Notes following IRPS Cluster Media Briefing by Minister Mosioua Lekota and Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad,
Imbizo Media Centre, 120 Plein Street, Cape Town
Wednesday 13 February 2008
Once more welcome to all of you Excellencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, members of the press and so on. As you probably may have observed from the earlier briefings, this year cabinet took the approach that in the light of the fact that this is the last approximately 15 months of the life of the current government. It would not be useful to undertake new ventures as such, new initiatives, but that it’s important to identify all of the work that has been on the agenda of the government since the beginning of the current term and look at concluding what is concludable, so that by the time this government terminates we are able to have a neat rounded off package of work. And also identifiable areas of work that need to be tackled by the new administration that would come thereafter. So you would have seen that the attempt has been to identify outstanding areas of work that need to be completed to speed up the completion of that, etc. So that informs the general approach of the briefs of the various clusters and that ofcourse will also impact on the approach that we will be taking with regard to this work here.
Before I address you on the work of the IRPS cluster, I would like to reiterate South Africa’s condemnation in the strongest possible terms the attempt on the life of the President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta and also the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao. We wish the President a speedy recovery and call on the government of East Timor to bring to Justice those responsible for the heinous act, and urge all parties to cooperate actively with the authorities in this regard.
Turning now to the IRPS Cluster’s approach, I underline that South Africa will continue to work towards the political and economical integration of Africa through strengthening existing continental African Union institutions and consolidating the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to build the United Africa. We will also focus on building African institutions that will positively contribute to the overall agenda of fighting poverty and promoting development.
Critical to this is the persistent interactions with our neighbours and the European Union through our bilateral and multilateral engagements within the context of the process led by the African Union to ensure that the negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement are completed as soon as possible, premised on accelerating the development of our region.
Accordingly, we continue to pursue the priorities of the IRPS Cluster that seek to consolidate the African Agenda through the strengthening of the African Union and its structures.
Key to achieving these, amongst others, are the following:
• Mobilise support for the harmonisation and rationalisation of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as well as for the regional integration process
• Strengthening governance and capacity in the AU
• Support the Pan-African Parliament (PAP)
• Operationalisation of the African Court of Justice and the African Court on Human and People’s Rights
• Active engagement in the Pan African Ministers Conference for Ministers of Public Service/Civil Service
• Operationalisation of the African Union Financial Institutions
• Engage the African Diaspora
• Monitor migration issues, and
• Strengthen AU-EU Relations
With regard to the support of the implementation of the New Partnership of Africa’s Development (NEPAD), we will continue to facilitate the implementation of NEPAD priority sectors such as the infrastructure, agriculture, environment, tourism, ICT, health, human resources, and science and technology and their integration with AU and SADC processes.
The operationalisation of the African Peer Review Mechanism and Management of International Development Assistance has also been identified as significant factors in the cluster, together with the chairing of the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN).
On Southern African Development Community (SADC) matters, South Africa will as many of you may know, assume the Chairmanship in August 2008. This presents both opportunities and challenges as the region faces unique challenges as it advances regional integration.
We have noted that increasingly individual SADC member states confront a variety of challenges largely imposed by their economic weaknesses, which are currently impacting negatively on the need for singularity of purpose and action to advance regional development. In this regard, we have to focus our efforts on strengthening bilateral ties with each SADC country as a pre-requisite for the success
The debate on the integration at the Extraordinary SADC Summit held in 2006 focused on two options, that of advancing rapidly towards a Custom Union in 2010 and consolidating the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) to address issues raised in the 2005 Mid Term Review and the Audit Study, as well as supply constraints.
Accordingly, SADC will in the coming period prioritise the acceleration of the Regional Economic Integration, and as the region, we will work towards full implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and strengthening governance and capacity of SADC, especially in the Secretariat.
