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28 September 2021 - NW1966

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the (a) key strategic priorities of the Republic after assuming the role of organ of peace and security in the region at the 41st Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community and (b) budgetary implications in this regard?

Reply:

During the 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 17 and 18 August 2021 in Lilongwe, Republic of Malawi, the Republic of South Africa became the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

The overall objective and function of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security is the promotion of peace, security and stability as well as good

governance and democracy in the SADC Region.

The political and the security situation in the Region is relatively peaceful and stable, notwithstanding isolated challenges in some Member States (Kingdom of Lesotho, DRC, Mozambique and the Kingdom of Eswatini) and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the Chairship of South Africa, the Organ’s focus will be on the following key issues:

  • The facilitation process in the Kingdom of Lesotho;
  • The deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM);
  • The continuation of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC);
  • The situation in Eswatini; and
  • Observation of elections in the Region.
  • Operationalisation of the Mediation Reference Group and Council of the Elders.

21 September 2021 - NW1954

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What steps has the Government taken in attempts to reverse the observer status granted to Israel by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission; (2) Whether the Government intends to permanently close down the Embassy of Israel in the Republic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW 2186E

Reply:

1. The Government of the Republic of South Africa has formally, lodged an objection to the unilateral decision by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) to grant the State of Israel observer status to the African Union (AU).

  • 1.1 Consequently, the matter has been placed on the agenda of the AU Executive Council that will convene on 13 and 14 October 2021.
  • 1.2  South Africa and other like-minded countries that have lodged objections will, at the Executive Council meeting, vigorously pursue the conviction that the AU must, as a matter of urgency, rescind the decision on Israel's observer status unless and until it complies with all United Nations (UN) resolutions concerning its withdrawal from all occupied territories and give effect to the self-determination of the Palestinian People.

(2) South Africa maintains diplomatic relations with Israel and as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Israel has an Embassy in South Africa and South Africa maintains  an Embassy in Israel. There are no plans to request the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa.

17 September 2021 - NW2218

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Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, with reference to her oral reply to questions 31 on 3 March 2021 and the President’s reply to question 1077 on 24 May 2021, the investigation into the land purchase in New York has been completed ; if not, (a) what are the detailed reasons for the non – completion and (b) by what date will the investigation be completed; if so, (i) what are the details of the (aa) findings (bb) recommendations and (ii) will she furnish Mr R A Lees with a copy of the report; (2) Whether the findings and recommendations have been (a) accepted and (b) acted upon; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW2522E

Reply:

1(a) Open Water Advanced Risk Solutions was appointed to conduct an investigation

(b) The investigation was completed in July 2019.

(i)(aa) the detailed findings are contained in a report, and confirm the 2017/18 AGSA findings.

(bb) the recommendations are contained in the report.

(ii) The Department has hard copies of the report.

2(a) the Director-General has been found guilty and dismissed with a 30 day notice period. In respect of other implicated officials, consequence management is currently underway.

(b) The Department brought a review application on 10 March 2018 to have the tender award reviewed and set aside by the High Court. The review application also request for the recovery of the money that was paid to the service provider by the Department. The hearing on the matter took place on 12 and 13 October 2020. The judgement was reserved and the Department is waiting for the outcome.

17 September 2021 - NW1955

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What interventions is the Government pursuing in the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) in curbing and preventing the deaths of young women and men who enter into child marriages, as it has been observed that all previous measures such as the AU campaign held in 2014 – 17 period and the SADC Model Law on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children already in marriage, signed in 2016, have not been effective?

Reply:

South Africa’s foreign policy is based on its Constitutional values and principles central to which are the rights of the Child. In the context of the post-apartheid era where an array of laws and frameworks have been put in place to protect the child, South Africa has complemented these with actions at the regional, continental and United Nations level.

In order to build on the AU campaign and promote the SADC Model Law, the AU followed up with the End Child Marriage campaign that is based on the 5 Year Strategic Plan, which commenced in 2019 to 2023. The AU campaign held in 2014-2017 needed to be built on to provide an environment to enhance the effectiveness of the SADC Model Law. South Africa, at the national level, will work with traditional leaders, teachers, church leaders and social partners to ensure the eradication of this practice in the country.

South Africa has participated in AU and SADC forums and other consultative engagements that have been held to address the issue of Child Marriages in the respective member states. It should be taken into consideration that South Africa participates as part of the collective in these multilateral engagements where member states engage and take individual decisions to domesticate AU and SADC policy positions. In this regard, South Africa as Member State of the African Union (AU) has been in the forefront of the efforts to eradicate this harmful practise including being part of the campaign to End Child Marriage through the 5 year strategic plan (2019-2023).

16 September 2021 - NW1926

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Hendricks, Mr MGE to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In light of concerns raised over governance in Rwanda, will the Minister consider proposals (see attached Road Map for a Promising Future for Rwanda) on dialogues from Rwanda citizens and civil society to promote in its inter-governmental talks with the government of Rwanda, as to how reform can be achieved by considering the following:- (a) That South Africa support the consideration of proposals made by Rwanda’s civil society organisations; (b) to note that such proposals are in line with the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes; (a) That South Africa support the consideration of proposals made by Rwanda’s civil society organisations; (b) to note that such proposals are in line with the United Nations Strategy for Peace Consolidation, Prevention and Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes; (b) Whether South Africa will also advocate and support such proposals within the international community, at United Nations level and through diplomatic channels to European countries, the United States and United Kingdom and individual countries in the African Great Lakes region, the South African Development Community and East African Community.

Reply:

a) The South African Government has not been directly approached by the mentioned organisation or Rwandan citizens or civil society on this matter.

South Africa’s foreign policy is based, amongst others, on mutual respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries with whom it has diplomatic relations. In this regard, South Africa believes in non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries unless requested or invited to do so by the affected country or as part of a multilateral team or mandate. In principle, South Africa encourages parties involved in political conflict to settle internal disputes and differences through dialogue and within the confines of their domestic law. In the case of Rwanda, South Africa conducts its bilateral relations through the Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) and high level meetings where issues of mutual concern are discussed, including those of human rights where merited.

b) South Africa has not been approached by any party from Rwanda to intervene in Rwanda. Rwanda is a member state of the East African Community (EAC) and as such, any proposals for intervention should be processed through the EAC and supported by the Rwandan parties. The success of South Africa’s national reconciliation, nation building and respect for human rights is internationally recognised and should any country wish to emulate the South African example and learn from the experience, South Africa is most willing and available to assist or share.

31 August 2021 - NW1808

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Mkhonto, Ms C N to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) intervention has the Government made to persuade King Mswati III to allow democratic reforms to take place in eSwatini and (b) options will she pursue against any continued surppression of voices for democracy in the specified country?

Reply:

a) His Excellency, Mr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the President of the Republic of Botswana, in his capacity as a chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation invited SADC Troika Ministers to travel to Eswatini on 11 July 2021 to meet with the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini and political leaderships as well as civil society and academia with a view to support the people of Eswatini towards finding a durable solution to their political challenges.

The SADC Troika Ministers was led by Botswana’s Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Lemogang Kwape, in his capacity as a chair of the Ministerial segment of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and included the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Dr Naledi Pandor, as incoming chair of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Mr Frederick Shava.

