Issue 372 | 17 April 2019
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The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa has announced in a statement that the inauguration of the President-Elect will take place on Saturday, 25 May 2019, in the City of Tshwane.
In a departure from the tradition of holding the inauguration at the Union Buildings, the event will take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

“Hosting the inauguration at a stadium, the largest in the City of Tshwane, will allow for greater public participation in this important national event.

“It is symbolic that the inauguration will take place on Africa Day, as it affirms government’s commitment to advancing the African Agenda and to strengthening ties between South Africa and its neighbours,” the statement said.

The theme of the inauguration ceremony is “Together Celebrating 25 Years of Freedom: Renewal and Growth for a Better South Africa”.

Aside from members of the public, it is expected that heads of state and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union and the United Nations.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, 10 April 2019, officiated a ceremony at which automotive group Nissan announced an expansion of its investment in South Africa. The investment ceremony took place at the Nissan production plant at Rosslyn in the City of Tshwane.
The Presidency said the development was a demonstration of confidence in South Africa as an investment destination. The investment was among several pledges presented at the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference, held in Johannesburg in October last year. The conference generated R290 billion in new investments, with the automotive sector accounting for R40 billion over the next five years.

“Nissan South Africa’s expansion is a culmination of collaborative work by the automotive industry, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Gauteng Provincial Government’s Gauteng Growth and Development Agency and the Automotive Industry Development Centre,” The Presidency said.

Projects to the value of R187 billion from the pledges committed at the South Africa Investment Conference are currently undergoing implementation. Projects worth another R26 billion are in the pre-implementation phase.

“These projects are reinforcing South Africa’s ambition to attract R1,4 trillion in domestic and international investment over a period of five years,” The Presidency said.

The automotive industry contributes 6,9% to gross domestic product, which accounts for 30,1% of manufacturing output and 13,9% of total exports.

The sector employs more than 110 000 people in the vehicle and component manufacturing and averages annual investment of R12,2 billion.

The Presidency said government remained committed to further support investment and development of the automotive industry in line with the National Industrial Policy Action Framework and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

President Ramaphosa urged role players in government, civil society and business to collaborate in re-igniting inclusive growth and pursuing greater levels of investment that will create employment and reduce inequality and poverty.

– Source:
“The commission will assist government in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital industrial revolution,” The Presidency said in a statement on Tuesday, 9 April 2019.
The task of the commission, which will be chaired by the President, is to identify relevant policies, strategies and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player.

The Deputy Chair of the commission is University of Johannesburg Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, whose expertise spans the theory and application of artificial intelligence to engineering, computer science, finance, social science and medicine.

In his State of the Nation Address to a joint sitting of Parliament on 7 February 2019, President Ramaphosa said South Africa had chosen to be a country of the future at a time when the world was changing at a pace and in a manner that was unprecedented in human history.

He said revolutionary advances in technology were reshaping the way people work and live.

“Unless we adapt, unless we understand the nature of the profound change that is reshaping our world and unless we readily embrace the opportunities it presents, the promise of our nation’s birth will forever remain unfulfilled,” said the President.

In the same address, the President announced the establishment of a Presidential Commission on 4IR.

In establishing the commission, a public consultation process was undertaken to attract eminent people who possess the relevant skills and knowledge required to drive 4IR.

The 30-member commission comprises eminent persons from different sectors of society and reflects a balance in gender, youth, labour and business, including digital start-ups as well as digital entrepreneurships.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on 17 April 2019, received a final report from the Ministerial Review Panel on its review of South Africa’s foreign policy.
Minister Sisulu appointed the Review Panel in 2018 to make an in-depth evaluation of the country’s foreign policies, including reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and possible gaps of the existing policies as well as their implementation.