In the area of Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD) in Africa, South Africa continues to play a pivotal role in helping promote peace and stability on the continent. This of necessity we have to continue to carry on. Key areas will include:
Democratic Republic of Congo
South Africa will continue to:
• The South African government welcomes the successful conclusion of the Reconciliation Conference in the DRC recently. The parties signed the Engagement Act which inter alia paves way for the immediate and total stoppage of hostilities across the north Kivu province.
• Secondly, we support the DRC in its reconstruction programme. Pursuant to this a Bi-National Commission (BNC) led by the two Presidents was held in Kinshasa in August 20 2007 where progress was reviewed. Both Presidents Mbeki and Kabila urged all the departments concerned to accelerate delivery. It is envisaged that a follow-up BNC will be held in Kinshasa to assess further progress in March.
• Thirdly, to support a comprehensive Security Sector Reform (SSR) programme that is DRC led – in particular the full implementation of the decisions taken at the last Bi-National Commission (BNC) in August 2007 on this.
• Ensure support for ongoing MONUC presence – working in close consultation with the United Nations and the DRC.
• There’s overall need to ensure progressive building of capacity of the security forces for them to take charge over the totality of the sovereign territory of the DRC
- In this regard, South Africa will continue to participate as observer to ensure the implementation of the Nairobi agreement between the DRC and Rwanda – This is critical to stabilisation in the East of the DRC
- SA needs to maintain our dialogue with both Rwanda and DRC and to promote improvement of the levels of trust between the two countries
- SA is to commit to support 2008 Local Government Elections in the DRC
Again with regards to this process one will observe that the DRC process is a process that is not new. It’s one that we are determined to assist to the end, so that the investment of time and resources of the past is not lost. We can’t allow a situation where the might arise a reversal of the process that we have already committed so much to.
Regarding the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, we reiterate President Thabo Mbeki’s remarks during his State of the Nation Address on Friday 8 February 2008 that the parties involved in the dialogue have reached full agreement on all matters relating to the substantive matters the parties had to address.
Now the intricacy with regard to this matter is that the details of implementation, especially of the bringing into force of the constitutional amendments and all of that are matters that will be refined by the parties themselves. What is paramount at the present time is that there has been an overall and general agreement on the main issues paving the way for an election to happen.
Regarding the developments in Kenya, we welcome the fact that violence has subsided to some considerable levels in the country. All process led by the African Union Chief Negotiator, Mr Kofi Annan is making considerable progress and the indication of progress is the briefing made to Parliament earlier this week which indicated that parties had agreed to an independent enquiry to the process leading to elections and post elections. We await with keen interest the outcome of the meeting, which is currently underway between the two parties.
As you are aware the mediator has called for a blackout on the news in order to allow for an atmosphere that is conducive for the parties to find each other.
Central African Republic (CAR)
South Africa remains concerned with the developments in CAR which relates to the resignation of the Prime Minister and his cabinet as it affects the stability of the Central African region and that of the continent. It being one of the neighbours of the DRC, we are concerned that whatever happens there might not actually add to elements of destabilisation in the DRC or vice versa.
The agreement on the status of forces in Sudan has been signed, and this is extremely welcomed development which opens the way for the 26 000 UN/AU Hybrid Force to be deployed in the Darfur region of Sudan and we hope it will bring stability in the region and will give impetus to those elements that are to reinforce the stabilisation. Now with the cooperation of all the parties given this agreement, it’s a very hopeful sign indeed.
South Africa remain ceased with bringing peace, security, and stability in Africa in:
We have remained very upbeat since the launch of the SADC Brigade last year in Lusaka, Zambia. There’s a need ofcourse to fastrack the establishment of the African Standby Force to be used as an additional instrument towards contributing to peace, security, and stability in the continent.
From the point of view of South Africa, the SADC Brigade is a very critical element of this because it offers us an opportunity in which we can work out a very firm and standby arrangement in which as countries of SADC we can as partners join in any continental invitation to assist in peacekeeping. We see this as important because it will eliminate the pattern of things until now where South Africa has singularly gone out to participate in various missions and leaving behind her neighbours and for us it is very important that we are seen to act as part of the region and not on behalf of the region.
