Issue 159 | 20 March 2015
If this newsletter doesn’t load or images don’t display, please click here
The Kingdom of Lesotho held National Assembly Elections on 28 February 2015 and Prime Minister-elect, Pakalitha Mosisili, emerged as the leader of the winning coalition.
At the invitation of His Majesty King Letsie III, President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, 17 March 2015, attended the inauguration of the Prime Minister-elect, Pakalitha Mosisili, of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

President Zuma was accompanied by Deputy-President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Southern African Development Community Facilitator, as well as Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

President Jacob Zuma said he was “an outstanding cadre of our liberation struggle and a competent, accomplished and dependable member of my Cabinet”.


During the week, condolences have continued to pour in from all corners of the country and the world following the passing away of the Minister of Public Service and Administration, Collins Chabane.

The Minister and his two protectors, Sgt Lesiba Sekele and Sgt Lawrence Lentsoane, died in a car accident near Polokwane in the early hours of Sunday morning, 15 March 2015.

In a statement, The Presidency said Minister Chabane was a humble, disciplined, passionate and dedicated member of the Executive.

“He was truly devoted to his work of improving the lives of the people of South Africa. He was an intellectual giant with a great understanding of what we had to do to free our people from poverty. Minister Chabane was a humble person who would never put himself forward for anything as he often said ‘if I am doing something good, people will be the ones to tell’.

“He dedicated his life to liberate the people of South Africa from the evil system of apartheid. Even in democracy, he continued to play a central role in ensuring that the lives of all our people are improved for the better and that they enjoy the fruits of our freedom.”

The late Minister Chabane will be afforded an official funeral service. He will be laid to rest on Saturday, 21 March 2015, at Xikundzu Village in Malamulele, Limpopo.

A memorial service was held on Thursday, 19 March, at the Tshwane Events Centre, which was addressed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africans are invited to pay their respects and sign the condolence books placed at the following areas:

• the Union Buildings, Government Avenue, Pretoria
• Tuynhuys, Cape Town
• Parliament of South Africa, Cape Town
• the Department of Public Service and Administration, Johannes Ramokhoase Street, Pretoria
• Office of the Premier, Limpopo province.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, has been appointed as the acting Minister of Public Service and Administration.

South African and Algerian bilateral relations are based on long-standing friendship and solidarity, mutual respect and strategic cooperation in continental and global fora. .
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, hosted and co-chaired together with the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ramtane Lamamra, the Ministerial engagement of the Sixth Session of the South Africa-Algeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria on 18 March 2015.

The ministerial engagement followed a two-day interaction of senior officials and technical experts from 16 to 17 March 2015.

During the engagement, the ministers took stock of the progress between the two countries since President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Algeria in 2013 in anticipation of the convening of the Sixth Session of the BNC at Presidential level.

Algeria and South Africa enjoy strong bilateral partnerships in the areas of science and technology, arts and culture, defence, and trade and industry and are seeking to strengthen its cooperation in new areas of public works, energy and economic cooperation.
The graduation ceremony preceded a round-table discussion on the UN Resolution 1325, as part of celebrating International Women’s Day.
On 13 March 2015, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, delivered the keynote address at a graduation ceremony of women from the Southern African Development Community Secretariat and member states who participated in a capacity-building programme on “Mediation, Negotiations and Constitution Drafting” offered by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

The UNSC Resolution 1325 is a landmark international legal framework that addresses not only the inordinate impact of war on women, but also the pivotal role women should and do play in conflict management, conflict resolution and sustainable peace.
Since 2007, the Authority, in partnership with government entities, has convened seminars in various regions of the world, including Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Spain, Mexico, Jamaica (where the Authority is based) and in New York (at the United Nations).
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), in partnership with the Department of Mineral Resources, the South African Council for Geoscience and the International Seabed Authority, hosted a seminar on the work of the Authority from 17 to 19 March 2015.

The subject was: “Exploration and Exploitation of the Deep Seabed Mineral Resources in the Area: Challenges for Africa, and Opportunities for Collaborative Research in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Atlantic Indian Ridge and the South-West Indian Ridge”. The seminar took place at DIRCO’s Head Office in Pretoria.

The seminar provided information on the current and future work of the Authority, opportunities for deep seabed mining for developing countries, the protection and preservation of the marine environment related to deep seabed mining, and related scientific research and regulatory policy issues, as well as the interactive roles of the multilateral institutions that function under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, among others.

