Deputy President Motlanthe’s visit to the DRC to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations of its independence: 29-30 June 2010

The Deputy President of the Republic, H.E. Kgalema Motlanthe, will represent the country at the celebrations in Kinshasa marking the 50th Anniversary of the Independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 29-30 June 2010.

The celebration of independence is a momentous occasion and an important historic landmark in the history of the African continent. The DRC is an important country and of strategic importance to South Africa. South Africa remains hopeful that peace and stability will eventually return to this country and stands ready to lend the requisite support as the country undertakes the road to reconstructions and development.
Looking back, the South African government holds the view that the DRC is far much better off than it was four years ago. South Africa remains concerned about the instability in the Eastern part of DRC, hence we remain the major contributor to MONUC (the UN Peacekeeping force of 20 000) - whose main thrust is to stabilize the Eastern side.
With the situation having improved, the UNSC has agreed to scale down the number of Peacekeepers in the country, with the first 2,000 leaving by the end of June 2010 and the remaining by 2011. This move is also in the interest of allowing the DRC Government space to manage its own affairs as an independent State.  This visit is expected to further intensify and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, especially in the context of the RSA/DRC Bi-National Commission (BNC) that is held annually between the two countries.

The General Cooperation Agreement to promote political, economic and social cooperation between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was signed on 14 January 2004 and made provision for the establishment of a Bi-National Commission (BNC) on 31 August 2004. The BNC is an annual forum for the exchange of ideas, strategies and plans to further deepen and broaden our relations, including providing the space to dialogue on issues of Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD).

The BNC is also credited with having paved the way for engagement in the DRC by a number of South African Government Departments and their DRC counterparts.  in building institutional capacity for civil the service, including the security services with the training of police. The last SA-DRC BNC meeting was held from 27-30 October 2009. The next one will most likely take place during the second half of 2010.

South Africa has and will continue to play an important role in the democratisation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo which led to the 2006 elections. In the same breath, we wish to encourage our private business and parastatals community to actively participate in the reconstruction efforts in the DRC.

South Africa strongly believes in the economic potential of a politically stable and economically viable DRC, which can be harnessed and developed. This could put the country in a position where the region and the continent benefits economically. Trade relations between South Africa and the DRC are a clear indication of what could happen. Statistics at hand show that trade between the two countries have improved significantly in the past few years. In 2008 trade stood at;

Exports from RSA to the DRC; R8 274 448 000.00 (billions) (2008)
Imports from the DRC to RSA; R49 977 000.00 (millions) (2008)

Deputy President Motlanthe will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Molobi on 082 940 1647 or email him at OR call Ms Nomfanelo Kota, Acting Chief Director for Communications at The Presidency, at 082 459 3787.

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001

29 June 2010


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