Issue 103 | 20 March 2014
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SOUTH AFRICA TO COMMEMORATE HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2014 IN SHARPEVILLE
 
 
The democratic Government declared 21 March Human Rights Day to commemorate and honour those who fought for our liberation and the rights we enjoy today.
 
South Africans will commemorate the national Human Rights Day, 21 March 2014, at George Thabe Cricket Pitch in Sharpeville, Gauteng. The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is “Celebrating 20 Years of Changing Lives through Human Rights”. President Jacob Zuma will speak at the event.

The 1960s were characterised by systematic defiance and protest against apartheid and racism across the country. On 21 March 1960, the community of Sharpeville and Langa townships, like their fellow compatriots across the country, embarked on a protest march to protest against pass laws. The apartheid police shot and killed 69 of the protesters at Sharpeville. Many other people were killed in other parts of the country. The tragedy came to be known as the Sharpeville Massacre and it exposed the apartheid government’s deliberate violation of human rights to the world.

Our Constitution is hailed as one of the most progressive in the world. The Constitution is the ultimate protector of our human rights, which were previously denied to the majority of our people under apartheid. We commemorate Human Rights Day to reinforce our commitment to the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution.

Government will host various activities (www.dac.gov.za) throughout Human Rights Month to remind all South Africans to continue working together to uphold the culture of human rights.

Human rights come with responsibilities and we all have the responsibility to build a society that respects the rule of law.
 
A plaque on the wall outside the Sharpeville Human Rights Precinct in Vereeniging records the names of the 69 people killed in the 1960 massacre. (Image: Brand South Africa)
 
 
 
POST-SONA MEDIA BRIEFING
 
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, briefed the media on South Africa’s foreign policy on 18 March 2014.
 
 
She said that after the democratic elections in 1994, South Africa ceased to be the pariah of the world; it regained its rightful place in Africa, in the United Nations and in the family of nations.

“We emerged as a democratic country into a fundamentally transformed world.”

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reported that great successes had been recorded and elaborated on some of the achievements.

To see the full statement, visit: LINK
 
 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER EBRAHIM ADDRESSES PAN-AFRICAN PARLIAMENT (PAP)
 
“Our hosting of the PAP has been a source of great pride in this country. In this regard, we wish to recommit ourselves to support the PAP in its second decade as it pursues the attainment of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.”
 
 
 
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, addressed the PAP under the theme “10th Anniversary Celebrations of the Establishment of the Pan-African Parliament” on 18 March 2014.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim said that since its establishment in March 2004, the PAP had registered a profound record as one of the key organs of the African Union with the capacity to participate and contribute effectively towards discussions aimed at shaping the future of the African continent.

“While celebrating the existence of this august body, it is imperative to interrogate the extent to which the PAP has fulfil its mandate, and whether it is still relevant given today’s challenges, so that we can all agree on how best to shape it, to ensure that it discharges its mandate as outlined in the Treaty.

“As we gather here in these hallowed chambers, Africa is pursuing multiple agendas all meant to catapult the continent to new heights and reposition Africa as a continent of hope, stability and prosperity. Our pursuit of self-reliance and finding African solutions to African problems is our inspiration as we advance, among others, the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Peer Review Mechanism, and operationalise an African security architecture that is able to respond rapidly, and timeously, to crises, including unconstitutional changes of government.” 

Deputy Minister Ebrahim concluded by calling on the PAP to, over the next 10 years, play its indispensable role in leading discussions aimed at the creation of a prosperous Africa at peace with itself and the world.

To see the full address, visit: LINK
 
 
DEPUTY PRESIDENT MOTLANTHE CONCLUDES POLAND VISIT
 
“We renew our commitment to continue building on our transitional experiences and strengthen complementary and mutually beneficial bilateral relations that will contribute to the advancement of our national development priorities, the African Agenda and a more democratic and equitable global governance system.”
     
