President Kamuzu Banda of Malawi arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday on the second day of his historic five-day state visit to South Africa.
President Kamuzu Banda of Malawi arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday on the second day of his historic five-day state visit to South Africa. Dr Banda is the first black African national leader to visit the Republic.
From Cape Town, Dr Banda drove the 22 miles (35 km) to Simonstown, headquarters of the South African Navy and the subject of a controversial defence agreement between South Africa and Britain.
Dr Banda was shown around the Simonstown base by South African Defence Minister Pieter Botha (with bald head and glasses) and Admiral Biermann, Commander in Chief of the South African Navy.
The Malawi leader saw some of the frigates supplied to South Africa by Britain under the 1955 Simonstown Agreement, which provides for the British Royal Navy to use the Simonstown facilities. South Africa is known to be anxious to replace the ships with more modern vessels, but the supply of arms to South Africa has become a subject of political controversy in Britain and the Commonwealth.
SYNOPSIS: On the second day of his five-day state visit to South Africa, Dr Kamuzu Banda toured the Simonstown Naval Base with South African Defence Minister Pieter Botha.
Dr Banda made history this week by becoming the first leader of a black African state to visit the white-ruled Republic. Conscious of the controversy surrounding his visit, Dr Banda has publicly stressed both his opposition to apartheid and his rejection of other African leaders' policy of isolating South Africa.
Dr Banda saw the aging frigates supplied to South Africa by Britain under the Simonstown Defence Agreement. South Africa's desire to modernise its navy and acquire fresh arms supplies from Britain provoked bitter controversy at last January's Commonwealth summit meeting in Singapore. Dr Banda was among the minority who supported Britain in rejecting an arms ban. As he toured the Simonstown base, Dr Banda commented: "This is the place I was defending when I was in Singapore".