Issue 362 | 7 February 2019
If this newsletter doesn’t load or images don’t display, please click here
The National Press Club has named President Cyril Ramaphosa as the 2018 Newsmaker of the Year.
This annual award, hosted by the National Press Club since 1980, awards a newsmaker in a calendar year based on the amount of media coverage received as well as the impact thereof.

Nominations and motivations are received from members of the press club and a final decision is made by the Executive Committee of the club.

The National Press Club is the largest club of its kind in South Africa, representing working journalists.

"The Newsmaker Award is neither an accolade nor is it criticism – it represents the dominant themes of the 2018 news cycle," said Club Chairperson, Jos Charle.

"The decision to name Cyril Ramaphosa as the newsmaker was an easy one as his election as President, the “New Dawn,’ ‘Ramaphosa and ‘Thuma Mina’ dominated the 2018 news cycle," said Charle.

The annual Newsmaker of the Year function is expected to take place in Pretoria later this year.

– Source:


President Cyril Ramaphosa will this week deliver the State of the Nation Address (SONA) during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
The February SONA, the last of the Fifth Administration due to the elections later this year, will take place on Thursday, 7 February, at 7pm.

As is usual for this important event on Parliament’s calendar, the address will be broadcast live on a number of news channels, radio stations as well as live streamed on the Parliament website. There are also public viewing sites set up by GCIS that will broadcast the SONA in the provinces.

The address affords the President an opportunity to speak to the nation on the general state of South Africa, and to reflect on a wide range of political, economic and social matters within the domestic and global contexts.

SONA is a mechanism used by the President to account to the nation on the work of government and to set out government’s programme of action.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, said the budget for SONA had been cut by 47%.

“Consistent with our endeavour to continuously scale down on costs in light of prevailing economic conditions, we have kept arrangements to the bare minimum without compromising the significance and decorum of the occasion.

“As South Africans continue to face economic challenges, Parliament is taking very feasible steps to do more with fewer resources progressively. Parliament has cut the budget for the SONA ceremony by 47% in comparison with the 2018 SONA budget,” she said.

Ms Mbete said a couple of events and items that usually formed part of SONA had been withdrawn from the 2019 February SONA.

However, there will still be a ceremonial parade exhibiting military traditions, drills and ethos of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force of the Republic of South Africa will be maintained. This includes a national salute by the Ceremonial Guard of the South African National Defence Force, a military band, a salute flight by the SA Air Force and the 21 gun salute.

Former heads of state, President Thabo Mbeki and President Kgalema Motlanthe, and former presiding officers, former National Assembly Speaker, Dr Frene Ginwala, and former National Assembly Speaker, Max Sisulu, have confirmed that they will attend the event.

“We are pleased to state that all arrangements are in place to ensure a successful hosting of this important and last State of the Nation Address for the Fifth Parliament,” she said.

The public are encouraged to engage on the important national event, using #SONA2019

– Source:
The 25th Annual Investing in African Mining Indaba, which brings together more than 750 investors and dealmakers, kicked off in Cape Town on Monday, 4 February 2019.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says mining companies should invest in development where they mine and in their employees in order to make a meaningful contribution to the areas in which they operate.

He said companies should invest in the health and safety of their workers, in the infrastructure where their operations are such as roads and water, and also invest in skills and education.

These are some of the 10 principles that President Ramaphosa shared with mining captains of industry when he addressed the Investing in African Mining Indaba at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 5 February 2019.

The indaba is the world’s largest gathering of mining’s most influential stakeholders and decision-makers vested in African mining. This year’s theme for the four-day indaba is “Championing Africa’s Sustainable Economic Development”.

The unrivalled networking is matched by an agenda that features President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will be joined by President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo, and 35 mining ministers, including Minister Gwede Mantashe who gave an opening address.

The mining event is also attended by the most influential people in African mining who are looking into the level of expertise and access to the entire mining value chain and the future of the industry.

The South African Government views the indaba as a strategic forum to attract and promote foreign direct investment in different industries of the mining sector.

The Department of Trade and Industry’s Industrial Policy Action Plan identifies mineral beneficiation as an area of work that presents an abundance of opportunities which investors can take advantage of in order to grow the mining sector.

This provides the massive potential of contributing to growing the country’s economy, creating jobs, transformation and eradicating poverty.

With this in mind, government is demonstrating to delegates that the country is a competitive and investor-friendly destination that offers a unique combination of highly developed economic infrastructure and a vibrant emerging-market economy with sustainable investment opportunities.

