SA reaffirms its commitment to human rights

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to uphold and champion human rights.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted at a time when the nations of the world were etched with the scars of war. It too is a reminder to current and future generations of what our freedom has been built on.

“Seventy years since it was adopted, South Africa reaffirms its commitment to upholding this pact between the peoples of the world,” said President Ramaphosa.

The President was speaking at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg at a commemorative event marking the UDHR anniversary on Friday.

The declaration was adopted by the United Nations on 10 December 1948 and on the same day in 1996, the Constitution of South Africa was signed into law by former President Nelson Mandela.

The 70th anniversary of the UDHR also coincides with the centenaries of the late former President Nelson Mandela and Albertina Sisulu.

The UDHR and the South African Constitution share much in common in spirit, principles and values that seek to promote and protect the rights to equality and freedom from discrimination of all people.

Reflecting on this, President Ramaphosa said it was the UDHR that, more than any other international legal instrument, contributed the most to entrenching human rights principles into South African law.  

The declaration is an implicit rejection of movements, ideologies and doctrines that seek to divide society through its rejection of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and all other forms of bigotry and prejudice.

Attending the event was UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who called on the world over to revive its commitment to human rights.

South African Human Rights Commission chairperson Bongani Majola, who also attended the event, likened the declaration to international customary law and expressed hope that it will influence other countries on the continent and internationally to uphold human rights.

Also in attendance was Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang, who highlighted that human rights must be for the benefit of everyone, particularly the marginalised.

“As we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, the rights of Michael Komape and Viwe Jali, who lost their live while making use of a pit latrine as a result of inadequate sanitation at their schools, must be championed,” said Hatang.

These sentiments were also carried by the President, who said while South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, particularly as it relates to socio-economic rights, there is a great deal of unfinished business.

“There is a disjuncture between what the Constitution promises and reality. For example, the right to gender equality promised by our Constitution is rendered meaningless unless the state and all social actors fulfil their obligation to put instruments in place to support the advancement of this right,” said the President.


China’s core AI industry to exceed 145 bln USD by 2030: report

The value of China’s core Artificial Intelligence (AI) industries could exceed 1 trillion yuan (145.47 billion U.S. dollars) by 2030, with that of AI-enabled industries more than 10 trillion yuan, a latest report by Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) said.

Titled “China’s great tech leap forward”, the report said that China’s push to commercialise AI technologies, supported by the rollout of the world’s biggest 5G network, could position the country as a global leader for technology and innovation.

“Based on the growth trajectory in the past decade, China may overtake the U.S. in global technology-patents share by 2025,” said the report. AI-related industries may exceed 6 percent of China’s GDP by 2030, according to the report. In the report, BI analysts said the country’s abundance of data may fuel the acceleration of the industry.

China’s breakneck pace of consumer-lifestyle digitisation potentially gives researchers unique access to Chinese-language data generated by its 1.4 billion people as they go about their daily activities both online and offline.

Vey-Sern Ling, senior industry analyst at Bloomberg intelligence, said China may overtake global peers in the commercialisation of AI technologies, as large amount of capital is likely to continue pouring into the industry.

According to Tsinghua University, private funding for Chinese AI-related companies in 2017 totalled 27.7 billion dollars, equivalent to 70 percent of global investments in the industry. Data showed China’s cumulative venture-capital investments in AI startups had already caught up with the United States by 2016.

Ling, also the lead analyst of the report, said the top-down support is an important factor apart from the multi-faceted user data and the funding available in China to the industry’s fast development.

“I don’t think anywhere else in the world you have the government so strongly behind, identifying the technology pillar and bearing full weight,” said Ling.

He added that China’s potential dominance in AI by 2030 may be led by developments in transportation, corporate services, health care and finance.


– Xinhua



Russia unveils Peresvet laser system

The Russian Peresvet laser system which is designed to destroy targets in seconds was unveiled by Russia over the weekend and is now in combat service. Named after the warrior monk Alexander Peresvet, Russia has been testing the weapon throughout the year and is now being issued to military.

