Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, 15 August 2006

Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Up to 80% of the votes have been counted so far.
  • Predictions are that President Joseph Kabila is leading by 45%, followed by Pierre Bemba at 22%.
  • The CEI will announce provisional results on 20 August 2006, while final results will be announced on the 30 of August.
  • It is further anticipated that results for the parliamentary elections will be announced on the 4th of September.
  • Should no candidate obtain 51% of the votes, there will be presidential second round by the end of October or first week of November 2006.
  • It is anticipated that the Presidential elections will coincide with the provincial elections.
  • The Inter-Departmental Task Team on the DRC DRC elections will laise with the IEC and Defence to commence with preparations for the upcoming elections as per UNPD Agreement signed in May 2006.

Côte d'Ivoire

  • Since I last briefed you, three issues have emerged that are raising concerns:

    • The mandate of the President if no elections are held on 30 October 2006;
    • The national certification issue
    • The ranks given to FN officers by the FAFN

  • PM addressed these issues. The following are the key points:
    • The President and the PM continue to work very well and he appreciated the words of the President during the national day ceremony. They discuss matters together before decisions are made. The President had praised the PM for his efforts to advance the peace process and pledged his full support.
    • Assured the Ivorians and the international community that the nationality certificates will be issued. This should be done within the legal provisions.
    • On DDR the PM said the military dialogue between the Chiefs of Staff remains the only channel to resolve the issues raised by the FN. He accepted that there will be problems in addressing the issues but military dialogue should be maintained as agreed in Yamoussoukro.
    • He urged all parties to return to the negotiation table to address the challenges. The PM believes that all the problems raised can be addressed through the existing structures and the capacities created by the various agreements.

Middle East

  • The South African government yesterday welcomed United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 which called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon.
  • Reports indicate that the ceasefire is holding.
  • The South African government believes this opens up opportunities for peace and stability in the region.
  • We must however reiterate our concern that it has taken the Security Council so long - almost five weeks of extreme violence - before it could act decisively on the matter. We believe the 1150 deaths and almost 5000 casualties in Lebanon could have been avoided. There has also been the massive destruction of property and infrastructure. The international community must now respond positively to the needs of the Lebanese people, hundred's of thousands of whom have been displaced.
  • We also urge all parties to work for the cessation of hostilities and maintain the ceasefire.
  • The time has come for a long term solution to the Israeli - Lebanese problems.
  • While we have been concerned with the Israeli - Lebanese war, we have neglected the situation in Gaza. The latest UN reports are of great concern. In Gaza, there has been a sharp decline in the humanitarian situation confronting 1.4 million people following the fifth week of operation Summer Rains [ in which Palestinians have been killed and 25 Israeli's injured in the same period.]
  • The UNDP estimates that in excess of US$ 15.5 million damages have been caused not including the destroyed power plant and other costs due to sanctions and closing of the crossing points.
  • South Africa's position remains: long term peace and stability in the region will only be possible if we deal with the major issue - i.e. the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only prospect for peace remains the creation of a viable state of Palestine and Israel living side by side within secure borders.
  • This remains the only way for relations between governments to improve and well as people to people relations.
  • Analysts are increasingly accepting that the Roadmap is dead. We must now move towards the final stage i.e. negotiating the creation of two secure states.

South Africa - Iran Joint Bilateral Commission

  • Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and her Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Manoucher Motakki will co-chair the 9th South Africa - Iran Joint Bilateral Commission (SA-Iran JBC) scheduled from Monday - Tuesday, 21-22 August 2006 at the Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria.
  • This JBC meets bi-annually and looks at issues of political, economic and social relevance in addition to South South relations.
  • However, this session of the JBC comes a few days before Iran must respond to the G-5 proposals.
  • There have also been many reports - denied by both Iran and Hizbollah - that Iran has been involved in the fuelling the war between Israel and Lebanon. This meeting will also give the South African side an opportunity to discuss developments in the region and how to give impetus to the failing peace process.
  • On the economic side, Iran still supplies about 40% of South Africa's oil needs.
  • Trade however is on the increase. South African annual exports for 2005 amounted to R785, 2 million. Annual imports came to R14,3 billion, thus implying a total negative trade balance of R13,5 billion.

SOUTH AFRICAN EXPORTS TO IRAN

 20012002200320042005
Annual Total471,164mn 372,022mn 301,412mn 347,880mn 785,208mn

SOUTH AFRICAN IMPORTS FROM IRAN

 20012002200320042005
Annual Total 8,841,717mn 9,667,271mn 9,286,363mn15,222,821mn14,324,471mn

This meeting will also have an opportunity to look at addressing this negative trade balance.

