Issue 506 | 20 January 2022
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President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday, 19 January 2022, joined Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, founder of the multinational conglomerate NantWorks, LLC, in launching the NantSA vaccine manufacturing campus at Brackengate, Cape Town.
The President and Dr Soon-Shiong also launched the Coalition to Accelerate Africa’s Access to Advanced Healthcare (The AAAH Coalition).

NantSA, a division of NantWorks, and The AAAH Coalition aim to accelerate domestic production of pharmaceuticals, biologics and vaccines that will reach patients across the African continent.

Through the synergistic efforts of members of The AAAH Coalition, self-reliance will be accelerated around next-generation vaccines manufactured in South Africa for Africa, innovative therapeutics and pandemic preparedness.

With the support of the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation, institutes for infectious disease and cancer centres of excellence will be established at the universities of Cape Town and the Witwatersrand and the Chan Soon-Shiong Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation at the University of Stellenbosch.

The launch of The AAAH Coalition and NantSA’s vaccine manufacturing campus followed the announcement made by Dr Soon-Shiong on 23 September 2021 of an ambitious initiative to build capacity for advanced healthcare in Africa.

The launch of the manufacturing facility took place at the Brackengate Business Park in Brackenfell where President Ramaphosa and Dr Soon-Shiong performed a ribbon-cutting for the official launch of the NantSA vaccine manufacturing campus and presented the vision and mission of The AAAH Coalition.

This event was attended by a select group of invitees, including representatives of government, academia and the biotech industry.
The South African Government has noted, with concern, the escalation of tensions in the Gulf Region.
The drone attacks on Monday, 17 January 2022, directed at the industrial area of Musaffah near Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) resulted in the killing of three people.

This incident followed shortly after the hijacking of the UAE ship, Rwabee, and its crew on 3 January 2022 by Houthi Militia.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, has expressed her concern that such attacks only serve to destabilise regional security, including that of the UAE.

Of particular concern is the fact that the attacks are targeting industrial and civilian areas. Furthermore, these continued attacks have the potential to derail the United Nations’ (UN) mediation efforts in Yemen.

The Minister added that the attacks that resulted in a number of casualties and injuries, could have a severe impact on the goal of peace in Yemen and the broader Middle East region.

South Africa continues to maintain that an UN-mediated and Yemeni-led peace process is the only means to realising lasting peace and regional stability.

The Minister added that the Republic of South Africa urged all parties to exhibit restraint in pursuit of the mediation process. The Minister also assured the Government and the people of the UAE of South Africa’s support in this regard.
The African Union (AU) will continue calling for the debt burden on African economies to be reduced, says Dr Naledi Pandor.
Several African states have seen their debt levels spike during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa, while still AU Chairperson, appointed special envoys to secure debt relief for Africa.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Dr Naledi Pandor, says the devastating impact of the debt burden on the economies and sovereignties of several African states is hard to ignore.

Dr Pandor was responding to a written parliamentary question from EFF MP Thembi Msane, who wanted details on the AU’s interventions to prevent African countries from losing their sovereignty to other nations through debts and loans.

Dr Pandor said, while AU member states determined their domestic priorities, the continental body continued its work with international lending institutions.

"Nevertheless, and to the extent to which the debt becomes a burden to AU member states, the AU has and continues to advocate for the easing of the debt burden owed by African countries, especially the less developed countries and highly indebted poor countries, with the majority coming from the continent," she said.

She added that the devastating impact of the debt burden on the economies and sovereignties of many countries on the continent was hard to ignore.

"It is for this reason that the AU has and continues to use multiple approaches to urge the developed countries, including international financial institutions, to ease the debt burden owed by African countries."

Furthermore, Minister Pandor said AU ministers of finance and trade used the annual special technical committee of the AU to urge G7 countries, China and international financial institutions to ease the debt burden owed by African countries.

The AU ministers of finance and trade also use the international meetings at the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and meetings on financing for development to advocate for the easing of the debt burden owed by African countries.

