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Last Updated
Monday 14 June 2021, 19:13 pm.
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Khama scores points in SA

* Zuma, Khama, agree to meet every year to iron out bilateral issues
*Both Presidents to sign SADC EPA by end of the year
* SA to recognise Botswana travelling documents
* PHK optimistic for Mmamabula, Aviva power export deals with SA
By MONKAGEDI GAOTLHOBOGWE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Khama scores points in SA








Botswana's Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) rejected by South Africa in July this year are expected to be recognised again by that country following President Ian Khama's talks with his counterpart, Jacob Zuma this week.

Labour and Home Affairs Minister Peter Siele told Mmegi yesterday that the ETD problem was tabled at ministerial level during President Ian Khama's State visit to South Africa early this week.

Khama travelled to South Africa early this week to iron out outstanding issues that threaten to defeat Botswana's effort to attract foreign investment and tourism in Botswana, mainly due to South Africa's policies which are being implemented without consulting their neighbour.

And following Khama's visit, the two countries set October 20-22 to meet in Francistown at ministerial level for the Joint Permanent Commission on Defense & Security, where burning issues such as the ETDs will be ironed out.

"The talks we had with South Africa were very good, we can see we are going to make progress, they were very good, very positive throughout", stressed Siele yesterday after arriving from South African.

An upbeat Siele says South Africa has also shown keenness in removing transit visa requirements from tourists and investors bound to other parts of the region like Botswana. This matter will also be resolved at the Francistown bilateral meeting, with Siele observing that the South African law creates impediments to the growth of tourism and foreign investments because it frustrates potential tourists and investors.

Siele says a possibility to open a new border post at Tshidila Molomo in the Borolong area was also tabled and both parties have agreed to revisit the issue in Francistown.

On the prospects of Botswana's two big coal powered power export projects, Mmamabula and Aviva striking any power purchase deal with South Africa through Eskom, Botswana's Minister of Minerals, energy and Water

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Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe told Mmegi that South Africa will be floating tenders for the opportunity in a week or two from now.

However Kedikilwe says the two power providers (Aviva, Mmamabula) will first have to agree with Eskom and the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) on tariffs because they should be affordable to the consumers, adding that the parties are yet to reach that stage. Minister Kedikilwe says as government Botswana is doing all it can to help independent power suppliers like Aviva and Mmamabula be able to supply power to South Africa.

Kedikilwe says at the recent talks South Africa emphasized they have no hostility towards Botswana and that both parties agreed to work closely on mineral beneficiation and to tackle global warming issues like pollution from coal usage. Kedikile says he also discussed the possibility of exploiting waters of the Orange River with South Africa.

Botswana's Minister of Trade Dorcas Makgato-Malesu is also delighted that South Africa and Botswana have agreed to have a common approach towards industrialization at all levels.

The Minister says both countries have recognized the need to have a common industrial policy. Makgato-Malesu says she has secured a bilateral meeting with her South African counterpart, where all pending trade issues will be discussed and ironed out.

The Botswana Trade minister says she is satisfied after South Africa committed itself to cooperating with Botswana especially on mineral beneficiation.

South Africa and Botswana have also agreed to speed up SADC EPA negotiations and have them concluded by end of this year, according to the Minister of Trade.

Unusual for a state visit, Khama's trip saw him taking along a high-powered team made up of seven cabinet ministers and the ruling Party chairman and negotiator, Daniel Kwelagobe.

Khama and Zuma have now agreed to meet every year to discuss bilateral issues.

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