Questions and Replies

Filter by year

22 June 2022 - NW2260

Profile picture: Faber, Mr WF

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 - NW1513

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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.

 

17 May 2022 - NW1732

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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.

 

12 May 2022 - NW1584

Profile picture: Hinana, Mr N

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 - NW1665

Profile picture: Steenhuisen, Mr JH

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

 

11 May 2022 - NW1225

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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”.

.

09 May 2022 - NW1666

Profile picture: Steenhuisen, Mr JH

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

Profile picture: Chirwa, Ms NN

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

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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 - NW731

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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.

 

05 May 2022 - NW1420

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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.

29 April 2022 - NW1224

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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.

22 April 2022 - NW1263

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

In light of the fact that the Republic has, for the second time, on 24 March 2022, chosen to abstain when the United Nations called for a vote on the situation in Ukraine (details furnished), at what point, such as the number of civilian casualties reached and type of weapons used, will the Republic consider re-evaluating the impact of the call for dialogue, mediation and diplomacy, which after more than a month into the conflict, has had little or no impact in stemming the humanitarian crisis that the Republic claims to be very concerned about?

Reply:

South Africa is not indifferent to the unfolding situation in Ukraine. South Africa has expressed deep concern about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation and consequently urged for the cessation of hostilities.

South Africa remains steadfast in its view that dialogue, mediation and diplomacy is the only path to de-escalate and ultimately resolve the current conflict. In this regard, we reiterate our call for the Good Offices of the United Nations to mediate in pursuit of finding a sustainable solution and for us as member states to facilitate an enabling environment for dialogue.

In its engagement on the matter of Ukraine, South Africa has maintained that international law needs to be respected and adhered to by all countries equally and that no country should be able to violate international law with impunity.

South Africa has always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in keeping with the UN Charter. We have also decried the humanitarian disaster that has resulted from the ongoing use of force in Ukraine, and called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population which, as usual, bears the brunt of the suffering when violent confrontation breaks out.

South Africa has also maintained that as we focus on the conflict in Ukraine, there also needs to be consistency in the manner in which we approach the rule of law and respect for the UN Charter as we address situations of conflict across the globe. International law needs to be respected and adhered to by all countries equally.

We need to reflect that despite the slew of resolutions that condemn the Russian Federation in the global community and in the UN, the conflict has escalated. In our engagements with some of the supporters of these resolutions, we have indicated that while we have some of the same goals, such as an agreement to an immediate ceasefire, the opening of humanitarian corridors and mediated negotiations towards a lasting peace, we have different strategies. Perhaps, if the strategies proposed by South Africa and other non-aligned countries were followed, the conflict may have de-escalated.

 

22 April 2022 - NW713

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

In light of the fact that 8 March is the day for the celebration of International Women’s Day, what (a) is the total breakdown of female staff members in her department and (b)(i) is the total number of female ambassadors currently representing South Africa across the globe and (ii) does this number represent as a percentage of the total number of ambassadors; (2) Whether there are any current programmes focussed on promoting equality in the workplace; if not, why not; if so, what are the further, relevant details? NW852E

Reply:

1 (a) The Department has a total number of 1978 staff members, and 1123 are women. The number of 1123 female staff members represent 56% of the staff in the Department.

(b) (i) & (ii) There are 39 female Ambassadors in total representing South Africa across the globe. In terms of percentage, the 39 female Ambassadors represent 34% of the total number of Heads of Mission (Ambassadors). South Africa has a total number of 115 Missions, and 91 Heads of Mission posts are filled. The process of filling the vacant posts of Heads of Mission is currently underway. The nominated Heads of Mission designates are in training. The nominations will assist in improving the representation of women.

2. Yes, the Department has a Gender Policy, appropriate guidelines and the institutional framework for gender equality and women empowerment trajectory. Through this policy we are required to:

a) Create an enabling policy environment translate commitments into concrete action;

b) Ensure that gender consideration are effectively integrated into all aspects of departmental policies, activities and programmes; and,

c) Establish an appropriate institutional framework and mechanism for the advancement of gender equality. It also includes the integration of Gender perspectives on the programmes offers by our diplomatic Academy. Guided, by the principles of Employment Equity (Act, No. 55 of 1998) the department strive to achieve equity in the workplace by promoting equal opportunities and fair treatment through elimination of unfair discrimination.

19 April 2022 - NW598

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What steps have been taken by her department to strengthen relations between South Africa and BRICS countries in areas such as (a) medicine and (b) health research since 2018?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation coordinates and manages relations between South Africa and BRICS across all three pillars of BRICS cooperation, namely political and security, economic and financial, and people-to-people cooperation. The lead department for international cooperation in medicine and health is the National Department on Health while the lead department for international cooperation in science and research is the Department of Science and Innovation.

The BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre was a key deliverable of South Africa’s BRICS Chairship in 2018. The three departments worked together to ensure that this deliverable was implemented, and a virtual BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre was officially launched on 22 March 2022. The Centre aims to pool together complementary advantages of BRICS countries in vaccine research and development, boost the capacity of BRICS countries to prevent and control infectious diseases and provide timely help to other developing countries in need. In addition, the Centre is expected to prioritise joint research and development of vaccines, facilitate information-and-knowledge sharing and support collaborative projects by researchers and institutions from BRICS countries, and to promote inclusive distribution and use of vaccines to ensure accessibility and affordability.

It is expected that South Africa, during its Chairship of BRICS in 2023, will further consolidate BRICS cooperation in the fields of health, science and innovation.

19 April 2022 - NW1089

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

Noting that during the recent working visit by His Excellency, Mr Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, the President of the Republic of Mozambique, a joint communique was issued on 11 March 2022, covering various matters of joint interest (details furnished), and that on the same date the press briefing notes of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that 549 civilian deaths and 957 injuries had to date been recorded since the Russian armed attack on Ukraine began on 24 February, although the actual figure could be much higher, how has she found that 549 civilian deaths could, based on the documentation available, be viewed as acceptable collateral damage of the incursion; (2) What is the reason that the Republic did not issue a strongly – worded statement condemning the deaths and this blatant violation of human rights (3) Whether she will furnish (a) a detailed motivation, as well as (b) the Republic’s position as at 22 March 2022 on the Ukraine and Russia situation, particularly considering that the civilian death toll has now climbed dramatically; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?NW1339E

Reply:

1. From the outset it is imperative to state that 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. South Africa is on record calling on all the parties to the conflict in Ukraine to strongly consider diplomacy and negotiations to ultimately realise an amicable and lasting solution to the conflict. In the same breath, South Africa cautioned that unless the call was heeded, an armed conflict would likely result in unnecessary civilian deaths and the destruction of critical civilian infrastructure. Since that call, we have noted that all the parties to the conflict have now begun to engage in roundtable talks and for that we commend the role being played by Turkey. Ultimately, the realisation and maintenance of international peace and security is everyone’s responsibility, irrespective of geography.

