Parliamentary question: DIRCO: Haiti




Mr B M Skosana (IFP) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

(1) Whether her department has a medium to long-term programme of reconstruction and recovery to assist the infrastructure and economies of (a) Haiti and (b) Chile; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(2) whether there is cooperation with other countries on related matters of natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes to relieve the suffering of the affected communities; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(3) what has been the cost of these exercises as at the latest specified date for which information is available? NW1090E

1(a) HAITI

It would not be possible for South Africa to have its own programme beyond humanitarian assistance. It must work within the framework developed by the Government and people of Haiti, supported by the regional structures of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the United Nations (UN). Once this is clear, it will guide South Africa how to approach the medium to long-term issue of reconstructing the economy and infrastructure of Haiti. In this regard, we have participated in the discussions where this is being developed. South Africa will be able to determine its own role once this has been finalised.

Immediately after the earthquake, President Zuma issued a formal message of condolences and support to the Government and people of Chile.

The Department is still considering the request by the Chilean government for assistance to see what it can do within the parameters of a drastically reduced budget.
(2) HAITI:

Yes we cooperate with other countries and we have participated in discussions and conferences on related matters.

South Africa’s former Ambassador accredit=ted to CARICOM, Adv F Radebe, attended a meeting in February 2010 hosted by the President of the Dominican Republic at the request of CARICOM. The purpose of that meeting was to map out a CARICOM strategy in dealing with the reconstruction of Haiti. Former Ambassador Radebe also paid a visit to Haiti in March 2010 where she held discussions with the Haitian Foreign Minister and the UN Representative in that country to appraise herself first hand of the scale of the devastation caused by the earthquake, as well as current international relief efforts underway.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Sue van der Merwe attended an International Donors’ Conference: “Towards a New Future for Haiti” hosted by the UN on 31 March 2010. We also interact at a bilateral level with countries such as the United States of America, Canada, Brazil and Cuba that have an interest in the matter.

On 2 June 2010, South Africa’s non-resident Ambassador to the Dominican Republic attended a summit hosted by that country’s President, focussing on the “Future of Haiti: Solidarity Beyond the Crisis”.
(3) The cost of medium to long-term programme of reconstruction and recovery to assist the infrastructure and economy of Haiti is yet to be fully determined. However, we have a clear sense of the humanitarian effort. The Department has contributed R1 million towards the Rescue SA Team which was the first search and rescue team as part of government’s initial humanitarian assistance response to Haiti. A further R2.1 million was donated by the government to the UN Flash Appeal for Haiti. Finally, a total of R5 million was pledged by the Deputy Minister van der Merwe during the March 2010 UN Donors’ Conference towards reconstruction efforts.