Issue 210 | 25 February 2016
         
 
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PRESIDENT ZUMA CONGRATULATES PRESIDENT YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI
 
President Jacob Zuma has congratulated President Yoweri Museveni on his re-election as President of the Republic of Uganda, following the General Election held on 18 February 2016.
 
President Zuma congratulated the President of Uganda for holding peaceful elections and committed to working with the Government of Uganda to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
 
 
PRESIDENT ZUMA CONGRATULATES FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADÉRA ON WINNING THE CAR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
 
The South African Government acknowledges that the elections were a major undertaking in sometimes very difficult circumstances but commends everyone who made this possible, including the Interim Government of President Mrs Catherine Samba-Panza, all domestic stakeholders, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and other regional and international partners.
 
 
President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, has conveyed his congratulations to Faustin Archange Touadéra for winning the second round of presidential elections in the Central African Republic (CAR) that were held on 14 February 2016. The South African Government has, however, taken note that the presidential election result still needs to be confirmed by the country’s Constitutional Court.

President Zuma also conveyed his congratulations to the people of the CAR for coming out in their thousands to vote and for voting peacefully.

According to President Zuma: “This demonstrates that the people of the CAR are tired of violence and instability and that they are seeking a better future based on peace, reconciliation, stability and development.” Furthermore, the President added that: “The people of the country deserve nothing less.”

President Zuma noted that it would be imperative for the international community through the AU, UN and regional and international partners to continue supporting the reconstruction and development project in the CAR, using the positive energy and foundation created by the elections.

President Zuma concluded by noting his Government’s support to the election effort by way of computers and vehicles donated by the South African Independent Electoral Commission and highlighted South Africa’s readiness to support and walk with the people of the CAR on this exciting yet challenging journey towards peace, reconciliation and development.
 
 

SANDF COMMENDED FOR PEACEKEEPING

 

Speaking at the Arms Forces Day celebrations, held in Port Elizabeth on 21 February, President Jacob Zuma said South African soldiers continued to perform exceptionally well in peace missions in Africa and had done the country proud.

 
 
21 February is dedicated to celebrating the armed forces each year. It is also a platform that enables the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to showcase its latest military equipment and technologies that are used to protect the country.

The day is also used by the military to demonstrate the military combat readiness of the SANDF against any threats to the sovereignty of South Africa.

It also provides youth the opportunity to find out about careers that are available in their country’s defence force.

President Zuma commended the work of the SANDF which went beyond protecting the country, as the forces also came in handy when there were natural disasters, medical emergencies and for their assistance towards police in those rare occasions that require a maximum response to crime, such as Operation Fiela.

The President said one of the key demonstrations of the success of South Africa’s participation in peacekeeping missions was the recent appointment by the United Nations (UN), of Lieutenant-General Derrick Mbuyiselo Mgwebi as the Force Commander of the 20 000-strong United Nations Mission in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, called MONUSCO.

“This is the largest UN Peace Support Operation in the world and on the continent.

“The appointment of General Mgwebi is a clear indication of the confidence that the UN has in South Africa and the role and contribution we have made in peacekeeping on the continent and beyond,” said the President.

“This appointment is, therefore, not only an honour to General Mgwebi personally, but also to South Africa as a whole,” said the President.

South Africa plays its role mandated mainly by the African Union (AU) with the support of the UN, and participates in peace missions within the continent.

“We do this because we want to see peace and stability on our continent. We want to see the end of suffering of women and children in Africa. We want to see the end of the flight of Africans from their countries because of wars and conflicts.

“We are passionate about peace and that is why our armed forces are always ready to participate in peacekeeping missions.”

President Zuma said the AU had taken a resolution that guns must be silenced in Africa by 2020. South Africa is playing its part meaningfully towards the achievement of that goal.

President Zuma called on the SANDF to open up to the public and teach people about its work.

“I would like to see more and more interaction between the SANDF and our people. It should not just end here and today. The SANDF belongs to the people of South Africa. It serves our people, and they need to know more about their defence force,” he said.

