The pursuit of peace in Africa is vital for the development and prosperity of the continent, President Jacob Zuma said in Durban.
He congratulated the African Union Commission (AUC), headed by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on Saturday evening for receiving the 2015 Africa Peace Award.
The award was presented by the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Accord).
“Peace… will go a long way towards ensuring that our people continue to contribute to the future of our continent. It means we lessen the chances of our young people perishing in the stormy waters of the Mediterranean Sea as they seek greener pastures elsewhere,” he said at the ceremony.
Zuma acknowledged the “enormous contribution” of the AUC.
He said although there were still areas of conflict and strike, collective efforts at promoting peace had resulted in the successful recent conclusion of free, fair and credible elections in Africa.
“These have ushered in governments that have come into being through the will of the people. However, we remain concerned by situations that threaten to derail our peace gains, such as the developing situation in Burundi,” he said.
“All of us, led by the East Africa region, should support the peace efforts underway to stabilize the situation in that sisterly country.”
Zuma said the proliferation of arms, and human and drug trafficking were not the only threats on the continent. Radical extremism and terrorism were also a reality.
“With regard to the latter, we can fundamentally only address the matter effectively if we deal with finding the root-causes of these acts rather than focus only on the symptoms.”
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