Issue 399 | 17 October 2019
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President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed 16 ambassadors to South Africa.
  The 16 ambassadors are from India, Australia, Morocco, Zambia, France, Lesotho, Switzerland, the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Guatemala, Niger, Ireland, the European Union, Cyprus, Rwanda and Malta.

President Ramaphosa welcomed and received the letters of credence from the ambassadors and heads of mission-designates at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria on Tuesday, 15 October 2019.

The ambassadors are due to advance diplomatic relations between their home countries and South Africa.

Welcoming the ambassadors, President Ramaphosa said they arrived at a time when South Africa was seized with efforts to revive its economy, create jobs, alleviate poverty and significantly reduce inequality.

To this effect, he invited the ambassadors to the second South Africa Investment Conference scheduled for 5 to 7 November.
“It is at that conference where business leaders and investors from all around the world and our own country will be able to explore the abundant investment opportunities in our country across a broad range of dynamic sectors that make up our economy,” said President Ramaphosa.

He highlighted the vast opportunities that the country has to offer in areas of mining, agriculture, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy and urged ambassadors to seek out these new frontiers of growth and new nodes of profitability.

To position South Africa as an investment destination, the President pointed out the strides that made the country attractive for investment.

“We have prioritised efforts to reduce the cost and improve the ease of doing business in our country.

“Working with our partners in business, labour and communities, we are removing regulatory and other obstacles to greater investment,” he said.

Presenting her Letter of Credence to the President, Australian High Commissioner, Gita Kamath, said her country, as South Africa’s largest export market on the continent was looking forward to the upcoming Investment Conference.

"We are looking forward to the Investment Conference as the number one investor in the mining sector, the number two investor in business process outsourcing and I think the seventh-largest investor last year overall. We have great cooperation in science and technology through our co-hosting of the Square Kilometre Array and lets not mention our very friendly rivalry on the sporting field. I look forward to my role to build on these very strong relations," said High Commissioner Kamath.

Move towards multilateralism

President Ramaphosa also called on the ambassadors to reject unilateralism in matters of international trade and security and work towards multilateralism.

“The history of the modern world provides ample evidence of the shortcomings and potential damage of unilateral action.

“No country must be made to feel that its views are not important and that decisions of intergovernmental organisations are predetermined by a few based on their economic and military power,” said the President.

The structure of the United Nations Security Council, especially for countries of the South, was among the issues the President raised that require reform.

President Ramaphosa took the opportunity to reflect the recent public violence that was directed, at least in part, against foreign nationals living in the country.

He assured the ambassadors that South Africa was working to address the specific social and economic factors that gave rise to frustration and anger among some people. – Source:
  President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded a successful working Visit to the United Kingdom (UK) where he participated in the 6th Annual Financial Times Africa Summit.
Over the course of his two-day Working Visit, President Ramaphosa attended the FT Africa Summit Speakers Dinner at Claridge’s in London on Sunday, 13 October 2019.

On Monday, the President delivered the keynote address at the Sixth FT Africa Summit to an audience of investors, financiers and business leaders from various parts of the world.

In his address, the President called on business to form part of Africa’s great leap forward, saying the African continent requires some US$130 billion to US$170 billion a year for infrastructure.

This he said, would only be achieved in collaboration with the global community, significant private funding, as well as partnerships for mutual benefit.

“For its part, South Africa was in the process of setting up an Infrastructure Fund to leverage investments from financial institutions, multilateral development banks, asset managers and commercial banks’,” said The Presidency at the end of the Working Visit.

On energy matters, the President said there was a global move towards cleaner energy sources with the African continent perfectly situated for investment in wind, solar, bioenergy, hydro and natural gas.

He said South Africa’s renewable energy Independent Power Producer Programme had attracted approximately US$14 billion in private-sector investment in 102 projects and created around 40 000 jobs.

President Ramaphosa also encouraged African countries to advance the interests of their people while also seeking solutions to African problems.

He further called on African leaders to seek African solutions to African problems by dealing with the rest of the world on Africa’s own terms, thus rejecting negative external influences which fuel conflict and entrench “theatres of war” on the continent.

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa also received a courtesy call from the President of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, and her delegation.

South Africa enjoys a strong fraternal relationship with Ireland as does South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, with Sinn Fein.

In 1998, President Ramaphosa was appointed as a weapons inspector in Ireland by the Government of the UK.

On the sidelines of the summit, the President met several political leaders and prospective investors to advance South Africa’s investment drive.

President Ramaphosa also received a courtesy call from the former Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair. The two discussed collaboration to promote South Africa’s ambitious investment drive and the sharing of experiences to enhance the capacity and capabilities of government. – Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has extended congratulations to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali of Ethiopia on being awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Prime Minister Ahmed has been recognised by the Nobel Committee “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.

The President paid tribute to the governments and peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea for making this achievement possible and for opening up new possibilities for cooperation, integration and development across the continent.