  • Many South African companies are however becoming increasingly active in Iran - SASOL, and MTN has also been awarded a lucrative contract to establish and operate a second mobile operator license.
  • There are many signs that economic relations are on the increase.
  • However, as I have always said, this potential economic growth will be linked to peace and security in the region.

SADC

  • Senior officials met in Maseru, Lesotho from 11-14 August, the Council of Ministers will meet from 15-16 August and the Heads of State and Government from 17-18 August 2006.
  • This is a very important session since it must look at revitalising the implementation of the SADC integration agenda, expediting the implementation of the RISDP and consider strategies for consolidating economic development and integration in the region, also within the framework of SADC being a building block of the African Union.
  • The social and political situation in the region is better than it has been for many years. The region Southern Africa is projected to expand at a much faster rate of 4.4% in 2005 compared to its growth rate of 3.3% in 2004. Growth in South Africa is expected to increase from 2.8% in 2004 to 3.4% in 2005 because of anticipated strong global demand for its products, growth in tourism, an increase in FDI inflows, expansion in domestic demand in response to new tax-relief measures and a low interest rate environment.
  • Developments in the oil sector will continue to influence Angola's economic activity in 2005. The continued rise in oil production is expected to raise growth to about 15% in 2005 and about 25% in 2006. Furthermore, growth in services in Botswana, Mauritius and Namibia; an increase in mining sector activities in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia; agricultural sector expansion in Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia; development in tourism activity in Mauritius and Zambia; and donor support in Zambia will be the main factors that contribute to the expansion of the region's growth in 2005.
  • Despite the expected positive performance of most SADC countries, the SADC region still faces daunting challenges as it aims at accelerating growth, reducing poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the targets set in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP). It is commonly accepted that most people in southern Africa live under the poverty line.

