Issue 177 | 9 July 2015
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The Double Troika is made up of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and Lesotho.
President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, hosted an Extraordinary Summit of the Double Troika Summit on Lesotho in Pretoria on 3 July.

SADC leaders who sat in the Troika of Heads of State and Government approved the establishment of an oversight committee to assess political stability in Lesotho. The oversight committee will act “as an early warning mechanism” in the event of signs of instability, and will intervene when appropriate in consultation with the SADC facilitator, Cyril Ramaphosa.

The extraordinary summit came in the wake of the alleged assassination of the former Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao. His killing has sparked fears that Lesotho could plunge into another political crisis. Mahao’s shooting has seen political leaders, including the main opposition and former Prime Minister Tom Thabane, fleeing the country fearing for their lives. 

The summit resolved to establish an independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Brigadier Mahao as a matter of urgency. The commission is expected to report its findings to SADC within 60 days.

"We express our concern about the death of Brigadier Mahao, an incident that has plunged the country into a serious security crisis,” said President Zuma.

To help with the investigation of Mahao’s death, independent pathologists would conduct an examination, as requested by the Prime Minister of Lesotho, within a period of 72 hours. Source –
The theme for the VII Summit is: “BRICS Partnership – a Powerful Factor of Global Development”.
President Jacob Zuma is leading the South African delegation to the VII (Seventh) BRICS Summit, which is hosted by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, from 8 to 9 July 2015.

It was expected that during the summit, leaders would receive feedback following their meeting on the margins of the G20 Summit in Brisbane on 15 November 2014, at which they asked their finance ministers to designate the President and vice-presidents of the New Development Bank (NDB), in advance of the next summit. 

The leaders also asked the finance ministers and central bank governors to ensure that, by the next summit, the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) Working Group concluded the procedural rules and operational guidelines of the Governing Council and Standing Committee of the CRA, and to conclude an Inter-Central Bank Agreement.

The leaders were also informed of the status of ratification process within each BRICS country of the NDB Agreement and CRA Treaty.

Speaking at a media briefing in Pretoria, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said South Africa’s National Assembly and National Council of Provinces ratified the Agreement and Treaty on 17 and 18 June respectively. The necessary Instruments of Ratification and Acceptance had also been signed, she said.

The leaders were also expected to adopt the key summit outcome documents, namely the Ufa Declaration and the Ufa Action Plan, which will reflect the views of BRICS member states on a number of international issues, while the Action Plan will spell out the areas of cooperation and meetings, which were held during the chairpersonship of the Russian Federation. 

The leaders also witnessed the signing of various agreements, indicating a deepening of the BRICS relationship.

In keeping with the tradition of an “outreach meeting” initiated by South Africa when it hosted the Fifth BRICS Summit, and continued by Brazil at the Sixth Summit, President Vladimir Putin arranged a meeting between the BRICS leaders and the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Eurasian Economic Union and other invited leaders.
South Africa will join the peace-loving global community to establish a united and consolidated approach to curb the scourge of terrorism.
The South African Government has joined the international community in condemning the terrorist attack on the two hotel resorts in Sousse, Tunisia, on 26 June 2015 that has left 39 people dead and many more injured.

Addressing a media briefing on international developments recently, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said: “The South African Government expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

“The South African Government reaffirms its solidarity with Tunisia in its attempts to combat the scourge of terrorism that has affected the sisterly country in recent time. South Africa reiterates its call to mobilise international efforts to combat terrorism in this regard.

“South Africa reaffirms its commitment to assist Tunisia in her attempts to establish a peaceful, prosperous and stable country, especially after having finalised its Constitution and conducted democratic elections recently.”
The two presidents committed to 20 July 2015 as the date for the reopening of embassies (diplomatic missions) in their respective capitals.
The South African Government has welcomed the exchange of diplomatic notes on 1 July 2015 between President Raul Castro of Cuba and President Barack Obama of the United States of America on the immediate re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries after a gap of more than five decades.