 
 
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe paid an Official Visit to Poland from 14 to 15 March 2014. Speaking at a joint media briefing with the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, Deputy President Motlanthe said South Africa and Poland would strengthen cooperation in trade and economic relations, science and technology, education and skills development, maritime cooperation, agriculture and rural development and mineral resources and energy.

Deputy President Motlanthe said a delegation of South African business leaders had accompanied him to Warsaw to strengthen commercial relations between Poland and South Africa.

“These business leaders have already met with their counterparts involved in similar sectors and have made site visits to some of the factories and businesses with the aim of exploring reciprocal business opportunities,” he said.

Deputy President Motlanthe and Prime Minister Tusk also exchanged views on priorities for the forthcoming Africa-European Union Summit, as well as Africa’s Agenda 2063, the United Nations (UN) Post-2015 Development Agenda and cooperation on human rights within the context of the UN Human Rights Council. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER EBRAHIM DELIVERS PUBLIC LECTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
 
   
 
The theme of Deputy Minister Ebrahim’s address was “20 Years of South Africa and
Multilateralism: Returning to the Fold”.
 
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, delivered a public lecture on South Africa’s foreign policy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal on 19 March.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim said that since 1994, a primary foreign policy priority was to accelerate our reintegration into the international community and to promote an international rules-based system through active and constructive participation in multilateral institutions and processes.

“Our foreign policy has been inspired by our history and guided by our ethos and principles, foremost among which is the desire for a more just, humane and equitable world. In the conduct of our international relations, we attach the utmost importance to the promotion of human rights, democracy, justice and the international rule of law. These principles necessarily place multilateral institutions, specifically the United Nations, at the centre of our foreign policy activities.”

He went on to highlight achievements in South Africa’s priority areas over the past two decades.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim concluded by restating South Africa’s commitment to multilateralism.

“The challenge before us is to transform global politics from a power-based hierarchy to a rules-based system of international society.”

For the full lecture, please visit: LINK
 
 
DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION MARKS INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
 
The event took place under the theme: “Africa Rising: The Role of Women in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development, Inspiring Change”.
 
 
On Friday, 14 March 2014, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, hosted an event at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation marking International Women’s Day.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane’s keynote address focused on “The Role of Women in Negotiations, Mediation and Development”.

The Minister spoke on, among other things, South Africa’s commitment to empower women across the continent on mediation and negotiation skills and enhancing the African Agenda and sustainable development.
 
 
SPECIAL ENVOY RAMAPHOSA CONCLUDES VISIT TO SOUTH SUDAN
 
 
The Special Envoy undertook this visit to familiarise himself with the unfolding events in South Sudan and to meet with key role-players.
 
Cyril Ramaphosa, the Special Envoy to South Sudan, concluded his visit to South Sudan and some countries that are part of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) involved in the efforts to find a resolution to the ongoing conflict in South Sudan. 

Mr Ramaphosa met with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, Cabinet ministers, leaders of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and other stakeholders. He also paid courtesy calls on President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and Ambassador Seymour who is facilitating the South Sudanese talks on behalf of the IGAD.

Mr Ramaphosa will report to President Jacob Zuma and continue to engage with various role-players in an effort to find lasting peace, stability and reconciliation in South Sudan.
 
 
   
MINISTER CHABANE MEETS SOUTH AFRICANS RESIDING IN AUSTRALIA
 
The interactions gave Minister Chabane a platform to talk about South Africa’s achievements over the past 20 years and explore ways in which South Africans in Australia could contribute to the country’s National Development Plan.
 
The Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency, Collins Chabane, interacted with South Africans residing in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, on 19 March 2014 to discuss how South Africa has fared since the advent of democracy in 1994.

Brand South Africa, the organisers of the event, said in a statement it was important for South Africans to know that they could be part of South Africa’s growth and development despite where they resided. 

“They are also invited to join 20 year commemorative events organised by the South African representatives in their countries of residence,” the statement said.  – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
MINISTER HANEKOM CONCLUDES VISIT TO BRUSSELS
 
 
 

During his visit, Minister Hanekom also spoke at an event hosted by South Africa’s Ambassador to the European Union (EU), Ambassador Mxolisi Nkosi, celebrating the role of science and technology in improving the quality of life during South Africa’s first 20 years of democracy.

