OFFICIAL OPENING OF
MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI, MP
MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS, AND
PRESIDENT, INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY
OUDEKRAAL, CAPE TOWN : NOVEMBER 6, 2002
It is a great pleasure for me to have the honour to officially open The Twelve Apostles Hotel. We are standing today in one of the most beautiful spots of Africa and I truly believe in one of the most magic places in the world. I have travelled in many and different places throughout the world but have yet to see one which matches this stretch of coast between Camps Bay and Hout Bay. The colours of the sky, the dramatic backdrop of the mountain, the intensity of the blue with which the ocean is constantly painted, makes this area a remarkable concentrate of sublime beauty. Being here, one has indeed the feeling of being inside a painting and part of it.
For this reason, I am pleased that this hotel has now been upgraded into what may become an international attraction and a showcase of our country for the most demanding international tourist. With facilities of this type, South African tourism can rightly compete with the world’s best destinations. We have the infrastructure, we have unparalleled beauty and we are developing the sophistication and elegance of delivery which can enable venues like Cape Town to replace the position in international tourism once held by the French Riviera or the Italian Riviera.
Our tourist industry is growing by leaps and bounds and is becoming one of the most important aspects of our country’s long-term macro-economic plan. Within the South African tourist industry, Cape Town is becoming a thriving tourism centre characterized by a combination of elements and attractions difficult to find anywhere else in the world. The development of the new Convention Centre will enable Cape Town to become one of the world’s chosen venues for large conferences, trade summits and commercial and business activities. However, the beauty and the seemingly endless entertainment opportunities which Cape Town and its surrounding areas offer to tourists of all types and income brackets, will ensure that the Mother City will never acquire the flavour of a busy metropolis imbued with business priorities.
There is a unique magic alchemy in the making of the new Cape Town, of which I feel this hotel is going to become an important component, as one of the most charming landmarks of this area. Slowly but surely Cape Town is acquiring the best elements of many different realities, in what promises to be a harmonious and consistent synthesis. We are developing business facilities which can match those of Chicago. We have a long stretch of gentle Riviera which has nothing to envy from the Adriatic coast or the beaches of Florida. We have a dramatic effect created by our mountains and geography which have elements both of Rio de Janeiro and Positano and, indeed, well competes in beauty with both. In addition, we have the vineyards of Bordeaux the metropolitan flavour of a discreet and opulent European city and a unique African context. I really feel that one would be hard-pressed to find any similar place in the world. And within this magic environment, I feel that the place where we now stand, and the hotel which has been built on it, is, indeed, the most magnificent jewel of the crown.
This hotel exists and it is a real masterpiece. By virtue of its location, it represents one of our country’s greatest tourism assets. It is our duty to recognise the value of this asset for our tourism industry and to support it. For this reason, I have welcomed the opportunity to officiate at this important ceremony today to express my personal support and that of our Government. I am particularly privileged to do so on this occasion in which I happen to carry responsibility as the Acting President of our Republic.
I also welcome this opportunity to see again old, but not forgotten friends. It is a pleasure to see again Maurice Shawzin who, I understand, is an associate of the Red Carnation Hotel Group which manages this hotel. Many years have passed since I last had the opportunity to see Mr Shawzin, who was one of the producers of one of the movies in which I starred when I was a much younger man. It was very touching for me to receive pictures that Mr Shawzin sent, shot on the stage of the movie "Zulu" in 1963. In that film, I was persuaded by the Director, Cy Endfield and Sir Stanley Baker, who also participated in the film, to portray my maternal great-grandfather, King Cetshwayo, who as many of you may not remember, was a prisoner at the Castle here in Cape Town after the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. King Cetshwayo later lived as a prisoner of the colonial government at Oude Moulen Farm, not very far from this City of Cape Town.
I remember that "Zulu" was Michael Caine's debut, and one of the star's was Jack Hawkins. In these pictures Mr. Shawzin really looked a very young man and I am pleased to see that albeit his appearance has now changed, he has not lost his enthusiasm for life and his boundless optimism. I am also pleased to learn that he is one of those who believed enough in the future of South Africa to come back from the United States where he succeeded in business, to invest again in the future of his homeland.
I believe in the future of South Africa. I am very touched when I meet people who left the country, made their fortune abroad, and then realized that there is just no better place in which to live than South Africa. I am particularly touched when such people bring their money back home, and feel confident to invest it here where it can grow in its native soil at a much faster rate than anywhere else. I think that these people are the best example to give confidence to foreign investors. If those who well know the points of strength and weakness of our native soil and our country’s economy, are willing to come back and recognise that this is the place where investments can produce an unparalleled yield, then foreign investors should be equally reassured of our commitment to make this country grow and prosper.
I do support the macro-economic strategy of Government. But I do have great reservations about some of the activities of the allies of the majority Party, COSATU and the SACP, vis-a-vis the Government's privatisation policies. I do believe that we need to promote tourism by all means possible, as it is the only industry which does create as many jobs as possible within a short time. In the final analysis, the elements which spell out the success or failure of a country are few and simple. I do not think that our country has yet filled the full measure of the potentials its tourist industry holds, nor has it succeeded in marketing its economic benefits and opportunities amongst foreign investors.
I am sure that many of those gathered here today could indicate simply and plainly what ought to be done to bring the country to our next step of development. We need to be fierce about dealing with the growing phenomenon of crime, which is not something that a government cannot tackle. The success of any fight against crime is merely a function of the willingness of any government to pour resources into the training and expansion of the police, the upgrading of the judicial infrastructure and the education of communities. None of this is beyond the administrative or logistical capacity of our Government. It is just a matter of developing the political will to begin to place substantial resources in that direction. Similarly, we need to take serious steps to re-introduce maximum flexibility in our labour market to promote the competitiveness of our economy and must become serious about bringing about extensive and expedited privatization of all State assets.
I do not want to use this opportunity to deliver a political speech nor make my personal views known about what ought to be done to fix our country. But I feel that I must share with friends, potential investors and tourists whom I know, that our country needs fixing and I am not part of what seems to be a syndrome of denial about this issue. However, I also know that our country can be fixed and that with the participation of all the people of goodwill, our country will be fixed. I am an incurable optimist. I believe tomorrow is going to be better than today. When I have the privilege of seeing places like the one we are in, I feel that no one living under the beauty of the African sky and the warmth of the African sun, ought to have any other attitude. Today is another magic day in paradise, which prompts our commitment to make South Africa become the paradise it ought to be for our posterity.
It is nice to see old friends and meet new friends and I hope that on this occasion we can rekindle our joint commitment to make increasing portions of South Africans share in the beauty and prosperity which we are enjoying on this occasion. This hotel is indeed a flagship of the tourist industry and I hope that its inauguration may mark not only a further stage in the growth of our tourist industry, but also in the constant growth of our economy, and the constant renewal of our society towards the making of a finally socially stable, economically prosperous and equally just South Africa.
With these few words it is, therefore, a great pleasure for me to formally inaugurate The Twelve Apostles Hotel and declare it officially opened.