He said the primary objective of the defence force was to defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force.

The Armed Forces Day celebration coincided with the anniversary of the fateful sinking of the SS Mendi vessel along the English Channel on the same day in 1917.

“2017 will mark the centenary of the sinking on the SS Mendi, a huge milestone in our military, as we remember our fallen heroes,” he said.

Thousands of spectators and guests crowded the Port Elizabeth beachfront and were treated to a mock land-and-sea rescue by SANDF members, including the special forces and SA Navy.

The military had warships, aircraft and equipment on display, including the G6, Olifant main battle tank and Rooikat as well as a flypast by the SA Air Force and various elements of the SA Military Health Service taking part in a parade. Hawk and Gripen fighter aircraft and attack helicopters made several formation flypasts, as the public commentator noted that some demonstrations were the first before a viewing public.

Drills included two inflatable boats being dropped by parachute and soldiers “para-dropping” to swim to specific targets. Kings Beach was also turned into a mock mini war zone with soldiers demonstrating their skills on the beach amid loud explosions.

The Armed Forces Day was preceded by various activities during the week of 13 to 20 February 2016. – Source: African News Agency, www.gov.za, www.defenceweb.co.za
 
 

PRESIDENT ZUMA SENDS CONDOLENCES ON THE PASSING OF FORMER UNITED NATIONS (UN) SECRETARY-GENERAL

 
 

“We pay tribute to the former UN Secretary-General and wish to convey our deepest condolences to his family and his country Egypt. May his soul rest in peace,” said President Zuma.

 
 
 

President Jacob Zuma has conveyed his condolences on the sad passing of the former UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who passed away on Tuesday, 16 February 2016, in a hospital in Cairo, Egypt.

Mr Boutros-Ghali, the first African to hold the position of Secretary-General of the UN, served from January 1992 to December 1996. This was the critical post-Cold War period when the world body was redefining itself and engaging in more international peacekeeping operations that often received criticism for its efforts.

 
 
 
E-COMMERCE SPEND ON SA PHONES TO JUMP 70%
 
The survey reported that South African shoppers spent R28,8 billion online in 2015, which is expected to grow to R46 billion by 2017, of which mobile will account for
R19 billion.
 
E-commerce spending by South Africans via their mobile devices is set to grow by 70% in 2016, says a survey.

According to research organisation Ipsos, this figure is set to outpace overall e-commerce spend in South Africa, which is forecast to grow by 29% this year.

E-commerce spending via mobiles accounted for 25% or R7 billion of all online transactions in 2015, said Efi Dahan who is the Africa and Israel regional director for PayPal. Payment service Paypal commissioned the Ipsos survey.

“There is no doubt that the rapid penetration of smartphones in South Africa will continue to be the driving force of online shopping in upcoming years,” said.

Most South African online shoppers (59%) buy locally, with 37% buying both local and cross-border and 5% buying exclusively from international providers. – Source: news24.com
 
 
NEW DURBAN INTERNET EXCHANGE TO BOOST CONNECTIVITY
 
An Internet exchange allows service providers to connect directly rather than through one or more third-party networks, which helps to speed up in-country Internet loading times.
 
 
Durban is the first South African city to get a multi-site Internet exchange point.

Internet Exchange South Africa (INX-SA) announced recently that the coastal city’s second exchange point at Umhlanga would benefit users through faster connections.

“The extension of DINX [Durban Internet exchange] makes it easy for Internet companies which already have infrastructure in Umhlanga to connect to peers at the existing DINX location. Peers at the new site will have the same peering experience and will be able to be directly linked, at no additional complexity, to all existing, and future DINX peers,” said Nishal Goburdhan, INX-ZA manager.

Ethekwini Municipality committed resources from its Ethekwini Fibre Metro Project to complete the exchange, which is better able to cope with traffic load.

“Companies connecting to DINX also get immediate access to resilient core Internet infrastructure services, like the domain name services hosted at the current DINX location, which means that users on their networks are less likely to experience down-time if the global domain name system comes under attack,” said Goburdhan.

