Issue 320 | 28 March 2018
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President Cyril Ramaphosa underscored the importance of South Africa’s relations with members of the BRICS group of countries in engagements with the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation on Friday, 23 March 2018.
In the first engagement in Cape Town, President Ramaphosa hosted a courtesy call by Yang Jiechi, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China and member of the State Council of China.

Mr Yang conveyed to President Ramaphosa President Xi’s warmest personal congratulations as well as the best wishes of the Government and people of China on President Ramaphosa’s election to the position of President in February 2018.

President Ramaphosa in turn conveyed his congratulations and those of the people of South Africa on the recent re-election of President Xi as leader of the People’s Republic of China.

President Ramaphosa said the re-election of President Xi presented an opportunity for South Africa to deepen its strategic and historic political, economic, social and international cooperation with China at a personal, bilateral, regional and global level.

Both parties have agreed to state visits. President Ramaphosa said he was eagerly awaiting a visit by President Xi to South Africa in July ahead of South Africa’s hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit in which Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will participate.

President Ramaphosa will also pay a state visit to China ahead of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit, which President Ramaphosa will co-chair with President Xi, to be held in Beijing in the latter part of this year, with the theme to be strongly focused on a shared future based on a win-win relationship.

China has invited South Africa to participate in the first China Import Expo to be held in November 2018 as a guest country. President Ramaphosa further invited China to support initiatives aimed at South Africa’s economic recovery, including among them, driving the need for greater imports from Africa to China and participation in the upcoming Jobs Summit and Investment Summit.

In his second engagement, President Ramaphosa, on a call with Moscow, congratulated President Vladimir Putin on his re-election by the people of the Russian Federation.

President Ramaphosa said Russia remained an important partner to South Africa and Africa at large, as evidenced by its support for countries of the South in multilateral fora and associations such as BRICS.

President Putin reciprocated by congratulating President Ramaphosa on his assumption of the Presidency and said the Russian Federation stood ready to deepen bilateral relations, notably in the economic terrain.

President Ramaphosa looks forward to hosting President Putin at the BRICS Summit in July, which will signify the beginning of the second decade of cooperation among this group of emerging markets which have a range of developmental advances and challenges in common.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, in her capacity as Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of Ministers, hosted the meeting of the SADC Council of Ministers on 26 and 27 March 2018 at the OR Tambo Building in Pretoria.
Addressing a media conference following the meeting, Minister Sisulu said that during the two days, the SADC Council of Ministers successfully deliberated on several issues of importance to the region in relation to their priority programmes contained in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015 – 2020 (RISDP); the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO II); and the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015 – 2063.

“The Council received progress reports on the implementation of decisions it had taken in August 2017 as well as progress on the implementation of the 2017/18 Corporate Plan of the SADC Secretariat, and approved the operational Plan and Budget for 2018/19.

“The Council noted the achievements recorded across the SADC priority areas of Industrial Development and Market Integration; Infrastructure Support for Regional Integration; Peace and Security; Special Programmes of Regional Dimension; Cross-Cutting Issues; as well as Corporate Services and Institutional Reforms and commended the SADC Secretariat for the significant improvement in both output implementation rate and budget utilisation rates.

“The Council noted progress made on the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap for 2017/18, which includes the identification, profiling andcommencement of the development of value chains in the pharmaceutical, minerals and agro-processing sectors; and directed the Secretariat to convene meetings to assist member states with negotiating and developing value chains in leather, soya, aquaculture, iron and steel, copper, cement and manufacturing of ARVs, malaria medicines and mosquito bed nets.

“The Council noted the progress on the development of the SADC Regional Resource Mobilisation Framework and directed the Secretariat to finalise the framework and other viable and alternative options of financing regional projects.

“The Council approved the establishment of the Regional Financing Facility for SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas to be supported by International Cooperating Partners resources and directed the SADC Secretariat to finalise modalities to operationalise the facility.

“The Council noted the process that had unfolded from the time a decision to reform the African Union (AU) was made by the AU Assembly. While acknowledging that the reform is an absolute necessity, SADC contends that the decisions on the reform should have followed the appropriate procedure, and their implementation should not violate the AU Constitutive Act, Rules of Procedure, national frameworks and other international treaties.

“The Council approved that SADC should be represented by the Chairperson of SADC, Incoming Chairperson of SADC and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in the Committee of 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs; and that the SADC representatives in the Committees of 15 Ministers of Foreign Affairs and 15 Ministers of Finance should regularly report to the SADC Council of Ministers on the specific issues relating to the AU reform process.

