Issue 361 | 31 January 2019
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, extended the country’s deepest condolences to President Rodrigo Duterte and the people of the Republic of the Philippines following the unjustifiable terrorists attacks that took place on Sunday, 27 January 2019, where two bombs exploded at Jolo Cathedral in Sulu, in the southern Philippines, killing 20 people and wounding scores of others.
The South African Government wishes to express its sincere condolences to the families and friends for the loss of their loved ones and speedy recovery to the injured. During this trying time, the thoughts of South Africans are with the people and the Government of the Philippines.

Terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned. South Africa stands firmly with the international community in condemning all terrorism. The South African Government will continue to support regional and international efforts to address the scourge of terrorism in all its forms.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has conveyed his deepest condolences to the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil HE Jair Bolsonaro and the people of Brazil for the tragic loss of lives in south-eastern Brazil as a result of a dam that collapsed few days ago.
The unfortunate incident has claimed over 50 lives with more than 300 still missing.

“As the people of South Africa, we join the people of Brazil in mourning the loss of their loved ones. Our prayers are with you and we hope those yet to be found will be recovered as soon as possible”, said President Ramaphosa.
While South Africa and India enjoy good relations, there is scope to grow bilateral economic relations, says President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“During our deliberations, the Prime Minister and I were in agreement that considerable scope exists for our two countries to grow our bilateral economic relationship. While trade has increased significantly over the last few years, and India is currently our second-largest trading partner in Asia, there are a number of areas of future cooperation,” said President Ramaphosa on Friday, 25 January 2019.

The President, accompanied by a delegation of Cabinet ministers and senior officials, was in India on a State Visit to the South Asian country.

The two countries, said the President, could cooperate in areas, including agro-processed goods, defence procurement, mining equipment and technology and cooperation in the financial services sector.

During his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the President also reviewed the existing cordial bilateral relations between South Africa and India, as well as the close cooperation within a number of multilateral groupings, including BRICS, IBSA, the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the G20.

“In order to ensure concrete deliverables, the Prime Minister and I concluded this morning a Three-Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation aimed at deepening the bilateral engagement between India and South Africa and ensuring that a result-orientated partnership benefits the people of both countries,” he said.

The two leaders have instructed ministers and officials to commence immediate implementation of this programme to take South Africa and India’s bilateral relationship to a new level.

President Ramaphosa was the Chief Guest at India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations on Saturday, 26 January 2019.

The President also delivered the Inaugural India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Forum's Gandhi-Mandela Memorial Freedom Lecture. This year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi that follows former President Nelson Mandela's centenary celebrations.

In paying tribute to the two leaders, President Ramaphosa said "their legacies go far beyond their stature as the founding fathers of our two great independent nations, India and South Africa”.

During the State Visit, President Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Modi jointly addressed the India-South Africa Business Forum. President Ramaphosa said the two countries had complementarities and comparative advantages which could be exploited for mutual benefit, particularly in trade, investment and technical exchanges in information and communications technology, among others.

The President utilised the forum to encourage Indian companies to form partnerships with South Africa’s financial institutions and the private sector to jointly collaborate on projects that can build Africa’s productive capacity and infrastructure.

He also noted the steady increase in trade between South Africa and India from R80 billion to R107 billion over a five-year period from 2013 to 2017.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu, Rob Davies, Pravin Gordhan, Jeff Radebe, Gwede Mantashe, Naledi Pandor, Senzeni Zokwana, Derek Hanekom and Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured the international community and potential investors that South Africa is on a path of renewal and growth as the country strengthens partnerships and collaboration domestically and internationally for inclusive economic growth and development.
President Ramaphosa provided this assurance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where he led the participation of Team South Africa comprising government, business and labour.

President Ramaphosa concluded his Working Visit to Switzerland on Thursday, 24 January 2019, and embarked on a State Visit to the Republic of India where Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured President Ramaphosa with the designation Chief Guest for India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations, which took place last weekend.

