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21 December 2023 - NW4087

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether he met with Mr Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader based in Qatar and/or any other members of Hamas whilst in Qatar during November 2023; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the full details of their discussions?

Reply:

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) did not meet with Mr Ismail Haniyeh or any member of Hamas during her visit to Qatar in November 2023. It is worth noting that Hamas is headquartered in Qatar and that the organisation is funded by the Government of Qatar. The presence of Hamas has historically been supported by the Government of the United States as the latter required a channel of communication to the organisation. This is part of the reason why Qatar has been able to play a prominent role in negotiating the current humanitarian pause as well as the exchange of hostages and political prisoners between Hamas and Israel.

14 December 2023 - NW4151

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

(a) On what date will her department table the promised Bill to operationalise the SA Development Partnership Agency (SADPA) which has taken almost 15 years, and has contributed to underspending by her department and (b) what is the projected timeline for operationalising the SADPA?

Reply:

a) The Department is currently ensuring compliance with the below processes required for the introduction of the draft Bill into Parliament:

  • Submission of the draft Bill to the Speaker and the Chairperson of the council in terms of Joint Rule 159 and thereafter the Bill is referred to committees;
  • Gazetting the notice of intention to introduce in terms of National Assembly Rule 276/ NCOP Rule 186;
  • Certification of the draft Bill by OCSLA and submission to Parliament’s Bills Office for processing in terms of National Assembly Rule 279(2).

The Department has been in contact with the Bill’s Office in Parliament and currently working on the submission of the draft Bill as per the Joint Rule 159.

The supply chain processes are also underway for the gazetting of the intention to introduce the draft Bill in terms of National Assembly Rule 276/NCOP Rule 186.

The Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (OCSLA) has also been engaged on facilitating the process of obtaining the certification of the draft Bill through the Department of Justice as required by the National Assembly Rule 279(2).

b) Following the proclamation of the Amended Act into law by the President, the Department will implement the necessary processes for the establishment of the fully-fledged entity.

14 December 2023 - NW4152

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

What plans are in place to fill the vacancies in the finance section of her department which stand at 26,8% as at 31 March 2023 according to the most recent Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report on her department, particularly considering the findings of the Auditor-General with regard to R1,44 billion in irregular expenditure?

Reply:

The following posts in the Finance Division were tadvertised to address the high vacancy rate and are in various stages of the recruitment process:

  • Chief Financial Officer post was filled with effect from 01 June 2023.
  • Director: Financial Accounting post was filled with effect from 04 December 2023.
  • Chief Director: Financial Management advertised on 20 August 2023 and is in process.
  • Deputy Director: Budget Management advertised on 11 August 2023 and is in process.
  • Deputy Director: Cash Flow Management advertised on 11 August 2023 and is in process.
  • State Accountant (6 Posts) advertised on 12 September 2023 and is in process.

14 December 2023 - NW4153

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

What (a) number of employees of her department have faced disciplinary proceedings in the past year, (b) are the details of each specified employee, (c) are the reasons that each specified person was facing disciplinary proceedings, (d) is the period taken to resolve the disciplinary proceedings in each case, (e) number of employees were suspended, (f) were the charges that led to each suspension, (g) number of employees were dismissed, (h1) were the reasons for each such dismissal, (h2) number of employees were suspended with full pay and (i) for how long were the specified employees suspended with full pay?

Reply:

a) The number of employees of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation that faced disciplinary proceedings was 34.

b) The details of the employees that faced disciplinary hearings were as follows:

(i) Chief Directors: 4;

  1. Directors: 7;
  2. Deputy Directors: 3;
  3. Assistant Directors:15;
  4. Senior Administrator: 1; and
  5. Level 7: 4

c) The reasons for the disciplinary proceedings were as follows:

(i) 25 employees were charged with financial misconduct;

(ii) Six (6) employees were charged with Insolence and disgraceful conduct;

(iii) Two (2) employees were charged with late coming and absence without authorisation; and

(iv) One (1) employee was charged with failure to submit a financial disclosure form.

d) The periods taken to resolve the disciplinary proceedings were as follows:

(i) 27 cases finalised in one to three months;

  1. One (1) case finalised in four months and sixteen (16) days;
  2. Two (2) cases finalised in nine to 12 months; and
  3. Two (2) cases are still pending.

e) The number of employees suspended were 4.

f) The charges that led to the suspensions were:

(i) Two (2) employees were suspended for insolence and threatening behaviour; and

(ii) Two (2) employees were suspended for financial misconduct.

g) The number of employees dismissed was 2.

(h1) The reasons for the dismissal of the employees were:

(i) One (1) employee was dismissed for financial misconduct; and

  1. One (1) employee was dismissed for absence without authorisation.

(h2) The number of employees suspended with full pay was 4.

(i)The periods of suspension with full pay were:

(i) One (1) official was suspended for six months and 9 days;

  1. One (1) official was suspended for ten months and 19 days;
  2. One (1) official was suspended for 10 months and 20 days; and
  3. One (1) official is still on suspension (since 7 September 2022) pending the hearing outcome.

14 December 2023 - NW4205

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

Whether she will furnish Mr W F Faber with a comprehensive list of all South African embassies and consulates worldwide, including their contact details and addresses; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

A comprehensive list of all South African Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates with contact details and addresses are available online through the website of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation at www.dirco.gov.za/south-african-representation-abroad/. The contact details and addresses are updated on a regular basis when new Heads of Mission and officials assume their duties at these missions or when the location of the chancery has changed. In addition to consulting the Departmental website, contact details can also be obtained from our 24-hour switchboard number at +27 12 351 1000.

14 December 2023 - NW4194

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(a) What total amount has the Africa Renaissance Fund paid out in aid to African countries since 2019 up to the latest specified date for which information is available, (b) which countries benefited from the financial aid and (c) what total amount did each of the countries receive?

Reply:

Since 2019, the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund has provided aid to the following African countries:

a) Total aid provided by the ARF since 2019 to date is R406 439 351,32.

b) and c) The below table provides the information requested.

Name of the Country

Project Description

Value of the project

South Sudan

Humanitarian Assistance

R74 750 898,00

Republic of Zimbabwe

Humanitarian Assistance

R50 000 000,00

South Sudan

Prevention and Resolution of Conflict

R1 025 820,00

The Central African Republic

Promotion of Democracy and Good Governance

R18 554 240,00

AU Special Fund for COVID-19

Humanitarian Assistance

R72 711 439,04

South African contribution towards the Africa Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

Humanitarian Assistance

R36 344 440,13

The Kingdom of eSwatini

Humanitarian Assistance

R40 000 000,00

Central African Republic (CAR)

Prevention and resolution of conflict

R8 185 000,00

The Kingdom of Lesotho

Democracy and good governance

R32 396 231,00

Drought Relief in Namibia

Humanitarian assistance

R72 471 283,15

Total

R406 439 351,32

11 December 2023 - NW3966

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

With reference to the démarche that was issued on 9 November 2023 by her department to the Ambassador of the State of Israel to South Africa, His Excellency Mr E Belotserkovsky, what (a) are the relevant details of the five most recent cases of Ambassadors to South Africa who were démarched, (b) were their countries of origin, (c) were the reasons for the specified course of action and (d) were the dates on which the démarches were issued?

Reply:

a) Name of Head of Mission

b) Country of Origin

(c) Reason for démarche

(d) Date for démarche

High Commissioner Adam McArthy

Australia

To demand a retraction of comments made by Australia’s Minister of Home Affairs on the land redistribution process in the country.

15 March 2018

H.E. Mrs Librada Ela Asumu

Equatorial Guinea

To register South Africa’s strong objection to the circumstances related to the arrest and detention without charge of two South African citizens in Equatorial Guinea.

