Charting the way forward
24 October 2016
Heads of South Africa’s diplomatic missions abroad met in Tshwane for the biennial conference to assess national, regional, continental and global trends and dynamics.
The conference helps to determine a strategy to be implemented in line with South Africa’s foreign policy vision and mission.
The conference took place for the week and concluded on Friday, 21 October 2016.
The programme was divided into various themes looking into the role of South Africa’s diplomatic missions in the promotion and implementation of government's priorities and programmes, particularly the National Development Plan, the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, and the full realisation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The conference also served as a platform for South Africa’s diplomats to be briefed about progress on government’s programmes and plans. They were addressed by amongst others, President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
National Down Syndrome Awareness Day- 20 October
Thursday 20th October marks National Down Syndrome Day (NDSD), designated by our late President Mr Nelson Mandela to create awareness about Down syndrome. Down syndrome (known as Trisomy 21) is the most common and naturally occurring chromosomal genetic condition and is the largest single cause of intellectual disabilities. In South Africa, one in every 500 live births is a baby born with Down syndrome.
Down Syndrome South Africa (known as DSSA), established in 1986 as a non-profit organisation celebrates its 30th Birthday and the theme for this year is FAMILIES, what better way to kick off the celebration for this year’s commemoration than to honour the heroic efforts of all the families that have fought for the constitutional rights of their children with Down syndrome.
VISION: To ensure equal access, dignity and respect for all persons with Down syndrome.
MISSION: Improve the quality of life of persons with and affected by Down syndrome.
AIM: To be the driver of change in changing pubic perception around Down syndrome and to empower persons with Down syndrome and their families.
DOWN SYNDROME SOUTH AFRICA has regional branches/support groups across the country that will be hosting activities to celebrate National Down Syndrome Day. These awareness days play an important part in the positive shifts in attitudes towards persons with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities.
South African winemakers participate in the 2016 Georgian harvest season
By Ambassador Beka Dvali, Embassy of Georgia, Pretoria
13 October 2016
Four South African winemakers,two from Robertson Winery and one each from Van Loveren and Excelsior Wineries have left for Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to participate in the Georgian harvest season which started on the 10th of September and lasts until the end of October 2016. Two of them are placed at Qimerioni Winery, and one each at Kheraba and Shilda Wineries. Khareba Winery is the largest winery in Georgia. The three Georgian wineries are located in the world famous Kakheti wine region bordering the Caucasus Mountains.
Georgia is globally known as the “Cradle of Wine”, boasting 8,000 years of scientifically proven, unbroken tradition of winemaking. Therefore, no surprise that the first exposition you see entering London’s famouse world wine museum - Vinopolis - is on Georgian wine and that the large-scale exhibition dedicated to Georgian viticulture and wine making will be conducted in 2017 at the Wine Museum and Cultural Center (http://www.laciteduvin.com/en) launched in Bordeaux, France just recently, in June 2016.
Building Prospects for Closer Economic Integration
By Srimal Fernando Global Editor
The weekend of October 15th saw the eighth BRICS summit taking place in the western Indian state of Goa. At this historic summit heads of state and leaders of the world's five major emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met on 15 and 16 October 2016 to boost trade, cultural exchange and economic partnerships.
Group Photograph Front row: BRICS Leaders (l-r) Michel Temer of Brazil, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Narendra Modi of India, Xi Jinping of China and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
Second row: BIMSTEC leaders ( l-r): Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and Virasakdi Futrakul, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand
This year's summit in India is themed "Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions." The five nations BRICS grouping have a combined nominal GDP of US$16 trillion and collectively accounts for 23 percent of global Gross national product (GNP), and 40 percent, 3.6 billion people, of the world’s population (BRICS, Ministry of External Relations Brazil 2015).
Mr Guterres appointed next Secretary-General of the United Nations
The South African Government extends its warm congratulations to Mr António Guterres from Portugal following his appointment by the United Nations General Assembly as the organisation’s 9th Secretary-General. Mr Guterres will serve a five-year term from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2021.
Mr Guterres brings with him a wealth of experience. He served as Prime Minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002 and as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from June 2005 to December 2015.
South Africa believes it was due to the concerted efforts by the membership of the General Assembly to regain its Charter-mandated role in the selection and appointment of the Secretary-General that enabled the appointment of such an exceptional candidate.