INX-SA said that it was working to launch similar exchange points in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. – Source: news24.com
 
 
GOOGLE PLAY MOVIES GOES LIVE IN SA
 
Search giant Google has switched on its movie service in South Africa, months after launching its music offering locally.
 
 
Dubbed Google Play Movies, the service enables users to rent or buy movies such as Jurassic World, Fifty Shades of Grey and The Lego Movie.

Television shows are not available on Google Play in South Africa yet.

Neighbouring African countries Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia are among places that also have Google Play Movies now.

The launch of Google Play Movies in South Africa comes hot on the heels of the search giant launching its music streaming offering in December last year.

Google’s push to enter South Africa’s video on demand space further comes after US-based Netflix launched in the country in January. – Source: news24.com
 
 
TOURISM CELEBRATES A SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE GUIDING SECTOR
 
 
The theme for this year’s celebrations was: “Building a Successful and Sustainable Tourist Guiding Sector” with the aim to capacitate tourist guides on sustainable tourism trends within the adventure, nature and cultural sub-sectors of guiding. The theme also emphasised the opportunities for integration across these sub-sectors which could contribute to a more self-sustainable guiding sector.
 
The Department of Tourism in partnership with SANParks and the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency celebrated the International Tourist Guides Day celebrations from 18 to 19 February 2016 in Skukuza, Kruger National Park, Mpumalanga.

The two-day event included activities and programmes ranging from presentations, motivational talks, excursions and workshops.

The Deputy Director-General, Morongoe Ramphele, on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Tourism, said that as we celebrated International Tourist Guides Day, we needed to continue being the biggest proponents of our brand in order to move South Africa forward. That in turn would bring more tourists to our country and boost our economy.

“We would also like to commend the significant growth that tourist guiding has shown in the past few years. It is worth noting that the number of registered tourist guides increased over the years from 8 657 in 2009/10 to 11 367 by the end of the 2013/14 financial year, which represents a 31% increase.”

“The steady improvement in terms of transformation in the tourist guiding profession is notable given that the proportion of registered tourist guides from previously disadvantaged backgrounds increased from 2 502 in the 2009/10 financial year to 3 875 guides by the end of the 2014/15 financial year. This represents an increase of 55% during the said period’,’ said Ramphele.

‘’Tourist guides form a pivotal part of the value chain and the Department of Tourism is committed to fulfilling its mandate by extending further opportunities to increase market access and employment opportunities’’, Ramphele concluded.
 
 
BLACK MAMBAS IN ENGLAND TO RAISE FUNDS FOR RHINOS
 
Two members of the all-female rhino-saving brigade from South Africa, the Black Mambas, who have been publicised around the world, were in England recently to raise awareness and funds for their campaign.
 
 
Siphiwe and Felicia visited the United Kingdom on behalf of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit (APU). They were at the Port Lympne Reserve in Kent on Monday, 22 February. On Tuesday, 23 February, the Black Mambas and Richard Vigne gave a talk to staff at London Zoo. 

The team was one of the winners last year of the United Nations’ Champions of the Earth Award, for its anti-poaching work.

The team recently launched the Bush Babies education outreach project, bringing wildlife education to local schools.

The Black Mamba APU was founded in 2013 by Transfrontier Africa and created to protect the Olifants West Region of Balule Nature Reserve and has since expanded to cover the entire Balule area of 400 km².

The Black Mamba APU is the first of its kind, being that the majority of the teams are women. There are currently 26 deployed Black Mambas and a further 23 armed guards who operate within Balule and along its boundaries.
 
 
LUXURY ROVOS RAIL OFFERS A CHEAPER OPTION WITH NEW ACQUISITION
 
It puts South Africa at the forefront of some of the best private train travel in the world.
 
 
 
The luxury South African train company Rovos Rail – which has long been running neck and neck with the Blue Train in pampered rail travel – has bought the “three-star” Shongololo Express, a 19-coach train that has been running a select number of two-week tours across the country. For a fraction of the cost of Rovos’ classy trips, travellers can get similar Rovos attention.

