Issue 147 | 11 December 2014
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Minister Nkoana-Mashabane headed the SEOM on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The Organ is responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the SADC region, of which Mauritius is a member state.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, visited Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius, where she joined the SEOM in observing the conduct of the 2014 National Assembly elections that took place on 10 December 2014.

The SEOM to the 2014 National Assembly elections in Mauritius was launched by Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on 1 December 2014.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said at the launch that the presence and deployment of SEOMs helped to enhance the credibility of the electoral process and encouraged the development of a culture of freedom of expression, association and fairness, which should be part and parcel of every election.

The SEOM is guided in its mission by the provisions of the SADC Treaty; the SADC Protocol on Political, Defence and Security Cooperation; and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

In addition to Mauritius, South Africa has led SEOMs to Mozambique and Botswana in October 2014 and Namibia in November 2014. South Africa will lead SEOMs to Zambia and Lesotho during 2015.
The meeting was convened by the African Union (AU) Commission and focused on the contribution of the former African heads of state and government in shaping Africa’s future through Agenda 2063.
On 11 December, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation hosted the Consultation Meeting on Agenda 2063 of members of the Forum for Former African Heads of State and Government.

The meeting reaffirmed that the forum, working closely with the AU Commission, AU policy-making organs, regional economic communities, national government, private sector, professional associations, faith-based organisations and ordinary citizens, including Africans in the Diaspora has a critical supportive role, particularly in the area of advocacy to ensure full realisation of the aspirations of Agenda 2063.
The South Africa-Norway HLCs were established to expand relations and stimulate bilateral trade and investment between the two countries at Deputy Minister level.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, co-chaired with his Norwegian counterpart, Hans Brattskar, the second SA-Norway HLC on 10 December, which took place within the context of solid structured bilateral relations between the two countries and the commitment to enhance the North-South dialogue.

South Africa and Norway share deep historical relations as a result of Norway’s support for the anti-apartheid struggle.

In recognition of this relationship, Norway has decided to jointly celebrate the 200 years of their Constitution together with South Africa’s 20 years of freedom under the theme: “200 + 20”.
The South African Government sends deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr Korkie for their loss. Condolences are also conveyed to the family and loved ones of the deceased American hostage.
The South African Government was deeply saddened to learn that fellow South African, Pierre Korkie, who was held in captivity in Yemen, since mid-2013, was killed during an operation by American special forces aimed at freeing hostages. An American hostage was also killed during the operation.

Yolande Korkie, who was taken hostage together with her husband, was freed in January 2014 after an intervention by the South African Government and the NGO, Gift of the Givers, together with the Yemeni Government and other role players.

The South African Government undertook numerous initiatives through the former Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, and the Ambassador in Saudi Arabia to help secure Mr Korkie's release.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, expressed the South African Government's firm and unconditional condemnation of all forms of terrorism that invariably result in the senseless suffering and loss of innocent lives.

The Minister also had a telephonic discussion with her Yemeni counterpart about the death of Mr Korkie. The Yemeni Minister expressed the Yemeni Government and people's condolences to the Government and the people of South Africa following the tragedy.
President Zuma said the positive outcomes of the visit were a true reflection of the strong deepening bilateral, trade and investment relations between South Africa and China. 
President Jacob Zuma has characterised his recent State Visit to the People's Republic of China as a tremendous and fruitful success following official talks with his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, during the two-day visit in Beijing, China. The President returned to South Africa on 6 December 2014.

Addressing a media briefing on the outcomes of the China visit on 9 December 2014, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said during the State Visit, the two governments adopted the China-South Africa Five-to-Ten Year Framework on Cooperation with the objective of furthering and entrenching the implementation of agreements since the conclusion of the Beijing Declaration in 2010.

The Minister expanded several strategic agreements that were signed with the Government of the People's Republic of China, which aim to strengthen bilateral relations and trade cooperation and create sustainable investment opportunities between the two countries.

President Zuma also attended the closing ceremony for the Year of South Africa 2014 in China. The Year of South Africa 2014 in China provided a unique opportunity to showcase South Africa’s economic, political and cultural achievements. It also gave a higher profile to exploring business and development opportunities. South Africa will host the 2015 Year of China in South Africa.
International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, recently paid an Official Visit to Singapore and Indonesia.
In Singapore, the Deputy Minister discussed bilateral relations with her counterpart, Deputy Minister Zukifli Bin Masagos. Issues discussed during the meeting included the upcoming Foreign Office Consultations, scheduled for January 2015, as well as collaboration on tourism, the impact of the Ebola virus on trade and tourism with African countries, among others.

