Issue 366 | 7 March 2019
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President Cyril Ramaphosa recently conducted a Working Visit to the Kingdom of eSwatini where he held talks with His Majesty King Mswati III on a range of bilateral issues.
President Ramaphosa’s visit formed part of a series of courtesy calls on heads of state and government in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) following his election as President in February 2018.

President Ramaphosa has paid similar visits to Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique.

During his visit to the Hlane Royal Residence, President Ramaphosa and His Majesty King Mswati reviewed bilateral cooperation between the two countries in discussions that reflected the warmth of relations between the two leaders and the governments and people of the neighbouring states.

In this regard, they noted with appreciation the ongoing cooperation in many sectors, including trade and investment, security, health and education.

The two leaders directed the ministers of international relations and cooperation in the two countries to convene the Joint Bilateral Commission on Cooperation that oversees the implementation of signed agreements between South Africa and eSwatini.

They further directed that ministers should ensure that the issue of congestion at border posts and other outstanding issues are attended to.

President Ramaphosa and King Mswati III also exchanged views on current developments in the SADC region. They also congratulated Nigeria and Senegal for conducting peaceful elections.

His Majesty King Mswati III wished the people of South Africa well for the success of the forthcoming provincial and national elections.

Following the deliberations of the two heads of state, King Mswati III invited President Ramaphosa to the conclusion of the annual Buganu Festival, which celebrates the harvest of the first marula fruit of the season. This event was also attended by Her Majesty the Queen Mother.

Addressing regiments of Lutsango dancers from different parts of eSwatini at the close of the Buganu Festival, His Majesty warmly welcomed the visit by President Ramaphosa and expressed the wish that the two states would engage more frequently to “exchange ideas for the betterment of our peoples” and the “furtherance of relations as friendly neighbours”.

In his respons, President Ramaphosa expressed his appreciation for eSwatini’s hosting of the Working Visit and commended the Kingdom on its celebration of eSwatini culture.

President Ramaphosa also expressed appreciation for the solidarity shown by the people of eSwatini to South Africans during the struggle against apartheid.

The President said: “Now is the time for economic development. Our two countries are focussing on growing our economies and creating jobs for young people.”

President Ramaphosa said the talks had identified a broad range of opportunities for bilateral cooperation in sectors such as tourism, information and communications technology, the Fourth Industrial Revolution and agriculture.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and the Minister of State Security, Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, 1 March 2019, officiated at the launch in South Africa of the landmark “Future of Work” Report of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work.
President Ramaphosa and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, co-chaired the 27-member Global Commission whose report was launched to the international community by President Ramaphosa at the ILO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, on 22 January 2019.

Prime Minister Löfven attended the South African national launch at Ballito, north of Durban on Friday, 1 March 2019.

President Hage Geingob of the Republic of Namibia, who is the Chair of the Southern African Development Community, also attended the launch, which formed part of the ILO’s centenary programme in 2019.
The Global Commission has been tasked to identify challenges and make recommendations that will sustain and protect the livelihood of workers around the world amid the proliferation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, climate change and the changing world.

The South African national launch of the report took place alongside the 45th Session of the African Regional Labour Administration Council from 26 to 28 February 2019 at the Fairmont Zimbali Lodge in Ballito.

The African Regional Labour Administration Council is a gathering of labour ministers and other delegates from 19 African countries under the theme “Towards Gender Equality in the Future of Work”.  The meeting was aligned to one of the 10 recommendations of the Future of Work Report that calls on all ILO member countries to set measurable targets for achieving gender equality.

President Ramaphosa presented the commission’s key recommendations that advocate a human-centred approach to the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technological and environmental change.


Deputy President David Mabuza says government will soon send aid to South Sudan as the country gets set to rebuild as part of the transitional peace talks.
Deputy President Mabuza said this when he fielded questions in the National Assembly on Tuesday, 26 February 2019.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to lead peace talks in South Sudan, Deputy President Mabuza was responding to a question by ANC MP, Amos Masango, who had asked him to report on issues emanating from his discussions with the leadership of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in relation to finding lasting peace and stability for the peoples of South Sudan.

