Whether the Government’s foreign policy are regularly evaluated to ensure that its national interests are maximised

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 3630         (NW4409E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 40-2011 OF 18 NOVEMBER 2011

Mr L S Ngonyama (Cope) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

Whether the Government’s foreign policy are regularly evaluated to ensure that its national interests are maximised; if not, why not; if so, (a) when last was the foreign policy evaluated, (b) who is involved in this process, (c) how is the process guided, (d) which national interests were pursued in the process and (e) what are the further relevant details?

REPLY:

South Africa strives to promote its national interest in a complex and fast-changing world. The impact of these global complexities and changes are constantly reviewed and factored in to the work of my Department. Foreign policy is, and has always been, an outward extension of South Africa’s national policies and interests. Government’s key domestic priorities are therefore a determining factor in the pursuit of South Africa’s international relations and cooperation. The primary responsibility of my department is to deliver on Outcome 11, namely to create a better South Africa and contribute to a better and safer Africa and world. My department and the conduct of foreign policy are therefore an integral part of the performance management and evaluation system of government and its review mechanisms, including strategic planning, mid-term review and regular reporting. The direction and substance of South Africa’s foreign policy is therefore regularly interrogated and aligned to the priorities of Government. Furthermore, in my Budget Vote Speech in April 2010, I instructed my Department to evaluate the substance and direction of our foreign policy and strengthen its role as principal advisor and implementer of international relations. The culmination of this process has been the draft White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy which aims to serve as a guide in the conduct of our foreign policy.

(a) As explained above, it is regularly evaluated according to the prescribed strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation processes of Government. The White Paper process began in April 2010 and is currently before Cabinet in its amended form.

(b) Cabinet, my department and our Missions are involved in the regular processes of evaluation and monitoring. Cabinet has also approved the establishment of a South African Council on International Relations (SACOIR) which will serve as a consultative forum for South African non-state actors and government experts to interact with my Department on the development and implementation of South Africa’s foreign policy.

(c) The strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation processes of Government are regulated by the Public Finance Management Act as well as the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.

(d) As explained above, the priorities of government provide the strategic focus for my Department to achieve a better South Africa, including the priorities of employment, rural development, education, health and crime and justice. The draft White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy reflects on the values that inspire and guide South Africa as being deeply rooted in the long years of struggle for liberation. It therefore articulates our national interest as people-centred, including promoting the well-being, development and upliftment of its people; protecting the planet for future generations; and ensuring the prosperity of the country, the region and continent. There is further reflection that our decisions are informed by a desire for a just, humane and equitable world order of greater security, peace, dialogue and economic justice.

(e) The strategy and direction of South Africa’s foreign policy are encapsulated in Outcome 11, the Strategic Plan of my Department and the regular reporting thereof in my Department’s Annual Report. The draft White Paper on South Africa’s Foreign Policy is currently before Cabinet in its amended form and will be submitted to Parliament for consideration in due course.

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