions contribute to the attainment of a free and just society, the upliftment of all our people, and the development of a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it.

Despite the economic advances we have made, even as we ensured consistent economic growth, the fruits of these positive results are still to be fully and equitably shared among our people, hence the abject poverty we still find coexisting side by side with extraordinary opulence.

As you know, we have often pointed to the fact that our liberation movement has always been pan-African in its outlook and therefore that we have an obligation to contribute to the renaissance of the African continent.

We have devoted time and resources to the task, fully understanding that our country shares a common destiny with the rest of our Continent. African patriots know that Africa and Africans will not and must not be the wretched of the earth in perpetuity.

I depart the Office of President of South Africa knowing that this country has many men and women who have dedicated their lives to ensure that South Africa, Africa and the countries of the South will, in time, manage to ensure a better world for all of humanity.

I am convinced that the incoming administration will better the work done during the past 14 and a half years so that poverty, underdevelopment, unemployment, illiteracy, challenges of health, crime and corruption will cease to define the lives of so many.

Gloom and despondency have never defeated adversity. Trying times need courage and resilience. Our strength as a people is not tested during the best of times. As we said before, we should never become despondent because the weather is bad nor should we turn triumphalist because the sun shines.

Taken from Thabo Mbeki's address to the South African nation on Sunday

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