SA has strong relations with Malawi - Zuma

2013-11-22 22:36
President Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - South Africa continues to have good relations with Malawi, President Jacob Zuma said in a written response to a parliamentary question on Friday.

"Diplomatic and trade relations between South Africa and Malawi remain cordial and strong," he said.

"We will continue to work together at a bilateral level, and also within the Southern African Development Community [SADC] and African Union ambit to promote sustainable development for the mutual benefit of the region and the continent in general."

This is the first time Zuma has commented about the country's relations with Malawi, after he made a derogatory comment about Malawi's national roads while trying to justify the Gauteng e-tolling system.

"We can't think like Africans, in Africa, generally. We are in Johannesburg, this is Johannesburg. It's not some national road in Malawi," Zuma said in October, at a Gauteng ANC manifesto forum.

On Friday, Zuma said: "The light-hearted comments were made in the spirit of encouraging Gauteng road users to respond positively to the need to pay for the extensive road freeway network built as part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project electronic tolling system."

After Zuma was criticised for making the statement, presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj apologised and retracted it.

In written questions, the DA asked Zuma whether he would retract or apologise for the comment.

"It is a matter of fact that Africa has a poor roads infrastructure and that this needs to be corrected. That is our primary focus," he said.

"My view is that we should all focus on making these projects of building a good road and rail network in Africa to succeed."

Zuma said no correspondence had been received from Malawi following the comment, and no South African had sent any correspondence either.

Malawian President Joyce Banda was in the country earlier in the month for a joint SADC and International Conference of the Great Lakes region summit about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Read more on:    da  |  au  |  anc  |  sadc  |  jacob zuma  |  malawi  |  cape town  |  e-tolls  |  parliament 2013  |  politics  |  southern africa

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