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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 15 July, 2021

  • 5 Min Read

South African Protests and India South Africa Relations

South African Protests and India South Africa Relations

The unrest in South Africa, set off after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

  • The rioting originated in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where he is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court, after failing to appear for a corruption inquiry.

Who is Jacob Zuma?

  • Jacob Zuma assumed the presidency in 2009. Zuma was once a freedom fighter in the ruling African National Congress alongside Nelson Mandela. After years of corruption allegations, and facing a vote of no confidence, Zuma resigned as president in 2018.
  • Zuma is accused of mass cronyism. Under his rule, critics charge, billions of dollars were siphoned out of the state and into the pockets of officials and their associates.
  • The phrase "state capture" is now ubiquitous in South African politics- it denotes state institutions being used as vehicles for self enrichment.
  • Before Zuma became president, South Africa was ranked at number 55 on Transparency International's global index, which ranks corruption around the globe. In 2018, the year Zuma left office, the country was ranked 73.

Reasons for Riots?

  • The rioting originated in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal in support of the former president’s arrest.
  • But experts have called the protests a repudiation of the state of South Africa.
  • The country is in the midst of a wicked COVID wave with roughly one in four tests coming out positive.
  • South Africa has the highest official unemployment rate in the world, at 32% and one of the highest crime rates.
  • The World Bank called it the most unequal country in the world in 2018.

India – South Africa Relations

  • India’s relations with South Africa go back centuries and have a powerful emotional component. It is here that Mahatma Gandhi began his political career, and over the decades of the 20th century, India stood solidly behind the ANC’s struggle against apartheid.
  • India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the anti-apartheid movement; it was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid Government (in 1946) and subsequently imposed a complete – diplomatic, commercial, cultural and sports – embargo on South Africa.
  • India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM, and other multilateral organizations and for the imposition of comprehensive international sanctions against South Africa.
  • India’s relations with South Africa were restored after a gap of over four decades with the opening of a Cultural Centre in Johannesburg in May 1993.
  • Diplomatic and consular relations with South Africa were restored in November 1993 during the visit of the then South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha to India. A Consulate General was thereafter established in Johannesburg.
  • The Indian High Commission in Pretoria was opened in May 1994, followed by the opening of the Consulate General in Durban the same month.
  • Since Parliament in South Africa meets in Cape Town, a permanent office of the High Commission was opened there in 1996, which has been re-designated as Consulate General of India with effect from January 2011.
  • The Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa called the Red Fort Declaration was signed in 1997 by the then South African President Nelson Mandela and former PM H.D. Deve Gowda.

Relations in the Last Decade

Political relations

  • The year 2017 marks the 20 years of signing of the Red Fort Declaration for Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa.
  • The Declaration was signed in March 1997 by the Prime Minister of India Shri Deva Gowda and President of South Africa Nelson Mandela in New Delhi.
  • To commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Red Fort Declaration of Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa an India-South Africa Cultural Extravaganza comprising of a music and dance show, a curtain raiser event was organized by High Commission of India, Pretoria in Pretoria on April 9, 2017.

IBSA & BRICS Initiative

  • 16 Sectoral Working Groups have been established in areas such as health, agriculture, education, human settlements, S&T and defence.

Commercial & Economic Relations

  • Commercial relations have flourished since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993.
  • There is substantial potential for trade growth between the two countries. Exports from India to South Africa include vehicles and components thereof, transport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, footwear, dyes and intermediates, chemicals, textiles, rice, gems and jewellery, etc. Import from South Africa to India include gold, steam coal, copper ores & concentrates, phosphoric acid, manganese ore, aluminum ingots & other minerals.

Cultural Relations

  • A Festival of India in South Africa was jointly organized by High Commission in Pretoria and Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa during July-August 2014 commemorating 20 years of our diplomatic relations and also 100 years of Gandhiji’s return to India from South Africa.
  • With the help of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an intensive programme of cultural exchanges is organised throughout South Africa including scholarships for South African nationals. In addition to such cultural programming, a ‘Shared Histories’ Festival organized as a public-private partnership is also held, which held its 10th edition in 2016.
  • The Department of Arts and Culture sent cultural troupe to India to participate in the International Dance and Music Festival held January 2016.
  • International Yoga Day is celebrated on 21 June by the Mission/Posts in collaboration/association with local organisations in cities across South Africa.

Agreements Signed

  • President Ramaphosa is the second President of South Africa after President Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day.
  • During the visit, South African President said, “India is a strategic partner for South Africa. South Africa attaches the highest importance to its relations with India and considerable scope exists to deepen bilateral relations at an economic level.”

The 3-Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation:

  • South Africa and India 2019-2022, a comprehensive document was signed during the visit. This document is an outline of a roadmap for cooperation between both the countries.
  • The strategic programme will facilitate expansion of ties in several key areas such as defence, maritime security and trade and investment.
  • The ‘strategic programme of cooperation’ is aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement and ensuring that a “result-oriented” partnership benefits people of both the countries.
  • Both countries emphasise on concerted global action to deal with terrorism and called for adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism as well as the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
  • Both countries agree for the need for keeping the sea lanes in the Indian Ocean secure against illegal actors.
  • Agro-processing, defence procurement and mining equipment and technology are the future areas of cooperation.
  • Both demand reform in the global governance architecture such as WTO, international financial systems etc. in order to promote inclusive growth.

Indian diaspora in South Africa

  • The major part of the Indian origin community came to South Africa from 1860 onwards as farm labour to serve as field hands and mill operatives in the sugar and other agricultural plantations of Natal (which was then a British colony). Most of these initial migrants were from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with some from eastern UP and Bihar.
  • A second wave of Indians came after 1880. These were the “passenger Indians” – so-called because they paid their fares as passengers on board a steamship bound for South Africa. This was the community of traders who mainly hailed from Gujarat.
  • The South African Indian origin community numbers around 1.5 million and constitutes about 3% of South Africa’s total population. About 80% of the Indian community lives in the province of KwaZulu Natal, about 15% in the Gauteng (previously Transvaal) area and the remaining 5% in Cape Town.
  • South Africans of Indian origin are well-represented in Government, business, media, legal and other professions. The year 2010 marked the 150th anniversary of the first arrival of Indians in South Africa.
  • 2014 marked 100 years of Gandhi ji’s final departure to India from South Africa; he reached India on 9th Jan 1915; this date is now commemorated annually as Pravasi Bhartiya Divas.

Source: IE


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