With regard to the WEF, the 2019 deliberations among global leaders in government, business and civil society focussed on the theme “Globalisation 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The Annual Meeting of the WEF was a platform for South Africa to contribute to global debates and to help shape responses to challenges in the global economy, while presenting South Africa as an investment destination, trade partner and advocate of multilateralism that is undergoing a process of renewal and growth.

President Ramaphosa participated in various high-level discussions and held discussions with global leaders of government and the corporate sector.

President Ramaphosa and Team South Africa drew international attention to the turnaround unfolding in South Africa after nearly a decade of economic stagnation and political paralysis.

A central element of the turnaround is the pursuit of higher levels of domestic and international investment, especially in key industrial sectors and technology, and the skilling of the labour force for the demands of the digital economy.

President Ramaphosa pointed out that government had:
  • finalised the Mining Charter, following consultation with business, labour and communities, which has reduced much of the uncertainty that has held back mining investment
  • concluded 27 outstanding power-purchase agreements with independent power producers, which will create an estimated 61 000 jobs and enable investments of around R56 billion
  • outlined the process for the allocation of the broadband radio spectrum
  • ensured a sustainable approach to energy planning by updating the Integrated Resource Plan for consideration by Parliament
  • revised the Public Procurement Bill to allow small, township and rural firms to participate more effectively in public procurement
  • established a panel to advise government on measures to effect fair and equitable land reform that will increase agricultural output and create employment.
In addition, the President said the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture was unearthing important information about the nature and extent of state capture. This would assist South Africa in ensuring that nothing of this nature was allowed to happen again and that those responsible were held accountable.

In line with the WEF 2019 theme, the President said that there was an opportunity to harness the power of innovation to transform the South African economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. “Given the country’s medium level of economic sophistication and diversification, there is wide scope for adapting foreign technologies and turning private research and development into a more powerful driver of corporate profitability and economic growth. We are implementing reforms to increase investment in mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure, through strengthening competition among Internet service providers, and improving the quality and reducing the price of information and communications technology services.”

Government and social partners will in due course reflect on the WEF deliberations and identify the opportunities the country can pursue and the challenges it has to address, based on the global debates at Davos.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, participated in the opening session of the G20 and Africa Conference on Tuesday, 29 January 2019. The conference was arranged by the South African Institute of International Affairs and the Global Economic Governance Africa Project.
The opening session looked at the feedback on the key African priorities during the Argentina G20 Presidency year and the expectations of the Japanese G20 Presidency. The conference was intended to enable African stakeholders to discuss key G20 priorities emerging out of the Argentine G20 Presidency and incoming Japanese G20 Presidency, thereby enabling a more active participation of Africa in key global political, economic and developmental processes.

The conference brought together representatives of the T20 African Standing Group, made up of leading African think tanks, African policymakers, researchers and thought leaders to discuss how Africa can contribute to key G20 priorities in a challenging global environment.

The conference was held from 29 to 30 January 2019 in Pretoria at the Protea Hotel Fire and Ice, Menlyn, with a public, open session on day one of the conference followed by a closed workshop, bringing together all the T20 African Standing Group members on day two of the conference.
Minister Senzeni Zokwana, on behalf of the South African Government, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with his Namibian counterpart, Minister Bernard Essau. This MoU represents an agreement between the two neighbouring countries to work together in various matters within the fisheries space as the two countries share a common border.
South Africa, Namibia and Angola share the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME). The collaboration of the three countries is historic as international partners have funded a number of significant projects in the BCLME region. The collaboration was later formalised through the Benguela Current Commission and now ratified into a convention.

South Africa and Namibia share a border and co-management between the two countries has always been important.

This ratified MoU is therefore a representation of collaboration which will result in best cooperation between both countries. Among other areas of cooperation agreed to, are the following:

Research and development

A specialised joint working group for evaluation, management and socio-economic study of shared marine resources will be established. The establishment of appropriate arrangements for the management of shared marine and fresh water living resources, including the determination of the total allowable catch, technical conservation measures and other related measures.

