Issue 417 | 5 March 2020
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Corona Virus hotline for 24-Hour Hotline for South African nationals bsaed in Wuhan City, China
Human Rights Month, March 2020
Consular Services - Travel Smart with DIRCO
A week ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the decision to repatriate South Africans currently residing in Wuhan.
The decision was prompted by their request to be repatriated back home. Subsequent to this announcement, a multidisciplinary team of ministers (Health, Social Development, South African Police Service, Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation and South African National Defence Force) was constituted. This team is supported operationally by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS), which has commenced with the logistical arrangements.

On Sunday, 1 March 2020, the Inter-Ministerial Task Team held a media briefing to provide an update on the repatriation and to date, the logistical plans are at an advanced stage. A total of 184 South Africans have indicated their desire to be repatriated back home. Most of these South Africans are students, teachers and other professionals currently working in Wuhan. Only seven South Africans in Wuhan have opted to remain in Wuhan City.
The aircraft with the capacity to bring back the citizens in Wuhan has been secured. An interdisciplinary team of relevant departments, including Health, Home Affairs, Social Development and the Defence Force, will form part of the repatriation team from China to South Africa. They will be working with the Chinese authorities to screen the group of South Africans before they depart the epicentre of Wuhan. With the support of the South African Embassy in China, a ground transport plan is being put in place to ensure that all citizens who are to be evacuated are safely brought to a central collection point from where they will be transported home.

In a statement, NATJOINTS said that negotiations with a number of service providers to serve as a quarantine area had not yet been concluded. At this stage, the technical team is working hard to finalise this critical area of work and there is no specific venue that has been confirmed. This work will be concluded in the not so distant future.
“We therefore wish to discourage any speculation about possible sites, which some media houses have been reporting in their respective platforms.

“We have also received some disturbing reports, of some of the potential service providers being intimidated. This intimidation makes it very difficult for government to speedily conclude preparations.
“The NATJOINTS appreciates the responsible reporting by members of the media and sharing of educational information by members of the public on this key operation. Members of the public are requested to stop spreading fake news regarding the Corona virus. Through the leadership of the Department of Health, updates and reliable information on the COVID-19 situation are provided. We encourage the public to make use of bona fide and legitimate sources of information from the Department of Health.

“The NATJOINTS also confirms that through the Department of Health, there are no reported cases of the virus in the country. The Department of Health is continuing to monitor the situation closely and has put plans in place to deal with any possible detection of the virus.

"Port Health has also doubled its efforts to screen all the travellers at all ports of entry. Travellers visiting the country are being subjected to health screenings before they disembark on flights or are allowed to enter the country. The NATJOINTS is pleased to have been advised that the two South Africans working on the cruise ship Diamond Princess who initially tested positive for COVID-19 have now tested negative and will shortly be making their way home.

“Family members who require more information about their loved ones who will be repatriated can contact the Department of International Relations and Corporation: Email address:, Telephone number: 012 351 1754.

“Government wishes to thank all the families for their cooperation and share their excitement at having their loved ones safely home soon and also expresses appreciation for their understanding and support and undertakes to continuously provide update on this relatively complex operation.”

Deputy President David Mabuza met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, at his OR Tambo House official residence in Pretoria on 29 February 2020.
The Executive Vice-President engaged the Deputy President on matters of economic transformation and employment creation through the green economy, for which Mr Timmermans has the responsibility with the European Union. Deputy President Mabuza was supported by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande; and the Minister of Environment Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy.
The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, concluded his Working Visit to Geneva, Switzerland, where he led a South African delegation at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council from 24 to 26 February 2020.
South Africa's participation at the High-Level Segment focussed on the following issues: outlining the country’s human rights priorities for 2020; giving an update on the Government’s recent efforts in ensuring the promotion, protection, fulfilment, enjoyment and practical realisation of human rights; initiating the process of lobbying support for the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), in particular the convening of a one-day high-level plenary event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the DDPA on the margins of the High-Level segment of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2021; and delivering messages on advancing gender equality, empowerment of women and combatting violence against women and girls.

South Africa participated in two high-level panel discussions on human rights mainstreaming, whose theme focussed on: “Thirty Years of Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Challenges and Opportunities”; and the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted at the Fourth World Conference on Women.

