SA, DRC strengthen relations


Bilateral relations between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) formed part of discussions between the two countries’ Heads of State on Friday.

“The Heads of State exchanged views mainly on the following three points: bilateral relations between the two countries, the evolution of the political, electoral and security situation in the DRC, as well as various issues of regional interest,” said a joint communique issued on Friday.

South Africa’s President and chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Cyril Ramaphosa paid a working visit to the central African nation, where he spent time locked in talks with his counterpart Joseph Kabila Kabange.

The two leaders noted that the political and security situation in the mineral rich DRC is calm.

They also took note of the significant progress made in the ongoing electoral process in the country, with regard to the commitments made in accordance with the electoral calendar published on 5 November 2017 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). This is ahead of the organisation of presidential, legislative and provincial elections, to be held on 23 December.

Elections were meant to take place in November 2016 but were postponed due to violence that broke out.
“The two Heads of State noted, among other things, the continued financing of the electoral process by the Congolese government, which has just completed the stage of submitting candidatures for the presidential, legislative and provincial elections, in compliance with the constitutional rules and national laws of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said the communique.

It commended President Joseph Kabila for honouring the Congolese Constitution, as promised to the nation.

The two Heads of State noted the reciprocal removal of visa requirements by the Congolese and South African governments for holders of diplomatic and service passports of the two countries. They also reaffirmed the need to hold the 11th ordinary session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Africa.

The two Heads of State acknowledged the excellent bilateral cooperation between the two countries within the context of the BNC.

President Kabila also congratulated President Ramaphosa on the election of South Africa as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2019-20 year.

In this regard, the two leaders directed their Ministers and officials to ensure that all the signed agreements between the two countries are fully implemented for the mutual benefit of their respective countries and peoples.

Presidents Ramaphosa and Kabila welcomed the recommendations of the BRICS Summit, held in Johannesburg in July 2018, during which fruitful exchanges relevant to the economic life of SADC Member States took place. The two Heads of State reaffirmed their common position on the need to promote multilateralism and South-South cooperation.

The two Heads of State noted that the 38th ordinary SADC Summit will be held in Windhoek, Namibia, from 16 – 18 August. They expressed their determination to attend the summit.

The two Heads of State agreed to meet very soon at a date and place to be determined by mutual agreement through diplomatic channels.