Government has also commenced with various exploration projects.

One of these is the exploration and production Deep Sea Stavenger Rig operations, situated 180km off the shore of Mossel Bay, Western Cape.

Ahead of the indaba, Minister Mantashe led a delegation from the department on a visit to the operation.

Speaking on the rig, Mantashe said this was one of the most important exploration projects underway in the country and was expected to boost investor confidence and contribute positively to the oceans economy.

"If we can discover oil and gas here, that will be a game changer for the country in terms of the economy. We hope that we will discover oil so that we can reduce our dependence on imported crude oil,” the Minister said.

– Source:

South Africa’s fruit and vegetable export capabilities are on full display to the world as the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) is showcasing 25 of the finest local fruit and vegetable exporting companies at the 27th edition of the Fruit Logistica Trade Fair that is taking place in Berlin, Germany, from 6 to 8 February 2019.
The Fruit Logistica Berlin, which is regarded as the world’s leading international trade fair for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry, covers every sector of the international fruit and vegetable supply chain from production, distribution and marketing, through to the point of sale. This include global players as well as small and medium-sized suppliers from all around the world.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, remarks that this year’s showcasing follows on the heels of a successful showing in 2018 where the South African Pavilion raked in more than R372 million in export sales and secured almost 100 trade leads.

“The success of 2018 was instrumental in ensuring that we put together a business team that is not only diverse but one that will ensure that we sustain the momentum generated and that it speaks directly to the demands that exist within the European market. Our current team comprises 11 small, medium and micro-sized enterprises, 11 other sized firms and three industry associations or export councils,” says Minister Davies.

Last year, the South African Pavilion received an impressive number of enquiries from companies looking for the supply of different types of fruit, particularly citrus, grapes and deciduous fruit, as well as subtropical fruits.

It is anticipated that these enquiries and discussions that have since been established will be revived and be driven to a successful conclusion and that they will yield new clients and generate into solid deals from across the globe.
The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe, has congratulated the first cohort of South African chefs who graduated as artisan chefs at the newly accredited Prue Leith Chefs Trade Test Centre in Centurion.
“This historic milestone will contribute towards developing South Africa’s food tourism as well as boost destination marketing and position the country for culinary excellence because all of the graduates who have qualified as assessors for the trade test are mentors at reputable chef schools across the country,” said Deputy Minister Thabethe, applauding seven top chefs who received their occupational certificates from the National Artisan Moderation Board (NAMB) at a graduation ceremony held recently.

Deputy Minister Thabethe said that South African chefs were highly sought after the world over because of the high standards of training they receive from local institutions in partnership with City & Guilds and the South African Qualification Authority.

She commended the NAMB, the Culture, Arts, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority and the South African Chefs Association for the role they were playing in producing highly skilled home-grown chefs and executive chefs.
With UNHCR’s LuQuLuQu Tribe, she has visited forcibly displaced communities in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. During both visits, she reported live from the camp to South African audiences, drawing awareness and support for the refugee cause.
United Nations Refugee Agency, the UN Refugee Agency, announced the appointment of South African news anchor and media personality, Leanne Manas, as a national Goodwill Ambassador for South Africa recently.

Ms Manas has been supporting UNHCR since mid-2017 through her engagement with the LuQuLuQu Tribe, an Africa-wide social movement established by UNHCR to change the narrative of the African refugee and highlight the resilience and contributions of forcibly displaced people.

“I am incredibly thrilled to be appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR,” Ms Manas said.

Since her involvement with the LuQuLuQu Campaign, she has had the honour and privilege to meet resilient and courageous people, who have escaped war and persecution in search of safety.

Listening to their stories, she is more compelled than ever to advocate for their cause.

UNHCR Deputy Regional Representative for the southern Africa region, Leonard Zulu, said, “Leanne has shown exemplary dedication in her work with UNHCR. Using her platform and network, she has helped draw awareness to refugee situations in sub-Saharan Africa – operations that are grossly underfunded and in need of greater resources. Her commitment to people forced to flee their homes has a significant impact on UNHCR South Africa’s work in the country.”

Ms Manas’ first official role as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador will be participating in the #StepForSafety walk in Johannesburg, on Sunday, 10 February 2019, at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens.

– Source:
The United States (US) Government has invited South Africans interested in pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral degree to apply for a Fulbright scholarship to study at any accredited tertiary institution in the US.
The Fulbright Programme is the US Government’s flagship international educational exchange. It was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and other countries.

