Opening Remarks by Minister Naledi Pandor on the occasion of the Ministerial Session of the Fifth Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Botswana, Pretoria, 21 April 2022
Your Excellency and Dear Brother, Dr Lemogang Kwape, Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana,
Honourable Ministers, and Deputy Ministers,
Senior Officials from our respective Governments,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by extending a warm welcome to your Excellency, Dr Lemogang Kwape. It is indeed a pleasure to receive you and your delegation today here in Pretoria for the Ministerial Meeting of the Fifth Session of South Africa-Botswana Bi-National Commission. Welcome to the OR Tambo building. I also wish to welcome my fellow colleagues and Ministers who have come in full force to be part of today’s programme.
Your Excellency and Dear Brother,
We meet here today in very trying times, as our economies are emerging from the devastation of the COVID–19 pandemic. We have a responsibility to work closely to address the resultant challenges and ensure the restoration of the dignity of our people whose lives have severely been affected by the pandemic.
South Africa and Botswana have a lot in common. In addition to our shared history and geographic proximity, we share the same aspirations for growing our economies to create employment and eradicate poverty and inequality. We also share similar views on the security and economic development of our region and the continent. In the same vein, we aspire for a just and secure world. Our contribution to regional, continental and international organisations reflects these imperative.
Through our bilateral cooperation, we are well placed to rebuild our national economies and contribute to the economic recovery of our region and the continent.
South Africa is therefore more determined to continue to expand efforts towards ensuring socio-economic development, joint prosperity and the mutual benefit of our people. In this regard, we have a solid and dependable cooperative partner in Botswana.
Mutually beneficial economic ties and investment flows must grow between our two countries, as these are the foundations for regional integration. Our interactions and consultations within the framework of this BNC enhance accountability in the implementation of our Bilateral Agreements.
In this regard, I am aware that there are thirty-eight (38) Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding in various fields currently exist between our two countries. We have an opportunity to take stock of these with a view to consolidate the work done thus far and resolve challenges that may have hampered the effective implementation of some commitments if any. The report of the Senior Officials will provide substantive be instructive in this regard.
I would therefore like to commend our Senior Officials for their work in the past two (02) days. I am confident that they had fruitful deliberations and their recommendations on projects and programmes will be considered by ourselves in a short while.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We expect the Senior Officials to present to us implementable proposals, with action plans which are realistic and time-bound, to enable us to monitor and assess progress. Today, Co-Chair, our officials await our guidance, approval, and endorsement of their proposed projects.
In conclusion, and as Your Excellency is aware, the outcomes of our meeting will be presented to our Principals, His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa and His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi.
Honourable Minister and Dear Brother, I invite you to make your remarks before we consider the Senior Officials’ report.
I thank you!!
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road