PRETORIA – 26th July, 2015 – OUT-GOING Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde has called on Zambians living in South Africa to create a “Diaspora Fund” which can be used to help address welfare challenges of the nationals.
Mr. Chikonde has also urged the Zambian community in South Africa to take advantage of the on-going consultative process on the Diaspora Policy which has been initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when the exercise is extended to South Africa in the course of next month.
He pointed out that the Mission’s operating budget was cemented by fixed costs, a situation which has made it difficult to attend to other needs such as repatriation of the deceased and the destitute.
“This is why I call upon you that the spirit you have exhibited today must be institutionalised so that we can create a Diaspora Fund from which we could tap in times of need.”
The High Commissioner was speaking last night at a farewell party organised for him by Zambians in South Africa. The event was also in honour of Zambia’s Deputy High Commissioner to South Africa, Mr. Joe Kaunda, and Second Secretary in Charge of Finance, Mr. Mulenga Kachela.
Mr. Chikonde, who is moving to the United Kingdom, said he focused on ensuring that the Station was well positioned by initiating administrative transformation during his first year in office because he believed a Mission should at all times be the first port of call and the last line of defence for its distressed citizens abroad as well as for investors and trading companies.
He said he was glad that the rebranding of the South African Mission and the development of interactive platforms such as the website, Facebook and the creation of online registration for Zambian citizens has brought “us closer and changed the way the Mission has been perceived.”
Among several achievements during his tenure, Mr. Chikonde noted that he was glad that the Yellow Fever certificate requirement for travellers between Zambia and South Africa has been resolved. He was also pleased that the Mission has been able to initiate the Durban – Lusaka air route with the Kwa-Zulu Natal Investment office which will assist Zambians engaged in vehicle and spares trading.
He also cited the successful establishment of the South Africa-Zambia Business Chamber of Commerce under which a number of business and investment seminars in infrastructure, mining, energy and tourism, have been conducted.
Mr. Chikonde thanked President Edgar Lungu for showing trust and confidence and considering him for such an important posting as London.
And both Mr. Kaunda and Mr. Kachela thanked the Zambian community for the support in achieving the milestones over the years they served at the Mission.
Chairman of the organising committee, Mr. Johnstone Chikwanda said the farewell party was historical in that it was the first time that the Zambian community was hosting such an event for their out-going diplomats. “I hope this is the beginning of similar events not just here but also in other countries.”
Mr. Chikwanda said Zambians in South Africa have appreciated the approach to issues by Mr. Chikonde and the two other departing diplomats which he said was at a personal level yet professional. He said he was sure that the three would continue to achieve high strides wherever they were going.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Association in South Africa (ZASA) has hailed Mr. Chikonde’s administration for closely working with it.
ZASA president, Ferdinand Simaanya said that the collaboration with the Mission has seen the formation of branches across South Africa.
Mr. Simaanya said this was the first time that the association, which has been around for several years, has created branches with aim of being effective and reaching out to Zambians in South Africa.
So far branches have been established in Central Johannesburg, Benoni, Kempton Park, Midrand, Pretoria, Westonaria, Randburg, Berea, Hillbrow, Pietermarisburg and Durban.
Mr. Simaanya said the association, in collaboration with the High Commission, has in the last nine months assisted in the repatriation of the deceased, repatriation of Zambians held at prisons, donation of household items to Zambians in distress, and settlement of medical bills for ill Zambians.
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