Issue 411 | 30 January 2020
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Economic integration, women’s empowerment and good governance are the three main priorities for South Africa as it prepares to assume Chairship of the African Union (AU) this year.
President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the priorities at the African Heads of Mission Conference, taking place at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s offices in Pretoria, on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

On 8 and 9 February 2020, Heads of State and Government will convene in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the 33rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly where South Africa will assume Chairship.

South Africa previously held the AU Chairship in 2002, at the seminal session that officially launched the AU.

“At the top of our agenda as Chair must be the deepening of economic integration. This is a historic moment that we must seize.

“Together with our fellow African countries, we must implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement with purpose and determination,” said the President.

The AfCFTA brings together all 55 member states of the AU, covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people, and aims to accelerate intra-African trade and boost Africa’s trading position in the global market.

But for the AfCFTA to bear fruit, President Ramaphosa said infrastructure between African countries must be developed.

“We know that the AfCFTA will only become a reality if the infrastructure between African countries is developed. Infrastructure is at the core of Africa’s social, economic and political challenges.

“It is crucial for sustainable development and inclusive growth, and for diversification through industrialisation and value addition,” said the President.

As the Champion of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative under the New Partnership for Africa's Development, President Ramaphosa called on South Africa to act on the opportunity presented – in profiling infrastructure development in support of the AfCFTA.
Advancing women’s empowerment on the continent

Another pillar of South Africa’s agenda as AU Chair is the empowerment of women, with a specific emphasis on promoting financial and economic inclusion and combating gender-based violence.

“On women’s financial and economic inclusion, South Africa will work with the AU’s Women, Gender and Development Directorate, which is responsible for leading, guiding, defending and coordinating the AU's efforts on gender equality and development,” the President said.
To achieve this, the President said South Africa would work closely with the AU Leader on Gender and Development, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

President Akufo-Addo launched the Gender and Development Initiative for Africa in 2017 as his flagship programme.

The United Nation’s (UN) 2009 World Survey on the Role of Women in Development notes that women’s equal access to financial and economic resources is critical for the achievement of gender equality and sustainable economic growth and development.

“In undertaking this work, we must look beyond ‘micro-finance solutions’ to financing that which will grow the businesses of women.

“The goal is to ensure that women and women-led businesses have access to and are able to use multiple financial services as tools to develop their financial autonomy and allow them to contribute to economic growth,” said the President.

Silencing the guns

As South Africa’s Chairship coincides with the AU’s aspiration of “Silencing of the Guns in 2020”, South Africa will champion good governance on the continent.

“Specific focus will need to be given to two intractable conflicts on the continent – in Libya and South Sudan – where South Africa is already actively involved in seeking solutions.

“In South Sudan, we are engaged both bilaterally and multilaterally, in particular as Chair of the High-Level Ad Hoc Committee on South Sudan, known as the C5,” said the President.

South Africa is a member of the AU High-Level Committee on Libya.

“Our efforts will aim at affirming South Africa’s commitment to peace, security and stability on the continent and ending the humanitarian catastrophe and displacement of people in those countries,” said the President.

Since the Chairship also coincides with South Africa’s third tenure as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, South Africa will also promote cooperation between the three African members of the UN Security Council and the AU’s Peace and Security Council.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged governments around the world to put their differences aside and work together to achieve world peace and prosperity.
The President made the remarks while addressing nine ambassadors and high commissioners as he received their Letters of Credence from their respective countries to serve in diplomatic missions in South Africa.

“A world that is more human and more democratic. A world that is deeply rooted in social justice and a respect for human rights,” he said at the ceremony held at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

The President received letters of credence from the representatives from the United States of America; Czech Republic; Republic of Gambia; Republic of Croatia; Republic of Algeria; State of Palestine; State of Qatar; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Federal Republic of Somalia; New Zealand; and the United Republic of Tanzania.

The President welcomed the representatives, confident that they would work with South Africa in the endeavour for a world that respects human rights.