“The Council mandated the SADC Ambassadors accredited to the AU to constantly engage with the AU Commission Chairperson and the Head of the Reform Implementation Unit; and directed the Secretariat in consultation with SADC Ambassadors accredited to the AU, to submit regular reports highlighting areas that require further engagements and follow-up to the SADC Council of Ministers.

“In response to the outbreak of listeriosis in the SADC region, the Council urged member states to harmonise Prevention, Detection and Response procedures; strengthen the control of food industries in terms of compliance to food safety standards; and to enforce policies that are aligned to international codes.

“The Council further urged member states to strengthen cross-border collaboration in the importation of processed foods; and to establish mechanisms for inter-sectoral and multisectoral coordination and effective communication to facilitate the implementation of core public health capacities and all hazards risk assessment approach, including addressing risk management for listeriosis outbreak.”
South Africa and Norway have developed a close relationship dating back to the early struggle years when Norway became an active supporter of organised resistance against the apartheid regime.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, on 23 March 2018, hosted his Norwegian counterpart, Secretary-General Marienne Hagen, in Pretoria. The High-Level Consultation Meeting took place within the framework of the 1996 Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Political Consultations between the two countries.

The High-Level Committee Meeting gave the Deputy Minister the opportunity to discuss with his counterpart matters of mutual interest, which would benefit both countries. South Africa and Norway have sought to deepen cooperation in areas such as the maritime sector, alternative and renewable energy, environmental protection, science and technology and skills development.
South Africa’s business delegation, led by the Department of Trade and Industry, was in Nigeria recently on the second leg of the Outward Trade and Investment Mission (OSIM).
The OSIM to Lagos, Nigeria, aimed to increase trade and investment between South Africa and the West African nation.

The Acting High Commissioner of South Africa in Nigeria, Bobby Moroe, welcomed the delegation, saying the South African Government invested in international trade and investment missions in order to assist companies to contribute to creating the much-needed jobs for the country’s people.

“As representatives of the Government of South Africa, we are entrusted with the task of enhancing political and economic relations between the countries we are posted in and South Africa.

“Our task is to promote cordial mutual bilateral relations that will enable us to position South Africa as a country of choice for bilateral trade and investment. It is the interaction between our political and economic relations that opens doors for our companies to engage in two-way trade and investment activities,” Acting High Commissioner Moroe said.

Meanwhile, Chief Director of Trade and Invest Africa, Zanele Sanni, said the visit to Nigeria was aimed at South Africa forming continuous and sustainable economic relations with West African countries. This is in order to advance industrial development and diversification.

“Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and one of the few countries that South Africa suffers a trade deficit with. The mission is therefore intended to penetrate the Nigerian market with South African manufactured products and to further exploit investment opportunities,” she said.

The Trade Invest Africa Initiative, which was created in April 2016, aims to be the arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) that coordinates and implements South Africa's economic strategy for Africa, premised on the Development Integration approach.

The total value of trade between South Africa and Nigeria for 2017 amounted to R28,5 billion.

Sectors targeted for the mission in Nigeria were agro-processing and agribusiness, furniture and wood processing, infrastructure as well as the built environment.

The programme for the mission included trade and investment seminars, site visits and business-to-business meetings.

A two-nation OSIM also got underway in Ghana recently.

Speaking ahead of the OSIM, Minister Rob Davies said South Africa had prioritised Ghana and Nigeria as part of the country’s integrated national export strategy.

“We have prioritised engagements with these two strategic markets as part of our integrated national export strategy aimed at developing new markets for South Africa’s value-added and manufactured goods, and services with an emphasis on Africa and emerging markets,” he said.

The total value of trade between South Africa and Ghana for 2017 amounted to R5,5 billion.

– Source:
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, in partnership with the National Heritage Council of South Africa (NHC) is hosting Africa's first-ever Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Roundtable on the African Liberation Heritage from 27 to 29 March 2018 in Pretoria.
Taking place under the theme: “Roads to Independence: The African Liberation Heritage – Towards An Integrated SADC Roadmap to the Africa We Want”, the occasion is bringing together ministers of arts and culture, senior government officials and technical experts from the region to deliberate on the best strategy to effectively achieve the implementation of the African Liberation Heritage Programme (ALHP) as a collective.