The Deputy Minister held a range of bilateral meetings with delegations on human rights issues and issues related to South Africa’s Chairship of the African Union, including with the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada Al-Nashif.
The Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on Tuesday, 25 February 2020, addressed the official opening of MeetingsAfrica at the Sandton Convention Centre, bringing key business tourism sector players under one roof to help African countries to collectively advance the tourism interests of the continent.
Now in its 15 year, Meetings Africa, held between 25 and 26 February, served as a primary platform for Africa’s business events professionals to showcase their diverse services and product offerings to global buyers. The aim was to encourage and stimulate the rotation of meetings on the African continent.

The business events sector is crucial to tourism and South Africa’s economy, as well as that of the continent. As a premier business event, Meetings Africa has emerged as one the cornerstone events in South Africa’s MICE (Meetings, Incentive, Conferences and Exhibition) sector. The industry directly and indirectly sustains more than 250 000 jobs and contributes an estimated R115 billion to South Africa’s economy, underlining an incontestable fact that business tourists spend more than leisure tourists.

Exhibitors from 17 African countries took part in the 15th Meetings Africa, including hundreds of buyers.
South Africa will host the 22nd Session of the African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC), which is scheduled to take place at the Kruger National Park in March 2020.
Ministers responsible for wildlife and forestry from the Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Gambia, South Sudan, Lesotho and Guinea are expected to attend the session in Skukuza, Mpumalanga. The meeting will be officially opened by South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Makhotso Sotyu.

Scheduled for 9 to 13 March 2020, the AFWC gathers heads of forestry and wildlife from 53 member countries in Africa.

The session will be convened under the theme “Forests and Wildlife: Africa’s Diversity for Shared Prosperity and Security”.

“The theme highlights the abundance and diversity of Africa’s resources, holistically capturing their value and key role in maintaining millions of people’s livelihoods through their contribution to water, energy and food security and nutrition, building a foundation for resilience, nations’ economies and prosperity,” said the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

The commission is a statutory body of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, which advises on the formulation of forest and wildlife management policy, among others.

The forum meets every two years and is hosted in collaboration with FAO by a member state. The commission is open to other countries and organisations as observers.

Meanwhile, the Sixth African Forestry and Wildlife Week will be held simultaneously with the commission session to showcase progress and advancement in African forestry and wildlife sectors.

“It will provide an opportunity for South Africa to showcase its rich biodiversity and benefits derived through sustainable use of natural resources.

“It will further enable networking, collaboration and exchange of experience and knowledge among policy-makers, technicians, practitioners, academia, civil society and development partners from different countries at local, regional and international levels.

“The African Forestry and Wildlife Week will include several exhibitions, multi-sectoral dialogues and side events,” the department said.

– Source:
South Africa recently participated in the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Trade and Conference Show in Canada from 1 to 4 March 2020.
Led by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister, Gwede Mantashe, government participated in the conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Minister Mantashe was expected to deliver the keynote address at the South African Mining Investment Seminar under the theme “Accelerate Investment through Innovation”.

The Minister was supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, the South African Council for Geoscience, Mine Health and Safety Council, South African Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator and mineral processing research body, Mintek.

“The seminar aims to reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to growing and sustaining the mining industry, and further confirms the country as a favourable investment destination,” said the department ahead of the Minister’s address on Monday, 2 March 2020.

On Tuesday, 4 March, the department made a presentation on recent developments and opportunities in the South African mineral sector.

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Social media has also become a powerful tool for democracy, offering both benefits and challenges to all stakeholders.
The Electoral Commission of South Africa in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa is hosting a conference for African election management bodies on the impact of social media on the integrity of elections at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 2 to 5 March 2020.

Themed “Safeguarding Electoral Integrity in the Digital Age: Strategies for Combatting Digital Disinformation”, the conference brings together experts in social media and elections from around Africa and beyond to share experiences in harnessing the benefits and mitigating the risks of social media. Speakers and panellists have been drawn from around the world, including New York, London, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Maputo and Tunis.

Commissioners and senior executives from more than 34 African election management bodies are attending the conference.
The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries welcomed back the “SA Agulhas II” as she returned from Antarctica on Friday, 28 February 2020, at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Aboard the vessel were the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) 58 expedition team, Department of Environmental Affairs’ supporting team, members from National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure as well as scientists and researchers from various tertiary institutions.

