Welcoming SA's ascendancy to the G13 statement by the UDM President (11 July 2008)

We welcome the imminent formal expansion of the G8, to become the G13 with the inclusion of China, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The UDM congratulates President Mbeki and former Nigerian President Obasanjo for spearheading the initiative to have an African representative in this important international forum; it means a lot for SA in terms of prestige and influence.

However it won’t be an easy path, because it means we need to up our standards, starting with improving the rate at which we uplift South Africans citizens lives. Secondly, our handling of security matters, crime in particular, needs radical improvement if we are to speak with any credibility in this forum.

This development might also help to avert for instance the current UK steps to require SA citizens visiting there to apply for visas, because we are suspected of harbouring bad elements.

Membership of the G13 is an achievement not just for us as a nation, but also for the whole continent, whose eyes will be on us to promote their interests.

This has been a bonus for Mbeki and his Cabinet and whoever comes into power after the next election will have to ensure that they continue to expand on this important platform in the international arena that has now been built.