Issue 370 | 4 April 2019
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The visit provided an opportunity for President Ramaphosa and President Mbasogo to strengthen political, diplomatic and economic relations between their two countries, in pursuance of the objective to promote peace, security and sustainable development in Africa and the world.
President Cyril Ramaphosa concluded a Working Visit on Tuesday, 2 April 2019, to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea where he held talks with his counterpart, His Excellency Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by a delegation comprising the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, as well as senior officials.

They further agreed on the need to strengthen South-South cooperation and inter-African cooperation in particular.

South Africa and Equatorial Guinea enjoy cordial relations that were formally established in 1993. The two countries have entered into a number of bilateral cooperation agreements, including a General Cooperation Agreement and two agreements on defence cooperation. The two countries are also formulating draft agreements to enhance cooperation in education and energy.
During the visit, the heads of state participated in a bilateral meeting and witnessed the signing of the Rules of Procedure for a Joint Permanent Commission.

South Africa and  Equatorial Guinea  serve as non-permanent members on the United Nations Security Council and have committed themselves to work together to champion Africa’s quest for peace and stability in line with the collective vision encapsulated in the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

President Ramaphosa has expressed his gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality he and his delegation received from President Mbasogo and the people of Equatorial Guinea.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned violence against foreign nationals in South Africa and called on law-enforcement agencies and law-abiding citizens to identify perpetrators and bring them to book.
“There can be no justification for criminality and if communities are disaffected for any reason, grievances must be raised with government and must be done within the confines of the law,” President Ramaphosa said.

The statement followed the recent reports of attacks on foreign nationals in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, where their property and goods were looted and damaged.

President Ramaphosa said recent violence against Malawian and other nationals in KwaZulu-Natal was particularly regrettable on the eve of Freedom Month, which in 2019 marks 25 years of freedom.

South Africans, President Ramaphosa said, owed their freedom to the solidarity and support given to the liberation struggle by people across the continent and around the world.

“Today, our economy and society benefit from our extensive trade and investment relations with partners on our continent and many of our continental compatriots live in South Africa, where they are making important contributions to the development of our country.

“African development depends on the increased movement of people, goods and services between different countries for all of us to benefit. We will not allow criminals to set back these processes,” the President said.

The President has welcomed the engagement between International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, and Police Minister, Bheki Cele, and the African diplomatic community in South Africa on Monday, 1 April 2019.

The meeting was convened to discuss the current spate of violence against foreign nationals and their properties.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, 28 March 2019, launched the Business Leadership South Africa Connect and SA SME CEO Fund Circle in Johannesburg.

Business Leadership South Africa Connect is an online trading platform which will link registered small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) access to supply chain opportunities of large South African corporations that have an integrated global footprint.

The online portal will promote supplier diversity and the inclusion of black suppliers in the value chain.

This initiative will create market opportunities for black-owned SMMEs through linkages and networking between large firms and SMMEs. It will also support emerging enterprises with access to enterprise and supplier development.

This programme of broadening economic participation forms part of BLSA’s #BusinessBelieveInSouthAfrica Campaign. One of the commitments under this campaign is support for small businesses.

The BLSA Campaign supports government efforts, led by President Ramaphosa, to broaden economic participation and dilute the concentration of the South African economy in which a relatively small number of enterprises dominate all levels of supply chains and limit choices for consumers.

In February 2019, President Ramaphosa signed into law the Competition Amendment Bill, which constitutes a boost for SMEs, economic inclusion and is intended to open the economy to fresh investment and innovation.

President Ramaphosa concurrently launched the SA SME Fund CEO Circle, which aims to finance and scale up black SMMEs.

The fund was set up under the auspices of the CEO Initiative in 2016 to stimulate growth and investment drawn from the expertise of South Africa’s top business leaders.

Fifty of South Africa’s largest companies have collectively invested R1,4 billion in capital in the SA SME Fund, which is mandated to invest the bulk of its funding into black emerging  businesses.

President Ramaphosa has urged all social partners across the public and private spheres to collaborate on finding long-term sustainable solutions to combat and reduce inequality, poverty and unemployment, and to secure and create inclusive growth to build a prosperous South Africa.

On 3 April 2019, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, addressed members of the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) on South African foreign priorities and key international events.
In January 2019, South Africa assumed a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the third time. In 2020, South Africa will assume Chairship of the African Union (AU).

