Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Written evidence submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UK-SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS

1.  The Foreign and Commonwealth Office responds to a request from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee for a memorandum in connection with the Committee's inquiry into South Africa, including reference to South Africa's role in the region, and within relevant regional and international bodies; the New Partnership for Africa's Development and the G8 Africa Action Plan; and South Africa's contribution to the war against terrorism.

2.  The memorandum opens by setting out the areas where the UK and South Africa are working together, and summarises South Africa's influence within Africa and within international organisations. There are five annexes: joint UK-South Africa communique«, June 2003 (Annex A); details of the UK diplomatic presence in South Africa (Annex B); Entry Clearance and Visa operations (Annex C); Consular activity (Annex D); and UK-South Africa trade figures (Annex E).

INTRODUCTION

  3.  South Africa is a parliamentary republic. President Mbeki took office in June 1999. The African National Congress (ANC) has been in office since the first fully democratic elections in April 1994. Next elections are due in 2004.

  4.  South Africa is an important partner for the UK across a broad spectrum of international issues, but especially those affecting Africa. Since 1994, South Africa has been fully involved in the international organisations to which it has been admitted or re-admitted. For example, it was Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement from 1998-2003; Chair of the Commonwealth from 1999-2002; Chair of the African Union from 2002-03. South Africa has also been one of the main drivers behind the creation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The Foreign Secretary visited South Africa (Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town) in May 2003 (a copy of the joint UK/South Africa communique« issued at the end of the visit is attached at Annex A), and held talks with the South African President and Foreign Minister in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York in September 2003.

  5.  The UK's and South Africa's shared history mean that there are close personal links between the two countries. An estimated 750,000 UK nationals live in South Africa. During 2002, 420,000 Britons visited South Africa, and 282,000 South Africans visited the UK.

UK-SOUTH AFRICA RELATIONS

  6.  The UK-South Africa relationship is broad and deep. We have mutual interests in a range of international issues. With South Africa, we share:

    —  a strong interest in working together for long-term stability in Africa, supporting South Africa's peace-making efforts, through diplomatic and practical measures (a British Peacekeeping Support Team is based in Pretoria);

    —  a strong interest in ensuring progress in Zimbabwe;

    —  a commitment to eliminating poverty in Africa, including through NEPAD, and support for the International Finance Facility (a joint DfID/HMT lead) proposal to help meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015;

    —  agreement on key NEPAD priorities (eg conflict resolution, better governance, trade, increased effectiveness of development assistance);

    —  a strong interest in ensuring progress in the Middle East Peace Process;

    —  a commitment to trade liberalisation in the Doha trade round;

    —  an interest in sustainable development issues, including those addressed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002), eg the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), and the Sustainable Tourism Initiative (both FCO leads); and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI—DfID lead);

    —  a commitment to work together on crime prevention within South Africa, and to combating international organised crime, drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorist financing;

    —  a commitment to work in partnership to combat communicable diseases, notably HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; and

    —  a commitment to developing strong business partnerships and increasing two way trade.

  7.  Successful UK-South Africa bilaterals at Head of Government level have been held in 1997 (UK), 1999 (South Africa), and 2001 (UK). There have also been recent State Visits: Her Majesty The Queen to South Africa in 1995 and 1999. President Mandela visited the UK in July 1996; and President Mbeki in June 2001.

  8.  The official resources deployed to promote UK interests and achieve the above are outlined in Annex B.

Development Partnership

  9.  The UK and South Africa have a substantial development partnership, focussed on poverty elimination in South Africa, and partnership with South Africa in addressing poverty issues across the continent. The Department for International Development is investing £30 million a year to support South African partners' work in four broad thematic areas—poverty strategy and analysis; governance, democracy and service delivery; growth, jobs and equity; and HIV/AIDS. The UK and South African Governments agreed a new five-year strategy in October 2002. The EU development budget for South Africa is set at around

120 million per year until 2006. DfID will contribute some £16 million per year to the EU's programme in South Africa.

Peace Support Partnership

  10.  HMG is involved in helping to build the South African armed forces' own peacekeeping skills. After eight years of assisting South Africa to integrate seven pre-democratic armed forces into a single National Defence Force, the British Military Assistance and Training Team (BMATT) has now been re-mandated as a smaller British Peace Support Team. This aims to prepare South African troops for regional peace support operations.

Support for Law and Order in South Africa

  11.  High crime levels negatively affect all South Africans and are a disincentive to domestic and foreign investment. With strong support from the UK, the British High Commission and DfID Southern Africa are helping to tackle these. Our partnership includes a twinning arrangement between British and South African police to explore community/police relations; assistance with oversight and accountability; training officers to combat financial crime (which also helps in the joint efforts on counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics); assistance to the elite counter-corruption "Scorpions" force; and a programme to assist in redesigning correctional services in South Africa. These activities are funded, in part, by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's new Global Opportunities Fund, to complement and augment DfID programmes.

EU/South Africa Trade Agreement

  12.  On 11 October 1999, the European Union signed a bilateral Trade, Co-operation and Development Agreement (TDCA) with South Africa. Most of the Agreement's provisions came into force on 1 January 2000. The remainder will come into force when all 15 EU Member States and the Republic of South Africa ratify the Agreement. To date, 11 EU members have ratified; South Africa has not yet done so. The UK ratified the Agreement earlier this year. The TDCA has an unspecified duration.

