President Jacob Zuma has travelled to several countries during the past months and questions have been raised by members of the public about how this benefits ordinary South Africans.
The aim of President Zuma's overseas visits is to build up good relations that will help us meet our political, social and economic goals. During such visits several deals are signed which will benefit South Africa in different fields. These include health care and education, rural development, safer communities, social security, trade and economic growth.
President's Zuma often visits other African countries because African countries in general can become South Africa's major partners, given their rich natural and mineral resources.
Since being elected as president, Zuma has visited Angola, Lesotho, Zambia, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Libya. A visit to Sudan is also planned.
Outside Africa, he has undertaken state and official visits to the United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Paris.
Besides securing deals to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans, the visits serve to make useful and valuable contributions to bringing peace to countries where there is unrest or where monitoring or mediation is needed like in Sudan, Central Africa, Zimbabwe and Libya.
Other government officials
Other government officials like Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and International relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane have also visited different countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Cuba and Mali.
This year, South Africa is enjoying membership in two major international organisations: The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa partnership (BRICS).
The Security Council is the United Nations' most powerful body. It has the power to determine sanctions and military intervention against other countries that break international laws or do not honour agreements.
South Africa intends using its position in the Security Council to promote plans for Africa's development and bring peace to the continent. It will also build close partnerships and promote more discussions with the other members of the Security Council.
Being part of BRICS will boost economic integration, trade and investment and improving good governance, not only for South Africa but the continent as a whole.
South Africa's ongoing interaction with other countries through presidential visits and involvement in international organisations will continue to promote our country on the world stage.