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13 December 2022 - NW4685

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

What (a) practical steps has the Republic taken over the past five years to support the struggle of the people of Palestine and (b) are the reasons that the specified steps have not included the cutting of diplomatic ties between the Republic and Israel?

Reply:

a) Practical steps taken by South Africa over the past five years include:

  • In May 2018, South Africa downgraded the Embassy in Tel Aviv by recalling its Ambassador;
  • The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) hosted the State of Palestine Africa Heads of Mission Conferences in South Africa during the periods 2018 and 2022;
  • On 8 June 2021, the Permanent Missions of South Africa and Namibia to the United Nations (UN) in New York jointly hosted a Ministerial virtual side event in partnership with the State of Palestine on “The Importance of Upholding the Principles of Self-Determination and Non-discrimination: Justice for the Palestinian People”. The event was borne from South Africa and Namibia’s own experience against racial segregation and oppression in their fight for liberation against Apartheid.

The purpose of the event was to create awareness around the political, economic and social subjugation Palestinians face daily under Israeli laws; to recognise Israel as an Apartheid state, and to mobilise the UN and its member states, the international community and civil society to double its efforts to strengthen international action and coordination to uphold international norms and apply pressure on Israel to implement UN resolutions and to end its targeted violations of human rights and discriminatory practices;

  • South Africa’s objection to the granting of official observer status by the African Union (AU) on 22 July 2021. The matter was raised by South Africa at the AU Summit on 6 February 2022. As a result of this action, the decision to grant Israel observer status was unanimously suspended. In this regard, a committee was set up to study the issue and the conclusions thereof to be presented at the AU Summit in 2023. The objection was based on the fact that, the decision to grant observer status to Israel was taken unilaterally and without adequate consultation with all AU Members. The AU strenuously objected to the deaths of Palestinians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. It is trusted that this misstep will be corrected; and
  • In August 2022, Honourable Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini’s undertook a working visit Palestine. The main objectives of the visit to Palestine were: (i) To establish a strategic dialogue on all key issues; (ii) Reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to the Palestinian cause, domestically and globally; (iii) Review South Africa’s initiatives and strengthen bilateral relations, discussions on coordination of efforts aimed at the establishment of the State of Palestine based on UN Resolutions and international law, and strategies for galvanising support in the international community; and (iv) Exchange views on recent political developments in Africa and the Middle East.
  • During the working visit, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini together with her Palestinian counterpart, Dr Amal Jadou, launched the Strategic Dialogue on 21 August 2022. The formation of the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries is aimed at galvanising support for the Palestinian cause on the African continent, as well as in the international arena.

The Strategic Dialogue agreed to:

  • Mobilise African countries to support Palestine and to enhance bilateral relations with Palestine on the Continent;
  • Exchange views based on the South African experience that will assist to end Israeli domination in Palestinian territories, and raise international awareness of the plight of Palestinians, especially the increase of settlements by Israel in the Occupied Territory;
  • Lobby for the withdrawal of Israel as an observer member of the African Union;
  • Continuation of efforts towards support for the two-state solution and the right to self-determination;
  • Support Palestinian efforts for full membership of the United Nations and the creation of positive, credible, and lasting international mechanisms to address the Palestinian cause based on international law;
  • Formulate practical strategies towards taking up the Palestinian cause to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to declare Israel as an Apartheid state; and
  • Mobilise civil society both in South Africa and Palestine, as well as internationally, to support the Palestinian cause.

b) As the custodian of foreign policy and inter-state relations, DIRCO gave effect to a resolution taken at the governing party’s 54th National Conference of December 2017, whereby the South African Government was directed to downgrade its Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office.

The downgrade was aimed at giving “practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine,” and the Government’s concern at the violation of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the refusal of the government of Israel to enter into meaningful negotiations.

The governing party’s resolution was also guided by a sentiment that given the continued intransigence and belligerence of the Government of Israel, that relationship with South Africa and the Government of Israel could not be typified as being ‘business as usual.”

To give effect to this decision, South Africa currently does not have an Ambassador accredited to Israel. The Government of South Africa recalled its Ambassador to Israel in May 2018, the South African Mission in Tel Aviv is currently headed by a Chargé D’Affaires.

The ongoing flagrant abuse of the human rights of Palestinians places a moral responsibility on South Africa to act. South Africa is therefore in the process of conceptualising a comprehensive South African Initiative on Palestine (SAIP), to support and consolidate the Palestinian cause, build international consensus, and recalibrate our relations with Israel.

South Africa cannot have normal relations with Israel until the creation of a free Palestine. In 2023, South Africa will continue to strengthen her fraternal relations with Palestine through the holding of various structured bilateral meetings, culminating in a State Visit by President Mahmoud Abbas to South Africa.

13 December 2022 - NW4721

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

What are the details of the agreement made between South Africa and Nigeria on the audio-visual co-production which aims to promote sport, deepen cooperation and strengthen bond of solidarity between the countries?

Reply:

The Agreement on the Audio-Visual Co-Production is an Agreement for Audio-Visual works only and that includes film and television productions of varying lengths. Participants will be from both South Africa and Nigeria. The filmmakers will make use of locations and post-production facilities of both countries. Minimum financial contribution is set at 10% and maximum at 90%. This is the contribution to the overall production budget of the project. The production once certified as an official co-production, will qualify for maximum local financial benefits. This will be 35% of the film and television incentive as administered by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC).

The production will also qualify as national film in terms of local quotas. The film will qualify to be entered into the South African Film and Television Awards as a local production where the categories feature South Africa. It will also be eligible under the best film category should the director be South African. The agreement will offer films from the two countries to access each other’s markets. The overall benefits at local level will be the promotion of South African technical expertise, locations, crew, cast and facilities.

The agreement between the two countries was signed in Abuja, Nigeria, during the State Visit to that country in December 2021. South Africa has met with all its constitutional requirements to bring this Agreement into force and is awaiting confirmation from Nigeria to indicate whether all the constitutional requirements to bring the Agreement into force have been met.

13 December 2022 - NW4226

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Ngcobo, Mr SL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether any agreements were signed / or agreed to during the visit by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr A Botes, to the (a) Czech Republic and (b) Lithuania; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

a)  Czech Republic

No.

Why not: No bilateral agreements were scheduled for signing, and none were agreed to during the visit.

(b) Lithuania

No.

Why not: No bilateral agreements were scheduled for signing, and none were agreed to during the visit.

Additional details on the Czech Republic Visit

Deputy Minister Botes undertook an official visit to the Czech Republic from 10 to 12 October 2022 at the invitation of his Czech counterpart, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Martin Tlapa. The purpose of the visit was to conduct political consultations, promote trade and investments, and explore more areas of cooperation.

While in Prague, Deputy Minister Botes also promoted economic diplomacy in line with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s priority focus, and promoted cooperation in areas of trade and investment, higher education and science and technology, amongst others. In addition, the Deputy Minister met with existing and prospective Czech investors.

Economic relations between South Africa and Czech Republic are managed through a Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation (JCEC). The JCEC was established through the signing of an Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Government of the Czech Republic in December 2006.

In terms of Agreement, the Department of Science and Innovation is currently engaged in a process of developing a science technology and innovation cooperation instrument with the Czech Republic. Much progress has been achieved, negotiations are being finalised and both sides are in agreement with the contents and provisions of the draft partnership agreement.

Although the formal bilateral Defence relationship is currently still limited in scope, it has progressed to the level where it was formalised by means of the signing of two bilateral agreements. Despite the two agreements, high level contacts have been established and defence-industrial cooperation has expanded during the recent past. No substantial business transactions have been concluded recently. It is, however, foreseen that future defence-industrial cooperation has the potential to expand and that joint ventures could become a possibility.

Additional details on the Lithuania Visit

Deputy Minister Botes undertook an official visit to Lithuania from 12 to 13 October 2022 at the invitation of his Lithuanian counterpart, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mantas Adomėnas. The purpose of the visit was to conduct political consultations, promote trade and investments, and explore areas of technical cooperation. The visit was also in recognition of 30 years of bilateral relations with Lithuania.

During the visit Deputy Minister Botes met with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mantas Adomėnas, the Vice Minister of Economy and Innovation, and participated in a Business Roundtable hosted by the Vilnius Chamber of Commerce and Crafts.

In terms of bilateral Agreements, South Africa and Lithuania had signed a Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomatic and Official passport holders on 29 August 2022. Parliamentary processes have been completed on both sides and the Agreement will enter into force on 14 December 2022. An agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation is under consideration by the parties but this did not form part of the Deputy Minister’s discussions.

13 December 2022 - NW4225

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Ngcobo, Mr SL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether any agreements were signed and/or agreed to during the State visit by the Prime Minister of Spain to the Republic; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

During the State Visit to South Africa on 27 October 2022 by H.E. Mr Pedro Sánchez, the President of Spain, a total of four (4) Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between South Africa and Spain.

1. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Industry 4.0

The MoU seeks to promote cooperation and exchanges between the governments, governmental institutes, related governmental organisations, enterprises and any other institutions of the two countries in the field of Industry 4.0. Specific areas of focus include knowledge exchanges and sharing policies and technologies to increase added value and skilled employment in the industrial sector; sharing policies, technologies and related research to strengthen and develop digital solutions for the industrial sector; exploring new opportunities for industrial cooperation through the sharing of information on industrial areas with a potential for cooperation; identifying sectors with high potential for new diversification for smart manufacturing that could be mutually beneficial; participating in congresses, conferences and events related to Industry 4.0 hosted by the other country; and jointly hosting events such as seminars and workshops related to Industry 4.0.

2. Memorandum of Understanding between the National Library of Spain and the National Library of South Africa

The MoU falls within the purview of the Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Arts and Culture between South Africa and Spain, signed in 2004. The MoU encompasses the following: Cooperation in the fields of research; information and communication; technology (lCT); librarianship; exchange of documentary information or publications of mutual interest; and the sharing of knowledge of modern technology; Facilitation of the participation of experts in meetings; training courses; workshops; seminars; exhibitions; events and conferences on Library and Information Services (LIS) Sector; Exchange of experience with specialists in the areas of digitisation, preservation, conservation, cataloguing, technical information and public service; Exchange of exhibits reflecting the cultural heritage and social life of both countries; Facilitation of reciprocal official visits of experts and officials of their respective institutions; Protection and safeguarding of bibliographic heritage;

3. Memorandum of Understanding in the Field of Sport

The MoU seeks to implement programmes of cooperation in the field of sport on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit and to strengthen and intensify the partnership between the public or private structures responsible for the development of sport. Areas of Cooperation include: the development of athletes and coaches; institutional cooperation; the field of science and technology applied to sport; sports medicine; anti-doping; the fight against harassment and discrimination in sport; sport and inclusion; sports sponsorship and patronage; the organisation of sports events; the training of sports specialists and managers; programmes to support and promote sports for disabled people; the protection of young athletes; women and sports; sports education; sports for all; the maintenance of sports facilities; and school and university sports programmes.

4. Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation and Spain’s Compañía Española de Financiación del Desarrollo (COFIDES)

The MoU establishes a framework for cooperation between South Africa’s IDC and Spanish-owned COFIDES with the main objective to enhance the relationship between the two entities. Potential collaboration in private sector investments in various industries will be explored and special focus will be given to initiatives on climate change related investments, Just Energy Transition, automotive industry and agribusiness. The MoU was signed during the South Africa – Spain Business Forum. In addition, President Sánchez announced that Spain will make available €2.11 billion in the next five years to support the participation of Spanish companies in renewable energy and climate-related projects in South Africa.

 

13 December 2022 - NW3842

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

Whether, in light of the fact that the Republic has over the years campaigned for the democratisation of the United Nations Security Council by advocating for the fair representation, the Government is considering to discontinue the campaign to be Africa’s representative on the Council seeing that it has lost its moral standing after it failed to support resolutions condemning the illegal invasion of Ukraine or the annexation of its territory; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The United Nations Security Council should play a constructive role in the resolution of conflict, in line with its Charter mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security.

We regret that in the case of the war in Ukraine the Security Council continues to abdicate this mandated responsibility. The Security Council has thus far failed the people of Ukraine as it has in the case of long-standing matters on its agenda such as the situation in Palestine and the Western Sahara.

A key reason for its failure to act is that the failure of the Council to reform and reflect current global dynamics.

South Africa will therefore continue to consistently call for the reform of the United Nations, including its Security Council, and to that end will continue to engage extensively with all member states of the United Nations to advance the reform agenda.