  13.  The TDCA governs trade relations, financial aid and development co-operation as well as a range of other fields, such as socio-cultural co-operation and political dialogue. The Agreement is supplemented by four additional agreements: the Science and Technology Agreement, the Wine and Spirits Agreement, the Fisheries Agreement (still in dispute) and by the existing Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the ACP states.

  14.  The TDCA contains provisions on, inter alia: establishing a Co-operation Council to oversee the Agreement and to conduct regular political dialogue; creating a free trade area over a transitional period; liberalising trade in services and the right of establishment; liberalising current payments and capital movement; preventing public aid distorting competition; promoting and protecting investment; and development co-operation.

SOUTH AFRICA'S ROLE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA (INCLUDING ZIMBABWE) AND THE CONTINENT MORE WIDELY

  15.  South Africa plays a significant role on African peace and security issues. It contributes troops for peace support operations, and is emerging as the most influential peace broker on the continent. South Africa was a primary architect of the peace and security principles in NEPAD, and helped to ensure these were adopted by the African Union—NEPAD Peace and Security Agenda.

The Region

  16.  In February 2000, and again in February 2001, Mozambique suffered from flooding that caused widespread devastation. The Mozambican Government issued an appeal for international support. In both years, South Africa provided military forces to rescue people from flooded areas and to fly in humanitarian aid supplies. In addition, South Africa provided food and medical supplies, and medical personnel.

Zimbabwe

  17.  South Africa was a member of the Commonwealth Troika that took the decision in March 2002 to suspend Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth for a year. On 16 March 2003, the Commonwealth Secretary General announced that Zimbabwe would remain suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth, pending discussions by Heads of Government in Abuja (5-8 December 2003).

  18.  Following Zimbabwe's suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth in 2002, South Africa and Nigeria appointed facilitators in April 2002 to encourage inter-party dialogue between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Opposition. South Africa continues to encourage the resumption of dialogue between ZANU(PF) and the MDC. South Africa is also providing humanitarian support to Zimbabwe.

The Continent

  19.  South Africa has been instrumental in brokering peace in the Great Lakes Region. As well as leading the diplomatic initiative, South Africa has provided peacekeeping forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is leading and commanding the first African Union multinational force, which is deployed in Burundi.

  20.  As President of the African Union, President Mbeki attended the January 2003 Paris summit on Cóte d'Ivoire.

  21.  He also travelled to Liberia in August 2003 to attend the ceremony organised by Charles Taylor to mark the latter's departure from the country. South African forces helped to secure the airport.

SOUTH AFRICA'S ROLE WITHIN RELEVANT REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL BODIES, MOST NOTABLY THE AFRICAN UNION, THE COMMONWEALTH AND THE UNITED NATIONS

  22.  Following the holding of the first free and fair elections under universal suffrage in South Africa in April 1994, South Africa was admitted or re-admitted to a number of international organisations. Since then, South Africa has played its part within those bodies in promoting internal restructuring in order to make them more effective.

  23.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was established in 1992 and currently has 14 members[1]South Africa joined in 1994, and has played an active role, with its partners, in the formulation of SADC's Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan, which was adopted by SADC Heads at its Summit in Dar-es-Salaam in August 2003. The Plan is geared to enhance regional economic development.

  24.  The African Union legally came into being in May 2001 but its formal launch took place in Durban in July 2002. The last Assembly of Heads of State from the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) was held on 8 July 2002. It was immediately followed by the Inaugural Summit of the African Union from 9-10 July 2002. The Constitutive Act of the African Union puts greater emphasis on good governance, democracy and constitutional rule than did the Charter of the Organisation for African Unity. Again, South Africa played an active role in taking forward change. President Mbeki was the first President of the new Union.

  25.  South Africa assumed the Chair of the Commonwealth at the Heads of Government Meeting in Durban in November 1999. The meeting established a ten-country High Level Group (chaired by South Africa). The Group's mandate was to review the role of the Commonwealth and report to the next Heads of Government Meeting (Coolum, Australia, March 2002) on how best the Commonwealth could respond to the challenges of the new century. South Africa remains a member of the Commonwealth Troika.

  26.  Recently, South Africa has hosted two major United Nations conferences. In 2001, the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) was held in Durban. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was held in Johannesburg—the biggest meeting ever. As host on both occasions, South Africa played a key role in the pre-conference preparation, chairing the meetings and producing conference documents.

  27.  South Africa is a major player in the G77 and Non-Aligned Movement. As Chair of the NAM from 1998 to 2003, they played a key role in guiding the input of that movement in multilateral fora. In 2003, they were co-ordinator for the African Group at the UN Commission on Human Rights, which voted against a number of EU initiatives, including a proposed resolution on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

SOUTH AFRICA AND THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA'S DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD)

  28.  South Africa is a founding nation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative and continues to play a leading role in its development and implementation. At its Summit meeting in July 2003, the African Union agreed that the NEPAD Secretariat should continue to be based in South Africa.

  29.  NEPAD is a long-term strategy for Africa's sustainable growth and development. It evolved from earlier African strategies and was further developed by a small group of African leaders[2]. Working with others, President Mbeki has mobilised political support for NEPAD among African and international leaders.

  30.  President Mbeki's contribution to NEPAD's development came from his own initial strategy for Africa's regeneration, the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP). MAP was inspired by President Mbeki's concept of African Renaissance[3], which features in South Africa's domestic and foreign policies. As such, President Mbeki is regarded as one of the chief architects of the NEPAD strategy and a leading proponent of a regenerated African Union, Africa's primary continental body.