South Africa has a relatively large marine area under national jurisdiction and a large potential extended continental shelf around both its mainland and island territories. Any activities within the area will therefore have a significant impact on South Africa. It is thus imperative that South Africa, especially as a member of the Authority’s Council, maintains a proactive and informed involvement in the Authority’s management mineral exploration and exploitation of the oceans and deep seabed.

As a developing country with a strong mining industry, South Africa also stands to gain economically from mineral exploration and exploitation activities in the area – both in terms of direct involvement and providing relevant support services. The workshop was also strategic in complementing the objectives and outcomes of Operation Phakisa – essentially to utilise South Africa’s oceans to assist economic transformation and contribute to achieving the “Blue Economy” objectives in Vision 2013 – the National Development Plan.
The three-day conference, under the theme “Advocacy for Arts Education in Africa”, took place from 11 to 13 March 2015 in Johannesburg.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, in collaboration with South Africa’s Department of Arts and Culture, recently hosted the NEPAD Regional Conference on Arts Education in Africa for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The aim of the conference was to develop an advocacy and policy framework for Africa with specific attention to the SADC region in order to strengthen and harmonise arts education and training policies. It was regarded as an inaugural platform for African Union member states to consolidate an African Position on Arts Education that will be replicated in the other regional economic communities.

According to the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the conference would “contribute to jobs creation, especially for youth, by bringing together regions to deliberate on the formalisation of arts education in education systems on the continent and will ultimately increase demand and consumption of cultural goods and services”.

The First NEPAD Regional Conference on Arts Education was critical as the SADC region begins the process of defining a common African position on arts education in line with the outcome of the Second UNESCO World Seoul Conference on Art Education, held in 2010, as well as other frameworks such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The aim of the conference was to exchange information among the African peer countries on national planning; share international experiences, lessons learnt, challenges and successes of national planning mechanisms; and linking the National Develop Plan (NDP) to monitoring and evaluation.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency recently co-hosted the third international knowledge-sharing workshop with the World Bank to share the success of the NDP and its link to monitoring and evaluation with the African peer countries.

Ten African countries attended, namely Kenya, Comores, Madagascar, Malawi, Uganda, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe and were represented by their ministers and senior government officials.
President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) exchanged congratulatory messages to mark the occasion.

The 2015 Year of China in South Africa was officially launched at a glittering ceremony on 15 March, at the State Theatre in Pretoria.

The celebrations are a sequel to an important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Jacob Zuma during President Xi’s State Visit to South Africa in 2013.

In 2014, China hosted the 2014 South Africa Year in China, during which South Africa conducted a series of activities, including cultural promotion, art shows, trade exhibitions and fairs, academic research and educational exchanges.

In return, the 2015 Year of China in South Africa events will showcase China's development journey and its achievements as well as the fruitful results of China-South Africa cooperation. The Chinese Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang, and South African Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, took part in the opening ceremony. The concert featured performances by, among others, the Shenzhen Symphony Orchestra,  the University of Pretoria Youth Choir, as well as solo performances by Chinese singer Zeng Yong and South African Ntombi Ngcobo.

Various events will be organised in major cities in the nine provinces across the country,
This followed a special opening concert to launch the 2015 Year of China in South Africa at the State Theatre in Pretoria on 15 March.
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, and the Chinese Minister of Culture, Luo Shugang, have signed a bilateral agreement on arts, culture and heritage.

The Year of China in South Africa is a result of a state visit by President Jacob Zuma to the People’s Republic of China from 3 to 5 December 2014, where he was invited by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.

In 2014, South Africa had a cultural season in China.
Delivering an oration at the reburial service, attended by former National Assembly Speaker, Max Sisulu, former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Kotane’s wife, Rebecca, and several ministers, President Jacob Zuma described Kotane as a towering figure in the liberation struggle.

The remains of one of the finest intellectuals the country has ever produced, struggle hero, Moses Kotane, was laid to rest on Saturday, 14 March, at his ancestral village of Pella in the North West province.

The mortal remains of Kotane and his fellow national liberation hero, John Beaver (JB) Marks, returned to South Africa earlier this month from the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, Russia.

President Zuma said the Kotane family and the nation would now have a place to come and mourn.