The review of the White Paper on Peace Missions
Following our foray into the terrain of peace-keeping operations 7 years (2001) ago we have resolved that it is time to review our performance and draw on the lessons learnt. To this end we will review the white paper on peace-keeping Missions.
Many of you may recall that when we first started off we could not have foreseen that South Africa would be as involved in peacekeeping missions as we have since democratisation. And therefore that the orientation that we had adopted at the beginning of democracy was informed more by what had happened in the past than what lay ahead. At this point we feel that we have garnered a lot of support that the ushering in of globalisation has impacted immensely both in the region, the continent, South Africa itself and it is clearer now that the greater challenges that lie ahead are increasingly going to be in the area of peacekeeping. And therefore it is vital that we must review the orientation of South Africa’s defence with an eye to beefing up our capacity to contribute to world peace by way of participating in peacekeeping and stabilisation of our own continent.
Promotion of Regional and Continental Maritime Security
Another area of work where South Africa is making an important contribution is in the Promotion of Regional and Continental Maritime Security. Currently the countries that we are collaborating with are Angola, Guinea Conakry, Nigeria, Lesotho, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Last year a conference was held at Simonstown with the theme – “Emerging Maritime Concept in Southern Africa”. It was resolved that amongst others:
• A centre of excellence for naval training will be established.
• To strengthen area of Naval Coordination and Shipping Guidance
• Formation of the maritime component of the SADC
• Exploration of the area of sea lift capabilities request for peace operation in the region.
On issues relating to the strengthening of the South-South Co-operation, we will reinforce India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum and actively participate in the New Africa Asia Strategic Partnership (NAASP). This will include the Implementation of the Beijing Action Plan in the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and engagements with organisations of the South.
North - South Cooperation
It is also vital to strengthen North - South Cooperation to enhance relations with the Group of 8 (G8) and work towards consolidation of engagement with Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It is also critical to engage in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). The TICAD summit will take place on 28 – 30 May in Yokohama, Japan and we hope to review the implementation of issues discussed previously. The meeting will provide us with an opportunity to further explore issues such as technology transfer and investment in African development. Simply stated, we are hoping to use that to further strengthen cooperation with Japan.
Global System of Governance
In as far as participating in the global system of governance is concern we will assume the presidency of the UN Security Council in April 2008 and we will seek to advance the African Agenda and in doing so we will once again seek to promote closer cooperation between the AU Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council.
South Africa has successfully completed the first year of its two-year term as a member of the UN Security Council and has been proactive on virtually all issues on the agenda in fulfilment of its UN Charter responsibilities.
Some of the undertakings needed in the global system of governance include active engagement in the G20 as part of the Troika; contribution to debates on climate change; contribution to debates on terrorism; promote South Africa’s position on disarmament and contribution towards the Middle East Peace Process.
Serious consideration must be taken to ensure the Implementation of outcomes of major international conferences.
On this note, we must commence to prepare for the Review Conference on World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) in 2009
To this effect, President Mbeki announced on Friday that South Africa would play host to the Review Conference to evaluate the implementation of the decisions of the World Conference Against Racism, which was held in our country in 2001.
Furthermore, we must consolidate African positions for United Nations Commission on Social Development (CSD) 16 and CSD 17 and work towards a developmental outcome of World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.
As you are all aware, we will be hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the greatest sporting event in the world to be staged for the first time on African continent. All preparations are on track and we are confident and upbeat that we will deliver a world-class event.
Strengthening of Political and Economic Relations
As we enter the last lap of this government’s term of office, we need to concretise political and economic relations by cementing Economic Diplomacy and Marketing South Africa abroad.
