Issue 374 | 2 May 2019
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The President has instructed that the National Flag fly at half-mast at every station in the country from 1 to 7 May 2019 as a mark of respect and in observance of seven days of national mourning.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared seven days of national mourning for the people who lost their lives in the floods that have ravaged the country in the past week. President Ramaphosa has visited flood-stricken communities and assured residents that all spheres of government would assist communities in rescue and recovery efforts.

The President has also welcomed the wealth of material and social support extended to affected communities by various sectors of society.

“The President has expressed the profound appreciation of the government and people of South Africa for the messages of support received from governments around the world in relation to the recent floods,” the Presidency said in a statement.

“President Ramaphosa equally appreciates the international messages of congratulation extended to South Africa in recognition of the celebration of 25 years of freedom and democracy”.

– Source:
South Africa’s 26.7 million registered voters have been urged to flock to the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) 22 000 voting stations to cast their ballot in the National and Provincial Election on 8 May.
The clarion call was made by IEC chairperson, Glen Mashinini, on Tuesday,30 April, during the launch of the National Results Operations Centre (ROC) in Pretoria. Addressing delegates at the venue, which has been set up with large screens with the names of all the political parties contesting the election, Mashinini said it was all systems go for 8 May.

Over the past two years the IEC has been preoccupied with ensuring that a credible election is delivered. “The credibility of our elections is also protected and secured through a variety of checks and balances through each stage of the process,” he said.

He said it was the inclusivity and transparency of the counting and results system which provided all stakeholders with the necessary confidence that the results could not be rigged.

South Africans have a patriotic duty to protect and defend the elections and democracy for future generations. He urged those who have been organising and participating in civic demonstrations to respect the election process. “The right to protest and demonstrate is a right protected by our Constitution and has its roots in our democracy and the conduct of peaceful elections,” he said.
IEC CEO Sy Mamabolo said Election Day would be a culmination of two years of preparing, planning and training and it was now down to the voters to cast votes.

“An election is a dynamic confluence of varied core functional components, such as legal, infrastructure, logistics, human capacity and security,” he said.

The IEC has recruited 189 000 volunteers to conduct the counting processes.

“In connection with the various state security institutions, including the South African police services, we have arranged for security at each voting stations and critical infrastructure.”

The IEC has printed and distributed 60 million national and provincial double ballot papers. Over 300 000 ballot boxes, 45 000 voting compartments along with stationery packs and posters have been procured.
“All we now await is the final component which is the eager participation of the 26.7 million voters in whose hands the outcome of the election now rests,” he said.

Last Saturday, 29 000 South African expats and members of the South African National Defence Force voted at the country’s various foreign missions. Initial indications were that a significant number of votes were cast by those who had notified the IEC of their intention to vote outside of the Republic. The cast ballots were now in the process of being transported back to South Africa where they would be counted before party representatives.

On Monday and Tuesday, 770 000 special voters will cast their ballots at the various voting stations and during home visits.

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The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, on Tuesday, 30 April 2019, briefed the media on the recent African Union (AU) Summit in Egypt, working visits, South Africa’s term on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), an update on South Africans who voted abroad, consular matters, as well as other current affairs issues affecting the work of the department.


Working visit to Egypt

President Cyril Ramaphosa led a South African delegation to Cairo, Egypt, for the AU Consultative Summit on Sudan and Libya, last week. The Summit was an initiative of the President of Egypt and Chairperson of the African Union, Abdel Fatta Al-Sisi.

President Ramaphosa was also part of the AU Troika Committee meeting convened by President Al-Sisi, in his capacity as the Chairperson of the AU, which deliberated on the situation in Libya.

On Libya, Minister Sisulu said, the Heads of State and Government called for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. They further discussed the latest developments in the country and committed their support towards a stable Libya while encouraging parties within the country to find an inclusive and negotiated political solution to their challenges.

“With regard to the situation in Sudan, the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed the importance of peace, security and stability in the African continent. The Sudanese Authority and other affected parties within the country were encouraged to immediately restore the constitutional order through a ‘Sudanese-led and Sudanese-owned political dialogue’ that involves all the Sudanese stakeholders.”

The participating Heads of State and Government also agreed to review the initial timeframe given to Sudanese by the Peace and Security Council of the AU. The initial time frame for a “transition that is peaceful, orderly and democratic” was three months.

“We are hopeful that the people of Sudan will adhere to the extended timeline given to them,” Minister Sisulu said.

Working visits to Zimbabwe and eSwatini

A few weeks ago, President Ramaphosa led a high-level delegation to Harare, Zimbabwe, for the Third Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) between Zimbabwe and South Africa and also undertook a Working Visit to eSwatini.