Aquaculture and inland fisheries

Both countries will carry out joint research into cultivation of marine living resources indigenous to the Benguela Current Ecosystem and indigenous inland freshwater resources, using acquired technology as far as possible.

Monitoring, control and surveillance

Joint actions will be pursued in safeguarding our oceans to reduce and eliminate the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This will include joint surface and aerial marine fisheries surveillance patrols, share assets used for the purpose of sea patrols and a joint observer programme to ensure compliance to those authorised to fish.

Capacity-building and development

The BCLME presents a myriad of opportunities, which require skills and experience. An extensive joint training operation on shared monitoring platforms, with special focus on youth and women, will be undertaken.

Cooperation on economic development of fisheries and the blue economy

Both countries will cooperate on capacity-building on compliance systems on sanitary and phytosanitary standards, including food safety systems in fisheries and aquaculture. Both countries will also work together on policies, regulatory frameworks and implementation of blue economy activities of mutual interest.

"It is with greatest pleasure for me on behalf of South Africa to sign this MoU here in Namibia. Our President has made a clarion call for us 'To grow South Africa' as part of the New Dawn in our country. Growing SA is intertwined with our commitments to grow the region and the continent as a whole. This framework today captures this noble commitment of our country" said Minister Zokwana.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Siyabonga Cwele, met with his Lesotho counterpart, Tsukutlane Au, at the Maseru Bridge border post on Monday, 28 January 2019.
The meeting was aimed at reviewing and taking forward the implementation of current areas of cooperation. These areas include the Lesotho Special Dispensation Project and the Intervention Plan on Traffic Congestion at Maseru Bridge border post,” said the Department of Home Affairs.

Minister Cwele’s meeting with Minister Au was in line with South Africa’s new approach to management of international migration and safe movement of people, which is articulated in the 2017 White Paper on International Migration.

In terms of the new policy and approach, South Africa is prioritising cooperation with countries in the Southern African Development Community.

In December last year, Cabinet announced that it had approved the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) National Framework for implementation.

This provides guidance towards the speedy establishment of OSBPs between South Africa and its neighbouring countries.

At the time, Cabinet said the OSBP would enhance trade facilitation without compromising national security or revenue collection through the efficient movement of goods, persons and services between South Africa and the adjoining states of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

– Source:
South African diplomat, Ambassador Anil Sooklal; Indian-American International Monetary Fund chief economist, Gita Gopinath: and Norwegian MP Himanshu Gulati were among 30 non-resident Indians (NRIs), Indian-origin people and their organisations named for the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on Wednesday, 23 January 2019.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award is the highest honour conferred by the President of India as part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Conventions on a NRI, Person of Indian Origin (PIOs) or organisation or institution established and run by NRIs or PIOs.

On presenting the awards, President Ram Nath Kovind in his address said that India today was a land of billion ideas and billion opportunities.

"I invite each one of you to become a part of India's growth story which is being etched by its billion minds. We want to leverage your technology, know-how and investment to power our Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Skill India programmes." the President said.

Prof. Dr Anil Sooklal is a diplomat and senior official at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and served in the South African High Commission in India. He also served as Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxemburg. Dr Sooklal has a D.Phil in Religious Studies and Ph.D in Oriental Studies both from the University of Kwazulu-Natal. In addition to his duties as Deputy Director-General, he also serves as South Africa's Sherpa for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), G-20, IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) and National Focal Point for the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). Prof. Dr Sooklal's knowledge and experience in diplomacy and international affairs, especially of Asia, Middle East and India, ensure that he continues to be an influential person in South Africa's bureaucracy.

The PBD is held on 9 January to mark Mahatma Gandhi's return to India from South Africa in 1915, where he spent 20 years fighting discrimination. This year, it was timed to afford the opportunity to the members of the Indian Diaspora to attend the Kumbh Mela as well as the Republic Day parade.