21 February 2023

Ambassador RE Brigety II

USA

Ambassador Brigety was démarched following a press conference that he had convened on Thursday, 11 May 2023, wherein he levelled allegations against SA, regarding the sale of ammunition/armaments by South Africa to Russia, via the US sanctioned Russian naval

12 March 2023

Ambassador Mr Eliv Belotsercovsky

Israel

To discuss the violence arising from the continued occupation of Palestine by Israel. This included the recent attack by Hamas and the response by the Government of Israel which has resulted in over 15 000 deaths, mostly civilians. This demarche dealt with South Africa’s concern about the grave breaches of international criminal law, including possible war crimes by Hamas and possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the Government of Israel in Gaza.

9 November 2023

11 December 2023 - NW3965

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

(1)Whether, with reference to the Sixth Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the White Paper on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which calls for the minimum employment equity target for persons with disabilities as from the 2024-25 financial year to move from 2% to 3%, with the aim of reaching a minimum of 7% in 2030, she has found that her department will meet the 3% target for the 2024-25 financial year; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) what are the relevant details of the plans that her department has put in place to ensure that it meets the 7% target in 2030? NW5209E

Reply:

1. With reference to the Sixth Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which calls for the minimum employment equity target for persons with disabilities as from the 2024-25 financial year to move from 2% to 3%, with the aim of reaching a minimum of 7% in 2030, the Department may not be able to meet the 3% target for the 2024-25 financial year. Currenty the total number of persons with disablitiies in the Department is 23, thus representing only 1,2% of the the total workforce.

2. The Department is committed to meet the 7% target in 2030 by collaborating with the various disability organisations with a view to encouraging their members to apply for advertised posts in the Department.

11 December 2023 - NW3943

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

Whether (a) she, (b) the Deputy Ministers and (c) any other official in her department attended the Rugby World Cup final in France in October 2023; if not; what is the position in this regard; if so, what (i) are the relevant details of each person in her department who attended the Rugby World Cup, (ii) is the total number of such persons and (iii) were the total costs of (aa) travel, (bb) accommodation and (cc) any other related costs that were incurred by her department as a result of the trip(s)?

Reply:

Neither (a) Minister Dr GNM Pandor, nor (b) Deputy Ministers KC Mashego-Dlamini and A Botes attended the Rugby World Cup final while (c) three (3) Departmental officials namely the Chief of State Protocol and two Protocol Officials provided support to the President during his attendance of the Rugby World Cup final. The costs for the Department were as follows namely (aa) R146, 714.86 (bb) R 327, 271.75 and (cc) R 213, 873.92

11 December 2023 - NW3175

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

In light of the media statement issued by her department on 7 October 2023 calling for the immediate cessation of violence, for restraint and for peace between Israel and Palestine, and extending the offer for the Republic to share its experience in mediation and conflict resolution, (a) where and (b) how will the proposed mediation and conflict resolution take place as the Republic does not have an ambassador in Israel and there has been no Israeli Embassy in the Republic since 2018?

Reply:

South Africa is open to exploring different avenues about (a) where and (b) how the proposed mediation and conflict resolution will take place. The mediation process could be held in South Africa, Israel, Palestine or in any country in the Middle East region.

There is political will and interest in South Africa in hosting a similar event that took place in 2002 where South Africa had endeavoured to broker peace talks between Israel and Palestine under the “Spier Presidential Peace Retreat.” South Africa hosted two rounds of Spier talks in 2002, aimed at strengthening the peace camps on both sides and looked to share South Africa’s negotiated transitional experiences. This initiative demonstrated the spirit of commitment to dialogue and partnership for peace between the parties.

South Africa is also open to collaborate or play a supportive role to regional states such as Qatar and Egypt regarding mediation and conflict resolution as well as the mediation and conflict resolution work led by the Quartet (US, European Union (EU), Russia. South Africa has declared itself in favour of the deployment of an international monitoring force in the occupied Palestinian territories.

11 December 2023 - NW3470

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) is the detailed breakdown of all (i) travel, (ii) accommodation and (iii) related costs incurred by (aa) her, (bb) her Office and (cc) any staff member of her department since 1 April 2019 and (b) was the purpose of travel in each case?

Reply:

International travel is part of the core responsibilities of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, its executive and staff hence, international travel will be extensive. These expenses are budgeted for as part of the Department’s core operational budget and are aligned to the Department’s strategic plan.

a)Detailed breakdown

i) Travel

(aa) Minister:

2019-2020 - R 1, 199, 312.00

2020-2021 - R 101, 098.00

2021-2022 R 1,676,719.67

2022-2023 - R 2,047,809.67

    1. - R 2,150,929.67

(bb) Office Staff:

2019- 2020 - R 902,126.00

2020-2021 - R 104, 985.00

2021-2022 - R 1, 775,977.98

2022-2023 - R 1, 736,256.33

2023-2024 - R 2, 225,249.33

(bb) Departmental Staff:

2019-2020 - R 1, 826, 364.00

2020-2021- R 231, 944.00

2021-2022 - R 1, 186, 670.00

2022-2023 - R 3, 447, 700.00

2023-2024 - R 3, 097, 071.00

ii) Accommodation

(aa) Minister and (bb) Office Staff:

2019-2020 - R 1,799,376.00

2020-2021- R 209, 610.00

2021-2022 - R 1,965,274.00

2022-2023 - R 3,239,588.00

2023-2024 - R 1,653,260.00

(cc) Departmental Staff:

2019-2020 – R 1, 013, 244.00

2020-2021- R 121, 500.00

2021-2022 - R 779, 367.00

2022-2023 – R 2, 311, 853.00

2023-2024 - R 3, 258, 963.00

iii) Related costs

(aa) Minister and (bb) Office Staff:

2019-2020 - R784,475.00

2020-2021 – R50,373.00

2021-2022 – R512,717.00

2022-2023 – R894,317.00

2023-2024 – R926,872.00

(cc) Department Staff:

2019-2020 – R 623, 357.00

2020-2021 – R 77, 590.00

2021-2022 – R 374, 700.00

2022-2023 – R 1, 366, 507.00

2023-2024 – R 1, 790, 017.00

Purpose of Travel

2019-2020

  1. .

Japan

G20 and BRICS Leaders

 

Niger, Niamey

AU Summit

 

Zambia, Lusaka

SADC Ministerial Committee of the Organ

  1.  

Brazil, Brasilia

BRICS Foreign Ministers ‘Meeting

 

Tanzania, Dare salaam

SADC Council of Ministers, Heads of State and Government Summit and a State Visit

 

France, Biarritz

G7 Summit

 

Japan, Yokohama

TICAD VII Summit

 

Botswana, Gaborone

SADC Interviews

 

US, New York

UNGA74

 

Qatar, Doha

Political Consultations

 

Iran, Tehran

14th Session of the RSA- Iran Joint Commission

 

Russia, Sochi

Africa-Russia Forum

 

Azerbaijan, Baku

NAM Meeting

 

US, New York

South Africa chairing the UNSC

 

UAE, Abu Dhabi

IORA Council of Ministers

 

Brazil, Brasilia

11th BRICS Summit

 

Lesotho, Maseru

Multi-stakeholder National Dialogue

 

Guinea Conakry

State Visit

 

Togo, Lome

State Visit

 

Egypt, Cairo

Working Visit

2020-2021

 

India, Delhi

India-RSA Joint Ministerial Commission

 

UK, London

UK-Africa Investment Summit

 

Switzerland, Davos

World Economic Forum

 

Congo Brazzaville,

African union High Level Committee Meeting on Libya

 

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

AU Summit

 

Germany, Munich

Munich Security Conference

 

Congo Brazzavile, Oyo

Contact Group on Libya

 

Namibia, Windhoek

Presidential Inauguration

2021-2022

No

Country

Purpose

1.

Mozambique, Maputo

Extraordinary SADC Summit

2.

Saudi Arabia, Riyad

Political Consultations

3.

Kuwait

Political consultations

4.

Mozambique, Maputo

SADC Organ Troika summit

5.

Mozambique, Maputo

SADC

6.

UK, London

G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting and SA-UK bilateral meeting

7.

Uganda, Kampala

Inauguration of President Museveni

8.

France, Paris

Financing African Economies - Summit

9.

Zimbabwe, Harare

ARF Programme

10.

