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Zuma urges Kabila’s DRC to engage in dialogue rather than conflict

President Jacob Zuma says the people of the DRC need to determine and decide their internal political future.

President Jacob Zuma meets with President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo during his official visit to South Africa on 25 June 2017 to attend the 10th session of the South Africa-Democratic Republic of Congo Bi-National Commission. Picture: GCIS

PRETORIA – President Jacob Zuma says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) needs negotiations and dialogue rather than conflict to chart its future.

He was speaking to his counterpart Joseph Kabila in Pretoria on Sunday at the end of the 13th meeting of South Africa’s oldest binational commission with any country.

Zuma notes that South Africa and the DRC have been working together for the past 20 years.

South Africa’s helped in the training of the DRC national army, police, diplomats; providing technical electoral support; as well as conducting the important public service census.

He says the DRC is now politically stable and the security situation has improved.

He congratulates Kabila on the manner with which he has handled the process.

Zuma says the people of the DRC need to determine and decide their internal political future.

Earlier, security is tight at the presidential guest house ahead of the meeting.

Congolese residents in South Africa had threatened to protest against Kabila’s presence because they maintain he is no longer legitimately president of the Central Africa giant.

Members of the Congolese community in South Africa contend that Kabila’s constitutional mandate as president expired last November and he’s no longer legitimately at the helm in Kinshasa.

After deadly protests in the DRC, Kabila agreed to hold elections this year.

His government has since said the process is too expensive at this stage.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)