The SANAE 58 team spent 14 months collecting long-term data, such as sea surface temperature, oxygen and carbon measurements, which is instrumental in furthering and enhancing our understanding of present day global climate change. South Africa and international weather forecasts rely heavily on the availability of data inputs from this region and having this continuous data set enables better prediction of severe weather phenomena.

The SA Agulhas II also played a vital role in the historic, international multidisciplinary Weddell Sea Expedition. The expedition undertook research to help us better understand the oceanography and sea ice conditions of the Weddell Sea and the implications for climate change and global ocean currents.
As Mango and South African Airways shrink their domestic operations, domestic and regional carrier Airlink has confirmed it will launch a mid-morning flight between Johannesburg and East London from 16 March 2020.
"The key objective of this flight is to provide connections with international and regional flights arriving in the early morning at OR Tambo International," the airline said in a statement.

The flights will depart daily from Johannesburg at 10:10, arriving in East London at 11:45. The return flight will depart East London at 12:15, arriving in Johannesburg at 13:45.

These flight times coincide with connections for international travellers to connect seamlessly with Airlink following their arrival on South African Airways, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar, Cathay Pacific and the other global partner flights off their early morning long-haul arrivals at OR Tambo, minimising time spent in airport transfers.

Airlink flights will operate under the “SA8” flight code until 10 June 2020, after which they will be operated under Airlink’s unique “4Z” code. “4Z” tickets are already available through travel agents, tour operators and online at

Airlink says its E-jet services will offer an "intra-continental style business class service".

The cabin layout features expansive business class seats and provides economy class travellers with enhanced comfort by way of a generous seat pitch in a two plus two abreast seating configurations. Each seat offers either a window or an aisle option and ample overhead bin space to accommodate carry-on items. The E190 E-jets are configured with six business and 92 economy class seats.

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A groundbreaking new non-invasive procedure, which uses a magnetic charge to stimulate targeted areas of the brain to treat conditions such as depression and anxiety, has been introduced for the first time on the African continent at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
The first few patients have undergone the procedure, known in medical terms as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), for the treatment of major depression, anxiety, neurological injury and tinnitus. This was done at the new treatment centre, called Connectomix, which has been established at the hospital by neurosurgeon, Dr Christos Profyris.

The areas of the brain that are targeted for TMS treatment are determined using advanced brain mapping. Both the brain mapping and the TMS procedure are non-invasive, as neither of these involves surgery of any kind.

“By using functional magnetic resonance imaging [fMRI] technology with specially developed and highly advanced software, we are now able to observe brain activity in real-time and develop a sophisticated computer-generated brain function map for each individual. The brain function map enables us to understand the individual’s brain physiology better, and we can, therefore, more precisely target the TMS treatment for each particular person,” Dr Profyris explains.

“TMS is then used to stimulate specifically targeted areas of the brain using an electric current which is passed through a magnetic coil to create a high-intensity magnetic field. Outstanding results have been achieved in relieving the symptoms of depression and anxiety in selected patients,” says Dr Profyris, who has extensively researched and trained in brain mapping and the TMS procedure in Australia.

According to Dr Profyris, the development of brain mapping techniques, and tools such as fMRI, are “revolutionising our understanding of the brain and how it works” and enabling medical science to develop more tailored treatments for TMS.

Dr Profyris says brain mapping with TMS is furthermore showing immense promise for the treatment of certain brain injuries and other psychiatric conditions such as addiction, fibromyalgia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“Netcare Milpark Hospital is delighted to have partnered with such a pioneering medical practitioner as Dr Profyris to bring this treatment to South Africa for the first time,” concludes Marc van Heerden, General Manager of the hospital.

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The City of Johannesburg (COJ) Libraries has been shortlisted at the London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Awards 2020 for The Library of the Year Award.
The nomination is for the collection of COJ libraries and not just one. eLearning Manager, Jeff Nyoka, says, "We are extremely excited about the nomination, it’s testimony to the amount of work that the librarians in various City of Joburg libraries have put in to change lives.”

It’s an incredible achievement for the COJ libraries and eLearning champions who have worked under extremely trying conditions to implement successful eLearning programs.

No matter what obstacles they face, “these librarians never let those challenges stop them from implementing ideas or even coming up with their own innovations,” says Nyoka.

