Issue 128 | 14 August 2014
If this newsletter doesn’t load or images don’t display, please click here
This year’s Women’s Month is significant in that South Africa marks 60 years since the signing of the Women’s Charter on 17 April 1954 in Johannesburg. Furthermore, it is 20 years since the adoption of the 1994 Women’s Charter for Effective Equality.
President Jacob Zuma says important strides have been made in realising the vision of the Women’s Charter since the dawn of freedom and democracy.

Addressing the main Women’s Day celebration in Umlazi, Durban, on 9 August, President Zuma said the Women's Charter of 1954 influenced the content and spirit of the 1994 Women's Charter for effective equality, and also the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.

“The 1954 Women’s Charter preceded the Freedom Charter, signalling the importance accorded to women’s rights in our country,” he said. On that day, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the inclusion of women in the pass laws, which sought to control the movements of black people.

President Zuma said South Africa had made progress in meeting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women. Despite the strides that had been made, he said, there was still a long way to go towards full participation by women.

Other events for the month include the Women Awards in Construction on 14 August, the Women in Science Awards on 15 August, the Female Farmer of the Year Awards on 22 August and the Women in Water Awards on 29 August. – Source:
The Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) will serve as a prioritisation framework to focus the Government's efforts on a set of manageable programmes, as well as the principal guide to the allocation of resources across all spheres of government.
The Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, recently released the Government's comprehensive framework for implementing the National Development Plan (NDP) over the next five years.

Minister Radebe said the MTSF was a mechanism through which all five-year strategic plans and annual plans across government were being aligned to the NDP and made to pull in the same direction.

"The aim of the MTSF is to ensure policy coherence, alignment and coordination across government plans." He added that the MTSF would form the basis for performance agreements between the President and ministers.

"Cabinet will use the MTSF as the basis for monitoring the implementation of the NDP over the next five years. Cabinet will consider progress reports for each of the outcomes at least three times a year, and these progress reports will be made public through the Programme of Action website managed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency. –  Source:
The talks were held in line with the growth targets set out in South Africa’s New Development Plan, which includes measures to provide energy security and promote sustainable mining communities.
South Africa and Chile are looking into advancing diplomatic, economic and trade ties, especially in the mining and energy sectors.

This emerged after President Jacob Zuma and his Chilean counterpart, Michelle Bachelet Jeria, met at the Union Buildings on 8 August 2014. The two held talks on how to advance cooperation and expand mutually beneficial opportunities for South Africa and Chile.

The session was also an opportunity for the two countries to reaffirm the existing areas of cooperation.

South Africa has expressed an interest in exploring cooperation in energy, defence, science and technology, trade and investment, mineral resources, social development, agriculture and environmental issues. Chile has expressed an interest in South Africa’s master energy plan and mining, which are two key pillars in the country’s economy.

South Africa is Chile's largest trading partner in Africa, making South Africa one of the largest foreign investors in the Chilean mining sector.

In the global arena, South Africa and Chile are like-minded countries in terms of their mutual positions on international issues of reform of multilateral institutions. In this light, they reiterated their call for the reforms of the United Nations to be more representative of the developing countries. – Source:
Briefing journalists after delivering the Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture in Cape Town on Saturday, 9 August, President Bachelet said the awarding of the scholarships would be done in honour of the late President.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria says she has put a proposal to her government to avail 50 scholarships to students in South Africa and other African countries to pursue their master’s degrees at a top university in Chile.

She said that upon approval by the Chilean Congress, the scholarships would fund deserving students who want to pursue master’s degrees in the fields of farming, mining and astronomy, among others. 

President Bachelet said to further honour Tata Madiba, her country would build a sculpture at a park in Santiago, the capital of Chile.
– Source:
The meeting was attended and addressed by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the World Health Organisation.
South Africa, led by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, hosted the SADC Ministers of Health Meeting on 6 August to deliberate on the state of readiness and develop common approach in response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The meeting, which was convened by SADC Secretariat, brought together ministers of health and key stakeholders to build a consensus on appropriate strategic action(s) to prevent the introduction or spread of the ongoing Ebola virus transmission that has occurred in West Africa to the SADC.
The PMTC is a visible symbol of the Government of Japan’s efforts to strengthen mechanisms that enhance and build international peace and security in Africa.
South Africa and Japan have explored areas of military and defence cooperation of the two armed forces.