The Minister was joined by the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, as well as members of the Review Panel.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on Friday, 12 April 2019, delivered the keynote address at the 2019 Dr Phyllis Naidoo Annual Memorial Lecture at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa is currently serving its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and recently hosted the Southern African Development Community Solidarity Conference with Western Sahara, the last colonised country on the African continent. The Minister’s address focussed on how South Africa could use its non-permanent seat at the UNSC to highlight the plight of women in the Middle East and Western Sahara.

Dr Naidoo, a renowned author and recipient of the Order of Luthuli in Silver, was one of the activists who played a critical role towards a democratic and free South Africa.

Minister Sisulu, in her capacity as the Chancellor of the Mangosuthu University of Technology, also officiated at the 2019 Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, 13 April 2019.
Government has urged South Africans to join this year’s national Freedom Month celebration that coincides with the country’s 25 Years of Freedom and Democracy.
The celebration is a month before South Africans take to the polls on 8 May. The theme for this year is “Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy”.

“Freedom Month affords South Africans the opportunity to make a pledge towards fighting the legacy of racism and economic inequality as well as renewing loyalty to the country and commitment to its future,” government said in a statement.

“During this Freedom Month, we celebrate our achievements and reflect on our successes during the 25 years of Freedom and Democracy,” said Government Communication and Information System Acting Director-General, Phumla Williams.

She said the country’s vibrant democracy was anchored in the Constitution which guarantees equal rights for all.

“Since the dawn of democracy, government has consistently worked on improving the lives of all South Africans,” said Ms Williams.

Government has encouraged South Africans to work together to encourage a socially integrated and inclusive South Africa.

“All sectors of society must play their part in building an inclusive economy and work together to remove all obstacles which still divide society and strive to build on the many ties that bind it together,” Ms Williams said.

Government added that nation-building was a process that should be nurtured and defended and South Africans should continue forging a national identity which binds everyone together around the values, including mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance.

Members of the public are urged to join the conversation on social media and share their messages, memories or reflections of these 25 Years of Freedom and Democracy using the hashtags #FreedomMonth and the #MyFreedomSA Facebook profile picture frame found on this link:

To get the latest updates on Freedom Month activities, follow @GovernmentZA @SAGovNews @GCISMedia.

– Source:
South Africa’s investment facilitation efforts have borne fruit, with the country taking home the Investment Promotion Award.
“South Africa’s investment mobilisation drive is gaining traction and the latest data from the South African Reserve Bank and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development indicates a major increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) from previous years.

“We have turned the corner, improving our investment climate and investor facilitation service,” said Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies.

South Africa took home the Investment Promotion Award at the 2019 Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), held in Dubai. AIM is the world’s leading FDI platform. AIM recognised Invest SA for facilitating the most innovative and digitally orientated investment projects for 2018.

The ninth annual meeting attracted invest-promotion agencies from around the world, delegates from 140 countries, government officials, practitioners and investors.

Minister Davies said the award reaffirmed the commitments announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa during his State of the Nation Address to align South Africa's economic development priorities on securing innovative investment projects in digital and technology fields to ensure the country was able to achieve Vision 2030 goals.

He said South Africa was a renowned investment destination that protected investor rights, was signatory to international treaties that reinforced trade in goods and services and safeguarded intellectual property.

“Policy certainty on [the] South African ICT landscape and noticeable improvements on FDI ranking indices have underpinned the strides South Africa has made in securing investment in digital, ICT and Fourth Industrial Revolution industries (4IR),” he said.

The Minister said InvestSA would continue to lead efforts to improve the investment digital infrastructure environment, facilitation of digital skills development initiatives and with domestic stakeholders, it would address supply side constraints to enhance the attractiveness of the sector.

InvestSA has held targeted investment drives geared at growing uptake and usage of digital services that will support ICT-enabled solutions across South African industrial sectors.

The award not only highlighted South Africa’s propensity to exploit opportunities offered by cloud computing, the Internet of Things and machine learning but supported South Africa’s endeavours in 4IR industries, said Minister Davies.

