Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Africa: Rwanda, South Africa Pledge to Strengthen Ties
By Sharon Kantengwa
The New Times

Rwanda and South Africa will continue to strengthen political ties, officials from both countries have said.

They were speaking during celebrations to mark the National Freedom Day of South Africa, at the South African ambassador's residence in Nyarutarama, an upscale Kigali suburb.

The South African envoy to Rwanda, George Twala, spoke of the historical connectivity between the two countries and pledged stronger political ties.

"There has been a lot of engagement between Rwanda and South Africa. Both the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) in Rwanda and the Africa National Congress (ANC) in South Africa are political parties that led revolutions in their countries," he said.

About the frosty relations between Rwanda and South Africa in recent years, he said, "We are in the process of resolving (the issues) and I'm sure it can't be too far."

In his remarks, Evode Imena, the state minister for mining, commended the people of South Africa for working hard to end the apartheid, adding that Rwanda and South Africa were keen on improving their relations.

"This historic turning point did not only change the political system in your country but rather both the objective and philosophy of governance that led to a remarkable development for the wellbeing of all South Africans," he said.

"I salute the relations that exist between our countries that are characterised by mutual respect and reiterate Rwanda's commitment to further these relations to greater heights for the benefit of our two peoples". He added, "Rwanda and South Africa share common historical liberation struggles. The two countries achieved true liberation almost at the same time, 22 years ago, and these achievements were timely, especially after the struggles of the peoples of the two countries."

He noted that Africa's socio-economic development can only be achieved through strong political commitment from African leaders.

"Most conflicts that afflict our continent are most often a result of poverty and bad leadership. I'm strongly convinced that African problems can only be solved by Africans and others' help only comes in to support of our own efforts" he said.

South Africa's Freedom Day commemorates the first post-apartheid elections, held on April 27, 1994, during which Nelson Mandela was elected president. This year, the day was celebrated under the theme, "Together building better communities where local government is everybody's business."

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