  31.  Endorsed by the OAU (now African Union) in 2001, NEPAD is African owned and led. It recognises African responsibility for creating the conditions for the continent's development. It also calls on developed countries to enter into a new partnership with Africa, based on mutual responsibility and trust, with commitments and obligations on all parties.

  32.  South Africa is a member of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee. The Committee sets NEPAD policies, priorities and programmes and reports to the annual summit of the African Union Assembly (at Heads of State and Government level).

  33.  South Africa chairs the NEPAD Steering Committee, which comprises personal representatives of the initiating Presidents of the five founding NEPAD countries[4]. The Steering Committee is responsible for developing terms of reference for programmes and projects and for overseeing the NEPAD Secretariat. South Africa also chairs the NEPAD sub-committee on Peace and Security, and has been instrumental in converging the African Union (AU) and NEPAD peace and security objectives into what is now referred to as the AU—NEPAD Peace and Security Agenda (APSA).

  34.  The centrepiece of APSA is the AU Common African Defence and Security Policy. Implementation at regional and continental levels should lead to a defence and security architecture, including the establishment of an African Standby Force. At the AU Summit in Maputo in July 2003, President Mbeki (the outgoing Chair) urged AU members to ratify the protocol that will enable the Peace and Security Council to be legally established. So far less than 20 countries have done so.

  35.  The Democracy and Political Governance Initiative includes the establishment of an African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), a voluntary process to review and raise governance standards in Africa. South Africa was among the first countries to volunteer for the APRM and seeks to encourage other African states to do the same. The UK welcomes the development of the Review Mechanism. Sixteen countries have now agreed to be reviewed. The first reviews are expected to start in autumn 2003.

  36.  South Africa contributes to the development of NEPAD policy and programmes in other priority areas by supporting studies and hosting seminars. To popularise the African Union and NEPAD within South Africa, President Mbeki initiated an AU/NEPAD Outreach Programme in 2002.

  37.  The importance attached to NEPAD by South Africa is also reflected in its foreign policies. The Department of Foreign Affairs Strategy Plan for 2003-05 lists implementation of NEPAD as a priority.

NEPAD and the G8 Africa Action Plan

  38.  The United Kingdom Government strongly supports NEPAD. We recognise that NEPAD is a long-term agenda requiring sustained engagement and political commitment. The Government played an active role in developing the G8 Africa Action Plan, announced at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis in 2002, as a response to support NEPAD. The Action Plan sets out G8 commitments in a range of areas such as peace and security, governance, trade, health and education. The Government is implementing its commitments through its wider development programme.

  39.  NEPAD and G8 leaders and representatives have met regularly to discuss NEPAD and the G8's response since the G8 Summit in Genoa 2001. South Africa has played a key role in these meetings.

UK Support for NEPAD

  40. British High Commission officials, with their DfID colleagues, have been in regular contact with the NEPAD Secretariat to offer support and to gauge progress. Similarly, there has been constant dialogue with South Africa at political and senior official level.

SOUTH AFRICA'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM

  41.  South Africa responded swiftly to the attacks in New York on 11 September 2001. The Government condemned terrorism without equivocation, offering the US humanitarian support and the full co-operation of its security agencies. In a follow-up statement, the South Africans said they recognised the right of the US Government to track down the culprits and bring them to justice, though this should be coupled with a longer term response of isolating terrorists through international co-operation "to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment".

  42.  South Africa has just joined the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that sets the global standards in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. South Africa is also a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), the only FATF-style regional body in Africa.

Domestic Terrorism

  43.  The South African Government's intentions and actions on countering terrorism are laudable. The Counter Terrorism Bill is working its way through Parliament, but faces obstacles over the detention without trial of suspected terrorists, owing to objections to similar repressive Apartheid-era legislation. The work of South African agencies involved in countering terrorism is not always fully co-ordinated, but is improving. The South African Police Service is confident that it is on top of recent domestic terrorist threats from domestic groups, including People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) and the Boermag (a white far-right organisation).

UK/South Africa Co-operation

  44.  The British High Commission has worked with the South African authorities to mutual benefit, particularly in anti-money laundering activities. It has been active in supporting South Africa in the creation of a Financial Intelligence Centre to monitor and police money-laundering activities by both terrorist and organised criminal groups. Further co-operation continues and is aimed at jointly encouraging neighbouring countries to strengthen their anti-money laundering regimes.

UK-SOUTH AFRICA TRADE AND INVESTMENT

  45.  The UK is one of South Africa's largest trade and investment partners with over £5 billion in two-way trade in goods and services and £12 billion of UK investment in South Africa (see statistics at Annex E). Strong business ties are an important element of the overall bilateral relationship. The UK Trade and Investment operation is headquartered in Johannesburg, with additional commercial coverage in Cape Town and Durban. Collectively, we see over 500 visiting UK business people a year, and assist 12-15 trade missions and 4-5 exhibition groups visiting South Africa.