In October last year, South Africa was named the Global Destination of the Year at the 2018 Global Sourcing Association Awards ceremony in Cape Town

– Source:
The launch of the R49-million Ekandustria Industrial Park will play a key role in linking various markets, says Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies.
“Ekandustria Industrial Park is strategically located in Eastern Gauteng, in close geographic proximity to the Maputo Corridor. The Maputo Corridor links the park with the markets in Mpumalanga via Witbank and Middleburg in the eastern side and North West to Botswana via the City of Tshwane in the western side,” said Minister Davies.

The Minister said this when he addressed the launch of the refurbished park, which is located outside Bronkhorspruit, on Thursday, 11 April 2019. The launch followed the completion of the first phase of the revitalisation of the park under the Department of Trade and Industry’s Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme.

The improvements comprised the upgrading of security infrastructure, including fencing, the installation of boom gates, pedestrian gates, vehicular gates, the installation and construction of guard houses as well as the refurbishment of the waste water treatment plant in the park.

Minister Davies said the first phase of the revitalisation of the park focussed on the critical needs of the facility.

The construction work employed 147 local personnel and appointed 20 local small, medium and micro enterprises on site since the inception of the project.

The park currently has a 56% occupancy rate comprising a mixture of tenants who operate in a variety of business industries with a focus on manufacturing, including construction material, food, recycling, clothing and textile.

– Source:
The global mining group Rio Tinto has announced a R6,5-billion (US$463 million) investment in its mineral sands business in KwaZulu-Natal.
The company announced recently that the investment would sustain the capacity of Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) by developing a new mine called Zulti South.

RBM produces predominantly rutile, zircon, titania slag and high purity iron. Rio Tinto has held a 74% stake in RBM since 2012 and manages the operation.

Jean-Sébastien Jacques, Rio Tinto's chief executive, said in a statement that the group had a long history in South Africa.

"Today’s investment underscores our commitment for the coming decades and beyond. Zulti South is one of the best undeveloped minerals sand deposits in the industry, and will significantly extend RBM’s position as a world-class, first-quartile asset."

– Source:
Extending the operating hours of the Oshoek/Ngwenya Border Post to 24 hours has been discussed by the ministers of home affairs from South Africa and the Kingdom of eSwatini.
This follows a meeting that was held on Friday, 12 April 2019, by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, and his eSwatini counterpart, Her Royal Highness Princess Lindiwe Dlamini.

The ministers discussed issues of mutual interest, in particular around migration and trade at the Oshoek/Ngwenya Border Post.

“The main issues discussed were the re-establishment of formal dialogue mechanisms between the two countries and considering modalities around extending the operating hours of the Oshoek/Ngwenya Border Post to 24 hours,” the ministers said in a joint statement.

The Oshoek/Ngwenya Border Post is the busiest border post between the two countries and is also the busiest land trade port, accounting for R1,7 billion a year.

“We are focussed on contributing to growing the economies of both countries. The volumes of both people and trade moving through the port justifies considering extending the operating hours. Extended office hours would also help to reduce accidents because our people will not have to rush to reach the border post,” the statement said.

Minister Cwele said in the short term, it might be quicker to extend operating hours in the morning, from 6am instead of 7am.

The Kingdom of eSwatini proposed that a formal dialogue mechanism between the two countries on home affairs matters be re-established.

“I am reliably informed that there used to be quarterly meetings between Home Affairs officials of both countries. These meetings were very useful and could be used as a platform to address ongoing and emerging mattars such as informal crossings, study permits, medical visas and extension of border operational hours.

“It is therefore my considered view and humble plea that these quarterly meetings be revived as a matter of urgency,” Princess Dlamini said.

The ministers agreed to reinstate quarterly meetings of senior officials to keep track of commitments made and the implementation of areas of agreement.


Another area of discussion was the issue of overstayers, or people who are in either country for a period longer than the time granted on entry and more especially those staying on medical conditions.

The ministers agreed to use the diplomatic missions to reduce this phenomenon by having the nationals alerting their diplomatic missions if circumstances forced them to stay longer in either country.