As agreed in the bilateral meeting between Minister Mthethwa and the former Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports of the United Republic of Tanzania, Nape Nnauye, on 18 November 2016, the SADC Ministerial Roundtable Discussion will seek to reinvigorate inclusive integrated planning on the implementation of the ALHP.

“It is envisaged that the conclusions of the discussions will enable the adoption of key resolutions to guide efforts in fast-tracking implementation of the ALHP in the region. An acceleration of a coordinated approach to liberation heritage across all spheres of government and increased alignment with civil society and business is expected following this gathering,” said Minister Mthethwa.

Convened by Tanzania, the main task of the ALHP is to identify, preserve, commemorate and document the common African liberation struggle history and memory to ensure that the current and future generation knows about our collective fight for the continent’s independence and development.

Adv Sonwabile Mancotywa, CEO of the NHC, said, “We should not allow our liberation heritage to decay due to unrecorded history as our country has faced a number of liberation struggle époques, which were mainly characterised by resistance battles, wars of dispossession, apartheid and the modern freedom struggle.”

The liberation struggle was recognised as being of universal value and significance at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation 33rd General Conference in October 2005. Before then, liberation struggle heritage was an unchartered territory in the heritage sector.
South Africa and Belarus need to do more to increase trade with one another, says Trade and Industry Deputy Minister, Bulelani Magwanishe.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Fourth Session of the South Africa-Belarus Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) in Pretoria, the Deputy Minister said both countries needed to work on ways to increase trade with one another.

“We are collectively obliged to recommend solutions to the low levels of trade between South Africa and Belarus, as well as Africa in its entirety. We should create platforms for diversified exports, where a greater portion of beneficiated products are concerned,” said the Deputy Minister.

The ITEC was established through the bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement that was signed between South Africa and Belarus in 2000.

The primary objective of ITEC is to strengthen and develop trade and economic cooperation between South Africa and the European country.

Government officials from both countries spent the major part of Thursday, 22 March 2018, exchanging ideas on various aspects related to efforts aimed at increasing mutually beneficial and two-way bilateral trade and investment between the countries.

These included possible cooperation on a variety of sectors such as automotive, manufacturing, rail and rail stock, mining equipment, agriculture and higher education and training.

This, said the Deputy Minister, was an affirmation that both countries aimed to comprehensively expand bilateral trade and economic relations.

In 2016, total trade between the two countries amounted to R63 million.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of International Relations in Belarus, Andriel Dapakiunas, said ITEC provided a platform for South Africa and Belarus to engage on ways and means of increasing trade and investment between the two countries.

“Our economies have complementary structures. There is a possibility for partnerships that can contribute in the development of industrial and agricultural sectors to facilitate the creation of new jobs in both countries,” said Deputy Minister Dapakiunas.

On Friday, 23 March 2018, Deputy Minister Dapakiunas also held bilateral consultations with International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister, Luwellyn Landers.

– Source:

On 20 March 2018, the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, delivered the welcoming remarks at the briefing session on the United Nations Global Compact on Migration for the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa.
The session was organised by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Swiss and the Mexican diplomatic representations.

The session focused on the ongoing process of elaborating the United Nations Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The President of the UN General Assembly has launched a follow-up process in implementing the New York Declaration on Large Movements as adopted by the Heads of State and Government during the High-Level Meeting on 19 September 2016.
Government has welcomed ratings agency Moody’s decision to affirm South Africa’s investment grade credit rating and the decision to revise the country’s credit outlook from negative to stable.
In its decision communicated on Friday, 23 March 2018, Moody’s said the previous weakening of national institutions was gradually reversing and this supported economic recovery.

The ratings agency put South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency debt rating at “Baa3”. The action followed Moody’s decision to put sovereign’s credit rating under a 90-day review for possible downgrade commencing on 24 November 2017.

According to Moody’s, the new administration under President Cyril Ramaphosa faces significant opportunities and challenges.

“Moody’s indicated that steady progress in meeting the objectives set out in the President’s State of the Nation Address is essential for the country’s economic and fiscal prospects to be sustained. They further note that political, policy and practical challenges of meeting diverse economic, social and fiscal objectives cannot be underestimated,” National Treasury said.

It said to improve South Africa’s investment and economic prospects, the Government continued to work diligently on practical steps to provide the necessary policy certainty.

– Source:
South African airports continue to excel on the world stage.
Cape Town International remains the best airport in Africa, according to the Skytrax Awards.