“The peace achieved between these neighbouring states is an important enabler of the African Continental Free Trade Area and of the many objectives of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

“We all share in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s achievement and in the future of cooperation and good neighbourliness on which the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea have embarked,” the President said. – Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is confident that South Africa will be able to address cross-border crimes across all ports of entry by implementing a range of complementary measures.  
The President said this when he fielded oral questions at the National Council of Provinces in Parliament on Thursday, 10 October 2019.

“Through the application of a range of complementary measures, I am certain that we will be able to address issues of illegal migration, drug and human trafficking and other cross-border crimes.

“These measures are all meant to ensure that indeed, we create a much safer environment for the people of South Africa,” he said.

The President said while a Border Management Authority Bill had been introduced in Parliament with an aim of establishing an authority that will manage all the security challenges at South Africa’s ports of entry, among others, a border policing strategy was being implemented to ensure effective and efficient combating of transnational crimes and other crimes around the border environment.

“The strategy is being implemented in phases. In addition to the police and the Department of Home Affairs, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) plays a critical role at various ports of entry,” he said.

Through the National Security Strategy, the SANDF has developed a long-term strategic view to focus on the specific threats to the sovereignty of the Republic and the authority of the State.

As part of this strategy, the President said, 15 army sub-units have been deployed for border safeguarding.

“More, however, still needs to be done in this regard. The deployment of personnel needs to be augmented with resources such as high-tech equipment to cover such an extensive borderline – be it on land, sea or air.

“We also continue to sustain long-range maritime and air patrols, particularly in the Mozambique Channel, and extend such patrols to the West Coast.

“The SANDF is working with those countries that share borders with South Africa through bilateral defence and security arrangements to improve coordination. Government has deployed a significant amount of resources and put in place extensive measures to control our borders but the extent of the challenges and the sheer length of our land and sea borders show that much more still needs to be done,” he said.

The President said central to the challenges of illegal migration and cross-border crime was the better management of the country’s borders and ports of entry.

“But with the recent attacks on both our own nationals and foreign nationals demonstrated, there is also a need for more effective and consistent policing within South Africa, improved engagements with affected communities and cooperation with countries from which many of the foreign nationals come from.

“A good example of the latter is the agreements reached with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during the State Visit of his Excellency President Buhari recently. The two countries agreed, for example, to establish a joint-warning mechanism that will enable us to share information to also respond to concerns that may be raised with a view to ensure that we avoid a type of situation that we experienced a few weeks ago.” – Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa says he hopes the recently-appointed Presidential Economic Advisory Council will direct its efforts towards coming up with practical solutions to the challenges the country’s economy is faced with.
The President said this when he opened the first meeting of the advisory council at Tuynhuys, in Cape Town, on Wednesday, 9 October 2019.

The President announced his decision to appoint the panel last month to ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy and ensure that government and society in general are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances.

“I said this council would ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy and ensure that we are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances.
  “As we reflect on the Terms of Reference of the council and discuss its working arrangements, it is my hope that the council will direct its efforts towards practical solutions to the complex and pressing challenges our economy faces,” he said.

The council is made up of experts in a broad range of disciplines and people with extensive and varied experience. This includes economist Dr Thabi Leoka, academic economist Dr Kenneth Creamer, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo and former Bank of Tanzania Governor, Professor Benno Ndulu, among others. 

The council is co-chaired by Deputy President David Mabuza and the meeting was attended by several ministers in the economic cluster, including Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, and Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel.

Addressing the meeting, the President said the council was gathering at a difficult time as the economy was faced with headwinds and “when many key indicators confirm the extent of the economic malaise that had set in, in the aftermath of the recession”.

“Poverty is rife, with nearly half of the population considered chronically poor at the upper bound national poverty line. Poverty tracks the patterns of our past closely. It is highest in Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, and lowest in the Western Cape and Gauteng. Poverty is overwhelmingly black.”

With unemployment standing at 29% in the second quarter of this year, the President said the economy had lost its competitiveness, ranking 82nd among 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

He said, however, progress had been made in implementing reforms aimed at helping the country’s economy turn the corner.

This includes work aimed at improving the visa regime to attract tourism and high-skilled immigration.

“For example, the Minister of Home Affairs has abolished the requirement that children entering South Africa should present unabridged birth certificates.”

He said visa waivers had been extended to visitors from several countries; requirements had been simplified for countries such as China and India; and an e-visa system would be piloted from next month.

“A policy directive on the release of spectrum was issued and the regulator ICASA has begun the process to license this spectrum,” he said.

Other processes such as an engagement with organised business on the Ease of Doing Business Roadmap have begun, the President said.

He also said the paper detailing the approach towards Eskom would be tabled at Cabinet shortly.