South Africa believes that there must be a common acknowledgment, particularly by those member states maintaining the status quo, that the international political and economic system remains unequal, unfair, unjust and represents a world created in the aftermath of the Second World War. The reform of the international order must therefore be primarily to ensure that the contemporary international order becomes equitable, fair, and just.

South Africa subscribes to the Ezulwini Consensus, agreed to by the African Union in 2005, which calls for two permanent, and five non-permanent seats for the African continent. Further, it states that the veto privilege, which accrues to the five permanent members of the Security Council should be abolished, but for as long as the privilege exists, it should be extended to new members of an extended permanent category in a reformed Council. The Ezulwini Consensus also states that the African Union would choose which African states will get the seats in a reformed permanent category of the Security Council.

13 December 2022 - NW3841

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

Since the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia began in February 2022, the Government has always said that its position will always be guided by the principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter, does the government consider its failure to support resolutions condemning the illegal invasion of Ukraine or the annexation of its territory to be in line with the principles of the UN Charter; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

South Africa attaches significant importance to the maintenance of international peace and security, a key mandate of the United Nations, through its Security Council.

South Africa has consistently maintained in relation to the Russia-Ukraine matter, like any other armed conflict, that diplomacy and negotiations are the best avenues towards durable peace. The position is not only premised on the strong belief that wars have no winners and that the real heroes are those that work for peace, but by Article 2(3) of Chapter I of the Charter of the United Nations that directs all Members to settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

Furthermore, Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations urges Member States to seek the pacific settlement of disputes that are likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security. Means of doing so include, inter alia, negotiation, enquiry, mediation and other peaceful means of the disputing parties. South Africa remains resolute in appealing to the parties to choose diplomacy and negotiation over violence to resolve their differences. A cessation of hostilities is thus required to create the necessary environment for a political process that would lead to sustainable peace in Ukraine.

Over and beyond advocating for the peaceful resolution of the conflict through diplomacy and negotiations, South Africa has further reiterated that the territorial integrity of States, including that of Ukraine, must be respected and that we reject all actions that undermine the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter, and International Law.

South Africa also believes that the UN Security Council should play a constructive role in the resolution of this conflict, in line with its Charter mandate for the maintenance of international peace and security. South Africa regrets that in the case of the war in Ukraine the Security Council continues to abdicate this mandated responsibility. Due to the paralysis of the Security Council on this issue, the UN General Assembly henceforth convened a Special Emergency Session to address the matter. Through this format, the General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the matter.

With regard to the voting, aside from the principle relating to diplomacy and negotiation over war being overlooked, South Africa abstained during the voting of the General Assembly resolutions on Ukraine because it believed the resolutions would further polarise the General Assembly, thus prolonging the war. The first four resolutions were devoid of actions that would persuade the parties to the conflict to engage in political dialogue to end the hostilities. Furthermore, the last resolution sought to create a problematic precedence for the General Assembly and exceptionalism that reparations matter in some cases and do not matter in others.

It should be underlined that during the past seven decades the General Assembly has heard clarion calls for reparations from slavery, colonialism, apartheid and from many other contemporary conflicts. Regrettably, in all these instances Member States have not been able to find agreement on reparations due to the opposition of many countries in the Global North. We need to avoid double standards if indeed all Member States have equal standing in the UN.

Article 14 of the United Nations Charter directs that the role of the General Assembly be guided by the interest of establishing peace when the provisions of the Charter have been violated. Therefore, the immediate focus of the General Assembly should be to seek peace and call for an immediate end to the war.

In the absence of constructive and decisive action by the Security Council, the General Assembly should then focus on efforts to stop the conflict and consider resolutions that contain concrete proposals towards that end. The General Assembly should create conditions conducive to dialogue, mediation, and diplomacy as the only path that will lead to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. This is a role that the General Assembly has played before and there is no reason it cannot do so now.

Furthermore, the Secretary-General should directly engage the parties to the conflict towards an immediate cessation of hostilities. This is a process that should contain clear deliverables and timelines.

The Secretary-General has already illustrated the constructive role that he can play by facilitating the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative. As we have stated before, this important example could be the basis for an agreement leading to a diplomatic resolution of the conflict. Constructive actions, such as these are urgently required to ensure that we move towards peace.

Our proposed way forward is consistent with Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations which states that the purpose of the UN is “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace”. This is what the international community should be endeavouring to do.

 

13 December 2022 - NW3769

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

In light of the fact that the State of Palestine and the Kingdom of Eswatini are facing the biggest forms of oppression and persons are being brutally killed without any form of intervention from the United Nations’ bodies, what is the position of the Republic regarding the specified countries?

Reply:

With regard to the State of Palestine, South Africa’s position has always been clear and consistent. South Africa has called on the UN to decisively act on all conflicts and not ignore long-standing ones such as Palestine that has been on the United Nations agenda throughout the seven decades of the existence of the UN.

Furthermore, South Africa’s stance is that Israel should be classified as an “Apartheid State” and a Committee be established under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to verify that it meets the criteria. South Africa is of the view that there should be effective ways to make use of the General Assembly to call for international action on Israel.

South Africa remains deeply concerned as to how Israel’s policies impact on the human rights and the unequal treatment of Palestinians, the application of different standards in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) and Israel’s failure to ensure the protection and welfare of Palestinians living under its occupation.

In this regard, South Africa has expressed its support for Palestine’s request to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently render an advisory opinion and has stressed the need for revitalized international action amid mounting violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, especially in East Jerusalem.

With regard to the situation in the Kingdom of Eswatini, South Africa is working with other Member States within the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assist Eswatini to address the worrying political and security situation in that country. During South Africa’s tenure as the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, South Africa facilitated a high-level and technical fact-finding mission to Eswatini. The outcome of this mission was a Draft Framework for the Conduct of National Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue in Eswatini, which was shared with the Government of Eswatini. South Africa is still awaiting feedback from the Government of Eswatini

Meanwhile, the Government of Eswatini briefed the 42nd SADC Summit on the security situation in that country. The Summit mandated the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, which is now chaired by Namibia, assisted by the Panel of Elders (PoE) and Secretariat, to conduct a follow-up fact-finding mission to Eswatini. The Chairperson of the Organ, President Hage Geingob of Namibia, paid a courtesy call on His Majesty King Mswati III on 18 November 2022. An Extra-Ordinary Organ Troika Summit, which also include Eswatini is slated to take place in January 2023. South Africa believes that such persistent regional efforts, and not unilateral efforts, will yield positive results in resolving the situation in Eswatini as was the case with other countries in the region that went through challenging political transitions.

13 December 2022 - NW3768

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

Noting that the Republic has been elected to a three – year term in the United Nations Human Rights Council, what meaningful (a) contributions and (b) decisions will the Republic make regarding the instabilities caused by the western powers on the African continent?

Reply:

a)  On 11 October 2022, South Africa was voted overwhelmingly by United Nations (UN) member states to take a seat in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) beginning 1 January 2023 for the next period of three years (2023-2025). In support of its campaign, South Africa submitted pledges to the UN General Assembly detailing what meaningful contributions the country would make, namely, to work with other countries in the Council to promote and advance human rights globally; to ensure that the mandate of the Council (to promote human rights) is kept intact and that the Council is not ‘manipulated’ by other countries to promote their own political objectives (politicisation and securitisation of human rights); to ensure that the Council pays equal attention to all human rights (civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights); and that the agenda items dealing with the fight against racism and the self-determination of the Palestinian people, amongst other issues, are kept intact and their objectives promoted. Consistent with our constitutional commitment, South Africa intends to take its rightful place as a sovereign and responsible state in the HRC to contribute to the development of norms and standards in the field of human rights that will promote global cooperation, multilateralism, peaceful resolution of conflicts, women empowerment, and a system of interstate relations based on agreed rules (respect for the rule of international law) and not brute economic and military force.

b) With regard to decisions South Africa will make in the HRC regarding the instabilities caused by the western powers on the African continent, it should be noted that issues of peace and security are addressed by the UN, primarily through the UN Security Council and the General Assembly and not in the HRC. South Africa is opposed to the idea (which idea is cherished by some big powers) of “securitisation of human rights,” meaning, the use of human rights to achieve political-security objectives.

It is trite, that some of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council (P5) members try to bypass the Security Council (in order to avoid a situation where their resolutions would be vetoed by other P5 members) and use institutions such as the HRC (where no country has veto rights) to pursue their narrow political-security objectives. In this regard, South Africa will continue playing a key role in the HRC, particularly in the ongoing discussions aimed at considering how the activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs), transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprise (OBEs) can be regulated to ensure that these entities do not violate human rights, and where human rights violations are detected, which flow from the activities of these entities. that accountability and redress are fostered.

 

13 December 2022 - NW4720

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

With regard to the visit by the President , Mr M C Ramaphosa, to Bali for the G20 Summit, during which he and the President of the People’s Republic of China reiterated the shaping of the relations on initiative such as the Belt Road Initiative, the Republic’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan investments in the and the energy sector and the implementation of the Forum on China – Africa Cooperation in South Africa, (a) what role will her department play in these opportunities and (b) how does her department intend to promote the interest of the Republic in its involvement in these plans?

Reply:

DIRCO’s role would be, firstly, focused on assessing the bilateral and multilateral foreign policy implications of the BRI, FOCAC, and potential Chinese investments in key economic sectors e.g., energy and transport, and secondly, in facilitating cooperation between the government of China and relevant South African government departments that would be key implementing partners on projects where Chinese programmes complement national development projects, including those aligned to the EERP.

More specifically, DIRCO’s mandate and role is to promote the national interests of South Africa vis-à-vis the BRI, FOCAC and Chinese investments by:

  • Positioning South Africa vis-à-vis the PRC in such a way that delivers maximum political and socio-economic benefit from the strategic relationship.
  • Delivering bilateral consultations at high level on issues that include FOCAC, infrastructure development, and the BRI in Africa. For example, through the upcoming Binational Commission, Strategic Dialogue, and the BRICS Summit.
  • Advising partner government departments on developments and trends in the bilateral relationship and in the international political milieu that may affect their involvement in associated projects.
  • Facilitate bilateral cooperation between the relevant departments of the government of China and partner departments in their various areas of specialisation, including trade, investment, agriculture, infrastructure, education, training, and tourism.
  • Coordinate efforts with partner government departments in:
    • Identifying and assessing potential opportunities for economic reconstruction and development that stem from the bilateral relationship, including FOCAC and the BRI.
    • Reporting on the progress achieved by partner government departments in delivering on FOCAC projects.
    • Proactively identifying and work through obstacles to the implementation of bilateral commitments.

13 December 2022 - NW4719

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

Whether her department has considered purchasing more of its own buildings and/ or apartments for residential purposes of missions to reduce its expenditure on rentals; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so (2) Whether her department has taken any action and/or steps in this regard ; if not why not; if so, what are the details of the timeline with dates that her department would start to buy properties?

Reply:

1. Yes, the Department is considering purchasing properties for Chanceries and residential purposes.

2. The Department is currently considering the purchase of a Chancery property in Nairobi. It is envisaged that a feasibility study, as well as valuation for the proposed acquisition of the Chancery in Nairobi will be finalised by end of January 2023. The outcomes of the two studies will inform the decision to purchase the targeted property.

13 December 2022 - NW4278

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

How will the lack of ocean security in the Indian Ocean affect the Ocean economy in the context of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade area?

Reply:

The Indian Ocean region faces many traditional and non-traditional safety and security challenges including piracy, armed robberies at sea, terrorism, human trafficking, irregular movement of persons, drug trafficking, illicit trafficking in wildlife, trafficking of weapons, crimes in the fisheries sector, degradation of ocean health, unlawful exploitation of marine resources and climate change with its related repercussions on environmental security.

Over 60% of the world’s trade passes through the Indian Ocean and nine African states are members of the Association. Therefore, any impact on trade will impact on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). It is therefore important that it is able to succeed and that the safety of sea routes from any of the listed threats is crucial.

In this regard, the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) has an established Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security which coordinated the IORA’s role in securing trade routes. Covering a vast maritime zone of nearly 68.56 million sq. km, IORA’s Maritime Security includes elements of international peace and security, sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence, security from crimes at sea, security of resources and environmental security, while Maritime Safety is concerned with training (both technical and personnel), transport, construction and equipment-related issues, and assistance in distress situations.

A focussed discussion on the AfCFTA is critical to help guide the IORA’s role in enabling the free trade area to ensure mutual benefit. This discussion is encouraged by both the African Union (AU), and the IORA. The IORA has proposed a draft MoU with the AU and this would be crucial to consolidating Africa’s regional maritime interests.