The Johannesburg libraries have to share their resources, taking tools like laptops from one library to use at another underresourced library, but together they do an amazing and pioneering job, so it’s no wonder they are being honoured internationally.

One of the most successful initiatives introduced by the eLearning services unit has been the Mobile Literacy Programme, which has already benefitted more than 10 000 library users between ages eight to 16.

It’s had a huge social impact on children – who now actually want to learn in a library environment, and has inspired many to do coding and robotics thanks to the Gamification Programmes. The South African coding game Tanks – which will take centre stage at a United Nations event in Paris in March – has been one of the most successful coding programs for kids at the libraries, leading to many wanting to pursue a career in Computer Science.

But it’s not just children who benefit. Everyone does, including seniors.

The COJ’s pioneering Mobile Literacy Program has led to a collaboration with Google SA, invitations to present the program abroad, and other accolades. One of the libraries’ latest programs is teaching about fake news.

The COJ libraries are up against Maadi Public Library (Egypt) and Shanghai Library (China) for the Library of the Year Award, and the winner will be announced at the LBF International Excellence Awards on 10 March 2020.

The fair will take place at Olympia, West London, from 12 to 14 March, and will cover all aspects of the publishing industry. The COJ’s MMC for Community Development as well as the Director for Libraries will fly to London for the award ceremony.

– Source:
Tech billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates has honoured the efforts of South African Dr Kopano Matlwa Mabaso to eliminate child stunting by 2030.
In a recent blog, Gates profiled her as part of his “heroes in the field” series.

"Today, at age 34, Dr Matlwa Mabaso lives in Johannesburg and leads the Grow Great Campaign, a sophisticated effort to eliminate child stunting from South Africa over the next decade," he said.

The campaign, launched in 2018, hired her as its founding director.

Stunting is a condition that arises from prolonged under-nutrition and it affects physical and brain development.

"She hired a staff of 20 and developed a strategy that draws on successful campaigns in Brazil, Peru, Chile and other countries that have dramatically reduced stunting in recent years," said Gates.

"Grow Great is now one year into its implementation. Preliminary data are promising. For example, the data show that moms are recognizing the importance of early stimulation and nurturing care while the baby is in the womb. The data also show that participating in antenatal classes is helping new moms cope with the demands of pregnancy and the prospect of a new baby. In the next few years Grow Great will evaluate the impact of these efforts, assessing whether stunting is actually decreasing and, if so, by how much."

Matlwa Mabaso thanked Gates on Twitter for shining a spotlight on the campaign.

She is also an author and wrote the award-winning novel, Coconut, which is being turned into a movie.

The novel became a best-seller, and in 2007 it won the European Union Literary Award. In 2010, she was the joint winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, according to Channel24.

Last year, she made the list of News24's 100 Young Mandelas of the Future.

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South Africa’s Route 62, the longest wine route in the world, has seen lots of Instagram love of late by being included in the world's most Instragrammed Road Trips.
The research, commissioned by, was done by collecting 15 of the best-known roads and journeys around the world and then judging which is the most instagrammed by analysing the number of hashtags for each road trip with #name and #name + road trip.

South Africa’s famous Route 66 was found to be the most instagrammed road trip with 1,708,620 hashtags, and it was closely followed by the Great Ocean Road in Australia which had 1,292,178 hashtags.

The top two were the only road trips to have over a million tags, while Pacific Coast Highway placed third in the list with 325,917 tags.

Europe has been revealed as the continent with the most instagrammable road trips – it claims seven of the top 15 within the list. England’s Snake Pass was the lowest tagged road trip with just 12,343 hashtags.

Road trips are an increasingly popular way of discovering and experiencing new countries, and how good your trip looks "on the gram" is very important in an age where everything has to be captured

– Source:
The World Football Summit (WFS) is coming to Africa from 17 to 18 March 2020, and is hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government and the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, in partnership with Brand South Africa.
The WFS is a leading international football industry event organiser who recognises that sports, football in particular, is one of the greatest unifiers of people from across races, cultures and ages. This is a platform for business, government and civil-society stakeholders to discuss, promote and generate solutions to challenges and opportunities in the football industry.

