Bua Briefs 12 of 2011

7 September 2011

66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

The Durban Declaration is South Africa’s hallmark of commitment to fighting intolerance.

  • The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action is the international community's blueprint for action to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
  • The UNGA’s 10th anniversary commemoration provides an opportunity to strengthen political commitment in fighting racism and racial discrimination.
  • UN members must stand up for what they agreed to 10 years ago on combating racism.
  • The Durban Declaration is central to pressuring the governments of the world to adopt and thoroughly implement national plans of action to eradicate racial discrimination, inequity, colonialism, xenophobia and related intolerances.

South Africa advocates for the fundamental reform of global governance institutions so that they reflect the realities of the 21st century.

  • South Africa is committed to play its part to strengthen the multilateral system, including its transformation to reflect the diversity of our nations, and ensure its centrality in global governance.
  • 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 overemphasised.
  • 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.

We call for equal attention to developmental and environmental issues.

  • Given the interplay between climate change, models of economic development, and our pursuit of internationally agreed development goals, including the millennium development goals, demand that the 17th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 17), to be held in Durban in November and December,  puts in place the necessary building blocks to deliver a balanced agreement that takes historical responsibilities into account.
  • To achieve a balanced outcome, South Africa will require the Cancun Agreement as well as the commitment to deal with unfinished business from the Bali Roadmap and Action Plan to be put into operation.
  • The extent to which this commitment is achieved depends on the provision of finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed countries and through the UN climate change regime.
  • We must strive to ensure that the UN system offers member states, especially developing countries, well-coordinated support for the implementation of plans. .

South Africa will use its international standing as an agent of change towards making our continent and the world a better place for all.

  • Our non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will, among other things, present an opportunity to promote the African Agenda; enhance our national priorities and advance the maintenance of international peace and security for socio-economic development to prosper.
  • It will also afford South Africa an opportunity to significantly contribute to the promotion and protection of multilateralism and the respect for international law; including heightening the profile of our country as a champion and agent of change towards making our continent and the world better.
  • Being a member of both the UNSC and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) presents an opportunity for South Africa to continue its efforts of bringing greater alignment to the work of the UNSC and that of the AU, especially, the AUPSC.
  • Africa is a lot more stable than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s. Where in the 1980s, there were only four democracies, in early 2010,  at least 30 African countries had acceded to the African Peer Review Mechanism. In the year 2010, we also witnessed more than 20 African countries celebrating their 50th Years of Independence from colonialism, apartheid and political subjugation.


President Jacob Zuma’s working visit to New Zealand

A significant feature of the South Africa – New Zealand relationship is sports, in particular rugby and cricket rivalry.

  • A continual schedule of competition – at national and provincial levels – maintains an active relationship.
  • Both the FIFA World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, in which the New Zealand All Whites participated, and the forthcoming Rugby World Cup, which the Springboks will defend in New Zealand in September, have given a substantial boost to already strong sporting links.

New Zealand’s development relationship with South Africa is moving from one of donor-recipient to one of partnership and cooperation.

  • A key objective is to strengthen new forms of cooperation (including non-government funded aid) and bilateral relations through increased opportunities for government-to-government consultation.
  • Current activities include regional support to Student Partnerships Worldwide, New Zealand Development and Commonwealth Scholarships, a small Head of Mission Fund and the South Africa Fund for Exchange, a fund of NZ$50 000 per annum to promote people-to-people links between the Eastern Cape and New Zealand for the exchange of skills and learning.
  • The change of focus reflects South Africa’s emergence as a donor in its own right within the sub-Saharan Africa region.

Significant common interests necessitate regular official consultations.

  • New Zealand and South Africa have implemented annual foreign ministry consultations.
  • The opening of the South African High Commission in Wellington in April 2009 was a significant step in the relationship, which signaled South Africa’s developing interest in its political, economic, trade, business and social linkages with New Zealand.
  • The Department of Trade and Industry, in conjunction with its counterpart, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, is commissioning an independent study to examine the trade relationship between New Zealand and South Africa.
  • This study will identify sectors already performing strongly and highlight others with growth potential. When completed, the study will provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the current trading relationship.


Fourth South Africa – European Union (EU) Summit

The EU is a strategic partner for South Africa.

