Issue 87 | 22 November 2013  
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Both the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, and South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, hailed this unique partnership as an excellent demonstration of facilitating practical South-South collaboration within and across the Commonwealth family.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, and South Africa’s Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, signed a landmark agreement at a ceremony that took place during the annual meeting of Commonwealth finance ministers held in Washington DC.

The initiative, the first of its kind within the 53-member organisation, will see South Africa’s National Treasury host regional debt-management advisers from the Commonwealth Secretariat. These advisers will provide technical and analytical support to member countries, sharing best practices.

Under the arrangement, National Treasury will also second debt-management experts to the Commonwealth Secretariat, thereby providing their skills to other member states.

President Jacob Zuma led the South African delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka from 15 to 17 November.

The theme for CHOGM was “Growth with Equity: Inclusive Development”. President Zuma said the theme resonated very well with South Africa’s National Development Plan, which aims to eradicate poverty and inequality by 2030.

With regard to the United Nations’ Post-2015 Development Agenda, President Zuma recommended that: “We must build on progress accomplished thus far, and take into account regional programmes. Poverty eradication, addressing income inequalities and job creation must remain the overarching objectives of the Development Agenda beyond 2015”.

President Zuma also participated in the Dialogue between the Commonwealth Heads of Government and Youth Leaders. He stated that South Africa welcomed the establishment of the Commonwealth Youth Council and congratulated its elected leadership, which would ensure that youth matters were taken forward in an organised manner.

At separate bilateral meetings, President Zuma also met President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance to discuss the role that could be played by South Africa in assisting the people of Sri Lanka resolve their problems through engagement.

South Africa has been a member of the Commonwealth since the end of apartheid in 1994 and has actively participated in the deliberations and work of the organisation.
This meeting marked the First Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) with the Republic of Botswana and followed from the signing of the agreement establishing the BNC during the President’s State Visit to Botswana in August 2012.
On 21 November 2013, President Jacob Zuma hosted his Botswana counterpart, President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, for the Inaugural Session of the BNC between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Botswana.

The BNC has elevated relations between South Africa and Botswana to a higher level. South Africa remains one of Botswana’s major trading partners. Botswana imports many of its commodities from South Africa.

There is a large presence of South African companies in Botswana which are involved in various sectors such as housing, food and beverages, construction, retail, hotels and leisure, banking, medical services, etc. These companies continue to contribute to the growth and development of the Botswana economy.



This will be President Zuma’s first State Visit to Ghana since becoming the President of the Republic of South Africa.

At the invitation of the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Mahama, President Jacob Zuma will pay a State Visit to Ghana from 26 to 27 November 2013.

In 2011, President Zuma invited the late President of the Republic of Ghana, Professor John Evans Mills, on a State Visit to South Africa. The highlight of the visit was the signing of seven agreements/memoranda of understanding (MoUs).

It is envisaged that three MoUs will be signed during this visit, namely: the MoU on Transport-Related Matters; Bilateral Air Service Agreement; and the MoU on Electricity. The SA-Ghana Business Forum will take place on the margins of the State Visit. A delegation of between 150 and 200 businesspeople from South Africa are expected to attend.


At 65,7%, South Africa has the highest penetration rate,
while Niger represents the lower end at 20%.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile industry has been the fastest-growing region in the world for mobile users in the past five years, according to a report published on 11 November 2013 by the GSMA, the body representing mobile operators worldwide.

The region’s mobile subscriber base has grown by 18% a year over the past five years to 253 million unique users and 502 million connections. GSMA forecasts in their report, “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013”, that mobile users in the region will be closer to 346 million within the next five years.

Despite the high figures, there is still ample room for growth. “With unique subscriber penetration rates still less than 33%, this opens up major opportunities for growth in the next five years,” the GSMA said.

The mobile industry currently contributes more than 6% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) – higher than any other comparable region globally – according to the report. This contribution is expected to rise from $60 billion in 2012 to $119 billion, or more than 8% of GDP, by 2020.




Many African countries are experiencing a rapid growth in the middle class. Estimates by the African Development Bank show that consumer spending by the continent’s middle class reached US$680 billion and accounted for 25% of Africa’s gross domestic products (GDP) in 2008. This figure is projected to reach $2,2 trillion by 2030.

Prospects for strong and sustainable growth in Africa are looking positive, with the continent now being better managed, Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Daniel Mminele, told the second Institute of International Finance Africa Financial Summit in Johannesburg recently.

Africa’s resilience to the financial crisis could be partly explained by the rise in commodity prices, he said.

“Africa has been increasingly better managed, with the improvements in governance helping to promote an overall conducive environment to growth and development. There has been a steady rise in the contribution of domestic demand to GDP.”

Mminele said that to be effective in Africa, central banks had to fulfil more traditional roles: “Monetary policy can only play a facilitating role in enhancing the productive capacity of the economy.”


India’s Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft will orbit
the Earth for 20 to 25 days before embarking on
a nine-month expedition to Mars.
The South African National Space Agency is taking part in India’s first Mars operation by providing satellite tracking, telemetry and command services from its ground station in Hartebeesthoek, north of Johannesburg.

On 5 November, the Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the PSLV-C25 rocket carrying its Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft. Shortly thereafter, the Hartebeesthoek ground station picked up the rocket’s satellite signal and began providing the craft with transfer-orbit support services.


The plant is one of the 47 solar, wind and minihydro projects awarded 20-year contracts to generate electricity under the Department of Energy’s renewable energy programme for independent power producers.
Electricity from the Kalkbult solar photovolataic (PV) power station flowed into the national grid on 12 November 2013, making it South Africa’s first solar plant to come online – three months ahead of schedule.