The existing Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) initiatives are the following:

  • The ‘IORA Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security’, also known as the WGMSS, established in September 2018 and presently chaired by Sri Lanka. In August 2019, Sri Lanka hosted the First Meeting of the IORA Maritime Safety and Security Working Group, which finalized the regional Work Plan drawn up for a period of two years (2019 – 2021). This meeting provided an opportunity for Member States to discuss the way forward and to initiate concrete actions in the sphere of MSS.
  • During the Council of Ministers (COM) held in Dhaka on 24 November 2022, India advised that the Discussion Paper on the draft legal frameworks in the Indian Ocean region in the field of Maritime Safety and Security had been finalised. The draft discussion paper will be taken forward by the Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security (WGMSS) for further implementation.
  • Sri Lanka to host the Third Meeting of the IORA WGMSS in the first quarter of 2023 (possibly March), along with a Workshop on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • IORA has also devised flagship initiatives such as the Indian Ocean Dialogue, which is held annually, bringing together key representatives including scholars, experts, analysts, and policy makers from think tanks, civil societies and governments from IORA Member States to discuss pertinent issues including MSS.
  • The IORA aims at building upon existing national, regional and multilateral measures to support a more effective utilization of resources for enhanced cross-border cooperation and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices to secure the Indian Ocean as an ocean strengthening maritime cooperation for a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.

13 December 2022 - NW4277

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

What role is the Indian Ocean Rim Association playing in preventing ocean piracy and ocean crimes?

Reply:

South Africa views the Indian Ocean Region as a region of peace, stability, development, and prosperity within which to pursue the goal of promoting economic cooperation for the well-being and development of the countries and peoples of the Indian Ocean Rim.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA) Working Group on the Blue Economy has adopted in its workplan a programme of action for combating, amongst others, Illegal Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in the IORA region. The Working Group has also made progress in the assessment of capacity needs for the IORA region including, prioritising the exchange of information on IUU fishing vessels amongst IORA member states. Member states and dialogue partners are currently implementing appropriate measures against IUU vessels and other illegal activities. What is currently significant is the funding mechanism required to undertake military-type exercises and render training for maritime personnel, port managers, maritime inspectors, law enforcement and legal personnel within the IORA region.

The Maritime Safety and Security (MSS) Coordinating Country within IORA, which is Sri Lanka, has:

  • Established legal frameworks in the Indian Ocean region in the field of Maritime security, working together with India.
  • Held an IORA Workshop on Maritime Assistance, Search and Rescue, and Search and Rescue Exercise, working together with Australia.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association is therefore playing an important role in preventing ocean piracy and ocean crimes.

13 December 2022 - NW4228

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

How does her department, with regard to the 26,7 million that was written off as being part of the deposits not collected and attributed to bad revenue management and compromised capacity, intend to adequately capacitate and ensure that capacity is not compromised through the deployment of employees to missions (b) What measures are in place for overall better financial management in her department, considering the high irregular expenditure they have recorded?

Reply:

1.  Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been implemented. Chief Directorate Property and Facilities Management in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation liaises with the Missions on active accommodation lease agreements, as well as the signing of the indemnity forms once officials occupy the accommodation. Debt management is implemented once officials are informed of their date of return to South Africa by Corporate Management.

2. The current irregular expenditure has been reduced significantly in the last two financial years by terminating major irregular contracts and implementing audit action plan controls including a checklist, to curtail and prevent irregular expenditure. Policies, delegations and SOP are also being amended as per need and circulars are being drafted to address compliance matters.

The Department will also focus on finalising investigations and disciplinary actions and that must be finalised in line with the National Treasury Framework, to condone historical irregular expenditure.

A financial misconduct committee has been established in order to assist management with implementing consequence management within the whole department. Audit steering committee has also been appointed to strengthen financial control and oversee audit related matters.

13 December 2022 - NW4227

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

Whether her department, in light of the terror alert that the United States (US) government issued, regards our bilateral agreements with the US as being healthy and respectful; if not; what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) Whether her department regards the alert by Washington as a clear infringement of the territorial integrity of the Republic; if not, what is the position in this regard, if so, what are the relevant details; (3) Whether her department has conducted a threat assessment to verify the credibility of the alert; if not, why not; if so, (a) has her department engaged with the US on their chosen channels to broadcast the possible attack and (b) what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. South Africa continues to enjoy cordial bilateral relations with the United States, which are underpinned by robust cooperation across a wide range of sectors that are aligned to South Africa’s national interests and domestic priorities. The strategic nature of these relations has been reinforced by recent high-level engagements at Head of State, Minister and Director-General level, which were conducted in a spirit of mutual respect and a common desire to advance bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation in areas of shared interest and concern.

2. The Department considers it an unfortunate breach of diplomatic protocol. The Embassy was of the view that their actions were in accordance with their duty to warn American citizens of credible threats to safeguard US Government employees.

3. No. The mandate to conduct threat assessments lies with the Security Cluster.

a) The Department has conveyed to the US Embassy that sensitive information of this nature should be formally communicated to DIRCO in accordance with the relevant diplomatic protocols.

b) The security agencies from the two countries also have established channels of communication through which to engage and share information related to terrorist activities, amongst others. These channels should always be utilised to allow for proper assessment and communication to the public about possible terror attacks.

05 December 2022 - NW4403

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

What is the (a) total number of staff employed and/or provided as departmental support in (i) her and (ii) each of the Deputy Minister’s private offices and (b) (i) job title and (ii) annual remuneration package of each specified person?

Reply:

(a) total number of staff employed and/or provided as departmental support in

(i) Office of the Minister : 14 employees

(ii) Office of Deputy Minister 1: 9 employees

(ii) Office of Deputy Minister 2: 11 employees

(b) (i) job title and (ii) annual remuneration package of each specified person

Office of the Minister:

i) Job title

ii) Annual remuneration package

Chief of Staff

(SL14) R1 473 537 pa

Senior Secretary

(SL7) R269 214 pa

Administrative Secretary

(SL13) R1 302 102 pa

Private Secretary

(SL12) R1 070 169

Director: Media Liaison

(SL13) R1 302 102 pa

Parliamentary Liaison Officer

(SL13) R1 208 691 pa

Personal Assistant to the Chief of Staff

(SL8) R367 575 pa

Assistant Appointment Secretary

(SL10) R578 841 pa

Assistant Stakeholder Relations Officer

(SL9) R417 858 pa

Chief Registry Clerk

(SL7) R 281 514 pa

Driver/ Messenger

(SL5) R201 537 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Food Service Aid

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Office of Deputy Minister 1

  1. Job title
  1. Annual remuneration package

Head of Office

(SL13) R1 302 102 pa

Technical Specialist

(SL13) R1 105 383 pa

Private Secretary

(SL12) R964 257 pa

Parliamentary & Cabinet Coordination

(SL12) R1 070 169 pa

Community Outreach Officer

(SL11) R766 584 pa

Secretary

(SL7) R317 127 pa

Driver

(SL5) R207 639 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Office of Deputy Minister 2

i) Job title

ii) Annual remuneration package

Head of Office

(SL14) R1 347 606 pa

Technical Specialist

(SL13) R1 121 979 pa

Personal Assistant

(SL7) R269 214 pa

Private Secretary

(SL12) R908 502 pa

Parliamentary & Cabinet Coordination

(SL11) R766 584 pa

Community Outreach Officer

(SL11) R778 080 pa

Chief Registry Clerk

(SL7) R269 214 pa

Driver

(SL5) R181 599 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R130 092 pa

Domestic Worker

(SL3) R128 166 pa

Food Service Aid

(SL2) R107 196 pa

15 November 2022 - NW4108

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

What are the details of the mediatory role the Republic will play in bringing stability in Tigray region of Ethiopia?

Reply:

South Africa was requested by the African Union to host the Peace Talks between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, and also to nominate a representative to join the Facilitation Team.

The request was received positively by South Africa and in addition, nominated former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Dr Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, to serve on the Facilitation Team, together with the former President of the Republic of Kenya, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta, in support of the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa, and former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo. The Peace Talks took place from 24 October until 3 November 2022.

South Africa’s role is as per the invitation by the African Union Commission and remains ready to contribute should the Union and/or the Parties request further contribution in the implementation of the “Agreement for lasting peace through a permanent cessation of hostilities between the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front” signed on 2 November 2022 in Pretoria.

South Africa, therefore, plays an important role in the process and will continue to do whatever is required to ensure that this historic Agreement is implemented, so as to silence the guns in Ethiopia.

08 November 2022 - NW3876

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

Whether she will confirm reports from her department and the Iranian media that the Government will be welcoming the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Dr Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi Ebrahim, and other Iranian Delegates to the Republic ; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what is the date of the meeting; (2) Whether, considering that the Islamic Republic of Iran is currently under sanctions from countries in Europe and America, she has found that the engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran puts the Republic of South Africa at odds with our key trading partners and puts agreements such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade agreement at risk; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3) Whether, considering that the Iranian regime ascribes to values that are diametrically opposed to the principles *on which the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, is based, such as democratic, egalitarian principles and women’s rights, her department has found that the specified visit could undermine the fight against gender – based violence in the Republic and around the world; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) What is the position of the Republic on the repression of women’s rights by the Islamic Republic on the repression of women’s rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran; (5) Whether she will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. An invitation was extended by President Ramaphosa to the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Hassan Rouhani to undertake a State Visit to South Africa in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the visit did not materialise. Following the elections in Iran in June 2021, an invitation was extended to the new Iranian President, Dr Raisi, to undertake a State Visit to South Africa in 2023. The exact dates for the State Visit are yet to be confirmed and mutually convenient dates are being discussed through diplomatic channels.

Dr Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, will participate in the 15th Session of the South Africa-Iran Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC), which will be hosted in South Africa on 29 November 2022. The previous Session of the JCC was held in 2019 and could not convene in 2020 or 2021 because of COVID-19.

2. South Africa honours United Nations sanctions in keeping with the traditional Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and African Union (AU) positions of not recognising unilateral coercive measures. In this regard, South Africa does not recognise the unilateral and secondary sanctions imposed by countries outside of the United Nations sanctions mechanisms. However, South Africa is mindful of the impact thereof on its political and economic engagements and the relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, South Africa conducts its bilateral relations within the context of international law and in the context of the relevant international organisations such as the World Trade Organisation.

3. A State Visit by President Raisi to South Africa will allow for engagement at the highest political level with the objective of strengthening bilateral relations and exchanging views on a number of political, economic and social issues including issues on human rights as South Africa will serve as a member of the Human Rights Council from 2023. Sectoral visits to Iran earlier this year in May, August and October already focused on policies and programmes by the two countries to support women empowerment. In this regard, I am of the view that an engagement between the two Presidents could enrich the efforts of both countries towards the empowerment of women. A delegation from South Africa participated in the 2nd Session of the South Africa-Iran Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights held in Iran, Tehran from 3 - 4 October 2022.

South Africa welcomed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when it was adopted in 2015, between Iran and the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany (the P5+1 countries) as well as the European Union (EU). South Africa noted that the JCPOA was probably the most important diplomatic achievement in the area of nuclear non-proliferation since the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 (2015) endorsed the JCPOA and lifted all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

However, in May 2018, the US - under the administration of former President Donald Trump –unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and re-imposed all US sanctions lifted under the agreement. This has tentatively remained the status quo under President Biden, with the US preferring to negotiate with Iran on the terms of its return to the JCPOA. This follows Iran’s approach (in response to the US withdrawal) to gradually reduce its compliance with the JCPOA in the face of the US’s enforcement of punitive sanctions against it, in a quid pro quo manner. The other parties to the JCPOA have also been involved in efforts to determine the terms under which both the US and Iran would return to compliance with the agreement.

South Africa has strongly supported the talks taking place between Iran and the United States and continues to encourage all Parties, especially the United States and Iran, to undertake every effort to reinstate the Plan of Action in full and without delay. South Africa reiterates that given the current outstanding issues on the agreement, only strong political will on the side of Iran and the United States to reach an agreement, can break the deadlock.

4. We are concerned about discrimination and oppression based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion and origin as outlined by our Constitution. In this regard, South Africa makes its views heard in different forums, depending on the context and individual incidents. We will engage with Iran on concerns we have regarding discrimination and violence against women.

