Issue 212 | 3 March 2016
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The AU Summit decided on 31 January 2016 that, regarding Burundi, an inclusive political dialogue must be supported under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. 
At the request of the Chairperson of the AU, Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, President Zuma led an AU High-Level Delegation of Heads of State and Government to Bujumbura from 25 to 26 February 2016.
The January AU Summit further decided to dispatch a high-level delegation to meet with the highest authorities of the Republic of Burundi, as well as with other Burundian stakeholders, to hold consultations on the inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue.

The members of the High-Level Delegation, each representing their respective Regional Economic Community, included:
  • President Zuma
  • President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania
  • President Macky Sall of Senegal
  • President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon
  • Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
“We are pleased with the participation and contributions of all these sectors,” President Zuma said in a statement after the visit to Burundi.

He said the High-Level Delegation of the Heads of State and government expressed its concerns about the levels of violence, loss of life and the general state of political instability in the country.

President Zuma said the delegation was pleased that all parties expressed a strong commitment to resolving political problems that existed through inclusive and peaceful dialogue.

“We believe strongly that the solution to Burundian political problems can be attained only through inclusive and peaceful engagement,” he said.

The Government of Burundi has committed to continue with the steps it has begun to open up space for free political activity by the people of Burundi and ensure media freedom.

The AU will deploy 100 human rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to assess the situation.

“Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will convene an inclusive dialogue that will be attended by all important stakeholders as soon as possible to continue the work that he has already started of facilitating peace talks in Burundi.
“We urge the international community to support the people of Burundi in their efforts to find lasting peace and development for the country,” President Zuma said.
The commission will be co-chaired by François Hollande, President of France, and Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-Genera,l Ban Ki-moon, recently announced the appointment of a Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.

The global economy is projected to create around 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030, mostly in middle- and high-income countries. Despite this growth, there is a projected shortage of 18 million health workers in low- and lower-middle-income countries. The commission is tasked with proposing actions to redress these inequities and stimulate and guide the creation of health and social-sector jobs for inclusive economic growth.

"Having a sufficient number of health workers responsive to population needs and well-distributed across the world will be critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and to addressing the growing challenges to global public health security," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "I expect this commission to make an important contribution towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage, the creation of decent jobs and inclusive and transformative economic growth.”

Approximately 25 commissioners will soon be appointed to provide a balance of policy, technical and geographical expertise, from the education, employment, health and foreign affairs sectors of government, as well as representation from international organisations, academia, healthcare professional associations, civil society and trade unions.

The commission will hold its first meeting on 23 March, and will deliver its final report on the margin of the 71st regular session of the UN General Assembly in September.

The EU is South Africa’s largest trading partner and largest foreign investor with over
2 000 EU companies operating within South Africa creating over 350 000 jobs. South Africa and the EU have strong economic relations.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, hosted Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, for the 13th South Africa-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue meeting in Pretoria on 26 February.

The main objective of the Ministerial Political Dialogue was to assess the implementation of the SA-EU Strategic Partnership, focusing on trade and investment, support for South Africa’s key national priorities as articulated in the National Development Plan and to share views on regional and global issues to improve and advance existing relations.

The 13th SA-EU Ministerial Political Dialogue Meeting set the framework for the Seventh SA-EU Summit, which is scheduled to take place later this year in Brussels.

At the Ministerial Political Dialogue, both South Africa and the EU welcomed progress regarding the ongoing cooperation in a wide variety of areas covered by the Strategic Partnership and the Joint Action Plan.

The EU is considered the world’s largest trading bloc, generating 30% of global gross domestic product and 20% of global trade flows. It is also the world’s biggest aid donor to least developed countries, contributing approximately half of global aid.
South Africa will this year host three important international conferences, which will contribute immensely to global governance and a better life, while also being an excellent marketing and tourism opportunity for the country.
The international conferences to take place in South Africa are the following:

International AIDS Conference

South Africa will host the International AIDS Conference in Durban from 18 to 22 July 2016. Over 13 000 international delegates are expected to attend, in addition to 5 000 local delegates.