Mozambique, Maputo

SADC Organ Troika

11.

UK, Cornwall

G7 Leaders’ Summit

12.

Italy, Matera

G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

13.

Zambia, Lusaka

State funeral for the late HE Dr Kaunda

14.

Eswatini

SADC Organ

15.

Namibia, Windhoek

Political Consultations

16.

Kenya, Nairobi

JCC

17.

Malawi, Lilongwe

SADC Council of Ministers and Summit for Heads of State and Government

18.

Germany, Berlin

G20: Compact with Africa

19.

US, New York

UNGA 76

20.

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

39th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council

21.

Ivory Coast, Abijan

JCC

22.

Rwanda, Kigali

2nd Joint AU-EU Foreign Affairs Ministerial Meeting

23.

Italy, Rome

G20 Summit

24.

Algeria, Algiers

Political consultations

25.

Bangladesh, Dhaka

IORA

26

Belgium, Brussels

To strengthen bilateral relations

27

Netherlands, the Hague

2nd Joint Commission

28.

Nigeria, Abuja

Bi National Commission and State Visit

29

Ivory Coast, Abidjan

State Visit

30

Ghana, Accra

State Visit

31

Senegal, Dakar

State Visit

2022-2023

No

Country

Purpose

 

Malawi, Lilongwe

Extraordinary SADC Heads of State Summit

 

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council and AU Summit

 

Belgium, Brussels

EU-AU Summit

 

Germany, Munich

58th Munich Security Conference

 

DRC, Kinshasa

10th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the signatory countries of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation for DRC and the region.

 

Switzerland, Geneva

High Level Segment of the 49th Session of the Human Rights Council

 

Turkey, Antalya

2nd Edition of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum

 

UAE, Dubai

Dubai Expo 2021

 

Kenya, Nairobi

State Visit

 

Egypt, Cairo

 
 

Equatorial Guinea, Malabo

AU Extra-Ordinary Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Changes

 

Finland, Helsinki

Nordic-Africa Foreign Ministers’ meeting

 

Sweden, Stockholm

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Norway, Oslo

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Rwanda, Kigali

CHOGM Foreign Ministers’ meeting

 

Germany, Munich

G7 Summit

 

Singapore

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Indonesia, Bali

G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting

 

Uganda, Kampala

2nd Session of the Joint Commission of Cooperation

 

Zambia, Lusaka

41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the AU and the Mid-Year AU Coordinating Meeting

 

DRC, Kinshasa

SADC Summit

 

Tunisia, Tunis

TICAD 8th Summit

 

Italy

Key note speaker : 48th Annual Forum of the European House: Ambrosetti

 

USA, Washington

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

UK, London

Funeral for the late Queen Elizabeth II

 

US, New York

United Nations General Assembly 77

 

US, Los Angels

To strengthen bilateral relations and mission visit

 

South Korea, Seoul

Ministerial Joint Commission of Cooperation

 

Japan, Tokyo

SA-Japan Partnership Forum

 

Saudi Arabia

State Visit

 

UK, London

8th Annual FT Africa Summit

 

Lesotho, Maseru

Inauguration of Prime Minister Matekane

 

Burundi,Bujumbura

SA-Burundi JCC

 

Egypt, Cairo

COP27

 

Kenya, Nairobi

State Visit

 

Indonesia, Bali

G20 Leaders Summit

 

UK, London

State Visit

 

US, Washington

US-Africa leaders Summit

     

2023-2024

No.

COUNTRY

PURPOSE

     
 

Brazil, Brasilia

Inauguration of President Lula da Silva

 

Switzerland, Davos

World Economic Forum

 

Namibia, Windhoek

Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (SADC) and SADC Troika

 

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

42nd Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council and the AU Summit

 

India, New Delhi

G20 Foreign Minister’s Meeting

 

DRC, Kinshasa

SADC Council of Ministers

 

Cameroon, Yaounde

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

Attending the Recognition Programme of those who contributed to peace agreement and ending conflict in the north

 

Mauritius

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

UK, London

Coronation of King Charles

 

Namibia, Windhoek

Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit (SADC)

 

Portugal, Lisbon

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Togo, Lome

Lanunch of the 9th Pan-African Congress

 

France, Paris

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Nigeria, Abuja

Inauguration of President Tinubu

 

Turkey, Ankara

Inauguration of President Erdogan

 

Ukraine

Peace Mission

 

Russia

Peace Mission

 

France, Paris

Summit on New Global Financial Pact

 

Angola, Luanda

Political Consultation

 

Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

Female Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

 

DRC, Kinshasa

12th Session of the South Africa- DRC Bi-National Commission

 

Kenya, Nairobi

AU 5th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting and Executive Council

 

Namibia, Windhoek

25th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ

 

Russia, St Petersburg

2nd Africa - Russia Summit

 

Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

Joint Ministerial Commission

 

Angola, Luanda

Council of Ministers and 43rd Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government

 

South Sudan, Juba

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Comoros, Moroni

To strengthen bilateral relations

 

Zimbabwe, Harare

Inauguration of President Mnangagwa

 

India, Delhi

G20 Leaders’ Summit

 

Cuba, Havana

G77 plus China Summit

 

USA, New York

United Nations General Assembly 78

 

USA, Washington

Bilateral relations and Heads of Mission Meeting

11 December 2023 - NW4204

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

Whether, her department, in collaboration with the Electoral Commission and the Department of Home Affairs, intends to establish, through the Consul as the authority, additional voting points in countries such as Australia, since commissions must be formed in countries and/or cities where there are many South African voters; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the details of national regulations that will be put in place in this regard?

Reply:

Section 33 (3) and (4) of the Electoral Act, Act 73 of 1998, requires that a person voting abroad must present him/ herself at a South African Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is required to identify such Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. No provision is made for additional venues outside that of Embassies, High Commission and Consulates.

11 December 2023 - NW4195

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether her department has issued a travel advisory to South Africans travelling to Zimbabwe following the declaration of a state of emergency in its capital city, Harare, due to the outbreak of cholera; if not, why not; if so, what the relevant details?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has not issued a travel advisory to South Africans travelling to Zimbabwe following the cholera outbreak in that country. This decision was guided by and based on the assessment of the South African National Department of Health, which has not imposed any travel restrictions for travellers to and from Zimbabwe. The DIRCO continues to provide advice, through its website, to South African citizens travelling abroad inclusive of health risks. South African citizens are encouraged to timeously consult the National Department of Health to obtain specific health related information prior to travelling abroad. 

11 December 2023 - NW4017

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

Whether, considering that the Government has referred the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr Benjamin Netanyahu, and his senior officials to the International Criminal Court, calling for them to be investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity, the Government has also called for Hamas leaders to face the same scrutiny; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

On 17 November 2023 South Africa, joined by Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti, referred the situation in the State of Palestine to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to Article 14 of the Rome Statute. Although Israel is not a State Party, the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Palestinian territories by nationals of Israel. The ICC also has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Israel by nationals of the State of Palestine. Through this referral, South Africa has not called upon the OTP to investigate specific persons, rather it is a call upon the OTP to prioritise the Palestine situation and to vigorously investigate all crimes committed in the situation that fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

11 December 2023 - NW4016

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

Why is the Government seeking relief from the International Criminal Court (ICC) by referring the situation in the State of Palestine to the ICC on 17 November 2023, considering that the Government attempted to withdraw from the Rome Statute and also contravened rulings of the ICC in the past (details furnished)?

Reply:

South Africa remains a State Party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and as such enjoys all the rights of a State Party, including to do a referral of a situation to the ICC in terms of Article 14 of the Rome Statute. On 17 October 2023, South Africa, joined by Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti, referred the situation in Palestine to the ICC, in view of prima facie evidence that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC had been committed and are continuing to be committed within the context of the conflict in Gaza. By this referral, South Africa, joined by other members of the international community, is illustrating its commitment to fighting impunity.

