Statement by Minister Maite Nkoana–Mashabane on the name change to Department of International Relations and Co-Operation (DICO)

In announcing names of members of the new cabinet on Sunday 10 May, President Jacob Zuma, among others, referred to changes in the government structures. The changes are aimed at making the state machinery more efficient and service-delivery oriented. Similarly the changes will ensure alignment of government structures with the electoral mandate and our developmental needs. The thrust of these structural changes is to advance our central objective of creating a better life for all South Africans.

In this regard, President Zuma alluded to the name change of the Department of Foreign Affairs to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The name change to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation is in line with international trends and is informed by the need to give greater clarity on the mandate of the department. In this regard, over and above its normal functions the department will also engage in dynamic partnerships for development and cooperation.

These decision was informed by deliberations of the ruling Party’s Policy Conference as well as the resolution of the Ruling Party’s 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane in 2007.

The name change moves from the premise that foreign policy is based upon and is indeed an advancement of our domestic priorities at an international level. Accordingly, our foreign policy features still remain:

  • pushing back the frontiers of poverty and under-development in our country and Africa based on the continental economic and developmental plan, NEPAD
  • creation of peace and pursuance of peaceful resolution of conflicts
  • contribute to peace efforts in Africa and the world
  • building and consolidation of strategic partnerships to advance our developmental agenda
  • building and reform of African continental institutions
  • as well as the continued exertion of influence on global political and economic issues.

In pursuance of all these objectives listed above, South Africa recognizes that its destiny is inextricably linked to that of the developing world in general and in particular the African continent in particular. Consequently as South Africa seeks to attain its foreign policy objectives it should simultaneously pursue a developmental agenda both in the continent and the developing world.

This developmental agenda can only succeed to the extent to which strategic and mutual developmental cooperation is built with countries of the continent, the developing and the developed world.

In this context, discussions are ongoing in government regarding a possible establishment of developmental agency which would assist in the pursuit of the notion of a better Africa in a better world. It is our view that such an agency, if established, will enhance our developmental agenda which continues to rest on the key pillars of our foreign policy namely consolidation of the African Agenda, strengthening  South-South cooperation, strengthening North-South relations, strengthening political and economic relations as well as participating in the global system of governance.

The renaming of the Department as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation is a deliberate decision on the part of government to ensure a holistic approach to foreign relations which reflects on developmental agenda.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001

14 May 2009

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