Cognisant that the parties to the conflict are also members of the United Nations, South Africa has consistently used its voice to remind them of their commitments to international law, including international human rights and international humanitarian law. Equally, South Africa has strongly called for efforts to be made to protect civilians in this conflict in line with the Principle of Distinction.

2. The international community has an obligation to continue to call for restraint on all sides and express alarm at the intense flow of weapons, which is largely unregulated, into the theatre of the conflict. As an African country, we are always mindful of the dangers presented by the flow of arms, which denies societies an opportunity to advance themselves and enjoy uninterrupted peace.

South Africa’s membership of the United Nations is based on the need to support and reinforce processes that can ensure the maintenance of international peace and security. Consistent with that principle, South Africa has continuously maintained that the most viable avenue to resolving the Ukraine-Russia conflict is one within the framework of diplomacy and negotiations. South Africa is therefore encouraged that the negotiation track led by Turkey has thus far managed to bring all the parties to the conflict much closer than at the inception of the armed conflict.

Additional to the processes led by Turkey, South Africa remains of the firm view that the good offices of the United Nations Secretary-General should also be part of efforts to resolve the armed conflict in Ukraine, mindful that the UN is the only multilateral body tasked with converging members of the international community to work as a collective in preserving international peace and security in an unbiased manner.

3. Lastly, South Africa’s articulation regarding the conflict relates to the history on how the South African nation was rebirthed through a series of negotiations and intense engagements following many years of latent aggression that claimed many innocent lives in South Africa and beyond, including in Europe. South Africa has consistently stated that the use of force without consent of the United Nations Security Council contravenes International Law. Our analysis and articulation of the factors fuelling the conflict does not condone Russia’s breach of the UN Charter in regards to this. We are against all illegal wars and breaches of international law by any country. We have also called for action against those who breach the Laws of War and other International Law to be consistent, especially within the United Nations and other institutions of global governance.

The armed conflict in Ukraine continues to evolve and in recent days a breakthrough has been realised in the form of dialogue amongst the parties to the conflict through a track led by Turkey. It is our assertion that the dialogue process should be allowed the necessary space to continue to bring the parties to the conflict much closer instead of being provided with weapons, which will worsen the situation. South Africa also calls for the good offices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to be part of efforts aimed at resolving the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This is an area of importance as all members of the international community look to the United Nations as an impartial neutral party.

19 April 2022 - NW853

Profile picture: De Villiers, Mr JN

De Villiers, Mr JN to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What total amount in Rand has been spent on (a) catering, (b) entertainment and (c) accommodation for (i) her, (ii) the Deputy Ministers and (iii) officials of her department since 29 May 2019?

Reply:

The spending on the items below was in line with the responsibility of the Department for conducting and coordinating the international relations and cooperation of the Republic at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels through the Foreign Service abroad and through interactions with foreign representatives in the Republic, in accordance with the foreign policy of the Republic. This includes attending high level bilateral structured mechanisms that is Joint Bi-national Commissions, Bi-national Commissions, celebration of National Day, hosting investment and trade fairs/seminars as well as for incoming and outgoing state visits including attending meetings in the multilateral fora’s.

The reply to the question is as follows:

(i) Total amount spent for the Minister:

(a) Catering is R 144 029.02 and

(b) Entertainment is R 10 755.30

(ii) Total amount spent for the Deputy Minister: Mashego-Dlamini

(a) Catering is R 59 551.07 and

(b) Entertainment is R 0

(ii) Total amount spent for the Deputy Minister: Botes

(a) Catering is R 22 824.69 and

(b) Entertainment is R 4 911.93

(iii) Total amount spent for the Department:

(a) Catering is R 7 460 139.61 and

(b) Entertainment is R 9 592 952.83

(c) Total amount spent on accommodation is as follows:

  1. Office of the Minister is R 8 646 059,52
  2. Office of the Deputy Minister: Mashego-Dlamini is R 1 974 450.16
  3. Office of the Deputy Minister: Botes is R 2 135 791.54
  4. Total amount spent for the Department is R 97 540 209.25

19 April 2022 - NW675

Profile picture: Bergman, Mr D

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

(1)Whether she will furnish Mr D Bergman with a detailed list of the last 15 appointments of heads of missions that were made in the period 1 January 2021 up until 31 January 2022; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) What percentage of the specified appointees came from outside the structures of her department? NW813E

Reply:

1. Fifteen (15) appointments have been made to the following countries in accordance with the prevailing laws and procedures during the period 01 January 2021 up to including 31 January 2022:

 

MISSION

 

Monrovia, Liberia

 

Algiers, Algeria

 

Dar es salaam, Tanzania

 

Havana, Cuba

 

Bamako, Mali

 

Ottawa, Canada

 

Ramallah, Palestine

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Budapest, Hungary

 

Bissau, Guinea Bissau

 

Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

Gaborone, Botswana

 

Astana, Nur-Sultan

 

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Lagos, Nigeria

2. In terms of percentage, 73% of the appointees came from outside the structures of the Department

 

 

19 April 2022 - NW600

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

Whether the Government has any plans to strengthen the African Union African Standby Force; if not, why not; if so, what plans; (2) Whether the Government intends to remove United States of Africa Command bases on the African continent; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. Article 13 of the Protocol on the Establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Council provides for the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF) which is a part of the African Peace and Security Archtitecture (APSA). The ASF has five regional brigades supported by their respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs) or Regional Mechanisms (RMs).

As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa is part of the SADC Standby Force which was launched in August 2008. Currently, South Africa is a major contributor to the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) which has made a significant contribution to restoring peace in the Cabo Delgado Province since its deployment in July 2021. Whether SAMIM should be strengthened would be a collective SADC decision and would be determined by operational requirements on the ground.

2. While South Africa does not agree with the presence of foreign forces in the continent, South Africa does not have much power or legal standing to remove any foreign forces in any country, other than in a South African territory. Foreign forces in an African country are there on the basis of a bilateral agreement between the countries involved. One of the founding principles of the African Union (AU), as provided for in Article 4 of the Constitutive Act of the AU, is “sovereign equality”. South Africa cannot interfere in the deployment of foreign forces in a sovereign African country, including deployment of the United States Africa Command, if it is done in terms of a bilateral agreement.

 

19 April 2022 - NW599

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

Whether the Government has repatriated any South African citizens from Ukraine; if not, why not; if so, (a) what total number of South African citizens and (b) on what date?

Reply:

Between February and March 2022, 90 South Africans (SA) citizens were registered with the South African Mission in Kiev, Ukraine. South Africa endeavoured to assist all 90 to leave Ukraine. Seventeen (17) of the 90 opted to remain in Ukraine, 36 returned to South Africa using commercial flights and 37 remain in countries neighbouring Ukraine. We will continue to work with partner Departments to assist those still in need of assistance.

