Issue 154 | 19 February 2015
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The cluster briefing, the first of several to follow, was part of the post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) briefings held by various clusters.
South Africa remains a sound business and investment destination for foreign investors, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, said recently.

Leading a cluster briefing on International Cooperation, Trade and Security, Minister Cwele said while South Africa had played a crucial role towards the building of Africa through various political and economic initiatives, on a world scale, it was forging partnerships that enhanced trade and investment.

“President Jacob Zuma attended the World Economic Forum in Davos at the beginning of this year, with a delegation comprising Ministers and business leaders.

“This is an important forum to promote and profile South Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination of choice.

“South Africa remains a competitive business and investment destination despite challenges in the global economy. Our message was well received by investors,” he said.

In building the country’s image, Minister Cwele said a total of 52 economic diplomacy-building activities to promote national priorities had been undertaken.

The Minister said South Africa remained committed to contributing towards building a better Africa.

He said this was demonstrated by the continued support to peace and security and regional economic integration on the continent.

“This has resulted, among others, in a number of key outcomes such as the operationalisation of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, of which South Africa is a contributing and founding member.”

The Minister said the SA National Defence Force and SA Police Service continued to participate diligently in conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the continent.

South Africa also continued to support conflict resolution initiatives in Lesotho, Sri Lanka and South Sudan, led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Furthermore, economic cooperation with South Africa’s BRICS partners was strengthened when the first two intergovernmental agreements were concluded on the occasion of the Sixth BRICS Summit.

Meanwhile, the Minister said other global regions like Europe remained important strategic partners for South Africa, through which the country was able to advance its national and foreign policy.

“We have a valuable partnership with the European Union in, among others, the Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa valued at approximately R1,5 billion,” he said.

In shifting the focus to the West, the Minister said the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond September 2015 and a pledge to support African-led peace initiatives on the continent were among the significant outcomes of the United States-Africa Leadership Summit held in the United States last year.

He said at a multilateral level, 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of the United Nations (UN), which brought into sharp focus the need to transform the UN Security Council and other international institutions.

“These observations by President Zuma highlight the level of South Africa’s commitment towards playing its part in creating a better South Africa by contributing to a better and safer Africa in a better world,” said Minister Cwele. – Source:


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ is responsible for the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. SADC election observer missions play an important role in observing adherence to democratic principles and practices in the conduct of elections in the region.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, arrived in Maseru, the Kingdom of Lesotho, on 17 February 2015 ahead of the launch of the SADC Election Observer Mission, scheduled for Wednesday, 18 February 2015.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane represented President Jacob Zuma, Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. Following the launch of the SADC Election Observer Mission, SADC election observers are being deployed to all the districts in Lesotho in preparation for the elections on 28 February 2015.

Following the elections, the SADC Election Observer Mission will, as practice, issue a preliminary statement on the outcome of the elections.

As Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation since August 2014, South Africa has led successful SADC election observer missions to Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Zambia. The missions found that elections in these countries were peaceful, transparent, credible, and free and fair, thus reflecting the will of the people.
The formation of the group was testament to the important role civil society played in the campaign to achieve gender equality, the UN reported.
UN Women's South Africa Multi-Country Office has officially launched its Civil Society Advisory Group, which will use its expertise to advise UN Women on its work in South Africa.

The 11-member committee — a group of nine women and two men – comprises members from non-governmental organisations, academia, research institutions and the private sector.

Members will share their experiences and support UN Women in developing strategies to improve advocacy for gender equality and women's empowerment in South Africa.

"This advisory group will be an important consultative body in regard to our programmes and work in South Africa," said Dr Auxilia Ponga, UN Women representative, South Africa Multi-Country Office.

"The launch is particularly timely with awareness of the gender equality movement currently gaining momentum ahead of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women next month," Ponga said.

The 59th Session of the commission will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York City from 9 to 20 March. Representatives of the government of South Africa and accredited South African non-governmental organisations will attend.

The main focus of the session will be the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption. Despite the commitments made, the platform's envisioned gender equality in all dimensions of life is still an unfinished agenda.

Member states, including South Africa, have submitted national reviews ahead of the session that highlight achievements to date as well as the remaining gaps and challenges, and how they plan to accelerate implementation.
The remains of Kotane and Marks will be repatriated from Moscow, Russia, on 1 March 2015.
President Jacob Zuma has declared special official funerals for the late national liberation heroes, Moses Kotane and JB Marks.