According to Minister Pandor, South Africa used its chairship of the AU in 2020 to advocate for the easing of debt burdens on African countries, whose ability to pay had been affected heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As early as March 2020, President Ramaphosa directly engaged with the leaders of both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, as well as the leaders of the G7, to play their part in easing the debt burden on the continent. South Africa also used its membership of the G20 to remind the 20 largest economies in the world of the urgent need to address the debt burden and its impact on the least developed countries and heavily indebted poor countries," she said.

In March 2020, President Ramaphosa appointed special envoys to secure debt relief of US$44 billion and a stimulus package of US$100-150 billion for African economies.

The envoys include former South African Finance Minister, Trevor Manuel, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda, and Tidjane Thiam of Senegal.

– Source:
The South African Government, led by The Presidency, is collaborating with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development to promote the development of green hydrogen in the country.
During a stakeholder engagement held at Port Nolloth near Boegoebaai in the Northern Cape, Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said the German Ministry would be supporting the project with at least €12.5 million in funding.

According to the minister, the project aims to:
  • support the development of a favourable strategic and regulatory framework for a green hydrogen economy in South Africa
  • coordinate the important contributions of different government departments and stakeholders for such a framework
  • enable relevant actors to build a green hydrogen export economy
  • enhance capacity and knowledge of South African stakeholders in the green hydrogen and powerfuels sector
  • mitigate potential implications of a green hydrogen and powerfuels economy on the environment, society and the economy.
Minister Gungubele added that the Investment and Infrastructure Office in The Presidency had also pledged its support to a project by energy giant Sasol and the German Government supported the H2Global initiative to produce sustainable aviation fuel to the international community.

He explained that the Infrastructure Office’s assessment of the project found that it had the potential to “contribute to a just [energy] transition” and to create “quality green jobs”.

“The German Government, through its H2Global initiative, has created a sustainable aviation fuel market trading platform, which is intended to provide funding to green hydrogen products globally. South Africa has the potential to become a global sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) hub due to our renewable endowment and Fisher-Tropsch technology capabilities. Sasol is working with a number of local and international partners on a pioneering sustainable aviation fuel project at the Sasol Secunda facility.

“Due to its catalytic nature and its potential to contribute to a just transition, the Investment and Infrastructure Office submitted a letter of support to H2Global for the Sasol Consortium’s SAF project,” Minister Gungubele said.

– Source:
From 17 – 19 January 2022, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Alvin Botes, made a follow-up visit to George, Western Cape. The visit formed part of government’s District Development Model and Back-to-School campaigns.
On 17 January, the Deputy Minister held meetings with the leadership of the Garden Route District Municipality. This was followed on 18 and 19 January with visits to the Parkedene High School and Tabatha Primary School.

The purpose of the Back-to-School Campaign is to encourage learners to stay in school and inform and educate learners about the mandate of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The three maritime-focussed nanosatellites were launched to “detect, identify and monitor vessels in near real-time in support of South African maritime domain awareness”.
In a first for the African continent, South Africa launched three maritime-focussed nanosatellites into orbit on Thursday, 13 January 2022.

The three nanosatellites – the first to be entirely developed on the African continent – launched from Cape Canaveral in the United States at about 5:25 pm.

The three satellites form part of the Department of Science and Innovation’s (DSI) Maritime Domain Awareness Satellite (MDASat) constellation. When complete, the constellation will comprise nine satellites which, according to the department, will “detect, identify and monitor vessels in near real-time in support of South African maritime domain awareness”.

South Africa is a maritime nation whose economy and security are derived from the safe, unhindered and free passage of shipping. Its dependency on seaborne imports and exports for almost all its trade has led many to describe it as an “island economy”. South Africa occupies a unique geostrategic location astride one of the world’s key shipping routes. The extent of South Africa’s maritime zones also places the enormous scale of the country’s maritime domain awareness (MDA) task in context. Shipping movements are extensive through these substantial areas. MDA is an important enabler for South Africa’s security and for the protection of its waters and maritime interests beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone. Greater numbers of ships, larger protected areas at sea requiring protection, increasing maritime insecurity and a growing reliance on shipping mean that states such as South Africa must prioritise and improve maritime security.

