BRICS Supports Multilateralism, ‘Humanity and Its Progress,’ South Africa’s Foreign Minister States

© Sputnik . Grigory Sysoev
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Naledi Pandor, the Foreign Minister of South Africa, participated in the BRICS foreign ministers’ conference in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod that was held on Monday and Tuesday. During the meeting, she engaged in discussions with her counterparts from the BRICS member nations on various topics.

BRICS supports multilateralism as well as “humanity and its progress,” South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor, told Sputnik Africa in an interview on Monday.

“As BRICS, we fully support multilateralism. […] We don’t believe that there’s some country in the world that is so great that it must tell all of us what we should do. No, we don’t accept that,” she said.

The recent expansion of the bloc is one of the steps to promote multipolarity, and both South Africa and Russia apply this principle in practice.

“I’m so happy that we [South Africa] are the ones who introduced the expansion, and Russia is the one who is implementing it practically. So South Africa and Russia are working in a conjoined manner,” she said.

Pandor noted that the enlargement was “the second most important big step” that the bloc made after the creation of the New Development Bank.

The diplomat also urged reforming the UN so that it could ensure greater security and peace across the globe, since BRICS wants to see an equitable world where there is no inclination to start or escalate wars.

“We believe the premier multilateral body is the United Nations. We don’t want to create an alternative to it, but we believe the United Nations must be reformed, it must pay greater attention to development, and it must have the ability to enhance peace and security,” the minister pondered.

A striking example that demonstrates the need for changes in the UN is the case of South Africa against Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza at the International Court of Justice. This legal battle “exposed the inadequacy” of the UN in its “ability to enforce peace and security” and protect civilians.

According to Pandor, the reason Pretoria went to court “very early on” after Israel began its military operation in the enclave was to try to prevent genocide. She expressed hope that all nations around the globe will support the case because it concerns humanity and human rights, adding that “we have enough world power to be able to stop it.”

Another crucial issue on the BRICS agenda is payments in national currencies. One of the biggest steps on the path to developing an alternative international payment system was the establishment of the BRICS Bank, according to Pandor.

She explained that a new system is needed as the current one is rigged against the members of the bloc.

“This is a very big agenda item for us as BRICS countries because we believe the current international payment system is skewed against us because it’s so dependent on one currency in the world that when that currency is not available or when we are sanctioned because of it, we do not have access to international trade opportunities,” the South African top diplomat said.

Pandor noted that the bloc can learn from the Russia-India example: the two countries already trade in local currencies. However, she warned that since the economies of each BRICS member are different in size and other characteristics, it is important to conduct careful research when creating a common financial framework for the bloc.


“So everything must be approached with proper research and very, very well articulated practices which strengthen our economies and not weaken them. […] Every decision you take must be well-informed. It must achieve the results that you want. And it must give us that independence that we desire as the BRICS countries,” the minister explained.

Such research is already underway, which Pandor is “very excited” about. BRICS finance ministers and central bank governors are working on the issue and will report at the BRICS summit in Russia’s Kazan in October on what can be done.

During the interview, Sputnik Africa also raised the topic of Russia-South Africa relations development in the light of recent elections in the rainbow nation.

Pandor stated that the two countries are “very, very good friends” and this will remain after the elections, reminding that Russia and South Africa work closely together in many areas, including water sciences, pharmaceuticals, medical sciences, and space exploration.

“Russian businesses have also invested in South Africa, in the fuel sector, in energy, in minerals, and play a very critical role in helping to create jobs for South Africans and to grow our economy. So, we have a very positive relationship, and we’re happy about that,” the minister said.

Speaking of elections, she said the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was aware that “a lot of money” had been used to finance some of the country’s new political parties “in an effort to disrupt the ANC and its policy.”

“But we came out as the largest party. And so we will influence the future,” Pandor noted.

She assured, however, that bilateral relations won’t change, even though the ANC didn’t get the majority during the voting, and that they were moving forward to form a coalition.

“We’re not negotiating as a junior partner, but we’re also not being arrogant in the negotiations. But we’re very clear on our foreign policy. You can’t have a South Africa that would be negative or hostile about Russia. Russia played a very important role in the freedom struggle, supporting the liberation movements. There’s no way that with a government led by the ANC that we would have some negative attitude in foreign policy toward Russia,” Pandor stated, adding that the party hopes for Cyril Ramaphosa’s re-election as president.

Moreover, Pandor commented on the Ukrainian conflict and strive for peace. The top diplomat noted that her country is trying to “create conditions” for both parties – Russia and Ukraine – to engage in direct talks, adding that all the meetings with Ukraine on the issue have been solely focused on the Ukraine peace plan which has been “consistently” pointed out by South Africa as “not good enough”.

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