Besides the tourism opportunities presented by South Africa hosting of this conference, the country will use this opportunity to mark the progress it has made in fighting the AIDS epidemic.

Government will in the coming weeks make further announcements about this conference, especially plans to have civil society take centre stage in the planning and execution of the conference.

Government thanks the International AIDS Society for choosing South Africa to host this conference.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

South Africa will be hosting the 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) to CITES from 24 September to 5 October 2016 in Johannesburg at the Sandton Convention Centre. One hundred and eighty one parties are signatories to the convention and more than 2 000 participants are expected to attend the CoP.

CITES is a powerful tool for biodiversity conservation. It regulates the international trade in wild fauna and flora to ensure that the international trade is sustainable and not detrimental to the survival of species in the wild.

It will be the first time since 2000 that a CoP of this convention is held on the African continent.

Geology Congress

South Africa will also host the 35th International Geological Congress from 27 August to 4 September 2016.

Considered the “World Cup for geologists”, the congress aims to promote geoscience and socio-economic development on the African continent, with the impact being increased research in geosciences and opportunities for new mineral and petroleum discoveries. It will also expose young African scientists to world-class researchers, thus contributing to the transformation of the research fraternity.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and South African Police Service (SAPS) continue to participate diligently in conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the continent.
The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, said there had been a drastic reduction of piracy in the Mozambique Channel following SANDF operations in the area since 2011.

“SANDF successfully deployed two ships, SAS Spioenkop and SAS Galeshewe, on Operation Copper in the Mozambique Channel, alternating at times during the reporting period,” Minister Cwele said. He recently chaired the International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster media briefing, which was held in Cape Town.

The SANDF continues to participate in the United Nations (UN) Peace Support Operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (Operation Mistral), and will continue to participate in the UN/African Union (AU) Hybrid Peace Support Operation in Sudan (Operation Cordite) until 1 April 2016.

“The Force Intervention Brigade, which SANDF is part of, had a very successful operation that saw the biggest armed group in the eastern DRC, M23, surrendering,” Minister Cwele said.

The SANDF has also assisted with the development and completion of the Military Strategy of the Armed Forces of the DRC.

“The South African Government will continue to contribute to peacekeeping on the continent through various peacekeeping missions. Our involvement in peacekeeping missions is premised on our appreciation that Africa’s economic development depends on the substance of peace and stability,” Minster Cwele said.

He said South Africa would play a critical role in the restoration of peace and stability in the DRC, Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya, South Sudan and other conflict-torn countries.

The country will work in partnership with regional and international partners and as a member of the AU Peace and Security Council. – Source:
The aim of the JWG is to monitor the implementation of cooperative projects and solve challenges that may occur during implementation. It also aims to elevate bilateral relations by deepening practical cooperation.
The Department of Water and Sanitation’s Director-General, Margaret-Ann Diedricks, recently participated in a technical working committee of the JWG between China and South Africa in Beijing.

The meeting came after President Jacob Zuma and China's President Xi Jinping signed the Pretoria Declaration on the Partnership between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa in 2012, which paved the way for formal bilateral relations between the two countries.

The technical committee consists of directors-general from different ministries, including the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

The Department of Water and Sanitation joined the group recently after a State Visit by the Chinese leader in December 2015. This was after several water issues were raised during the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

The Deputy Director-General of International Water Cooperation within the department, Lindiwe Lusenga, said South Africa stood to benefit hugely from a R60-billion budget that China committed to the development of infrastructure in Africa.

At the summit, Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane presided over the signing of an agreement between South Africa’s Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), an international engineering company with expertise and experience in the design and construction of infrastructure around the world.

The purpose of the agreement is to help establish and develop a long-term friendly cooperation relationship between the TCTA and CCCC with a view to fund and implement new projects in the water sector in South Africa. – Source:
Members of the PPC comprise political editors, political correspondents, political reporters as well economics journalists.
On 22 February, President Jacob Zuma officially launched the PPC, which will comprise journalists who will be accredited to cover The Presidency on a full-time and ongoing basis.

