US celebrates 237th anniversary of independence


Pretoria’s diplomatic community yesterday celebrated the 237th Independence Day of the United States of America, during a ceremony at the American Community Centre.

The Chargé d’Affaires of the United States, Virginia E Palmer, thanked South Africa for hosting President Barack Obama last week, with the South African Police Service and South African National Defence Force being singled out for special praise.

She said that Presidents Jacob Zuma and Obama discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations, especially regarding trade and job creation. Palmer pointed out that US companies have created 150 000 jobs in South Africa and that South Africa benefits from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Palmer said that while no two countries always agree, South Africa and the United States stand united in prayer for former President Nelson Mandela, who showed the world that a prisoner can become a president and that one man’s courage can move the world.

Makhotso Maggie Sotyu, Deputy Police Minister, said that the celebration of the USA’s independence was a special occasion because of Obama’s recent visit. She said that it was appropriate to remember the long journey both countries have travelled down on the way to independence and how America’s founding fathers envisioned prosperity, freedom and the pursuit of happiness – something that inspired South Africa’s liberation movement.

South Africa fully appreciates that political freedom on its own is not enough as people need economic freedom too, Sotyu said. She added that the United States is one of South Africa’s partners that is helping drive economic freedom, as Obama is moving away from foreign assistance to a partnership of equals.