At the media launch, which was held at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium on 4 February 2020, the Programme Director and Sports Personality, Carol Tshabalala, opened by saying: “When you look at the development of the football industry following on the FIFA World Cup that took place in 2010, it makes perfect sense that this wonderful forthcoming event, the first edition of the World Football Summit Africa, is going to be taking place in South Africa at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.”

It is expected that over 1 200 guests and 80 key speakers from 50 different countries will attend the summit. This is an opportune moment to position South Africa as a globally competitive destination for investment and tourism.

The Premier of the KwaZulu-Natal province, Sihle Zikalala, who gave the keynote address at the launch, proudly said: “To host the World Football Summit Africa is a vote of confidence on our drive as the KwaZulu-Natal province to stimulate economic growth, which is very critical to our effort to create jobs. Football is a sport that is more than just about rivalries that last 90 minutes on the field, it is about the influence that it has to bring to together members of society to ensure social cohesion and racial integration.”

These thoughts are in line with Brand South Africa’s mandate to build and strengthen social cohesion in the country in particular and the continent at large. South Africa strives to build a better country, a better continent and a better world. Brand South Africa’s support of this international sports summit is an opportunity to build rapport and represent the continent in a unified manner to both a domestic and international audience.

Time and time again, we have witnessed the ability that sport has had in unifying people – from the various international tournaments that South Africa has hosted and the various international tournaments that South Africa has competed in. These represented an appreciation for healthy competition but most significantly, these tournaments brought people from diverse backgrounds and with otherwise various interests, together.

In the words of former South African President, Nelson Mandela: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair”.

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The final list of artists who will take the stage at the 21st edition of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTIJF) have been announced, and it's a stellar line-up.

Africa’s Grandest Gathering will provide the stage for some of the greatest names in jazz, including Judith Sephuma, the United Kingdom’s KOKOROKO and Ezra Collective, Manou Gallo from Côte d’Ivoire, Earl Sweatshirt and Joel Ross from the United States of America, and Cape Town’s Sounds of Brass.

They will perform at the CTIJF, which will take place on 27 and 28 March 2020, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).

Over the last two decades, the CTIJF has brought some of the greatest names in jazz and jazz-related music to the Mother City, with 2 649 musicians taking to the festival stage.

The following artists will take to the CTIJF 2020 stage:

  • Bombshelter Beast (SA)
  • Earl Sweatshirt (USA)
  • Ezra Collective (UK)
  • Grassy Spark (SA)
  • Joel Ross (USA)
  • Johan Lass (SA)
  • Jonas Gwangwa Tribute (SA)
  • Judith Sephuma (SA)
  • Kuaetnika (indonesia)
  • Manou Gallo (Côte d’ivoire)
  • Sounds of Brass (SA)
  • The Unity Band (SA)
  • Saudiq Khan (SA).

“For 20 years, the CTIJF has brought some of the world’s greatest musicians to our shores. As we celebrate our 21st year of the festival, festinos can look forward to yet another unforgettable line-up of some of the greatest names in jazz,” says Billy Domingo, CTIJF Festival Director.

The Proteas, led by brilliant displays by Lungi Ngidi and Janneman Malan, have beaten Australia by six wickets in the second ODI in Bloemfontein on 4 March 2020, winning the series in the process.
Set 272 to win, the Proteas started slowly with captain Quinton de Kock (0) once again falling to Mitchell Starc in the first over.

Jon-Jon Smuts (41 off 64 balls) and Malan (129* off 139) steadied the ship, putting on a partnership of 91 for the second wicket to set up a decent platform for the home side.

Smuts and Kyle Verreynne (3) then fell in quick succession before Malan was joined by Heinrich Klaasen (51 off 52) with the pair upping the run-rate as they helped South Africa closer to victory.

Klaasen fell in the 39th over with South Africa still needing 88 runs to claim the series.

David Miller replaced him as the required run-rate hovered around eight per over.

Miller and Malan kept their cool, putting on a partnership of 90 to see South Africa home with 10 balls to spare. Miller ended on 37 off 28 balls in a welcome return to form.

Adam Zampa was the pick of the Australian bowlers, taking 2/48 in his 10 overs.

Earlier, Ngidi (6/58) took wickets up front and at the death to become the fastest South African bowler to 50 ODI wickets, reaching the milestone in just his 26th match.

