Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane concludes visit to Cuba and calls for more life and impetus in the South Africa-Cuba Relations.

Pretoria: South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane  last night, 2 December 2009, concluded her official working visit to La Havana, Cuba.

During the visit, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane co – chaired the 6th session of the SA / Cuba JBC with her Cuban counterpart, Minister Marcelino Medina Gonzalez supported by Deputy Ministers of Health and Arts and Culture, Molefi Sefularo and Paul Mashatile. Director–Generals of Arts and Culture as well as Mining, Themba Wakashe and Adv. Sandile Nogxina also provided support to Minister Nkoana-Mashabane as well as senior government officials from various Departments.

A visit to  Jose Marti Memorial kick-started the Minister’s visit, with a Wreath – laying ceremony  in memory of the fallen gallant heroes and heroines of the Cuban people as well as other internationalists who died in pursuit of freedom. Both South Africa ’s Ambassador to Cuba , Phatse Justice Piitso as well  Senior Adviser, Dr. Eddy Maloka accompanied the Minister.

Official discussions were held between Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane  and her Cuban counterpart, His Excellency Marcelino Medina Gonzalez. The two Ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations between the two countries in all fields of cooperation and assessed the state of the Joint Bilateral Commission.

Both Ministers reaffirmed the need to strengthen the existing relations and further expand cooperation on all fronts and expressed satisfaction with the current relations between the two countries. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane further called for the need to elevate the relations to a higher level through “providing more life and impetus to the South Africa – Cuba Relations”

During the official discussions, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane indicated that President Zuma will be back in Cuba as per the invitation of President Raul Castro in the first half of 2010 and will be honoured to visit Cuba in his capacity as the Head of State.

Later Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and delegation paid a courtesy call on President Raúl Castro to discuss preparations for the State visit to Cuba by President Jacob Zuma early in 2010. In addition Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane also paid a courtesy call on First Vice President, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.

The 6th session of the SA / Cuba JCC received reports on progress registered in the fields of trade and investment, mining, communications, human settlements, water affairs, health, the environment arts and culture and transport ( air services)

 

Key highlights and progress achieved included:

  • Participation of both countries in each other’s Trade FAIRS. South Africa participated at the 27th Havana International Trade Fair earlier this month whilst Cuba will participate in the 2010 South African International Trade Exhibition

( SAITEX).

  • In mining, the rehabilitation of abandoned mines received prominence and a task Team from Mintek and sister organizations will conduct this work.
  • On communications, both countries agreed to co- operate in software development on the Free –Open Soured Software Platform which will contribute to the advancement of skills development.
  • In the field of Human Settlements, overall success was registered and the need for further cooperation was emphasized especially in the provision of technical support.
  • Environment -In 2010, South Africa will host a working visit of environment officials and technical staff to exchange expertise on environmental issues during the planned State Visit to Cuba .
  • On Arts and Culture – Both countries agreed to explore cooperation in the film industry as  well as promote exposure to each other’s cultures.
  • Transport ( Air services) – Both countries agreed on a Short term contracted Air Traffic controller to be given by Cuba to assist with the FIFA 2010 World Cup.

Whilst in Cuba , Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane also met with the Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment, Mr. Antonio Carricarte.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane concluded the visit by laying a wreath at the Park of the African National Heroes at the Bust of Oliver Tambo. The Minister arrives in South Africa on the 4th December 2009 ahead of the FIFA World Cup Final Draw in Cape Town.

 

For further information, contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on + 27 82 940 1647

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x 152
Pretoria
0001

03 December 2009.


 

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