Issue 175 | 24 June 2015
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Since the formal establishment of relations between the two countries, a solid bilateral relationship has developed. This is characterised by strong government-to-government relations that include cooperation at many levels, bilateral as well as multilateral.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, led a South African Government delegation to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, where she co-chaired the third meeting of the South Africa-Vietnam Partnership Forum in Hanoi on 18 and 19 June 2015 with her Vietnamese counterpart, Vu Hong Nam.

The meeting followed the second meeting of the forum, held in Pretoria in August 2012.

During the meeting, bilateral discussions between the two delegations focused on political and security matters of common concern; issues related to environmental affairs, including cooperation in the areas of forestry resources and biodiversity protection and promotion; cooperation in the field of justice; and increased trade and investment between the two countries.

The relationship between South Africa and Vietnam goes back many years before the formal establishment of diplomatic relations in December 1993, to the Bandung Conference in 1955.

Total trade between South Africa and Vietnam grew substantially over the past five years and amounted to R13,4 billion in 2014, more than three times the total of R3,9 billion in 2011.

There remains considerable potential for increased economic exchanges with Vietnam, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, which has halved poverty over the past 20 years.
The visit to South Africa by the Cuban Five from 21 June to 3 July is a historic event due to the long years of support that South Africa has rendered to the campaign for the release of the Cuban Five.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, hosted the Cuban Five in Cape Town from 22 to 23 June 2015 under the theme: “Cuban Five Heroes: Tribute to International Solidarity”.

The Cuban Five all served in Angola during the liberation struggle against apartheid forces.

Several events will take place in Cape Town in honour of the Cuban Five.

The five Cuban national heroes, namely, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and René Gonzalez, have become renowned globally as the Cuban Five. The purpose of their visit to South Africa is to thank the people and the Government, including the Tripartite Alliance, which have used every available opportunity to call for their release.

René González was released on 7 October 2011, following the completion of 13 years of his sentence with a further three years of probation in the United States (US). He was allowed to return to Cuba for his father's funeral on 22 April 2013, and a federal judge allowed him to stay there provided that he renounce his US citizenship. Fernando González was released on 27 February 27 2014.

The remaining members were released on 17 December 2014 in a prisoner swap with Cuba for an American intelligence officer in what was seen as a precursor to the joint announcements by President Fidel Castro of Cuba and President Barack Obama of the USA that the two countries would work towards the full restoration of diplomatic ties.

Cuba has furthermore participated in the reconstruction of South Africa after the demise of apartheid by training, among others, scores of South African youth in medicine in Cuba.

Cuba's ongoing support for the South African Government’s main priorities through the implementation of joint programmes in health, social development, defence, housing and infrastructure is significant.

In addition, the deployment of Cuban doctors, engineers and technical experts throughout South Africa is a further demonstration of Cuba's commitment to work with South Africa to address the infrastructural backlogs inherited from the pre-1994 period.

There are currently almost 3 000 South African medical students studying in Cuba. A further 45 will be starting their studies in medicine in Cuba in September 2015.
Deliberate attacks against innocent civilians are contraventions of well-established international human rights
and humanitarian law and constitute
a crime against humanity.
The South African Government joins the international community in condemning in the strongest possible terms the inhumane and senseless suicide bomb attacks in Ndjamena, which reportedly, resulted in the killing of at least 27 people, including four terrorists and the injury of more than 100 civilians.

In this regard, the South African Government reiterates its stance that terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned and South Africa stands firmly with the international community in condemning all terrorism, and these acts in particular. South Africa will continue to support regional and international efforts to address the scourge of terrorism in all its forms.

The South African Government extends its deepest condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of Chad, especially the families of the victims.
“The expenditure was in areas such as energy, water infrastructure, sanitation, rail, road-based public transport, and hospital revitalisation among others,” said the Minister in The Presidency, Jeff Radebe.
By the end of 2014, government had spent R1 trillion on developing the country’s infrastructure.