“Operating a three-star train had always been at the back of my mind. When I learned that the Shongololo Express was on offer, the timing seemed serendipitous and so an opportunity not to be missed”, Rohan Vos, owner and CEO of the Rovos Rail Group, said in a statement recently.

Vos said the train had been repainted in green and cream – the Rovos colours – and an additional dining car and an observation car added. The six Emerald suites (about 10 square metres each) and 30 Gold cabins (seven square metres) will remain as is and all the Shongololo’s current staff will also remain employed on the train.

The three tours follow much the same as the ones that are already being offered, but have been slightly repurposed, according to the statement. The tours are Southern Cross (Pretoria to Victoria Falls, 12 days), Dune Express (Pretoria to Swakopmund, 12 days), and Good-Hope Golf (Pretoria to Cape Town, 15 days). – Source: www.sapeople.com
 
 
FOUR SA LODGES LISTED AS GLOBAL WINNERS IN LUXURY HOTEL AWARD

 

The Ninth Annual World Luxury Hotel Awards, hosted at the Harbour Grand Hong Kong at the end of last year, list four South African lodges as global winners.

 
 
South Africa's safari and bush offerings were awarded top laurels.
The following establishments won global recognition:
  • Global Winner: Luxury Bush Lodge -  Rhulani Safari Lodge
  • Global Winner: Luxury Game Lodge - Emdoneni Lodge
  • Global Winner: Luxury Safari Retreat - Nkorho Bush Lodge
  • Global Winner: Luxury Eco Safari Resort - Gondwana Game Reserve.
The Overall Winner at the event was awarded to the Hotel Plaza Athénée, a luxury five-star hotel overlooking the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the French capital. – Source: Traveller24
 
 
 
SOUTH AFRICA SET TO DOMINATE AFRICA RESPONSIBLE TOURISM AWARDS
 

The competition awards responsible tourist initiatives that take responsibility for the environment of African destinations and local citizens.

 
 
South Africa rules the Africa Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA), as more than two thirds of the long-listed tourist organisations, initiatives, businesses and projects for the upcoming ARTA are based in the southernmost tip of the continent.

The final awards will be announced in Cape Town as part of the Africa Travel Week, taking place from 6 to 8 April 2016.

“We want to celebrate the shining stars of responsible tourism – the individuals, organisations and destinations working innovatively with local cultures, communities and biodiversity,” ARTA said.

“The variety of organisations which have made it through to the long list this year demonstrates just how powerful a force for good responsible tourism is becoming in Africa,” Heidi van der Watt for ARTA said.

Last year, South African tourist initiatives were awarded gold in six of the eight categories.

The jury awarded the South African Gansbaai Tourism organisation in the Western Cape the overall gold winner for making Gansbaai a truly responsible tourist destination with a long row of environmental projects.

Several organisations in Gansbaai were also awarded. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in partnership with the Grootbos Foundation was awarded “Best for Poverty Reduction” and Marine Dynamics was awarded “Best for Wildlife Conservation”. South Africa definitely has a reputation to live up to this year.

Winners in the Africa category will automatically be nominated for the world’s most prestigious international tourist award, the World’s Responsible Tourism Award, set to take place in London in November this year. – Source: Traveller24
 
 
CAMP'S BAY AMONG WORLD’S BEST BEACHES
 
One of the Mother City's most loved beaches has once again claimed global laurels.
 
 
Camp's Bay beach has been named the 17th-most amazing beach on the globe by the reviewers' platform TripAdvisor, in their Top 25 Beaches in the World survey. 

Apart from Camp's Bay, Cape Town, and the whole of South Africa for that matter, is littered with some of the most incredible beaches.

South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, which mean a large chunk of the country's border is coast.

The coastline stretches more than 2 500 km from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast southwards around the tip of Africa and then north to the border with Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. – Source: Traveller24
 
 
CAPE TOWN COFFEE SPOT TRUMPS THE ENTIRE PLANET'S BREWS - AGAIN!
 
 
Cape Town has been crowned the coffee capital of the world once again as the iconic Truth Coffee Roasting was named the very best coffee shop in the world for the second year running by acclaimed UK news agency, “The Telegraph”.
 