Trade

  46.  Following the end of apartheid and the opening up of South Africa's economy, a major campaign, "Britain and South Africa: Partners in Opportunity", ran from 1998-2000, to raise UK awareness of the opportunities in the market. This has evolved into a sector-focused approach, with strategies currently drawn up in 12 sectors to help UK companies take advantage of specific opportunities. There has been a strong emphasis on those expected to arise from the privatisation programme and the promotion of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). These include opportunities in the water, airports, ports, healthcare, telecommunications and railways sectors. Education and training, IT, tourism, creative industries, agriculture and automotive are also key areas. Since 1999 UK trade in goods and services with South Africa has followed an upward trend, with the latest figures (2002) showing UK exports of goods at £1,597 million. This is an increase of 25% over 1999. The UK share of world exports to South Africa is 9.1% (up from 8.7% in 2001).

Investment

  47.  The UK is the largest foreign investor in South Africa, estimated at £12 billion and covering a wide range of sectors. Nine of the top 20 foreign employers are British, and UK companies employ more than 40% of those working for foreign firms. Lonrho is the largest foreign employer, while BP, Shell, GSK, Barclays, BAE Systems, Unilever, HSBC, British Airways and Rio Tinto are other important investors.

  48.  South Africa is the 18th largest investor in the UK in net book value, with investments of £757 million recorded in 2001. Over 200 South African companies are in the UK, with ICT, light engineering, creative industries, financial services and consultancy being the most prominent. Large investors include Old Mutual, SAB Miller, Investec and Sasol. Several companies have listed on the London Stock Exchange in recent years.

Defence Package

  49.  Following a 1996 Strategic Defence Review of post-apartheid South Africa's changing defence priorities, the South African Parliament agreed in 1997 to a comprehensive Strategic Defence Procurement Package. Primary contracts for the aviation element of the package were subsequently awarded in 1999. The lion's share went to a BAe Systems bid (with SAAB Aeronautical alongside) to supply 24 Hawk trainers and 28 Gripen light fighter aircraft. The value of the Hawk/Gripen contract to BAe Systems was approaching £1.5 billion, with an overall "offset" commitment to generate additional investment in South Africa of nearly £5.5 billion.

  50.  Other purchases included Agusta A109 helicopters (from 2004), four German corvettes (2004-05), three French submarines (2005-07) and 15 domestic Rooivalk attack helicopters (delivery underway). The total value of the package was £3.3 billion. The UK's share of the package has recently been increased by an order for four Lynx helicopters.

  51.  The UK offset commitment of £5.5 billion was split between Defence Industrial Participation and National Industrial Participation (NIP). The offset programme has to be achieved over eleven years. MOD officials are keeping a close eye on BAE Systems efforts and form part of the Joint Monitoring Team that oversees the offset obligation.

Black Economic Empowerment and Commerce

  52.  Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) is the strategy initiated by the South African Government in 1995 to improve black participation in the ownership and management of the economy and the highly unequal distribution of wealth inherited from the apartheid era. The South African Government has attempted to drive BEE by encouraging the private and public sectors to demonstrate an increase in black participation in ownership, management, employment equity, skills development, affirmative procurement and income levels. Following concern over the way that the Mining Charter was handled before agreement was reached with industry last year, other sectors have been given the flexibility to decide how to take BEE forward. UKTI staff urge UK companies to consider BEE as a competitive advantage and provide advice on how this can be done well, including identifying local partners with access into the previously disadvantaged communities.

The UK-SA SME Partnership Programme

  53.  In 1999 Trade Partners UK launched the pilot UK/SA Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Partnership Programme, which aims to develop long-term business partnerships between UK and South African small and medium sized companies, with particular emphasis on SMEs in South Africa owned and managed by previously disadvantaged groups. Thirty-two partnerships were achieved in 2002.

The Southern African Commercial Hub

  54.  Southern Africa offers significant business opportunities—from huge infrastructure projects to regional distribution networks—and South African-based companies are well placed to take advantage of them due to their location, cost, structures, local knowledge and access to donor funding. Since 2001, the Southern African Commercial Hub, located in the Johannesburg office, has worked with colleagues in regional posts to help UK companies, both in the UK and the region, trade and invest in Southern Africa, often in partnership with companies based in South Africa. This has included introducing companies that have formed a consortium to bid for infrastructure projects. This approach also provides a good fit with the NEPAD agenda.

ECGD

  55.  The full range of ECGD export credit facilities is available to support UK exports of capital goods and services to South Africa, including financing in Rand. Total ECGD exposure to South Africa stands at about £1.78 billion which largely reflects the cover agreed for the large defence deal won by BAE Systems and SAAB of Sweden. South Africa is regarded as an acceptable risk, and the Medium Term Case Indicator is £80 million. Along with 10-15 of its most concentrated markets, ECGD is introducing its Active Portfolio Management (APM) programme to South Africa. This aims to hedge or transfer risks through reinsurance, credit derivatives or structured instruments.

EFFECTIVENESS OF THE FOREIGN OFFICE'S WORK IN SOUTH AFRICA

  56.  The United Kingdom Government's policy towards South Africa is to create a strong partnership, building on our shared history and major commercial links. This paper demonstrates the wide ranging agenda addressed by the two Governments, and sets out in detail in the annexes the way the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with its partner Departments, engage with the South African Government, and with British and South African nationals.

  57.  The Foreign Secretary's visit to South Africa in May 2003 confirmed agreement on the broad agenda the two governments will pursue together.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

September 2003


Annex A

JOINT COMMUNIQUE« ON THE OFFICIAL VISIT OF THE RT HON JACK STRAW MP, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS, TO SOUTH AFRICA FROM 13 TO 14 MAY 2003

  At the invitation of the Honourable Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, MP, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, paid an official visit to South Africa from 13 to 14 May 2003.

