Hansard: EPC: Debate on Vote No 6 - International Relations and Co-Operation
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 21 May 2015
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Thursday, 21 May 2015 Take: 1
THURSDAY, 21 MAY 2015
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room E249 at 14:00.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION
Start of Day
Debate on Vote No 6 - International Relations and Co-Operation:
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Chairperson, hon Deputy Ministers, members, your excellencies ambassadors, high commissioners, representatives of international organisations, colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, in four days’ time, on 25 May, Africans all across the continent will unite to celebrate and affirm what is uniquely ours – to be African. This will happen as we prepare to host next month the 25th Ordinary African Union Summit, which will be yet another milestone in the construction of the Africa we want.
Next month, we will also observe 60 years since the Freedom Charter was adopted. ”There shall be peace and friendship”, a directive contained in this Charter, has been the torchlight guiding our foreign policy since 1994. The world was still fresh from World War II when the Freedom Charter was crafted. Tensions leading to the Cold War were escalating, and our continent was in the grip of colonialism. Today, Africa is a free continent. The Cold War has ended. The world has never known global war since World War II; it has, however, seen regional conflicts especially in Africa and the Middle East.
The Freedom Charter may be 60 years old, but its ideas are for today and its vision for tomorrow. Peace and friendship must remain the core agenda of our foreign policy. We have grown into an important player in the international arena, thanks to the values and principles we fought for and which continue to enjoin us to forge a better life for all South Africans and a better life for Africa and the world.
The African continent remains central to our foreign policy, and this approach forms the basis for our friendship, co-operation and peace efforts all over the world. Starting where it matters most – at home and on our continent – we stand for co-operation and partnership, instead of competition in global affairs.
Our country’s entry into its third decade of freedom coincides with the emergence of distinct global trends which demand that we creatively navigate – that is what diplomacy is about - and find opportunities, working together with our people at home and friends and partners abroad. That means we have to continue thinking globally and acting locally.
Implications therefore for our country’s foreign policy are very clear. First, Asia and the Middle East have surpassed Europe as South Africa’s number one trading partners. Second, since 1994, trade with Africa has increased 35-fold to about R400 billion. Third, Europe remains our main strategic trading bloc while recovering from the global financial crisis. In the execution of our foreign policy, taking into account this reality and now consolidating our traditional trade ties whilst expanding new ones, we shall ensure that we remain an active and responsible global citizen, grounded in our values and principles.
Therefore, our department’s spending focus over the medium term will be the following: consolidating our political, economic and social relations with the countries of the world; participating in global governance institutions, informed by our principled adherence to multilateralism; enhancing operational capacity by strengthening policy and co-ordination in relation to ongoing South African development co-operation; implementing the African Union’s Agenda 2063; reviewing the current legislative framework governing the department’s operations abroad; undertaking of various infrastructure projects; and implementing the property management strategy.
Hon members, today we affirm that our foreign policy is continuing its upward march, adapting and innovating, from frontier to frontier, beginning with our Southern African Development Community, SADC, neighbourhood across the entire African continent for the implementation of the African Agenda, into the south to strengthen our co-operation there, to the north where our partners value a relationship with us, and in multilateral organisations where South Africa’s independent voice continues to be heard and respected.
Africa is a growing giant, and South Africa is an integral part of this. Our economic diplomacy programme is a platform through which our department will contribute to the Nine-Point Plan unveiled by the President in his state of the nation address. We will implement the necessary cost-cutting measures and do more with less, as these are lean times.
Yes, Africa is a giant on the rise, but its potential will remain stunted if its core challenges of governance, sustainable development and peace and security, are not overcome. The June African Union Summit will give serious attention to these challenges and set out measures to roll out Agenda 2063 as a continental vision for the Africa we want, which is the cornerstone of our foreign policy. This should entail the strengthening of our political and economic integration. This would then also include the ratification of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA, East African Community, EAC, and Southern African Development Community, SADC, Tripartite Free Trade Agreement in June this year.
As chair of the SADC organ, we also thought we should share with you that South Africa is leading in peace-building and security efforts in the region. In this regard, I had the honour, together with our Deputy Ministers, to lead no fewer than six SADC electoral observation missions, all of which were peaceful and credible. [Applause.] These positive outcomes at the ballot box clearly point to the entrenchment of democracy, regional stability and continued economic integration. I wish to congratulate the people of these sister countries on a job well done. Democracy is an investment.
South Africa will continue to forge closer political, economic and social relations through targeted high-level interactions throughout our continent. This morning, we returned from Mozambique where President Zuma had been received as the first state guest of newly elected President Nyusi in Maputo. In a few days’ time, we will be travelling to Nigeria where President Zuma will again be the guest of the incoming president of Nigeria.
Peace will remain a dream if this continent continues to experience setbacks such as the recent coup d’état attempt in Burundi. We reiterate our strongest condemnation of unconstitutional change of government and reaffirm our support for regional initiatives towards the restoration of political normalcy in Burundi. The realisation of the Africa we want requires peace be it in SADC, the Great Lakes region, the Horn of Africa and/or North Africa.
Libya is not just a vindication, again, of the stance we took on the crisis in that country. It is also another failure of the approach of regime change – militarism – in tackling political and conflict situations. We think we should continue to strive for peaceful change, particularly for our continent. Allow us to provide African solutions for African challenges. Our interventions that start with political engagements are much better than these other interventions. [Applause.] Our continent, especially in East, West and North Africa, is battling a spate of dreadful and cowardly acts of terrorism which we condemn and must, like apartheid, defeat.
We are also building a mechanism, the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, which has to be operationalised as one of the tools to provide African solutions to African problems. We must silence the guns. Africa must be at peace with itself. We will have an opportunity to contribute more in this regard when we chair the AU’s Peace and Security Council later this year. The root causes should also be addressed. Among these, democracy should be deepened to give our people the voice they deserve. We should govern our countries in a manner that is progressive and inclusive, with the people always being considered first. [Applause.] Our Constitution has to reign supreme to ensure political certainty and the accountability of our leaders. Without development that is sustainable, our continent will continue to feed from the crumbs instead of the real benefits of globalisation ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Maynier, please.
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: The plight of the people of the Western Sahara must also be remembered. The situation in this region is unfinished business that we should always be looking to resolve.
A better Africa is indeed a dream we can realise in our lifetime. We are not short of policies on this continent. It is in action that we are inadequate. Our continental organisations are in place. What we need however is more effectiveness, sharpness in programme delivery and finding innovative sources of self-financing for budgetary self-reliance.
We have created our own agencies like the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Nepad, the African Peer Review Mechanism, APRM, and many others that are programmes for sustainable development and democratic governance respectively. The Africa we want is meaningless if it is not about our people, if it does not touch and transform the lives of ordinary men and women, and if they do not also take the lead right at the forefront.
Beyond the continent, South Africa continues to champion South-South co-operation and multilateralism. Accordingly, President Zuma will be travelling soon to the 7th Brics Summit in July, which will be hosted by the Russian Federation. We will remain ... [Interjections.] We are not apologetic of our Brics membership. We are very proud of it. [Applause.] We are making strides. We formed Brics, and we are indeed a favoured destination for all the right reasons. [Interjections.] You will remain where you are seated because you fear change. It’s very painful. The South is rising without you.
The India, Brazil and South Africa Dialogue Forum, Ibsa ... [Interjections.] It’s never going to come to you because you were part of the past, so remain there with your past. [Applause.]
Ibsa, as a South-South mechanism, enhances co-operation between our country, India and Brazil. [Interjections.] Our Asian strategy, considering the growing economic significance of that region to our country, is also to pursue actively wider access to the fast-growing Asian markets. This strategy will allow us to ensure more beneficiation in exports to that particular region and vigorously seek increased foreign direct investment opportunities moving forward, including tourism opportunities. “Siyaqhuba”! [We are moving forward.]
In December, we will host the Second Forum on China-Africa Co-operation, FOCAC, Summit in Mzanzi, right here in South Africa.
In the Middle East where conflict has raged for years, South Africa will continue to eschew military solutions to conflicts, while providing unequivocal support to the just struggle of the Palestinian people - remember them - until they attain their own freedom and sovereignty. [Applause.]
Latin America and the Caribbean remains an important region for South Africa, including our multilateral endeavours. The commendable rapprochement between the United States of America and Cuba should result in the lifting of the unjust blockade on Cuba.
Engagement with Europe has resulted in the establishment of joint infrastructure projects and the sharing of technical skills, which is a priority for our country, and we look forward to the conclusion of the economic partnership agreements that will culminate in a win-win situation.
Our bilateral relations with the USA and Canada continue to strengthen, especially in the areas of economy, health, education, energy, water, safety and security, capacity-building and the empowerment of women. The renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act provides a platform for the enhancement of industrialisation and regional integration. [Applause.]
Our missions in littoral countries and those with inland waterways are expected to contribute meaningfully to the blue economy through Operation Phakisa, and we will further enhance this though our membership of the Indian Ocean Rim Association, IORA.
This year, marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, UN. This year should also remind us that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The reforms should happen and should happen as soon as possible. The reforms of the UN and global institutions of governance, in particular the United Nations Security Council, should be considered in the debates that will take place in September 2015. Africa and Asia, particularly the Middle East, should be represented fully. The Middle East and Africa are not represented at all 70 years later.
Participating in the post-2015 UN Development Agenda in September, we also look forward to a comprehensive outcome of Cop 21 in Paris, the seeds of which were in planted in the Durban platform of action agreed upon when we hosted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNCCC, gathering in South Africa.
The role South Africa has been able to play in promoting the interests of the developing world has indeed been enhanced by our election as chair of the Group of 77 and China for 2015. Our participation in the G20 will continue to seek a developmental agenda as we participate in those meetings. We must continue to defend and demand work towards a fair global economic order.
We will continue to participate constructively in meetings of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, a body that holds potential benefits, not only for the nuclear industry in South Africa but also for accelerated economic growth on our African continent.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation should be configured strategically as an organisation and better positioned on the policy front to carry out the above agenda. Accordingly, I have just approved a new organisational structure that will be implemented during this financial year. The SA Council on International Relations, SACOIR, has been established fully and is ready for operation. We will invite you to the launch.
