Issue 272 | 26 April 2017
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The celebrations also coincide with the centenary of the late President and national Chairperson of the African National Congress, Oliver Reginald Tambo, an international icon and hero of the South African liberation struggle.
President Jacob Zuma will lead the 23rd national Freedom Day celebrations on Thursday, 27 April, in Manguzi, Umhlabuyalingana Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.

The day will be used to reflect on the achievements that the country has scored since 1994 while reflecting on work that still needs to be done in building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, The Presidency said.

The theme for this year’s celebrations is “The Year of OR Tambo: Together Deepening Democracy and Building Safer and Crime-Free Communities,” said The Presidency.

The focus will be on promoting community action, working with the police and other law-enforcement agencies in fighting crime and building safer communities.

Citizens are encouraged to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #FreedomDay and share their ideas of the South Africa they envisage to live in and show how they are willing to contribute to make it a better country for all its citizens. Follow @GovernmentZA @GCISMedia and @SAGovNews for updates on the proceedings on Freedom Day.

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During the State Visit to South Africa by the President of the People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, in December 2015, South Africa and China agreed to establish the PPEM.
From 24 to 27 April, the South African Government is hosting the Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Liu Yandong, for the inaugural session of the South Africa-China High-Level PPEM.

The PPEM seeks to enhance mutual trust, friendship and strategic partnership between the people of both countries. On a practical level, it is creating opportunities for both countries’ people to benefit from the sharing of social, cultural and economic capital – across government, academia, business and civil society. In this regard, the PPEM enhances cooperation in a number of thematic areas such as culture, education, science and technology, health, tourism, sport and recreation, as well as communication.

Subsequently, President Jacob Zuma has appointed the Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, to co-chair the PPEM, working with the Chinese Government through the Vice Premier.

To support the establishment, President Zuma has established an Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, Science and Technology, Health, Communications, Sports and Recreation, Tourism, as well as the Minister in The Presidency responsible for Women and the Deputy Minister in The Presidency.

South Africa and China bilateral relations take place within the context of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) Framework. China is South Africa's biggest trading partner and is also the second-biggest economy in the world.

The two countries share membership of, and participate as partners in, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the BASIC Group on Climate Change (Brazil, India and China), the Group of 77 + China and the G20, among others. South Africa and China are also co-chairs of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

Several agreements have been signed during the visit. These include agreements in the areas of higher education and training, youth, research, arts and culture and communications.

It is against this backdrop that MSPRAU and the China Public Diplomacy Association co-hosted a High-level People-to-People Seminar on Thoughts Exchange and Dialogue themed: “Resonance between the Concept of a Community of Shared Future for Mankind and the Philosophy of Ubuntu in International Relations”.

Also as part of the PPEM, on Monday, 24 April, the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, and his counterpart, Minister Li Bin from the People’s Republic of China, co-chaired the China-Africa Health Ministers Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria.
Government’s priority is to ensure that there is certainty and continuity in the trade and investment relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK) as a result of Brexit, says Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies.
Speaking at the British Chamber of Business Dialogue on the UK-South Africa bilateral relationship post-Brexit recently, Minister Davies said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) provided a good basis to facilitate trade between South Africa and the UK going forward.

“Our priority now is that we do not want any interruption in our trade relations with the UK. The UK Government has given an indication that it will roll over existing trade arrangements to provide continuity and predictability,” said the Minister.

This, as the UK is set to leave the European Union (EU) through a term known as Brexit.

Minister Davies said the EPA represented an improvement on the Trade Development Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) in a number of respects in that it harmonised the trading regime between the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the EU. It further also secures market access in agriculture beyond the TDCA provisions.

SACU is the world’s oldest customs union and predates the EU by 50 years.

“Under the EPA, we have secured an improved market access for wines and some fruit products, as well as negotiated new access for sugar and ethanol,” he said.

In addition, South Africa has managed to gain recognition for some of its geographical products like Rooibos, Honeybush and Karoo lamb under the EPA, as well as some wine names.

The UK remains South Africa’s historical and strategic trade and investment partner. It remains as a key market for agricultural exports that account for over 20% of South Africa’s exports of wine and 30% of fruit exports globally.

The UK is the biggest destination in the EU for South African investment, accounting for 30% of South African investments into Europe.

Bilateral investment relations between the UK and South Africa are strong with a total of 323 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects from the UK to South Africa recorded between January 2003 and September 2016.

