Mbabane: Swaziland will not allow South Africa’s Members of Parliament to come into the kingdom on a proposed fact finding mission. Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mtiti Fakudze yesterday said Swazis were neither South Africa’s children nor was Swaziland a province of the neighbouring Republic. Fakudze was reacting to a story that appeared in this publication on a planned visit by members of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation who want to come to Swaziland on a fact-finding mission regarding the kingdom’s state of affairs.
Pretoria: On 2 May 2013, in the wake of the landing of a chartered commercial aircraft at Air Force Base Waterkloof on 30 April 2013, the Ministers of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster instructed a team of Directors-General to investigate the matter. On 3 May 2013, during a JCPS press briefing, we indicated the deadline of 14 May 2013, seven working days. The Investigating Team was provided with the following Terms of Reference:
Cape Town: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation welcomed delegates from DIRCO. He said that the Committee had decided to prioritise issues related to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and that was why the Committee had to take the situation in Swaziland seriously. The Committee had plans to discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well. The Chairperson said that it was nice to have a DDG and a Chief Director as they could give the detail of what was happening.
This brief report provides some suggestions for follow-up action by the Portfolio Committee (PC), arising from the presentations and discussions held on the 12th February 2013 entitled South Africa in the BRICS Forum. A comprehensive summary of the discussion was published soon after the workshop. The suggestions take into account the outcomes of the 5th BRICS Summit, held in Durban in March 2013.
In particular, it is suggested that the PC carve out a niche for itself in monitoring and promoting debate on the strategic outcomes of the Durban summit - namely:
Pretoria: We meet again, to reflect on our important task of strengthening friendship ties between South Africa and the world. We meet to reflect on our key foreign policy goal, to contribute to building a better Africa and a better world. Our national hero and pioneer of our foreign relations perspective and strategy, former ANC President, Oliver Reginald Tambo, had this to say about our foreign relations perspective, in his address to the First Congress of the Angolan ruling party, the MPLA in Luanda in 1977. He stated: “We seek to live in peace with our neighbours and the peoples of the world in conditions of equality, mutual respect and equal advantage”.
On 20 March the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation was briefed by Deputy Minister Ebrahim. He gave a brief background on the history of Western Sahara. Western Sahara was occupied by the Kingdom of Morocco in 1976. However, neither the United Nations nor the African Union recognises Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
Johannesburg: International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane lashed business leaders on Friday for focusing too much on the challenges of competing with the other members of the Brics and told them instead to seize the opportunity presented by South Africa’s membership of the emerging markets block. The minister scrapped her speech and tore into the business representatives at a breakfast put on by Business Unity South Africa and the Black Business Council to discuss this month’s summit in Durban of the Brics, which comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and since 2010, South Africa.
Durban: It is indeed a momentous occasion for South Africa to host the Fifth BRICS Summit, the first time on African soil. The BRICS Summit process has its origins in the extraordinary vision of our founding Leaders who constituted this grouping at a time of global uncertainty and transition during the financial crisis. The dire need for providing additional impetus to global governance reform debates was recognized. The growing interdependence between nations of the world required joint efforts to address common challenges. Our Leaders urged us to establish this Forum out of recognition of the importance of ideas in the realization of the vision and objectives of BRICS.
Pretoria: The Government of the Republic of South Africa condemns the sentencing of the 25 Saharawi human rights activists on 17 February 2013 by a Moroccan military tribunal following 27 months of detention. The activists had participated in a protest camp in the Western Sahara town of Gdeim Izik in November 2010 against the continued systematic repression of the Saharawi people by the Moroccan regime. This protest camp was brutally dismantled by the Moroccan security forces resulting in the deaths of several Saharawi people and leaving scores injured. In terms of international law, a Moroccan military court does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute acts and events taking place in Western Sahara, which is regarded as a non-self governing territory by the United Nations.
The Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) briefed the Committee on the current political situation in Swaziland. The briefing was undertaken by DIRCO Director General Ambassador Jerry Matjila, assisted by Ms Liezel Castleman, Director: DIRCO.