It is my distinct pleasure, on behalf of the Government and People of South Africa, to welcome you here on this auspicious occasion to induct you into the citizenship of the Republic of South Africa as fellow South Africans.
From today onwards, and upon the swearing of the oath of allegiance and the pledging of loyalty to the Constitution and the symbols of the Republic, 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, determined that you shall also do whatever it takes and everything within your capabilities to uplift this nation and its people.
This is no small undertaking, and that is precisely why we decided in 2016 to conduct such Naturalisation Ceremonies in order officially to induct naturalised South African citizens into our country, its symbols, dreams and all that it represents.
From today onwards, you too are part of the rich history of our country, and the rich tapestry of what constitutes our nation.
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.
We welcome in our bosom because you enrich the diversity of our country and people and ensure that South Africa becomes integrated into Africa and the world as a diverse and tolerant culture and nation.
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.
We therefore do not treat the issue of South African citizenship as a routine administrative matter and that is why we view it as an occasion to undertake a formal, mandatory induction process in an appropriate ceremony overseen by a Judge representing the Chief Justice.
It is, at the same time, a ceremony to celebrate the successful conclusion of an honest process of naturalisation that would have lasted over many years, often up to a decade, and thus we use it also to encourage others who are still undergoing the process not to lose hope and seek short-cuts by trying to corrupt the system, but to persevere knowing that ultimately the outcome and celebration make the long journey traversed worth the while.
This ceremony comes at an important time in the history of our nation, and the world.
International migration has become a prominent moral, political, economic and social issue.
It has become an issue of controversy, rancour and potential division.
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.
As much as any country, South Africa appreciates the importance of human connections and diversity.
The very origins of our country makes us appreciate the diversity of our nationhood and hence the motto of our logo, !KE E: /XARRA //KE – which means, a divided people unite!
In this country, given how we all came together and the difficult history from which we have emerged, we cherish the concept ofunity in diversity and believe that the concept of South Africanness can never be completed so long as human society itself continues also to evolve.
We are a country which values and practices the concept of Ubuntu, an understanding of the essential interconnectedness and interdependence of humanity, which recognizes that ‘I am, because you are’.
As we emerged from our history of colonialism and apartheid racial domination, we chose to build a democracy of inclusion, tolerance and diversity, not narrow nationalism.
In their wisdom, at the Congress of the People in 1955, a gathering of freedom-loving South Africans of all races and backgrounds declared in the opening words of the Freedom Charter, that, “South Africa belongs to all who live in it.”
It is in that spirit, that we welcome you as new South Africans, having fulfilled the requirements of naturalisation as prescribed by our laws.
You have attended the induction programme where you learned of the history of, as well as your rights and responsibilities as citizens of, the Republic of South Africa.
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.
We are a young and diverse democracy, with many challenges and opportunities.
Out of a history of division and oppression, we are building a nation where all people matter, regardless of their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, physical ability or any other difference.
We are an African nation, inextricably linked to Southern Africa as a region, and the African continent as a whole.
We are a developing nation, and one of the challenges of our time is to unite all South Africans around a project of inclusive development.
Through the National Development Plan, 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.
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.
This requires that we simultaneously grow our economy, while transforming its structure.
This requires active citizens who look for opportunities to contribute, bring others along and hold leaders accountable.
It requires skilled workers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and professionals, to drive our economic competitiveness and to create opportunities for others along the way.
You bring with you a variety of academic, professional and technical skills, and we welcome the contributions you will make in our society and economy.
From this day forward you are full South African citizens, and we encourage you to bear this status with pride.
I encourage you to take full part in society.
Learn our history, our customs, our languages, and make them your own.
Share our aspirations for South Africa, Africa and humanity as a whole.
Help us realise these aspirations, for your sake, for our sake, for the sake of all our children.
Value your rights, and value the rights of others.
Exercise your responsibilities, and lead by example.
Be productive and prosperous, and find ways to help the less fortunate do so as well.
When you travel and communicate abroad, help us spread the word about the great many positive aspects of South Africa.
It is my honour to welcome you as new citizens of our beloved country.
I thank you.