At last, strides are being made on the commitment to create a fully fledged diplomatic academy. “Siyaquba”. [We are moving forward.] We go very much in line with the prescripts of the National Development Plan, NDP, and we are doing so through our economic diplomacy.
This is in addition to our ongoing training of African female mediators across the continent. A pathfinder, a groundbreaker, the first programme of its kind, we now have graduates female mediators who can be deployed in conflict situations as peace envoys. We are in partnership with the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation and the School of Governance at Wits University to implement the NDP in this regard.
Our white paper has been approved by Cabinet and is now in the hands of Parliament which will, in due course, consider the draft foreign policy and the SA Development Partnership Agency Bill. Young graduates recruited under the Johnny Makhathini Ubuntu Diplomatic Corps Programme will soon take their posts as part of our long-term cadre development programme.
Through our robust public diplomacy strategy, we have succeeded in sustaining a positive image of our foreign policy. We also have a strong belief that the establishment of the Directorate: Early Warning Services in the Department of International Relations and Co-operation is poised to give more impetus to our peacemaking efforts.
In addition to state visits and international visits, our state protocol rendered services to the President and Deputy President for a total of 22 incoming visits and, I am proud to say, 48 outgoing state visits because President Zuma’s voice and that of South Africa’s government are sought after all over the world. We are making our contribution not through military intervention but through proper diplomacy. [Applause.]
Over the weekend, I will join the rest of peace-loving South Africans to lay to rest our beloved Mme Ruth Mompati – a seasoned diplomat and one of the recipients of our first annual Ubuntu Awards held earlier this year. She had been a teacher, a unionist, a freedom fighter, a mother, and a mentor to many of us in this room and out there. As we convey our condolences to her family, we also pay tribute to her for her long and uninterrupted service to our struggle for freedom and transformation as a selfless leader of our people. She is amongst the very first women to lead the ANC as a member of the national executive committee.
A moya wa Mme Ruth Mompati o robale ka kgotso. Re tla mo gopola ge le hlaba le ge le sobela. [May Mme Ruth Mompati’s soul rest in peace. She will always be remembered.]
We also pay tribute to South Africans from all walks of life who fly our flag high overseas through their sterling work. This includes the interventions of ordinary South Africans in Nepal and also the work of our portfolio committee members that really has been quite exemplary.
We showed the true colours of our nation through the swiftness and decisiveness with which we put an end to violent attacks here in South Africa on fellow foreign African nationals. We thank our friends and international organisations who stood by us. International migration and its root causes are challenges we have to overcome this century. Africans should not be travelling miles and miles, sometimes by foot, across deserts and seas, often at great risk, to put bread on their tables. None of us should be displaced or be forced from our cherished motherland by the destructive power of guns. Our continent is well endowed to take care of its own. It is not the guns that fire or destroy but the human beings who carry them and those who manufacture and supply them.
We are one, united Africa. Like the now forgotten son of the soil and poet Madingoane once wrote, “Late is never a bad start in Africa my beginning and Africa my ending”.
Hon members, work for the Africa we want begins now. Ke a leboga. [I thank you.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Masongo, before you stand up, I am told that that has been fixed, but I am not sure. Just try it; if it is not working, go back to your chair. Thanks. [Applause.]
Mr M S A MASANGO
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
Mr M S A MASANGO: Madam Chairperson, hon Minister Nkoana-Mashabane, hon Deputy Ministers Landers and Mfeketo, your excellencies, members of the diplomatic corps, hon members of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co-operation, distinguished guests and fellow South Africans, it is only proper for me to congratulate the Minister on a comprehensive, reflective and forward-looking speech, which sets the tone for the department’s work over the stipulated budget period.
The ANC supports the budget of this department because it continues to deepen the seminal internationalist tradition so deftly crafted, and so tirelessly worked hard for, by former ANC president O R Tambo. O R Tambo gave the fullest possible expression to the Freedom Charter’s injunction that there shall be peace and friendship in 1977 in Luanda when he said:
We seek to live in peace with our neighbours and the peoples of the world in conditions of equality, mutual respect and equal advantage.
I hereby pay my special tribute to this gigantic revolutionary and insightful thought leader of the ANC.
Today we lower our banners in fond memory of Mme Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Isithwalandwe, a people’s tribune, and one of the first generation of ambassadors of a democratic South Africa stationed in Switzerland in 1996. She represented South Africa excellently in that part of the world, informing it that we had just begun constructing a nonracial, nonsexist, and a democratic South Africa that would be at peace with its neighbours and would be willing to contribute to world peace. May her soul rest in perfect peace.
Before 1994, the ANC already had 52 missions whilst the apartheid regime only had 38. Democratic South Africa has 126 missions abroad and is accredited to over 180 organisations. Now that the advantages that flow from these have been spelled out by the Minister, I will not burden you by mentioning how much money is flowing in. The Minister spoke about that.
This massive network - I am talking about the 126 missions to various countries and organisations – is due to the unsurpassed and visionary leadership of former Presidents Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and current incumbent President Jacob Zuma. Nwele olude, Msholozi! [Long live, Msholozi!]
South Africa is today a respected and responsible global player, a mediator and capable partner in peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts. Indeed the ANC believes in a humane, a just, and a caring world order wherein development, democracy, human rights, peace and security remain sacrosanct. Hon Minister, my observation is that the creation of peace as envisaged by the Freedom Charter is woefully elusive. Peace is a conditio sine qua non for development in the world.
For instance, in June 2013, the Peace and Security Council of the AU expressed disquiet over the continued terrorism and insurgency threat in Africa, particularly in the Sahel-Saharan region, the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti, the Central African region with the attacks carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army, as well as the atrocities perpetuated by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
We must be heartened by the President’s response to the debate on his state of the nation address dated 20 June 2014 when he said:
There is a need to strengthen the continental Peace and Security Architecture and to redefine the instruments that deal with unconstitutional changes of government and discourage illegitimate rebellions. Thus we need to treat with urgency, the need to establish the African Standby Force for rapid deployment in crisis areas without delays.
Flowing from the aforesaid speech by the President, it is worth noting that the continent’s leadership is giving peace-building a high premium as envisaged by the AU Peace and Security Council.
In 1991, former President Mandela visited Cuba to thank them for supporting our liberation struggle and his own release from the apartheid dungeons. Strangely, there was a lot of brouhaha from the reactionary world blaming former President Mandela for giving President Castro a warm, comradely hug. Only 24 years later is the USA and others realising the ANC was right and that Nelson Mandela was farsighted with regard to relations with Cuba. [Applause.]
The ANC and the global progressive movement stood firmly to support Cuba and its people in the wake of the economic embargo imposed by the USA and the arrest of the Cuban Five. In 2014, our Parliament passed a resolution calling upon the USA to lift the embargo and to release the remaining three of the Cuban Five.
In view of the recent rapprochement between Cuba and the USA, I wish to congratulate both Presidents Raul Castro and Barack Obama, respectively, for their pragmatic leadership as evidenced by the release of the remaining three of the Cuban Five on 17 December 2014. [Applause.] As we know, the USA was highly isolated in the UN General Assembly on the Cuban issue.
Western Sahara remains one of the last bastions of colonialism on the African continent, and our Parliament calls on Morocco to end the occupation of Western Sahara. The Sahrawi people demand self-determination and national sovereignty like all other nations of the world – finish en klaar. [Done and dusted.] [Applause.]
Recently, we were privileged to travel to Algeria to visit the Sahrawi refugee camps ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Order!
Mr M S A MASANGO: ... when we attended the 7th Congress of the National Union of Sahrawi Women. We were able to communicate the ANC message that supports self-determination and freedom for the Sahrawi people. Morocco must be pressured by all progressive movements to release Western Sahara from colonial bondage. On the matter of Western Sahara, the future will prove the ANC to be on the right side of history.
With regard to Palestine, we call upon the Israeli government to release all political prisoners, to immediately cease the expansionist settlements in the West Bank, and to stop the wanton destruction of property and consistent attacks on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Not many people are aware that close to 700 000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes into refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and elsewhere. They remain refugees to this day.
Whilst we support the two-state solution and peaceful coexistence of the two nations, the Palestinians are almost stateless because of the expansionist settlements into their territory. We hope that all belligerents will collaborate with the special envoys from South Africa, Dr Zola Skweyiya and Mr Aziz Pahad, who are brokering peace that will benefit all in the Middle East region.
Hon Minister and hon members, the committee noted with regret that the budget of this department has been reduced by R405 million. The department has to carry out its mandate within an unpredictable and, at times, turbulent external environment to advance South Africa’s national interest. The National Development Plan prescribed that the department should position itself to assume a greater leadership role in Africa, leading development and growth on the continent. The interplay between foreign policy and national interest continues to be the baseline for the department’s success in the conduct of South Africa’s foreign policy. However, the department has assured us that it will still pursue all fundamental policy areas of our national interest.
In our interaction with the department, we also noted that the perennial challenge of the value fluctuation in foreign currency further reduces the budget of this department. For instance, the department has to pay salaries and rentals in foreign currency. I hope that Treasury will intervene to assist this department during the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in October 2015. The construction of the headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament is of quintessential importance, and we would like to see the plan before the end of the Fifth Parliament. If this is not realised, other African states will bid for hosting the Pan-African Parliament.
As the committee, we recommend that the Ministry attend to ICT infrastructure and asset management in the missions abroad.
Ngqongqotjhe, isitjhaba sekhethu esikwaMhlanga, eMarapyane, eSekhukhune, eMsinga, eMamelodi, eMdantsane neKhayelitsha, ngingabala ngithini, kufanele sazi begodu sikghone ukutjheja bonyana urhulumende wabo wedemokhrasi wakha itjhebiswano elihle kangangani namazwe wangaphandle. Amazwe afana nabo, Ratjhiya, Tjhayina, i-Amerika, i-Yurophu nalapha e-Afrika begodu netjhebiswano elihle eenhlanganweni ezifana nalezi ezilandelako: i-Southern African Democratic Community, SADC, i-African Union, AU, i-United Nations Organisation, UNO, i-G20, i-G77, i-Tjhayina ne-World Trade Organisation, WTO, ngingabala ngithini. IPalamende yethu norhulumende bayazikhakhazisa nge-Freedom Charter. (Translation of isiNdebele paragraph follows.)