The programme is currently operating in South Africa and more than 150 countries worldwide.

“Applications for the 2020-2021 Fulbright Foreign Student Programme are now open. This world-renowned programme offers scholarships to South Africans interested in pursuing a Master’s or Doctoral degree at any accredited tertiary institution in the United States. The scholarships cover up to the full cost of tuition and living expenses in the US,” the US Embassy said on Wednesday, 30 January 2019.

The applicants wishing to pursue a Master’s degree must have completed a four-year B-Tech degree or a three-year Bachelor’s degree with an Honours degree. Prospective Doctoral students must have successfully obtained a Master’s degree.

According to the US Embassy, in 2018, 29 South African students and scholars received fully-funded Fulbright scholarships to complete postgraduate studies at American academic institutions and to conduct research in the US.

“These talented South Africans are currently pursuing studies in fields ranging from molecular biology, viticulture, economics, and audiology, to mechanical engineering, occupational therapy and philosophy at institutions, including Ohio State University, University of Missouri, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California and the University of Pennsylvania.”

Students with disabilities and from underserved areas are encouraged to apply.

South Africans interested in applying for the Fulbright Programme can visit

The closing date for submission of applications for scholarship is 19 April 2019, but applicants are encouraged to start the application process as soon as possible.

– Source:
It took 737 "KnitWits for Madiba" 27 minutes of sheer "woolpower" to clinch their latest world record – for the most people crocheting simultaneously. The previous record of 604 people was held by the Singleton Crafters in Australia.
The event was held at the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on Sunday, 27 January, and was the group 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day's fifth Guinness World Record attempt in five years.

Carolyn Steyn, founder of the 67 Blankets initiative, told News24 that the record attempt had been organised to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the initiative.

"Not only did it serve as an incentive, encouraging our 'KnitWits for Madiba' to make lots of blankets with a clear and fun goal – it also brought attention to our movement and helped attract new membership," Ms Steyn said.

All of the documentation had been sent through to the Guinness World Records head office in London, and Steyn said they hoped to have it ratified within the next few weeks.

The event coincided with the birthday of Mozart (born in 1756) and, while the KnitWits were crocheting up a storm, maestro Richard Cock conducted musicians in performing a selection of Mozart works.

– Source:
In January alone, 17 stops have been made at the city's port, and between October and 20 January 2019, a total of 17 518 people have disembarked in the city from vessels carrying 6 562 crew members. Over 17 500 people have embarked on ships in the same period.
Some of the luxury liners to have visited the city's shores include the gigantic RMS Queen Elizabeth and MSC Musica, as well as the World Odyssey, the Europa 2, the Seven Seas Explorer, the Nautica and the Amadea.

Other still to pay a visit to the Mother City include the Queen Victoria, the Silver Cloud, the Pacific Princess and the Viking Sun.

The increased numbers are in part due to the opening of the dedicated cruise ship terminal at V&A Waterfront, and expect 30 vessels making 49 stops for the 2019/20 season and 32 vessels with 67 stops confirmed for the 2020/21 season.

The Minister of Economic Opportunities in the Western Cape, Beverley Schäfer, is extremely positive about the potential this industry has for the province's tourism numbers, with 30 million expected to cruise somewhere in the world in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association.

“As a province, our aim, through Project Khulisa has been to grow tourism as a vehicle to stimulate the economy and create new jobs, and cruise ship tourism is helping us to do this. The Western Cape tourism industry currently sustains over 300 000 direct and indirect jobs, and by increasing the number of cruise liners visiting Cape Town, we can create further opportunities for work and skills development,” says Ms Schäfer.

“The Waterfront has reported that they’re starting to see people flying into Cape Town specifically to board cruises. This in turn adds value to our other tourism offerings, as these guests often book hotel stays and make use of other tourism facilities while they are in the city. Similarly, some vessels are doing crew changeovers in the city, meaning that the inbound and outbound crew members also make use of hotels and other facilities while in the city.”

The cruise industry has been undeniably picking up steam over the last few years as it has grown from a humble 6 050 passengers in 2012 to a massive 31 035 passengers in 2017.

It has been calculated that the average spend by an international tourist per trip is around R8 400 in-destination (while in Cape Town), and a R10 600 of prepaid spend – aka before a traveller arrives on Cape shores.

The domestic average spend per trip is R1 280.

Figures from Cape Town Tourism have found that the projected value of the cruise tourism industry between 2017 and 2027 is estimated to be in the region of R220 billion.