Addressing the National Assembly, Deputy President Mabuza said one of the key issues that were being raised during the discussions included providing support to the South Sudan Government and all signatories to the agreement in terms of resourcing all committees and structures provided for in the Revitalised Agreement. The Revitalised Agreement was signed on 12 September 2018 with the facilitation of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

“Honourable members would be aware that in terms of the Revitalised Agreement, the Transitional Government will come into effect in April 2019 and pave the way for the drafting of a new Constitution and holding of democratic elections. These processes require both financial and human resource support, as well as humanitarian assistance.

“South Africa has committed itself to walk this journey with the Government and people of South Sudan. We are pleased that the warring parties in the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement have found each other and recently signed a reunification agreement. This will bring the much required cohesion in the country. Our intervention is beginning to bear fruits.

“In the coming few weeks, we will be sending a consignment of humanitarian assistance under the auspices of the African Renaissance Fund,” he said.

After gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011, the country was plunged into a civil war that has led to a protracted bloodshed that has left millions of citizens displaced and left with no choice but to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.

On Wednesday, Deputy President Mabuza said South Africa’s involvement in the South Sudan peace process had been undertaken as part of the country’s commitment to make a meaningful contribution to finding African solutions to the African problems and ensuring the creation of a peaceful and prosperous continent.

Deputy President Mabuza said he commended the contribution by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development leadership in facilitating the various stages of the peace process.

“Furthermore, I emphasised South Africa’s position regarding the need for the South Sudan parties to be allowed to engage in a dialogue in deciding their country’s future and that efforts by external actors should be geared towards providing the necessary resources and support needed to ensure successful implementation of this Revitalised Agreement,” he said.

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South Africa and France have agreed to strengthen bilateral relations following their Eighth South Africa-France Forum for Political Dialogue (8th FPD).
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and her French counterpart, Jean-Yves le Drian, co-chaired the meeting that took place in Pretoia on Thursday, 28 February 2019.

It was the first time that the forum was led at ministerial level.

“During the meeting, the two ministers expressed the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of France’s commitment to regular, structured bilateral meetings at ministerial level; defend the democratic values, which they share: and promote strong multilateralism,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in a statement.

The ministers also agreed to increase cooperation within the framework of the G20 and in the United Nations (UN) Security Council, of which South Africa is a non-permanent member for the period 2019 to 2020.

In addition, the ministers further agreed to reduce global inequality, in partnership with Africa, under France’s G7 Presidency, and continue to support the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the common vision on the environment and human rights.

The ministers agreed to a number of bilateral interactions and cooperation, which include:
  • regular interaction and deliberation on addressing peace, security and development concerns in Africa
  • deepen the working relationship between the African Union, European Union and the UN to bolster peacekeeping, security, governance and promoting democracy in Africa
  • increase cooperation in the Indian Ocean and continue discussions about France’s role in the Indian Ocean Rim Association
  • conclude arrangements for the 2019 Ministerial Joint Economic Commission in South Africa, to advance trade and investment relations
  • conclude the implementation of the South Africa-France Partnership Framework 2016 to 2019 and to renew the framework during the Ninth Forum for Political Dialogue in 2020.
During the forum, the ministers signed new agreements, namely the:
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Basic Education
  • Declaration of Intent on Establishing a Co-Funded Scholarship for Master's and PhD Students
  • Framework Agreement between the South African National Space Agency and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales in Space Cooperation
  • Credit Facility Agreement between the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited (IDC) and Agence Française de Developpement (AFD)
  • Financing Agreement between the IDC of South Africa Limited and AFD
  • Memorandum of Understanding between La Réunion National Park and South African National Parks
  • Cooperation Protocol between the Association pour le Centre de ressources et d’appui sur le risque requin à La Réunion of the French Republic and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board of the Republic of South Africa.
The ministers also agreed to continue exploring joint opportunities in various areas discussed during the Eighth FPD.

