Bua Briefs 4 of 2012

22 March 2012

Fourth BRICS Summit

President Jacob Zuma will attend the fourth Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit on 29 March 2012 in New Delhi, India. The theme of the summit is “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity”. BRICS summits are convened to seek common ground on areas of importance for these major economies.

The BRICS bloc represents a shift of economic power away from the G7 countries (the United States of America [USA], Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and Italy) towards the fast-growing emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Six years ago, the BRIC grouping was formed with South Africa being invited to join in December 2010. Being part of this bloc is in line with South Africa’s foreign-policy objective of strengthening South-South relations. South Africa's joining not only benefits cooperation among BRICS countries, but is conducive to the economic development of Africa and even the world.

In recent years, the BRICS has evolved into a powerful grouping of the world's leading emerging economies. In 2011 the BRICS's share of global gross domestic product (GDP) based on purchasing power parity amounted to about 25%; they occupy 30% of the global territory; and they are home to 45% of the world's population. The contribution of the BRICS countries to global economic growth over the last decade has reached 50%, which makes this group of states the leading power in global economic development. Some analysts predict that BRICS could become as big as the G7 by 2027.

Moreover, the BRICS mechanism unites five major emerging economies, colossal labour, a wealth of natural resources and huge domestic markets.

The BRICS mechanism has the overarching objective and strong shared desire for peace, security, development and cooperation. BRICS also aims at contributing significantly to the development of humanity and establishing a more equitable and fair world.

According to India, the 2012 Summit host, the fourth BRICS Summit will address managing the global economic crisis and reforming international governance institutions. There will also be an increased focus on developmental issues that include food security, energy security, public health, science and technology (S&T) and urbanisation.

In the run-up to the summit, a host of events will be held, including an academic forum of leading think tanks of BRICS countries, a meeting of an economic research group that will explore issues affecting economies of the developing world and a financial forum of these countries’ development banks.  

