President Jacob Zuma has welcomed new ambassadors from various countries to South Africa as they begin their duties this year.
"I would like to take this opportunity to heartily congratulate you on your appointments to serve with us and wish you well in working towards entrenching our existing relations," said the President.
He welcomed the new Heads of Mission during the presentation of their letters of credence at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Thursday.
President Jacob Zuma said their appointments to South Africa reaffirms government's position to strengthening relations with other countries.
"Your presence here today bears testimony to our continued commitment to work towards the realisation of Madiba's dream and vision," said President Zuma, referring to the late former President Nelson Mandela, who sought to reposition South Africa as a responsible global citizen that takes its rightful place in the world.
This as the newly elected National Executive Committee of the ANC declared 2018 as "100 Years of Nelson Mandela: The Year of Renewal, Unity and Jobs".
"Our foreign policy is predicated on the values and principles of the Constitution, which have become synonymous with Madiba's vision for peace, freedom, justice and reconciliation," said the President.
The Heads of Mission must work towards finding solutions to assist the developmental needs of their countries.
"While we are appreciative of the interconnected world, we must be conscious about the challenges that this brings to the very world. I must therefore underscore the fact that we must collectively find creative and workable solutions so that humanity can thrive.
"In this connection, we must work together to ensure that we realise our common trajectory of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030," he said.
In search of these solutions, President Zuma said the ambassadors must be encouraged by the strides made in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
International, regional developmental goals
In highlighting South Africa's plans to the ambassadors, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa intends to utilise its 2017-2019 tenure in the United Nations Human Rights Council to guarantee a decent life for its people.
"South Africa's future foreign relations will be based on our belief that human rights should be the core concern of international relations, and we are ready to play a role in fostering peace and prosperity in the world we share with the community of nations," he said.
At the regional level, the President said South Africa would use its Chairship of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to champion partnerships with the private sector to develop industries.
"This focus cannot be separated from continental efforts aimed at bolstering industrialisation and building the much-needed manufacturing capacity. Furthermore this augurs well with our efforts to improve the movement of goods and services in the continent."
To further the continent's agenda, President Zuma said the progress report on the Continental Free Trade Area negotiations during the upcoming January 2018 African Union (AU) Summit would help steer the region.
He added that the launch of the Africa Regional Centre of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) New Development Bank will benefit the entire continent through its infrastructure and development support initiatives and funding.
"Let me conclude my remarks by reminding you that this great country of Nelson Mandela is stable and is open to foreign investment.
"Our country is therefore alive with a variety of opportunities that I would urge you to explore and leverage for mutual benefit," said the President.