Issue 316 | 9 March 2018
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The engagement took the form of an extended briefing by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to President Cyril Ramaphosa on South Africa's foreign policy priorities and key international engagements that would form part of the President's schedule in the coming months.
During the State of the Nation Address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated that: "During the course of the next few months, I will visit every national department to engage with the senior leadership to ensure that the work of government is effectively aligned".

To this end, President Ramaphosa visited DIRCO on 6 March 2018. The occasion also gave President Ramaphosa an opportunity meet the political leadership, senior management and staff of DIRCO.

President Ramaphosa, who was accompanied by The Presidency's Director-General, Dr Cassius Lubisi, advisers and officials, was received by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Deputy Ministers, Llewellyn Landers and Reginah Mhaule.
President Ramaphosa underscored the centrality of DIRCO – "as the face and mirror of our country" – in solidifying South Africa's position in the region, continent and the world and sustaining the pursuit of a better South Africa in a better Africa and a better world.

The President called on the department to use South Africa's diplomatic presence in the world to attract investment and facilitate greater volumes of trade.

Minister Sisulu committed that DIRCO would in 2018, as the year of Founding President Nelson Mandela's centenary, advance regionally, continentally and globally Madiba's values of resolving international disputes through peaceful means.
South Africa joined the international community in observing International Women's Day on Thursday, 8 March 2018, under the theme: "#PressforProgress".  
International Women's Day has been a global institution focused on equality for women since it was first observed by the Suffragettes in 1911.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on all South Africans to use International Women's Day 2018 to decide what they can do in their personal lives, communities, businesses and organisations to advance all aspects of gender equality.

President Ramaphosa said South Africans should dedicate International Women's Day 2018 to the memory of Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, whose centenary is being celebrated this year. She was a courageous leader both of the struggle for national liberation and of the struggle for gender emancipation.

"We have a responsibility to the memory of Ma Sisulu and to the many women who walked alongside her to intensify the struggle for gender equality in all areas of life.

"We must work together to significantly improve the status of women – and especially young women – in the economy, ensuring that we achieve gender parity. Women must be equally represented in the workplace and must receive equal pay," he said.

President Ramaphosa said society needed to tackle the economic and social factors that prevented young women from completing school and accessing further education. Government will strengthen the support it provides to women entrepreneurs and businesspeople.

President Ramaphosa said the success of society's efforts to grow the economy and create jobs would be measured in a large part by the impact it had on the lives of South African women. President Ramaphosa said: "South Africa has made great strides since the advent of democracy to advance and affirm women as part of building a non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and united country.

"At the same time, we are confronted with the reality of women continuing to experience discrimination and disadvantage at home and in the workplace.

"The renewal off our country must entail a renewal of societal values that will position women and men alongside one another in a nation of equals. Patriarchy has no place in the South Africa we are building today.

"President Ramaphosa urged South Africans from all walks of life to join the global campaign, #PressforProgress, and play an active part in creating a better life for women in the country and around the world.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.  
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), on Friday, 2 March 2018, undertook working visits to Luanda in the Republic of Angola and Windhoek in the Republic of Namibia to hold consultative meetings with President João Lourenço of Angola and President Hage Geingob of Namibia, respectively.

Angola is the current Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation while Botswana hosts the SADC Secretariat and Namibia is the incoming SADC Chair after South Africa.

President Ramaphosa also travelled to Gaborone in the Republic of Botswana on Saturday, 3 March 2018, and held a consultative meeting with President Seretse Khama Ian Khama.

The President and his counterparts discussed bilateral cooperation as well as regional, continental and global issues of mutual concern.
President Ramaphosa paid a particular focus on the latest political and security developments in the region, including the regional economic integration agenda in SADC.  

"Firstly, as a Chairperson of SADC, I thought it was appropriate to meet with President Lourenço, who is the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, to discuss peace and security issues in the region, particularly in Lesotho, Madagascar as well as in the Democratic Republic of Congo," President Ramaphosa said.

After a visit to Namibia as the incoming Chair of SADC after South Africa, the President concluded his trip by paying a courtesy call to the outgoing Botswana President, Lt. Gen Khama, in Gaborone during which the two heads of state agreed to further strengthen bilateral relations between South Africa and Botswana.