In Indonesia, Deputy Minister Mfeketo delivered the inaugural Sheik Yusuf Memorial Lecture at the Sultan Hasanuddin University in Makassar. The aim of the lecture was to celebrate 20 years of freedom in South Africa and the relevance of Sheikh Yusuf to the bilateral relations between South Africa and Indonesia. It is hoped that the lecture will become a key annual event during which South Africa and Indonesia can demonstrate a shared commitment to strengthen and sustain the enduring historical relations that exist between the two countries.

The Deputy Minister also held a meeting with the Deputy Governor of South Sulawesi, Arisin Numang, the Mayor of Makassar, Ramdhn Pomanto, and the Rector of Sultan Hasanuddin University.
The programme will see South Africa, several African nations and the EU co-investing over the next 10 years to harness health innovation.
The launch of the second phase of the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) in Cape Town on 2 December marked an important milestone in Africa's efforts to combat the continent's burden of disease.

The launch of the EDCTP2 extends the EU's collaborative research support for the development of new or improved interventions to prevent or treat HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and non-communicable diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

Newly appointed EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, said that there was a need to build and strengthen African health institutions. He said that the launch of EDCTP 2 heralded an exciting phase in the EU's partnership with Africa.

The EU established the EDCTP in 2003 with 15 member states. The partnership aims to accelerate the development of new drugs, vaccines, microbicides and diagnostics for diseases such as HIV, TB and malaria, with a focus on clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa. The first phase supported 246 projects, involving 190 African and 70 European countries, with a total investment of €383 million.

A hundred of the 246 projects were clinical trials (30 on HIV/AIDS, 27 on TB, nine on TB/HIV co-infections, and 34 on malaria).  Over 100 000 research participants were involved.
The Deputy Minister also interacted with South Africans in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday 8 December 2014, during which she briefed them of developments in South Africa, especially as they relate to the country’s developmental agenda.
The Deputy Minister of Communications, Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams, led a South African delegation to Dubai, UAE, where Brand South Africa hosted a networking session to position South Africa as a globally competitive destination that is open for business on Tuesday 9 December 2014.

The UAE is currently positioned as a hub for trade, transport and tourism and a regional financial centre in the region and it is envisaged that during South Africa’s engagement in the UAE, both countries will share best practice of improving their competitiveness rankings with a view to become attractive and globally competitive destinations for inward flows of investment.

The dialogue on 9 December 2014 followed a similar session in December 2013, and is aimed at showcasing South Africa as a competitive destination for inward investment.

There is a growing community of South African nationals in the UAE, stimulated, in part, by a growing demand for South African labour force.  Major sectors in which South Africans are involved include: construction, hospitality, financial, medical, retail management and education.

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country's brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness. Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.
The Joint Centre of Excellence will be facilitated by the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as well as the South African Department of Science and Technology to establish a working relationship.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University of Blida in Algeria have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Joint Centre of Excellence in aeronautics research.

The signing of the MoU took place recently at the International Exhibition of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in Algeria.

Through the initiative, Algeria will be strengthened in the field of aeronautics and the South African Department of Science and Technology will expand the South African and Algerian science and technology bilateral.

The potential fields of cooperation include technologies for UAVs; avionics and ground systems; aircraft structures; gas turbines; wind tunnels; store integration; hypersonic flow; flow control; space technologies; computational methods; aeroelasticity; optronics; radar and aero acoustics.

Knowledge transfer in the form of staff exchange programmes, postgraduate student programmes, joint seminars and workshops, joint development programmes and co-supervision on postgraduate programmes leading to common publications, form part of the Joint Centre of Excellence.
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The Heads of Missions were accompanied by their economic and trade attaches for networking with counterparts from both chambers of business and leading economic development agencies of Limpopo.
The Limpopo Provincial Government recently hosted 15 HOM from Asian and Middle East countries represented in South Africa.

The aim of the visit was to explore trade and investment opportunities and partnerships to create sustainable economic development as part of the province’s drive to create more jobs, reduce unemployment and eradicate poverty.