“We must assert a shared belief in the equality of all people and all sovereign states regardless of their economic power or even their military, notwithstanding our responsibility to advance and protect the national interest of our respective countries,” said President Ramaphosa.

He said world governments had a duty to do so without provoking any animosity among the people of the world.

“Like Nelson Mandela, we must soldier for peace and always strive for the peaceful resolution of any conflict. We must focus our efforts on conflict prevention by, among other things, collectively addressing the leading causes of conflict and we count among the leading courses of conflict poverty, inequality and economic and political marginalisation.”

He added that governments should work together to establish institutions and instruments that would be fair and representative and advance the interests of the poor and the vulnerable.

South Africa, which embarks on its second year of its non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, will continue to advocate for the silencing of the guns on the African continent.

World leaders, he said, must readily accept that lasting peace and security will not be achieved unless they create a world that is conducive for sustainable development and a shared prosperity among all the people of the world.

He invited the ambassadors to join South Africa on its journey for economic growth, shared prosperity, peace and collective security.

“This is the year in which we will operationalise the agreement of the African Union, which is the Africa Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which is envisioned to make Africa the largest common market in the world,” said President Ramaphosa.

The AfCFTA was officially launched into its implementation phase at a Special AU Summit in Niamey, Niger, after 54 African countries signed the agreement and 27 countries ratified it.

Trading under the terms of the AfCFTA is intended to come into effect on 1 July 2020.

– Source:
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the South African business sector to form part of the collective national effort to advance the interests of the country and continent.
He made the call at the first of several interactions with business as South Africa prepares to assume chairship of the African Union in February 2020.

“This is a journey that we should walk together for the benefit of the country and the benefit of the continent,” he said on Tuesday, 28 January 2020, in Pretoria.

Earlier in the day, the President addressed the South African Heads of Mission accredited to countries on the African continent, where he outlined South Africa’s priorities for its term at the helm of the continental body.

These include economic integration across the continent and the operationalisation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the economic and financial inclusion of women and the fight against gender-based violence, as well as the promotion of good governance.

In the meeting with business, the President welcomed the operationalisation of the AfCFTA in July 2020 as a historic moment and the opening of a new era for the continent.

Once in effect, the AfCFTA would constitute the largest common market in the world, composed of over one billion people and a combined GDP of more than US$3.3 trillion.

It is tipped to develop the type of inclusive development path that is essential to Africa’s long-term prosperity.

The President called on business to work with government on concrete measures to realise Africa’s aspirations, saying that the legacy of the AfCFTA will be enhanced intra-African trade and jobs and prosperity for the people of Africa.

The meeting identified the need to reinvigorate South Africa’s leadership of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative as infrastructure is central to the resolution of Africa’s social, economic and political challenges.

“To this end, the President has urged business to facilitate greater levels of intra-African investments focusing specifically on trade-enabling infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities,” said The Presidency in a statement following the engagement on Tuesday evening.

While appreciating a number of challenges confronted by some businesses operating in other countries on the continent, business leaders committed themselves to working in partnership with governments for the sustainable development of Africa as a whole, the statement read.

“Guided by government’s guidelines for good business practice for companies operating on the rest of the continent, South African business stands ready to support Africa’s industrialisation and growth.

“The President has welcomed the frank engagement with business as the starting point for a more structured approach to cooperation between government and the private sectors around a common African economic agenda,” said the Presidency.

– Source:
South Africa continues to support international efforts aimed at the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, prior to the outbreak of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in line with all relevant United Nations resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters.
The Government of the Republic of South Africa notes the announcement of a peace plan by the United States aimed at resolving the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

South Africa believes that it is only initiatives developed with the full participation of the people of Palestine that can achieve lasting peace and remains consistent in its view that genuine inclusive, open dialogue can resolve the current impasse. In addition, South Africa is of the view that processes begin through genuinely committed dialogue aimed at determining lasting solutions.

