Issue 314 | 22 February 2018
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Armed Forces Day commemorates the centenary of the sinking of the "SS Mendi" on 21 February 1917, which became one of South Africa's worst tragedies of the First World War (1914 – 1918). More than 600 black South African troops died when the "SS Mendi" steamship sank on its way to France.
The Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Wednesday, 21 February 2018, officiated at the Armed Forces Day celebrations in Kimberley, Northern Cape.

These celebrations also seek to expand public understanding of the role of the SANDF and it further demonstrates the capability and contribution to society of the country's armed forces.

The main event commenced with a wreath-laying ceremony officiated by President Ramaphosa to pay tribute to the men who perished during the sinking of the SS Mendi.

President Ramaphosa also awarded gold medals to members of the SANDF for their outstanding work and service to the country.
This was followed by a parade through the streets of Kimberley, comprising a flag company, a gun carriage, marching columns, military bands, mechanised columns with hundreds of vehicles and a fly-past by the SA Air Force.

A total of 6 525 SANDF members participated along with 41 aircraft from the SA Air Force, 222 specialised vehicles, 374 operational vehicles, 66 buses and 60 motorcycles.

The SA Air Force aircrafts included Hawk and Gripen, C-130, CASA 212, King Air transports, and Rooivalk, Agusta A109 and BK 117 helicopters, Pilatus PC-7 trainers, SAAF Museum aircraft, as well as the performance by Silver Falcons Aerobatic display team.

The SANDF has been holding a weeklong event since last week ahead of the commemoration. These included the opening of a fan park where career opportunities in the SANDF were outlined, musical concerts, community outreach programmes which were carried out in various schools, as well as public viewing places.

On 18 February, President Ramaphosa addressed an interfaith church service in preparation for the Armed Forces Day.

Following the Kimberley event, President Ramaphosa returned to Cape Town to attend the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance.
  President Cyril Ramaphosa received messages of congratulations from a number of heads of state and government during a round of telephone calls on Sunday, 18 February 2018.
President Ramaphosa took the calls at his official residence in Cape Town on Sunday afternoon.

This followed the President's officiating at the Armed Forces interfaith service in Kimberley, Northern Cape, which marked his first public engagement since taking office and his first interaction with the armed forces as Commander-in-Chief.

President Ramaphosa conducted discussions with President Joao Lourenco of Angola; (Angola is Chair of the Southern African Development Community Organ on Politics, Defence and Security); Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed Sultan Al Nahyan; Prime Minister Kjell Stefan Löfven of Sweden; Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom; and President Ian Khama Khama of Botswana.

On Monday, 19 February 2018, President Ramaphosa was in discussion with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and French President, Emmanuel Macron.

President Ramaphosa has warmly welcomed the international interest shown in South Africa and its renewal, and expressed the hope that South Africa would strengthen relations with partners in various parts of the world, as it continues to enhance its attractiveness as an investment destination and trade partner.

This would create more opportunities for South African businesses and contribute positively to the critical effort to create more jobs in the economy.

In addition to the personal calls of congratulation, the Presidency and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have received a significant number of messages in various formats from heads of state and government continentally and globally, as well as from stakeholders and citizens countrywide.
The President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has sent his condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran following a plane crash.  
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed a message of condolences to the Government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran following the plane crash that occurred in the Zagros Mountain Range on Sunday, 18 February 2018, killing all passengers and crew members on board, totalling 66 lives.

President Ramaphosa said: "We extend our condolences to His Excellency President Hasan Rouhani, the Government and the people of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The South African people stand with the Iranian people, particularly the families of the victims, during this time of mourning."
President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his sadness at the passing away, after a short illness, of the respected political economist and author, Professor Johannes "Sampie" Terreblanche, who had a long association with the University of Stellenbosch.  
Professor Terreblanche passed away on Saturday, 17 February 2018, at the age of 84. President Ramaphosa paid tribute to Professor Terreblanche for having emerged from a background rooted in Afrikaner nationalism to establish himself as a diligent and brave intellectual whose critical engagement on the political economy of the apartheid era and the current democratic dispensation made a significant contribution to discourse on governance and the economy.

Notably, Professor Terreblanche's celebrated book, The History of Inequality in South Africa, 1652 – 2002, enabled a broad range of South Africans and the international community to appreciate the enduring complexities of South African history and the complexity of the socio-economic transformation required in the country today.

President Ramaphosa expressed his sincere condolences to the family, friends and associates of the late Professor Terreblanche. He said South Africa had lost a fearless, campaigning intellectual whose scholarship challenged apartheid apologists with inescapable, uncomfortable truths.