“We appreciate the time and the effort that you have committed to this responsibility, and we look forward to your contributions to help us shape an inclusive and sustainable economy,” he said. – Source:
The stakes are high ahead of the second instalment of the South Africa Investment Conference, with South Africa hoping to mobilise for more investment towards its target of R1.2 trillion in new investments over the next five years.  
In its inaugural year, the conference attracted R300 billion worth of investments to the country’s shores – a significant feat that proved the resilience of the country’s economy and the confidence by both domestic and international investors.

The second offering of the investment drive will take place from 5 to 7 November 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre, to be presided over by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in June, President Ramaphosa said of the R300-billion investments secured, just over R250 billion worth of projects had entered implementation phase.

To assist the country’s ailing economy, the President also appointed investment envoys to boost investment opportunities.

“At a time of uncertainty, the work of the investment envoys has built important bridges between government and the business community.

“From their feedback, it is clear that much more still needs to be done to improve the investment climate,” said the President during the SONA.

This includes reviewing the way government coordinates work to resolve challenges faced by investors and reforming investment promotion policy and architecture.

In line with this, good progress has been made through the Public-Private Growth Initiative, which is being championed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Roelf Meyer and Johan van Zyl.

The private sector committed to invest R840 billion in 43 projects over 19 sectors and create 155 000 jobs in the next five years.

In discussions with business, government committed to remove the policy impediments and accelerate implementation of these projects.

President Ramaphosa has said government is urgently working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business by “consolidating and streamlining regulatory processes, automating permit and other applications, and reducing the cost of compliance”.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, undertook a Working Visit to Doha, the State of Qatar and Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, on 15 and 16 October 2019.
In Qatar, Minister Pandor had a meeting with her Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, for a bilateral engagement.

Minister Pandor and Minister Al-Thani discussed the Fifth Session of the South Africa-Qatar Bilateral Consultations and the Investment Conference to be hosted by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2019. They also exchanged views on regional and global developments.
Following her visit to Qatar, Minister Pandor travelled to Iran on 16 October 2019 to co-chair the Ministerial Session of the 14th South Africa-Iran Joint Commission of Cooperation, together with her Iranian counterpart, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif.

South Africa and Iran have been conducting bilateral relations within the framework of the South Africa-Iran Joint Commission of Cooperation, since its establishment on 15 August 1995.

Some of the topical issues discussed during the Joint Commission were bilateral political cooperation, increasing trade relations, science and innovation, as well as cooperation in the agricultural and water sectors.

Over the years, the Joint Commission has strengthened South Africa-Iran bilateral relations by creating an environment for more focussed and well-coordinated cooperation, as demonstrated by the diverse areas of bilateral collaboration and the conclusion of several bilateral agreements.
Brand South Africa welcomes the release of the 2019 edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which indicates South Africa’s over-all ranking improved from 67 out of 140 nations in 2018, to 60 out 141 nations in 2019.  
The WEF GCI is made up of 12 pillars, each covering a unique area of performance that ultimately influences the over-all competitiveness profile of the market. It offers insights into the prospects of 141 economies, providing unique acumen into the drivers of economic growth. Competitiveness has a direct impact on the reputation of countries for several reasons, but primarily plays a role in framing an understanding of the broader environments that impact on societal productivity and efficiency. Most importantly, competitiveness is a major factor that impacts Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decisions.

According to the GCI data, South Africa now ranks number one out of 141 nations for budget transparency, a significant ranking that is an illustration of the robust and transparent political governance system of the country, which is anchored in the Constitution of the Republic. This is also supported by the Open Budget Index, where South Africa ranks number two out of 103 nations, clearly highlighting South Africa’s high levels of transparency in its political governance system. South Africa’s ranking on judicial independence also improves markedly with 15 positions in 2018 and currently stands at 33 out of 141 nations.

South Africa’s over-all performance in the 2019 GCI is specifically driven by improvements in Institutions, Health and the Product Market.

The Institutions pillar improves from 69 out of 140 to 55 out of 141 – this is due to reputational damage in the area of governance in recent years.

Health, also historically a weaker area of South Africa’s performance, improves from 125 to 118 in 2019.

Product market improves from 74 to 69 in 2019.

Speaking on the results, Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research, Dr Petrus de Kock, says: “Interestingly enough following on 2018, a year wherein local and global media carried extensive and mostly negative coverage on South Africa’s proposed land reform policy, South Africa’s rankings in Property Rights & Quality Land Administration show improvement. This affirms the country’s strengthened competitiveness profile and a growing economy”.

For the full report, visit – Source:
Russian President Vladimir Putin says the upcoming Russia-Africa Economic Forum provides fertile ground for participants to strengthen economic ties across nations.
President Putin, who will play host to participating African countries, made the statement ahead of the first Russia-Africa Economic Forum, which will be held in Sochi from 23 to 24 October 2019, on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit.

President Putin specifically highlighted the importance of developing cooperation between countries and the positive experience gained from developing joint projects.