[Hon Minister, our communities in the areas of KwaMhlanga, Marapyane, Sekhukhune, Msinga, Mamelodi, Mdantsane and Khayelitsha, just to mention a few, must know and realise that their democratic government is building such a good relationship with countries outside our borders. Our government is building relationships with countries like Russia, China, America, Europe and countries within Africa and the relationship through organisations like the following: the SADC, the AU, the UN, the G20, the G77 and China, and the World Trade Organisation, WTO. The list goes on. Our Parliament and government are very proud of our Freedom Charter.]
That will be public diplomacy at work.
In February 2015, the department conferred Ubuntu Awards to eligible South African individuals and companies who have done us proud in various fields internationally. We join the President and the Minister in congratulating these companies and patriotic individuals who fly South Africa’s flag high in various fields. [Applause.]
Hon Minister, recently the leadership of Africa attended the United States-Africa Leaders Summit, and we have been informed that the USA intends renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act. This is a good development to the extent that it not only opens markets for the USA but also opens markets for Africa in the USA. We have to change the current trade relations with the USA and Europe progressively to benefit all. Currently, Africa experiences a disadvantage in terms of trade flow.
Because the Organisation of African Unity, now AU, was founded on 25 May 1963, it is prudent in this Africa Month to pay our solemn tribute to the propounders of the Pan-African movement on the continent and the diaspora, as we pursue their dreams of the Africa we want through the African Agenda 2063.
As I conclude, in the wake of attacks on foreign nationals, the committee noted the briefing given by this department to the ambassadors as well as the President’s briefing to the recent SADC meeting. Hopefully, the upcoming AU Summit in Sandton will provide a holistic African solution to this phenomenon. We are aware that this week the Pan-African Parliament also debated the outbreak of xenophobic attacks. As part of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster of Parliament, the committee supports the strategic intent of Operation Fiela.
The committee further notes with concern the tempestuous political instability in the Great Lakes region, particularly Burundi. We are satisfied that the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, ICGLR, held in Luanda, recently, averted the implosion of Burundi whilst a long-term solution will be sought. The ANC supports this Budget Vote.
UZimu atjhudubaze i-Afrika. Ngiyathokoza. [Iwahlo.] [May God bless you. Thank you. [Applause.]]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
Mr M S A MASANGO
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Your excellencies, distinguished guests, and members of the public in the gallery, I plead with you that whilst we welcome you and appreciate your presence here, there are Rules in this Parliament that bar you from participating in the proceedings of the House. That includes clapping of hands or use of cameras in the House. So, work with me on that.
Secondly, on behalf of the Minister, I would like to acknowledge in the House during this Extended Public Committee plenary the presence of students who are part of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation’s public participation programme. We welcome you, and we are happy that you have attended. Thank you very much. Work with me on the clapping. Where are the guests of honour? Would they please stand? [Applause.] Thank you. You are very welcome. Let us now continue, hon members.
Mr S MOKGALAPA
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
Mr S MOKGALAPA: Chairperson, fellow South Africans and guests, the world is in a fragile state. Currently, there is increasing defiance of the rules-based world order. Terrorism, extremism, conservatism, protectionism, migration and territorial sovereignty are sources of these conflicts. Examples of groups that lead these conflicts are Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab.
The states are intensifying the pursuit of their foreign policy objectives to respond to this growing trend. States are becoming more aggressive in pursuit of their national interests. What does this mean for South Africa? This means that we should redefine our foreign policy and step up our game to vigorously pursue economic diplomacy for the benefit of our people and fellow states.
The DA condemns in the strongest possible terms the recent xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals. This is against the very essence of our Constitution and foreign policy ideal based on Ubuntu. Chairperson, allow me to address you on the department. Programme 2: International Relations of the department is mandated to promote relations with foreign countries. This is the core programme of the department, and it receives the lion’s share of the money although there has been a budget cut for this financial year.
In the current belt-tightening environment, it means that the department needs to be strategic and practical about its foreign missions. South Africa maintains 126 missions globally and desperately needs to reprioritise so that we are able to do more with less funding. Essentially, we need to ensure value for money in our missions.
Currently, the department owns 133 properties and rents 800 properties worldwide at a cost of R535 million. This is unsustainable and especially so considering foreign currency fluctuations. We call on the Minister to engage with her colleagues in Cabinet – the Ministers of Home Affairs, Defence and Military Veterans, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Trade and Industry who share our missions – in order to share costs.
It must be understood that bilateral relations should not only be measured by the number of visits undertaken but, more importantly, by the amount of trade and business brought to our country by these relations. Our missions must be well equipped and resourced to respond to this economic diplomacy. Furthermore, we should be careful of whom we entertain and should not be rolling out red carpets to dictators like Robert Mugabe.
It is important that our diplomats are trained adequately and capacitated. Our diplomatic corps should not be a dumping ground for ANC rejects but a highly professional and effective group that can promote our brand and image abroad and bring business back home. We hope the Foreign Service Bill will regulate and professionalise this service to attract quality diplomats and to avoid more embarrassment such as the recent scandal involving the questionable credentials of our diplomats in the United States and Japan. Furthermore, the leasing corruption scandal in Ghana is shameful. Our missions should have business intelligence and early warning systems in order to advise government appropriately on foreign policy developments.
Programme 3: International Co-operation is also significant and should be about our influence and impact on the multilateral forum. We need to prioritise quality over quantity. It’s not about attending meetings of the AU, the UN, the G20 and the G77 but rather about how much influence we are able to exercise. We need to engage in candidacy diplomacy and fill the vacant posts.
South Africa needs to accelerate its efforts on regional integration. The department should promote and increase intra-African trade and the establishment of a free trade area. To this end, SADC should prioritise regional infrastructure to unlock the trade potential.
We acknowledge South Africa’s continued role in peacekeeping and conflict resolution. We would like to see more involvement in election observer missions, voter education and democratisation processes. Africa has a youth bulge that needs to be educated to be active citizens in decision-making, elections and political participation.
Programme 4: Public Diplomacy and State Protocol is mandated to communicate South Africa’s foreign policy and international obligations to people both at home and abroad. More funding and resources should be allocated to this programme to ensure that our foreign policy is easily accessible. I think that the current xenophobic attacks would be a classical example.
The establishment of the SA Development Partnership Agency, Sadpa, to replace the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund, ARF, is long overdue. The ARF has been plagued by allegations of maladministration and poor governance. Recently, the deputy director-general of public diplomacy has been implicated. We call on the Minister to investigate and leave no stone unturned. We hope that Sadpa will deal better with governance and administration issues in this fund.
We also await the establishment of the SA Council on International Relations after it was announced five years ago. Nonstate actors and civil society have a positive contribution to make in foreign policy-making, and it is in our country’s best interest to involve civil society in foreign policy-making.
The committee held discussions with academia to unpack and interrogate the draft White Paper on Foreign Policy. Some of the concerns that were raised include the following: the inconsistent constitutional interpretation of issues on human rights versus economic commercial interests; the meaning of Ubuntu and its interpretation; the fact that consensus is still needed on national interest and specifically non-negotiable principles; the emphasis on South-South relations that creates a perception of a closed economy limiting our focus on opportunities globally; and lastly, the need to clarify our economic diplomacy.
What does it mean? Does it mean better market access? Does it mean a larger role in the World Trade Organisation or a change of power monopoly? More engagement with civil society on this white paper is needed in order to achieve consensus. The committee would also benefit if we could engage with the Minister to raise these and other pertinent issues.
In conclusion, we need a foreign policy that is bold in pursuing our domestic imperatives, a foreign policy that is principled, value driven as well as clear and consistent, a foreign policy that promotes economic growth and creates jobs, that has a capable, professional diplomatic corps who can promote and protect our country’s national interests, its image and brand, a foreign policy that works for the interests of all South Africans, not a few connected elites, a foreign policy that we can all be proud of irrespective of our political affiliation. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms H O MAXON
Mr S MOKGALAPA
Ms H O MAXON: Chairperson, the EFF rejects Budget Vote 6: International Relations and Co-operation because we don’t know whose interest our foreign policy is actually serving. After his inauguration as first black President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela’s maiden international trip as newly elected President was to Tunis. Mandela told the African Union delegates that, now that he had gone to report to Tunis – yes, Minister, Tunis and not Tunisia – after the democratisation of South Africa, it meant European domination that started in Tunis through the Roman Empire, had finally been defeated.
Mandela did this because the liberation of South Africa meant the liberation of the continent and that we could finally join our brothers and sisters in the continent’s self-determination struggle. However, now, 21 years later, this government is the most hostile to African travellers who visit and seek residence in South Africa. We have shifted from being the birthplace of black consciousness to being the birthplace of Afrophobia and Operation Fiela.
We say it again: The ANC government must take full responsibility for the murder of Col Gaddafi after authorising the bombing of Libya. The ANC government must also take full responsibility for the deaths of African migrants who perish in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to escape the violence and instability in Libya. Your collusion with the imperialist forces is responsible for the turmoil in Libya today.
You have spent almost R1,4 billion of the budget on the building and buying of embassies which do nothing to advance the Pan-Africanist agenda but merely serve the interests of our imperialist enemies. In 2015, at least 14 African countries still pay colonial tax to France when it should be France and other former colonial powers that should be paying these African countries reparations. What is South Africa doing about this? Obviously, nothing is being done.
The xenophobic attacks we have witnessed recently are a consequence of the failure of the ANC government to foster African unity and to work towards the eradication of colonial borders that continue to divide Africa and its people. We cannot build African unity and co-operation when we deploy the army to reinforce colonial borders.
These divisions are perpetuated by President Zuma who mocks Malawians for a lack of infrastructure development, forgetting that he has a responsibility in the AU for transport and infrastructure development on the continent. We have opened up our country to be a dumping ground for cheap products, while destroying our own manufacturing industry as shown by the unequal trade relations between China and South Africa.
The role of the AU in resolving conflicts in Africa is appalling. What is South Africa doing to strengthen the AU and its role in bringing peace and stability to the continent? You banned the imports of oil from Iran because the USA told you to do so, colluding with imperial forces against an emerging economy. Oh, what a shame! You colluded with imperial forces to isolate an emerging economy even when other Brics countries were continuing to import Iranian oil. This is shameful!