South Africa maintains its principled position that any peace plan should not allow Palestinian statehood to devolve into an entity devoid of sovereignty, territorial contiguity and economic viability. Doing so would severely compound the failure of previous peace-making efforts, accelerate the demise of the two-State option and fatally damage the cause of durable peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike.
The South African Government has reassured the international business community that the country is working on stabilising its power supply and fiscal management.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, highlighted some of the issues raised by business leaders during the four-day gathering.

Minister Mboweni was accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, and Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel.

The South African delegation was tasked by President Cyril Ramaphosa with the responsibility of participating in various discussions.

“We think we have put our best foot forward. We have held bilateral meetings with various stakeholders, fruitful conversations and that will feed toward a positive mood towards South Africa,” said Minister Mboweni.

He said the delegation listened carefully to what business leaders thought about the country.

“We have benefitted intellectually from the engagements, which we all found to be important.”

Minister Mboweni described the conversations and bilaterals with the business community as having been fruitful for government and local businesses that attended the forum.

Key issues raised during the engagement were around Eskom, the Minister said.

“The concerns are around Eskom and its ability to supply power. We indicated that the issue was being addressed [and] that we now have a new CEO,” said Minister Mboweni, even though the issues would not be resolved immediately.

“We also indicated that we have developed a multi-pronged approached in the generation of energy,” the Minister said.

The country’s fiscal sustainably and measures of managing debt and infrastructure were also raised.

During the WEF, Minister Mboweni also met with the Swiss Finance Minister, during which South Africa and Switzerland recommitted to holding ongoing bilateral engagements.

Minister Pandor said she had observed that South Africa still enjoyed great interest globally.

“South Africa needs to do much more tourism and [attract] a lot of business interest. We need to increase investment in tourism communication. It has a great deal to offer. A number [of people] commented on our infrastructure as being a positive to attracting business. We must improve and maintain this.”

Minister Mboweni said Davos was a platform of exchanging ideas, debating issues, having conversations and developing relationships that might result in investment.

“If you stumble upon an investment opportunity, grab it. But if we are hoping for investments here, you’ll be greatly disappointed,” he said.

Minister Mboweni said in his view, the number of meetings held during the week were sufficient and managed to communicate the South African message quite effectively.

“I think we brought the sharpest quality to Davos this year,” he said.

– Source:

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes, embarked on a “back to school” campaign aimed at encouraging learners to focus on their education, which has been identified as one government’s key priorities.
On Thursday, 23 January 2020, Deputy Minister Botes hosted students from the Westbury Secondary School. The purpose of the event was to broaden knowledge about South Africa’s international relations work and the careers in the international relations environment that learners could explore after completing Grade 12.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) is scheduled to host the 2020 edition of the annual Ubuntu Awards in Cape Town on Saturday, 15 February 2020.
The awards will be held under the theme, “Celebrating Excellence in Diplomacy – Working Together to Build a Better Africa and a Better World”.

The purpose of the event is to recognise South African citizens for their distinguished service and contribution to promoting South Africa’s national interests and values across the world.

The event takes place traditionally after the opening of Parliament and brings together captains of industry, civil-society leaders, members of Cabinet and other eminent persons, including ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to South Africa.

The awards are given to South African citizens, who have raised the South African flag high on the international stage.

Winners from previous years include the acclaimed music group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, legendary artist Mama Esther Mahlangu and Olympic stars Caster Semenya and Wayde van Niekerk.

The categories that will be recognised include: Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award, Ubuntu Social Responsibility Award, Ubuntu Arts and Cultural Diplomacy Award, Ubuntu Youth Diplomacy Award, Ubuntu Sports Diplomacy Award and the OR Tambo Lifetime Achievement Award.

– Source:
The National Health Department says while there is no cause for panic with the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in China, it has beefed up surveillance at the country’s ports of entry.
“South Africans are assured that measures are in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of Novel Coronavirus should it come to our shores.

“So far, there are no suspected cases reported. However, due to the current risk of importation of inadvertent cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan City – China, Port Health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia, especially China,” said Health spokesperson, Popo Maja.

Fortunately, OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only ports of entry with direct flights from Asia.

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) China office reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.

