International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane announces a Ministerial Committee to coordinate South Africa’s relief programme for Haiti

In her speech at the ministerial dinner in honour of the diplomatic corps, held last night in Cape Town’s Vergelegen holiday resort, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane pronounced on the establishment of a ministerial committee to lead, integrate and consolidate all relief activities undertaken by various institutions in South Africa aimed at supporting Haiti – following the devastating earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale on 12 January 2010 that killed over 200 000 people, left over 100 000 injured, destroyed both household and commercial infrastructure and literally left the country in ruins.   

Heading the committee will be Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Sue van der Merwe, who has been acting as government’s public face on all aid interventions targeted at Haiti since the tragedy struck. Serving in the committee will be Deputy Ministers of Social Development (BO Dlamini); Health (M Sefularo); Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Y Carrim); Arts and Culture (P Mashatile); and Defence and Military Veterans (TSP Makwetla). Also serving in the committee with the Deputy Ministers are Dr Imtiaz Sooliman of Gift-of-the-Givers, Ms Mandisa Kalako-Williams of the South African Red Cross Society, Mr George Kilian of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and Mr Jerry Vilakazi of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA).  Also to serve in the committee will be representatives of Global Relief and Rescue SA.

The minister further indicated that all nine premiers will also play a role through provincial representatives they will appoint as focal points for each province.

She further indicated that the committee will launch a province-based campaign to galvanise all South Africans to donate money, non-perishable food, medical supplies, clothes and other necessities that could be collected and shipped to reach Haiti on 27 April 2010 – South Africa’s Freedom Day. “This will be our `thank you’, as a country with the youngest democracy, to this country that first gained its freedom from slavery just over 200 years ago,” said Minister Nkoana-Mashabane. “The country has always inspired us during our anti-apartheid struggle, and also gave us hope that one day we shall overcome the apartheid heresy.”

Though individual South African organizations/institutions have shown their support for the Haitian relief programmes, more still needs to be done – and their support could make a bigger impact if it is integrated and coordinated at country level.

  • Gift-of-the-Givers has sent four teams of medical personnel, at various stages to assist in Haiti, and was one of the earlier groups to reach Haiti. Dr Sulliman has announced that in excess of 500 tons of relief will be sent via commercial shipping liner to Haiti. He further said over R8 million in cash is being donated to the Haiti relief response appeal.
  • The SA Red Cross Society has received about R1.3 million that could be used for relief support.
  • Al-Imdaad, an Islamic relief agency, has also forwarded an advance team of two people to the Dominican Republic, to ascertain what could be done to assist the people of Haiti.
  • According to the SABC, the telethon that they started in support of the Haiti people has accumulated about R1.3 million thus far.
  • We are also aware that SAA has sponsored an estimated 25 seats to NGOs, including Rescue SA, that have left for Haiti. Negotiations are also continuing to provide further support to proposed Global Relief team which will provide psycho-social support services to Haitians to help them survive the trauma.
  • DIRCO has paid R1 million for the Rescue SA team which was the first search and rescue team from South Africa to Haiti.
  • With regard to the above, Discovery Health further donated R500 000, Netcare R500 000, Vodacom R1.5 million.

The National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) remains the overall coordinator of the campaign on a day-to-day basis – and those interested in participating could e-mail George Kilian, Head of the NDMC, at

For more information contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr. Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

14 February 2010

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