SA, DRC to strengthen relations

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will boost their existing ties during a Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Cape Town today.

"South Africa will host this session of the BNC within the context of South Africa's commitment to assisting the people of DRC in their post-conflict reconstruction and development programme," said International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nofaneko Kota said in statement.

Issues on the agenda will include the status of cooperation in the political and diplomatic areas, including economy, finance and infrastructure co-operation, including spatial development initiatives, politics and governance, humanitarian affairs and economic; finance and infrastructure.

However, the violence in the eastern DRC might over shadow the agenda. South Africa might have to pressure DRC President Joseph Kabila to take action.

South Africa has greater legitimacy in the DRC than other countries because of its critical role in guiding the negotiations which led to the 2006 elections.

Human rights groups say that more than 1 000 civilians have been killed and nearly 900 000 displaced since January.

The DRC has over the past six years evolved as one of South Africa's growing main trading partners in the region.

Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane will be accompanied by the department's Director General Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba and senior government officials.

The ministerial meeting will mark her first participation in the forum since her appointment to her current portfolio.