South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa's Relations With the West Sour On Eve of State of the Nation Address

President Cyril Ramaphosa (file photo)
analysis

Cyril Ramaphosa's policy of balanced global relationships hit the skids on Sunday when international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a démarche, a serious step in diplomatic relationships.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's presidency has taken a tough stance on five leading Western nations which went public with their political and economic concerns about South Africa, instead of using diplomatic protocol.

By late Sunday, the minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, had instructed her department to issue a démarche against the ambassadors of Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom after their letter to Ramaphosa was splashed across the Sunday Times front page.

The démarche is likely to strengthen China's influence in South Africa after a year in which Ramaphosa had attempted to balance the geopolitical axis between East and West. Under former President Jacob Zuma, South Africa thumbed its nose at the West and adopted a far closer relationship with both China and Russia, and also with India.

As he tried to hang on to power exactly a year ago this week, one of the reasons then president Jacob Zuma asserted was that he needed to introduce his successor President Cyril Ramaphosa on to the global...

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