The diplomatic missions will then work with Home Affairs officials to assist in such instances.

Princess Dlamini was also pleased with her counterpart that they had established a mobile solution where sick individuals can be assisted by either a relative to attain an online visa without visiting the Home Affairs offices.

“The ministers agreed to ensure that the people coming in to the counties are documented and use official lines like the ports of entry,” the statement said.

Easter Period

The ministers also monitored the state of readiness of the port ahead of the Easter Period.

The Oshoek/Ngwenya Port of Entry will operate for 24 hours from 18 – 21 April 2019. The ministers expressed satisfaction about the plans and the preparations for this busy period.

– Source:
The African Tourism Board (ATB) was launched at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa in Cape Town recently.
Initially founded in 2018 at WTM London, the board is expected to be a "new and collaborative voice to African tourism". While it will be a partnership with private and public-sector members, the board does not intend to compete with existing national tourism bodies.

It was created by the International Coalition of Tourism Partners, itself based in Seychelles, Brussels, Bali and Hawaii. The ATB will seek to enhance and promote the sustainable growth, value and quality of travel on the African continent.

They have already established offices in the United States, India and Israel, which is considered an underserved market despite their high traveller numbers.

Alain St Ange from Seychelles was announced as the president of the board and Doris Woerfel was appointed as the CEO. St Ange is a former tourism minister to the top island destination, and Woefel is from Southern Cross Experience.

St Ange called for support and unity from the various stakeholders across the continent, and reiterated that they would not be telling countries what to do with their tourism. Instead, they would be a platform that would help build the brand of Africa.

– Source:
The 2019 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners were announced on the opening day of World Travel Market Africa (WTMA), with overall winner Grootbos Private Nature Reserve seen as the benchmark of eco-tourism standards across the continent right now.
The African Responsible Tourism Awards, in its fifth year at WTMA, celebrate the commitment and efforts of individuals, organisations and destinations that use tourism to make Africa better.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, South African Tourism Minister, Derek Hanekom, stated that the importance of being mindful of the power of tourism, to build as well as destroy, was crucial.

Minister Hanekom commended the winners saying, it does not work being "only a little bit responsible in our tourism principles, but requires organisations to place it at the heart of what the industry stands for".
A total of 15 organisations were shortlisted:
  • !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre (South Africa) @KhwattuSan
  • Anvil Bay (Mozambique) @Anvil_Bay
  • Cape Town Marathon (South Africa) @ctmarathon
  • Dorobo Tours and Safaris (Tanzania) @dorobosafari
  • Events Greening Forum 2018 Conference & Master Class (South Africa) @EventGreening
  • GCIP-SA Annual Awards 2017 (South Africa) @CleantechSA
  • Great Plains Conservation Sapi Reserve (Zimbabwe) @GreatPlainsCons
  • Grootbos Private Nature Reserve (South Africa) @Grootbos (Overall winner)
  • Mdumbi Green Fair Festival (South Africa) @Mdumbi Green Fair
  • Meetings Africa (South Africa) @SA_NCB
  • Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary (South Africa) @PantheraAfrica
  • Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company (South Africa) @TableMountainCa
  • Two Oceans Aquarium (South Africa) @2OceansAquarium
  • Ultimate Safaris’ //HUAB Under Canvas (Namibia) @UltimateSafari1
  • WOWZULU Isandlwana (South Africa) @wowzulu
As the main sponsor of the awards, Wesgro's Tim Harris highlighted the trend of a calculated world dominated by technology advancement, which indirectly made the untapped potential of Africa even more appealing.

– Source:
Eskom’s Chief Operating Officer, Jan Oberholzer, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
A seat on the board of the international research organisation will give Eskom direct access to some of the most cutting-edge energy research available. It also offers the power utility a position to influence EPRI’s strategic direction and work programme.