President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the Republic Day parade in Delhi as Chief Guest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “At a time when India is marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is our honour to welcome President Ramaphosa as the Chief Guest for the 2019 Republic Day celebrations. Bapu's close link with South Africa is well known,” said Prime Minister Modi in a tweet.

South Africa and India enjoy deep historical relations and President Ramaphosa's visit further cemented the bilateral ties between the two countries.

– Source: Diplomatic Society
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, recently announced the appointment of South African actress and human rights activist Nomzamo Mbatha as its newest Goodwill Ambassador.
Since 2017, Mbatha has worked in close in cooperation with UNHCR as a High-Profile Supporter and advocate for UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu Campaign, raising awareness for the forcibly displaced in Africa.

Mbatha’s engagement includes visits to experience UNHCR’s life-saving work in camps and settlements in Malawi, Kenya and South Sudan. She also hosted the 2018 Nansen Refugee Award Ceremony, which honoured South Sudanese humanitarian Dr Evan Atar, and spoke at TEDxKakumaCamp, the first-ever TEDx event to be hosted in a refugee camp. In her talk, she reflected on how her deep attachment to helping refugees, particularly women and children, was rooted in her personal life story of overcoming adversity.

“The strength of refugees, their ability to persevere and their ingenuity for making the best of a difficult situation is what I celebrate. Being named a Goodwill Ambassador is an incredible honour and I can’t wait to embark on this journey, learn more and use my voice to truly be an agent of change,” said Mbatha.

“It is with great delight that we welcome Nomzamo Mbatha to the UNHCR family,” UNHCR High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi, said. “She has shown tireless commitment to shining a light on refugee situations across Africa and I look forward to seeing her inspire many more people in this new role.”

Mbatha’s appointment comes at a time when war, conflict and persecution have forced over 68 million people to flee their homes – the highest level of displacement ever recorded. Over 25 million of these are refugees, with Sub-Saharan Africa hosting over 31% of the global refugee population.

- Source:

The Limpopo Provincial Government plans to build a multimillion rand marula hub in Lephalale, scheduled for completion in February 2020.

According to the Provincial Government, the new Marula industrial hub, once complete, will comprise processing facilities, a research centre and agri-business support services for rural farmers and small businesses wanting to get into the marula value chain.

The annual Limpopo Marula Festival, now in its 14th year, was launched to help develop the industry and achieve a broader socio-economic impact. The Provincial Government now wants to take beneficiation of the indigenous fruit beyond the alcohol industry.

Speaking at the launch of the 2019 Marula Festival in Lephalale recently, the Limpopo MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, Seaparo Sekoati, said plans were at an advanced stage, with the hub set to be open in time for the milestone 15th Annual Marula Festival in February 2020.

“The Provincial Exco [executive committee] took a conscious decision not only to host an annual festival with no long-term economic benefits but to develop a sustainable industry out of this wild fruit for the primary objective of addressing the triple challenge of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

“Today, the Limpopo Marula Festival contributes in excess of R45 million to the local economy of Ba-Phalaborwa and the Mopani District through general trade and also generates more than 500 job opportunities for the local communities, a figure that should be doubled in the next three years,” Sekoati said.

The marula tree falls within species that are protected by the country’s environmental laws. The Provincial Government is partnering with both the Department of Environmental Affairs and South African National Parks to ensure the sustenance of this valuable species.

“We will use the various platforms to raise awareness to our beneficiaries, who are our communities, to discourage deforestation, which contributes to the devastations of climate change.

“We need to encourage the reforestation of communities with marula trees, and that requires protection to mitigate climate change, while creating long-term [benefits] for local communities,” Sekoati said.

Last year, the Limpopo Provincial Government announced the development of the Limpopo Marula Hub as an industrial park where various marula products will be produced in terms of the market demands and serve as the new home of the annual Limpopo Marula Festival.

To date, the festival attracts scores of domestic, regional and international tourists and it is anticipated to grow in future. The hub will be designed to host in excess of 50 000 festival patrons within the two weekends of the event.

