17 September 2010
- Third South Africa-European Union (SA-EU) Summit
- 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
- Heritage Month
- South Africa’s use of innovation in the defence and space industries
Under the SA-EU Strategic Partnership, South Africa and the EU will hold the third SA-EU Summit on 28 September 2010 in Brussels. This follows South Africa’s successful hosting of the second SA-EU Summit on 11 September 2009. This summit reaffirms the commitment of both entities towards the strategic partnership based on shared values and interest, including the promotion of peace and security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and sustainable development.
The EU is an important trade and strategic partner for South Africa and this forum provides the country with a unique opportunity to enhance SA-EU relations.
- In 2009, South Africa’s exports to the EU27 amounted to R123 billion. The EU ranked as South Africa’s number one exporting region for 2009. South Africa’s total imports from the EU27 amounted to R175 billion in 2009, also ranking number one.
- South Africa is one of only nine counties in the world that has a strategic partnership with the EU, a platform that provides for frank and uninhibited discussions as well as information sharing between this country and the EU.
- The SA-EU Strategic Partnership presents South Africa with the opportunity to promote the African Agenda internationally.
- The partnership lays the foundation for an enhanced and deepened relationship in diverse, exciting and new areas of development.
The SA-EU Strategic Partnership affords South Africa an opportunity to address shared bilateral, regional and global interests.
- We are committed to engaging the EU in support of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership.
- We are committed to working together with the EU on the reform of international financial institutions to reflect changes in the world economy and the challenges of globalisation.
- The current global economic crisis will hamper efforts to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) and discussions would therefore need to include measures to mitigate the effect of the crisis, particularly on developing countries.
- The challenges of climate change, particularly its impact on the most vulnerable countries, are better dealt with through collective means such as the Strategic Partnership.
South Africa will continue to work to minimise the negative impact of the interim economic partnership agreements (EPAs) on the region.
- The provisions contained in the interim EPAs could impact negatively on the coherence of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and its smooth functioning in the future.
- A full EPA requires individual Southern African Development Community members to take on obligations with the EU in new trade-related policy areas such as investment and services, before the region builds regional markets.
- Discussions should include measures to refrain from any provision in the interim EPAs that could strain Sacu.
- We need to urgently pursue the negotiation and resolution of all outstanding issues with a view to a prompt and mutually satisfactory conclusion that supports regional integration and development in southern Africa.
65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
The 65th session of the UNGA will be held in New York under the theme: Reaffirming the central role of the United Nations (UN) in global governance. The UNGA is an important global event used by many countries to present their positions on a number of issues that pertain to the UN system. For South Africa, the 65th session is an opportunity to lobby and present our bid to be elected to the non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The UNGA will also convene a Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit, to be held in New York from 20 to 22 September 2010, with the primary objective of accelerating progress towards the attainment of all MDGs by 2015.
South Africa remains committed to the consolidation of the African Agenda and supports multilateral and bilateral cooperation, with a view to ensuring a better Africa and a better world for all who live in it.
- Since 1994, South Africa has contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security, through among other things, active participation in UN and regional peacekeeping missions and mediation efforts. South Africa previously served on the UNSC from 2007 to 2008 and is a member of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council from 2010 to 2011.
- South Africa has made and will continue to make a significant contribution to deepening the relationship and cooperation between the UNSC and the AU and will encourage cooperation with other regional organisations.
- South Africa served its first-ever term on the UNSC from 2007 to 2008 and brought a strong reputation and track-record as an ”agent of change”, after its chairing of the Non-Aligned Movement, Commonwealth, AU and G77 and China.
- We aim once again to make a substantive and positive contribution to the work of the UNSC and the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.
South Africa is committed to the reform of institutions of global governance, including comprehensive reform of the UN, which includes the expansion of the UNSC, with a view to achieving sustainable global socio-economic and political development.
- South Africa supports the promotion of equal distribution of power and influence in the global political and economic systems, with a belief in rules-based multilateralism; the primacy of the UN in global security matters; sustainable development; free and fair trade; and an equitable international economic order.
- We remain committed to the strengthening of continental institutions, which are critical in responding to the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment as well as peace, security and stability on the continent.
- South Africa believes the developed North has a great responsibility to provide technology and additional support to developed countries as they aim to redress their economic and social challenges.
- South Africa supports the legitimacy of all organs of the UN and therefore believes that line-function issues, such as human rights, economy and international peace and security, should be dealt with by the appropriate forum.
The MDGs must be linked to development goals and targets to ensure synergy and an integrated approach in achieving them.
- The conception of the MDGs fit together with the development approach that had already been adopted by the South African Government. South Africa’s development approach is embedded in the constitutional provision that emphasises the value of respect for human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and basic freedom.
- South Africa has striven to improve the lives of the people living in poverty, considering that between 2002 and 2008 considerable progress was achieved in the provision of social security grants, access to water and sanitation and the provision of electricity, especially to the historically marginalised groups.