5. No.

08 November 2022 - NW3979

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Mileham, Mr K to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether the Republic intends to renew the Treaty on the Grand Inga Hydropower Project with the Democratic Republic of the Congo; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what provision will be made by her department for public input regarding the opinion that must be obtained from the State Law Advisors as to the specified agreement’s consistency with domestic law and international obligation?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Office of the Chief State Law Adviser OCSLA(International Law) has not received a request for legal advice on the Renewal of the Treaty on the Grand Inga Hydropower Project with the Democratic Republic of the Congo.   The responsible Department, namely, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy would be best placed to provide an answer on the policy decision to be taken to renew the Treaty.

08 November 2022 - NW3928

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

What were the outcomes of her and/ or her department’s engagement with Zimbabwe on the conduct of the Member of the Executive Council of Health in Limpopo, regarding her inhumane treatment of a Zimbabwean female patient who was awaiting surgery?

Reply:

Following the comments to a Zimbabwean patient by Dr Phophi Ramathuba, MEC for Health in Limpopo, that appeared in a video clip recorded in Bela Bela hospital, His Excellency, Mr DD Hamadziripi, Zimbabwean Ambassador to South Africa has had engagements with my Department on this matter.

In discussions between my Department and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, both sides agreed that the concerns raised by the MEC should be discussed through existing diplomatic channels and existing bilateral mechanism instruments as contained in the Bi-National Commission Agreement.

Both parties agreed that the Bela Bela incident should not be looked at in isolation but holistically as a problem that both our governments need to urgently address to the benefit of both our peoples.

In addition, my Department reminded Ambassador Hamadziripi of the continued collaboration that South Africa and Zimbabwe has with each other within the context of the Agreement on Health Matters.

It should further be noted that the National Department of Health issued a statement on 24 August 2022 regarding this matter. Furthermore, President Ramaphosa also addressed this matter during his oral replies to the Q and A Session of Parliament held in the National Assembly on 30 August 2022.

25 October 2022 - NW3700

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

What are the details of the Republic’s foreign policy position regarding the unification of the Southern African Development Community and the African continent as a whole?

Reply:

  • In the context of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) at large, reference is made to “integration” and not “unification”. The integration agenda of the African Union is driven by the respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
    • In the case of South Africa, the SADC remains the primary focus of the country’s foreign policy, which is aimed at the promotion of security and political stability, which are pathways towards addressing key challenges of underdevelopment, unemployment, and poverty.
    • Since its formation in 1980, SADC has adopted dozens of legal instruments aimed at deepening the regional integration agenda. Accordingly, South Africa continues to reaffirm her commitment to the regional integration agenda in line with the provisions of these instruments, which cover such sectors as trade and investment, energy security, food security, infrastructure development, health and education, mineral resources as well as peace and security.
    • The SADC integration objectives and strategies are articulated in the SADC Blueprints namely, the SADC Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030. South Africa was one of the key contributors in the development of the RISDP and it is involved in the development of its Implementation Plan.
    • In the context of the foundation aspect of RISDP 2020- 2030, which underpins the pursuit of Peace, Security and Good Governance in the region, South Africa plays an active role in efforts to ensure peace and security in the region. In this regard, SADC is engaged in finding a lasting solution in the Republic of Mozambique, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Eswatini and the Democratic Republic of Congo. SADC also deploys electoral observer missions in countries that conduct elections as was the case in Angola on 24 August 2022 and in Lesotho on 7 October 2022. This is in line with the SADC Principles and Guidelines governing democratic elections.

25 October 2022 - NW3563

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

What discussions were undertaken with her during the meeting of the (a) Non- Aligned Movement (b) Peace and Security Council of the African Union and (c) bilateral engagements in New York City; (2) Whether any agreements were signed and/ or agreed to; if not, why not, in case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3) What was the total cost of travel for the trip to New York City?

Reply:

1 a) Minister Pandor participated in the Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on 21 September 2020. The theme of the meeting was “The Role for the Non-Aligned Movement in Post-Pandemic Global Recovery: The Way Forward”, which formed the basis and the context for the discussions. The revitalisation of the Non-Aligned Movement with a view to strengthen and make the organisation fit for purpose in a post-COVID-19 era was topical and thus dominated the discussions. Additionally, the discussions focused on reaffirming the commitment of NAM members to the organisation and its principles as established in the Bandung Conference in 1955 and the need to buttress efforts to achieve its goals towards the promotion of global peace and security, nuclear non-proliferation and attainment of sustainable development. Members stressed the importance of strengthening coordination in the implementation of the NAM agenda and in support of the self-determination of Western Sahara and Palestine.

1 b) On 22 September, Minister Pandor participated in the High-Level Ministerial meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) focusing on preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism on the continent. The meeting took place against the backdrop of increasing incidents of terrorism and violent extremism across all regions in the African Continent. In this regard, the meeting deliberated on ways to strengthen the AU’s efforts towards addressing the threat. The meeting recognised the existing peace and security frameworks of the AU and reaffirmed that focused implementation and enhanced coordination is vital in the AU’s efforts to address the challenge posed by terrorism. In this regard, the PSC underscored the need to strengthen the oversight role of the AUPSC to ensure effective coordination and collaboration between all stakeholders, including Member States, Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), the AU Commission, notably the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), and Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), as well as other relevant AU Organs and institutions.

The meeting adopted a Communiqué as an outcome of the meeting. Please see attached additional information. The Communique emphasises the need for collaboration by all Regional Economic Communities (RECs), mobilise necessary resources and implementation of relevant decision such as the Malabo Summit on Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

1 c) Minister Pandor held eleven bilateral meetings on the margins of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA77) High-Level Week to discuss multilateral issues, as well as ways to strengthen bilateral political and economic relations. The list of countries that were engaged were: Cuba, France, Ghana (President Nana-Addo), the President of the General Assembly, Latvia, Nicaragua, Tanzania (Former President Jakaya Kikwete), The Netherlands and Russia.

2. On 23 September, a Memorandum of Understanding on Political Consultations between South Africa and Paraguay was signed by Minister Pandor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Mr Julio César Arriola Ramirez. The Memorandum of Understanding serves as a framework for the development and consolidation of cooperation at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

3. The Minister’s working visit to New York was budgeted for as the High-level Week of the UN General Assembly takes place annually in September at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

COMPILER DETAILS

Additional Information

AFRICAN UNION

Description: Description: logo

UNION AFRICAINE

 

UNIÃO AFRICANA

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, P.O. Box: 3243 Tel.: (251-11) 5513 822 Fax: (251-11) 5519 321

Email: situationroom@africa-union.org

PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL

1107TH MEETING

23 SEPTEMBER 2022

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

PSC/MIN/COMM. 1107 (2022)

DRAFT COMMUNIQUÉ

Adopted by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) at its 1107th meeting, held on 23 September 2022, on the theme – Strengthening Regional Organizations for the Maintenance of Peace and Security in Africa: Preventing and Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism in the Continent:

The Peace and Security Council,

Recalling the Declaration and Decision [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.(XVI)] adopted during the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa held on 28 May 2022, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, which decided, amongst others, the establishment of a Ministerial Committee on Counter-Terrorism to give impetus to the Continental fight against terrorism;

 

Committed to the implementation of its previous decisions and pronouncements on preventing and combating terrorism and violent extremism in Africa and related themes, particularly, Communiqué [PSC/PR/COMM.1048(2021)] adopted at its 1048th meeting held on 15 November 2021; and Communiqué [PSC/MIN/COMM.1040(2021)] adopted at its 1040th meeting held at the Ministerial level on 22 October 2021;

Emphasizing the cardinal principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage, which guide the significant role played by the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), who, on many occasions, are primary responders to crises and conflict situations in their respective geographic areas of jurisdiction;

Noting the opening remarks by H.E. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana and PSC Chairperson for September 2022, the remarks by H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, the statement by H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, and Mr. Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism; also noting the statements made by the representatives of the RECs/RMs;

Reaffirming the solidarity of the AU with the people of the Continent, particularly those adversely impacted by the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism; and

Acting under Article 7 of its Protocol, the Peace and Security Council: 

  1. Expresses grave concern over the expanding and worsening scourge of terrorism and violent extremism on the Continent, exacerbated by the influx of Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), mercenaries and private military enterprises, and deplores the growing linkages between terrorism and transnational organized crime, including illicit exploitation of, and trade in minerals, and illicit financial flows with debilitating impact on the economies of the Continent;
  1. Strongly condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism and their attendant adverse impact on ordinary citizens and civilians, committed on the Continent by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes; reiterates the AU’s determination to rid Africa of the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, which cannot be justified under any circumstances, and expresses AU’s full solidarity with the affected countries and the victims of terrorism;
  1. Underlines the imperative of enhancing comprehensive regional and continental approaches to address the growing scourge of terrorism and the underlying root causes and structural drivers associated with youth participation in violence including redressing the socio-economic imbalances that exist, with the view to economically empowering the people, especially the women and youth, in this regard, stresses the need to prioritize political solutions alongside military and security interventions; while recognizing that terrorism, radicalization and recruitment have been attributed to many causal factors such as democratic governance deficits, economic deprivation and marginalization, and lack of effective and legitimate governance structures for the provision of sustainable political and socio-economic infrastructures ;
  1. Underscores the need to further enhance cooperation, coordination and complementarity of the regional and continental efforts, strengthening synergy and harmonization of interventions, as well as information and intelligence sharing and lessons arising from countering terrorism to reinforce the overall response to the threat of terrorism;
  1. Highlights the need for context-specific interventions tailored to address the security, governance, development and humanitarian needs of the affected countries and regions with the participation of local community leaders, faith-based leaders, youth, women and the representatives of children;
  1. Emphasizes the need to leverage the immense resource espoused by Traditional, Cultural, Religious and Community Leaders in an effort to de-radicalize the youth, given the enormous respect and influence these leaders command in the communities they lead;
  1. Underscores the need to strengthen the oversight role of the PSC to ensure effective coordination and collaboration between all stakeholders, including Member States, RECs/RMs, the AU Commission, notably the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT), African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL), and Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), as well as other relevant AU Organs and institutions;
  1. Encourages the RECs/RMs, who are yet to do so, to establish policy organs on peace and security, to ensure that all the regions have right architectures to respond to conflicts and crises, as well as terrorism and violent extremism; further encourages RECs/RMs with policy organs on peace and security to share expertise with those who are yet to establish theirs, and requests the AU Commission to provide the requisite support, where required and upon request;
  1. Urges the RECs/RMs to fully utilize the cooperative mechanisms established to address country- and region-specific issues, most notably the Sahel Fusion and Liaison Unit (UFL), the Nouakchott Process on the Enhancement of Security Cooperation and the Operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan Region, the Djibouti Process and the Accra Initiatives established to respond to growing insecurity linked to violent extremism in the region;
  1. Urges international partners to ensure zero tolerance for terrorism regardless of the targets or motives, and to take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective territories are not used by terrorists for inciting, instigating, organizing, facilitating, participating in, financing, or for the preparation or organization of terrorist acts intended to be committed against other States or their citizens;
  1. Reiterates the need to further enhance collaboration between the AU Commission and RECs/RMs; in this regard, requests the AU Commission to support the RECs/RMs to undertake the following:
  1. Explore best ways and means of further improving the implementation of policy interventions aimed at addressing the root causes and drivers of terrorism and violent extremism, especially the democratic governance deficit and the absence or weakness of governance structures in peripheral and remote territories, as well as political, social and economic marginalization;
  1. Accompany the Member States affected by the scourge of terrorism through mobilization of requisite resources, including funding needed for strengthening institutions for delivery of social services, such as education, justice, health care and entrenching democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
  1. Promote the development of economic opportunities, in particular trade facilitation and cross-border infrastructure and cooperation, to strengthen the regional integration necessary for the consolidation of peace and security, and reorient the people away from terrorism and violent extremism;
  1. Strengthen existing mechanisms at the level of RECs/RMs, to compile a list of persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts, including FTFs, as well as those sponsoring them; with a view to tracking, monitoring, reporting on, and proposing policy responses to prevent the expansion of the threats of terrorism and violent extremism with the support of the AFRIPOL, CISSA and  ACSRT;
  1. Establish regional counter-terrorism centres to support national efforts in preventing and combating terrorism;
  1. Put in place mechanisms for supporting initiatives of local communities both for deradicalization, reconciliation, inter-communal dialogue and for implementing measures for addressing the humanitarian and socio-economic needs of affected populations;
  1. Harness the comparative technical advantages of Africa’s governance and development institutions, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), the African Development Bank (ADB), and relevant AU Commission Departments, in developing and implementing peace enhancing development projects, including quick impact projects in areas liberated from terrorist groups, that are aimed at promoting the provision of social services and support the livelihoods of people in marginalized regions;
  1. Convene inter-RECs/RMs policy coordination meetings horizontally among RECs/RMs, including at ministerial and heads of state and government levels taking note of the best practices of the Joint Summit of ECOWAS and ECCAS on peace, security and stability and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism held in Lomé, Togo in July 2018;
  1. Use existing platforms and mechanisms, including the inter-regional knowledge platform (I-RECKE) for early warning and experience sharing, joint planning and collective action, launched in July 2022, in Lusaka, Zambia;
  1. Support national Governments in investing in community policing and civil military relations in order to mobilize and sensitize the population against terrorism and violent extremism with the view to capturing the hearts and minds of the population, and creating a mindset change; and
  1. Harmonize counter-terrorism and related laws at the regional level to facilitate greater regional integration and effective response mechanisms to terrorism, violent extremism and other related crimes such as drug trafficking, human trafficking and maritime piracy.
  1. Underscores the need for RECs/RMs to be adequately financed, well-resourced and equipped to ensure that the Regional Standby Forces (RSFs) and security institutions engaging in conflict management and counter terrorist operations have the capacity for early and effective response;
  1. Looks forward to the convening of the first meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Terrorism as established by the Decision [Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.(XVI)] adopted during the 16th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes of Government in Africa in May 2022;
  1. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

25 October 2022 - NW3699

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

In light of the fact that the Economic Community of West African States is looking at establishing a common currency for the bloc, on what date is it envisaged that the SA Customs Union will look into such ideas?

