African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Fikile Mbalula says the Brics summit should resolve to expand its membership, and Cuba should be included and supported with increased trade by South Africa, as it continues to face Western isolation.
Mbalula was speaking at a bilateral meeting with Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, who is among several heads of state attending the Brics summit in Sandton.
Díaz-Canel was hosted by the ANC and its alliance partners, Cosatu and the SACP, at Freedom Park in Tshwane.
Mbalula spoke to the isolation faced by Cuba, a country the ANC views as an ally because of the historical relationship between the Communist Party of Cuba, to which Díaz-Canel belongs, and the ANC.
Mbalula said the ANC continued to support the expansion of Brics, and he called for Cuba to be one of the countries considered.
"Us and the Cubans, it is forever our solidarity and friendship. At the time of this summit, the world was going through several geopolitical changes. A number of countries are knocking on the door to join Brics, and this will continue to have an impact on geopolitics," Mbalula said.
"The South African government must communicate our unwavering support for Cuba and respect for our cooperation agreement. The government must increase trade with Cuba. We are pleased to host our comrades from the Communist Party of Cuba. We had in mind countries such as Cuba when we resolved at our conference that the SA government should support the expansion of Brics by admitting additional members," Mbalula said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said his country supported the expansion of the Brics membership.
Several countries have shown interest in joining Brics, but no new states have been admitted to the bloc.
Mbalula said the South African government should intensify support against the ending of sanctions against Cuba. He said donations of services and perishable foods should be sent to Cuba to support the country.
"We should intensify our calls for lifting the embargo and sanctions against Cuba. The ANC calls on its structures to encourage the country to support Cuba in donating goods, food and services. The government must be unwavering in its work and support of Cuba."
Cuba has faced a prolonged embargo and sanctions by the US, preventing many businesses and organisations from trading. These embargoes have had a longstanding impact on the country.
The ANC has often been split on its allegiance to the Island country and its relationship with the US.
Díaz-Canel gave a short address at the gathering and thanked the ANC for its ongoing support of Cuba, and the importance of the Brics summit.