Duarte Pacheco elected IPU President

4 November 2020

National Assembly Speaker, Thandi Modise, has congratulated Duarte Pacheco on his election as President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) – the world’s oldest and largest global parliamentary forum.

Pacheco has been a member of the Parliament of Portugal since 1991 and has played an active role in the IPU for many years.

He succeeds Gabriela Cuevas Barron, a parliamentarian from Mexico, elected IPU President in October 2017 and whose term of office as IPU President has now ended.

Parliamentarians from 140 IPU member Parliaments elected Pacheco as the IPU’s 30th President through an unprecedented virtual electronic secret ballot held across different time zones.

About 40% of voting members were women MPs and 27% were younger than 45.

Previous IPU Presidents have gone on to win Nobel Peace Prizes, including IPU founders Frédéric Passy and William Randal Cremer.

The IPU President, who must be an MP for the term in office, is the political head of the IPU, chairs its statutory meetings and represents it at global events.

Modise is attending an extraordinary virtual session of the IPU’s Governing Council with a multiparty delegation of Members of Parliament (MPs).

Modise’s delegation includes Shahidabibi Shaik from the National Council of Provinces; Thlologelo Malatji, an African National Congress member of the National Assembly and the Democratic Alliance's Michael Waters, who is a member of the National Assembly.

The South African Parliament has been a member of the IPU since democracy, and hosted the 118th IPU Assembly and Related Meetings in Cape Town in April 2008.

The biannual meetings currently bring together about 1 500 parliamentary delegates from 179 national Member Parliaments and 13 regional parliamentary bodies in a world assembly.

The meetings add a parliamentary dimension to global governance, including work of the United Nations and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The IPU, with its permanent observer status at the United Nations General Assembly, has broadened the role of parliaments in global affairs.

SAnews.gov.za

 

ES Reddy hailed as brave champion for justice

4 November 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the late anti-apartheid campaigner Enuga Sreenivasulu Reddy as a brave champion for justice with a lifelong dedication to the cause of non-racialism.

ES Reddy passed away in the US on Sunday 1 November 2020, at the age of 96.

ES Reddy was born in India in 1924 and joined the anti-apartheid struggle while a student in the 1940s.

He would go on to play a leading role on a number of multilateral platforms agitating for an end to apartheid and for the isolation of the pariah regime.

In the early 1960s he was Secretary of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid and in the late 1970s he was Director of the UN Center Against Apartheid.

Launch of the 2021 SADC Media Awards

4 November 2020

The Minister in the Presidency, Mr Jackson Mthembu, is pleased to announce the launch of the 2021 SADC Media Awards competition in the four categories namely Photo, Print, Television and Radio Journalism.

The Awards were established in 1996 following a decision by the Council of Ministers to establish a sector that deals with matters relating to, amongst others, information, culture and sport. The ceremony recognises best media work in disseminating information on SADC issues to support the process of regional co-operation and integration. The launch means that journalists from the SADC Member States are now invited to enter or submit nominations for the awards.

Help or Hindrance - How Has Aid Shaped Africa's Development?

3 November 2020

The Brenthurst Foundation speaks with former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma about the pros and cons of aid in Africa.

Ahead of releasing 'The Asian Aspiration' we sat down and discussed where Africa might have gone wrong, and how it can better place itself to socially and economically develop sustainably in the way parts of Asia have. Here we speak with former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma on what role aid played in potentially slowing down Africa's development, and how in certain circumstances it supported its growth.

200 Years of the First Argentine Flag-Raising in Malvinas

by Felipe Carlos Solá, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, Argentina

2 November 2020

November 6th 2020 marks an anniversary of great relevance in the protracted sovereignty dispute over the Question of the Malvinas Islands: on this date, two hundred years ago, David Jewett took possession of the Malvinas Islands, raising the Argentine flag in the Islands for the first time.
At the time of the May Revolution, the Malvinas Islands –which had been disputed between Spain, France and Great Britain in the 18th Century- were under the sovereignty of the Spanish authorities, which had an exclusive, effective and uninterrupted possession, unchallenged by Great Britain or any other foreign power. As Successor State of Spain, those sovereignty rights passed on to Argentina.

Connecting the Dreams of Youth and Creating a New Era for China-Africa Relationship: Young People from China and Africa Celebrating the 20th anniversary of FOCAC

 

By Sibusiso Reuben Bakana

2 November 2020

As the Autumn season was approaching its end and the world is still finding its way out from the coronavirus, young people from 42 African states, side by side with their youth friends from China were gathered from 25-31 October 2020, in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Before the Chairperson of China Soong Ching Ling Foundation Mr. Wang Jiarui, officially opened the ceremony at the China Soong Ling Science and Culture Centre for Young People, in Beijing, the Peace Angel Art Troupe a Chinese group sang Siyahamba ekukhanyeni beNkosi (in IsiZulu meaning we are marching in the light of God) in illustrating the culture to culture cooperation, one of the people to people’s mechanism.

A retrospective glance on Turkey’s strong bond with South Africa

by Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in South Africa

29 October 2020

Today, we have the honour to celebrate the 97th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey and to share this joy with our South African friends.

As the world battles with COVID-19, the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria is striving to strike a difficult balance between fully resuming our duties and respecting all rules of social distancing to keep everybody safe. Therefore, it is bittersweet for us to only celebrate our national day through virtual platforms, since this year at the height of the pandemic, we cannot risk inviting all our citizens and the friends of Turkey for a worthy celebration we have come to enjoy each year.

