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Thursday, May 30, 2024

DRC and SA strengthen diplomatic ties amid killings in Eastern Congo

South Africa has reaffirmed its diplomatic ties with the Democratic Republic of Congo, saying that the DRC remains “a key trade and investment partner”.

The sentiments come as Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor on Tuesday held bilateral talks with DRC Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula in Kinshasa before the 12th Bi-National Commission (BNC), which is set to take place between May and June this year.

The consultations also follow the state visit by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to South Africa in December 2020, where he met President Cyril Ramaphosa, as well as on the margins of multilateral forums, including the SADC summits.

There are up to 37 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) between the two countries, which cover agriculture, defence, trade and investment, health, police, and energy.

In the meeting with Lutundula, Pandor highlighted that South Africa boasts “significant investments in the DRC”.

She also indicated that the main sectors for investment between the two countries included financial services; mining and related services; construction and property development; retail; supplier services to the oil, gas and mobile telephony industries; ICT; security and guarding; logistics; and tourism and hospitality.

Meanwhile, the death toll following attacks on villages in Ituri, north-east of the DRC, has risen to 30 as the government continues to monitor the attack on women and children in the region.

According to news reports, the attacks come as a result of the Co-operative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) militia, which is said to be fighting for the protection of the Lendu tribe against the Hema tribe.

Amid the heightened tensions, Pandor and her counterpart during their meeting exchanged views on developments in the region and ongoing efforts aimed at fostering peace and stability.

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