Concluding the meeting, the ministers agreed to schedule the next FPD meeting in Paris on mutually agreed dates during the course of 2019.
On 5 March 2019, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, held a working lunch with European Union (EU) ambassadors accredited to South Africa in Pretoria.
Deputy Minister Landers said that: “As strategic partners, it is imperative that South Africa and the EU maintain frequent and open dialogue at all levels, both formally and informally, in order to take stock of relations, discuss and debate key issues in the relationship, foster a better understanding of our approaches to international issues, especially when they differ, and of course, consider means of addressing challenges in order to push forward our domestic and global agendas.”

“I am hopeful therefore that going forward, both sides will make a more concerted effort to regularise this engagement.

“We greatly value our Strategic Partnership with the EU because of the EU’s support for South Africa’s economic and development agenda, and in particular for South Africa’s national priorities contained in the National Development Plan.

"As you are all aware, foreign direct investment is a critical driver of economic growth for both developing and developed economies as it strengthens productive capacity through transfer of technology, knowledge transfer, job opportunities, human capital and production processes. It also brings greater capital inflows which in turn generates greater trade flows.

"South Africa therefore acknowledges the role of the EU as South Africa’s leading trade and investment partner. Enhanced inward investment flows to South Africa will help us overcome the triple challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty.”
The Electoral Commission reminds all voters who wish to cast their ballot in the national elections outside of South Africa that they have just one week left to apply
In terms of the election timetable, registered voters have until 23h59 on 13 March 2019 to apply and notify the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote at one of South Africa’s 121 foreign missions.

Registered voters can apply by completing and submitted a VEC10 form via the website

Applications are open to both those voters registered abroad as well as locally registered voters who will be travelling outside of the country during the election and wish to vote outside of the country.

By 5 March 2019, 12 425 applications had been received and processed. Of these, 6 247 have applied to vote in missions in Europe, 2 926 in Asia, 1 502 in Africa, 868 in North America, 817 in Oceania and 65 in South America.

In 2014, the Electoral Commission received 27 899 applications to vote outside the country of which 26 716 were approved and a total of 18 446 actually voted in the election.

Voters are reminded that voting outside of the country is scheduled for Saturday 27 April 2019 at South Africa’s foreign missions. This is to allow for the secure transport of completed ballot papers back to the national office of the Electoral Commission where they will be counted in front of party agents and added to the national ballot count once polling closes on 8 May 2019.

The Electoral Commission has simplified the overseas voting application process since the 2014 national elections. In 2014, voters who wished to vote abroad were required to first notify the Chief Electoral Officer of their intention to vote abroad and then, on voting day, complete an application form before voting. These two processes have now been combined in the VEC 10 process which should significantly reduce the time taken to vote on 27 April 2019.
The 131 projects that have been approved under the Black Industrialists Scheme have resulted in increased investments and job creation.
“The approval of these 131 projects of black entrepreneurs has leveraged over R13,2 billion of private-sector investment, about 9 500 new jobs created and 8 900 retained in a wide range of manufacturing sub-sectors,” the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, said on Tuesday, 26 February 2019.

The Minister was responding to members of the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee on issues relating to his department that emanated from the State of the Nation Address.

The Black Industrialists Scheme is the incentive programme of the Black Industrialists Policy, which aims to promote the participation of black industrialists as manufacturers in key sectors of the economy as identified in the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

Going forward, Minister Davies said the dti would increase efforts of providing financial, market access, capacity-building and technical support to approved black industrialists in collaboration with state-owned companies, other government departments and the private sector.

Minister Davies further announced that in 2018, 22 trade missions and 20 national pavilions were undertaken across the world, where the dti supported companies to showcase their products and services.

Over 800 enterprises were assisted and approximately R4 billion export sales were recorded.

According to him, 15 national pavilions are planned and 864 enterprises are expected to be supported in 2019.

With efforts to revitalise industrial parks to enable them to serve as catalysts for broader economic and industrial development in their host regions (townships and rural areas), Minister Davies said R300 million had been approved for the second phase of the industrial parks' revitalisation.

To date, six industrial parks have been launched and funded to the value of R511 million and four will be ready to be launched this year.

The Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme is one of the flagship programmes of government aimed at facilitating broad-based economic participation to achieve inclusive growth, as well as facilitating the transformation of the economy.

The Minister further mentioned that 2019 would see the launch of Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape and the Free State InvestSA One Stop Shops, in addition to the operational offices in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

These one-stop shops are critical to facilitating and increasing quality investments into the economy, he said.

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Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe, has welcomed South Africa’s latest improved global mining ranking.
This as the Fraser Institute released its annual global survey of mining jurisdictions on Friday, 1 March 2019.

In the rankings, in terms of the attractiveness of its mining policies, South Africa ranked 56th out of 83 countries surveyed. The country improved its ranking by 25 spots, compared to 2017’s 81st spot.

In the survey conducted by the Canadian think tank, South Africa improved its position by moving up five points in terms of investment attractiveness to 43 out of 83 countries.

“This shows that working together with stakeholders in the sector, it is possible to realise South Africa’s potential of being in the top 20 in terms of its attractiveness to the investment community,” said Minister Mantashe.

The Minister said the improvements affirmed government’s efforts made in the last 12 months.

“It is essential that all stakeholders in the mining industry and the broader society come together to realise the call to grow South Africa together.”

“Mining, as an economic activity, is integral to this task to place our country on a higher growth trajectory, to create much-needed employment, reduce poverty and increase competitiveness and transformation of the industry,” said the Minister.

The survey follows hot on the heels of the launch of Vedanta Zinc International’s Gamsberg Mine near Aggeneys, which was opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the Northern Cape.

At the launch on 28 February, the President said investment in the mine was a step in the right direction towards changing the fortunes of the Northern Cape.

The President, who also toured the US$400 million facility, said the sun had yet to set on the mining sector.

“The operation that we are opening gives us confidence that the future of mining is bright.

“It gives us confidence that we can develop an industry that benefits communities as much as it produces returns for shareholders,” the President said, adding that government was committed to working with investors to ensure the growth of the sector.

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Gauteng businesspeople said they were ready to access the Asian market and secure opportunities during the 44th Foodex Trade Fair.
The companies, which are among the 30 companies that received financial support from the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), are participating in the trade fair from 5 to 8 March in Japan.

Foodex is regarded as Asia’s largest food and drink exhibition, providing a platform for creating and expanding business opportunities.

The Managing Director of Blue Shirt Bakery, Gys Olivier, said the research that he had done as part of his preparation for the trade fair had shown that the Asian market provided good business opportunities for his products.

He reckons that as a player in this sector, he will be able to find clients for his products.

“I have made contact with some potential customers from Japan already and the good news is that they have shown interest in our range of products.

“We hope to build on that and secure some export business into Japan as well as the Asian region through connecting with interested parties at the trade fair,” said Olivier, whose confectionary company boasts 30 years of experience in the production of edible foods.

The Director of Lentibex, an organic vegetable business manufacturing macadamia nuts, oil and butter, Thabo Mooketsi, says he has set his sights on establishing new market and distribution channels for exporting his goods and services to bolster his business profile as he intends to trade internationally.

Dr Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, said participating in the trade fair would expose South African companies to available trade and investment opportunities and highlight their products and services in order to gain access to the multibillion rand Asian food and beverage market.

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South African Airways (SAA) has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding that will see it spread its wings in Ghana.
The MoU, signed between SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana, and CEO of Africa World Airlines (AWA), John Quan, was signed recently at the Ghana Ministry of Aviation in Accra.

The MOU allows the two airlines to enhance their relationship through synergies that include code sharing, franchising and any other related projects.

“As part of our turnaround strategy, we are constantly looking at ways of improving our customers’ travel experiences. This agreement gives our customers seamless connections from Johannesburg into more destinations in Ghana and other West African destinations,” said Jarana.

The agreement augments the national carrier’s popular and successful Ghana operations and offers customers a host of additional travel options in Ghana as well as further afield in the African West Coast region.

“As the leading carrier on the continent, our aim is to improve air travel connections on the continent through partnerships and this agreement with AWA goes a long way towards improving intra-African travel,” CEO Jarana said.