The DSI has invested R27 million over three years in the development of the MDASat constellation. The DSI is implementing this work through the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), said the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande described the launch of the constellation satellite as a significant milestone for the country.

“This will further cement South Africa’s position as an African leader in small satellite development, and help the country to capture a valuable share of a niche market in the fast-growing global satellite value chain.”

He added that although South Africa was making strides in the space industry, specialised skills were needed to take it forward.

He said the department had developed a human capital development programme based at CPUT, called the Cube Satellite (CubeSat) Programme, which seeks to remedy the lack of professionals and skills in the industry.

“As part of this programme, students are taught engineering principles using CubeSats as training tools. CubeSats are built using the same engineering principles as any other satellite, hence, highly specialised and advanced skills are acquired through this programme,” he said.

– Source:
The City of Cape Town has been awarded a Medal of Honour in the fifth Guangzhou International Awards for Urban Innovation for its partnership with the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme, delivered by GreenCape.
The awards recognise the innovation that improves social, economic and environmental solutions in cities and regions. The city-funded programme was recognised for developing mutually profitable links between companies across industrial sectors so that under-utilised and waste resources from one business can be recovered, reprocessed and re-used by others.

It’s a solution that allows participating businesses to cut costs, improve processes and create new revenue streams and job opportunities, all while positively impacting the environment through the re-purposing of waste.

“I am exceptionally proud that the city’s partnership with and funding of GreenCape for the implementation of the Western Cape Industrial Symbiosis Programme (WISP) has resulted in a successful model of economic and environmental sustainability and that it is receiving a deserving level of global recognition,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

GreenCape CEO Mike Mulcahy said that through the programme, his organisation had facilitated successful synergies in the food, textile and manufacturing industries.

“Our WISP team at GreenCape reaches out to businesses and industry, sets up meetings and site visits and, finally, facilitates the business relationship. The programme shows that Cape Town is a leader in developing a circular economy,” said Mulcahy.

The city was shortlisted in the Top 15 earlier this year, out of 273 initiatives from 175 cities and local governments in 60 countries and regions.

“WISP is an example of the impact of simple yet innovative solutions that create jobs and a cleaner environment,” said Alderman Vos.

– Source:
According to the airport’s data, Cape Town welcomed 869 119 air passengers between October and December last year, representing a 58% recovery of 2019 volumes in the same period.
The most recent passenger arrival figures from Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) are the clearest sign yet that the metro’s trade- and travel-related industries – and the economy at large – are set for re-growth in 2022.

According to the airport’s data, Cape Town welcomed 869 119 air passengers between October and December last year, representing a 58% recovery of 2019 volumes in the same period.

These numbers were largely driven by domestic travellers, of whom 733 207 made their way to Cape Town in the three-month period. By the last two weeks of December, the average number of daily passengers at CTIA increased to 20 339 and flight movements rose to 184 per day.

“The figures certainly would have been much higher had international governments not slapped travel restrictions on South Africa and indeed, as many of them began to stop their bans, flight bookings began to climb, data from the International Air Transport Association shows.

This latest information underscores the value of aviation to travel and trade in the metro. Every air traveller that lands in Cape Town helps to support our economy and create more jobs,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.

In 2019, the airport alone helped funnel just under R14 billion into Cape Town and supported over 28 000 jobs. In fact, an International Air Transport Association report from 2017 reported that the industry funnelled around US$9.4 billion into South Africa’s gross domestic product.

“As such, my officials and I have already had discussions with Wesgro to promote investment and export possibilities. I am determined to get the ball rolling on this.

“In this plan, we will prioritise the Air Access initiative and programmes focussed on boosting Cape Town’s access to key source markets, which would allow for more exports of Mother City-made goods to the world,” said Alderman Vos.

Air Access, which is facilitated by Wesgro and receives funding from the city, is tasked with promoting, developing and maintaining national and international air routes to and from CTIA.

Despite the turbulence of the country’s economy and various international crises, the initiative has helped to drive passenger and cargo air traffic to Cape Town. Before the pandemic, Air Access helped establish 19 new routes and 23 route expansions and added 1.5 million passenger seats. International air cargo volumes through CTIA experienced a 10% compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2019. In 2021, the initiative was pivotal to landing flights from international destinations.