The awards were held in Stockholm, Sweden, on Wednesday, 21 March 2018, and were determined by the outcome of questionnaires conducted in over 500 airports around the world. The purpose of the surveys is to evaluate traveller experience.

Cape Town International achieved this accolade for the third year running, while King Shaka International in Durban was named the best regional airport on the continent.

Cape Town International enjoyed a rise in arrivals over the summer, with international visitors going up by 13,85% while international departures also rose by 15,69%.

Domestic arrivals at King Shaka International were up by 5,63% compared to the last quarter of 2017, with departures up by 6,17%.

The latest Skytrax Award was King Shaka’s third since the airport opened in 2010 as it was first named the best regional airport in Africa in 2013, and more recently in 2016.

The Durban airport was also named the second-best regional airport in Africa and the Middle East by the Airports Council International for two consecutive years in 2015 and 2016.

– Source:
When Professor Heather Zar returned to South Africa after 1994 and started working as a medical officer and general doctor, all she wanted was to contribute to the country’s social upliftment. In particular, issues of child health concerned her.
Her work recently received global recognition when she was presented with the 2018 L’Oréal-Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) Women in Science Laureate for Africa and the Arab states in recognition of her wide-ranging contributions to child health.

The prestigious award is given annually to five women scientists worldwide, one from each continent. Speaking telephonically from Paris where the awards ceremony was held, Zar said: “Being in Paris among this community of women scientists is a wonderful privilege."

“It’s humbling to see the work that is going on around the world. But also the work that is done by up-and-coming talent is really inspiring”.

Zar, 54, is the Chairperson of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Director of the Medical Research Council Unit on Child and Adolescent Health that specialises in the care of children with respiratory diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Her work focuses on key illnesses that cause most childhood deaths and disease in Africa and globally, including childhood pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV-associated disease and asthma.

Her work on childhood pneumonia has identified new methods for diagnosis and prevention and provided new knowledge on the causes and long-term impact.

Zar studied at Wits Medical School and started her paediatric training there. She left South Africa to specialise in paediatric and calmanisation in New York and Columbia.

“And once democracy came back to South Africa, I was fortunate to come back.”

The mother of three works at Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town and did her PhD at the University of Cape Town after her return to South Africa.

She’s been at Red Cross Children’s Hospital for 25 years and is now the Head of the Department of Paediatrics.

“I have research sites in Paarl, in the Eastern Cape and collaborations throughout Africa now.”

As one of the two South African female scientists who were honoured at the awards ceremony for their groundbreaking research, she says she is grateful for the experience.

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South Africa’s local vintners are beating some of the world's most famous wines.
Three South African wines have made the prestigious Drinks International World's Most Admired Wine Brands” list for 2018 — the most representation South African wine has ever had on the important ranking.

At the top of the 50 wine brands on the list is Nederburg, at position 41, followed by KWV, at position 45, and Tokara — who is on the list for the first time – at position 48, and one of the youngest brands on the list, being only 15 years in the making.

"To be named as one of the 'World's Most Admired Wine Brands' is a true testament to Tokara's forward-thinking vision," said Karl Lambour, Tokara's General Manager, when the announcement was made.

Over 200 of the world's top masters of wine, sommeliers, educators and journalists pitted top brands against one another this year, asking if the wine is of consistent or improving quality, if it reflects its region or country of origin, if it responds to the needs and tastes of its target audience, and if it is well-marketed and packaged and appeals to a wide demographic.

At the number one spot of the list this year is the Spanish Torres wine brand, which was founded in 1870.

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Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, the proudly South African single-grain whisky, has won the World’s Best Grain Whisky Award and its founder distiller, Andy Watts, has won the global Icon of Whisky Master Distiller/Master Blender Award for 2018.
The awards, presented annually by the United Kingdom’s Whisky Magazine, attract fierce competition from well-known Scottish, Irish, American, Japanese, Taiwanese and other brands from around the world in an attempt to be named the world’s best and be recognised as an industry leader in the Icons of Whiskies.

The results were announced at a gala dinner at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London on Thursday, 22 March 2018.

Watts was at the dinner to receive the awards and said the win was overwhelming news for the brand and South Africa. He said receiving the two world titles in one night was the most humbling experience of his 34-year career in the whisky industry.