CEO Quan said the partnership would help consolidate AWA’s position as one of the leading airlines in West Africa.

“We are excited by the potential that this African partnership can deliver and are confident that it will be a win-win relationship for both sides,” said CEO Quan.

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The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will invest R27 million over the next three years in the country's Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Satellite Programme.
The Director-General of the Department, Dr Phil Mjwara, made this announcement during the ZACube-2 plenary at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) recently.

Held under the theme, "CPUT's ZACube-2 Leading South Africa's Fourth Industrial Revolution into Space", the plenary followed the recent launch of the ZACube-2 nanosatellite, considered the most advanced in the African continent to date.  Weighing just 4 kg, ZACube-2 carries an automatic identification system payload for monitoring the movement of ships along the South African coastline.  It will also help to monitor veld fires, providing near real-time information to ensure faster response times by disaster management teams.

CPUT's Prof. Robert van Zyl, who heads the institution's satellite build programme, says that while ZACube-2 is still in the process of being commissioned, it has already shown that the majority of its functions are operating as planned. He said the final phase of commissioning would be the stabilisation of the satellite, after which imaging would commence.

The satellite is operated from the CPUT Ground Station, with back-up support provided through the Spaceteq Ground Station at Houwteq.  The DST has already invested R16,5 million in CPUT for its nanosatellite programme, which was established in 2009 with the DST's support.

ZACube-2 is a demonstrator for the technology that will ultimately be used in a constellation of nine nanosatellites that will be developed to facilitate South African maritime domain awareness.  The MDASat constellation will provide cutting-edge data exchange systems for the maritime industry in support of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy), as well as veld fire detection applications for South Africa and the region.

Dr Mjwara told the gathering that the department was investing in the CPUT satellite build programme as it responds to the country's national priorities. "The country has a vast coastline, and ZACube-2 is monitoring ship activity in support of Operation Phakisa," he said.

Operation Phakisa is a presidential priority initiative under which government, civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders plan and work together in unlocking the economic potential of South Africa's oceans.
All essential infrastructure designs required for the first phase of the world's most powerful radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – have been completed.
The SKA is a collection of thousands of antennas spread over 3 000 km, which will work together as one gigantic, virtual instrument creating a radio telescope at least 50 times more powerful and 10 000 times faster than any other radio telescope currently in existence.

The telescope will be made up of many large antennas and other types of radio wave receivers that will be linked together via optic fibre cables, which are constructed in South Africa and Australia.

For the last five years, engineers have been hard at work at their sites in Murchison, Western Australia, and the Northern Cape, designing all the essential infrastructure required for construction of this complex global project.

Following the successful review of the key infrastructure components, the project will now move on to the bridging phase, the Department of Science and Technology said recently. This phase will bring together all the individual detailed designs of elements of the SKA and integrate them on a system level.

A system critical design review will be conducted in December after which the project will enter the procurement phase, followed by construction once the establishment of the SKAO as an intergovernmental organisation has been concluded.

The Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, has welcomed the progress made by the teams.

"I am proud of the sterling work by our engineers who are part of the SKA project.

“I have no doubt the expertise and best practice developed during the delivery of this precursor telescope enabled the INSA [Infrastructure South Africa] consortium to meet the SKA Organisation's stringent standards for infrastructure design," the minister said.

South Africa's Department of Science and Technology has already invested more than R760 million in infrastructure for the MeerKAT radio telescope, which was completed in July last year in Carnarvon, the Northern Cape.

Minister Kubayi-Ngubane said she looked forward to her Official Visit to Rome next month for the signing of the SKA Convention, following four rounds of negotiations over the last few years.

Italy, which led the multilateral negotiation process, was the first country to initial the document. The Minister will then proceed to the SKA Global Headquarters in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Once completed, the radio astronomers will use the SKA to understand how stars and galaxies formed; how they evolved over time; what the so-called "dark-matter" is that occupies 95% of the universe; how magnetic fields formed and evolved in the universe and how they influence astrophysical processes; to investigate the validity of Einstein's theory of relativity, and perhaps detect life elsewhere in the universe.