  Minister Dlamini Zuma was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr A Pahad. The British Secretary of State, Mr J Straw was accompanied by Mr Michael Meacher, Environment Minister, Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Mr Stephen Twigg, Schools Minister, Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Ms Joyce Mabudafhasi, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and Mr Michael Meacher as well as Mr Mosibudi Mangena, Deputy Minister of Education and Mr Stephen Twigg held bilateral meetings.

  Consequent to the bilateral discussions the overall political relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom have been strengthened with the agreement to enhance and formalise the Joint Bilateral Forum (JBF). In addition officials will meet frequently to take forward a common agenda agreed to by the principals.

  In the political sphere the Ministers discussed issues such as: the African Union (AU) and NEPAD; Conflict resolution in the Middle East and Iraq; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and the Great Lakes as well as other African issues; Co-operation within multilateral fora of the United Nations (UN) and the reinforcement of the UN as the primary multilateral organisation responsible for world peace and security.

  Minister Dlamini Zuma provided an update of developments relating to NEPAD and the African Union. Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw congratulated South Africa on the establishment of the NEPAD Secretariat and on the leadership of President Mbeki up to and following the launch of the African Union. The United Kingdom remains committed to supporting NEPAD, the African Union, and South Africa. It was agreed that both countries will work together to look for ways in which to implement the NEPAD Agenda and to meet the targets set out in the G8 Africa Action Plan as agreed on at Kananaskis.

  The Ministers welcomed the invitation extended to the leaders representing the South to the G8 Summit in Evian, France. Furthermore, the Ministers expressed their hope that the Agreements expected to be reached at Evian on NEPAD'S Africa Action Plan be implemented equitably as agreed upon by all parties at the Summit. It was further agreed to pursue meaningful discussions post-Evian.

  Foreign Secretary Straw reiterated that the United Kingdom remains firmly committed to supporting South Africa's democratic transformation. He stated that the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFlD) has recently finalised a new strategy for development co-operation on Southern Africa.

  This strategy is closely aligned with the achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and with South Africa's own development priorities. It commits the British Government to increasing co-operation with South Africa on global and continental issues such as conflict resolution, trade and NEPAD as well as to supporting South African efforts in four thematic areas:

    (i)

    poverty strategy and analysis;

    (ii)

    growth, jobs and equity;

    (iii)

    democracy, governance and service delivery; and

    (iv)

    HIV/AIDS. An annual amount of 30 million pounds for a period of three years, has been allocated for the four thematic areas.

  Both Ministers acknowledged the burden and challenges facing Africa in the form of communicable diseases such as Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS etc. The United Kingdom supports South Africa's National 2000-05 Strategic Plan through its development assistance programme at government to government level, in partnership with civil society, and aiding small, grassroots community organisations. It was agreed that the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DfID) and South Africa's National Treasury should work together to bring forward new co-operation programmes for consideration, which will include local government, communicable diseases, land reform, and justice.

  The Ministers also noted the continued recruitment of skilled South Africans to the UK, and undertook to work together to ensure such recruitment does not undermine the economic and social development of South Africa.

  The Ministers welcomed the appointment of Mahmud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as Prime Minister in the Palestinian National Authority and the appointment of a new Cabinet, as well as the consequent publication of the Quartet's Road Map. They agreed to share with the parties to this conflict the relevant experience that their respective Governments gained in the democratic transformation process, in the case of South Africa and in Northern Ireland in the case of the UK.

  The Ministers discussed the aftermath of the war in Iraq. Long-term peace, security, development, and a sustainable solution in Iraq can only be achieved with and by the full participation of the Iraqi people themselves. In this regard it was agreed that the first priority now is to address the humanitarian situation and to work towards the stabilisation of Iraq.

  In addition to the bilateral discussion held by the Foreign Ministers, two Working Groups met on Africa and Multilateral issues:

  On the Great Lakes Region, the Working Group on Africa concurred that both South Africa and the United Kingdom share a strong interest in the long-term stability and prosperity of this Region, acknowledging that development and poverty alleviation can only come about through stability and the total cessation of conflict. The United Kingdom warmly welcomed South Africa's success in July 2002 in brokering a Peace Agreement between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was noted that the United Kingdom has provided practical support for South Africa's commitment of troops in support of MONUC operations in the DRC. The United Kingdom expressed their government's readiness to provide further assistance, if requested.

  The Working Group welcomed the signing of the Final Act of the Peace Agreement on 2 April 2003 at Sun City, as well as the endorsement of the Global and Inclusive Agreement on the Transition in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Transitional Constitution. The Working Group welcomed the sterling efforts of the Facilitator, Sir Ketumile Masire, and of the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Mr Moustapha Niasse, and the spirit of reconciliation displayed by the Congolese parties, which have contributed to this important step towards a united, peaceful and prosperous Democratic Republic of the Congo. Both expressed their concern on recent developments in eastern DRC. They underlined their support for efforts to stabilise the situation and protect the civilian population.

  On Burundi the Working Group strongly supported South Africa's continuing efforts to narrow the differences between the protagonists. The Working Group welcomed the smooth transfer of power and congratulated all the parties for taking the peace process forward. The Working Group welcomed the plan to deploy the Africa mission to Burundi and noted that this was the first African Union multinational force of Ethiopia, Mozambique and South Africa.

