Mpahlwa said it will be among his major areas of concern as the new ambassador accredited to Rwanda. He made the revelation yesterday after presenting letters of credence to President Paul Kagame.
Mpahlwa, 60, has been appointed two years after his country withdrew her representative in Rwanda. In December 2018, South Africa recalled George Nkosinati Twala who was representing South Africa to Rwanda after completing his term. The recalling came two days after tensions triggered by allegations that Rwanda spoke ill of the then South Africa’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Even though, reasons for new appointment delay remain unknown, both countries have been hit by diplomatic tensions where Rwanda accused South Africa to grant refuge to fugitives intending to threaten Rwanda’s security like Kayumba Nyamwasa who escaped justice and currently heading RNC terror outfit.
In March 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the problem of Rwandans being denied visas to South Africa would soon become history after holding talks with President Paul Kagame. However, up to now, Rwandans still struggle to get visa to travel to South Africa.
Rwanda has at different times explained that actions of convicted people or fugitives should not blur bilateral relations.
After presenting letters of credence, Amb. Mpahlwa has revealed that he talked about the problem with President Kagame and expressed sentiments o address it. He explained that solving the problem will be part of his contributions as the new envoy accredited to Rwanda.
“This is a matter that we have spoken about with the president, we both recognized that there some issues but we have both expressed commitment that must help us to normalize relationship. There are many South Africans living in Rwanda, business continues to operate in Rwanda and this must seek common grounds for improved relationships,” he said.
“It is a responsibility awaiting us [visa problem], it has to be done to give meaning to my presence in Rwanda because we have capacity to solve problems to take relations forward. It is something I promised the president that I can relate to what my president would want to see,” added Mpahlwa.
He didn’t precise when the problem will have been fixed but assured it is among his priorities noting that it will be addressed on time.
Mpahlwa has been representing South Africa to Mozambique where he completed his tour of duty this year.
He once served as the Minister of Trade and Industry and held different top positions in South Africa since 2004.