SA foreign policy steady

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South Africa‘s new Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoane-Mashabane says the country’s foreign policy will remain steady and that, funds permitting, her department is to stand up a foreign development agency to assist it in its task.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation meanwhile says SA`s former ambassador to the United Nations, Dumisani Khumalo is now Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, where he replaces Kingsley Mamabolo in the same role. Mamabolo is now in Abuja as High Commissioner to Nigeria. Representing SA in the UN will be Baso Sangqu.     

Kumalo represented SA in New York for ten years, often putting forward controversial positions and casting contentious votes, including voting against Security Council action against Burma (Myanmar) on the grounds that it is properly a matter for the UN Human Rights Commission to consider.     

Nkoane-Mashabane last week reconfirmed that SA`s foreign policy “is based upon and is indeed an advancement of our domestic priorities at an international level.”

She emphasised that accordingly the country`s foreign policy remains premised on:

·         pushing back the frontiers of poverty and under-development in our country and Africa based on the continental economic and developmental plan, NEPAD:

·         creation of peace and pursuance of peaceful resolution of conflicts;

·         contribute to peace efforts in Africa and the world;

·         building and consolidation of strategic partnerships to advance our developmental agenda;

·         building and reform of African continental institutions; as well as

·         the continued exertion of influence on global political and economic issues.

“In pursuance of all these objectives listed above, South Africa recognises that its destiny is inextricably linked to that of the developing world in general and in particular the African continent in particular.

“Consequently as South Africa seeks to attain its foreign policy objectives it should simultaneously pursue a developmental agenda both in the continent and the developing world,” she said.

“This developmental agenda can only succeed to the extent to which strategic and mutual developmental cooperation is built with countries of the continent, the developing and the developed world.”

DFA to DICO

Nkoane-Mashabane added that the name change to DICO is “in line with international trends and is informed by the need to give greater clarity on the mandate of the department. In this regard, over and above its normal functions the department will also engage in dynamic partnerships for development and cooperation.

“In this context, discussions are ongoing in government regarding a possible establishment of developmental agency which would assist in the pursuit of the notion of a better Africa in a better world.

“It is our view that such an agency, if established, will enhance our developmental agenda which continues to rest on the key pillars of our foreign policy namely consolidation of the African Agenda, strengthening  South-South cooperation, strengthening North-South relations, strengthening political and economic relations as well as participating in the global system of governance.

“The renaming of the Department as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation is a deliberate decision on the part of government to ensure a holistic approach to foreign relations which reflects on developmental agenda,” she said.

In a question-and-answer session she said the focus would be on Africa generally and southern Africa in particular.



Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe added that SA would remain involved in peace making and peacebuilding in the continent.