Issue 99 | 27 February 2014
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“Our message has been loud and clear. Twenty years of freedom and democracy have changed the face of our country.”

Addressing the National Assembly in Cape Town on 20 February 2014 in response to the Debate on the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma said South Africa was a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994.

He admitted that more had to be done.

“The next five years will be about moving South Africa forward, building on the successes of the past 20 years and the past five years. We will focus yet again on the five priorities we had identified in 2009. These are education, health, the fight against crime, rural development and land reform as well as creating decent jobs. We will also continue to expand access to housing and basic services.

“We have achieved political freedom, now we must achieve economic freedom, and ensure that the ownership, management and control of the economy are deracialised further. We will also ensure that we build an inclusive economy whose growth will result in more jobs for our people, building on the current successes in job creation,” the President said.
 
WE HAVE A GOOD STORY TO TELL
 
The more we tell the good story of the success of our country, the more we realise how much more
we still have to share with the country and the world.
 
 
 
SOUTH AFRICA – A VALUED AND RESPECTED GLOBAL PLAYER
 
“Twenty years on, South Africa is no longer a skunk of the world, a pariah state, but is now at the centre-stage as
a valuable and respected global player.”
 
 
South Africa’s freedom was a product of “our people’s struggles and international solidarity. Tata Oliver Tambo would be satisfied that the foreign policy we pursue today resonates with what he and many other heroes like Jonny Makhatini envisaged”.

Addressing the National Assembly on 18 February 2014, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Nkoana-Mashabane, said: “In the next five years and beyond, we must ceaselessly move South Africa forward!”

“The five decades of the independence of Africa have taken us closer to our goal of a better and united Africa. We are now on course towards Agenda 2063.

“A better world is also in the making. The countries of the South, including our own, are not spectators in this. The pessimistic stories making rounds in some international media about the impending crush of some of our economies have no foundation in fact. The movers and shakers in the global economy today are in the southern part of our world."

“The quest for a better world is a struggle that must continue,” the Minister said.
 
 
SA’S 20-YEAR REVIEW DOCUMENT TO BE LAUNCHED IN MARCH
 
The 24th State of the Nation Address (SoNA) since the ushering in
of democracy provided a critical end-of-term assessment on the implementation of government priorities for 2009 to 2014.
 
In the recent SoNA, President Jacob Zuma gave just a short overview of the good South African story. The full story will be found in the 20-year review document that will be launched next month.

“There have also been reports from Goldman Sachs as well as Ernst & Young which give an account of what this country has achieved and the work that still needs to be done. It is a proud story of the successes of a people determined to change their country for the better,” Cabinet said in a statement after its meeting on 19 February 2014.

Cabinet called on all South Africans to “Play Your Part” in reversing the legacy of apartheid by celebrating 20 Years of Freedom, which demonstrates that South Africa is undoubtedly a better country than it was in 1994.
 
 
IEC REGISTERS 80% OF ALL ELIGIBLE VOTERS
 
Cabinet called on all eligible South Africans to exercise their right to vote during the fifth national elections. It also called on political leaders to instil political tolerance within their parties and supporters. This is critical to secure a free and fair election and to uphold the values of our Constitution.
 
 
During its meeting on 19 February 2014, Cabinet welcomed the registration of over 80% of all eligible voters as a result of the successful registration campaign by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

In the spirit of celebrating and commemorating 20 Years of Freedom, Cabinet commended the IEC, political parties and members of society whose combined efforts ensured that more eligible voters registered.

On 21 February 2014, President Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation setting 7 May 2014 as the date for the National Assembly elections in the country. The Proclamation was published in the Government Gazette on 25 February 2014. According to Section 24(1) of the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act 73 of 1998), the voters’ roll closed on the day the election was proclaimed, which was 25 February.

President Zuma has also declared 7 May 2014 as a public holiday.  
 
 

MINISTER NKOANA-MASHABANE HOSTS AZERBAIJAN COUNTERPART

 
 
The discussions resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Regular Political Consultations. The MoU is an important starting point for the development of the necessary legal instruments for the strengthening of bilateral relations.
 
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, hosted the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, on 21 February 2014. The visit was the first Official Visit of an Azerbaijan Foreign Minister to South Africa.

Speaking at a joint press briefing after the meeting, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said Azerbaijan was a rapidly developing young democracy with a steadily growing economy and a stable political system. South Africa, she said, looked forward to further enhancing bilateral relations.

Azerbaijan is ranked among the world’s leading oil and gas producers following the intense investment and development of its reserves since independence. This led to unprecedented economic growth and expansion.

“Therefore, it is our hope that South Africa and Azerbaijan can learn from each other in order to enhance the quality of life of the people of our countries,” Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.
 
 
CABINET WELCOMES FIRST ROUND OF HPV VACCINATION DRIVE
 
 
This public health milestone, which is in line with the World Health Organisation recommendation, is expected to contribute to the reduction of cervical cancer
among women and reduce associated mortality.
 

Cabinet has welcomed the first round of the Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) vaccination drive, which will start on 7 March 2014.

Vaccination against cervical cancer will be administered to girls between the ages nine and 10. Parents and guardians of Grade 4 school girls aged nine and 10 are encouraged to support this drive by giving their consent and discussing with their children the significance of this vaccination.

 
 
   

SANDF CELEBRATES 20 YEARS

 
 
This annual event pays tribute to the selfless service of men and women in uniform and honours those who have fallen in the line of duty. It also provides an opportunity for members of the public to learn first-hand about the work and responsibility of the SANDF.
 