“Russian-African relations, which have traditionally been friendly and partner-like, have intensified significantly in recent years both at the bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. We have not only managed to preserve the experience gained from fruitful cooperation in the past, but have also achieved new major successes,” he said.
  Positive trends have been seen in trade turnover numbers and in the investment flows, and joint projects are being developed in the extractive industry, agriculture, healthcare and education.

President Putin said Russian companies stood ready to offer their African partners their scientific and technological developments and experience in modernising energy, transport and communications infrastructure.

He also expressed confidence that the forum would become a unique platform for the discussion and adoption of constructive decisions that aim to enhance cooperation.

“I hope that new areas and forms of cooperation will be outlined during the forum and promising joint initiatives will be put forward that will help take Russian-African collaboration to a whole new level and develop our economies and the prosperity of our people,” said President Putin.

The business programme at the forum will focus on key areas of cooperation between Russia and African countries and is centred around three thematic pillars: “Forging Economic Ties”, “Creating Joint Projects” and “Collaborating in the Humanitarian and Social Sector”. – Source:
Government has emphasised its commitment to protecting the rights of foreign nationals residing in South Africa.
This came amid media reports of foreign nationals allegedly staging a sit-in at the offices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Cape Town. The Western Cape Refugee and Migrant Forum has distanced itself from this action.

Acting GCIS Director-General, Phumla Williams, said: “Government remains committed to building a society based on democratic values of social justice, human dignity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism and the advancement of human rights.

“South Africa has a high number of foreign nationals who are integrated into communities across the country and government calls on all South Africans and foreign nationals to live in harmony as we work together to create a better South Africa and contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better world”.

The South African Government reiterates that the country welcomes all people who are legally in the country and are contributing to its economic development. South Africa, the statement adds, is internationally renowned for using dialogue to solve differences and problems.
“As a peace-loving and law-abiding nation, we must use this noble approach to deal with our problems,” said Williams.

South Africa is a signatory to international instruments which form part of Public International Law, and these international instruments have also been incorporated into our domestic law by the Refugees Act.

These conventions provide the fundamental concepts for refugee protection, and are primarily given effect through the Refugees Act. South Africa has the legal instruments for refugees to exercise their rights, secure protection and successfully integrate into South African communities.

“South Africa is a constitutional democracy governed by laws and as such, we expect everyone working and living in the country to be doing so legally and obey South Africa’s laws in their totality,” said Williams.

South Africans and those within the country’s border are expected to adhere to the law and rules of the country.

“As a country, we also remain resolute to peaceful dialogue as the first option of resolving any form of dispute," she said. – Source:
A delegation of South African school principals is in China where they are participating in a study tour which is showcasing best practice in the sector.
The delegation, made up of 25 school principals and four officials from the Department of Basic Education (DBE), has arrived in Shanghai, China, to participate in a seminar on policy and the management of basic education.

“The Seminar on Education Policy and Management of Basic Education is being hosted by the International Centre for Teacher Education at the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai. Seven lectures have been organised to make presentations and lead discussions during the 14-day programme,” said the department.

The Embassy of China in South Africa is sponsoring the delegation’s participation in the seminar. The delegation will also attend the International Confederation of Principals Conference.

The principals, who represent all of South Africa’s provinces, were selected from the leadership of the South African Principals’ Association.

The trip, said the department, also emphasised government’s commitment to support professional associations in the field of leadership and management in line with the National Development Plan.

The delegation is expected to visit six schools and the ECNU campus.

The study tour comes as a result of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga’s meeting with the Ambassador of China on 6 March 2014. Commitments made at the meeting include the sending of 25 school principals to China for training over a five-year period.

The delegation is led by James Ndlebe who is responsible for education management and governance in schools at the DBE.

“It is important to expose our school principals to opportunities that can help them grow and develop for the benefit of their colleagues and indeed the learners. We cannot adequately prepare our learners to participate in the global economy as global citizens unless we ourselves become the compass to show them the direction by being global citizens ourselves,” he said.

The tour will end on 27 October 2019. – Source:
“Bow Cecil” is South Africa’s first chemical tanker.
The R400-million vessel can carry 37 000 deadweight tons of cargo and is equipped with 47 tanks.

Sasol and Nduna Maritime entered into an enterprise and supplier development funding agreement on the ship, making it the first locally-owned chemical tanker ship.

Its mission: to explore international harbours, transport chemicals to markets and to boldly go where no ship of its kind flying a South African flag has gone before.

The companies want to stimulate South Africa’s blue economy by directing some of the R1.8 billion Sasol spends every year on shipping goods from South Africa to global markets.

“As a global producer of a number of chemical products, we supply numerous markets around the world with products made in South Africa. Through Nduna Maritime, we are extending our value chain participation through a wholly-owned South African business,” said Vuyo Kahla, Executive Vice President of Advisory, Assurance and Supply Chain at Sasol Limited.