“In Zimbabwe, President Ramaphosa held fruitful bilateral discussions with his counterpart, President Emerson Mnangagwa. The discussions were held with a view to further strengthening and deepening the bonds of friendship and cooperation between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Our delegations also exchanged views on regional, continental and international issues of mutual interest. President Mnangagwa and President Ramaphosa made an unequivocal call for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe which have largely affected the socio-economic conditions of the country.”

The Working Visit to eSwatini was aimed at reviewing bilateral relations with the Kingdom. South Africa and eSwatini have over 20 bilateral agreements in a number of areas such as movement of people and goods, defence, policing and health.

“As South Africa, we strongly believe that development in our neighbouring countries will contribute to our own country’s development and stability in the region.

“Follow this Working Visit, I have since had a bilateral meeting with my counterpart in eSwatini, Minister Thulisile Dladla, to discuss issues of bilateral and multilateral interest affecting our two countries,” Minister Sisulu said.

Update on the UNSC

South Africa is at the end of the fourth month of its two-year tenure as an elected member of the UNSC.

“We are pleased with the interventions we have made at the Council since the beginning of the year. We have endeavored to bring our principled approach on conflict prevention and resolution to the work of the Council.

“In this regard, we have highlighted the importance of political solutions to conflict as well as the challenges faced by women in armed conflict.

“Last week we participated in the open debate on Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict. During the debate we called on the UNSC to work in unison to comprehensively deal with violence against women.

“As a demonstration to our commitment to end gender-based violence and the use of rape as a weapon of war, South Africa voted in favour of the UNSC resolution.

“Women issues are very close to our hearts and we will use our Presidency of the UNSC in October 2019 to continue advocating for rights of women in countries with conflict.”

2019 General Elections

In preparation of the general elections on 8 May, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has launched the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) for South Africa. This comes just few days after South Africans living abroad have cast their votes on Freedom Day, 27 April.

“I am pleased that as DIRCO we were able to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to execute their mandate. The IEC will at the right time give you necessary information about South Africans who voted abroad,” Minister Sisulu said.

Establishment of a Task Team on attacks against foreign nationals

The Minister announced that the establishment of a Task Team to deal with incidents relating to attacks on foreign nationals was at an advanced stage. This followed two engagements between government and members of the diplomatic corps. The Task Team will comprise of DIRCO, Home Affairs, Police, DTI, and two members of the Diplomatic Corps.

“I have since written to the participating Ministries to identify officials who will represent their departments in the Task Team. To this end, the Task Team is expected to have their inaugural meeting this coming Friday, 3 May 2019, to work on their Terms of Reference.

“We have noted media reports that some members of the SADC SEOM felt reluctant to enter or visit some areas within the country. In South Africa we do not have no-go area zones.

“We have on a number of occasions stated that safety and security of everyone within the country is the responsibility of government. Therefore, there is no reason for such concern.”

Consular matters

“We have noted the latest information released by the Gift of the Givers about a South African, Mr Shiraz Mohamed, who was abducted in Syria in 2017.

“DIRCO will continue engaging relevant partners abroad to secure his release. We have and will continue to keep the family informed of the developments.”

The Minister concluded by thanking members of the community who responded positively to the request for donations for the affected peoples of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi, who were reeling from the devastation caused by recent severe weather.

“Through the assistance of the South African National Defence Force, we have almost transported all the collected items to the three affected countries with another consignment expected to be transported on 15 May 2019. South Africa has also pledged to assist with the rebuilding of three bridges in Zimbabwe.

“We have indeed shown that everything is possible to achieve if we work together towards a common purpose. Together we have made a difference to the lives of people affected.”
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, has assured members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) that South Africa has no no-go areas.
This follows some media reports that members of the observer mission had fear of being attacked.

Deputy Minister Landers on Tuesday, 30 April, received the delegation of the SADC SEOM, which was already in South Africa to observe the South African general elections scheduled for next week, 8 May 2019.

“Everyone in South Africa understands that people are free to move everywhere. We can assure everyone who is in our country for whatever project that nothing untoward will happen to them. What we witnessed a few weeks ago was purely criminal activities,” said Deputy Minister Landers.

“As the Government and people of South Africa, we are fully committed to peace, security and the development of our continent,” he added.

Deputy Minister Landers’ message echoed with the message of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, during the DIRCO monthly media briefing earlier on Tuesday, that the government had on a number of occasions stated that the safety and security of everyone within the country were the responsibility of government and that there was no reason for any safety concern from SEOM members.