Minister Sisulu addressed the gathering on the theme: “Representing Africa in the World: Setting Priorities for South Africa’s Third Term in the United Nations Security Council”.
The Minister said that South Africa’s candidature was endorsed by the AU. “That is a confidence boost we do not take for granted. What this means is that we are constantly conscious of our responsibility towards the continent. We have our own strong views on most of the matters under consideration, but we are sensitive to the fact that we represent more than ourselves and this can be a difficult balancing act. But we have managed it very well. We have created a very strong lobby group in New York among the African diplomats and they played a significant role in the support we received and continue to receive. That well-knit, informed network of our African diplomats provides us with the confidence and support we need. It has emboldened us.”

“On 8 June 2018, South Africa was elected by 183 votes to serve on the UNSC Non-Permanent Seat for 2019-2020 tenure. The increased number of votes for South Africa was a signal of confidence by the international community. This heralded a New Dawn in South Africa’s diplomacy; it provided an opportunity for a recalibrated engagement with other nations of the world.”
Minister Sisulu outlined South Africa’s objectives for the two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC:

  • “Continuing the legacy of Nelson Mandela – working for a just and peaceful world and a peaceful Africa, where all can live in liberty, protected by just laws.
  • To achieve this, South Africa upholds in the strongest terms the principles of the UN Charter without bias toward any country.
  • We support the peaceful resolution of conflicts, with a focus on prevention, the utilisation of mediation approaches and the promotion of inclusive dialogue. As such, South Africa vociferously advocates for all parties at the negotiating table at any negotiating forum to ensure the participation of women.
  • South Africa operates within a rules-based multilateral system; this is a key principle of our engagements and a fundamental foundation of our tenure. It is important that the rules are upheld and applied to all and by all. In this regard, we are concerned about the increased threat to multilateralism.
  • Our objectives are also deeply rooted in the AU’s aspirations as we work towards the achievement of the AU’s silencing the guns on the African continent by 2020 and agenda 2063."
She reiterated that South Africa would not be a bystander in the UNSC. “Within the inherent constraints of the Council, we will strive to make a positive and significant contribution to the international community’s efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts the world over based on our foreign policy objectives.”

Read the Minister’s speech on
In line with the National Development Plan, which seeks to promote sustainable development by tackling regional, continental and global challenges, Cabinet recently approved the establishment of a national coordinating mechanism to coordinate the sustainable development agendas of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This national coordination mechanism will serve as a multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder process to facilitate consultations and coordination within and outside government on South Africa’s international sustainable development commitments.

This will be overseen by an Inter-Ministerial Committee, driven from the centre of government, which will ensure that the development agendas (UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the SADC’s Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan) are fully reflected in the country’s national plans, and will provide overall guidance on fulfilling monitoring and reporting requirements.
The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence have welcomed the assistance the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has rendered in countries severely affected by tropical Cyclone Idai.
The cyclone hit parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi a few weeks ago, leaving nations reeling. Hundreds of citizens were killed and thousands displaced during the disaster that has seen the international community pledge support in recovery efforts.

“The committees extend heartfelt condolences to all the families in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, who have lost their loved ones. The effects of tropical Cyclone Idai are one of the worst in Africa and the southern hemisphere as a whole, where it currently ranks as the second or third deadliest tropical cyclone on record,” the committees said in a statement issued on Friday, 29 March 2019.

The willingness and speedy response of the SANDF speak of a professional and willing defence force that can be counted on in times of disaster, whether it be local or across our borders, read the statement.

“We extend our gratitude to our soldiers, who risked their lives in difficult circumstances for extended periods in the humanitarian aid they extended, especially to stranded Mozambicans.

“Our Air Force is also assisting to restore the power supply from the Cahora Bassa hydro-electric generation station to South Africa to relieve some of the pressure on the South African power grid.”

The committees also acknowledged the speedy approval by President Cyril Ramaphosa to employ soldiers to Mozambique and Malawi.

The committees said the efforts came in the wake of a successful Armed Forces Day in Cape Town on 21 February, where the SANDF displayed its professionalism and military equipment.

Despite budget challenges, the committees called on the SANDF to further enhance efforts to assist South Africa’s neighbours.

“We wish the South African men and women in uniform all of the best with these praiseworthy and valiant endeavours,” the committees said.