Reply:

At the onset, it should be clarified that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a Regional Economic Community (REC), while the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is a trade bloc, which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff amongst the member countries.

The SACU is the oldest Customs Union in the world which was formed in 1910 among countries of Southern Africa namely: - Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa, with headquarters in Windhoek, Namibia. Since adopting the 2002 Agreement, SACU has often been used as a benchmark for arrangement of this nature, particularly in the African continent where different regions seek to integrate their economies further.

The SACU is complemented well by the Common Monetary Area (CMA) wherein four of the

five countries are member namely: - South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho and Namibia. Under this arrangement, the South African Rand is a legal tender. The South African Rand therefore is the common currency in the CMA.

Botswana is the only member of SACU that does not recognise the Rand as a legal tender due to its withdrawal from the arrangement in 1975, which replaced the Rand as the official legal tender in 1976. The revised and improved version of this arrangement was adopted in February 1992 when the Multilateral Monetary Agreement (MMA) which underpins the CMA was signed and came into force in 1994. The South African Rand is therefore a common currency in four of the five Member States of SACU, which also belong to the CMA. No date has been set to get Botswana back into the CMA.

25 October 2022 - NW3564

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

) Whether, she found that the Deputy Minister accomplished all the goals set for visits to (a) Sierra Leone and (b) Liberia in West Africa to deliver vaccines; if not, why not, in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (2 Whether any agreements were signed and/ or agreed to; if not, why not, in each case; If so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3 What was the total cost of travel for the trip to West Africa?

Reply:

1. Yes, Deputy Minister Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini accomplished all the goals set for the visits to (a) Sierra Leone and (b) Liberia in West Africa to deliver vaccines.

The Deputy Minister visited Liberia on 24-28 September 2022 and Sierra Leone on 28-30 September 2022, respectively, to handover 79, 200 doses of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines to each of the countries. These vaccines were handed over as part of a gift of the partnership and friendship between the Republic of South Africa and the two governments. The contribution of COVID-19 J&J vaccines has deepened the mutually beneficial cooperation with Liberia and Sierra Leone and enhanced bilateral relations. South Africa is striving to ensure that the Continent is "COVID Free" and to ensure that Africans are vaccinated to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold. The doses presented to these countries were produced at the pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Gqebera, South Africa, which is being operated by Aspen Pharma. The vaccine is proudly manufactured at a South African plant under license approved by the WHO. Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the first of 26 countries benefiting from this initiative.

2. No bilateral agreements were signed in both countries as the purpose of the visit was to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

3. Total cost of the Deputy Minister’s travel to West Africa was R299 698.20.

14 October 2022 - NW3519

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

In light of the fact that Zimbabwe is heading to its watershed elections In 2023 while there are wide spread reports of alleged targeted harassment of opposition members by the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, which includes Mr Job Sikhala, a member of Parliament representing the Citizens Coalition for Change, who has been held in detention without trial in a maximum security prison for 100 days, what steps has the Government taken to (a) ensure that Zimbabwe’s political situation does not degenerate into full -blown political violence ahead of the 2023 elections and (b) appeal to the Zimbabwean government to release all political prisoners- unconditionally?

Reply:

a) South Africa and Zimbabwe use the Bi-National Commission (BNC) to discuss all matters of mutual interest, including political and security situations in both countries. It should be recalled that for the July 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean Government invited international observers, a move that was commended by the international community. It would also be recalled that the 2018 Elections were pronounced as having proceeded relatively quiet, free, and fair, notwithstanding recommended areas of improvement, as per AU and SADC Election Observer Missions. The violence erupted following the disputing of the election results by the leader of the then MDC-T, and the subsequent government response is well documented. President Mnangagwa established a Commission of Enquiry on the post-election violence, which was chaired by former President Kgalema Mothlanthe. The recommendations were released in public, which in South Africa’s view, was an indication of the commitment by the Zimbabwean Government to their implementation.

South Africa believes in peace, security, and stability in the region. Free and fair elections are a prerequisite of good governance for the attainment of the SADC Vision 2050, and the aspirations of the AU’s Agenda 2063. South Africa participates in electoral activities of the region through the SADC Electoral Advisory Council and is always part of the SADC Observer Mission.

b) With regard to the Job Sikhala matter, we will make further enquiries on the nature of his imprisonment. South Africa does not support any form of detention without trial or administrative detention as this is referred to in some jurisdictions. We will engage further with our counterparts on matters such as these.

COMPILER DETAILS

NAME AND SURNAME: Mr MJ Gininda

CONTACT: 012 351 1663

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Minister signs Parliamentary Reply 3332

 

MR Z DANGOR

DIRECTOR–GENERAL: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DATE:

PARLIAMENTARY REPLY 3332 IS APPROVED / NOT APPROVED / AMENDED.

COMMENT/S

DR GNM PANDOR, MP

MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DATE:

Additional information

The Government of the Republic of South Africa has not yet received any communication for the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe regarding the forthcoming harmonised elections to be held in 2023.

14 October 2022 - NW3420

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

What (a) plans have been put in place to make the Pan – African Parliament an overarching legislative body for the continent and (b) deadline has been set in this regard?

Reply:

a) The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) as one of the organs of the African Union (AU) was established in terms of Article 2 of the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to the Pan-African Parliament. In terms of this Protocol, the PAP shall evolve into an institution with full legislative powers. However, this Protocol only confers the PAP with consultative and advisory powers.

To fulfil the aim of the PAP of becoming an institution with full legislative powers, the African Union Assembly during its Summit in June 2014 adopted the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union Relating to the Pan-African Parliament.

Article 8 of this Protocol provides that the PAP shall be the legislative organ of the AU to draft Model Laws. Meaning that the PAP is vested with the quasi-legislative power of formulating Model Laws for the AU Member States. However, as of April 2022, the Protocol had 22 signatures and 14 ratifications, and it requires simple majority of ratifications by the AU Member States to enter into force. The Republic of South Africa signed the Protocol in January 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A presentation on the Malabo Protocol was delivered by DIRCO to the Portfolio Committee in the National Assembly on 1 June 2022. In this regard, the National Assembly is busy finalizing the Protocol's ratification through its internal processes.

b) As an advisory and consultative organ of the African Union, the current mandate of the PAP is wide enough to empower it to propose and formulate model laws. As of 2018, the PAP has formulated or contributed to the formulation of two model laws and is planning to kick-start the formulation of about five other model laws.

Furthermore, DIRCO’s role regarding the PAP is only limited to providing support as guided by the Host Country Agreement entered into between the African Union and South Africa in 2004. The Agreement and its seven Annexes thereto, place an obligation on South Africa, through DIRCO, to provide accommodation for the premises, fixtures, fittings and furniture for the premises, security, accreditation and transport services to the PAP. Due to the separation of powers as is the case with South Africa under its democratic constitution, DIRCO does not participate in substantive meetings of the PAP. 

Also, the founding instruments of the PAP assert its independence and non-interference by Executives of member states. This precludes DIRCO playing any active role in the proceedings of the PAP.

14 October 2022 - NW3517

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

When announcing the mobilisation of his countrymen to support his illegal invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to use all available means to deter future attacks, which was widely interpreted as a reference to the use of Russia nuclear weapons, the South African government condemn Putin veiled threat to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

South Africa has always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in keeping with the UN Charter. South Africa is continuing to encourage all the parties, through diplomatic channels, within all relevant international mechanisms and in various bilateral engagements to find a lasting solution to the current situation in Ukraine, in full compliance with the UN Charter and universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms.

South Africa believes that the mere possession of nuclear weapons constitutes a threat. The concept of nuclear deterrence, which is included in the military and security doctrines of all nuclear-weapon States, as well as States in nuclear security alliances and States under extended nuclear security guarantees, is itself a threat of use to convince another party to refrain from initiating some course of action. For this reason, any and all nuclear threats, whether they be explicit or implicit and irrespective of the circumstances are unequivocally opposed by South Africa.

14 October 2022 - NW3518

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

Whether, with regard to the Human Rights Watch, an international nongovernmental organisation that has documented several cases of Russian military forces committing war violations against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions of Ukraine, which include a case of repeated rape, two cases of summary executions of seven men and other cases of unlawful violence that include threats against civilians between 27 February and 14 March 2022, the Government has condemned the specified war crimes by the invading Russian army; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

South Africa is not indifferent to what is going on in Ukraine. We are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation. As a matter of urgency, there must be a cessation of hostilities, which would be the first step in a comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis. We continue to stress that dialogue, mediation, and diplomacy are the only means to end the current conflict. As South Africa stated in the United Nations General Assembly, wars end when dialogue begins, and wars endure when there is no dialogue.

We have in our statements made calls for all parties in this conflict to respect The Laws of Wars, including respect for the Principles of Distinction, which enjoins all combatants to ensure civilians are not harmed.

14 October 2022 - NW3421

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

What (a) plans have been put in place to withdraw the Republic from the Commonwealth of Nations and (b) are the relevant details in this regard?NW 4223E

Reply:

(a) Since re-joining the Commonwealth in 1994, South Africa has not made any plans to withdraw from the Commonwealth. South Africa continues to actively participate in the Commonwealth Ministerial and Heads of Government Meetings to make sure that the needs and the voice of Africa and the countries of the South are heard. The Commonwealth is a growing Organisation. During the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2022, Gabon and Togo, joined the Commonwealth. Membership has now grown from 54 to 56 members. The opening of the membership of the Commonwealth to former French and Portuguese colonies will ensure that the Commonwealth will remain growing in the future.

(b) Not applicable.

12 October 2022 - NW3332

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

Whether the Government has provided any financial support and /or loans to Zimbabwe in the past five financial years; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

a) In the past five (5) financial years, the Government of the Republic of South Africa has not provided any financial support and/ or loans to Zimbabwe.

b) However, following an appeal for assistance from the Zimbabwean Government, the South African Government, through the African Renaissance Fund (ARF), provided R50 million worth of humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe following the 2019 Cyclone Idai which destroyed infrastructure and left scores of people homeless and without food. The aid was in the form of 450 000 x 12,5 kg of maize meal procured from South Africa and delivered to Zimbabwe. This project was completed in February 2022.

03 October 2022 - NW3136

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

With reference to her reply to question 2638 on 6 September2022, and with further reference to the South African Consulate situated 845 3rd Avenue, New York, what (a) total number of (i) staff personnel and/ or delegates are working in the office and (ii) floors and/or offices are included within the rental and (b) is the (i) total square footage of the office and (ii) reason and/or justification for the high rental figure of almost R2,7 million per month?

Reply:

A) What total number of (i) staff personnel and/ or delegates are working in the office and (ii) floors and/or offices are included within the rental?

(i) The total staff establishment of transferred staff and locally recruited personnel for the two (2) missions occupying the premises is 67.

(ii) The missions occupy two (2) floors on these premises. They are occupying the 9th and 10th floor respectively.