11 December 2023 - NW4005

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Herron, Mr BN to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether, considering that on 9 December 2023 the United Nations (UN) marks the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention), which is also the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime (details furnished), the Republic, as a party to the Genocide Convention, will call upon the competent organs of the UN to take action under the Charter of the UN in relation to the conflict and the genocide taking place in Gaza; if not, why not; if so, (a) by what date will the Government take the specified step and (b) what are the relevant details?

Reply:

(a) and (b) Against the backdrop of Israeli contraventions of international law in Palestine, the South African Government has commenced preliminary discussions among relevant Government Departments to consider taking further steps for accountability by Israel for the crime of genocide. The South African Government is also considering steps for the potential mobilisation of support by UN Member States for holding Israel accountable, in the context of the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. The commemoration by the UN in this regard presents a propitious moment for giving effect to the Genocide Convention.

.

04 December 2023 - NW3911

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

Whether, in light of the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s condemnation of the continued incarceration and repeated refusal by the Zimbabwean Government to grant bail to Zimbabwe’s political activist and former Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala, who has been in custody for over 500 days, her department has undertaken any steps to intervene and implore the Zimbabwean Government to respect Mr Sikhala’s human rights and respond to the calls for his immediate release from unlawful custody; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

South Africa respects the legal and judicial system of Zimbabwe. As a country, we believe that all legal avenues should be used if there is a legitimate belief that Mr Sikhala is being detained unjustly. The Department will engage with the report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to assess whether measures outside of the national legal system of Zimbabwe may be necessary.

04 December 2023 - NW3737

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Mogale, Mr T to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1) Whether she has found her department has been consistent in its approach of dealing with military takeovers, given that the response from her department was different at the time our SA Development Community neighbour Zimbabwe experienced a military takeover in 2017, when the former President, Mr Robert Mugabe, was removed from office, to how it currently is to the situation in francophone countries; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) what has she found to be the causes of the political situations that led to the military takeovers in (a) Gabon, (b) Burkina Faso and (c) Niger; (3) whether she has found that the citizens of the specified countries have full democratic rights to participate in free and fair elections; if not, (4) whether her department has condemned the alleged role played by France in stifling democracy and exploiting the natural resources of the countries with no tangible benefits for the citizens of the specified countries, if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW4953E

Reply:

1. South Africa has been consistent in its approach towards unconstitutional changes of Governments on the African Continent and has publicly articulated its opposition to these developments, which are in contravention of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (2002) and the Lomé Declaration of July 2000 on Unconstitutional Changes of Government. South Africa’s position, cognisant of the adverse challenges posed by unconstitutional changes of Government, is informed by the statements and decisions of the African Union (AU), in particular the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), as well as the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). The situation in Zimbabwe in 2017 was arguably not a military takeover but appeared to be more of an internal party-political matter and SADC has subsequently offered assistance in dealing with political situation in line with the organisation’s protocols and guidelines.

2. The African Union has identified the following causes of the political situations that led to the military takeovers in (a) Gabon, (b) Burkina Faso, and (c) Niger, which include, among others, the manipulation of democratic processes related to constitutional term limits; electoral problems; governance gaps resulting in the manipulation of government accountability mechanisms; security vulnerabilities exacerbated by terrorism and violent extremism; foreign political and military interference; transnational organised crime; siphoning of benefits from natural resources away from the population; youth unemployment and climate change. In this regard, the African Union highlighted the need to facilitate the consolidation of constitutionalism and address the challenge of military takeovers and emphasised the importance of strengthening the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Cooperation among AU Members States and stakeholders, it affirmed, will advance the implementation of normative frameworks that would be of benefit to the continent.

3. Citizens of the aforementioned countries have full democratic rights to participate in free and fair elections. However, these rights can only be fully protected by conducting regular elections, monitored by the African Union, Regional Economic Communities, and other international observers. South Africa stands ready to share its experiences with all countries, with regards to democracy, governance, national reconciliation, and the peaceful resolution of conflict. South Africa supports the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

4. South Africa continues to support the African Unions Agenda 2063 and AU flagship projects aimed at achieving maximum benefits from our natural resources.

24 November 2023 - NW3813

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

Whether Ubuntu magazine which has been produced by her department since 2012, has a printed version in addition to the digital edition; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) what total number of copies are printed in each quarter, (b) where are the specified copies distributed and (c) what is the total cost to Government for each copy of the printed issues?

Reply:

DIRCO’s stakeholder publication is available in both print and digital versions. The (a) total number of copies printed in each quarter and (c) total cost to government is as follows:

 

Quarter 1

Quarter 2

Quarter 3

Quarter 4

2021 – 2022

5000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R160 252.60

Cost per copy:

R32

5000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R160 252.50

Cost per copy:

R32

5000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R160 196.15

Cost per copy:

R32

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R114 270.90

Cost per copy:

R38

2022 – 2023

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R113 539.27

Cost per copy:

R37

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R133 885.97

Cost per copy:

R44

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R136 647.60

Cost per copy:

R45

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R135 470.00

Cost per copy:

R45

2023 – 2024

3000 copies were printed at a total cost of:

R137 965.50

Cost per copy:

R45

1000 copies (BRICS Special) were printed at a total cost of:

R73 272.25

Cost per copy: R73

3000 copies

In production

3000 copies

n/a

(b) The magazine is distributed to:

  • South Africa’s missions abroad
  • Embassies accredited to South Africa
  • Stakeholders such as the Mapungubwe Institute, SAIIA
  • Advertisers
  • Contributors
  • Government departments
  • During Public Participation Programmes (PPP) engagements by the department’s principals
  • Universities
  • Libraries

24 November 2023 - NW3812

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

(1)With reference to the advertising fees in the Ubuntu magazine which is published quarterly by her department, and whose latest issue, BRICS Special, lists various advertisers that include certain business entities (names furnished), how is the revenue allocated; (2) whether internal advertisers such as Ubuntu Radio are charged a reduced rate; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details? NW5030E

Reply:

1. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), through its Branch: Public Diplomacy, introduced its stakeholder magazine Ubuntu – South Africa’s Public Diplomacy in action – in August 2012. The publication’s objectives are to communicate with and inform stakeholders on South Africa’s foreign policy positions, achievements, objectives and goals. It also provides analysis and information on key departmental issues ranging from current affairs, bilateral and multilateral milestones.

Advertising in Ubuntu magazine forms part of the sponsorship package that DIRCO offers to potential sponsors of specific events, such as the Ubuntu Awards, Diplomatic Fair, as well as the XV BRICS Summit.

Based on the chosen sponsorship package, sponsorships that are accepted by DIRCO, and in the case of the XV BRICS Summit approved by the sponsorship committee, are provided with space in the magazine to advertise. The sponsorship, monetary or in kind, is then allocated to cover a specific cost for the identified event.

2. We do not charge internal or external entities to advertise in Ubuntu Magazine. External entities get advertising space as value for sponsoring DIRCO led events.

17 November 2023 - NW3585

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

In light of the increase to $2.7 billion in 2021 of the Republic’s exports through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) 2000, and noting the Republic’s opposition to international diplomatic positions of the United States of America (USA), especially with regard to the Republic’s neutral stance on the Russia/ Ukraine war that resulted in a scramble to avoid losing the opportunity to host the AGOA Forum in Johannesburg, what are the reasons for these diplomatic positions which threaten the Republic’s relationship with the USA with regard to AGOA, which has a meaningful and positive impact on the economy?

Reply:

South African has exercised its independent and non-aligned foreign policy position which has remained consistent and has advocated for the peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue and negotiation as demonstrated by South Africa’s efforts to resolve several conflicts on the continent (e.g., DRC, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan/Sudan). It is unfortunate that the US chooses to interpret this position as a threat to their national security and interests i.e. the rhetoric that “you are either with us, or against us”. South Africa has always opposed violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, which is the very reason why we have supported Palestine so staunchly, in keeping with the UN Charter. We have resisted becoming embroiled in the politics of confrontation and aggression between the traditional Cold War adversaries. This does not mean that we are indifferent to the suffering in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world. On the contrary, we are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. South Africa has consistently called for the urgent opening of humanitarian corridors and the provision of aid to the civilian population.

