Total number of ambassadors, high commissioners and consul-generals currently deployed across all of South Africa’s foreign missions, the criteria for their appointments, the consideration of their academic qualifications, and the academic or practical diplomatic training for consul-generals
FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NO: 1771 (NW1989E)
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 14-2015 OF 15 MAY 2015
MR S MOKGALAPA (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
(1) What is the total number of (a) ambassadors, (b) high commissioners and (c) consul-generals that are currently deployed across all of South Africa’s foreign missions;
(2) what criteria is used when appointing (a) ambassadors, (b) high commissioners and (c) consul-generals;
(3) are an individual’s academic qualifications considered at all during the appointment process of (a) ambassadors, (b) high commissioners and (c) consul-generals;
(4) consul-generals receive any level of (i) academic or (ii) practical diplomatic training before their deployment to a foreign mission to represent the country; if not, why not; if so, what level of (aa) academic or (bb) practical diplomatic training do they receive? NW1989E
(1) (a) Ambassadors (including Chargé d’ Affaires): 81
(b) High Commissioners: 24
(c) Consuls-General: 13
Total currently deployed: 118
(2) Heads of Mission are appointed by the President in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, Chapter 5, section 84 (i). The Constitution does not prescribe any criteria.
(3) The Constitution does not provide for qualifications required.
(4) The Department through its Diplomatic Academy runs a 12-week orientation programme for its Heads of Mission-designate. It is a full-time programme which includes high-level briefings from all the Departmental Business Units including political desks, finance, human resources and planning & monitoring amongst others.
The programme takes in strategic briefings from partner departments, which covers all major domestic priority areas and our extensive economic diplomacy agenda which is done in partnership with the DTI. All major SOEs and relevant Government agencies are also invited to engage with the Heads of Mission-designate. There is also an interface with business advocacy stakeholders and several site visits are undertaken as part of the programme.
The orientation programme contains briefings from all nine provinces and their provincial promotion agencies. Every programme undertakes a provincial orientation visit to a province identified by the group, where economic and infrastructure opportunities are visited including relevant Industrial development Zones (IDZs).
The Heads of Mission programme also affords the opportunity for the group to interact with experienced senior diplomats, both serving and retired, and tap into their invaluable knowledge on serving South Africa abroad.
In the final analysis, the programme is both an exposure to current South African policy priority areas and a refined understanding of the Department’s mandate abroad.
In addition, Heads of Mission are supported by well trained staff components from DIRCO who are career diplomats. These officials are specialists in their fields of work closely with Heads of Mission.