B) What is the (i) total square footage of the office and (ii) reason and/or justification for the high rental figure of almost R2,7 million per month?

(i) The total square footage for the two and (ii) reason and/or justification for the high rental figure of almost R2,7 million per month?

(i) The total square footage for the two Missions is 51 843 square feet, and

(ii) The building wherein the Missions are now situated is within close proximity to the United Nations and the transit system. These are critical considerations with regard to the accessibility and mobility requirements of the Missions’ operations.

03 October 2022 - NW2920

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

(a) How does her department plan to ensure that it fulfils an inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system and reform of the international debt architecture, as alluded to in her department ‘s Framework Document on South Africa’s National Interest and its advancement in a Global Environment and (b) what does the reform of the international architecture entail; (2) Whether the Republic has implemented the reform of debt in the past when negotiating for loans on an international scale; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the relevant details and (b) does it seek to change through the reform? NW3546E

Reply:

1. Since the pandemic, South Africa has played a more prominent role as an official bilateral creditor and G20 member to provide constructive solutions to the debt challenges on the African continent, first through its participation in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) that was in force from May 2020 until December 2021, and now as vice-chair of Zambia’s official creditor committee (OCC) under the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the DSSI. South Africa has supported the Common Framework which was established in November 2020 as a great improvement in the international debt architecture as it involves the first ever formal coordination between the G20 and the Paris Club creditors on debt treatments for the 73 Low Income Countries (LICs) eligible for the DSSI. The framework is to ensure broad participation of creditors, including the private sector, with fair burden sharing to ensure timely debt resolutions.

South Africa has agreed to become a prospective member of the Paris Club this year, after being an ad hoc participant since 2015. The Paris Club consists of a group of officials from major creditor countries whose role is to find co-ordinated and sustainable solutions to the payment difficulties experienced by debtor countries. South Africa’s enhanced status in the Paris Club provides it with the opportunity to become a full member of the Paris Club within a set period or revert to its former status as ad hoc participant.

The reform of the international debt architecture entails an end objective of broader multilateral cooperation in addressing sovereign debt issues and shifting away from plurilateral arrangements.

2. South Africa previously participated in some of the Paris Club debt treatments and restructuring processes in the 1990s. Also, South Africa participated in the Seychelles restructuring in 2015, during which it became an ad hoc member to the Paris Club. South Africa has credit exposure to Zambia who requested a debt treatment in 2021 from its creditors. This year, South Africa became vice-chair of Zambia’s official creditor committee (OCC) under the G20 Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the DSSI, with China and France co-chairing the OCC. The OCC brings together Zambia’s official bilateral creditors to negotiate the parameters of a debt treatment for the country. South Africa’s participation in international debt treatments and restructurings are guided by its status as an African creditor that seeks to implement fair solutions to the debt challenges experienced on the African continent. South Africa has exposure as a creditor through loans provided by its Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) on the continent.

22 September 2022 - NW3001

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Malatsi, Mr MS to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she and / or her department submitted a policy review document and /Or any other government policy document to structures outside of the Government, either to private and / or external structures or structures of any political affiliation during the past five years; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) will she furnish Mr M S Malatsi with copies of all such documents and (b) what are the reasons that the Government documents were provided?

Reply:

To the best of our knowledge, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation has not submitted any policy review document and/or any other government policy document to structures outside of the Government, nor to private and/or external structures or structures of any political affiliation during the past five years. a) There are no documents to be furnished as the Department has no information in respect to any of these matters.

21 September 2022 - NW2922

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

With regard to her comments during the United States of America (US) and SA Strategic Dialogue that the economic recovery in Africa should be placed at the front and centre of the agenda, (a) how does her department plan to fulfil economic recovery through the partnership with the US and (b) what will the Republic contribute to the US in exchange for their investments; (2) Whether the position of youth, women and people with disabilities in the strategic partnership has been outlined; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in this regard?

Reply:

1.a) During the Strategic Dialogue, the delegations of South Africa and the United States held fruitful discussions in the Trade and Investment and Infrastructure Commissions, amongst others. Discussions centred largely around the following topics, which are aimed at supporting economic recovery in South Africa and the continent.

  • The establishment of a bilateral Trade and Investment Forum/Advisory Council: This body will have a strong focus on investment matters at a strategic level but will also deal with trade issues as they emerge. Its objective is to significantly boost trade and investment levels. It was proposed that the Forum be anchored by the DTIC, but also include participation by organisations such as Business Unity SA (BUSA) and business chambers.
  • JET-P: The US indicated that it would consider providing additional funding based on the strength of the Investment Plan and its level of ambition. The Investment Plan will outline the investments required to achieve South Africa’s ambitious NDC targets and enable a just transition. The US offer amounts to just over US$1 billion. The bulk of this funding will be deployed to private sector projects through the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC), with the rest of the funding comprising small grants provided through a range of US aid agencies in the energy sector (up to $10m of grants and $10.5m of technical assistance).
  • Extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): South Africa advocated for the renewal of AGOA beyond 2025 in line with the African Common position, as it will open opportunities for enhanced exports to the US market, including value-added products from South Africa. The US pledged to support South Africa to maximise its advantages in this regard.
  • Agriculture: South Africa called on the US to address non-tariff barriers around expanded market access for animal and plant products, which include poultry, egg products, avocado and citrus. An Agriculture Task Force has been established to focus on constructive collaboration, which will assist in resolving some of these market impediments on a product by product basis.
  • Removal of tariffs: The removal of Section 232 tariffs on South African steel and aluminium imports into the US will allow for increased exports and assist with job creation. South Africa lobbied for a country exemption from these tariffs.
  • Improvement of the Trade and Investment climate: Both sides agreed to review regulatory issues that stand in the way of greater levels of two-trade and investment, such as incentives in the film production and electric vehicle industries and South African concerns around anti-dumping duties.
  • African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): Both sides agreed that the AfCFTA and AGOA could play a pivotal role in boosting economic relations.
  • Global Supply Chains: The parties expressed concern about the challenges posed by dysfunctional global supply chains and undertook to collaborate, support and learn from each other to overcome obstacles. This issue also impacted negatively on continental trade and on food security, where it is believed the two sides could cooperate.

1. (b) The trade and investment relationship with the US is mutually beneficial and has created jobs in both countries. South Africa offers an attractive investment proposition because of its solid industrial base, manufacturing capacity, advanced technology, and world-class financial sector. South Africa is well placed to be a springboard for manufactured exports in the region and to foster the drive for enhanced regional integration, industrialisation, and infrastructure development under the auspices of the AfCFTA. The US private sector sees numerous opportunities for productive investments, including in the digital and green economy, that could be a catalyst for the development of regional supply chains. This would boost employment in South Africa, especially for the youth, and contribute to skills development and technology transfer.

2. The Strategic Partnership encompasses targeted support for vulnerable groups. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provides funding and technical support for programmes and interventions, which include the following, amongst others:

  • The PEFPAR DREAMS programme, which contains various interventions to address key risk factors that make girls and young women particularly vulnerable to HIV. These address social vulnerabilities of adolescent girls and boys and young men and women by expanding testing options for youth and specialised prevention, including through pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, among children, adolescents, and youth.
  • Partnership with the Department of Basic Education to strengthen the capacity of teachers to teach healthy sexuality and HIV education lessons that can improve life skills and reduce risky behaviours and early drop-out amongst school-going youth. The support is at national, provincial, district, and school levels to reduce the rate of new HIV infections among vulnerable youth, include the reduction of unwanted early teenage pregnancies, supporting direct linkages to health services, including the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) and retention of adolescent girls in schools.
  • Through its Democracy, Rights, and Governance work, USAID supports the Masiphephe Network to strengthen the local governance response to Gender Based Violence (GBV). For the 2022-2024 financial years, the priorities will include improving access to justice to decrease the incidence of violence against children, adolescents, and young women.

21 September 2022 - NW2921

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

Whether, in light of the unrelenting invasion of Ukraine by Russia, she has found that the continuation of the cooperation and working relations with Russia are a transgression and/ or are contrary to the guiding principles of human rights in the foreign policy of the Republic; if not, why not; if so, how does her department intend to redress this?

Reply:

South Africa is not indifferent to what is going on in Ukraine. We are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. As a matter of urgency, there must be a cessation of hostilities, which would be the first step in a comprehensive response to the humanitarian crisis. We continue to stress that dialogue, mediation, and diplomacy are the only means to end the current conflict. As South Africa stated in the General Assembly, wars end when dialogue begins, and wars endure when there is no dialogue.

The international community must focus on finding a sustainable solution. It will not be found in isolating one party or bringing it to its knees. We do not want to go down the route following the Treaty of Versailles.

Constructive solutions focussed on addressing the humanitarian situation and promoting peaceful dialogue remains imperative. President Cyril Ramaphosa conveyed to all key stakeholders that South Africa stood ready to support the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, with a view to bringing the violence to an end as speedily as possible. We are fully cognisant of the deliberate opposition to our call for peace and negotiations and continue to hold the view that in the end, negotiations will end the conflict.

South Africa encourages all parties to return to the negotiating table and to approach dialogue with the spirit of compromise in order to move the process forward without accusing any party, something that will not be helpful in the efforts to resolve the conflict. South Africa would like to see intensified efforts at increased diplomacy utilising the United Nations, particularly the Secretary-General and other leaders who may be of weight in terms of persuading the interlocutors to negotiate a settlement to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

09 September 2022 - NW2672

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

On what date did she last attend a meeting outside the structures of the Government to determine the deployment of personnel in public sector positions; (2) Whether any appointments to public sector positions were discussed and determined during her appearance at any forum that is private and external to the structures of the Government; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what (a) are the details on which appointments were discussed and (b) other government matters were discussed during her last meeting at any such

Reply:

1. I have not attended any outside meeting of the type described in the question;

2. I have not had any meeting to discuss these matters outside my department.

21 July 2022 - NW2409

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

To what extent has her department been engaged in subsidising foreign countries since 1 January 2018 up to the latest specified date for which information is available; (2) (a) which foreign countries have received financial aid during the specified years to operate in the Republic and (b) what are the details of the expenses covered by the aid; (3) What (a) training payments were issued during the above years for foreign delegations coming to the Republic and (b) are the expenses covered by such aid; (4) Whether she will make a statement on the matter?

Reply:

1. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has made an annual contribution to the running costs of the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Pretoria since 1995. The Department has also since 2018 provided financial assistance for the operational needs of the Embassy of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Pretoria.

2. (a) As stated above, foreign countries which have received financial aid during the specified years to operate in the Republic are the State of Palestine and SADR.

(b) The details of the expenses covered by the financial aid include maintenance of the Palestinian and SADR Embassies in Pretoria. From the 2018/2019 to the 2022/2023 financial year, the Department paid a total of R8 999 932 to the Palestinian Embassy, which is approximately R1,3 million a year. With regard to the SADR Embassy in Pretoria, the Department contributes R1 948 100 annually with a 10% adjustment after every two years.

3. (a) Training payments issued during the above years for foreign delegations coming to the Republic were for DIRCO’s annual International Women’s Programme for Mediation, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution; and for the Gertrude Shope Annual Dialogue Forum and Capacity-Building Programme for Women Mediators and Peacebuilders.

(b) The expenses for the aforementioned training programmes for foreign delegations have been paid from DIRCO’s budget for training and skills development. These training payments are not regarded as foreign aid. DIRCO procures a service provider to present these training programmes and pays the training fees directly to the service provider. Fees paid to South African training presenters are based on the Department of Public Service and Administration’s (DPSA) guidelines. In addition to the presenter’s fees, the training expenditure also cover subsistence and travel, as well as international air travel for participants. Due to COVID-19, DIRCO’s training programme was held virtually in 2021. Therefore, DIRCO did not incur costs during that year.

4. The Minister will not make a statement on the matter.

22 June 2022 - NW2260

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Faber, Mr WF to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Given that it was revealed in the AfriForum court case against the Government that the grand total of the donation to the Republic of Cuba was actually to be R350 million and not just R50 million, and noting that this was revealed after the civil rights organisation’s legal team requested the court record as part of its review application, and taking into account that, according to the record, the Government has agreed to a contract with the government of the Republic of Cuba, in terms of which the R50 million will only be the first payment in the more than a quarter billion rand donation, what (a) are the reasons that this information was withheld from Parliament and the public and (b) is the total number of other (i) deals and (ii) donations that are in the pipeline with the Republic of Cuba that are being withheld from Parliament and the public?