  On Angola the Working Group shared a strong commitment in ensuring that the progress in the Angolan peace process is maintained and strengthened. Both countries are aware of the development challenges facing Angola in the post-war phase and support policies and programmes aimed at alleviating the suffering of the people and ensuring the long-term stability of the country.

  On Zimbabwe, the Ministers welcomed the visit of President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, to Zimbabwe on 5 May 2003. While in Harare, the three leaders held discussions with both President Robert Mugabe and the MDC leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, in an attempt to remove all the remaining obstacles towards the resumption of Inter-Party Dialogue between ZANU-PF and the MDC. Both countries agreed on the need to encourage the parties to commit themselves to removing the obstacles to the negotiations. They underlined that the longer the problems in Zimbabwe remain unresolved, the more entrenched poverty will become. They stressed their commitment to an outcome in which the people of Zimbabwe enjoy independence, freedom, peace, stability, democracy and prosperity. The Working Group noted unequivocally, that no lasting solution to the challenges that face Zimbabwe can be found, unless that solution comes from the people of Zimbabwe themselves.

  On Cóte d'Ivoire the Working Group expressed concern about the continuing unstable situation in Cóte d'Ivoire, and the delay in the full implementation of the provisions of the Marcoussis Agreement. They welcomed the mediation efforts undertaken by President Kufuor of Ghana on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has the support of the African Union.

  Furthermore, they expressed concern at the ongoing reports of continuing violence in the western parts of Cóte d'Ivoire. In this regard, the Working Group stated that all parties to the conflict should desist from violent actions, including the recruitment of mercenaries, which could lead to further suffering and commit themselves to a process of negotiation.

  The Multilateral Working Group stressed their commitment to and the importance of, the multilateral system of governance for peace, sustainable development, and strong and equitable growth. The Working Group had a helpful exchange on the British proposal for the International Financing Facility (IFF), which aims to promote enhanced aid flows to the poorest countries. Both sides agreed to keep in close contact as the idea is taken forward. The Working Group agreed that the United Nations has an indispensable role to play, not only in the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in post-conflict situations, but also in assisting with the full range of peace-building, reconciliation and reconstruction activities.

  On the WTO and International Trade the Working Group noted that the United Kingdom and South Africa share a good understanding of each other's perspectives on international trade issues and globalisation enhanced by the close interaction between our respective Trade and Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The Ministers agreed that the lack of progress in talks at the WTO in Geneva is of concern. It was agreed to continue to engage each other at all levels to make progress on the negotiations ahead of Cancun, particularly in the areas of agriculture and TRIPS to meet the mandate of the Doha Development agenda.

  Both countries noted with approval that the United Kingdom remains the largest foreign investor in South Africa and welcomed the steady stream of inward trade missions from potential British investors. Over 200 United Kingdom companies have now endorsed the principles behind NEPAD as they see South Africa as a country where good governance, transparency and sound business practice thrive. The Working Group welcomed the South African Government's release of the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) strategy. It noted that the strategy had been broadly welcomed by investors as key to providing both a strong framework and greater certainty for social transformation and economic growth.

  In order to enhance further co-operation and to promote two-way trade and tourism, the Working Group agreed that air services and other transport issues will be discussed at senior political level in the near future.

  The Working Group remained committed to the Kimberly process in order to help promote international peace and security. It was agreed that the active co-operation between South Africa and the United Kingdom has contributed to the success of the recently held meeting of the Kimberly Process in Johannesburg.

  On the WSSD the United Kingdom is targeting its development assistance programme towards achieving the goals set out in Johannesburg regarding access to water, energy and sanitation as part of an overriding objective to alleviate poverty.

  During the bilateral meeting between Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi and Junior Minister Meacher, the two Ministers agreed to work together to find a satisfactory solution to serious environmental contamination in Kwazulu-Natal concerning Thor chemicals.

  On Climate Change the two Ministers discussed an urgent need for action to tackle the threat of climate change and emphasised the positive role that new technologies, as well as the business sector, could play in the process. The Ministers also emphasised the need of all countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

  The two ministers agreed that South Africa and the UK could each play a vital role in ensuring that the international community delivered on commitments made in Johannesburg on water and sanitation. The ministers emphasised the importance of mobilising all possible resources at all levels to ensure adequate investments in these sectors, in order to provide the necessary infrastructure, technology and capacity-building.

  Stephen Twigg, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, participated in an extended programme in Pretoria and Cape Town. Mr Twigg held warm and productive meetings with Education Minister Kader Asmal and Deputy Education Minister Mosibudi Mangena, sharing experiences and identifying a number of areas for follow-up and further co-operation including: IT, tertiary education reform, prompting high learning achievement regardless of race, and the incorporation of sound values and citizenship ideals into education policy.

  On behalf of Secretary of State for Education Charles Clarke, Mr Twigg welcomed Mr Asmal's participation in the meeting later this year of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Edinburgh, and invited Mr Asmal to take part in a further series of bilateral discussions during his visit to the UK.

  At the invitation of both National and Provincial Education Departments, Mr Twigg also visited schools in Soshanguve and Mitchells Plain, experiencing first-hand the issues facing education in South Africa. At the invitation of both National and Provincial Education Departments Mr Twigg took part in further in-depth discussions of these issues, and the common ground between the UK and South Africa in how these issues are tackled.

  In conclusion the two parties agreed that the next meeting of the Joint Bilateral Forum will be held in South Africa during 2004 to coincide with South Africa's 10th Anniversary celebration.

  The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs during his visit also had the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on H.E. Mr Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa.