“The people of South Africa and the world will now also have a monument to come and pay their respects to, and draw inspiration from the life of Moses Kotane, the fighter, teacher, commissar, administrator, intellectual, outstanding patriot, revolutionary and giant of our struggle.

“We are filled with sadness but also pride and joy, for we have the privilege of celebrating the life of this highly regarded giant of our struggle for freedom. Kotane gave his whole life to the struggle for freedom, justice and equality,” he said. – Source:

Outcomes of the meeting in Pretoria included a commitment to joint funding by Sudan, the identification of possible joint projects and the development of a joint three-year action plan with annual targets.
South Africa and Sudan will work together in the area of space science as the two countries met to strengthen bilateral relations in science and technology.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, met with her Sudanese counterpart, Tahani Abdallah Attiya, in Pretoria on 16 March 2015, to expedite the implementation of a bilateral science and technology agreement the two signed in Khartoum in Novembe 2014r.

Other potential areas for collaboration identified at the signing included natural resources and agriculture.
The topic for the strategic policy discussion of the governing body was “Global Employment and Social Challenges: Emerging Trends and the Role of the ILO”.
The Deputy Minister of Labour, Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, recently led a South African delegation to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva to attend its Governing Body (GB) meeting.

The GB is the executive body of the ILO (the Office is the secretariat of the organisation).

It meets three times a year in March, June and November and takes decisions on ILO policy, decides the agenda of the ILO, adopts the draft programme and budget of the organisation for submission to the conference and elects the Director-General.

Zimbabwe is the current overall coordinator of the African region. It represents Africa at inter-regional high-level meetings, having received a mandate from the Africa Group.

They also speak on behalf of Africa in the plenary supported by other GB member states from other sub-regions of Africa.

South Africa currently attends as an observer to the GB. Although the country does not have speaking rights, it influences discussions and the Group’s position during daily consultative meetings.
The operation, led by Stellenbosch University’s Division of Urology head. Prof. Andre van der Merwe, lasted a marathon nine hours.

The University of Stellenbosch’s (US) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) recently announced the performance of the world’s first successful penile transplant.

The US’ health faculty described the procedure as a groundbreaking transplant operation, as doctors successfully transplanted a penis to a human being at Tygerberg Hospital in Bellville, Cape Town, on 11 December 2014.

"It’s the first time success was achieved with such a procedure," the SU FMHS said.

"South Africa remains at the forefront of medical progress," said Prof Jimmy Volmink, Dean of SU's FMHS.

"This procedure is another excellent example of how medical research, technical know-how and patient-centred care can be combined in the quest to relieve human suffering.

"It shows what can be achieved through effective partnerships between academic institutions and government health services." – Source:

The festival programme offers visitors exhibitions and over 600 interactive events that explore all facets of light, including anatomy, architecture, arts and culture, astronomy, atmospheric sciences, aviation, biotechnology, chemistry, diet, energy, fibre optics, gravity, lasers, matter, microscopy, nanotechnology, optics, photonics, space sciences, the spectrum and the universe.

Scifest Africa, South Africa’s National Science Festival, is being held in Grahamstown from 18 to 24 March. The 2015 theme, “Science Alight!”, forms part of the 2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies Activities and celebrates several anniversaries, including the 1 000th anniversary of the publication of the seven-volume treatise on optics by Ibn al-Haytham, the centenary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and the announcement last year that the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics had been awarded to the inventors of the blue LED.

A sure highlight is the attendance of a high-level delegation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, whose contributions focus on the John Webb Space Telescope, Mars Exploration Programme, New Horizons Mission and Rosetta Mission, and include public appearances by astronaut, Catherine Coleman.

Other international contributions to the programme come from Argentina, China, France, Germany, Turkey, the United Kingdom and United States of America. Back by popular demand, is blind astronomer Wanda Diaz, who tells the story of how she followed a career in astronomy against all odds and how she listens to the stars.

The festival programme also places special focus on Grahamstown’s Observatory Museum, home to the only Victorian camera obscura in the southern hemisphere, and the room in which the first diamond found in South Africa, later named the Eureka Diamond, was identified in 1867.

Sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Scifest Africa remains the largest festival of its kind on the African continent, welcoming over 68 000 visitors of all ages to Grahamstown in 2014.

Stay Connected with us
For back issues of Newsflash visit:

Your comments are welcome and can be sent to