In relation to AGOA, it is most unfortunate that South Africa’s continued participation in AGOA has been weaponised by some members of the US Congress. South Africa has on several occasions acknowledged the importance of the United States as our third largest trading partner, China being first, followed by Europe.  The United States remains the largest single source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in South Africa and is an important source of technology transfer, tourism, and skills development. South Africa values our strategic relations with the United States and is committed to strengthening these relations for mutual benefit. As a result of consistent lobbying by South Africa, the US Administration supports the hosting of the AGOA Forum in South Africa.

South Africa, through DIRCO and the DTIC, has been engaging the US Government, Congress, the US private sector and civil society on matters related to AGOA. The Special Envoys appointed by the President have made a strong case in favour of South Africa’s continued participation in AGOA. These discussions will continue at the AGOA Forum in Johannesburg with a view to advancing the African Common Position for the timeous renewal of AGOA and how to strengthen the capacity of African countries to better take advantage of the AGOA preferences. We also continue to emphasise the synergy between AGOA and the AfCFTA in the context of the continental priorities for regional integration, industrialisation, and infrastructure development. In this regard, South Africa, given its level of industrial development,  can play a central role in catalysing regional values chains in the sub-region and beyond, thus contributing to economic recovery, re-industrialisation and addressing our triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. While our continued participation in AGOA is extremely valuable to addressing the goals of our National Development Plan (NDP) and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP), we cannot compromise our independent foreign policy stance.

17 November 2023 - NW3581

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

In light of the outcomes of the Report of the Investigative Panel into Lady R which exonerated the government and found that no equipment and/or arms were loaded onto the vessel, and noting that the debacle caused a diplomatic rift between South Africa and the United States of America (USA), and also impacted the Rand negatively following utterances by the USA Ambassador Reuben Brigety, what further consequence management steps is her department looking at insofar as the USA Ambassador is concerned?

Reply:

Following allegations made by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety, he was dèmarched by DIRCO and had a meeting with Minister Pandor who expressed deep disappointment and displeasure at the way serious allegations were made in the “wildest and most inappropriate manner” at a media conference. There are prescribed diplomatic protocols which should have been used to convey any grievance/concerns through appropriate diplomatic channels. This message has been clearly conveyed to the US Embassy.

Since the release of the report, DIRCO and the US Government have agreed to continue with work to strengthen the our bilateral relations. This includes cooperating in areas in the multilateral environment where we have common positions.

Our strategic partnership with the US has faced some strain, but like all relationships, we disagree on some issues, but our common objective should be to work towards the upliftment of our people. So, despite our differences, the US remains an important partner for SA, and we appreciate the investments by more than 600 US companies in SA, which are significant and contribute towards employment, skills transfer and improving the standards of living of millions of South Africans. At this point no further action is envisaged with respect to this issue.

17 November 2023 - NW3591

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In the aftermath of the alleged attack on Israel by Hamas, what (a) is the formal position of the Government on the conflict in the Middle East and (b) are the details of the actions that the Government has taken in response to the conflict to advance peace and security in the region?

Reply:

a) South Africa’s position continually supports all efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian State, existing side-by-side in peace with Israel, within internationally recognised borders, based on those of 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with all relevant UN resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters. Additionally, a viable and sustainable peace plan for the Middle East must ensure that Palestine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and economic viability is guaranteed, with sovereign equality between Palestine and Israel. The Palestinian question remains at the heart of the Middle East situation. The international community has an obligation to find a comprehensive and just resolution to the Palestinian issue. So far, the traditional approach to conflict resolution has failed to achieve peace in Israel – Palestine. It is possible that a different approach, one that uses a human rights perspective on conflict resolution, could produce what the old approach could not. The international community cannot abandon its duty to act together, it must shoulder the responsibility to remove obstacles to peace and any violations of international law. Violence, extra judicial killings, administrative imprisonment, forced removals, illegal settlements in the West Bank, and the continued siege of Gaza, are not conducive to resolving the conflict. Urgent attention must be given to resolving the final status issues such as borders, the status of Jerusalem, the release of political prisoners, and the right of return.

b) South Africa supports all international efforts that seek to ensure lasting and durable peace and works with the international community through various initiatives aimed at establishing a viable, contiguous Palestinian State, existing side-by-side in peace with Israel, within the 1967 internationally recognised borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital. HE President Ramaphosa was invited amongst a limited number of Heads of State, to participate in the recently held Peace Summit in Cairo. In addition, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr GNM Pandor, was invited to address the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to contribute to finding a resolution of the conflict in Gaza. Unfortunately, three (3) attempts by the UNSC failed to reach a resolution. However, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), by a two-thirds majority, reached a resolution that called for the immediate cessation of hostilities and to allow for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

17 November 2023 - NW3599

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

Considering the allegations of lack of accountability and delayed impact assessment reports from the African Renaissance Fund (ARF), what specific mechanisms has her department put in place to ensure that the migration of the ARF to the SA Development Partnership Agency will improve the financial management practices of the ARF?

Reply:

The African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund (ARF) has managed to receive unqualified audit opinions from the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) for the past five (05) consecutive years. This is an indication that the ARF Secretariat demonstrated accountability in relation to the administration and monitoring of the Fund and has also managed to establish internal controls and financial management practices that are in line with the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury Regulations.

The current internal controls and financial management practices of the ARF will continue to be implemented and further strengthened when the Fund migrates to the South African Development Partnership Fund (SADPA). The establishment of the fully-fledged agency will enable for the creation of a staff compliment as compared to the current officials working under the ARF as well as the development of financial systems and processes for the agency.

17 November 2023 - NW3634

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(a) How has the Republic benefited to date from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese government which aims to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks to improve trade and (b) what total amount has the BRI invested in the economy of the Republic?

Reply:

a) The Belt and Road Initiative is China's ambitious plan, which aims to link Asia, the Middle East and Africa through over-land and maritime trading corridors focusing on increasing interconnectivity between regions. Regarding Africa's common developmental agenda, the BRI is an important initiative that could realise some of the Continent's developmental priorities, particularly infrastructure development, which would facilitate intra-African trade. The BRI can potentially bring investment in infrastructure projects across the Continent. Realising the potential benefit of this visionary initiative, the African Union (AU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China in January 2015. The MoU focused on an intention to connect all 54 African countries through transportation networks and infrastructural projects, including modern highways, airports, and high-speed railways. South Africa signed an MoU with China in December 2015 on "Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road". However, there are currently no BRI-specific projects in South Africa. Thus, South Africa has yet to benefit from the BRI directly. The joint development cooperation and infrastructure projects currently under discussion between South Africa and China are undertaken bilaterally, including through the FOCAC programme. Recently, China has proposed a “Cooperation Plan between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of South Africa on Complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP)”, which is under consideration. This Plan could link to the BRI, an over-arching approach of China that encompasses future funding for bilateral projects.

b) Although China is an important bilateral investor in the South African economy, currently, the investments linked to BRI have not yet commenced. However, considering the over-arching framework of the BRI for bilateral infrastructure development projects, SA may benefit in terms of investments, funding and technical skills transfer from projects such as the Small Harbours Development, Mega Focus School, Poverty Alleviation Village Initiative and the Mzimvubu Water Project, which are currently at various stages of implementation.

17 November 2023 - NW3635

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether the Government is actively pursuing the attainment of a political settlement in Zimbabwe, following the disputed August 2023 elections in the specified country; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details of the political settlement that the Government hopes to achieve in Zimbabwe?

Reply:

The Republic of Zimbabwe held its harmonised elections on 23 and 24 August 2023 to elect the President, Members of Parliament and Councillors for local government. His Excellency Dr Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won the presidential elections by 52,6% of the votes and his closest rival and leader of the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Advocate Nelson Chamisa, received 44% of the vote. The other presidential candidates received about 3,3% of the vote combined.

