The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a diaspora group based in London, had talks today with the South African Government on Sri Lanka. The GTF said that on an invitation from the Deputy Minister of Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa, Ms. Nomaindiya C Mfeketo MP, a GTF delegation lead by Father S J Emmanuel met at the South African High Commission, South Africa House at Trafalgar Square in London on 25 May 2015.
The South African Deputy Minister was accompanied by the High Commissioner to the UK, Obed Mlaba, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Middle East Dr. Anil Sooklal, Special Advisor to the Deputy President Ms. Nokukhanya Jele, Deputy Director for South Asia Tielman Further and several other DIRCO and High Commission Officials.Deputy Minister Mfeketo’s engagement with the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora organisations follows an earlier visit to Sri Lanka by the Deputy Minister when she led an advance and technical team of experts to Sri Lanka from 23 to 27 February 2015.
She also engaged in a discussion and an exchange of views on how the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora could contribute towards the peace and reconciliation process unfolding in Sri Lanka.
Other Diaspora groups that participated are, the South African Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka (SGPJ), British Tamil Forum (BTF), United States Tamil Political Action Campaign (USTPAC), Global Tamil Forum (GTF), International Council of Eelam Tamils (ICET), National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) and Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).
The discussions were centered around actions needed to produce a conducive environment in the North-East to foster a future process to end the ethnic conflict on the island.
South Africa’s engagement in Sri Lanka stems from the request by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to President Jacob Zuma during the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November 2013 and a subsequent invitation from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for South Africa to engage through its Special Envoy and share its experiences in political dialogue, negotiations, reconciliation and nation-building. The same sentiments were also relayed to President Zuma by the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
South African principals have also engaged South African Tamil civil society groups with Deputy Minister Mfeketo meeting representatives of South African Tamil civil society organisations on 4 May 2015 in Durban, South Africa.