As the Turkish Ambassador in South Africa, I had the utmost pleasure to host the Republic Day for the fourth time in Pretoria. As I look back on this special day, I take great pride in baring witness to the unfolding of the quiet evolution of our bilateral relations with South Africa.

Czechia’s National Day Celebration

by H.E. Dr. Pavel Řezáč, Ambassador of the Czech Republic in South Africa

28 October 2020

Dear Readers, Compatriots, and Friends of the Czech Republic
Another year has passed marking already 102 years of Czech independence. Although this 28 October cannot be celebrated as it always deserves to be, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and ongoing cooperation which allows the relationship between our countries to grow from strength to strength.
Founding of Czechoslovakia, 28 October 1918, is indeed a very special day in our history as it represents the beginning of the new era of self-determination and freedom, which despite being tested by WWII and Communist domination, remain the core values of our democracy. Notwithstanding freedom may have many difficulties and democracy may not be perfect, the long walk to freedom which both our countries had to embark on, makes us appreciate and enjoy what our great statesmen such as Václav Havel and Nelson Mandela fought so hard for.
Given the global economy, every country, every household, and individual have been put through unimaginable challenges since the beginning of this year, please allow me to rather focus on positive aspects of the relationship between Czechia and South Africa.

Austria National Day 2020

26 October 2020

The normal annual celebration of Austria’s National Day on 26 October could not take place this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to South Africa addressed Austrian citizens and friends of Austria remotely.

Pictured are Dr. Johann Brieger, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to South Africa and Mrs. Roswitha Brieger

The Austrian Embassy, together with its EU partners, repatriated over 600 stranded Austrians, the biggest ever repatriation mounted by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, said Ambassador Brieger.

Bilaterally Austria and South Africa have enjoyed a fantastic year which brought record bilateral trade volumes till the beginning of the year, and Ambassador Brieger said that he is optimistic to build on that solid foundation for a rapid recovery and further expansion in the years to come.

Time Slips, Memories Fade –But Lessons of Leadership and War Remain

by Greg Mills

21 October 2020

After nearly 80 years, the veterans are few and fading. And the battle did not last long; little over a week. It was bloody by modern metrics, with 12,000 casualties over this time, but not in the context of the Second World War with its 70 million dead. Dr Greg Mills discusses Crete's efforts during the World War II and what lessons can be learnt.

It was a long time ago now. After nearly 80 years, the veterans are few and fading. And the battle did not last long; little over a week. It was bloody by modern metrics, with 12,000 casualties over this time, but not in the context of the Second World War with its 70 million dead.

In the dry sweep of history, 43,000 Allied and Greek forces, about half of whom had been evacuated from mainland Greece the previous month, were defeated by a group of 20,000 German parachutists in an airborne invasion of Crete starting on 20 May 1941. Once the airfield at Maleme to the west of the island was captured, and German reinforcements could be landed, the Allied force retreated, about 18,000 of whom were evacuated from the tiny fishing village of Sphakia to the south.

Almost 4,000 Allied troops were killed, another 2,000 Royal Navy personnel were lost, and 11,000 were captured.

European Film Festival 2020 Goes Virtual
12-22 November 2020

21 October 2020

This year’s European Film Festival goes virtual with an excellent line-up of twelve brand new films, all of which are premiere screenings in South Africa. Of these eleven films are screened free of charge and one will collect a fee towards a worthy cause.

Emphasising her support for the festival’s continuity despite the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic, EU Ambassador to South Africa, Dr Riina Kionka, said: “Twelve films in eleven days shows the determination of this European partnership to overcome difficult circumstances. Since my arrival in South Africa this is my second European Film Festival: I can tell you that it is a cultural highlight not to be missed. In addition, I invite you to participate in the various special events lined up during the Festival!”

Old Worlds and New
Invoking a moment of reflection, and the opportunity to reset our attitude to the world and our 2020 circumstances, this year’s 7th edition of the European Film Festival, is about Then and Now, with the films inscribing an arc from Old Worlds to New.

Covid-19 vaccine - SCO countries lead the way

by Adv Ajay Sooklal, Legal and Economic Diplomacy Specialist and Kirtan Bhana, The Diplomatic Society

19 October 2020

Before Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister for Health for South Africa, and his wife Dr May Mkhize tested positive for the Covid-19 corona virus, the Minister was engaging various Ambassadors and High Commissioners in Pretoria, South Africa, in a mark of solidarity during this global pandemic. As a qualified and experienced medical doctor Dr May Mkhize was also working with communities in need of support and guidance in these unprecedented circumstances.

Photo: (l-r) Advocate Ajay Sooklal, Mr Kanat Tumysh, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Health for South Africa and Mr Chua Thai Keong, High Commissioner of Singapore. Ambassador Tumysh hosted Minister Zweli Mkhize at his residence in Pretoria.

As Minister Mkhize and his wife recovers at home, he sends heartfelt gratitude for all the well wishes from the diplomatic community. He urges all to continue practicing safe and healthy behaviour.

SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) members Kazakhstan, Russia, China and India have taken the lead in developing a vaccine. In Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Healthcare are carrying out clinical trials of QazCovid-in vaccine. The Kazakh Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems (RIBSP), developers of the vaccine, first tested it on themselves.

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