“While we welcome the announcement, we join all progressive and freedom-seeking nations in calling for the full and immediate lifting of the unilaterally imposed Blockade against Cuba. Only once the blockade is lifted, will relations between these two neighbouring states achieve its desired objectives,” said the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

“South Africa unequivocally supports the call by President Obama to the United States Congress to ‘work towards the immediate lifting of the Trade Embargo (Blockade)’. This historic occasion presents an opportunity to reset relations between the two countries. Outstanding issues still to be resolved should not dissuade both sides to find a comprehensive negotiated solution that respects the inalienable sovereignty of both states.”
The ministers, who represented 15 member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), reviewed progress on the implementation of the third phase of the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management and Development (RSAP III) 2011 – 2015.
The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, recently attended the SADC Water Ministers Meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The ministers provided strategic and political guidance on the fourth phase of the SADC Water Programme (RSAP IV), which is currently under development.

South Africa has over the years promoted cooperation within SADC on the sustainable management of water resources in the region and their use to unlock both social and economic development.

The country has several bilateral agreements with neighbouring states and SADC member states on water management, security and provision.

This includes the recently signed agreement with Zimbabwe during the State Visit to South Africa by Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe in April 2015. – Source:
Minister Zulu was addressing an event to mark the 239th Independence Day of the United States (US) in Pretoria.
South Africa continues to value its relationship with the US, Small Business Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, said recently.

“South Africa greatly values our relationship with the US. Our partnership both domestically and regionally continues to yield benefits for our people in the areas of trade and investment, capacity-building, health and education, youth and gender empowerment and the promotion of democracy and good governance on the African continent,” said the Minister.

The Minister said that the bonds between the two countries, which were based on common values and aspirations that transcended differences between the two, were enduring.

“… the world is made up of differences and what is important is what we do with those differences, what do we do to find each other and find a way of working together in everything that we do.

“For us in South Africa, it’s about doing the best that we can to service the people of South Africa but also to ensure that we build a better South Africa and a better world,” explained Minister Zulu.

US Ambassador to South Africa, Patrick Gaspard, said although there were challenges, progress was also being celebrated.

“Today, as we look squarely at our challenges, we also celebrate the incredible progress that we’ve made as a Republic. Today, we celebrate our past, our present and bright future and America’s commitment to the African continent,” said the Ambassador.

The US has spent close to $US5 billion in the last decade to help turn around the scourge of HIV and TB in South Africa.

“We are proud of that initiative. We are also proud of the more than 600 US firms operating in South Africa that provide jobs to South Africans and are responsible for about 10% of the gross domestic product,” said Ambassador Gaspard.

The Ambassador also reflected on the fact that US President Barack Obama had signed into law the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years, including South Africa.

“[It] will give South African manufacturing and agricultural sector unfettered access to the tune of over $2 billion a year to our markets,” explained the Ambassador.
The visit underscores the cordial relations South Africa enjoys with the governments and people of Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, began his high-level Official Visit to five Caribbean states on 29 June 2015.

These countries, together with other member states of the Caricom, remain important partners in South Africa’s ongoing endeavour to build and sustain South-South linkages with a region that is tied to the African continent through history; a shared history that was severed by the painful legacy of slavery and colonialism.

The visit by Deputy Minister Landers seeks to promote and sustain linkages between South Africa and the Caribbean in the important areas of trade and investment, science and technology, travel and tourism, communications and transportation infrastructure, energy, information and communications technology and cultural industries.

Furthermore, as South Africa seeks to address the triple challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and inequality, the Government is working with various partners to create an environment conducive for the growth and development of small, medium and micro-enterprises and promote entrepreneurship.

During the visit, high-level meetings have been scheduled with senior members of government, business, academia and the youth.
Since 2008, the country and the world have been celebrating Mandela Day on 18 July in honour of the country’s first democratically elected president in 1994, following the release of political prisoners and the unbanning of political parties.
Government calls on South Africans from all walks of life and the international community to actively participate in the activities of the Nelson Mandela Month under the theme: “Make every day a Mandela Day: Contributing 67 minutes of our time to help those in need.”