– Source:
South Africa joins the international community to express its concerns on the recognition by the US of the Syrian Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory.
The Golan Heights region was seized by Israel from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967. In 1981, Israel passed a law that effectively annexed it – a move that remains unrecognised internationally. A United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution of 1981 states that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect”.

As such, the US’ unilateral decision of 25 March 2019 represents a serious violation of the UN Charter, International Law and applicable UNSC resolutions, particularly 497 (1981). Such unilateral declarations constitute a severe setback to the Rule of Law and international norms.

The Government of the Republic of South Africa will not support any unilateral action by the US Government that undermines efforts of creating peace and stability in the Middle East region.

South Africa calls upon the UNSC to exercise its mandate in preserving international peace and security. It further calls upon the UNSC to implement its relevant resolutions, supported by International Law, to restore the Syrian Golan Heights, an integral part of the Syrian Arab Republic, from Israeli occupation.
The President of the National Development Bank (NDB), Kundapur Vaman Kamath, says the bank plans to approve development financing amounting to US$2,3 billion in South Africa by the end of the year.
Kamath said this when he addressed the Fourth Annual Meeting of the NDB at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Monday, 1 April 2019.

“As I briefly mentioned earlier, we launched our Africa Regional Centre (ARC) in Johannesburg in August 2017. We are pleased to see that it is already bearing fruit. While the bank only approved three projects from South Africa aggregating US$680 million in the past three years, the ARC has enabled us to quickly identify six projects for 2019.

“Of these, three projects, aggregating US$790 million, were approved by the Board of Directors yesterday. We plan to end the year with total loan approvals of about US$2,3 billion in South Africa,” he said.

The NDB, which was officially launched at the BRICS Summit in Russia in 2015, is a multilateral development bank established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa in accordance with the Agreement on the New Development Bank, signed on 15 July 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

The purpose of the bank is to mobilise resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development.

Addressing the meeting on Monday, which was also attended by Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni; Higher Education Minister, Naledi Pandor – in her capacity as the BRICS Inter-Ministerial Committee Co-Chair; deputy ministers from BRICS member countries; and the bank’s governors, Mr Kamath said the bank supported the member countries’ commitment to sustainable development.

He said building on a base of 13 loans for US$3,4 billion at the end of 2017, the bank approved 17 loans totalling about US$4,6 billion in 2018, bringing the total loan book of the Bank to 30 projects, aggregating about US$8 billion.

He said in response to the need for non-sovereign lending in member countries, the bank approved four non-sovereign loans aggregating about US$1 billion in three countries in the last year, taking its total non-sovereign portfolio to about US$4 billion.

“Nearly 80% of our lending is now in the transport, clean energy, and water and sanitation sectors, with urban development and environmental protection also forming a major part. We have also invested in building a strong and more diversified pipeline of projects for 2019,” he said.

He said the bank now looked to go beyond the “do-no-harm” approach to incorporate a more transformative approach to development.

“We are focussing on the development impact of our lending through more robust monitoring frameworks and measurement of projects’ contributions to our members’ Sustainable Deverlopment Goal commitments. Sustainability therefore remains at the core of everything we do.”

– Source:

South African companies who participated in the recently concluded Outward Trade and Investment Mission (OTIM) are confident that trade leads made in Ghana will lead to solid deals.

Funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), 30 local companies returned home recently after partaking in the OTIM through the department’s Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme.

Stellenbosch winemaker Malcom Green said he held fruitful meetings with businesspeople who were interested in helping his company to set up a wine-bottling plant in the West African country.

“I had fruitful meetings with people who are interested in helping our company establish a wine-bottling plant there as part of our export growth strategy for Africa. The Ghanaian investment promotion agency is also keen to play a role in facilitating the implementation of the project because of its potential to contribute in creating employment opportunities for the Ghanaians.

“We are excited because this will enable us to export South African wines bottled in Ghana to the rest of the West African region,” said Mr Green.

Local businesspeople spent their time in Ghana attending seminars, engaging Ghanaian businesspeople in business-to-business meetings, and conducting site visits in search of trade and investment opportunities.

Hendrik Naude of Gauteng travelled to Ghana with the aim of seeking a distributor for his company’s information and communications technology (ICT) solutions.

