No Brics leader among those who first phoned President Ramaphosa, on Sunday

Not one of the five world and regional leaders who formed the first group to phone new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday to hold preliminary discussions with, and to congratulate, him came from a Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group country. Two of the leaders were African, two European and one Middle Eastern. They were (in alphabetical order by country), Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Angolan President João Lourenço, Botswana President Ian Khama, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May. The first Brics leader scheduled to call President Ramaphosa was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday. French President Emmanuel Macron was also to hold a phone discussion with South Africa’s new leader on Monday. Apart from South Africa, only two other Brics countries can be regarded as full democracies: India and Brazil. In South Africa, former President Jacob Zuma was popularly seen as being particularly close to his Chinese and Russian counterparts. (Over the weekend, Brazilian President Michel Temer was heavily involved in dealing with a public security crisis in Rio de Janeiro; law and order is primarily a State responsibility in Brazil, but on Friday Temer ordered the Brazilian Army to take command of law and order in Rio and also announced that he will soon create a Federal Ministry of Public Security.) In its press release about the calls, the Presidency stated “President Ramaphosa has warmly welcomed the international interest shown in South Africa and its renewal, and expressed the hope that South Africa would strengthen its relations with partners in various parts of the world, as it continues to enhance its attractiveness as an investment destination and trade partner. This would create more opportunities for South African businesses and contribute positively to the critical effort to create more jobs in the economy.”