Cape Town – The Department of International Relations (Dirco) has criticised the Democratic Alliance (DA) for reportedly denouncing the 15th BRICS Summit as a wasteful expenditure of R180 million.
Dirco said that the economic benefits of hosting the event far outweighed the costs.
“The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is dismayed by the misguided statement issued by the Democratic Alliance’s member of Parliament, Ms Emma Louise Powell, regarding the costs associated with hosting the recently held XV Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit in Johannesburg.
“The hysterical reaction of the Democratic Alliance confirms the DA’s misunderstanding of the economic benefits of hosting such international conferences and other meetings.
DA misreads the economic benefits of hosting international conferences – DIRCO https://t.co/DtoKHbXJqm
— DIRCO South Africa (@DIRCO_ZA) November 1, 2023
“While it is true that just over R100 million, as reported by DIRCO, was contributed towards the successful hosting of the BRICS Summit, the economic benefits to the City of Johannesburg far outweigh the R100 million DIRCO contributed,” Dirco said in a statement on Wednesday.
The DA had previously voted for South Africa to remain in the BRICS bloc during their Federal Congress in April.
However, the DA’s spokesperson on International Relations, Emma Powell, called the BRICS conference a misuse of public funds and suggested that it primarily served the interests of the ruling elite, EWN reported.
The Department countered by emphasising the long-term advantages of strengthening trade ties with BRICS Plus countries, which would benefit South African businesses.
“The list of benefits South Africa gained is endless. Key, among many priorities that South Africa set for itself during the Summit, was to strengthen the partnership between BRICS and African countries.
“In this regard, BRICS leaders reiterated their support for the African Union’s Agenda 2063, in particular, they supported the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area through economic and financial cooperation between BRICS and African countries,” Dirco said.
It added: “Last year, BRICS accounted for 21% of South Africa’s global trade.
“It would help if the DA and its members of Parliament, such as Ms Powell, were to take time to familiarise themselves with the immense benefits of BRICS membership before making unfounded comments in public.”
Compiled by Betha Madhomu