The deployment of troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic to act as security guards to private business interests under the pretence of being a peacekeeping force must be condemned. We want meaningful participation in bringing about an end to various conflicts on the continent. The portfolio committee report correctively identifies countries we should be providing our support to and building relations with: Western Sahara, Cuba, and Palestine. The EFF rejects this budget. Thank you, Chair. [Time expired.]
Mr M A MNCWANGO
Ms H O MAXON
Mr M A MNCWANGO: Chairperson, as the IFP, we support this budget, and I hope I will get an extra minute for that. [Laughter.] Despite the fact that we do have some issues that still concern us, we acknowledge that the global environment which the department is operating in is now characterised by shifts in political, economic, social and cultural dynamics, which have given rise to realignment and the emergence of new economic powers. There are also other forces at play, including climate change, escalation in the demand for scarce resources and the changing nature of conflict and insecurity. All these actually have been instrumental in bringing about changes in how diplomacy is conducted between nations. We note that the spending focus during the year under review is aimed at sustaining political and economic relations, participating in global governmental forums, and enhancing operational capacity by strengthening policy and co-ordination.
We also are aware that the focus is also on work related to the AU Agenda 2063. However, in light of the budgetary cuts experienced in this department, as well as all other government departments across the board, we wonder if our foreign policy ambitions will match our budgetary realities. In other words, are we not punching above our weight?
As the IFP, we are concerned that South Africa’s image and prestige in the international space have been dented. The xenophobic violence caused us great harm in diplomatic circles, and this could not have come at a worse time for South Africa, a time when our star as a global player had already started to wane because of poor leadership.
We seem to have abandoned the issues that have put us firmly on the continental and global stage. For instance, we championed the cause of transformation on the continent, helping with the birth of the AU and successfully positioning Africa where it belongs in the community of nations. Examples include the role of South Africa in the transformation of the G8 into the G20, which raised the prominence of the African voices. Through our efforts, we created AU structures such as the Pan-African Parliament, Nepad, and the African Peer Review Mechanism, for example. Unfortunately, we seem to have lost the initiative and are no longer seen to be giving proper leadership in these areas, resulting in these bodies losing direction as a consequence.
There is deafening silence on the implementation of Nepad programmes, something that was designed to get African countries out of the sociopolitical and economic doldrums. At the global governance level, we have lost the initiative again in leading the call for reform as far as UN systems are concerned. Our African brothers look to South Africa for leadership, but we are continually losing the plot. It would be interesting to know what obligations South Africa has towards the International Criminal Court, for instance, because we are dropping the ball so often.
The IFP commends the role of South Africa in the resolution of international conflicts. That is commendable, as we are aware that the department is engaged in very comprehensive diplomatic interventions in places like the Western Sahara, the Palestine-Israel question, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc. While this is indeed commendable, we are however not addressing the real cause of conflict: failing states.
As long as tin-pot despots who want to extend their power grip against the will of the people remain, it will be difficult to see stability being achieved on the continent, the case in point here being Burundi. As a member of regional, continental as well as multilateral bodies, it is of particular interest to us to know ... Madam Chair, I have already said we support the budget. [Time expired.]
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM
Mr M A MNCWANGO
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM: Chair, Ministers present, Deputy Ministers, hon members in the gallery, let me start off with the wise words of our icon, the late Madiba, Nelson Mandela who said: We as South Africans can never be free unless the people of Palestine are free. Thank you, icon.
When we say we need a policy that is free, fair and that must benefit us all, I must add that the only time you will know and understand what is free and fair is when you see a mother being killed in front of you, when you see a father being shot and wounded in front of you. You will only know and understand what that is when you find your entire family being displaced. Such is the challenges faced by many people around the world.
If you then take up arms – and the NFP, I must say, condemns any form of terrorist activities – we must be mindful of the fact that sometimes people have no choice but to take up arms because they have to defend their sovereignty. They have to defend their rights.
According to the Estimates of National Expenditure, ENE, 2015 published by National Treasury, the spending focus of the department over the medium term will be on continuing to sustain South Africa’s international, economic and political relations and to participate in global governance forums. In addition, the department is also required to enhance its operational capacity.
In terms of sustaining economic and political relations, the department must continue to participate in global governance forums, multilateral forums, including the AU structures. The 2014 to 2019 Medium-Term Strategic Framework tasks the department with increasing the uptake of South Africa’s quota in the African Union structures over the medium term from 30% to 60%.
The department’s commitment to regional integration through its participation in Southern African Development Community and conceptualising the process for establishing a free trade area led by the Department of Trade and Industry must be welcomed. In addition, the department must continue to promote postconflict reconstruction and development and participate in political reform in the Great Lakes region.
Over the medium term, this will include the operationalisation of the tripartite agreement between South Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in support of the peace and security framework agreement of the Great Lakes region, deploying the SADC intervention brigade in the DRC, working with the Department of Defence and Military Veterans to operationalise the African Peace and Security Architecture, and participating in the political processes to restore order and stability in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Somalia and South Sudan. The ENE adds that these and other activities are funded over the medium term from R9,4 billion allocated to Programme 2: International Relations and R1,5 billion allocated to Programme 3: International Co-operation.
The NFP is concerned that the department spends approximately R575 million per year on leases where it does not own property. High rental costs are worsened in countries where the lease property market is not well regulated. The NFP calls on the department to assess the viability of an acquisition and disposal strategy which would be comprised of both a risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis to shift from rental to ownership of properties. The department should accelerate infrastructure development by constructing chanceries on vacant state-owned land in India and Saudi Arabia.
The NFP condemns the xenophobic attacks on our foreign nationals. Let us not forget the role that these foreign governments played in our liberation struggle. Let me add that the SADC Parliamentary Forum, held at the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, resulted in a motion proposed by South Africa and unanimously supported by all countries calling for infrastructure development throughout SADC countries. This, if implemented, will benefit all South Africans.
Let us also not forget the role that South Africa played in Lesotho in having a free, fair and transparent election and bringing stability to Southern Africa. The NFP supports this budget. I thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Ms N C Mfeketo)
Mr A M SHAIK EMAM
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Ms N C Mfeketo): Chairperson, hon members, ambassadors, high commissioners and representatives of international organisations, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, if the world must be a better place and if we are to realise the vision of the Freedom Charter for peace and security for all, then the world’s efforts must be in the Middle East where developments in many countries leave millions of citizens yearning for peace. The Palestinian quest for statehood within the framework of the two-state solution remains unfulfilled and elusive, as Israeli settlements continue to encroach and expand. Terrorism and extremism are also escalating significantly.
As we focus on and pursue peace in Palestine and elsewhere, we should not lose sight of the economic benefits that we stand to reap from good relations with the countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council. Our Asian strategy for this year, considering the economic strength of that region, is to actively pursue wider access to the fast-growing Asian markets, to secure more beneficiated exports to that region and vigorously seek increased foreign direct investment. The region holds huge opportunities for increased tourism.
Our membership of IORA provides us with an opportunity to participate meaningfully in exploiting the untapped potential and benefits of the ocean economy. Members of the Indian Oceab Rim Association represent two billion people and hold one third of world’s ocean coastline. They produce goods and services worth over one trillion dollars whilst intra-IORA trade is about US$777 billion.
During our tenure as the Chair of IORA in 2017 to 2019, we will prioritise SADC and the African Agenda, whilst focusing on the ocean economy, maritime security, engagement with dialogue partners and civil society participation. It is expected that we will use our Operation Phakisa strategy as we dedicate efforts aimed at fast-tracking and prioritising offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture and the Marine Protection Services and Governance laboratory.
Our bilateral engagements seek to enhance existing relationships. They are aimed at reaffirming our commitment to breaking new ground and working together with our partners in Asia but also at showcasing the potential we have as a preferred investment and tourism destination.
In the Middle East region where conflict has raged for years, South Africa will continue to persuade all parties to appreciate that there can be no military solution to the conflict and that political dialogue remains the only way through which sustainable peace can be achieved.
We remain seized with the pursuit of peace in the Middle East through the mechanism of the efforts of the President’s special envoys to the region. South Africa continues to affirm the two-state solution in Palestine in spite of all the challenges that this policy faces.
We are encouraged by the collective condemnation of the xenophobic attacks by political parties, the faith-based community, nonstate actors and ordinary South Africans. We must continue to educate and remind our people that this continent stood by us in an unwavering show of solidarity as we fought for our liberation.
Attacks against foreign nationals do harm to the country’s reputation, and no good can come of its continuation. These actions have the potential to undermine our efforts aimed at fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality because they threaten our ongoing efforts of attracting trade and investment to the country through economic diplomacy.
It is evident that South Africans are generally not xenophobic. If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have been successfully integrated into communities all over this country – in towns, cities and villages. [Applause.]
However, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that the socioeconomic drivers of migration are addressed by everybody on the continent. We need to do this work so that we can eliminate the struggle for resources, which is often one of the consequences of migration.
Our public participation programmes are our vehicle to explain our national work to our people. In engaging with the people, like we did yesterday, we constantly educate and empower them to appreciate connections between government goals and their lived realities. We must enable our people to understand the cost to South Africa when such shameful acts as the xenophobic attacks are carried out. Through our ongoing engagement, we must enable South Africans to learn from each other’s experiences, knowledge and skills as Africans. Our people must have the opportunity to exchange experiences through people-to-people exchange programmes.
The African Union has declared this year as The Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. In driving the AU’s aspirations, it is critical that women and girl children be placed at the centre of all that we seek to achieve above. As we pursue our dream of a continent at peace with itself, we have to deploy women to carry out peace mediation in environments where peace is lacking.
In conclusion, we must consciously attend to the economic empowerment of women in all spheres if we are to achieve the aspirations of Agenda 2063 on women’s empowerment. In this regard, we look forward to the deliberations in the forthcoming AU Summit under the theme, The Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063. We also look forward to women, women’s groups, and civil society in South Africa taking advantage of this agenda and making it theirs instead of it being a government agenda. Thank you very much, Chair. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Ms N C Mfeketo)
Dr C P MULDER: Chairperson, in the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to listen to many Budget Vote debates.
