South Africa and Namibia to co-host SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara

South Africa and Namibia will co-host the SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara, from 25-26 March 2019 in Pretoria the Solidarity Conference will be “in support of the struggle of the Saharawi people against the colonial occupation of their territory.”

The conference will highligh South Africa’s continuous support of the Saharawi people fight for freedom, Western Sahara since 1975 has had a long suffered from fighting for territorial  claims of Morocco and the Saharawi people.  Even though the region is mostly desert with a population of only over 500, 000 it has become somewhat of a unsolvable issue in North Africa and for African Union.

Western Sahara does have rich fishing seas, phosphate reserves and untapped offshore oil deposits. The Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), has been the unofficial name of the country declared by the Polisario Front in 1976 but is not completely recognised by all members of the African Union.

Source: africandailyvoice.com

 

South Africa hands over humanitarian package to Zimbabwe

Following the successful two-day Bi-National Commission between Zimbabwe and South Africa, held in Harare, the Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation and Transport, Hon. Lindiwe Sisulu, and Hon. Blade Nzimande, respectively, handed over a humanitarian package to the people of Zimbabwe on behalf of the NGO, Gift of the Givers.

Handing over the package, which consists of medical supplies, school stationery and other immediate personal needs, the Ministers said the gift is from the people of South Africa to the people of Zimbabwe.

“On behalf the Gift of the Givers, we extend this consignment to the people of Zimbabwe. We hope this little contribution of medical and other urgent necessities will assist families,” Minister Sisulu said.

The Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lt General Sibusiso Moyo, said: “On behalf of the Zimbabwean people, we welcome the gift; and this shows the strong bond of friendship that exists between the two countries. This is a true, lifesaving friendship between the people of South Africa and Zimbabwe”.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Ramaphosa announces plans to build a new University

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans to build a new university in SA. This at the Lyttelton City Hall, in Centurion. According to the President, many more universities are in plan for the future.

No details as to the exact location of this new University. South Africa has a multitude of a tertiary institution around the country. However, it still suffers from low literacy rates when compared to the developed nation as well as some African countries.

There is hope that this new learning institution will be located in the province which desperately needs it. There are also lots of questions surrounding free educations in South Africa and how this university will play a part in that with critics pointing what’s the point of a new University if a student can’t afford to attend.

Another major question posed by the new university is how this will contribute to job growth in South Africa, as unemployment among the youth is at 50% with many graduates still unable to get a job even after completing tertiary education. 

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

South Africa investment to be main focus of BRICS Business Council meeting

After Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies announced the new members of the BRICS Business Council meeting, they discussed the agenda for council this year were it was outlined that a strong focus will be put on securing investment for South Africa.

The BRICS relationship has become strategic for South Africa at the meeting they praised the valuable work the council has made particularly in promotion of practical business to business relations. The council highlighted the most important relationship that can be built in BRICS Business Council is that of investment.

A new focus will be placed on investment in South Africa and South African business, as well as South African companies investing in the other BRICS countries. Strengthening of ties advancing the conversation and coordinating in building the relationship will be the goals of the council.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

2nd US-North Korea Summit ends without a deal

US President Donald Trump with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un met in Vietnam yesterday to finalise a deal between the two long standing enemies, which would have ended sanction and restrict the North Korea nuclear program as well as proliferation of Nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately the summit ended with no agreement as the US has requested that North Korea dismantle its entire nuclear complex and discloses all its weapon depots. While North Korea only offered to dismantle its main nuclear weapons complex for partial sanction relief.

Talks broke down as both leaders could not come to an agreement on the issue President Trump is also facing immense media pressure at the moment and is very wary of getting an insufficient deal.  North Korea have accused the US of wasting an opportunity at getting a peace deal in place.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Minister Sisulu to host her French counterpart in Pretoria

On Thursday, 28 February 2019 The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, will co-chair the Eighth Session of the South Africa-France Forum for Political Dialogue (FPD) with the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Pretoria.

This is the first time that the Forum will be led at Ministerial level following the decision taken during former President Jacob Zuma’s State Visit to France in 2016 to elevate the Forum from Directors-General to Ministerial level, so as to award the growing relationship between the two nations greater political impetus.

