Press Releases

Press Releases

EUROPEAN UNION – SOUTH AFRICA SUMMIT JOINT STATEMENT, BRUSSELS, 15 NOVEMBER, 2018

  

Mr. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, met in Brussels today for the 7th Summit between the European Union (EU) and South Africa, and noting that the last Summit took place in 2013, issued the following statement:

1. We, the leaders of the European Union and South Africa, reaffirm the importance of our Strategic Partnership based on shared principles, equality and interests. We note that our meeting takes place 100 years after the birth of Nelson Mandela and is an opportunity to build on his unique legacy.

Multilateral Cooperation

2. We recommit to working together to support multilateralism, democracy and the rules-based global order, in particular at the United Nations and global trade fora, to jointly promote development, security and human rights for all. South Africa’s upcoming term as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council in 2019-2020 presents an opportunity to enhance cooperation on peace and security. As part of our commitment to stronger global governance, we support the process of UN reform, including efforts on the comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council and the revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly. We agree that enhanced cooperation will be vital in multilateral fora addressing global challenges and crisis situations. We agree to coordinate positions, where feasible, in view of the upcoming G20 Summit in Argentina.

3. We are determined to promote free, fair and inclusive trade and the rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) being at its core, and serving the interest of all its members. We are deeply concerned about the systemic impact of protectionist measures that are incompatible with WTO rules and that put the multilateral trading system at risk. We commit to work together to address the root causes of the challenges faced by the multilateral trading system through strengthening the WTO with the aim of improving its effectiveness and functioning as well as overcoming the present difficulties regarding the effective functioning of the Appellate Body of the dispute settlement mechanism. 

We also commit to engage in discussions at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) on investor-state dispute settlement reform, while further engaging in discussions in other relevant fora on provisions in investment treaties especially on how to facilitate and promote more investment towards sustainable development.

4.We welcome Iran’s continued commitment to the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, as confirmed by the IAEA in thirteen reports, and in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. We call on the remaining parties to the JCPOA to continue to honour their commitments under the Agreement. We recall that the JCPOA, which is working and delivering on its goal, is a key element of the global non-proliferation architecture and a significant diplomatic achievement endorsed unanimously by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2231. We stress the importance of the preservation and continued, full and effective implementation of all aspects of the JCPOA, which includes sanctions lifting and the consequences arising from it, in the interest of regional and international peace and security. We call upon Iran to play a constructive role in the region and to refrain from any activities which are inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

5. We share concerns about the erosion of the global norm against the production, use and stockpiling of chemical weapons. We fully support the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in strengthening implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention.

6. We express our joint commitment to ensuring a successful outcome for COP 24, including the Paris Agreement Work Programme and the mandated high level events, in pursuit of the objective of the United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We have taken note of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report, which unequivocally confirmed the negative impacts of climate change and indicated that global emission reductions in all sectors are crucial and that further action is needed in mitigation and adaptation, notably to reach the temperature goal as set out in the Paris Agreement.

7. We commit to strengthening cooperation on migration, which requires a comprehensive international response, including to address the root causes of irregular migration. We note that safe, orderly and regular migration can contribute positively to growth and sustainable development in countries of origin, transit and destination. We take note of the discussions at the United Nations level on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Compact on Refugees, which can contribute to strengthening the international response to migration flows and refugee situations.

8. We agree to strengthen cooperation at the United Nations Human Rights Council and other multilateral fora and to continue to engage on human rights issues in the framework of the South Africa-European Union Structured Dialogue Forum on Human Rights, especially as regards the respect for, the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms in multilateral fora, supporting the moratorium on death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition, ensuring the full implementation of all human rights of all women and girls as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality, eliminating all forms of gender-based violence, protecting the rights of the child, advancing the rights of people with disabilities, as well as preventing and punishing the crime of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity in compliance with the international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We confirm our commitment in particular to the full and effective implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and the outcomes of their review conferences.

9.We underline the importance of reinforcing global and regional natural resources governance, including tackling illegal exploitation, in order to promote sustainable development, especially in relation to minerals and wildlife. We will take forward our joint work in the Kimberley Process, as well as in the context of CITES, and in particular its 18th Conference of the Parties in May-June 2019. We agree to step up cooperation on ocean governance building on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and follow-up to the 2018 Our Ocean Conference.

Bilateral Cooperation

10. Over the past years the EU and South Africa have deepened cooperation through twenty policy dialogues in areas such as climate change, natural resources, science and technology, research and innovation, employment, education and training including digital skills, health, energy, macro-economic policies, human rights and peace and security. We welcome the revival of the South Africa-EU Forum on Environment, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Water. In this regard we agree to further cooperate in the areas identified in the Terms of Reference of the dialogue, which include bio-diversity, circular economy and water resources management issues among others, also involving our private sector operators.

11.We acknowledge the strengthening of science and technology cooperation through new strategic focus areas of cooperation, including in the marine, bioeconomy and nanotechnology sectors, while opening-up to more innovation oriented activities. This has been facilitated through several scientific exchanges as well as the signing of the Belém Statement on Atlantic Research and Innovation Cooperation; the joining of the International Bioeconomy Forum as well as through the upcoming signing of the Collaboration Arrangement with the Joint Research Centre. The area of research infrastructures remains a key area for continued cooperation. We look forward to stepping up collaboration in key areas such as open science, big data platforms, digital and Information and Communications Technology, as well as sectors linked to Industry 4.0. These are important for our joint efforts towards innovation as well as growing the necessary jobs and skills base. We welcome and support initiatives in the science and research domains that are of benefit to Africa, including the European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

12.We reaffirm our commitment to enhance cooperation towards addressing challenges of inequality and poverty, to achieving gender equality and our shared interest in fostering investments notably towards sustainable development, decent jobs, especially for young people and using a gender-sensitive approach. Our partnership should contribute to South Africa’s socio-economic transformation agenda in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union's Agenda 2063.

13. Since South Africa's first democratic elections in 1994 and the signing of the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) in 1999, the EU has supported comprehensive development assistance programmes with a total contribution to South Africa amounting to €3 billion. We agree to work towards the consolidation of gains achieved and continue to support good governance and democracy, innovation, exchange of expertise and best practices. New strategies and tools for cooperation and the use of innovative instruments such as blending and guarantees will also be considered to diversify our cooperation and enhance its effectiveness. The EU and South Africa will, amongst others, explore the opportunities provided by the EU External Investment Plan under its three pillars.

