International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said that expanding the BRICS bloc of countries was not about building a body that was anti-the West.
She’s revealed that the number of countries wanting to join the grouping has risen to 23.
Pandor said it would be up to BRICS leaders to decide whether to expand the group and who to include.
Minister Pandor said that the proposed criteria for joining the BRICS bloc would be presented to BRICS leaders ahead of the summit in two weeks’ time.
South Africa is the only country to have joined the body after it was originally formed in 2009.
Pandor said it was unfair to single out Brazil and India as nations which were reportedly hesitant to expand the grouping.
“I don’t think we see BRICS as being pro-Russia, or anti-western. I think that would be extremely wrong.”
Pandor said that South Africa viewed its Western trading partners as very important to its economic progress.
“I would certainly guard against having any set of criteria for expansion that led us down a path where we contribute to increasing conflict in the global community.”
Pandor said that the expansion criteria included adherence to the UN Charter, support for multilateralism and a commitment to matters important for the survival of the globe.