President Zuma has also instructed that the national flag fly at half-mast at every flag station in the country from 9 March until the evening of 22 March 2015.

“The special official funeral of the late Moses Kotane will be held on 14 March 2015 in Pella, North West, and the special official funeral of the late JB Marks will be on 22 March 2015 in Ventersdorp, North West,” The Presidency said.

The South African National Defence Force will also provide the military honours.

Delivering the State of the Nation Address on 12 February, President Zuma thanked the Government and people of the Russian Federation for looking after the remains of the two heroes with dignity for so many decades. – Source:
The mission, aimed at increasing trade and investment between South Africa and the two countries, took place
from 16 to 20 February.
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) is leading 31 local companies on an Outward Selling and Investment Mission to Kenya and Tanzania.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, described Kenya as a strategic country for South African companies looking to access the East and Central African markets. He said Kenya boasted strong agricultural and manufacturing sectors which made it a key trade and investment destination.

“Between January 2009 and 2015, a total of 17 foreign direct investment projects from South Africa into Kenya were recorded."

"These projects represent a total capital investment of R2,2 billion which is an average investment of R118,89 million per project. During the period, a total of 462 jobs were created,” said Minister Davies.

He highlighted that the South Africa-Kenya trade statistics indicated that South Africa had been experiencing significant trade surplus with Kenya which implied that South Africa’s exports to Kenya had constantly been higher than imports from Kenya.

Minister Davies further outlined that Tanzania, which hosted the second leg of the mission, had extensive water networks which had been optimally used for transportation.

“The South African Government is aiming to facilitate and encourage increased sustainable investments by South African companies in the Tanzanian economy. This should result in the diversification and industrialisation of that economy, a factor which will assist in creating the much-needed employment opportunities, technology transfer and foreign exchange, in line with South Africa’s objectives for regional development and integration,” added Minister Davies.

He said South Africa had already made a marked contribution with respect to infrastructure development in Tanzania through its regional spatial development initiatives programme and would continue to work with Tanzania not only in infrastructure development, but across all sectors.

In 2013, South African exports to Tanzania were about R5 billion while imports from Tanzania amounted to R991 million.

According to the latest statistics from the Tanzanian Investment Centre, there are more than 200 South African companies investing in Tanzania across a wide spectrum of sectors. – Source:
The visiting delegation will explore concepts of how tourism can promote peace and sustainability at the symposium being held by the International Institute for Peace through Tourism, (IIPT).
Two world leaders in tourism are visiting several iconic sites in South Africa as guests of the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom.

Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organisation of the United Nations (UNWTO), and David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) attended a symposium on bringing peace through tourism in Johannesburg.

The UNWTO is the specialised UN agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organisation in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.

WTTC is the global business forum for the travel and tourism industry. It includes the CEOs, chairpersons and presidents of the world’s leading tourism companies among its members, and represents the full travel and tourism value chain.

“Our own icon of reconciliation, Tata Nelson Mandela, will also be honoured at the symposium for his role in creating unity from diversity,” said Minister Hanekom. “We know that sustainable tourism and inclusive economic growth cannot be achieved without lasting peace.”

Mr Rifai and Mr Scowsill will visit some of South Africa’s unique attractions which embody the deep significance of our rich cultural heritage.

These include a step back into the world’s ancient history and the origins of humanity at the Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng, and a visit to Robben Island to experience the emotions of our recent political history.

Also on their itinerary are visits to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a symbol of how South Africa conserves its biodiversity as a tourist asset, and the Hotel Verde in Cape Town, which was among several local establishments that won global awards for responsible tourism recently.
Transcending continents, Shared Sky brings together South African and Australian artists in a collaborative exhibition celebrating humanity’s ancient cultural wisdom, alongside one of the world’s greatest scientific and engineering endeavours: the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
An exciting international exhibition entitled Shared Sky was opened by the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor at the Iziko South African National Gallery on 13 February 2015. This fascinating art/astronomy exhibition is hosted by Iziko Museums of South Africa in partnership with the SKA Organisation, SKA South Africa, SKA Australia and Curtin University Australia’s Institute of Radio Astronomy.

