Thursday, 11 July 2019
Pretoria: International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor says she intends to hold talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa on whether any action needs to be taken against the Ambassador to the Netherlands, Bruce Koloane.
Pandor on Thursday briefed media ahead of participating in a debate on her department’s budget vote in Parliament on Thursday.
“With respect to Ambassador Koloane, I do think we need to have a discussion with the President.
“We have not had such a discussion as yet. It is my intention that we do discuss whether any particular action might be merited – be it some form of letter of further training or any other action the President might deem necessary. It is a matter that I will be taking up,” she said.
Pandor was responding to a question on whether any action would be taken against the Ambassador in relation to revelations he made at the State Capture Commission that he used the names of politicians, including former President Jacob Zuma, to put pressure on SANDF officials at Waterkloof Airforce base in 2013 to allow the Gupta family to land their aircraft before being escorted to a wedding.
Pandor could not shed more light at the time of the briefing, saying: “I think I want to leave it at that because I don’t want to make it a practice in media briefings to discuss individual ambassadors or staff of the department. It is just something I don’t particularly do but it is in the public domain and given, I respond in that way.”
Solidarity with the people of Cuba, Palestine, Western Sahara
Pandor said, meanwhile, that through her budget vote speech on Thursday afternoon, the department will confirm South Africa’s solidarity with countries enduring hardship.
“The people of Palestine, the people of Western Sahara and the people of Cuba have become accustomed to our statements of solidarity with them, as they face difficulties which must be resolved peacefully and through diplomatic means.
“We shall urge to do more to assist (sic),” she said.
Priorities for the year ahead
Pandor said the mandate of the department is to work towards the realisation of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives as set out by the President.
- Coordinating and aligning South Africa’s international relations;
- Monitoring developments in the international environment;
- Communicating government’s policy positions;
- Developing and advising government on policy options, and creating mechanisms and avenues for achieving objectives;
- Protecting South Africa’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;
- Contributing to the creation of an enabling international environment for South African businesses;
- Sourcing developmental assistance; and
- Assisting South African citizens abroad.
“In this regard, we have directed all our missions to align their work to making sure they contribute to the seven key priorities identified by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the State of the Nation Address.
“We expect our missions to focus increasingly on economic diplomacy, through making sure they facilitate more foreign direct investment in support of the President’s drive to attract US $100 billion to South Africa. We want more opportunities for the export of South African goods and services, more tourist arrivals and more opportunities for South African youth to acquire skills,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za