In this regard, we continue to promote and strengthen co-operation with the EU, including the finalisation of the SADC- EU EPA negotiations. We must also continue participation in the SACU- India PTA negotiations and work to improve SACU- China trade relations.
More importantly, we must work towards the finalisation of SACU- Mercosur PTA and Step up engagements with major powers, particularly those having a major influence in the Continent, such as US, UK, France, Russia, China and Belgium.
This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the People's Republic of China. The mushrooming of relations in a variety of areas between our governments and peoples confirms that the China-South Africa Partnership for Growth and Development is a strategic relationship of mutual benefit, which can only grow from strength to strength.
Currently, Chinese economy is the 4th world largest (nominal GDP) and South Africa is China’s key trade partner in Africa accounting for 20,8 % of Africa-China’s trade. Chinese FDI into SA amounts to US$6 billion while SA FDI into China stands at US$2 billion. China is the 5th largest export destination for SA.
SA exports to China in 2005 including PRC, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao is at R 17.67 billion and SA imports from greater China in 2005 is R39.5 billion.
It remains our objectives to strengthen our capacity to take advantage the emerging economic opportunities offered by our political and economic relations with China.
I thank you!
Questions and Answers
Question: Minister with regards Kenya, what is South Africa’s position towards the government of President Kibaki? Do we recognise Kibaki as the president? And just for interest sake, what maritime or naval issues do Lesotho and Zimbabwe have?
Answer: First of all, we do not take a position for or against. It is vital that South Africa plays a role in which we assist in the resolution of the problem. It’s a problem that has divided an entire country. It has caused loss of life. We think that South Africa has to play a role of supporting the two parties to come out of the moorage that they find themselves at. Now we cannot go ahead of the Kenyans. Whatever views we may hold, we cannot go ahead of the Kenyans in trying to decide for them what or who is right or wrong. But we must insist that an acceptable resolution is found, one that will enjoy the support, not just of the Kenyans, but of the international community as well. When in a situation like that one takes a position that we support so and so, you become party to the conflict, and you therefore forfeit your capacity to contribute to the resolution. So that is really where we are at the moment. With regard to the naval issues, I need only say to you that it is clear that South Africa plays a critical role for transport of commodities, their security and all of that. Not just for herself but also for countries that are land-locked like Lesotho, Zimbabwe and including countries as far afield as Zambia. So that when we have to make arrangements for the security of these things, it’s important that we draw these partners into what we are doing. And while they don’t have ships and submarines and things like that, but they do benefit from what we have. Indeed I may just say even some of our neighbours who have access to the sea do not have any navies for instance. And as a member of the community we end up carrying responsibility for the security of the coast-line of Southern Africa and that means we have to engage in negotiations with sister countries. Until such time that those countries may be in a position to look after all of their needs we have to do that. You have to remember that, for example, if the marine resources of the coast-line of SADC were plundered and depleted it could cause havoc. In the medium to long-term it can have consequences even for ourselves, so it is in that sense that we are talking to those issues.
Question: Minister I don’t think you actually answered the first question. I understand the sensitivities in terms of taking sides in Kenya. But purely in terms of protocol and our relationships with that country we either recognise Mr Kibaki or we don’t.
Answer: No I don’t think there’s a problem in answering your question. Ofcourse we recognise Kenya as a state. We have diplomatic relations, our High Commission still exists in Kenya and their High Commission still exists in South Africa and we continue to interact at that level. The issue of recognition or non-recognition of the Presidential elections is a matter that we are waiting to be resolved through the processes and the independent inquiry has been established to look at the causes that led, I assume, to the violence that broke out. And so we have to wait for that to be completed in order to give a judgement on the presidential elections. There’s no debate about the parliamentary elections. Nobody has challenged that and we continue to interact at all levels with all the other institutions. So it’s business not unusual, it’s business as usual. We await the outcomes of the talks that are going on and the independent commission that will be established and we will act accordingly.