As part of these developments, SADC Troika Ministers spent two days in Eswatini, which was agreed to be insufficient for the Troika to interface extensively with the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini. In this regard, a SADC sent a Fact Finding Technical Team to Eswatini from 15 to 22 July 2021 and again South Africa participated.

b) Following their visit to Eswatini, the Fact Finding Technical Team submitted a comprehensive report with recommendations to the Chair of Troika. The report has been forwarded to the Government of Eswatini for their consideration.

31 August 2021 - NW1825

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether any South African (SA) nationals are stuck in Afghanistan; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) Whether there are any immediate plans to withdraw SA nationals from Afghanistan; if not, why not; if so, what are the full relevant details? NW2048e

Reply:

1. Yes, there are thirty four (34) South Africans present in Afghanistan according to the reports from the South African High Commission in Pakistan. Thirty (30) South Africans managed to leave Kabul on evacuation flights arranged by the relevant Employers who utilised the United States of America and the United Kingdom evacuation flights. The remaining four South African citizens await evacuation arrangements by the Employers.

2. No, the South Africans are in Afghanistan on private business, mostly working for large multi-national companies, International Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and international security companies. South African citizens that approached DIRCO and the South African High Commission in Pakistan have been informed that it is the responsibility of the Employer to arrange the evacuation of their foreign staff on special evacuation flights.

28 June 2021 - NW1723

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether there are currently any staff members who are the subject of a disciplinary process at the SA High Commission in London (2) if not, what is the position in this regard (3) if so, in each case , (a) what number of staff, (b) for what reason in each case and (c) for how long have the specified disciplinary processes been underway (4)Whether there are currently any disputes between staff and the High Commissioner; (5) if so, (a) what is the total number of disputes, (b) what is the subject of the specified disputes, (c) (i) for how long have the specified disputes been on the table and (ii) what are the relevant details in each case and (d) what is the status quo of each of these disciplinary process and/ or disputes? NW1934E

Reply:

  1. None
  2. Disciplinary processes are implemented in conjunction with Labour Relations at Head Office and through the Desk as and when a transgression arises.
  3. There are currently no pending cases of any nature
  4. There are currently no disputes
  5. There are currently no disputes

17 June 2021 - NW1722

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) is the total number of staff that is employed in the Office of the SA High Commission in London and (b) are the (i) names and (ii) designation of the persons employed in the specified office; (2) Whether the office is currently fully operational with all staff on duty full time; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details, (3) What services are currently being provided by the office; (4) Whether any services are currently not being provided ; if so, (a) what services and (b) on what date will they resume;

Reply:

1 (a) 18 Transferred officials and 5 vacant posts.

(b) (i) Not Applicable

(ii) Designation

Position 1 - Deputy High Commissioner

Position 2 – Counsellor Bilateral

Position 3 – Counsellor Multilateral

Position 4 – State Security

Position 5 – Political Secretary

Position 6 - Political Secretary

Position 7 - Corporate Services Manger – Vacant since December 2019, waiting for a replacement

Position 8 – First Secretary Administration ( Acting Corporate Services Manager)

Position 9 – Third Secretary Administration

Position 10 – Third Secretary Administration

Position 11 – Counsellor ICT

Position 12 – First Secretary ICT

Position 13 - First Secretary ICT – Vacant since December 2020

 

Partner Departments:

Department of Home Affairs ( DHA)

Position 14 – Counsellor: Immigration and Civic Services

Position 15 – Second Secretary: Immigration and Civic Services

Position 16 - Secretary: Immigration and Civic Services

Position 17 - Second Secretary: Immigration and Civic Services – Vacant since December 2018 State Security:

Position 18 – Counsellor: Political

Position 19 - Political Secretary – Vacant since November 2019

 

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

Position 20 – Minister: DTI

 

Department of Transport

Position 21 – Minister Transport

South African Police Service ( SAPS)

Position 22 – Counsellor : SAPS

South Africa's National Defence Force

Position 23 - Defence & Air Advisor – Vacant since January 2020

Position 24 - Deputy Defence & Air Advisor – since August 2020

Position 25 - Defence Office Chief Clerk

(2) Yes, the Mission is fully operational.

(3) The services being provided by the office are Civic and Immigration services

which are rendered from 09h00 until 15h00 at Whitehall, SW1A 2DD.

All Consular services are rendered such as:

  • The processing of legal documents for members of the public for use in South Africa. (mainly buying and selling property and banking matters)
  • Support for the Department of Justice in matters relating to the UK. (Child maintenance, Service of Process, Extradition etc.)
  • Supporting South Africans in distress according to the Consular handbook in matters relating to the death of a family member. (Contacting police, hospital, coroner etc. and arranging quotes for repatriation of remains.

Dealing with the Department of Health to arrange permits).

  • Facilitating visas for diplomats travelling to South Africa.

(4) All services are currently being provided.

(a) and (b) Not applicable

08 June 2021 - NW1523

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Given the current political and economic challenges affecting the neighbouring countries of the republic, and in light of the impact on the Republic of the influx of undocumented immigrants fleeing their countries and seeking better opportunities in the Republic, what, (a) strategies does the Government have in place to assist the affected states to stabilise politically and economically and (b) are the challenges if any, towards those endeavours?

Reply:

South Africa is one of the biggest economies in Africa and has always been an attractive destination to citizens from neighbouring countries seeking better economic opportunities. Although South Africa, the region and Africa face similar challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, South Africa is seen as providing better economic opportunities. Inevitably this has also attracted illegal and irregular migration.

South Africa’s Foreign Policy priorities are centred on the region first and in Africa, being cognisant of the fact that South Africa’s prosperity and her ability to address inequality, poverty and unemployment are interlinked and inseparable to that of the region and Africa. In this regard, South Africa has bilateral engagements with all the countries in the region and eight countries have engagements on the highest level of Bi-National Commissions. It is through cooperation within these mechanisms that South Africa seeks to address the challenges within the areas of peace and security, social, economics and politics.

01 June 2021 - NW1378

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In response to the criminal and indiscriminate killing of Palestinians by the State of Israel, what are the reasons that South Africa has not terminated any and / or all diplomatic relations with Israel, including the recall of our ambassador to Israel and the eviction of their ambassador in South Africa?

Reply:

South Africa has recently issued a number of media statements strongly condemning the actions of the Israeli Government, where casualties have been mostly innocent civillians, children, women and the elderly.

South Africa recalled its Ambassador accredited to the State of Israel, Mr Sisa Ngombane, in May 2018.

The Government remains seized with the modalities related to its diplomatic relations with the State of Israel. The Department will communicate any further actions still under consideration.

01 June 2021 - NW1379

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What engagements has she had with her American counterpart to ensure that the death of Lindani Myeni in Hawaii in the United States of America is investigated thoroughly?

Reply:

Subsequent to the killing of Mr Lindani Myeni in Hawaii on 14 April 2021, the Department fulfilled its obligation by rendering the necessary consular assistance to the surviving spouse and the family of Mr Myeni in order to ensure the timely return of his mortal remains to South Africa and to follow up on related matters.

Upon learning about the death of Mr Myeni, the Consul-General in Los Angeles immediately informed the South African Ambassador in Washington DC. The Consulate then liaised with the Consular division at the Department to request guidance on the type of assistance that should be rendered by the Mission, after which the Consul-General liaised with Mrs Myeni to brief her accordingly.

