Issue 163 | 16 April 2015
         
 
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MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE HOSTS HER CHINESE COUNTERPART
 
The consultations focused, among others, on the implementation of the 5-10 Year Strategic Framework on Cooperation signed in 2014 and preparations for the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which will take place in South Africa later this year.
 
 
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, hosted her counterpart, Wang Yi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, for bilateral consultations in Pretoria this week.

The meeting followed President Jacob Zuma’s 2014 State Visit to China, which saw the signing of the 5-10 Year Strategic Framework on Cooperation – which entrenches the implementation of agreements entered into since the conclusion of the Beijing Declaration in 2010 and it expands on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

The two ministers used their meeting to look into the preparations for the upcoming FOCAC, which will review the implementation of tasks set in the last meeting in 2009, explore new ways to deepen China-Africa relations and improve the forum's mechanism.

“China is willing to transform the traditional friendship between China and South Africa – and Africa as a whole – into impetus for common development, and to work with African countries to convert their potential in human and natural resources into economic strengths,” said Wang in a joint press briefing after their talks when asked about China’s aspirations for the forum.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane reiterated this, saying the FOCAC was a reconfirmation and a rededication for win-win cooperation between the continent and China.

The two ministers also reviewed the progress of the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank to be headquartered in Shanghai, with its African Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa was in the final stages of rectification of the establishment of the bank's regional centre.

The ministers agreed that the regular exchange of views was necessary so that the countries could coordinate on positions whenever possible within multilateral, regional and global platforms.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane added: “May I, on behalf of the Government and People of the Republic of South Africa, extend our congratulations to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for having launched the 2015 Year of China in South Africa with great enthusiasm.

“We look forward to 2015 being the year in which we further our relations and deepen cooperation.”
 
 
HANI'S GRAVE DECLARED A HERITAGE SITE
 
"An important aspect of achieving true reconciliation includes building a new heritage landscape for our new democratic society, based on our history of fighting for freedom, justice and equality," President Zuma said.
 
 
On 10 April, President Jacob Zuma declared Chris Hani's grave a heritage site, on the 22nd anniversary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) leader's assassination in Boksburg.

Hani, chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe‚ the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), was assassinated on that day in 1993.

The President unveiled the Chris Hani Memorial Monument plaque before taking a tour of remembrance.

He was accompanied by SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and Limpho Hani, Chris Hani's widow.

"Today we have officially opened the Chris Hani Memorial, which will serve to educate generations of our people about his legacy and the struggle for freedom."

President Zuma said there was an ongoing process to build a new inclusive heritage for our country.

He said historic sites, individuals and organisations that made a contribution during the liberation struggle had been identified for the upgrading and declaration of historic sites.

"Through the upgrading and declaration of these historic sites, we will ensure a more representative and inclusive South African history and heritage," President Zuma said. – Source: www.news24.gov.za
 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER LANDERS LEADS SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION TO THE 10TH SA-SPAIN ANNUAL CONSULTATIONS
 
The annual consultations provide an opportunity for South Africa and Spain to strengthen relations on a wide range of issues in bilateral, political and economic relations. The engagements between the two principals included bilateral discussions, which were preceded by a Senior Officials Working Group Meeting held on 9 April 2015.
 
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, on Friday, 10 April 2015, led a South African delegation to Madrid, Spain, to co-chair the 10th South Africa-Spain Annual Consultations with the Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr Ignacio Ybáñez Rubio.

The two countries continue to exchange views and strengthen cooperation on issues of global concern. The meeting also reviewed a number of bilateral agreements that had been signed and those that were being negotiated between the two countries.

Trade between South Africa and Spain increased substantially from R15,6 billion in 2009 to R29 billion in 2014.

Spain has become a major investor in South African economy, especially in the renewable energy sector.
 
 
SOUTH AFRICA WELCOMES OUTCOME OF IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS IN LAUSANNE
 
 
South Africa has consistently recognised Iran’s inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in line with the provisions of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
 
South Africa welcomes the political agreement reached in the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) in Switzerland on 2 April 2015.