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Construction has begun on three new patrol vessels, which will aid in protecting South Africa's 1,5 million square kilometre coastline from threats such as trafficking, illegal fishing and piracy.
The vessels will cost a budgeted R1,5 billion and the first one is expected to be patrolling by July 2021. They will be constructed locally.

They form part of the South African Navy’s Project BIRO and hopes to relieve its ageing fleet in protecting 1,5 million square kilometres of coastline.

“This new Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPVs) will cater for the roles and obsolescence of Navy vessels such as the Strike Craft, Mine Countermeasures Vessels and the Torpedo Recovery Vessel that have been in service for more than 40 years,” said Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, recently.

The navy budgeted R1,5 billion for the vessels, which was signed and approved in October 2017.

They are to be constructed locally at Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), which won the tender. The vessels need to include 60% local content (excluding high-end items such as marine engines, propulsion systems, electronics systems and generators).

The Minister stated that the vessels delivered by Project BIRO would be "work horses" of the South African Navy, reducing the load off the Navy’s existing fleet of frigates.

“While prevalence of piracy has somewhat declined, the extent of maritime crime observed – including trafficking, illegal fishing and smuggling – has been on the increase, indicating that the maritime domain lacks law enforcement. The new vessels would be well-suited to this task," said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.

DSCT says it will be spending over one million man hours in order to make the vessels.

South Africans can expect the first vessel by early 2021 and on the water protecting our seas by June of that year. The second and third are scheduled for delivery in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

With a length of 62,2 metres, the vessels will be capable of travelling at a maximum speed of 20 knots, or around 37 kilometres an hour.

The P1571 vessels will be built according to a patented Damen Axe Bow design. This aims to ensures high sustained speed even in South Africa’s notoriously rough waters. A key point of the ships' design is that it can reduce vertical acceleration and bow slamming when going through heavy surge.

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Brand South Africa welcomes South Africa’s performance in the "Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index II", which indicates that the country ranks among the top 10 countries leading the digital transformation change required to compete in 21st century economies.
The research conducted by Dell Technologies in partnership with research from Vanson Bourne was launched in 2016 with the aim of mapping out businesses’ status of digital transformation and how they are performing in the digital age.

The second instalment of the index, which was released recently, measured 4 600 medium-to-large corporate leaders across 42 countries and sub-regions to determine their organisations’ digital transformation methods by investigating their information technology (IT) policies and workforce transformation programmes.

Commenting on the index, Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research, Dr Petrus de Kock, says South Africa’s performance is pleasing and demonstrates that corporate South Africa is leading in digital business maturity through innovative workplace systems.

“There is no question that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. That it is taking place globally at unpredictably fast rates is common cause. The biggest unknown is the size of the seismic change ahead of us and its impact on the developing world, particularly the African continent.

“However, it is an attractive and competitive attribute that we are seeing more South African private companies partnering with African countries to scale up digital skills training. All these initiatives are important because they facilitate the meaningful participation of Africans in the digital economy and empower them to do so on their own terms,” says Dr de Kock.

As Africa’s leading industrialised nation, South Africa has been preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution for several years across various sectors of the private and public sectors. All industries are being digitally disrupted, which presents an opportunity for a growing digital economy. Dr de Kock says the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides us with a new and unique opportunity to address unemployment by adapting our education models to catalyse innovation and upskill the next generation for digital transformation.
The South African Department of Arts and Culture has appointed Nkule Mabaso and Nomusa Makhubu of Natal Collective to curate the South African Pavilion at the 58th International Art Exhibition.
The South African Pavilion will showcase works by the artists Dineo Seshee Bopape, Tracey Rose and Mawande Ka Zenzile from 11 May to 24 November 2019. Corporate Icons Media has also been appointed for logistics and communication support.

The commissioner, Consul-General Titi Nxumalo, will work alongside the Natal Collective to organise the South African Pavilion. South Africa’s participation at the La Biennale di Venezia is made possible through the support from the Department of Arts and Culture.

