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1994 - Mr Major’s Comments on the South Africa Visit

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments about his visit to South Africa, made in Pretoria on Thursday 22nd September 1994.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what his memory would be of his visit to South Africa, the first by a British Prime Minister in 34 years].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think the atmosphere, the atmosphere of hope and optimism, there wasn’t any some time ago, there is now. That is one great abiding memory. I think the other is the way in which people are working together to create a new South Africa and perhaps above all, on a more personal level, the attitude of the youngsters, their sheer delight at the sporting equipment that was available, the wonderful choir that we saw at one of the schools and the way in which they are beginning to see their future in a more positive way.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked what had been achieved in practical terms].

PRIME MINISTER:

I think we have achieved quite a lot in practical terms. The business relationship has undoubtedly been thickened and improved and so has the political relationship. We have been able to offer a whole series of special assistance. This morning, for example, I visited the British military team who are assisting in the integration of the South African Defence Force; I was able to promise this morning that that team would stay there for so long as the South Africans wish them to, previously they were there for a limited period.

There has been a great deal of assistance that we have been able to offer to the townships. I won’t run through it all but a great deal of assistance on each day.