Joint Communiqué of the Seventh Session of the Republic of South Africa – Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission (BNC), held in Lubumbashi from 16 to 21 June 2011
At the invitation of H.E. Mr. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Mr. Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, accompanied by a Ministerial and Senior Officials delegation, attended the Seventh Session of the Bi-National Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, held in Lubumbashi on 21 June 2011.
The meeting of the two Heads of State was preceded by a Ministerial Review meeting on 20 June 2011 after a senior officials’ preparatory meeting held on 16 – 17 June 2011 deliberated on a number of bilateral projects in the BNC context.
At the Seventh BNC Session the two delegations reviewed the implementation of the commitments and recommendations made during the Sixth Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC). These commitments and recommendations concern cooperation projects in the following areas: Politics and Governance; Defence and Security; Economy, Finance and Infrastructure, Social and Humanitarian Affairs.
The two Heads of State expressed their satisfaction with the progress made with the implementation of bilateral projects. Cognisant of the impact of the global financial crisis, they also agreed to concentrate in the short term on the implementation of bilateral Agreements on which progress has been registered and to continue efforts to mobilize resources for the completion of such projects. This could include trilateral arrangements with third countries in order to fulfill these objectives in the short term.
The visit also presented an occasion for the two Heads of State to assess efforts made by the DRC Government in the implementation of its development programme summarized in five priority areas (Cinq Chantiers) namely: basic health services; education; employment; electricity and water as well as infrastructure. In this regard, the Heads of State noted with satisfaction the efforts being made by their Governments in implementing this programme.
Both Heads of State reiterated their commitment to improve and strengthen economic relations by enhancing cooperation between the business communities of the two countries and by increasing bilateral trade and investment. In the same vein, both countries agreed to encourage people-to-people contacts through cultural, scientific and educational exchange programmes and tourism.
The two Heads of State agreed to partner to realize the common objective of ensuring energy security and to promote the use of renewable energy sources.
The two Presidents also made use of the occasion to discuss issues of mutual concern and common interest, particularly with respect to bilateral and multilateral cooperation.
It was agreed that the consolidation of peace and national reconciliation, Security Sector Reform, institutional capacity-building and extension of state authority by the Congolese Government over its entire territory was critical vis-à-vis the realization of the Congolese Government’s programme of action. President Zuma expressed his satisfaction with the way the DRC is implementing its programmes to achieve these objectives.
Both Heads of State noted the continued efforts of the DRC Government to bring peace and stability to the Eastern DRC.
The two Heads of State noted the preparations for the Presidential and Legislative Elections in the DRC scheduled for 28 November 2011 and in this regard South Africa committed to contribute logistical and other relevant assistance to ensure the success of the elections.
The two Heads of State further noted that this election will contribute to the consolidation of democracy in the DRC.
In reviewing the current political and security situation in the continent the two Heads of State noted with serious concern the renewed tensions in the Sudan between the North and the South which threatens to undermine the commendable progress made thus far in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
The two Heads of State expressed grave concern about the escalation of armed hostilities in Libya which have contributed to the loss of life, displacement of the civilian population and the destruction of property. They also observed that the current situation in Libya has precipitated a dire humanitarian crisis.
The two Heads of State noted with regret the statement by the High Authority of the Transitional (HAT) of Madagascar in which it did not accept the decision of the SADC Extra-ordinary Summit with regards to the implementation of the Roadmap. They strongly urged the HAT to reconsider its decisions and abide by the SADC Summit decision. They further urged all parties to the Malagasy crisis to place the interest of Madagascar above all else in order for the country to return to constitutional normalcy and take its rightful place in the community of nations.
With 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 realization 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.
During this Session, the two Parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the water sector.
President Zuma, on behalf of the South African delegation and the people of South Africa, expressed his appreciation to President Kabila, the Government and people of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the warm welcome and the hospitality which was accorded to the South African delegation.
In conclusion, both parties agreed that the next Session of the BNC between the Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be held in South Africa on a date to be determined through diplomatic channels.