After a fast start by Australian openers David Warner (35 off 23) and captain Aaron Finch (69 off 87), Ngidi struck with the visitors on 50 in the seventh over when he removed Warner.

Later, he added the wickets of Steve Smith (13) and Marnus Labuschagne (0) in two deliveries as a hat-trick beckoned with Australia on 81 for 3.

Ngidi didn't manage three in three, however, as D'Arcy Short (69 off 83) kept him out.

Short and Finch rebuilt for Australia but once they fell, the visitors couldn't accelerate as the Proteas bowlers kept taking wickets at regular intervals.

Other than Ngidi, Anrich Nortje managed 2/59 in his 10 overs and Andile Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi picked up a wicket apiece.

With the series now won, South Africa and Australia face off in a dead-rubber third ODI on Saturday in Potchefstroom at 10:00.

– Source:
Former Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis will captain the World XI against an Asian XI in two T20 matches scheduled for Bangladesh in March.
Du Plessis will be joined by Proteas team-mate Lungi Ngidi and a host of other top players, including Alex Hales, Chris Gayle, Brendan Taylor, Jonny Bairstow and Kieron Pollard in matches that form part of the nationwide celebrations to mark the birth of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, considered to be the father of the Bangladesh nation.

The World XI will face a strong line-up from Asia, including the likes of Lasith Malinga, Rashid Khan, Thisara Perera as well as Virat Kohli and a host of other Indian stars, although they are still not officially confirmed.

The two matches are tentatively scheduled for 21 and 22 March, which is well before the start of the Indian Premier League on 29 March 2020.

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The Springbok Sevens team scored twice in the last minute of one of the most dramatic finals ever to first force extra time and then claimed a sudden death try winner to beat Fiji 29-24 at the HSBC LA Sevens at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles on Sunday, 1 March 2020.
The dramatic finish was typical of the Blitzboks who came from behind in spectacular fashion against Ireland on Saturday and in the quarter-finals against the United States earlier in the day.

With less than a minute left and trailing by 12 points, few would imagine Blitzbok replacement prop Sako Makata running in to score the winner – and in the process breaking a two-match losing streak against Fiji, who edged the Blitzboks 12-10 in the Sydney final last month.

The Blitzboks eased into the final on the back of an impressive 17-0 win over New Zealand in the semifinal.

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The Momentum Proteas Women finished top of their group for the first time in the history of an ICC event after their final pool match of the Women’s T20 World Cup against West Indies was abandoned without a ball being bowled in Sydney on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.

The result, and point gained from the washout, meant South Africa finished on seven points, one ahead of England (six), with both having already qualified for the semi-finals even before the last day of round-robin fixtures were scheduled to begin.

It has been the most impressive start for skipper Dane van Niekerk and her side with wins over England, Thailand and Pakistan.

The Proteas have never contested a World Cup final before in either the 50 over or 20 over formats.

The Proteas Women were left heartbroken at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, 5 March 2020, as they fell five runs short (DLS method) in their T20 World Cup semi-final against Australia.

It was a contest drenched in drama from start to finish as the rain threatened to wash the match out in a result that would have seen South Africa, men and women sides included, qualify for their first-ever World Cup final at a senior ICC World Cup.

The Proteas, because they finished top of their group while Australia finished second, would have qualified for the final had the rain had the final say.

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“Mr President,

“We would like to thank you for convening today’s important meeting. We would also like to thank SRSG, Mr David Shearer, for his briefing today and also commend him and his team for all the work they are undertaking in contributing to the stability of South Sudan.

“Mr President, I will limit my intervention to three issues, namely the political and humanitarian situation as well as the renewal of the UNIMSS mandate.

“On the political situation, Mr President, South Sudan’s leaders have presented their country with a dawn of renewed hope, through great sacrifice and compromise. In this regard, we would like to congratulate the Government of South Sudan and all the parties on the overall progress achieved to date in the implementation of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan.

“South Africa applauds President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr Riek Machar Teny, and leaders of the other opposition groups for reaching an agreement to form the inclusive Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity on the agreed date of 22 February 2020.

“With this renewed hope, we encourage all parties to continue to address the outstanding issues pertaining to the implementation of the Peace Agreement, as well as to sustain the dialogue that has allowed them to make notable progress to date. In this regard, we look forward to the convening of the National Dialogue Conference on 16 March 2020. This progress needs to be translated into peace dividends that the ordinary people in South Sudan can see in the daily lives, through socio-economic development, security and sustained stability.

