SA concerned about Libya


South Africa has expressed concern over the ongoing military bombardment of Libya by Western powers. This came out on Thursday during a public lecture by the International Relations and Cooperation Deputy minister Marius Fransman at the University of the Western Cape.

His interactive address with a group of keen students and academics looked at the country’s role in the global arena, the state BuaNews agency said. Students wanted to know what the “No fly Zone” resolution over Libya meant, as South Africa supported the UN Security Council, yet the country was being bombed by the West and civilians were dying. Fransman said that they were concerned about the Libyan situation and would not support regime change there.

They also wanted to know the country’s position on removing sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, which they said were affecting ordinary people and not the targeted elite. Fransman said that they were against sanctions and were regularly raising the matter with various embassies. Locally, concerns about the lack of transformation in the education system were raised by the group of students and academics.

In his address, he raised concerns about the education system in South Africa. For example, he said that a study had revealed that of the more than 1.4 million children who started grade 1 in 1997, only half a million finished matric by 2009. He promised the students that his department would increase its intake to train those interested in diplomacy. “We need to rev up our intake,” he said, highlighting that they were currently taking between 60 and 80 students, whom they guaranteed jobs.

On the country’s challenge of shortages of skills, he said skilled Zimbabweans among other foreigners living in SA should get jobs.