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Cablegate: Codel Johnson Visit to South Africa, January 9-12, 2008

VZCZCXRO6203
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #0122/01 0181307
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181307Z JAN 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3220
INFO RUCPDC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FAA NATIONAL HQ WASHINGTON DC
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 1049
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0384
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 1353
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 0170
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 1293

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 000122

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS USAID
DEPT FOR AF, AF/S, EEB/TRA, INL/AAE, G/G/IWI, AND H
ROME FOR TSA REP
DAKAR FOR FAA REP
FAA FOR NANCY ANGELA
FAA FOR APT-1/AFS-50/AGC-7

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP EAIR PGOV PINR PREL SENV SF
SUBJECT: CODEL JOHNSON VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA, JANUARY 9-12, 2008

REF: A) Pretoria 00001

B) Pretoria 00073
C) Pretoria 00080

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: House Subcommittee on Water Resources and
Infrastructure Chairman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) led a
nine-member congressional delegation of the Transportation and
Infrastructure Committee (including one member from the Energy and
Commerce Committee) on a fact-finding mission to South Africa
January 9-12, 2008. Post was able to organize four meetings for the
morning of January 10, three of which were with ministers
(Transport, Public Works, and Foreign Affairs), despite the
challenges of local summer vacation and some political turmoil (Ref
A). The meeting with the Transport Minister marked the strong
bilateral cooperation that helped avert a potential FAA downgrade in
flight safety oversight standards (Ref B). The fourth meeting was
with the Director General of the Department of Water and Forestry.
Ref C reported on the detailed discussion on bilateral issues and
Africa policy with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dlamini-Zuma. Areas
of cooperation and follow-up mutually identified in the meetings
include flight safety oversight and training, law enforcement,
skills development, infrastructure, water management, women's
programs, stability and foreign policy in Africa, and market
access-trade. In addition, the CODEL toured Robben Island in Cape
Town, guided by fellow prisoner of Nelson Mandela and Robben Island
Foundation CEO Ahmed (Kathy) Kathrada. The CODEL also visited the
Hector Peterson Memorial and Museum of the anti-apartheid struggle
in Soweto. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
"Let's Strengthen CivAir Cooperation and Training"
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (SBU) Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and seven
members of the House of Representative's Committee on Transportation
and Infrastructure called on Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe in
Pretoria on January 10, accompanied by Ambassador and staff. Radebe
(also a former detainee on Robben Island) welcomed the delegation
and thanked Congress for its support during the recent FAA
International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) audit of the South
African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), which reaffirmed its
Category One status (Ref B). The delegation discussed strengthening
bilateral relations and increasing cooperation in the transportation
sector. Radebe identified training and policy development as
potential areas for increased cooperation with the United States.
He described on-going South African initiatives to prepare for the
2010 FIFA World Cup. According to Radebe, the Department of
Transport (DOT) is considering projects to lower congestion and
develop ports (including the Coega project, near Port Elizabeth in
the Eastern Cape). Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello
(D-IL) expressed pleasure at the results of the FAA audit. Costello
described the results of the FAA audit as a move in a positive
direction for South Africa and mentioned the technical assistance
provided by the FAA. Both Radebe and Ambassador recognized the
Qprovided by the FAA. Both Radebe and Ambassador recognized the
strong cooperative relationship between the Embassy and the South
African DOT. The new SACAA CEO/Commissioner Colin Jordaan also
joined the meeting and had the opportunity to discuss the SACAA's
action plan with Representative Costello (Ref B).

--------------------------------
"Universal Water Access by 2014"
--------------------------------

3. (SBU) Department of Water and Forestry Director General Rampedi
Moshibidi presented an overview of South Africa's water policy,
which is focused on managing scarce water resources and assuring
access to water for all its citizens. Moshibidi said South Africa
would achieve the Millennium Development Goal of universal water
access by 2014, noting that currently over 50 per cent of the
population had access. Some of Moshibidi's accompanying experts
presented details of South Africa's Water Resource Strategy, which
seeks to ensure that water is used to support equitable and
sustainable social and economic transformation and development,
including provision of water services - potable water and safe
sanitation - to all people, but especially the poor and previously
disadvantaged. South Africa is among the top 30 dry countries in

PRETORIA 00000122 002 OF 003


the world. Due to skewed rainfall distributions, South Africa
transfers water from the East to industrial areas and to/from its
neighbors. Regional water distribution occurs through SADC
protocols. Representative Johnson expressed a desire to begin
multilateral discussions on water resources and hoped to have SAG
support for such efforts. Chairman Johnson thanked the Director
General for the detailed presentation and expressed the desire to
seek ways to cooperate and share best practices.

