Zuma pledges solidarity with DRC

2013-10-30 08:01
President Jacob Zuma and his wife Bongi are welcomed on arrival in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (GCIS, Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma and his wife Bongi are welcomed on arrival in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (GCIS, Sapa)

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Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma pledged South Africa's solidarity with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday.

"We will together ensure that our women and children, be they in Limpopo, South Africa or in Goma, DRC, are free from the scourge of poverty, war, ignorance and disease," he said in a speech at a Congolese state banquet.

Zuma was in Kinshasa for a state visit, hosted by President Joseph Kabila Kabange.

Bond of fraternity

There was an unbreakable bond of fraternity between South Africa and the DRC dating back to the countries' respective struggles for liberation, he said.

"We are therefore here to thank you, Your Excellency, and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for your unwavering solidarity and contribution," Zuma said.

"In turn, we tried to use the freedom you had helped us to win, to make our modest contribution in making Africa a better continent in a better world."

Zuma said hundreds of South African soldiers, under the flag of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC, stationed to protect civilians from rebel forces in the country were a testament to South Africa's commitment to the DRC.

In August, Zuma informed Parliament that 1 345 soldiers had been deployed as part of the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade in the eastern DRC.

The deployment followed the passing of a UN resolution in March authorising a force to intervene in cases where people's lives and property were threatened.

He praised the Congolese government for the national consultations it held earlier this month.

"This is the only path towards genuine national reconciliation amongst the Congolese people, and the reconstruction and development of the DRC’s socio-economic infrastructure."

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  joseph kabila  |  drc  |  central africa

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