The Chief Operations Officer in The Presidency, Lakela Kaunda, said: “The purpose of the PPC is to provide improved access to information by the media. It will also improve access by the media to the President and The Presidency as well as ensure that journalists obtain information not only on the daily activities of the President and The Presidency but also background information and processes, to enable a better understanding. The members will also receive briefings from the Deputy President and any Minister that the President invites to share programmes of national importance.”

At the inaugural meeting, President Zuma came to greet the PPC members and gave them highlights of his programme for the rest of the month.

President Zuma also informed members of the PPC that he would continue with his programme of convening important stakeholders in society to discuss both the economic challenges the country faces as well as ways in which partnerships with government can be forged to implement the National Development Plan.

“We trust that the establishment of the PPC will make journalists more informed with regard to the work we are doing as we transform our country. We look forward to lots of discussions and engagements with the PPC members,” said the President.
The General Council is the highest decision-making body of the WTO in between ministerial conferences.
South African Ambassador to the WTO, Xavier Carim, has been elected to chair the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO General Council.

Ambassador Carim was appointed with strong support from the WTO Africa Group. The existing practice is that the Chair of the Dispute Settlement Body becomes the chair of the General Council in the following year.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, congratulated Ambassador Carim on his appointment.

Minister Davies said the appointment of Ambassador Carim was in part recognition of the important role South Africa played in the WTO and in part testimony to Ambassador Carim’s personal qualities.

“It is an important recognition of what our country can bring to the multilateral trading system”, added Minister Davies.
The ITI forms part of the diversification strategy that focuses on India as a high-growth export market and foreign direct investment source for South Africa.
The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) recently led a delegation of 26 local companies to show off their wares at the seventh annual Investment and Trade Initiative (ITI) in India.

Minister Rob Davies said the aim of the ITI was to increase South Africa’s exports of value-added products into the Indian market and to explore joint venture opportunities with Indian companies for investment projects.

“This will in turn contribute to meeting the broader objectives of the national industrial policy and the development of the South African economy,” said the Minister.

Trade between South Africa and India increased from R42 billion to over R90 billion over the 2010 to 2014 period, while exports from South Africa to India increased from R22 billion to over R40 billion.

“This is indicative of the high demand for locally manufactured value-added products in the Asian market. As a key player in the regional economy, India also provides a good platform for South Africa to reintegrate with Western Asia,” said Minister Davies.

The ITI promoted South Africa’s agroprocessing, chemicals, beneficiated metal products, jewellery and capital equipment (mining and safety equipment) sectors. Activities included trade and investment seminars, mini-exhibitions and business-to-business meetings.

The companies visited Hyderabad and New Delhi. – Source:
South Africa has been ranked as the cheapest country in the world to live and retire, according to a 2016 report which compares dollar strength to a number of global currencies.
GoBankingRates generated the rankings based on cost-of-living indices sourced from online pricing database Numbeo: Cost of Living. This study surveyed cost indicators for major cities in the 112 nations for which Numbeo had recent and accurate data, using the median cost indicators of the cities to generate a typical cost index for the country.

The four key affordability metrics are:
  • Local purchasing power index: Measures the relative purchasing power of a typical salary in that country, compared to New York City. A lower purchasing power buys fewer goods, while a higher purchasing power buys more.
  • Rent index: Compares typical rental prices in the country to New York City.
  • Groceries index: Compares typical grocery prices in the country to New York City.
  • Consumer Price Index: Compares costs of local goods and services – including restaurants, groceries, transportation and utilities – to New York City.
When South Africa's prices and cost of living were compared to those in New York, the study found:
  • local purchasing power was 26,9% higher
  • rent was 87,5% cheaper
  • groceries were 71% cheaper
  • local goods and services were 65,8% cheaper.
“South Africa is the cheapest country to live or retire," GoBankingRates concludes. "It’s also the world’s largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium, which goes far to enrich the country and its economy.

“This resulted in a local purchasing power that’s significantly higher than what New Yorkers face, which is the most favourable factor that puts South Africa at No1.