Eskom Group Chief Executive, Phakamani Hadebe, congratulated Mr Oberholzer on his appointment.
“We wish to congratulate Mr Oberholzer on his appointment as part of the Board at EPRI.  This gives him an opportunity to further serve the broader energy industry over and above his responsibility of serving Eskom and South Africa,” said Mr Hadebe.

EPRI conducts research and development related to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. EPRI’s international participation extends to more than 30 countries, including South Africa.

– Source:
Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, a youth training scheme in South Africa, was presented with a US$1,5-million award in Oxford recently at Britain’s leading event for social enterprise, the Skoll World Forum.
Harambee was one of five social businesses around the world to each receive the US$1,5-million prize from the Skoll Foundation, founded by former eBay president, Jeff Skoll.

The award was presented before about 1 200 attendees at the four-day forum in Oxford, United Kingdom, from 9 to 12 April 2019.

A delighted Harambee said on its Facebook page: “We’ve been awarded the 2019 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship! We’re so excited to be joining this global community of social entrepreneurs and innovators.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa congratulated the team – including founder Nicola Galombik and CEO Maryana Iskander – on their Skoll Award, saying: “We are proud of the work Harambee and its partners have done to build solutions that address our youth unemployment challenge.

“The Skoll Award recognises that Harambee’s innovative model to pathway young people is leading-edge and an African solution to one of the world’s most pressing problems.”

The Skoll Foundation annually gives awards to social enterprises helping solve social and environmental problems, with this year’s forum focussed on “accelerating possibility” to address problems such as food security and youth unemployment.

Harambee partners with business, government and young people; and uses matching tools to connect job seekers with opportunities – whether behind a counter at Nando’s or at a desk at Deloitte. The organisation’s success in South Africa has led to expansion into Rwanda.

Two of the other winners were also from Africa – mPharma, a Ghana-based business getting cut-price drugs to people in Africa, and mPedigree, a Ghana app identifying counterfeit seeds and drugs.

– Source: and
South Africa's iconic resort Sun City is turning 40 and it is inviting everyone to join its birthday celebrations on 7 December, which will be exactly 40 years since its doors opened in 1979.
Dubbed South Africa's version of Las Vegas, the resort was built by hotel magnate Sol Kerzner when that area was still the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana during apartheid.

Because the Bantustan was considered independent, it could offer activities that were banned in South Africa at the time, and its popularity rose when the likes of the Beach Boys, Cher, Frank Sinatra, Queen and Elton John performed at the venue.

“Turning 40 is a most auspicious milestone for Sun City, which has endeared itself as South Africa’s most iconic leisure and party destination to millions of visitors for four decades," said Sun City's General Manager, Raul de Lima, at the launch of the celebrations.

"The Big Birthday Bash will be the crescendo to nine months of thrilling activations that will take our guests, employees and other stakeholders on a journey of celebration and nostalgia. These include music shows, golf tournaments, gaming promotions and other exciting experiences,” says.

The headliners for the event on the beach at the Valley of the Waves had already been confirmed – AKA, MiCasa, Kwesta and GoodLuck – with many more still to be announced at the end of May. Tickets will go on sale on 1 June.

– Source: www.Traveller24
The Department of Tourism said the first e-visas to South Africa would be issued in New Zealand in April.
The new visas will allow prospective visitors to apply for a visa online, and print visas at home.

The Western Cape investment agency said they had already seen New Zealand bookings increase by 7%, and is expecting that number to rise.

South Africa’s first ever e-visas will be issued in New Zealand in April, the tourism Department’s Communications Director, Blessing Manale, said.

The new visas, first announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address in February, will allow prospective visitors to apply for a visa online.

Once granted, the e-visa can be printed at home. Currently, tourists have to visit a South African embassy to be granted a visa.

Mr Manale said the new e-visas would be piloted in New Zealand before a global roll-out.

The new e-visas, alongside relaxed visa rules for minors in December, will hopefully help to grow South Africa’s international tourism industry, Mr Manale told Business Insider South Africa.