“From the numerous meetings that I held with the Ghanaian businesspeople, I am coming back home with a list of three promising companies which we are likely to do business with in the near future. I have also met a potential customer who has requested a quotation that can see our products making their way to Ghana in the near future,” he said.
South Africa’s Foreign Economic Representative in Ghana, Ms Nompumelelo Hlela, described the interest shown by the Ghanaians in doing business with South Africa as beyond expectations.

“The business seminar that we held on Wednesday was over-subscribed as we had planned for 150 participants but more than 250 businesspeople turned up.

"The response of the Ghanaian businesspeople to our invitation to the business-to-business meetings was beyond expectations. Our businesspeople had very good meetings both in terms of quality and quantity,” she said.

– Source:
The Iconic Map of Africa Monument has been unveiled at the southernmost tip of Africa in the Agulhas National Park in the Southern Overberg region of the Western Cape.
The map pays homage to the mighty African continent and boasts a circumference of 30 metres.

The Iconic Map of Africa Monument was commissioned and developed at the Agulhas National Park by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with South African National Parks to enhance visitor experience and boost the local tourism economy.

The monument design shows the direction of a compass and includes representation of several African landmarks, according to the Department of Tourism.

It also lends itself to walking meditation or quiet contemplation while visitors admire the confluence of the two mighty oceans – the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

“South Africa’s rich biodiversity and natural heritage found in our national parks are key tourism drawcards. We can only enhance these amazing tourism offerings by adding features like the Iconic Map of Africa Monument to deliver memorable experiences to our visitors and ensure many happy returns,” Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, said in his address on Tuesday, 27 March 2019.
World-leading gynaecologists will soon meet in Cape Town for a unique gathering of nearly 1 000 experts from around the world.
Close to 1 000 gynaecologists will gather in Cape Town in April for a unique conference — the first time a joint meeting of this kind will be held.

“We are proud to be hosting Endoscopy in Africa and Beyond — a conference which is bringing together world-leading gynaecologists to hear about the latest developments in our field,” said Professor Igno Siebert.

Together with Dr Viju Thomas, Professor Siebert is chairing the Local Organising Committee for the event.

The conference, a joint initiative by South African and leading international organisations, will be held between 13 and 17 April.

The groups are South African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), the International Society for Gynaecologic Endoscopy (ISGE) and the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, whose members are leaders in the gynaecological field.

“This is the first time that a joint meeting of this kind has been held – it is unique that we are bringing the biggest endoscopic societies in Europe – ESGE and ISGE – and the biggest society in Africa, SASREG, and hosting a conference together. This has never been attempted before, so we are really breaking new ground,” Prof. Siebert said.

He said that it was a clear recognition from international colleagues that South Africa was one of the leading countries in the world in this speciality.

Gynaecological surgery has been revolutionised by the development of endoscopy, coupled with the use of robotics.
“It removes so many of the possible complications associated with open surgery,” Prof. Siebert explained.

SASREG president, Suleiman Heylen, says that the organisers have ensured there will be something for everyone.

One of the event highlights is live endometriosis surgery being carried out at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. The procedure will be relayed to delegates using ‘The Visitor’ – a modem in the theatre which is regularly used to link with other consultants or doctors in training.

“Our aim, as the conference title says, is to take this meeting beyond 2019, to be an integral part of the progress that is happening in the world,” he said.
Airports Company South Africa’s (ACSA) airports serving Cape Town and Durban have been named Africa’s best in the 2019 Skytrax World Airport Awards.
The awards were presented to ACSA recently at an event in London.  Air travellers voted Cape Town International Airport the Best Airport in Africa.

This is the fourth year running that Cape Town International Airport secured this award and the airport has been previously recognised in the Skytrax Awards on multiple occasions.

King Shaka International Airport in Durban won this year’s award for Best Regional Airport in Africa and Best Airport Staff in Africa serving five to 10 million passengers. The airport has also been recognised previously in the Skytrax awards.

Bongiwe Mbomvu, Airports Company South Africa’s Acting CEO said: “We are very proud of Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport for again achieving top honours. These accolades affirm the dedication and continued efforts of our staff in creating a memorable airport experience for local and international travellers.”

The 2019 Skytrax World Airports Awards are a measurement of customer satisfaction across airports globally. The awards are administered independently and based on surveys of passenger opinion.

The Skytrax World Airport Awards began in 1999 and are based on over 100 customer nationalities participating in a passenger survey. Travellers from across the globe take part in the airport customer satisfaction survey to decide award winners. This year,they received 13,73 million eligible entries from passengers across the globe.

