Minister Naledi Pandor and members of her delegation holding bilateral meeting with her Japanese counterpart Mr Taro Kono on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit held at Osaka, Japan. Picture: Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

Johannesburg - The SACP, alliance partner of the governing ANC, has applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa for standing with the Chinese in the escalating trade war with the US, saying the now reversed ban on Huawei would have affected South Africa as well.

On Monday the party said the stand taken by the president, together with other world leaders at the recently concluded G20 summit in Japan over the weekend also, in part, thwarted efforts by the US aimed at maintaining its global imperialist hegemony against non-US companies such as Huawei, which had taken a lead in certain segments of advanced technology.

Coming from the meeting, Ramaphosa said “Regarding digitalisation, global leaders agreed that to harness the full potential of data, there needed to be data flow with trust, to be enabled through international policy discussions on the sharing of good practices and regulatory frameworks.”

Alex Mashilo, the SACP spokesperson, said the steps taken to remove the US ban on prominent Chinese technology firm Huawei were therefore important in view of 5G infrastructure development and maintenance in the country, on our continent and other parts of the world.

“The SACP welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s stance against trade war. The blockade launched by the Trump administration on Huawei, for instance, has much wider implications and consequences, and South Africa is not an exception,” Mashilo said.

Furthermore, he said that the government should now focus on developing a digital industrial policy strategy, and pleaded with regulators to force telecommunication companies to lower their data prices, which are considered to be among the highest in the world.

“To the extent there is continuing little or no progress in lowering the cost of data, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) must strengthen its regulatory efforts to make data affordable in our country,” said Mashilo.

In a paper released in April last year when the trade war started, and titled “When elephants fight: will the US-China trade war hurt South Africa?” the South African Institute of International Affairs said SA sectors that would be affected as a result of the trade war - even before including the ban on Chinese technology companies like Huwaei and ZTE - included agriculture and mining.

Economist Professor Bonke Dumisa said the decision by Ramaphosa to back the Chinese was not based on the fact that China was South Africa's biggest trading partner and had invested over R200 billion in the country in the past decade. He said it was a matter of principle as the US, by imposing the ban, was refusing to compete fairly with the Chinese.

Political Bureau