07 April 2022 - NW1088

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

(1)Given that South Africa is Chair of the 66th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 14-25 March 2022 (details furnished), what (a) policies and/or programmes does her department currently have in place to (i) promote gender equality and (ii) mitigate climate change and (b) benefits does her department hope to reap from the specified engagement; (2) what are the (a) relevant details of her department’s top priorities for the time spent in New York and (b) tangible outcomes that can be expected?

Reply:

1. What (a) policies and/or programmes does her department currently have in place to (i) promote gender equality (ii) mitigate climate change and

(a) (i) The Department approved a framework on gender equality and women’s empowerment in November 2017. The Policy is premised on the promotion and protection of human dignity and human rights of women. It takes cognizance of the role of the National Gender Machinery in promoting non-sexism particularly in relation to organisational transformation and change as well as their impact and management thereof. The policy goes ‘beyond just numbers’ and incorporates comprehensive intervention mechanisms aimed at mainstreaming gender into all departmental structures, policies, processes, and programmes. In line with the National Policy Framework on Women’s Empowerment and Gender (2000), the policy proposes a shift away from treating gender issues as ‘business as usual’, towards locating it at the epicenter of transformation and development within the Department.

(ii) The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meets annually to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify emerging challenges, set global standards for women’s rights and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide. The CSW66 theme of 2022, which was to engage on gender equality and empowerment of women in the context of climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction, is aligned to existing departmental policies.

(b) Benefits the department hopes to reap from the specified engagement

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the economic status of women and exposed women and girls to violence. South Africa’s election to serve in the CSW has come at the opportune moment when government seriously reviewed the status of women in the country. President Ramaphosa prioritised women financial and economic inclusion, leadership in political and social sphere, including addressing the challenges of gender based violence.

DIRCO also participated in the CSW66 to advance South Africa’s positions and national interest. The Department participated in order to ensure that the international norms to be developed are consistent with South Africa’s national policies, laws, and priorities. This year was therefore important to develop global policies and strategies that will consider the inclusion and empowerment of women when responding to climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies.

2. (a) What are the relevant details of her department’s top priorities for the time spent in New York?

South Africa argued that the social construct and marginalisation of women confines women economic activities to the periphery, especially in rural areas, where they are often the ones fetching water, gathering woods, fishing or farming land that is affected by floods and droughts. Meanwhile, their voices are often ignored in environmental planning and management. Therefore, women must be at the forefront to contribute to the climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as disaster risk reduction.

Issues that were highlighted during the Session should include:

  • Burden of climate change and environmental disasters in developing countries is experienced by women and girls.
  • Discussions should focus on sustainable development solutions that can improve the lives of women and girls.
  • Gender bias of the impact of global warming is a reality and therefore women should be involved in solutions aligned with the decisions made at the UNFCCC.
  • Access to land and productive resources for women is critical.

(b) What are the tangible outcomes that can be expected?

The Chairship of South Africa at CSW66 was successful. The discussions on the priority theme were timely as environmental changes, natural disasters and climate change have become the biggest threat that affect the most vulnerable, in particular women and girls.The outcome documents adopted were progressive and reaffirmed the women’s empowerment agenda in the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction. Member States highlighted that the CSW is not a climate change forum but one that focuses on women empowerment and gender equality. As a result, Member States managed to refocus the negotiations in line with women human rights agenda which aims to attain equality, empowerment of women and fight gender-based violence.

 

06 April 2022 - NW881

Profile picture: Krumbock, Mr GR

Krumbock, Mr GR to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

what (a) is the total number of incidents of (i) sexual assault that were reported in her department (aa) in each of the past three financial years and (bb) since 1 April 2021, (b) number of cases (i) were opened and concluded, (ii) were withdrawn and (iii) remain open or pending based on the incident and (c) sanctions were meted out against each person who was found guilty ?

Reply:


Attached find here: Reply

06 April 2022 - NW1156

Profile picture: Chetty, Mr M

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

whether, in view of our BRICS partnership with India, who successfully assisted to evacuate 23 000 of its Indian students, 170 foreign students from 17 countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal, she engaged with authorities in India to assist with the evacuation of South African students from Ukraine; if not, why not, if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Attached find here: Reply

06 April 2022 - NW1157

Profile picture: Chetty, Mr M

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

(1) whether, she has found that her department’s statement on 24 February 2022 calling for Russia to immediately withdrawn its forces from Ukraine in lie with the United Nations Charter is contradictory to her department’s initial position on the war in Ukraine, which was purported to be same with the position of the Presidency of sitting on the fence and requesting increased efforts for diplomacy and to find a solution to help de-escalate tensions and avert armed conflict by both Russian and Ukraine, even after the war had broken out, if not, why not, if so, what (a) is the name and/or are the names of the officials responsible for issuing the statement on 24 February 2022 and (b) action has been taken against the officials responsible for issuing the statement; (2) whether she had sight of the statement before it was released; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

Attached find here: Reply

30 March 2022 - NW903

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

In light of media reports that the South African non- governmental organisation, Gift of the Givers, has personnel on the ground in Ukraine providing emergency relief, supplies and medical assistance and raising funds to repatriate South African students who want to return to the Republic, what practical support, besides the notice on her department’s website providing details of the South African Embassy in Kyviv, is her department providing to South African citizens in Ukraine?

Reply:

DIRCO has been monitoring developments in consultation with the Head of Mission, at the South African Embassy in the Ukraine prior to the evacuation of the South African citizens. The Embassy created a WhatsApp group for all the South African citizens to register to enable the Embassy to keep them updated on developments. The Head of Mission has been active on the group and His Excellency has been in constant communication with the South African citizens on developments and advising them to leave Ukraine considering the growing threat.

The Head of Mission negotiated the safe passage for South African citizens through Poland, Romania and Hungary which citizens used and a number of them were able to return to South Africa. DIRCO is pleased to report that no casualties or fatalities were reported. The South African Missions in Poland and Hungary were proactive in assisting South African citizens as they arrived in the respective countries.

29 March 2022 - NW904

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

With regard to her department’s media release of 24 February 2022 wherein South Africa calls on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine in line with the United Nations Charter, as well as the contents of the newsletter by the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa, on 7 March 2022, wherein he explains that South Africa abstained from voting in last week’s United Nations resolution on the escalating conflict between Russia and its neighbour Ukraine because the resolution did not foreground the call for meaningful engagement (details furnished), what exactly is South Africa’s latest policy position regarding the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine; (2) Whether the Government intends to put pressure on Russia to withdraw its forces from Ukraine; if not, why not; if so, what are the details of the steps that the Government is going to take in this regard ?

Reply:

1. South Africa remains deeply concerned by the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. We welcome the commencement of talks between Ukraine and Russia. We hope that these discussions will lead to a diplomatic solution that will result in a sustainable political solution. South Africa is of the view that this armed conflict, like all others, will result in unnecessary human suffering and destruction with global ramifications. In situations of conflict, the most vulnerable tend to suffer most, during and post the conflict.