The South African Government aims to have 21 million tourists visiting the country by 2030, up from 10 million in 2018.
“South Africa is also finalising the development of a new biometric movement control system, which will be piloted at Cape Town and Lanseria International Airports [to improve passenger processing],” Mr Manale said.

Other improvements include the introduction of long multiple entry visas for frequent and trusted travellers to South Africa, and simplified visa requirements specifically for China and India.

Cornelis van der Waal, Head of Research at the Western Cape’s investment agency Wesgro, said New Zealand bookings to Cape Town already increased by 7% from April 2018 to April 2019.

He said the new visa rules would result in an additional increase of tourism numbers “over time”.

– Source: www.Business Insider South Africa
On Sunday, 14 April 2019, the Blitzboks stunned Fiji with a fightback of epic proportions to win the Singapore Sevens 20-19, scoring 20 unanswered second half points in the process.
Fiji were first to score after a brilliant break by Amaniasi Tuimaba saw him over close to the uprights for a converted score and a 7-0 lead after three minutes.

The islanders extended that lead when Napolioni Bolaca cruised down the right-hand touchline after some poor defending by the Blitzboks. His uncoverted try gave Fiji a 12-0 lead with two minutes till half-time.

To add to the Blitzboks woes, Vilimoni Botitu crashed over from a 5-meter scrum on the stroke of half-time to give Fiji a 19-0 lead at the break.

The second half saw the Blitzboks attempt to force their way back into the encounter, and they were finally on the scoreboard thanks to Kurt-Lee Arendse's brilliant individual effort cut the score to 19-5.

That spurred South Africa into action and they scored again a minute later with Angelo Davids the man to profit after a brilliant Justin Geduld kick-pass put him in space on the left.

With the score at 19-10, a Fiji yellow card for a high tackle meant the Blitzboks would have a numerical advantage for the final two minutes of the match and they made it count as Ryan Oosthuizen cruised over for a converted try to cut the Fiji lead to 19-17 with a minute to play.

With 30 seconds left, the Blitzboks were handed a penalty right in front of the uprights which Selvyn Davids slotted for a 20-19 lead.

Although Fiji threatened from the resulting restart, the Blitzboks held on for one of their greatest-ever victories.

– Source:
Two Blitzboks have cracked the nod for the Dream Team following the past weekend's Singapore Sevens.
This followed South Africa's 20-19 victory over Fiji in the final where the Blitzboks came from 19-0 down to stun the islanders.

Werner Kok and Justin Geduld were rewarded with Dream Team honours after the event.

The rest of the team consists of the Fijian quartet of Josua Vakurunabili, Meli Derenalagi, Aminiasi Tuimaba and Vilimoni Botitu and Scotland's Max McFarland.

– Source:
South Africa's golf prodigy,Simthandile Tshabalala, ended the 2019 Australian Open at the Riverside Oaks Golf Resort with a top-5 finish on Sunday, 7 April 2019.
Tshabalala, who played in the Boys under-7 category, carded 39 and 38 to finish on 77, 5-over par and in fourth place.

The seven-year-old was the sole South African representative in the US Kids Golf Partner Championship, which was played over two rounds of 9 holes each.

Australian Jay Deoskar won the title after posting 35 and 32 to finish on 5-under, 67.

Known as "Sim Tiger", Tshabalala struggled to make his trip Down Under following an issue in obtaining his visa.

His father took to Twitter pleading for help and his post caught the attention of South Africa's Sports Minister, Tokozile Xasa, and was resolved shortly thereafter.

I am so proud of you my son, well played and a top 5 finish is all I asked for and you did it. Very proud dad. Thank you South Africa for all your support #SimTiger @tiger_sim

– Source:
Justin Harding's spectacular last few months just got a whole lot better – and in fact, his 2020 is looking good too.
Harding, who was making his debut at the 83rd Masters at Augusta National this past week, signed for a 8-under par 280, good enough for a tie for 12th place.

Which is turn was good enough for a guaranteed invite back to the hallowed course for next year's tournament.

