Opening Remarks by Minister Naledi Pandor on occasion of the Political Consultations with the Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madame Marie Ntumba Nzeza, on 10 November 2020, Cape Town

Your Excellency and Dear Sister, Minister Tumba Nzeza,
Honourable Ambassador and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Guests from the Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Dear colleagues,
Members of the Media,

Let me to start by extending a warm welcome to my counterpart, Madame Marie Tumba Nzeza, of the Democratic Republic of Congo. My Dear Sister, it is indeed a pleasure to receive you and your delegation today here in Cape Town for our formal Political and Diplomatic Consultations.

I had hoped to meet you much earlier this year but due to the outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic, also called COVID-19, we could not do so. This pandemic disrupted our international programme to an extent that it was impossible to convene the 12th Session of the South Africa-Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission (BNC) in early 2020 as planned.

Our Consultations today provide an opportunity to commence with the preparations for the next Session of the BNC and the details in this regard will be made available once agreed upon.

Suffice to state that it is our desire to utilise the occasion of the 12th Session of the BNC to further enhance our bilateral cooperation and nurture our historic bond of friendship for our shared future.

Your Excellency and Dear Sister,

We are conscious that our countries, like others on the continent, have abundant natural and human resources which should be further harnessed and developed for the benefit of our people. The biggest challenge in this regard has been slow pace in building manufacturing capacity at national, regional and continental levels.

Africa cannot continue to be exporter of raw materials out of the continent.  We need to build the necessary capacity that will enable us to trade finished products within the continent. The launching of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area has already placed us on a favourable condition to pursue Africa’s economic integration agenda.

To this effect, South Africa is looking forward to work closely with our sister-SADC country when we hand over the baton to the DRC to Chair the African Union in 2021. We will utilise this time to reflect on ways that will propel us to urgently advance the African Union’s visionary and developmental Agenda 2063.

Your Excellencies,

We have come a long way in creating favourable conditions for development. South Africa’s African Agenda remains anchored in the pursuit for peace, stability and shared prosperity on our continent and the neighbourhood. We therefore remain fully committed to work with the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the international community, and in our capacity as one of the guarantors of the Peace and Security Cooperation Framework, to assist the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability.

Dear Sister,

Let me conclude by recognising the continued role played by our women and men who are part of the SADC Force Intervention Brigade. They are working tirelessly side-by-side with their Congolese counterparts as well as the fellow MONUSCO brigades to fight against negative forces in some parts of the DRC. We have reflected on some of these issues during our initial meeting earlier today.

With these few words, I wish to invite you, My Dear Sister, to also make few remarks.

I thank you!!


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