Issue 77 | 27 September 2013
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The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations (UN). Comprising all 193 members of the UN, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the UN.

President Zuma led the South African delegation to UNGA68, which took place in New York, in the United States of America, from 23 to 26 September 2013 under the theme “The Post-2015 Development Agenda: Setting the Stage”.

UNGA68 took place against the rapidly approaching target date for achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015 and the international deliberations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which has become a major focal point in the multilateral arena. 

President Zuma addressed the General Assembly at the opening session of the General Debate on 24 September 2013. The General Debate provided a platform before the world’s pre-eminent multilateral institution to advance South Africa’s strategic approach towards achieving the MDGs and the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

President Zuma challenged the assembly to set a target for a reformed, more inclusive, democratic and representative UN Security Council by 2015, when the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary.

President Zuma, who spoke on a variety of issues, said the implementation of the MDGs, set in 2000 to eradicate extreme poverty, remained the key priority on the development agenda for the next two years.

"A development agenda beyond 2015 should allow individual regions and states the space to address the development needs peculiar to their circumstances and priorities," he said.

"For Africa in particular, the future development agenda should address poverty eradication, income inequality and job creation."

In accordance with its strategic approach, South Africa’s participation was informed by national interests and priorities, its regional and continental commitments, as well as its aspirations for a prosperous world at peace with itself.

South Africa also participated in the following high-level UN events at UNGA68:
  • a High-Level Meeting of the General Assembly on the realisation of the MDGs and other internationally agreed Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities, on Monday, 23 September 2013
  • a special event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the MDGs, Wednesday, 25 September 2013
  • a High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament, on Thursday, 26 September 2013.
South Africa is expected to participate in the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development, on Thursday and Friday, 3 and 4 October 2013.



The nine-foot statue by Cape Town sculptor Jean Doyle stands outside South Africa's newly renovated embassy on Massachusetts Ave. The figure is modelled from photographs of the South African statesman striding triumphantly to freedom on 11 February 1990, after 27 years of incarceration.

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, unveiled a statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Washington DC on 21 September 2013. The South African Embassy has been working on the installation of the statue at the newly renovated Chancery. The Embassy is a historic site of many protest marches by the Free South Africa Movement in the United States (US) and today stands as a symbol of this activism, freedom and democracy.

The project has received a positive response from US citizens who see it as the completion of the golden triangle of the global civil rights movement encompassing the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela.

In 2011, the South African Embassy in Washington conceived the South Africa 2012 (SA 2012) Campaign, premised on the recognition of 2012 as a year which focussed on South Africa, with events such as the African Diaspora Summit, as well as the Centenary Celebrations of the African National Congress. The highlight of the SA2012 Campaign has been the Celebration of the Life, Legacy and Values of Nelson Mandela. The unveiling of the Nelson Mandela statue was the highlight of this campaign.
“We trust that this partnership will continue to strengthen beyond the next 15 years. It is our understanding that the two countries will continue to work towards bridging the trade deficit and advancing industrial development and beneficiation through foreign direct investment, throughout Africa.” – Deputy Minister Marius Fransman.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in partnership with the Africa Institute of South Africa and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in South Africa, hosted an Ambassadorial Forum on China-South Africa Diplomatic Relations at 15 Years on 19 September 2013 at the OR Tambo Building.

Addressing the event, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Marius Fransman, said: “In the past 15 years, a lot has been achieved between the two countries. The most notable period marking some of our milestones was the celebration of our 10th anniversary in 2008, where we took stock of our great achievements, and reflected on what had to be done to achieve the goals we have set ourselves to attain. Since then, China has become South Africa’s largest trading partner in the world. In turn, South Africa has become China’s largest trading partner in Africa. This can only be a remarkable story of two nations of the South working together side by side to advance issues of common interest and mutual benefit”.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the partnership has progressively developed through three phases:

•             a partnership in 2000
•             a strategic partnership in 2008
•             a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010.

“Advancing South-South cooperation and the African Agenda through the multilateral structures such as the G77+ China, BRICS and FOCAC, as well as the UN, will remain some of the fronts at which China’s support will always be appreciated and cherished”, Deputy Minister Fransman said.



"These two transactions will support President Barrack Obama’s goal of doubling access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.” – Ex-Im Bank chairperson and President Fred Hochberg.


