NEWS & ANALYSIS

ANC’s historical loyalty determines SA foreign policy – FF Plus

Wouter Wessels says govt is also not consistent in its approach

ANC’s historical loyalty determines South African foreign policy

16 May 2018

Over the past two decades, South Africa’s foreign policy has mainly been aimless and determined by the ANC’s historical loyalties instead of by healthy economic policy that is in the best interests of the country’s citizens.

On top of that, the government is not consistent in its policy. Since 2009, the Dalai Lama has been denied access to South Africa three times. Nearly 430 000 people from his homeland, Tibet, were murdered by the Chinese – but the ANC does not make any mention of it.

According to the ANC, its policy is based on human rights and it opposes oppression. And yet the government does not condemn the actions of President Nicolas Madura of Venezuela, under whose leadership one of the greatest human rights crises in recent history occurred.

The reason for this is, of course, historical loyalty – just like the misplaced loyalty towards Omar al- Bashir. Likewise with the repression of freedom of speech in Russia under President Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

South Africa needs a healthy foreign policy to appear credible in the eyes of the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it has to a large extent been destroyed by former President Jacob Zuma and the former Minister of International relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

The misplaced loyalty towards BRICS, and partners like Russia and China with no positive trade balance, has done great damage to South Africa’s international credibility.

The amount of money squandered and misappropriated by the Department is shocking and needs urgent attention. The country is opening more and more foreign missions without any strategic objectives in place.

Coordination between departments needs to improve to obtain a positive trade balance.

The ANC’s historical loyalties alone will not do the trick. The ANC government would do good to take a close look at what happened in countries, like Venezuela, where property rights were negatively affected.

There is no balance in the country’s foreign policy. The government must focus on what is in the best interests of our country and its people and must forget about historical loyalties to places like Cuba, where thousands of doctors are being trained but remain incapable of working under the circumstances that are unique to South Africa.

Issued by Wouter Wessels, FF Plus parliamentary spokesperson: International Relations and Cooperation, 16 May 2018