SA must carry Brics ban­ner high

The New Age (Western Cape) - - Comment -

IN DE­CEM­BER 2010, South Africa was ad­mit­ted as the fifth mem­ber of the Brics group of de­vel­op­ing na­tions with great fan­fare.

Since its ad­mis­sion there had been high ex­pec­ta­tions that this mem­ber­ship of an elite group of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries will act as a sig­nif­i­cant trig­ger for the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

In July this year, South Africa in its ca­pac­ity as the chair of Brics, will host the 10th sum­mit of the pow­er­house group­ing of na­tions which lists Brazil, Rus­sia, China and In­dia.

As South Africa pre­pares to host this im­por­tant sum­mit it is vi­tal that we take stock of whether the coun­try has ef­fec­tively lever­aged its Brics mem­ber­ship.

Re­cent re­marks by Depart­ment of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co­op­er­a­tion deputy director-gen­eral Anil Sook­lal are in­sight­ful in this re­gard.

Speak­ing at a Brics round ta­ble dis­cus­sion on Mon­day, he said: “We are now 10 years into the Brics fam­ily, en­ter­ing a sec­ond decade of co­op­er­a­tion but I be­lieve not enough is be­ing done.”

Sook­lal’s as­sess­ment is on the mark and not un­ex­pected. Given the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic tur­moil in the coun­try, the rul­ing party and the gov­ern­ment have taken their eyes off the ball.

South Africa’s mem­ber­ship of Brics promised a new dawn and one which is based on a com­mon vi­sion to address the chal­lenges posed by poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment.

Har­ness­ing the ben­e­fits of Brics mem­ber­ship will re­quire a new tra­jec­tory and com­mit­ment from the gov­ern­ment and rul­ing party.

The po­lit­i­cal winds of change must trans­late into con­crete ac­tion that puts the na­tional in­ter­est above ev­ery­thing else.

As we pre­pare to wel­come the po­lit­i­cal, so­cial and busi­ness lead­er­ship of Brics, no ef­fort must be spared to send a clear mes­sage that South Africa is back on track and ready to live up to the ex­pec­ta­tions cre­ated at the time of its ad­mis­sion.


LIVE-FIRE EX­ER­CISES: Tai­wanese soldiers take part in a mil­i­tary drill in Hualien, east­ern Tai­wan yes­ter­day to sim­u­late a mil­i­tary re­sponse to an in­va­sion af­ter China stepped up pres­sure on the is­land’s leader, Pres­i­dent Tsai Ing-wen.

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