The two Ministers will sign a number of agreements and host a joint press briefing at the conclusion of the FPD. The meeting take place at DIRCO Conference Centre, OR Tambo Building, Pretoria

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

 

Deputy Minister Landers to deliver Public Lecture on SA’s UN Security Council agenda

The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Luwellyn Landers, will deliver a Public Lecture focussing on the priorities identified by South Africa for its two-year tenure in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Organised in partnership with the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), the public lecture will be held in Cape Town on Friday, 22 February 2019. 

It is expected that Deputy Minister Landers will contextualise South Africa’s work in the UNSC within the framework of the country’s broader foreign policy mission, i.e. “an African continent which is prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united, and which aspires to a world that is just and equitable.”

The event forms part of a series of other public platforms through which the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) takes South Africa’s foreign policy to the people. Accordingly, amongst those invited to the Public Lecture are representatives of community organisations, NGOs, think tanks, the academia and foreign diplomatic missions.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

Venezuelan Crisis deepens as President Maduro blocks US aid

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is holding strong by blocking US aid from entering the country, Maduro has claimed that US Aid is the vehicle the United States uses to in act regime changes. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for people fight for humanitarian aid to enter the country.

Venezuela is current in an economic spiral downwards which has caused many Venezuelans to either leave the country or stay and suffer from lack of public services and food shortages. Guaido has said President Maduro is disconnected from the people, while Maduro has called Guaido an agent of the US in creating a coupe.

The US President Donald Trump has supported and recognized Guaido as interim president of Venezuela though un-elected. So far all aid is being held up in neighbouring countries Colombia and Brazil, Brazilian presidential spoke person has said Brazil will deliver humanitarian aid with despite President Maduro according to bbc.com.

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

Three Months of the France Yellow vest movement

 

(Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images)

What started off as an economic and political grievance has morphed into a massive protest, where the yellow vest has become unsightly for French President Emmanuel Macron. The yellow vest movement began 17 November 2018 and has held steady into 2019 it is now in its 14th week and looks only to continue as President Macron has only managed to escalate tensions. 

Initially, the protestors only wanted an undoing of the new governmental tax reforms as well as the burdening increases in fuel and cost of living. However, the protestors were met with riot police, water cannons, and teargas. With Macron holding steady on tax reform and fuel increases as pressure mounted.

The yellow vest protestors by 4 December, were calling for President Macron resignation. Macron attempted to quell the fires by announcing that fuel increases would not happen and new tax reform would be put on hold.
The yellow vest movement, unfortunately, has become very violent with many French citizens have lost eyes and hands from rubber bullets and stun grenades due to the brutality of the police. The police have also suffered injuries from the continuing protest with throwing rocks.

President Macron may be losing standing as the number of injured citizens continues to increase and other rival political parties and European leaders like Italian deputy prime minister Di Maio, siding with the yellow vests.

 

By Mokgethi Mtezuka

SA to host EU-SADC joint council

South Africa will on Tuesday host the first European Union (EU) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) joint council meeting.

The meeting which will be held in Cape Town will provide an opportunity for the ministers of the SADC EPA states and the EU to discuss the state of play in the trade between the parties and how the EPA can contribute to inclusive and sustainable development.

The ministers will also consider a number of procedural issues such as the approval of the rules of procedure of the various committees created to oversee the implementation of the EPA, said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

“The core objective of the SADC EPA Group and EU’s joint efforts in implementing the agreement must be to ensure that the EPA enables sustainable development in the SADC EPA states through changing the structure of trade, including the fundamental structural imbalance in the trade between the parties, and promote enhance value-added trade,” says Davies.
South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Namibia signed the EPA that has been negotiated with the EU in June 2016.

The EPA provisionally entered into force on 10 October 2016 – replaced the trade chapter in the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) between SA and the EU that entered into force in 2000.

Through the EPA, South Africa gained improved market access into the EU for agricultural products such as wine, sugar, ethanol, and fruit, as well as for fisheries. SA exports to the EU have increased from R214 billion in 2015 to R262 billion in 2017.

Davis says SA exports to the EU are led by vehicles which contributed 26% of the country’s total exports to the EU in 2017.

This is followed by precious stones and metals, nuclear reactors, edible fruit and nuts and ores, slag and ash which contributed 17%, 8%, 8%, and 7% respectively in the same year.

“Although South Africa has managed to increase exports of value-added products to the EU, thus contributing to South Africa’s industrial development objectives, there is still a need for further improvement in changing the structure of trade,” said Davies.

– SAnews.gov.za