Press Comments made by South African Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka and Prime Minister Martinho Dafa Cabi of Guinea Bissau
Guesthouse, Pretoria Monday 6 August 2007
Thank you very much and good
day to ladies and gentlemen of the media.
I would once more like to welcome
my guest Prime Minister Martinho Dafa Cabi of Guinea Bissau and his delegation.
His delegation includes the Ministers of Defence and Health.
Many of you
will probably know that we have a long relationship with the people of Guinea
Bissau as the ruling party and this meeting allows us to renew this relationship
within the context of parties and to explore the kinds of projects we wish to
have between both countries. In our discussions we identified areas of co-operation
some of which is already work in progress. Prime Minister Cabi will also elaborate
on some of this. Some of these areas are in the economic area, health and defence.
economic co-operation, the Prime Minister is accompanied by a large business delegation.
They will have an opportunity to interact with South African business representatives
We as government are looking at addressing regulatory frameworks
like the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Protection of Investments. These
are key elements necessary to facilitate an enabling environment for investors
in Guinea Bissau.
MTN is already operational in Guinea Bissau and we would
wish to attract other companies to invest in Guinea Bissau.
We would like
to encourage Guinea Bissau to use the resources available under NEPAD for infrastructure
development, and also the African Infrastructure Fund that has just been launched
at the African Union Summit in Ghana last month. This fund should reach a billion
rand by 2008. it is obvious that Guinea Bissau will not be able to realise its
great potential without infrastructure development.
There is ongoing co-operation
between the Ministries of Defence that will culminate in the signing of an agreement
between the two departments during this visit.
The South Africa government
has taken a decision to open an Embassy in Guinea Bissau. We hope this will take
place during the current financial year.
Thank you very much.
Minister Dafa Cabi
Thank you very much Ms Deputy President.
would like to take this opportunity to thank the Deputy President for the invitation
extended to myself and my delegation to visit South Africa to come and greet the
government and people of South Africa particularly the African National Congress.
visit is aimed at consolidating relations with the South African government and
to reiterate the friendship we share with the ruling party. You will see that
in our delegation we have majority leaders of our ruling party.
like to thank you for the warm reception we have received since yesterday.
meeting is going to serve as a good example of South-South co-operation, and show
that Africans are able to co-operate among themselves and look for our own solutions.
was asked why we had planned to visit South Africa at this time? This is a very
good example of the spirit of friendship and brotherhood that existed between
the late Oliver Tambo and Amilcar Cabral. These are the historical ties that have
existed for very long and that we are here to renew. I would once more like to
say that my delegation feels very honoured to be here in South Africa today.
have just begun our discussions and we are thus far very pleased at the way in
which these discussions have been conducted.
Our country has experienced
serious economic, financial and political challenges. We will not shy away from
discussing such issues with our brothers and sisters. The war that took place
in 1998 crippled our economy, institutions and way of life. It also paralysed
our infrastructure including energy and road infrastructure. We also have serious
security challenges in our country. These are some of the issues we have discussed
with the South African delegation. We do have a serious drug problem in our country
although we do not produce drugs. This problem results from the weakness of our
institutions. We realise this is not a problem that is unique to Guinea Bissau
but exists throughout Africa.
We feel that we need to discuss these issues
with our South African counterparts and to look for solutions.
Question Prime Minister Cabi, could you be more
specific on exactly what you are requesting in terms of capacity to deal with
drug trafficking? Could you also elaborate on the Defence Agreement that will
Answer We know that South Africa is a great country within
the Continent in terms of human resource, financial and logistical resources.
We in Guinea Bissau have a vast country that we are not able to adequately take
care of. We also have a challenge with regard to the training of people. It is
these issues we are here to discuss. We also have the challenge of judicial police
and the training of our defence force. We would like to receive South Africa's
experience in these aspects. We are here to discuss such matters with South Africa.
Prime Minister, (inaudible)
Answer During our term in office
(last three months), we have not experienced this situation of journalists being
threatened. We, by our nature as a party, and as a country defend and uphold principles
of human rights. We do not however defend anarchy. The State must have its own
mechanisms with which to deal with such matters. The State cannot allow activities
that are aimed at weakening the functions of the State.
As you talk of
journalists, this was not a journalist but an official that was accusing our officials
of acts which had no basis. This was not the first time and these accusations
are always without factual basis. This individual is very confused. I am not sure
why this individual feels such uncertainty. We do not have the death penalty nor
exercise any form of persecution in Guinea Bissau. We suggest he take the matter
before a court of law.
We have not said the matter of drug trafficking
is underplayed. We have always treated the matter very very seriously. We know
that drug traffickers have the capacity to destroy a State, not taking into account
the matter of public health. This is a serious matter for us. It is exactly because
of this that our government worked out an emergency programme against drug trafficking.
This is a programme that is now being discussed in the country since we like the
participation of all citizens. We know that this is not a problem for the government
but is a societal problem.
We also know that the problems in Guinea Bissau
are not unique to us - this is a regional challenge - and exist in Cape Verde,
The Gambia and Senegal. In order to address this we have scheduled a sub-regional
conference for later this year, dedicated to this particular matter - ie. border
control issues. The weakness of our borders is again not unique to Guinea Bissau
and requires a joint effort to resolve. This constitutes a very serious problem
Question Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka, could you elaborate
on the plans South Africa has to assist Guinea-Bissau in health and the agreement
on double taxation?
Answer On the issue of human resources - health
or otherwise - the issue is training and to share our training capacity. Once
of the issues mentioned is that of drug control. I do not think that we position
ourselves as a country that has all the answers or the capacity to respond but
we can exchange lessons, even where we have failed, since we have common challenges.
On the issue of human resources, it is to encourage the citizens of Guinea-Bissau
to use our training facilities. That is why we have suggested training programmes
in the field of English so that they are able to use our training facilities.
In the area of defence, it would involve, sending our own trainers to
assist the trainers of the country.
The agreement on normal taxation is
a normal agreement that is signed with many countries in which South Africans
have trade and investment interests in order to ensure that when our companies
invest in another country, they are not taxed in both countries and vice versa.
by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152