  • The key driver for development and deeper integration within SADC over the next 15 years is market integration. This will encompass financial and capital markets integration and the extension of intra and extra-regional trade.
  • SADC's immediate goal is the full implementation of the SADC Free Trade Area that is envisaged for 2008. The legal instrument for achieving the FTA is the SADC Protocol on Trade. The Trade Protocol entered into force on 25 January 2000 after the required majority of two thirds of SADC member states had ratified it. Eleven member states have been implementing the Trade Protocol since 1 September 2000 in various stages.
  • When SADC member states started to implement the Trade Protocol in September 2000, some 45% of all goods traded in SADC were already traded at zero tariffs. All member states implementing the Trade Protocol follow their individual tariff phase-down schedules applying the asymmetry principle with SACU moving fastest and the other countries following more slowly. With few exceptions (e.g. Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe), the process of the tariff phase-down is generally on track, and it is expected that by 2008, over 85% of the goods will be at zero tariffs, thus ushering in a FTA in the region. By 2012, 99% of tariffs will be at zero tariffs. Since January 2006, SADC tariff preferences into SACU are duty free except for sugar, used clothing and 26 tariff lines in the automotive chapter.
  • Intra-regional trade was estimated at about 20% of total trade in 1997. The overall figure for intra-regional trade stood at roughly 25% by 2003 and is expected to increase further by the time the FTA is fully implemented. Member states' trade shares with SADC vary widely, from a low but increasing 2.1% of overall trade for Mauritius to up to some 80% for Swaziland. Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe trade 40 and 50% of their overall trade (imports and exports) with SADC partners.
  • South Africa's exports increased from R215 billion in 2001 to R320 billion in 2005 while the region's contribution was R24 billion in 2001, increasing to R30 billion in the latest year. However, despite the increase in the value of exports to the region, SADC's share declined from 10.8% to 9.4% over the same period. Total imports have risen from R215 billion in 2001 to R350 billion in 2005, while imports from SADC rose to R8 billion from R4 billion over the same period. The regional share was a meagre two percent of the total throughout the period.
  • The stagnation of SADC's share in total imports suggests that the region has not responded to improved market access in South Africa. South African imports from SADC are increasing, but commodities drive most of the growth. These products did not face tariffs before 2000 and therefore, it is unlikely that their performance improved due to the implementation of the Trade Protocol. Trade appears to be influenced more by the region's comparative advantage rather than improved market access. Another factor that might explain why the region has not responded to market access incentives could be due to capacity constraints.
  • Intra-regional trade is diversifying slowly but gradually, and more manufactured goods are now making up a larger share of overall trade in the region. Major increases in trade have occurred in the textiles & clothing and sugar sectors, where special trade arrangements in these industry sectors opened up larger opportunities for trade in the region. Other important industry groups include agro- and food processing as well as processed base metals. Intra-regional trade has been growing at a slightly higher rate than extra-regional trade between 2000 and 2003 indicating that SADC businesses were able to expand their home markets into the region and utilise more fully the existing trade potential.
  • The RISDP repeatedly highlights the need for more investment on the African continent, with foreign direct investment (FDI) being a key part of that. Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland have remained destination countries for South African FDI since 1994, whilst the rest of the SADC region has become a logical place for expansion. A defining characteristic of South African investment is its diversity: FDI has not been confined to natural resource extraction but also the industrial and services sectors.
  • As the following table demonstrates, the bulk of the investment for the period 1994 to 2004 went to SADC countries:
CountryRand (million)
Angola 1,766
Botswana 1,095
DRC 17,356
Lesotho4,086
Madagascar166
Malawi2,276
Mauritius187
Mozambique
20,069
Namibia 4,654
Swaziland 563
Tanzania 3,630
Zambia 2,217
Zimbabwe 3,351
TOTAL 61,042
  • Summit must also look at preparing for the brainstorming session of NEPAD Summit to be held in Abuja, Nigeria 30-31 October 2006. This follows the last African Union Summit during which it was decided that Heads of State and Government need to do more to accelerate the implementation of NEPAD. In this regard, SADC must have a collective response to present to the Summit.
  • Summit must also look at the latest decision taken at the AU Summit to set up a committee to finalise the integration of NEPAD into the AU structures. As you know, there was an extension of 6 months given to complete this process. The process must now be completed within 6 weeks.
  • Much of the Summit will look at the issues of economic integration. Other issues will include: now that Angola is at peace with itself, and its economic growth based on its oil and mineral resources have been very good, it must now make a greater contribution to the region. Summit will also look at the Democratic Republic of Congo and how to proceed post-elections.
  • I can make a few comments about the SADC Standby Brigade. The Permanent Planning Element (PPE) is in place consisting of the Republic of Botswana as a host to the SADC Headquarters, Angola, the Kingdom of Lesotho and Namibia. Summit is expected to acknowledge the weaknesses relating to the finalisation of SADCBRIG Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), standardised operating procedures and general lack of readiness of the pledged Units.
  • On the gender issue: Almost half of SADC Member States have surpassed the previously set target of 30% and are now striving to achieve the new target of 50% within Parliamentary and Cabinet positions.

Questions and answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, you spoke extensively of the economic integration of SADC. How will this integration affect the free movement of people especially when we consider the many Zimbabweans who are turned away from our borders?

Answer We have signed the Protocol on the Free Movement of People. We are awaiting ratification from Parliament and other structures. In addition, a few countries have not ratified this Protocol.

As we move towards a free trade area, etc, a significant element becomes the free movement of people. This cannot be avoided.

Question Deputy Minister, will the South African government be doing more humanitarian work in Lebanon? Can you also comment on the mission by the Gift of the Givers?

Answer The South African government is considering what else it can do to assist the people of Lebanon - but their needs are massive. We are happy that not only the Gift of the Givers, but other South African aid organisations have responded positively to the plight of the Lebanese people - including the Marionite Church and others. We have also called on the South African Council of Churches to assist.

We will meet with humanitarian aid groups in the next week to ascertain how we can further assist.

Clearly, the developed countries must do more to assist the people of Lebanon. Current estimates are that entire villages have been destroyed and at least 80% of Lebanese infrastructure. This will be a massive reconstruction and development project.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, can you comment on the United Cricket Board's decision following the unrest in Sri Lanka?

Answer We have been in touch with the UCB. Our mission in Sri Lanka has also been in touch with them and us at Head Office. Up to the time of this briefing there was no final decision as the UCB was meeting with security agencies to determine how their needs would be met.

However the situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating badly. From witnessing optimism a few months ago that the ceasefire would hold and movement created, we are now facing a re-emergence of the darkest days of the conflict in which civilians are increasingly targetted.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, will the South African side urge the Iranian delegation to accept the G-5 proposal?

Answer We are not very familiar with the G-5 proposal.

However, the South African position is that we are against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, we urge all parties with these weapons to destroy them.

