Media Statement

18 November 2013.

DIRCO clarifies the issue of the "Academic honour" for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has noted media reports alleging that President Jacob Zuma had a hand in an “alleged withdrawal of an academic honour” for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in the People's Republic of China.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation as custodians of all international relations related engagements had initiated the process. But due to internal & diplomatic consultations not completed on time, a postponement was requested through diplomatic channels and granted. Accordingly, to allege “withdrawal of the academic honour” is factually incorrect. Secondly, to insinuate the involvement of the President/Presidency is inaccurate and can only be malicious. This was merely a postponement to allow for proper consultations. All affected by this postponement were informed.

The Deputy President Motlanthe led a South African delegation to Beijing to attend the 5th Bi-National Commission (BNC) between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China on 28 – 29 October 2013.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1998, the relationship between South Africa and China has been growing strong: from a Partnership in 2000 leading to the establishment of the Bi-National Commission in 2001, to a Strategic Partnership in 2008 and to a Comprehensive Partnership in 2010 with the signing of the Beijing Declaration.

South Africa and China have extensive trade and economic relations.  China is South Africa’s largest trading partner and a major investor in key sectors such as mining and financial services.  Total trade figure currently stands at R202 billion.  Both governments are committed to work together to raise the volumes of trade and investment between the two countries.

In advancing South-South Cooperation, South Africa participates in various multilateral forums with China, including the G20 and G77+China, BRICS, FOCAC, BASIC, etc. Africa’s relations with China are conducted within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). South Africa and China are working together to address development challenges and strengthen China-Africa relations.  An important milestone in Sino-South Africa relations was last year when South Africa assumed the Co-Chairship of FOCAC for the next six years, and will host the next FOCAC Ministerial Meeting in 2015.  During its tenure South Africa will continue to ensure the advancing of South-South cooperation and that special attention is given to the implementation of the African Agenda.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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