Joint Communiqué: SA - DRC Bi-National Commission (BNC): Pretoria - Tshwane: 29 April 2005

1. HE Major-General Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the invitation of his counterpart, HE Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, attended the 2nd SA- DRC Bi-national Commission on Friday 29 April 2005 in Pretoria.

2. President Joseph Kabila led a delegation consisting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation; Interior, Decentralisation and Security; Defence, demobilisation and Veterans; Planning; Industry, Small and Medium Enterprises; Mines; Energy; Public Service; Transport; Agriculture and Health.

3. The South African delegation, led by President Mbeki, compromised the Ministers of Foreign Affairs; Home Affairs; Safety and Security; Defence; Public Service and Administration; Agriculture; Trade and Industry; and the Minister of Finance.

4. The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by a meeting of senior officials of SA and the DRC in order to prepare for the Ministerial meeting which took place on Thursday, 28 April 2005. During the visit, the political and economic situations, as well as the transitional proce4ss in the DRC, were discussed prior to the official opening of the Bi-national Commission by the two Presidents.

5. In this regard, the Heads of State agreed on the need to continue to provide effective support in order to move the transitional process in the DRC forward, which is expected to culminate in the holding of elections in accordance with the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement, which was signed in Pretoria in 2002 and the Transitional Constitution.


6. Furthermore, in pursuance of South Africa's commitment to assist the DRC to hold elections in the latter half of 2005 and to support post-conflict reconstruction and development in that country, key departments and institutions, namely, Home Affairs, Public Service and Administration, Provincial and Local Government, Defence, transport, SAPS and the Independent Electoral Commission, have embarked on a number of initiatives to co-ordinate and implement mutually agreed upon assistance programmes. Personnel have been deployed in the DRC on an internment basis in consultation with the DRC counterparts of the SA Departments involved.

7. Subsequent to reviewing bilateral, SADC and other regional issues, the two Heads of State agreed on the way forward regarding matters related to their respective countries, the Great Lakes Region in particular and the continent in general.


8. Further to reports from the Commissions, the following agreements were signed in the presence of Presidents Mbeki and Kabila:

  • The Trilateral Memorandum of Understanding between SA-DRC-Sweden Governments on Co-operation in the area of Public Service and Administration.
  • Memorandum of Understanding between SA-DRC Governments relating to Co-operation on Capacity building for the Congolese National Police Force.
  • Agreement on Co-operation between SA-DRC Governments in the field of Agriculture.
  • Convention between SA-DRC Governments for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income (DTA).
  • Agreement between SA-DRC Governments regarding Mutual Assistance between the Customs Administrations (MAA).

9. Further, the Parties reviewed progress and challenges in respect of the following areas of co-operation:

Political and diplomatic consultation

  • Senior officials of the departments of Foreign Affairs to meet regularly to review progress in the transitional process and assistance in this regard.
  • A working group to be established to assess capacity building needs within the foreign service of the DRC, including human resource development and communication infrastructure.

Governance and administration

  • The census project within the DRC civil service
  • Anti-corruption
  • Establishment of a School of Public Administration in the DRC
  • Institutional development in Provincial and Local Government
  • Progress in implementation of the MOU on Immigration and Population Matters and the letter of intent on election matters

Defence and Security

  • Progress in the implementation of the Defence Co-operation Agreement, inter alia registration, identification and training of personnel for the new FARDC,
  • Joint programme management structures between the National Police of the DRC and the SAPS were finalised.

Economy, Finance and Infrastructure

  • The Agreement on the Bilateral Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments signed during the meeting of the Bi-national Commission between the two countries which were held in Kinshasa from 30 - 31 August 2004, paved the way for exchanges between SA and the DRC. Moreover, this agreement allowed for the reinforcing of confidence of the investors and to ensure a predictable and stable economic environment.
  • A MoU in the area of trade and industry signed in August 2004 in Kinshasa. Specific initiatives include the possibility of spatial development initiatives in the DRC, visits by technical teams from institutions such as the SABS, CSIR, MINTEK, SANAS, SEDA etc.
  • The establishment of working group of ministers responsible for trade and industry, minerals, energy and transport.
  • The launch of the RSA-DRC Business Forum.
  • Proposal for co-operation and capacity building between customs and tax administration authorities.
  • A draft MoU on Energy to be signed by the end of July 2005, and working groups to be established in the areas of renewable energy, electricity and hydro-carbons.
  • A draft MoU on Mining, to be signed shortly, including the establishment of working groups on geology, small-scale mining and mineral beneficiation.
  • In respect of transport, election related matters were identifies, including immediate interventions, critical areas for delivery and logistical arrangements. In addition, an MoU on future bi-lateral co-operation is to be drafted.
  • A joint management committee for the implementation of the Agricultural Agreement to be established by end of May 2005.

10. The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the BNC and their determination to reinforce the positive dynamic in their bilateral relations.

11. South Africa reiterated its commitment to support the Government of the DRC and its people in their efforts towards sustainable peace and reconstruction and encouraged the Government of the DRC to continue its plans to hold elections in line with the Global All-Inclusive Agreement.

END



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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa