Members of the Media – Good morning
Thank you for joining us for this briefing. Yesterday, we received the sad news of a fuel tanker explosion that tragically killed over 60 people in Tanzania. I wish to express on behalf of the South African Government our heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Tanzania.
We have agreed with the Presidency that we should strive to provide our country with regular briefings on international matters. Today, we focus largely on the President’s outgoing visit and upcoming SADC Summit in Tanzania.
· President Ramaphosa’s State Visit to The United Republic of Tanzania (14-15 August 2019)
President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake a State Visit to the United Republic of Tanzania from 14-15 August 2019, at the invitation of the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. President John Pombe Magufuli.
South Africa and Tanzania enjoy strong fraternal, historical as well as excellent political, economic and social relations which were cemented during the period of the liberation struggle. The Government and the people of Tanzania, under the late President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, hosted the Liberation Movements from the Southern African Region.
South Africa established formal diplomatic relations with the United Republic of Tanzania in 1994. Since then, there have been high-level interactions between the two countries aimed at consolidating and strengthening political, economic and social relations resulting in the signing of sixteen (16) sectoral agreements between the two countries.
The State Visit by President Ramaphosa will further deepen the existing economic, political, cultural and social relations between the two countries.
In 2011, an Agreement establishing the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa and Tanzania was signed. The inaugural session of the BNC took place in Tanzania in 2017, and South Africa is expected to convene the next BNC, at an agreed mutual date.
In 2018, South African Exports amounted to R5, 8 billion, whereas imports from Tanzania amounted to R479 million. South African exports to Tanzania are predominantly in the areas of manufacturing, viz. machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, and steel, including services and technology. On the other hand, imports from Tanzania are mainly gold, coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton. There are over 170 South African companies operating in Tanzania, across all sectors of the economy.
The State Visit will allow both leaders to discuss bilateral, continental and global issues, and to reaffirm their commitment to further cooperate closely on multilateral issues.
The President will be accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, the Minister of Trade and Industry, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, and the Minister of State Security.
A business forum is being arranged by Ministries of Trade and Industry of both Countries and participants will be addressed by both Presidents.
This will be the first State Visit by President Ramaphosa since assuming office in May 2019.
· The 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania (17 to 18 August 2019)
Following the State Visit, President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a South African Delegation to the 39th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, also to take place in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania from 17 to 18 August 2019.
The Summit will take place under the theme “A Conducive Business Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development”.
The theme is in line with previous SADC Summit decisions that endorsed industrialisation as the overarching priority for the region based on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2015–2063).
In 2015, the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Governments adopted a SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap plus its action plan (March 2017), which prioritises the activation of regional value-chains and the strengthening of key enabling institutions to support industrial development in the region as a potentially powerful mechanism to promote development. The regional strategy prioritises about three key industrial sectors namely, agro-processing, pharmaceutical, and mineral beneficiation.
The focus is now on the creation of the necessary conditions in member states and across the region that will attract the private sector to invest in productive activities at a domestic, regional and international level. These “necessary conditions” are centre-stage of the industrialisation strategies at a member state and regional level. They include, amongst others, a focus on enabling infrastructure and resolving border issues; the development of appropriate industrial skills; the enhancement of R&D capabilities; the deepening of value-chains around prioritised minerals and the development of SMME’s
Apart from considering the progress on the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap, the upcoming 39th Summit is expected to consider the protocol on industry and the regional mining vision. These documents are a demonstration of the region’s desire to cooperate on industrial development to support regional integration.
SADC remains a key component of South African foreign policy which aims to promote economic integration among its Member States and to achieve sustainable development, allowing the region to address the key challenges of unemployment and poverty alleviation.
Regional integration plays an important role, both politically and economically in terms of reducing the risk of regional conflicts. It further relates to pooling resources and markets for achieving economies of scale.
The Summit will provide an opportunity for Heads of State and Government to be apprised on the overall implementation of the SADC work programme, including the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020) and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap.
The Summit will be updated on the status of the region’s economy, health, and food security. It will provide policy direction about future strategic work of SADC and the SADC post 2020 Agenda.
The Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Zambia) will also present a report on the status of regional peace and security.
In his capacity as the SADC facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho, President Ramaphosa will present a report on developments in the facilitation process during the SADC Troika Summit of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to be held on 16 August 2019.
During this meeting, President Ramaphosa will be supported by Retired Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke.
· Meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania (13 to 14 August 2019)
I will lead a South African delegation to a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers scheduled from, 13 to 14 August 2019, in Tanzania
The SADC Council of Ministers is responsible for overseeing the functioning and development of the region. It ensures that the policies and decisions taken are implemented.
The Meeting is expected to deliberate on several key issues pertaining to the region, consider many strategic documents and receive update reports on the progress made since the last meeting, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia in March 2019.
Key issues to be deliberated upon will include the status of finances of the SADC organisation and will also receive a report of the Finance and Human Resources and Administration Committees. Furthermore, the Council will reflect on progress made towards Continental and Regional Integration and discuss development cooperation and resource mobilisation.
In addition, as the Council, we will receive a progress report on the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap and the implementation of the current theme of the 38th SADC Summit “Promoting Infrastructure Development and Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development.”
The SADC Council of Ministers Meeting will precede the 39th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for 17 and 18 August 2019.
In addition to the subject of this meeting I wish to take this opportunity to express my and my department’s concern regarding statements said to emanate from a student organisation in Nigeria, calling for the expulsion of South Africans and protests at South African owned businesses.
The protests are said to be in response to alleged killings of Nigerians by South Africans. As you are aware, these allegations are devoid of truth, reckless and unwarranted.
We find these statements most unfortunate as they don’t reflect the strong relations that exist between the people and the Government of South Africa and Nigeria. The two countries enjoy strong bilateral relations, which were forged over many years during our struggle for liberation in South Africa and in this democratic era, fully supported by the people and Government of Nigeria.
The Acting High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Bobby Moroe, (who is with us here) has had several meetings with the Police and other senior government officials in Nigeria. We have also had contact from the highest level of the Nigerian government, we have been assured that authorities in Nigeria are taking these calls for protests seriously. They have also assured us that South African citizens and their property in Nigeria will be protected.
South Africa values the strong ties it has established with Nigeria and will continue to enhance these even further.
The Statements referred to earlier appear to result from the unfortunate passing of Mrs. Elizabeth Ndubuisi-Chukwu, the Deputy Director-General of the Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, in June 2019.
The South African Police Service is still investigating the incident.
We believe no one should abuse this unfortunate tragedy to generate negative sentiments about South Africa and we express our condolences to Mrs. Ndubuisi-Chukwu’s family; friends and the people of Nigeria.
I wish to repeat statements made by the Minister of Police, Mr. Bheki Cele when addressing the Diplomatic Corps, early this year. Firstly, there is no targeting of any group of Africans in South Africa. Secondly, our law enforcement agencies are making every effort to fight crime and arrest all criminals.
It is worth mentioning that, daily, Nigerian nationals travel to South Africa for a multiplicity of reasons ranging from business, tourism and academic purposes.
Similarly, South Africans have chosen Nigeria as their preferred destination for investment and other activities of interest. Nigeria is home to approximately 120 South African companies, amongst which are MTN, Shoprite, Multichoice, SAA, and Game – to mention but a few.
All these companies have over the years contributed towards job creation and social responsibility programmes for Nigerian nationals, both young and old. We are, therefore, very pleased that our strong relations were able to place South African business on a firm footing in Nigeria, and also paved the way for further investments by Nigerian business in South Africa.
I am hoping that with the support of our High Commission in Nigeria, we will be able to invite to South Africa some of the leaders of student organisations, leading the calls for protests against South African businesses in Nigeria. I will also ask my colleague, the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces of our Parliament to invite his counterpart, the Senate President of Nigeria and a delegation to visit South Africa to see for themselves that many Nigerians live in peace and harmony among South Africans. We would also ensure that a delegation of members of the executive visit Nigeria to further strengthen our relations.
I hope their visit will help them to develop a different view from that which they have about South Africa.