Issue 181 | 31 July 2015
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The mid-year Cabinet Lekgotla was held this week in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma rounded up his Cabinet at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria to look at what progress had been made since the adoption of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) in 2014.

Speaking ahead of the Lekgotla, Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Jeff Radebe, told media that several presentations would be made on the implementation of the MTSF, the national infrastructure programme and issues around the nine-point plan.

The nine-point plan, announced by the President earlier this year in the State of the Nation Address, aims to ignite growth and create jobs.

They are:

  1. Resolving the energy challenge

  2. Revitalising agriculture and the agroprocessing value chain

  3. Advancing beneficiation or adding value to our mineral wealth

  4. More effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan

  5. Encouraging private-sector investment

  6. Moderating workplace conflict

  7. Unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro-enterprises, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises

  8. State reform and boosting the role of state-owned companies, information and communications technology infrastructure or broadband roll-out, water, sanitation and transport infrastructure

  9. Operation Phakisa aimed at growing the Ocean Economy and other sectors.
Minister Radebe said focus would be placed on how government could crowd-in private sector, beneficiation, the Oceans Economy, tourism, and also issues of energy, transport infrastructure and the national security plan. – Source:



On 27 July, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in collaboration with the South African National Editors’ Forum, interacted with the media on peace and security developments on the continent, focusing on the following issues:

  • South Africa’s role as chair of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC)

  • South Africa’s chairing of the Southern African Development Community  (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation

  • Strengthening the AU’s peace and security architecture.

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said that as a member of the AU, South Africa had been afforded the privilege of chairing the meetings for the month of July 2015, in accordance with Article 8 (6) of the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council.

“With regard to our chairing, South Africa has sought to put at the forefront of the agenda of the PSC for this month critical issues that are at the core of the continent’s efforts to ensure peace and stability. In essence, our engagements have been focused on emphasising the need to enhance elements of the African Peace and Security Architecture, which includes the AUPSC itself, early warning capacity, peace-making and Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development. As South Africa, we equally wanted to bring to the spotlight the issue of peace, just and reconciliation, particularly the need to strike a balance between these important objectives.”

“The work of pursuing peace is relentless and demanding, and we cannot even pause for a moment. For the remaining days of the month of our chairship, South Africa will preside over a meeting on enhancement of the continent’s Early Warning Capacity and another on revitalising the Post-Conflict and Reconstruction and Development mechanism in Africa. While the former seeks to examine our capacity to detect potential threats through the use of appropriate preventive instruments, the latter meeting will focus on mechanisms, processes and programmes needed to reconstruct countries emerging from conflict and to avoid relapses back into crises. Central to the above two themes, is the imperative of identifying and addressing the root causes of conflicts, with the ultimate aim of achieving sustainable  peace and development on our continent."

“ … I have no doubt that South Africa has made a significant contribution to peace. Going forward, we will continue to remain fully engaged in challenges facing our continent, beyond our membership of the AUPSC."




The New Development Bank (NDB) will have initial capital of $50 billion (about R618 billion), which will be expanded to $100 billion within the next couple of years.


BRICS’ NDB was officially opened for business in Shanghai on 21 July. It was floated by BRICS nations as an alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to boost infrastructure funding in the emerging economies and offer them tailor-made services.

India's Kundapur Vaman Kamath is the bank's first president. He attended the opening alongside Chinese Foreign Minister, Lou Jiwei, and Shanghai Mayor, Yang Xiong.

Kamath said the five BRICS countries shared common goals and should continue working towards closer convergence between their countries.

Establishing the NDB would have a powerful influence on the global economy and its recovery, said Lou. "The bank will be a professional, effective, transparent and multilateral development institution of a new type. It will make a major contribution to infrastructure growth and sustainable development in the developing countries and emerging economies."

The BRICS members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – launched the bank at their Seventh Summit, held in the Russian city of Ufa on 8 and 9 July. The creation of the bank was prompted by efforts to finance infrastructure projects, mainly in member countries. – Source:

“The ministers approved the establishment of SACREEE and that the Republic of Namibia should host the centre,” said the Department of Energy.  

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) energy ministers have approved the establishment of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE).

The establishment of SACREEE was discussed at the 34th Meeting of the Ministers Responsible for Energy in SADC which was held recently.

The Ministers also commended the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and Austrian Development Agency for their contribution towards the establishment of the centre.

