By Leroy Mairisi
The Political and International Studies Department hosted The Honourable Luwellyn Landers MP, Deputy-Minister of International Relations and Cooperation who delivered a timely lecture on Wednesday, 14th of September 2016, unpacking the importance of fostering development and democracy through international relations and diplomacy.
The venue was filled to capacity as the seasoned politician Honourable Landers explained how South Africa’s foreign policy was itself a tool in pursuit of Global democracy. Like all things political, Honourable Landers explained that the bigger picture was to work within existing structures like the African Union, finding intersections between trade liberalisation and political diplomacy, in the hopes to fast track development. He explained that development is the uttermost important mechanism to assist in the immediate alleviation of poverty and the climbing unemployment rate.
Honourable Landers warned against working along vague programs hence emphasised the reliance of the NEDPAD Policy, claiming that NEDPAD was how South Africa is not only able to connect with the rest of the world but NEDPAD as a policy creates a clear pathway for development and thus a deeper democracy. That the expansion of freedom, in this case development, is the pinnacle of democracy because development paves the way for the eradication of social ills like poverty.
The Honourable Minister emphasised that there existed a strong political resolve to deepen existing bilateral economic relations and to explore more trade and investment opportunities, which in turn would contribute towards increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in South Africa. This was fundamentally important given the current constricted economic climate. The role of foreign policy lay right at the centre of this as he continuously stressed that “the South African foreign policy is informed and guided by our domestic imperatives”, referring to the four primary objectives of the NEDPAD policy.
In closing, he emphasised that South Africa was also “guided by our National Development Plan (NDP) vision 2030 that calls for the building of a resilient economy and enjoins us to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality”.
Deputy Minister of International Relation and Cooperation Luwellyn Landers addresses members during the official opening of the 15th Annual Regional Seminar on International Humanitarian Law (Photo: Dirco)
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