Key messages Supporting statements
The voice of BRICS in the changing global economic environment is becoming increasingly stronger.
  • The fast-growing emerging economies of BRICS have a vital role to address the global economic crisis, thus equaling their status with traditional powers.
  • BRICS has the capacity and the political will to engage with the global community and contribute in a meaningful manner to achieve global well-being, stability and growth.
  • BRICS believes that the international community should work together to strengthen cooperation for common development.
  • The grouping calls for further international financial regulatory oversight and reform, strengthening policy coordination and financial regulation and supervision cooperation, and promoting the sound development of global financial markets and banking systems.
  • The Eurozone crisis, along with stagnation in the US economy, is creating anxiety across the globe, including Africa. The BRICS members will do whatever is imperative to ensure economic growth and guarantee financial stability and control inflation.
BRICS members will continue to strengthen their partnership for common development and advance cooperation.
  • The BRICS approach is informed by the need to deepen, broaden and intensify relations within the grouping and individual countries with each other.
  • Members are committed to assure that all BRICS countries continue to enjoy strong and sustained economic growth supported by member countries’ increased cooperation in economic, finance and trade matters, which will contribute to the long-term steady, sound and balanced growth of the world economy.
  • Member countries are currently major export markets for each other. Internal trade among the BRICS countries registered an average annual growth rate of 28% from 2001 to 2010. The total volume reached $230 billion in 2010.
  • Going forward, BRICS countries aim to implement joint projects in energy, infrastructure, investment, S&T, banking and tourism.
  • BRICS countries will continue to support each other in the international arena to jointly solve vital regional and global problems, improve world peace and security, strengthen multilateral approaches and facilitate future coordination at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), G-20 and other multilateral mechanisms.
South Africa's membership on BRICS benefits cooperation among member countries.
  • South Africa’s membership of BRICS has yielded results with us achieving a fourfold increase in exports to fellow members in the BRICS group, while imports from them doubled.
  • South Africa will benefit from the concrete projects of BRICS in areas such as agriculture, science, statistics, development finance institutions, security and justice.
  • China, Russia, India and South Africa will support Brazil as the host of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development to reach a new political commitment during the Conference and achieve positive and practical results in areas of economic growth, social development and environmental protection under the framework of sustainable development.
South Africa aims, through its BRICS membership, to advance Africa’s interests
  • South Africa sees its BRICS membership as a strategic opportunity through which we can advocate Africa’s interests on global issues such as the reform of global governance, fair international trade, economic integration and climate change.
  • Through BRICS, South Africa will craft more vigorous trade and investment programmes for Africa to ensure that the voice of the continent is heard in the broader international platforms.
  • BRICS members are challenging the past when previously economic growth points were located in the industrialised countries of the North, bypassing Africa. South Africa’s participation in BRICS signals that Africa is going to be part of the changing world.
  • Our BRICS partners view South Africa as a gateway into the continent, with South Africa providing guidance on African economic development opportunities.
  • Africa’s future prosperity is increasingly linked to the BRICS economies which have a large savings pool. Africa requires $480 billion for infrastructure development.
  • Africa is projected as the third-fastest growing economy in the world, while the BRICS countries now constitute the largest trading partners of Africa and largest new investors.
  • We believe BRICS presents South Africa and Africa with an opportunity to work closely together on issues pertaining to peace and security in our region, including future coordination on issues on the table of the UNSC.
BRICS has the collective influence to push for the restructuring of the global governance mechanisms to ensure a fairer world.
  • BRICS seeks to advance the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable and balanced and rests on the important pillar of multilateralism.
  • BRIC members will continue to work on a greater voice for emerging economies in international financial institutions and for a more diversified global monetary system.
  • All BRICS countries are currently serving on the UNSC as permanent (China and the Russian Federation) or non-permanent members (Brazil, India and South Africa) and share the objective of pushing for the reform of the UN, especially the UNSC, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative, so that it can deal with today’s global challenges more successfully.
  • BRICS has a fully fledged global format, which makes them better equipped to represent the developing world and constitutes a stronger force to counter international forums largely dominated by the developed world.

South Africa’s diversified foreign-policy objectives and interests allow for IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and BRICS to co-exist.

  • The IBSA and BRICS agendas are highly complementary and various synergies exist.
  • The IBSA mechanism is important for enhancing South Africa’s trilateral partnership with India and Brazil and South-South relations to address global issues of common interest and advance national priorities through the sharing of best experiences.
  • South Africa will leverage both formations to promote the African Agenda and create new trade opportunities for value-added exports and investment.
  • There has been steady growth in the three IBSA economies with intra-IBSA trade almost reaching the $20-billion mark. The IBSA countries have set a target of $25 billion by 2015.
  • Any demise of IBSA would negatively affect attempts at harmonizing preferential trade agreements between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu), the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Latin American Trade Bloc to culminate into an India-Mercosur and Sacu trilateral trade arrangement.


2012 World Tuberculosis (TB) Day commemoration in South Africa

World TB Day is a worldwide event that aims to raise public awareness of TB and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. This event is held on 24 March every year as part of TB Month and is promoted by organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).

South Africa will commemorate World TB Day under theme: “Zero Infections, Deaths, Stigma and Discrimination from TB and HIV in my Lifetime”, which focuses on improved management of TB and HIV in South African mines. This is linked to the global theme: “Stop TB in my Lifetime”.

The Deputy President of South Africa, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, the Department of Health, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and key stakeholders will lead a phased programme leading to World AIDS Day. In continuum from last year, the Kick TB Campaign will continue to involve scholars in the fight against TB and promote healthy lifestyles. World TB Day will also initiate an annual roll-out of TB and HIV services to all gold mines.

The Deputy President is scheduled to officiate at World TB Day 2012 on 24 March, which will also be used to officially launch the country’s Operational Plans for the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB. The event will take place at the Mining Complex in East Driefontein, Merafong/Carletonville, Gauteng.