Now, I must say that one of the benefits of not being an ANC member is that you don’t have to start your speech by referring to the Freedom Charter, and you also don’t have to use a quote from the Freedom Charter. Another benefit of not being a member of the ANC is that you don’t have to dwell on the past. You can look to the future, which is much more interesting, I would say, than dwelling on the past and taking you back to what happened then, and then, and then.
Hon Minister, the fact is that we all would know that on 25 May – next week Monday – we celebrate Africa Day. In front of my home, I have a flag pole. On Monday, I will be raising the flag of the African Union that I bought in Addis Ababa when I was there visiting the African Union. Why would I do that? I would do that because I am an African. Africa is part and parcel of all of us. [Applause.] Wonderful! Wonderful! There is some insight from the ANC colleagues also looking to the future, which is very good.
I listened to our colleague from the NFP just now. Unfortunately, I had to leave. I listened to him when he said that he deplores terrorism and he thinks it’s not so good, etc, and we all agree. However, then he qualified his statement. He said “but”. You can’t do that. Either you are against terrorism, or you are not.
The same applies when you talk about self-determination, which is important to us. If you listen to the ANC, in certain circumstances, they fully understand self-determination. When it comes to Western Sahara, they know exactly what it means. When they talk about Palestine, they know exactly what it means, but when it comes to other communities and societies, they do not understand a word of what it means. [Interjections.] You cannot do it that way! [Interjections.] No! You can’t! You have to understand the concept fully if you are serious about those things.
Hon Minister, you started by referring ... and you said South Africa is an important global player. Yes, I think so too. Then you said we are respected because of our values and our principles, which is good, but I will come back to that just now. The problem is that you also referred to the African continent, and you said democracy must be deepened, and government must be inclusive. Maybe one day we should have a discussion as to what we understand under the term “democracy”. What does “democracy” mean? What does “inclusive government” mean?
If I may use your Freedom Charter, it says, no government will be legitimate unless it is built on the will of whom? [Interjections.] No, no, no! No, not “the people ...” [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order! [Interjections.]
Dr C P MULDER: No, it is your Freedom Charter! It does not state “the people” but “all the people.” [Interjections.] Yes. Do you want to check? [Laughter.] Do you want to check? Go and have a check. It says, “... the will of all the people.” [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order!
Dr C P MULDER: You see, the ANC is not interested in the will of all the people. They are interested in the will of the ANC. That is all they are interested in.
Madam, I want to come to the department itself. I was a bit disappointed when, in your speech today, you basically referred to Brics in just one sentence. You referred to Brics just in passing. [Interjections.]
You have time constraints? Twenty-five minutes? I have three! [Interjections.]
The point is, hon Minister, we should look again at whether Brics is to the benefit of South Africa or not.
Four years ago, we were all very excited about Brics. It was going to be wonderful. It was going to have lots of benefits for South Africa. Yes, the point is that trade with China ... let’s get to China just now ... trade with Brazil and Russia remained not very enthusiastic and did not increase. Trade with China increased by 4% in the last four years.
However, if you look at the balance of payments in terms of this trade – the Minister referred to that – we imported R167 billion of products from China last year, and that left us with a deficit of R67 billion. That is what we did, and what did we basically export? Raw materials like steel and coal — that is what we exported. So, there is a complete imbalance of trade with Brics.
Then we come to the Brics development bank, where all the participants are expected to pay R10 billion, regardless of the size of the countries. Now, R10 billion, with all due respect, to some of those partners may be not so much. For South Africa, it is quite expensive. To come to the value ... what do you call that thing, that other fund?
Die valuta-reserwefonds. [The currency reserve fund.]
There, again, we have got to contribute a further R10 billion. All I am saying is ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon member, your time has expired.
Dr C P MULDER: Do you see, Madam? I had three minutes as opposed to 25. Thank you.
Ms D D RAPHUTI
Dr C P MULDER
Ms D D RAPHUTI: My greetings to the Chairperson, the portfolio committee chair Ntate Masango, the Whip of the committee Ntate Radebe, the hon Minister Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Deputy Ministers Ms Nomaindia Mefeketo and Ntate Landers, the director-general Ntate Ambassador Majila, the senior officials of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation and to our honourable guests.
We, the ANC, support Budget Vote 6: International Relations and Co-operation to carry forward the vision of the Freedom Charter, Ntate Mulder. The Minister, hon Nkoane-Mashabane, gave a global view on what strides and achievements the ANC-led government has made in the 20 years of democracy and what the ANC-led government still intends achieving. Siyaqhuba! [We are moving forward!]
Establishing 126 missions across the globe is not child’s play. Siyabonga, the ANC-led government! [Applause.]
The ANC started this friendship at its inception, 103 years ago, through Ubuntu. Peace and friendship – it is a must. The chairperson of the portfolio committee outlined the work of the committee, its oversight responsibility, its achievements and what still needs to be done. Hon members, the ANC is a phenomenal organisation, a movement of learning, shared knowledge and continuous cadre development. A cadre who addresses communities, cannot just – Ntate Mulder – talk from his or her own position. His or her information must have a source of reference, such as the ANC resolutions, the ANC manifesto, the ANC’s 8 January Statement, etc. You must not distort the ANC information, as some of you do. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, what I am implying? During the 2015 8 January Statement, His Excellency the President, Jacob Zuma, declared 2015 The Year of the Freedom Charter. In the Freedom Charter, there is a clause that says that there shall be peace and friendship. Go and read it.
This is what mandates the ANC-led government to facilitate peace and friendship with other countries around the world, as expressed by our hon Minister. The ANC is in the United Nations, in the European Union, in the African Union, in the SADC, as well as in the Pan-African Parliament, PAP. South Africa, with other African states, is currently playing a pivotal role in facilitating peacemaking and peace enforcement on the African continent.
South Africa is visionary. It produced a document, Ready to Govern, which had the following to say about the future of foreign policy:
A democratic South Africa will actively promote the objectives of democracy, peace, stability, development, and mutually beneficial relations among the people of Africa as a whole, as well as Pan African solidarity.
I have mentioned several African organisations in which South Africa plays a critical role. One of our own, the honourable Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, currently heads the African Union Commission, based in Ethiopia.
In October 2014 in this august House, we debated the African Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want and its seven aspirations. My emphasis will be on Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063. The African Agenda 2063 is led by the African people, particularly women and young people. They are considered to be the driving force of the continent.
The following is outlined in Aspiration 6: We aspire that, by 2063, Africa is people centred and caring, puts children first, empowers women to play their rightful role in all spheres of life, has full gender equality in all spheres of life, and has engaged and empowered youth.
All the above that I outlined has been emphasised by the honourable Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Her Excellency Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, during the celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2015, under the African Agenda 2063 theme for 2015, The Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards African Agenda 2063.
Hon members, as I conclude, may I take this time to salute the late Mme Segomotsi Mompati, one of our own, a true cadre of this movement, who decided to take on this journey to promote peace and friendship and who now will be ushered in by the late Bomme Charlotte Manye Maxeke.
Let me remind you that on 25 May 2015, we will be celebrating Africa Day. Happy Africa Day! The ANC supports Budget Vote 6: International Relations and Co-operation. [Time expired.]
Mr M G P LEKOTA
Ms D D RAPHUTI
Mr M G P LEKOTA: Chairperson, in 1993, the late Nelson Mandela stated that South Africa would make human rights a pillar of our country’s foreign policy. He then undertook on our behalf to place South Africa at the forefront of global efforts to promote and foster democratic systems of government. It is therefore relevant to mention, hon Minister, in your report in this debate today what we have been assigned to do in elections that had been taking place both in our region and elsewhere on the continent. I think checking ourselves from time to time against the commitments we made in the past is going to go a long way in establishing our credibility in this regard.
The strongest influence on our foreign policy must come from holding on to principles, not from experiencing a narrow interest. We must keep our credibility however tough the circumstances. The recent explosion of tensions between our citizens and those who have entered our country from other countries has dented our image in Africa and around the world. However, we are no exception in this regard, and we must say that openly. Many African countries have faced similar tensions because of arbitrary and sometimes porous borders inherited from our colonial past; however, we must never separate our national interest from the bigger issues like human rights and democracy. We lose the power of moral persuasion when we do that. Nevertheless, let us confront some of the hard realities of what we are capable of doing and what we are not capable of doing.
Today, the Pan-African Parliament has lost the power to persuade. If you think back to the time when we conceived of the idea and we spoke about it, the African Union, which we launched in Durban, held very strong influence. Immediately thereafter Nepad, of which we were also principals in its work and so on, had receded in the work that we are doing. These are big losses to us because, in fact, once we had started we should have sustained the momentum, but circumstances beyond the control of our country made that impossible, and I say this. The capacity to strengthen the African Union reflects the capacity of the countries of our continent to make the requisite contribution to the work of the Union. As the resources fall short, and only a few of the members of the African Union are able to make the contribution that should be made, this creates difficulty.
To this extent, Minister, I think it is very important that we reflect on whether we need large numbers of missions or whether we should bring them in and identify critical areas to which we can apply our resources because if we spread them out too much, then we do not achieve what we can. I think about the people crossing the Mediterranean; we cannot contribute to the resources to assist these people. I think of areas in which there are huge tensions you are dealing with at the present time, but you need more resources to deal with tensions in the Great Lakes region, to deal with tensions in Southern Africa, and so on. If our resources are spread too much, we need to reflect on that and think how can we sharpen and zone in on areas of great need. I thank you. [Time expired.]
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr M G P LEKOTA
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chairperson, overall, the ACDP recognises the enormous work being done by the department on a very limited budget and the difficulty of finding the delicate balance of sticking to our principles and keeping friendly relations in order to benefit from trade relations and peace.
We congratulate you on a virtually impossible job mostly well done. The Department of International Relations and Co-Operation owns 133 properties internationally and rents 800 further properties. It spends approximately R575 million per year on leases that cost us unnecessarily. When visiting our missions, the reality of just how constrained budgets are is all too obvious. Embarrassing situations like ambassadors having to accept invitations from other missions knowing there is no budget to return the invitation are concerning. Is it perhaps time to seriously review the number of missions we have and consider rationalising it?
