The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, honourable Des van Rooyen addressed the South Africa-China Local Government Dialogue Forum, on 11 July 2017 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China.
The minister’s visit comes after his meeting with Ms Lin Yi, Vice President of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) at the South African Local Government Association conference on 28 November 2016.
The two leaders had agreed to establish China-South Africa Local Government Dialogue Forum in line with the practice in other African countries.
Minister van Rooyen was accompanied by a local government delegation made up of provincial and municipal officials.
The Chengdu local government dialogue was an opportunity for South African to share its experiences and lessons from the 16 years of the democratic Local government.
Addressing the Forum, Minister Des van Rooyen stressed the importance of the Johannesburg summit action plan, which outlined a comprehensive plan for China-Africa cooperation in the following three years.
The declaration of the Johannesburg summit highlighted the importance of promoting exchanges and cooperation between local governments of the two countries and supported the establishment of relationships among cities.
The Minister told the Forum that implementation of the recently approved Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF) would assist South Africa to reach its spatial transformation goals and presenting a ‘new deal’ for South African cities and towns. He said spatial transformation was key to guiding all initiatives to improved access to basic service, resource efficiency and inclusive economic growth.
“It is our ambition that this dialogue will strengthen the platform to promote understanding of urban challenges and opportunities, enhance cooperation between the Cities, develop friendship city relations and share experiences amongst our Cities”, said Minister van Rooyen.
The engagement in Chengdu will strengthen the collaboration for more inclusive cities and inform practical programmes between South Africa and Chinese cities. “We continue to express our commitment to local exchanges and cooperation between China and South Africa”, said Minister.
The relations through the dialogue will surely go a long way to ensure more visible relations and collaborations between South African and Chinese cities.
He reflected on the two countries’ historical relations and told the forum that the diplomatic relations that were established in 1998 continued to bear fruits for South Africa’s economy and its local government sector.
As members of BRICS, the relationship between the two countries is of great significance as they have both witnessed a strong momentum in development under the guidance of their heads of states who oversee the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.
Minister van Rooyen’s participation in the forum in Chengdu will further cement the strong ties between the two countries and ensures that South African local government leverages on the existing bond.
Both South African and Chinese delegations endorsed the continuation of engagements and collaboration between cities of the two countries.
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