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President Zuma accompanied by his wife Ms Bongi Zuma received flowers on arrival at N’djiili International Airport in Kinshasa.

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Toast remarks by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the State Banquet hosted by His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange of the DRC

29 October 2013

Your Excellency the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr Joseph Kabila Kabange and Madame Olive Lembe Kabila;
Your Excellency the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mr Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon;
The President of the DRC National Assembly, Honourable Aubin Minaku;
The President of the DRC Senate, Honourable Léon Kengo wa Dondo;
Honourable Ministers here present;
Members of Diplomatic Corps;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
My wife, the Members of the South African Government delegation and I are delighted to have been invited by Your Excellency to this beautiful country of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Let me also extend our sincere appreciation to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo for their warm hospitality and welcome extended to us since our arrival.
I also wish to thank you, Mr President for such warm words of welcome, which have certainly made us feel at home!
Your Excellency,
Allow me to also convey to you and to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo the warmest greetings of the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen;
Today is a day to remember as it marks the first State Visit from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
We also recall that it was on 29 October 2006, that the DRC held the second round of the first democratic elections during which you, Your Excellency, was elected as President.
These are some of the events that have shaped the DRC and the Africa that we know today, and this day should now also mark the highest expression of the unbreakable bond of fraternity between our two countries.
Our relations date back many years ago to our struggle for liberation from the dehumanising system of apartheid and to your struggle against the brutal colonial siege.
Many Congolese have contributed positively to the emancipation of our people. It was through your support and indeed the support of many other African nations and the world at large that today we are free.
We are therefore here to thank you, Your Excellency, and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for your unwavering solidarity and contribution.
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.
Working in different multilateral organisations, we sought to encourage peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of others, respect for human rights, the right to self-determination and the right for others to choose their friends. 
Your Excellency,
More than ten years ago, South Africa committed itself to work with the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure that peace and security, human rights and democracy remain the fundamental pillars of our shared developmental initiatives.
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.
One day, our sons and daughters in the Kivus and all over the DRC will move freely to attend schools or work their fields or go to places of work without fear of being attacked by marauding bands.
Men and women in those affected areas and all over the DRC will be able to work and provide for their families without living in permanent fear of being killed or raped or losing their livelihoods.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me assure the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo of the full support and solidarity of the people of South Africa.
The presence of hundreds of the South African troops under the flag of MONUSCO, standing shoulder to shoulder with their comrades in the Congolese Armed Forces to protect the Congolese people against the forces that are intent on bringing death and destruction, attests to the depth of our commitment.
Let us applaud these brave men and women in uniform.
Your Excellency,
We are encouraged by the positive developments that have taken place in your country, in particular the process of national consultations that you initiated and which concluded 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.
South Africa stands ready to cooperate with you and your Government to ensure sustainable development for the mutual benefit of our countries and peoples.
Your Excellency,
We were honoured to receive you last year during the 8th session of our Bi-National Commission in Pretoria.
That session reviewed the work that had been done thus far and made renewed commitments that our Ministers briefed us on this morning, the details of which need not be repeated here. 
The bilateral agreements that have been signed today will add impetus to our joint pledge to share knowledge, skills and resources necessary to rebuild our region and our continent.
It is this joint pledge that we are making today that will be inscribed in the records of history as an important and positive event that occurred on 29th of October, in happy coincidence with the first democratic election of a President of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the person of Joseph Kabila Kabange.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Please rise and join me in a toast to the good health and prosperity of His Excellency, President Joseph Kabila Kabange, and Madame Olive Lembe Kabila, and to the enduring bonds of friendship and cooperation between the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of South Africa.
I thank you. 

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