Members of Parliament in the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, and their Chinese counterparts are looking to foster relations by establishing a China-SA friendship group.
National People’s Congress of China Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ms Zhao Baige, visited the South African national parliament recently and said the idea of a friendship group was critical in light of the 10-point cooperation plan being implemented by both countries.
“Both countries are actively involved in implementing the projects. The question is how do we get our parliaments involved in expediting the programmes? We should be able to share views on specific issues,” Baige said.
She said she wished this would be in greater depth in the future and Members should speak about it.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Siphosezwe Masango, said the idea of the China-SA friendship group was raised by House Chair on International Relations, Grace Boroto.
“Such a mechanism could only be established with the approval of the Speaker. This is an initiative that could exist, we do foresee a situation where the Speaker would approve such an idea,” Masango said.
He said such a friendship group should complement efforts of the two countries in the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South African) group.
The Chinese delegation had been in SA and met with the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Lechesa Tsenoli, and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise.
The Chinese delegation commented that it was important to improve implementation on Sino-Africa projects, and that such a relationship should not be of the nature where one side is expected to contribute money.
“Integration of resources is not only money from governments. We should include technology, products and people in our trade. It is important to work with local people and make those kinds of developments empowering to people,” Baige said.
She said going into the future the world should be talking peace and development, and that this is what China wanted to take to the world.
“Chinese think this is an important milestone. Without these we will not go far in the sustainable goals,” she said.
Members said the relationship should not only be political, but economic and cultural.
Committee member, Bheki Radebe, said both countries should be able to honestly address the things that frustrate us like rhino poaching.
Source: SA Parliament Dec 13