President Jacob Zuma


President Jacob Zuma has characterized the State Visit to the Republic of Zambia as a remarkable success as he had positive and fruitful official talks with his Zambian counterpart, His Excellency President Edgar Lungu in Lusaka.   

The State Visit had provided a platform to both President Zuma and President Lungu to deliberate on various issues of mutual concern as well as to deepen and strengthen bilateral, political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries, underpinned by strong historical ties that date back from the years of the liberation struggle against apartheid and colonialism.

The most important highlight of the visit was the elevation of the structured bilateral mechanism between South Africa and Zambia from the Joint Commission for Cooperation to a complete Bi-National Commission (BNC) that will now be chaired by the two Heads of State.

“It was an important visit for South Africa as our aim was to review and strengthen the existing strong bilateral and economic relations between the two nations and we are all pleased with the outcomes of our talks,” said the President.

He added: “We have ensured that our structured bilateral mechanisms are operational and effective to lead us to the joint future we want.”

“Considering the strong historical and fraternal bonds that bind our sister Republics and Peoples, we have today decided to elevate our structured Bilateral Mechanism from the current Joint Commission for Cooperation to a fully-fledged Bi-National Commission. 

The BNC would ensure that we meet annually at the level of Heads of State. We believe that this would put the required impetus to the implementation of agreements.

We have also over the years seen progressive expansion and deepening of our bilateral cooperation. To date, we have concluded over twenty agreements and memoranda of understanding covering a wide range of areas,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma added that the visit also provided an opportunity to discuss and agreed on various issues, most particularly economic cooperation including priority sectors include agriculture and agro-processing, mining and mineral beneficiation, energy, ICT connectivity, tourism, arts and culture as well as the establishment of related industries and supportive infrastructure development.

The two Heads of State also discussed peace and security issues in the continent, particularly in the SADC region and agreed on working together to advance regional integration agenda, in particular peace and security of the region.

“With regards to our Continent, we remain totally committed not only to the unity of the Continent but also to the implementation of AU Agenda 2063, especially continental integration and silencing of the Guns by 2020,” President Zuma said.

President Zuma and President Lungu also addressed the Zambia-South Africa Business Forum held on the sidelines of the State Visit to bolster economic relations between the two countries both in the public and private sector.

“As we elevate our relations at government level, it is very important for the business sector from both countries to enhance cooperation to ensure inclusive economic growth that will liberate our people from poverty, unemployment and inequality. I was happy to have an opportunity to address the Business Forum earlier and we gave the private sector a clear directive that both countries are open for business.”

“They should take advantage of this warm historical relationship to advance business opportunities. The forum further promoted business-to-business cooperation, aimed at diversifying the economies of the nations,” President Zuma said.

During the State Visit, President Zuma also officially launched the Oliver Tambo National Heritage Site to honour and celebrate the legacy and centenary year of one of South Africa’s most respected humanists, a liberation struggle stalwart and former President of the governing party, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo. 


Whilst exiled from South Africa during the apartheid era, Mr Tambo lived in Zambia from 1965 to 1991, where he was accommodated in various locations including Chelstone Green in Lusaka in a double storey house which was allocated to him by Zambia’s first democratic President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda. The house been declared a National Heritage Site by the Zambian government.


“The visit coincides with an important period in our country when we celebrate the centenary of our former President, Oliver Reginald Tambo. The hospitality, warmth and solidarity shown to President Tambo by the Zambian government and people will never be forgotten.”

“Although he would spend days and weeks traveling the world to mobilize the international community against apartheid, President Tambo would always return to Lusaka, the ANC Head Quarters and the home away from home that he had found for all of us.”

“We once again extend our gratitude for that unique solidarity and friendship and the official launch of the renovated Tambo home is one of the powerful symbols of the bond between the two countries and their peoples,” the President concluded.

President Zuma was accompanied by the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa; Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies; Energy, Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi; Mineral Resources, Mr Mosebenzi Zwane as well as Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Senzeni Zokwana.


Issued by: The Presidency