French Minister of State for Transport, Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Alain Vidalies, visited South Africa from 7 to 10 March 2017.
The meeting with Minister Dipuo Peters aimed at discussing the progresses and sharing outlook within the bilateral cooperation in the field of transport. They met in June 2015 at the Bourget Air Show to sign the bilateral agreement on cooperation in transport. This cooperation will be operationally translated, first and foremost, by a study visit to France by a delegation from the Department of Transport in April on the subject of rail transport. Urban transport has been considered by both Ministers as a major sector in which our cooperation could be fostered. This has also been emphasized at a dedicated seminar on this topic during which political and administrative representatives from national, regional and local levels of South African authorities have exchanged experience with the French Minister and the relevant companies. Minister Peters also proposed that this good cooperation is extended to the maritime and aviation sectors.
The meeting with Mr Bheki CELE, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries aimed at sharing views on Fisheries, especially regarding aquaculture and fishery oversight. The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Senzeni ZOKWANA) signed a cooperation agreement with Mrs Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs, on fisheries surveillance in the Marion, Prince Edwards and TAAF waters during the State visit of President Zuma in France, in July 2016. France and South Africa, as maritime powers, also share many interests in the field of maritime economics. Both Ministers have agreed to strengthen these exchanges through a more formalized cooperation.
The French Minister also visited several French and South African companies. These include PRASA Gauteng Nerve Center, Airbus Helicopters, Alstom Ubunye, the Gautrain command center and the Air Traffic Navigation Services at OR Tambo International Airport, confirming the current excellent cooperation between companies from both countries.
Finally, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between French company SNCF and South African company PRASA focusing on the return of experience of the upcoming entry into service of the 600 Alstom trains to be manufactured in the South African Gibela site.