--------------------------------------------
"South Africa Works Because of Public Works"
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Minister of Public Works Thoko Didiza and her team of
deputies received the CODEL and Ambassador for a brief but cordial
courtesy meeting. The Minister summarized some of the objectives of
her Department, including addressing the skills gap, promoting
economic development and good governance, and managing
infrastructure and immoveable asset needs of the government. Didiza
called for greater collaboration with the USG on shared interests.
Ambassador offered to have his staff follow up with meetings to
identify potential areas of cooperation. The Minister expressed a
desire to incorporate lessons learned from the United States on
infrastructure development/implementation of public works projects.
She emphasized that while the DPW was not directly involved with
transportation infrastructure development for the 2010 FIFA World
Cup, it was still the department responsible for regulation of this
construction.

--------------------------------------------- --
"We Need Greater Cooperation on African Issues"
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (SBU) Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (ex-wife of new
ANC President Jacob Zuma) and CODEL and Ambassador had a
wide-ranging discussion of U.S./South Africa relations and other
international issues in Pretoria's historic Union Building (More
details in Ref C). Representative Johnson stressed the importance
of good relations between the U.S. and South Africa, citing the
opportunity to engage in dialogue on ways to improve water quality
and infrastructure in South Africa and Africa. Dlamini-Zuma warned
that failure of the North-South peace agreement could lead to the
break-up of Sudan. While praising UN peacekeeping in Darfur, she
warned that peacekeeping could not be effective without a political
settlement with buy-in from all important players. The Minister
noted that Kenya's recent election was problematic, but she blamed
the turmoil there on deep ethnic divisions. She commented that
South Africa would follow the lead of the African Union on Kenya.
South Africa wants to improve its economic relationship with China
and seeks broader access to the U.S. market in order to diversify
its exports.

-------------------
History and Culture
-------------------


6. (U) The CODEL was interested in learning about and paying
tribute to South Africa's culture and history, especially its long
anti-apartheid struggle. A highlight of the South Africa visit was
Qanti-apartheid struggle. A highlight of the South Africa visit was
a day-trip to Cape Town to tour Robben Island, the notorious
apartheid era prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. Hosted
by Mandela's prison mate and Robben Island Foundation CEO Ahmed
(Kathy) Kathrada, the Members visited Mandela's cell and presented a
gift from the American Congress. Kathrada lauded the strong support
from American civil society in South Africa's anti-apartheid
struggle, pointing out that the USG was unfortunately slower in
providing support. The CODEL visited an equally poignant site in
Soweto, the Hector Peterson Memorial, which marks the site of the
death of this youth in 1976, which precipitated the student
rebellion and deaths that galvanized international support for the
struggle.

------------------------
COMMENT - Positive Vibes
------------------------

PRETORIA 00000122 003 OF 003


7. (SBU) The timing of this CODEL just two days after the delivery
of the FAA notice that South Africa would retain its Category One
status created a positive environment. The reception of Minister of
Transport Radebe in Washington by Secretary of Transportation Mary
Peters, Deputy Secretary of Transportation Thomas Barrett, and
Acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell last December also created
a desire to respond in kind. Finally, the vigorous efforts of the
Department of Foreign Affairs, particularly Director: USA Fadl
Nacerodien, helped to secure and coordinate a variety of
departmental meetings and make this visit a strong positive
contribution to the bilateral relationship. Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs Sue van der Merwe later sent a note to the CODEL to
check on the status of the visit just prior to its departure.
Nacerodien subsequently told Economic Counselor that he would send a
report to their Embassy in Washington recommending that they follow
up on this visit. DOS and DOT should expect to hear from the South
African Embassy in the near future. Specific areas of cooperation
and follow-up mutually identified in the meetings include flight
safety oversight and training, law enforcement, skills development,
infrastructure, water management, women's programs, stability and
foreign policy in Africa, and market access-trade.

8. (U) This cable was read and approved by CODEL Johnson.

BOST

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