Iran and the P5+1 have taken a historic step in laying down the foundations of a final negotiated settlement to the Iranian nuclear dispute. The South African Government gives its full encouragement and support to the negotiators in the weeks ahead as they work to conclude a comprehensive agreement by 30 June 2015.

South Africa has always maintained that the dispute over the Iranian nuclear programme should be resolved peacefully.

The successful agreement on a political framework once again demonstrates that diplomacy and negotiations are the only way to find sustainable solutions to international conflicts.

A successful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue will also provide a major boost to the efforts to reverse the deteriorating security situation in the Middle East.
 
 
AGOA BENEFITS BOTH SOUTH AFRICA AND US: MINISTER DAVIES
 
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) has had a positive impact on both South Africa and the United States (US), and should therefore be renewed, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said at a media briefing.
 
 
South Africa's trade with the US has been growing steadily, he said. "As of last year, we exported R69 billion worth of products to the US, including value-added products and we imported R71 billion worth of goods from the US."

A South African delegation comprising government, business and trade unions is participating in the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) with the US Trade Representative this week, where they are advocating for the renewal of Agoa.

Davies said the general view was that Agoa had delivered and that the case for reauthorisation of Agoa, including South Africa, was a compelling one: "Our view is that Agoa has not only benefitted us but has also benefitted the US."

"We support the common African position that Agoa should be renewed substantially as it is, although there could be many improvements," he said.

Agoa is a legislation that provides duty-free market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4 600 products. Business Times reported recently that the current Agoa agreement had allowed 90% of South Africa exports into the US duty free for the past 15 years.

The reauthorisation of Agoa is done at US Congress level. The current Agoa will expire on 30 September 2015.

Agoa has created 100 000 jobs in the US, and 350 000 direct jobs and 1,3 million indirect jobs in sub-Saharan Africa. In South Africa, Agoa is estimated to have created 62 000 jobs.

Faizel Ismail, Ambassador and Special Envoy for Agoa, said the trip to Washington would "take stock" of issues concerning the two countries and Agoa.

The South African delegation would be going to Washington to find "solutions to any of the outstanding issues that are related to the extension of Agoa", which was of regional interest. – Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
RESERVE BANK SIGNS SWAP AGREEMENT WITH PEOPLE’S BANK OF CHINA
 
The purpose of the agreement is to support trade and investment between South Africa and China, and also to act as a mitigating resource for short-term balance of payment pressures.
 
   
 
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) recently announced the signing of a bilateral swap agreement, which is valid for three years.

The agreement allows for the exchange of local currencies between the two central banks of up to CNY 30 billion (approx. ZAR 57 billion).

The swap arrangement has been established in the context of rapidly growing bilateral trade and investment, not only between South Africa and China, but also China and the rest of the African continent.

This arrangement further strengthens the relationship between the SARB and the PBoC, following an agreement with PBoC in 2013, which allows the SARB to invest in China’s onshore bond market.
 
 
 
GOVERNMENT WELCOMES R4-BILLION LOAN TO
ESKOM FROM GERMAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
 
The loan is part of Eskom’s approved funding plan and will run over 15 years with capital repayments only after the first five years. The loan will be repaid in rands, which frees up banking lines for other financing transactions.
 
South Africa’s plan to secure its power system by scaling up renewable energy generation and strengthen its transmission network has been boosted by a massive loan granted by German Development Bank KfW.

Government welcomes the R4-billion loan, which has been secured at favourable terms and a significantly lower interest rate as a result of the sovereign guarantee that it has made available for Eskom.

“The loan comes at a critical juncture in our national effort to stabilise the national grid and Eskom’s finances."

"It allows all us the space to diversify our energy sources and ensure more sustainable power generation,” said Government Communication and Information System, Acting Director General, Donald Liphoko.

The money will be used to build the Kiwano solar thermal power station in Upington, Northern Cape, and the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme in Braamhoek, KwaZulu-Natal.

The completed Kiwano solar thermal power station will add 100 MW to the national grid while Ingula will provide an additional 1 332 MW.

Government is working to radically transform the country’s energy sector and has developed a sustainable energy mix in which renewable energy makes up a significant portion of 11,4 Gigawatts.
 
