KZN, US strengthen diplomatic relations

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Opportunities for collaboration between South Africa and the United States of America formed part of discussions between KwaZulu-Natal Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and United States of America Ambassador, Reuben Brigety.

The two leaders held a high-level strategic engagement on Wednesday with the aim of strengthening diplomatic relations to enhance trade, investment and cooperation in various social and economic development areas.

The talks centred around opportunities for collaboration between South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal with the US in various sectors including the environment (climate change), health, sports, human settlement, maritime, education, innovation and technology.

During the meeting at the Premier’s Office, Dube-Ncube noted that the province has over the years, maintained very good relations with the US diplomatic office, both through the Consul-General in Durban, and directly with the Office of the Ambassador in Pretoria.

“Indeed, you will be aware that our province has undergone some of the most devastating challenges recently. Apart from the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to deal with the July civil unrest, which affected KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng,” Dube-Ncube said.

She reiterated that the provincial government is on course with the implementation of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan, which will ensure that “we retain and attract new investment opportunities”.

The Premier also reassured Ambassador Brigety that the Government of KwaZulu-Natal is focusing on measures to address issues related to climate change, and emphasised that the Provincial Climate Change Council led by the Office of the Premier has been put in place, with all sectors of society participating.

“During our hour of need as a country during the floods in April and May, we are pleased with the overwhelming support we received from the diplomatic community including the United States of America and wish to further enhance our people-to-people relations between our countries.

“Our top priority is the rehousing of the displaced flood victims who have to be moved from mass care shelters and accommodated in dignified human settlements,” the Premier said.

She also noted that there is unlimited potential for collaboration between the two countries, including ongoing collaboration in the war against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, sponsorship related interventions to support local athletes, as well as broader developmental matters, which will drive socio-economic development and create jobs

Promoting Ubuntu diplomacy

Ambassador Brigety expressed commitment to strengthening diplomatic relations between South Africa and the United States.

Brigety said it was a pleasure to meet Dube-Ncube and recognied her election as the first female Premier of the province.

The Ambassador said they emphasised the importance of people-to-people relations and deepening the South Africa - USA relationship, in keeping with “my focus on promoting Ubuntu diplomacy”.

“We explored areas of further collaboration including economic opportunities where we could share US expertise and innovation in job creation, housing, education, addressing climate change, and strengthening our sister-state partnerships. I look forward to future engagements with her and the province,” said the Ambassador. –