SA, DRC sign diplomatic visa waiver pact

South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have signed a visa waiver agreement for official and diplomatic passport holders.

The agreement was signed on Monday by Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and Security of the DRC, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadari in Tshwane.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mkhize said the signing of the agreement is a positive step towards enhancing relations between South Africa and the DRC.

“The Republic of South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo maintain good diplomatic and political relations. The highest expression of our relations is the annual Bi-National Commission (BNC), co-chaired by the Heads of State,” Minister Mkhize said.

Minister Mkhize said diplomatic ties between the two countries are growing and this is evident in the recent training programme of diplomats from the DRC. To date, more than 700 DRC diplomats have been trained.

Minister Mkhize said she trusts that the visa waiver will further enhance cooperation between South Africa and the DRC by making it even easier for officials to regularly interact with each other without hindrance.

Minister Shadari said the agreement will offer the two countries a lot of advantages. “The agreement will facilitate easy movement of officials from the two countries.”

The two countries agreed at the 10th Session of the BNC, which took place in Tshwane in June 2017, that the visa waiver pact must be concluded in July.

South Africa also has a planned trade mission to the DRC, which will be taking place soon.

“We are quite excited about the upcoming trade mission. The Department of Trade and Industry has invited companies in the agro-processing sector to apply for participation in the seventh Investment and Trade Initiative to the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Minister Mkhize said. – SAnews.gov.za