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'SA can't be an island of success'

AU Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says SA's success depends on Africa's development.

African Union (AU) Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma delivered the 14th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at the University of Cape Town on Wednesday 2 October 2013. Picture: Ntswe Mokoena/GCIS

CAPE TOWN - African Union (AU) Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said South Africa has to help the rest of the continent because it can't be an island of success.

Dlamini-Zuma delivered the 14th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at the University of Cape Town on Wednesday night.

Responding to questions from the audience, she said South Africa cannot be an island of success and prosperity if the rest of the continent is not developed.

"It is sometimes us South Africans who say 'why are you spending so much money helping another country when there are people here who don't have homes'. But we must understand that South Africa can never really be an island of success, prosperity and happiness if the rest of the continent is not."

She said South Africa's fortune with other continents is intertwined.

Dlamini-Zuma bemoaned the low level of intra-African trade.

"We need to move what we produce within the continent. At the moment we are only trading among ourselves by 12 percent, which is the lowest in the world."

She emphasised that Africa needs to mobilise its own resources in order to speed up development.

The AU chairperson also called for religious tolerance in the wake of the Nairobi Westgate Mall massacre in which South African man James Thomas was killed.

She described the incident as horrific.

"We hope that it will never happen again, to anyone, to any country. It is worrying that something so horrific can happen in the name of religion."

Thomas, described as a devoted Christian father and husband, was buried in Cape Town on Wednesday.