Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Media
Centre Amphitheatre, Union Buildings, Tshwane, South Africa, 11 April 2006
on Minister Dlamini Zuma's condition
- Minister Dlamini Zuma is still
recuperating at a Pretoria Hospital.
- She was only transferred from the
intensive care unit to a normal ward yesterday.
- Upon release, on a date
still to be determined, she will be off for three weeks with Minister Skweyiya
- Minister appreciates the well wishes of the media and the public.
to governments of Djibouti and Ghana
- We extend our condolences
to the governments of Djibouti and Ghana following the boat tragedies in which
many people have lost their lives
Condolences to the government
- We extend our condolences to the government and people
of Kenya following the plane crash in which 2 assistant ministers and the Deputy
leader of President Kibaki's party have been killed.
visit to Japan and Indonesia
- South African Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka will pay a working visit to Japan and Indonesia scheduled from Wednesday
- Thursday, 19-20 April and Friday - Tuesday, 21-25 April 2006 respectively.
will be supported by the Minister of Minerals and Energy and Deputy Ministers
Pahad, Moleketi, Davis and Mabudafhasi.
- The visit by Deputy President
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to Japan and Indonesia comes within the context of South
Africa's priority to strengthen North-South and South-South relations for increased
market access, trade, investment, sharing of experiences on SMME development and
support for our capacity building programmes.
- In this regard, the visit
is also aimed at popularising South Africa's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative
(AsgiSA) and Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Transfer (JIPSA) while investigating
areas of co-operation and skills transfer between South Africa and Indonesia and
- In addition, the visit to Indonesia comes a year after the historic
Afro-Asia Conference that commemorated the Bandung Conference of 1955. At the
2005 Afro-Asia Conference, leaders of African and Asian countries committed themselves,
through the New Africa-Asia Strategic Plan (NAASP), to consolidating economic
relations between both continents that adequately reflected the strong socio-political
links between Asia and Africa.
- It is our view that we have not given
enough attention to the NAASP when we consider that almost all the significant
Asian leaders were present at the conference.
- If we understand that Asia
is the fastest growing continent and that China and India will be the new economic
powerhouses by 2010, we should realise that relations with Asia should be our
- The NAASP is based on economic and political ties as well
as people-to-people contact.
- The Afro-Asia Summit also endorsed NEPAD
as Africa's socio-economic programme.
- We do indeed believe that Asia
represents exciting new opportunities for parastatals, the private sector, etc.
- Many new programmes have been identified in terms of the NAASP.
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will hold discussions
with Prime Minister Koizumi during her visit to Japan. Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka
is also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Crown Prince Naruhito who is the eldest
son of Emperor Akihito.
Discussions will focus primarily on how Japan can
contribute to the successful implementation ASGISA and JIPSA.
The aim of
the visit is also to consolidate and strengthen the existing cordial political
relations between South Africa and Japan.
Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka
will also hold discussions with the:
- President of the Japan International
Co-operation Agency (JICA) Sadako Ogata with a view to popularising and seeking
support for AsgiSA and JIPSA. Discussions are likely to focus on empowerment of
South Africa's second economy, providing human resource development support to
JIPSA and trilateral co-operation initiatives;
- Chairperson of the Japan
External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Osamu Watanabe during which discussions are
likely to include increased market access between Japan and South Africa;
of the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) during which discussions
will focus on the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA) for Africa in partnership
with the African Development Bank (AfDB);
- Vice-Chairperson of Toyota
and South African Honorary Consul to Japan Mr Nakagawa during which discussions
are expected to focus on private sector involvement with the recapitalisation
programme of Further Education and Training institutions in South Africa;
of the House of Councillors Mrs Oogi who is also a member of the SA-Japan Parliamentary
Friendship League. The League has played an important role in strengthening relations
between the two countries. Discussions are expected to include the enhancement
of Japan's relations with the Pan-African Parliament under the auspices of the
Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD);
of the Sanko Steamship Company and Kenji Kanda, President of the Kanda Shipbuilding
- Business executives from Keidanren (Japanese Chamber of Commerce)
economic policy toward African development taken in its entirety is directed within
the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process which
was first held in 1993. TICAD has led to the implementation of projects aimed
at increasing African human resource capacity, infrastructure development and
Japan is also very keen to share the Asian experience with
South Africa and indeed, considers South Africa a strategic partner in terms of
its entry into Africa.
Japan considers South Africa a very important trading
partner for two reasons; of the total sub-Saharan region's GDP South Africa's
economy accounts for 40%, and South Africa is rich in natural resources, specifically
gold, diamonds, platinum and white gold. Japan sees South Africa as the gateway
to Africa and as such, opportunities in trade and investment are considerably
South Africa is a reliable source of raw materials and is seen
as a market for manufactured goods.
In 2005, Japan was South Africa's third
most important trade partner internationally, and for several years has been South
Africa's most important trade partner in Asia. Japan is a large investor in South
Africa despite the fact that the investment accounts for 0.3% of Japan's outward
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
South Africa's main exports to Japan in
2005 were as follows: Platinum (35.4%), motor vehicle (23%), wood chips (10%),
Aluminium (8%), Ferro Alloys (10s%), Manganese (4%) and Citrus (1.1%). South African
imports from Japan consist mainly of machines, mechanical appliances, vehicles
and measuring and photographic equipment. South Africa exported vehicles worth
more than R 7billion to Japan in 2005.
It is estimated that almost all
the minerals and more than half of South Africa's total exports are imported by
no more that twenty Japanese companies, all of which have offices in South Africa,
including JETRO and JICA. There are approximately sixty-three (63) Japanese companies
operating in South Africa.