Renewable energy in South Africa is set to get a push from a US$33,6-million loan package granted to Spanish export company Abengoa. Abengoa, which applies innovative technology for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, will facilitate the export from the United States (US) of heat-transfer fluid for use in solar projects in South Africa and Spain.

The heat transfer fluid, made by Dow Chemical, will be used at one of the Northern Cape plants. The Export-Import Bank of the US (Ex-Im Bank) approved a pair of direct loans totalling US$33,6 million to Abengoa.

Two parabolic-trough solar plants are currently under construction in the Northern Cape and is a project with the Industrial Development Corporation. – Fin24




Under the programme, small businesses in the province "will be taught important lessons in sustaining and expanding their participation in local and foreign markets to create jobs".

The Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, an agency that falls under the province's Economic Development Department, has signed a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) that is expected to boost small businesses and create jobs in the province.

Gauteng Economic Development MEC, Mxolisi Xayiya, speaking after a signing ceremony in Johannesburg recently, said the partnership would help to grow the province's economy by increasing supplier links between small enterprises and bigger firms.

He said the programme would use 10-year experience of the UNDP's supplier development programme in Mexico, Honduras and El Salvador to tailor a programme that addressed the specific dynamics of Gauteng.

Gauteng, with a population of over 12 million people, is South Africa’s economic hub, contributing in the region of 34% to South Africa's gross domestic product. Despite this, MEC Xayiya said, the province's economy required structural changes to address unemployment levels of over 20% and worrying inequalities.
"This objective will be pursued through an in-depth, demand-oriented intervention of 9 to 10 months geared at transforming SMMEs and cooperatives, boosting their sales and employment levels, and inculcating lasting effects in company management." –
The Minister of Arts and Culture, Paul Mashatile, launched Freedom Friday on 20 September 2013 in Soweto, to mark the lead-up to South Africa celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy.

South Africans will celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy on 27 April 2014. The day will mark two decades since South Africans of all races voted in the country's first free and fair election, ushering in a new democratic dispensation.

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Government Communications (GCIS), Phumla Williams, said: “The main aim of Freedom Fridays is to mobilise collective ownership of our 20 Years of Democracy by all sectors of society; promote social cohesion and a national identity that is representative of our rich and diverse culture”.

Freedom Friday is a call on the nation to wear anything that expresses their pride in being South African on Fridays. They can wear anything from a jersey of a favourite football or rugby team to traditional wear to show their unity in celebrating this important landmark in our country’s history.



Sol Plaatje is one of two new universities being developed in the country – work is also underway on Mpumalanga University, which will have campuses in Nelspruit and Siyabuswa.

South Africa is about to start building its first new university since 1994. The Sol Plaatje University in Kimberley in the Northern Cape will welcome its first students in 2014, marking a milestone in the transformation of education in the country.

Construction of the R6-billion university is set to start this month and is expected to be completed by 2015.

Speaking at the official launch of the university on 19 September 2013, the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, said the institution would be "a powerful symbol of the country's democracy, inclusiveness and growth”.

The university is expected to enrol about 5 000 students, starting with about 150 students during the first intake in January 2014. Lecturers and students will have access to the most advanced communications platforms and processes, with well-equipped libraries, knowledge resources and laboratories forming part of the university's research and scientific infrastructure to support its niche areas of specialisation.

South Africa currently has 23 universities. These include six universities of technology, which focus on vocationally oriented education, six comprehensive universities offering a combination of academic and vocational diplomas and degrees, and 11 traditional universities offering theoretically oriented university degrees.



South African paddlers excelled at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Copenhagen on 21 and 22 September 2013, with Hank McGregor and Andy Birkett both claiming titles.

They were not alone in standing out, however, with two silver medals also being won, while in the Masters World Championships, which preceded the elite competition, South Africa came away with five gold medals, five silvers and one bronze.

McGregor captured the prestigious open K1 title on the final day of competition to become world champion for the third time. He made his break on the final portage, opening up a small gap on Spain's Ivan Alonso and Frenchman Cyrille Carre, to win by five seconds over Alonso in 2:10:34. His training partner and two-time under-23 world champion Grant van der Walt was seventh in his first shot at the senior title.

Birkett, three-time winner of the world's largest canoe race, the Dusi Canoe Marathon, showed that his talents are not suited to the uniquely challenging Dusi only. He and Brandon van der Walt battled it out for the honours in the under-23 K1 category, with Birkett eventually edging out his South African compatriot for the title by a single second. –
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