Cruise ships carrying around 2 000 passengers result in spending to the value of R2 million per day.

– Source:
South Africa’s Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Jerry Matjila, delivered the following statement at the Security Council debate on “Threats to international peace and security: Impact of mercenary groups on regional peace and stability” on 4 February 2019.
“South Africa welcomes the convening of this timely debate and selection of this important theme on the role of mercenary activities as a source of insecurity and destabilisation in Africa.

“It is an undisputed fact that over the years, Africa has been at the receiving end of mercenary activities, which have contributed to undermining peace, security and stability on the continent. Several African countries have been targets of ongoing attempts by mercenary groups to overthrow legitimate and democratically-elected governments. Their transnational activities also threaten regional stability, especially in cases where the security of neighbouring countries is intertwined.

“South Africa condemns such activities as they pose serious challenges to our collective efforts to promote and ensure peace and stability in our respective countries.

“Equally concerning, the activities of mercenaries pose a serious threat to peace and stability of several regions on the continent, which already remain fragile due to ongoing conflicts.

“Since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa has been part of the collective efforts of promoting peace and stability throughout our beloved continent. We support the objectives of the African Union aimed at achieving greater unity and solidarity between African countries and the people of Africa, while also defending the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its member states. These objectives and principles are clearly articulated in the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

“Key among these principles, is the condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government as well as non-interference by any member state in the internal affairs of another.

“As a responsible member of the African Union and the United Nations, South Africa condemns all mercenary activities in any African or non-African country. We believe that these activities are in clear contravention of continental and international conventions and legal instruments.

“As eloquently captured in the concept note for this meeting, the recruitment, use, financing and training of mercenaries violate the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and those of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

“South Africa reaffirms the need for the unequivocal implementation of all international and continental legislation and instruments against mercenaries, in particular the 1989 International Convention against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and the 1977 Organisation of African Unity Convention for the Elimination of Mercenarism in Africa.

“On our part, South Africa has an uncompromising and strict policy against its nationals who partake in mercenary activities. The Constitution of our country provides that the resolve to live in peace and harmony precludes any South African citizen from participating in armed conflict, nationally or internationally, except as provided for in the Constitution or national legislation.

“In pursuance of this objective, in 1998 the Parliament of South Africa passed legislation entitled “The Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act”. The objective of this Act is to regulate the rendering of foreign military assistance by our nationals, persons permanently residing within our borders and foreign citizens rendering such assistance from within our borders. This Act has been further updated to address this scourge.

“Through these actions, South Africa has consistently taken strict measures against its nationals found to be involved in mercenary activities or violating the Foreign Military Assistance Act. We have previously cooperated and collaborated with fellow African countries in instances where our nationals were implicated in mercenary activities.

“My delegation stresses that it is the obligation of all states to take all necessary measures to eradicate mercenary activities wherever they may occur. In this regard, this council should encourage all member states to commit to prevent their nationals and foreigners in their respective territories from engaging in mercenary activities.

“You will recall that the General Assembly at its 62nd Session, adopted Resolution 62/145 on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination. South Africa is concerned by the new forms of mercenary acts in the form of private security companies.

“Over the years, there has been a clear nexus between mercenary activities and those of private military companies and the negative consequences of these companies in some of the continent’s protracted conflicts.

“We call on the international community to put in place a regulatory framework on the work of these companies. My delegation is convinced that we should address the perception around the privatisation and corporatisation of security services as this role should be the sole responsibility of sovereign governments.

“In conclusion, I wish to stress that South Africa is firmly committed to working with fellow African states and Security Council members to address the challenge of mercenary activities and its negative impact on peace and stability, both regionally and internationally.”

“This is in line with aspirations of the African continent as envisioned in the Agenda 2063, in particular the aspiration for a peaceful and secure Africa and the through the flagship project of Silencing the Guns by the Year 2020.”
The Deputy Director-General: Global Governance and Continental Agenda of South Africa, Ambassador Mxolisi Nkosi, delivered South Africa’s statement during the United Nations Security Council Debate on “Transnational Organised Crime at Sea as a Threat to International Peace and Security” on 5 February 2019.
“South Africa is a maritime country with a coastline of over 2 800 kilometres, and an exclusive economic zone of 1,54 million square kilometres straddling both the Indian and Atlantic oceans, which is larger than our land size of 1,2 million square kilometres. It is assessed that 580 ships are in South African waters every day and annually over 11 000 ships dock in our ports.