14. Recognizing the EU as a significant and long term investor in South Africa, we commit to exploring all of the opportunities for investment, technical assistance including project preparation, and the improvement of business and investment climates to promote sustainable development. Acknowledging South Africa’s successful hosting of the Job Summit and Investment Conference in October 2018 that showcased new opportunities for investment in South Africa, as reflected in the Case for Investing in South Africa, and policy initiatives that are helping to create an investment-friendly environment, we agree to strengthen cooperation on investment in support of economic development, infrastructure, industrialisation, skills development, small business development and entrepreneurship in accordance with the priorities identified in South Africa’s socio-economic agenda. We support the digital transformation of the economy in an inclusive manner by supporting digital innovation, digital infrastructure, the information society, and by fostering digital skills for all, in order to boost overall productivity, social inclusion, living standards and an efficient use of natural resources.

15.We agree that attracting direct investment will contribute to support growth and fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa. Therefore we are committed to enhancing bilateral investments by improving skills for employability, and by ensuring a conducive and value-based business environment, within transparent and predictable policy and regulatory frameworks, and with the aim to ensure accountability and competitive practices. To this end, we agree to establish, where appropriate, an ad hoc multi-stakeholder dialogue on investment, with the aim of deepening strategic cooperation in key sectors.

16. We exchanged views on land reform and the Constitutional process in South Africa and how to maintain investor confidence, promote agricultural production, improve food security and reduce poverty, as key components of our partnership.

17.We reiterate our commitment to respecting the WTO Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures and on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). In order to find mutually acceptable solutions to impediments to trade in agriculture, agri-food and manufactured goods, we agree to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation on TBT and SPS issues, including regionalization concerns of both the EU and South Africa.

18.We welcome the conclusion and provisional implementation in 2016 of the EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) - Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which has created the foundation for a new and mutually beneficial economic relationship between the EU, South Africa and the other partners of the EU-SADC EPA. We underline the benefits of the full and effective implementation of the EU-SADC EPA, including with regard to expanded and enhanced protection of Geographical Indications (GIs) as provided for in the EU-SADC EPA. The implementation of the EU-SADC-EPA in line with the development-orientated focus of the Agreement can make a significant contribution to reinforcing mutually beneficial and inclusive trade and to enhancing regional integration.

19. We also commit to work towards a prompt resolution of trade impediments – including the agriculture and agri-food sector – affecting smooth trade flows, where relevant, bilaterally and/or with other SADC EPA Member States in the framework of the EU-SADC EPA.

Regional Cooperation

20. We confirm our commitment to a stronger and sustainable partnership between the African Union and the EU and agree to the full implementation of the outcomes of the 5th AU-EU Summit in 2017, and to continue to support and solidify the gains made by the African Union's Agenda 2063, its First Ten Year Implementation Plan and the various African Flagship Programmes. We welcome the new Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs put forward by the European Commission.

21.We confirm our common resolve to reform the future relationship between the EU and the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. We look forward to the successful conclusion of negotiations for a post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement that will contribute towards the attainment of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.

22. We welcomed each other’s role in fostering peace and security in our respective regions and noted South Africa’s important regional and continental role in peace and security.

23. We agree to identify possible areas for cooperation on Security and Defence and related matters. We further agree to explore opportunities to enhance our cooperation in peace and security, conflict prevention and in mediation, including through exchanging best practices and lessons learned from our respective engagements, and to identify opportunities for concrete operational cooperation, dedicating special attention to advancing the global Women, Peace and Security agenda, especially in promoting meaningful participation and leadership of women in peace processes.

 

 

ATHOL FUGARD PLAY DEBUTS AT RECREIOS DA AMADORA

Portuguese theatre group TEATRO DOS ALOÉS will debut the  play "Sorrows and Rejoicings" by South African playwright Athol Fugard on 21 November at the Recreios da Amadora theatre.  

In "Sorrows and Rejoicings" Athol Fugard' explores how the recent history of South Africa has devastated the lives of its people. Dawid, its central character, is an Afrikaner poet and anti-apartheid activist who has gone into exile with his white wife, leaving his former black servant and mistress – the mother of his only child – behind.  He comes home to the new, post-apartheid South Africa after he has been diagnosed with terminal leukemia. However, we only meet Dawid in flashbacks as the play begins shortly after his funeral, when his wife and his mistress return to his house to talk over old times.  See how to book tickets below:

                                              

Tristezas e Alegrias de Athol Fugard
Recreios da Amadora
  
21 de Novembro a 2 de Dezembro 
(quarta a sábado às 21h30/domingo às 16h00)

Sinopse: Duas mulheres encontram-se numa velha casa de uma pequena aldeia do Karoo depois do funeral de David, o homem que ambas amaram. Uma é a sua esposa. A outra é mãe da sua filha. David, que fora levado ao exílio por causa do seu activismo político contra o apartheid, reaparece nas memórias das mulheres como que registadas a ferro. Durante uma tarde de verdade e reconciliação, os pactos de amor são dolorosamente marcados. O novo confronta-se com o velho e o que é a esperança para estas pessoas é a esperança para uma nova África do Sul. Feita de monólogos, memórias e desabafos que saltam do presente para o passado e que por vezes são só reflexões, produzem um teatro de uma convenção menos comum entre nós e que nos tocou profundamente e constitui um desafio para a cena e uma dádiva útil e emocionada para a sala.

Ficha artística: Texto: Athol Fugard; Tradução: Graça Margarido e Mick Greer; Encenação. José Peixoto; Interpretação: Ana Valentim; Elsa Valentim, Jorge Silva e Laurinda Chiungue; Cenografia: José  Manuel  Castanheira; Figurinos: Maria Luiz; Desenho de Luz: Tasso Adamopoulos; Música: Miguel Tapadas; Fotografia: José Frade; Operação Técnica: Nuno Figueira; Design Gráfico: Rui A. Pereira; Produção Executiva: Daniela Sampaio; Produção: Teatro dos Aloés. 

