22 March 2012
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.||
|BRICS members will continue to strengthen their partnership for common development and advance cooperation.||
|South Africa's membership on BRICS benefits cooperation among member countries.||
|South Africa aims, through its BRICS membership, to advance Africa’s interests||
|BRICS has the collective influence to push for the restructuring of the global governance mechanisms to ensure a fairer world.||
South Africa’s diversified foreign-policy objectives and interests allow for IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) and BRICS to co-exist.
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.
- 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!
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
|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.||
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.
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.
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.