  In celebration of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa, the Minister of Tourism, Tokozile Xasa, accepted the invitation by the Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa to the Chinese Lighting Ceremony for the 2018 Chinese New Year. The ceremony was held on 13 February 2018 at Mandela Square, Sandton.
The Minister delivered a keynote address, which among other issues, focused on the importance of tourism cooperation between the two countries.

The ceremony consisted of various themes, including the lighting up of the great spirit of former President Nelson Mandela, and the friendship and cooperation between China and South Africa. This ceremony was one of a series of celebrations for the 20-year diplomatic relations between China and South Africa.
The South African economy has received a major boost with the Isuzu Motors purchase of the Struandale plant in Port Elizabeth.  
In a statement on Sunday, 18 February, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said the launch of the plant would boost investor confidence in the country.

Last year, Isuzu announced it would purchase the light commercial vehicle operations in Port Elizabeth as well as the balance of shareholding in its Isuzu Trucks South Africa operations. 

The Japanese manufacturer purchased the Struandale plant, which belonged to General Motors. General Motors, in May 2017, announced that it was disinvesting in South Africa. The move, it said at the time, was part of a broader, international strategic restructuring position by the company to exit certain markets.

Isuzu Motors, consolidated into one business now known as Isuzu Motors South Africa (IMSA), became effective from January 2018 and will build Isuzu pick-ups and trucks.

Speaking at the launch of the plant on Friday, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, said the investment by IMSA would save jobs.

"We know that this investment will mean that 1 000 jobs in the facility will be saved and there are 3 000 jobs in the direct supply chain and many thousands more in the supply companies. Jobs will continue to be guaranteed in the future," said Minister Davies.

He said South Africa's automotive industry was a global, turbo-charged engine for the manufacture and export of vehicles and components. Many major multinational firms use South Africa to source components and assemble vehicles for local and international markets.

"With its ability to link throughout the economy, government has identified the automotive industry as a key growth sector.

"The auto industry is important to the future of manufacturing in this country and whatever emerges in the future will be based on a significant level of support for it going forward," said the Minister.

The sector contributes 7,5% of South Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 113 000 people directly. It is key to ensuring greater economic growth.

The President and Representative Director of Isuzu Motors of Japan, Masanori Katayama, said the company was keen to grow its business in South Africa.

"This is the first commercial and light commercial vehicle manufacturing operation outside of Japan in which we have acquired a 100% ownership. We are represented in 30 countries outside of Japan and successfully operate 47 manufacturing plants in these countries with joint venture partners.

"Our decision with regard to South Africa demonstrates the confidence we have in this market and also is indicative of our longer-term view that South Africa will serve as an important base for our future growth on the African continent," said Katayama.

Minister Davies said government was committed to supporting the local production of vehicles in order to boost the economy and exports as well as to create jobs.

"The automotive and components industry is well-placed for investment opportunities, and our commitment to local vehicle production is marked in our Industrial Policy Action Plan, with a prime focus towards adding value to the manufacturing and industrial sector.

"Export promotion, job creation and inclusive growth remain as the fundamentals to this policy," he said.

The industry has exhibited significant growth under the Motor Industry Development Programme and its successor, the Automotive Production and Development Programme, which was implemented in 2013.

The programme aims to stimulate the expansion of local production to 1,2 million vehicles a year by 2020, while significantly increasing local content at the same time.

Minister Davies said companies with production plants in South Africa were placed to take advantage of the low production costs, coupled with access to new markets as a result of trade agreements with the European Union and the Southern African Development Community Free Trade Area.

Opportunities are also available in the production of materials such as automotive steel and components. – Source:

  Access to Kenya is set to increase from 6 June as Kenya Airways will add three more weekly flights on its Johannesburg route, reinstating early morning flights on certain days.
The airline confirmed flights will operate on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Flight KQ766 will depart Nairobi at 01:20 and arrive in Johannesburg at 04:30. Flight KQ767 will depart Johannesburg at 05:30 and arrive back in Nairobi at 10:35.

Added to that, the airline will launch its new direct service to Cape Town, which will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Flight KQ784 will depart Nairobi at 15:35 and arrive in Cape Town at 20:20. Flight KQ785 will depart Cape Town at 22:15 and arrive in Nairobi at 05:00 the following day.

The airline already operates three flights a week between Cape Town and Nairobi, via Livingstone.
   "Black Panther" opened in cinemas across the continent this past weekend and, in doing so, lit up the box office.
Cinemas across the continent played host to guests dressing up, dancing and singing as the next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe played out with a distinctly celebratory African story.

The film, which has become a cultural phenomenon both at home and across the globe, took in over R16,8 million at the South African box office with a nearly 200 000 attendances for the three-day opening weekend from 16 to 18 February.

This debut ranks as the third-biggest industry opening weekend ever in South Africa (and the second-biggest industry opening weekend ever, excluding previews) as well as the biggest opening for a Marvel Studios film ever in South Africa.