SOUTH AFRICA INVESTMENT CONFERENCE - STATEMENT AND ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA

MEDIA STATEMENT

26 OCTOBER 2018

STATEMENT ON THE OUTCOMES OF THE INAUGURAL SOUTH AFRICA INVESTMENT CONFERENCE

(see President Cyril Ramaphosa's opening address below)



President Cyril Ramaphosa has hailed the success of the inaugural South Africa Investment Conference - which has generated announcements of investment of R290 billion - as the beginning of a new narrative on investment in South Africa.

In his closing statement to the conference in Sandton, Johannesburg, President Ramaphosa said the breadth of case studies presented on the performance of current investments and the range of announcements relating to new and expanded investments affirmed that South Africa was a diversified economy that presented great opportunities.

The conference heard investment announcements from companies in mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, financial services, energy, ICT and water.

Prominent among these were the themes of value addition, beneficiation, innovation and entrepreneurship.

President Ramaphosa has also expressed his satisfaction that most of the investments announced during the conference have originated from South African enterprises and entities or multinationals based in the country. This reflected renewed investor confidence in and commitment to South Africa after a period of uncertainty and a slowdown in investment.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee which hosted the South Africa Investment Conference also commended the conference for setting South Africa on a path of economic renewal and inclusive growth.

The conference was an opportunity for both domestic and international investors to identify opportunities in the country.

The South Africa Investment Conference was convened under the theme: “Accelerating Economic Growth by Building Partnerships”, and was attended by leaders in government and business, members of the diplomatic corps, fund managers and entrepreneurs.

The IMC has expressed government’s deep appreciation for the spirit and focus with which investors responded to government’s invitation to the private sector to help the country achieve investment of $100 billion over the next five years.

“We are humbled and inspired by the significant investment pledges that have been made by South African and international investors who consider themselves as partners in our economic renewal and in the development of our society.  Government will work with all sectors of society to ensure that we repay the confidence expressed in our economy by supporting these investments with our talents, energy and productivity.  We are poised for exciting new possibilities in our economy that will unlock opportunities for citizens, communities and businesses, and which will raise the living standards of large numbers of South Africans who have historically been marginalised from meaningful economic participation".

The announced total of R290 billion in new investments complements the more than US$ 28 billion in investment pledges that have resulted from engagements between the President and the President’s Investment Envoys in recent months.

The South African Investment Conference is part of government’s broad and targeted strategy of stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. The three catalysts driving the broader strategy in the immediate term are the Economic Stimulus and Recovery Plan, the Jobs Summit and the Investment Conference.

President Ramaphosa will tomorrow, Saturday 27 October 2018, lead conference delegates on a walk in Soweto to showcase the diversity and vibrancy of township economies and enable interaction between investors and the communities who will support and benefit from the anticipated investments.

Enquiries: Khusela Diko, Spokesperson on 072 854 5707

Issued by the Presidency

Pretoria

Opening Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South Africa Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg

26 October 2018

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you all to this inaugural investment conference.

We are pleased and humbled that you have responded to the call by the government and the people of South Africa to participate in this conference and thus be part of a new dawn in our country.

As representatives of the domestic and international investment community, as representatives of business organisations and international financial institutions, by your presence here, you have chosen to walk with us along the path of growth, employment and shared prosperity.

Like us, you believe that South Africa is a land of opportunity – a land where the soil is rich and the oceans teem with life, where the beautiful vistas of our country are spectacular and its diverse people are vibrant and resilient.

For you know that its people are its great wealth.

Like us, you believe that there is vast potential in South Africa; and that it has enormous potential that has been constrained for decades by narrow prejudice and debilitating human neglect.

Together with us, you celebrated the miracle of our peaceful transition to democracy.

You were there when we began to rebuild our economy and fundamentally change the fortunes of our people.

You witnessed both our achievements and our missteps.

You supported us and wanted us to succeed as you wished us well.

And when we stumbled, you looked on with concern and disillusionment when it seemed that we may squander the remarkable inheritance of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Yet, throughout these difficulties, you have retained an abiding interest as both domestic and international business in the fortunes of this country.

We know that, like the people of South Africa, you have harboured a profound hope that we will prevail.

This inaugural South Africa Investment Conference is therefore an expression of a shared hope and a renewed confidence.

It is a bold and unequivocal statement that we are determined to put behind us the period of uncertainty and discord and embrace a future of cooperation and partnership.

We are here to declare that we are determined to build a country that is driven by enterprise and innovation, to develop an economy that is diverse and resilient and prosperous, and to create companies that achieve sustained returns not only for their shareholders, but also for the workers that drive them and the communities that support them.

We are country that is rich in ways that we often do not appreciate.

There are few places in the world that have the abundance of minerals that lie beneath the ground on which we now stand, that have the soil to sustain such a diversity of plants, crops, livestock and game, where the sun shines nearly all year around and where the golden beaches stretch on forever.

We have an incredible natural inheritance, whose economic and social value we have not yet even begun to effectively explore.

Our political and social inheritance, by contrast, is deeply contradictory.

Through decades of deliberate underdevelopment, the majority of South Africans were dispossessed of their land, assets and livelihoods, and denied the education and the skills that make meaningful participation in the economic life of the country possible.

The devastating effects of this manifest injustice still define our society and severely constrain our economic development.

The continued exclusion of millions of South Africans – particularly as it relates to skills and to ownership of assets – is the single greatest impediment to the growth of our economy and the development of our society.

It explains the persistence of poverty, unemployment and inequality nearly 25 years into our democracy.

It is for this reason that we have placed economic growth and job creation at the centre of our national agenda.

It is for this reason too that we have prioritised the education of our children and the skilling of our workforce, and it is for this reason that we are accelerating the provision of land and other assets to the poor and marginalised.

And it is for this reason that in April this year we launched an ambitious and, in the history of our country, unprecedented, drive to raise at least $100 billion in new investment over five years.

We did so understanding that no meaningful growth and no significant job creation would be possible without a massive surge in productive investment in the economy.

Over the last half year, as we have prepared for this Investment Conference, our four Presidential investment envoys – Phumzile Langeni, Jacko Maree, Mcebisi Jonas and Trevor Manuel – have travelled across the country and around the globe to meet potential investors.