The Consulate further communicated with the regional Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) to request a police report, including the return of the personal belongings of Mr Myeni from the Honululu Police Department (HPD). Following a delay in the return of Mr Myeni’s personal belongings by the HPD, the Mission liaised with Mrs Myeni’s attorney and also requested the intervention of the Embassy in Washington regarding this matter. The Embassy forwarded a Diplomatic Note to the State Department on 18 April 2021, in which the serious concerns of the South African Government around the circumstances of the killing of Mr Myeni was conveyed, including a request for full transparency and the release of all available information, including the 911 call that precipitated the shooting.

The South African Ambassador in Washington subsequently had a telecon with the Deputy Assisstant Secretary (DAS) in the Bureau for African Affairs in the State Department who offered his assistance to the Embassy, including to liaise with the City of Honolulu.

The Consul-General in Los Angeles was also in contact with the funeral home where Mr Myeni’s mortal remains were being kept in order to process the required documentation to obtain the death certificate to facilitate the repatriation of Mr Myeni’s remains. The Consular division at Head Office liaised with the Department of Health to process the required import permit and the Consul-General further liaised with the Provincial Government in Kwa-Zulu Natal to update them on the status of the processes underway to return the remains of Mr Myeni. The mortal remains of Mr Myeni arrived in South Africa on 30 April 2021, where it was received by the family and representatives from the Department and the Government.

The Department also conveyed to the US Embassy in Pretoria the concerns of the Government about the lack of a comprehensive report on the circumstances that led to the death of Mr Myeni and the utterances by the Mayor of Honolulu that the police had acted correctly. A request was made that the State Department should intervene to obtain a report as soon as possible and that the personal belongings of Mr Myeni should be returned to the family. A follow up request was later made to the US Embassy for Mr Myeni’s belongings, inluding his mobile phone, to be returned to his family without further delay.

As of 25 May 2021, the Consul-General in Los Angeles reported that the requested police report was still outstanding. The lawyers of Mrs Myeni undertook to inform the Consul-General once there are new developments on the matter.

29 March 2021 - NW892

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether there is any initiative by BRICS towards COVID – 19 vaccine development and/or collaboration to procure vaccines collectively for the purpose of shared distribution; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details

Reply:

South Africa is committed to the establishment of a physical BRICS Vaccine Research and

Development Centre, the concept of which it initiated during South Africa’s BRICS Chairship in 2018. Government is in the process of establishing an inter-departmental task team comprising the Department of Science and Innovation, Department of Health, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The objective of the Task Team will be to re-assess South Africa’s priorities on this issue and cooperate on the operationalisation of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre, to expedite the process under India’s 2021 BRICS Chairship and report regularly to the four Ministers.

29 March 2021 - NW889

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether there is any initiative by BRICS towards COVID – 19 vaccine development and/or collaboration to procure vaccines collectively for the purpose of shared distribution; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details

Reply:

a) The Government of South Africa remains seized with the modalities in respect of the downgrading of the South African Embassy in Israel. The Department will communicate further actions upon the conclusion of our deliberations; and

b) The Government of the Republic of South Africa remains of the view that the only way to realise a lasting peace in the Middle East Peace Process, is to ensure a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel with a sovereign, internationally recognised and independent State of Palestine, based on the 4 June 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, within recognised and secure borders.

29 March 2021 - NW675

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Hinana, Mr N to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether (a) her department and / or (b) any entity reporting to her makes use of private security firms; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, in each case, what is the (i) name of each firm, (ii) purpose, (iii) value and (iv) duration of each specified contract?

Reply:

No, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) does not make use of private security firms. All security officers at DIRCO Head office are employed full time by the Department. The security staff complement comprises of 88 security officers who work through a shift system that has been negotiated with organised labour though the Departmental Bargaining Chamber.

The security services at DIRCO’s three State Protocol Lounges (OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International airports), are offered by Airports Company South Africa and the South African Police Service.

However, South African Missions abroad require security services, so in this case private security firms are used. Due to the limited number of personnel that DIRCO can deploy, missions rely on private security firms for security.

 

10 March 2021 - NW512

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Marais, Mr EJ to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether any staff member in her department (a) performed work in addition to the responsibilities related to his or her work, outside normal working hours , in the past five financial years and (b) has been performing such work during the period 1 April 2014 up to the latest specified date for which information is available; if not, in each case how is it determined whether such work is being performed or not;if so, in each case, (i) what number of staff members and (ii) in what job or work categories are the specified staff members employed; (2) Whether approval for such work was obtained in each case; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what is the policy of her department in this regard, (b) by whom are such applications considered and approved, (c) what number of contraventions of this policy were brought to the attention of the National Treasury in the past five financial years and (d) what steps have been taken against the transgressors?NW568E

Reply:

(1)(a) Yes

(b) Yes, approval for Other Remunerative work has to be obtained and the approval is valid for 12 months (i) 120 since 01 April 2015 (ii) Line function and Administration components of the Department.

(2)(a) Yes, the policy of the Department that is followed is prescribed by the Public Service Regulations, 2016 and administred according to the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) Guide on Managing other Remunerative Work in the Public Service. Disciplinary steps may be considered if approval by the Director-General was not obtained.

(b) The appointed Ethics Officers in the Department receive the applications for processing and forward it to the Director-General for approval/disapproval

(c) None

(d) Not applicable

26 February 2021 - NW410

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether there are any diplomatic discussions that South Africa has entered into with the Government of India as a result of the Oxford - AstraZeneca vaccine debacle; if not, why not; if so, what are the full, relevant details? MW 416 E

Reply:

Yes, The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation spoke to the Indian Minister of External Affairs on Monday, 1 February 2021, to convey the Government of South Africa’s profound appreciation to the Indian Authorities, after the arrival of the first vaccine shipment in the country from the Serum Institute of India.

Subsequent to the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine the South African Department of Health decided not to go ahead with the vaccination programme of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to clinical trial results showing that the vaccine 1s less effective In preventing mild and moderate symptoms associated with the 501Y.V2 variant of the virus that is more prevalent in South Africa. Instead the South African Department of Health decided to rather continue with the vaccination programme by using the Johnson & Johnson's vaccine that has shown better efficacy against the 501Y.V2 variant.

The South African High Commissioner to India, His Excellency, Mr J.S. Ndebsle spoka to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs regardlng the findings of the clinical trials and the resultant change in South Africa's vaccination programme. Tho High Commissioner is also scheduled to meet with the Ministry on Wednesday, 24 February 2021

24 February 2021 - NW81

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, considering the widespread allegations of human rights violations and intimidation by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, it is the Republic’s position that the Ugandan Elections have been free and fair; if not, what is the position in this regard ; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) Whether it is the Government’s position that the election outcome is legitimate; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW84E

Reply:

1. South Africa is not in a position to pronounce on whether the Ugandan Elections were free and fair because it did not observe the Elections. Based on the African Union principle of subsidiarity, which mandates regional organisations to take the lead in managing political and other issues occurring in their respective regions, South Africa defers its position to observations that were made by the East African Community (EAC) and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that had sent Elections Observer Missions to Uganda. Unfortunately, the African Union did not send an Elections Observer Mission which could also have guided South Africa’s position. Both these regional authorities did not pronounce on whether the Ugandan Elections were free and fair.

 

2. The outcome of the Elections was announced by a legitimate entity in Uganda, the Election Commission, on 16 January 2021. However, it was reported on 21 January 2021 that one of the Presidential contestants, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has challenged the outcome of the Elections. He lodged his complaints with in the Supreme Court of Uganda, which is the apex court in Uganda. He also has an option of referring the matter to the East Africa Court of Justice which also has jurisdiction following the exhaustion of local remedies. South Africa supports the resolution of political disputes through political and legal means, and will await the the outcome of the judicial process which is currently underway.