These projects represent a total capital investment of R63,50 billion which is an average investment of R1,6 billion per project. According to FDI Intelligence, during the period, a total of 4 857 jobs were created

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It is expected that the memorandum will enhance coordination, cooperation and an exchange of views and information, as well as mutual support where possible, between the two countries in various areas of mutual interest.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations, Luwellyn Landers, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Consultations between the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ecuador.

The Ambassador of Ecuador in South Africa, Maria Soledad Cordova-Montero, signed the MoU on behalf of the Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry.

The MoU is the first to be concluded between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1994. The memorandum provides for regular consultations between the two departments, and is intended to encourage and support various forms of cooperation, as well as the negotiation, subscription and implementation of bilateral and international agreements.

The Deputy Minister also congratulated the Republic of Ecuador on the recent election of Lenin Moreno of the ruling Alliance Pais Movement as the new President of Ecuador.
Both countries reaffirmed their belief in multilateralism and in the centrality of the United Nations to solving the many crises facing the world, and in the need to secure a rules-based international system.
On 25 April, the South African Government hosted the Deputy Minister of Global Affairs of Canada, Ian Shugart, for the 11th Meeting of the South Africa-Canada Annual Consultations, which was co-chaired by Acting Director-General, Kgabo Mahoai.

In 2003, recognising the long history and rich tapestry of the bilateral relationship, Canada and South Africa signed a Joint Declaration of Intent on Strengthened Cooperation. As part of this declaration, there was a commitment to hold annual consultations on foreign policy, and commercial and development issues, and to bring about increasing cooperation on issues of common interest, such as conflict prevention, peace-building and good governance.

The meeting discussed bilateral cooperation in such areas as mining, higher education, science and technology, trade and investment and development assistance, and looked forward to cooperation in the areas of peacekeeping, justice, culture, the environment and support for the establishment of an integrated Border Management Agency in South Africa.
Government has welcomed
AT Kearney’s "2017 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence Report", which indicates that South Africa is the 25th most attractive destination for foreign direct investment (FDI), the first from the African continent.
In a recent statement, the Government Communication and Information System said improvements in short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment in the country’s manufacturing had been cited as some of the key drivers of South Africa’s improved rating on the index.

“Government is humbled by this ranking, which shows that South Africa’s strategic partnership with foreign investors is gaining momentum. The report demonstrates that our country’s blueprint on development is yielding results and requires that we strengthen this while also encouraging South Africans to save so that we balance this show of confidence through involving South Africans,” said Communications Minister, Ayanda Dlodlo.

Minister Dlodlo said South Africa was considered as a gateway to Africa with lucrative value and opportunities for international investor partnerships, boasting a combination of infrastructure and an emergent market economy that gave rise to a vibrant and entrepreneurial investment environment.

This show of confidence bodes well for the country’s efforts aimed at strengthening economic relations with many regions of the world, which recently saw South Africa hosting delegations from Qatar and Estonia.

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The National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP) is the result of a partnership between the National Department of Tourism and the South African Chefs Association to address the urgent need for cooks and chefs in South Africa’s growing hospitality industry.
On 23 April, the Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, saw off 20 South African chefs travelling to the Seychelles for placement at the country’s various hotels.

South Africa and the Seychelles signed a tourism cooperation agreement in August 2013.This cooperation agreement has facilitated institutional agreements between South African and Seychellois tourism institutions, adding depth to this country-to-country commitment. It also focusses on building initiatives towards the development of the tourism sectors in both countries.

This programme forms part of the Government’s Expanded Public Works Programme as an initiative to fund skills development projects to create employment.

As a return on investment and with the objective of job creation, the department chose to select graduate chefs from NYCTP. After a rigorous interview process, 20 chefs were selected to participate in a one-year placement programme in the Seychelles.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) will hold its inaugural fundraising gala in South Africa on 6 May 2017 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
At the gala, the international organisation will highlight its global campaign, Ending Violence against Children. The gala, Unicef said, was seen as an opportunity to “profile our mandate and values that guide our daily work, for every child, in South Africa”.

It would be “a VIP event that will help catalyse further investments for children in need”, the organisation said. Actress Priyanka Chopra, a goodwill ambassador, will attend.

South African Unicef national ambassadors, former Miss South Africa Jo-Ann Strauss, and clothing designer Gavin Rajah, will play prominent roles. Strauss will moderate the event and Rajah will feature a fashion show.