"Along with a higher local purchasing power, South Africa also offers lower prices on consumer goods and groceries, and rent costs that are typical of the 50 cheapest countries.

The second cheapest country, India has a local purchasing power of 20,9% lower than New York, while rent is 95,2% cheaper, groceries are 74,4% cheaper, and local goods and services are 74,9% cheaper.
The most expensive country, on the other hand, is Bermuda. 

Top 10 cheapest countries to live and retire are:
  • South Africa
  • India
  • Kosovo
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Zambia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Czech Republic
  • Macedonia
– Source: Traveller 24
There has been a marked decrease in child mortality rates in South Africa, according to the Institute of Race Relations (IRR), which says this is indicative of improved child health in the country.
The IRR made this finding in its latest South Africa Survey, published this month. The institute is a classically liberal think-tank.

It found that the under-five mortality rate declined from 77,2 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 45,1 deaths per 1 000 live births deaths in 2015. The institute also found that deaths of infants under one year of age declined from 51,2 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2002 to 34,4 deaths per 1 000 live births in 2015.

According to the IRR, poor access to healthcare services, especially immunisation programmes; malnutrition; and poor living conditions were three of the leading contributors to child deaths.

It found that:
  • Immunisation rates had steadily increased in South Africa. In 2001, 67% of children under one year of age were immunised. This increased to 89,8% in 2014.
  • The roll-out of social grants had probably contributed to preventing child deaths. Social grant beneficiaries as a percentage of the total national population increased from 9% in 2001 to 30% in 2015. This had undoubtedly contributed to raising living standards.
  • From 2001 to 2014, severe malnutrition rates among under-fives dropped from 12,5 per 1 000 children to 4,5 per 1 000 children.
"Although these figures are encouraging, South Africa still has a high infant mortality rate, especially compared to other emerging markets and the developed world," said IRR analyst Gerbrandt van Heerden.

"Data from the World Bank shows that the under-five mortality rate in Germany was 3,9 deaths for every 1 000 live births … Therefore, South African policy-makers still have some way to go in ensuring that our child health indicators reach global norms. Better public healthcare services are part of the solution but rising economic growth and employment levels will do just as much, if not more, to improve the conditions of South Africa’s children."

The South Africa Survey has been published annually by the IRR since 1948 in the interests of advancing fact-based policy making.– Source: Institute of Race Relations
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has congratulated the Department of Transport on the official opening of South Africa’s – and Africa’s – first solar-powered airport in George.
The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, has congratulated the Department of Transport on the official opening of South Africa’s – and Africa’s – first solar-powered airport in George.
The Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, launched the project that is spearheaded by the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) at a special ceremony in the city on Friday, 26 February.

Most of the airport’s energy needs will be supplied through 200 square metres of photo-voltaic (PV) panels. PV technology generates electricity from solar radiation, providing a renewable and clean energy source.

In its first phase, 750 kw will be generated through this clean energy source, which is sufficient to meet the airport’s daily needs. This is expected to increase with plant capacity in future.

“This groundbreaking initiative shows that government is well on track in transitioning South Africa to a low-carbon, inclusive, resource efficient and climate resilient economy and society,” the Minister said.

The Department of Transport is one of the key departments driving South Africa’s Green Economy Strategy. Green transport initiatives form part of government’s strategy to shift the economy towards cleaner industries and sectors with low environmental impact.

“What has been achieved at George Airport is also the result of successful collaboration in the green economy sector between government, entities such as ACSA and the private sector.

“The new solar-powered airport will rely on cost-effective, renewable sources to generate energy, and simultaneously support South Africa’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” says Minister Molewa.

This is in alignment with South Africa’s National Climate Change Response Policy whose objective is to effectively manage climate change impacts through interventions that build and sustain South Africa’s social, economic and environmental resilience and emergency response capacity.

In the transport sector, initiatives are underway to shifting freight from road to rail, and introducing electricity regenerative braking in locomotives. This is already saving close to 0,5 Mt of CO2 annually.

