Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Official Talks of the State Visit by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Union Buildings, 16 March 2023

Opening Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the Official Talks of the State Visit by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Union Buildings, 16 March 2023


Your Excellency, My Dear Sister, President Samia Suluhu Hassan,

Honourable Ministers,


Members of the Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is my privilege to welcome you, Madam President on this, your first State Visit to South Africa. I also offer my warmest welcome to members of your delegation.


It is a pleasure to co-chair the Summit Meeting of the Second Session of South Africa – Tanzania Bi-National Commission.


I would like to thank our respective ministers and senior officials for the hard work in preparation for this visit.


As we know, several challenges prevented the BNC from convening earlier. Not least of these was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on travel and other arrangements.


South Africa counts the United Republic of Tanzania as among our dearest and most cherished friends.


The support that Tanzania gave us in our struggle for freedom was unparalleled.


In 2019, I had the honour of visiting the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Morogoro.


This institution bears witness to the shelter, comfort and support extended by Tanzania to our freedom fighters for nearly three decades.


I was recently reminded of the extraordinary story of a group of nurses from South Africa that were smuggled out of the country in the early 1960s to work in Tanzania and to train nursing staff there.


Known as the 20 Nightingales, they were received by President Julius Nyerere and ANC President Oliver Tambo and were then placed in hospitals around the country to treat patients and to supervise local nurses.


Earlier this month, one of these revolutionary nurses, Sister Kholeka Tunyiswa passed away in Dar es Salaam. We pay tribute to Mama Kholeka and to her fellow nurses for their sacrifice and their contribution.


These 20 Nightingales embodied the pan-African spirit that guides our interactions as African countries, today and into the future.


Tanzania supported our just struggle and her noble people embraced us.


For this, we remain forever grateful.


As we consolidate our bilateral relations, we build on this solidarity and friendship. This has enabled South Africa to participate in the African Liberation Heritage Programme hosted by Tanzania.


From our side we have instituted the South African Chapter of the Project called the Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route. It is aimed at commemoration, celebration, education and preservation of a crucial era of our history.


Our rich history connects us as Africans and contributes towards strengthening people-to-people exchange.


We believe that this State Visit will further strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations between our two countries and enhance the work of the BNC.


We must use this opportunity to explore further areas of cooperation.


I am pleased to learn that several Agreements and MOUs between our departments are currently at various stages of negotiation and will soon be signed and subsequently implemented.


One of the key priorities of the BNC is to increase trade and investment so that we may promote economic development for the mutual benefit of our two countries.


To do this, we need to address any impediments and create a conducive environment for bilateral trade and investment to flourish.


I look forward to participating in the South Africa-Tanzania Business Forum taking place alongside this State Visit and Summit Meeting of the BNC.


Just as we share common aspirations for the social and economic development of our countries, we also share similar views on the security and economic development of our region and the continent.


Our engagements in regional, continental and global governance institutions reinforce the imperative of silencing the guns across the continent and of working together for peace, security, and stability.


We should be concerned, in particular, at the concerted effort to frustrate the resolution of the situation in Western Sahara. As South Africa and Tanzania, we need to continue to mobilise other countries on the continent and international partners towards a sustainable resolution to the Western Sahara conflict in line with the provisions of the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement.


The changing international political landscape requires us to align our positions and approaches to ensure that the voice of our Africa is further strengthened at a global stage.


Once again, I welcome you to South Africa and I look forward to the report of the deliberations of the Ministers’ segment of the Bi-National Commission.


I thank you.


Issued by: The Presidency