  • The EU is South Africa's largest trading partner. At the 2009 edition of the summit, the EC launched a €100-million programme aimed at boosting job creation and stimulating economic growth in South Africa.
  • The Strategic Partnership is the political plan of action that complements the South Africa – EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), which was signed in 1999, the first bilateral framework agreement between South Africa and the EU.
  • Implementation of the TDCA trade provisions has been underway since 2000 with the aim of establishing a free trade area between SA and the European Union by 2012.
  • In 2008, South Africa’s exports to the EU-27 totalled R189 billion, making the EU South Africa’s top export destination.  Likewise, imports amounted to R221 billion, with the overall trade deficit being R32 billion. Europe also remains the principal source of foreign direct investment in South Africa.

South Africa and the EU are committed to the attainment of the millennium development goals, strengthened cooperation on peace and security issues, and other global challenges such as climate change.

  • South Africa has the support of the EU in advancing Africa’s development agenda demonstrated through their strong partnership with the African Union (Peace Facility).
  • The EU is also a major contributor in terms of the provision of development assistance both to South Africa (€980 million during 2007 to 2013) and to Africa through the African Caribbean Pacific Group of States’ European Development Fund. 
  • South Africa is hosting the 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which serves as the seventh meeting of the parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP7) in Durban from 28 November to 9 December 2011.
  • COP17/CMP7 is significant in the negotiation process to produce a second commitment period, given that the Kyoto Protocol, which commits developed countries to cut their emissions, is set to expire in 2012. The EU has given South Africa €6 million for the conference.
  • South Africa is committed to working with the EU on the reform of institutions of global governance, including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations (UN), which includes the expansion of the UN Security Council.


Heritage Day/Month

"The theme for 2011 is "Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa". The aim of the 2011 Heritage Month is to remind and reconnect the nation with its rich and diverse collective liberation heritage. The 2011 Heritage Month celebrations will be held by various sectors across the country. The National Heritage Day celebrations will be held on September 24, 2011 in the Mpumalanga Province."

The story of our liberation is a significant part of South Africa’s cultural heritage.

  • Liberation heritage is about the preservation of the history of the monumental struggle against imperialism, colonialism and other oppressive and repressive systems in our society.
  • Government calls on all sectors to use our liberation heritage as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, nation-building, economic development and inclusive citizenship.
  • Our liberation heritage was forged in the theatre of struggle that shaped the new South Africa, and can be actively used to contribute to the revival of social and political consciousness across the country.
  • All South Africans are called into action to promote a national identity that is self-conscious of its liberation heritage, which will in turn serve to promote unity in diversity among all sectors of South African society.

South Africa’s liberation story is celebrated by all those in the world who value equality and freedom.

  • The 2011 Heritage Month is the springboard which will strengthen the South African brand as one of the greatest theatres of struggle, victory over apartheid and a world-recognised model of reconciliation and nation-building.
  • Our rich liberation heritage must be used to draw visitors to South Africa and will also serve to ensure that we protect our common heritage and advance a national heritage which is accommodative of cultural diversity.
  • The aims of Heritage Month coincide with those of Tourism Month, which is celebrated under the international World Tourism Day 2011  theme of “Tourism Linking Cultures” and celebrates tourism’s role in breaking down barriers across cultures and fostering tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.
  • Government calls on all sectors to support the National Heritage Council Project of establishing a national liberation heritage route that will link all liberation heritage sites in South Africa, the Southern African Development Community region and continent.

In pursuit of active participation, government aims to illustrate the importance of liberation heritage to all South Africans, especially the youth.

  • Government has ensured interactive, interesting and modern platforms for the 2011 Heritage Month, which is geared towards the construction of awareness through oral history narrations, exhibitions, poetry, dance, songs and site visits to reinforce our collective memory and promote national identity.
  • Educational programmes, dialogues and public engagements will also be pursued to create awareness of the importance of our shared liberation heritage.

Military veterans are a unique resource for nation-building and reconciliation who can actively be used to show the miracle of our peaceful transition to democracy.

  • The lessons and lived experiences of military veterans are an invaluable resource to all South Africans, especially the youth, in ensuring the survival of our communities.
  • We must ensure that military veterans are recognised and honoured for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation, and that military veterans who have passed on are memorialised in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation.
  • Military veterans provide a sense of identity and continuity that is mostly transmitted orally across generations, and contributes towards fostering social cohesion.