It is regrettable that at a time when the world is struggling to emerge from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seized with a conflict that will further delay the world’s recovery. UN Secretary-General, Guterres reminded us of this when he stated that the conflict will have a huge impact on the “global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and so many developing countries need to have space for the recovery”.

The UN was founded after the horrors of the Second World War, with the aim of saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war. It is for this reason that the Charter of the United Nations enjoins all member states to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security, and justice are not endangered.

We stress that peace is best built through diplomacy and dialogue within the framework of the institutions of global dialogue, especially the United Nations. It is important for all nations to respect and uphold the principles of international law, including international humanitarian law and the provisions of the UN Charter.

The UN is now in its 76th year of existence and the events of the last two weeks have again reminded us of the urgent need to reform the UN, especially the UN Security Council, which is long overdue. We need a Council free from the legacy of the Cold War so that it can genuinely be the space where the community of nations comes together to resolve conflict and build a more just and peaceful world.

South Africa always appreciates the value that dialogue has in averting a crisis and de-escalating conflict. This is in line with our strong commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict. In this regard, we also urge the Security Council to utilise existing tools at its disposal in support of the pacific settlement of disputes. We also believe that the Good Offices of the UN Secretary-General could make a positive contribution in finding a lasting solution to this conflict and should be utilised.

We urge all parties to approach the situation in a spirit of compromise, with all sides upholding human rights, abiding by their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law. A diplomatic solution to the problem should address the security concerns of the parties.

South Africa continues to support and encourage regional initiatives such as the Minsk Agreements, and we welcome the work of the Normandy Format, the Trilateral Contact Group and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The situation in Ukraine should not be allowed to affect negatively other priorities of the international community and the rest of the work of the United Nations. We furthermore note with concern that not all situations of conflict have received the same attention, indeed whilst there is this focus on Ukraine, long-standing situations that the Security Council is seized with continue without resolution. It is necessary that we devote equal attention to other long-standing conflicts where the UN Charter and human rights are being violated.

2. South Africa continues to encourage all the parties, through quiet diplomacy, within all relevant international mechanisms, such as the United Nations (UN) including BRICS, to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to avoid an escalation of tensions, and work towards an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on cooperation and dialogue. In this regard South Africa encourages all parties 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 stands by its principled position of peaceful resolution of conflicts. South Africa reiterates the obligation of all the parties to fully implement all of their respective commitments under the Minsk Agreements, which provide the most promising roadmap for the peaceful settlement of the current hostilities, including in eastern Ukraine, and to advance the cause of peace and stability in the broader region. South Africa cannot be seen to be taking sides on the conflict as this goes against her principle/s. In addition, South Africa has good bilateral relations with both countries, it would therefore be unwise to take a different position that could compromise these bilateral relations.

 

COMPILER DETAILS

Mr Onnie Kok

CONTACT: (012) 351-1467

RECOMMENDATION

It is recommended that the Minister signs Parliamentary Reply No 904.

 

AMBASSADOR NN LOSI

ACTING DIRECTOR–GENERAL: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

DATE:

PARLIAMENTARY REPLY 904 IS APPROVED / NOT APPROVED / AMENDED.

COMMENT/S

DR GNM PANDOR, MP

MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

10 March 2022 - NW434

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

With reference to a media statement by her department on 20 February ( details furnished), the Memorandum of understanding that was signed between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Ireland and two South Africa – Ireland Joint Commission for Co-operation that were held in 2019 and 2022 respectively, what are the full, relevant details of the (a) specified economic  cooperation that has been promoted during the bilateral meetings and (b) rand value to the South African economy?

Reply:

a) Bilateral political and economic relations between South Africa and Ireland are strong, the direct investment volume of Irish companies in South Africa is estimated at R23.66 billion with an average project size of around R815.51 million per project. In total, there are twenty (20) Irish companies in South Africa who employ an estimated 8 000 people. These include investments in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture and ICT. The export basket from South Africa Ireland in 2020 was composed of both primary agricultural products such as citrus fruits, apples and grapes, and value-added products such as tools; motor vehicles; chemical wood pulp, and mineral products such as coal; while the import basket from Ireland into SA consisted of mainly value-added products such as medicaments, powered aircraft, automatic data processing machinery, orthopaedic appliances, among others. South African products such as vegetables and fruit showed significant improvement in exports to Ireland.

b) During 2021 South African exports amounted to R 2, 661,777,372 compared to R 1,715,160,914 in 2020. The balance of trade is still very much in Ireland's favour as Irish exports to South Africa amounted to R 6, 570 billion compared to R 6, 501 billion in 2020.

07 March 2022 - NW527

Profile picture: Ngcobo, Mr S

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

What is the (a) make, (b) model (c) year manufacture, (d) price and (e) purchase date of each vehicle purchased for use by (i) her and (ii) the Deputy Ministers since 29 May 2019?

Reply:

(i) No official vehicle has been purchased for use for the Minister since 29 May 2019.

(ii) Approval was obtained for the procurement of official vehicles for both Deputy Ministers on 14 October 2021. Official orders were placed on 01 December 2021 with the approved suppliers for both vehicles:

Deputy Minister Mashego Dlamini

(a) Toyota

(b) Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 VX A/T

(c) 2022

(d) R635 434.80

(e) Vehicle to be delivered in April 2022

Deputy Minister Botes

(a) Audi

(b) Q5 TDI QUATTRO S TRONI

(C) 2022

(d) R660 057.80

(e) Vehicle to be delivered in May 2022

07 March 2022 - NW543

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

With reference to the remarks by the President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, following the 6th European Union – African Union Summit on 18 February 2022, that the European Union wants to be Africa’s partner of choice and that Africa is rich in renewable power, if one looks at hydro power, solar power, wind power, as well as the fact that the European Union, under the Africa – Europe Plan, is planning to further capitalise on the partnership to boost the economy and create decent job opportunities and what are the full details of projects in the pipeline?”

Reply:

During the recently concluded African Union (AU) – European Union (EU) Summit which took place in Brussels, Belgium from 17-18 February 2022, the European Union Commission President, H.E. Ms Ursula von der Leyen announced that the EU’s Global Gateway Investment initiative, aims to invest €300 billion in public and private infrastructure schemes around the world by 2027.

