South Africa’s chairship of BRICS ended last week, with significant challenges and achievements testing the resilience of the bloc’s ability to navigate geopolitics on behalf of emerging economies.
The challenges included US ambassador to SA Reuben Brigety’s claim that SA had supplied Russia with weapons, in its conflict with Ukraine, aboard the Lady R vessel when it docked in Simon’s Town last year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa put together a panel, whose investigation report debunked the claim.
On the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the bloc reaffirmed that a just and lasting solution to the conflict could only be achieved by peaceful means.
Ramaphosa joined calls for the international community to support direct negotiations based on international law, including relevant UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative, towards a two-state solution, leading to a viable State of Palestine.
During the 15th BRICS summit in August, BRICS nations issued the Johannesburg II Declaration, which highlighted the progressive thinking of the bloc as it reaffirmed the countries’ commitment to the bloc’s spirit of mutual respect and understanding.
The group emphasised support for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more democratic, representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of developing countries.
The call was made for the UN to adequately respond to prevailing global challenges and support the three legitimate aspirations of emerging and developing countries from Africa, Asia and Latin America, including Brazil, India and South Africa, to play a greater role in international affairs and the UN.
Six new nations were made part of the Brics Plus grouping.
Ramaphosa, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor and South Africa's BRICS Sherpa ambassador Anil Sooklal have received significant praise from the BRICS partners for the way they handled the chairship.
The baton has now been handed to Russia.