With the focus of our missions being economic opportunities for South Africa, it is understandable that, at a time like this, we do not want to be at the back of the line when sanctions on Iran lift. What is more troubling for the ACDP however is our support of the draft agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations. Whilst stipulations appear to offer constrains with substantial reductions in the quantity and quality of centrifuges and stocks of enriched uranium being drastically cut, Saudi officials and smaller Arab countries say that if a deal is done, they plan to pursue a nuclear weapons programme to offset Iran’s, making a much-feared nuclear arms race in the Middle East a reality. This is a worrying idea in a part of the world already rife with violence conflicts. The ACDP sees this deal as opening the door to nuclear proliferation and not closing it, as was the initial intention.
On one side of this issue, there is an idealistic view and on the other a cautious, realistic view. Then there is a question of Iranian political provocation, outrageous rhetoric and regional destabilisation, and the possibility that an economically strengthened Islamic state of Iran – free to pursue its nuclear ambitions under an internationally sanctioned treaty – could be very bad news regionally and globally. Surely, it could be reasonable to tie relief of economic constraints to demonstrations of peaceful intent starting with a complete cessation of genocidal threats against the existence of an Israeli state in the Middle East.
At the 12th South Africa-Iran bilateral meeting in Teheran, we heard about common values and a shared opposition to terrorism. Did anyone challenge Iran with regard to their terror links, their support of Hezbollah and the terror attacks carried out by Iran’s Quds Force? Do our friendly trade relations necessitate turning a blind eye not only to this but the situation in Yemen where the Houthi rebels with ties to Iran have ousted the leader – ousting leaders not being something South Africa usually favours? If this is a case of not getting involved in Middle Eastern “family” issues, why then are we so vocal on Israeli-Hamas “family” business?
Democracy is another common value. In your position, hon Minister, Iranian men and women would not dare speak openly to you, but surely someone is in touch with the realities and the plight of women in particular. There was more that I was going to say, but time has run out. The ACDP will support this budget. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers)
Mrs C DUDLEY
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Hon Chairperson, hon members, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, and your excellencies, this year we begin the third decade of our democracy. This Budget Vote recommits our department to the principle of the Freedom Charter that there shall be peace and friendship.
This Budget Vote is grounded in the call for radical economic transformation. It emphasises strengthening economic diplomacy and integration, thereby giving impetus to the spirit of the Freedom Charter. In this regard, our Minister has ably articulated our key policy priorities for this financial year.
Our shared history in the Americas and Caribbean region and our struggle against colonialism remain central to our fraternal and diplomatic relations. The past year saw an increased focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. We visited the region at ministerial, deputy ministerial and senior official level. These visits included Cuba, Uruguay, Chile and Colombia. The visits strengthened our relations with these countries which culminated in the successful signing of political and economic agreements, as well as an agreement to establish a new mission in Colombia.
In the new financial year, Cuba will continue supporting our country with scarce skills. This includes medical and built environment professionals amongst others. The training of South African medical doctors in Cuba is continuing with much success. Cuba continues to be a strategic ally in our multilateral agenda for the reform of the United Nations and the global financial and governance institutions and architecture.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation is pleased that, in the last financial year, it was able to release the promised funding which will hopefully assist Cuba to rebuild its economy. [Applause.] Moreover, the universally lauded joint announcement by Presidents Castro and Obama presents an opportunity that could lead to fundamental changes in Cuba after five decades of an economic embargo. However, we cannot be complacent.
Instead, we will accelerate our support to Cuba on all fronts to ensure that the blockade is ended in total and that Guantanamo Bay is returned to Cuba. Cuba deserves to regain its rightful place in the family of nations and to rebuild its economy unhindered. [Applause.]
It is within this spirit that we encourage South African businesses to invest in and partner with Cuban enterprises to benefit both our countries. We have sat here today and endured a barrage of interjections from the opposition benches. I want to deal with one particular aspect which has been missing in today’s debate and has been missing from the interjections.
It is common knowledge by now that, amongst others, Pope Francis played a crucial role in helping to bring about rapprochement between Cuba and US President, Barack Obama. In the recent past, Nobel Laureates moved their conference from the City of Cape Town to Rome. As they usually do, the Nobel Laureates submitted a request to Pope Francis to grant the Dalai Lama an audience. This request was denied by Pope Francis, resulting in a barrage of criticism and abuse from no less than the honourable Patricia de Lille and the hon Helen Zille, both leaders of the DA. [Applause.]
We want to say that we condemn in the strongest possible terms this attack on the Holy See and Pope Francis. We regard the criticism by the two leaders of the DA as despicable and cowardly. [Interjections.] Why did Pope Francis refuse an audience to the Dalai Lama?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): That is the question that both leaders of the DA should have sought answers to before launching their despicable attacks.
Here is the answer. Chairperson and hon members, there are Catholics in China who face persecution because they refuse to recognise the head of the church in China who was appointed by the government of China. If the two DA leaders had gone to just a little bit of trouble and had done their homework, not too much, just a little bit of homework, they would have discovered that. Catholics in South Africa have taken careful note of this criticism and attack on the Holy See and Pope Francis by the leaders of the DA. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order, hon members! Please allow the member to be heard.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Madam Chairperson, in another interjection, the hon Maynier said the following: too many cadres to retire. Now ... [Interjections.] ... Yes, pension plan! We all know that the honourable Tony Leon is not a cadre of the ANC. We also know that the honourable Sheila Camerer and the honourable Douglas Gibson are not cadres of the ANC. [Interjections.] Alright, fit for purpose? I will ensure that the next time I see those three honourable members, I will convey to them your message that they are fit for purpose. [Interjections.] No, no, no. So, are the hon Maynier and members of the DA saying that South Africans who have distinguished themselves should not be appointed as ambassadors by the ANC government? Please, answer that question ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): ... unless they are fit for purpose. [Interjections.] Now, hon Minister, the next time we sit to consider names for ambassadorship positions, please bear in mind the position of the DA on this matter. Members of the DA will only be appointed if they are fit for purpose. [Applause.] [Interjections.] Yes. [Interjections.] No, no, no! Yes, you don’t like what I am saying? It hurts. Yes, I know it hurts. It hurts. We get it; we understand. [Interjections.] No, we are not floundering! You are floundering! You forgot that Tony Leon went to Argentina. [Interjections.] Yes, you did! You did. No, he didn’t think. You see, I know the hon Maynier. [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order!
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): He does not use his brain before speaking. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon Deputy Minister, please take your seat. Hon members, it is unparliamentary to interrupt the speaker at the podium. Shall we try to maintain the decorum of the House? Thank you. You may proceed.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Madam Chairperson, Europe remains one of our largest foreign direct investment sources. [Interjections.] Yes, yes, yes. It therefore continues to be a priority through existing and regularised structured bilateral consultations. Whilst we value this relationship, our major challenge continues to be to ensure that our political and economic relations and agreements with Europe reflect a paradigm of equal partners.
Our annual consultations will continue to build on this principle, whilst creating new opportunities from which all South Africans can benefit. We will also continue to strengthen our focus on Central and Eastern Europe, with a focus on Africa for trade and investments, skills development and technical co-operation.
We are engaging with the Europeans to form sustainable partnerships for development into the rest of Africa. It is intended that it results in the establishment of joint projects for infrastructure development and the sharing of technical skills that can help upscale delivery. Yes, tread carefully.
None of our objectives will be successful if our administrative structure, systems, staffing and skills are not aligned with our strategy. [Interjections.] I will not sit down because you are not a member of the ANC. You do not have the authority to tell me to sit down. You don’t. You never will, friendly or not. [Interjections.] Well, the public is sitting and listening ... [Interjections.] ... No! They are listening with great interest; trust me. [Interjections.] Yes, well, there you go then. You should follow that example.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon Deputy Minister.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Yes, Madam.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa) Please try and avoid the temptation of talking directly to the members. Address the House through the Chair.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers): Madam Chair, none of our objectives will be successful if our administrative structure, systems, staffing and skills are not aligned with our strategy. Therefore, in this financial year, we have begun to implement our new organisational structure in line with that strategy.
Building on the legacy of revolutionary diplomacy inspired by, amongst others, the late O R Tambo, Johnny Makhatini, Dulcie September and now Ruth Mompati, our diplomatic academy continues to train our diplomats in political diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and conflict resolution. Thank you. [Applause.] [Time expired.]
Mr L R MBINDA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION (Mr L T Landers)
Mr L R MBINDA: Chair, hon members and distinguished guests, the PAC has been highly disappointed in the consulate services provided to citizens, found lacking at critical times, like when we experienced the death of 168 citizens who were crushed by a temple in Nigeria.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation has been following events, rather than leading in those critical moments. Unlike its Nigerian counterparts when their citizens were being affected by Afrophobia, our department was highly lax in its approach, similarly so in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. Our citizens had to be rescued by other nations.
As the PAC, we wonder whether the department is committed to its own function of protecting our citizens when they are outside the country. Moreover, the department has not protected our national sovereignty. It has not advised the rest of the departments appropriately, as we see our security agencies being trained by nations that are hostile in their economic behaviour, like the USA. The department has not advised other departments as per its mandate on critical issues of policy development. It has allowed the departments to contract mediocre consultants to drive our policies, particularly industrial and economic policies.
As a country, we have lobbied and successfully attained the seat to lead the African Union through Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but we seem not to have an agenda of unifying Africa. The agenda seems to be in the interest of foreign rather than the collective interest of African countries. We seem to be muddled in Francophone-Anglophone competition rather than safeguarding the collective interests of African countries. The PAC desires the establishment of a sovereign state of Africa that has its own currency, its own army and a collective foreign policy. I am sure you will even remember what the founding member of the PAC, Robert Sobukwe, said about Africa. As Africans, we are all pro-Africa; we are anti-nobody. We take what is good from the East, and we take what is good from the West. Because we breathe, we live and we dream Africa. We believe that Africa and humanity are inseparable.
On the issues of trade, our policy does not assert itself on the world economy, as we continuously carry a deficit. The Department of International Relations and Co-operation has to answer about when we are going to change this continuous trade deficit in the country. We cannot be a nation that continuously destroys its values and creates value for other nations instead of itself.
On working together with the world, the PAC continues to say that the multilateral platforms do not favour our country or the African continent; it favours the world. We need to be aggressive in our pursuit of a UN Security Council seat for Africa. Furthermore, it is not acceptable that we continue to be bench-sitters for financial exchange institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Our involvement in the Brics Bank is a step in the right direction, but it is still way behind what we must do. We support the Budget Vote on the basis of promoting Pan-Africanism.