In his vision statement to the General Assembly, Mr Guterres highlighted a number of priority issues that are aligned with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives, including:
• Viewing security and development as a continuum not to be pursued separately;
• Emphasising the importance of preventive diplomacy aimed at achieving political solutions based on inclusive engagement; and
• Increased cooperation with regional organisations.
Nobel Prize 2016 Winners
The Nobel Prizes, established by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel in 1895, recognizes achievements in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. Here's a list of the 2016 Nobel Prize winners.
Nobel Peace Prize
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.
President Santos initiated the negotiations that culminated in the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, and he has consistently sought to move the peace process forward. Well knowing that the accord was controversial, he was instrumental in ensuring that Colombian voters were able to voice their opinion concerning the peace accord in a referendum. The outcome of the vote was not what President Santos wanted: a narrow majority of the over 13 million Colombians who cast their ballots said no to the accord. This result has created great uncertainty as to the future of Colombia. There is a real danger that the peace process will come to a halt and that civil war will flare up again. This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londoño, continue to respect the ceasefire.
GRULAC Film Festival -A fiesta of Latin American and Caribbean cultures
From 6 to 9 October the Open Windows Institute welcomed the Latin American and Caribbean Cultures through the exhibition of movies from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Suriname, Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Jamaica and Peru, as part of the GRULAC film Festival.
At the opening ceremony, a group of Latin American and Caribbean kids delighted the public with the interpretation of Ode to Joy directed by the Cuban Musician Wilmia Verrier and accompanied on the violin by Ambassador Roseval from Suriname who is also the GRULAC Dean.
During his opening speech Ambassador Roseval highlighted the relevance of this Festival as way to share the values and diversity of Latin American and Caribbean cultures with the people of South Africa.
Ambassador Roseval thanked the institutions, embassies and people who contributed to the festival, but especially to the children and their professor, Ms. Verrier.
German National Day celebrations in Pretoria
4 October 2016
On Friday, September 30 Ambassador Lindner and his wife Laura Susteric welcomed over 800 guests to celebrate the Day of Reunification, the German national day.
Photo: LIRA and Ambassador Lindner
The garden of the Ambassador’s residence in Waterkloof was transformed into a dance floor when South African artist LIRA entered the stage as this year's musical surprise. LIRA entertained the audience with some of her greatest hits.
To everybody’s surprise Ambassador Lindner joined the band for one her songs.
Minister of Justice Michael Masutha spoke as the guest of honor stressing the importance of South African-German cooperation in turbulent times.
South Africa and Kenya ease the conditions for doing business
11 October 2016
Pretoria - South Africa and Kenya have agreed to create an enabling environment to ease the conditions for doing business between the two countries.
President Zuma said this on Tuesday at a media briefing held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the conclusion of official discussions with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
President Zuma said discussions were fruitful and productive.
“The Tripartite Free Trade Area -- covering the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- is one of the practical initiatives taken by governments to facilitate trade and investment in the continent, consistent with our determined effort to implement the African Union Agenda 2063 and its Plan of Action.
“We welcome the signing of new bilateral agreements today. The signing of these instruments is a clear indication of our collective determination to take our relations to a higher level.
Republic of Korea National Day
Ambassador Yeon Ho Choi hosted a reception to celebrate the Republic of Korea's National Day and Armed Forces Day. He is pictured with Ms Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport of South Africa.
Children from Ramokoka, North West, performed Taekwondo and sang the national anthems of the two two countries. About 20 years ago, a Korean NGO established community development projects in Ramokoka, a remote, rural village in the North West Province. In addition to its initiatives in education and skills development, the NGO’s Taekwondo training has seen 9 children from Ramokoka selected as members of South Africa’s national Taekwondo team.
Speaking about trade Ambassador Yeon Hoi Choi said, "Despite the challenging landscape in the global economy, our countries’ two-way trade volumes totaled US$ 2.7 billion last year, as well as Korean companies’ increased involvement in South Africa’s socio-economic development."
Looking forward to 2017 Ambassador Yeon Ho Choi said, "Next year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Korea and South Africa, which will take our bilateral relations to another dimension. Building upon the experiences and outcomes achieved so far, we will spare no efforts to further strengthen the friendship and ties between our two countries."