The objective of the meeting was for ministers to note progress, make decisions and give guidance on implementation of the SADC Energy Programme whose aim is to facilitate and coordinate availability of sufficient, reliable, least cost energy services in the SADC region. – Source:




Speaking on Saturday, 25 July, at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, President Obama hailed Africa's enormous potential.


United States (US) President, Barack Obama, has pledged support for women and young entrepreneurs in Africa who face obstacles when trying to start businesses.

He revealed that his government and leading corporations would finance the establishment of new training and mentorship centres for African women entrepreneurs. He said there were 1 600 women entrepreneurs in Africa, and the US Government was keen on helping increase this number.

President Obama said the US Government had opened two women entrepreneurship centres in Kenya and Zambia, with a third one to be opened in Mali later this year, to help step up support for women entrepreneurs.

He also pledged US$1 billion to support entrepreneurship projects worldwide and a large share of the money would go to women and youth in order to leverage the playing ground for all.

He challenged governments to eliminate regulatory barriers that undermined growth of local enterprises.

"Governments are obliged to facilitate growth of businesses. They should reform the policy and regulatory environment to enhance competitiveness," said President Obama.

Kenya became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to host the US-funded annual global entrepreneurship summit attended by delegates from 120 countries. – Source:




Africa's vulnerability to diseases such as Ebola, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV must be a wake-up call to the world to collaborate with the continent in resolving these intractable problems, said the Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor.


The Minister was speaking in London at the opening of a conference on higher education and science innovation in Africa. The event was attended by the ministers of science and technology from across Africa, including Senegal, Ethiopia and Uganda. It brought together over 200 people as part of the Planet Earth Institute’s #scienceAfrica Campaign to evaluate the role of industry in scientific development.

Minister Pandor said the continent’s disease burden should not cause it to become a subject of scrutiny by research teams outside Africa, but full participants in bringing about solutions.

"We agree that research is international and collaborative, but we want the international to mean from Africa by Africa-based scientists too," the Minister told the conference organised by Planet Earth Institute, adding policy-makers were often struck by the number of "best brains" working in labs outside Africa, contributing to the innovation strengths of countries in North.

The Minister said the developed world must cooperate with Africa to create purposeful partnerships with a well-crafted agenda of science-based initiatives, and public and development funding that adequately resourced researchers and their institutions.

Themed "Africa’s Scientific Independence: No More Business As Usual", the two-day conference was a highly interactive and collaborative event to explore the linkages between industry and scientific development in Africa.


Minister Muthambi used the trip to gain more insight on the role that information- and knowledge-sharing can play in fostering economic growth while also fast-tracking socio-economic development and transformation.


The Minister of Communications, Faith Muthambi, visited China from 23 to 27 July 2015 to interact with her Chinese counterparts on various issues relating to communication.

During the five-day visit to Beijing, Minister Muthambi met the Minister of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, as well as the Minister of State Council Information Office.

“This visit serves as good opportunity to learn more about China and its development in broadcast and the broader TV industry. It is also meant to lay a foundation for further exchange and cooperation in these fields between the two countries,” she said.



Governments represented at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee included Brazil, Croatia, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, Tanzania, United Kingdom and the United States, as well as participation by members of several civil-society formations from across the globe.

The Deputy Minister for Public Service and Administration, Ayanda Dlodlo, as South Africa’s Special Envoy to the OGP on 22 and 23 July 2015, hosted an OGP Steering Committee in line with the processes of the partnership at the Irene African Country Lodge in Centurion.

In just four years since its launch, membership has grown to 65 countries, with hundreds of civil-society organisations participating in the process at country-level. To date, OGP countries represent one-third of the world's population and have made more than 1 000 open government reform commitments.

Launched in September 2011, the OGP is a mechanism to promote increased accountability, transparency, citizen participation and the fight against corruption in the respective countries and across the world. South Africa joined seven other countries, which are Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, at the formation of this initiative.

Since the launch of the OGP, the Government of South Africa has been an active member of the OGP Steering Committee and has played a key role in convening OGP-Africa regional events and discussion forums aimed at deepening good governance practices on the African continent.




The scanner, which uses radiation and x-ray technology to scan the contents of cargo, is believed to be the first in the world that has its capabilities.


The launch of a high-tech cargo container scanner is an “end game” for the trade of illicit goods, says South African Revenue Service (SARS) Commissioner Tom Moyane.

The commissioner unveiled the R38-million scanner at the Port of Cape Town recently.

“Customs by nature and by definition all over the world is the first line of defence for every country, but certainly and most importantly it is also a source of revenue.

“As we speak, from a SARS perspective, from the revenue that we collected last year of R986 billion, 10% comes from customs.

