Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has urged over 270 newly naturalised South African citizens from across the world to be upright members who contribute positively to the country’s development.
Gigaba sought to impress the message on the group during a naturalisation ceremony held in Durban on Friday.
“From today onwards…you shall become full and proud members of the family of South Africans, fellow citizens of this country who enjoy not only the full rights of citizenship but also the enormous responsibilities that accompany such rights,” Gigaba said.
In 2016, the Department of Home Affairs decided to conduct Naturalisation Ceremonies. During the events, people from around the world are inducted as naturalised South African citizens and presented with what the country represents, its symbols, dreams and all that it represents.
“Over the many years of its existence, our country has continued to evolve to accommodate in its rich fabric ever newer elements of people all whom, individually and collectively, enrich our understanding of who we are as well as our standing in the world,” the Minister said.
The naturalisation, he said, contributed to the enriching of South Africa’s diversity and ensured that the country was integrated with the diverse and tolerant world.
“You bring into our society not only the learned experiences of your countries of origin, but also the rich diversity that helps enrich who we are and makes us a better people ready for future challenges in a highly complex and diverse, but very integrated and globalised world” Gigaba said, adding that the naturalisation was not a routine administrative matter.
Celebrating the successful conclusion of the rigorous naturalisation process of the group, Gigaba encouraged those still undergoing the process not to use corrupt means to achieve this but to persevere.
“This ceremony came as the South Africa and the rest of the world were battling international migration issues highlighting moral, political, economic and social matters.
“In South Africa we have articulated the view that international migration is a natural, human phenomenon, which can benefit our development, nation building and social cohesion if managed well,” he said. “As much as any country, South Africa appreciates the importance of human connections and diversity.”
Minister Gigaba reminded the naturalised citizens that South Africa valued and practiced the concept of Ubuntu, which recognises that “I am, because you are”.
The group attended an induction programme where they were taught the country’s history as well as the rights and responsibilities as its citizens.
“We encourage you to continue to deepen your understanding of all of this and make your contribution to the arts and culture, the science and technology, education and training, and economy of our country,” he said.
Gigaba also reminded the group that despite the country’s dark past of apartheid, the democratic state was building a nation where race, gender, class, sexual orientation, physical ability or any other difference mattered.
“We seek to transform this economy into an industrialised knowledge economy, based on labour absorbing and value adding industries, and the development of human capabilities,” he said.
“We seek to grow our economy inclusively, such that all of our people have access to the dignity of work, economic opportunities and wealth creation.”
Simultaneously growing the economy to transform defective structures, he said, required active citizens who seek opportunities and hold leaders accountable.
The group includes a range of academics, professional and people with technical skills that would contribute to the betterment of the South African society and economy. – SAnews.gov.za