22 February 2021 - NW82

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the details of the (a) phone call she had with the newly appointed United States Secretary of State, Mr AJ Blinken, and (b) issues regarding Africa that were discussed?

Reply:

a) Both principals underscored the importance of the bilateral relationship. The US Government acknowledged South Africa as an indispensable partner and remarkable global player, as well as an important commercial partner for the US. In the area of health, South Africa acknowledged the US support for PEPFAR, which has been impactful in South Africa and the region.

Covid-19 pandemic (US): The Biden Administration has committed to working with partners in international institutions, including on continental issues. Within the World Health Organisation (WHO) context, the US has joined the COVAX initiative and will also work with other multilateral institutions to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The US also wants to address global health security and work on climate impact with other countries.

South Africa welcomed the decision by the Biden Administration to re-join the WHO and the COVAX initiative. The US aproach aligns with South Africa’s position that there should be equitable and affordable distribution of vaccines. The focus on global health will assist to prepare less developed countries, including in Africa, to better prepare for the next pandemic, when it occurs. Mitigating the impact of climate change is also priority for South Africa and therefore the importance that the US is placing on this matter, including within the multateral context, is welcomed.

China: The US Government will adopt a more nuanced approach towards China, but the tensions with China are expected to continue under the Biden Administation. It was conveyed that South Africa and China enjoy good relations and that it was important to ensure that all countries, including the US, China and Russia, work jointly to assist those who are least able to help themselves. The Secretary displayed a willingness to further discuss this matter with South Africa.

b) According to Secretary Blinken, Africa will be a priority for the Biden Administration. South Africa raised the World Trade Organisation (WTO) position for Director-General and requested that the US Government support the candidature of former Nigerian Finance Minister, Ms Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who was opposed by the former President, Mr Trump.

Shortly after the telephone conversation, the Biden Administration expressed its strong support for the Nigerian candidature.

22 February 2021 - NW134

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, with reference to increased rates of infection in Zimbabwe as a result of the COVID – 19 second wave, the South African Government extended any help to Zimbabwe; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(1) No, the South African Government has not extended any help during the second wave of COVID-19 to Zimbabwe. However, it is heartening to note that the Development Bank of Southern Africa donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) during the first wave to the Government of Zimbabwe in July 2020 to help in the fight against COVID-19 at that time and for future use. The items included, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits, surgical masks, face shields, examination gloves, surgical gowns, medical suits and goggles.

21 December 2020 - NW2976

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she will approach the African Union to intervene and stop the fighting in Ethiopia; if not, why not; if so, what steps have been taken to date?

Reply:

President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union (AU), appointed former President Joaquim Chissano of the Republic of Mozambique, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia, and former President Kgalema Motlanthe of the Republic of South Africa, as African Union Special Envoys to Ethiopia in order to assist the Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in finding a solution to the recent conflict that had occurred in the Tigray Region of that country.

The AU Special Envoys visited Ethiopia and held meetings with a range of interlocutors from 26 to 28 November 2020, including President Sahle-Work Zewde, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, the leaders of important Democratic Insitutions, and the leaders of opposition political parties. Subsequently, the AU Special Envoys have briefed President Ramaphosa on the outcomes of their visit to Ethiopia. The President will remain seized with the issue and future action will be decided in consultation with the Government of Ethiopia, the African Union Commission, and the AU Special Envoys to Ethiopia.

21 December 2020 - NW3054

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In view of the fact that her department’s foreign policy principles are centered on promoting peace, human rights and dignity for all people, (a) what is her department’s official position on internet shutdown and interruptions in Africa which have been linked to the countries with records of human rights violations and implicated in the practice of authoritarian regimes (details furnished) and (b) how has her department sought to engage with other countries in the African Union to deter the authoritarian and undemocratic practises?

Reply:

a) As a Member of the African Union (AU), South Africa respects the sovereignty of AU Member States as enshrined in Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the AU. South Africa also encourages Member States through, inter alia, the AU and its Organs, to adopt a culture of human rights as a prerequisite to achieving the Africa We Want, envisaged in Aspiration 3 of Agenda 2063 which envisions “An Africa with good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.”

b) In November and December 2020, South Africa participated in the 67th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), in

17 December 2020 - NW2738

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether the website of the SA High Commission in London http:www.southafricahouseuk.com/, which has been dysfunctional for several months, is due to technical matter that is being attended to; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what is the time frame for the website to return to being functional?

Reply:

The South African High Commission in London’s contract with its service provider, which hosted the website, expired in August 2020 and it took longer than expected to enter into a contract with a new service provider and to update the content. However, the new website (www.southafricahouse.uk) has been operational since November 2020 and allows High Commission staff to manage the content directly. Civic and immigration documentation is now available for download directly from the website.

14 December 2020 - NW2658

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) role did the Government play towards the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the warring parties in Libya and (b) will be the continued role of the Government in ensuring that the (i) peace agreement holds and (ii) rule of law and democracy is restored in Libya?

Reply:

South Africa as Chair of the African Union (AU) continues to follow with close interest the successful conclusion of the meeting of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in Tunis, Tunisia, that took place on 15 November 2020. South Africa is committed to the establishment of peace and security throughout Libya, hence South Africa’s robust support for the Ceasefire Agreement signed in Geneva on 23 October 2020 and our continued commitment to strengthen AU and UN cooperation in order to work with common purpose to end the conflict in Libya and by extension, throughout the continent. South Africa continues to play a prominent and influential role in the work of the AU High-Level Committee on Libya (AU HLC) as well as the Contact Group of Libya since their establishment as mechanisms for supporting a sustainable and lasting political solution to the protracted crisis in Libya. Regarding Libya, South Africa, as a member of the AU HLC will be in the position to ensure stronger management, control and oversight of the on-going peace process in that country. Meetings of the AU HLC are convened at the level of Heads of State and Government and Minister.

Furthermore, South Africa, during the 14th Extraordinary Summit on Silencing the Guns, reiterated that it is imperative that the African Union (AU) and its peace and security architecture supports vulnerable countries by focusing particular attention on the issue of post conflict-reconstruction and development (PCRD), through institutional capacity building, the rule of law and security sector reform, which are core elements for a lasting peace, in line with the guiding principles of African Union Master Roadmap and Agenda 2063.

 

 

14 December 2020 - NW2564

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

With regard to all properties rented by her department abroad where the lease has not been renewed over the past five years, what (a) is the total number of the specified propertries for which her department has not received back a deposit, (b) what was the total amount of the deposits and (c) what were the reasons for not receiving back the deposits? W3235E

Reply:

a) Over the past five (5) years the department has not received back deposits from 101 properties that have been rented abroad.

b) The total amount of the deposit is R9 393 429.44.

c) Reasons for not receiving back the deposits are:

  • Damages to properties
  • Deposits used by the landlord for the maintenance work and repairs of damages.
  • Lease terminated by mission outside the terms and conditions of contract e.g. late notice

09 December 2020 - NW2924

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

With regard to South Africa being expected to take over as Chair of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the month of December 2020, what (a) issues has her department prioritised for the chairmanship of the UNSC and (b) linkages have been made by her department for South Africa, as current chair of the African Union (AU), to prioritise the AU theme of Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020 for the Chairmanship?

