BRICS does not compete with any other bloc – SA ambassador

Professor Anil Sooklal stands in front of a microphone with a BRICS poster behind him.

Professor Anil Sooklal, ambassador-at-large for Asia and BRICS and South Africa’s Sherpa, speaking at a BRICS event. File Picture: Timothy Bernard African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 15, 2023


Durban - The BRICS bloc was never created as a bloc against any other entity and is not in competition with any other existing forum, Professor Anil Sooklal, ambassador-at-large for Asia and BRICS and South Africa’s Sherpa, said on Monday.

The BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and hosts South Africa, will gather at the Sandton Convention Centre in Gauteng next week for the 15th summit.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has also extended invitations to heads of state of more than 50 other countries.

Sooklal said a narrative was put in the public domain that BRICS was anti-West and the coalition was created against the G7, but this was not an accurate description of why the bloc was created.

He said BRICS came together to look at how the countries could work collectively in terms of the shared values they have in terms of reshaping the current global architecture, taking the interests of the Global South and projecting them as part of creating a more inclusive, representative and fair multi-polar world.

“BRICS is far more visible on the global stage including the issue of Russia and South Africa hosting the summit and the ICC arrest warrant that has brought undue attention to the challenges it posed for the host country.

“We have dealt with that in a manner that all of our BRICS partners, including Russia, are quite satisfied.

“President Ramaphosa has done a good job, through a consultative process, with all BRICS partners to find a solution that does not detract from the summit,” Sooklal told Bloomberg Television.

He said the factor that has brought focus on BRICS is its possible expansion.

“The large number of countries, major emerging market developing countries that have collectively approached BRICS to become full members.”

Sooklal said partners from the Global North fully understand that South Africa has very strong relations with them, and “we respect those relations and we continue to grow it and so too do we have relations with BRICS, other countries in the Global South and on the African continent”.

“This is the diversity of South Africa’s interaction with the global community. We don’t play one country against another or one region against another.”