Invest SA, our award-winning investment promotion and facilitation agency, has compiled an investment book of projects that represent great potential.

Today, a number of local and international companies will make announcements on investments to expand existing operations in the country or establish new ones.

In addition to the announcements that will be made at this conference we have received investment pledges from a number of countries.

We have appointed task teams to work with these countries to convert these pledges into investments.

We have emphasised the need for more South African companies to lead the investment charge, demonstrating that they have confidence in this economy and in its ability to deliver decent and reliable returns.

In furtherance of this, I call upon South African companies to engage with our investment envoys on their investment plans, including capital expenditure programmes, so that we can have a better idea as a nation what the future portends for our country on the economic growth landscape.

This conference takes place in the wake of a number of decisive measures we have embarked upon in the last few months to improve the investment environment.

Following thoroughgoing consultations with various role players in our economy, we have been addressing issues of policy uncertainty and regulatory obstacles that have impeded investments in a number of industries.

We have been working with the World Bank to improve the ease of doing business in South Africa and crafting a new FDI strategy for the country.

Invest SA is intensifying its facilitation and aftercare service in terms of international best practice.

Together we are working to fast track investment projects and reduce red tape.

As part of the decisive measures that we have had to take, we have had to confront challenges in some of our largest and most strategic state owned enterprises, which have experienced years of poor governance, a decline in financial and operational performance and corruption.

Given the crucial role of these state owned enterprises in the economy, as providers of critical infrastructure and bulk services, it is essential that they be restored as engines of growth and development.

We have replaced the leadership in several state owned enterprises, ensuring that we have people with experience, integrity and the relevant skills who are now leading the development and implementation of sustainable business models.

As a country, we have also had to confront the bitter reality that several public entities have been severely affected by corruption and the phenomenon of state capture.

One of the urgent measures we have had to take is to end such corruption and hold those responsible to account.

We have established a commission of inquiry into state capture that has begun a thorough and far reaching investigation into these practices.

We have also established commission of inquiry into the South African Revenue Service and the Public Investment Corporation, institutions that are both vital to the effective functioning of our economy.

We are certain that these commissions will not only unearth all instances of malfeasance and governance failures, but will help to restore the integrity, credibility and effectiveness of these entities.

As we put in place the pillars of sustained growth into the future, we are working to address immediate concerns, specifically the effects of two quarters of negative economic growth.

Last month, government announced an economic stimulus and recovery plan that aims to restore growth, save existing jobs and create new ones.

As part of this plan, we are taking immediate steps to finalise reforms in key sectors like mining, oil and gas, tourism and telecommunications – all of which are sectors that have great potential for growth, but which have been constrained by policy uncertainty.

The revised Mining Charter has been finalised.

This is the outcome of extensive and meaningful consultation between government, community, labour and business and represents evidence of our commitment to solving the challenges in the sector collaboratively.

Government has decided to draft separate legislation for the oil and gas industry, settling a long-standing dispute that will provide direction and certainty to an industry with great potential.

Through the publication of a new Integrated Resource Plan for public comment, we have provided detail on the country’s future energy requirements.

Government also signed off a number of outstanding renewal energy supply agreements, bringing significant further investment into a growing sector of our economy.

We have finalised consultations with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to ensure allocation of spectrum reduces barriers to entry, promotes competition and reduces costs to consumers.

Our independent communications regulator is now preparing to licence available high demand spectrum.

We have initiated a review of our visa regime to facilitate greater arrivals of tourists, highly skilled individuals, business people and investors.

We are reprioritising our budget – within the existing fiscal framework – to invest more in those activities that will boost growth, including agriculture, township and rural businesses, and infrastructure.

We do so in a severely restricted fiscal environment.

As the Minister of Finance indicated when presenting his medium-term budget policy statement earlier in the week, we are determined to ensure public spending remains within sustainable levels – and that we generate greater revenue by pursuing growth with a single-minded determination.

We see infrastructure investment as a critical enabler of growth and job creation, and are therefore consolidating government infrastructure spending into a single Infrastructure Fund.

We intend to use that Fund to leverage investments from development finance institutions, multilateral development banks, asset managers and commercial banks.

A dedicated team will oversee the implementation of an extensive infrastructure programme covering areas like water, transport, energy, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

Despite the challenges of the present, our economy has several fundamental strengths that makes it a suitable destination for investment.

South Africa has established a diversified manufacturing base that has shown its resilience and potential to compete in the global economy.

Yesterday I had occasion to open the R1 billion Gibela passenger train manufacturing factory in this province.

The investment is a collaboration between Alstom from France and a local consortium made up of black businesses and the community.

The factory employs 800 workers, of which half are women.

We applaud this investment as it confirms South Africa’s manufacturing capability.

Multinationals with a presence in South Africa cite numerous advantages, from excellent financial systems to world-class infrastructure.

South Africa is a regional manufacturing and services hub on the African continent, and, for many companies, serves as a base to export products globally.

We have done much work in recent years to improve investment incentives, establishing, for example, several special economic zones across the country, each having unique offerings for investors.

These include ready infrastructure for business development, reduced costs for key inputs such as land, water and electricity, and reduced corporate tax rates.

We are determined that our economic policy must facilitate inclusive growth.

Given our country’s history of dispossession, and the continued economic exclusion of millions of our people, we have a responsibility to bring all our people into the economic mainstream.

Earlier this month, we convened a Presidential Jobs Summit, which brought together government, business, labour and the community sector to determine a set of practical, achievable interventions that would increase the pace of job creation.

The Jobs Summit agreed on more than 70 focused interventions that will, among other things, boost domestic demand, increase and broaden exports, create pathways for young people into work and develop sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the waste economy.

In addition, we are intensifying work to build a robust and effective education and skills development system that equips our youth for the workplace of tomorrow.

It is important to note that seven of South Africa’s universities are in top 500 in the world.

There are nearly a million students in higher education, and there has been a marked increase in science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates.

We have implemented policies to promote black economic empowerment, to provide black people, women and people with disability with the assets and opportunities they need to participate more meaningfully in economic activity.

Another area that is critical to economic transformation is land reform, which is currently a focus of intense debate across South African society.