The delegation that met Deputy Minister Landers was led by Joseph Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia and Head of the SADC SEOM to South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his heartfelt birthday message to the former and first President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, on his 95th birthday on
28 April 2019.
President Ramaphosa paid tribute to Dr Kaunda for the selfless attributes that he embodied that propelled him to continue the fight against imperialism, colonialism and apartheid. His notable heroic sacrifices contributed to South Africa’s political freedom and the emancipation of other countries in the region and beyond, the President said.

"South Africa has just celebrated its 25th year of liberation. This significant milestone brings recollections of those who contributed to this freedom. High amongst those being the iconic founding father of liberation in the region, Dr Kaunda, whose great leadership and formidable conviction remain a source of inspiration to all generations to jealously guard this freedom gained through many years of struggle."

President Ramaphosa further stated: “The Government and people of South Africa join you and your family, the people of Zambia, Africa and the world at large in celebrating your 95th birthday. We remain indebted to the contributions you made in your lifetime in the liberation of our country and the region. Please accept my warm personal best wishes for good health and unparalleled longevity”.
The theme for this year’s event was "Celebrating 25 Years of Democracy" and has added significance as it comes just days before the sixth general election on 8 May 2019 where eligible voters will once again be able to exercise their democratic right to elect new leadership for the country.
South Africa, on Saturday, 27 April 2019, took stock of the progress it has made over the course of its 25 years of democracy while also highlighting the challenges that persisted.

This year’s Freedom Day, held at the Mili Yili sports grounds in Makhanda, commemorated 25 years since South Africans voted in the first democratic elections in 1994.

“On this day 25 years ago, we founded a new country defined by the principles of equality, unity, non-racialism and non-sexism. Despite the passage of time, it is a day we remember vividly – the exhilaration of seeing nearly 20 million South Africans of all races waiting patiently at polling stations around the country to cast their ballots.

“For those of a certain age, we remember the moment we placed a cross on a ballot paper for the first time in our lives. I remember voting at Kloof Gold mine in Westonaria among the mine workers who built the country’s wealth, but had never before been accorded the most basic right of citizenship,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivered the keynote address during the national celebrations.

“On this Freedom Day, as we celebrate this great human achievement, we must reflect on how far we have travelled over the last quarter century.

“We must reflect on the progress we have made in setting right the wrongs of the past, in bringing development to communities where there was once only neglect, in restoring human dignity where there was once only contempt.

"Many a sacrifice were made to attain the freedom that many South Africans enjoy today with the country remaining ‘deeply unequal’.

“As we celebrate 25 years of democracy, we need to focus all our attention and efforts on ensuring that all South Africans can equally experience the economic and social benefits of freedom. We cannot be a nation of free people when so many still live in want.”
President Ramaphosa also spoke out against corruption, saying it must be uprooted.

“We must rid our country of crime and corruption and gender-based violence,” he said, adding that South Africa was able to fight against the apartheid regime and could again overcome current challenges.

“Together we can overcome the challenges of the present. Regardless of race, creed, disability, sexual orientation, religion or social standing, we share as a source of pride the name South African. It belongs to each and every one of us, and we wear it with honour,” he said.

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“A member of society merely exists. A citizen embraces the concept of civic virtue – of dedication to the common welfare of their community and their country.”
These were the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa as he awarded the six National Orders on distinguished South Africans and eminent foreign nationals on Thursday, 25 April 2019.

The National Orders are the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

The orders are the highest awards that the country, through the President, bestows on citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The awards took place at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria in an investiture ceremony led by the President as the grand patron of the awards.

“We have among us today the very best of such citizens. You have gained recognition for your dedication to personal, professional and other improvement; to putting yourselves at the service of your country; and for your willingness to do your part to make South Africa a better place,” said President Ramaphosa.

Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka Mhinga, actress Mary Twala Mhlongo, mathematician and teacher William Smith and veteran journalist Mathata Tsedu were among the recipients who attended the ceremony, flanked by family and friends.

The family of the late Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who received the order of the Baobab in gold, also attended the ceremony and received the award on her behalf.

President Ramaphosa's reflections on the heroic acts by ordinary citizens during the recent floods that ravaged KwaZulu-Natal, were an introduction to the award for the Order of the Mendi for bravery. Thapelo Tambani, a selfless nine year old boy who lost his life on 28 February 2018 after a successful effort to save the life of his friend Mulalo Sien Muelelwa, received the order in silver.

Tsedu, who received the order of the Ikhamanga which recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport, emphasised that the onus was on each and every citizen to build the country.