Acting Cabinet Spokesperson, Phumla Williams, encouraged communities, government departments, municipalities, state-owned entities and non-governmental organisations to roll up their sleeves in honour of Mandela.

“It is important to dedicate our time in assisting those in need by contributing to the good course in our respective communities. This is a time to honour and dedicate ourselves in making a difference by contributing in different ways to keep the legacy of Tata Mandela alive.

“This is a global call to action for people worldwide to take responsibility for changing communities and society by making the world a better place by giving our time supporting a charity or serving local communities – no matter how small the action, emulate the principles of Nelson Mandela. It is in your hands.”
Upmarket urban development Melrose Arch in Johannesburg will house Facebook’s African office, the social network announced recently.
Social media giant Facebook has opened its first office in South Africa in Johannesburg.

Advertising veteran Nunu Ntshingila has also been named the new head of Facebook’s African office.
Facebook plans to use the Johannesburg office as a launchpad to grow the social media service in Africa. Facebook had 100 million users on the continent in September 2014.

Facebook also says that more than 80% of its African users access the social network via mobile phones.

“This momentum in Africa comes on top of strong advertiser partnerships and excellent adoption of our products across all regions. In Q1 2015, 52% of our total ad revenue came from outside the United States and Canada. But we’re just getting started,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Facebook.

The social network initially plans to focus on growing its business in “anchor countries” in Africa such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

“Other supported territories include Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia,” said Facebook in a statement. – Source:
The discussions between the leaders will focus on modernising the Public Service through e-government and innovation, infrastructure investment and development, expansion of agriculture value chain jewellery manufacturing and energy.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura this week undertook a visit to Portugal to promote trade and investment between South Africa and Portugal. The visit was at the invitation of the Government of Portugal.

The Premier held discussions with Portugal’s Deputy Prime Minister, Paulo de Sacadura Cabral Portas, and the Deputy Minister of Innovation and Competitiveness, Pedro Concalves.

Premier Makhura’s delegation included the MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, Siphiwe Ngwenya.

A group of Gauteng-based companies with business interests in Portugal also formed part of the visit and attended a business seminar with Portuguese companies. – Source:
With Africa's first world-renowned School of Rock opening its doors in Cape Town, kids’ dreams of being rock stars could become reality.
Dubbed the world's most popular music school with over 150 franchises across the world, the School of Rock inspires students of all ages to rock on and off stage.

With this, its first African school, youngsters aged between six and 12 will be able to get their first taste of rock, although the school is open to everyone, young and old!

Managing Director Keith Tauber said, "Essentially, the School of Rock teaches music concepts through the stage, so we put on shows every quarter where we teach the various concepts where the other schools do it the exactly opposite way around, we find it keeps the students and members engaged, and people don't lose interest when they find they're able to master a song in a few months".

– Source:
The approval was granted by the 39th Session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee taking place in Bonn, Germany, from 28 June to 8 July, 2015.
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 3 July 2015 approved the extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site. The Cape Floral Region is one of the eight South African world heritage sites with the other seven being:
  • Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Robben Island
  • Maloti-Drakensberg Park  (Transboundary with Lesotho)
  • Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
  • Vredefort Dome
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape.
The Cape Floral Region was first inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 2004. At the time of inscription, the site was made up of eight protected areas comprising about 553 000 hectares (ha).

The eight protected areas are located in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape provinces and are managed by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Cape Nature and the South African National Parks.

The extension brings the size of the World Heritage Site to 1 094 742 ha, thus significantly increasing the size of South Africa’s protected areas with outstanding international recognition. These include Table Mountain National Park, Agulhas Complex, Langeberg Complex, Anysberg Nature Reserve, Swartberg Complex, Baviaanskloof Complex and the Garden Route Complex. The extension also increases the number of protected area clusters making up the Cape Floral Region from eight to 13. 

The extension also marks a new era in South Africa’s listing of world heritage sites.

The last time South Africa had a site inscribed on the World Heritage List was in 2007 with the inscription of the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape. Since then, government shifted its focus to improving the management of the sites that are already inscribed and to put in place measures to minimise challenges experienced in world heritage sites.