– Source:
Marvel Studios film “Black Panther” made Oscars history on Tuesday, 22 January 2019, landing the first Best Picture nomination for a superhero movie and making South Africans, particularly the three SA actors involved in the movie, extremely proud.
The film stars legendary actress Connie Chiume as one of the four elders of Wakanda, veteran actor John Kani as King T’Chaka – father of the King of Wakanda, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), and Kani’s real-life son – Atandwa Kani – as the younger version of his character.

And while Wakanda may be a fictional African country, to Kani’s delight – the language spoken is his home language of isiXhosa.

Black Panther was 2018’s top-grossing movie in the United States and Canada, and second-highest worldwide, with US$1,3 billion in ticket sales. Released by Disney-owned Marvel, it was the first superhero film to feature a predominantly black cast.

It became South Africa’s highest grossing Saturday movie when it earned R6,9 million on 17 February 2018.

The movie – which is the first superhero movie in the Academy Awards’ 91-year-history to receive a Best Picture nomination – was hailed for bringing African pride and beauty to a big-screen adventure. It received seven nominations in total.

Kani has previously said: “In South Africa, we’ve been watching these movies all our lives – Batman, Superman, Captain America – and every time the mask comes off it’s a white man. But this time you take off the mask and the hero is me.

“The hero is all of us in Africa and the Diaspora. It’s a remarkable thing.”

On hearing the news of Black Panther’s nominations, Gauteng publicist Georg Knoke said: “A big shout out to the three South African actors that played a big part in the Oscar-nominated movie Black Panther! As far as I remember – apart from Charlize Theron – they are the FIRST South Africans that are part of the nomination for the Best Movie! Bravo!”

Kani told Eyewitness News Lifestyle: “I am absolutely proud that a movie I am in is being considered for an Oscar. I am over the moon. History has always proved that good work will always be recognised.”

Chiume told EWN: “It’s exciting to have been part of that greatness … I can’t express how proud I am to be part of it. Especially coming from South Africa, what makes me more proud is that the focal point of the movie is Africa.

“I will give credit first to the people who came up with the idea, people who wrote and people who made it come alive. Everybody worked well on it. I am so proud.”

The Oscars, chosen by the 8 000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will be handed out in Hollywood on 24 February.

Black Panther won the Top Screen Actors Guild award on Sunday, 27 January 2019, boosting its stature ahead of next month’s Oscars ceremony.

– Source:
One of the world’s biggest classical stars, Andrea Bocelli, will perform in South Africa on two tour dates in 2019.
The award-winning artist will hit the stage in Johannesburg on 18 April at the Ticketpro Dome and then in Cape Town on 22 April at Val de Vie Estate, Paarl.

Andrea Bocelli has recorded 15 solo studio albums of both pop and classical music. For his latest release Si, the prolific artist teamed up with some of the hottest musical stars on the planet – reuniting with his friend Ed Sheeran after their chart-topping Perfect Symphony on a brand new song called Amo Soltanto Te (written by Ed with lyrics by Tiziano Ferro) and joining with pop sensation Dua Lipa on the single, If Only.

At the centre of the new record is a spine-tingling duet between father and son, as 20 year-old Matteo Bocelli steps into the limelight to duet with Andrea on Fall On Me – a beautifully poignant song which reflects the bond between parent and child.

Andrea is proud to return to South Africa where he will be performing with a full 140-piece symphony orchestra and choir. In Johannesburg, he will perform with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra and the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg and in Cape Town with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. The concert will be split into two parts. For the first part, fans will get to experience Andrea Bocelli perform some of the most famous opera arias. The second part will be dedicated to his most popular hit and crossover songs for a once in a lifetime evening. Matteo Bocelli will also be joining his father to perform the duet Fall On Me.

– Source.
The USA Eagles have named former Springbok centre, Jaque Fourie, as their new defence coach.
The 35-year-old, who played 72 tests for the Boks between 2003 and 2013, spent the 2018 season coaching at the Western Force in the Global Rapid Rugby competition.

