SA's foreign policy has matured - Nkoana Mashabane

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa's foreign policy has grown stronger in the past fifteen years and the country's relation with other nations has improved tremendously, says International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane.

Addressing students at the University of Limpopo on Saturday, Nkoana Mashabane said in the last 15 years, South Africa had evolved as an influential developing country with significant growth in diplomatic representation in all regions of the world.

"The third administration that left office in April this year devoted a significant part of our foreign policy attention to the consolidation of our African Agenda. We take pride in the work we have done in the integration of the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) region," she said.

The minister was in Limpopo as part of an outreach programme to market the department and South Africa's foreign policy.

South Africa has around 124 diplomatic missions abroad and of these, 62 are headed by women.

Diplomatic representation in South Africa has also become an important source of income, with R5 billion having been injected into the economy by the diplomatic community between 2007 and 2008.

Nkoana Mashabane told the students that South Africa's task going forward would be to continue to address the legacy of apartheid, including the plight of the working people and vulnerable groups.

"It is our task to mainstream the cause of these constituencies into the work of our government and the entire state machinery," she said