“We believe that we could have collected more. What we need to do is to enhance and up the game so that we deter those who would like to avoid paying their fair value in terms of customs. 

“Equally, we would like to inform our stakeholders that we would like to facilitate trade as smoothly as possible and that you are sure that the goods that we receive are what has been declared to our officials,” Moyane said.

The site where the scanner is situated at the port took in excess of 10 months to prepare, while the construction of the actual scanner took six months.

Moyane said the scanners were top of the range.

“I think they are equal to any type of scanner that we have in the world in other tax and customs administrations.

“It will detect 1-mm copper, rhino, contraband like medicines, tablets, and it will detect cocaine, it will detect a number of illegal things that we are able to calibrate into our systems."

He said the technology would be coupled with sniffer dogs that officials would deploy into the containers as and when it is decided to open them.

– Source:



The decision to lift the embargo was reached following extensive engagement between the department and South African Airways (SAA) since the embargo was announced on 20 April 2015.


The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has welcomed the lifting of an embargo by the cargo division of South Africa’s national carrier, SAA, on the transport of legally acquired hunting trophies of African lion, African elephant, rhinoceros and tiger.

The embargo had not included other wild animals not mentioned on a global list of endangered species.

The decision by SAA Cargo to lift the two month-long temporary embargo is the result of the national carrier being satisfied that sufficient measures are in place by the Department of Environmental Affairs to prevent the illegal transportation of illegally acquired wildlife specimens in general, and illegally acquired hunting trophies in particular.

The decision by certain airlines and cargo handlers to issue a ban on the transportation of hunting trophies incorrectly failed to distinguish between the trade in and transportation of legally acquired wildlife specimens, and the illegal trade in wildlife specimens.

During the past six years, the department has put in place a variety of measures to eradicate illegal exploitation and trade in endangered species and their products.

This has included the deployment of environmental management inspectors, commonly known as the Green Scorpions, at OR Tambo International Airport since 1 April 2015.

This deployment has now been fully operationalised.




The data obtained from this cruise, along with data obtained from other seasons, will contribute towards a more detailed description and understanding of spatial, seasonal, inter-annual and multi-decadal changes in community structure as well as abundance and distribution of plankton in the Southern Ocean.


The Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) SA Agulhas II embarked on a winter research expedition on 22 July 2015.

DEA collaborated with the Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to embark on the research voyage, which is estimated to take 25 days out in the Southern Ocean. The researchers on-board will gather physical, biological and chemical oceanographic data. The expedition aims to fill a significant research void in the ocean and climate numerical models, which are unable to accurately simulate seasonal processes.

The voyage provides a unique opportunity to map large-scale spatial patterns of phyto and zooplankton, using the Continuous Plankton Recorder between the ice edge and Cape Town during winter.

This voyage is particularly important as it will highlight changes in the abundance, distribution and diversity of plankton communities in the Atlantic and Indian sectors of the Southern Ocean to the South of Africa, which have generally not been studied in much detail, particularly in winter. As such, this work forms part of DEA's commitment and contribution (since 2011) to research done by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, which in 1991 established an international monitoring programme in the Southern Ocean to map spatio-temporal patterns of plankton, including krill. It will also use the sensitivity of plankton species to environmental variability and climate change as indicators of the health of the Southern Ocean.

South Africa is the closest country to Antarctica, which lies 4 200 km south of the country, It is also the only African nation with a foothold in Antarctica. The country therefore bears the responsibility to serve as a channel for broader African research in the Antarctic region.



It was part of an ongoing research programme aimed at contextualising South Africa’s attractiveness as an inward destination for investment, tourism and skills.  



Brand South Africa recently presented the outcomes of a range of research papers at a round-table discussion hosted by PowerFM. Key findings emerging from the National Perceptions Audit – one of Brand South Africa’s flagship research projects – indicate that South Africans are optimistic about prospects of future generations, with respondents reporting that the country has made the most progress over the last 10 years in the fields of education, religious tolerance, public transportation infrastructure, housing and improved access to medical facilities and treatment.

Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research, Dr Petrus de Kock, said: “South Africans on the whole are extremely proud of the country and its achievements. Key concerns, however, pertain to crime, corruption and lack of employment opportunities. That being said – survey results also indicate that citizens want to focus on solutions and that South Africans are willing to take action, rather than wait for someone else.”

The National Perceptions Audit also measured the levels of active citizenship and social cohesion among South Africans, and results reflect that there is a generally positive attitude towards fellow citizens and relatively high levels of social cohesion despite the income inequality and insufficient employment opportunities.