Speaking during the Vision 2030 Summit on 17 June, Minister Radebe highlighted the work that was currently underway as part of implementing the National Development Plan (NDP), specifically in infrastructure development. The NDP is aimed at eliminating poverty and inequality by 2030.

Minister Radebe told delegates at the summit that investments in the energy sector included the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations and iNgula Pumped Storage Scheme.

“South Africa has enabled significant investment in the renewable energy sector totalling some R168 billion in the four bidding windows announced to date,” he said.

Minister Radebe said South Africa was regarded as a global leader in renewable energy, having approved 79 Independent Power Producer Projects totalling 5 243 MW.

Last year, Transnet announced a R50-billion investment to manufacture more than 1 000 locomotives.

“The plan is that all locomotives, except for the first 70, will be manufactured in South Africa and delivered by 2019.

“This will significantly expand Transnet's general freight capacity to support economic activity as well as expand the country's industrial capacity,” he said.

In 2012, Transnet Freight Rail announced the expansion of the Sishen Iron-Ore Line for R28,6 billion. The project is currently underway.

Government has also earmarked R7 billion for investment in the country’s ports by Transnet Ports Authority as part of Operation Phakisa, which is aimed at unlocking the economic potential of the country’s oceans.

“A further commitment of R9,2 billion of public and private investment for the construction of a new berth in Saldana Bay, the extension of the Mossgas Quay and the refurbishment of the Offshore Supply Base has also been made,” Minister Radebe said.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has awarded a tender for the new rail rolling stock estimated to cost R51 billion. PRASA will spend R4 billion on new hybrid locomotives over a 10-year period.

“A rail passenger factory will be established in Nigel, Ekurhuleni, for the manufacture and assembly of locomotives and trains.

“It is expected that over 65 000 direct and indirect jobs will be created,” said Minister Radebe.

Government recently announced an amount of R1,1 billion for the upgrade of the Moloto Road to improve safety and mobility on this road.

Government will spend R13 billion on the Research, Development and Support Programme through the Department of Science and Technology.

The department will also make transfers to the National Research Foundation of R2,7 billion to support 4 539 researchers, 15 918 masters students and 9 615 doctoral students.

“It is important that we understand that initiatives by government are not undertaken in isolation and form part of a broader mandate to expand economic opportunities and improve the lives of our people,” Minister Radebe said. – Source:
South Africa was among the first countries to join CITES, just a few months after it came into effect in 1975, and the country had since been a very active participant in the work of the convention.
The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to be held next year, will take place in Johannesburg.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Secretary-General, John Scanlon, made the announcement recently.

He said the decision followed an offer by South Africa to host the CoP17, which was accepted by acclamation at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held at Bangkok in March 2013.

“It is a highly appropriate location for the CoP, given the frontline wildlife challenges and opportunities being tackled on the African continent. Africa is home to a vast array of CITES-listed species and South Africa is globally recognised for ‘the Big Five’.

“Holding the CoP in such surroundings should inspire all delegates, and CITES parties and observers look forward to meeting in South Africa in 2016 for the world wildlife conference," Scanlon said.

Welcoming the announcement, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, said the country looked forward to welcoming CITES parties and observers to her beautiful country.

This will be the fourth meeting of the CoP held on the African continent since CITES came into force on 1 July 1975, but the first on the continent since 2000. – Source:
Minister Pandor delivered the keynote address on Monday, 22 June 2015. This was followed by a meeting and the signing of a Science and Technology Memorandum of Understanding with Prof. Reinhold Mitterlehner, the Austrian Federal Minister of Science, Research and Economy, on behalf of their respective countries.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, recently travelled to Vienna, Austria, where she participated in and addressed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation Conference, as well as associated meetings.

On Sunday, 21 June 2015, Minister Pandor visited the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), where she presided over the signing of a new agreement between IIASA and the South African National Research Foundation.
The mission aims to create and identify export markets for South African value-added products and services. The mission also serves to promote South Africa’s product and service offerings in high-growth Asian markets.
The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) has invited businesses to participate in the Outward Selling and Investment Mission (OSIM) to Indonesia in September.