“South Africa therefore remains concerned about the prevalence of transnational organised crime at sea. The African continent undoubtedly understands the impact of these insidious activities on the stability, security and the development of both coastal and inland countries.

“In many instances, it is the effects of transnational organised crime that fuel conflicts on the continent. The proceeds from these crimes contribute to a proliferation of small arms and light weapons, protracted conflicts, drugs and human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering and increased mercenary activity.

“In recent times, South African security and coastal patrols confiscated numerous vessels and arrested countless people involved in illegal fishing and abalone poaching in our waters. This denies South Africa millions of dollars of revenue and negatively affects the livelihoods of our coastal communities.

“Indeed, the link between transnational organised crime at sea and the threat it poses to the stability, security and economies of both coastal and landlocked states is visible and a matter of grave concern.

“In order to arrest the challenges posed by this broad phenomenon, it is crucial that a robust, regulatory framework and a coordinated and comprehensive approach be developed at national, regional and international levels to address this scourge.

“South Africa welcomes the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 2383 (2017) and 2442 (2018), whose measures we believe will contribute greatly to resolving the challenge of transnational organised crime at sea, specifically off the coast of Somalia and affected coastal areas in the Gulf of Guinea.

“These resolutions embody some of the progressive mechanisms the international community should implement in order to prevent and counteract maritime crimes and maintain international peace and security.

“The African Union in 2014 adopted the “2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy”. This 2050 AIM strategy identifies threats and vulnerabilities that could fuel violence and insecurity on the African continent. Some of these threats are, among others, transnational organised crime in the maritime domain, which include illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, money laundering, illegal arms and drug trafficking, piracy and armed robbery at sea, illegal oil bunkering and human trafficking.

“Through the 2050 AIM Strategy, the AU seeks to rally member states in a coordinated and collaborative partnership that will foster wealth creation in a safe and secure African maritime domain, thus contributing to socio-economic development.

“Furthermore, in 2016, the AU adopted the African Charter on Maritime Security, Safety and Development in Africa, known as the Lomé Charter.

“The charter was developed to operationalise the security and developmental aspects as articulated in the 2050 AIM Strategy and Agenda 2063. It provides general rules and principles that would regulate navigational security, combat piracy and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities as well as preserve marine life and biodiversity. It further more enhances areas of economic development through ocean economy activities and cooperation in the exploitation of oceanic riches at the level of Exclusive Economic Zones and International Waters.

“It should also be noted that the AU declared 2015 to 2025 as the Decade of the African Seas and Oceans, with the strategic aim of improving maritime conditions to ensure the protection and sustainable exploitation of the seas and oceans of Africa.

“South Africa has worked in unison with African countries in developing these key continental instruments, which seek to create an oceanic environment which is safe, secure and environmentally sustainable for the benefit of the peoples of Africa.

“In cooperation with UNODC, the governments of Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa have entered into a trilateral agreement to counter drug trafficking on maritime routes in the Indian Ocean. This agreement seeks to intensify maritime surveillance capability, detection of illicit trafficking in the Indian Ocean as well as enhance the security at ports and other points of entry in the region.

“In addition to these initiatives on the African continent, South Africa is currently the Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. IORA was formed in 1995 and consists of 21 Indian Ocean rim countries from Africa, Asia as well as Australia. IORA recognises that the ocean economy is emerging globally as a common and critical source of growth, innovation and employment creation due to the enormous economic potential that it possess. Accordingly, IORA has, among others, identified maritime security and safety as a priority.

“At a domestic level, South Africa has identified marine protection and governance as one of the priorities of our Ocean Economy Strategy, which we refer to as Operation Phakisa.

“South Africa believes that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) outlines a comprehensive legal framework applicable to piracy and armed robbery at sea. Present-day efforts to combat transnational organised crime at sea must be fully consistent with this international legal framework.

“South Africa fully supports the call for strengthening the capacity of member states’ maritime security in order to enforce international maritime law. In this regard, the importance of exchanging evidence and information for anti-piracy law enforcement purposes, as well as lessons learnt and best practices sharing between states, international and regional organisations are imperative. This ensures that the necessary structures remain dynamic and that the relevant structures, strategies and programmes are adapted to align to the shifts in global trends.

“In conclusion, we wish to reiterate that transnational organised crime at sea is a symptom of insecurity on land and it is only through concerted holistic action on both land and sea that we will be able to fight this scourge.“
Stay Connected with us
facebook   youtube

For back issues of Newsflash, visit:


video button video button fina winners