15 April 2018

Botswana: President Pays Tribute to Madikizela, Mandela Families

Gaborone — President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his wife, Neo are back from South Africa, where they paid a one-day working visit and later conveyed their condolences to the family of the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

President Masisi's delegation to South Africa included Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Vincent Seretse, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr Patrick Ralotsia, Member of Parliament for Nkange, Mr Edwin Batshu and Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general, Mr Mpho Balopi.

The anti-apartheid icon and former wife to former South African president, Nelson Mandela died at a hospital in Johannesburg after a long illness on Easter Monday and she was buried in Johannesburg on April 14.

Mr Masisi said in an interview upon arrival from South Africa that it was befitting for him and his delegation to comfort the Madikizela and Mandela families because the late Madikizela-Mandela was a hero of the anti-apartheid struggle and that South Africa had lost one of the few remaining representatives of the generation of activists who led the fight against apartheid.

President Masisi also said his working visit to South Africa was to renew old bonds and friendships.

He explained that the visit was also meant to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries as well as introduce himself to the newly appointed South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

He also explained that South Africa was SADC's economic powerhouse and Botswana's biggest trading partner.

Meanwhile, Minister Seretse said the two leaders discussed regional, international and global issues of mutual concern.

Minister Seretse further explained that the two leaders also discussed progress reports on various issues such as cross-border electrification, cross-border animal and crop diseases, cross-border water supply from South Africa to Botswana, animal vaccines as well as trade.

He said the two leaders affirmed their desires to avoid trade imbalance between their respective countries as well as to ensure that their goods were safe on either side of the border.

For his part, Mr Ralotsia said Botswana and South Africa were affected by common issues such as climate change and animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth.

He said it was against such backdrop that the two countries must work together in seeing that catastrophes did not pose a threat to their economy, hence the need for the working visit to South Africa by President Masisi.

For his part, Mr Balopi said Botswana, under the BDP government, played a pivotal role in the struggle of South Africans to eradicate apartheid.

He said he accompanied the President to further strengthen the BDP's relationship with the African National Congress (ANC) and map a way forward on issues of mutual interests.

Meanwhile, President Masisi has already visited Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Zambia to meet his counterparts and is expected to visit Mozambique today (April 16).

Source : BOPA

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