According to Section 93 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, any aggrieved candidate may challenge the validity of an election of a President by lodging a petition or application with the Constitutional Court within seven (7) days after the date of the declaration of the results of the elections. The Constitutional Court must hear and determine a petition or application within fourteen (14) days after the petition or application was lodged and the Court’s decision is final.

There has been no pursuance of the above prescribed process by any of the presidential candidates after the general elections held on 23 and 24 August 2023. South Africa continues to engage with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure that peace and stability are improved in Zimbabwe. The results of the elections indicate that the two major players, being ZANU-PF and the CCC need to engage meaningfully with each other to ensure that their differences are solved so that Zimbabwe can focus on issues of inclusive development, peace and stability, which are important for Zimbabweans, South Africans and the SADC region.

13 November 2023 - NW3498

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

Amid widespread calls and protest action to close the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, what (a) is the Republic’s official position on hosting the Embassy and (b) are the relevant details and reasons for taking such position?

Reply:

South Africa cannot have normal relations with Israel, as long as the latter is unwilling to sincerely negotiate a peace plan without preconditions with Palestine. South Africa cannot be a party in any way to Israel’s plans and actions that would see the ideal of Palestinian statehood reduced into balkanised entities devoid of true sovereignty, without territorial contiguity and with no economic viability. However, breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel will be counterproductive as it will also affect our Representative Office in Ramallah, Palestine and by implication weaken the meaningful role that South Africa can play in the Palestinian cause.

The Government of South Africa will be considering the various calls made to further downgrade its diplomatic relations with Israel given the flagrant breaches of international law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. South Africa has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate these crimes which fall under its jurisdiction. A decision to downgrade will, further, need to consider whether it may impact negatively on South Africa’s ability to maintain a diplomatic presence in Palestine, which is the only link the country has to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza. Nonetheless, the demands for a downgrade have merit. South Africa will discuss this with all relevant stakeholders to assess the approach the country takes to our diplomatic relations with Israel given the current situation in the region.

10 November 2023 - NW3526

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Pambo, Mr V to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

In light of how global solidarity and sanctions played a significant role in undermining the Apartheid project in the Republic, what is the government doing practically to show solidarity with the people of Palestine, except the perceived lip service and empty messages?

Reply:

South Africa and Palestine are currently working on formulating practical strategies towards taking up the Palestinian cause to the ICC and ICJ to declare Israel as an apartheid state. South Africa will directly petition the ICJ to give advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967.

On the continental level, South Africa was instrumental in lobbying for Israel to not being granted an observer status to the African Union. In February 2023, South Africa welcomed the suspension of Israel’s observer status at the African Union. South Africa objected against the unilateral granting of official observer status by the Chairperson African Union (AU) Commissioner, on 22 July 2021. This action came at a time when the Israeli oppression became more brutal, the oppressed people of Palestine were and are subjected to bombardments and continued illegal settlements on their land, further hampering any efforts to the peace process.

On the global level, South Africa supports Palestinian efforts for membership of the United Nations and the creation of positive, credible, and lasting international mechanisms to address the Palestinian cause based on international law.

On the domestic level, the South African Parliament voted on 7 March 2023 in favour of a motion to downgrade its Embassy in Israel, to a Liaison Office. Since the recall of South Africa’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv in 2018, the South African Embassy in Israel has been headed by a Charge d’ Affaires.

30 October 2023 - NW3184

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

What are the full relevant details of all persons who were issued with diplomatic passports (a) in the past three financial years and (b) since 1 April 2023?

Reply:

(a) The full relevant details of all persons who were issued with diplomatic passports may not be divulged in terms of the following:

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996;

South African Passports and Travel Documents Act, No. 04 of 1994;

Identification Act, No. 68 of 1997;

Promotion of Access to Information Act, No. 02 of 2000;

Protection of Personal Information Act, No 04 of 2013;

South African Passport and Travel Documents Regulations, 1996;

Intelligence Services Act, 2002 (Act No 65 of 2002)

Intelligence Services Oversight Act, 1994 (Act No 40 of 1994)

(b) The full relevant details of all persons who were issued with diplomatic passports may not be divulged in terms of the following:

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996;

South African Passports and Travel Documents Act, No. 04 of 1994;

Identification Act, No. 68 of 1997;

Promotion of Access to Information Act, No. 02 of 2000;

Protection of Personal Information Act, No 04 of 2013;

South African Passport and Travel Documents Regulations, 1996;

Intelligence Services Act, 2002 (Act No 65 of 2002)

Intelligence Services Oversight Act, 1994 (Act No 40 of 1994)

30 October 2023 - NW3176

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

In light of the current dramatic escalation in tension and the fact that the Republic no longer has an embassy in Israel, what are the full relevant details of how the Government provides support to South Africans in Israel who wish to return home?

Reply:

The South African Embassies in Tel Aviv (Israel) and Ramallah (Palestine) and the Consular Services at Head Office (DIRCO) are hard at work monitoring, collecting information and liaising with South African nationals who might be in distress and in need of consular services.

Since the conflict broke out on 7 October 2023, 120 South Africans in Israel and Palestine have contacted the respective SA Missions to inform them of their presence and expressing their needs. Several South African nationals had encountered problems flying out of Tel Aviv because of the interruption of air services after rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel last weekend. Distressed South African nationals in Gaza are on the United Nations (UN) rescue list and ready to be moved out of Gaza when the opportunity arises.

27 October 2023 - NW3244

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1)Whether, with reference to her reply to question 2854 on 22 September 2023, wherein she stated that her department was not able to provide a definitive answer regarding the total costs for the hosting of the BRICS Summit as invoices are still outstanding from the appointed suppliers, her department can now provide the total costs for the hosting of the BRICS Summit; if not, why not; if so, what was the total expenditure incurred by her department for hosting the BRICS Summit in August 2023; (2) what was the total expenditure incurred by her department for hosting the BRICS Parliamentary Forum in September 2023? NW4319E

Reply:

(1) The expenditure incurred by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in the hosting of the XV BRICS Summit was R 104 350 405.79.

(2) The Department of International Relations and Cooperation did not contribute financially to the hosting of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum.

10 October 2023 - NW3040

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What amounts did (a) Russia, (b) China, (c) India and (d) Brazil contribute to the (i) BRICS Ministerial Meeting hosted in Cape Town on 1 June 2023, (ii) 2023 BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue and (iii) BRICS Summit hosted in August?

Reply:

i) The contribution of Russia (a), China (b), India (c)and Brazil (d) to the BRICS Ministerial Meeting hosted in Cape Town on 1 June 2023:

a) Nil

b) Nil

c) Nil

d) Nil

ii) The Department was not involved in the BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue as this event was organised by the governing party.

iii) The contribution of Russia (a), China (b), India (c) and Brazil (d) to the 15th BRICS Summit:

a) Nil

b) Nil

c) Nil

d) Nil

06 October 2023 - NW3109

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

With reference to the reported R500 million in revenue that her department will generate through the sales of various properties across the globe, (a) what total amount will be lost through commissions and taxes related to the sales and (b) how does her department plan to spend the remaining money from the sales?

Reply:

(a) The process for the disposal of some of the identified superfluous properties is currently at the approval stage, whilst others are at an advertisement stage. The total amount for commissions and taxes will only be determined at conveyancing stage and when sales have been successfully concluded by estate agents.

(b) Subject to approvals by National Treasury, the generated revenue will be used by the Department to fund new acquisitions/constructions and major refurbishments, using the National Treasury Self-Financing Mechanism

02 October 2023 - NW2977

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

What steps has her department put in place to address the concerns that have been raised regarding South Africans of Jewish origin who continue to receive training in the Israeli defence force which poses a serious risk to the Republic?

Reply:

The National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) administers the Prohibition of Mercenary Activities and the Regulations of Certain Activities in a country of Armed Conflict Act (Act 27 of 2006) that regulate and control matters related to the question posed. However, the competency and responsibility to enforce the law, gather intelligence, investigation and prosecutorial discretion, regarding the breach of the abovementioned laws does not reside with DIRCO but other Government departments such as the Departments of Justice and Constitutional Development, Defence and Military Veterans, State Security and the National Prosecution Authority.