There is general agreement among most South Africans that we need to accelerate land reform not only to redress a historical injustice, but also to effectively unlock the economic potential of the country’s land.

We have appointed an Advisory Panel on Land Reform, which comprises people with extensive experience in farming, policy development, academia and law.

The panel will advise government on the implementation of a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security.

We are committed, as government to pursue a comprehensive approach to land and agrarian reform that ensures transformation, development and stability, while providing certainty to those who own land, to those who need land and to those who are considering investing in the economy.

Our approach reaffirms the constitutional protection of property rights, which, among other things, prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of property.

Together with robust legislation to protect foreign investments, an independent judiciary and the firm rule of law, our Constitution should allay any fears that investors may have of factories being expropriated.

South Africa’s strategic position at the tip of Africa, makes it a key investment location, both for opportunities that lie within its borders and as a gateway to the rest of the region.

Earlier this year, African heads of state agreed to the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area that will provide access to a market of more than 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion.

This will fundamentally transform the economies of many African countries and will further enhance the attractiveness of South Africa – with its diverse manufacturing base, advanced infrastructure and sophisticated financial sector – as a compelling investment destination.

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As South Africa emerges from a period of great difficulty and uncertainty, as it confronts challenges that are immense – but not insurmountable – we can declare with confidence that South Africa is a land of untold opportunity.

It is a land that has known the pain of division and conflict and deprivation.

But, equally, it has experienced the exhilaration of liberation and knows very well the value of partnership and collaboration.

It is therefore our great pleasure to invite you to become our partners in realising the great possibilities that this country has to offer.

We invite you to invest in our mines and factories, farms and game parks, call centres and technology hubs, refineries and solar farms.

We invite you to invest in our people, to harness their energy and unleash their latent capabilities.

We invite you to become valued partners in realising the vision – and sharing the benefits – of a new era of renewal, an era of discovery, an era of prosperity and progress and promise.

I thank you.

Issued by the Presidency

 

 

President Ramaphosa addresses South African Heads of Mission Conference

23 Oct 2018

Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South African Heads of Mission Conference, OR Tambo Building, Tshwane

Programme Director,

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu

Deputy Ministers, Mr Lluwelyn Landers and Ms Reginah Mhaule,

Members of the Portfolio and Select Committees,

Director-General,

Members of the Ministerial Review Panel,

Your Excellencies,

Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 
It is a great pleasure to join you at this biennial gathering that brings together our country’s global envoys to assess our progress in advancing our country’s interests on the continent and around the world.

We strive to advance our national interest in a global landscape that is in a constant state of flux, where political, social and economic forces beyond our control have a direct bearing on our efforts.

Like any other country, South Africa is not immune to tremors in the global economy or to shifts in geo-politics.

In the midst of global uncertainty, we are fortunate to have at the helm of our diplomatic service an experienced and capable corps of people who can be relied upon to steadfastly promote our progressive international agenda.

In all our efforts, we are guided by the National Development Plan 2030, which provides a roadmap for unleashing the energies of our citizens, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities and enhancing the ability of the state.

At the same time, we wholly identify with the aspirations of Agenda 2063 of the African Union and its vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena”.

South Africa and its fortunes are inextricably linked to those of the continent. 
In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, Inkosi Albert Luthuli said:
“I accept this also as an honour not only to South Africa, but for the whole continent of Africa, to this continent, Mother Africa!”

It was the people of Africa who extended the hand of friendship and solidarity to us during the dark days of apartheid, and today it is African countries who are our valued allies and trade partners.

When Africa falters, South Africa falters. And when Africa prospers, South Africa prospers.
 
We are guided by the words of Kwame Nkrumah, who said:

“Divided we are weak, united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”

This year marks the centenaries of two titans of the liberation struggle, Tata Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu.

As we reflect on their respective legacies, we are ever mindful of the sacrifices they and many others made for our liberation.

We carry a weighty responsibility to ensure that their sacrifices were not in vain, and to realise their vision of a South Africa free from discrimination, inequality and want.
 
Although we have registered notable progress in the 24 years since democracy, we still grapple with the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

To address these challenges, government is on an ambitious drive to grow our economy, anchored in cooperation between government, business, labour and civil society.
 
We want to get our economy going following a period of stagnant growth.

We want to regain public and investor trust, and thereby unlock private capital and promote investment.

Above all, we want to see our people secure dignified, meaningful employment to ensure that all South Africans benefit from economic growth.

In just two days from now, we will open the South Africa Investment Conference in Johannesburg, a critical intervention to showcase opportunities for both domestic and foreign investors.
 
The conference is an integral part of government’s ambitious drive to raise $100 billion in new investment over 5 years, stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

The Conference will discuss opportunities in sectors like agriculture, minerals, manufacturing, transportation, energy, water, ICT, tourism and film.

This Heads of Mission Conference therefore takes place at an important moment, for it is you, our diplomats, who must play a pivotal role in driving the message that South Africa is open for business.

It is our missions abroad that are leading our economic diplomacy, that need to ensure that the outcomes of the conference are conveyed around the world, and that are responsible for assisting the expansion of trade and investment links with partner countries.
 
The Investment Conference follows the successful Jobs Summit held earlier this month, where more than 70 interventions were identified to protect existing jobs and create new ones.
 
The framework agreement adopted by social partners at the Summit focuses on empowering women and the youth, stimulating demand in the local economy, and expanding our export capacity.

The Summit agreed that the ‘Buy South Africa’ should be significantly upscaled and that we should take advantage of new opportunities in Africa through regional and continental integration.

As part of our investment-friendly approach, we are focusing on addressing structural weaknesses in the economy, rebuilding investor confidence, restoring good governance in public institutions and creating a supportive environment for those who want to invest and those who have invested already.

South Africa’s advanced infrastructure has long been one of the country’s strongest attractions for investors.

As part of the work that we must undertake now to stimulate growth and create employment, we are consolidating our R400 billion MTEF infrastructure budget into an Infrastructure Fund.

This will be used to address infrastructure gaps in areas such as roads, water infrastructure, schools, human settlements and public transport.

Additional resources from development finance institutions, multilateral development banks and private lenders and investors will also be leveraged through this fund.
 