Reply:

(a) In keeping with its focus of promoting the African Agenda, South Africa will use its forthcoming Presidency to highlight the strengthening of AU-UN cooperation and to focus on preventative diplomacy, conflict prevention and resolution on the African Continent. In addition to the events proposed by South Africa, the programme of the work of the UNSC for December 2020 includes mandated reporting cycles and predetermined meetings of the Council. Matters scheduled in December, include, inter alia, the mandate renewal of the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC); the situation in Sudan; the authorisation for action on addressing piracy of the coast of Somalia; the situations in Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Israel/Palestine; and, Iran’s compliance with its obligations in terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear-deal).

(b) South Africa’s second and final Presidency during its current term as an elected member of the UNSC will witness the convergence of (i) South Africa’s chairing of the African Union (AU); (ii) the Presidency of the UNSC; and, (iii) the final month of the AU’s ambition to silence the guns on the Continent by 2020. To prioritise the silencing of guns on the African Continent, South Africa has scheduled two debates during the month with a focus on the resolution of conflicts on the African Continent. These are a debate on “Sustaining Peace: Security Sector Reform (SSR)”, held at Ministerial level held on 3 December and a debate on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations (AU)”, held at Presidential level on 4 December. These discussions give focus on the efforts of the United Nations and the African Union to ensure sustainable peace on the African Continent.

09 December 2020 - NW2872

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, given that her department has not fulfilled the agreement on the permanent housing of the Pan – African Parliament, she has considered the implications of not treating the specified matter with the respect and importance it deserves, as it may convey a message that the Republic is not in support of the African united agenda; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Yes, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has treated the matter of providing permanent housing to the Pan-African Parliament with the respect and importance it deserves.

South Africa has hosted the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) since 2004. In terms of the Host Country Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the African Union Commission on the Seat of the Pan-African Parliament, the Government of South Africa is indeed obliged to provide permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament. The Pan-African Parliament is currently based at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg until the process to build a permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament is finalised.

The identified site in Midrand for the construction of the PAP headquarters was found to be a wetland by environmental experts leading the project. It was therefore, decided that the project on the site would be closed and could not continue as the Department of Environmental Affairs had determined that any activities on that land are and would always remain illegal.

The matter has been referred to the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), as the mandated line-function Department to satisfy the duty of providing the Pan-African Parliament with permanent headquarters. The DPWI has indicated that pending some internal investigations, on the original site, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) will be advised accordingly. In this regard, the DPWI has further informed the DIRCO of their application for an urgent interdict to stop construction on the original site until the aforementioned issues have been resolved.

It is envisaged that the forensic investigation may constitute further delays to the fulfilment of the Republic of South Africa’s longstanding commitment to provide permanent headquarters for the Pan-African Parliament. Therefore, the DIRCO has requested the DPWI to assist in expeditiously identifying and procuring an alternative site.

To obviate the impression that the Republic of South Africa is not in support of the African united agenda, in 2019, the Department facilitated the process for the successful signing of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan-African Parliament of 2014. Moreover, the process for obtaining Cabinet approval for the ratification of the aforementioned instrument is advanced and the Parliamentary processes are being finalised.

In addition, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation continues to unwaveringly fulfil its obligations towards the African Union on the seat of the Pan-African Parliament to the best of its ability.

01 December 2020 - NW2640

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) are the detailed reasons that the South African Consul General has still not found a satisfactory residence to stay in Los Angeles; and (b) are the details of the complaints with the last 20 properties that the Consul General was shown in Los Angeles; (2) What are the reasons that the property that was leased by the previous Consul General was not available for the incumbent?

Reply:

1. (a)The South African Consul-General arrived in Los Angels at the end of January 2020. While searching for a suitable residence for the CG, the lockdown (Stay-at-Home) Order was issued in Los Angeles in March 2020, which made it difficult to continue searching for and viewing properties.

(b) Although more than 20 properties were viewed in areas recommended by the local office of the US State Department, no suitable property was identified during this initial period. As part of the search, three properties deemed to be suitable were later identified, but the Mission lost the properties due to reasons related to the landlords’ decision.

(2) The previous CG vacated the property in July 2019, which is 5 months before the arrival of the incumbent CG, who arrived at the end of January 2020. In this regard, it was deciced that it was not cost effective to keep renting an unoccupied property (CG’s residence), so the contract was terminated or not renewed with a view that another property will be searched for as soon as the CG arrives.

16 November 2020 - NW2641

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

1. Whether the department uses the WIN system; if not, what (a) system does the department use currently in the Republic’s missions abroad and (b) was the last date the systems were upgraded. 2. What is the name of the person responsible for the maintenance of software and hardware in the Republic’s missions. 3. Whether the department servers in every mission are protected to some sort of criteria; is not, why not, if so, what are the minimum criteria?

Reply:

1. The Department is currently running on a mixed Windows server environment, and is in the process of virtualizing ICT Services, leveraging on Microsoft capabilities as per the Enterprise Agreement signed between DIRCO and Microsoft in March 2020. As part of the project, the Department is implementing Microsoft 365 which include modern workplace.

2. There is a team of ICT officials providing maintenance and support of hardware and software in different regions led by Ms R. Phafane (Director: Infrastructure Management).

3. The Department has initiated a process to modernise the ICT Infrastructure, including the server environment for both Head Office and Missions. The critical security and software licenses have been renewed and implemented as part of short-term interventions to stabilize the ICT environment whilst improving the Cybersecurity posture.

16 November 2020 - NW2642

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether any of the current officials from her department who were implicated in the Charles Luppin Report should have been further investigated and/or disciplined; if not what is the position in this regard; if so what are the relevant details; (2) Whether any of the specified officials have been given a posting in 2020 or 2021; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) who are the officials and (b) where were and /or will they be posted?

Reply:

1. There were no officials implicated in the Charles Nupen report, who had to be subjected to further investigation or disciplinary procedure.

2. (a) There are no officials specified in Charles Nupen report who have been given any postings in 2020 or 2021. (b) There are no officials specified in the Charles Nupen report who will be posted.

03 November 2020 - NW2383

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What multilateral programmes do the Southern African Development Community bloc and other African regional blocs have in addressing human trafficking on the continent?

Reply:

Most Member States in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) have acceded to the first universal instrument dealing exclusively with human trafficking namely the United Nations (UN) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children which serves as a supplement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (2000) known as the Palermo Protocol. This instrument provides the basis for cooperation and sharing of good practices among UN Member States to address human trafficking which is by nature a cross border phenomenon.

At the continental level the African Union adopted the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in 1981, which prohibits slavery and human trafficking. The Charter is further complemented by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, which make specific provisions for the protection of women and children against slavery.

Furthermore, the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children, adopted by the African Union in 2006, reaffirmed the provisions provided for in the continental instrument on human trafficking and encouraged African States to adopt legislation and institutional measures to combat trafficking in human beings. It aims at developing co-operation, best practices and mechanisms to prevent and combat trafficking in human beings. The Action Plan takes a holistic human rights approach and includes measures to protect the victims and prosecute the traffickers.

SADC adopted a Regional Strategy to Combat Illegal Migration, Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons. This Strategy includes capacity building and training, revision of the legal frameworks, public education, awareness raising and victim support. Complementary Strategies to this Regional Strategy are the Revised Strategic Plan of Action on Combatting Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, and the SADC-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Programme. Progress from these programmes was noted, amongst others, in the following areas: enactment of legislation criminalising Trafficking in Persons; the development of National Action Plans, Victim Identification Guidelines; Implementing Regulations, Standard Operating Procedures and referral mechanisms; and the establishment of the Regional Database on Trafficking in Persons. As the Regional Strategy to Combat Illegal Migration, Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons is due to lapse in 2023, the SADC Secretariat, in conjunction with Member States, are reviewing the Regional Strategy.

