Durban – Chairperson of the South African chapter of the Brics Business Council Dr Iqbal Survé on Wednesday lauded President Jacob for South Africa’s inclusion into the Brics partnership zone, a move he said continues to open doors for the Southern African economy.

“This evening is about introducing the Brics Business Council to you, part of what we have agreed, so that you get to understand what the Council does,” Survé said as he addressed delegates at a dinner hosted by the Brics Business Council in Durban on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting.

“Secondly, I want to thank President Zuma, I know that there are a lot of critics of President Zuma,” he continued.

“I want to make this point, which is a really an important one. We must always be truthful and honest about people, both their negatives and positives.

“It is President Zuma, under his administration, that South Africa was able to become a Brics member. I think we should thank the president. It’s not an insignificant achievement for our country to be a participant member of economies that are the second and fifth largest economies in the world.”

Survé added that African countries, instead of competing against each other, should rather unite and foster closer ties.

Meanwhile, South African International Relations Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said that by Wednesday evening, eight heads of state were in South Africa for the WEF event.

“I mentioned earlier on that there are about eight heads of state [in South Africa for the WEF]. I didn’t include heads of government, deputy prime ministers, former presidents – the list is endless. This is a stamp of approval for what’s going on in South Africa, in the continent of Africa, that indeed development is about our people,” said Nkoana-Mashabane at the BRICS event.

More than 1 000 leaders from more than 100 countries, representing business, government, academia, civil society, media and the arts have descended on Durban for the WEF meeting, this year themed “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.