“This is the only country we have and this South Africa has to work and for it to work it means each one of us has to do the best we can in whatever field.

Tsedu said in citizens being the best version of themselves and giving their all to the work that they do, South Africa would move forward.

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South African expats headed to South Africa’s high commissions, embassies and consulates-general around the world to cast their votes in the national and provincial elections on 27 April 2019.
The date, 27 April, coincided with exactly 25 years to the day South Africans first voted in the first democratic elections in 1994.

The voting continued for almost 24 hours as voting stations opened and then closed around the world following the passage of the sun – beginning in Auckland, New Zealand and ending in the Los Angeles, United States.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the 29 334 voters received approval to vote overseas. This year the voting process had been simplified and voters were no longer required to complete a special vote application form before voting. Once they voted, their ballot was sealed in a double envelope and all ballots were placed in sealed diplomatic bags which would be transported back to the National Office of the Electoral Commission this week.

“At the close of voting on Election Day in South Africa at 9pm on 8 May 2019, the returned overseas ballots will be opened by election officials, counted and added to the national ballot count for each party in the national elections. This takes place under the scrutiny of observers and party agents. Overseas voters only vote in the national and not provincial elections,” the IEC said in a statement.

Voting was conducted by South African diplomats who have been trained as election staff by the Electoral Commission – although a number of senior Electoral Commission staff had also been deployed to high density overseas voting sites such as London and Dubai.

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The Chinese Embassy in South Africa recently informed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation that it had mobilised the Chinese business community in South Africa to assist South Africans who had been affected by recent floods in the two provinces.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Lindiwe Sisulu, has on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, conveyed her gratitude to the Chinese Government for the donation of much-needed disaster-relief supplies to the victims of floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

The disaster-relief supplies, estimated at R1 million, have been handed over to the KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube. The supplies include clothes, food and blankets.

“We are grateful to the Chinese community for their positive response to what has been experienced by our people, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal. Losing so many lives in such a short period of time has shocked the entire nation. Donations like these will go a long way in responding to the urgent needs of those who are affected by the floods," said Minister Sisulu.

“As we have been doing for the people of Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, I appeal to all South Africans, including the business community and non-governmental organisations, to once again provide the same humanitarian support for the people of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape," added Minister Sisulu.

During the hand-over, Minister Sisulu, MEC Dube-Ncube and the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, also visited the affected families at the Disaster Centre.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Reginah Mhaule, on Friday, 26 April 2019, hosted a Youth Outreach Programme at Hebron Madibeng Local Municipality, North West.
The programme’s aim was to expose the local community to opportunities offered by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, creating a platform for them to learn more about the work of the department, as well as inculcate a spirit of innovation in the community.
South Africa’s Trade and Finance Ministers were in Lesotho on Thursday, 25 April 2019, to attend the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) Council of Ministers Meeting.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and the Minister of Finance, Mr Tito Mboweni, attended the SACU Council of Ministers meeting on 25 April 2019 in Maseru, Lesotho.

Lesotho is the current chair of SACU, and will hold this position for the period 16 July 2018 to 15 July 2019.

The meeting deliberated on matters internal to SACU such as the administration of the customs union, negotiations with third countries or regions, including, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area negotiations.

The meeting also discussed the SACU-COMESA–EAC Tripartite Free Trade Area negotiations and the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, among others.

The Member States of SACU are Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa.

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Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, on Tuesday, 23 April 2019, launched Defy’s R130-million investment in South Africa that will not only boost the country as an investment destination but also aid in creating much-needed jobs.
The investment will see the multinational produce 6 to 7 and 5 to 10 kilogram top loader washing machines for both the local and export market.

The investment is projected to produce a total of 75 new job opportunities that will manufacture 500 top loaders per shift.

Speaking at the announcement of the investment at Defy’s factory in Jacobs, Durban, Minister Davies said the manufacturing development was a much-needed boost to the local community.

It is important to note that even though statistics of this investment sound modest in nature, they will go a long way in unlocking job opportunities in the South African economy. They will also help us sustain our position which has seen us continue increasing foreign direct investment into the country, while the rest of the continent has experienced a contraction,” he said.

The Minister anticipates a significant increase in South African products to the African market, way more than it is currently.

“We are on the cusp of a very big change for Africa and the ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, which was adopted by 22 members in Gambia on 22 April 2019, will open up the market for products manufactured from these countries. I hope also that this ratification will enable an expansion of South Africa’s exports into Africa as well and commit to work with initiatives of this nature,” said Minister Davies.