02 October 2023 - NW3012

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1)What (a) are the details and/or a full list of all political party representatives invited to attend the 2023 BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue and (b) was the selection criteria used to determine to whom such invitations would be extended; (2) what costs have her department contributed to the (a) BRICS Ministerial Meeting hosted in Cape Town on 1 June 2023, (b) 2023 BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue hosted on 18 July 2023 and (c) BRICS Summit hosted in August; (3) what are the full and cumulative costs for (a) BRICS Ministerial Meeting hosted in Cape Town on 1 June 2023, (b) 2023 BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue and (c) the BRICS Summit hosted in August? NW4077E

Reply:

1. (a) The political parties of the respective BRICS Plus countries were invited by South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, to attend the BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue. The South African Government was not involved in organising the BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue. (b) The South African Government was not involved in the selection nor the extending of invitations to any political party.

2. (a) The Departmental contribution to the BRICS Ministerial of 1st and 2nd June hosted in Cape Town amounted to ZAR 9 848 909.51 (b) The South African Government and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation did not contribute to the BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue. (c) The Department will only be able to provide information once the reconciliation of accounts has been completed.

3. (a) The full and cumulative costs for the BRICS Ministerial were ZAR 9 848 909.51.(b) The South African Government and the Department did not contribute financially to the 2023 BRICS Political Party Plus Dialogue. (c) The Department will only be able to provide the full and cumulative costs once the reconciliation of accounts has been completed.

22 September 2023 - NW2853

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

Whether, in view of the statement by the President, Mr M C Ramaphosa, on 3 September 2023 that the panel investigating the allegation that Lady R was in the shores of the Republic to collect weapons for the Russian Federation have cleared South Africa of all wrong doing, the Government intends to take any steps against the United States Ambassador to South Africa, Mr Reuben Brigety, for making false allegations; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details? NW3272

Reply:

Following the allegations made by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety, he was dèmarched by the department. During the meeting between the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Ambassador Brigety, South Africa expressed deep disappointment and displeasure at the manner in which the allegations were made, especially since there are prescribed diplomatic protocols which should have been used to convey any grievance/concerns of the US Government in relation to the Lady R vessel.

In the wake of the release of the outcomes of the Investigation Panel into the Lady R, the Department will, after thorough consultation, decide on a course of action in respect of the US Ambassador, should this be deemed necessary, taking into account the overall impact on our bilateral relations with the US and the foreign policy interests of the country.

 

22 September 2023 - NW2881

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1)What are the (a) dates and (b) relevant details of meetings and full minutes of all bilateral engagements between (i) her, (ii) the officials of her department, (iii) the Deputy President and (iv) the President and their counterparts in Uganda regarding the anti-homosexuality bill signed into law by the President of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni, in May 2023; (2) what bilateral engagements will the Republic pursue with the (a) President of Uganda, (b) Members of the Executive and (c) Members of Parliament in Uganda regarding the alleged human rights abuses that members of the LGBTQIA community will now confront as a result of the anti-homosexuality bill that has been signed into law by the President of Uganda in May 2023? NW3305E

Reply:

1. There have not been any bilateral engagements between the President, Deputy President, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and officials in the department with their Ugandan counterparts regarding the anti-homosexuality bill signed into law by the President of Uganda, Mr Yoweri Museveni, in May 2023.

2. South Africa is guided by its Constitutional principles which seeks to amongst others, promote and respect human rights of all people including members of the LGBTQIA community. South Africa is monitoring developments in Uganda and will raise its concerns with the Ugandan authorities through diplomatic channels.

22 September 2023 - NW2889

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Myburgh, Mr NG to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether (a) her department and (b) any of the entities reporting to her (i) contributed in any way, materially or otherwise, to the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School in Tanzania and (ii) sent any visitors and/or participants to the specified school; if not, what is the position in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and entities reporting to department have not made any contribution towards the establishment of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School in Tanzania and have not sent any visitors and/or participants to the school.

22 September 2023 - NW2880

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What (a) are the total costs and (b) is the breakdown of the specified costs to her department in respect of (i) the Parliamentary study tour to Europe to inspect vacant buildings in June 2023 and (ii) all monies contributed to the Africa Peace Mission to Ukraine in June 2023?

Reply:

(i) The total costs incurred by the Department in relation to the Parliamentary study tour to Europe was Euro 4290.90 with the following breakdown:

  • Air Transport: 1287.00
  • Hotel Accommodation: 1563.45
  • Daily Allowance: 604.75
  • Ground Transport: 835.70

(ii) The Department did not make any financial contribution to the African Peace Mission to Ukraine.

22 September 2023 - NW2855

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

(1)Whether, with reference to her reply to question 628 on 22 March 2023, BRICS member countries now have a common understanding on what (a) process potential candidates should follow to officially apply for admission to BRICS and (b) standards and criteria should be taken into account when considering potential candidates, there is a common understanding of the process; if not, what is the position in each case; if so what are the relevant details in each case; (2) noting that the Republic is party to the Johannesburg II Declaration signed at the recent BRICS Summit held on 22 to 24 August 2023, which calls for all Member States to cooperate in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms under the principles of equality and mutual respect, how can she explain Republic’s support for the inclusion of Iran into BRICS as Iran has been repeatedly flagged by the United Nations for serious human rights violations, including allegations of torture, as well as sexual and gender-based violence committed against women, men and children, especially in detention?

Reply:

1. Yes, a) BRICS member countries have a common understanding on what the process for a potential candidate should be as well as the standards and criteria for the inclusion of a new member. b) BRICS member countries have reached consensus on the guiding principles, standards, criteria, and procedures of the BRICS expansion process which are outlined in the agreed upon BRICS Expansion document.

2. The decision to invite the six new members was a consensus driven decision and that prospective members were considered on the basis of regional strategic influence, the support for multilateralism including its reform and the commitment to sustainable development.

South Africa and Iran enjoy an historical and fraternal relationship, with both countries interacting regularly, notably through the Joint Commission of Cooperation (JCC), with the 15th session of the JCC being held on 10 August 2023. This is the longest running and one of the most active structured bilateral mechanism South Africa has with any country in the Middle East Region. Through our bilateral relations and our cooperation in other multilateral fora, South Africa have continuously engaged Iran on a number of political and economic areas of cooperation, including human rights issues. For instance, South Africa as a member of the Human Rights Council, looks forward to making use of the Human Rights Dialogue Forum, to increase its bilateral cooperation on human rights issues, including constructive and meaningful dialogue, for mutual benefit with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The inclusion of Iran as a new member of BRICS will provide a new platform to further enhance these engagements in the BRICS Spirit of mutual respect and understanding

22 September 2023 - NW2854

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

What are the total costs incurred by the Republic in hosting the recent BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from 22 – 24 August 2023?

Reply:

The Department of International Relations and Cooperations is currently not able to provide a definitive answer regarding the total costs for the hosting of the BRICS Summit as invoices are still outstanding from the appointed suppliers. Once all invoices have been received and paid, will the department be able to provide the requested information.

15 September 2023 - NW2713

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

Whether a recommendation to move the 2023 BRICS summit to China was made by the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the President to deal with how the Government was going to manage issues pertaining to the summit; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, on what date was the recommendation communicated to Cabinet; (2) What are the full costs incurred by her department in relation to the BRICS Foreign Ministers Summit held at the 12 Apostles Hotel from 1 to 2 June 2023? NW3104E

Reply:

1. No recommendation was made to move the Summit to China. Instead, there was a focus on options that would maintain South Africa as the host of the Summit (being the Chair of BRICS in 2023) inside the borders of the country, whether in hybrid, or in-person format, to fully capitalise on the historic opportunity provided by the BRICS bloc expansion and the geo-political environment.

