Issue 318 | 22 March 2018
If this newsletter doesn’t load or images don’t display, please click here
President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the historic adoption by the African Union (AU) of an Agreement on the AfCFTA as a new beginning for the continent that will catapult African countries and companies to much higher levels of growth.
President Ramaphosa led a South African delegation to the 10th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on 21 March 2018.

The theme of the AU for the year 2018, under which its summits was held, is: "Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa's Transformation".

President Ramaphosa has undertaken that South Africa will become a signatory to the agreement once the legal and other instruments associated with AfCFTA are processed and ratified by South African stakeholders and Parliament. The agreement was adopted on Wednesday 21 March 2018, by the 10th Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU.

As a demonstration of South Africa's unequivocal commitment to this continental venture, President Ramaphosa signed the Kigali Declaration for the Launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area during today's plenary session of the Summit.


"This is an opportunity that is going to yield great benefits for all countries on the continent as well as big business, small companies and micro-traders," President Ramaphosa said at the conclusion of his Working Visit to the Republic of Rwanda.

In remarks prepared for delivery to the Summit, in his capacity as the Chair of the South African Development Community, President Ramaphosa said the trade-focused Kigali Summit was a "forward step in the arduous journey to translate the African Continental Free Trade Area legal instrument into an effective conduit for increased trade and investment across the African continent".
  He urged that the AfCTFA should provide new and meaningful trade and investment opportunities across the African continent.

"Africa's vulnerabilities and limited participation in global trade are indicative of its traditional reliance on the export of raw commodities and the import of value-added products," President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Gratitude Magwanishe.

On Tuesday, 20 March 2018, President Ramaphosa paid a courtesy call and had a working lunch with host President Paul Kagame. The presidents held discussions on strengthening bilateral relations and strengthening cooperation on continental and global questions. President Ramaphosa also served as chair of an AfCFTA Business Forum on the financing of intra-African trade, before attending a welcome dinner hosted by President Kagame in honour of visiting Heads of State and Government.
  President Cyril Ramaphosa will this evening, 22 March 2018, deliver the keynote address at the fourth Annual Ubuntu Awards in Cape Town.

The awards will be held under the theme: "Honouring Madiba: A Global Champion of Human Rights, Peace and Reconciliation".

Launched in 2015 by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Ubuntu Awards celebrate South African citizens who play an active role in projecting a positive image of South Africa internationally through diligent service in their respective fields.

Among the participants will be members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of Parliament, Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and other invited guests.



  The South African Government is saddened to learn of the passing on 19 March 2018 of the Vietnamese Prime Minister from 1997 to 2006, Phan Van Khai. The late former Prime Minister contributed greatly to the building and development of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai played an important role in promoting bilateral relations between South Africa and Vietnam. During his Official Visit to South Africa in 2004, former Prime Minister Phan Van Khai met his counterpart, then President Thabo Mbeki, and the two leaders officially established the South Africa-Vietnam Inter-Governmental Partnership Forum for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Cultural Cooperation (Partnership Forum or PF).

President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, extended a message of condolences to the Government and People of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam during this moment of sadness and grief.
President Cyril Ramaphosa conducted working visits to the republics of Mozambique and Zimbabwe on the second leg of what he described as his "pilgrimage" to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states following his election as President in February 2018.
President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and the Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, as he paid courtesy calls on Presidents Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.

The visits formed part of a longstanding SADC tradition, in terms of which newly elected heads of state pay courtesy calls on neighbouring countries.

In Maputo, Presidents Ramaphosa and Nyusi underscored the strength of the bilateral relations between South Africa and Mozambique. The leaders emphasised the need for the two countries to deepen economic cooperation during the third session in South Africa later this year of the Bi-national Commission (BNC) that oversees relations between the two states.

The Presidents identified agriculture, energy, investment in rail and road infrastructure, tourism and the movement of people between the two countries as areas for engagement during the forthcoming BNC.

President Ramaphosa's visit to Harare follows President Mnangagwa's visit – his first abroad – to South Africa in December 2017, soon after his inauguration as President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is due to hold elections towards the middle of 2018.

During the deliberations, the two heads of state reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries. They acknowledged the historical and fraternal relations that existed between the two sister republics.