“Mr President,

“South Africa would like to commend the role of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the international community on facilitating the formation of the Revitalised Transitional Government of National Unity. Furthermore, we would like to commend the Sant’Egidio Community of Rome for facilitating the Rome Declaration with the non-signatory groups to agree to a ceasefire in South Sudan and to join the peace process; this is a critical processes which addresses inclusivity, and hopes to avert spoilers in the political process which could undermine the valuable progress which has been attained thus far.

“On the humanitarian and security front, we are encouraged by the sustained cessation of hostilities. This is testament to the political will of the leaders, however, we would like to raise our concern over the intercommunal violence and sub-clan clashes in the Jonglei and Pibor Region, resulting in civilian deaths and internal displacement. We urge the Government to address skirmishes of intercommunal violence, which could threaten peace and stability and have already claimed significant lives and displaced millions.

“Mr President, the dire humanitarian situation requires our collective action. We call on international donors to support the South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020, which requires USD1.5 billion to meet the lifesaving needs of 5.6 million people.

“Furthermore, we urge all parties to fulfill their commitments on ending and preventing violations against children. In this regard, we welcome the signing by the Government of a comprehensive Action Plan to end and prevent all grave violations against children.

“On the mandate for UNMISS, we firstly have to commend UNMISS for the important role they continue to play in South Sudan. We are encouraged by their continued cooperation with the Government and call on them to continue on this trajectory in supporting the Transitional Government of Unity. In this regard, it’s important that we maintain the mission's current capacity and ensure that it has the requisite mandate and capacity in order to discharge its duties.

“Lastly, Mr President,

“We have reached a crucial milestone, however, this is the beginning. As the international community, we need to sustain our valuable support to all aspects of the peace process in order to prevent a relapse into conflict. In this regard, South Africa remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting the peace process in South Sudan with the overall aim towards building a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous country.

“I thank you.”
“Mr President,

“We thank the Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, Ms Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, for her briefing.

“Iraq has been ravaged by numerous cycles of conflict, crippling sectarianism and, most destructively, the threat of ISIL. Subsequent to the military defeat of ISIL, Iraq continues to face severe security challenges as a result of violent extremism and the transnational nature of the threat.

“Mr President,

“The mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, remains crucial in coordinating UN efforts to support Iraq. South Africa supports the mandate of UNAMI in support of the Government’s efforts and the electoral processes.

“South Africa welcomes reforms proposed by the Government of Iraq, in order to improve governance structures and the implementation of service delivery. We further support the drive for an inclusive government which will bring together the broad spectrum of Iraqi society into governance structures. It is our view that national reconciliation and unity in Iraq is vital in order to promote lasting and sustaining peace in the country.

“Mr President,

“With regard to the security situation in the country, South Africa joins others in condemning the recent incidents that occurred in Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al-Din, resulting in casualties and destruction of crops. This is indicative of the deadly threat that still persists in the country which requires continued support and sustained efforts by the international community to bolster the Iraqi Government’s efforts to gain full control of the security situation in the country.

“Peace and security is a fundamental prerequisite for Iraq to develop, grow its economy and provide basic services to all of its citizens. In this regard, South Africa supports the full consolidation of control of the Iraqi army over its territories, and the efforts of the Government to eradicate the threat posed by ISIL.

“South Africa urges the continued cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government in order to promote peace and stability throughout Iraq.

“On the important role of women during the political transition in Iraq, South Africa welcomes the new electoral law and the appointment of a female Chief Executive Officer of the Independent High Electoral Commission. Women in Iraq continue to play a vital role in calling for political and economic reform.

“South Africa also joins the Secretary-General in encouraging the Council of Representatives to disseminate the text of the Electoral Law and to clarify all outstanding issues regarding the text.

“In conclusion, Mr President,

“The situation in Iraq has improved substantially in the last 17 years. The country was devastated by conflict that resulted from misguided military misadventures. Today, the country is going through a period of reconstruction and development as it rebuilds itself which will require sustained support. The international community must do its part to assist Iraq on this journey while respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. For their part, the people of Iraq must strive for an inclusive political process that will set the country on a path to lasting peace, prosperity and development.

“I thank you.”
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