“Additionally, we will work with Wesgro to expand on programmes that will connect Cape Town with more export markets. Exporting more goods means increased production, which means more jobs and a stronger economy. There is no time to waste. Let us seize these opportunities that await Cape Town,” said Alderman Vos.

– Sources: City of Cape Town and
Pietermaritzburg-born actress Thuso Mbedu has once again put South Africa and KZN on the map after the hit series she stars in, “The Underground Railroad”, won a Golden Globe.
Mbedu, a former Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School pupil, plays a runaway slave named Cora Randall in the series.

In November last year, she won Outstanding Performance in a New Series for her role at the Gotham Awards. She was also honoured at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards in August last year.

The Underground Railroad won Best Limited Series or TV Movie at the 2022 Golden Globes.

– Source:
A South African award-winning land artist has just been named as one of the recipients of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant for 2022.
Strijdom van der Merwe – a South African award-winning land artist who uses materials he finds on-site to create his artworks – has just been named as one of the recipients of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant for 2022.

Van der Merwe is a sculptor and contemporary artist whose art, sculptures, limited edition prints and art installations form part of art collections, art routes, sculpture parks and residences internationally. His work makes a statement about our relationship with the land and is informed by an open dialogue with sites and spaces.

For more than three decades, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation has supported working artists internationally. Established in 1985 through the generosity of Lee Krasner, one of the foremost abstract expressionist painters of the 20th century, the foundation is a leader in providing resources to emerging and established artists. To date, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation has awarded nearly 5 000 grants to professional artists and organisations in 78 countries, for a total of over US$82 million.

– Source:
Triggerfish’s third animated feature, “Seal Team”, is making a splash on Netflix’s global top 10 films, with members watching over 10 million hours, making it the ninth most-watched film on Netflix in 27 countries.
Seal Team, which launched on New Year’s Eve, is the story of Quinn, a seal who spends his days relaxing in the sun, splashing in the beautiful waters off the coast of Cape Town, and swimming for his life from Great White Sharks. When he decides it’s time for the food chain to bite back, Quinn recruits a ragtag team of like-minded seals, brave, stupid and crazy enough to try and teach those sharks a lesson.

Decider says, “Seal Team has laughs-a-plenty and a sense of good-natured camaraderie in its heart,” not to mention “inspired voice casting” and “the kind of sight gags that look beyond cartoon kids’ fare.”

Common Sense Media recommends Seal Team for ages six and up, saying, “Though it doesn’t have the big-name studios behind it, this movie holds its own in the animation and voice acting categories … You can’t help but root for the seals.”

The all-star cast is far from wet behind the ears. Jessie T Usher (A-Train in The Boys) stars as Quinn, opposite the likes of Oscar winner JK Simmons (Omni-Man in Invincible), Emmy winner Matthew Rhys (Philip in The Americans), Emmy nominee Kristen Schaal (Mabel in Gravity Falls, The Guide in What We Do In The Shadows) and four-time Annie Awards nominee Patrick Warburton (Joe Swanson in Family Guy), as well as South African stars Sharlto Copley (Wikus van der Merwe in District 9) and John Kani (Rafiki in The Lion King).

Grammy Award winner Seal plays a singing seal called Seal Seal, and action legend Dolph Lundgren (The Expendables) portrays a dolphin called Dolph – two castings which tell you everything you need to know about both the film’s humour and how swimmingly everything fell into place for the production.

Seal Team is the feature film debut of South African writer-director Greig Cameron, working from a story by Wayne Thornley (Adventures in Zambezia) and Brian and Jason Cleveland.

Triggerfish’s first two films, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba, sold nine million cinema tickets globally, placing them in the five biggest box office hits from Africa ever. Triggerfish then went on to animate the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes as well as four much-loved Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler adaptations, including the 2021 Annie Award winner The Snail and the Whale and the 2020 International Emmy-winning Zog, all produced by Magic Light Pictures.

