President Jacob Zuma meets with Heads of Mission
President Jacob Zuma met with Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa to brief them on current domestic and international issues at the Sefako M Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on 03 August 2012.
President Zuma briefed the Heads of Missions, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, on government work especially in the key priority areas which are education, fight against crime, creating decent work, improving health care, education, rural development and land reform. He also briefed them on the government’s infrastructure programme and on government’s plans to prioritise economic transformation and development to fight the levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The Heads of Mission exchanged views with the President on South Africa’s participation in multilateral institutions such as BRICS. They also shared the difficulties they experienced with South Africa’s legislation when bringing business to the country.
The diplomats also sought clarity with regards to the ruling party’s nationalisation debate following the ANC’s proposals suggesting state intervention in strategic minerals.
President Zuma stated that blanket nationalisation had been rejected thus far by the ruling party and that the emerging view was that the state should play an increased role in selected minerals that are considered strategic to the development of the country.
“Such involvement could take the form of part ownership or full ownership of mines for such minerals to help drive development programmes. There is also a proposal for a tax on windfall profits on mining. This will help facilitate economic growth and employment creation,” said President Zuma.
President Zuma emphasised that the final resolution on the matter would be taken at the ANC’s national conference in December 2012.
President Zuma assured the Heads of Mission that South Africa and Africa as a continent was open and ready to do business with all regions in the world.
“Government is working to change regulations to make it easier for foreign investors and the private sector within country to do business with government. Departments have been instructed to grant approvals for licences on time. They must pay suppliers on time and generally remove hassles and make it easier for investors to start their businesses,” said President Zuma.
With regards to BRICS President Zuma said South Africa wanted to use this multilateral institution to advance South-South Cooperation and the African continent.
“We have good bilateral relations with countries of the South. Trade between us is growing steadily. We cooperate in the international system to defend our collective interests, working together for the democratisation of institutions of global governance to reflect the rich diversity of our respective nations. Our partnership with countries of the North is another leg that keeps our foreign policy standing in global affairs. These countries are not only our trade partners. They also provide our country with the support we need in tackling our five priorities, including the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment,” said Zuma.
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Ambassador Bene L M’Poko on behalf of all Heads of Mission thanked the President for meeting them and commended South Africa for its comprehensive foreign policy and its approach to the African agenda.
He further recommended that a Committee of relevant Ministers and Ambassadors be appointed, within which a Working Group could be constituted to deal with matters of mutual interest between the various countries and South Africa
The Presidency, SA