The aim in creating the weapon is to modernize the Russian military; the laser is capable of shooting down missiles as well as aircraft. The laser weapon was first announced in March by Russian president Vladimir Putin in his state of the nation address.

So far the laser weapon is the first of its kind to be announce and put in to service giving Russia an edge over it competitors while also pushing modern weaponry in to an new age. China and USA are also developing laser weapon systems but non so far have made similar announcements.


Deputy President David Mabuza to visit South Sudan

Deputy President David Mabuza in his capacity as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Envoy to South Sudan will undertake a regional consultative Working Visit to three member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as part of the efforts towards lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.

The Deputy President will visit Nairobi in the Republic of Kenya, Kampala in the Republic of Uganda and Khartoum in the Islamic Republic of Sudan to hold consultative meetings with the Heads of State and Government of the three countries in order to facilitate a peace process that will see the full implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement on South Sudan.

Deputy President Mabuza will hold bilateral meetings with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, as well as President Omar Al Bashir of the Sudan.

This working visit builds on the October 2018 consultations with IGAD Member States. The Deputy President will also strengthen political, social and economic relations between South Africa and these three IGAD Member States.

Issued by the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa

Annual Diplomatic funfair

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), will be hosting the annual Diplomatic Funfair on Saturday, 8 December 2018 in Pretoria.

Hosted annually, the event serves as a key platform to educate the general public about diplomacy by bringing together embassies accredited to South Africa to showcase and promote their respective countries through creative expressions such as arts, music and global cuisine.

This occasion will take place against the backdrop of the centenary of the late President Nelson Mandela which is being celebrated by the government of South Africa and the world at large. To this end, the Funfair will be themed: “Honouring Madiba –A global champion of human rights, peace and reconciliation”.

It is expected that the event will be attended by over a thousand guests. The event presents an opportunity for members of the public to network and engage with representatives and officials of government, business sector, diplomatic corps and civil society organisations.



Magashule applauds success stories of BRICS countries on agrarian revolution

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule in his closing address at the BRICS political parties plus dialogue applauded the land reform process mainly land expropriation without compensation, as recently passed by the South African government.

According to Magashule, the African National congress (ANC) is committed to tackle inequalities in South African society. “ Some of the magnificent and successful stories of the Brics countries on agrarian revolution is a testimony to the strategic objectives we want to achieve,” Magashule said.

The secretary-general said that the Freedom Charter contains a very important message, one of land redistribution.  The Freedom Charter was the statement of core principles of the South African Congress Alliance, which consisted of the African National Congress (ANC) and its allies – the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People’s Congress.

The political dialogue closed up deliberations with an adoption of a 25 point plan, titled the Tshwane 2018 Communique on Addressing Inclusive Economic Development Growth, Peace and Stability, Multilateralism and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Source: The Citizen

African National Congress secretary-general Ace Magashule concluding remarks – BRICS Political dialogue

Political Parties from Brazil, Russia, India and China gathered in South Africa, Pretoria for three days and concluded their meeting on Thursday. On the main agenda, closer cooperation and peace. The political dialogue had in attendance over 200 delegates.

“As the BRICS community of nations, we choose to cooperate with one another rather than to engage in confrontation. We strive for peace and friendship, to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiations and not by war,” African National Congress secretary-general Ace Magashule concluded at the summit.

“Our understanding of globalisation is that it is a social process, and not a natural phenomenon. Therefore in this process of globalisation we are actors and participants in the shaping, or the reshaping, of a social phenomenon.

We can therefore not be dictated to by one actor in this dominant hostile realities of the world of capitalism. This is where people to people relations become critical as an instrument of nation building and formation.”