The cause was confirmed as a Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Symptoms include fever and a cough with a few patients presenting with difficulty in breathing and bilateral infiltrates on chest X-rays.

In a bid to keep the virus at bay, South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors. These include information on how to diagnosis and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case.

“Provinces have activated outbreak response teams and are on high alert to detect and manage inadvertent cases that may arrive in the country,” said Maja.

The Health Department also urged the following precautionary measures:
  • avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment
  • avoid visiting markets where live animals are sold
  • travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing and wash hands)
  • health practitioners should provide travellers with information to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections, via travel health clinics, travel agencies, conveyance operators and at points of entry.
In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness before, during or after travel, the department advised travellers to seek medical attention and share travel history with their healthcare provider.

– Source:
Global consumer tyre company, Pirelli, has taken up residence in Att House, at Maxwell Office Park, situated in Waterfall City.
The Italian multinational is the latest international firm to choose Waterfall as its South African corporate headquarters.

"We believe in moving everyone forward through technological and social progress, and constantly pushing innovation to create motoring excellence. This means our business is geared for speed, efficiency and integration. Waterfall City, with its ease of access, innovative spaces, and the very best in sustainable, urban design is an ideal match for our company aspirations and operating requirements," said Tierri Corte, Managing Director at Pirelli.

Globally, Pirelli is known for cutting-edge technology, high-end production excellence and innovation. The company has 19 production plants in 12 countries and a commercial presence in over 160 countries. Pirelli South Africa recently took occupation of the ground floor of Att House.

Att House, is a multi-tenanted office building, measuring 6 304 m², at Maxwell Office Park, which is situated in Waterfall City, at the heart of the Waterfall Development.

Maxwell Office Park is ideally located between Johannesburg and Pretoria, with easy access to the residential area and businesses in Waterfall City. The Mall of Africa and the city park are within walking distance.

– Source:
South Africa is a beautiful place to live, an even better place to have a holiday, and home to the Mother City, and is now also the 15th-best place in the world to take envy-inducing Instagram photos!
Big 7 Travel compiles a list of 50 destinations which were ranked according to their popularity on Instagram every year. This year, South Africa is ranked as 15th on the list after Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and Indonesia who all took the top spots once again.

Here’s a look at the Top 20:

1. Sydney, Australia
2. Hong Kong
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
4. New York City, United States of America
5. Singapore
6. Tokyo, Japan
7. Lisbon, Portugal
8. Bali, Indonesia
9. London, England
10. Jaipur, India
11. Maldives
12. Rome, Italy
13. Dubrovnik, Croatia
14. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
15. Cape Town, South Africa
16. Toronto, Canada
17. Amsterdam, Netherlands
18. Moscow, Russia
19. Paris, France
20. Los Angeles, United State of America.

“Dramatic scenery, fantastic hiking trails and deserted beaches that boast spectacular ocean views. What more could you ask for? Cape Town is an Instagrammer’s dream location to visit: endless natural beauty and clifftop views, pastel pink neighbourhoods and turquoise waters.”

– Source:
Ashia and Mount Camdeboo are partners of the ground-breaking project lead by The Aspinall Foundation to rewild two captive-bred cheetahs.
Two 2.5-year-old cheetahs from Howletts Wild Animal Park, near Canterbury, will leave the park on 6 February 2020 for a new life in South Africa.

After a 9600-kilometre flight, the pair will first settle in at Ashia’s Cheetah Centre in South Africa’s Western Cape before eventually moving to Mount Camdeboo Private Game Reserve, a 14 000-hectare property in the Great Karoo. There, they will undergo a rewilding process developed and successfully applied by Ashia over the last two years.

“We are delighted to welcome these cheetah brothers to our Breeding, Wilding and Release Programme, which is already successfully returning captive-born cheetahs into the protected wild of South African game reserves and national parks. So far nine cheetahs, all born and raised in human care, have been successfully wilded and we have high hopes for these siblings!”, says Chantal Rischard, Founder of Ashia.