The multinational will also invest in new cooking products. In July, Defy will launch a new outlook for their 60cm built-in ovens with an investment of approximately R7 million which will be followed by a new free-standing stove investment of approximately R18 million launching in the first quarter of 2020.

Defy has also signed an agreement with Wits University to start a cooperation for joint engineering studies focussing on developing new technologies for some of its products.

The new satellite laboratory will be located in Midrand, Johannesburg, and will be operational by July 2019. The total investment for this project is R15,7 million with a total of 39 new employment opportunities created.

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Radio equipment from one of the oldest liberation radio stations in Africa has been handed to the Freedom Park Museum in Tshwane.
Established during apartheid, Radio Freedom provided waves of mass resistance to the regime with broadcasts from different radio stations, including those in Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Ethiopia and Madagascar.

"Radio Freedom played a major role in defeating apartheid. We must salute the journalist fraternity and the role they can play in society in changing things for the better. It is through Radio Freedom that the armed resistance intensified and South Africans became more aware of what it meant to deal a blow to apartheid,” Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said.

Addressing the handover ceremony on Wednesday, 24 April 2019, Minister Mthethwa said Radio Freedom had always been a mobiliser and some people would listen to it under their beds.

“As South Africa celebrates 25 years of democracy, we look back and reflect on the difficulty that our country and people experienced for a very long time under colonialism.

“The painful truth is that millions of liberation fighters, people of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and the world over sacrificed their lives for the democracy that South Africa enjoys,” the Minister said.

Following a successful engagement between governments of South Africa and Madagascar, Radio Freedom has been repatriated to South Africa.

Minister Mthethwa said the handover ceremony was a historic moment for South Africa and Madagascar because it cemented the bond of friendship between the two countries in pursuit of a better Africa and a better world.

“The two countries will soon sign a memorandum of understanding in which collaboration in implementation of projects and programmes will be undertaken.

“This is where the people of both countries will ensure the consolidation and strengthening of existing relations through learning from one another and pursing projects in the areas of arts, culture, heritage that will benefit both countries,” the Minister said.

Madagascar Minister of Communication and Culture, Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy, said her country has supported the project to hand over the equipment to South Africa because they understood the importance of the struggle for freedom.

She said she had learned a lot from the sacrifices that South Africans had made to have their freedom.

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The Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has called on the South African Post Office (Sapo) to digitise the newly launched centenary commemorative stamp of struggle icon Albertina Sisulu.
“We have seen the interest that South Africans and people outside the country have shown in the stamps. They are selling … because people relate to the work that she did and [admire] the values and the principles she stood for,” Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

The Minister on Tuesday, 23 April 2019, launched the centenary commemorative stamp of Mama Albertina Sisulu and handed it over to her family at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) auditorium in Tshwane.

In November 2018, Cabinet resolved that a Commemorative Stamp for Mama Sisulu should be issued in honour of her centenary birthday, and in recognition of the significant and selfless role that she played in the country’s liberation.

Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams said the launch of the commemorative stamp presented an opportunity to keep the story of Sisulu alive.

“It’s never too late to honour those that have been an inspiration in our lives because we come from areas where there have been women who have not been recognised,” the Minister said.

The National Integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy White Paper provides that a commemorative stamp may be issued to celebrate, amongst others, heroes and heroines who played a significant role in South Africa’s history, political landscape and those who contributed to its socio-economic development.

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The South African Post Office (Sapo) has released a special stamp to mark 25 years of democracy.
“The stamp effectively puts a seal on the key democratic rights that the Post Office has delivered to South Africans over the past 25 years,” Sapo CEO Mark Barnes said on Friday, 26 April 2019.

Designed by the post office’s graphic designer, Rachel Ackermann, the artwork on the stamp uses a combination of watercolours and digital artwork, and features a man holding the South African flag, looking out over the ocean to a symbolic future for all.

The stamp costs R31.80 – the rate for a registered letter and is available at all major post offices or from

“Relevant to the upcoming elections is the verification of registered voter’s addresses the Post Office did together with the Independent Electoral Commission. Without this work millions of South Africans, particularly those in informal or rural settlements, would have been unable to exercise their right to vote,” Sapo said.

Since 1994, the Post Office has given formal addresses to seven million households in deep rural and informal settlements.  Before that they had no formal addresses at all.

“This enables them to open a bank account and have a working cell phone. Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) requirements mean it is not possible to open a bank account without an address. The same requirement applies to SIM card requirements of the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (RICA).

“Because the address includes GPS markers, citizens who use these new addresses can be found by an emergency service – no matter how informal their settlement,” Sapo said.

Through the new South Africa Social Security Agency (Sassa) card issued by Postbank, the Post Office delivers the right to dignity and social security to more than 11 million South Africans.