The 25-year-old studio is currently producing three Africa-focussed TV series: Mama K’s Team 4 for Netflix; Kiya for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney+; and the anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, for Disney+.

– Source:
The Proteas recently secured a 2-1 series victory over India with a seven-wicket victory in the third Test in Cape Town.
Keegan Petersen, who top-scored with 72 in the Proteas' first innings, hit 82 as they completed a chase of 212 on day four at Newlands.

The target had been set up by India's Rishabh Pant, whose entertaining 100 not out underpinned India's second-innings 198.

It was only the fourth time in history that India had lost a series after winning the first Test.

Petersen fell with 57 needed, but Rassie van der Dussen, who made an unbeaten 41, and Temba Bavuma, with 32 not out, guided South Africa home.

"I'm pretty elated," said South Africa captain Dean Elgar. "It will sink in in a day or two, maybe this evening. I couldn't be prouder of the group.

"After the first loss (in Centurion), I had a lot of hope knowing we can still win this. I asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly."

Petersen's fluent innings spanned only 113 balls before he was bowled by Shardul Thakur.

The 28-year-old right-hander also scored a half-century in the second Test victory in Johannesburg.

"He's dominated domestic cricket, and it's awesome to see him have a great series," said Elgar.

"Long may he grow. There's lot of improvement from his point of view. The world is his oyster."

Victory took South Africa above India into fourth in the World Test Championship standings, behind Sri Lanka, Australia and Pakistan.

Their next assignment is a two-Test series away against defending champions New Zealand, which begins on 16 February.

India hosts Sri Lanka for two Tests at the end of February.

– Source:
Young South African rider Bradley Cox has followed in his legendary father Alfie Cox’s footsteps with a fabulous podium finish at the Dakar Rally, coming second in his class and thanking all the South Africans who got behind him to make this dream come true.
Congratulatory messages have poured in for the legend-in-the-making for his “outstanding performance for your first Dakar. We await much more in the future…”

It was a special moment for Bradley, racing with the KTM Racing Team, to be joined on the podium for photos with his father. Alfie left the family shop – Alfie Cox Racing (which specialises in KTM motorcycle sales) – in his wife’s capable hands for three weeks to join his son in Saudi Arabia, where the Dakar began on New Year’s Day.

Alfie Cox Racing said: “Well done on your first Dakar, Brad! We are so proud of you!”

Alfie was an official KTM rider himself from 1998 to 2005, finishing three times on the podium and winning eight stages.

Speaking before the rally, Alfie said he hoped his presence would help calm his son, and that the key to the rally is not speed but to get the navigation right. “You don’t have to go that fast and take unnecessary risk,” he said.

While Bradley laughed and insisted that his strength for now would be his speed… and youth, he did say how amazing it was to have someone to ask questions to at the dinner table, and that one of the main things he’s learnt from his father is “always make a plan”.

According to Alfie – who raced at Dakar 13 times – it’s the mental pressure that needs to be overcome rather than the physical. Coming second today in his debut, it’s clear that Bradley – Number 49 – accomplished it!

This was the Dakar’s third time in Saudi Arabia with spectacular sandy landscapes and challenging chains of dunes.

– Source:
The Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team expanded their staff complement with the appointment of several new members ahead of the new F1 season. One of the new employees is South African-born Shau Mafuna, who joined the team in November 2021 as a mechanical engineer.
Mafuna will join the F1 team's powertrain division, Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains, joining the team that supplies engines to the four teams that Mercedes-AMG powers. These teams are Mercedes-AMG, Aston Martin, McLaren and Williams. Naturally, Mafuna will be directly involved with the powertrains fitted to Lewis Hamilton's F1 car this year.

Mafuna said on his Instagram account: "As much as I may be lost for words at this point, I can finally announce that I have managed to secure a full-time role as a Mechanical Engineer at Mercedes-AMG High-Performance Powertrains in the F1 division! This is a dream that a certain few know how hard we have pushed to reach this position! The last 12 months on the Work Experience Academy have been challenging but insightful and have prepared me to take up the permanent role with a lot more confidence."

– Source:
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