 
SOUTH AFRICA NAMES BUILDERS OF KATHU SOLAR PARK
 
Kathu Solar Park, along with Redstone Solar Thermal Power, which will both build 100 MW capacity, were the preferred bidders in the third round of the Government's Renewable Energy Development Programme (REIPPPP).
 
 
Kathu solar thermal plant, the latest solar plant to be constructed in the Northern Cape, will be built by engineering and construction group Sener and the infrastructure, renewable energy and services corporation Acciona.

Together the two international companies form the consortium chosen to develop the Kathu turnkey project. The complex is led by GDF Suez, with South African partners comprising Sishen Iron Ore Company Community Development Trust, Investec Bank, Lereko Metier and Public Investment Corporation.

It has been selected by the South African Department of Energy to form part of the country's REIPPP, with a forecast investment of more than €500 million (R6,4 billion).

Concentrated solar thermal power is able to store solar power generated during daylight hours.

Kathu is a 100-MW plant with parabolic troughs – specifically, the SenerTrough-2 system, designed and patented by Sener, and a thermal energy storage capacity of 4,5 hours, thanks to the use of molten salts.

Located in the town of Kathu, near Upington, in Northern Cape, the plant will begin operations in 2018 and will be able to supply electricity to 80 000 homes. – Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
GREEN SCORPIONS FIGHT WILDLIFE CRIME AT AIRPORT
 
 
The Green Scorpions will work closely with other law enforcement agencies and departments at the airport, including the SA Police Service; Customs; the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; the Department of Health; and Department of Home Affairs,” said the department's spokesperson Albi Modise.
 
The Department of Environmental Affairs has deployed environmental management inspectors, commonly known as the Green Scorpions, at OR Tambo International Airport to combat wildlife crime.

He said through joint enforcement operations, the Green Scorpions and the police had already detected non-compliance with the Alien and Invasive Species Regulations related to reptiles and notices will be issued in response thereto.

The Green Scorpions were deployed at the airport on 1 April to ensure compliance and to undertake enforcement action related to the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) and its Regulations.

“The regulations also relate to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations and Regulations related to the Import of Alien and Invasive Species,” Modise said.

He said a team of 10 compliance officials would ensure that CITES export and re-export permits were endorsed after physical inspection of consignments and that CITES import permits were cancelled after use.

“They will also ensure that TOPS and Bioprospecting, Access and Benefit Sharing permit conditions are complied with."

“Trade bans for commercial purposes relating to CITES listed species have been put in place since 19 March 2015 for Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria due to non-compliance with CITES plans and the Green Scorpions need to ensure that these bans are enforced,” Modise said. – Source: www.SAnews.gov.za
 
 
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS' SA AGULHAS II RESEARCH SHIP LEAVES FOR MARION ISLAND
 
 
Aboard the ship is a host of researchers and participants from the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Department of Public Works, the South African Weather Service and various tertiary institutions. The Marion 72 expedition team will be the fourth of its kind to inhabit the new base since its commission in March 2011 and will occupy it for a period of 14 months.
 
On 9 April, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ SA Agulhas II embarked on her third logistical and scientific voyage to Marion Island.

During this voyage, scientists from the DEA’s Oceans and Coasts Research unit as well as from various universities in South Africa will jointly continue to monitor oceanographic processes – both physical and chemical changes in planktic and benthic communities – as well as population estimates and assessments of feeding and breeding behaviours of top predators in the Southern Ocean and at the Prince Edward Islands, where marine and terrestrial biological communities have shown responses to climate change.
 
 
PREMIER MAHUMAPELO UNVEILS SCULPTURE OF MAMA RUTH MOMPATI
 
“Recognising and celebrating the exceptional role Mama Ruth played in the liberation struggle could not be any better than this, as this will help us never to forget our past. We thank you Mama Ruth for having laid a solid foundation for us”, said Premier Mahumapelo.
 
 
Unveiling the struggle icon’s sculpture at an event held on Friday, 10 April 2015, at the now renovated Hayes Community Park in Vryburg, Premier Supra Mahumapelo said honouring Mama Ruth when she was still alive, was the decent and right thing to do.

