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The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Tandi Mahambehlala, has said the arrival of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines from India signifies the success of South Africa’s approach to bilateral and multilateral relations.
Ms Mahambehlala said: “We congratulate the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, through its missions abroad, for their candid vaccine diplomacy. This has been demonstrated through its successful initiation of negotiations, which secured the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines for South Africa. We also extend our gratitude to the friendly government of India, a true friend in need and a trusted partner in the BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa] formation, for prioritising South Africa to receive its first batch of the vaccine to fight the pandemic.” The Chairperson applauded the cabinet decision to endorse and nominate the “Cuban Medical Brigade”, which is deployed throughout the world, for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. “We thank these gallant heroes and heroines of Cuba for their selfless and unwavering sacrifice to assist the world in the fight against the coronavirus.” About 200 Cuban doctors are deployed in South Africa to help in the fight against Covid-19. Ms Mahambehlala said the arrival of the vaccines is significant and testament to the success of South Africa’s diplomatic relations. “The importance of diplomacy has once again been proved and is apparent for all to see during this era of the pandemic outbreak. The country under the capable stewardship of President Cyril Ramaphosa should work hard and enhance bilateral and multilateral relations with countries and multinational pharmaceutical companies that have shown capability in manufacturing the vaccines.” On Monday, President Ramaphosa led a government delegation to welcome the arrival of the first batch of Astrazeneca vaccines from India. The vaccine has undergone successfully trials at Oxford University with South Africa’s scientists making valuable contributions. Ms Mahambehlala pointed out that South Africa should make the vaccine available to immigrants and neighbouring countries, and appreciated President Ramaphosa’s successful chairing of the African Union during a period that coincided with the outbreak of Covid-19. The committee also noted South Africa’s successful two-year term membership of the United Nations’ Security Council, which has now come to an end.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.