Issue 57 | 17 May 2013
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Professor Cyril Karabus landed safely in Cape Town on 17 May 2013.

Welcoming Prof Karabus, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, said that the South African Government, through its Diplomatic Mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and through efforts coordinated from Head Office, closely monitored the case of Prof. Karabus, as is the practice when any of our citizens are distressed abroad.

“The South African Government took all the necessary steps to ensure that Professor Karabus receives a fair and just trial and that such efforts take place at a high level.”

“I personally travelled to the UAE and met representatives of the Government as well as Prof Karabus. Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane engaged her counterpart on the matter. Our Mission staff attended all court appearances, visited the Professor regularly and we maintained contact with the family. In short, the South African Government went an extra mile on behalf of its citizen.”

Deputy Minister Fransman also thanked Prof. Karabus and members of his family for their full cooperation, understanding and patience; the legal team that worked with Prof. Karabus as part of his defence team; and the Government of the UAE, in particular his counterpart in that country and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, both of whom were willing to engage with the South African Government on the concerns it had with regard to the delays encountered during Prof. Karabus' time in the UAE.



Bilateral trade and investment grew substantially between the two countries in 2012.

President Jacob Zuma undertook a Working Visit to the Russian Federation on 16 May 2013.

He was accompanied by a delegation of Cabinet ministers, including the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk; State Security, Siyabonga Cwele; Police, Nathi Mthethwa; and Energy, Dipuo Peters.
The Working Visit was guided by all relevant legal instruments and mechanisms such as the Declaration of Strategic Partnership between the Republic of South Africa and the Russian Federation signed in March 2013, the Protocol on Political Consultations signed in 1994, the Declaration of Principles on Friendly Relations and Partnership signed in 1999, the Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation signed in 1999, the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation established in 2002 and the Treaty of Friendship and Partnership signed in 2006.

During the recent Working Visit of President Vladimir Putin in March 2013, eight agreements in the fields of education, energy, defence, fisheries, mineral resources, transport and science and technology were signed. In addition, a number of business-to-business contracts were signed between South African and Russian companies. The signing of the agreements provides an opportunity to further expand trade and investment and skills and technology exchange between the two countries.

During the Working Visit in Sochi, President Zuma and President Putin reviewed bilateral relations and exchanged views on critical regional and global issues.



South Africa urges both the Turkish and Syrian governments to exercise constraint and not to allow this incident to escalate into further loss of life.

South Africa remains deeply concerned about the continuing violence and deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and has persistently called on all the parties to the conflict to stop the violence as well as respect and protect the rights of the Syrian population.

Speaking during a briefing on international developments on 14 May 2013, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ebrahim Ebrahim, said since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, South Africa had condemned all human rights abuses; in particular violations of the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women and children.

“The South African Government is committed to encouraging all parties involved in the current conflict in Syria to engage in a process of all-inclusive national dialogue, free of any form of violence, intimidation or outside interference aimed at regime change, in order to satisfy the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people.

“In this regard, South Africa welcomes current United States-Russian efforts to convene an international conference at which both the Syrian Government and opposition will be allowed to partake, signalling an end to the military conflict in that country. South Africa believes it is essential that a political path be supported by a united, cohesive international effort towards a Syrian-led negotiated political transition aimed at establishing a democratic pluralistic society in which minorities are protected.”



The summit considered the political and security situation in the region, in particular the latest developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Madagascar and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The summit was attended by, among others, the following heads of state and government and their representatives:

             President Jacob Zuma
             President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete from Tanzania
             Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Namibia).

The summit considered the political and security situation in the region, in particular the latest developments in the DRC, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

It reiterated its call for urgent attention to be given to the grave humanitarian situation in the Eastern DRC, while urging all parties in Madagascar to respect the election calendar as issued by the Independent Electoral Commission and endorsed by the United Nations (UN). In view of the recent development in Madagascar, the summit invited the UN in collaboration with the African Union to supervise the elections in Madagascar. The summit committed to continue to be seized with the developments in Madagascar.

The summit commended President Zuma as the SADC Facilitator on Zimbabwe Political Dialogue for his efforts towards the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in Zimbabwe. It also commended the people of Zimbabwe for holding a credible, free and fair constitutional referendum on 16 March 2013 and urged the parties to finalise the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA and preparations for holding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.



Sweden is one of the important investors in South Africa with more than 100 companies creating around 30 000 jobs. Between 2003 and 2013, Sweden invested in 14 projects in South Africa, across a range of sectors.
On 9 May, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, together with the Ministers of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies; and National Planning, Trevor Manuel; and the Deputy Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, hosted a joint ministerial breakfast meeting with her Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt.

Minister Bildt was accompanied by the Swedish European Union Affairs Minister, Birgitta Ohlsson; the International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson; Finance Minister, Anders Borg; as well as the Trade Minister, Ewa Björling.

The ministers assessed the state of relations between the two countries and exchanged views on developments on the African continent and the multilateral arena.
Bilateral relations between South Africa and Sweden have a strong historical basis. Since 2000, relations between the two countries have been effectively managed through the Bi-National Commission (BNC) co-chaired at the level of Deputy President/Deputy Prime Minister. The last session of the BNC was held in October 2011, in Sweden. The BNC covers the areas of foreign affairs, trade and investment, information and communications technology, energy and vocational education. The next BNC is scheduled to take place in South Africa in October 2013.