“While Shared Sky successfully reflects on the ancestral interpretations of the night sky from indigenous people from both South Africa and Australia, it also touches on South Arica’s flagship science programmes. South Africa has a rich fossil heritage, allowing for world-class research in human origins. At the same time, we host top astronomers exploring our place in the universe”, Minister Pandor said.

Shared Sky was developed in collaboration with San-descended artists from the Bethesda Arts Centre, Nieu Bethesda, Eastern Cape and their creative counterparts, Yamaji Aboriginal artists from the Yamaji Art Centre, Geraldton, Western Australia. The exhibition showcases spectacular tapestries depicting some of mankind’s earliest attempts to understand the enormity of the universe and humanity’s place within it.

Shared Sky was curated by Chris Malcolm, Director of the John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University, Perth, Australia, as international curator in partnership with John Parkington, Emeritus Professor of Archaeology, University of Cape Town.

Shared Sky is presented in South Africa in collaboration with curator Sandra Prosalendis, exhibition designer Elsabe Gelderblom and Carol Kaufmann, Curator of African Art at the Iziko South African National Gallery.

The Shared Sky exhibition will be open to the public from 13 February until the end of May 2015.
The app links users to the recently re-launched mobile friendly government website,, which bridges the digital divide and can be accessed on any cellular phone.
It allows users to view, among others, the latest available jobs in the Public Service; tender bulletins; news and radio bulletins; information on services like renewing your driver’s licence or renewing your car licence disk.

The app, which is available for a free download on your play store, also gives users contact details of all government departments across all spheres of government.

The South African Government app also gives users quick access to government leaders, events, speeches and other government information.

It is available on both Android and Apple mobile devices. The app was developed at the back of evidence that there was an increasing appetite for government information, the Deputy Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, said at the launch. – Source:
As part of a 10-year investment programme through the Department of Trade and Industry and working closely with the Department of Science and Technology, the new research facility will be based at the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).
International technology company IBM will invest R700 million over the next 10 years to build a new research Africa facility in downtown Johannesburg, the company announced at an IBM ThinkForum event at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 6 February.

The lab will focus on advancing Big Data, cloud and mobile technologies to support South Africa's national priorities, drive skills development and foster innovation-based economic growth, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said.

IBM already has 12 labs across the world, including one in Kenya. The lab will be in Braamfontein's new software hub, Tshimologong Precinct – home of the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) that is a three-way partnership between government, academia and industry.

IBM South Africa said its researchers would partner with local universities, research institutions, innovation centres, start-ups and government agencies to bolster "South Africa's emerging innovation ecosystem" and help to develop next-generation technology skills.

The company has already struck up agreements with Wits University, the Department of Science and Technology and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to collaborate on research programmes and skills development.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, who was at the launch, said international technology companies were beginning to appreciate the role that Africa would play in their own future and sustainability.

"Africa’s drive and innovation will change the world," she is quoted by technology website as saying. "For technology companies, Africa is a vast new market." – Source:
Business travellers wanting to visit the United Kingdom (UK) for leisure travel will now be able to do so on a single visa, as the country announces changes to its visa rules, due to come into effect on April 1.
While South Africans still need a visa to visit, business travellers no longer require two separate visas.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the UK would be trying to make itself more attractive to business – resulting in the reform of its immigration system for visitors.

“The changes will help simplify and streamline the visitor routes for businesses and leisure travellers, while the rebranding of the student visitor route will make it conceptually clearer for people who want to study on short term courses,”
Source: –
Aboard the vessel were the Sanae 53 expedition team, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ supporting team, members from the Department of Public Works, Starlite Aviation and the scientists who left for Antarctica last year on 28 November 2013 and had spent 14 months at the base conducting critical research.
The Department of Environmental Affairs once again welcomed back the SA Agulhas II as she returned from her almost three-month annual voyage from Antarctica on 17 February 2015 at the East Pier Shed, Cape Town.

Some of the scientists on-board were from the University of Stellenbosch who had collaborated with Finland on a joint project where this team tested noise vibration, slamming with its effect on the vessel so that measures could be explored to ensure the protection of sensitive equipment and the greatest comfort for the crew and passengers.

They also gathered statistics and tested the Antarctic ice to become more knowledgeable about the composition of the Antarctic sea ice in order to discover buried secrets which will be a huge benefit to South Africa and globally, especially in the area of climate change and predicting sea level rise.
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