During the State of the Nation Address yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government’s engagements with parties in the Russia–Ukraine conflict through the Africa Peace Initiative continue to progress. “We engage in these peace efforts because we believe that even the most intractable conflicts can be brought to an end through negotiations,” he maintained.

Guided by the fundamental principle of human rights and freedom, he said the government has taken up the Palestinian cause to prevent further deaths and destruction in Gaza. “We have welcomed the ruling of the International Court of Justice that Israel must take all measures within its power to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians,” he said.

Meanwhile, the South African government condemns the killing of civilians on all sides and calls on all parties involved in the conflict to commit to a peace process that will deliver a two-state solution.

The President assured Members of Parliament and other guests gathered in the City Hall that the government is using foreign policy to pursue its development goals. For example, during the South African government’s leadership of BRICS last year, a new chapter was written for the BRICS family of nations.

The expansion of the group from five to 10 members presents opportunities for trade and a strengthening of political and diplomatic ties between countries in the Global South, he continued. “We will build on the progress we have made in establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will transform South Africa’s economy and that of the continent by creating new jobs and increasing economic participation.”

Mava Lukani
9 February 2024