Ramaphosa concludes Namibia visit

File: President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Namibia on Friday, having met with Angolan President João Lourenço. Photo: AFP / Rodger Bosch

JOHANNESBURG - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, thanked Namibian President Hage Geingob after his first official visit to Windhoek after being elected as president.

Ramaphosa embarked on a three-nation visit on Friday, that includes Angola, Namibia and Botswana.

"Thank you very much for your kind congratulatory words, words of welcome. It is a real joy for us to be here in Windhoek, Namibia. Today as you correctly say we have come on a courtesy visit," Ramaphosa said.

"But it is also a very special courtesy visit because it is a visit to come and renew our friendship, to consolidate it and to also look back where we have come from because we have been comrades in arms, and comrades in struggle and we move forward now as comrades in development, developing our countries and you are correct in saying you can choose your friend but you cannot choose your neighbours."

The South African Presidency said Ramaphosa and Geingob were engaged in bilateral discussions and engaged in official talks.



Ramaphosa was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on his visit.

He said that Namibia and South Africa chose each other when they were in a struggle and the ruling parties SWAPO Party of Namibia and his African National Congress (ANC) chose each other as two liberation movements that decided to work together "against the common enemy but because we had so many things that connected us that bound us together".

"We had the same vision, same perspective, progressive forces, bound together by a need to develop our people. In many ways we chose each other but as countries we are neighbours that are joined together as well. For us as South Africa this is a very special visit, we are renewing our bounds, our friendship and we want to thank you for welcoming us," Ramaphosa said.

"We are also all new because I have got two of my colleagues who are ministers. We just reshuffled our cabinet so you are looking at part of a new executive of the Republic of South Africa.For us this is a very very special moment and we look forward to serious engagements at a Bi-National level."

Ramaphosa said that they would be back to engage on serious matters of the economy, on trade, on our cultural connections, on our political relations and deal with "issues that are obviously aimed at developing our two countries, growing our economies and when it comes to that we will know that we are doing the right thing to take our countries forward".

He thanked Geingob and said the Namibian head of state had been generous and apologised for the evening meeting but explained that when they decided to embark on the trip, they thought Namibia would be an important stop for them. He explained that they wanted to present themselves and meet with Geingob and his colleagues.

"We thank you for this wonderful opportunity that you have given us to be in your presence in your country and thank you for the hospitality also that you have extended to us."

Earlier on Friday, Ramaphosa paid a courtesy visit to Angolan President João Lourenço as part of a courtesy call to present himself as the newly elected president of South Africa and as the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Namibia will assume SADC Chairmanship after South Africa.

Ramaphosa is expected to travel to Botswana on Saturday to meet with President Seretse Khama Ian Khama.


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