The steampunk coffee and roasting franchise, with its flagship shop in Buitenkant street, Cape Town, has been ranked top spot by The Telegraph because of their "steampunk inspired artisan coffee".

The list of 13 international spots includes the likes of Café Central in Austria, Workshop Coffee in London, Coffee Academics in Hong Kong, and South Africa’s very own steampunk-themed Truth Coffee Roasting sitting proudly in the number-one spot. – Source: Traveller24
 
 
NEW YORK MET & PARIS OPERA SIGN UP SOUTH AFRICA’S PRETTY YENDE FOR MORE
 
The year ahead is looking pretty fabulous for Pretty Yende, South Africa’s incredible opera singer who has both New York and Paris clamouring for more.
 
 
Both the Metropolitan Opera House in New York and the National Opera de Paris have announced Yende’s return to their stages in their 2016/17 line-ups.

According to Yende’s Facebook page, “it is with great excitement to announce Ms Yende’s return to the Metropolitan Opera House in New York for two opera productions as the Primadonna.”

After making her debut at New York’s world-famous Met three years ago, she will return in the 2016/17 season as Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia.

She is currently performing this role at the National Opera de Paris (Opera Bastille) in France to critical acclaim, with her performance being described as “absolument exceptionnelle” (absolutely exceptional).

In New York, she will join one of the most internationally celebrated Bel canto Tenors Javier Camarena and Peter Mattei in the title role.

According to the post on Facebook, Pretty will also play Juliette in Gounod’s “lush Shakespeare adaptation of the tragic love story. This will mark Ms Yende’s debut in the role”.

Yende will also appear in the 50th Anniversary Gala for Metropolitan Opera joining all the international opera stars.

The Opera National de Paris also announced recently that Yende would return to the Opera Bastille in their 2016/17 season in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. This will mark her second production of Lucia after her great success in the role at the Dutch National Opera in Berlin – Source: www.sapeople.com
 
 
SA FILM WINS AWARD IN BERLIN
 
South African film notched up another accolade as Anant Singh’s “Shepherds and Butchers” won an award at The Berlin Film festival recently.
 
 
The film, produced by Singh and directed by Oliver Schmitz, was awarded the third place Panorama Audience Award for Fiction Films – a first for a South African Film.

Based on Chris Marnewick's book of the same name, the film revolves around a young warden, arrested after killing seven black members of a karate team, and the jaded lawyer who takes on the murder case.

The film competed in a pool of 51 submissions from 33 countries in the Panorama Section of the festival.

Commenting on the award, Singh said, “We are overwhelmed by this acknowledgement for our homegrown South African film which competed with the best in the world.

  It is a testament to the amazing talent we assembled for the film, and this enabled us to successfully compete in the international arena.”

“Shepherds and Butchers” stars newcomer, Garion Dowds, as well as a number of well-known South African actors, including Deon Lotz, Robert Hobbs, Eduan van Jaarsveldt and Marcel van Heerden alongside Steve Coogan (Philomena) and Andrea Riseborough (Birdman, Oblivion).

The film also features the song Angels, a collaboration between Barry Gibb, co-founder of the Bee Gees, and Vusi Mahlasela. – Source: Times Media Group
 
 
CSA CONGRATULATES PROTEAS ON T20 SERIES WIN
 
 
“It was a real privilege to have been at the Wanderers to witness a top-class all-round performance by our team.”
 
Cricket South Africa (CSA) recently congratulated the Proteas on their 2-0 series win over England in the KFC T20 International Series.

This followed their astonishing nine-wicket victory with 32 balls to spare in the final match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on 21 February.

“The Proteas were special today and deserve full congratulations on winning the T20 series,” commented CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat.

“The Proteas have fought back well over the last few weeks and they can be proud of winning both the limited over formats against England.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the England team for the excellent cricket they have played throughout the tour and look forward to meeting them again at the ICC World twenty20 next month in our opening match." – Source: www.news24.com
 
 
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