Over the past few months, we have already achieved a number of milestones in our quest for improved investment, resulting in renewed levels of business confidence.
 
For example, we have initiated changes to our visa regime to attract more skilled workers and tourists.

Processes to restore confidence in our institutions and organisations of governance are underway.
 
We are investigating and prosecuting cases of corruption.

The governance and management of key state owned enterprises is being overhauled to ensure they are held accountable to fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.
 
Our ability to generate foreign investment in our country depends in large measure on the image of our country abroad, which is one of the core responsibilities of our diplomats.
 
We must acknowledge that there are some negative perceptions about South Africa, its government and its economy that we need to work to correct.

It is important that we should not overlook the challenges we have, nor deny that we are emerging from a period of difficulty.

But it is clear that our democracy is resilient, that we are making progress in addressing the immediate challenges we face, and that we are establishing a foundation for lasting growth and fundamental transformation.

We should locate the South African narrative within the context of a continent that is on the rise.

It is estimated that over the next 20 years the working population of Africa will increase to more than a billion.

Ours is a young, active and increasingly connected continent.

With favourable demographics, high productivity potential and ideal positioning as a springboard into the rest of Africa, our country is an attractive destination for growth-seeking investors.

Ranked 61 out of 147 in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report and as the continent’s second biggest economy, South Africa offers investors the stability of a well-regulated and developed country, an effective legal environment, cost competitiveness and reliable infrastructure.

Our banking system is solid, well capitalised, well-regulated and internationally respected.
 
There is no doubt that we have a very solid base to work from.

Your Excellencies,

The advent of globalisation heralded a new future that is highly connected and interdependent.
 
This means that there are a vast set of issues – from climate change to cross-border crime – that cannot be address by individual countries acting alone.

It is only through collective effort, supported by multilateral institutions like the United Nations, that we have been able to address some of our world’s most complex challenges.
 
As we witness the rise of extreme nationalism in some parts of the world, and neo-isolationism takes root in others, it is clear that the need for an effective, rules-based multilateral system is greater than ever.

The very essence of the UN Charter is respect for international law and the principles of international justice as we seek, as a global collective, to live in harmony, maintain international peace and security and respect the human rights of all.

Good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law is also among the aspirations of Agenda 2063.

If we are to safeguard our security and prosperity, if we are to silence the guns in Africa, we have to work to consolidate rather than erode the international rule of law.

It is international law that informs the exercise and limits of the use of state power, and that enforces cooperation over conflict, and collaboration over confrontation.

The challenge before us is to transform global politics from a power-based hierarchy to a rules-based international system where each country can advance and protect its national interest without provoking animosity.

The centrality of the UN to South Africa’s foreign engagement is based both on a strong belief in collective and equitable global governance, but also because of the UN’s role in the fight against apartheid.

South Africa enthusiastically embraces its responsibilities as an active member of the UN.
 
This is particularly the case as South Africa prepares to enter the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member from 2019.

Our election provides us with an opportunity to align the work of the UN with that of the AU and to promote the positions we have adopted when we campaigned for this non-permanent seat, including the priorities of Agenda 2063.

South Africa’s third term on the UN Security Council should build on President Nelson Mandela’s legacy of working towards a peaceful, just and prosperous world.

We must honour his legacy by serving as a bridge builder, bringing together divergent perspectives and seeking peaceful resolution of any conflict.

We must continue to campaign for the reform of the Security Council.

The current formation is antiquated, unrepresentative and prejudicial to developing and smaller states.

The Security Council remains the primary international organ mandated to promote international peace and security.

It is essential that it remains true to its mandate and moves beyond the paralysis brought on by the geo-political interests of a few member states.

The only way this can happen is if world leaders, including those who represent the Permanent Members of the Security Council, are bold and courageous and commit to enlarging the Security Council urgently.

Failure to do so will encourage states to start acting unilaterally, with disastrous consequences for all.

As South Africa, we need to pay particular attention to the intersection of the work of the UN Security Council and that of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
 
We should encourage greater cooperation and collaboration to ensure a common approach to ending conflict on the continent.

We will need to continue to be engaged with the ongoing challenges in Lesotho, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic, Mali and Libya.

The African Union has established and consolidated a comprehensive peace and security architecture.

The architecture is based on a paradigm that recognises preventive diplomacy as central to eradicating conflicts on our Continent.

We will use our term in the UN Security Council to highlight and advance the cause of the Palestinian and Saharawi peoples.

Peace and security in Africa is inextricably linked to its economic and social development.
 
The most effective way to ensure lasting stability is to achieve economic growth that benefits all of Africa’s people.

At the same time, peace and stability is a necessary condition for faster and more inclusive growth.

South Africa played an active role in remodelling the OAU into the African Union, specifically with the aim of strengthening Africa’s ability to resolve conflict.

We will continue to support the institutional reforms of the AU to ensure that it retains its agility in an ever-changing and complex world.

We are resolute that such reforms should conform to the AU Constitutive Act and not betray the Pan African philosophy of the founding leaders.

Your Excellencies,

On the multilateral level, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the G20 being held at summit level.

The meeting this year takes place in the context of uncertainty, increased unilateralism and protectionism by some G20 Members.

South Africa will continue to use its membership of the G20 to promote inclusive growth and development and support the Argentinian Presidency in their efforts towards consensus building and fair and sustainable development.

I will be departing for Berlin later this week where I will participate in the G20 Africa Conference, hosted by Chancellor Merkel, where we will reflect on the G20 Africa Partnership, inclusive of the Compact with Africa that seeks to enhance private sector investment in Africa’s infrastructure.

Earlier this year we successfully hosted the BRICS countries, establishing the foundation for a decade of greater cooperation, development and progress.

In addition to reaffirming our shared commitment to multilateralism and the interests of the countries of the global South, we developed an ambitious agenda for cooperation on the 4th Industrial Revolution and the opportunities provided by rapid advances in technology.
 
We are also taking the FOCAC grouping towards a strategic partnership, in which China will be a significant partner in developing African infrastructure and promoting regional integration.
 
South Africa will also be Chairing the Indian Ocean Rim Association, which we view as the pre-eminent regional organisation linking Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australasia.
 
