Good afternoon to you all, ladies and gentlemen of the media,
I would like to recognise specifically our Acting Director-General, Amb Nkosi, my advisors present here today and all DIRCO senior managers.
The last time we met in this setting, we made an undertaking that we will convene more of these types of engagements in order to keep the media and the public abreast on the implementation of our foreign policy priorities and programmes.
1. The 10th BRICS Summit
We meet soon after the conclusion of the very successful and historic 10th BRICS Summit, hosted from 25-27 July 2018 in Sandton, Johannesburg.
I would like to thank all the role players, including the media, government officials as well as business and NGO stakeholders for assisting us in demonstrating to the world that South Africa is capable of hosting High-Level Summits efficiently and that we are gracious hosts.
Through the Summit, we were able to showcase the treasure of this country, which is its people, who are both welcoming and professional in their dealings with our friends from other countries.
It was a very important summit and took place against the onslought against multilaterism and some countries withdrawing from long standing commitments. The Summit was an occasion for the BRICS leaders to be at the centre of shaping a new global order and centralizing a new world order with the United Nations at the apex.
President Cyril Ramaphosa hosted his BRICS counterparts, President Michel Temer of Brazil, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India and President Xi Jinping of China. The Summit was also attended by Leaders invited for the BRICS-Plus Dialogue, namely Argentina, Jamaica and Turkey.
The Summit was further attended by Heads of State and Government invited for the Africa Outreach Dialogue, namely Rwanda, Uganda, Togo, Gabon, Madagascar, Senegal, Namibia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, as well as representatives from Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, and Seychelles. In total 25 Heads of States (BRICS, BRICS Plus, BRICS Outreach included) attended this Summit.
The following agreements were signed by all five BRICS member states:
Memorandum of Understanding on Environment;
Memorandum of Understanding on BRICS Regional Aviation Partnership:
Agreement for Establishment of the Regional Office of the New Development Bank (NDB) for the Americas in the City of Sao Paulo, Brazil
A series of bilateral agreements were also signed. These include:
MoU between South Africa and India on the Setting Up of the Gandhi-Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills
The objective of the Memorandum of Understanding is the desire of the Indian Government to establish the Gandhi-Mandela Skills Training Institute as a contribution to the South African Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system. The MoU provides, amongst other things, for the training of South African personnel in India and the training of facilitators by Indian experts in South Africa.
MoU between the Indian Space Research Organsiation and the South African National Space Agency on Cooperation in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes
The aim of this MoU is to promote the development of partnerships in the field of exploration of the outer space and the application of space technologies for the benefit of the people of both countries and to preserve the outer space for peaceful purposes open to wide international cooperation.
MoU between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India and the Agricultural Research Council, Pretoria, South Africa, on Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Education
The objective of the MoU is for both Councils to coordinate and promote human resource development in the field of agriculture. Further to foster innovation through research and technology development in order to support and develop the agricultural sectors both in South Africa and India.
The Republic of South Africa and the Russian Federation also signed an agreement on Co-operation in the Field of Agriculture and a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Water Resource Management. The main outcomes of the 10th BRICS Summit were informed by South Africa’s Chairship priorities, notably:
1. 4th Industrial Revolution
As part of the key deliverables, the Leaders endorsed the establishment of a BRICS Working Group on the 4th Industrial Revolution through the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution (PartNIR) and its’ Advisory Group consisting of respective representatives of BRICS Ministries of Industry. The PartNIR aims at deepening BRICS cooperation in digitalisation, industrialisation, innovation, inclusiveness, and investment, to maximise the opportunities and address the challenges arising from the 4th Industrial Revolution. Together with the above-mentioned initiative, the establishment of the BRICS Networks of Science Parks, Technology Business Incubators and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises was endorsed.
2. Vaccine Centre
To address the common challenges in health through strengthening coordination and cooperation, a Vaccine Research Centre to be hosted in South Africa to be established. With regard to the site of the Vaccine Centre, the BioVaC Institute was identified under the stewardship of both the CSIR and the Animal Research Centre (ARC). It is envisaged that an international workshop will be convened before October this year to launch the Centre officially.