- Most South African children of the ages seven to 13 are receiving primary education and South Africa will continue to make significant advances in achieving universal access to primary education.
- To address the fault lines of the past, the 2010 South Africa Country Report process was designed to be widely consultative to promote country ownership of the process and the report. Government partnered with various stakeholders and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) to achieve “domestication” of the MDGs in the country by ensuring that globally designed targets and indicators are in line with the South African reality.
The UNGA presents a unique opportunity for the international community to work together to achieve the UN MDGs.
- South Africa encourages international cooperation to achieve the targets, especially in light of the impact that recent global economic events have had on developing countries.
- The UN and its member states must play a role in the ongoing International discussion on reforming and strengthening the international financial and economic system and architecture.
- The need for a speedy implementation of the international resolutions and in particular the deployment of resources to salvage vulnerable economies cannot be over-emphasised.
- Developed countries must also live up to their promises by eliminating trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and giving genuinely unrestricted market access to developing countries to help them lift themselves out of poverty.
On 24 September 2010, South Africa celebrates national Heritage Day to highlight and promote our cultural expressions and diverse heritage, which together contribute to building our nation. During the 2010 Heritage Month, government will celebrate the successes of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as part of South Africa’s heritage. The theme for this year’s celebrations is: Celebrating 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup successes: Our heritage. The national celebrations will take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, on 24 September 2010.
The successful hosting of the World Cup was made possible through the collective participation and contribution of all South Africans, which have resulted in benefits beyond the tournament.
- We celebrate the contribution of all South Africans during the 2010 World Cup to the building of South Africa, from the physical infrastructure to the inspirational cohesiveness that united all of us.
- It is through the hard work and dedication of every South African that we were able to host a successful tournament.
- The success of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ is now part of our legacy and national heritage, which all South Africans can be proud of.
- The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ will always be a source of inspiration, hope and strength to our country.
- It is necessary to keep a record of our success for current and future generations.
South Africa’s national heritage is enriched by the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
- We have a new way of doing business, which has become part of the collective psyche of all South Africans.
- The tournament has provided a solid foundation for excellence and distinction in the execution of our tasks, which must be galvanised in the implementation of all programmes.
- We realise the possibilities of what can be achieved when we work together in our diversities and cultures.
- Our World Cup investments have transformed the way all South Africans access economic opportunities and interact with one another.
- Celebrating the Football Fridays and Fly the Flag for Football campaigns has helped build national pride among many South Africans. All South Africans are called on to use the momentum gained during the World Cup to continue mobilising themselves to cement the principles of pride and patriotism.
- We need to sustain the values and spirit of Ubuntu, which characterised South African commitment during the 2010 World Cup. This should be used to further mobilise South Africans to promote social cohesion and nation-building.
South Africa’s use of innovation in the defence and space industries will be showcased at three events scheduled from 21 to 25 September 2010:
- the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2010 exhibition at the Air Force Base Ysterplaat in Cape Town
- the AAD event coincides with a trilateral navy exercise involving South Africa, India and Brazil (IBSAMAR), which will be held off the country’s west coast
- the launch of South Africa’s National Space Agency (Sansa) on 22 September 2010.
The AAD is the largest exhibition of its kind in Africa and will showcase civil and military aviation and maritime and land-based defence technologies.
- The AAD Youth Development Programme (YDP) is aimed at encouraging young learners to consider careers in South Africa’s aerospace and defence industries.
- The YDP supports government’s socio-economic development objectives by primarily focusing on promoting and improving results in Mathematics, Science and technical subjects at schools.
- The AAD2010 will highlight leading developments in aviation products and defence-related technologies. Niche sectors covering commercial and general aviation, homeland security, humanitarian relief and disaster management, freight and forwarding services, as well as search and rescue, have been included.
- This is Africa’s biggest military and civilian aviation trade show, and is expected to draw an estimated 80 000 trade visitors and aviation enthusiasts. Government has endorsed the AAD.
South Africa places great significance on its trilateral partnership with India and Brazil through IBSA.
- IBSA has significantly improved bilateral as well as trilateral political and economic relations among India, Brazil and South Africa and serves as a platform for dialogue and exchange between ministries and non-government entities.
- This trilateral partnership is prefaced on strong political relations between the three countries and their regions. The partnership encourages and supports initiatives to strengthen economic cooperation, which mirrors these political relations.
- IBSA aims to increase trade volumes between the three countries to US$ 25 billion by 2015. The three countries will also work towards finalising a trilateral Preferential Trade Agreement that will further stimulate trade.
- IBSAMAR is the maritime component of the trilateral partnership aimed at increasing interoperability and enhancing understanding and cooperation among the navies of the three nations. The result of the exercise will be the strengthening of multinational cohesion between South Africa, Brazil and India. Exercise IBSAMAR I was successfully executed in southern African waters in early 2008.
