Joint Communiqué of the Fifth Session of the Republic of South Africa - Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission (BNC),
held in Pretoria from 2 - 3 April 2008
1. At the invitation of H.E. Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, visited South Africa from 02-03 April 2008 to attend the Fifth Session of the South Africa – Democratic Republic of the Congo Binational Commission (SA-DRC BNC) that was held in Pretoria.
2. In this regard, H.E. Mr. Joseph Kabila led a delegation consisting of ten Ministers, two Deputy Ministers and senior officials from various Ministries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
3. H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki led the South African delegation, consisting of eight Ministers, two Deputy Ministers and various senior officials representing Government Departments involved in projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
4. The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by preparatory meetings of experts and of Ministers that took place 31 March to 1 April 2008 and 2 April 2008 respectively.
5. The two delegations reviewed the implementation of the commitments and recommendations made during the 4th session of the BNC which was held on 21 August 2007 in Kinshasa. These commitments and recommendations concern cooperation projects in the following fields; Politics and Governance; Defence and Security; Economy, Finance and Infrastructure; and Social and Humanitarian Affairs.
6. The two delegations expressed their satisfaction with the progress made since 2007. However, they also agreed to accelerate the effective implementation of bilateral commitments, especially effective resource mobilisation to enable the completion of key projects, and the possibility of concluding trilateral arrangements to realize these objectives.
7. The Fifth Session of the BNC was also an occasion for the two delegations to assess efforts made by the DRC Government in the context of the implementation of its development programme summarised in the five priority areas; basic health services, education, employment, electricity and water and infrastructure to all Congolese citizens. In this regard, the South African Government congratulated and encouraged the Congolese Government on the efforts being made in implementing this programme.
8. Both parties reiterated their willingness to improve and strengthen their economic relations by enhancing co-operation among their respective business communities and by increasing trade and investment between the two countries. In the same vein, both parties agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism.
9. The two Heads of State heralded the Westcor Project, a world first in regional cross border partnership, which is now fully operational. The company was established by the five participating countries of SADC, namely DRC, RSA, Botswana, Namibia and Angola and is operated by their National Electricity Utilities. The objective of the project is to generate in bulk electrical energy and to deliver to all the five countries and also the Southern African Power Pool. Another world first is bulk renewable energy generation which is natural, sustainable and affordable. Under the custodianship of the world Energy Council, financing is prepared for early start to construction. A new era in the economic renaissance of the region begins.
10. The two delegations agreed that the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation, Security Sector Reform, institutional capacity-building and the re-establishment of State authority were critical anchors vis-à-vis the realization of the Congolese Government’s programme of action.
11. On the margins of the Fifth Session, the two Heads of State had a tête-à-tête which led to consensus on issues of common interest at the regional and international levels.
12. In this regard, they expressed their satisfaction at the signing on 9 November 2007 of the Nairobi Communiqué between the governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda on which represents an important further step towards ensuring peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. They were also appreciative of the convening of the Round Table Conference on Peace, Security and Development in South Kivu and North Kivu held in Goma, from 6 to 24 January 2008, which is a very positive development that should be supported.
13. With regards to the issue of the existence of residual pockets of insecurity in the East of the DRC, both Heads of State agreed on the need for the speedy completion of Security Sector Reform (SSR), and reaffirmed their support for MONUC in the execution of its mandate in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
14. In regard to international matters, the two Heads of State reiterated their common view on the need to promote multilateralism and South-South cooperation. They undertook to contribute to the realisation of the objective of sustainable development and to the peaceful resolution of conflicts as well as African renewal, specifically through the implementation of NEPAD projects.
15. At the end of the deliberations of the Fifth Session, H.E Mr Joseph Kabila Kabange on behalf of the Congolese delegation and his own behalf expressed his appreciation to the people and Government of South Africa as well as his counterpart, H.E. Mr. Thabo Mbeki, for the warm welcome and the hospitality which he and his delegation were accorded.
In conclusion, both parties agreed that the next meeting will be held in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the second half of 2008, on a date to be agreed through diplomatic channels.
Done in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa at 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
03 April 2008