Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, on the occasion of the Joint Press Conference, following the conclusion of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) Meeting between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe, 30 October 2012, Pretoria

Honourable Minister Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and welcome,

We have just concluded a three-day bilateral discussion between South Africa and Zimbabwe within the framework of the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC). 

In 1995, South Africa and Zimbabwe signed an Agreement establishing the Joint Commission. The main objective of this Agreement is to promote political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries.

South Africa and Zimbabwe share historical, geographical and cultural affinities.  Over the years, these historical ties have translated into close cooperation in many areas, especially economic cooperation.

Economic cooperation between our two countries remains very strong. Judging from the number of agreements and memoranda of understanding that have been signed and those that are yet to be concluded,  this economic cooperation is set to continue to grow. Already, Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top trading partners on the Continent.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In our deliberations, we reviewed progress that has been made in our bilateral cooperation since our last Joint Commission which was held in March 2009.

As we said this morning, we have noted with great satisfaction a noticeable progress in a number of fields as evidenced by the signing of various legal instruments. Key among these is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Migration Matters. This MoU basically abolished visa requirements between our two countries, thus making it easy for our citizens to cross our borders with relative ease.

The second important instrument is the MoU on Health Matters, which provides for cooperation in health-related matters.

Another important Agreement is the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, which promotes and protects investments in the territories of the two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have also agreed to meet regularly in order to maintain the required momentum in the implementation of our decisions. I am convinced that the outcomes of our deliberations will take our bilateral cooperation to a higher level.

As we mark the end of the 4th Session of the JCC, hard work has only just begun towards the implementation of the decisions taken here today.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We also had an opportunity to exchange views on the political developments in the region. In this regard, we paid particular focus on the ongoing Constitution-making process in Zimbabwe.

We noted that a draft Constitution was presented to an all-stakeholder conference which was held on 21-23 October 2012. We understand that the next step will be the tabling of this draft in the Zimbabwean Parliament after which a referendum will be organised and then an election.

South Africa as the SADC-mandated facilitator, remains seized with the process in Zimbabwe, assisting the Zimbabwean political leadership to move towards conclusion of the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

In conclusion,

I wish to take this opportunity to wish our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters a safe journey home.

Honourable Minister, I now invite you to make your remarks.  

I thank you for your attention.






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