In his capacity as the Chairperson of SADC, President Ramaphosa also visited the SADC headquarters in Gaborone and held constructive talks with the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has noted a number of international organisations and individuals commenting on the parliamentary processes in South Africa in relation to land distribution. There is no need to panic or be alarmist.  
The President has already said in Parliament and on a number of public platforms while addressing various stakeholders that there was no need to panic; that the matter was being handled properly for the benefit of all South Africans; that views and concerns of all South African stakeholders would be considered during the Parliamentary processes; and that Parliament would take a decision for the benefit of all South Africans.

"There is a parliamentary process underway and all stakeholders, domestic and international, must respect that process and also take advantage of that process to make their input. The President remains committed to engage all stakeholders during this process," Minister Sisulu said.

Minister Sisulu added that: "The international community played an important role in the fight against apartheid and all its repressive and discriminatory policies. We invite members of the international community to continue supporting our efforts to reverse the legacy of apartheid".
  Madiba is a global icon who is revered worldwide as a champion of human ights, non-racism and non-sexism. He played a critical role in unifying South Africans and inspiring democratic unity across Africa and the globe.
At its recent meeting, Cabinet joined President Cyril Ramaphosa in his call on South Africans to reaffirm a shared commitment to serve people as we continue to celebrate the centenary of the birth of former President Nelson Mandela. Madiba is the first President of a democratic South Africa and would have turned 100 years of age on 18 July 2018.

The first celebration of Nelson Mandela's centenary took place during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2018. A number of events will be held throughout the country this year to reflect on the life of Tata Madiba.

"Cabinet calls upon all South Africans to join in the centenary celebrations in their workplaces, schools, churches and civic organisations. It calls on each one of us this year to emulate the values of Nelson Mandela by working in our respective ways to build a united, non-racist, non-sexist and prosperous country."

The country also celebrates the centenary of one of the great daughters of the African soil, Mama Albertina Sisulu, who dedicated her life to fight for the emancipation of women and the liberation of South Africa. Cabinet will in the next meeting also outline a programme for the celebration of the centenary of Mama Albertina Sisulu.
Meetings Africa 2018 was recently held at the Sandton Convention Centre, with more than 3 000 tourism industry professionals, international and regional buyers, government officials and media attending SA Tourism's annual business events showcase.  
Dubbed "Africa's business tourism lekgotla", Meetings Africa was officially opened by outgoing Tourism Minister, Tokozile Xasa, and SA Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona. It took place in Johannesburg for the 13th time and had established itself as the top MICE (Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Events) industry event on the continent.

Speaking at the opening, Minister Xasa said: "Tourism is a key growth sector for the South African economy, sustaining over 700 000 jobs. The business tourism sector alone sustains more than 252 000 of direct and indirect jobs and generated more than R115 billion for the South African economy in the last financial year. Our President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on us to double our efforts in growing the tourism sector, and we all need to put out hand to the wheel and not let him down."

About 200 hosted international buyers from over 40 countries attended Meetings Africa, together with some 50 African association buyers and more than 60 local corporate buyers. Among the more than 300 exhibitors, 14 African countries participated, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Ntshona said: "The tourism industry is a strong contributor to our economy on the continent, offering great opportunities for growth … South Africa has already secured event bids estimated to contribute R2,2 billion between now and 2021."

Speaking at Meetings Africa, Lebogang Maile, Gauteng MEC of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, said he was glad the prestigious event had found a home in the province.

"The hosting of this event in our city region is further evidence that we are indeed a world-class destination for MICE. Business events, mainly meetings and exhibitions, are the largest segment of the events industry. Research conducted by the International Special Events Society in 2015 indicated that the global spend on events was approximately US$500 billion," he said.
South Africa's black industrialists are this week exploring trade and investment opportunities in Mozambique.  
Led by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), the delegation participated in a Bilateral Business Forum with the Confederation of Associations of Mozambique.

The delegation, which also comprises representatives of the Developmental Bank of Southern Africa, the Central Energy Fund, Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa and members of the Board-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council, among others, also partakes in business-to-business networking sessions and site visits.

Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, said the mission, which got underway on Sunday, 4 March, was undertaken to address the second pillar of the Black Industrialist Policy, which speaks to access to markets both locally and continentally.  
"Mozambique forms part of the top five South African partners on the continent and has since addressed a series of macro-economic reforms designed to stabilise its economy. These reforms, along with its political stability since the multiparty elections of 1994, have led to dramatic improvements in its growth rate. It is of the outmost importance that we intensify the strength of our relations, especially in the area of economic cooperation and investment," said Minister Davies.

Launched in March 2016, the Black Industrialists Programme was developed as an intervention to nurture, support and take black industrialists to the next level.

Cabinet approved the Black Industrialists Policy, which aligns with the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the National Development Plan and the Nine Point Plan in November 2015.

On Sunday, 5 March, Minister Davies said the trade mission to Mozambique was one of several missions that the dti had invested in to ensure that black industrialists participate in intra-Africa trade opportunities, while also forging networks and partnerships with relevant businesses and industry associations with the market.

The trade and investment mission will conclude on Saturday, 11 March. – Source:
  The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, received a R200 000-donation from the Chinese Embassy and Chinese community in South Africa in Johannesburg on Sunday, 4 March 2018. The donation is to support wildlife protection efforts by the South African Government, and will be used at the Kruger National Park.
The donation formed part of the Chinese Lantern Festival and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa. The carnival was hosted by the Chinese Embassy and the Chinese community and consisted of art performances, Chines cuisine tasting and a charity sale. The proceeds of the carnival will be donated to South Africa for wildlife protection, thereby showing China's commitment to fighting against wildlife crimes.
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has bulked up security at the country's points of entry to ensure the protection of big cats and other wildlife.  
To mark World Wildlife Day on 3 March, the department deployed South African Revenue Service (SARS) K9 sniffer dogs to OR Tambo International Airport to detect attempts to smuggle wildlife into the country.

In addition to this, the department's Environmental Management Inspectors (EMIs), also known as the Green Scorpions, inspected a consignment of birds for export from South Africa to ensure that the consignment has met all legal requirements.

"These are just two of the actions taken daily at points of entry and exit to ensure that the smuggling of wildlife is halted and that our natural world is protected.

"About 300 legal wildlife-related consignments are exported and imported on a monthly basis at this airport and our EMIs inspected and endorsed approximately 4 200 CITES [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] permits during 2017," said the department's Director-General, Ishaam Abader.

Guided by this year's theme: "Big Cats: Predators under Threat", lions, leopards and cheetahs are the focus of protection and conservation efforts.

To combat the illegal trade of these animals, a range of measures have been introduced in South Africa to ensure that cat populations are conserved and properly managed. 

"This includes the implementation of a Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Lion. The Scientific Authority of South Africa conducted a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF), as required by CITES. The final NDF was published for implementation on 23 January 2018," said DG Abader.

According to the NDF, for lions, there are at present no major threats to the wild and managed lion populations within South Africa, although the management of reintroduced wild lion needs some improvement.

Minor, but non-detrimental, threats include over-utilisation, disease, poaching and conflict with communities around protected areas.

While the focus may be on big cats this year, Wildlife Day also takes stock of the efforts of law-enforcement officials to prevent wildlife crimes.

The declaration of wildlife crime as a priority crime in South Africa resulted in the joint collaboration of the National Prosecuting Authority, the police and institutions such as the Airports Company South Africa.

The Green Scorpions assist SARS and South African Police Service with cases where illegally traded rhino horn have been detected.

Since August 2016, this collaboration resulted in the seizure of 11 rhino horn at OR Tambo.

The DEA is currently working with WWF-SA on a project to increase its ability to tackle wildlife trafficking in South Africa.

"This project, funded by a grant from the United States Department of State's Bureau of International & Law Enforcement Affairs, focuses on the development of further training materials to bolster our national compliance and enforcement programme," said DG Abader.

