Bua Briefs 2 of 2011

17 February 2011

State visit by President Jacob Zuma to the Republic of France

President Jacob Zuma will pay a state visit to France from 2 to 3 March 2011. Discussions will focus on strengthening bilateral political, economic and trade relations to consolidate North-South relations. President Nicolas Sarkozy visited South Africa in February 2008.

South Africa and France are engaged in a strategic partnership based on shared values and converging interests which support Africa’s development.

  • This partnership supports strategic South African development goals such as the provision of basic services, shared and sustainable economic growth based on environmentally sound development and attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs).
  • At multilateral level, South Africa and France cooperate in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and  the European Union. Both countries also collaborate at the Group of 8 (G8) and the Group of 20 (G20), of which France is the president.
  • The G20, which represents two-thirds of the planet’s population, has a duty to provide practical solutions to the problems of development, which was included on the G20’s agenda in Seoul with the adoption of that organisation’s first Multi-Year Action Plan on Development.
  • South Africa and France share a common position on the reform of institutions of global governance, including the UNSC.
  • South Africa is France’s first trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa. Bilateral trade totalled R1, 882,882 in October 2010 with the trade balance heavily in France’s favour. South Africa’s exports are mainly minerals, metals and other commodities while imports from France include machinery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

France supports South Africa in its efforts to consolidate the African Agenda.

  • South Africa is dedicated to African unity and integration, within the framework of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU). This includes the strengthening of continental institutions, which are critical in responding to Africa’s challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, peace, security and stability.
  • France is committed to supporting the development of infrastructure and ensuring food security in the most vulnerable countries and will take to the G20 the debate on development funding through innovative financing, particularly the financial transaction tax.
  • South Africa will continue to make a significant contribution to deepening the relationship and cooperation between the UNSC and the AU through its two-year non-permanent seat on the UNSC, which commenced in January 2011.
  • France is a permanent member of the UNSC and took the lead in establishing a European force that provides security for civilians, refugees and displaced people in Eastern Chad and Northern Central African Republic.

South Africa and France are deeply committed to achieving global priorities in ensuring a better world for all who live in it.

  • As part of the G20 and the Group of 5 (G5 – the five emerging nations), South Africa will push for a developmental position on multilateral forums, including on contentious issues such as climate change and agricultural trade. The 17th Climate Change Conference, otherwise known as the Conference of Parties (COP 17), will be held in South Africa in November 2011.
  • South Africa encourages international cooperation to achieve the targets from the Millennium Development Goals, especially in light of the impact that recent global economic events have had on developing countries. The need for a speedy implementation of the international resolutions, in particular the deployment of resources to salvage vulnerable economies, cannot be overemphasised.
  • With only five years left to achieve the MDGs, all nations need a far greater sense of urgency if the targets are to be met. South Africa is concerned by the fact that, internationally, progress in achieving the MDGs in Africa (especially sub-Saharan Africa) still remains slow.
  • France is the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In 2010, France committed to increase its contribution by 20% over the next three years.
  • Developed countries must also live up to their promises by eliminating trade-distorting agricultural subsidies and give genuinely unrestricted market access to developing countries to alleviate poverty.



Fighting crime and corruption

Online system to combat corruption in mining rights and permits
Government has launched a pioneering online system to counter corruption and ensure transparency during the application and granting of mining rights, permits and prospecting licences. The Minister of Mineral Resources, Ms Susan Shabangu, said the new system would ensure accountability, efficiency and transparency and address overlaps on properties applied for.

Infrastructure development

South African firms to benefit from Eskom’s spend
At least R220 billion of the R549 billion that Eskom will spend on its Build Programme between now and 2017 will go to local companies, with Black Economic Empowerment companies expected to earn about R132 billion of the local component figure. According to Eskom spokeswoman, Hilary Joffe, up to 40% of Eskom’s capital expenditure is local and this is mainly for civil, mechanical and electrical work.

South Africa extends connectivity to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Broadband Infraco spent R243 million on its national backbone fibre optic network in 2009/10.  Infraco now covers about 12 250 km countrywide. This also enabled South Africa to extend connectivity to the SADC region to countries such as Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

Job creation

Infrastructure development
Government has put President Jacob Zuma’s job-creation plans into action by announcing the creation of 120 000 permanent jobs in infrastructure development. The organisations that have been earmarked to create jobs include Eskom and the departments of Water affairs and of environmental affairs.

Ministers outline R1-trillion spending plan
Government is set to create 70 000 jobs in a R6,4-billion project to repair potholes. The project is part of a new labour-intensive road-maintenance programme called S'hamba Sonke (walking together). A total of R22,3 billion will be spent between now and April 2014. The Department of Economic Development puts the total annual expenditure on infrastructure at R250 billion, which over the next four years, amounts to R1 trillion. This translates into an 18% increase on the State’s previous infrastructure spending estimate of about R846 billion for the three years to 2013.

Opportunities for matriculants
The company Hospitality Solutions, which specialises in temporary and permanent placements in the hospitality industry, is putting young unemployed people, in groups of 20 at a time, through four basic training modules aimed at providing them with job opportunities through skills acquisition.

Manufacturing output up in 2010
According to Statistics South Africa, Africa's manufacturing production increased by 4,9 % in 2010 compared to a drop of 12,9% in 2009. Manufacturing production for 2010 reflected an increase of 4,9% compared to 2009 after an annual decrease of 12,9% recorded for 2009. Six of the 10 manufacturing divisions reported higher production for 2010.


Guiding children in the right direction
The Department of Basic Education, Lead SA and the National Interfaith Movement are to launch a drive to instil a rights and responsibilities culture in pupils.

International relations

National border control
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was instructed to prepare to employ forces in the land, air and maritime domains to effect national border control. This instruction was issued in congruence with the responsibility of the SANDF to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of South Africa, its national interests and its people in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force.