The three artists that have been selected to represent South Africa explore the themes of social, political and economic resilience under the title The Stronger We Become, the aim of which is capturing the collective fortitude of South Africans and is in response to the 2019 curatorial theme, May You Live In Interesting Times, set by Ralph Rugoff.

“This international arts exhibition in Venice is an important platform to showcase South Africa’s rich and varied artistic talent, especially in the year in which South Africa celebrates 25 years of freedom and democracy,” says Nathi Mthethwa, Minister of Arts and Culture.

The exhibition’s curators, Nkule Mabaso and Nomusa Makhubu, say, “The proposed theme engages with the determination and tenacious spirit of South Africans”.

The exhibition, as the curators affirm, brings together artists and artworks that probe and approach the theme differently in order to explore the ability of South Africans to endure historical traumas while not losing their ability to laugh, learn and continue with their daily lives.
A twisted love seat has been named South Africa's most beautiful object in 2019 at this year's Design Indaba, an annual conference for the creative industries, held in Cape Town.
A bright blue 'love seat' won the top prize at this year's Design Indaba. It has been voted as the most beautiful object in South Africa. The twisted bench was produced by the Joburg-based furniture maker, Houtlander.

The bright blue curvy bench, named "Interdependence II", is a playful spin on the traditional love seat.

Houtlander is a relatively new venture by two furniture makers, Phillip Hollander and Stephen Wilson. They produce furniture that reflects South African and Scandinavian craft traditions at their workshop in Roodepoort. No screws or metal fixings are used in their furniture.

The bench was nominated by Nandi Dlepu, founder of the creative studio Mamakashaka,

“The manufacturing ability exhibited with this product is applaud worthy, I really love that it’s an abstraction of something familiar. A shakers style love seat with a twist, literally,” said Dlepu.

The Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation has called on corporate South Africa to help support Banyana Banyana’s 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign.

The committee heard during a presentation from the South African Football Association (SAFA) recently that R20 million has been budgeted for the entire campaign. The World Cup is scheduled to take place in France between 7 June and 7 July 2019.

The Chairperson of the committee, Beauty Dlulane, welcomed Safa’s investment in women’s football, but said it needed to be supplemented. “Corporate South Africa and private businesses need to avail financial resources and support Banyana Banyana. Success is cultivated and funded, which is where the women’s game seems to be lacking,” Ms Dlulane said.

Sponsorship of the women’s football team cannot remain at current low levels, especially given its success under the current management, led by coach Ms Desiree Ellis, Ms Dlulane said. “Banyana Banyana should not go to France just to add numbers; they must go there to compete and that warrants that they be supported in whatever way to make their campaign a success,” she said.

Safa outlined the team’s preparations for the World Cup, including a series of friendly games scheduled to take place between Banyana Banyana and other World Cup teams, including The Netherlands, Finland and Jamaica. Safa also said that it planned to bid to host the 2023 event.
“Mr President,

“South Africa thanks the Special Envoy, Ms Christine Schraner Burgener, for her informative briefing following her recent visit to the region. We also wish to commend Ms Burgener for her continued efforts in finding solutions to this crisis, including through engagement with all parties.

“At the outset, South Africa condemns the deadly attacks and violence that took place in Rahkine State in January 2019. It is of paramount importance that the parties cease, immediately, all acts of violence that can only serve to further perpetuate the crisis and prolong and worsen the unbearable human suffering that it has brought about.

“On this point, South Africa remains deeply concerned by the serious humanitarian crisis that persists, affecting, inter alia, almost one million Rohingya refugees, including women and children. South Africa commends the efforts of the Bangladesh Government, and host communities in Bangladesh, for assisting these vulnerable persons, and calls on the Government of Myanmar to work with all relevant actors, including the United Nations, to urgently facilitate the conditions that will allow a voluntary return of displaced persons, into conditions of safety and dignity.

