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Thandisizwe Mgudlwa, Cape Town, SA

WHILE the most pressing matter ahead of the upcoming BRICS Summit isthat of whether or not Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the three day gathering next month in South Africa.

And should Putin attend the BRICS Summit, whether or not Pretoria will arrest him as commanded by the International Criminal court (ICC). That’s is why when South Africa’s biggest trade union federation, and the governing ANC alliance partner, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) this last week’s announcement that it welcomes the updates announced by the South African government affirming its hosting of the 15th BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit on the 22nd – 24th August 2023, causes more curiosity as to what is really happening behind the scenes.

Some previous reports had suggested that Pretoria was trying to block Putin from making his may down to South Africa. This was seen in certain quarters as Pretoria trying to avoid having to deal with international pressure to the arrest of a strong and powerful ally like Putin. Although there’s not much to say at this stage on whether Putin wil lindeed be making his way to the most sourthern tip of Africa next month, plans are ahead to make this Summit a huge success by what COSATU said this week.


COSATU also confirmed that the Russian Federation delegation on site will be led by its Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov. Matthew Parks, Acting National Spokes person & Parliamentary Coordinator commented that the Federation commends government’s pragmatic engagements with South Africa’s historical partners and friends to resolve a very complicated and sensitive matter with regards to the attendance of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We support President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to enhance South Africa’s hard won non-aligned status and our firm tradition of negotiations to resolve often intractable conflicts at home and abroad.

COSATU looks forward to the BRICS Summit, including the BRICS Trade Union Forum that will be held heren,” stated Parks. COSATU added that BRICS is a growing and influential group of nations bringing together over 3.2 billion people.

Executive building in Pretoria, South Africa 🇿🇦 /Courtesy/

The BRICS economies, includes some of the fastest growing economies and with over 31% of total Gross Domestic Product is now the largest economic block. Three of the BRICS nations are in the top ten largest economies. Its growing importance in international trade and relations has seen numerous countries across the world and the ideological spectrum applying to join.

Furthemore, COSATU noted, BRICS is emerging as a key pillar for an inclusive, just and equitable international community and a foundation for a non-aligned world order premised upon multi-lateral engagements to resolve conflicts.

In addition, BRICS is important as a platform for the views and interests of emerging and developing nations to be heard and accommodated. All too often the interests of developing nations and the South have been undermined and ignored by the Bretton Woods institutions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the World Bank, added the labour federation.

Parks continued, “BRICS is important for South Africa as its members are amongst our major trading partners and sources of investment and tourism. The BRICS Bank has begun to play a positive role in investing in South Africa’s infrastructure needs. The promotion of trade, investment and financing is key to growing South Africa’s economy, addressing our infrastructure backlog, and slashing unemployment and poverty.”

Parks added that COSATU has been involved in the preparations to the host the BRICS Summit “where we are working with our sister federations to host the BRICS Trade Unions Forum. This Forum will take place alongside the Employment Working Group and the Labour Ministerial meeting in September.”

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