Ms von der Leyen announced that under this initiative, Africa will be allocated funding worth €150 billion in investments over the next 7 years on the following focus areas:

  • Investments
  • Health
  • Education

According to the AU-EU Summit Declaration, the Africa-EU Package is aimed at boosting large-scale sustainable investments, supported by Team Europe Initiatives, with due consideration to the priorities and needs of the African countries, including:

i) Investment in energy, transport and digital infrastructure aligned with the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa Priority Action Plan II (PIDA PAP II);

ii) Energy transition that is fair, just and equitable, taking into account specific and diverse orientations of the African countries with regard to access to electricity;

iii) Green transition including supporting the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) of African Countries under the Paris Agreement to enhance mitigation and adaptation;

iv) Digital transformation that supports trusted connectivity through investments in infrastructures and an affordable and enhanced access to the digital and data economy while boosting digital entrepreneurship and skills;

v) Sustainable growth and decent job creation, including by investing in the establishment of youth-owned businesses in Africa;

vi) Transport facilitation and efficiency of connected transport networks; and

vii) Human development, notably through scaling up mobility and employability of students, young graduates and skilled workers. It will also support industrialisation and the development of sustainable and resilient value and supply chains.

Currently, there is no action plan or list of projects regarding the investment package announced at the Summit.

As per normal practice following the AU-EU Summit, both the AU and the EU are supposed to jointly develop an action plan detailing the projects which will be financed and implemented by both partners during the next three years.

 

04 March 2022 - NW407

Profile picture: Faber, Mr WF

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

Whether against the background of record high unemployment figures and persistent levels of poverty in the Republic, she has found that the Government’s R50 million donation to the government of the Republic of Cuba for special intervention purposes, could have been put to better use at home; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

The Cuban government called on South Africa and other partner countries in their hour of need in July 2021. Cuba’s worst economic crisis in 30 years was caused by the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic and further exacerbated by the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba by the United States. Cuba as a result is experiencing chronic shortages of food, fuel, medicine and electricity.

South Africa responded to this call for humanitarian assistance in the context of reciprocity and its historical friendship and solidarity with Cuba which was cemented though Cuba’s sacrifices during our struggle for freedom. Cuba also responded without hesitance to South Africa’s call for medical professionals to assist during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa.

The African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF), which is located within DIRCO, and which is legally constituted to implement humanitarian assistance of this nature, is coordinating the project with relevant stakeholders, following all necessary legal prescripts. .

The required concurrence to release an amount of R50 million from the African Renaissance Fund was provided by the Minister of Finance, after which the Acting Director-General of DIRCO approved that the request for humanitarian assistance by Cuba be implemented through the supply chain management processes as regulated by the Public Finance Management Act (Act No. 1 of 1999).

These processes were concluded by December 2021.

04 March 2022 - NW433

Profile picture: Hlengwa, Mr M

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

Whether, given that South Africa, together with Switzerland, is co-chair of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Focal Points Network for 2022 and that the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa, is on record having said that gender based violence is the Republic’s second pandemic, the Government intends to leverage the opportunities and access provided through the WPS Network for the benefit of the women of the Republic, in order to gather resources and/or knowledge in the fight against gender – based violence; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council recognised the gendered impact of war, and the exclusion of women in peace-building processes through the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. To strengthen the reach and impact of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, the Global Network of Focal Points on Women Peace and Security was established in 2016, to ensure that UN Member States adopt gender responsive peace and security policies that can meaningfully respond to emerging security challenges and permutations of violence.

The Global Network is an acknowledgement that while good practices have emerged in the implement of the WPS agenda, the global community needs less rhetoric and more action based on the ultimate objective of the WPS Agenda that is to prevent wars from happening and not making wars safer for women.

South Africa and Switzerland are the 2022 Co-Chairs of the Global Network of Focal Points on Women Peace and Security taking over from Canada and Uruguay. The Global Network is a voluntary body of like-minded UN Member States. Under the stewardship of South Africa and Switzerland, the Global Network will continue to implement and localize the WPS Agenda through National Action Plans. The National Action Plan (NAP) of South Africa was adopted by Cabinet in March 2020.

Our National Action Plan provides policy makers and security actors with a new set of tools to plan for large-scale, coordinated collaboration to support the strategic priority of creating a safe and peaceful South Africa and the continent. It also provides concrete action steps to help government and civil society to evolve out of conflict peacefully, through the involvement of women as peace anchors in communities during localised conflicts such as the July 2021 unrests, service delivery protests, gang violence, student uprisings as well as development and implementation of gender responsive policies and programmes.

The National Action Plan on WPS seeks to reinforce the existing frameworks on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, provide protection and support for women experiencing violence, and focus on the behavioural changes required to build a South Africa at peace with itself. It is particularly designed to support the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide which is anchored on five key interventions:

  • Urgently responding to victims and survivors of GBV;
  • Broadening access to justice for survivors;
  • Changing social norms and behaviour through high-level awareness raising and prevention campaigns;
  • Strengthening existing architecture and promoting accountability; and
  • The creation of more economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse because of poverty

Furthermore, the Gender-based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan (GBVF-NSP), envisages bold leadership, strong accountability across government and the broader society to respond to GBVF and has entrenched firm technical and financial support. In addition, South Africa is conscious of the heightened risk of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) during conflict by aggravating factors, including the polarization of gender roles, the proliferation of arms, the militarization of society, and the breakdown of law and order. South Africa will leverage on this chairship by working with AU Member States and other stakeholders in the fight against SGBV in conflict and post-conflict settings. The subsequent long-term and complex impacts of SGBV continue to affect individuals and communities after conflict ends.

South Africa will leverage on its role from a premise that addressing SGBV is an integral aspect of the overall Women, Peace and Security agenda. SGBV affects the health and safety of women and has significant impact on economic and social stability. We recognise that sexual violence can threaten international peace and security, and that it is frequently used as a tactic of war to dominate, humiliate, terrorise, and displace women. It is for this reason that South Africa will also use its tenure as the Global Network Co-Chair to strengthen its current Capacity Building Programmes on Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Negotiation. The programmes target women and youth both domestically and in the conflict-ridden countries in the continent.

04 March 2022 - NW412

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What are the reasons that the Republic has not ratified the protocol for the free movement of persons on the continent?

Reply:

South Africa supports the principle of free movement of persons on the continent. However there remains a set of enablers or preconditions that are necessary for the successful implementation of the AU Protocol which need to be met by member states ahead of its ratification. These include but are not limited to:

  • The fact that not all member states are on the same level of facilitating free movement of persons in Africa;
  • Challenges related to free movement of persons, amongst others, national security, public order, public health and socio-economic disparities;
  • There is a phased approach which needs to be met related to the implementation of the protocol and the free movement of persons;
  • The infrastructure (which in many countries is still not available) that needs to be put in place such as, machine readable passports compliant to international standards, and compatibility of ICT systems at ports of entry to facilitate exchange of information;
  • The need to still set up the legal infrastructure such as, bilateral return agreements, the AU legal instruments on extradition and mutual legal assistance, the AU framework on African Passport and its relationship with free movement of persons, and Interface of Movement Control systems with INTERPOL (red notice system) and individual Member States prohibition/undesirable person’s lists and the UN warning lists.

The SADC Member States acknowledged, that movement of persons in Africa is relevant and critical for continental integration and Africa’s economic development, and thus in principle, support the implementation of the Protocol. However, considering the prevailing identified challenges and preconditions, SADC recommended that implementation of free movement of persons in Africa and the African Passport should be implemented through a phased approach in accordance with a principle that safeguards the sovereignty of Member States.