Government’s fight against corruption

Crime, graft fight gaining ground

The Minister of Justice, Mr Jeff Radebe, reported that government was making progress in the fight against crime and corruption. He also announced that government had noted a decrease in murder as well as other various categories achieved through coordinated cluster efforts, including improving the detection of conviction rates and through a community-policing approach.

Transport issues

Gautrain steadily increases ridership as it marks one month of operations

The Gautrain operator, Bombela, reported that it had carried around 750 000 train passengers and 125 000 bus passengers, completing more than 24 million passenger-kilometers. This equated to around 24 200 train passengers a day. The target of the Gauteng Government was to carry 108 000 passengers a day by the end of January.

South Africa and the United States (US) sign transport cooperation agreement

Department of Transport Director-General, Mr George Mahlalela, announced that South Africa had signed a memorandum of cooperation with the US to collaborate on transport matters.
The two countries will cooperate in a number of areas, such as civil aviation, infrastructure, transport services, road traffic, public transport, integrated transport planning and infrastructure funding and modelling.

Economic growth

South African growth outlook “highly promising”

According to the Bank of America, South Africa, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the markets with the most promising 10-year growth outlook. The bank cited that the thrust of the South African Government’s policy on jobs, infrastructure and service delivery will provide the backdrop for positive consumer growth that is less driven by the middle class and more by lower-income households migrating up the income ladder.

Black industrialists

President Jacob Zuma called on black businessmen and women to develop black-owned industries to address the lack of black South Africans in this field. The President emphasised that the economy must develop authentic black entrepreneurs who own factories and produce whatever the market requires.

Government wants workers to preserve savings

National Treasury has proposed the urgent introduction of mandatory preservation when it comes to retirement savings in an alarming and near-catastrophic context. It is estimated that only 6% of South Africans can afford to retire, i.e. they can achieve a 100% replacement ratio. Government seeks to help people who currently could work and earn an income to save and preserve their retirement savings, and in turn, not be a future burden on the State and therefore hamper service delivery.

Job-creation initiatives

Trade, job creation central to Norway visit

President Jacob Zuma has used his state visit to Norway to raise South Africa's trade and job-creation profile. His visit was aimed at increasing trade between the two countries as part of efforts to boost job creation as envisaged in the growth framework. His visit also focused on strengthening cooperation in the national priorities, particularly in addressing poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Nedlac initiatives “are bearing fruit on unemployment”

Herbert Mkhize, Nedlac’s executive director, during the tabling of the Annual Report in Parliament, alluded to economic indicators that revealed the country “is gradually moving towards economic recovery”. Some of the good news for job creation, he reported, was that gross saving as a percentage of gross domestic product increased in 2010 “rising from 16,2% in the third quarter to 18,3% in the fourth”.


Johannesburg to host One Young World (OYW) Summit 2013

Johannesburg has been named the host city for the OYW Summit 2013 after delivering its bid. The bid was prepared under the leadership of Lindiwe Kwele, CEO of the Johannesburg Tourism Company. This bid holds the potential of profiling Johannesburg in the next two years in the build-up and actual hosting of the summit.


Digital revolution for Eastern Cape schools

Learners and teachers of 17 schools in underdeveloped communities in the Eastern Cape are taking their first steps to join the digital age. They now have access to the latest news from News24, online encyclopaedias, a dictionary in multiple languages, e-mail, curriculum-based worksheets and a host of other teaching and learning tools.

Energy affairs

South Africa could be energy self-sufficient in a decade: Shell

According to Shell SA, South Africa could become "energy self-sufficient" within a decade if commercially producible gas volumes are discovered in the Karoo and if exploration efforts prove that the shale contains commercially producible gas volumes, the country could see production from this source within a decade. Shell further reiterates that if the volumes are even half as large as the United States of America’s Energy Information Administration estimates, then South Africa can become energy self-sufficient for decades to come.


Springbok jerseys largely local: South African Rugby Union (SARU)

SARU says a significant percentage of its branded supporter wear is manufactured locally. SARU said that they had gone to great lengths to ensure that most of the products are made locally.

All Africa Games

Team SA dominates at the All Africa Games
Team South Africa dominated the first leg of the swimming competition at the All Africa Games in Maputo, grabbing 11 medals to take the country's medal tally to 15.