Issue 60 |31 May 2013
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“In just 19 years, we reset South Africa’s international relations that were constructed and developed during 400 years of exclusion, colonialism and apartheid.”

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, delivered the department’s Budget Vote in the National Assembly in Parliament, Cape Town, on 30 May 2013.

The Minister reflected on the 50th anniversary celebrations of the African Union (AU) and its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 25 May 2013. A series of national activities are planned for South Africa’s own celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the OAU/AU under the theme: “Pan-Africanism and the Renaissance”.  
  The Minister also reflected on the past 19 years of a free and democratic South Africa. “ … the goals we set for ourselves when we began this journey have been achieved:
  • our country is no longer a pariah state but a valued and respected member of the international community
  • we have a dynamic, independent foreign policy that speaks to our domestic priorities, which is supported by a professional foreign service
  • we expanded our global footprint from 34 to 126 Missions across all continents and time zones
  • our international trade surged, creating millions of jobs; and tourist arrivals continue to grow year after year
  • our African Agenda has placed our continent at the centre of our foreign policy
  • our relations with countries of the South are firmly grounded on shared interests and common challenges
  • our partnership with countries of the North is based on mutual respect and cooperation
  • we are active in the multilateral system for the transformation of the global governance architecture
  • our economic diplomacy promotes South Africa’s broad economic objectives globally
  • we are considered globally a member of what has become known as ‘emerging powers’.”

The African Agenda


“Our relations with our neighbours are in good shape …”

  • Bilaterally, work will continue for strong diplomatic and economic ties with countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
  • SADC has taken a lead in working for peace and stability in the region, and South Africa’s contribution has been through preventive diplomacy and mediation; its membership of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security; and through regional peacekeeping efforts.
“These excellent relations we have with our neighbours extend to all regions of our continent.” 
  • South Africa remains concerned with the peace and security situation on the continent.
  • The humanitarian assistance provided is an act of solidarity with sisterly countries in need.
  • Continental Peace and Security Architecture, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism are concrete steps taken to find African solutions to challenges of peace, development and democracy.

South-South relations

Building strong South-South relations is another leg on which South Africa’s foreign policy stands. This is done through:

  • establishing good bilateral relations with countries of the South
  • developing a focussed strategy and approach for engagement with the "emerging powers" of the South
  • participating in mini-lateral bodies of countries of the South such as the Non-Aligned Movement for the pursuit of the interests of developing countries in the global system.
  • South Africa assumed the chairship of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) after the successful hosting of the Summit as contained in the eThekwini Declaration and eThekwini Action Plan.
  • The IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) Trilateral Agreement celebrates its 10th anniversary this year; and we will use this to reflect on the milestones and long-term future of this formation. These partnerships and engagements resonate with the African Agenda.
  • South Africa assumed the co-chairship of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in June 2012 in Beijing. South Africa will work with China over the next six years to ensure the implementation of the Fifth FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2013 – 2015).
  • The Gulf region is equally important as a political player in global affairs as well as a source of foreign direct investments and destination for our exports. South Africa will continue to direct efforts in contributing to the peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Palestine, Syria and other areas of conflict in the Middle East.
  • South Africa’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean region are also underpinned by shared South-South values and goals. This partnership is strengthened by the presence of a large African Diaspora in the region. South Africa is committed to the expeditious implementation of the five legacy projects of the AU Diaspora Summit, hosted in the country last year.
“What makes our South-South engagement strategy so effective is the fact that it is rooted on strong bilateral relations.”

Bilateral relations with countries of the North

“We have good bilateral relations with countries of the North.”
  • Our strategic political dialogue with the United States of America (US) continues to positively impact on our bilateral relations. The US is also our major trade, investment, tourism and technology partner.
  • Europe remains South Africa’s main trading partner, source of investment and valuable supplier of cutting-edge technology and capacity-building. The partnership with the European Union serves as a platform for political dialogue and the expansion of our economic ties.
  • South Africa will participate in the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) Summit to be held in Yokohama, Japan, from 1 to 3 June 2013.



“Since re-entering the world stage in 1994, South Africa has taken up many international positions of responsibility; often the task was daunting, but through the innovative hard work and dedication of our people, we have consistently recorded resounding successes. Today, we are an influential global player.

“We have sought to utilise our various memberships in the international fora to promote our national interests and advance the African Agenda.”

  • The United Nations (UN) remains one single forum where nations of the world converge under one roof to discuss issues of common interest. South Africa’s election to the UN Peace Building Commission, following directly on our UN Security Council membership, is testament to our continued commitment to global peace and security. It also coincides with the membership of the Economic and Social Council, which is the principal coordinating body for economic and social matters within the UN system.
  • Advocacy and diplomatic work on the transformation of the global governance system should be intensified – building on G20 reforms of the international financial architecture and the Bretton Woods institutions. The expansion of the UN Security Council in the permanent category should be a priority.
  • South Africa has continued to play an active international role in numerous multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation meetings, because this is important to the agenda for the creation of a peaceful and prosperous century.

