Pandor backs Ramaphosa to remain president, 'unless something unexpected occurs'

12 December 2022 - 13:08
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Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor. File photo.
Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor. File photo.
Image: Eduardo Munoz

Minister of international relations and co-operation Naledi Pandor believes there won’t be a new president in 2023 as Cyril Ramaphosa will remain the president of the ANC and South Africa.

“We won’t have a different president in 2023. The president is Cyril Ramaphosa, unless something unexpected occurs. I believe he will remain president in 2023,” she said.

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“On my reaction to the [Phala Phala] report, I think it’s really a matter that President Ramaphosa has to deal with, since he is the person that is the subject of the report. The steps of taking the report to review, it is his right.”

Pandor was addressing her department's end-of-the-year briefing, focusing on some of South Africa’s foreign policy achievements and challenges for 2022 and previewing the priorities for 2023. 

She confirmed she had received calls expressing concern over the Phala Phala matter.

“One or two colleagues have called. They are more interested in [asking] is SA stable, should we anticipate that there will be some kind of conflict emerging? Even when the temperature appears high in SA, we remain a stable democracy and we have a rule of law which needs to be exercised to its logical conclusion. So let us allow the processes to continue and not be alarmed,” she said.

From January 1, South Africa will assume the role of chair of the developing economies grouping Brics, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China. Pandor said the main objectives of the country's engagement in Brics were to enhance the future growth and development of South Africa and strengthen intra-Brics relations with mutually beneficial co-operation.

“SA will continue to emphasise concrete co-operation that contributes directly and indirectly to the priorities of a better SA, a better Africa, and a better world through its partnership with key players of the global south on issues related to global governance and its reform, and development,” she said.

Pandor said South Africa’s membership in Brics has contributed to further expanding Brics’ geographic reach, representivity and inclusiveness.

“Brics countries now constitute the largest trading partners of Africa and the largest new investors, and the exponential growth potential of the Brics-Africa economic partnership is well recognised.”

South Africa would continue to play an active role in the UN, she said, adding that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had exposed the inadequacy of the UN system and highlighted the need for serious attention to calls for substantive reform of the entity as a whole and of the Security Council.

“Notwithstanding all the challenges facing the UN, SA believes that this international organisation remains the only viable mechanism through which the global community must strive for peace and common development. SA has undertaken to promote respect for the integrity and dignity of the office of the high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR). We will also support the regional office of the OHCHR in Pretoria. The South African government has signed a memorandum of intent with the office and is processing the host country agreement,” said Pandor.

The department would continue to advocate for a balanced sustainable development programme within the human rights framework as underlined in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, she said.

“In this regard, SA will be one of the chief proponents of a balanced agenda of the HRC [human rights council], which reflects, among others, the primacy of achieving the realisation of the right to development as well as moral human rights issues such as the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.”

Pandor said during 2022, South Africa had ensured that existing structured diplomatic and trade mechanisms were activated with key trade partners such as China, the US, Germany, the UK, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Nigeria, Kenya, Mozambique and Botswana. 

She said she will lead a South African delegation to the second US-Africa Leaders’ Summit, scheduled to take place from Tuesday to Thursday in Washington DC, where she will represent Ramaphosa. Forty-nine African states are expected to participate. 


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