Reply:

With regard to a reply to question 2260 on 24 May 2022, it can be stated that there is no link between what is currently before the courts, namely the donation of humanitarian aid by the South African Government to the amount of R50 million to the Republic of Cuba, and the Agreement that was signed in 2012 to make available an Economic Assistance Package (EAP) of R350 million to the Republic Cuba that consisted of grants and a loan facility, to be repaid, with interest, by Cuba.

a) The information regarding the Economic Assistance Package of R 350 million was shared with Parliament in response to Parliamentary Question 1665 from the Leader of the Opposition (DA) about Government expenditure on Cuba since 15 February 2018. Updates on the implementation of the Economic Assistance Package were also provided to the Parlaimantary Portfolio Committee on International Relations an Cooperation.

b) (i) All relevant information about the R 350 million EAP and R 50 Million humanatrian assistance have been disclosed to Parliament.

(ii) No information regarding donations to the Republic of Cuba has been withheld from Parliament and the public

 

 

17 May 2022 - NW1732

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

Whether there were any new agreements that were signed by the Deputy Minister, Ms K C Mashego – Dlamini, and the Indian Minister of State External Affairs, Mr V Muraleedharan relating to trade, commercial engagement, foreign direct investment and partnerships between India and the Republic from 25 April 2022 to 27 April 2022 (details furnished); if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the details?

Reply:

There were no new agreements signed between South Africa and India during the recent visit by Deputy Minister, Ms K C Mashego-Dlamini to New Delhi, India.

Deputy Minister K C Mashego-Dlamini represented the Minister of International Relations, Dr Pandor at the 7th edition of the Raisina Dialogue held from 25 – 27 April 2022 in New Delhi. The Minister, who had participated in the 2020 event, accepted the 2022 invitation but the event was postponed due to scheduling difficulties, hence the attendance by Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini.

The Raisina Dialogue is India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics focussed on addressing critical contemporary issues facing the global community and attended by leaders in politics, business, media and civil society. It is co-hosted by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Within the mentioned context, Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini paid a courtesy visit on the co-host of the Raisina Dialogue, i.e. the Indian Minister of State of External Affairs, Mr Vellamvelly Muraleedharan on 26 April 2022. Courtesy meetings in diplomacy are customary and provide an opportunity to, among others, verbally discuss e.g. issues of bilateral interest, especially in view of the Strategic Partnership status between South Africa and India.

 

17 May 2022 - NW1513

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

With reference to the Joint Communique’on the Occasion of the Fifth Session of the South Africa – Botswana Bi – National Commission, wherein the Heads of State, the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa and the President of the Republic of Botswana Dr M E K Masisi, noted in point 8 that 40 Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) have, over the years been signed `between the two countries and emphasised the need to fully implement all the signed agreements and MoUs, what are the (a) full, relevant details of the signed agreements and MoUs that have not been fully implemented, (b) reasons for the delays and (c) timelines for implementation?

Reply:

a) Full relevant details of the signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that have not been fully implemented:

  • The Heads of State at the Bi-National Commission (BNC) noted that in the years between the convening of the 4th and the 5th BNCs, the MoU on Cooperation in Prosecution Matters and the MoU on Cooperation between the Agricultural Research Council and the Botswana Vaccine Institute were signed in February 2018 and November 2019 respectively. This brought the total number of signed Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding to 40 from 38.

Furthermore, the BNC was apprised about the completion of the pre-feasibility study in December 2021 on the 2017 MoU between Lesotho-Botswana and South Africa on Water Transfer Project, and the 2018 MoU on Water Course Commission which has not yet entered into force.

In this context and upon consideration of the 5th BNC decision to develop an Implementation Matrix, the Heads of State directed that all Agreements and MoUs be fully implemented.

b) Reasons for the delays; and

  • The full feasibility study on the MoU between Lesotho-Botswana and South Africa on Water Transfer Project, could not be conducted and/or completed on time by the African Development Bank due to the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.

With regard to the MoU on Water Course Commission that has not yet entered into force, efforts are underway to finalise national processes in order for the MoU to enter into force.

c) Timelines for implementation.

  • The African Development Bank has set December 2023 as the envisaged date for the completion of the full feasibility study in regard to the MoU on Water Transfer Project.

The Parties have committed to finalise national processes for the entry into force of the MoU on Water Course Commission and report to the BNC Mid-Term Review Meeting in November 2022.

Progress report on the Implementation Matrix, as a tracking tool of all Agreements and MoUs, will also be provided during the BNC Mid-term review in November 2022.

 

 

17 May 2022 - NW1731

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

What are the full relevant details of the progress made to date on the non – residential accreditation process of her department (details furnished), including the embassies that have been identified for the specified process and breakdown of the savings achieved through the cost – containment measures?NW2058

Reply:

1. The ten Missions identified for closure, and subsequently closed in 2021 included the following:

  1. SA Representative Office in Minsk (Belarus)
  2. SA Embassy in the Holy See (The Vatican)
  3. SA Embassy in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)
  4. SA Embassy in Helsinki (Finland)
  5. SA Consulate-General in Milan (Italy)
  6. SA Embassy in Muscat (Oman)
  7. SA High Commission in Suva (Fiji)
  8. SA Embassy in Bucharest (Romania)
  9. SA Embassy in Lima (Peru)
  10. SA Consulate-General in Chicago (USA)

2. The process of closure of these diplomatic Missions included both political engagements with the host countries as well as official Diplomatic communication, and facilitation of the change of diplomatic and, civic, immigration and consular accreditation, to new non-resident countries.

3. Formal requests for non-residential accreditation and concurrence were submitted to 25 countries and organisations, which all have their own internal processes and procedures pertaining to accreditation. The finalisation of non-residential accreditation of seven countries is still in process.

4. The savings from the closure of these 10 Missions are reflected as follows:

(a) 2021/2022 Financial Year: Savings of ZAR 71 729 878 (following the deduction of costs related to the closure process).

(b) 2022/2023 Financial Year and beyond: anticiaped savings of ZAR 161 620 546 per annum.

 

12 May 2022 - NW1584

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

Whether (a) her department and /or (b) entities reporting to her concluded any commercial contracts with (i) the government of the Russian Federation and/or (ii) any other entity based in the Russian Federation since 1 April 2017; if not, what is the position in this regard ; if so, for each commercial contract, what are the (aa) relevant details, (bb) values, (cc) time frames, (dd) goods contracted and (ee) reasons that the goods could not be contracted in the Republic?

Reply:

a) (i) & (ii) No

b) (i) (ii) No

(aa)None/ not applicable

(bb) Not applicable

(cc) Not applicable

(dd) Not applicable

(ee) Not applicable

 

11 May 2022 - NW1225

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

Noting that the United States of America is the biggest humanitarian supplier to the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, what has been the Government’s position on the African Union’s humanitarian stance with regard to humanitarian aid to unstable African countries?

Reply:

The South African government supports the African Union (AU) Humanitarian Policy Framework which articulates the AU’s stance on humanitarian issues.

The AU adopted the AU Humanitarian Assistance Policy in 2015. It outlines a broad framework and the Continental body’s intent in dealing with humanitarian issues.

The Policy Framework establishes a strategic approach and guidelines in support of the core aims of humanitarian action: to preserve, protect and save lives, alleviate suffering and enhance physical security and human dignity of those in dire need. It also “complements and supports the policies of AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the international community, United Nations (UN) agencies, International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO), the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, national and international NGOs and other humanitarian actors and stakeholders”.

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11 May 2022 - NW1665

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Steenhuisen, Mr JH to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the full details of (a) all the (i) monies, (ii) loans, (iii) aid and (iv) goods and services that have been spent on Cuba since he became President on 15 February 2018 and (b) the explanation of why the Government has chosen Cuba as a beneficiary of South African aid and assistance?

Reply:

a) (i), (ii), (iii) and (iv) A loan was made available to Cuba under an Economic Assistance Agreement for agricultural development projects as well as reconstruction of infrastructure.

The loan was divided into two tranches. The first tranche of R63 million was made available in 2018. The Cuban government has fully repaid the loan.

The second tranche of R84 631 000 million was made available in 2021. The Cuban government has been repaying the loan since December 2021.

The total loan to Cuba since 2018 is R147 631 000.

b) The relationship between South Africa and Cuba dates back well before the 1994 democratic elections, and the friendship and solidarity with Cuba should be viewed within the context of the significant contribution that Cuba made to the liberation of South Africa. The South African Government signed an Agreement on Economic Assistance with the Government of the Republic of Cuba on 3 February 2012, entering into force on 21 November 2012. The 2012 Agreement was one of the outcomes of the 2010 State Visit to Cuba by the then South African President. The latter announced that South Africa would offer Cuba an Economic Assistance Package to assist with agricultural development projects as well as reconstruction of infrastructure, following the damage caused by devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2008.

The Economic Assistance Package enhanced economic collaboration with Cuba especially through improved bilateral trade and increased goodwill from the people of Cuba. Through the package exports of South African agricultural products, plastic resins, dump trucks and tires were increased, jobs were created and retained, there was business reinvestment, consumer support to the RSA manufacturing sector, and channels for payment from Cuba were established

 

09 May 2022 - NW1666

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Steenhuisen, Mr JH to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether she has found that the Government’s relationship with Cuba has in no way materially benefited the governing party or any political organisation directly and/or indirectly; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the further, relevant details?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is not aware of any benefits that have accrued to the governing party or to any political organisation as the Department does not have any interface with the governing party or political organisations on these matters.

 

COMPILER DETAILS

NAME AND SURNAME: MR BJ ERASMUS

CONTACT: 012 351 8637

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Minister signs Parliamentary Reply 1666.

 

MR Z DANGOR

DIRECTOR–GENERAL: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DATE:

PARLIAMENTARY REPLY 1666 IS APPROVED / NOT APPROVED / AMENDED.

COMMENT/S

DR GNM PANDOR, MP

MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DATE:

06 May 2022 - NW1206

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Chirwa, Ms NN to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In light of the fact that the South African International Students Association has previously reached out to the government on the status of South African students who are currently in Russia on their struggles that have emanated from the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine, and with regard to the fact that the students can no longer access their funds as international transactions have been halted, and neither can they receive assistance from their parents because of the same stated reason,

Reply:

a) The unilateral measures that were taken by some European countries, to remove Russian banks from the international financial transaction systems is perceived to have generally inconvenienced foreign nationals in Russia, including the South African students. The South African Embassy in Russia communicated precautionary advice through its website and social media platforms, regarding emergency contact details and the location of the students inside the Russian Federation. It is important to note that the Embassy took it upon itself to compile a database of all students under Central and Provincial (SA) Government sponsorship. The database of students in Russia includes the following:

  1. 271 from Mpumalanga Province: RACUS SA Programme: RACUS South Africa is the South African Official Representative of Russian African Centre of University Studies.
  2. 201 from Free State Province.
  3. 27 from a Department of Higher Education and Training programme.

In addition, the Embassy has reached out to the SA Community in Russia to register themselves, as there are also a number of independent / self-financed students in Russia.

b) Up to March 2022, the Embassy had only assisted with payments towards students for whom the Embassy received Financial Authority from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Head Office, being students sponsored by the Free State Provincial Authorities.

Unfortunately, none of the South African Embassies abroad have the mandate to carry out private banking on behalf of private persons. The only available option for students, currently, is to possess and utilise financial instruments in the local Russian Ruble currency. Immediately after being informed of the sanctions imposed on the Russian banks, the South African Embassy consulted with its Sberbank bank in Moscow, regarding available options for the students to receive their stipends. The Bank advised that all the students needed to open Russian Ruble accounts, as the students held in Euro (€) currency accounts at Sberbank Bank. The students subsequently opened Ruble accounts and informed the Embassy of their new account details.

The Embassy has subsequently been requested to also assist the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) with the stipend payments towards their students.

c) The way forward will largely depend on the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine. It is envisaged that as soon as the conflict comes to a total halt, the SWIFT facility may be reactivated. The South African governmet has estabslished a task team to analyse the implications of the conflict on food, fuel, trade and energy security and the best way to protect South Africa against the expected impact.