Total trade between South Africa and the Czech Republic significantly increased between 2006 and 2012 from R2,5 billion to R6,1 billion, respectively. South Africa’s exports to the Czech Republic experienced an annual average growth rate of 22% between 2006 and 2012 i.e. from R663 million in 2006 to R1,5 billion in 2012.

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, held discussions with his Czech counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister, Tomáš Dub, during a Working Visit to that country on 15 May 2013. The two deputy ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations, and exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of common interest.

South Africa and the Czech Republic enjoy cordial relations and have demonstrated this by an extensive exchange of high-level visits during which substantive issues are discussed. The last Senior Political Consultations between South Africa and the Czech Republic took place in Cape Town in March 2010.

South Africa’s imports from the Czech Republic have also grown considerably registering an annual average growth rate of 25% between 2006 and 2012. These imports grew from R1,8 billion in 2006 to a peak of R4,6 billion in 2012. Thus, the trade balance is heavily skewed in favour of the Czech Republic. Notwithstanding the trade imbalance, South African companies have shown considerable interest in the Czech economy. There are several South African companies operating in the Czech Republic.

Deputy Minister Fransman also concluded working visits to Switzerland and Azerbaijan.

In Switzerland, Mr Fransman led a South African delegation to the High-Level Segment of the Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of States Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on 9 and 10 May 2013.

The Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions govern chemicals and hazardous waste safety at a global level and for the first time jointly convened a back-to-back meeting of the parties to all three conventions with the aim of creating synergy between them.

In Azerbaijan, the Deputy Minister held bilateral discussions with his counterpart, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Khalaf Khalafov Aly Oglu. The visit followed the successful Senior Officials’ Political Consultations between South Africa and Azerbaijan held in Baku on 14 and 15 November 2012. The two deputy ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues of common interest. Cooperation in the fields of energy, defence, education and skills development, especially in the field of oil engineering, was also discussed. In this regard, it is envisaged that memoranda of understanding on energy cooperation and on cooperation between the two diplomatic academies will be signed this year.

The two deputy ministers also proposed ways to strengthen industrial cooperation. In this regard, exchanges in skills development, including people-to-people and institutional interactions were recommended.

This was the first working visit by a South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation to Azerbaijan.



TAU has received R86 million from CIDA since 2007 and supported 213 departments and public entities during that period.

The Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, and Canadian Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino, have signed an agreement that will see Canada increase its support for projects aimed at improving the performance of South African government agencies.

Canada will, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), contribute $10 million Canadian Dollars over five years to the National Treasury’s Technical Assistance Unit (TAU).

Established in 2001, TAU focusses on improving the performance and the quality of government spend in South Africa. It provides technical and advisory services and management support to government institutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Public Service. The type of assistance TAU provides focusses on capacity development in operations management, managing for results and leadership development.

President Schulz also addressed the annual South Africa-European Union (EU) International Consultative Seminar, which this year focussed on the role of parliaments and legislatures in economic development and transformation.

The President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, visited Parliament on 14 May 2013 to hold bilateral talks with National Assembly Speaker, Max Sisulu, and National Council of Provinces Chairperson, Mninwa Mahlangu, on strengthening existing cooperation between the parliaments.

One area of collaboration, which dates from 1997, is the capacity-building programme for Members of Parliament and provincial legislatures. In April this year, 225 legislators (26 of them from Parliament) graduated at the University of the Witwatersrand from phase two of this three-phase programme.

In addition to this capacity-building programme, South Africa’s partnership with the EU is assisting South Africa in finalising a Public Participation Framework for the legislative sector.



A large majority of respondents viewed South Africa as the most attractive African country in which to do business, with 41% of all respondents putting South Africa in first place and 61% including the country in their top three.

South Africa, rated the most attractive country in Africa for investors, itself invested in more projects in the rest of the continent than any other country in 2012, according to Ernst & Young's third Africa Attractiveness Survey.

The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa over the past five years with a 2013 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market.

"The primary reasons for South Africa's popularity appear to be its relatively well-developed infrastructure, a stable political environment and a relatively large domestic market," Ernst & Young said in a statement.

Hot on South Africa's heels were Morocco (20% of respondents placing it in the top three, 8% putting it first), Nigeria (20% top three, 6% first place), Egypt (15% top three, 5% first place) and Kenya (15% top three, 4% first place).



Grow Africa is a partnership of the African Union Commission, New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the World Economic Forum (WEF) that seeks to accelerate private-sector investment for sustainable growth in African agriculture.

Companies from around the world committed US$3,5 billion in investments to Africa's agricultural development over the last year under the stewardship of the Grow Africa partnership, it was reported at the 2013 Grow Africa Investment Forum in Cape Town last week. 

The forum, which took place on the first day of the 23rd WEF on Africa, saw 126 companies taking part, including 58 African and 60 international companies, plus a further eight from other regions, including South Asia and the Middle East.



Minister Van Schalkwyk said at next year’s Tourism Indaba, they would recognise South Africa’s top 200 trade partners for their contribution to the industry over the past 20 years.

In an effort to mark 20 years of freedom and democracy, the tourism industry is planning a celebration of 20 years of tourism in the months leading up to Freedom Day on 27 April 2014.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, at the opening of the 2013 Tourism Indaba in Durban on 11 May.

“We have gained recognition across the globe as a capable, warm, friendly and accessible global mega-events destination.
“Therefore, we are planning a celebration of 20 years of tourism in the months leading up to Freedom Day on 27 April 2014,” he said.

Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections of 1994 and since the dawn of democracy, the country has been commemorating Freedom Day on 27 April every year.
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