Daily Archives: February 18, 2018

Speaking Notes of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF during an Inter-Faith Church Service in preparation for the marking of the Armed Forces Day

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present,

Premier of the Province of the Northern Cape, Ms Sylvia Lucas,

Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Makhudu Gulube,

Chief of South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke,

Generals, Admirals, Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers,

Military Veterans,

Religious Leaders,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a tremendous honour to join our nation in affirming the undying bonds between our people and our national pride, the South African National Defence Force.

On Wednesday � 21st February 2018 � our nation will observe South Africa’s Armed Forces Day.

The marking of the 21st February allows our nation never to forget the heroic sacrifices of our soldiers who died that fateful morning when the SS Mendi sank in the English Channel.

It has become a day that allows us to remember all men and women who paid the ultimate prize in defence of freedom, peace, and justice.

It is a day that reminds us that blood was spilled by countless South Africans and freedom fighters to guarantee us our freedom and human rights.

It is a reminder that brave men and women continue to put their lives on the line to secure and hard-won freedoms and defend our Constitution.

This year, these celebrations carry a profound and special meaning for our nation.

They occur at a time where our defence force has once again confirmed the depth of the roots of our democracy and the flourishing of Constitutional order.

They occur as our nation celebrates the change of leadership in the governing party without any appetite for senseless bloodshed because our Defence Force is led by wise women and men who abide to the ideal of the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

They are even more significant because they occur in a year when South Africa commemorates the centenary birthday of our first Commander in Chief, President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

It is this SANDF � the People’s National Defence Force � that our founding father, President Nelson Mandela envisaged as a non-partisan unifier and defender of all South Africans.

As its first Commander-in-Chief, President Mandela moulded the SANDF into a law-abiding institution that upholds the Constitution of the Republic in defence of its people.

President Mandela left us a coherent SANDF whose task is to diligently safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic, build peace, and support development on the African continent.

He left us a National Defence Force that is a true microcosm of our diverse society.

This is an SANDF that inspires confidence for a better, more secure tomorrow.

A truly national defence force for all South Africans that guarantees that its tanks and guns will never again roll into townships and suburbs to fight against the very same people it was established to protect.

We pay tribute to the men and women that wear the SANDF uniform and bear arms on behalf of South Africans.

Your patriotism is felt throughout our country through community initiatives like Koba Tlala.

We look to you to remain the disciplined soldiers and agents of rural development through Koba Tlala, local procurement, small business support, skills development, and enterprise development.

Thank you for lending a hand in the renewal and development of our beloved country.

We applaud the major role that our Department of Defence is playing in actively promoting our Defence Force as a career of choice.

We are aware of your various skills and training opportunities targeting our young people.

Government is committed to support these initiatives as part of strategies to absorb our young people into training and employment opportunities.

As I mentioned in the State of the Nation Address, I will soon be visiting the leadership and management of our national departments to see how well we can work together to advance the imperatives of service delivery, training, and job creation.

As Chief Commander of the South African National Defence Force, I will be prioritising my engagement with the Department.

Since I will be in Parliament on Wednesday for the Budget Vote Speech, I have assigned the Minister of Defence and General Solly Choke to lead the celebrations of the Armed Forces Day.

I wish you well and thank you once more for protecting our country and for defending its sovereignty.

I thank you.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa


MAPUTO– President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi expressed his interest in a message on Friday to see the economic and social relations with neighboring South Africa now under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa to grow stronger.

“I would like to reiterate my availability to continue working closely with Your Excellence on the reinforcement and consolidation of our friendship and cooperation, also within the framework of the Southern Africa Development Community, African Union and other international organizations of which we are members,” the president’s message said.

President Nyusi highlighted that both countries are united not only by sharing borders but also with historic, economic and cultural ties, and the bilateral cooperation should be continuously deepened by implementing all the action plans that both countries have agreed.

Nyusi went on to felicitate the new president of South Africa with vows that the bilateral relationship will boost South Africa and its people towards a much greater prosperity.

At present, South Africa is among the major investors in Mozambique. Most of the electric power produced in the dam of Cahora Bassa in central Tete province is exported to South Africa.

Both countries have a cooperation platform, the bi-national commission where the presidents of both countries meet every two years to evaluate cooperation.