2. The total costs incurred for the hosting of the BRICS Foreign Ministers was ZAR 9, 848 909.51.    

15 September 2023 - NW2715

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1)Whether the Ambassador to the United States has been on sick and/or incapacity leave (a) in the past two financial years and (b) since 1 April 2023; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, for what total number of days per absence; (2) Whether the SA Embassy in Washington remained open to the public at all times during the duration of the Ambassador’s absence; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, on what dates has the Embassy been closed to the public? NW3106E

Reply:

1. During the 2021/2022 cycle, Ambassador Mfeketo was on annual leave for 24 days, (18 October – 12 November 2021 = 20 days, and 28 December – 31 December 2021 = 4 days compulsory leave).

The Ambassador was also on sick leave for 39 days:  06 - 10 March 2023 = 5 days; 11 - 16 April 2023 = 4 days and 17 April – 31 May 2023 = 32 days.

Approval was granted by the Department for the Ambassador to take leave.

2. During the Ambassador’s absence, the Embassy remained open during all official working hours to the public. The Deputy Chief of Mission was appointed as Chargé d’ Affaires to manage the Embassy.

15 September 2023 - NW2714

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Powell, Ms EL to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

What are the full details of the staff members of her department who were aboard the chartered flight to Warsaw, Poland, on 15 and 16 June 2023?

Reply:

None of the passengers aboard the chartered aircraft to Warsaw, Poland, on 15 and 16 June 2023 were officials of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

10 July 2023 - NW2513

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Mogale, Mr T to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

(1) Whether the BRICS summit will still be held in the Republic; if not, why not; if so, (2) Whether the President of Russia, Mr Vladimir Putin, will be in attendance physically at the summit; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, how is the Government planning to handle the arrest warrant issued against President Putin?

Reply:

  1. Yes, the BRICS Summit will be hosted by South Africa.
  2. The subject of President Putin's attendance and the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court are matters under consideration by the Government of South Africa. The President will make an announcement on this matter once a decision is finalised.

28 June 2023 - NW2487

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

Whether the Southern African Development Community assessed the preparation and build-up to the Zimbabwean government elections which are due to take place in August 2023 to ensure that the elections will be fair and transparent, noting that the Zimbabwean government has signed the Patriotic Bill into law; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

South Africa supports the implementation of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections through the work of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC). SADC deployed a SEAC Pre-Election Assessment Goodwill Mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe, from 12-19 April 2023, to conduct a pre-election assessment for the upcoming 23 August 2023 harmonised elections. A comprehensive report on the outcomes of the SEAC Goodwill Mission was shared with the Government of Zimbabwe. The Report is expected to be presented to the 25th Ordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Organ on 21 July 2023.

 

28 June 2023 - NW2486

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

What innovations has the African Union Research Unit established to have more reliable and effective early warning systems in place when it comes to climate change as it displaced and affected a lot of Africans in the recent years?

Reply:

The 4th Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE), held virtually from 13-17 in December 2021, inaugurated the Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning System and Early Action Situation Room for Disaster Risk Reduction. It was recognised that the establishment of the Situation Room could play a key role in contributing towards reducing disaster mortalities and economic losses at micro level and improved disaster risk management at macro level through improved availability and access to early warning information, as well as harmonised early warning systems, which would include weather-related disasters exacerbated by Climate Change. It was further recognised that the operationalisation of the Situation Room and the Multi-Hazard Early Warning Programme and its sustainability is dependent on the inputs from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Member States that directly interface with the hazards, as well as continued financial and technical support from the cooperating partners.

Furthermore, this STC adopted the Revised 2021-2030 Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services) which aims to provide strategic direction on the development and application of meteorology (weather and climate services) to support Africa’s social and economic development including in sectors such as agriculture and food security, health, water management, aviation, infrastructure, marine and blue economy, disaster risk reduction, energy, inter alia. The 2021-2030 Integrated African Strategy on Meteorology (Weather and Climate Services) comprises five key pillars, namely:

  • Increasing political support and recognition of national meteorological services (NHMs) and Regional Climate Centres (RCCs)
  • Improved observation networks, data access and processing
  • Improved weather, water, climate and climate change services
  • Research and Innovation, development and training
  • Strengthened partnerships with relevant institutions, the private sector and civil society.

In addition, this STC meeting adopted a report on the creation of African disaster operations capacity and capability and endorsed the creation of a continental civilian capacity for disaster preparedness and response, which will draw from individual African Member States’ capacities to provide timely assistance to disaster-stricken countries. This STC meeting also adopted the Disaster Recovery Framework (DRF) and indicated that the main objective of the framework is to guide resilient socio-economic recovery efforts of the continental, regional and national levels. This included a contextual analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors. The framework proposes transformational policy and programmatic actions that would be undertaken in a short, medium and long term to respond to the pandemic and other disasters within the COVID-19 contexts; recover from the pandemic and the other disasters and build back better from future crises and disasters.

26 June 2023 - NW2424

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

(1)Whether, considering that according to the information provided by the National Treasury in her department’s Estimates of National Expenditure 2023, the performance indicators reveal that the department is expected to produce almost 50 reports each year over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, she will furnish Mr M Hlengwa with the relevant details concerning the (a) target audience for the specified reports and (b) total cost of producing the reports; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether she has found any measure of quality control to ensure that the content produced is of value; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Reply:

1. (a) The target audience for the specified reports are the following:

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

The Deputy Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation

The Director-General of International Relations and Cooperation

Deputy Directors-General

Chief Directors

Internal Audit

Audit Committee

The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation.

(b) The total cost of producing the reports cannot be quantified in monetary terms as the reports are drafted and produced in-house.

2. The Office of the Chief Operating Officer, through the Chief-Directorate Strategic Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, manages the processes of quarterly and annual reporting within DIRCO. Information received is quality assured and reflected in the departmental reporting in line with the framework for managing performance information. 

22 June 2023 - NW2166

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

With reference to a recent speech she delivered at the Ninth Pan-African Congress Launching Ceremony in Lomé, Togo, wherein she mentioned the need for promoting foreign direct investment on our own terms, what are the full, relevant details of the terms in question and their potential benefits for the Republic?

Reply:

The reference to increased Foreign Direct Investment into Africa on terms defined by Africans….”, addressed the notion of “Conditionalities to Aid”, underlining the imperative for Africa to focus on the continental challenges of poverty, low skills levels and weak industrial capacity “on its own terms and not through the terms defined by someone else. In this context, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) is considered as one of the key tools to address these continental challenges.

The remarks further contextualised the fundamental principle of “African Unity” and most importantly underlined the need for the 9th Pan-African Congress to take a “thematic approach” to guide its outcomes, including the following:

  • Promoting Foreign Direct Investment on Africa’s own terms;
  • Increased market access for African products and strong implementation of the AfCFTA;
  • Enhanced and qualitative change in agriculture and food security for Africa;
  • Decisive Transfer of technology and of innovation that Africans must play a role in;
  • Affirm Africa’s need for Investment in infrastructure, including health infrastructure, in order to address the shortcomings that became evident during the pandemic period;
  • Courageous in ensuring that Africa builds and strengthen democratic institutions; and
  • Africa and its Diaspora should not neglect the development of its people through quality education, capacity-building and the right skills to pursue, human resource development, research and innovation.

21 June 2023 - NW1719

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

In view of her department’s recent statement regarding the conflict in Sudan that the Republic has noted with concern and strongly condemns the fighting that has erupted in Sudan, whilst her department merely stated that it deeply regrets that the war in Ukraine continues to destroy innocent lives, what are the full relevant details of the criteria that her department employs to determine that a conflict situation should be strongly condemned, as opposed to merely expressing deep regret?

Reply:

The Department’s statement on the conflict in Sudan is in line with the statements issued by the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and the international community as a whole. Similarly, South Africa’s statement on the war in Ukraine has been consistent with the statements by a number of countries, including international organisations. South Africa has consistently called for the peaceful resolution to the wars in Sudan and Ukraine, which have a devastating impact and negative humanitarian effects to the most vulnerable. South Africa supports the AU, UN and peace initiatives by a number of countries to bring about peace in these countries.