PRETORIA– Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders has declared his country’s full backing for South Africa’s ongoing land reform efforts whihch involves expropriation of land without compensation.

Speaking at a joint media briefing with South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the conclusion of a working visit here Monday, he said: We are sure that we need to be firm on the issue of land reform because from the beginning of the reconciliation process, land reform was the focus.

He acknowledged that Section 25 of the South African Constitution was being reviewed through a parliamentary process. There is an importance of the process to be smooth, Reynders said.

He added that Belgium’s position was that the process needed to be balanced. We don’t want to [later] express extreme views. We have already seen so many views across the world. We have to try to work together to better understand and be sure that it’s a balanced process with the capacity to take into account all the interests of the citizens, he said.

Sisulu said she had during discussions assured Reynders that South Africa was educating the world about where the country stood on land as the position had been misunderstood. I assured him that we are doing something about it. We are educating the world about what we are doing to redistribute the land, she said.

The two Ministers signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance co-operation between the two countries.

As South Africa we enjoy good bilateral relations with Belgium. These relations are based on shared commitment to the values of freedom, democracy and similar approach to a number of international issues, particularly peace and security, Sisulu said.

South Africa and Belgium occupy a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2019- 2020 term.

We used this meeting to among other things deepen our bilateral ties and to enhance continuous cooperation on peace and security issues, particularly those on the agenda of the UNSC. We also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest, such as the fight against racism, human rights, migration, climate and ecological changes, amongst others, Sisulu said.

The Minsters said the main objectives of the meeting was to expand and strengthen bilateral relations, revitalize economic relations with a focus on Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and Tourism.

Belgium invested 10.11 billion Rand (about 665 million US dollars) into the South African economy in 2017, creating more than 1,000 job opportunities for people.

As we prepare for the upcoming Investor Conference in October 2018 which is aimed at attracting 1.3 trillion Rand investment into the country, we are certain that Belgium is already part of the investment drive and will send its business representatives to the conference, she said.