As a result, no new nominations were submitted to UNESCO from 2007 until now. The extension of the Cape Floral Region is the first nomination to be submitted after the development of the Procedure for Nomination of World Heritage Sites.

As new nominations are also being compiled, it is envisaged that in the next few years, the number of world heritage sites in South Africa will increase, thus increasing the size of the conservation estate.
South African potstill brandies continue to have the Midas touch when it comes to scooping top international awards and this year’s International Spirit Competition (ISC) proved to be no exception with a total haul of 18 medals going to South African brandies.
The Oude Meester’s 18-year-old Souverein achieved a Gold medal, while pride of place went to the Van Ryn’s 12-year-old Director’s Reserve, which won a Gold Best in Class Award.

Now in its 20th year, the ISC is the premier event in promoting outstanding quality spirits from across the globe and setting the standard for excellence. An expert cast is assembled in London for the judging panel, comprising some of the most respected journalists, spirits buyers for large purveyors and experts from top international hotels and restaurants.

The competition is supported by most of the world's leading spirits producers and receives more than 1 000 entries from 70 countries annually.

According to Nick Holdcroft, Distell’s Brandy Ambassador, South Africans should be proud of how the country’s brandies are consistently rated among the world’s best at esteemed international competitions.

“Take the three brandies from Van Ryn’s as an example; between themselves they have won the United Kingdom-based International Wine & Spirit Competition's Worldwide Best Brandy title five times, and the International Spirits Challenge Best Brandy Trophy four times since 2004, helping to establish South Africa’s reputation for exceptional quality on the global stage," he added. – Source: SA the Good News
Questions around African identity and belonging are woven into this year's programme, with continental representation from countries such as Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The National Arts Festival opened in Grahamstown on 2 July, and runs until 12 July. Over the 11 days in the small academic town in Eastern Cape, there are nearly 2 500 performances of 630 shows.

The National Arts Festival is the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent.

The programme comprises drama, dance, physical theatre, comedy, opera, music, jazz, visual art exhibitions, film, student theatre, street theatre, lectures, craft fair, workshops, tours (of the city and surrounding historic places) as well as a children’s arts festival. – Source: National Arts Festival
The six-week tournament takes place from September 18 to October 31 and will be hosted in 10 English cities and in Cardiff, Wales.
South Africa's Jaco Peyper will have the honour of refereeing the opening match at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2015 in England as the hosts take on Fiji at Twickenham to kick off 44 days of unmissable action, World Rugby announced recently.

Peyper, who is 35-years-old and has refereed 20 internationals to date, will handle the RWC opener on Friday, 18 September, in London and he will be joined by assistant referees John Lacey of Ireland and Stuart Berry also of South Africa. Another South African, Shaun Veldsman, will act as television match official (TMO).

Peyper and compatriot Craig Joubert will both handle four matches during the pool stage. Berry was also handed four fixtures as assistant referee while Veldsman will adjudicate 10 matches as TMO.

Joubert’s first match in charge of the whistle is the clash between France and Italy on September 19 at Twickenham, a fixture where his countrymen Berry and Veldsman will also be on duty. – Source:
Bruintjies won his heat at the Resisprint International meeting, clocking 9.97 to become only the third South African to break through the 10-second barrier in the 100 m sprint.
Rounding off a record-breaking week for South African athletics, Henricho Bruintjies set a new national mark in the men's 100 m in Switzerland last weekend.

Bruintjies shaved 0.01 seconds off the previous South African record of 9.98 held by Simon Magakwe.

Bruintjies' coach Hennie Kriel said he believed it was only a matter of time before his star athlete broke through the 10-seconds barrier.

This feat followed in the wake of the 9.99 time Akani Simbine posted at a European Permit meeting in Slovenia recently.

On Saturday night, Wayde Van Niekerk became the first African to dip below 44 seconds in the men's 400 m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris.

Van Niekerk beat Grenadian Olympic champion Kirani James in a new South African and African record time of 43.96. – Source: www.
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