Address in the Debate: Budget Vote 5:  International Relations and Cooperation by the UDM President (22 April 2010)

 

Chairperson, honourable Minister and Deputy Minister, and honourable Members

The UDM supports budget vote 5.

Since the advent of democracy we have as South Africans, cleansed ourselves of our pole-cat image on the international stage, thanks to visionary leadership. Who would’ve thought in 1994 that today we would be on the eve of hosting the Fifa World Cup?

Indeed within this period we have already risen to the UN Security Council, and even chaired that august forum. It is gratifying to hear that the AU at its last meeting resolved that South Africa must once more return to the UN Security Council as a representative of the continent. This is a sign that the continent holds our country in high esteem and wants us to continue with the work we have begun during our previous tenure on the Security Council.

During this new term there should be a close coordination between the Department, the Minister and the portfolio committee.

The UDM feels strongly that we should use the opportunity presented by the willingness of the Obama administration to return to a multilateral style of international relations. We must encourage this trend.

How wonderful it would be to reach the day when all the players in the nuclear arena sit around a single table. South Africa must play a role in bringing Israel, Iran and North Korea to the roundtable to face reality and submit to the international non-proliferation treaties.

However we must not fool ourselves that countries such as Israel will easily give up their nuclear arsenals as long as the Middle East question is not resolved.

Now that the Obama administration has shown their commitment to multilateralism, the chance exists that this spirit will spread to other Security Council members and a solution can be found for the Middle East conflict.

In October last year I was appointed to the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission by the Minister of Defence. Our mandate is to look, amongst others, at the conditions of service of SANDF members. My observation is that the Department of International Relations and the portfolio committee need to consult intensively with the SANDF about our current and future peace-keeping efforts to ensure that we have the capacity to fulfil those duties.

The Department of International Relations are the eyes and ears of the country, and also responsible for selling South Africa on the international stage. This Ministry should not be afraid to call to order those political leaders, even in the ruling party itself, who are sending out mixed signals on economic policy. It is necessary to rein in those people in the Tripartite Alliance, who because of the fundamental policy differences among themselves are jeopardising foreign investment with reckless comments about policy and constitutional rights in South Africa. We have witnessed this recklessness for the past 15 years.

Whether we like it not, the debacle of the Eskom/Hitachi deal has created the impression that foreign investors have to enter into business partnerships with the ruling party or those linked to it. The sooner the political heads of this Department explains to the powers-that-be the danger of this international impression of corruption, the sooner we can save ourselves from being relegated to the backwaters of foreign investment.

I thank you.