During his time as a national team player, Fourie participated in coaching clinics and used his expertise as an athlete to help guide and direct up-and-coming players.

He then played for the Kobelco Steelers in Japan from 2011 to 2017 where he helped with the defence of the team until his retirement from playing in 2017.

Fourie joined the Western Force as a full-time coach in 2018.

Fourie's appointment will begin with the Americas Rugby Championship 2019 where he'll join head coach Gary Gold.

The new defence coach will be a critical position to fill as the programme gears up for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan where Fourie's fundamental knowledge in defence and ability to relate as a former player will be a significant benefit to the Eagles.

"I am so excited to be a part of the USA Eagles coaching staff and team in 2019," said Fourie. "They have grown so much in the last year and after playing in three Rugby World Cups myself, I know what a massive honour and privilege it is to be part of one of the biggest sporting events in the world. To do that with this team and as a coach will be amazing."

USA Rugby's General Manager for Men's 15s Programmes, Dave Hodges also commented: "We are thrilled to have Jaque Fourie join our coaching team as we dive deep into the Rugby World Cup year. The defensive coaching position is critically important to us as we work to ensure our team is fully prepared for what will be one of the most competitive World Cups yet. Jaque's leadership skills and ability to relate to our players will be a compliment to Head Coach Gary Gold's overall team strategy."

Fourie will join the USA team for their first game of the Americas Rugby Championship 2019 against Chile on 2 February.

Following the Chile match, the Eagles will face Argentina XV in Rio Negro on 9 February and then come home for three games in the USA, including Brazil (23 February in Austin, as well as Uruguay (2 March) and rivals, Canada (8 March) in Seattle.

– Source:
South Africa believes that efforts in the fight against climate change need to be scaled up within a multilateral regime that protects the development gains of developing countries.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open debate on addressing the impact of climate-related disasters on international peace and security, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, said the country had with great concern noted the erratic nature and veracity of natural calamities.

These erratic weather patterns, including hurricanes, tsunamis and devastating wildfires, among others, had affected countries in the Caribbean and Africa, Australia as well as the United States of America, among others.

“It is clear to us that climate change is a global sustainable development challenge that can only realistically be addressed if we do so collectively, and through a rules-based multilateral regime that is based on science, equity as well as differentiation of action and support between countries with very different national circumstances.

“Climate action needs to be dramatically scaled up, while protecting and furthering the development gains of developing countries and eradicating poverty,” he said at the debate on Friday, 25 January 2019.

He said these catastrophes destroyed the livelihoods of millions of people around the globe while also displacing hundreds more.

The African continent, in addition, is particularly vulnerable to climate change, as the single greatest threat to its development and prosperity.

South Africa has in recent years experienced some of the worst drought patterns it has seen in decades.

“Africa therefore stands in full solidarity with other regions similarly affected by natural disasters, such as those highlighted in the concept note prepared by the Dominican Republic. We remain firmly committed to addressing climate change and responding to natural disasters at a national, regional and international level,” said the Ambassador.

The Dominican Republic, alongside South Africa, is one of the five countries that joined the UNSC to serve for a two-year period that got underway in January.

The Ambassador said the UNSC already had strong foundations for this multilateral solution already in the form of the UN 2030 Agenda, reinforced by regional development programmes, such as the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

“We look to the UNFCCC [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], its Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement for policy direction and leadership on climate change and also refer to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” he said.

– Source:
South Africa has expressed concern at attempts to unconstitutional changes to the Government of Venezuela.
“I wish to stress that South Africa is firmly against any attempts at undue or unconstitutional change of government in Venezuela. The Security Council should never be an instrument that validates unconstitutional changes of any government,” says Ambassador Jerry Mtjila.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Venezuela on Saturday, 26 January 2018,  Ambassador Matjila, who is the Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN, said the country was “deeply concerned” by developments in the South American country.

“We are therefore deeply concerned by what is a clear attempt, in Venezuela, to circumvent the country’s constitutional legal mechanisms, which govern its elections,” said the Ambassador.