Funds raised from the live auction will go towards Unicef South Africa child protection programmes.

Herve Ludovic de Lys, Unicef representative in South Africa, said the Convention on the Rights of the Child was the first international treaty signed by a democratic government of South Africa.

“Over 20 years later, we have collectively learned how to create effective circles of care and protection for children.

“The urgent matter today is twofold: to put this knowledge into use by enhancing effective child protection approaches; and to support the millions of children trapped in poverty by improving the quality of public expenditures.”

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The South African satellite industry is taking a giant leap as a global aerospace player, with the inclusion of two locally developed nanosatellites on the Atlas V rocket, launched on 18 April 2017.
The Atlas V launched at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the United Statws of America on 18 April 2017. It included a payload of 28 nanosatellites from 23 countries destined for the International Space Station (ISS).

Included among the 28 are two South African developed nanosatellites: nSight1, designed and manufactured by Cape Town group SCS Space, a member of the SCS Aerospace Group; and ZA-Aerosat, designed and manufactured by CubeSpace of Stellenbosch University. The satellites will be deployed into low-Earth orbit over a period of 30 to 60 days as the ISS orbits Earth.

The Atlas V launch is part of the QB50 project funded by the European Union and managed by the Von Karman Institute.

Other countries with nanosatellites on board include China, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.

Nanosatellites are generally smaller than conventional satellites, thanks to advancements in nanotechnology design. The smaller satellites, which usually are discarded when their work is completed, burn up more completely when re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere, leaving less debris (“space junk”) in Earth’s orbit.

Both nSight1 and ZA-Aerosat are no bigger than shoeboxes, yet contain some of the world’s most advanced technology.

The two South African satellites will be used to record factors in the Earth’s lower thermosphere, between a 200 km and 380 km altitude.

Data collected from this experiment over the next 18 months will aid current atmospheric models, which is vital for determining safe re-entry trajectories for spacecraft. The same data can also be used for environmental study.

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The authoritative news magazine "Time" has included a South African doctor, Prof. Glenda Gray, in its annual list of the most influential people in the world.
Prof. Gray is currently the president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council and an internationally acclaimed HIV researcher. The magazine included her in the list based on her leadership role in finding a vaccine for HIV/AIDS.

“I was really surprised by the announcement,” Prof. Gray told Health24. “At first I thought they had made a mistake. I should not be on the list of the most influential people in the world! It’s quite intimidating.”

At the end of last year, an ambitious programme was announced to evaluate an HIV vaccine regimen in South Africa that, if successful, could be the first HIV vaccine to be licensed globally. Prof. Gray and her team are leading this trial, which is the first HIV vaccine efficacy trial in seven years.

As the co-principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health’s funded HIV Vaccine Trials Network, an international network that conducts over 80% of the clinical trials of candidate HIV vaccines globally, she provides leadership at a global level.

Prof. Gray thinks her dedication played a big role in her being nominated. “I have always said that if we find a solution to HIV we will find it in South Africa. As a county we have come a long way with many breakthroughs over the years.”

Prof. Gray’s story over the years is nothing shy of dedication, commitment and passion in addressing health issues that have affected and still affect South Africans. 

In 1996, together with James McIntyre, she co-founded the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, based in Soweto where they developed a world-renowned unit focussed on HIV prevention and treatment.  In 2002, they were awarded the Nelson Mandela Health and Human Rights Award.

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George Airport in the Western Cape is doing it again. Last year, it made headlines globally when it launched a 750-Kw plant to become the first airport in South Africa that will get a lot of its power from solar energy… and this year it has received exemption from the South Africa Civil Aviation Authority (SACCA) to upgrade from a CAT 7 aerodrome to a CAT 8 aerodrome.
This means that the small regional airport is now able to receive larger aircraft and that it complies with regulations for additional aircraft rescue … with enough firefighting personnel and sufficient fire tenders for the category upgrade.

The upgrade was processed after a request was received for an A310-300 aircraft to land at George Airport. The aircraft is owned by a private tourist from the Middle East, who visits a Karoo game farm annually with his family.

Following a successful upgrade, the Middle Eastern family’s aircraft landed on Friday, 7 April 2017, with 24 passengers and five crew members … and remained at the airport precinct until 13 April 2017, when it departed back to the Middle East.

Brenda Vorster, manager of George Airport, said they were “exceptionally pleased” with the exemption.