“Mr President,

We appreciate the positive developments reported on to us by Ms Christine Schraner Burgener, which in summary were:
  • 1st, that Christine has been given permission to open an office in the Capital, Naypyidaw
  • 2nd, that there are processes underway to discuss the Constitutional amendments
  • 3rd, that the verification process has been shortened from two years to five months
  • 4th, that the Myanmar authorities have allowed Christine to have more access to all parties and travel more freely around Myanmar
  • 5th, appreciation must be expressed for the efforts of China, India and Japan for their contributions to the construction of transit camps.
“Mr President,

“It is evident from the Special Envoy’s briefing and reports that the humanitarian crisis is being perpetuated by the lack of access to life-saving humanitarian assistance, including restrictions to access to health, education and other essential services, as well as ways to make a decent living and live a full life.

“In this regard, South Africa encourages the Government of Myanmar to fully implement the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 6 June 2018 with the United Nations Development Programme and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees to address these challenges. In this regard, it is also critical that these agencies receive the necessary resources to allow them to address this humanitarian crisis.

“Mr President,

“The Council should also take onboard the views of India, China, Japan, ASEAN as well as all other interested parties, across religious sectarian lines, to facilitate unity among the people of Myanmar. We should also pay attention to the plight of other ethnic minorities.

“In conclusion, we wish to reiterate that the only sustainable solution to this crisis is a negotiated, inclusive, fair political settlement which puts the interests and well-being of all communities, including the Rohingya people, front and centre, and which allows for the essential processes of truth, justice and reconciliation, towards lasting peace and healing.

“I thank you.”
 “Mr President,

“The South Africa delegation would like join others in thanking the Special Envoy for Syria, Mr Geir Pedersen, for his insightful and forward-looking briefing.

“As this is the first time that my delegation participates in the political briefing on Syria, please allow me to join my colleagues in congratulating you on assuming your important role as the facilitator of the political process in Syria.

“You have a challenging task ahead of you. Our responsibility as this Council, together with the backing of the international community, is to provide you with all the support necessary in order to successfully facilitate a Syria-led, UN-sponsored political process as outlined in Resolution 2254. We welcome your determination to build upon the solid progress that has already been achieved by your predecessor, Mr Stefan de Mistura.

“Mr President,

“Next month will mark eight years since the crisis in Syria began. We are extremely concerned about the devastating and tragic consequences that the war in Syria continues to have on the people of Syria. It is also having an increasingly destabilising impact on the wider region, through the displacement of people, the exacerbation of political and sectarian differences and the spread of extremism.  It is the responsibility of this Council to ensure that there is political progress and a return to normality in Syria. The people of Syria deserve a future that is stable and prosperous.

“Mr President,

“Since the Syrian conflict erupted, South Africa has maintained a principled position by reiterating the protection of the fundamental interests and rights of the Syrian people; the maintenance of peace and stability in the Middle East region; and, upholding the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and basic norms governing international relations.

“Mr President,

“We reiterate our view that the only sustainable solution to the Syrian question remains the achievement of a political solution through an inclusive Syrian-led dialogue aimed at achieving a political transition reflective of the will of the Syrian people with guaranteed protection for all groups in Syrian society. We therefore call upon the Council to unite towards the full implementation of Resolution 2254 of 2013, as the roadmap towards a long-term political solution in Syria.

“Mr President,

“We welcome the extensive consultations that Mr Pedersen has undertaken with the Government of Syria, the opposition parties and key partners in the region since January 2019. These comprehensive and in-depth engagements are critical in building trust between the people of Syria and the region and to move the process forward. Equally important to the success of the political process in Syria, is the need to respect the ceasefire and de-escalation agreements and to continue to fight terrorism.

“South Africa furthermore commends the efforts by Mr Pedersen to continue overseeing the deliberations on the establishment of the Constitutional Committee. We call upon all relevant parties to make every effort to support Mr Pedersen in this endeavour.

“Finally, Mr President,

“The Council as well as the international community should support a political solution to the situation in Syria as a matter of priority and continue to support the United Nations, including the Special Envoy, as well as other mediation efforts aimed at resolving the conflict. South Africa continues to maintain that democracy is an unassailable right of the Syrian people and therefore remains convinced that in a complex and diverse society such as Syria, there can be no military solution to the conflict.

“I thank you.”
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