Press Comments made by South African Foreign Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media and Tourism Geert Bourgeois, Presidential Guesthouse, Pretoria Monday 8 October 2007
Minister Dlamini Zuma
We are very happy and very grateful that Minister Bourgeois and his delegation were able to visit us in South Africa.
We have had very good co-operation with Flanders not only at the level of Foreign Affairs but also while I was at the Department of Health. There has been a long period of co-operation between South Africa and Flanders.
Our co-operation varies from social, SMME development, youth, women, and training issues. This is therefore a very broad co-operation which ranges throughout South Africa not just in one province – Kwazulu Natal, Limpopo, Free State.
We also have co-operation through the Progressive Woman’s Movement which is an international woman’s movement.
We are very pleased with our co-operation with Flanders.
We have also discussed issues of African integration – viz. the integration of the region and beyond to Africa. Within this we looked at areas of co-operation. Flanders has a lot of experience in Belgium and within the European Union.
We have had very fruitful discussions.
Minister Bourgeois will brief you further.
Minister Bourgeois has also invited us to visit Flanders in 2008.
Thank you Minister Dlamini Zuma. First of all, I want to thank you for the invitation, hospitality and welcome that was accorded to myself and my delegation.
I had an interesting meeting with the Premier of Cape Town which was very interesting.
I am very happy that you have accepted my invitation to visit Flanders next year. This will be an opportunity to show you our beautiful Flanders which is very different to Brussels which you visit quite often.
We have lots of co-operation between South Africa and Flanders – we have development co-operation, and about 30 projects costing approximately €35 million.
We have, in our deliberations had very interesting discussions on our future co-operation. We have bilateral co-operation in a variety of areas – bilateral trade and economic co-operation, political co-operation, tourism development.
There is also the interesting possibility of trilateral co-operation. The Minister briefed us on the African regional and continental regional processes and the opportunity exists for us to co-operate in this regard.
There is also a very interesting project indeed regarding the progressive woman’s movement.
We will also work together with regard to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in terms of small and medium size enterprise development. Our society is built on these enterprises.
These are areas of co-operation we can investigate.
We also briefed the South African delegation on the Flanders peace project to commemorate the centenary anniversary of the end of World War I in 2018. South Africa was also involved in this war. In a little part of Flanders we have 1300 relics of this terrible war. We are inviting all countries from all over the world to participate in this project of remembrance. I think that integration is an answer to war and we welcome Africa’s efforts to achieve this integration.
It was a very interesting meeting.
Questions and answers
Question Minister Bourgeois, your country is quite prominent in the news regarding the political challenges you are facing. Are you taking away from South Africa any lessons that will assist you in dealing with these tribulations?
Answer (Minister Bourgeois) This is something we can appreciate in South Africa. We also favour dialogue in our country – discussions are very peaceful and democratic. Although there is much news about it, they are normal discussions.
It is very good to learn about what South Africa is doing every day. In my discussions with Premier Rasool, I learnt of the South African philosophy of South Africa being a home for all. We in Europe are also learning to develop this common identity.
I assure you that everything is very peaceful in my country.
Question Minister Bourgeois, still on the same subject: I would like to know where the discussions stand? What is happening at the moment?
Answer (Minister Bourgeois) There are processes in my country, region and the European Union. In the meantime you have autonomy for the regions. Flanders wants more autonomy, more competence for the regions. This is the process that is unfolding and around which discussions are focused. There are two partners who cannot agree on this. That is why it is so difficult to form a new government.
Question Minister Dlamini Zuma, could you brief us on the condition of Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad?
Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) He is stable. The Swedish doctors are looking after him very well. We are waiting for him to improve enough to return to South Africa. There are South African doctors also in Sweden working with the Swedish doctors. He is stable and improving. We wish him a very speedy recovery.
Question Minister Dlamini Zuma, could you brief us on preparations for the SA-European Troika Ministerial meeting on Wednesday this week: what are the issues on the agenda and the expected outcomes?
Answer (Minister Dlamini Zuma) This is the annual meeting between South Africa and the Troika to look at the implementation of the Trade Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) with the European Union.
The only difference in 2007 is that this meeting will be hosted in South Africa. We have always met in Brussels. We are very pleased that they have agreed to have this meeting in South Africa.
We will be looking at issues of agriculture, trade, climate change, the Doha issues, outstanding issues in terms of the implementation of the TDCA, and issues of common interest including integration, developments in Africa in terms of the AU and relationships with the world and developments in the European Union.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
8 October 2007