South Africa recently adopted a new White Paper on International Migration which advocates for an Afrocentric migration approach. Such an approach locates the migration policy within the African Development Agenda. For instance, it supports the free movement of African citizens within the continent in a secure manner.

The Security Assessment Report on the Protocol recommends that South Africa should, among other things, underscore the importance of addressing economic disparities in the continent prior to the implementation of the Protocol; prioritise the establishment and implementation of the Border Management Authority; continue to advance the SADC common position and delay implementation of the Protocol considering the threats to national security that are associated with its implementation, including, for instance, internal migration and external migration - South Africa is experiencing both high internal and external migration patterns to urban areas leading to influx and competition for resources in urban areas.

Having satisfied itself of the need to address the above concerns before South Africa could consider ratifying the AU Protocol on the Free Movement of People, a Cabinet decision was taken in May 2021 not to ratify the Protocol until the necessary preconditions and enablers are met by Member States.

 

 

 

04 March 2022 - NW260

Profile picture: Hendricks, Mr MGE

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

Given that the International Tribunal Judgement has recently found China guilty of gross human rights, genocide and violent oppression of Kazakh and Turkic Muslim populations and has agreed that all Governments should go along with the International Tribunal Judgement, what are the reasons that the Government has not responded to the International Tribunal Judgement with regard to the gross human rights, genocide and violent oppression of Kazakh and Turkic Muslim populations; (2) Whether, given that the United States of America has legislated a ban on imports of products from the Xinjiang region, the Government will pursue similar action; if not’ why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) Whether, given that this genocide of a Muslim population can be seen to be no different to the holocaust and the annihilation of Palestinian land and its people, the Government will raise its voice to show that the Republic will not stay quiet if there is genocide in any part of the world; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. The International Tribunal is not an international tribunal which has been formally established by States or the United Nations or any other international organisation, consequently, its findings have no legal standing. The Government of South Africa is under no obligation to comment on the report.

2. The decision by the United States Government to ban imports from the Xinjiang region imposes no obligation on South Africa to follow a similar course of action and South Africa’s trade relations with the United States have not been impacted in any way as a result of the International Tribunal Judgement. South Africa is not considering a ban on imports of products from the Xinjiang region. South Africa, in its trade relations with China as its largest global trading partner, does not distinguish between regions within mainland China.

3. South Africa participates in multilateral institutions of global governance such as the United Nations Human Rights Council, whose mandates include the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights. In its engagement with these institutions, South Africa always advocates for, and works closely with its partners (e.g. through the passing of resolutions) to ensure that human rights are promoted, protected and realised, not only in the domestic setting, but globally in all regions of the world. As indicated, the International Tribunal is not a formally established platform, this is in contrast to the Palestinian cause, which is recognized by the overwhelming majority of the international community and continues to enjoy the right of participation in the sessions and work of the General Assembly and its associated bodies.

 

28 February 2022 - NW288

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What total amount has been paid to a certain company (BT Communications) and (b) who are the owners of the specified company?

Reply:

a) R 961 242 959.16 is the total amount that has been paid to BT Communications

b) The owners of BT Communications are:

  • BT Limited owns 70%

The Company Directors as per the Central Supplier Database for BT Communications are:

  1. Abdula Khalid
  2. Naidoo Presantha
  3. Thomas Brian Keith
  4. Ah Sing Chantelle
  5. Shihabi Eyad
  6. Delport Bertrandt
  7. Dzvova Valentine Colleta
  • Kilomix Investments (Pty) Ltd owns 30%

 

28 February 2022 - NW267

Profile picture: Ceza, Mr K

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

In light of the fact that the African Union (AU) member states have signed many declarations such as Lomé Declaration, yet they fail in implementation and application of the measures, what has she found to be the reason that the AU is failing to implement policies?

Reply:

The African Union (AU) and its member states strongly uphold the implementation of the provisions of the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 on the Framework for the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) response to unconstitutional changes of Government, and the related instruments for responding to unconstitutional changes of government. The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) is the principal organ within the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) to promote peace and security on the Continent, which includes addressing unconstitutional changes of government.

The APSA also embodies the principles of subsidiarity and complementarity. The APSA relies on the respective Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to take the lead in the regions, including in addressing coups d’états, with the PSC following up. This was done in every case where a coup occurred in the last year, including Mali, Guinea Conakry, Sudan, and Burkina Faso, which have all been suspended from the AU. At no time has the AU ever suspended four member states in one year for the same reason, that of unconstitutional changes of government.

The Report of the Peace and Security Council of the AU on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa presented at the February 2022 AU Summit, as well as the numerous interventions by Heads of State and Government in the course of the deliberations, addressed the surge in unconstitutional changes of Government. The coups were unanimously and strongly condemned. These actions demonstrate that the AU and its members are committed to implementing the provisions of the AU Constitutive Act, the Protocol Relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and the Lomé Declaration, as well as all related instruments, in the quest to promote democracy, good governance and the rule of law on the Continent.

South Africa will assume a two-year seat on the AU Peace and Security Council on 1 April 2022 and will work steadfastly for the effective use of the APSA, including the powers of the PSC.

 

 

28 February 2022 - NW289

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What is the nature of her relationship with certain company (BT Communications) and between the department’s officials and the company?

Reply:

The nature of The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation’s relationship with BT Communication is none other than the contractual relationship regarding the services provided by the company – BT Communication.

Also, the department’s officials have no special relationship other than that of a contractual one.”

The services rendered by BT Communications to the Department of International Relations and Cooperations is to provide, maintain and support a global managed Wide Area Network Infrastructure for information and communication technology

 

22 February 2022 - NW130

Profile picture: Bergman, Mr D

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

(a) How does the Government approach the Russia and Ukraine situation to determine who is the (i) aggressor and (ii) victim and (b) what assistance does the Government intend to offer to show solidarity with the victim?

Reply:

a) (i) The Government of South Africa’s approach to the situation between Russia and Ukraine is based on our unique approach to all global issues expressed through our Diplomacy of Ubuntu and the vision of a better world for all. As a human-rights based constitutional democracy, South Africa engages globally rooted in our values of human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms, non-racialism, non-sexism and the rule of law. In line with the White Paper on Foreign Policy, South Africa embraces multilateralism as an approach to solve challenges confronting the international community. Therefore, Government approaches conflict between states by promoting dialogue to achieve conflict resolution.

(ii) South Africa’s position has been (and is) continuing to encourage all the parties to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to avoid an escalation of tensions, and work towards an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on cooperation and dialogue. In this regard South Africa encourages all parties 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 stands by its principled position of peaceful resolution of conflicts.

b) South Africa will continue to share with the global community its experience of conflict resolution through negotiation and to use its voice in multilateral fora to promote cooperation over competition and collaboration over confrontation.

