President Zuma set for state visit to Indonesia

President Jacob Zuma.
President Jacob Zuma.

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma will lead a South African government delegation to Indonesia for an official state visit next week.

The state visit is scheduled for 8 March, Minister in the Presidency responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe said on Thursday in Cape Town. He was briefing the media after Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting.

“Both South Africa and Indonesia are one of the largest economies in their respective regions, and endowed with rich natural and maritime resources,” Minister Radebe said.

Indonesia presents a significant potential market for South African products.

In 2015, the total volume of bilateral trade between South Africa and Indonesia was R11.7 billion, with R2.8 billion exports from South Africa and R8.9 billion imports from Indonesia.

South Africa's major exports to Indonesia include chemical wood pulp, ferrous waste, iron ore, aluminium, fruit and mechanical appliances.

On a multilateral level, South Africa and Indonesia are active members of the G20, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G77 plus China, where they work together closely to promote the ideals of South-South cooperation.

They are also members of the Indian Ocean RIM Association (IORA), which comprises 21 coastal states of the Indian Ocean.

Against this backdrop, the state visit will preceded by the Leaders' Summit of the Indian Ocean RIM Association (IORA) from 6 to 7 March 2017, which will also commemorate IORA's 20th anniversary.

At that summit, President Joko Widodo will hand over the Chairmanship of IORA to South Africa.

South Africa will host the next IORA Council of Ministers Meeting in Durban later this year.

SADC Extraordinary Summit

On the regional front, President Zuma will also lead a delegation to the SADC Extraordinary Summit on 18 March.

“SADC continues to serve as the primary vehicle for South Africa’s foreign policy to achieve regional development and integration within our region,” Minister Radebe said.

The summit, which will be held in Swaziland, will among other things, deliberate on the state of peace and security in the region, with particular focus on the developments in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The leaders will also discuss the implementation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Plan which sets out key milestones towards regional economic integration.

South Africa as the incoming Chair of SADC is scheduled to host the next SADC Ordinary Summit in August 2017.

Meanwhile, Minister Radebe said Cabinet noted the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on South Africa's decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Last week the court ruled that government’s decision to give notice to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional and invalid. As such, it ordered government to revoke the notice.

Government announced its decision to withdraw from the ICC in October 2016, citing bias against African nations. Government was also of the view that the Rome Statute establishing the ICC was incompatible with the country's domestic laws regarding immunity for visiting foreign Heads of State and Government. 

The Democratic Alliance took government to court saying Justice Minister Michael Masutha unlawfully bypassed Parliament when he made the decision and therefore did not act in line with the Constitution.

“Cabinet is aware that Parliament is considering an appropriate course of action. Cabinet abides by the ruling and has established a technical task team to develop a compliance road map,” Minister Radebe said. – SAnews.gov.za