By TIMES REPORTER –
SOUTH Africa and Zambia have committed to strengthen cooperation in trade and investment, science and technology, defence and energy following high-level discussions between President Jacob Zuma and President Edgar Lungu in Pretoria yesterday.
“We further committed to actively encouraging both South African and Zambian companies to take full advantage of the excellent, historical, political ties between our two countries to increase economic activities,” said President Zuma during a joint Press briefing with President Lungu at the Union Buildings.
“We further reaffirmed our commitment to focus on economic cooperation and have agreed to work together to identify specific areas in which South African and Zambian companies can do business.”
There are currently 21 agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries, covering a wide range of sectors.
President Zuma said South Africa attached great importance to its historical relations with Zambia.
“These relations date well back to the period of our liberation struggle when Zambia sacrificially hosted the headquarters of the African National Congress in those difficult times,” Mr Zuma said.
“Our bilateral cooperation has grown, deepened and matured over the years. This State visit has provided an opportunity to reflect on these relations, and also to further deepen them, for the common good of our people.”
The two leaders ‘noted with concern’ the drought currently ravaging the Southern African region.
President Lungu said politicking is over – insisting that the main task for him is to deliver on the promise he made – counting on the relations his country had with South Africa.
“Here, I am, coming from a bruising election. Zambia has stabilised. I want to move forward, so I am not here to politic eternally. Our next elections are in 2021 so we want to work with our neighbours in the
region and ensure we turn around the regional economy and improve the wellbeing of our people. Politics have a season and the season is when you are doing elections and after that your job as a politician is to deliver on that which you promise the people. Through cooperation such as this one, we believe that Zambia and South Africa will benefit by focussing on that which benefits its two people.”
Earlier, the ceremonial 21-gun salute echoed from the Union Buildings as President Zuma formally welcomed President Lungu and his delegation to Pretoria.
A jovial Mr Zuma laughed loudly as he introduced his Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Cabinet ministers to Mr Lungu.
President Lungu inspected the South African National Defence Force guard of honour before the two leaders went into the closed door meeting.
And President Lungu has directed the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to reshuffle officers in the civil service to curb corruption in the Government.
Mr Lungu said he disagreed with the notion of a public service officer serving a particular ministry for a long period of time as this encouraged familiarity and led to corruption.
“So I have directed the permanent secretary in the Public Service Management Division to reshuffle people so that some officers can experience life in another ministry or Government department,” he
According to ZNBC news monitored last evening, the President said this on Wednesday when he addressed Zambians living in South Africa.
President Lungu reiterated Government’s commitment to sustaining a positive economic trajectory for the country through diversifying the economy away from mining to agriculture. –The Citizen/SABC