22 February 2022 - NW5

Profile picture: Shaik Emam, Mr AM

Shaik Emam, Mr AM to ask the Minister of International Relation s and Cooperation

(a) What are the reason that the Government has not commented on the International Tribunal Judgement finding the Chinese government committed genocide and gross human rights violation against the Uyghur minorities, including forced labour and (b) by what date can we expect a statement from the Government

Reply:

The International Tribunal is not an international tribunal which has been formally established by the State or the United Nations or any other international organisation, consequently, its finding have no legal standing. The Government of South Africa is under no obligation to issue a statement

22 February 2022 - NW240

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

Msane, Ms TP to ask the Minister of International Relation s and Cooperation:

What are the (a) details of how the African Union intends to capacitate the African Standby Force in order to decisively deal with insurgencies and coups on the continent and (b) timeframe in this regard? NW251E

Reply:

At the35th Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) that took place from 5 to 6 February 2022, the outgoing chairperson of the AU, DRC President Thisekedi, emphasized the need to exert concerted efforts in realizing Africa’s 50-year continental development Agenda 2063; namely the need to silence the guns across the African continent; to consolidate the African architecture of peace and security and to immediately reactivate the African Standby Force (ASF) to enhance its preparedness to act should the need arise. At this time, a draft MoU between the AU and RECs/RMs on the ASF, which will formalize and strengthen partnership between the AU and sub-regional organizations on the deployment of the ASF, is being circulated. The MoU will provide the official framework in terms of which the AU anRECs/RMs collectively deploy the ASF, when required in terms of the AU Constitutive Act and the Protocol on the Establishment of the AU peace and Security Council (PSC).
 

22 February 2022 - NW190

Profile picture: Cachalia, Mr G K

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

What number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid by (i) her department and (ii) each entity reporting to her for more than (aa) 30 days, (bb) 60 days, (cc) 90 days and (dd) 120 days, (b) what is the total amount outstanding in each case and (c) by what date is envisaged that the outstanding amounts will be settled?

Reply:

a) Number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid by the department :

(aa) Number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid for more than 30 days.

  • 497 invoices

(bb) Number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid for more than 60 days.

  • 03 invoices

(cc) Number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid for more than 90 days.

  • 03 invoices

(dd) Number of supplier invoices currently remain unpaid for more than 120 days.

  • 01 invoice

b) The total amount outstanding in each case

(aa) R488 342.68

(bb) R4 624.99

(cc) R62 148.01

(dd) R45 321.36

c) By what date is envisaged that the outstanding amounts will be settled?

  • It is envisaged that all the invoices mentioned above will be processed for payment by the 15th of March 2022.

22 February 2022 - NW128

Profile picture: Bergman, Mr D

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

How does the Government approach the Eswatini situation to determine who is the (i) aggressor and (ii) victim and (b) what assistance does the Government intend to offer to show solidarity with the victim?

Reply:

The Republic of South Africa is working within the established protocols of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to address stability and the political situation in Eswatini. The SADC is already engaged to support the Kingdom to resolve the challenges. This work is done within the overall objective of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation which is to promote peace and security in the Region as stipulated under article 2.2. of the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.

President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation appointed Special Envoys to engage with His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini on the escalating security and political developments in the Kingdom. This was a follow up to a SADC Organ Fact Finding Mission which visited Eswatini in July 2021.

Consultation with stakeholders, including with the King, the Government, civil society and diplomatic corps on the ground, highlighted the need for an inclusive national dialogue in an appropriate forum.

Following a meeting between President Ramaphosa and King Mswati III held on 2 November 2021, it was agreed that the SADC Troika would assist in the development of terms of reference for the national dialogue. The National Dialogue will work to facilitate a peaceful, orderly and inclusive national multi-stakeholder political engagement in order to identify and implement sustainable solutions to Eswatini’s political and security challenges. In this regard, a draft framework has been developed by the SADC Troika and will be presented to the Eswatini Government in due course.

South Africa is part of the SADC collective and cannot alone decide on who should be held responsible for the conflict. South Africa supports peaceful settlement of disputes through dialogue and does not impose its will on the territorial integrity of other countries.

In this regard, the SADC Troika is pursuing an inclusive process and therefore the proposed dialogue is not premised on who could be an aggressor and/or victim as it is the dialogue that will be undertaken by parties representing all sectors of society for their common good.

22 February 2022 - NW129

Profile picture: Bergman, Mr D

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

a) How does the Government approach the China and Taiwan situation to determine who is the (i) aggressor and (ii) victim and (b) what assistance does the Government intend to offer to show solidarity with the victim?

Reply:

a) South Africa maintains relations with both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the territory of Taiwan, albeit at different levels.

South Africa established diplomatic relations with China in January 1998, as per the ‘Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations’. In paragraph 3 of the Communique, South Africa recognises that “there is but one China in the world, the Government of the PRC is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and recognises China’s position that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China”. As per this same agreement, however, South Africa could maintain its ties with Taiwan, albeit that they are limited to economic, scientific, and cultural exchanges.

In line with South Africa’s foreign policy principles as they relate to respect for other countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, South Africa thus does not perceive either China or Taiwan as the (i) aggressor or (ii) the victim.

b) The question of “what assistance does the Government intend to offer to show solidarity with the victim”, therefore, does not arise. South Africa strictly adheres to the “One China Policy” and accordingly regards Taiwan as an integral part of China (when calculating bilateral trade, the total volumes of trade with Taipei/Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong are added to China’s). While South Africa enjoys comprehensive strategic relations with China through its representative offices located in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, South Africa also maintains low-key commercial, scientific- and cultural engagements through its Liaison Office in Taipei.

22 February 2022 - NW239

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What methods are used by the African Union in order to pre – empt coups?

Reply:

The African Union (AU) has, as an element of its African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS). The CEWS was established in line with Article 12 of the PSC Protocol with the mandate to facilitate the anticipation and prevention of conflicts in Africa. Its role is to collect data to anticipate and prevent conflicts on the continent as well as to provide timely information on evolving violent conflicts. Equally, the Union strives to ensure there’s sunergy’s between APSA and the African Governance Architecture (AGA).

The continent has recently witnessed the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government. South Africa believes that as part of an architecture of efforts to eradicate the scourge of coup détat’s in Africa, it is imperative to underscore the significance of addressing the underlying courses of unconstitutional changes of government and violent conflict. In this regard, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), in its drive to promote democracy and good governance on the continent, and the African Governance Architecture (AGA) remain the most profound instruments at the disposal of the AU and its Member States to utilise to effectively end the scourge of coup détat’s. The AU PSC has agreed on the need for the review of the AGA and the Lome Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Government, a process that should result in AU instruments that are strengthened to appropriately respond to this challenge. Equally, the PSC has agreed to the importance of enhancing the contribution of the APRM in early warning for conflict prevention in harmony and synergy with the APSA and AGA. The work of the APRM in areas of democracy good governance, human rights, rule of law and the acceleration of political, social and economic integration of the Continent are key considerations in this regard.