One of the qualifying categories for the year's first Major is that the "Top 12 and ties" from the previous year get invites 12 months later.

Harding entered this year's Masters ranked 49th in the world rankings, but thanks to his exploits, he now occupies the 44th spot.

Harding more than held his own in illustrious company, even leading the tournament at one stage during the first round, and finished as the highest placed South African of the six that started.

Harding also had his bank manager smiling, cashing a cool R3,1 million for his four days' work.

– Source:
“Mr President

“Thank you for convening this meeting on the humanitarian situation in Yemen. We also thank Mr Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Mr Mark Lowcock, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms Virginia Gamba, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict and Ms Muna Luqman, the Co-founder of the Women Solidarity Network and Chairperson of Yemeni foundation “Food for Humanity”.

“Mr President

“My delegation would like to address the following three points in our intervention today, namely:

(i) The implementation of the Stockholm agreement;
(ii) The humanitarian situation; and
(iii) The impact of the conflict on women and particularly children in Yemen.

“Firstly, regarding the Stockholm agreement, South Africa is encouraged that the agreement continues to hold despite the many challenges that it faces. We urge the parties to fully implement the agreement as it remains the only hope for bringing peace and stability to Yemen.

“Regrettably we have noticed recent clashes around Hodeidah, which have been the most intense since the signing of the Stockholm agreement. We call on all the parties to refrain from further escalation.  We also call for the resumption of the prisoner exchange and Statement of Understanding on Taiz, as requested by the Stockholm agreement and as a confidence building measure. It is also vital that all parties redeploy their forces from Hodeidah. This redeployment requires a political solution with compromises by all parties concerned.

“We are however encouraged that neither side has sought to seize new territory in Hodeidah so far. We are also encouraged by the positive developments on the ground, including the recent session of Yemen’s House of Representatives, which is the first in over four years that convened more than 130 parliamentarians.

“Mr President

“Secondly, regarding the humanitarian situation, it is clear that the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains dire. South Africa continues the call on all the parties to respect International Humanitarian Law and to ensure the safety and security of the humanitarian workers, in order to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. Where there have been reported violations, we call for independent investigations, including by granting access to, and cooperating with, the Group of Eminent Experts in accordance with its mandate.

“Furthermore, we call on all parties to the conflict to take tangible steps to address the country’s humanitarian crisis in particular the risk of famine and of another cholera outbreak. We further appeal to the donors to disburse as a matter of urgency pledges made to the Humanitarian Response Plan in order to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.

“Mr President

“Thirdly, and importantly, on the issue of the safety of women and children, we welcome the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop a programme of activities in the next two months for strengthening the protection of children. South Africa is encouraged by this positive step and looks forward to further steps to strengthen child protection. It is also important that this MOU is fully implemented to ensure the safety of children and other vulnerable groups.

“Despite these positive commitments, we are appalled by the reported killing of civilians, including four children on 26 March 2019 by an explosion near two schools in Sana’a and again on 7 April that killed 14 children. Schools should be places of learning and should never be targeted during conflict.

“Children are amongst the most vulnerable in our society. Our collective conscience cannot allow us to condone these acts. We must therefore condemn these attacks on children.

“Mr President

We call on parties to the conflict to put in place measures to ensure that such incidents are never repeated in future. Furthermore, South Africa calls for the accurate listing of perpetrators in the Annual Secretary General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict in line with UN practice.

“In conclusion, my delegation continues to call for a peaceful solution and Yemeni led solution to the conflict. It is our hope that the somewhat positive momentum gained with the discussions in Stockholm and the signing of the agreement will lead to further progress on the political track.

“The differences in Yemen cannot be solved militarily and will only be further exacerbated as this avoidable war continues. The current talks are hampered by continued fighting, which is not conducive to building trust as the first step in creating a negotiated settlement. If the status quo remains the international community would have failed the people and particularly the children of Yemen.

I thank you”.
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