The HOM participated in a business seminar followed by an exposure trip to Vhembe District for selected agriculture projects.
Construction of the 64-dish MeerKAT is planned to be finished by 2017. The MeerKAT is also set to form part of the Square Kilometre Array project: the largest radio telescope in the world.
The South African MeerKAT radio telescope project has received a R150-million investment from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

"This significant investment by a leading global research organisation of prestigious repute, home to several Nobel Prize winners, was an important vote of confidence in South African science in general and the MeerKAT specifically," Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said in a statement.

She said the MeerKAT was already acclaimed internationally as a world-class instrument. She said the partnership would boost the telescope's ability to perform transformational science for the benefit of global knowledge production.

The Max Planck Society would use the money to build and install radio receivers on the MeerKAT. The receivers would operate in the S band of radio frequencies. They would be used primarily for research on pulsars, the rapid spinning neutron stars which emit regular radio pulses and so can be used as highly accurate clocks to test extreme physics.

Two other sets of receivers, for the L band and ULF band of frequencies, were already under construction in South Africa. – Source: SAPA
Aboard the ship is a host of researchers and participants from the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Public Works, the South African Weather Service and various tertiary institutions.
The Department of Environmental Affairs’ SA Agulhas II embarked on her third logistical /scientific voyage to “Antarctica - the white Continent” on 4 December 2014.

Among the scientists on board are the University of Stellenbosch representatives who are in collaboration with a team from Finland on a project that will test noise vibration, slamming and its effect on the vessel so that measures can be explored to ensure the protection of sensitive equipment and the greatest comfort for the crew and passengers.
The airline announced in a press release that the additional capacity injection answered the commercial mandate of the Long-Term Turnaround Strategy (LTTS), and is in response to positive market growth.
South African Airways (SAA) has added additional frequencies to its network, which will substantially increase air services to some of its key African routes.

As of 1 December, SAA has included additional frequencies to Harare (Zimbabwe) and Maputo (Mozambique), with Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Harare (Zimbabwe) and Mauritius to follow.

“The strengthening of these routes comes in the wake of positive load factors and increased traffic between the countries,” says SAA Acting Chief Executive Officer Nico Bezuidenhout.

Presently, gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Mozambique (7% - African Development Bank) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (8,1% - African Development Bank) exceeds World Bank growth statistics for the continent (4,7% - 2013) while South Africa’s trade and demand for leisure and business travel to Mauritius is growing at a steady pace.

“Air lift services traditionally lead GDP in all markets and also track the rate of increased leisure travel, investment and business engagement between South Africa and its continental peers.” – Source: Traveller24
This is South Africa’s second New7Wonders nod, as Table Mountain in Cape Town was named a New7Wonders of Nature in 2011.
South Africa has received another feather in its cap for being a top international destination, as Durban was named one of the New7Wonders Cities.

The results of the global vote were announced in Dubai recently and saw the seaside city join Beirut (Lebanon), Doha (Qatar), Havana (Cuba), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), La Paz (Bolivia) and Vigan (Philippines) as the world’s latest urban hot spots.

The cities campaign started shortly after the nature campaign ended in 2011 with more than 1 200 nominees from 220 different countries. Durban remained a firm favourite, steadily working its way into each of the semi-final rounds, finally finishing victoriously.

Announcing the results at the New7Wonders voting centre in Dubai, Bernard Weber, Founder-President of New7Wonders, said: "I would like to thank everyone who have helped promote the New7Wonders Cities campaign ... For the first time in human history, more than half of our planet's population lives in cities and this election emphasises the dramatically challenging character of our changing world."
Earlier this year, Le Clos became the first man to be crowned Fina's Swimming World Cup series winner for the third time, collecting 27 gold medals along the way. Le Clos also became the first ever swimmer to go unbeaten throughout a World Cup series.
South Africa’s Olympic gold medallist, Chad Le Clos, recently received swimming's highest honour after he was crowned the world's best for 2014 by the International Swimming Federation (Fina).

The South African was also recognised for his efforts at this year's Commonwealth Games, where he won gold in the 100 m and 200 m butterfly events, as well as bronze in the 50 m butterfly and 200 m individual medley events.

Le Clos made history on the final night of the Fina World Short-Course Championships in Doha on 7 December when he became the first swimmer to win the 50 m, 100 m and 200 m butterfly.

His victory in his specialist event brought his total tally to four gold medals, the biggest medal haul by an individual South African swimmer at the global showpiece.

He surpassed the three gold medals swimming legend Ryk Neethling won at the 2006 edition in Shanghai.
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