The role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Mechanisms (RM) and Member States, as partners, on continental early warning, implementing the APSA, AGA, APRM and Master Roadmap on Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2030 cannot be overemphasized.

22 February 2022 - NW162

Profile picture: Cachalia, Mr G K

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

Whether she and / or her department ever received correspondence from a certain political organisation (African National Congress), via email, whattsap, hardcopy and / or in any other format of which the original file is dated June 2020; if not, what is the position in this regard ; if so (a) on what date was the specified correspondence and (c) what steps were taken by her department in this regard?

Reply:

The Office of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Honourable Minister Pandor/Department, did not receive the correspondence referred hereto. In this regard, there was nothing to be brought to the attention of the Minister as the correspondence is non-existent.

22 February 2022 - NW73

Profile picture: Faber, Mr WF

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

1) What are the reasons that the Republic did not support and help stand for the international principle of sovereignty and respect of the borders of an independent state against Russia’ s aggression on Ukraine; (2) What are the reasons that the Republic did not raise her voice to the war that cost Ukraine over 14, 000 lives and 1,5 million people who are internally displaced since the invasion of Ukraine in 2014 with the illegal annexing of Crimea; (3) Whether it is the policy of her department not to speak against the aggression of its BRICS partner towards Ukraine and other countries in the region? NW73E

Reply:

(1) South Africa’s position has been (and is) continuing to encourage all the parties to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to avoid an escalation of tensions, and work towards an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on cooperation and dialogue. In this regard South Africa encourages all parties 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 stands by its principled position of peaceful resolution of conflicts.

(2) South Africa’s position has been (and is) continuing to encourage all the parties to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to avoid an escalation of tensions, and work towards an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on cooperation and dialogue. In this regard South Africa encourages all parties 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 stands by its principled position of peaceful resolution of conflicts.

(3) The BRICS partnership is built on a common commitment to multilateralism and the principles of mutual respect, sovereign equality, inclusiveness, and strengthened collaboration. In paragraph 22 of the BRICS New Delhi Declaration issued on 9 September 2021, BRICS Leaders expressed concern at the continuing conflicts and violence in different parts of the world. The BRICS Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of States and reiterate that all conflicts must be resolved by peaceful means and through political and diplomatic efforts in line with international law, in particular the UN Charter. BRICS Leaders also underscored the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

 

07 January 2022 - NW2296

Profile picture: Lees, Mr RA

Lees, Mr RA to ask the Minister of International Relations andCooperation

With reference to her reply to question 31 for oral reply on 3 March 2021 and the reply by the President of the Republic, Mr M C Ramaphosa, to question 1077 on 24 May 2021 on alleged R118 million land purchase in the United States of America, what are the relevant details of the departmental officials who have been suspended in each case providing the

Reply:

  1. Mr KE Mahoai and Mr C Ramashau
  1. Director-General and Chief Financial Officer (c) 10/02/2021 and 01/03/2021

(d) Both Officials were dismissed after due processes were followed. Mr Mahoai was dismissed on 04 September 2021. Mr Ramashau was dismissed on 01 October 2021.

1

25 December 2021 - NW2779

Profile picture: Msane, Ms TP

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

What interventions is the African Union implementing and/or planning to implement in order to prevent African countries from losing sovereignty to other nations through debts and/ or loans, as it has allegedly happened with Uganda and is soon to happen with many other African countries that will not be able to pay back their debts

Reply:

The African Union is constituted by Member States who have the sovereign rights to determine their domestic priorities in line with their national interests. The prerogative to choose or establish measures to reduce debt burden or relief solely rest with each Member State of the African Union.

Nevertheless, and to the extent to which the debt becomes a burden to AU Member States, the AU has and continues to advocate for the easing of debt burden owed by African countries, especially the Less Developed Countries (LDCs) and Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), which the majority from them come from the Continent. The devastating impact of the debt burden to the economies and sovereignties of many countries in the Continent is hard to ignore. It is for this reason that the AU has and continues to use multiple approaches to urge the developed countries including International Financial Institutions to ease the debt burden owed by African countries.

At the Heads of State level, the AU Assembly has on numerous occasions taken bold resolutions and decisions urging the developed countries as well as International Financial Institutions to ease the debt burden owed by African countries. The Heads of States and Government of the AU have also been extremely vocal against the imposition of unilateral coercive measures on the right to development, international relations, trade, investment, cooperation, and peace and stability by African countries and countries such as Cuba.

The AU Ministers of Finance and Trade continue to use the annual Special Technical Committee of the AU to urge the G7, China and International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to ease the debt burden owed by the African countries.The AU Ministers of Finance and Trade also use the international meetings at the UN, WTO, and Meetings on Financing for Development to advocate for the easing of debt burden owed by African countries.

AU Commission as the Organ responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Organisation as well as the AU’s Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOC) continue to engage the International Financial Institutions and with the support of the United Nations, the Commission has played a huge role in advocating for the easing of debt burden by African countries.

South Africa for its part, used its Chairship of the AU in 2020 to advocate strongly for the easing of debt burden by African countries, whose ability to pay their debt has been affected heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic. As early as March 2020, President directly engaged with the leaders of both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the leaders of the G7 to play their part in easing the debt burden in the Continent. South Africa also used its membership of the G20 to remind the 20 largest economies in the world of the urgent need to address the debt burden and its impact on the LDCs and HIPC. In March 2020, President Ramaphosa appointed NgoziOkonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, Tidjane Thiam of Senegal and Trevor Manuel of South Africa. The goal of the Special Envoys was to secure debt relief of US$44 billion, a generalised suspension of interest payment for all of Africa’s economies, and a stimulus package of US$100-150 billion. The suspension of payment of interests to IFIs will go a long way in easing the burden by African countries and will greatly assist many of the African countries to prioritise the revival of their respective economies, which has been devastated by the pandemic.

While the negotiations for the debt cancellation still ranges on, the gains made in the easing of debt burden needs to be noted. Thanks in large part to South Africa and indeed other AU Member States the World Bank and the IMF has and continues to engage the African on this matter and there are already positive outcomes. To date, more than 28 countries from Africa are benefitting from the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) established by the Paris Club.

South Africa and other Member State of the AU will continue to use the convening power of the AU to continue to advocating for the easing of the debt burden owed by African countries so that African countries should not face the difficult choice of having to either pay their respective debt or revive their economies, amid the pandemic.

25 December 2021 - NW2839

Profile picture: Bergman, Mr D

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

(1) On what date will the mandate of the current Ambassador to Thailand come to an end ;Whether the next ambassador has been informed of their posting; if not, why not; if so, what is the reason for the delay?

Reply:

 

The post of Ambassador in Thailand became vacant on 15 December 2020; Yes, the next Ambassador has been informed of their posting.