Mount Camdeboo is home to a few rescued, rehabilitated and endangered animals, including a bull elephant rescued by The Aspinall Foundation in partnership with the Mount Camdeboo team in October 2019, and looks forward to welcoming these cheetahs.

Iain Buchanan, the owner of Mount Camdeboo, says: “It is an incredible privilege to be part of this landmark conservation project. To see these magnificent cheetah roaming free on Mount Camdeboo in the coming months will be one of the greatest moments in my life. I am confident that this project will pave the way for many more zoo animals to be ‘wilded’ and in so doing, contribute to the greater conservation effort which aims to increase the genetic diversity of these and many other species.”

Mount Camdeboo is playing a pivotal role for conservation in the region by creating a sanctuary for endangered species and by restoring the land to its original pristine state of wilderness.

Saba was hand-reared by Aspinall Foundation Chairperson, Damian Aspinall, and his wife, Victoria Damian, and Victoria will accompany Saba and Nairo on their journey from the United Kingdom (UK) to South Africa and will personally release them into their new home. The ground-breaking project is the first time a captive-born, hand-raised cheetah has left the UK for rewilding in Africa.

Cheetahs are listed as Vulnerable by the ICUN, with less than 7 000 individuals remaining in the wild. Habitat loss, conflict with humans and increasing pressure from the illegal pet trade means that cheetah only inhabit around 10% of their historic range. Saba and Nairo’s rewilding and participation in a breeding programme will bring vital new genetics to the South African population.

– Source:
Breaking a world record is no small feat, and a restaurant in the Mother City has made it into the Guinness World Records book as the official title holder of the “Most Varieties of Milkshakes Commercially Available”.
Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs at the V&A Waterfront earned this title with their 207 decadently divine shakes on offer. This eatery no doubt has a shake to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

To achieve this incredible record, the local eatery had to put in a year and a half of hard work to process their application and arrange the record attempt in order to meet the strict criteria.

On 17 October 2019, the big day arrived and Gibson’s was able to carry out their application and officially make an attempt at the world record. The long process leading up to this moment, which had to be strictly followed, encompassed numerous certification forms, checking their menu, sales mix, recipes, ingredients, location and various other formalities.

During their attempt, key witnesses were needed, including well-known foodies Jenny Morris, Pete Goffe-Wood, Justin Bonello, Giorgio Nava and Clarice Gomes, who were all required to submit their credentials and curricula vitae to the Guinness World Records London Office and after due diligence and various correspondence, they were appointed as Guinness World Records judges for the record attempt.

Once the protocol had been met, the official attempt was confirmed. In terms of the Guinness World Records regulations, the judges were divided into two teams which were only allowed a four-hour time frame. Working in two shifts under the guidance of Pete Goffe-Wood and according to strict criteria, the 207 milkshakes had to be counted, tasted and signed off by the judges. In addition, they had to audit the recipes and verify that the 207 shakes actually appeared on the menu.

Video footage of the entire attempt was required. Photographs of the individual milkshakes being made were mandatory. After making 207 milkshakes for the official attempt, the Gibson’s team expected to finish between 12pm and 1pm but managed to knock the challenge out by 11.20am.

After a careful worldwide check the Guinness World Records London Office verified that Gibson’s were in fact the world record holders for the "Most Varieties of Milkshakes Commercially Available".

– Source:
The Proteas Women produced a powerful performance from their bowlers to cruise to a decisive 2-0 series win in the One-Day International (ODI) series against New Zealand Women at Eden Park outer field on Monday, 27 January 2020, winning the second game by eight wickets, backing up their nine wickets win in the first ODI.
The victory was set-up by some impressive pace bowling from Marizanne Kapp, who along with Shabnim Ismail were parsimonious with the new ball.

The latter, despite not taking a wicket, conceded just 10 runs from her eight overs, while Kapp claimed impressive figures of 4/29 from her 8 overs, and Ayabonga Khaka continued her impressive return from injury with figures of 2/21 in her seven.

The added significance of this victory for South Africa is that it takes the team up to fourth in the Women’s ICC ODI Championship standings, which runs from 2017-20

– Source:
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