BRICS leaders recognized the importance of UN peacekeeping for the maintenance of international peace and security and the contribution of BRICS countries to UN Peacekeeping. They acknowledged the need to increase BRICS cooperation on this matter and recognised the South African initiative to create a BRICS working group on peacekeeping. Way forward: South Africa could thus pursue the creation of the Working Group by facilitating agreement on the Guidelines for the creation of the Working Group. This could be further discussed at the final Sherpa’s meeting under South Africa’s Chair of BRICS.
4. BRICS Working Group on Tourism
BRICS leaders welcomed the initiative to establish a BRICS Working Group on Tourism, in order to increase economic development and people-to-people relations to further grow intra-BRICS tourism.
BRICS Networks of Science Parks, Technology Business Incubators and SMEs: BRICS leaders supported the establishment of the BRICS Networks of Science Parks, Technology Business Incubators and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Over and above the agreements just listed, the Summit also focused on the key issues surrounding the following (i) global political-security situation, (ii) global governance of financial, economic and political institutions; and (iii) people-to-people relations.
Mediation support in the Kingdom of Lesotho
Our former Deputy Chief Justice Moseneke has commenced with his duties as the leader of the SADC Facilitation Team appointed by President Ramaphosa. Justice Moseneke has held a series of meetings with relevant stakeholders, including with President Ramaphosa on 20 July 2018.
Justice Moseneke will be assisted by three Deputy Ministers: Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Reginah Mhaule, the Deputy Minister of State Security, Ms Ellen Molekane and the Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty.
President Ramaphosa has expressed confidence in Justice Moseneke's ability to steer the parties in the Kingdom of Lesotho towards the implementation of SADC decisions relating to the stabilization and consolidation of peace and democratic governance in the Kingdom.
The strategic objective of the Facilitation Mission is to assist the Kingdom of Lesotho to undertake constitutional and security sector reforms.
Upcoming SADC Summit in Namibia
We are currently finalising our preparations for the SADC Summit to be held in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia. The SADC Council of Ministers is scheduled to meet on 13-14 August 2018, followed by the SADC Organ Troika Summit (Angola, Tanzania and Zambia) on 16 August 2018 and the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government on 17-18 August 2018. In his role as Outgoing Chair of SADC, President Ramaphosa will deliver a report to the Summit, outlining the work of the regional body for the duration of South Africa’s tenure as Chair of SADC from August 2017 to August 2018.
South Africa will hand-over the SADC Chairship to the Republic of Namibia. During the Summit, President Ramaphosa will also present a hand-over report on South Africa’s Chairship with a focus on the operationsalisation of its Chairship theme “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.
The Summit is expected to discuss the following key issues among others:
Elections of the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of Summit and the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation
Status of Member States Contributions
Report of the Outgoing Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation
Overview of the Socio-Economic Situation in the Region
On issues relating to politics, peace and security, the Chairperson of the Organ (Angola) will give a report on the state of peace and security in the region. Particular attention will be paid to elections in the region, i.e Republics of Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Eswatini and the DRC.
As Chairperson of SADC, President Ramaphosa is, as customary, expected to deliver the 2018 SADC Day Message to be broadcasted through national television and radio stations across the region on 17 August 2018. In addition, the President will participate in the prize giving of the annual SADC Media Awards and SADC Secondary School Essay Competition.
South Africa will remain a member of the SADC Troika as Outgoing Chair until August 2019.
I should not conclude without commenting on the recent judgment relating to the case against the former First Lady of the Republic of Zimbabwe. We have studied the judgment and came to the conclusion that we will not appeal.
After everything said here today, I must underline the fact that South Africa will remain at the forefront in our region and in the rest of Africa to bring about lasting peace and stability and to usher in a new era of economic integration, growth and prosperity. At the same time, we will continue to play an active role through multilateral forums such as the UN with a view to amplifying the voice of developing and emerging market economies demanding urgent reforms of global financial and political governance institutions. We will do our best to keep you informed as we go about this daunting task.
I thank you.