- The July unrest had no impact on South Africa’s standing on the continent.
- That is according to International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor, who argued that many countries faced difficulties.
- On Wednesday, she and ministers in the peace and security cluster answered questions in Parliament.
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor says the July unrest in no way affected South Africa’s image on the continent as many countries experienced “difficult times”.
On Tuesday, Pandor was in the National Assembly to answer questions alongside her colleagues in the peace and security cluster.
IFP MP Mkhuleka Hlengwa asked Pandor: “Whether she has found that domestic challenges, including the recent July civil unrest, have been detrimental to the republic’s stance and ability to commandeer a regional hegemony; if not, what is the position in this regard?”
Pandor reiterated that the violence mainly affected the economy.
“The unrest and destruction of property had a significant impact on our economy which is already strained which is part of what we are trying to buttress.
Minister of international relations Naledi Pandor.
“What was affected primarily was the economy and not the image of South Africa or its standing in the region. We also had an impact on the transportation of goods in the region, but steps were taken speedily to ensure those good reach countries in the Southern African
“Development Community (SADC) region. Given these difficulties, we continue to play our role as a responsible member of the SADC. There has not been any harm, in respect of how we are viewed,” she said.
The unrest, which happened mostly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, left more than 340 people dead and dented the economy by R50 billion.
According to police, about 1 000 additional police officers had been deployed to KwaZulu-Natal to assist with the unrest.
Pandor said many countries in the region and the continent experienced difficulties at times, and “it does not lead to an desertion of countries”.
“I believe that while the incidents that occurred in July is a concern to the government, and the people of our country… it is not the first time South Africa has experienced riots. Under apartheid, we had terrible incidents throughout our country. This does not ameliorate what has happened, but it is not the first time we have had such a level of violence and protest,” she said.
Pandor also said in her bilateral meetings that she never had a sense that the July unrest was raised in a manner that suggested a lack of confidence in South Africa’s ability to recover or manage future such situations.
“There was an appreciation for what was done to help businesses recover. We brief the heads of mission on what the government did to assist businesses affected by the riots,” she said.
Pandor also emphasised that immediate steps were taken to ensure that goods were delivered on time at the various ports of entry.