Unabridged statement: Minister of International Relations & Cooperation: BRICS


Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on South Africa’s full membership of BRICS
24 Dec 2010

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Yang Jiechi that BRIC (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China) invites South Africa into BRICS (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) as a full member

On 23 December 2010, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, received a telephone call from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Yang Jiechi informing her that China, in its capacity as the rotating Chairperson of the BRIC (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China) formation, based on agreement reached between the BRIC Member States, invites South Africa as a full member into BRICS (Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa). He further indicated that President Hu Jintao also issued a letter of invitation to President Jacob Zuma to attend the 3rd BRICS Leaders’ Summit to be held in China in 2011. Minister Yang conveyed that China believed that South Africa’s accession would promote the development of BRICS and enhance cooperation among emerging market economies.

On behalf of President Zuma and the South African Government, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane expressed South Africa’s sincere appreciation for the invitation to join BRICS, as well as the invitation from President Hu to attend the Summit. The minister emphasised that South Africa was ready to step up communication and coordination with China and other BRICS Member States for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane wrote to her BRIC counterparts in 2009 to raise the possibility of South Africa’s BRIC membership. President Zuma subsequently met with BRIC leaders in the course of 2010.
“The rationale for South Africa’s approach was in consideration of a matter of crucial importance to BRICS Member States, namely the role of emerging economies in advancing the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable, balanced and rests on the important pillar of multilateralism,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.
“Our approach to intensifying our relations with emerging powers and other countries of the South is, of course, through active and strong bilateral engagement. In addition, however, we also see the NAM and the G77 as important for South-South interaction, especially within the framework of the United Nations.
“At another level, we see the formation of the IBSA and our membership of that body as a mechanism not only for enhancing our trilateral partnership with India and Brazil, but also as an important pillar for strengthening the muscle of the South in global affairs.
“We believe that the IBSA will get a better balance, and become even stronger, with South Africa now as a member of the BRICS. We remain convinced that South Africa’s diversified foreign policy objectives and interests allow for both groupings (IBSA and BRICS) to co-exist. It is our belief that the mandates of BRICS and IBSA are highly complementary,” concluded Minister Nkoana-Mashabane.

South Africa and BRICS Member States already collaborated and will continue to collaborate closely in various international organisations and formations such as the United Nations, the G-20 and the IBSA Dialogue Forum. All BRICS countries will serve on the UNSC in 2011 as permanent (China, Russian Federation) or non-permanent members (Brazil, India and South Africa), which augurs positively for enhanced cooperation efforts in terms of the salient issues of common interest as quoted above.

For more information, please speak to:

Mr Clayson Monyela

Cell: 082 884 5974

Issued by: Department of International Relations and Cooperation
24 Dec 2010