The mission, which will take place from 21 to 25 September, targets sectors in agroprocessing (processed meat, subtropical fruit, processed foods and fruit beverages), maritime industries, renewable energy (solar and wind energy), oil and gas services, processed leather products and skins, defence industries and rail and locomotive components.

The department’s Deputy Minister, Mzwandile Masina, said the mission formed part of the department’s objective of promoting and building trade and investment relations, identifying export markets for South African value-added products and services and also encouraging exports.

“We urge companies to take advantage of our Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme, which covers accommodation, air tickets and excess luggage costs for their samples and marketing material to ensure that they are able to also showcase their products to potential buyers,” said Deputy Minister Masina.

The dti has planned a programme of activities during the mission, including a trade and investment seminar, mini exhibitions and business-to-business meetings.

More information on the mission, including application forms, is available on the dti website on Applications close on 30 June 2015. – Source:
The tax treaty, which came into force on 28 May, was gazetted on 17 June. It replaces the 1996 South Africa-Mauritius tax treaty.
Government has gazetted the South Africa-Mauritius tax treaty, which came into force at the end of May, said National Treasury.

“This new treaty reflects changes in the tax policies of the two countries and is in line with international best practices to deal with tax abuse as outlined in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Model Tax Convention.

"The new treaty deals, inter alia, with the treatment of dual residence for persons other than individuals and withholding taxes on interest and royalties,” said National Treasury recently.

In November 2009, the two countries started renegotiations for the new tax treaty with the renegotiations being finalised in January 2011. The main driver for the renegotiation of the old tax treaty was to curb abuse of the old treaty.

The new treaty was signed by the two countries on 17 May 2013. The South African Parliament ratified the new treaty on 14 September 2013. Mauritius notified South Africa of its ratification of the new treaty on 28 May 2015.

The main changes to the old tax treaty include a revised test for dual residence for persons other than individuals; withholding taxes on interest and royalties; capital gains tax; removal of tax sparing provision; and assistance in tax collection. – Source:
The winners of the contest were chosen from approximately 1 000 entries by a panel of nine judges. People from 54 countries and territories submitted their photos to the competition, according to contest representatives.
A stunning photograph by Eric Nathan was announced as the winning image at the sixth annual International Earth and Sky Photo Contest on Dark Skies in 2015.

Nathan, a photographer living in South Africa and the United Kingdom, took the contest’s winning image, titled "Star Trails above Table Mountain". His photo, which won the Against the Lights Category and was chosen as the overall winner, shows trails of stars above South Africa’s Table Mountain.

The contest is organised by The World at Night (TWAN) in a collaboration with an outreach and education group of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and Global Astronomy Month.

According to the contest criteria, the submitted images should be during 2014 to 2015 and must show both the Earth and the sky.

Nightscape imaging or landscape astrophotography, as TWAN describes the genre of photography, is similar to general night photography, but with a special attention to the sky, astronomical perspectives and celestial phenomena.

The contest focus on preserving night sky as part of our natural heritage is to support global efforts in controlling light pollution. – Source:
The awards ceremony will be broadcast on DSTV channel 129 on 30 June at 8.10pm.
The South African music flag is flying high at this year's Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards with not one, but three nominations, for local musicians.

Rapper AKA and acapella group The Soil have been nominated for Best International Act: Africa and hip-hop musician and producer Cassper Nyovest is up for the Viewer's Choice Award: Best New International Act.

AKA and The Soil are nominated alongside Congolese artist Fally Ipupa, Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie, Kenyan afro-group Sauti Sol, Ghanaian reggae musician Stonebwoy, Nigerian R&B diva Yemi Alade and Nigeria's Wizkid.

In his category, Nyovest is up against Uganda's Eddy Kenzo, the United Kingdom's George the Poet and Mic Lowry, Ghana's MzVee and France's Novelists.

BET created the awards in 2001 to celebrate and honour African American and other minorities in the music and entertainment industry. As with most awards shows in the industry, it is a glittering affair, with performances from popular artists.

This year, Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, among others, will take to the stage. – Source:
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