 
The Minster of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom has concluded a successful visit to Brussels, undertaking a number of engagements aimed at strengthening South Africa’s scientific and technological cooperation with both the EU and Belgium.

At the invitation of the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Commissioner Marie Geoghegan-Quinn, Minister Hanekom participated in the EU’s prestigious Innovation Convention. The event brought together more than 3 000 participants from the public and private sector debating how innovation should best be promoted in support of growth and development.

At the convention, Minister Hanekom participated in a high-level panel discussion on “Global Challenges, Global Cooperation”, which included the participation of the President of the European Research Council, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon; Argentina’s Minister of Science and Technology, Lina Baranao; and the influential United States Congresswoman, Berenice Johnson.

During this discussion, Minister Hanekom illustrated, through the example of South Africa’s hosting of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, how mutually beneficial international partnerships, boosting innovation and human capital development, could be fostered by leveraging different partners’ respective comparative advantages.

Minister Hanekom’s visit had as second objective the strengthening of the bilateral science and technology partnership with Belgium. At the invitation of the Flemish Minister of Innovation, Ingrid Lieten, Minister Hanekom visited Flanders’ renowned and world-leading nano-electronics institute, IMEC, exploring new research and training cooperation opportunities for South Africa.

The Minister also paid an informative visit to several social innovation projects targeting social exclusion and poverty, supported by the “Flanders Social Innovation Factory”, a pioneering public-private partnership programme, which offered insights into how such projects could better be promoted in South Africa.

Minister Hanekom and Minister Lieten also presided over a special event where six new research cooperation projects implemented by South African and Flemish universities, funded by South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) and its Flemish counterpart, the FWO, were presented.

In a significant step forward to broaden South Africa’s bilateral science cooperation with Belgium, a new cooperation agreement between the NRF and its equivalent from the French-language regions in Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels), was also signed during Minister Hanekom’s visit – it is the first-ever agreement of its kind with Wallonia-Brussels.
 
 
EU, DBSA LAUNCH R1,5-BILLION INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
 
Priority sectors will include energy, transport, water and environment, ICT and social infrastructure.
 
The European Union (EU) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have launched a €100-million (R1,5-billion) programme to provide grant funding in support of loans for essential infrastructure projects in South Africa and the southern African region.

"The establishment of this fund could not have come at a better time," DBSA CEO Patrick Dlamini said at the launch of the Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa (IIPSA) in Midrand, Johannesburg, recently.

While the South African Government had prioritised infrastructure development as a catalyst for tackling poverty and unemployment, Dlamini said, adequate infrastructure funding had become "a key constraint to faster economic growth and social inclusion both in South Africa and in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

"We therefore view this programme as a strategic intervention to fund South Africa's national and regional infrastructure projects, especially at the critical initial stages to prepare projects to bankability."

EU Ambassador to South Africa, Roeland van de Geer, said the fund would provide innovative financing that blended EU grants with long-term financing from participating South African and European development finance institutions.

"It also aims to attract private financing into projects with a high socio-economic return by enhancing the financial feasibility and project quality and/or by reducing the risk associated with such projects," Van de Geer said.

According to a joint EU-DBSA statement, projects to be supported will be selected from a list of priority projects established by an IIPSA committee, and will be directly linked to the priorities of the South African Government, EU-SA priorities for cooperation and the regional infrastructure strategy of the SADC. Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
SKA GETS R1,7-BILLION BRITISH INJECTION
 
The UK is a major player in the global SKA project, and is host to the head office of the SKA Organisation, located at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, near Manchester.
 
The Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, has welcomed a United Kingdom (UK) contribution of R1,7 billion to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project.

"The significance of this announcement … is in the impetus that this provides to implementation of Phase 1 of the SKA.

“This is a most welcome commitment and reaffirms the global partnership of the SKA countries in this mega project," Minister Hanekom said.

UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, who made the announcement, visited the South African SKA site in the Northern Cape on 12 September 2013, accompanied by Dr Bernie Fanaroff, the SKAPO Director.

“South Africa and the UK are already collaborating extensively in the field of radio astronomy, with 25 research organisations and more than 80 individual scientists from the UK directly involved in the large survey teams that will use the MeerKAT telescope for research during its first five years of operation,” the Department of Science and Technology said.

This includes scientists from Oxford University and Manchester University. There is also extensive SKA-related cooperation on big data and high-performance computing with Cambridge University, which Minister Hanekom visited in January 2014.
 
 
 
SOUTH AFRICAN CITIES TOP OF AFRICA TWITTER LIST
 
Portland's second study of tweeting in Africa goes deeper than its first (2011) study, looking at factors such as which cities are the most active, which languages are used the most and what issues are driving the conversations – resulting in "the first ever comprehensive map of Twitter traffic across the continent".
 
Johannesburg is the top tweeting city in Africa, with two other South African cities among the continent's top five Twitter centres, according to the second How Africa Tweets study from communications company Portland.

The study, released by London-, New York- and Nairobi-based Portand, analysed geo-located tweets originating from Africa during the last three months of 2013.

Johannesburg takes the number one spot on Portland's list with 344 215 geo-located tweets during this period, followed by Ekurhuleni (the metro municipality east of Johannesburg) with 264 172 tweets, Cairo, Egypt, with 227 509 tweets, Durban with 163 019 tweets, and Alexandria, Egypt, with 159 534 tweets.

Kenya's capital Nairobi was the most active city in east Africa and the sixth most active on the continent, with 123 078 geo-located tweets in the fourth quarter, while Ghana's capital Accra was the most active city in west Africa and the eighth most active on the continent, with 78 575 tweets in the fourth quarter.

The study finds interesting differences with Twitter use in Europe and North America, where tweeters are largely by older adults in their thirties. "In Africa, its adoption has been driven here by a younger audience, with 60% of those posting messages in their twenties," Beatrice Karanja, head of Portland Nairobi, writes on the company's website.

"African Tweeters are also are far more likely to use their mobile phones, rather than computers, to post and read messages," Karanja says, adding: "Given the explosion in mobile usage across the continent, and the increasing availability and falling price of Internet-ready devices, this makes it all the more likely that [Africa's] Twitter revolution has only just begun." Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
SOUTH AFRICAN POET PERFORMS FOR BRITISH ROYALTY
 
 
Organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, the celebration was attended by members of the British royal family, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Prince Edward, as well as by senior politicians, high commissioners and Commonwealth dignitaries. More than 1 000 young people also attended the event.
 
South African poet, writer and performance artist Phillippa Yaa de Villiers read her poem, Courage – It Takes More, at a function at the annual Commonwealth Observance Day celebration at London's Westminster Abbey recently.

De Villiers was commissioned to write the poem for the event by the Commonwealth Education Trust.

In an interview with Sunday World newspaper recently, De Villiers said: "The reason I was appointed was because I'm working with Zapp – the Southern African Poetry Project – which is a four-year collaboration between Cambridge University and Wits [University's] education department".

Launched at Cambridge University in 2013, Zapp brings together leading poets, teachers, educationalists, scholars, publishers and arts administrators. Cambridge's education faculty said they were "delighted" that Yaa de Villiers had been chosen as this year's Commonwealth poet. Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
INTERNATIONAL TENNIS RETURNS TO SUN CITY
 
The Futures tournaments are part of the International Tennis Federation's Pro Circuit and the first level of professional play, just below the ATP Challenger Tour. They're a crucial stepping stone for many players aiming for careers on the ATP and WTA World Tours.
 
 
Tennis South Africa confirmed recently that three consecutive weeks of international tennis would be played at Sun City resort in North West during May and June this year.

Three back-to-back men's and women's tournaments will take place between 24 May and 13 June, with a total prize purse of R650 000 on offer. Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
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