It called on the Port of Durban on 1 August for its inaugural load destined for markets in Asia, reported South Africa Shipping News.

Along with exporting goods to Asia, the vessel will also handle inbound shipments of vegetable oils, caustic soda, phosphoric acid, and other chemical products for companies such as Omnia, PetroSA and Sappi, Vusi Mazibuko, Mnambithi Group Executive chairperson, said on the company's website. – Source:
In a first for the African continent, a total knee replacement operation was carried out on a patient using the state-of-the-art Mako robotic arm-assisted surgery system.
The surgery was performed at the Netcare Linksfield Hospital in Johannesburg.

The hospital’s orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Chris McCready, performed the ground-breaking operation.

“There is no national register for local total knee replacements currently, but with an estimated  8 000 to 10 000 total knee replacements taking place in South Africa each year, this technology could signal a new era in personalised joint replacement,” said Dr McCready.

The technologically advanced system for total knee replacement is already well established in Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Last year, the system, which can also be used for hip and partial knee replacements, was used in over 250 000 procedures internationally.
  Prior to surgery, the system draws data from a computed tomography (CT) scan of the patient’s knee. This is in order to develop a three-dimensional pre-operative plan that is unique to each individual.

This said Dr McCready, was one of the major advantages of the system.

“This technology determines the dimensions for the surgical cuts to the bone surfaces, so that the best sized implanted joint components can be selected for each patient and the placement and alignment of the implanted components can be planned in advance,” he said.

During the operation, the robotic arm system provides detailed visual, auditory and tactile feedback to the surgeon. This helps to enhance surgical precision in positioning and aligning the knee implants.

The system, which is controlled by the surgeon at all times, provides an additional safeguard for the patient.

It ensures that only the specific areas identified in the personalised pre-surgical plan can be operated on, and thus prevent damage to critical structures within the knee.

“Benefits for patients that have been noted in outcomes recorded internationally for this advanced surgical option include the achievement of a better balanced, and more natural feeling implanted knee, less post-operative pain and quicker recovery time,” said Dr McCready.

Jacques du Plessis, the Managing Director of Netcare’s hospital division, said the introduction of the system at the Gauteng hospital had the potential to significantly enhance patient outcomes. In appropriate cases, the system provides greater choice in terms of the surgical options available for individuals requiring total knee replacements.

“International studies indicate that this intervention reduces the length of hospital stays and recovery times. By making advanced medical technology such as this available in South Africa, we look forward to realising similar benefits for our patients,” said Du Plessis. – Source:
Exciting news for SA and the cheffing community as one of its own gets his first star.
  The UK's latest Michelin-starred restaurants have been announced and on the list is Restaurant Interlude in Horsham, Sussex, headed up by South African chef, Jean Delport.

The chef took to Instagram with the caption: “Wow! So this just happened… Thank you so much to @pennystreeterobe for the amazing opportunity and biggest thank you to my dream team!”

Jean is no stranger to South African diners, having spent time in the kitchens at Rust en Vrede, Terroir, Cassia, Equus Dine at Cavalli and most recently at Banguela on Main. He left the country at the beginning of 2018 to pursue a career abroad.

Restaurant Interlude has a unique location – it’s situated within the historic gardens of Leonardslee Estate in the South East of England.
“Jean Delport looks after this tiny, 10-table restaurant, which makes the most of the local ingredients in its Sussex surroundings,” cites the UK’s Evening Standard.

That means there are now two South African chefs with Michelin stars, the first one being Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, who got his first star in 2016. The two chefs are graduates of the Zevenwacht Chef School in the Western Cape’s Winelands.
South Africa’s popular Ndlovu Youth Choir and SA flutist (flautist) Wouter Kellerman have been nominated for the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for their brilliant rendition of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”.
The Ndlovu Youth Choir from Limpopo recently returned from an incredible run in America’s Got Talent (AGT) where they made it all the way to the finals and not only flew the flag high for Africa – but brought joy and pride to South Africans.

But long before AGT, Grammy-award winning South African musician Wouter Kellerman put the Ndlovu Youth Choir on the map with this incredible performance of Shape of You.

Kellerman, a Grammy Award-winning SA flutist, producer and composer, posted the video in October 2018, and since then it has attracted over 4.4 million views.

At the time, Kellerman said: “We had such a great time covering Ed Sheeran’s song Shape of You with the amazing Ndlovu Youth Choir!”

An elated Kellerman wrote on social media: “So happy to be nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Awards with Ndlovu Youth Choir for our video ‘Shape of You’ ☺️🎶 #FlutePainter 🎶🎶#InADifferentLIght #ShapeOfYou #MusicVideo”.

The awards will be held on 20 November in Los Angeles. – Source:
World No 3 Jordy Smith has qualified through the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) to represent South Africa at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  Smith's fifth-placed finish at the ongoing Quiksilver Pro France in Nouvelle-Aquitaine saw him end inside the Top 10 on the WSL CT rankings.