June 2003


Annex B

UK PRESENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA

  1.  UK interests in South Africa are dealt with by four principal offices: our High Commission in Pretoria, Consulate General in Cape Town, British Trade and Investment Office in Johannesburg and Consulate General in Durban, plus two Honorary Consulates in Port Elizabeth and East London. In managing these assets, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has sought to meet high standards of value for money.

Estate in South Africa

  2.  In Pretoria, the main part of the High Commission is located in a listed building which was gifted to the British Government by a local businessman, of British origin, in the 1930s. Since then extensions have been built to accommodate the High Commission's management and press and public affairs sections. Visa and consular services are run out of a separate leased building in Pretoria. UK staff in South Africa are housed in 31 owned and 13 leased properties. The High Commissioner has residences in Pretoria and Capetown. Annual estate expenditure in Pretoria alone is £305,000.

  3.  The former High Commission buildings in Cape Town, located within the South African Parliament's compound, were sold earlier this year to the South African Government for R6,350,000 (£530,000). The British Consulate General in Cape Town is located on one floor of a leased office block. The British Consulate in Durban will shortly take on a purely commercial role funded by British Trade International.

Staff in South Africa

  4.  A comparative summary of staffing is contained in the table below.


UK-based Staff Locally Engaged Staff
Pretoria36122
Jo'burg629
Cape Town417
Durban110
UK Total47178
France3020
Germany4739
USA250450


  5.  Since 1994 considerable effort has gone into increasing the diversity of locally employed staff so that it is more representative of South Africa's population. A number of initiatives have been employed to ensure that this diverse mix works as an effective team. All staff attend an employment equity course which aims to give an overview of new employment laws. Specialist trainers from the UK ran a "Managing Inclusion" course in 2002. Team building sessions, mentoring, staff Away-days and induction training for new staff have all been introduced in the last two years.


Annex C

THE ENTRY CLEARANCE AND VISA OPERATION IN SOUTH AFRICA

  1.  All UK Entry Clearance and visa work in South Africa is centralised in Pretoria. The Visa Section currently consists of one Entry Clearance Manager, 5 Entry Clearance Officers and 22.5 Locally Engaged staff. 29,335 visa applications were received in the financial year 2002-03, an increase of 28% on the previous year. 93.1% of all the applications received were approved.

Performance against PSA Targets

  2.  In the financial year 2002-03, the visa post in Pretoria met all three PSA targets:

    92% of Tier 1 and Tier 2 (straightforward non-settlement applications) were resolved within 24 hours (target was 90%)

    average waiting time for a Tier 3 (non-settlement applications) interview was one working day (target was 10 working days)

    average waiting time for a Tier 4 (settlement applications) interview was one week (target was 12 weeks)

General

  3.  Visa work has increased year on year since South Africa rejoined the Commonwealth in 1994. Since then South Africans have benefited from two categories of entry clearance previously denied to them: working holidaymaker and permit free employment on the grounds of UK ancestry. One-half of applications are submitted in person at the Visa Section, One-third through commercial visa agents of the applicant's choice. The rest are sent by post or courier.

  4. Although they do not need prior entry clearance to visit the UK, approximately 85-90% of applications are from South Africans. Most of them are employment or settlement related.


Category
Percentage %


Working holidaymakers
66
Permit free employment on the grounds of UK ancestry (plus accompanying dependants) 11
Visitors (mainly third country visa nationals) 8
Settlement6
Work permit dependants5
EEA family permits1
Students1
Other categories of permit free employment 2



Waiting Time

  5.  The waiting queue for a tier three interview currently (September 2003) stands at 12 working days, but is usually below the PSA target of 10. The queue is mainly composed of applicants who have not submitted their application in person. Personal callers are usually interviewed on the same day, if this is required.

  6.  There is no separate queue for tier four settlement applications. Most of these can easily be resolved on paper, as they are usually from long established couples.

EU Residence Permits Scheme

  7.  From 13 November 2003, South African nationals will be affected by the UK Government's implementation of the EU-wide Residence Permits scheme, ie those who wish to stay in the UK for more than six months will need to apply for Entry Clearance before arrival.

  8.  Based on IND statistics for the number of South African nationals admitted to the UK in 2001-02 for more than six months, we estimate that this change in policy will generate around 19,000 visa applications in the first year following its introduction. UK Visas have agreed the additional deployment of three Locally Engaged staff (one of them will be an Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) on a six month contract initially) and extra funding to pay for new application forms, furniture and office equipment (such as computer terminals, cash-tills and printers).

Working Holidaymakers (WHM) Scheme

  9.  The recent revisions to the Working Holidaymakers Scheme are expected to generate a considerable increase in the post's workload. For the last financial year, 64% of visa applications received by the post were for WHM visas. As the changes only started from 25 August 2003, UKvisas are monitoring the situation closely and maintaining close contact with post. Additional staff and resources will be deployed, if necessary.


Annex D

UK CONSULAR WORK IN SOUTH AFRICA

  1.  Consular work in South Africa is split into three consular districts. The Consulate General in Cape Town covers Northern, Western and Eastern Cape Provinces. KwaZulu Natal is currently covered by our Durban office, although in early 2004 the office will handle trade matters exclusively. Straightforward or emergency consular work will then be covered locally by an Honorary Consul but assisted, where required, by consular staff from Pretoria. The remaining five provinces are covered from Pretoria.

