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Cashflow squeeze forces S/Africa to shut down diplomatic missions

South Africa has decided to shut down 10 diplomatic missions due to budget constraints attributed to the country's battered economy,…

South Africa has decided to shut down 10 diplomatic missions due to budget constraints attributed to the country’s battered economy, International Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor announced on Thursday.Pandor said the missions, which include embassies, high commissions and consulates, would close shop during the 2021/22 financial year.

The diplomatic posts earmarked for closure are Minsk, Belarus; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; The Holy See, The Vatican; Helsinki, Finland; Milan, Italy (consulate); Muscat, Oman; Suva, Fiji; Bucharest, Romania; Lima, Peru; and Chicago, USA (consulate). 

With only US$430 million allocated to her budget line, the minister said her office was left with no choice but to shut down the diplomatic missions in an effort to cut down costs.

She said her office had taken “a hard but necessary decision” to close the missions abroad in response to South Africa’s fiscal constraints worsened by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This decision is deeply regretted,” the minister told journalists before presenting her ministry’s budget to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon. 

She added: “But South Africa expresses its confidence that the excellent diplomatic relations with these countries and regions will continue through the non-resident missions, and the diplomatic missions represented in South Africa.” 

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