In addition, 14 000 taxis are being converted to compressed natural gas, with an expected emission reduction of 23 – 27% per vehicle.

“Investment such as at George Airport, must give momentum to other private, and public, sector entities to reconfigure and retrofit their existing infrastructure in support of more sustainable energy consumption patterns,” Minister Molewa said. – Source:
Chesa Nyama is one of South Africa's fastest-growing national brands, a traditional braai restaurant franchise hugely popular with young people and people looking for an authentic taste of African braai cuisine.
It has almost 300 franchises across South Africa and employs over 3 000 people. The brand's rapid growth led to the listing of its owner company, Gold Brands, on the JSE at the beginning of 2016.

Gold Brands is now set to export the success of Chesa Nyama and South African braai culture to the United States (US), with plans to open its first restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, in October.

Gold Brands announced on 23 February that the company had signed a memorandum of understanding for the expansion of the brand with private investors, the South African industrial holdings firm, Red Hornbill, and the White Family Partnership, an American partner.

An area development agreement between these partners allows for the establishment of Chesa Nyama Holdings in the US, with Gold Brands as a partner in the joint venture. It will own 30% of the American company and Red Hornbill will own 40%; the remaining 30% percent will be held by the White Family Partnership.

According to the deal, Red Hornbill and the White Family will cover the funding of the Nashville set-up as well as establishment costs for the further roll-out of the franchise in the US. While Gold Brands will not provide capital for the US venture, it will be responsible for logistical support in the development of the product lines, branding, menu costing and strategic support.

Gold Brands' chief executive, Stelio Nathanael, explained the origins of the expansion plans to CNBC Africa: "We have long had a dream of taking Chesa Nyama beyond the borders of Africa. The idea has always been to bring our iconic South African braai culture to America." – Source:
The Africa Business Club (ABC) at Harvard Business School established the ABC Leadership Excellence Award to recognise the remarkable achievements of HBS alumni who exemplify this mission.
The mission of the Harvard Business School is to educate leaders who will make a difference in the world. It recently announced that the 2016 recipient of this award is South African media mogul Khanyi Dhlomo.

Dhlomo is the Managing Director of Ndalo Media, which she founded in 2007. She is also the founder of DestinyConnect and the founding editor of Destiny magazine. Prior to beginning her own media company, Dhlomo served as editor of True Love magazine for eight years. She was named most influential woman in South African Media by Media Magazine in 2003 and made the 2011 Forbes list of 20 Young Power Women in Africa. – Source:
Zelda la Grange published her memoir, "Good Morning, Mr Mandela", in 2014 to wide acclaim. Since then, it has been published worldwide, in several languages; now it is set to become a film.
The book covers her years as private secretary to Nelson Mandela during his presidency and in his post-presidential staff until his death in 2013. La Grange was also a founding staff member of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

While many books have been written about the life of Mandela, La Grange's was the first to offer an inside look at the day-to-day dealings of the person behind the icon. It offers a rare portrait of a humble but proud man on the pinnacle of history.

The book also explores the contrast of a young, white Afrikaans woman serving the first black president of a newly democratic South Africa. It acts as a metaphor for the country as a whole, dealing with rapid changes and learning new ways to reconcile its turbulent history with its transition to democracy.

In the book, La Grange also pays tribute to a man who taught her valuable lessons about human relationships and forgiveness.

Renowned, award-winning producer Trudie Styler, the producer of cult hit Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and the Bafta-winning science fiction film Moon, and her Maven Pictures have bought the rights to the book and have already begun working on a script.

La Grange relayed the news via Twitter this week, enthusiastic about telling one of South Africa's good stories. – Source:
The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently named a 31-member match officials’ team for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, which runs from 8 March to 3 April.
The strong playing control team includes all the seven and 12 members of the elite panel of ICC match referees and elite panel of ICC umpires, respectively, as well as 10 members of the international panel of ICC umpires and two members of the ICC associate and affiliate panel of international umpires.

Two South African umpires, Johan Cloete and Marais Erasmus, have cracked the nod. – Source:
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