On 4 August, Japanese Vice Defence Minister, Minoru Kihara, visited South Africa to exchange information on defence-related matters, and to find out more about the South African arms production and procurement industry.

“It (the visit) opens ways for us to engage on matters of defence and military interest for both our defence forces, in particular the technology and research and development sector,” said Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister, Kebby Maphatsoe. He was speaking at a hand over of military vehicles by the Japanese Government at the Peace Mission Training Centre (PMTC) in Thaba Tshwane.

“We are grateful for the contribution your government has made to the PMTC,” he told vice Defence Minister Kihara. “This centre enables and equips our soldiers with skills on issues pertaining to the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration process, which Africa desperately needs at this point in time.”

The PMTC continues to provide the empowerment of military observers, civil military coordination and broadly enriching the skills and reservoir of the South African National Defence Force in peacekeeping in the spectrum of peace-support operations.

Japan is the third-largest trading partner with South Africa and a major provider of development finance and overseas development aid to South Africa. There are more than 100 Japanese companies with investments in South Africa of which South Africans have benefited from, through skills development and training as well as the transfer of technology and skills– Source:
Minister Molewa highlighted that the convention was in the Government’s interest as its provisions advanced South Africa’s goals of protecting the country’s marine environment and the large marine ecosystem.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has announced that South Africa has completed the ratification process of the Benguela Current Convention (BCC).

The BCC is a formal agreement between the three governments of South Africa, Angola and Namibia, that seeks to promote a coordinated regional approach to the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem, to provide economic, environmental and social benefits.

The three governments signed the agreement in March 2013, in Benguela, Angola. The convention has since undergone a process of ratification by the legislatures and executives of the countries.

 “Never before have nations agreed to such a comprehensive and stringent set of rules to protect the marine environment of a large marine ecosystem, which made it necessary for us to ratify the convention to suit our domestic legislation,” she said.
Several leading academic, scientific and philanthropic organisations in the USA invited Minister Pandor to participate in high-level science-related engagements in Washington DC from 4 to 7 August 2014. These events were organised on the margins of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, hosted by President Barack Obama.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, recently visited the USA to strengthen science, technology and innovation (STI) partnerships.

Among others, Minister Pandor participated in the US-South Africa Business and Investment Forum on 4 August, which included a keynote address by President Jacob Zuma, and was attended by senior business leaders. Minister Pandor spoke during a panel discussion on South Africa's economic drivers. She highlighted the critical role of innovation in South Africa's growth and development strategies and the exciting potential for partnerships with the US industry.

Later, the Minister delivered a keynote address at a special "Science at the Summit" event, hosted by the US National Press Club. Speaking about "Investing in the Next Generation", the Minister highlighted the important contribution that projects like the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, which Africa was co-hosting, would have in training the next generation of African knowledge workers. The Minister emphasised the importance of international partnerships in STI capacity-building in Africa.

"Science and technology is at the heart of South Africa's National Development Plan and should also be a key element of regional growth and development strategies for Africa,” Minister Pandor said.
“This essentially means that, following audits by the European Union (EU) and the United States, South Africa is acknowledged as one of the countries where the level of aviation security is regarded as robust and reliable. This will benefit air carriers operating between South Africa and the two regions.”
South African air cargo security systems have received the nod from the EU as well as the United States’ Transport Security Administration.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority director, Poppy Khoza, said the two affirmations placed South Africa in a unique position, making the country the only one on the continent with such recognition and agreements in place. – Source:
This sector is critical to South Africa’s growth and job creation prospects, both as an intermediate input to merchandise trade
and as a tradable service in its own right.
Cabinet recently approved South Africa’s initial transport sector offer under the SADC Trade in Services Negotiations. Intra-regional integration of transport services can generate commercially valuable market opportunities for South African service suppliers as well as investment across the transport sectors in the region.