“This upgrade is good news for regional tourism and a feather in the cap of George Airport, which has displayed professionalism and proved that it has the staffing and infrastructure to accommodate larger aircraft with more passengers. This will support the growth of tourism industries and companies within the region,” said Vorster.

Airports Company South Africa has six regional airports – Upington, Kimberley, East London, Bram Fischer, Port Elizabeth and George – all of which play a pivotal role in boosting regional tourism and supporting the economic and social development of South Africa’s more remote regions.

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Local South Africa carrier FlySafair is flying the Mzansi flag high after just being ranked the world’s most on-time airline for 2017 by air travel intelligence specialist, OAG.
The airline achieved an annual overall on-time performance (OTP) of 95,94% in the 2017 rankings. It was also one of just three airlines to receive a five-star rating, alongside Kuwaiti airline, Jazeera Airways, and Latvia's Air Baltic Corporation. Out of the three top-achievers, FlySafair is also the only five-star rated airline which is a low-cost carrier.

FlySafair has a good reputation for not only offering some of the coolest ticket sales in South Africa, but also for operating on-time flights. Since staring operations in 2014, the airline has clinched several awards for its OTP.

For 2016, they achieved the overall Number One spot for the most punctual South African airline, scoring an overall OTP of 95,41% at all South Africa's airports combined.

The OAG OTP Star Ratings is a global confirmation recognising FlySafair's exceptional OTP across all airports and airlines it operates to, regardless of size, geographic location or relative relation to their peers.

According to marketing director for OAG, Caroline Mather, it's very difficult for an airline to achieve an OTP of 95,94%. “It requires extremely smooth operations and exceptional focus from across the entire team.”

FlySafair CEO, Elmar Conradie, says the achievement speaks to the quality of South African aviation. “This shows that we are ready to compete with the best.” He says excellent OTP has been a priority from the start. “We recognised the need for the South African public to have a service provider that consistently delivers on time and so we set our targets even higher than those expected by local airport authorities.”

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A model of the spectacular “Kirstenbosch – South Africa” Exhibit for this year’s famous Chelsea Flower Show was unveiled at a launch at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden recently.
Designed by the award-winning team, David Davidson and Raymond Hudson, the exhibit will provide a glimpse of all nine of South Africa’s biomes to the over 150 000 people who are expected to visit the Chelsea Flower Show in the United Kingdom.

In the 42 years that the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)-Kirstenbosch has been exhibiting – and winning medals – at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, the range of flora that has been showcased is a testament to the incredible floral wealth of South Africa.

When the model of this year’s exhibit was unveiled recently, it was clear that this celebration of diversity had been taken one step further.

With its theme, Windows on Biodiversity, the circular exhibit with its stunning backdrop of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is a rich and varied voyage of discovery.

On display are plants that represent all 10 of South Africa’s national botanical gardens: Free State, Hantam, Harold Porter, Karoo Desert, Kirstenbosch, Kwelera, Lowveld, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria and Walter Sisulu.

“The richness of our biodiversity is one of South Africa’s greatest natural assets,” said Dr Tanya Abrahamse, SANBI CEO.

“South Africa is home to nearly 10% of the world’s plants and contains three regions that have been declared global biodiversity hotspots, so it is fitting that we celebrate this heritage this year at Chelsea.”

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Local film, "The Wound", has added to its resounding international success with a multi-million rand distribution deal in France.
The film's producer Elias Ribeiro told Times LIVE that the deal with French distributor Pyramide Films also helped the movie get publicity in several major publications, and on billboards in the country.

He also revealed that the deal was worth R2,5 million. As part of the deal, the film has been released at 41 cinemas across France and is expected to pull in an audience of over 50 000 moviegoers.

Speaking about the success of the film, lead actor Nakhane Touré said that he was humbled by the reception it had received.

"It is insane. It is humbling to hear how the film has done so well in France. I thought, when I took the role that it might be a small independent film that would soon disappear but it is a beautiful piece of work that was done so well. I think audiences have seen and appreciate the quality of the film," Nakhane said.

The Wound tells the story of Kwanda, a gay factory worker, who travels from the city to the rural area of his family's origin to be circumcised in a traditional rites-of-passage ceremony.

The film, which will release in South Africa later this year, will be distributed to 19 countries over the next few months, including America, the United Kingdom, Germany, Brazil and Australia.

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Editor: Delien Burger
Picture Editor: Yolande Snyman
Design and layout: René Marneweck


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