Media reports emerged at the weekend stating that several European powers have warned Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro that he must call elections within eight days or they will officially recognise the opposition's claim of leadership.

Presidential elections took place in Venezuela in May last year subsequent to which South African President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated President Maduro following his inauguration for a second term as President.

President Maduro was sworn in for a second term earlier this month.

The Ambassador said any grievances or disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner through the proper mechanisms and processes provided for in the Constitution of Venezuela and its electoral laws, without external influence.

“This is standard and indeed best practice, in all democracies that subscribe to the rule of law. South Africa echoes the statement made by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, in Davos on 24 January 2019, where he urged a de-escalation of tensions to prevent violence,” said Ambassador Matjila.

In addition, South Africa also supports the Secretary-General’s call for the urgent need for all relevant actors to commit to inclusive and credible political dialogue to address the protracted crisis in the country.

South Africa has called on all parties to participate in a national dialogue process to ensure unity and reconciliation, and in furtherance of a political solution to the situation.

“We would like to reiterate that any further action or grievance by either party should be resolved through the due legal processes of the country,” said Ambassador Matjila, adding that South Africa was concerned about the humanitarian situation in that country.

It called on the international community, as well as the relevant UN bodies to work with the Venezuela Government and its neighbours to assist those in need.

Ambassador Matjila called on the UNSC to promote avenues that create environments conducive to dialogue and cooperation that would ease the challenges and hardships faced by the people of Venezuela.

– Source:
The South African Government has affirmed its commitment to assist Colombia in achieving lasting peace after years of conflict.
This commitment was made by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), during the Security Council meeting on Colombia on Wednesday, 23 January 2019. The meeting was also attended by Colombia and Indonesia foreign affairs ministers, Carlos Holmes Trujillo and Retno Marsudi.

In addressing these challenges, Ambassador Matjila said South Africa would emphasise, based on experience, the importance of working to expand the State’s presence throughout its territory.

“This is particularly necessary in areas that have been affected by conflict and vacated by former combatants. This will also help to resolve the sensitive land question and restoration of much-needed basic services to all, including surrendered combatants and their family,” said Ambassador Matjila.

He said South Africa also expressed its full support for Colombia’s Commission on ‘Truth, Coexistence and Non-repetition’ (Truth Commission).

“In South Africa, our very own Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as painful and imperfect as it may have ultimately been, was invaluable in allowing our people to confront our painful history, and to heal the deep wounds that had divided us,” he said.

“Therefore, in order to foster healing, it is important that Colombia’s justice process, embodied in its Special Jurisdiction for Peace, receive the full support and cooperation of all parties involved. Its independence, autonomy, as well as the judgments it arrives at, also need to be fully respected.”

Ambassador Matjila said it was critical that the reintegration process in Colombia should involve efforts to empower local communities, in close collaboration with the private sector, universities and other stakeholders such as civil-society organisations, women, victims of violence and ethnic peoples.

“On this point, it is important to recognise the important, pioneering efforts and achievements of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia in working specifically to address youth in the peace process. As the country’s future leaders, its youth and their futures are critical to the success of the peace process. This pioneering work should serve as an important example for other peace missions,” he said.

As always, Ambassador Matjila added, South Africa remained ready and willing to share the experiences and lessons learned through these difficult processes, in the hope that Colombia and its people might find lasting peace and prosperity.

He said South Africa acknowledged the role of Cuba and Norway as the guarantors and facilitators of the Colombian peace process.

Ambassador Matjila also expressed condolences to the Government of Colombia and its people following the attack that claimed 20 lives in Bogotá recently.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms possible, this senseless violence which must not be allowed to threaten the hard-won and significant achievements of the peace process in Colombia,” Ambassador Matjila said.

He welcomed the Report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Colombia, which conveys a generally positive review of progress in achieving lasting peace in that country.

“It also, however, notes the killing of social leaders and human rights defenders, which is major concern and presents an ongoing challenge,” he said.

– Source:
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