Naledi Pandor says July unrest and looting in KZN, Gauteng hurt SA's 'fragile' economy
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Cape Town – International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor says the July unrest had not severely affected the standing and reputation of South Africa as it continues to have strong relations with other countries on the continent.
However, she said the unrest strained an already fragile economy in the country.
Pandor also said the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng affected South Africa’s exports to the regional markets, but that the country had not been deterred as it continues to enjoy strong economic relations with other countries in the region.
She said the fact that South Africa still holds leadership positions in the South African Development Community (SADC) showed the confidence it enjoys from other countries in the region.
South Africa lost billions of rands when businesses and other infrastructure were destroyed when the unrest broke out in July.
This forced the government to deploy thousands of soldiers to quell the violence.
Pandor, who was answering a written parliamentary question by the IFP, said South Africa remained an important player in the SADC region.
However, the unrest had affected an already waning economy.
“The civil unrest that South Africa has experienced in July 2021, mainly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, impacted the already strained economy, which is still recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The business interruptions affected South Africa’s exports to the region, in the main. Notwithstanding these challenges, South Africa continues to play her role as a responsible member of the Southern African Development Community.
“At a bilateral level, South Africa has bilateral cooperation with all the countries in the SADC region. The existing structured mechanisms allow for the countries to continue to discuss issues of mutual concern, including in the field of security, economic and trade related issues,” said Pandor.
“At a regional level, South Africa assumed the chairpersonship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation from August 2021 to August 2022. This responsibility conferred on South Africa confirms the confidence that the SADC region continues to have in South Africa’s ability to contribute to regional peace and security, which is a foundational priority for socio-economic integration as espoused in the SADC’s vision 2050,” she said.