They further noted the depth and extent of bilateral cooperation as evidenced by the existence of more than 40 bilateral agreements covering a broad range of sectors, including mining, agriculture, retail, transport, communications, energy, tourism, labour, immigration and security.

President Ramaphosa commended President Mnangagwa on his efforts to revitalise the Zimbabwean economy. In this regard, President Ramaphosa committed to support Zimbabwe in this endeavour by encouraging South African state-owned companies and the private sector to invest in the Zimbabwean economy, noting that Zimbabwe is one of South Africa's top five trade partners. More than 120 South African companies are doing business across a broad range of sectors in Zimbabwe.

The Presidents reaffirmed the strategic importance of the Beitbridge border post. In this regard, they committed to the establishment of a one-stop border post to facilitate the easy movement of people, goods and services, acknowledging that Beitbridge is the busiest border crossing in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Presidents further reaffirmed the need to prioritise economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the respective countries and peoples.

They identified the following sectors as key in strengthening economic cooperation: agro-processing, mining, tourism, energy and infrastructure development.

The two heads of state further reviewed the political and security situation in the SADC region and the continent.

In this regard, they noted that SADC was generally politically stable, with the exception of a few challenges in the region which are attended to by the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The two Presidents agreed to consult regularly on issues of mutual concern.

President Ramaphosa wished President Mnangagwa and the people of Zimbabwe well as they prepare for mid-year elections.


  The President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, congratulated his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, following the outcome of the elections held on Sunday, 18 March 2018, that saw President Putin re-elected for a further six-year term.
President Ramaphosa said the overwhelming victory as announced on Monday, 19 March 2018, demonstrated that the people of the Russian Federation had faith in the leadership of President Putin.

President Ramaphosa said he looked forward to further strengthening the already existing political, economic and trade ties between South Africa and the Russian Federation.

South Africa and the Russian Federation enjoy close ties dating back to the days of the struggle against apartheid. Direct contacts between the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the African National Congress were established on a regular basis during 1963.

With the dissolution of the USSR, South Africa became the first African state to recognise the independence of the Russian Federation. Full diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Russian Federation were established in February 1992.

South Africa and the Russian Federation share common views and perspectives on several regional and multilateral issues, including matters relating to Africa; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS); the United Nations and the G20. President Ramaphosa said he looked forward to further engagement on these and other matters of mutual interest and concern.  President Putin is expected to visit South Africa in July 2018 on the occasion of the 10th BRICS Summit.


President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended his warm congratulations to President Xi Jinping on his re-election as the President of the People's Republic of China at the 13th National People's Congress.  
President Xi's re-election is a vote of confidence by the people of China in his sterling leadership as well as his ability to steer China well into the future as a leading country that will positively impact on the global community.

President Ramaphosa said: "South Africa is confident that the strong bilateral relations between our two countries that is built on a historical legacy of friendship and partnership will continue to grow in scope and stature in the coming years."

Since the establishment of bilateral ties in January 1998, cooperation in the political, economic and social spheres has grown significantly and continues to flourish.

President Ramaphosa said he wished President Xi as well as the Government and the people of China success and prosperity and looked forward to personally receiving President Xi during his visit to South Africa in July 2018 to attend the 10th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit.
  The South African Government is deeply saddened to learn that on 12 March 2018, a Bangladeshi aircraft carrying 67 passengers and four crew members crashed on landing at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, killing at least 50 people.
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa extended his sincere condolences to the Government and people of Bangladesh and Nepal on the tragic loss of life, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The South African Government and its people stand with the people of Bangladesh and Nepal, particularly the families of the deceased, during this time of mourning.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, attended an informal World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministers Meeting in India from 19 to 20 March 2018.
"The purpose of the informal WTO Ministers Meeting in New Delhi is for ministers to engage on free and frank discussions on the issues in the WTO to safeguard and strengthen the multilateral trading system," said the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

The two-day meeting in New Delhi followed the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) that took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017. 

The dti said the lack of substantial outcomes at MC11, especially on outstanding issues in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), revealed the scope and depth of divergences among countries.

It also highlighted the lack of a shared understanding between countries on development.

The DDA is the latest trade negotiation round of the WTO, which commenced in November 2001. Its objective is to lower trade barriers around the world to facilitate increased global trade.

