As AU meets on Saturday with a single agenda of discussing its imminent withdrawal from ICC,It remains to be seen how exactly President Jacob
Zuma will pronounce South Africa’s stance on the
International Criminal Court this weekend. The
African Union is set to discuss the court and its
alleged bias against African states at an
extraordinary summit. Minister of International
Relations and Co-Operation, Maite Nkoana-
Mashabane, was reticent when queried about South
Africa’s actual position on the matter.
Addressing a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday,
Nkoana-Mashabane said the African Union was within
its rights to review its relationship with the Court.
“South Africa is going to that meeting to participate
fully aware of the developments that are taking
place,” she said.
The minister said South Africa had listened “to
genuine complaints” about the ICC.
“So, allow us to go, meet, discuss and exchange
views, ideas, come out of the extraordinary summit
outcomes. We will not hype them. They will be
declared openly for the world to hear and see,”
Nkoana-Mashabane said.
A press briefing with the minister would, however, be
incomplete without her trademark cheekiness.
“Do I give you the outcome of the summit before the
summit sits?” she asked before answering her own
“No, I can’t.”
Cheekiness aside, Nkoana-Mashabane sought to
stress South Africa’s prominence in the AU.
“South Africa is an African country. We are an
integral member of the African Union,” she said.
That importance to the AU has been underscored by
South Africa’s inclusion in Brics, an inclusion that
Nkoana-Mashabane says reflects “a changing global
“We are witnessing changing global order and the
past year has seen positive developments in the
context of peace and development where the
international community is starting to reap the
benefits of Brics’s insistence in upholding the
integrity of the United Nations Charter in respect of
security and development,” she said.
However, this changing global order may be
assessed in how French President, Francois Hollande,
is received at the Union Buildings on next week.
Hollande has enjoyed far more cordial relations with
Zuma than his predecessor, Nicholas Sarkozy.
Still, diplomatic commentary posits South Africa and
France as rivals currying favour with other African
states to further the ambition of their respective
foreign policies.
Nkoana-Mashabane played down the alleged rivalry
between South Africa and France.
She described South Africa’s relationship with France
as a “strategic partnership” but admitted, however,
that South Africa’s relationship that country was not
always an amicable one.
“We actually don’t have any declared enemy
anywhere in the world but we do have far more
intensive relations with other countries like France,”
the minister said.
She claims the independence of South Africa’s
foreign policy assists to diffuse differences that may
arise with countries like France.
“When there are tensions we sit around the table. We
use mechanisms at our disposal to thrash out those,”
Nkoana-Mashabane said.
The greatest source of tension between South Africa
and France was said to have come from France’s
alleged opposition to the election of Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma to the position of chairperson of the
AU commission.
Nkoana-Mashabane said these allegations were
misplaced as French counterparts had expressed
neutrality with regard to the election of the AU
Commission chairperson.
“They [the French] told us that they were neutral,”
she said.
And yet what went unsaid in these assurances of
where the French stood on Dlamini-Zuma’s election
to the AU Commission, are allegations that South
Africa fielded its own candidate for the job to thwart
French influence on the AU.

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