“Every good step we take is just the beginning of a better one. Some priorities should therefore preoccupy our approach into the future.”

  • We have initiated implementation modalities on the National Development Plan. One of these is on South Africa’s national interests with the view to elaborating a policy and strategy in a manner that balances our domestic priorities with equally important imperatives of cooperation and partnership as well as Pan-Africanism and South-South solidarity.
  • The African Agenda must be consolidated. The AU continues to be the primary vehicle that carries the hopes and aspirations of all Africans. As we look to the future, as South Africa, we embrace Vision 2063 of the AU, which is encapsulated in the 50th Anniversary Declaration adopted recently at the conclusion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. This Vision contains priorities that form the pillars of the tasks bestowed on us by history in our march to the next 50 years of our Union in 2063. 
  • The success of NEPAD’s Presidential Infrastructure Initiative that we champion and the AU’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa is essential not only to our integration agenda, but specifically for the realisation of the Continental Free Trade Area.
  • The current trend of gaining political power unconstitutionally has to be halted. In this regard, the decision taken by the recent AU Summit at the initiative of South Africa, on the urgent establishment of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises is historic, and indeed a leap towards the operationalisation of the African Standby Force.  

“The foreign policy goals we set for ourselves when we began this journey in 1994 have been achieved. We have now reached a turning point where we have to marshal our forces in order to remain among the top economies of the world of today and the future. We are ready for this task. History defines destiny, not only in humans, but also among states. We are stronger and more determined for the long walk in this journey to a better South Africa in a better Africa and a better world.”




“We have successfully designed and implemented a foreign policy based on the principles of Ubuntu, human rights, human development and international solidarity with the developing world.”

On 30 May 2013, hours before the delivery of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s (DIRCO) Budget Vote to the National Assembly in Parliament, Cape Town, Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane participated in a live television engagement.

The Minister provided the audience with a preview to the department’s Budget Vote: “Over the past 19 years, we have promoted relations with strategic partners, and build formidable partnerships with like-minded states, we developed and implemented a foreign policy agenda that is founded on the principle that there can be no development and prosperity in Africa without peace and no peace and prosperity in Africa without development. We have played our role in preventing and mediating conflicts across our continent, and we have committed our resources to post-reconstruction and development on our continent.

“We have developed and implemented an independent and robust multilateral architecture in favour of the developing world. We have successfully designed and implemented a foreign policy based on the principles of Ubuntu, human rights, human development and international solidarity with the developing world. Today, we can confidently say that we have made progress. Africa today is a far more peaceful (albeit the challenges) continent than it was two decades ago. In brief, this is what this great nation has achieved in the past 19 years.”

The Minister fielded questions from the floor and responded to issues ranging from the upcoming State Visit by United States President, Barack Obama, the independence of South Africa’s foreign policy, South Africa-India relations following the Waterkloof incident, to the perception that South Africa is sometimes viewed as a “bully”.

The Twitter airwaves were heated during the question-and-answer session as several of the “Twitterati” or “Twitter Tribe” such as @Sentletse, @kaysexwale, @mabine_seabe, @EbrahimFakir and @ChiefNtshingila were present in the audience.

  • Nkoana-Mashabane: there's a difference between intervention and interference.
  • Nkoana-Mashabane says most of the issues before the UNSC are about Africa, but Africa is not represented.
  • Minister Nkoana-Mashabane says President @BarackObama's visit affirms SA's role as a major international player.
  • South Africa's foreign policy is independent, says Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
  • Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reiterates South Africa's commitment to an African Agenda and to multilateralism.
  • Minister Nkoana-Mashabane: the youth are not only the future; they are the present.
  • Minister Nkoana-Mashabane. In foreign policy .ZA intervenes where necessary. ZA doesn’t interfere. There is a difference.
  • Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says African countries must stop complaining that others want to do things to them and must take charge.
  • This Minister is a seasoned diplomat and tackles questions asked with an impressive smoothness. Wish we could clone her.

On 28 May 2013, the Minister also engaged the media on the Budget Vote at the Table Bay Hotel.




Pre-Budget Vote Public Participation Programme (PPP) held at Gugulethu Stadium

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation continues to engage and prioritise engagements with the youth, women and unemployed citizens through its PPP. This programme consists of mass-based community meetings and structured engagements with community organisations and relevant government departments and business.

On 29 May 2013, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, engaged about 3 000 community members in Gugulethu in the Western Cape on the department’s Budget Vote.

“Today, South Africa is a better place than it was 19 years ago. Our promise to create a better life for all our people is beginning to see the light of day. Changing the quality of the lives of our people has been our vision for the past 19 years. Creating more employment, reducing the levels of poverty and unemployment was and still is the cornerstone of our democracy and reason for our foreign policy,” Deputy Minister Fransman said.
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