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Pandor and DA clash in Parliament on hypocrisy, implied democracy and human rights deficit in BRICS

Pandor and DA clash in Parliament on hypocrisy, implied democracy and human rights deficit in BRICS
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor. (Photo:Gallo Images/Daily Maverick/Victoria O'Regan)|Emma Powell. Photo:Democratic Alliance

Is the BRICS alliance opposing Western values such as democracy and human rights? 

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor was asked this question in Parliament this week. South Africa is hosting the BRICS summit in August and BRICS includes not only three democracies — South Africa, Brazil and India — but also two autocracies, Russia and China, where democracy and human rights don’t feature.

Speaking in the budget of Pandor’s department, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on international relations Emma Powell noted that Pandor had told a seminar on Tuesday that the BRICS nations were now actively working together to “challenge the global predominance of values and principles that have been promoted over many decades.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Countries of the Global South show a surge of interest in joining BRICS – Anil Sooklal 

“What are these values that you now seek to challenge, Minister?” Powell asked. “ Freedom? Justice? Tolerance? Universal Human Rights? Democracy? In the same breath, the ANC has justified their failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state under the spurious auspices of so-called ‘nonalignment’’ Powell said. 

“Imagine if the international community had refused assistance to this nation under the same auspices during the apartheid regime? You see, the plagues of despotism, genocide, and war are only defeated when democracies work together to preserve a rules-based international order that respects the right to self-determination; the principle of territorial sovereignty and a rules-based international order,” Powell, said.

Pandor replied to Powell that on values and principles “we will challenge double standards.” She said South Africa was not opposing values and principles and human rights but the practice of double standards in international relations.

“If you are black, you practice genocide. If you are white and powerful it’s regime change. When it’s sovereignty, it’s sovereignty for some. When it’s territorial integrity, it’s territorial integrity for some and not for others. That’s what we will challenge. And I think you should challenge it. Just as much as you are concerned about what is happening in Ukraine, so should you be concerned about what is happening to Palestinians. Because if you are not, you are exercising a double standard in that Palestinians don’t matter so much but that Ukrainians matter a great deal.”  

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Simplistic and infantile’ to demand Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine, says Pandor after meeting Lavrov

Pandor also said she was concerned that much of Parliament’s discussion about insecurity and conflict had been about Ukraine and Russia and not about fellow Africans. “We must be concerned about Africans and the threats they face every day.  We should be worried about food insecurity on the continent. We shouldn’t stand up here and pretend we’re European. We’re not. We’re part of Africa and we must have attention to the condition of Africa.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Turkish ambassador Aysegul Kandas moved by South Africa’s ‘common humanity’ amid quake horror

Powell accused the ANC of hypocrisy, noting that it was global solidarity which had helped it defeat apartheid but it was now “turning its back on  the very values and global solidarity that helped to ensure South Africa’s freedom..”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cold warning – neos and unis will be no more in the ANC’s new bipolar world order

“That a crumbling, former liberation movement which now enjoys less than 50% of the popular vote, is willing to abandon South Africa’s commitment to Constitutionalism, and trade on the fortunes of 60 million people in order to protect an alleged war criminal is the clearest indication yet of the ANC’s desperation,” Powell said, referring to the ANC’s refusal to condemn Russian president Vladimir Putin for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.  

Powell said the ANC talked about the global ‘South’ being underdeveloped because of raw material and mineral resource exploitation by the West. “But the facts tell an entirely different story. Last year, 36% of SA’s exports went to three large Western markets. Machinery, vehicles, electronics, and value-added manufactured goods, totalled some 31% of SA exports to the US, whereas a much higher percentage of raw materials were exported to BRICS countries. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: SA’s embrace of global pariah Russia could have serious foreign direct investment consequences

“Almost 77% of FDI (foreign direct investment) stock into South Africa in recent years came from the EU, UK and the US. China and Russia account for a mere 6.2%. Russia currently accounts for as little as 0.3% of South Africa’s trade ties.

“South Africa does not even have a trade agreement between BRICS states, whilst trade with the West worth R400bn is now at risk because of the ANC’s failure to condemn Russian aggression and the illegal invasion of Ukraine.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Tim Price says:

    Well said Ms Powell. A voice of reason and intelligence in a morass of ANC hypocrisy and double standards.

  • Dave Jacobs says:

    Dear Minister Pandor, I appreciate your stance on conflicts. Every instance of suffering deserves attention. However, it’s vital to treat each uniquely, not comparatively.

    The Palestine issue is critical and demands our focus. However, the situation in Ukraine should not be minimized or ignored as a result. Russia’s invasion is a clear breach of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty. This deserves outright condemnation. We must not dilute this situation with comparisons to other conflicts.

    Each situation has its own unique set of circumstances, and the response to each should be based on its own merits rather than being used as a tool to deflect attention from another. Our aim should be promoting peace, justice, and respect for international law in all conflicts, without using one to justify silence on another.

    Regarding the double standard, it’s about each conflict’s specifics, not race or power dynamics. We must avoid perpetuating such standards and one way we can do this is by dealing with each situation individually, based on the principles of international law, human rights, and justice.

    The plight of Palestinians matters just as much as the plight of Ukrainians. We should address both with equal vigor, not diminishing one over the other. The existence of one conflict should not excuse silence or inaction on another.

