Zuma heads to DRC for SADC Summit

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend an ordinary meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo next week.

During the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit, the President is to handover the chairmanship of organisation to the DRC. However, South Africa will remain a member of the SADC Troika until August 2010.

According to a statement, the Heads of State will consider the report from the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Cooperation on the political situation in the region.

There will be a specific focus on Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

The success of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Muthumbara in September last year, will be reviewed.

Mozambique's former president Joaquim Chissano is expected to update the summit on his efforts to mediate between the Madagascar's main political rivals and form a transitional government.

The country was suspended from SADC earlier this year when President Marc Ravalomanana was overthrown by Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of the capital city, Antananarivo.

Furthermore, the summit will reflect on the Report of the Ministerial Task Force on Regional Economic Integration, particularly on the impact of the global financial crisis and the region's response.

The status of implementation of the SADC Free Trade Area (FTA) and the proposed SADC Customs Union will also be high up on the agenda.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane, who is already in the DRC cheering the Council of Ministers meeting, will accompany the President to the summit.

Recommendations from the SADC Council of Ministers are considered during the Heads of State Summit.

Also forming part of the South African delegation is Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Petterssen, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Maria Ntuli, Director General of International Relations and Cooperation Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, International Relations and Cooperation adviser of President Zuma Ambassador Lindiwe Zulu and senior officials from various other departments.

President Zuma is expected to return to South Africa on Wednesday, ahead of his meeting with the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as well as the 2nd South Africa-European Union Summit on Friday.