The 31-year-old has earned a provisional place to complete in Tokyo and became the first South African surfer to qualify for the Olympics.

The South African is a two-time world title runner-up with six CT wins under his belt since he joined the elite tour in 2006.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020 with the surfing scheduled to start on Sunday, 26 July 2020.

The WSL rankings will determine the first 18 eligible Olympic qualifiers (10 men and eight women), subject to all qualified surfers meeting the ISA's and IOC's eligibility requirements and being selected by their respective National Olympic Committee.

A maximum of two men and two women from each country can qualify for the 2020 Games. – Source:
The queen of South African swimming, Tatjana Schoenmaker, is up for her first international accolade after she was nominated for the Fisu Best Athlete Award thanks to her efforts at the World Student Games in Napoli, Italy, in July.  
Schoenmaker highlighted her class at the Student Games, winning the 100-200-m breaststroke double gold. The TuksSport swimmer improved on her South African and continental record in the 100-m breaststroke, clocking one minute 6.32 seconds (1:06.32), chopping 0.09s off her previous best.

“I didn’t expect that. I am just this odd little swimmer so I didn’t ever think I would get nominated for such an amazing award,” Schoenmaker said.

“This year’s World Students was much different than the previous one, and the first one was my biggest competition where this one was just preparation for the World Championships."

Two years ago, she won the 200-m breaststroke silver medal at the 2017 edition in Taiwan, becoming the second South African female swimmer, after Penny Heyns, to win a medal at the Student Games.

Her double gold at this year’s Games in Italy lay the foundation for her historic swim at the FINA Swimming World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, later in the month. – Source:
South African gymnast Caitlin Rooskrantz has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the recent 2019 Artistic World Championships in Stuttgart.
  Rooskrantz will be the first South African woman to qualify for the Games in artistic gymnastics since the end of isolation.

Rooskrantz, Naveen Daries and Mammule Rankoe flew the flag at the Olympic qualification competition in Stuttgart.

The Johannesburg-based gymnast scored 49.466, finishing narrowly ahead of Naveen (49.399) who performed cleanly on all apparatus.

Caitlin finished ahead of gymnasts from Sweden, Chile, Israel, Norway, Azerbaijan and Olympic medalist Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan.

Only one gymnast per country is allowed to qualify at these championships, which meant Naveen would get a shot at the 2020 African Championships that will be hosted in Pretoria in April.

Rooskrantz, a Grade-12 learner from Parktown Girls' High in Johannesburg, made history in September, becoming the first South African to win a gold medal at an international gymnastics competition. She finished first in the uneven bars at the FIG Challenge Cup in Szombathely, Hungary.
SA Gymnastics Federation Acting President, Donovan Jurgens, commented that the three women’s performances were the best South Africa had seen in years. – Source:
Bafana Bafana defeated Mali to lift the Nelson Mandela Challenge title in Port Elizabeth on Sunday, 13 October 2019.
  South Africa won 2-1 after leading 2-0 at half-time.

A penalty in the 23rd minute was awarded as Thulani Serero went down. Man of the Match, Dean Furman, opened Bafana's account when he buried the ball low into the corner.

Substitute Themba Zwane, who replaced a limping Keagan Dolly, scored at the stroke at half-time as he produced a low finish with an assist from Thembinkosi Lorch.

In the second half, the tourists replied with a goal by Sekou Koita, which eluded goalkeeper Darren Keet to put them on the scoreboard.

This friendly was of significant importance to South Africa, as they prepare for their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Ghana, which take place in November. – Source:
The Springbok Women's Sevens side confirmed their status as the best team in Africa when they won the Rugby Africa Women's Sevens in Monastir, Tunisia, on Sunday, 13 October 2019.
  Zintle Mpupha and the Imbokodo squad edged Kenya 15-14 in the final at Mustapha Ben Jannet Stadium, claiming the continental showpiece with a clean sheet of victories after earlier on Sunday also outplaying Morocco (42-0) in the quarter-finals and Madagascar 29-0 in the semi-finals.

This set up a thrilling final, with Kenya leading 14-10 at the break. A storming run by Rights Mkhari, who already dotted down twice in the first half, was the difference between the two teams in the second half, edging her team ahead and putting the gold medals around their necks.

This win also secured the Imbokodo a ticket to the official qualifiers of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series next year and will provide a confidence boost for their participation at the Dubai Sevens International Invitational and the Cape Town Sevens in December. – Source:
South African wheelchair athlete Ernst Francois van Dyk raced into third position on Sunday, 13 October 2019, at the Chicago Marathon in the Men’s Wheelchair Race.
Van Wyk only arrived in Chicago on the eve of the competition.