Question: President Mbeki said in his SABC interview that he is confident that the elections in Zimbabwe will be free and fair. I just would like to know what South Africa’s current assessment of the situation is because surely after President Mbeki did his interview with the SABC the Zimbabwe civil society actually said that the playing field is far from level.
Answer: It would be very difficult to pass judgement whether the elections are free and fair before they have even happened. What I think we must do and must be done, in keeping with the SADC principles and guidelines for free and fair elections to which all of the countries in the region voluntarily committed themselves, what is vital is that SADC as a community of nations must play a role prescribed by those guidelines and principles to ensure that when the moment arrives for the holding of those elections that the conditions and pre-requisites are there in place. The president said he believes it will be like that. But that is different from saying we have to make preparations for those conditions to be there. Unless we prepare such that the requisite conditions are there before the holding of the elections, then that hope of the president will not eventuate. But if you accept that he says that he believes that they will be free and fair, must be predicated upon the fact that we as the region are able to prepare and put in place conditions that are requisite for that.
Question: A question for Deputy Minister Pahad. In the past few years South Africa’s investments in China far outstripped China’s investments in South Africa. Now we hear that China’s investments in South Africa amount to 6 billion and the other way round is 2 billion. How did they turn this around… was there a huge amount of Chinese investment into South Africa in the past few years?
Answer: Yes. What is obvious is that the Chinese have made a huge investment into Standard Bank, the largest investment anywhere worth I think 4 billion. And then they’ve gone more increasingly into the mining sector etc. So their investments have increased substantially over the last few years. We hope it’s in the context of what we’ve been saying about strategic partnership that it will be of a nature that will allow for mutual benefit and help us develop our economy in a way that is different from what is at present and develop our economy. So yes there’s increase in trade and investment. But the opportunities are much greater for us to increase our exports to China. They have given us a commitment that if we identify key areas and priorities they will see that South Africa’s exports do get better treatment in entering the Chinese market. The private sector has to wake up to these opportunities. We can’t continue to say the balance of trade is not in our favour, the opportunities are there. And we hope that the private sector will grasp these opportunities.
Question: Minister Lekota I’m sorry to have to bring this up in this briefing. In the Jackie Selebi issue you were named in papers that were launched by Mokotedi Mpshe, he says in the papers that you were one of the ministers who were briefed about the investigation into Jackie Selebi. I know its not your portfolio but my question is, if you are able to answer it at this stage, did you inform anyone in cabinet? Were you worried about the situation then? Did you advise any cause of action to the president?
Answer: I’m sorry but I’m really unable to answer your question. Certainly not at this point in time.
Question: Minister if I may I would just like to return to the issue of Zimbabwe. Morgan Tshvangarai has been addressing the foreign correspondents association in Johannesburg today and among his statements are that the mediation effort has failed, that the date of the election was forced upon the opposition parties and basically contradicting all the remarks that President Mbeki has made. I would just like you to explain the discrepancy. How could you say there’s an agreement when one party to those talks says there is no agreement?
Answer: I’m not aware of this interview but I’d have to look at it. But look, when the mediation was asked to mediate they had to deal with basically five issues on the agenda: the new constitution; security legislation; electoral laws; the political climate. So, as the president has said, nobody has challenged that all parties under the mediation have agreed to all those issues. And indeed, in relation to the election all matters that were raised like the broadcasting amendment act and… repressive measures have all been, through Ammendment 18 and other legislation by the end of December enacted to law. I don’t know what he said, but in reality as the SADC statement said that they are satisfied that the Zimbabwean parties have agreed to all matters that were raised as matters of concern. The issue that was outstanding was that when will the new constitution be enacted. The government argued that for the enaction of the new constitution you needed a referendum. The opposition argued that they wanted the new constitution before the elections. Now when we say that that’s the only structural matter that’s outstanding, we refer to that. And nobody denies that that is the issue. This is why I say if you go and look at all the amendments put into law in the last two months, under the facilitation, but most of the discussions were between the Zimbabweans themselves, the facilitation was only brought in the initial stages and when there were difficulties. So it would be good to ask the question not to us, but to ask the question to one of the MDC parties where the negotiations have failed. They’ll have to explain to SADC and explain to everybody what he means when he says the mediation has failed. Indeed all the parties are working in the primaries now preparing for elections. MDC went through negotiations to contest the elections as one, they have failed to do this. They are now competing as two different parties. They have to announce their candidates by tomorrow, and they are all in the process of doing this. You have now got Makoni who has announced his candidature for presidency, and everybody is going ahead preparing for elections. If the mediation has failed then it’s difficult for me to understand why is everybody going into elections.
