SA-China joint working group meets in Beijing

Department of Water and Sanitation Director General Margaret-Ann Diedricks has left for Beijing to participate in a technical working committee of the Joint Working Group (JWG) between China and South Africa.

The meeting comes after President Jacob Zuma and China's President Xi Jinping signed the Pretoria Declaration on the Partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa in 2012, which paved the way for formal bilateral relations between the two countries.

The aim of the JWG is to monitor the implementation of cooperative projects and solve challenges that may occur during implementation. It also aims to elevate bilateral relations by deepening practical cooperation.

The technical committee consists of a Directors General from different ministries, including the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, which were part of the Pretoria Declaration when it was signed in 2012.

However, Water and Sanitation joined the group recently after a State visit by the Chinese leader in December last year. This was after several water issues were raised during the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Deputy Director General of International Water Cooperation within the department, Lindiwe Lusenga, said South Africa stood to benefit hugely from a R60 billion budget that China committed to the development of infrastructure in Africa.

At the summit, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane presided over the signing of an agreement between South Africa's Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), an international engineering company with expertise and experience in the design and construction of infrastructure around the world.

The purpose of the agreement is to help establish and develop a long term friendly cooperation relationship between TCTA and CCCC with a view to fund and implement new projects in the water sector in South Africa. -