[in] focus

Increasing South Africa’s footprint in the Southeast Asia region

dlaminiSince 1994, South Africa's foreign policy has been successful in establishing strategic relations with a number of Asian countries to strengthen and promote its political, social and economic interests, through multilateral engagements and bilateral relations. However South Africa is yet to fully explore strategic relations in Southeast Asia. This may be linked to the fact that the current outlook of South Africa's relations with Asia is widely dominated by the focus on Sino-South African relations. Noticeably China is now South Africa's number one trade partner but the focus on China has generally overshadowed South Africa's diplomatic engagement with other Asian nations.

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African and Latin American Interdependency: Transforming traditional dependencies

Wayne JumatAt the 5th BRICS Summit in March 2013, Durban, South Africa, the BRICS states announced their intention to form a new BRICS "Development Bank" that will focus on infrastructure investment in developing states. Here the Russian State Duma Deputy and Chairman of the Russkiy Mir Foundation, Vyacheslav Nikonov, acknowledged that the BRICS grouping is searching to move beyond economic cooperation, into the areas of military and political cooperation within BRICS, in order to reduce their dependency on the West. The issues of dependency and progress would be further discussed by the BRICS states at the 6th BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil 2014.

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Parliament: Voice of the people in South Africa’s international relations?

dr lesley mastersThe start of the 5th Democratic Parliament has seen a great deal of attention given to the 'firebrand' role of the EFF and the new party's expected role in Parliament. It has also seen media attention given to the salaries, car, travel, and housing allowances of the incoming (and returning) Members of Parliament (MPs). As Parliament normalises following the pomp and circumstance of the official swearing in of 400 new MPs, the work of oversight, passing legislation, and facilitating public participation begins. With general public disillusionment of Parliament following scandals ('travelgate'), and media reports of low attendance by MPs and long recess periods, the new Members face a particular challenge in carving out a central role for the institution within the public conscious.

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The Group of 77 at 50: Worth Celebrating?

zondi15 June 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of the Group of 77, which is now known as the G77 plus China, an important milestone at which to reflect on the significance, successes and difficulties facing an organisation of this nature. The organisation marked its jubilee by holding a major summit in Santa Cruz, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on 15-16 June, at which it recalled some of its historic decisions and policy positions as still relevant in the pursuit of its vision of a fair, just, democratic and equitable world. The question is what is the state of the G77 today and implications does that have on the agency of the global south in international development?

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The State of the Nation and the External Environment

zondiFresh after re-election, the South African president addressed the joint sitting of the houses of parliament on 17 June 2014 on the mandate of the new government in response to challenges the country faces and aspirations its people have.

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