Knighthood for Ebrahim Ebrahim


Known as the Order of Civil Merit at the rank of Knight Commander, the award is one of the highest honours given by His Majesty the King to Spanish nationals or foreign citizens deemed to have made an extraordinary contribution.


On 27 July, President Jacob Zuma congratulated the former Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Parliamentary Counsellor to the President, Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, for being awarded a Knighthood by His Majesty the King of Spain.

Mr Ebrahim has been honoured for his contribution to the South African struggle and for strengthening South African-Spanish relations.

"His Majesty the King of Spain has given this honour to a highly deserving freedom fighter who sacrificed a lot for freedom, peace, justice and human rights. We congratulate Mr Ebrahim for this rare honour, which he has described correctly as an honour for all the people of South Africa who made history by putting the past behind them to build a new society together," said President Zuma.

brazil logo  





The World Skills SA Team will participate in the 43rd World Skills Competition in São Paulo from 11 to 16 August.

A team of 21 students, who are heading to Brazil to participate in a global skills competition, has been wished well by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of their departure.

World Skills International provides an opportunity to exchange skills, experience and technological innovations. As the largest skills competition in the world, it is expected to build the self-esteem and confidence of contestants.

Deputy President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Human Resource Development Council, said the “skills ambassadors” came from various vocational streams.

“They are national winners in fields like mechatronics, mobile robotics, automobile technology, IT software solutions and IT network systems. They are artists, innovators and achievers in web design, hairdressing, beauty therapy, cooking and restaurant services.

“These are young people that will add value to any company they work for or any enterprise they decide to start. They excel in critical skills like welding, plumbing, refrigeration, air conditioning, plastering, auto-body repair, car painting and electrical installations.

“If you need any of these skills, you will find it in this room among our champions,” he said at the send-off in Pretoria.




While the main aim of the project is to go really, really fast, those involved hope that it might also inspire some of South Africa’s youth to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.


The Bloodhound car will aim to go from zero to 1 610 km/h in 55 seconds on South Africa’s “perfect landscape”. Backed by Britain, South Africa will offer the venue for the attempted record: the flat surface of Hakskeenpan in the Northern Cape.

A mock-up model of the vehicle will be presented before the actual car is unveiled in 2016. Schools in South Africa will also be linked to the project, according to British High Commissioner to South Africa, Judith MacGregor.

“It’s a truly rich vein of scientific collaboration we are taking forward together, inspiring in that the work conducted and researched during the project is already being instantly relayed worldwide. One thousand schools around South Africa will be linked into the project with teachers who are taking the information as it comes and using it to inspire and drive more students to take up engineering and science at an early stage.

The car will be fitted with three engines, a Rolls-Royce jet turbine and hybrid rockets. This means the car can produce six times the power of all the Formula One cars on a starting grid. – Source:




Located just a stone's throw away from Cape Town International Airport, the hotel is at the cutting edge of global green accommodation initiatives with a team that has gone above and beyond conventional industry practices by dedicating themselves to a sustainable work lifestyle.

hotel cape

Hotel Verde in Cape Town has become the very first hotel in the world to be awarded double platinum for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the United States Green Building Council.

While sustainability has become a buzz word in recent months, Hotel Verde has set its sights on “thrivability”. 

Thrivability is the new frontier of sustainability. It encompasses all that is associated with sustainability but supersedes it by maximising the triple bottomline of people, profit and planet. It is on these principles that Verde Hotels bases its core foundation.

“We had the opportunity at Hotel Verde to look at everything from the ground up with regard to sustainability and efficiency with the commitment to operate sustainability. But the latest accolade showcases that Hotel Verde is ready to also optimise the operation and maintenance of existing buildings” said André Harms, Sustainability Manager and founder of Ecolution Consulting, a trained mechanical engineer and the expertise behind some of the more technical aspects of Hotel Verde, in a release.

Hotel Verde received its first Platinum certification in May 2014 for New Construction in the Green Building Design & Construction Category, which established the hotel as one of only six in the world (and the only hotel in Africa), to receive this accolade, at the time. – Source:




Triggerfish Animation, the studio behind South African animated features "Adventures in Zambezia" and "Khumba" has partnered with Disney and the dti to develop and showcase new original storytelling talent from Africa.


Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation Studios has partnered with the dti and the Walt Disney Company, for Story Lab, a project that will guide, train and promote new, upcoming creative talent and original story ideas for film and television. Triggerfish will be investing $3,5 million over three years in Story Lab, with plans to release the new productions over the next four to eight years.