The training materials include an e-learning platform for officials, audiovisual materials, specific curriculum and manuals, which assist law-enforcement agencies to effectively detect the smuggling of wildlife. – Source:
Two lions rescued from zoos in war-torn countries Iraq and Syria are on their way to their forever home at Lionsrock Big Cat Sanctuary in the Free State.  
Both were rescued by United States animal protection organisation, Four Paws, last year and have been temporarily housed at Al Ma'wa animal shelter in Jordan. According to their crowdfunding page on GiveAgain, they were rescued in an extremely skinny and undernourished state, from abandoned zoos where most of the other animals have died.

They've been at the Jordanian facility since their rescue, where they regained their weight and learned to trust their human caretakers. ABC reports the lions received vasectomies, dental work and lamb meat as a special treat.

Although they are happy there, they have reached the age where they need to socialise with other lions, thus the decision was made to relocate them to South Africa. Their main trainer, Saif Rwashdeh, will be travelling with them to South Africa to make the integration into Lionsrock's pride easier.

They will not be released into the wild as they are captive bred.

Lionsrock was taken over by Four Paws in 2006 and since then, major upgrades were done to the property. More than 90 big cats have made the Free State sanctuary their forever home. Here, the enclosures are built in a circle so that the animals never feel cornered and include grassland with bushes and trees, as well as a rocky outcrop for those Lion King outlooks. – Source:
  Making history on Friday, 2 March, the first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe made its final port docking in Cape Town.
The boat was set down outside of the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront, rounding up a 187-day voyage. The trip started on 10 September 2017 from Goa, India, and was flagged by Nirmala Sitharaman, India's Defence Minister.

The crew docked in Cape Town on the same day as the 2018 Hindi Holi festival, making this final port of call one to remember and ferociously celebrate.

The crew consisted of six Indian Navy women who have trained and put in the work to make this historic moment possible: Lieutenant Commander (Lt Cdr) Vartika Joshi, Lt Cdr Pratibha Jamwal, Lt Cdr Swathi P, Lt Aishwarya Boddapati, Lt Sh Vijaya Devi and Lt Payal Gupta. They had set out on a circumnavigation visiting several places to complete this trying voyage.

In its circumnavigation, the boat has visited Freemantle, Australia; Lyttelton, New Zealand; Port Stanley, Falklands; and Cape Town. According to the press release from the Consulate General of India, Cape Town, for a sail boat's voyage to qualify as circumnavigation it has to start and finish at the same port.

The sailing crew aboard the INSV Tarini were welcomed by Mayor Patricia de Lille as well as the Indian high Commissioner to South Africa and the Indian Consul General for India in Cape Town.

The Mayor said the women's achievement showed women could achieve anything they wanted with hard work.

In total, the Indian crew will cover a distance of 21 600 nautical miles and do it without any engine for propulsion. – Source:
  The Springboks will kick off their 2018 international season on an historic note when they face Wales in a once-off Test in Washington DC in the United States of America on Saturday, 2 June.
This momentous match – the first time the Boks will face tier one opposition on neutral ground outside the Rugby World Cup – was confirmed by event hosts, Rugby International Marketing (RIM), the commercial arm of USA Rugby. Kick-off is scheduled for 17h00 (23h00 SA time) in the
Robert F Kennedy Stadium (RFK) in Washington DC.

It will be the 34rd Test between South Africa and Wales, with the Springboks having won 28 tests, lost four while one encounter ended in a draw, for a winning rate of 85%. Wales won the last two tests between these teams, both in Cardiff.

The match – the first between two top tier teams in the US capital – was announced at a special ceremony at the South African Embassy in Washington DC. The South African Ambassador to the United States, Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, and the First Minister of Wales, Carwin Jones AM, were in attendance.

Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby, said the Springboks were delighted to play against Wales on US soil. It will be the Boks' first visit to that country since December 2001, when they beat the USA Eagles, 43-20, in Houston.

"The match in Washington allows us to take Springbok rugby to America and to potentially expand the team's appeal to a very large audience," said Roux.

"Our research shows that the Springboks have a growing worldwide fan base and we see the match in Washington as ideal platform to tap into a market that offers huge possibilities for South African rugby, in the exciting American sporting area."

