International Relations and Cooperation

National Department Budget for 2017-18

Vote purpose

Formulate, coordinate, implement and manage South Africa’s foreign policy and international relations programmes.


The president is ultimately responsible for the foreign policy and international relations of South Africa, according to the Constitution. It is the president’s prerogative to appoint heads of mission, to receive foreign heads of mission, to conduct state-to-state relations, and to negotiate and sign all international agreements. International agreements that are not of a technical, administrative or executive nature will only bind the country after being approved by Parliament, which also approves the country’s ratification of or accession to multilateral agreements. All international agreements must be tabled in Parliament for information purposes.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation is entrusted with the formulation, promotion, execution and daily conduct of South Africa’s foreign policy. The department’s overall mandate is to work for the realisation of South Africa’s foreign policy objectives. This is done by:

  • coordinating and aligning South Africa’s international relations

  • monitoring developments in the international environment

  • communicating government’s policy positions

  • developing and advising government on policy options, creating mechanisms and avenues for achieving objectives

  • protecting South Africa’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

  • contributing to the creation of an enabling international environment for South African businesses

  • sourcing developmental assistance

  • assisting South African citizens abroad.

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