BRICS dialogue’s success rests on depths of declarations adopted

As the BRICS political parties plus dialogue wraps up on Thursday in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, its success depends on the depth of the declarations to be adopted and the practicality of the agreed-upon action plan in a bid to reshape geopolitical power relations.

Delegates from more than 50 progressive political parties across the continent and internationally graced the three-day event that got under way under the theme of Partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development, and inclusive growth.

Questions about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would travel to South Africa for the upcoming BRICS Summit in August cast a shadow over the event, but on Wednesday the Presidency announced that Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would take Putin’s place at the summit.

The development also laid to rest a long-standing concern that South Africa would have to execute the International Criminal Court’s warrant against Putin and arrest him if he lands on our soil – especially after the Russian Federation declared that any country that dared arrest Putin would have to face war with one of the global superpowers.

The spotlight on the final proceedings will be on the declaration that the more than 1 500 participants adopted, as well as a programme of action that would allow individual parties to have a clear direction on how to achieve some of the lofty goals discussed since Tuesday.

Opening the event just three days ago, Deputy President Paul Mashatile, speaking in his capacity as the ANC’s second in command, cautioned: “The angel is in the principle and the devil is in the detail.

“It is not enough to identify a vision. We must strive to translate the broad vision into concrete details, without which the vision will amount to nothing more than a mere wish.”

He said an institution like BRICS needed to be mindful that it was composed of varying levels of governmental and institutional capacity.

“Yet another challenge is that although we share a common vision of partnership for mutually accelerated growth, sustainable development, and inclusive multilateralism, we have different levels of economic development, and geo-political positioning in a world that is increasingly trying to return to the turbulence and polarisation of the Cold War.”

The reading of the declaration or a statement of the dialogue’s resolutions will take place prior to Fikile Mbalula, secretary-general of the ANC, giving the event’s closing address on Thursday.

On Wednesday, skeptics in the opposition EFF, who did not participate in the dialogue despite identifying as a left-leaning political formation, poured cold water on the ANC’s and South Africa’s capacity to play a leading role in driving the BRICS agenda under President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The red berets decried Putin’s planned stay-away, saying it was no surprise because Ramaphosa failed to provide security guarantees to protect not only a strategic global partner but also a historical ally in the fight against colonial dominance and imperialism.

“In a typical Western imperialist fashion, South Africa faced threats of losing financial and political ties with the West unless they arrested president Putin,” said EFF spokesperson Sinawo Thambo.

“The United States of America even threatened to withdraw South Africa from the African Growth and Opportunity Act as a form of pressure.”

He said the West undermined the country’s sovereignty and independent foreign policy, pressuring Ramaphosa to arrest Putin, and the government’s ceaseless attempts to persuade him not to attend BRICS were influenced by “the Nato [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] war alliance”.

“It must therefore be highlighted that president Putin’s withdrawal is a consequence of the South African state’s reluctance to be firm on international affairs and their inability to resist pressure from Nato.”

Thambo cautioned BRICS member states: “South Africa is currently led by a spineless government that will never meaningfully take forward efforts to grow the strength of the global South and its allies.

“Their noble efforts to fight against imperialism, the calls for de-dollarisation, and for an alliance that will place BRICS nations on a stronger footing in the globe will always be undermined by a cowardly government in South Africa.”


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