Mr M S A MAILA
Mr L R MBINDA
Mr M S A MAILA: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members of the House, and distinguished guests, the ANC supports the budget as presented by the department.
The department has embarked on a number of mitigating and cost-saving measures in order to achieve its strategic objectives even though there have been some budget cuts. This is a sign of true leadership, something that can only be learned from the ANC. My focus will be on the place of South Africa within South-South relations and the new world order. In expounding the Freedom Charter’s ideal that there shall be peace and friendship, the 1969 ANC Morogoro Consultative Conference had the following to say:
Democratic South Africa shall take its place as a member of the OAU and work to strengthen Pan-African unity in all fields. Our country will actively support national liberation movements of the people of the world against imperialism, colonialism and neocolonialism. Diplomatic relations will be established with all countries regardless of their social and political systems on the principles of mutual respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Out of this was born the idea of strengthening relations with the countries of the South and elsewhere in other parts of the world. These are countries that have historically been marginalised by the West. These relations are intended to create political, economic and social convergence in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment. The strengthening of South-South relations will also result in less and less dependence on the Bretton Woods Institutions and a likelihood of creating an alternative to the Washington Consensus.
Commitment to strengthen South-South relations is evidenced by the country’s contribution to the fortification of Global South multilateralism. This is shown by our participation in organisations like the Non-Aligned Movement, G77 plus China, New Asian-African Strategic Partnership, IBSA, and Brics.
South Africa’s membership of Brics, which was not fully understood by some in our country, is a major success of our efforts to strategically position ourselves as one of the key catalysts for broader South-South relations. Support of the country’s membership of Brics is expressed by the ANC’s 53rd national conference, the January 8 Statement, and the state of the nation address. The Brics summit in Durban resolved for the establishment of the Brics Development Bank with its headquarters in Shanghai and the presidency rotating amongst Brics member states. There will also be a centre in Africa, situated in Johannesburg, which will focus on issues important to Africa, as well as the continent’s developmental goals. The bank is expected to start lending in 2016. This will shake up the arrogant, conservative global finance regime. South Africa’s forum with India and Brazil, IBSA, celebrated 10 years of existence in 2013 and remains a solid platform for driving our South-South co-operation agenda.
South Africa commenced its chairpersonship of the G77 plus China in January 2015 and will lead the negotiations on behalf of developing countries regarding the post-2015 Development Agenda. The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the United Nations. South Africa will play a leading role within the G77 plus China to ensure that the celebrations are used as a platform to highlight the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council and other global governance structures.
South Africa has served as cochair of the G20 Development Working Group since its establishment in 2010. As a member of the G20, South Africa will continue to participate in its processes to promote economic stability and long-term sustainable and equitable growth. The Forum on China-Africa Co-operation is a multilateral instrument through which China provides development assistance and support to African countries. As cochair, South Africa has been working closely with China over the past three years to ensure the implementation of the 5th FOCAC Beijing Action Plan. In this regard, South Africa will be hosting the 6th Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC in 2015. The emergence of China as the second largest economy after the USA has changed the global economic pecking order drastically.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operations has done tremendous work as the scout of the Republic to bring major returns through facilitating bilateral relations with various nations of the world. Throughout this debate, we have been referring to the resolutions taken at the 53rd national conference because we have a vision of where South Africa should go.
Three weeks ago, the DA held its national conference. There isn’t a single resolution that they can brandish. All that they are brandishing is that they came from a conference with a young black male priest as their leader. [Interjections.] You know, you can run, but you cannot hide. We are watching you. We know the real leader is not hon Maimane but the hon Selfe who will take the steering wheel from the back.
It is very sad that hon Maxon had to disown a product that she contributed to so much. However, I am not surprised. It is because of the environment she operates from, which is a semi-military setup that is not tolerant of democratic principles, so I am not surprised. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI
Mr M S A MAILA
Mr N T GODI: Chair, comrades and hon members, I hope this breaks no protocol, but I wish to dedicate my speech to my former history lecturer at the University of the North, Prof Genge.
We want to stress the Pan-Africanist basis and progressive internationalist outlook of our foreign policy. South Africa must be commended for continuing to play a positive role in Africa in peacemaking, peacekeeping and economic development.
We remain concerned about the situation in South Sudan, Libya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Burundi, Somalia and Nigeria. Africa needs peace and security for socioeconomic development. Continued efforts should be made to strengthen the African Union in influencing the cause of peace throughout the continent. Only Pan-African unity and solidarity can guarantee Africa’s development. We are therefore concerned, Comrade Minister, about the poor management of the African Renaissance Fund, which is South Africa’s instrument of Pan-African solidarity. We are worried that the hand of consequence management is weak. Officials responsible for financial misconduct must be held accountable.
The APC supports the progressive positions of our country on matters of international significance. We rejoice at the prospect of Cuba being freed from illegally being strangled by the USA. We pledge solidarity with the besieged people of Palestine and hope that Iran will soon be freed from the yoke of sanctions. [Applause.]
The APC is pleased that South Africa joined progressive humanity in observing and celebrating the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazism in Moscow, Russia recently. The APC believes that Russia, a country that observes international law and norms to the letter, deserves to be treated justly and fairly. We condemn the sanctions imposed on Russia. The Russian position on the Ukraine is correct. Her interests must be recognised and respected. However, it appears that there is a growing realisation that Russia, and President Vladimir Putin, will not bow to the dictates of the self-appointed policemen of the world. [Applause.]
The APC believes that we must consolidate and advance our relations with our Brics comrades and other progressive countries. The APC supports the Budget Vote of the department. [Applause.]
Mr D AMERICA
Mr N T GODI
Mr D AMERICA: Madam Chair, I am not a regular member of the committee. I am standing in for and delivering the following speech on behalf of my colleague the hon Sandy Kalyan who is currently at the 6th annual Ordinary Session of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was the guest of honour at the official opening on 18 May. He delivered a powerful message on the issues of terrorism, xenophobia and the current crisis in Burundi.
He further gave his stamp of approval to the revised Pan-African Parliament Protocol, as did Mali, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. My question is: When will South Africa get around to ratifying the protocol? Given that South Africa is the host country of the Pan-African Parliament, we should be leading the charge to ratify this document, but despite persistent questioning from me, no one has been able to say exactly where this protocol is.
The outgoing president of the Pan-African Parliament presented a report on Tuesday in which it is stated that sections of host country agreement make for shameful reading. The host country agreement between the South African government and the African Union expired in 2009 and is overdue for renewal. Despite several meetings with Department of International Relations and Co-operation officials, there have been no positive results.
Some of the obligations under this agreement remain unimplemented, such as the provisioning of a permanent site. It is indeed unfortunate that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation has not honoured the agreement to build new premises for the Pan-African Parliament. South Africa wishes to regard itself as a champion of human rights and the protection thereof. The recent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals have been shameful and will be the subject of debate in the Pan-African Parliament.
At the height of the xenophobic attacks, Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesman Clayson Monyela slammed the Nigerian government for recalling its high commissioner. The Minister in the Presidency, the hon Jeff Radebe, distanced himself from the statement, saying South Africa enjoys cordial relations with Nigeria and that this is not South Africa’s position, yet Mr Monyela says he stands by his statement. Minister, on whose authority did your spokesperson make the statement? We also acknowledge the delegated responsibilities, Madam Minister, that you have given your two deputies, but that does not absolve you from your responsibility with regard to attendance at the portfolio committee.
Going back to the human rights issue, I wish to dwell for a moment on the fiasco of the nonissue of a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He applied for a visa to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. Usually, the issue falls within the domain of the Department of Home Affairs, but, in this instance, it was referred to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation. The application was duly made in Delhi, India. Mr Monyela then informed the liaison office of Tibet in Pretoria telephonically that the visa was declined. No reason was given. It was done telephonically, so there wouldn’t be a paper trail to back up an appeal.
Let’s take the case of one of the busiest missions of the department, the mission in the United Kingdom. For the last three months, maybe more, no-one has been able to get through either by telephone or e-mail to this office. There is a huge backlog in respect of every service the mission offers. Again Mr Monyela says it’s due to technological challenges or problems. In this day and age, problems related to technology, especially in a First World country, can be resolved in a matter of hours, not months.
Madam Minister, if the UK and Indian missions are anything to go by, then your grand one-stop-shop plan has crashed. Also, Madam Minister, I wish to ask whether you can shed any light on the interruption of the diplomatic bags from overseas missions to South Africa, as South Africans in Chicago and Vienna are informed that it will take up to six months to finalise their applications for passports and visas.
In conclusion, Europe remains South Africa’s main strategic trading bloc.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon member, your time has expired.
Mr D AMERICA: The Department of International Relations and Co-operation acknowledges this, yet ANC speakers in many debates never miss an opportunity to decry the so-called colonial masters.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Order! Order! Hon member, order! Hon member, your time has expired. Before I call the next speaker, I would like to refer to the member’s context in which he said ... he referred several times to “Jeff Radebe”. It is disrespectful to refer to an hon Minister without referring to him as an “hon Minister”. [Interjections.] I don’t need your response; I am ruling on this. It is disrespectful, so maybe you need to apologise to the House.
Mr D AMERICA: Madam Chair, I can recall that I only referred to the hon Jeff Radebe once, and I did say “hon Jeff Radebe”.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon member, I was sitting here. I listened to you saying “Jeff Radebe”. So, I request you to apologise.
Mr D AMERICA: I suggest that you check the Hansard, Madam Chair. [Interjections.] My recollection is that I referred to the hon Jeff Radebe only once and as “hon Jeff Radebe”.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon member, my ruling is that you have to apologise to this House for referring to “Jeff Radebe” instead of “hon Jeff Radebe”. [Interjections.] Are you standing on a point of order? [Interjections.] Hon member, I repeat: I correctly heard you say “Jeff Radebe” and not “hon Minister Radebe”.
Mr D AMERICA: I won’t withdraw, Madam Chair. I won’t withdraw.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): My ruling is that you have to apologise and then take your seat so that we can proceed.
Mr D AMERICA: I didn’t say it, Madam Chair, and therefore I cannot withdraw something that I hadn’t said. Check the Hansard, and then make your ruling.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): Hon member at the back? I’m sorry. I can’t hear you.