We will focus on uniting the diverse countries that constitute the association behind an agenda of peace, stability and sustainable development.

Your Excellencies,

We exist in an ever-changing and complex global environment.

As a country, as a brand, as a trade partner and as an investment destination, South Africa has what it takes to compete on the world stage.

It is up to us to make sure we take full advantage of the opportunities that exist for the benefit of all our people.

We have emerged from a difficult decade, which has dampened confidence and slowed our progress.

As we undertake the critical task of renewal and rebuilding, we draw strength from the knowledge that we stand on the shoulders of giants like Tata Mandela and Mama Sisulu.
 
Their examples have shown us that we can triumph over adversity.

They taught us that the race will never be won until all South Africans are able to lead lives of dignity, in peace and in prosperity.

Their lives provide ample evidence of the limitless potential of the human spirit to persevere and to prevail.

Working together as South Africans – and in concert with partners across the globe – we can be certain that we will indeed build a better Africa and a better world.
 
I thank you.

 

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA CONCLUDES FIRST UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY VISIT

President Cyril Ramaphosa has concluded his working visit to the United States where he participated for the first time in the  General Debate of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA73), under the theme: “Making the United Nations relevant to all people: global leadership and shared responsibilities for peaceful equitable and sustainable societies”.

The President’s programme commenced with the unveiling of a life-size statue of the late struggle icon and first democratically elected president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at the United Nations Headquarters.

Addressing the occasion, President Ramaphosa said the statue would remain a constant reminder to the international community of the dedication of Nelson Mandela to the mission of the United Nations. It would also be a constant affirmation of South Africa’s commitment to contribute to a better world for all.

“President Mandela firmly believed that the United Nations was the most valuable and effective instrument for the advancement of peace, development and equality that humanity had conceived,” said President Ramaphosa.

Also convened in honour of the centenary of the birth of President Mandela was the United Nations Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where President Ramaphosa acknowledged efforts of the world body in peacekeeping, while cautioning that the organisation faced intricate and complex challenges.

“Over the past seven decades, millions of people worldwide have been killed, maimed, displaced and starved as a result of war and conflicts. We are called upon to act decisively to end the exposure of women and children to untold suffering including displacement, torture, rape, mutilation and murder,” said President Ramaphosa.

In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, President Ramaphosa urged world leaders to take stock of the effectiveness of the UN and to chart a way forward to improve the organisation’s efficiency and relevance by making it more democratic, responsive and transparent.

The President said: “The UN must become what billions of people across the world want it to be – a representative and truly democratic global parliament of the people.”

The President strongly defended multilateralism, urging leaders to resist any and all efforts to undermine the multilateral approach to international trade, which is essential to the promotion of stability and predictability in the global economy.

President Ramaphosa drew the attention of world leaders to progress being made in South Africa despite the country’s difficult economic challenges. “We are reforming our economy and creating an environment that is conducive to investment, and have embarked on an investment drive to attract $100 billion dollars in the next five years.”

Turning to land reform, the President said a comprehensive dialogue guided by the Constitution and the rule of law would ultimately provide a resolution “We have started a comprehensive dialogue on the question of land reform, which is guided by our Constitution and the rule of law as we seek ways to ensure that the land is shared among all who work it, as set out in our Freedom Charter.”

President Ramaphosa reiterated previous calls for the UN to reform, particularly the Security Council, which still does not have permanent African representation. South Africa was recently assigned a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council – a position the country will take up in 2019 for a period of two years.

President Ramaphosa also called on the United Nations to act with urgency to resolve some of the world’s most protracted and intractable disputes, particularly that of the people of Palestine who have endured occupation and suffering for nearly as long as the world body has existed.

In addition to the UNGA General Debate, President Ramaphosa participated in the UN High-Level Meeting on tuberculosis (TB). The meeting focused on efforts to accelerate an end to TB and reach all affected people with prevention and care. “Tuberculosis is not just a medical condition. It has many social determinants, including poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition, overcrowding and social stigma that fuel the spread of diseases” said President Ramaphosa. 

The President also reiterated South Africa’s support for the “Key Asks” identified through a consultative process led by the World Health Organisation, Stop TB Partnership, civil society and other interested parties.

"We would like to see the declaration emanating from this High-Level Meeting embracing the “Key Asks” and setting in motion the bold response needed to end the global Tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. Investing in research and development is critical if we are to develop new diagnostics, vaccines and medicines – and find innovative ways to deal with the social determinants of Tuberculosis and its transmission.

"As South Africa, we look forward to the meeting of the UN General Assembly of 2030 where it should be declared that indeed, we have ended the Tuberculosis epidemic."

The President also addressed the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) meeting. The Council on Foreign Relations meetings convene government officials, global business leaders and prominent members of the intelligence and foreign-policy community from around the world to discuss international issues.

The President’s working visit concluded with trade and investment promotion engagements that included the Invest in South Africa Private Roundtable, the Bloomberg Global Business Forum Panel Discussion, as well as the Business Seminar on Opportunities in South Africa. These engagements were part of a sustained programme of stimulating interest and attracting foreign direct investment into the South African economy, alongside creating the conditions for greater domestic investment

President Ramaphosa was accompanied by Ministers Lindiwe Sisulu of International Relations and Cooperation; Rob Davis of Trade and Industry; Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula of Defence and Military Veterans; Nhlanhla Nene of Finance; Aaron Motsoaledi of Health, Nathi Mthethwa of Arts and Culture; Siyabonga Cwele of Telecommunications and Postal Services; Naledi Pandor of Higher Education; Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba of State Security and Gugile Nkwinti of Water and Sanitation.

Media enquiries:  Khusela Diko, Spokesperson to the President on 072 854 5707

ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA

 

Minister Sisulu in Trilateral Ministerial Commission (IBSA)

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu (on Right)  pictured , at the India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA) Trilateral Ministerial Commission, with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Mr Aloysio Nunes Ferreira and Minister of External Affairs of India, Ms Sushma Swaraj, on the margins of the General Debate of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, at the Four Seasons Hotel, New York. 27/09/2018

 

 

Photo:Yandisa Monakali/Dirco News Service.