“We have overcome the odds against the perceived perception that only traditional whisky-producing countries can be taken seriously. Our industry in South Africa is only 40 years old and although we’ve had many hurdles along the way, we have become innovative in our approach to manage our unique warmer climate, found creative ways to use home-grown raw material to our best advantage, and constantly strive for crafting exceptional whiskies,” Watts said.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, the only whisky in the world to be made from 100% South African maize, is smooth due to its rather unique double maturation over a five-year period in casks previously used for bourbon. It took Watts 10 years to develop Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky before it was released in 2009 and since then this whisky has created a tidal wave of interest for its unique taste.

The whisky was first named the World’s Best Grain Whisky in 2013 and has received gold and double gold awards at all the major international whisky competitions.

– Source:
Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” has become the all-time top-grossing film in South Africa.
With a haul of over R77,6 million since its release on 16 February, Marvel’s Black Panther with Chad Boseman, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o and a raft of other stars and directed by Ryan Coogler, has added the record of all-time, highest-grossing film in South Africa to its previous records of the highest Saturday and February opening weekend in South Africa, as well as the biggest superhero film in South Africa of all time.

Black Panther is also the highest-grossing film in East and West Africa. In East Africa, Marvel’s Black Panther has so far raked in over Kes102.4m and in West Africa N642.5m to become the highest grossing film of all time in both of these African territories as well.

“We are thrilled at the response Black Panther has received from fans across the continent as this next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe plays out with a distinctly proud African story,” says Christine Service, the Senior Vice President of The Walt Disney Company Africa.

“To everyone who celebrated the release by watching, dressing up, singing in the cinemas and enjoying the film across social media, a very big thank you from all of us at Disney and Marvel Studios.”

– Source:
Bafana Bafana defeated hosts Zambia 2-0 in the final of the Four Nations Tournament played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium on Saturday,
24 March 2018.
It was Mamelodi Sundowns striker Percy Tau and Lille forward Lebo Mothiba who scored a goal apiece.

Earlier in the third place play-off played at the same venue, Angola defeated Zimbabwe 6-4 on post-match penalties following a 2-2 draw after regulation time.

With the two sides sizing each other in the opening exchanges, it was the hosts who had the first chance of the match when Justin Shonga was released at the top of the box only for his low effort to be kept out by Itumeleng Khune's left foot.

But, South Africa took the lead on 15 minutes when Toaster Nsabata came out to make an aerial save but dropped the ball in the path of Percy Tau who drove his effort into an empty net.

Tau added another goal seven minutes later when he beat the offside trap and, with only the goalkeeper to beat, drove his effort wide of target.

Shonga tested Khune again in the 24th minute but his effort from a free kick was straight at the goalkeeper.

With neither side threatening, it was the visitors who took a 1-0 lead at the break.

The hosts sustained moments of pressure after the break but Bafana Bafana managed to deal with the danger every time.

The two sides made several substitutions, and for the visitors, it was Mothiba who had replaced Tau in the 88 minute who added to their advantage.

– Source:
Life-threatening chest spasms and frostbite did not stop South African trail runners, Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel, from setting a new fastest-known time along the 1‚406-km Great Himalayan Trail on Sunday, 25 March 2018.
The team‚ which set out on 1 March‚ were four days faster than fellow South African Andrew Porter’s 28-day record‚ when they finished early on Sunday – after running the equivalent of an ultra marathon every day at high altitude over 24 days‚ 14 hours and 47 minutes.

Porter – another outstanding South African trailrunner who holds the solo record for the 220-km Drakensberg Grand Traverse – did the Great Himalayan Trail on his own.

On Monday‚ the team made the risky decision to keep running into the night after Griesel had rested for a few hours at a village tea house‚ recovering from chest spasms‚ hyperventilation and a temperature.

Of their death-defying determination‚ filmmaker Dean Leslie said: “When Ryan and Ryno started the Great Himalaya Trail, they knew it would be physically tough. But, no one ever thought this run would be life-threatening.”

Sandes said of his partner: “He had a high heart rate and a fever. I literally thought he was going to drop dead on the trail‚ but he kept going.”

“My body just didn’t want to move‚” said Griesel‚ an experienced mountaineer who knows the dangers of altitude.

Despite this, he set off at 9pm with Sandes‚ running 40km to the next town‚ Patan‚ and catnapping along the trail.

The pair supported each other during the feat which “felt like an eternity”‚ finishing the traverse as friends.

The two ran through remote regions such as Dolpa and crossed touristy areas like Annapurna and Manaslu on their traverse.

Griesel said he was looking forward to a shower and “good South African food” when they got home. The duo were expected to arrive in Cape Town on Tuesday, 27 March.

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


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