In April 2019, the SAPO system disbursed close to R10 billion worth in Sassa grants.

The Post Office ensures the right of access to information for all through the digital terrestrial television (DTT) project, where the Post Office registers needy households for a digital decoder. This allows them to continue watching television after the switch to digital broadcasts.

“In the immediate future, the Post Office intends to launch an online platform that will help SMME’s to become active in e-commerce.

“Postbank intends to play a central role in funding business expansion, particularly for small businesses and traders, in its determination to help bridge the economic divide in South Africa,” Sapo said.

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The South African Mint has unveiled a set of new R50 and R500 collector coins, celebrating the country’s 25 years of democracy.
“This week 25 years ago, South Africans went to the polls in the country’s first democratic elections following the end of apartheid rule. To commemorate this milestone, the SA Mint has issued new collectable coins in base metal, sterling-silver and pure gold,” the group said.

The new collector coins feature a R50 sterling silver, R50 bronze alloy and R500 pure gold coin, all of which feature designs from South Africa’s young designers.

The R500 gold coin depicts South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, born of the country’s first democratic Constitution in 1994.

The design shows the building that houses the Constitutional Court, including the detail of the beautiful door which has the 27 constitutional rights engraved in its wood, as well as the skyline of Johannesburg in the background.

It was designed by architect Shaun Gaylard, who was inspired by the interaction between the building, its inhabitants and its visitors.

The Constitutional Court is situated in Johannesburg on Constitution Hill and is a living museum – telling the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy.

The R50 sterling-silver collectable coin features the constitutional democracy in action, symbolised by a line of people queuing to vote as they did on 27 April 1994 in the first democratic elections in South Africa. It was the first time that all South Africans were allowed to vote.

“The snake-like qualities of the queue of people running into the distance was the primary motivation for the design by Lady Skollie (Laura Windvogel) who drew inspiration from Khoisan rock paintings and the element of waiting for a better tomorrow (in a queue),” the SA Mint said.

The R50 bronze alloy coin carries the theme of “we the people”, words that feature prominently on the reverse of the coin by designer Peter Mammes.

The line is the preamble of the Constitution of South Africa. The two joined hands symbolising togetherness also depict people, ethnicity and religion. The detail in the pattern of the crosses draws attention to the “mark” that voters make on the ballot paper, the SA Mint said.

Both the R50 sterling-silver and the R50 bronze alloy coins share a common obverse: the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, ‘2019’, and the words ‘South Africa’ written in all of the official languages.

The obverse of the R500 gold coin features the national coat of arms together with the date of issue, “2019”, and the words “South Africa”.

The bronze alloy and silver coins are now available, with the R500 coin going on sale in May.

“It is our most democratic coin thematically. The design ideas come from those born in a free South Africa in response to what freedom meant to them. We worked with many young and talented artists to bring to life their vivid imagery of a constitutional democracy,” said Tumi Tsehlo, MD of the SA Mint.

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Four Rhodes University PhD Chemistry students were awarded the top position in the 2019 Hult Prize Challenge for their electronic and electronic waste management system.
Four Rhodes University PhD Chemistry students have bagged the top position in the 2019 Hultz Prize Challenge for their business model for a waste management system that will result in the employment of more than 10 000 young people.

The four students, who go by the name "Team E-Smart" are Nobuhle Ndebele, 24, Lindokuhle Nene, 25, Reitumetse Nkhahle, 26 and Gauta Matlou, 29 and were the only students from a South African university participating at the summit, held at the Brookhouse International School in Nairobi, Kenya.

Their business model aims to create job opportunities for the youth through the collection of electronic and electrical waste materials and further recycling, repairing or repurposing it into new market products.

"[This] so impressed the judges that they were awarded the top position against 45 other teams from across the world," university spokesperson Velisile Bukula said in a statement on Wednesday, 24 April 2019.

The Hult Prize was established in 2010 by its CEO Ahmad Ashkar and Bertil Hult to crowd-source startup ideas from young people on how to sustainably solve the world's most critical social issues such as food security, water access, energy, and education.

"Today, the Hult Prize Foundation is the world's biggest engine for the launch of for-good, for-profit startups emerging from universities with over 2 500 staff and volunteers around the world," its site says.

"Training over one million youth in impact entrepreneurship over the past decade, the movement has deployed more than $50 million (over R700 million) of capital into the sector and mobilised and empowered millions of young people to re-think the future of business as it continues to breed disruptive innovation on college and university campuses across 100 plus countries."