Member States of the East African Community (EAC), namely; Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania, are all party to the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Transactional Organized Crime and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. Article 124 of the EAC Treaty read together with Article 12 of the Protocol on Peace and Security, requires Member States to undertake joint operations in controlling and preventing transnational and cross-border crimes including human trafficking. EAC Member States have specific laws on counter-trafficking in persons which are in line with the above UN Convention and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. However, the penalties for offences under the laws of Member States differ from one jurisdiction to another.

In 2016, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill. The object of the Bill is to provide for a legal framework for the prevention of trafficking in persons, prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking in persons, provision of protection mechanisms and services for victims of trafficking in persons and development of partnerships for co-operation to counter trafficking in persons in the Community.

03 November 2020 - NW2490

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of international relations

(1) In light of recent reports that have allegedly linked an employee of her department to the murder of two women in Sudan (a) what steps has her department taken to co-operate with the Sudanese government in resolving the matter (b) how does her department ensure that diplomatic immunity is not used to cover up crimes and misconduct by employees posted abroad?

Reply:

1. (a) South Africa and Sudan share cordial bilateral relations and the former is co-operating with the Sudanese authorities with regard to investigating the allegations levelled against the partner of the departmental employee. Communication was received through diplomatic channels and subsequently conveyed to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD) for their guidance.

(b) The Department has no intention of abusing diplomatic immunity nor covering a crime allegedly committed by any employee. The Department has referred the matter to the relevant departments dealing with allegations of this nature.

30 October 2020 - NW2491

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In light of the fact that the Nigerian government is currently experiencing widespread protests against police brutality and its governance structures, what (a) is the Government’s position on the current situation in Nigeria and (b) agreements are in place between the South African and Nigerian governments that can allow for a sharing of experiences and assistance in police reform and better governance in Nigeria?

Reply:

(a) South Africa supports the statement issued by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, on 21 October 2020, strongly condemning the violence that erupted on 20 October 2020 during protests in Lagos, Nigeria that has resulted in multiple deaths and injuries. The Chairperson reiterated the African Union's commitment to continue to accompany the government and people of Nigeria in support of a peaceful solution, and encouraged the Nigerian authorities to conduct an investigation to ensure the perpetrators of acts of violence are held to account

South Africa stands ready to assist should such a request come through the competent authorities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(b) The Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the Federal Republic of Nigeria in respect of Police Cooperation was signed on 14 March 2001 during the 3rd Session of the Bi-National Commission between South Africa and Nigeria. The Agreement came into force on 27 July 2005 and makes provision for the exchange of working experience, as well as training of personnel. Cooperation within the framework of the agreement is on the basis of a request received from the interested competent authority.

27 October 2020 - NW2382

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In view of the increasing damage being caused by the current insurgency in Mozambique, especially the displacement of its citizens, by what date does she envisage will the Southern African Development Community (SADC) invoke Article 6(1) of the 2003 SADC Mutual Defence Pact, which stipulates that an armed attack against a state party shall be considered a threat to regional peace and security and such an attack shall be met with immediate collective action?

Reply:

The Troika of the Southern African Developent Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is seized with the matter of the security situation in the Republic of Mozambique. Currently, there is no envisaged specific date to invoke Article 6(1) of the 2003 SADC Mutual Defence Pact. Collective action will be decided upon in accordance with the Roadmap, which is being awaited from the Republc of Mozambique. Article 7(1) of the same SADC Mutual Defence Pact should be kept in mind, which reads as follows: “State Parties undertake to respect one another’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and, in particular, observe the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of one another”. Article 7(2) of the 2003 SADC Mutual Defence Pact further states that “no action shall be taken to assist any State Party in terms of this Pact, save at the State Party’s own request or with its consent”.

27 October 2020 - NW2381

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she has engaged with the Minister of Finance on the closure of foreign missions in order to save costs; if so, (a) which foreign missions will be closed and (b) what impact will the closure of the specified foreign missions have on the bilateral countries?

Reply:

Yes, there was consultation with the Minister of Finance on the possible closure of some foreign missions.

(a) The Missions proposed to be closed are still to be considered.

(b) Once considered, consulations will be embarked upon with the relevant host countries to ensure that bilateral relations are not affected.

25 September 2020 - NW2135

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Mackenzie, Mr C to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the reasons that the Government has not signed the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data and (b) by what date does she envisage the specified Convention will be signed by Government?

Reply:

a) The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is working with the relevant Government departments to facilitate the signing and ratifying process.

b) South Africa is committed to signing and ratifying the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data as soon as possible.

21 September 2020 - NW2136

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Mackenzie, Mr C to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the reasons that the Government has not ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, commonly known as the Budapest Convention, after becoming a signatory on 23 November 2001 and (b) by what date does the Government intend to ratify the Budapest Convention?

Reply:

a) The Government does not intend to ratify the Budapest Convention, despite the fact that South Africa (SA) participated in negotiations on the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, and signed the instrument on 23 November 2001. The Government took the decision to not ratify this instrument on the basis that the country’s policy on cybercrime did not comply with the provisions of the Convention. Even with the recent adoption of the Cybercrimes Bill by both Houses of Parliament, SA will not ratify this regional instrument, as a matter of principle, as the country would have little influence of shaping the instrument because non-EU members are only allowed to make submissions which the CoE considers in their absence. This is a position held by all Government departments.

b) Not applicable.

07 September 2020 - NW2222

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Waters, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, the reference to the Foreign Service Act, Act 26 of 2019, in terms of which her department is compelled to render consular services in line with the Guidelines for the Provisions of Consular services, civic and immigration services are fully operational at all the South African missions; if not, (a) which missions do not currently have full operational services and (b) what are the reasons for not providing full operational services in each case?

Reply:

Yes, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Missions abroad have been rendering consular services and civic and immigration services to South African citizens abroad utilising the Consular Services Guidelines of the South African Government. While the Foreign Service Act (FSA), Act 26 of 2019, recognises, acknowledges and reinforces the consular services and civic and immigration services that the Deparment has been rendering to South African citizens abroad, however, the Act is not yet in force.

a) All South African Missions have full services at all times.

b) None.

13 August 2020 - NW1574

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Roos, Mr AC to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(a) What is the average return period when a diplomatic bag is sent by a mission to the Republic and when it returns to that mission, (b) what measures are in place to ensure that if a diplomatic bag does not fill up, it is sent after a maximum time period to avoid indefinite delays in receiving Home Affairs documentation applied for at a foreign mission and (c) what tracking mechanismis in place between the period when Home Affairs delivers documents to her department and when they are delivered to a South African mission abroad; 2. By what date will the passport of Tama Leigh Guthrie (ID: 9407060225081) that was delivered by Home Affairs to her department on 15 June 2020 arrive at the South African Embassy in Beijing China?

Reply:

1. (a)The average return period for diplomatic bag sent by a Mission to the Republic and when it returns to that mission vary between seven (7) to fourteen (14) days during normal periods. During the Covid-19 lockdown, it takes more time depending on the country of origin, availability of flights and other contingencies.