Question: The Sudan, there has been agreement on the status of forces for Sudan but the force is by no means fully composed. And it’s not only a matter of troops, just to take a small example, General Aguire, the force commander, said some time ago that he needs 18 helicopters with military pilots. Now a lot of the west says this is genocide. Whether its genocide or not would you accept that we have a situation where maybe the death toll is a quarter of what the death toll in Rwanda was during the genocide there? You have this huge international concern that Darfur is a crisis and yet in months, six weeks after the deployment of the force the world can’t find 18 helicopters with military pilots. Now I know that your concerns are on the south, the DRC and other places, but you must be under some pressure from the Sudanese as they want African troops than troops from elsewhere. I just wonder if either of you Foreign Affairs or Defence can’t comment on what this says about the world when in this period in time the world can’t pull itself together, globally or through the UN, to find 18 helicopters and pilots. Because General Aguire is quite clear, he needs those. The area is the size of France.
Answer: Well first of all, sir, let me say upfront that if you have followed the peacekeeping missions in Africa over a period of time now you probably would have observed that in most of the missions in the African continent, especially I would say since Rwanda, have had to rely on the initiative of the African nations themselves. That arises from the fact that, in my understanding, since Rwanda many countries outside of the African continent especially European nations have felt extremely uneasy about deploying troops in a continent where they had no certainty of the stability or stabilisation. African leaders then took the position that whenever there is a mission that’s coming up, we as African nations must take the initiative and the very minimum to seek to create conditions conducive that will encourage nations outside of the continent to feel that there is sufficient levels of stabilisation for them to provide that support. Now the mission in the Sudan is in one of the most difficult terrains and one could not have expected that nations beyond Africa would just rush their troops in in the absence certainly of the status of forces agreement. In a situation in which the government of Sudan was not very forthcoming, now that this agreement has been signed it creates more conducive conditions for other countries to feel that they can be forthcoming. But countries like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and so on are already on the ground informed by the idea that we carry this primary responsibility to create confidence in others to be able to come forward. And there are problems in Chad, there are difficulties in Central African Republic but the fact that we have maintained troops there over a period of time, and now that we have this Status of Forces Agreement, which was also as a result of our presence and intervention, that now the Sudanese have themselves come to the party saying look we are ready to do that. Yes we are looking to find the technical capabilities like the helicopters you are talking about. Very few African countries can afford or do not have capabilities of that nature and we as South Africa are also overstretched over a number of theatres in which we got deployed. But we are quite confident that at this stage there will be other countries forthcoming, both on the basis of our performance and on the basis of persuasion to come forth. It can never be too late. We would be happier if it were earlier but we are more optimistic now that we would be able to get there.
Question: Minister Lekota, can you just tell us what would be the beefing up of our peace missions that you talked about earlier in reviewing the White Paper, what would it entail?