06 May 2022 - NW1419

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

With reference to the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa, chairing the Extraodinary Summit of the Organ Troika of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) plus SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) Personnel Contributing Countries (PCCs) and the Republic of Mozambique on 12 April 2022, what are the details of the progress of the SADC Mission in Mozambique; (2) Whether any time frame was discussed regarding the fight against acts of terrorists in some parts of Cabo Delgado Province; if not, why not; if so, (a) what are the relevant details and (b) on what date is it envisaged that peace will be restored in the region?NW1736E

Reply:

1. On 12 April 2022, Extra-Ordinary SADC Summit plus Personnel Contributing Countries received and noted the progress on the operations of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) as well as the budget of SAMIM. The Summit Plus approved the transition of SAMIM from Scenario 6, (Rapid Deployment Capability) to Scenario 5 (Multidimensional Force), with a robust mandate (retention of Special Forces) by 15 May 2022. The SAMIM leadership recommended to the Extraordinary SADC Summit an adoption of term-based approach of a one year beyond 15 July 2022, instead of a three month’s renewal. The Troika Summit Plus has recommended the 1-year term-based approach for adoption by the SADC Extraordinary Summit which will take place before July 2022.

2. Given the intractable nature of the fight against terrorism, it is not possible to have a fixed time frame on when peace will be restored in the region. However, the SADC countries will continue with the fight against terrorism using the instruments at the disposal of individual countries and the region.

05 May 2022 - NW1420

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

With reference to her speech at a dinner hosted by the Charlotte Maxeke Institute on Saturday, 9 April 2022, where she spoke of several projects to be rolled out in the course of five years, with the aim of mobilising the global community to support women’s leadership across all the action coalitions, particularly economic justice and rights through education, training and mentorship for women and youth (details furnished), what are the (a) criteria that will be used to determine the suitability of potential partners for the Fellowship for African Women and Diplomacy Programme that will groom female public servants inspired by the values of Charlotte Maxeke, such as ethical leadership, empathy and excellence and (b) details of the type of support required?

Reply:

a) The criteria that will be used to determine the suitability of potential partners for the Fellowship for African Women and Diplomacy Programme that will groom female public servants inspired by the values of Charlotte Maxeke, will be ethical leadership, empathy and excellence.

The Charlotte Maxeke Fellowship for African Women in Diplomacy is one of the six flagship programmes and will be implemented during Phase 3 (2023/2024) of the Charlotte Maxeke African Women’s Economic Justice and Rights Initiative. The Fellowship programme will provide both degree and non-degree awarding opportunities to the next generation of African women in public service.

The implementation of developmental programmes is a complex exercise that needs different expertise, skills and strategies. National government alone cannot manage to respond to the needs of the people or the stakeholders without soliciting partnerships. We therefore need a collaboration with different role players using their unique access and influence in society in order to gain support and buy in. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) like all other government departments has been utilising the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for effective and more inclusive service provision. This partnership between government, private sector, academia, civil society organisations as well as development partners has been shown world over as an effective model.

DIRCO is already working actively with the Charlotte Mannya Maxeke Institute (CMMI) which is a non-profit company organisation born out of the desire to preserve, promote, elevate, and leverage the legacy left behind by Mme Charlotte Maxeke. Mme Charlotte Mannya Maxeke’s achievements and contributions to society both inside and beyond South Africa’s borders motivated the families to seek recognition of her accomplishments as well continuing to promote her teachings, the values she stood for and the continued empowering of women and social activism she pursued during her lifetime. For DIRCO to celebrate this icon, it was important to work with the family through the CMMI.

For the roll out, DIRCO will be initiating engagements with the following stakeholders: (i) Wilberforce University in the USA; (i) Higher Education Institution in South Africa (UP, Wits or UJ); (iii) Higher Education Institution in East Africa (University of Nairobi or Addis Ababa University); (iv) Higher Education Institution in West Africa (University of Ghana Legon); (v) US Government; Ford Foundation and (vi) African Leadership Centre, to advance the Initiative and start gearing up for its rollout. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Ford Foundation, and the Swiss Foundations have been identified as key and influential partners to solicit financial resources from to support the initiative, as well as to provide policy and/or programmatic support, driving advocacy and awareness.

DIRCO will also engage different constituencies including private sector and youth organizations as well as strengthening civil society engagement. This will make the collective commitment truly multi-stakeholder, but more importantly, will leverage the expertise and opportunities that these constituencies offer the Initiative.

In addition, the Department through its diplomatic Missions will take advantage of the emergence of the new female presidency in Ethiopia H.E Madame Sahle-Work Zewde and in Tanzania H.E. Madame Samia Suluhu Hassan, which offers a fresh opportunity to draw on influential champions on the continent (both serving and retired) in order for the initiative to be anchored in many parts of the continent through them.

b) The support required includes participation by private, civil society, academia, and development partners to supplement limited public sector capacities, and raising additional financial resources. We hope to harness private sector operational efficiencies to be able to increase quality to the public and the ability to speed up development and implementation of this programme.

05 May 2022 - NW731

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

How has she found China’s Belt and Road Initiative will benefit the African continent?

Reply:

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a project and a vision of the People’s Republic of China, initiated with the intention to re-connect Asian, European and African countries along the concept of the ancient Silk Route and new Maritime Silk Road to promote mutually beneficial international cooperation.

Realising the potential benefit of this initiative to the African Continent, the African Union (AU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China in this regard on 27 January 2015. The MoU focused on plans to connect all 54 African countries through transportation networks and infra-structural projects, including modern highways, airports, and high-speed railways.

The BRI, in respect to Africa’s common developmental agenda, is seen as an important vehicle to realise some of the following Continental priorities:

  • Industrialisation;
  • Infrastructure development (which includes ICT);
  • The development of Special Economic Zones and industrial parks;
  • Development of the energy sector;
  • Building the Oceans Economy;
  • Securing development finance; and
  • Human resource and skills development.

Furthermore, the BRI will assist the Continent in bringing the programmes for African development to fruition, as it is in sync with NEPAD’s developmental architecture, in which the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) is also aimed at developing regional and continental infrastructure, policies and implementation strategies.

Most importantly, there is congruence between the spirit of the BRI and the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063, i.e. to bridge the divide between people through economic development and social cooperation. As Africa is at the centre of South Africa’s Foreign Policy, the BRI would serve to enhance continued cooperation and development on the Continent towards a better Africa - and world – which remain the key foreign policy focus of South Africa. Some examples of BRI projects in Africa include the Nairobi-Mombasa railway link; and Ethiopian infrastructural developments (through the utilization of industrial parks, investment and employment has grown considerably). The BRI provides further opportunity to support regional integration and the development of regional value chains.

 

29 April 2022 - NW1224

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

Whether she has been informed of any Planning and Monitoring Committees that are used to resolve instabilities in other African countries; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, where were the specified companies registered?

Reply:

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation has no information on Planning and Monitoring Committees (PMCs) that are used to resolve instabilities in other African countries.

25 April 2022 - NW714

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

In the light of the fact that she planned to use her participation in the High Level Segment of the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, to launch South Africa’s campaign for membership of the Human Rights Council for the period 2023 – 2025, what are the (a) full details of and motivation for the campaign and (b) envisioned benefits for South Africa?

Reply:

A reply to the above question should be understood in the proper context of, inter alia: our Constitution, our broad foreign policy objectives, and the values, principles and norms that guide South Africa’s relations with the world and engagement in the multilateral system, in this case, in the field of human rights in the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

South Africa’s foreign policy and engagement with the world is guided by the supreme law of our land, the Constitution. Our Constitution states that the Bill of Rights is a “cornerstone of democracy in South Africa” and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom (section7(1) of the Constitution). Further, the Constitution places an obligation on the state to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights.” (section 7(2) of the Constitution). It is important to note that the obligation on the state to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights” is stated without limitation; that is, the obligation is not only limited to the actions, decisions and policies of the South African government in the domestic setting, but that this obligation rests on the South African government even when it acts beyond its territorial boundaries in the field of foreign policy.

One of the fundamental commitments we made, as the people of South Africa, when we adopted the Constitution as the supreme law of our land is that we shall “build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign [and responsible] state in the family of nations” (preamble to our Constitution). What that commitment means, is that, inter alia: (a) South Africa shall no longer be a pariah and rogue state in the eyes of the international community; (b) South Africa shall be a cooperative member of the family of nations and shall be willing to be bound by and respect the rule of international law; (c) South Africa will play a constructive role in international politics and will put its shoulder to the wheel and help develop the kind of norms, standards and values at the multilateral level (in this case, in the field of human rights) that will foster respect for human dignity, promotion of human rights, and ending racial discrimination and all forms of intolerance; and (d) South Africa shall no longer use its sovereignty to violate international law (international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and the international law of protection).

South Africa’s aspiration for membership of the HRC is inspired by the above considerations and strategic objectives. Our desire to go back into the HRC is also informed by our national interest as articulated in important policy frameworks of our government, including the National Development Plan (NDP), specifically, chapter 7 (“positioning South Africa in the world.”) as well as the commitments contained in the African Agenda 2063 (the Africa we want). South Africa is an important so-called middle power. We don’t use economic dominance of military might to pursue our national interests. We depend on the institutions of global governance to do this.. Hence the importance of our role in the Council.

The field of human rights is a highly contested area at the multilateral level, in this case, in the HRC. For instance, there are some countries that argue that the only human rights that matter, and therefore worthy of protection, are the so-called civil and political rights (eg freedom of speech, the press, right to vote, etc.); and that other rights, known as economic, social and cultural rights (eg right to adequate housing, right to nutrition, right to a clean environment, right to development, etc.) cannot be given the same treatment since these rights are said to be ‘non-justiciable.’ These socio-economic rights are justiciable in the South African Constitution and South Africa is in the forefront of working towards the elimination of the false dichotomy between ‘development’ and democracy.

The HRC is an important multilateral arena where South Africa can “take its rightful place as a sovereign [and responsible] state” and pursue its foreign policy objectives and promote its values. This is where South Africa can play a constructive and meaningful role and promote international cooperation and multilateralism in the field of human rights. The HRC will provide a platform for South Africa to participate in the development of norms and standards in the field of human rights that will foster the promotion, protection and practical realisation/enjoyment of all human rights by all people across the world. Given our commitment to multilateralism, our presence in the HRC will provide space to push for the transformation of the global system of governance from the power-based system to a rules-based system and to enhance the efforts to create a just and equitable global order. Thus, the HRC constitutes an important terrain within which to pursue South Africa’s national interests and to influence the future direction of the global system of governance.

In summary, the main aim of South Africa’s campaign for election into the HRC is to achieve the following foreign policy goals: (a) to pursue our national interest; (b) to promote our values, (c) to contribute to the development of a rules-based system of interstate relations (multilateralism); and (d) to help create a global environment that is conducive to peace, development, respect for the rule of international law, advancement of human rights and freedoms, and the development of Africa.

In the HRC, South Africa will focus on thematic areas that resonate with our priorities such as (a) advancement, promotion, protection and practical enjoyment of human rights (including the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities); (b) elimination of gender based violence; (c) addressing socio-economic inequalities, (d) combating racism and racial discrimination; and (e) protection of the rights of migrants, refugees, children, and other persons of concern as well promoting access to the right of everyone to the highest standards of physical and mental health, including access to medicines and vaccines.

South Africa’s tenure in the Human Rights Council (2023-2025) will also focus on the full and effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action as a component of global efforts towards the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. To this end, South Africa will continue to (a) take a lead on the implementation and follow-up to the programme of activities of the Decade of People of African Descent (2015-2024); (b) support the activities and programmes of the newly established Forum on People of African Descent; and (c) ensure that the aims, objectives and mandate of the DDPA are realised. South Africa will also play a key role in the processes to start negotiations on the Declaration on the rights of people of African descent.

The HRC is set to be “reviewed” during the period 2021-2026. Although the fullest terms of this “review” have not yet been defined, it is anticipated – based on the views of other countries, particularly the western countries – that the latter countries will push for far-reaching changes to the mandate of the HRC and seek to eliminate some of the items that are currently on the agenda of the Council. For instance, the US has already nailed its colours to the mast by publicly indicating that Washington will seek to eliminate the item (item number 7) on the agenda of the Council that deals with the question of Palestine and other occupied Arab territories as well as the question of racism (item number 9). As far as South Africa is concerned, the “review” of the HRC should aim to preserve the mandate of the Council and keep intact the items dealing with the question of Palestine and racism and other forms of intolerance. It would be important therefore that South Africa is present in the Council to fight for these objectives. The anti-racism agenda is an important flagship programme for South Africa given the responsibility we have in this regard following the outcomes of the 2001 Durban World Conference Against Racism. Any attempts by other countries to delete this important agenda from the agenda of an important institution such as the HRC should be resisted. At the time when racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance are raising their ugly heads, all efforts should be made to ensure that the international community is focused and committed to joining the fight to rid the world of these scourges. South Africa needs to be in the Council to champion this fight.