(b) The Department sends diplomatic freight bags to Missions everyday from Monday to Friday by following a schedule as part of the measures to ensure a diplomatic bag does not fill up. In terms of this schedule, diplomatic freight bags are sent to some missions fortnightly and weekly to other missions categorised as big and busier. For incoming diplomatic freight bags, Missions are required to send diplomatic freight bags at least once-a-month. Missions, however,were informed through a general circular dated 03 July 2019 that they could send a diplomatic freight bag to Head Office more than once-a-month where there is a need and the volume of mail items justifies so.

(c) The courier company has a real-time track and trace system and regularly provides the Department with the status and proof of delivery. In addition, the Department has its tracking mechanism.

2. The date of delivery of Tama Leigh Guthrie’s passport cannot be determined. The Department can only confirm that the last diplomatic bag to the South African Mission in Beijing was sent on 18 June, and the next batch of diplomatic bags to Missions will be sent on 23 July 2020.

13 August 2020 - NW1568

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she has engaged with her counterparts in Mozambique in relation to the upsurge in terrorist attack in the specified country; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) What (a) forms of assistance have they asked from the Republic and (b) kind of support will the Republic provide? NW1944E

Reply:

1. Yes. The two Governments have discussed the developments in Cabo Delgado. So far, our deliberations have been on receiving briefing from our Mozambican counterparts so that we can establish deeper understanding of the developments.

2. (a) and (b) The Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation plus Mozambique of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held on 19 May 2020 urged member SADC member states to support the Government of Mozambique in fighting against the terrorist and armed groups in some districts of the country. Regarding the assistance and support, South Africa will align herself with the support that will be provided by the region as outlined by the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation plus Mozambique held on 19 May 2020. The support will be in accordance with Mozambique’s needs assessment report, which will be provided to SADC.

13 August 2020 - NW1567

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Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What measures is the African Union (AU) taking to support countries that cannot pay their membership fees in order to belong to this essential African body; (2) Whether the position of the AU is that distressed African countries should sacrifice the wellbeing of their citizens in order to maintain their participation and to enjoy the protection of the AU, as is the case with South Sudan that has been removed from participating at the AU due to outstanding membership fees; if not, what is South Africa’s position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW1943E

Reply:

1. The African Union (AU)measures relate to the Assembly Decision 3 (XI) which states that the Assembly may consider requests from Member States experiencing force majeure circumstances making them temporarily unable to pay their assessed contributions.

2. No, it is not the position of the AU that African countries should sacrifice the wellbeing of their citizens, no matter the circumances, to maintain their participation and to enjoy the protection of the AU.In the case of South Sudan, it should be noted that the AU Member State has since honoured its assessed contributions and can participate in all meetings.South Africa believes in a rules based international system and as such, it is important thatthe country follows the norms, standards and directives of the AU as regards to assessed contributions. It should be noted that some Member States have, in the past, written to the Assembly, which has acknowledged the challenges faced by Member States in paying their contributions to the Union. The Assembly has requested the Commission to engage the Member States in order to agree on a payment plan for clearing their arrears and report back to the Executive Council in 2020.

13 July 2020 - NW1409

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Bergman, Mr D to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1) (a) What are the reasons that the consular services is not available to South African citizens for other legal purposes, as the website of her department indicates that legalisation of documents for economic puposes will be made availableunder Covid-19 lockdown alert level 4, while the Republic is currently under alert level 3 of the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and(b) by what date will this necessary service be available; (2) Whether sanitisation measures have been put in place; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details’? NW1780E

Reply:

  1. (a) The Department of International Relations and Cooperation adheres to its consular services mandate to serve the Public in terms of legalisation of documents which entails Authentications, Apostilles and End User Certificates for various objectives.

    (b)  The Department is currently serving the Public accordingly during alert Level three (3) of National Lockdown.

2. Yes, the sanitisation measures have been put in place which include ensuring adherence to the following Government COVID19 pandemic regulations:

  • Temperature scanners have been installed
  • Hand satizers have been installed in all entrances to the building and inside the building public use places
  • Movable hand sanitizers available in public place to support frontline staff and the Public.
  • Counter window shields have been installed to secure frontline staff and the Public.
  • Masks heve been and continue to be made available for use by frontline and essential staff during the various levels of lockdown.
  • Signs indicating various safety measures in line with the Covid-19 regulations are put in all public places in and around the O.R Tambo Building these include regular washing of hands,social distancing and wearing masks

23 June 2020 - NW1003

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

1.(a) What total number of persons were repatriated from other African countries during the period of lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 and (b)(i) at which quarantine sites were the specified persons placed and (ii) why were they placed at the specified quarantined sites; 2.Whether there were any persons that her department had identified, but was unable to repatriate; if so, (a) what total number of persons, (b) from which countries and (c) what were the reasons for her department’s decision not to repatriate such persons

Reply:

1. (a) The total number of persons repatriated from other African countries during the period of lockdown by air is 1966, and those through land borders can be best provided by the Department of Home Affairs.

(b) The Department of International Relations and Cooperation is not responsible for allocating quarantine sites. The Department of the Public Works may be in a better position to respond to questions related to quarantine sites.

2. No

a) Not applicable

b) Not applicable

c) Not applicable

19 June 2020 - NW1158

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Mulder, Dr CP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department purchased any goods and/ or services below the amount of R500 000 connected to the Covid – 19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) is the name of each company from which the specified goods and / or services were purchased, (b) is the amount of each transaction and (c) was the service and / or product that each company rendered; (2) Whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the specified transactions; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; (3) What were the reasons that the goods and / or services were purchased from the specified companies; (4) Whether she will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. Yes, the Department did procurement for goods and services below the amount of R 500 000.00 in connection to the Covid- 19 pandemic.

The table below provides replies to questions 1 a, b and c, 2 and 3.

 

  1. 1(a). Name of the Business
 
  1. (b)Amount

 

1.(c)Goods Purchased

2. Deviation (Yes/No)

1.1

Lechoba Medical Technologies

R121 502.10

Hand Sanitizers

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.2

NJU Projects & General Trading

R 63 000.00

Body Temperature Thermal Cameras

No

To screen the employees when entering the building

1.3

Flamingo Moon trading

R 23 460.00

Face Masks

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.4

Esizwe Group

R 5 088.00

Comfort Face Shields

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.5

Fortistle

R 48 875.00

Face Masks

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.6

Promed Technologies

R 13 570.00

Gloves

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.7

Ayanda Multiserve

R 22 500.00

Comfort Face Shields

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

1.7

Yellotec

R 2 591.88

Body Temperature Thermal Cameras

No

To screen the employees when entering the building

1.9

Motlokwa & Farm Holdings

R 1 100.00

Spray Bottles (empty)

No

To fill Disinfection Chemical

1.10

Multisurge

R 13 800.00

Disinfection Chemical

No

To protect the employees against virus infection

(4) No

29 May 2020 - NW924

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Mulder, Dr CP to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department awarded any tenders connected to the Covid- 19 pandemic; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the names of the businesses to whom these tenders were awarded, (b) are the amounts of each tender awarded and (c) was the service and/ or product to be supplied by each business; 2. Whether there was any deviation from the standard supply chain management procedures in the awarding of tenders ; if so, (a) why and (b) what are the relevant details in each case; 3. What was the reason for which each specified business was awarded the specified tender; 4. Whether she will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. There were no tenders awarded connected to the Covid- 19 pandemic.