As income is generated by exporting services within value chains, South African companies could obtain commercial benefits and simultaneously contribute to the development of the regional transport sector.
The overall theme for the conference was “Review of South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations System: An African Perspective on Fiscal Decentralisation”.
The FFC hosted the 20th Anniversary International Conference from the 11 to 13 August 2014 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The conference evaluated 20 years of South Africa’s Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations practice, as well as the choices that will have to be made going forward given developments such as the new growth path and the development policy objectives of a developmental state (encapsulated in the National Development Plan) that has been agreed in Parliament in general and government in particular.
The reciprocal agreement between South Africa and the European Union (EU) sees South Africa’s rooibos and the EU’s feta cheese get GI protection and gives rooibos producers ownership and authority over the name.
The recent ruling to protect the rooibos trademark under the Geographical Indicators (GI) framework of South Africa’s intellectual property (IP) laws is a major step in protecting South African products and promoting economic growth and competitiveness.

“Obviously we’re delighted that this iconic South African product now enjoys international protection under a robust regulatory framework," said Dawie de Villiers, chair of the SA Rooibos Council. “Governments have an obligation to protect their nations’ assets and the department of trade and industry’s (dti) efforts in securing GI for rooibos could provide real impetus for other intrinsically local products."

Gazetting a proposal to protect rooibos and names such as Rooibosch, Rooibostee, Rooitee and Red Bush under the Merchandise Marks Act now protects this globally unique product under domestic law.

This enables the dti to seek international protection using the Wipo (World Intellectual Property Organisation). 

“This could help set a precedent for the protection of other products from a specific, localised area, such as Honeybush tea and Karoo lamb," he said. – Source:
"South Africa is leading efforts to commercialise a valuable new source of biofuel that can further reduce aviation's environmental footprint and advance the region's economy."
South African Airways is partnering with United States aerospace giant Boeing and Amsterdam-based SkyNRG to make sustainable aviation biofuel from a new type of tobacco plant, in a pioneering project that could make aviation more environment-friendly while advancing rural development in southern Africa.

"It's an honour for Boeing to work with South African Airways on a pioneering project to make sustainable jet fuel from an energy-rich tobacco plant," J Miguel Santos, Boeing's MD for Africa, said in a joint statement.

According to the statement, SkyNRG is expanding production of the hybrid plant, known as Solaris, as an energy crop that farmers could grow instead of traditional tobacco.

"Test farming of the plants, which are effectively nicotine-free, is under way in South Africa, with biofuel production expected from large and small farms in the next few years," the companies said.

Initially, oil from the plant's seeds will be converted into jet fuel. In coming years, Boeing expects emerging technologies to increase South Africa's aviation biofuel production from the rest of the plant. – Source:
The Edinburgh International Book Festival is one of the most important events on the world's publishing calendar, with an estimated 220 000 visitors expected to attend this year's event.
South Africa's best-known authors are participating in this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, "the world's largest public celebration of the written word", taking place in the Scottish capital from 9 to 25 August.

Damon Galgut, Zakes Mda and Mpho Tutu feature as part of the "Voices from South Africa" programme. Lauren Beukes, Niq Mhlongo, Margie Orford and Mark Gevisser also form part of the South African contingent represented at the festival.

Author CA Davids has been nominated for the festival's First Book Award for her novel, “The Blacks of Cape Town”. The award is chosen by the public, and voting closes on 17 October.

The "Voices from South Africa" theme focuses on novelists and writers from South Africa whose works are "making waves internationally". The programme reads:

“Twenty years since the end of apartheid, South Africa is still struggling to make sense of itself as a democracy. Yet despite its political troubles (or perhaps because of them?) the country is building a powerful community of novelists and writers whose work is now making waves internationally.

"Alongside Mpho Tutu, literary heavyweights Damon Galgut and Zakes Mda join us in 2014, along with the brilliant crime writer Margie Orford, stunning debuts from CA Davids and Rosie Rowell, bestselling thriller writer Lauren Beukes and one of the fastest-rising new stars of the South African scene, Niq Mhlongo.” – Source:
Stay Connected with us
For back issues of Newsflash visit:

Your comments are welcome and can be sent to