In her acceptance speech, Mama Ruth expressed her gratitude to all for sharing this honour with her.

“This statue symbolises the struggle of all races because it is the struggle I was involved in. I dedicate it to all South Africans, especially the people of Vryburg and women of this country”, said Mama Ruth Mompati who further said the sculpture must always be seen as a mark of unity, which all must embrace.

Mama Ruth, as she is affectionately known, was born in 1925 at Tlapeng village in Ganyesa outside Vryburg, and was one of the first women to go into exile to pursue the struggle for women liberation.

She will be turning 90 years in September this year.

She received the highest honour of Isithwalandwe-Seaparankwe from President Jacob Zuma in January last year, in recognition of the enormous contribution and sacrifice she made to the struggle for liberation.

In February 2015, she also received the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s Ubuntu Lifetime Achiever Award.
 
 
FORMER SPRINGBOK RUGBY GREAT CHOSEN AS INDABA 2015 WELCOME AMBASSADOR
 
Indaba 2015 will be taking place at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 9 to 11 May, 2015.
 
 
Former Springbok rugby star Chester Williams has been announced as the South African Tourism (SAT) Ambassador for the “Make Someone&rsquorsquo;s Day” campaign for Indaba 2015. 

SAT made the announcement, stating that as part of his role, Chester will join the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, on his first walkabout of the trade show floor, to take place on Saturday, 9 May 2015, to meet and greet as well as bring the spirit of Welcome to individual exhibitors.

"A well-known South African who understands the importance of working within a team, putting your best foot forward and always playing your best game, Chester was the natural and perfect choice for being the “Welcome! Make Someone’s Day” campaign ambassador," a SAT spokesperson said.

SAT confirmed that Chester would be be in attendance at a number of key events to engage with journalists and speak about "the importance of being creating a culture of service excellence and promoting a great tourist experience". – Source: www.news24.com  
 
 
 
THE GREAT SOUTH AFRICAN BAKE OFF COMING TO BBC LIFESTYLE
 
The “Great South African Bake Off”, produced by the Rapid Blue production company and which will be shot in Johannesburg, will make South Africa the 18th country to get its own version of the hugely popular Love Productions format.
 
BBC Worldwide has commissioned “The Great South African Bake Off” as a new South African reality competition show for BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) with South African bakers who can now apply to be a part of the first season, which will be broadcast later in the year.

The show has already enthralled British viewers on the BBC for five series in which amateur bakers compete against each other.

South Africans over 18 can enter at www.bbcsouthafrica.com until 24 May for the 10-episode TV bake-off to find the country's finest home bakers.

The fifth season of “The Great British Bake Off” will start on 21 April on BBC Lifestyle. – Source: www.news24.com
 
 
AFCON '17: BAFANA DRAW CAMEROON, GAMBIA AND MAURITANIA
 
Bafana Bafana were among 52 countries that went into the hat at the draw in Cairo. Only the group winner will progress to the Afcon finals, which will include the two best-placed runners-up and the host nation.
 
 
Bafana Bafana have been drawn against Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in Group M of the 2017 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

The tournament will be held in Gabon after a decision by the CAF Congress that saw the Central African country beat Ghana and Algeria to the vote to host the 31st Edition of CAF's premier event.

War-torn Libya was initially selected to host Afcon, but concerns over players and spectators' safety pushed CAF to choose an alternative host.

The first round of qualifying fixtures will take place from 8 to 16 June.

Bafana Bafana will open their 2017 Afcon qualifying account against Gambia at home on the weekend of 12, 13, 14 June this year.

In the last qualifier, South Africa will host Mauritania on the weekend of 2, 3, 4 September 2016.
South Africa's 2017 Afcon fixtures:
  • South Africa vs Gambia (12,13,14 June 2015)
  • Mauritania vs South Africa (4, 5, 6 September 2015)
  • Cameroon vs South Africa (23, 24, 25, 26 March 2016)
  • South Africa vs Cameroon (26, 27, 28, 29 March 2016)
  • Gambia vs South Africa (3, 4, 5 June 2016)
  • South Africa vs Mauritania (2, 3, 4 September 2016).
– Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
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