Van Wyk finished the race third behind Daniel Romanchuk of the United States (first) and Britain’s David Weird in second. It’s the best he’s done since 2013 when he won the Chicago Marathon. In 2015 and 2016, he came fourth, and in 2017, he came 12th.

According to NBC Chicago, Van Wyk has been consistently strong during his 2019 season with a third place in Tokyo, fifth in Boston (a race he previously won a record-breaking 10 times, including six in a row from 2001 to 2006), and sixth place in London (a marathon he has finished 14 times, making the podium four times but never as the winner).
On 29 September, Van Dyk raced a good marathon in Berlin, Germany, where he finished in fifth place. It was his first marathon since April, coming out of winter.

Kenya were the biggest winners at the Chicago Marathon with the country’s Lawrence Cherono winning the men’s marathon and fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei breaking a world record to win the women’s marathon. – Source:
  South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers has won the 2019 Rallye du Maroc in a Toyota vehicle, in what was crucial preparation for the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The 47-year-old South African ensured that he goes into the world’s toughest off-road race in January on a big high with a comprehensive victory margin of 17 minutes and 42 seconds over Spaniard Carlos Sainz who was last year’s winner.

De Villiers, the 2009 Dakar Rally champion, said after the victory: “A big thank you to the team for their hard work this week and also to Alex Haro for the navigation! This was one tough rally!”

The Moroccan rally-raid race was over five desert stages.

“I now address the Council in my national capacity. Let me start by thanking and welcoming the Foreign Minister of Colombia, H.E. Carlos Holmes Trujillo, to the meeting. We appreciate your commitment and availability to brief the Council each time the agenda item of Colombia is discussed and you have South Africa’s full support in your country’s quest to achieve long-term and sustainable peace. In the same spirit, we also thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Mr Carlos Massieu, for his informative briefing this morning.


“South Africa fully supports the Final Peace Agreement that was signed between the Government of Colombia and the FARC in 2016. We welcome mechanisms of the Peace Agreement such as the Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Agreement (CSIVI), which can be used to address gaps and challenges related to implementation of the Peace Agreement and we encourage both parties to use the CSIVI which can be used as a basis to strengthen dialogue.

“South Africa welcomes the recent positive steps taken by the Government which lays the foundation for the Government to continue its initiative to integrate the former FARC-EP and ensure that they can live full and decent lives. In this regard, we welcome the efforts by President Duque and his administration in implementing the “Peace with Legality” strategy, which has given way for the approval of various projects for former combatants, the beginning of implementation of the development programmes with a territorial focus (PDETs) and his visits to the former territorial areas for training and reintegration (TATRs) which can be seen as confidence and trust building efforts between the Government and former combatants.
“We welcome the Government’s efforts with transformation of the TATRs for the purposes of training and reintegration as well as the constructive role and responsive attitude of the FARC. We agree with the Secretary-General’s assessment in his latest report that this is “an example for overcoming hurdles in implementation through dialogue” which South Africa supports as it contributes to addressing the concerns and uncertainties of the FARC regarding their future in Colombian daily life politically, socially and economically. This is important as it relates to rural and political reintegration and reform, development of territories, transitional justice and victims’ rights, who should remain at the center of the full implementation of the Peace Agreement. We welcome the role of the Truth Commission and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in this regard. South Africa’s own experience with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission confirmed that it was crucial for achieving national unity. Hearing the different views and versions of events of all communities in Colombia will ensure that the road to peace is based on an inclusive political process.

“The consolidation of peace after decades of conflict and mistrust is not an easy task. In this regard, we are concerned by the announcement made in August 2019 by a group of former FARC-EP commanders who announced their decision to take up arms again. Such narratives have the potential to reignite violence in territories, undermine the political progress that has been achieved and the foundations for trust that are being established as well as the prospects for long-term peace for all who live in Colombia. We agree with, and wish to join the UN Verification Mission commending the resilience of Colombian society and its institutions and encourage them to remain committed to the peace process that has saved many lives. We also wish to commend the Government of Colombia and the FARC party for swiftly responding to this potentially damaging announcement and rejecting it by expressing their commitment to the peace process on behalf of former combatants across the country. Former combatants who laid down their weapons in good faith must remain part of the reintegration process which must be respected, honoured and realised because their efforts remain important to the work of the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. We call on all political parties to fully respect and remain committed to the agreement and continue to desist from any actions that may undermine its comprehensive implementation.


“We remain concerned about the security of all stakeholders. This includes the recent killings of various political candidates, community and social leaders, human rights defenders, former FARC-EP combatants, persons participating in the implementation of the Peace Agreement, rural communities, including people living with disabilities, indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombian communities particularly in the context of the upcoming elections expected to take place later this month. It is also important to be cognisant of the specific threats to female candidates and leaders and urge the government and all stakeholders across Colombian society to double their efforts to promote peace and tolerance to ensure the safety of all in the context of elections and beyond It is important and the Government and all stakeholders in Colombian society encourage the participation of young people and women at grassroots and all levels whose voices and perspectives can contribute significantly to long-term plans for reintegration and stability of Colombia.