Visit to Indonesia
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is expected to hold bilateral political and economic discussions
with her Indonesian counterpart Vice President Jusuf Kalla in Jakarta, Indonesia
on Monday, 24 April 2006.
Issues on the agenda are expected to include,
- The status of bilateral political and economic relations
between both countries;
- Co-operation between SADC and ASEAN;
on the New Africa-Asia Strategic Plan - developments since April 2005 and the
way forward in the consolidation of economic relations between Africa and Asia;
- Developments in Africa including the consolidation of institutions of
the African Union and Asgi-SA and JIPSA;
- Suggested areas of co-operation
between both countries including mining, energy, telecommunications, infrastructure,
SMMEs and tourism;
- Global governance including World Trade Organisation
discussions and the comprehensive reform of the United Nations; and
issues of mutual interest including the situation in the Middle East.
President Mlambo-Ngcuka is also expected to visit Solo in Central Java and Makassar
in South Sulawesi.
Trade between South Africa and Indonesia has expanded
fast (more than 300% since 1993) with the trade balance in favour of Indonesia.
South Africa's main exports to Indonesia include pulp and waste paper, cotton,
flat and rolled steel and iron ingots, while its main imports are vegetable oil,
natural rubber, textiles, timber, paper, plastics, footwear, stone and plaster.
There is increasing investment by South African companies in the vast mineral
reserves of Indonesia, that include nickel, copper, silver, gold. Gencor (Ingwe)
is active, with Iscor, Anglo-American, and Plessey also showing interest. Murray
& Roberts has an office in Jakarta and is hoping to obtain civil construction
contracts in the infrastructure sector. In addition, Thebe Investment has signed
an agreement with Indonesian-owned trading company PT. Prima Comexindo.
of the biggest SA IT companies, M-Web, has a huge investment portfolio of USD16
billion in Indonesia.
The visits to Japan and Indonesia are indeed very
important since this is the first time that a visit has had such key focus areas
- ie. AsgiSA and JIPSA.
Visit to South Africa by Tanzanian President
- As you know, President Kikwete paid a working visit
to South Africa last week. This was part of his visit to the SADC region.
discussions with the President he outlined the importance of South Africa, not
just bilaterally but in terms of the SADC region and the African agenda.
Mbeki, on conclusion of the visit, highlighted that trade relations between South
Africa and Tanzania should be enhanced. In this regard, it has been agreed that
the Presidential Economic Commission would be given priority and will meet within
the next two months.
- The South African delegation was briefed widely
in terms of Burundi with regard to the involvement of the Phaliphutu-FNL in the
peace process and the withdrawal of Frodebo from the peace process and the impact
of these developments.
- We also had extensive discussions regarding the
DRC - we have been informed that the Union for Democracy and Social Progress Party
of Mr Etienne Tshisekedi has not registered to participate in the elections and
that registration would not be re-opened. The consequences of this development
must be further analysed. We do not believe that there will be much fallout from
- We were also briefed in terms of the East Africa Summit held in
Tanzania. Of significance was the decision that a common market protocol will
be signed by December 2008 and would be functional by 2010. There will also be
ministers specifically allocated to ensuring this process is fastracked. The question
of whether Tanzania will continue to remain a member of SADC must be further considered
by the Tanzanian government. As you know, a decision has been taken that concerted
efforts would be made that countries not belong to too many sub-regional groupings.
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, could you kindly
elaborate on whether the decision by the Israeli government to not meet with parties
who have held discussions with Hamas would interfere with President Mbeki's visit
to the region?
Answer We have asked for clarification on this position.
However, as you know, a similar decision was taken with the late President Arafat.
If we held discussions with him, the Israeli government would not meet with us.
We would have to visit another country and then return to meet with the Israeli
However, we do believe, that if we are to assist in finding
a solution to the situation in the region, we must interact with both parties.
Deputy Mnister, can you please clarify what the situation is regarding South
African women being held in Mauritius?
Answer I am not fully aware
of this situation, but if indeed South Africans are in distress around the world,
it is the responsibility of our missions to seek consular access to the detainees.
me also say that for some time we have been increasingly concerned that South
Africa is becoming a transit point and that South Africans are being effectively
utilised as drug couriers. We have over 150 South Africans mainly in Thailand
and Latin America serving sentences for drug trafficking. Officials in our missions
seek regular consular access to the detainees and meet with their families.
to reports, prisoners abroad are living in very dire conditions when compared
to those in South Africa. We have ruled out the option of Prisoner Transfer Agreements.
reiterate our call to South Africans: do not fall victim to the idea of making
quick, easy money by being a drug courier.
The head of the South African
Police Service is now also the head of Interpol and there is very good and growing
co-operation among countries to eradicate this scourge.
Deputy Minister Pahad, could we please have an update on the situation in Iran?
I am happy to note that the US is unequivocally denying that there are advanced
plans to commence airstrikes against Iran as alleged in widely disseminated articles
in the United States.
The Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei is now in Iran - we urge the Iranians to co-operate fully
We are firmly of the view that the IAEA is the only body through
which the situation in Iran can be addressed. I am pleased to note that increasingly,
other countries like the EU3, are calling for a diplomatic solution.
do however, firmly reiterate that not action that would further inflame the situation
Question Deputy Minister Pahad, can you kindly comment
on preparations for elections in Côte d'Ivoire?
Answer We have
had a massive request from the governments of Côte d'Ivoire and the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) to assist with preparations for elections. These have
been relayed to the Independent Electoral Commission for consideration.
reports with regard to the situation in Côte d'Ivoire continue to be positive.
question of the DDR process and the disarmament of the militias remains and we
are hopeful that the new Prime Minister is able to deal with these outstanding
issues effectively. After all, free and fair elections will not be possible without
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
11 April 2006