Answer: Well very briefly, the first point to make is that South Africa does need to put in the White Paper the orientation that this is one of the priority areas. It is quite clear that peacekeeping is not a passing engagement. Whereas at the beginning we thought that maybe we have to do it but it was not so high a priority. Now we need to accept, I think, that it is going to be part of our regular or daily engagement. Once such orientation is accepted we must then move to the next step that, whereas at the end of the domestic conflict, including of our region, we move on the basis that South Africa must cut down on the defence expenditure because we could not foresee that we’d be so involved with regard to that. It’s going to be important to take a position that if we are going to take on additional missions or sustain these missions that we already have then we must make room for budget approved that takes into account, so that we don’t do peacekeeping as something that is almost accidental. We must be focussed on the fact that we need to have reserves that make it possible for us to deal with that, if we take the position that we must move this way. It cannot now be treated as incidental, I think. So, there are elements of that nature and ofcourse we must make a determination, I would dare suggest, how much commitment as a nation of South Africa would on an annual basis be in a position, somehow you have to work out and say to this extent but not beyond that point on an annual basis. Because there’s a competing demand, there’s domestic commitments that need to be dealt with and so on and there’s also ofcourse those continental commitments. Unless one sets certain limits to this or the other, you leave your balancing act to all kinds of vicissitudes which would not be very helpful.
Question: Minister, the White Paper process, how long would that take, do you know?
Answer: Well I can’t tell you as I sit here how long it will take. You have a review process that starts in the Department and then it comes to parliament, and then goes to public hearings and the Defence Porfolio. I can’t give you the time frame as I sit here.
Question: A question for the Deputy Minister. I’m just fascinated by your business as usual on Kenya. I was just wondering if Mr Kibaki were to request for a state visit to South Africa whether it would be accepted? Secondly, SADC last year resolved that Zimbabwe would have to be given a financial rescue package of some sort to help with the economic situation, it was never explained as to what that entails. I was wondering in our case, what would South Africa’s contribution be? Please update us on what has happened.
Answer: When the extra-ordinary Summit of SADC met in Tanzania looking at the economic and political situation in Zimbabwe they set up two groups, one was the facilitation on the political issues led by President Mbeki, and second a process driven by the Executive Secretary who would then have to work with the finance and economic ministers to look at the economic situation in Zimbabwe. And on the basis of that make proposals of what needs to be done, not a financial package, but what needs to be done to bring the Zimbabwean economy back to where it was before the crisis. It was a much more holistic approach to trying to deal with the Zimbabwean economic crisis. The Secretary General, after the meetings of the economic and finance ministers, has submitted for the summit now that will happen in South Africa in July to look at the economic situation. But all of us understand quite clearly in the context of an environment where you don’t solve the political problems, it is very difficult to put into place any economic measures to help the Zimbabwean economy come out of this difficult situation to be right. So it is clearly processes that are interlinked. And we know that any outstanding problems won’t be solved unless, as the minister said, everybody must make all efforts to ensure that the necessary conditions are created for everybody to feel when they go into the elections and when they come out that the elections were free and fair. Because it is an absolute necessity that everybody in Zimbabwe must agree that the elections were free and fair and accept the results of the elections. It is on the basis of that, I think, that the Executive Secretary’s economic plans can come into fruition. You know that the World Bank, the EU, United States and all of them have already started working on what they call economic programmes to assist Zimbabwe once there is a solution. So everybody already has established plans including SADC. And if the political processes do succeed I think the international community would have to bring together all the plans and see what is best for the economic revival of Zimbabwe. But it will depend a lot on the political processes.
Question: It’s also a follow up on Zimbabwe, do you welcome the candidature of Mr Makoni as part of this democratic process, maybe as a sign that he might be the political solution?
Answer: I think all democracies must welcome candidates in an election.
Question: Minister the report into the transport of the VIPs, sparked by the Deputy President’s trip to Dubai, the report that was due was delayed. Do you know of when we might get the report?
Answer: We should have had that by now, in terms of what I said then but once it had been done there was crucial audit that escaped the people I had asked to do this. So that is being done. They are actually looking at all the flights that have been done over a period of time since we came in. Once that has been done, I will let you know about it. It should be very soon.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
13 February 2008