    • Pet Bug says:

      Excellent response.
      Pandor should also explain why our ambassador was removed from Israel, but not from Russia, for similar (in ANC vision) offenses.

    • John Cartwright says:

      Great to have a fair and reasoned comment.

    • Matsobane Monama says:

      Mr Jacobs your comment sounds very sincere and caring about ALL human life. Nobody watches the international media and laughs about the death and destruction in Ukraine. Peace in Palestine is Long overdue, the Jews dismisses the Palestinian existence as a myth. America and the West, who have created the problem in the 1st place, continue to hv a romantic relationships with the murderers Israel. No Sir it’s time for someone to take a stand vs this SOMEONE else’s rule-based international law, justice and human rights. HYPOCRISY. Sadly for Ukraine but it’s the best opportunity in history to set the record straight. Ukraine is the sacrifice for the New Real World order to come.

      • Patterson Alan John says:

        If you are happy to “sacrifice Ukraine for the New Real World order to come”, pray sir, please enlighten our readers about the morality it will represent and what rules-based ideology it will follow. You will need a strong and convincing argument to sway us in your direction if one is to agree to wiping out a sovereign, democratic country and having its remaining population returned to the yoke of Putin’s control. Hopefully, no-one will invade South Africa and offer a similar sacrifice for a New Asian World Order, or New Communist World Order.

  • Stratford Canning says:

    Pandor’s reference to Palestine is a diversion. In any event, she should know that the problems faced by the Palestinians are of their own making with their blind determination to wipe out Israel.
    If ever there are double standards it is those of the ANC.

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      Please read the reasoned response just above yours by Dave ! At least it is free of your drivel.

      • Johann Olivier says:

        Agreed, Mr. Sukhac What I do not get about the current fascist Israeli government is their lack of historical awareness. A people can simply not be subjugated forever. History is replete with examples, South Africa being one. In case anyone questions my bona fides, I lived and worked on a kibbutz, carried a weapon, even bled ever so lightly for Israel, and am an ardent supporter of the founding of Israel. This new ‘Israel’ is nothing that I would want to be associated with and I’m sure those Founding Fathers are looking on in horror.

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    And the Palestinians can’t kick us out of AGOA.
    And food security depends on Ukrainian wheat
    And, and,and,,

  • Neil Parker says:

    Naledi would have stood out as a stateswoman had she stuck to her guns on the original statement put out by DIRCO on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It’s no use trying to espouse the Palestinian cause if you don’t do the obvious when it comes to Ukraine. When one considers the suffering of the Ukrainian people under constant bombardment from a cowardly neighbour hiding beneath its nuclear shield, what could possibly be “infantile and puerile” about calling for a Russian withdrawal ? If anything is “infantile and puerile” it is her (and the ANC’s) failure to have done that. Who knows – an isolated Putin might have reconsidered and then countless lives (both Russian and Ukrainian) could have been saved.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Pandor exploded with rage immediately after Russia invaded Ukraine and demanded publicly that they withdraw forthwith. She was heavily slapped down for this anti-ANC stance by Ramaphosa and has, ever since, appeared to be happy to toe the party line and betray her own sense of righteousness. Be true to thyself lady, or the road to your heaven wherever it may be, will be rocky indeed.

  • David Harley says:

    Whatever shred of respectability Pandor and Ramaphosa retained Feb 2022 has been entirely shredded by their stance on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Hypocrisy, Pandor? Putin is white is he not, has he not been indicted by the ICC? We should focus inwards on the welfare of Africans, Pandor? You are aware it is Putin interdicting grain exports to Africa? And I say Putin, not Russia: Russia as a nation does not exist anymore, it is merely a captured state run by Putin and his gang, and this is the crook you choose to side with. There is no high ground here, no great principles or ideals to be defended here, so let’s drop this charade. Ramaphosa is now running an incompetency degrading to kleptocracy anxious to eat before everything is gone and/or they are called to account by an angry populace. It is easy to see why members of this corrupt regime might aspire to ape Putin’s.

    • virginia crawford says:

      They haven’t had a shred of respectability for years now. The two of them parading around the world respresenting us is really embarrassing.

  • Matsobane Monama says:

    Yes Minister Pandor, it’s not about rules-based international order. It’s a Melanin Defiency thing. Sudan is a priority now.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Communists always support each other

  • Anthony Sturges says:

    It is unfortunate that rather than concentrate on the issue at hand, Pandor resorts to ‘whataboutism’, the lowest argument denominator! Perhaps she is rather insecure in her arguments tenuous nature?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Rather than wasting time and energy writing erudite comments that are likely neither read nor understood simply vote DA.

    It is literally the only practical solution to this intractable government.

    • Anne Swart says:

      Your comment to “simply vote DA.” This is a very simple advocation indeed.

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        yip – don’t get lost in the trees when the wood is there for all to see.

        Again I say to all also – stop looking for perfection, you’ll never find it. Simply focus on “better”, rinse, repeat.

  • Paul Mathias says:

    I am vehemently opposed to the illegal occupation of Palestine and the resultant suffering of the Palestinian people which makes Pandor using that cause, simply as a means to deploy the ANCs oft used ‘what about’ strategy to avoid meaningful debate more nauseating than usual.

    That strategy suggest that we can only address issues according to some prioritised list of crises which is disingenuous in the extreme.

  • David Pennington says:

    Pandor the Hutt

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