SA, Germany renew bilateral agreement

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla has renewed a bilateral cooperation between the North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) of the Federal states of Germany and Mpumalanga.

This was sealed at a meeting held in Nelspruit this week between the NRW minister of sports, Armin Laschet, and Makwetla, who was accompanied by MEC for sport, culture and recreation, Jabu Mahlangu.

According to Laschet, Germany has a wide range of initiatives on how to source renewable energy and is willing to enter into a cooperation pact with Mpumalanga to mitigate the impact of load shedding.

The meeting was at a time when South Africa is experiencing major interruptions in its energy supply, partly because of robust economic growth.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Makwetla said Mpumalanga was happy to host the delegation in furtherance of the objectives stipulated in a memorandum of understanding signed between the two states in 1995.

He said the electricity crisis has compelled South Africans to be "open minded" in seeking solutions in alternative energy supply.

The bilateral agreement was first signed in 1995 and renewed in 2006 when Makwetla visited Germany to hold discussions with his NRW counterpart, Minister President Jurgen Ruttgers.

Makwetla visited Germany in 2006 as part of efforts to solicit the involvement of NRW in helping the province to prepare for a successful 2010 World Cup.

Makwetla said the initial agreements focused on good governance, economic development, health and sports development.

"In 1996, the treaty was amended to include cooperation on 2010-related activities such as infrastructure development, mass mobilisation and volunteer mobilisation," said Makwetla.

He said the agreement was focused on rural development, HIV-Aids and was amended to include 2010 preparations, particularly football development and infrastructure development.

Laschet said that the German chamber of commerce would visit the province in April, to provide an opportunity for 48 young people from Mpumalanga to be trained as welders and to be employed by German companies that operate in South Africa

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