South Africa’s half-a-million mine workers have the highest TB incidence in the world

  • The incidence of TB is estimated to be 3 000 to 7 000 cases per 100 000 of the population, most of whom are also HIV positive and some with silicosis. The national average is about 900.
  • In 2010/11, 11% of South Africa’s gold-mining sector’s miners were infected with TB compared to an industry average of 5%.
  • Also, 0,72% of miners were infected with silicosis, compared to an industry average of 0,31%.
  • Gold mines have limited TB and HIV services (only 56% of gold mines have TB and HIV services compared to 78% of platinum mines).
  • Unlike platinum mines, most gold mines were built a long time ago – some as far back as the early 20th century – and therefore have compromised infrastructure that breeds TB.
Key messages Supporting statements

Government calls on all South Africans to be responsible and get tested.


TB is curable and HIV is preventable, and ALL sectors of society must be mobilised to effectively eliminate TB and HIV!

  • Government urges all South Africans to get tested on a regular basis, as this will enable us to make better and healthier life choices which will take the nation closer to realising zero infections, deaths, stigma and  discrimination from TB and HIV.
  • In South Africa, 76% of people living with HIV and AIDS also have TB.
  • TB is preventable and curable even if you are HIV positive:
    • Cover your cough. Spitting a small amount of the TB germs into the air spreads TB.
    • Wash your hands after you cough and opening windows and doors. Fresh air kills the TB bacteria.
    • Immunise babies after birth and before the age of two to protect them from TB-Meningitis.
  • Early diagnosis of TB saves lives:
    • Screen for TB at the nearest clinic for free.
    • Symptoms include coughing for more than two weeks, night sweats, an unintentional loss of weight, fatigue and feeling tired and chest pains.
    • If you screen positive for TB, then you must test for HIV.  People who test positive for HIV should always also screen for TB.
    • People with HIV are more likely to develop TB. 
  • Treatment is free at all public health facilities:
    • If you test positive for TB, you must take your medication for the full six months to cure TB and protect you and others from re-infection.
    • Do not stop treatment early because you feel better. You may develop multi-drug resistant, which is extremely dangerous to your health and the community.
  • All patients with both TB and HIV will get treatment with antiretrovirals if their CD4 count is 350 or less.

Working together we can do more to improve management of TB and HIV in South African mines.

Government recognises the need for an interventionist approach to assist the gold-mining sector

  • The 2012 World TB Day commemoration events and engagements with communities and the sectors serve as platform for scaled-up response to TB in the mines, with particular focus on the gold-mining sector.
  • Gold mines have limited TB & HIV services.
  • In collaboration with the gold-mining sector, government has committed to a year-long focus campaign to roll out screening and testing to all gold mines, prioritising those with limited or non-existent TB & HIV services.
  • A target of 160 000 gold miners is set for screening and testing for TB and HIV.
  • Government calls on the mining sector to “Play Your Part” and align to the forthcoming Southern African Development Community TB in Mines Declaration (The Stop TB Partnership Secretariat and World Bank have been supporting this process since October 2010.)
Launch of the country’s NSP Implementation Plan will ensure that it becomes a lived reality to South Africans as we drive to achieve zero infection and meet our Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets. 
  • On 1 December 2011, President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe presented the NSP 2012 – 2016, coordinated by SANAC to the nation.
  • The launch of the NSP Implementation Plan outlines clear practical actions and roles and timelines to respond to the challenge of HIV, AIDS and TB to achieve the set targets.
  • Government calls on all South Africans and sectors to “Play Your Part” in ensuring the success of the implementation plan that will contribute towards securing the health and well-being of our nation. 
  • All sectors of the society are encouraged to engage the plan and commit to align their respective efforts, strategies and resources to implement relevant aspects of the NSP.
  • The plan is not static – focus on the mining community sector is part of the Policy in Action on TB and HIV (PATH) Campaign to hear the views of communities regarding HIV and TB, and through SANAC, ensure that these community-based issues are addressed by the relevant ministries and SANAC sectors.
  • Electronic versions of the full NSP, the simplified version as well as provincial implementation plans will be available for download on the SANAC website (www.sanac.org.za).  A Facebook page is linked to the SANAC website.



