Press Comments made by South African Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka and Bolivial Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, Presidential Guesthouse,
Pretoria, Wednesday 11 April 2007
Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka
are indeed very honoured to host my Bolivian counterpart Vice President Alvaro
Garcia Linera in South Africa who is paying a working visit to South Africa.
area on which we focused discussions is the constitutional development process
that is currently underway in Bolivia. Bolivia is, in many ways, going through
similar experiences as we did in South Africa with regard to our constituent assembly.
This is not the first contact we have had with Bolivia in this regard.
You will be aware that we hosted President Evo Morales in January last year, a
South African delegation led by Minister Essop Pahad visited Bolivia in June 2006
in addition to the Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and Minister Jeff Radebe
in 2006. We have therefore had very intense communication.
Some of the issues
with which Bolivia is dealing regarding the establishment of a constitutional
state are similar to those we in South Africa faced. We have therefore decided
to make our own government and parliamentary experts and those from the broader
academic community available to the Bolivian government to assist them in overcoming
some of these challenges.
We will also invite a delegation of Bolivian experts
to South Africa to meet the broader South African community and experts during
which experiences will be shared, lessons learnt from the South African constitution
building experience those that followed.
We are dealing with very strict
timeframes since the Bolivian government would like to finalise this process by
the middle of 2007.
We also had an opportunity to hear that the government
of Bolivia intends to open an Embassy in South Africa that will serve to further
enhance our very strong diplomatic relations.
There is also a working relationship
between our economic ministries especially with the Departments of Minerals and
Energy and Trade and Industry. We intend to strengthen these to the extent that
we can work collaboratively on issues on human resource development since Bolivia
faces the same challenges as South Africa in the areas we regard as "scarce
skills." We will also exchange experiences in how we are dealing with this
It may not be possible to have a student exchange programme due
to the language barrier but we will attempt to share our experiences in this regard.
President Alvaro Garcia Linera
I am very pleased to be here in South
Africa and bring greetings from President Morales to the government of South Africa.
Africa and Bolivia are separated by a vast distance of approximately 9000 km but
both countries are very similar in that they seek equitable and just societies.
180 years, Bolivians are experiencing the challenges of integration through the
processes of democratisation.
The democratic way is to choose to establish
a constitutional system that will integrate groups who have always been excluded.
the South African experience will be very valuable to us in Bolivia.
Morales did visit South Africa as a South African delegation visited Bolivia in
We are interested in discussing the concurrence of powers at various
societal levels, inter alia, national, provincial, etc.
We also want to
understand how the new constitution should address issues of wealth sharing in
Bolivia including, land distribution.
Questions and answers
Deputy President could you kindly elaborate on the South African delegation that
will visit Bolivia?
Answer The administrative details of this
visit must still be finalised. I can confirm that this delegation will include
parliamentarians, academics, constitutional experts, representatives from civil
society including government officials.
Question Vice President Garcia,
Answer The question of the redistribution of wealth
is a serious one. We want to learn from the South African experience in this regard.
Question Vice President Garcia, you want to learn from the South African
experience in terms of wealth redistribution. Your country has just begun a process
of nationalization of the oil and gas sector. (inaudible)
The main economic growth for Bolivia will come from oil and natural gas reserves.
Deputy President, were energy related issued discussed seeing that the Minister
of Minerals and Energy is present?
Answer Yes, such issues were
discussed, although this is not the first time we have had such discussions. The
Minister of Minerals and Energy has had discussions with her Bolivian counterpart
in Bolivia in this regard. We are focusing on the exchange of experiences in the
regulation of both industries, the co-operation between both institutions and
issues of capacity building. The intention of these discussions is to ultimately
strengthen economic and trade relations. We would also want to ensure that PetroSA
develops a relationship with its counterpart in Bolivia as well as all business
sectors and small and medium enterprises developing business linkages with counterparts
Concluding remarks by Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka
you for being here. We are indeed excited that we will be able to consolidate
relations with our cousins in Bolivia. There will be much work to do in the forthcoming
days and months, including shuttling between both countries. This will involve
not only the government but political parties who have already established relations
with Bolivia. We will encourage the continuation of such activities.
by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152