- IBSA has endorsed a joint project to develop and operate a satellite for a space science mission. This project is currently under discussion, but will involve all three countries co-developing and launching the satellite.
The launch of Sansa is located within the Department of Science and Technology’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan, which aims to develop an innovation path to contribute towards creating a knowledge-based economy.
- The launch is a significant achievement that will place South Africa among a select few African countries that have a space agency. The agency will also implement the National Space Strategy, as approved by Cabinet in December 2008, to stimulate the capability of placing South Africa among the leading nations in the innovative utilisation of space science and technology.
- Government committed to establishing a National Space Strategy through close collaboration with other government departments based on the premise that the country’s growth targets require significant investment in innovation. Sansa will serve as a central point of convergence in which all space-related national activities can be fostered and promoted.
Sansa advocates for a national programme that will address three priority areas, namely:
- environmental resource management
- health, safety and security
- innovation and economic growth.
- Some of the key objectives of the agency include: fostering research in space science, navigation and positioning and communications; promoting international cooperation in space-related activities; and advancing scientific, engineering and technological competencies through human-capital development and outreach programmes.
South Africa is leading the African bid to host the world’s most powerful telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Africa.
- The SKA will be one of the largest scientific research facilities in the world and will consolidate Africa as a major hub for astronomy in the world. A successful bid will benefit South Africa and the region where further opportunities for foreign investment will be created.
- Africa is fast becoming a hub of activities in the field of astronomy and related technologies. Winning the SKA bid will be a major step forward for government’s Astronomy Geographical Advantage Programme (AGAP). The AGAP is an initiative by government to establish a hub of world-class astronomy facilities.
- South Africa also has the largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, the Southern African Large Telescope. Namibia has the High Energy Stereoscopic System telescope and several other African countries are constructing or refurbishing telescopes.
- Hosting the SKA will boost the development of high-level skills and cutting-edge technology infrastructure in Africa, and will also attract expertise and collaborative projects to the continent. Opportunities will also be provided for scientists and engineers from African countries to collaborate in joint projects with the most renowned universities and research institutions in the world.
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) signalled its confidence in South Africa when our country was selected to host the prestigious IAU Office for Astronomy Development during the 88th meeting of the IAU Executive Committee in July 2010, after evaluating proposals from 20 different countries.
South Africa best for regulation of exchanges
The latest World Economic Forum Competiveness Report ranks South Africa first out of 139 countries for its regulation of securities exchanges. South Africa moved up from second place, overtaking Sweden for the top position.
Murder drops by 8,6%
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has released the National Crime Statistics for the past fiscal year announcing a significant decline in the murder rate for the period. The statistics revealed that, murder rate has decreased by 8.6 percent from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010. He explained that the achievement was significant given that murder was one of the most reliable crime categories in crime stats.
Foreign visitors surge in 2010
The Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has confirmed that foreign visitors to South Africa had risen by more than 350 000 for the first four months of this year as compared to the same period in 2009. He said from January to April this year, foreign arrivals totalled more than 2,5 million, compared to approximately 2,2 million in 2009, representing a growth of 16,3%.
South Africa’s rail system to be revamped
The Department of Transport is working on a major rail investment programme to improve the country's ageing rail network. The investment, which involves billions of rands, will include strengthening operations in the passenger rail sector. High-speed rail projects have been identified in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Musina in Limpopo.
Getting around easier thanks to World Cup improvements
According to the results of an independent online survey conducted by Deloitte, public perceptions of transport facilities during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ greatly improved as a result of upgrades to roads, buses, trains and airports. Significantly higher standards of safety, cleanliness and operational capacity were noted by the 1 477 middle- to upper-income earners who were surveyed from city centres across the country during and after the event.
South African government on a drive to ensure water security
The Minister of Water Affairs, Buyelwa Sonjica, says government is consolidating its drought management strategy to ensure water security in South Africa. Johannesburg Water is also planning to invest billions of rands in upgrading and rehabilitating water networks across the city in the coming financial year. The first upgrade will be in Soweto. Over the next 10 years, Joburg Water's aim is to prevent the loss of at least 90 000 mega litres.
United States (US) agency supports eThekwini smart-metering study
A US trade and development agency has awarded a $446 500 grant for a feasibility study into the roll-out of advanced electricity metering, or smart meters, by the electricity unit of the eThekwini Municipality, in KwaZulu-Natal. US ambassador, Donald Gips, said that study would help eThekwini Electricity develop a "flagship" smart-metering programme in line with an emerging regulatory demand, which stipulates that customers with monthly consumption levels of 1 000 kWh, or higher, be incorporated into a smart-metering system by 2012.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) developing new “eyes” for SA Navy (SAN)
The CSIR is developing a technologically advanced maritime surveillance system for the SAN. The system is composed of five digital cameras, each with an 82-degree field of view to provide overlap, which are synchronised and calibrated. The images from these cameras are "stitched together" to form a single image that gives 360-degree coverage.