Dr C P MULDER: Chair, I said that if you stick to that ruling, you are breaking new ground in Parliament. It has not happened since 1994 that a member has been asked to apologise for what he has basically said. Quite clearly, the member had no ill intent when he said that, and it is in dispute, as he said he didn’t say that. So, the proper procedure would be to remind the member that he should refer to “hon” members. If he disputes that, you should check the Hansard but, with all due respect, to make a ruling that he should apologise is unheard of.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): There is nothing wrong with apologising for having been disrespectful. [Interjections.] Order! There is nothing wrong, but I will then take the hon member’s advice and refer to the Hansard, and then, at the next sitting, we will again rule on this matter.
Mr B A RADEBE
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa)
Mr B A RADEBE: Hon Chairperson, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, members of this august House and our esteemed guests, this debate comes at a time when we celebrate Africa Month and the 52nd anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU. This debate also takes place against the backdrop of celebrating 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter on 26 June.
The Freedom Charter made a clarion call that there shall be peace and friendship. In pursuit of this vision, the Mangaung conference of the ANC had this to say: The African Agenda should be promoted based on the pursuit of peace, economic growth and development, continental integration, democracy and human rights and international solidarity.
Let us remember where Africa’s problems come from. The Berlin Conference, which was held in Germany, fragmented Africa and left Africa divided into Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone Africa. Apart from plundering the resources of the continent, these colonial masters further inflicted pain on Africa by making it a theatre for the Cold War melting pot. As they plundered the resources, they degraded the environment and promoted the comprador bourgeoisie class. This class was never interested in the development of the economies of the African states, but it was ready to lead the exploitation of the working class and the poor on the African continent. These colonialists were ready to murder and detain the real leaders of the African people.
When Ghana was liberated, its founding President, Kwame Nkrumah, had this to say in the 1964 Summit of the OAU:
By far the greatest wrong the departing colonialists inflicted on us, and which we now continue to inflict on ourselves in our present state of disunity, was to leave us divided into economically unviable states which bear no possibility of real development.
This lamentation by President Kwame Nkrumah was to agitate the African states to have common policies on development, trade and industrialisation.
It is a remarkable achievement that the ANC-led government is involved in programmes that promote industrialisation, intra-Africa trade, continental unity, and Africa-wide developmental institutions. This sterling work of the government realises the dreams of the founding fathers of the OAU.
Of course, this call by Dr Nkrumah was a call for the unity of Africa. His dream was of a united, strong Africa, something that is encapsulated in the AU Agenda 2063, which expresses in Aspiration 1 desire to have a “prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development”. This aspiration will be fulfilled by the eradication of poverty in one generation through the strategies of inclusive growth, job creation, increased agricultural production, investment in science and technology, and research development.
We know that this country’s founding father of apartheid, Verwoerd, was adamant that the African people never learn the skills of science and technology so that they would forever remain slaves in this country. These things didn’t occur only here. It happened throughout the continent, but it is very surprising that the opposition is now glamorising Verwoerd as a tactical leader.
In the fulfilment of this first aspiration, the ANC does not only talk about it – it also walks the talk. When South Africa was awarded the right to host the Square Kilometre Array, SKA, telescope project, the ANC-led government decided that it should be an achievement for the entire continent of Africa. That is why it involved eight other African countries, like Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Ghana and other countries, in this project. The SKA project has brought together South African scientists and engineers with SKA partner countries to create a distributed network of radio telescopes. Such an African network of telescopes will fill a major gap in the global Very Long Baseline Interferometry, VLBI, network and will help to pave the way for Africa to participate optimally in the SKA project. This will also help to develop curricula for astronomy and astrophysics courses and will provide research topics for graduate students from Africa.
The African Renaissance Fund of the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation has pledged R120 million in support of this project. [Applause.] Really, this department is undoing what the colonial masters had done all these years. This shows that this department is integrating the continent in technology, innovation and research and development. This transnational SKA project will help make Dr Kwame Nkrumah a true prophet, as he predicted that, as the liberation of the African continent started from the north of Africa, its economic emancipation would come from the south. This ANC-led government has really been true to the values of the founding fathers of the OAU.
This ANC-led government, through the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation, has championed continental integration, through the creation of a tripartite free trade area, through the integration of three regional economies - that is SADC, the East African Community, EAC, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, Comesa - which will involve 26 countries with a total population of 600 million people and a combined gross domestic product, GDP, of US$1 trillion. Once established, the tripartite free trade area will contribute to the economies of scale and the building of new distribution channels, value addition and manufacturing in Africa. The department emphasises that one of the key areas to stimulating regional economic development has been the finalisation of the SADC Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, which will focus on the following six priority areas: energy, transport, ICT, water, and tourism.
African leaders appointed President Zuma at the Kampala AU Summit to be the champion of the infrastructure development project for the whole of the continent. That’s why today, despite the fragmentation left behind by colonialists and as a result of what Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has done since her arrival at the AU, the EAC has a joint venture of creating a cross-border megaproject that involves a railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi which will eventually extend to Kampala in Uganda, Juba in South Sudan and Kigali in Rwanda. This rail system is part of an integrated development plan for East Africa that will include expanded airports, highways and port facilities. The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, estimates that the Nairobi-Mombasa rail link alone will raise Kenya’s GDP by 1,5%. This is an example of a project which will promote intraregional trade, something the colonial masters thought would never happen.
The funding for this project is coming from China. Where the colonial masters ensured that the infrastructure was going to the ports, Chinese intervention in Africa is integrating the various regional economies on the African continent. It is very important that we support this AU initiative led by Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
In the SADC region, the ANC-led government has turned the master-servant relationship with its counterparts in the region around by ensuring that South African companies like Sasol do not extract raw gas from Mozambique but rather develop the gas fields and pass on technology skills to the local population. Sasol is going to open a new gas-to-liquids plant in the north of Mozambique in partnership with a Mozambican gas company belonging to the state, and it will match in size its counterpart plant in Secunda. Unlike what was happening in the past, where South Africa just took from other African countries, it now ploughs back into skills development.
Also, very importantly, all these transnational megaprojects have attracted high quality foreign direct investments in Africa, and that is why countries like Mozambique have high economic growth in excess of 7% per annum. This was made possible because of the sterling work done by the department in unifying Africa. That is why we call on the House to support the Budget Vote of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
However, there are certain things that cannot be left unattended. The first one is ... just like hon Mokgalapa has said, he wants us to commodify diplomatic services. I think this is capitalism in the extreme. You cannot do that because of the work that is done by this department. Pretoria, or Tshwane, has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington. It’s because of the widespread ... it’s having in all the ... [Interjections.]
Mr R A LEES: On a point of order, Madam Chair: Reluctant as I am to interrupt his oratory, I see the speaker is on the list as speaking for 10 minutes, and he has exceeded that time.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms Y N Phosa): It’s not a point of order. Sit down, hon member. You may proceed, hon member.
Mr B A RADEBE: Chairperson, the DA’s statement that the diplomatic core is a dumping ground for ANC rejects is a lie. I can make an example of a diplomat who was appointed by the ANC – Comrade Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. As I said, the ANC supports this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION
Mr B A RADEBE
The MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND CO-OPERATION: Hon Chairperson, it’s always an honour and a pleasure to participate in this debate and to listen to constructive engagement by South Africans who want to contribute positively to the Africa we want. [Applause.]
To hon Mahlangu, regarding how the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation and the government of the Republic of South Africa should take care of the resources that this department needs in 2015 to continue playing the role it has played, none of us is complaining about the volume of work. We arrive here in the early hours of the morning and still make it here because we think that working together we can do more.
The world respects South Africa. Respect is earned through good deeds informed by our Freedom Charter. We cannot shy away from our history, hon Maxon. This is what helps us build our future and what makes it possible for us not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Please don’t ask us to say that people should remember what happened, around the world, to some communities in some other part of the world a century ago but that we should quickly forget – with 21 years – where we come from. We refuse and decline to do that.
As far as building our rainbow nation for South Africans from all walks of life goes, we are ready. We will be your partners in moving forward into the future and in providing opportunities to the youth of this country. Hon members referred to industrialisation. We will beneficiate our mineral resources so as to create opportunities for our children and our children’s children.
To have a positive balance of trade, foreign direct investment and all that, one needs an environment conducive to it. South Africa will never be able to trade fairly with its partners if it does not radically transform the means of production in this country. We need to all agree that change has to come and come now.
We create paths, as other members have said. When we have time, we will deal with it and organise a workshop for hon Maynier because he has not participated in the debate, but he really behaves like ... I think even my children are disappointed watching him here. [Interjections.] He is supposed to be an hon member, but he makes no constructive contribution to the debate about the Africa we want and how we should all contribute in achieving that.
Contributions to the White Paper ... we seek consensus, and the white paper would not have taken so much time to complete if we had not sought consensus. However, seeking that consensus doesn’t mean that everybody is going to agree.
I was honoured to have hon members of the portfolio committee form their own delegation to Iran to see for themselves. I listened with keen interest to what hon Dudley said here today. She only omitted that if we want to stop the nuclear arms race, we should be balanced. We should also insist on giving opportunities to developing countries to use their nuclear energy for peaceful means. [Applause.] That way people will understand what we are talking about instead of being one sided.
Hon Lekota, you spoke like an elder today. I listened with interest to what you said. All I can say to you is that the world demands of South Africa to contribute positively where it is able to. We cannot cut down on the number of missions we have. We said we will try to achieve much with less. We wish we had more resources to open missions in countries where we are needed today. The Middle East needs us. Africa needs us to open more missions because it’s our presence that makes a difference.
I’m very proud and honoured that we can serve South Africans through this department. As hon Godi said, we will continue to champion leadership with consequence management. We will not run away from that. We will do just that so that we do not disappoint you.
I’m very proud of these young people sitting in the room who contributed to our magazine, It’s Your Voice, formally known as the diplomats Sandile Mbanyele and Katlego Mthembu. You are the future diplomats, maybe future Ministers of the Department of International Relations and Co-Operation. You are shining examples of what we can achieve — the Africa we want. By 2063, I’ll be around, but I’ll be a veteran. You will be there at the forefront. I thank you very much, hon Chairperson. I wish I had more time. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 16:30.
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