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Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK

World: Africa

Mbeki calls for new world order

President Mbeki with first lady Zanile takes the salute outside parliament

The new President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has called for a new world order responsive to the needs of the poor.

Greg Barrow in Jo'burg: "Mbeki drew on all his poetic reserves"
In his maiden speech to the South African parliament, Mr Mbeki said South Africa would play a more assertive role in African affairs, and contribute towards the resolution of conflict.

"We cannot accept that war, violent conflict and rapine [plunder] are a permanent condition of existence for us as Africans," he said.

"We will make our due contribution to the construction of a new world order that will be responsive to the needs of especially the poor of the world."

South African Elections
The wide-ranging state of the nation speech followed the official opening of South Africa's second democratically-elected parliament in Cape Town.

Echoing some of the themes of his inauguration address last week, Mr Mbeki also promised action on crime, corruption, unemployment and education.

New police recruits

He said the overstretched and understaffed police force would be transformed and that new laws on racketeering, money laundering and possession of illegal weapons would be introduced.

Police training would be improved with more recruits, better work conditions and a new special investigation unit for "priority crimes".

He reiterated his commitment to "honest, transparent and accountable government".

Mr Mbeki also said the government's growth, employment and redistribution policy - known as GEAR - would remain the cornerstone of economic policy.

But he indicated that there would be moves towards increased public sector spending and a speeding up of privatisation.

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