SA committed to assisting DRC

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa as assured a visiting ministerial delegation from the DRC that South Africa is committed to post-conflict reconstruction in that country.

"Allow me to reiterate South Africa's commitment to working with the people of the DRC as they address the challenges of reconstruction and development," International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane said on Thursday.

The minister's comments were made at the opening of the ministerial session of the South Africa - DRC Bi-National Committee (BNC) in Cape Town.

The minister commended the current regional efforts between the DRC and its neighbours to address challenges of peace and security in the eastern part of the DRC.

The DRC is largely peaceful apart from the eastern region of the country where armed rebel groups still seek to destabilise the country and destroy the massive gains made in transforming the country into a fully fledged democracy.

The meeting was expected to focus on a number of sectors including the status of cooperation in the political and diplomatic areas, including economy, finance and infrastructure cooperation, including spatial development initiatives, politics and governance, humanitarian affairs and economic; finance and infrastructure.

"There is noticeable progress in some of these fields while in others we can safely say that there is work in progress, and scope for improvement. The challenges that lie ahead are indeed enormous though not insurmountable," said the minister.

She also used the opportunity to congratulate the DRC on assuming the chairpersonship of the SADC.

"We firmly believe that SADC is in the right hands and poised to move forward in its regional development programme," she said, adding that South Africa remained ready to work closely with the DRC during her tenure.

The ministerial meeting is in preparation for the Heads of State meeting to be co-chaired by President Jacob Zuma and his counterpart President Joseph Kabila.

The meeting will focus on continued support for the DRC's postconflict reconstruction and development programme.

Zuma would be supported by ministers from various departments at the meeting.