“We note the Joint Communiqué issued by Cuba and Norway on 9 September 2019 Guarantor Countries of talks between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP) and we commend them for their willingness to continue supporting and accompanying efforts to achieve a stable and lasting peace in Colombia.


“Let me conclude by stating that South Africa urges Member States and the international partners to support and encourage the people of Colombia to preserve and fully implement the Final Peace in a comprehensive manner to address the concerns and rights of victims, access to justice and reparation, guarantees of non-repetition inclusive dialogue and a peaceful negotiated settlement.

“I thank you.”

“South Africa joins other delegations in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ms. Leila Zerrougui for her briefing on MONUSCO activities.

“My delegation recognises and commends the fundamental role played by MONUSCO in addressing the perennial instability in the Eastern DRC and in the protection of civilians. South Africa commends the role and leadership displayed by SRSG Zerrougui on critical issues in the DRC and in MONUSCO discharging its mandate effectively.


“I wish to focus my intervention today, on two key issues; namely the improving political climate and the state of affairs in the Eastern part of the country. In respect of the political situation, South Africa welcomes the formation of the new coalition government in the DRC precisely because of consensual approach that characterised its formation. Furthermore, the distribution of ministries between the two main political platforms is in line with undertakings made in July of this year. We especially welcome the emphasis on promoting the role of women in DRC politics as representation of women increased from 10 per cent to 17 per cent.

“Since the last report, a positive trend continues to be observed in President Felix Tshisekedi implementing his strategic approach to conflict resolution and peace-building in the DRC and the region. The trust and confidence building initiatives with neighbouring countries demonstrates his personal commitment towards the full implementation of the Peace Security Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework). These positive developments supported by relative stability in the west of the DRC, give impetus towards resolving other peace and security issues in the region.


“With regard to the Eastern DRC, a complex military and humanitarian situation persists. As you may recall, during the past week, this Council received a briefing on the Great Lakes region. As the country concerned, the DRC shared its concerns on the presence and activities of armed groups, intercommunal clashes and the Ebola epidemic. These concerns are shared by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We are, however, encouraged by the DRC strategy aimed at addressing the peace and security challenges which includes capacity building for the Defense and Security services as well as the creation of national forums aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence of local communities to bolster national cohesion.

“South Africa’s shares concerns raised by the Secretary-General in his report on the Ebola virus outbreak and its potential impact on the region. Regional and international response efforts continue to be hindered by insufficient funding and poor accessibility to conflict areas as well as low levels of cooperation between the community and government. Additionally, cholera and measles outbreak further compound the already fragile humanitarian situation and weak health systems.

“My delegation is also concerned and condemns the attacks by armed groups on the Ebola treatment centers and staff. Against this backdrop, we welcome the launch of the AU Mission against Ebola in the DRC which illustrates willingness of African countries to work together in addressing this important health concern. We welcome continued efforts by the UN Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator and World Health Organisation to support national efforts.

“In relation to the general security and humanitarian situation, my delegation recognises the vital role played by MONUSCO in collaboration with the DRC authorities in addressing the security challenges in the Eastern DRC. We also recognise the efforts of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in addressing the threat posed by the armed groups as well as the work done by the good offices of SRSG Zerrougui in meeting with key stakeholders to discuss opportunities for supporting institutional reform and the on-going Ebola response. Going forward, one of the key areas of focus for the DRC government is the need to ensure the implementation of effective DDR and SSR programmes and establishing government authority in areas liberated from negative forces. This is especially important given the progress registered in areas such as in Ituri with regard to the signing of a peace agreement and willingness to demobilise armed combatants.

“South Africa thus looks forward to receiving the outcomes emanating from the Secretary-General’s Independent Strategic Review of MONUSCO. Ultimately, however, we believe that any adjustment of the mandate of MONUSCO should be based on developments on the ground.


“South Africa supports SADC’s continued commitment to assist the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability. The August 2019 SADC Summit communique highlights concern with the security situation in the Eastern DRC. On the basis of this concern, SADC agreed to collaborate with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and consolidate efforts towards security stabilization in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.  We are also encouraged by the AU and UN cooperation and undertaking to continue to engage in support of the consolidation of stability and democratic governance in the DRC.


“It is our assessment that the international community, including this Council, continues to witness a positive trajectory of developments in the DRC since the peaceful transfer of power in early 2019. To build on the current momentum; the DRC will need genuine support from bilateral, regional and international partners in implementing its government program which focuses on political, security and socio-economic sectors. We are of the firm view that it is imperative for the international community, working through SADC, the AU, the UN and regional partners, to continue to maintain solidarity with the people of the DRC and provide the necessary political, financial and other support in an effort to ensure there is no reversal of gains made thus far.

“I thank you.”
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