“We have said that international agreements arrived at must be honoured because the rule of law is paramount for international stability. The reform of institutions of global governance, from the United Nations Security Council, to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, is long overdue and if achieved will galvanise justice and fairness in the way global governance is managed,” said Magashule.

“For us shared global prosperity means that the international system must be geared towards achieving inclusive growth and development. It must be an inclusive process by all of the world nation states.”

“We reject the idea that countries must pursue their self-interests at the cost and to the detriment of our shared prosperity,” he said.

Source:  IOL


BRICS Chairpersonship handed to Brazil

South Africa is ready to hand over their position as chair of the annual BRICS summit – Brazil will be taking over as chair for 2019.

The government is hosting a political dialogue, with over 200 delegates in attendance from governing parties in BRICS member countries. The Brics dialogue will explores common approaches to address economic and political challenges, as well as potential threats that confront Brics member states.

Lindiwe Zulu, Chairperson of ANC (African National Congress) international relations subcommittee told the media that the ANC is ready to handover. Zulu was speaking during the BRICS political dialogue held at the Sheraton hotel in Pretoria.

RELATED:ANC hosts governing parties from BRICS member states

South Africa hosted and chaired a successful summit under theme; “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution.”

RELATED: The 10th BRICS Summit outcomes


BY: Kgothatso Nkanyane


Twenty years of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa a major contributor to local economic and social transformation

South Africa-China Economic and Trade Association (SACETA) hosted Chinese and South African delegates for the official release of the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report of Chinese-Funded Enterprises in South Africa.

At the launch event, Chairman of the Association and General Manager of China Construction Bank Corporation, Zhang Jinguo shared that the report depicts the on-going cohesion between China and South Africa, which entails job creation, social responsibility, local manufacturing, and the preservation of wildlife and natural reserve protection.

Publishing a report of this nature for the first time in South Africa is a massive achievement for the 130 Chinese-funded enterprises that contributes to economic development and livelihood in South African communities. The report highlights how much has been done and also sparks creativity for further bilateral trade and corporate social responsibility. “The report is a window. When you open the book, you open the window. It serves as a good model for SACETA members,” Jinguao said.

Chinese Ambassador in South Africa, HE Lin Songtian, said that the 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report of Chinese-Funded Enterprises in South Africa is a showcase of how Chinese enterprises implement the common values of friendship and justice that exists between the two countries. China has been SA’s biggest trade partner for 9 years and bilateral trade for the first quarter of 2018 amounted to 33.2 billion USD.

There are many factors that point to a mutually beneficial commitment. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) took place in Beijing this year, while South Africa hosted the 10th annual BRICS Summit. Furthermore, China’s top 5 financial institutions have branches in South Africa.

Songtian believes that the two countries are in a season of embracing new historic opportunities, with special consideration of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision for South Africa to attract domestic and foreign investment. The Chinese sentiment maintains that this is indeed a win-win cooperation.

Going forward, Dr Miriam Altman, Commissioner of National Planning Commission believes that the National Development Plan 2030 (NDP) relies heavily on the existing Africa-China relationship. “We need to seek more balanced trade, increase tourism prospects, and give fair attention to education and skills training, not forsaking deeper cooperation in innovation,” Altman concluded.



Issued by: Brand South Africa

SA President warns BRICS Governing Parties of nationalism

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa warned BRICS governing parties gathered at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria of the dangers of nationalism. This he did on Tuesday in the opening of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) political dialogue. Ramaphosa further said that BRICS should work towards multilateralism.

RELATED: ANC hosts governing parties from BRICS member states

“Notwithstanding our individual national interests, our presence here today confirms that we are indeed internationalist in outlook. We must be concerned about and seek actively to reverse the rise of narrow and extreme nationalism which is taking root in some parts of the world,” Ramaphosa said.

“What we ought never to forget regarding this is that when extreme nationalism rises, so does that potential for one country or a small group of countries to arrogate to themselves the right to determine the fate of the entire world.”


Source: African News Agency