Tickets for the match will go on sale from Tuesday, 13 March.
South Africa's Jordy Smith will be in the thick of things at the Founders' Cup of Surfing, an historic region-versus-region team event featuring a cross-section of the world's best surfers to be held at Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, from 5 to 6 May.  
Five teams – United States of America, Brazil, Australia, Europe and World – made up of men's and women's surfers from the elite WSL Championship Tour, will compete over the two-day event at the world-class, man-made wave venue of Surf Ranch.

The competition will be hosted against a festival backdrop honouring the culture of surfing – food, music, beverage, art and special guests will all be on site for enjoyment.

South Africa's Smith, universally regarded as one of the most progressive and powerful surfers on the planet, will captain the five-person World Team.

"Being able to captain the World Team is a real honour," Smith said.

"Our respective countries may not have the same numbers at the elite level as the USA, Brazil and Australia, but we are able to draw from a huge talent pool. It should be really exciting.

"This technology has captured the imagination of the global surfing community and created a number of new opportunities for the WSL," Sophie Goldschmidt, World Surf League CEO, said.

"The Founders' Cup of Surfing will be the organisation's first public event at the facility and we're very excited to showcase the wave and the world's best surfers through this unique team format in May."

The Surf Ranch facility, which was revealed online to the public in December 2015, boasts the best man-made wave in history – a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel and other sections. – Source:

  Team South Africa will truly be dressed for success at this year's Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
The official team kit launch took place in style at the Mall of Africa in Midrand on 27 February, Gauteng. He Italian clothing giant, Lotto Sport, Italia has designed all the team's sporting apparel.

A variety of South Africa's most decorated sportsmen and women showed off the brand-new kit, which saw a bold move away from the traditional green and gold design.

Speaking at the launch, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president, Gideon Sam, said it was indeed a proud moment.

"No-one is more aware than us of the past controversies surrounding some of the team kits at previous multi-code events. With this in mind, we have asked the people that count, namely the athletes, to play an integral part in the kit design."

National sports legend Natalie du Toit, now head of the Athletes Commission at SASCOC, said "a picture is worth a thousand words" was particularly apt.

For their part, an official Lotto statement said: "Today, Lotto is proud to announce the partnership with SASCOC, which confirms its commitment to the Olympic spirit. Whether you are training for the Olympics or for a local tournament, compete honourably, and Lotto will be there for you."

Explained a proud Du Toit: "For a few months leading up to the Games, athletes watch social media with bated breath, interested in what the Australian team and the American team kit will look like."

"This is usually sent out at around the same time as the major qualification competitions for that specific international competition.

"It is with pride that Team South Africa is able to do this too!

"One of the first tasks of our Athletes Commission was to design the kit for the Commonwealth Games team 2018. We as the commission got straight to it and created something that we are proud of as a commission to present.

"As our commission is represented by multi-coded sports players, we are proud to say that the designs have three specific aspects in mind.

"Firstly, we have designed colour and fit to be wheelchair-friendly, secondly, we have designed colours that could be worn with any part of the kit and thirdly, we were adamant to not be completely green."

The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be staged between 4 to 15 April in the east coast city of Gold Coast. – Source: African News Agency
  South Africa's favourite "sand angel" Luvo Manyonga added yet another medal to his growing collection with silver in the long jump at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England, on Friday, 2 March.
Manyonga – crowned outdoor world champion in England (London) last year, where even the BBC tweeted pics of him celebrating sand-angel style after his 8.48m winning jump – had a best of 8.44 metres.

But that was two centimetres shy of victory as Cuban teenager, Juan Miguel Echevarria, became the youngest world indoor gold medallist in the history of the championships, at just 19 years of age.

Manyonga started in an out-of-sorts fashion after fouling in his opening two jumps but sprang into action with an 8.33m effort which put him into the lead.

But Echevarria responded immediately with an 8.36 jump to regain the lead.

Manyonga was now up for the fight and his next effort of 8.44 was yet another new Africa indoor record, his third in recent weeks.

The Cuban upstart then unleashed his 8.46 leap, which would prove to be the winning jump of the night.

Manyonga fouled his final two attempts but was still upbeat considering his inexperience at this type of competition.

"This is my first-ever world indoors and only my third-ever indoor event, so it means a lot to get a medal," the South African told the IAAF website. – Source:
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Editor: Delien Burger
Picture Editor: Yolande Snyman
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