Questions have been raised about South Africa’s foreign policy stance following the addition of countries with poor human rights records to the BRICS bloc.
One of the major declarations from the 15th BRICS Summit was the granting of full membership status to six countries, namely Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Their membership comes into full effect as of next year.
Ahead of the recent BRICS Summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation where he said that South Africa’s foreign policy stance was guided by its support for human rights.
Professor of international relations at Wits University, John Stremlau, said out of the six countries added to BRICS, only Argentina could be regarded as a democracy.
Global politics analyst, Professor Jannie Roussow, said South Africa chose to join BRICS despite its existing members, Russia and China, having questionable human rights records.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson on international relations, Emma Powell, said South Africa had no place in an organisation with autocratic leaders.
“To date, the ANC-led government has been unable to shed any light on the evaluation criteria that has guided our support for new members.”
The DA said South Africa’s continued membership in an expanded BRICS was likely to alienate its biggest trading partners from the global West.