Infrastructure development

Multi-billion rand port unveiled in Port Elizabeth, South Africa
President Jacob Zuma opened the new Port of Ngqura in Port Elizabeth, as part of South Africa's infrastructure plan. The port is said to be the deepest container terminal in sub-Saharan Africa and will accommodate the new generation of giant container ships that regularly visit the country's shores. The National Ports Authority (NPA) of South Africa is investing R3,2 billion in the project.
Mpumalanga budgets R2,8 billion on infrastructure projects
The Mpumalanga Provincial Government has set aside R2,8 billion for infrastructure projects in the coming financial year, which starts on 1 April. The funds will go towards building new roads, bridges and buildings and the maintenance of existing infrastructure. A special infrastructure task team will also be established to drive development in the province, which will be similar to the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.

Cape Town Airport the best in Africa
Cape Town International Airport has been named the best airport in Africa by an international association of the world's airports. The award was made by the Airports Council International, which surveys passengers on their views of different airports.


Gauteng hospitals to clear all debt by June
The Gauteng Department of Health has developed a plan to clear all of its debt by the end of June this year. Payment to suppliers has improved significantly since February when the Gauteng Provincial Government released R1 billion to the department to pay suppliers. This, in turn, has encouraged suppliers to release more stock to provincial health facilities. Suppliers owed less than R100 million will receive their money in May and those owed more than R100 million will be paid in June.

Science and technology

New “first” for Africa's SKA prototype
South Africa's KAT-7 telescope – a seven-dish array, which is a precursor to the much larger MeerKAT telescope and a prototype for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – has reached another milestone by producing the first atomic hydrogen spectral line images of a nearby galaxy. South Africa, allied with eight other African countries, is competing against Australia to host the 1,5-billion Euro SKA, an instrument 50 to 100 times more sensitive and 10 000 times faster than any radio imaging telescope yet built.

Arts and culture

Voortrekker Monument now a national heritage site

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Paul Mashatile, said the declaration of the Voortrekker Monument as the first Afrikaans national heritage site since the advance of democracy is a significant milestone to building a united and diverse South Africa. The monument, at which Minister Mashatile unveiled a plaque, attained national heritage status because of its significance in the political history of South Africa and its unique architecture.

International relations

President Zuma to participate in Nuclear Security Summit
President Jacob Zuma will travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit (26-27 March 2012). The main purpose of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is to review the progress made since the first Summit and to focus on facilitating national measures and international co-operation on nuclear security. The Summit takes place within the context of the commitment to achieve a world free from all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

South Africa earmarks R100 million to help Somalia
South Africa has committed to allocate R100 million to the Somalian Government, which will go towards building adequate institutions of governance in that troubled country. The R100 million will provide capacity and institution-building, socio-economic support, as well as specified training in key government sectors.

This commitment will see government working with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and international partners to ensure that Somalia has adequate institutions of governance that will be sustainable beyond the TFG's mandate, which should ultimately see that country equipped to govern itself.

Trade and industry

Initiative to boost South Africa-India trade and investment
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe, is leading a delegation of South African companies to India to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The initiative forms part of the department's export and investment promotion strategy, which aims to create market penetration for South African value-added products and services in India and to promote South Africa as a trade and investment destination.

Road safety

Easter Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign

Cabinet wished all South Africans well over the forthcoming spiritual period (Easter Weekend) and called on all citizens to stop the road carnage and "Play Your Part" in behaving responsibly. Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele officially launched the 2012 Easter Road Safety, Arrive Alive Campaign in Springs, Gauteng on 18 March. The Minister called for new partnerships between government and civil society in the fight against road carnage.