This year, university and college students from across the world were challenged to create a social-entrepreneurship start-up that would result in more than 10 000 jobs over the next decade.

– Source:
The Kruger Mpumalanga International (KMI) Airport will be getting a boost from a new partnership with Cape Town Air Access (CTAA).
The two-year cooperation agreement was signed on Thursday, 25 April 2019, at the AviaDev African 2019 conference in Cape Town. CTAA will assist KMI Airport in developing its air route network while promoting the airport to an international market.

It will also grow tourism between the two regions of Western Cape and Mpumalanga, as well as improve accessibility. KMI Airport is the official international entry point into Mpumalanga and is the largest thatch constructed airport in the world. Currently, Airlink is the main airline that services the route between the two airports, which has recently increased capacity on the route.

“According to data from OAG, KMI Airport saw a 1% increase in passenger traffic in 2018 with a total 284 202 passengers travelling through the airport, and 60 000 passengers flying between Cape Town and KMI Airport annually, says Marius Nel, CEO of the airport.

"With the assistance of Cape Town Air Access, we believe we can further grow the potential that South Africa and Mpumalanga has to offer, both to locals as well as international business and tourism visitors."

Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro hailed the spirit of collaboration, which is a cornerstone of the CTAA project.

"Using a similar model with other regions within South Africa will not only contribute growth to their region but will also enhance our offering. Our partnership with KMI Airport provides, for example, the opportunity to package a popular ‘Cape Town to Kruger National Park (via the Garden Route)’ itinerary which is an attractive proposition for international visitors.

"With CTAA currently advising the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce on route development and network improvement to Port Elizabeth, the cooperation agreement allows for tourism entities to work together and provide visitors with a rich offering.”

– Source:
“Mr President,

“We note that today’s discussion is taking place as requested by Ukraine in its letter dated 24 April 2019.

“At the outset, we wish to thank the briefers for their briefings on the current situation in eastern Ukraine.

“It is clear from the briefings and recent developments that there remains an urgent need for the immediate cessation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

“The ongoing tensions and conflict will continue to exacerbate the humanitarian conditions on the ground. In this regard, it is important that the parties ensure that there is an urgent de-escalation of tensions, to allow a situation that is conducive for the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis.

“In order to make meaningful progress, it remains necessary that all the parties fully implement all of their respective commitments under the Minsk Agreements. At this point, the Minsk Agreements, including the package of measures agreed under Minsk II, provide the most promising roadmap for the peaceful settlement of the hostilities in eastern Ukraine.

“Mr President,

“South Africa notes recent tensions between the parties. It is of critical importance that the parties refrain from actions that could escalate tensions and further destabilise the situation on the ground.

“Furthermore, the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), has played a critical role in the region. It therefore remains important that the Mission continues its work with unhindered access to monitor and verify compliance with the Minsk agreements in line with its mandate.

“Mr President,

“South Africa encourages all the parties to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to produce an inclusive, sustainable and peaceful solution based on cooperation and dialogue.

“I thank you.”
“Mr President,

“Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank Ms Rosemary DiCarlo for her briefing regarding the situation in the Middle East, including the situation in Palestine. I would also like to thank Ms Nada Majdalani and Mr Gidon Bromberg for their interesting briefings on the work of EcoPeace Middle East.

“Mr President,

“This Council deals with the maintenance of international peace and security on a daily basis. It is our primary responsibility that all of the peoples of the world are able to live without the threat of the scourge of war and the ability to live in larger freedom. In carrying out this mandate, this Council must act in a fair and balanced manner.

“In responding to violations of international law and the Charter of the UN we must act in a consistent manner, wherever these violations may occur. We, however, jeopardise the integrity and credibility of this Council when we act, or rather do not act, when it comes to the matter of Palestine.

“Mr President,

“This Council must act decisively, as it does on other matters on its agenda, to ensure that there is a resolution to the conflict through a negotiated process. We must reaffirm that there can be no sustainable solution to the crises in the Middle East that does not include two independent States, one for the people of Palestine and one for the people of Israel.

“The only credible solution is one that must be built on the two-State solution, with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State and where Palestinians and Israelis can live side by side in peace and security. The Security Council must make every effort to bring both parties to the negotiating table in order to find this solution.

“The guidelines for these negotiations have to be based on the already established international legal framework, which include United Nations General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions, the Madrid Principles, the Arab Peace Plan and the Quartet Roadmap, to name but a few.

“Mr President,

“Unilateral actions by Israel, including their refusal to renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) and their continued withholding of tax revenue that it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority have done nothing but exacerbate the security and humanitarian situations in Palestine.