In addition, Black Panther scored the highest Saturday box office of all time in South Africa, with takings of over R6,9 million on 17 February.

Elsewhere on the continent, Black Panther has become the biggest industry opening weekend of all time in both East and West Africa, with the film continually trending on social media in the run-up to the release and over the weekend. – Source:

Sport and Recreation South Africa, Cricket South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation launched the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations at the International T20 double-header featuring the South African women's and men's teams against India at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday, 18 February.  
The centenary celebration programme aims to honour the values and legacy of former President Nelson Mandela.

The matches also served as a celebration of 20 years of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa.

As a further significance, the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations also coincide with the 125th anniversary of when Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station after he refused to move from a whites' only compartment.

In this 100th year celebration of the values and legacy in sport left by Nelson Mandela, the hosting of India during this 125th anniversary served as a poignant reminder of Mandela's values depicted through the unwavering style of leadership, which has led many to regard him as a modern Gandhi. 

Affirming the invaluable role of Nelson Mandela in unifying South Africa, the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Thulas Nxesi, highlighted that: "Nelson Mandela became a strong advocate of sports diplomacy in raising South Africa's reputation and transforming the perception of South Africa from an apartheid state to a democratic nation. The spirit of Madibaness – the Madiba Magic Moment personified through our sports stars' excellent performances while also uniting our country along the way – is a remarkable feature in the history of our sporting achievements. It is, in fact, these Madiba Magic Moments which we regard as a legacy left to the sporting fraternity. After all, the nation continues to unite patriotically when an athlete delivers this Madiba Magic Moment." – Source:
The Nelson Mandela Bay's (NMB) Standard Bank Ironman African Championships received glowing accolades when Ironman released its 2017 Athlete's Choice Awards on Tuesday, 13 February.  
The Ironman African Champions is a major tourism boost for the metro as a whole as international tourists, as well as athletes and spectators travel to the Bay in September to get the unique opportunity to visit one of South Africa's wildly beautiful and historically significant areas.

According to NMB's Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development Tourism and Agriculture, Andrew Whitfield, who made the statement, out of the 40 full Ironman and more than 100 Ironman 70.3 events around the world, the Standard Bank Ironman African Championships, held annually in Port Elizabeth, was selected third overall in Race Venue.

Added to that, Whitfield said the city was selected second overall in Host City Experience and first overall in the Overall Swim, Overall Bike and Overall Run Course.

"We are not surprised that NMB is ranked so highly by international athletes as we are a unique tourist destination with a great product offering that can compete with any other destination in the world," says Whitfield.

Whitfield says Paul Wolff, Keith Bowler and the rest of the Ironman South Africa teammates further enhanced what Port Elizabeth had to offer by organising world-class events, in collaboration with a collective of municipal officials, every year.

"The results of the awards show that our hard work is not going unnoticed and must be continuously improved on," says Whitfield, who's confident that the Standard Bank Ironman African Championships in April and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in September will prove to be world-class events as well. – Source:
  The SA Under-17 women's team booked their place in the FIFA Junior World Cup in Uruguay with an emphatic 6-1 aggregate score over their Moroccan counterparts on Saturday, 17 February.
Bantwana had almost but sealed a berth at the world stage after romping to a comfortable 5-1 first leg victory at Dobsonville Stadium two weeks ago, and although Morocco showed some fighting spirit at home, the passage to South America was never in doubt.

In a match played at Stade Boubker Ammar in Salé, the visitors were always comfortable and could have won by a bigger margin, but wasted countless glaring chances in the opening stanza.

Coach Simphiwe Dludlu made two forced changes from the first leg line-up, bringing in Khunjulwa Mali and Sibulele Holweni in only two changes from the first leg starting XI.

And it was Holweni's magical goal that separated the two teams in the tightly contested second leg.

The strike came midway through the second half, although Bantwana finished the stronger of the two in the first half.

Holweni scored in the 68th minute to calm the visitors' nerves after her long-range shot on the volley gave the Moroccan keeper no chance to all but put Bantwana on the plane to South America. – Source:

South Africa's Kevin Anderson bagged the fourth title of his career with a three-set victory over Sam Querrey to claim the ATP Tour New York Open on Sunday, 18 February.  
Anderson played flawlessly in the third set tie-break to win 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/1) in two hours and 13 minutes, ending Querrey's hopes of a title on home soil.

The 31-year-old Anderson – who lost in the final of the US Open in New York last September – expressed delight at bucking a trend which has seen him lose in 11 finals before Sunday.

"I've been to quite a few finals and if it doesn't go your way it's pretty tough to deal with," Anderson said.

"It means a lot to me that I was able to come through it today."

In the process, Anderson earned a monumental career-best world ranking of No 9. – Source:

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Editor: Delien Burger
Picture Editor: Yolande Snyman
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