"The Indian Government that is organising this meeting, expressed the hope that this will lead to political guidance on some of the major issues, both at the negotiating table and also provide an opportunity for Ministers to share ideas on issues they consider to be critical for reinvigorating the WTO," said the dti. – Source:
The Department of Trade and Industry is this week leading the first Outward Selling Mission (OSM) to Colombia, which South Africa sees as an important high-growth market.  
Minister Rob Davies said the department identified the South American country as an important high-growth market that showed high export potential for South African products and services.

"The OSM to Colombia was recommended as a result of the scoping mission that our officials undertook in June 2015. The objective of the technical visit was to scope the market and identify trade and investment opportunities for South African products and services, including opportunities for joint ventures on projects in both countries," said Minister Davies on Sunday, 18 March 2018.

The technical mission in 2015 identified an impressive number of business opportunities for South African companies to develop and increase trade between the two countries.

It also recommended that the emphasis should be on value-added products, especially in the mining, industrial and automotive sectors. Numerous value-added products with potential for export from South Africa to Colombia were identified.

The objective of the mission, which got underway on Tuesday, 20 March, is to forge relationships with key industry-specific stakeholders in Colombia, and to build an export market for the South African value-added products and services as South Africa seeks to diversify its exporter base.

"The OSM is expected to introduce and create awareness of the South African products and services in the Colombian market. It will also assist companies that will be part of the mission to generate trade leads and identify potential buyers, investment opportunities and possible partners for joint ventures," said the Minister.

As a result, the mission encompasses South African companies operating in the mining, agro-processing, capital equipment, engineering, construction and automotive components sectors participating in the programme.

The companies' participation is supported by the dti through the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme (EMIA).

The objective of the scheme is to develop export markets for South African products and services and to recruit new foreign direct investment into the country.

The mission will comprise a trade and investment seminar hosted by the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, and attended by various critical players in the automotive, agro-processing and mining industries in Colombia who seek to understand more about the trade and investment opportunities in South Africa.

In addition, the South African delegation will be conducting business-to-business meetings with relevant partner institutions, as well as site visits in the economic capital of Bogota, and the Caribbean regional ports of Barranquilla, Santa Marta and Cartagena.

Colombia's economy is South America's third-largest behind Brazil and Argentina. The country's economy has been experiencing positive growth in the past three years largely due to the Government's export-oriented growth strategy and an improved security situation.

Trade between South Africa and Colombia grew from R419 million in 2011 to more than R858 million in 2017. The trade mission will conclude on Saturday, 24 March. – Source:


From 19 to 21 March, Brand South Africa is engaging with South African citizens living in Australia.  
In executing its mandate to position the country positively and manage its reputation, Brand South Africa participates in and organises a series of engagements with citizens both domestically and internationally.  These engagements are aimed at highlighting the status of the Nation Brand while encouraging citizens to become brand ambassadors and rally behind efforts to strengthen the country's reputation and profile.

Through this, it is anticipated that South Africans can become citizens who actively play their part in this national endeavour.

Explaining the importance of South Africans in the Diaspora, Brand South Africa's CEO, Kingsley Makhubela, says "South Africans living abroad are one of the most important constituencies because of their ability to promote and profile the country positively.

"As part of the engagements in Perth, Brand South Africa will share information on of the performance of the Nation Brand. Through this process, it is anticipated that these Global South Africans can be encouraged to fly the South African flag and therefore contribute to collective efforts to promote South Africa as a globally competitive business and tourist destination." Brand South Africa is the custodian of South Africa's image and reputation and is targeting the 180 000 South African immigrants in Australia, to define their own niche and contribute to the promotion of their country there.
  Patients with chronic illnesses in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, will no longer have to stand in long queues to get their medication as the Gauteng Health Department recently launched Africa's first ATM pharmacy.
The innovative Pharmacy Dispensing Unit (PDU) is the first of its kind in Africa and was developed by a team of experts from Gauteng Health.

The PDU will reduce congestion in public healthcare facilities. It works like an ATM for medication, with Skype-like audiovisual interaction between patient and pharmacists and robotic technology to dispense medication.

