On Friday, 13 March 2020 the University of Venda and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) hosted a Symposium under the theme “ South Africa’s Priorities as Chair of the African Union (AU)”. The Symposium took place in the Senate Chambers. The aim of the event was to contextualise South Africa’s Chairmanship of the AU, stimulate debate on international obligations and national domestic priorities as well as to give participants a platform to interact with the Deputy Minister regarding matters of international engagements between the country and the world at large.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford while giving welcome remarks appreciated the presence of the DIRCO officials, UNIVEN staff and students. He said “This is one kind of a vital event that we are able to share ideas as academics on the development of the country and I would like to urge you all to pay a kind attention to the keynote address and fully participate throughout the event.”

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Candith

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Candith Mashego-Dlamini, who gave the keynote address said that the symposium is a measure of their keen interest to expand the knowledge base about the continent’s political governance systems as well as the strategic direction it has chosen to take.

South Africa is concurrently Chairing the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the AU Committee of Heads of State on Climate Change (CAHOSOCC). The Chairmanship also coincides with the final year of South Africa’s non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The Deputy minister mentioned that holding chairmanship positions means that as a country, South Africa will be compelled to redouble efforts to build strong, sustainable and resilient regional and continental mechanisms that would support the national efforts to deliver durable, and inclusive economic opportunities for people, in particular women and youth. It also means that we need to serve as a buffer against unrest, instability, terrorism and violent extremism on our continent.

“South Africa’s goals for the African continent are the resolution of conflict and building a framework in which socio-economic development can take place. As you well know, socio-economic development cannot take place without peace and stability,” she added

When concluding, the Deputy Minister re-emphasised that “We are alive to the fact that advancing to our defined vision both as a country and the continent is impossible if our people are left behind. I am therefore confident that we will emerge the richer for it, as the description of the audience here covers a wide range of stakeholders, mostly and in this regard correctly so, from civil society.”

Tshedza Sikhwari

In response to the keynote address, one of University of Venda students Tshedza Sikhwari outlined the major priorities of South Africa as a chair of the African Union which is to continue with the process of resolving conflicts, tackling gender equality, climate change, promoting and supporting economic integration across the continent as well as boosting commerce through the creation of a new continental free trade.

Issued by: Department of Communications & Marketing
University of Venda
Tel: (015) 962 8525
Date: 16 March 2020

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