“As long as the situation remains unresolved and the territories remain occupied, we run the risk of changing facts on the ground. The recent unilateral developments related to the Occupied Syrian Golan are a case in point. Final status issues cannot be pre-empted by changing the conditions and facts on the ground and must be negotiated by the parties.

“Mr President,

“We commend the German presidency for highlighting issues of women during this month. When discussing issues in the Middle East, it is also important to focus on the impact of the conflict on Palestinian women. A recent study indicated that the Occupation disproportionately impacts the daily lives of Palestinian women.

“In conclusion, Mr President,

“The UN cannot abdicate its responsibility and outsource its core mandate of maintaining international peace and security. The UN, its membership and this Council cannot sit back and wait for a solution to be presented to it. This is not and has never been the role of the UN.

“We must do all we can to carry out this vital responsibility.

"I thank you.”
"Mr President,

“South Africa wishes to reiterate its unequivocal and strong support for the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and the renewal of its mandate today for a period of six months until 31 October 2019.

“We recall that MINURSO was primarily created to facilitate the holding of a referendum in Western Sahara to enable its people to realise their right to self-determination.

“We also wish to emphasise our firm support for the political process facilitated by the Secretary-General’s good offices through his Personal Envoy, Mr Horst Köhler. We express our appreciation for the work he is undertaking as well as the efforts of the Special Representative and Head of MINURSO, Mr Collin Stewart.

“The role of the Security Council in supporting the Personal Envoy and the SRSG in the discharge of their respective mandates is critical in seeking a solution to the situation in Western Sahara.

“Mr President,

“Although this resolution contains numerous paragraphs with which South Africa can agree, there remain several elements of concern to our delegation. These include the following:

“(i) The current text as it stands is not balanced, and it does not provide a true reflection of the efforts undertaken by the two parties, Morocco and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), which are both Member States of the African Union. The mandate as approved tends to favour one party over the other, which is not conducive to a neutral political process.

“(ii) The use of terms such as “realistic” and “realism” as well as additional references to “compromise”, are of concern to us. It is unclear as to what is meant by these terms as the principle of self-determination for the people of Western Sahara is well established by numerous United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions.  We should not in any way be diluting this principle through unclear and ambiguous language. This Council must reaffirm its commitment to the right to self-determination for the people of Western Sahara in an unqualified manner.

“(iii) The resolution should not try to unduly influence the direction of the political process nor should it try to pre-empt any final status of the negotiations.

“(iv) South Africa regrets that this Council continues to resist a human rights monitoring mandate for MINURSO. This is despite the fact that many around this table eagerly propose such mechanisms in other mandates. We have not seen the same vigour in terms of MINURSO thus creating the impression that the human rights of the people of Western Sahara are not held in the same regard as those of others. This lack of consistency undermines our credibility.

“Lastly we wish to note that the text must differentiate between the parties to the conflict, which are Morocco and the Frente Polisario, and neighbouring states, Algeria and Mauritania.

“Mr President,

“We wish to reiterate that the Council’s working methods on this matter, whereby it delegates responsibility to the Group of Friends remains a serious point of concern for South Africa. We have consistently raised this issue as problematic, particularly the unrepresentative nature of this Group, which does not include a single African Member of the Council, despite this being an African issue.

“This is again an example of an African issue being decided by those that are not from the Continent.

“Mr President,

“South Africa wishes to reiterate our principled position on the situation in the Western Sahara, which remains the last colony on the African continent, listed as a non-self-governing territory by the United Nations.  Our own national experience has taught us the value of international solidarity, which brought down the repressive system of apartheid. In the same respect, it is international solidarity that will realise the foremost aspiration of the people of Western Sahara, which is to be independent and free. It is for this reason that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) recently hosted a Solidarity Conference with Western Sahara.

“As long as the Sahrawi people do not enjoy their basic right to self-determination, they are denied the opportunity to develop, prosper and enjoy a brighter future. People that continue to live with uncertainty either living under colonialism or in refugee camps are severely disadvantaged.

“The Security Council must take up its responsibility and ensure that through a neutral balanced approach, it assists the parties in moving towards a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement.

“Mr President,

“In considering this text before us, South Africa seriously considered not supporting the resolution.

“As we have stated, the draft resolutions on MINURSO continue to be dealt with in an opaque and non-inclusive manner. Council members are not provided adequate time and opportunity to meaningfully negotiate the text. This prevents Council members from effectively exercising the mandate entrusted to us by the General Assembly to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security.

“Significantly though, the draft before us does renew the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) and endorses the political process embarked upon by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General.

"I thank you”.
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