Launch of the Travel Smart Campaign

 

Keynote Address on the occasion of the launch of the Travel Smart Campaign by Deputy Minister Reginah Mhaule, 03 July 2018

Programme Director

Senior Officials and DIRCO Staff

Government Representatives

Members of the Media

Ladies and Gentlemen

I am pleased to deliver this keynote address during this exceptional occasion of the “Travel Smart With DIRCO Campaign” of the Consular Services Launch.  It is indeed heartening to be part of the launch of this campaign which will go a long way in improving the general understanding of the Consular Services we provide to our own populace here at home and abroad.  The thematic focus which is “Travel Smart: How DIRCO Consular Services can assist you when travelling abroad” is therefore fitting considering our commitment to the provision of services with excellence.

I cannot miss this opportunity and as the Deputy Minister indicated during her opening, we have just arrived from the 31st African Union Summit that was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania. We all must be proud that South Africa has joined almost 50 other African states in signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) which contribute towards a prosperous continent aspired by our people.  

We have gathered here to launch an initiative which further express the values of Tata Madiba’ s leadership of putting our people first and as such renewing our commitment to Batho Pele principles. I must therefore state from the onset that this event takes place in the beginning of the significant month of July, which is the birth month of our founding father of our democracy former President Nelson Mandela.

As you are aware we will continue to celebrate his centenary through-out as directed by the decision by our Government to formerly commemorate Madiba’s legacy in 2018. In essence, former President Mandela would have turned 100 years this year and to be precise in fifteen days we will commemorate his birthday on 18 July and also observe Nelson Mandela International Day, which calls on all of us to dedicate 67 minutes and demonstrate our commitment to social change.

In similar vein, this year also marks the centenary of another icon of the African liberation struggle, Mama Albertina Sisulu. Thus South Africa and the African continent can indeed be proud of the selfless service rendered by these Mama Sisulu and Tata Madiba to better the lives of all our people.  

We must draw inspiration from his words delivered as part of the Freedom Day celebrations speech in 1999 when he said:-

“We must improve service delivery to the people. We must improve our attitudes towards citizens, as public servants”.

Ladies and gentlemen

It is in this context that I am excited to preside over the launch of this Consular Services campaign by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). This launch will be followed by the planned “travel smart” Provincial Roadshows which we will undertake during the course of the year to further enhance public comprehension of what DIRCO can offer in this regard.

We envisage to complete these planned “travel smart” roadshows to all provinces within the 2018/19 financial year. I must underscore that these Provincial Roadshows are not lined-up in any order of priority as we believe for this campaign to be successful every sphere of society is equally important.

It is a true statement that most South Africans face the reality of being destitute in foreign countries and under these circumstances they seek our assistance without prior knowledge of what services we mandated to provide. This situation must be changed and I believe that the Consular Service campaign we are launching today will enable us to do so.

Colleagues,

Our Department, DIRCO, through the Chief Directorate: Consular Services is mandated with rendering assistance and support to the public, working closely in collaboration with our Diplomatic and Consular representatives abroad. As such the colleagues responsible in carrying out this mandate on daily bases are in the cold face of service delivery like any other line function department.

The only difference between DIRCO and other departments is that we function largely in the purview of foreign relations however our works is aimed at improving the living conditions of South Africans. I emphasise this point because the current uncertain and volatile security climate in which the world requires us to respond favourably to the needs while adhering to our international obligations.

Ladies and Gentlemen

In this regard we must render Consular services in accordance with Articles 5, 36 and 37 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) of 1963 and guided by our own legislative prescripts. The VCCR is therefore the first and to date the most important document in the consular field and provides the judicial basis and general framework for provision of consular services by member States.

It is worth noting that since the VCCR came into effect in 1963, Consular Services across the globe had to adapt and innovate, develop new practices and responses to meet contemporary challenges of the “global citizen”. As such, the Global Consular Forum (GCF) was established for Member Countries to meet annually in order to collaborate, network, share ideas and also provide consular updates.  Let me mention that as of January 2018 South Africa has been appointed as a Steering Committee member of the GCF.

Consular Diplomacy today requires an ongoing sharing of ideas, best practices and innovations, collaboration in areas such as crisis response, training and possibly some joint activities and research to advance the legal and policy framework that supports consular relations

Programme Director,

While our consular officials are required to treat and provide quality assistance whenever a crises or need, while working under constrained environment since the austerity measures have been put on place.

We continue, to work with our own sister departments like Home Affairs, South African Police service and Social Services to help us in their areas of expertise.

Furthermore, the Viena Convention grants our officials the right to access the citizens in distress, thus it is advisable for our people travelling abroad to make necessary arrangements with the department so that they can be of necessary assistance. Most importantly, is to urge our citizens to make necessary financial provisions for any eventuality that may occur, that is get in place the necessary travel insurance.

We urge our travelling agencies to assist us in this regard as they are the most important stakeholder in this regard.

Ladies and gentlemen

A week ago, we had to deal with the arrest of 51 of our citizens for violation of the visa laws in China. As I am addressing you, 49 of the 51 have returned home safely and the remaining two (2) we have been informed by our mission that they remain in custody as they served as recruiters.

We are of the opinion that this situation could have been avoided had necessary information been readily available for our people. As such, we urge people when travelling to do due diligence on the country they are visiting.

Before boarding an aeroplane, South Africans should take time to learn about the financial, political, cultural and economic environment of their intended destination. We must of course encourage our people to learn at least a few key phrases in the host country's language. Even a modest command of the local language will go a long way. When travelling abroad the laws of the receiving country applies to everybody and South Africans must understand that they will not receive special treatment.

South Africans are encouraged to have the contact details of the nearest South African Representative office and to carry contact details of their next of kin at all times.

Programme Director,

We will be embarking on an elaborate Travel Safe campaign aimed at mitigating some of the past experiences we mentioned and are well aware of. We aim to extend this campaign in different mediums both traditional and non-traditional, so we can reach as many of our people as possible.

It is thus important, that those planning to travel familiarise themselves with the information that is readily available on the DIRCO website, www.dirco.gov.za to read more on what is needed when travelling and also on where the nearest South African Representative office is based at your intended destination.

Thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATION AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building

460 Soutpansberg Road

Rietondale

Pretoria

0084