COSATU statement on preparations for the BRICS Summit including the BRICS Trade Union Forum

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) 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 and the confirmation that the Russian Federation delegation on site will be led by its Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov.

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 here.

BRICS is a growing and influential group of nations bringing together over 3.2 billion people.  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.  3 of the BRICS nations are in the top 10 largest economies.  Its growing importance in international trade and relations has seen numerous countries across the world and the ideological spectrum applying to join. 

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.  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 and the World Bank.

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.

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.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687