  2.  Pretoria's consular staffing consists of the Consul, Vice Consul (Passports and Nationality), an LE II Consular Protection Officer, an LEII Nationality Officer and 17 other Locally Engaged staff. Cape Town's consular staffing comprises an LE II Vice Consul and three Locally Engaged consular assistants. There are also Honorary Consuls in Port Elizabeth and East London, mainly to provide assistance to the large numbers of British nationals (including many retirees) residing in the Eastern Cape. The total number of British nationals living in South Africa is estimated at around 750,000, of which 500,000 reside in the Cape provinces. Many of these are dual nationals.

  3.  Approximately 420,000 British citizens visited South Africa last year. Most visit the coastal areas (notably Cape Town), although South Africa's tourism authorities estimate that a third of all tourists visit Mpumulanga, primarily to see the Kruger National Park.

  4. The last annual return shows approximately 50,000 personal callers to our consular offices (including collection and delivery of applications), 200,000 telephone enquiries, and 17,000 postal, fax or e-mail enquiries. Over 500 received advice or assistance in respect of financial assistance and repatriation, and assistance was given to 23 detainees (either serving sentences in prison or having been held for more than 24 hours). Twenty nine hospital visits were recorded, although this figure does not fully record the numerous visits made by a number of High Commission staff to the victims of the Piet Retief bus crash over a period of several weeks. Seventy eight deaths were recorded, involving varying degrees of assistance from our staff to the families and relatives.

  5.  Last year around 23,000 passports were issued, over 90% in less than 5 working days. Documentation anomalies and form filling errors account for nearly all the delayed issues. However, in the recent months Passport Section has achieved a near 100% issue within five working days.

  6.  Despite the best efforts of the South African authorities to address the problem, the country's high crime rate cannot be denied or ignored. This, allied to the large number of British residents and the substantial (and growing) volume of visitors, some, inevitably, become victims of crime.


Annex E

UK—SOUTH AFRICA TRADE IN GOODS & INVESTMENT—KEY POINTS


£ Million
2000 20012002 Jan-Jun
2003


Exports of Goods
1,413 1,5581,597851
Imports of Goods2,553 2,8612,6731,399
Balance in Goods-1,140 -1,303-1,076-548
Exports of Services952 1,004n/an/a
Imports of Services516 520n/an/a
Balance in Services436 484n/an/a



  Trade in goods

  UK exports to South Africa increased by 2% in 2002

  UK imports from South Africa fell by 7% in 2002

  South Africa is the UK's 21st largest export market (2002)

  South Africa is the UK's 16th largest source of imports (2002)

  UK is South Africa's largest export market (2002)

  UK is South Africa's 3rd largest source of imports (2002)

  UK share of world exports to South Africa increased from 8.7% in 2001 to 9.1% in 2002.

  Main UK exports to South Africa by value during 2002 (with changes over 2001)

  Non-Metallic Mineral Manufactures (primarily diamonds)

£286 million (+29%)

  Road Vehicles

£149 million (+25%)

  Office Machines & ADP Equipment

£100 million (-24%)

  Power Generating Equipment

   £96 million (+83%)

  Around 91% of UK exports to South Africa are

  manufactured goods.

  Main UK imports from South Africa by value during 2002
  (with changes over 2001)

  Non-Metallic Mineral Manufactures (primarily diamonds)

£853 million (-12%)

  Road Vehicles

£310 million (+38%)

  Coal, Coke

£269 million (-24%)

  Vegetables and Fruit

£223 million (+13%)

  South African Investment into the UK

  South Africa is the 18th largest investor in the UK in net book value, with investments of £757 million recorded in 2001. Over 200 South African companies are in the UK.


LETTER TO THE PARLIAMENTARY RELATIONS AND DEVOLUTION DEPARTMENT, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFCE, FROM THE SECOND CLERK OF THE COMMITTEE, 29 JANUARY 2004

  At its meeting on Tuesday, the Committee discussed the South Africa inquiry and its forthcoming evidence session with Mr Mullin. Given the time that will have elapsed between the session and the receipt of the Foreign Office's memorandum for the inquiry (30 September), the Committee agreed that it would greatly value a supplementary note from the Office to bring the submission up-to-date. There would of course be no need to repeat any of the details provided in the original memorandum, although it would be helpful if the information could be set out under the same headings.If the submission could be received by Monday 23 February, to allow time for circulation to all Members prior to Mr Mullin's session, the Committee would be grateful.

Geoffrey Farrar

Second Clerk of the Committe

January 2004

LETTER TO THE SECOND CLERK FROM THE PARLIAMENTARY RELATIONS AND DEVOLUTION DEPARTMENT, 23 FEBRUARY 2004

  Thank you for your letter of 29 January asking for a supplementary note in relation to the Committee's current inquiry into "South Africa," ahead of Mr Mullin's appearance before the Committee on 2 March.

  I enclose the memorandum herewith. It should be read in conjunction with our earlier memorandum on South Africa, which we submitted in September.

Matthew Hamlyn

23 February 2004





1   Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Back

2   Presidents Bouteflika of Algeria, Mubarak of Egypt, Obasanjo of Nigeria, Wade of Senegal, and Mbeki of South Africa. Back

3   African Renaissance can be described as a social and economic development agenda for the revival and renewal of Africa, recognising the continent's culture and history while setting out a path to address the challenges of globalisation. Back

4   South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt and Algeria. Back


 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2004
Prepared 18 May 2004