President Jacob Zuma, as the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), attended the Armed Forces Day in Bloemfontein, Free State, on 21 February 2014 to celebrate 20 years of freedom and 20 years of the existence of the SANDF.

“We have built a new defence force out of the ashes of an apartheid force that was known for its aggression against neighbours in the southern African region, where it sought members of the liberation movement and intimidated governments of the frontline states.

“It was a defence force that enforced every apartheid law, terrorising our people in the townships, in the hope of stopping the march to freedom."

“We have built a defence force that our people see protecting the sick, including vulnerable children during disasters,” President Zuma said.

The SANDF has carried out a number of successful missions on the African continent. These included Burundi, which today has a stable government; the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where the SANDF has, as part of the Force Intervention Brigade, dealt a severe blow to armed groups; and its contribution to saving hundreds of thousand lives in the Darfur region of the Sudan.

The SANDF has also successfully prevented piracy encroaching in the southern African region with deployments in and the patrolling of the Mozambique Channel.
 
 
CABINET APPROVES MERCHANT SHIPPING AMENDMENT BILL
FOR TABLING
 
The alignment of domestic legislation to the conventions provides South Africa with a global instrument to ensure global protection for the rights of seafarers and decent working and living conditions. This will enable South Africa to intervene in cases where foreign ships entering our ports have contravened the rights of seafarers.
 
Cabinet has approved the tabling of the Merchant Shipping Amendment Bill, 2014 in Parliament.

The Bill aims to amend the Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 (Act 57 of 1951), which predates the Constitution, 1996, making it imperative to align to the values and provisions of the Constitution and current international conventions.

The Amendment Bill also gives effect to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 and the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007. Both conventions were adopted by the United Nations International Labour Organisation.

Implementation of the Bill will also improve the operations and image of the maritime industry, which is imperative for international trade and the international economy.
 
 
 
SA TO CELEBRATE HUMAN RIGHTS MONTH
 
Human Rights Month will be celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating 20 Years of Changing Lives through Human Rights”.
 
 
President Jacob Zuma will deliver the keynote address for Human Rights Day on 21 March 2014 at the main event in Sharpeville.

Government’s programme will bolster the 20 Years of Freedom Campaign by highlighting issues that foster and promote social cohesion, nation-building and unity in the South African society.
 
 
CELEBRATING UBUNTU AT NEW YORK'S CARNEGIE HALL
 
 
Ubuntu, which can be roughly translated as "I am because you are", is a philosophy born of South Africa's many cultures and languages. It emphasises the importance of community, a way of thinking that influenced moves towards reconciliation and cultural inclusion fostered by the late Nelson Mandela.
 

The Big Apple will welcome South Africa for three weeks in October, when the city's iconic Carnegie Hall will host a music and arts festival focussing on the nation, called Ubuntu.

An exciting array of events has been planned for the famous space and for partner venues throughout New York City. Audiences will be able to explore the dynamic and diverse cultures of South Africa through music, art and film. Source: www.southafrica.info

 
 
 
 
SCIFEST AFRICA TO CELEBRATE AFRICAN SPACE SCIENCE
 
The festival, the largest of its kind on the continent, will offer visitors over 500 events exploring spaces big and small, including the human brain, the atmosphere and the universe via architecture, astronomy, biotechnology and nanotechnology.

 
Scifest Africa, South Africa's national science festival, will lift off in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape on 12 March under the theme “Into the Space!”, the Department of Science and Technology announced recently.

Scifest Africa director, Anja Fourie, said the theme was selected in support of celebrations to mark the installation of the first of 64 radio telescope dishes that will make up the MeerKAT, South Africa's precursor to the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

“South Africa's geographical advantages, infrastructure and human capital have allowed our country to become a place of major significance in the practice of astronomy and space sciences. We look forward to showing off African astronomy and space sciences at the festival,” Fourie said. – Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
e-DISCLOSURE SYSTEM TO TAKE EFFECT FROM APRIL 2014
 
The system aims to strengthen accountability in line with government’s zero-tolerance of eliminate corruption.
 
The implementation of the eDisclosure system in the Public Service comes into effect from April 2014. The system replaces the manual system of submission, processing and verification of disclosures.

e-Disclosure is an electronic register to capture and manage financial disclosures of designated employees (SMS members) who are required to disclose their registrable interests to their relevant Executive Authority by 30 April of each year.

The e-Disclosure system is located on the homepage of the Department of Public Service and Administration website – www.dpsa.gov.za – and is linked to other relevant existing databases such as the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, deeds registration offices and eNatis for verification and validation purposes.
 
 
 
PIETERMARITZBURG TO HOST UCI MTB WORLD CUP OPENER
 
It will be the fifth time in six years that the world's leading mountain bikers visit the KwaZulu-Natal capital, which will also host the UCI Marathon World Championships at the end of June.
 
Following its successful hosting of the UCI MTB World Championships in 2013, the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, is gearing up to host the opening event of the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup from 11 to 13 April.

The Cascades MTB Park event will include the familiar Cross Country and Downhill disciplines, but won't include the Eliminator discipline introduced to the Pietermaritzburg fans at last year's World Championships.

"It's exciting to be heading into a fifth season of international mountain bike events at the Cascades MTB Park," said event director Alec Lenferna.

"We have shown over the years that we are capable of organising events to the highest global standards, and our courses have been uniformly praised as some of the best in the world.

"It is great to hear from the riders themselves that they look forward to coming back to Pietermaritzburg because of the high standards of the course and the warm hospitality they enjoy here," he added. – Source: www.southafrica.info
 
 
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