Story Lab is now open for idea submissions from writers, animators and other innovative creators over the age of 21 from across Africa. Submissions close on 31 August 2015.

Idea proposals will be judged by a team of media and creative specialists from Disney and Triggerfish; as well as Peter Lord, creative director for Aardman Animations; Jonathan Roberts, writer of The Lion King; writer Gcina Mhlope; and comedian David Kau.

The top six ideas will be chosen and then developed into full projects. Selected storytellers will potentially have their concepts developed into episodic TV content or an animated feature film for the global market.

"The Story Lab will be a great catalyst for African creativity on the global stage," says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. "We look forward to opening up the Triggerfish production platform and our networks to the continent’s top creative talent."

Established in 1996, Triggerfish has been called the "Pixar of South Africa" for their strong emphasis on storytelling and world-class animation in their impressive showcase of short films and commercial work, as well as their two flagship feature films.

Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba are among the top five highest-grossing South African films of all time, and were screened in more than 150 countries, in over 27 languages. – Source:




Kibuuka will take a mighty step forward into the international spotlight as he prepares to join Trevor Noah at Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in New York.


David Kibuuka is already a household name to most African comedy fans, having plied his particularly nuanced style of comedy on both the local and African comedy circuits for over 10 years. He began his career as part of the brains trust behind the legendary Pure Monate sketch show, and later was a writer and hapless, opinionated field reporter for local satirical news show LNN (Late Night News).

David won the 2012 Standard Bank Ovation Award in the Comedy and Variety Category at the National Arts Festival, and has starred in South African comedy films Blitzpatrollie and Bunny Chow. He has performed stand-up at festivals across the world including Toronto, London and New York.

He is also the voice of the Comedy Central channel, which makes him suitably primed for the next chapter of his career.

While Noah takes care of the hosting duties, Kibuuka will be part of the writing team, upholding the show’s celebrated legacy of combining radical, biting humour with current US and international news events.

While Kibuuka may only be working in the background for the show, it is a remarkable achievement for the South African. TV writers are often the fuel that drives the traditional late-night show format in the US, and writing positions for these shows are some of the most sought-after writing jobs for aspiring comedians looking to break into the business.

David joins Trevor Noah at The Daily Show from 28 September 2015. - Source:


African team impresses at Tour de France


The team's maiden tour was an outstanding one; they impressed with top 10 placings in 14 stages, including seven top-five finishes and a memorable stage win – appropriately on Mandela Day – by Steve Cummings, through one of several gruelling mountain stages. Fellow team rider Daniel Teklehaimanot from Eritrea became the first African to wear the polka dot King of the Mountain jersey during stages six to nine.

Tour de France
Team MTN-Qhubeka, the first Africa-based trade team to take part in the Tour de France, finished fifth at the end of the gruelling three-week race. While Kenyan-born Englishman Chris Froome was the overall winner for his Team Sky, Team MTN-Qhubeka's Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to grab fourth place in the final stage along Paris' Champs Elysees. Serge Pauwels was the best overall rider for Team MTN-Qhubeka, finishing 13th overall.

Team MTN-Qhubeka went professional as a continental team in 2008, and features riders from Africa, Europe and Australia, as well eight of South Africa's best competitive cyclists. The team has spent the last few years promoting cycling throughout Africa, with several impressive performances in races in Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa. They have also participated in the Tour de Korea and Britain in 2013 in preparation for their first Tour de France. – Source:
tour program





His victory came six years after he made history as the first South African to win a medal in open water swimming at the global showpiece when he finished the 5 km in third place in Rome, in 2009.

fina winners

Distance swimming ace Chad Ho won South Africa's first 5-km gold medal in the open water swim on Saturday, 25 July, during the Fédération Internationale de Natation (Fina) World Championships taking place in Kazan, Russia.

"I'm over the moon; I honestly couldn't believe the result," Ho said after winning the title.

"Today's race was brutal, the wind was something else, and I had to fight the wind just to get a nice line."

Ho won the race by the narrowest of margins, beating Germany's Rob Muffels thanks to a photo-finish reading, with the two posting matching times of 55:17.6.

Muffels claimed the silver medal while Matteo Furlan of Italy bagged bronze in a time of 55:20.00.

The pool events start on 2 August, when South Africa's Olympic gold medallists Chad le Clos and Cameron van der Burgh will start their respective campaigns.

They will be joined by Sebastien Rousseau, Ayrton Sweeney and Myles Brown as the only members of the country's swimming contingent. – Source:

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