BY PPU REPORTER
The President of The Republic of South Africa, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa has described President Yoweri Museveni as a true Pan-Africanist who is well versed with African history and with a strong desire to ensure that the people of the continent prosper.
“I am particularly pleased that President Museveni knows the history of the African National Congress (ANC). We are very proud to have a Pan-Africanist like President Museveni and also have him articulate points about our continent particularly the prosperity of our people,” he noted.
President Ramaphosa lauded his Ugandan counterpart yesterday on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, who is in Pretoria, South Africa for a 1-day State Visit.
President Ramaphosa who warmly welcomed Gen. Museveni to South Africa highly commended the cordial and bilateral relationship existing between the two African countries.
“South Africa is proud of its very deep and fraternal relations with Uganda that date way back to the struggle against colonialism and apartheid at a great risk and sacrifice,” he said as he hosted President Museveni at the Union Building.
President Ramaphosa pointed out that Uganda stood firm in its support for the goals of the liberation struggle of the people of South Africa and also contributed materially and in many other ways to help them attain their freedom and democracy.
“On behalf of the people of South Africa, allow me to express our appreciation to the people of Uganda for their contribution to our freedom. The relationship between our two countries is based on the principles of Pan- Africanism, commitment to human rights and also emancipation of women,” H.E Ramaphosa observed.
He therefore expressed his desire that the trade bilateral relations will also be strengthened through various bodies like the Joint Commission of Cooperation that held its 2nd meeting recently in Kampala.
President Museveni on his part congratulated the people of South Africa for the struggle they waged against colonialism. He particularly paid tribute to the youth who paid the price with their lives in 1966 to ensure that the country achieves freedom.
“We are very happy that we are where we are now from the phase of struggling for freedom to the phase of working for prosperity,” he said.
President Museveni strongly encouraged members of the Joint Commission to identify and study what South Africa could do best and sell to Uganda and vice-versa.
He particularly cited coal as one of the products Uganda needs most for the processing of high-quality iron ore to steel. President Museveni also pointed out South Africa's lithium as a crucial mineral that the East African country needs in the making of batteries for electric vehicles.
He, on the other hand disclosed that Uganda, a country endowed with favorable agricultural climate could fill South Africa's high agro-based products demand.
“So, we can help you to build a new force of patriotism. The neo-colonialism has failed, what do the progressive parties do? They help to build a new force,” he noted.
Later, the two leaders witnessed the signing of various Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that covered social, economic, legal and scientific sectors.
Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gen. Abubaker Jeje Odongo signed many of the MoUs on behalf of the government of Uganda and Ministers Sisulu Lindiwe (Tourism), Thoko Didiza(Agriculture) , Nkoana Maite Mashabane (Women and Youth) and Naledi Pandor (International Relations) signed the agreements on behalf of the government of South Africa.
Later, at the Press Briefing, President Ramaphosa informed members of the media that the purpose of President Museveni’s visit to South Africa was to review bilateral relations and to gauge the extent on what and how they can be strengthened.
He also announced that they expressed their strong views to resolve issues that impede the economic growth of the two countries.
President Museveni later visited the Freedom Park where the history of the heroes who fought against apartheid and for the Independence of South Africa is showcased. He paid respect to the fallen heroes.
South Africa's Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Hon. Thoko Didiza said President Museveni’s visit was “very important to South Africa”.
“Uganda is very green and good in production; they are known for their large coffee production. We have the Africa Continental Free trade Agreement that allows free trading among African countries and agriculture will be one of those in my view that will enable us trade with each other,” Hon. Didiza stressed.
South Africa's Tourism Minister, Hon. Sisulu Lindiwe noted, “We are signing a memorandum such that when people visit South Africa, we can direct them to Uganda and when they visit Uganda, they can be directed here. There is no competition with Uganda, we shall share the pool of visitors that come to Africa."
Uganda and South Africa have a combined 105 million people and a history stretching more than 70 years, but the result of their bilateral trade is a combined USD153 million.