The 75 megawatt plant near Petrusville in the Northern Cape will generate 135 million kilowatt hours a year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 33 000 households.

The Kalkbult plant will avoid annual greenhouse gas emissions of 115 000 tons that would have been emitted by a fossil-fuelled plant, such as a coal-fired power station, in producing the equivalent power.

Total investment in the programme is estimated at R74 billion, with the Government’s recent acceptance of 17 new bids pushing this closer to the R100-billion mark.


(Watch timeline of story vs release)


Funded by the Department of Science and Technology, the satellite was designed and built by Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) postgraduate students in collaboration with theSouth African National Space Agency (Sansa), following the Cube Sat programme at the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI).

CPUT made history with the launch of South Africa’s first cube satellite, ZACUBE-1, from the Yasny base in Russia at 09:10 South African time on 21 November.

The nano-satellite is a single unit carrying a space weather experiment, and will be sent up atop the RS-2OB rocket Dnepr. Running on the same amount of power as a five-watt bulb, ZACUBE-1 will orbit Earth up to 15 times a day at an altitude of 600 kilometres. Measuring only 10x10x10 cm and weighing 1,2 kg, it is about 100 times smaller than Sputnik, the first satellite launched into space in 1957.

It will carry a high-frequency beacon, which will be used to study the spread of radio waves through the ionosphere.

This will provide space weather data to Sansa.

CubeSat factsheet

• It is South Africa’s first CubeSat.
• It weighs 1,2 kg and measures 10x10x10 cm.
• It is about 1/100 times smaller than the first satellite launched to space.
• It took more than 30 000 hours of manpower to develop.
• More than 40 postgraduate students were involved in the F’SATI Cube Sat Programme.
• ZACUBE-1 runs on the same amount of power of a 5-watt bulb.
• It will be placed in orbit at an altitude of 600 km.
• It will orbit the Earth 15 times a day.


South African Airways (SAA) is Africa's most awarded airline and flies to 42 destinations worldwide. These include 26 African destinations, namely: Abidjan, Accra, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Douala, Entebbe, Harare, Kigali, Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, Luanda, Lusaka, Maputo, Mauritius, Nairobi, Ndola, Pointe Noire, Victoria Falls and Windhoek.
SAA will be increasing flights on its more popular African routes, to destinations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Zambia and Tanzania, from 7 December.

“These plans are part of our African expansion strategy, where we aim to increase frequencies on routes with higher passenger volumes, the ultimate goal being the achievement and maintenance of commercial sustainability,” SAA acting commercial general manager, Kendy Phohleli, said in a statement on 15 November 2013.

Flights will be increased on the following routes:

• flights between Johannesburg and Kinshasa from four to six per week from 10 December
• flights between Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam from 12 to 13 per week from 13 December
• flights between Johannesburg and Windhoek from 20 to 21 per week from 12 January
• flights between Johannesburg and Ndola from 19 to 20 per week from 13 January
• flights between Johannesburg and Lusaka from 19 to 20 per week from 14 January.

Also, as of 7 December, the airline will no longer fly between Johannesburg and Kigali, Rwanda, or Bujumbura, Burundi. These flights will be taken over by its recently announced codeshare partner RwandAir, which will accommodate any SAA customers who already have tickets for Kigali or Bujumbura.



The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour will cover a total distance of 149 576 kilometres – more than three times the circumference of the Earth. It began its journey in Rio de Janeiro on 12 September, departing from the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, and will travel around the world for nine months before returning to Brazil.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy will return to South Africa in December for the first time in nearly four years as part of a global tour, which will see the biggest prize in world football visiting 88 countries in 267 days.

South Africans caught their last glimpse of the magnificent 18-carat gold sculpture when it was being held aloft by victorious Spain at the conclusion of the 2010 FIFA World Cup at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 11 July 2010.

Now it will return from 1 to 3 December on its way to its final destination, Brazil, for the next global showpiece tournament that gets underway in June next year.



All roads led to the North West on 17 November, as sporting greats, state sporting officials and guests made their way to the Sun City Resort for the 2013 South African Sports Awards.

Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana captain, Itumeleng Khune, walked away with the overall Sports Star of the Year Award, a cash prize of R1 million and a brand new BMW. He will donate R500 000 of his winnings to Lechelemane Primary school.

Khune outshone swimming star Chad Le Clos, cricketer Hashim Amla, wheelchair tennis player Lucas Sithole and athlete Mapaseka Makhanya for the ultimate win.

The SA Sports Awards ceremony was held by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, together with Sport and Recreation South Africa, and presented by SABC Sport.

The aim of the Sports Awards is to honour and highlight South Africa’s sports stars for their efforts in keeping the passion of sport alive in the hearts of millions of South Africans, through local or international sport, between 1 November and 31 October each year.

The night’s winners included:

• Administrator of the Year: Mimi Mthethwa
• Sportsman of the Year: Cameron Van Der Burgh
• Sportsman of the Year with Disability: Lucas Sithole
• Sportswoman of the Year: Mapaseka Makhanya
• Sportswoman of the Year with Disability: Kgothatso Montjane
• Team of the Year: The Proteas
• Newcomer of the Year: Thato Tsomole
• Coach of the Year: Holger Losch
• Steve Tshwete Lifetime Achievement Award: Hajera Kajee, Mvuzo Mbebe, Kaizer Motaung, Leepile Taunyaneand Betty Magwaza.

Addressing the gathering, Sports and Recreation Minister, Fikile Mbalula, said it had been a great sporting year for South Africa’s sportsmen and women both locally and internationally.
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