The Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), honourable Des van Rooyen, and honourable Deputy Minister Andries Nel, today (20 September 2016) held a meeting with the representatives from the government of Switzerland.
The Minister and Deputy Minister met the visiting Swiss State Secretary and Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, her Excellency, Ms. Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, Ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda (Ms), and the high ranking business delegation as part of her visit to South Africa from 19 to 22 September 2016.
This meeting was a strategic opportunity for the Ministry of CoGTA to discuss key issues of mutual interest especially looking at the ongoing partnership between the two countries, with special focus on local government economic development.
Of significance is that this meeting came at a time when South Africa has just held a successful local government elections which installed in office the 4th democratic term of the third sphere. Another key issue of significance is that the meeting also took place after government adopted and approved the Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), which was has been an integral part of the discussions. To this effect, the meeting was briefed about the urban development trajectory that South Africa is embarking on under the IUDF and the possible areas of collaboration and partnerships for development.
The Swiss State Secretary indicated that Switzerland have many companies in South Africa and that they view our cooperation with South Africa as strategic, especially in areas of local economic development and urban development. It is within this context that the government of Switzerland continues to support various developmental projects.
In addition to the IUDF, the meeting was also briefed about our Back to Basic approach. This is an approach to improving local government performance through planning, ensuring that all systems are in place and providing support to municipalities.
The meeting appreciated the work done at the local sphere and there was commitment from both delegations to continue with the process of engagement and where possible partner for development.
As Her Excellency was accompanied by a high ranking Swiss business delegation whose members have an interest to invest or are already investing in South Africa, they are also committed to continue working with other partners in the country.
In addition the meeting was also briefed about the operations of various Swiss business in the country and the impact they are making in the overall economic development and job creating in South Africa. For instance, ABB employers about 1300 people.
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has developed a strategy to continue working in South Africa for a period of 4 years. This strategy is still awaiting approval and comes with a budget about R1billion.
As South African government, we appreciate this important partnerships and cooperation and will continue to facilitate further engagements with the business leadership.
This contribution by the Swiss will go a long way in assisting with development at local level.
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