The groundbreaking system allows people to get their medication within three minutes. It's hoped this will cut congestion at public healthcare facilities. – Source:
Virgin Atlantic recently announced that it would be starting a second daily flight service between OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and Heathrow Airport in London.  
Although the new flights will go on sale on 24 March, the new flights will only start departing on 28 October this year with a Boeing 787-9, which will have in-flight WiFi. Between the two flights, the airline expects to transport over 300 000 passengers annually and will also increase cargo capacity between the two countries.

Passengers will have the option of choosing between the airline's three new economy tickets – light, classic and delight. There will be 36 Economy Delight seats on the new route, which include priority check-in and boarding, free seat selection and 34-inch more legroom for those who want their space.

The flight will leave London at 16:45 and will land at 05:40 the next day in South Africa, and the return flight will depart at 22:20 and land at 07:30 in London, which makes it perfect timing for business travellers according to Virgin Atlantic.

The time slot also makes it easier for connecting passengers to make their flights to US destinations in partnership with Delta.

"Virgin Atlantic has been proud to serve South Africa for over 21 years. Johannesburg is one of the most popular destinations on our network, so we're delighted to add a second daily service to create even more travel opportunities for our customers," says Shai Weiss, COO of Virgin Atlantic.

According to the head of Middle East and Africa for the airline, Liezl Gericke, the new seats mean that Virgin Atlantic is contributing to the expected 9% annual growth of air travel between South Africa and the United Kingdom in the first quarter.

Airport Company South Africa COO, Fundi Sithebe, is looking forward to growing OR Tambo International Airport's partnership with the airline.

"OR Tambo International Airport, as one of the key hubs in the southern hemisphere, stands to benefit from these additional seats at such a critical moment where airlines are looking at capacity rationalisation as global oil prices are surging.

"Moreover, with over a third of North American travellers connecting through European gateways to and from southern Africa, the additional flight will enhance Virgin Atlantic's transatlantic connectivity and attractiveness with its partners," says Sithebe. – Source:
Thousands of spectators were enthralled by the artistic talent, creative beauty and cultural diversity on display at the 2018 Cape Town Carnival in Green Point, under the theme" "Mother City, Mother Nature".
The carnival, held on 17 March 2018, made for a fabulous family night out, boasting some of the city's most mind-blowing works of art. This year's spectacular parade included singers, dancers, musicians and artists who reflected Mzansi's melting pot of cultures and creativity through dynamic floats and dance pieces, as well as Cape Town's fire department, police force and service personnel who are considered the city's heroes.

Rachel Jafta, Chairperson of the Carnival Trust, said: "Our African identity, our diverse communities and our variety of cultures all came alive tonight, beautifully showcasing the theme". – Source:
The good-looking global icon was in South Africa as part of the launch of Haig Club of which he is an international ambassador.  
Beckham was in South Africa to launch a new brand of single grain Scotch whisky and was seen on Instagram, taking selfies at the Joburg branch of Diageo in Midrand.

Even though the brand has been available in South Africa for a while, last week saw the official launch of Haig Club whisky with a large media event taking place on 15 March at News Cafe in Sandton. – Source:
  Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will captain the United States and the International teams at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne.
Former world number one Woods and South African star Els have a long history in the event, including a famous 2003 duel where they competed in a sudden-death playoff that ended in a tie and saw the trophy shared.

Els has played in the tournament eight times between 1996 and 2013 while Woods is also an eight-time playing veteran after making his debut in 1998.

Woods, who is on the comeback trail after missing most of the past two years through injury, has holed the winning putt in the Presidents Cup on no fewer than three occasions.

"Ernie Els and Tiger Woods have each been part of the fabric of the Presidents Cup as competitors and as ambassadors to the event," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan.

"Ernie carries the flag for international golf as a legendary figure both on and off the golf course, while Tiger has been one of the most transcendent athletes the sport has ever seen.

"These two have served, and will continue to serve, as a bridge between past team members and captains who laid the foundation for the Presidents Cup and the stars of today."

The 2019 edition of the Ryder Cup-style event will take place from 9 to 15 December next year at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club.

"The Presidents Cup has provided me with many of the best memories of my career," Els said in a statement.

"Tiger and I have had some great duels in the past, and I look forward to the challenge of going against my long-time friend yet again in 2019." – Source:
Stay Connected with us
facebook   youtube

For back issues of Newsflash, visit:
Editor: Delien Burger
Picture Editor: Yolande Snyman
Design and layout: Gladwin Komane


video button video button fina winners