(a) None

(b) None

(c) None

(2) Not applicable

(3) Not applicable

(4) Not applicable

21 May 2020 - NW807

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) interventions and plans does the Government have with the (i) Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and (ii) continental African Union governments to mitigate against the overburdening of the healthcare system of the Republic in the event of astronomical Covid – 19 transmissions and (b) are the relevant details of the assistance that the Republic is providing to the (i) SADC region and (ii) African continent to deal with the Covid – 19 pandemic? NW 1010E

Reply:

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) recorded its first case of COVID-19 in early March. As of 18 May, 2020 all the sixteen (16) SADC Member States have been affected by COVID-19.

In this regard, South Africa continues to share information aimed at slowing down the transmission and thus reducing mortality associated with COVID-19, with the ultimate aim of reaching and maintaining a state of low-level or no transmission.

Some of the short term measures that have been collectively undertaken by SADC Member States, include, but are not limited to:

a) facilitate the protection of frontline healthcare staff through the provision of protective equipment and promotion of best practices across the region’s healthcare facilities;

b) provide the necessary tools and equipment to support SADC Member States’ health care facilities with intensive care and ventilation needs for COVID-19 patients;

c) conduct needs assessment including existing human, financial and material resources; to promote awareness through the provision of information materials, guidelines and information kits; and

d) extend safety nets in form of food handouts, unemployment benefits and water and sanitation facilities.

In the medium term, the region will:

a) assess the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and develop a recovery plan; and

b) assess the effectiveness of existing frameworks and mechanisms for dealing with crises like the COVID-19 pandemic and propose ways of improving them.

This is based on principles of solidarity, reciprocity, and the common good.

African Union (AU)

Since the Outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has thus far resulted in over 300 000 deaths globally, with close to 3000 deaths in the Continent, President Cyril Ramaphosa in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union for 2020 has expressed in several platforms, to voice concern about the devastating impact of the pandemic in the Continent and has underscored that the fight against the pandemic will require a coordinated and collaborative approach amongst Member States.

The Bureau of the AU, under the leadership of President Ramaphosa has also undertaken the following interventions which are aimed at 1) ensuring that the spread of COVID-19 is contained and 2) ensure that the are measures in place to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

On 26 March 2020 President convened teleconference meeting of the Bureau of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union to discuss AU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and, ahead of the G-20 virtual Summit held on 27 March 2020.The first Bureau meeting was followed by another teleconference meeting held on 3 April 2020. Both meetings discussed the impact of the COVID-19 virus in the Continent and agreed to establish a joint Continental strategy in response to COVID-19 as well as, the COVID-19 Response Fund. The meeting also agreed to mobilise support for the comprehensive economic stimulus package which will held to mitigate the economic risks that will affect the Continent as result of the virus. The meeting further express support for the waiver of debt and interest repayment in order to provide the African countries the fiscus space to deal effectively with the virus.

On 12 April 2020, the President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chair of the AU, appointed Special Envoys whose responsibility will be to reach out to the G-20 and the EU to solicit rapid and concrete assistance to help Africa in dealing with the scourge.In line with the decisions of the Bureau meeting held on 3 April 2020, the Bureau of the AU met with the Business Leader’s Forum of the African Union. During the the meeting the business leaders expressed support for the AU’s Continental strategy to combat the COVID-19 virus.

The Bureau of the AU met with chairpersons of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to discuss collaborative efforts between the AU and RECs in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on 29 April 2020. In addition, President Ramaphosa held numerous consultations with other world leaders, including the EU, the G-20 countries. The President also held discussions with leading organisations in the development space such as the World Bank Group, galvanising support for Africa’s and AU’s efforts to tackle the impact of the virus.

A virtual conference of the AU Bureau under the leadership and the Chairship of South Africa was held to look at ways and means to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, while also looking and gaging the needed support to the existing mechanisms of the Union to fight pandemics like this. President Ramaphosa made the following pledges which have been fulfilled by South Africa:

(a) Special Fund for COVID 19: R 71 200 000 towards the establishment of the COVID 19 Fund for Africa

(b)  Africa Centre for Disease Control:   R 35 600 000 to assist in the emergency response in the health care systems for AU member states

21 May 2020 - NW874

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Bozzoli, Prof B to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department will offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; 2. Whether the Covid-19 financial or other relief will only be allocated to qualifying small business according to the Broad – Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, Act 53 of 2003, as amended ; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so (a) on what statutory grounds and / or provisions does she or her department rely to allocate Covid-19 financial or other relief, if any, will be made available to other small businesses? NW 1081E

Reply:

1. No, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation will not offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small businesses. It is not within the mandate of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small business.

2. No, there will be no financial or other relief to be allocated. It is not within the mandate of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to offer any form of Covid-19 financial or other relief to small business.

 

21 May 2020 - NW808

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether the Republic has recorded any positive cases  of Covid – 19 in any of its foreign missions; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? (2) Whether any foreign mission officials and staff have been repatriated because of Covid-19 circumstances and / or directives; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW 1011E

Reply:

1. Yes, the Republic has recorded positive cases  of Covid-19 in its foreign missions. There are two positive cases of transferred officials as well as two of locally recruited personnel.

2. No.

06 May 2020 - NW615

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Hlengwa, Mr M to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she intends to intervene and engage the Government of the People’s Republic of China on allegations of racism by persons and businesses of China that target Africans in relation to the spread of coronavirus; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has engaged the Embassy of China and expressed grave concern over allegations of racism targeted at Africans in China during the current COVID-19 outbreak. It was made clear that South Africa abhors racism, prejudice and discrimination, and rejects any treatment of a person in a negative way because of their colour. The South African Government views this alleged mistreatment of African Nationals in China as Top of Forman infringement on the rights to dignity, equality and other rights of Africans. Our Embassy in Beijing has also sent a Note Verbale to the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressing similar concerns as South African diplomats have also been targeted in alleged racism incidents.

During the BRICS Virtual Foreign Minister’s Meeting on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on 28 April, I stated that “South Africa strongly condemns any stigmatization or discrimination of States, peoples or individuals in connection with COVID-19” and stressed “that there is no place for racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic…”

As this is a broader issue that affects all Africans, the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat called-in the Chinese Ambassador in Addis Ababa to provide an explanation, and express the AU’s deep concern about this matter. The Chinese authorities have given assurances that it is not China’s policy to discriminate against African nationals.

South Africa urged the relevant Chinese authorities to investigate the reports and take appropriate remedial measures. The African Group of Ambassadors in Beijing was also encouraged to continue engaging the Chinese authorities to ensure that Africans are not subjected to any ill-treatment, and are treated equally, with respect and with dignity like all other nationals in China.

We are positive that this matter will be resolved amicably given the strong historical ties of friendship and mutual respect between Africa and China.

06 May 2020 - NW590

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Madlingozi, Mr BS to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department will assist with regard to the repatriation of students and other South Africans in Turkey who are stuck due to the COVID- 19 pandemic?

Reply:

DIRCO had a discussion with the Turkish Embassy in South Africa on 11 April 2020, which intervened and confirmed that the students may remain in the dormitories of the University (Bahçeşehir Üniversitesi Asariye). The Turkish Embassy further confirmed that the University agreed to provide food and all other requirements for the full period until at least end of May.

DIRCO negotiated with South African Airways (SAA) to utilise SAA’s charter flights to London and Frankfurt to repatriate South Africans to South Africa. Only South Africans who were able to travel to Frankfurt could be repatriated. South Africans in Turkey were unable to fly to Frankfurt due to the lockdown in Turkey and could therefore not be repatriated on these charter flights. We continue to seek solutions to the challenges posed by travel restrictions.