Local defence sector will be part of BRICS Summit


South Africa’s defence industry is going to be part of next week’s BRICS Summit in Durban.

In addition to a defence seminar on the side of the main summit the Aerospace Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) along with the Department of Trade and Industry supported Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI) will lead defence participation in the BRICS exhibition.

The defence, peace, safety and security research area of the CSIR will be present as will DCD protected Mobility, Denel, Paramount Group, Reutech Communications, Reutech Radar Systems, Rheinmetall Denel Munitions, Saab Grintek Defence, Tellumat and Thorax.

The exhibition will be staged at the Durban International Convention Centre, venue for the Summit itself with hopes already being expressed that it will see at least the first steps taken towards the establishment of a BRICS bank.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in February headed a delegation to Russia as part of the build-up to the Durban Summit. This was followed by another visit to Moscow, this time with SA National Defence Force Chief General Solly Shoke at the helm. The third foreign visit by a high-powered South African military and defence industry delegation in support of the BRICS Durban gathering was to Brazil. This one was led by SA Air Force Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang.

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The first BRIC Summit took place in Yekaterinburg, Russia, where the elected leaders of the four countries formally declared the membership of the BRIC economic bloc. South Africa joined the bloc in 2010, resulting in BRICS.

Being part of this bloc is in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objective of strengthening South-South relations. The present context of international relations and co-operation between Asian, African and Latin American countries – collectively known as countries of the South – remains critical and has become more important than ever before the Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement ahead of the Summit.

South Africa’s membership is premised on its global and regional/continental role as well as its domestic achievements. South Africa joined BRICS with three objectives: to advance its national interests as outlined in the State of the Nation address; to promote its regional integration programme and related continental infrastructure programmes; and to partner with key players of the South on issues related to global governance and its reform.

South Africa’s membership of this body has expanded BRICS’ geographic and intercontinental reach, including its global representivity and inclusiveness.