The awards focus on delivering a customer survey and an airport awards process that is independent, impartial and global. A central directive of the survey is for customers to make their own personal choices as to which airport they consider to be the best.

– Source:
The Leonardo reaches 230 m, just seven metres taller than Africa’s current tallest building, the Carlton Centre.
The Leonardo, located in the heart of Sandton, is set to become Africa’s tallest building when it is completed later this year.

The monumental skyscraper was originally set for completion in September last year, however, the developers then decided to push the building past 50 floors as originally planned. The Legacy Group, the developers behind the project, are expected to complete the project with the tower measuring 230 m.

The current tallest building is the Carlton Tower, also located in Johannesburg, which reaches 223 m. The Carlton Tower has remained the tallest building in Africa for over 40 years, however, its reign will soon be over with many developments competing to be the tallest in Africa over the next few years.

The Leonardo will function as a mixed-use space with apartments, offices, landscaped gardens, a bar and a crèche. The Leonardo offers eight luxury penthouse suites topped by the three-level, 360° view Leonardo Suite. The Leonardo Suite is 2 880m². The development will include two levels of public areas off the street linked by an escalator to the lobby.

As part of the future phases of the development, it is proposed to develop a fully integrated business and convenience centre as well as a link to a square, similar in size to Nelson Mandela Square, surrounded by restaurants and shops.

While the Leonardo is expected to be the tallest building in Africa, its reign may be short-lived as many other developments across the continent plan to surpass the Leonardo’s height.

– Source:
The iconic Veldskoen brand is going global.
The brand received a huge financial boost from Shark Tank investor, Mark Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.

Speaking to John Maytham, the CEO and co-founder of Veldskoen, Nick Dreyer, said Veldskoen “is a great South African product and a great South African story".

He adds that the team is “incredibly excited” about the future. Cuban and his business partner will have a 50% stake in Veldskoen through their investment group in the States.

Mr Dreyer said Mr Cuban was excited when he saw the product. Cuban is also in business with South African entrepreneurs Steve and Angela Watts, who are among the brand’s backers in the States.

Steve initially partnered with Cuban back in 2016 when his company, Slyde Handboards, became a runaway success, earning profits of up to US$1,4m just two years after securing the prestigious investment.
Mr Maytham asked if Veldskoen manufacturing would stay in South Africa, or would manufacturing move to the States as well. Mr Dreyer said the company was “100% committed to manufacturing in South Africa.” He adds:

“All our products are made here. Our teams are here. Our design team is here. We don’t have any intention of trying to get the business to manufacture or scale outside of South Africa. It’s a South African product, and it always should be.”

He jokes that there are many different ways they pronounce it in the States. “Vellie” is quite popular and Mr Dreyer says Americans are “currently calling it ‘Vellie’ with great enthusiasm and passion.” He adds: “These guys are loving it.”

IOL reported that Prince Harry and Westworld star Thandie Newton are just some of the celebrities who have been spotted wearing a pair of vellies.

– Source:
The South African Library for the Blind (which is the only library servicing blind persons in Southern Africa) celebrated 100 years in operation on Thursday, 28 March 2019.
The day kicked off with a launch of the book titled: South African Library for the Blind – A Dairy of the Library. The book is the library’s first internal publication and it seeks to commemorate and celebrate the history of the library since inception. The day culminated in a gala dinner being hosted in Makhanda to commemorate this milestone.

The library was founded during the height of the 1918 global Influenza pandemic by a local nurse, Josephine (Josie) Wood, who established a small library in a little room in her house in 1919.

“The growth since then has been tremendous. We currently have mini-libraries in each province to service the local communities, with our primary focus being on providing equal access to information in accessible formats that improve the quality of life of blind and visually impaired people, at absolutely no cost to the user. The library is an entity of the Department of Arts and Culture and we would like to acknowledge the impact that the department has made on the lives of blind people,” said Francois Hendrikz, Director, South African Library for the Blind.

Audio narrators, transcribers, copy typists and proofreaders who volunteer their time at the library were honoured at the gala dinner. “Without the volunteers, we would not have over 42 365 audio titles (8 473 unique titles) and 26 164 Braille titles (4 314 unique titles). It is truly an honour to work with the team of people who assist us to service our members,” concluded Mr Hendrikz.
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