Minister Dlamini Zuma to Visit DRC Ahead of President Thabo Mbeki

Tshwane - South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday, 15 March 2006 to consolidate preparations for President Mbeki's visit scheduled for Thursday, 16 March 2006 in Kinshasa . President Mbeki is expected to co-chair with President Joseph Kabila, the third session of the South Africa - DRC Bi-national Commission (BNC).

Minister Dlamini Zuma, together with her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Raymond Ramazani Baya, will co-chair the Ministerial session of the South Africa - DRC BNC to prepare a political and economic report for the Presidential Session of the Commission on Wednesday, 15 March 2006.

South Africa's participation in the third session of the South Africa - DRC BNC comes within the context of the its commitment to consolidating peace efforts and transition to democracy and stability in DRC.

In addition, South Africa places much emphasis on post-conflict reconstruction and development in the DRC having facilitated the signing of the Global and All-Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the DRC on 17 December 2002. The signing of this agreement, for the first time, paved the way for peace and stability in the DRC.

In addition, President Mbeki, supported by Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad led a South African government delegation to the ceremony Promulgating the DRC constitution on 18 February 2006. This paved the way for the draft electoral law that was adopted on 21 February 2006 thus establishing a timeline and date for elections as well as the nomination of electoral candidates. In this regard, the first round of Presidential and legislative elections in the DRC have been scheduled for April 2006. However, it is understood that the Independent Electoral Commission of the DRC has proposed 18 June 2006 and 28 August 2006 for the first round and second round of elections.

The third session of the South Africa - DRC Bi-national Commission, co-chaired by Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Joseph Kabila is expected to evaluate:

  • The status of Politics and Diplomacy co-operation includes the capacity building project, the public service census project, electoral assistance, population and immigration matters;
  • Defence and Security co-operation includes security sector reform projects;
  • Economy, finance and infrastructure co-operation includes spatial development initiatives, mining, geology and metallurgy, energy, civil aviation, technical assistance in financial administration and agriculture; and
  • Social and humanitarian affairs which includes co-operation in the fields of education, and humanitarian and health projects.

President Thabo Mbeki will return to South Africa on Thursday, 16 March 2006.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

14 March 2006

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