Belgium supports SA's land reform efforts

Monday, September 10, 2018

South Africa’s ongoing land expropriation efforts has the full backing of Belgium, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders has declared.

Reynders was speaking during a joint press briefing with his South African counterpart, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, upon the conclusion of a working visit in Pretoria on Monday.

“We are sure that we need to be firm on the issue of land reform because from the beginning of the reconciliation process, land reform was the focus,” he said.

He acknowledged that Section 25 of the Constitution was being reviewed through a parliamentary process.

“There is an importance of the process to be smooth,” Reynders said.

He said Belgium’s position was that the process needed to be balanced.

“We don’t want to [later] express extreme views. We have already seen so many views across the world. We have to try to work together to better understand and be sure that it’s a balanced process with the capacity to take into account all the interests of the citizens,” he said.

Minister Sisulu said she had during discussions assured Reynders that South Africa was educating the world about where the country stood on land as the positon had been misunderstood.

“I assured him that we are doing something about it. We are educating the world about what we are doing to redistribute the land,” she said.

The Ministers signed a memorandum of understanding of enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

“As South Africa we enjoy good bilateral relations with Belgium. These relations are based on shared commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and similar approach to a number of international issues, particularly peace and security,” she said.

South Africa and Belgium occupy a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council between 2019 and 2020. 

“We used this meeting to among other things deepen our bilateral ties and to enhance continuous cooperation on peace and security issues, particularly those on the agenda of the UNSC. We also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest, such as the fight against racism, human rights, migration, climate and ecological changes, amongst others,” Sisulu said.

The Minsters said the main objectives of the meeting was to expand and strengthen bilateral relations, revitalize economic relations with a focus on Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and Tourism.

Belgium invested R10.11 billion into the South African economy in 2017, creating over 1 000 job opportunities for people.

“As we prepare for the upcoming Investor Conference in October 2018 which is aimed at attracting R1.3 trillion investment into the country, we are certain that Belgium is already part of the investment drive and will send its business representatives to the conference,” she said. –