Zimbabwe President Sees Deceased Opposition Leader’s Family

Zimbabwe’s president Sunday visited the home of deceased opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to pay condolences to his family and to urge unity as power struggles within the opposition have heightened tensions.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa pledged that his government will meet hospital and funeral expenses for Tsvangirai, who died of colon cancer last week in neighboring South Africa.

Tsvangirai’s body arrived in the capital, Harare, Friday and was taken to a military barracks where it will remain until Monday for public viewing. The longtime opponent of former president Robert Mugabe will be buried Tuesday in Buhera, his rural home about 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Harare.

Hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters, wearing the red color of the Movement for Democratic Change party, hiked for kilometers to the airport and then to his home for a vigil. Some complained about the military’s role in the funeral and burial arrangements, saying the army had been instrumental in harassing Tsvangirai and his supporters over the years.

Mnangagwa said military involvement was standard procedure for state funerals and Tsvangirai had served as prime minister in the 2009-2013 coalition government.

Tsvangirai’s prominence across Africa as a veteran opposition leader was highlighted by the visit to Zimbabwe of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party appears fractured by rivalry over who will take over leadership. Nelson Chamisa has won leadership of the opposition party, which holds the second largest number of seats in Zimbabwe’s parliament. However two other MDC officials, Thokozani Khupe and former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, also are vying to lead the party.

Source: Voice of America

Nigeria Releases 475 Boko Haram Suspects for Rehabilitation

A Nigerian court has released 475 people allegedly affiliated with Boko Haram for rehabilitation, the justice ministry said on Sunday, as the country’s biggest legal investigation of the militant Islamist insurgency continues.

The first person convicted for the kidnapping in 2014 of

Chibok schoolgirls, sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment last

week, was also handed an additional 15-year sentence, to run

back-to-back, the justice ministry said in a statement.

More than 20,000 people have been killed and two million

forced to flee their homes in northeastern Nigeria since Boko

Haram began an insurgency in 2009 aimed at creating an Islamic state.

But humanitarian groups have criticized the Nigerian

authorities’ handling of those detained for infringing on the

suspects’ rights.

Some of those whose cases were heard last week in a

detention center in central Nigeria had been held without trial

since 2010, according to the justice ministry statement.

“The prosecution counsel could not charge them [with] any

offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them,” the

ministry said.

In October, the ministry said 45 people suspected of Boko

Haram links had been convicted and jailed. A further 468

suspects were discharged and 28 suspects were remanded for trial in Abuja or Minna.

Source: Voice of America


BEIJING–A much-watched Lunar New Year TV show has sparked protests because of its alleged demeaning caricatures.

The gala, televised by China’s state broadcaster, featured a well-known Chinese actress as an African woman with exaggerated buttocks, a large chest and a face painted black. Carrying a platter of fruit on her head, she was accompanied by an African man dressed as a monkey.

Many found the portrayals offensive.

The show, designed to celebrate China as an economic and cultural powerhouse and rehearsed many times before senior propaganda officials, is one of the most watched in the world, with an audience estimated at 800 million. The skit was intended to highlight relations between Africa and China.

The skit was set in Kenya, home to a new Chinese-built railroad between the capital, Nairobi, and the coastal town of Mombasa that is part of China’s Belt and Road development initiative.

Dancers dressed as zebras, giraffes, lions and antelopes opened the sequence before actress Lou Naiming appeared with her outsize rear and voluminous dress.

Amid banter and confusion about a blind date for her daughter, the character expresses gratitude to Chinese doctors who once saved her life and says that China has done so much for Africa.

The African Students Association at Peking University said in a post on WeChat, the popular social media platform, that while the woman on stage was an unfair representation, the students were most troubled by the men in the background.

Let’s not even talk about the black men wearing monkey suits, the post said.

With China’s broad contacts across Africa, the producers of the New Year show should have known better, said Lina Benabdallah, an Africa specialist at Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

The dean of one of China’s African studies centres said that by Chinese standards the show was not racist.

In China’s cultural context, animals represent many good qualities, said the dean, Liu Hongwu of the Institute for Africa at Zhengjiang Normal University. Blackface was not used to muck up the black people but rather because the Asian actress needed to perform an African woman.

In Kenya, where the skit was set, some voiced a weary recognition of old caricatures. Several Kenyans said it was clear why the Chinese broadcaster could not see its mistake.

China is walled off except for economic interaction, said Patrick Gathara, a cartoonist at The Daily Nation in Nairobi. There’s no Google, it’s very policed, all social media is denied”.