We are also hoping the Iranian delegation will be able to brief us better regarding the G-5 proposal since their response is expected on the 22 August 2006.

We also continue to maintain that the IAEA Board should exhaust alternatives to resolving the matter before it is referred to the United Nations Security Council.

The South African government favours a resolution to the crisis. We hope that the proposals on 22 August 2006 will be the basis for continued discussions towards a resolution.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, how will the failure of the latest round of World Trade Organisation Talks affect discussions at the SADC Summit?

Answer SADC will have to discuss the failure of the latest round of World Trade Organisation Talks since it affects the region.

South Africa is a member of the G-20. We do believe that we are very close to resolving the matter. There is just the two outstanding issues from the US and EU - that of market tariffs and agricultural subsidies respectively.

We hope that these very powerful forces can look beyond their own interests and at the international trading system at large and compromise on these issues, in the interest of all.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, if South Africa was called upon to mediate in the Middle East conflict, what concrete proposals would you suggest? Also, is South Africa prepared to mediate in this situation?

Answer I do not believe that South Africa needs to mediate in this situation. This situation have been there from before we became a democracy. Besides, there are many plans and agreements on the table - the Oslo Agreement, the Arab League Plan, United Nations resolutions, etc.

South Africa can only share its experiences of life after political negotiated settlement. We cannot bring any new plan to the table. We can however interact to assist the situation through the Non-Aligned Movement, the G-77 + China, the UN etc.

In addition, we have not been asked to mediate in the conflict - the Lebanese Prime Minister when he wrote to President Mbeki asked for our support in the implementation of his seven point plan. This seven point plan is now mentioned in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, are you satisfied with the election process in the DRC?

Answer We have consistently said that this will be one of the most difficult elections to organise considering the logistical and technical difficulties and challenges of the country, including the problems with the printing of ballot papers, the violence in the East, the many candidates standing for elections, etc.

However, the South African Observer Mission has echoed the sentiments of many of the other groups, that despite these challenges, the process has gone well.

The biggest challenge was perhaps that many of the Presidential candidates do not have a big political following. These candidates, when the SADC delegation of Foreign and Defence ministers visited the region ahead of elections, requested that we support their requests for the polls to be postponed.

And, there are one or two candidates with a big following saying that if they do not receive satisfaction from the process that they will return to armed struggle. We can only hope that this is just bravado at this stage.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, the Mercenary Bill will be finalised in Parliament today. How do you see this Bill being implemented?

Answer I am not very sure of all the aspects of this bill. I will be meeting with the British High Commissioner to discuss this matter further.

I think it would be more useful for you to approach the Department of Defence for further information.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, SABC last week mentioned that President Mbeki would be visiting Washington for discussions with President Bush. Can you give us more information?

Answer The President will be in the USA in September where he will attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Perhaps this planned meeting will be scheduled to co-incide with this.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, since there is no way of ensuring that SADC countries comply with the signed Protocols, how will the region ensure that the 2008 deadline for economic integration be met?

Answer This is indeed a very important matter - the implementation of Protocols must indeed be assessed. The change of SADC leadership at the bureaucratic level has contributed to the delaying of processes. Summit must also reflect on whether the organisational structures introduced two years ago require modification since they were perhaps too ambitious.

We must do something drastic - only two or three countries have not given their products for tariff reduction.

The deadline of 2008 is something towards which we are all working when we will have a free trade area. Then we should work for a customs union and economic integration.

Cabinet has instructed that all ministries prepare for the implementation of SADC programmes - I have always believed that as the strongest power, we must do more than many of the other countries to assist this process.

It is indeed strange that SADC, which was perceived as a model by many, has fallen back in ensuring the implementation of its programmes. I do hope that South Africa will do what it should do in order to ensure that SADC programmes at all levels will be taken care of.

We need SADC. SADC is as important to us as we are to it.

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, how are preparations for the IBSA Summit? Which issues will be discussed?

Answer Preparations are well underway. This is the first IBSA Summit and will be hosted by Brazil on the eve of the NAM Summit in Havana, Cuba. Brazil is not a member of NAM.

Many of the issues that we deal with on a daily basis will be on the NAM agenda.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Tshwane
0001

15 August 2006

 

Quick Links

Disclaimer | Contact Us | HomeLast Updated: 17 August, 2006 8:45 AM
This site is best viewed using 800 x 600 resolution with Internet Explorer 5.0, Netscape Communicator 4.5 or higher.
2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa