Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance and Premier of Western Cape Province, held a joint press conference with the ALN President, Dr Lamine Ba, on 11 November to celebrate the opening of the network’s General Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa. They were joined on the podium by former Vice-President of Burundi, Mme Alice Nzomukunda, and National Chairman of the Civic United Front, Professor Ibrahim Lipumba.
Ms Zille made the following statement:
“The Democratic Alliance would like to welcome the members of the Africa Liberal Network to South Africa and specifically to Cape Town, for the General Assembly which will take place here over the coming weekend. We have just hosted a successful FIFA World Cup, which has demonstrated what we as a province and country can be, if we work together and all give our best. Albeit a slightly smaller event, we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to host this General Assembly, which is also an historic event and a great show of unity.
“The Africa Liberal Network is made up of 24 parties from 19 African countries, and is an associated organisation of Liberal International. The ALN aims to promote liberal democratic objectives and principles throughout the African continent. The parties involved work together to ensure the freedom and dignity of all people through securing socio-economic and political rights, entrenching basic freedoms and the rule of law, promoting economic growth, ensuring free and fair elections, and fighting corruption.
“This General Assembly is an opportunity to discuss the state of democracy in Africa, to share democratic best practice, and to support one another in our respective political contexts. In that regard, I would like to thank our sister-parties from across the continent for their friendship, and for the enduring co-operation between our parties over the years.
“Today, our world and our peoples are more interconnected and indeed interdependent than ever before in history. People the world over, despite any differences, basically seek the same things – to realize a better future for them and their children, to live in security and dignity, and to seek progress and justice.
“We are also all too aware that this meeting is taking place while in much of Africa people do not enjoy even the basic democratic rights that we often take for granted. The situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Sudan shows how despotism and violence still threaten the future of our continent. Many of our member parties are actively engaged in the hard work of pursuing peace, while others, like the DA, are working to give people and nations a path out of poverty.
“It is against that backdrop that I look forward to meaningful discussions with all of the ALN delegates this weekend, and once again, am delighted to welcome them to Cape Town.”