Daily Archives: July 23, 2018

MOSENEKE OPTIMISTIC OF FINDING SOLUTION TO POLITICAL, SECURITY CHALLENGES GACING LESOTHO

PRETORIA– The former deputy chief justice of South Africa, Dikgang Moseneke, has expressed optimism that appropriate solutions will be found for the political and security challenges currently facing the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Justice Moseneke was recently appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to head the Lesotho mediation facilitation team, following a recommendation by the South African Development Community (SADC) Double Troika that he appoint high level personalities to support him.

The SADC Double Troika meeting held on April 24 in Luanda, Angola, agreed that President Ramaphosa, the current chair of the SADC, should continue to facilitate the political national dialogue and reform processes in Lesotho since he was appointed by the SADC Heads of State and Government in September 2014 as the SADC facilitator, following Lesotho’s security and political challenges in September 2014.

The mediation team consists of three Deputy Ministers, Mohamed Enver Surty of Basic Education, Makgabo Regina Mhaule of International Relations and Co-operation and Ellen Molekane of State Security.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a meeting with the Lesotho mediation facilitation team, held here last Friday, Moseneke said he was humbled by the appointment, and emphasized the need to find peace and stability in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

I think we should continue to try and find appropriate solutions. I’m making no promises at this stage, but we have to find peace and stability, proper governance and hopefully Constitutional changes that Basotho themselves will want to see happening, Moseneke said.

He said that since the appointment, the team had come up with quite active plans to provide support, and the leadership of Lesotho is very welcoming of his appointment.

As part of his first assignment, Moseneke said he would pay a courtesy call to the Lesotho King, as well as the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Cabinet Ministers, security structure, as well as various structures of SADC which are already deployed in the country, including a small military force.

I’m going out to try and find peace in the Kingdom, to try and facilitate Constitutional amendments and to return to normality at the behest and request of SADC. Our President being the one who plays the role, I’m acting in his place instead, to try and achieve those outcomes in relation to the Kingdom of Lesotho, Moseneke said.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

INT’NAL AIDS SOCIETY TO HONOUR SOUTH AFRICAN SEX WORK ACTIVIST

JOHANNESBURG– The International AIDS Society (IAS) will present the Prudence Mabele Prize to South African sex work activist Duduzile (Dudu) Dlamini at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) being held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this week.

Dlamini, a long-time advocate for the rights and health of sex workers, is the founder of Mothers for the Future (M4F), a network striving to reverse the factors which make sex workers and their families particularly vulnerable to stigma, discrimination and HIV. She is also an ambassador for The Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS.

The Prudence Mabele Prize aims to promote global attention to the remarkable work of gender justice and health equity activists. The prize, which comes with a 25,000 US dollars cash award, endowed by the Ford Foundation and the Open Society Foundations in partnership with the Positive Women’s Network of South Africa, is the largest monetary prize ever given at an International AIDS Conference.

Duduzile Dlamini is helping change the future for sex workers in South Africa. Her work truly embodies the values, spirit and activism of Prudence Mabele, said IAS President Linda-Gail Bekker.

As part of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT), Dlamini has worked tirelessly to protect the health and human rights of the often abused and overlooked sex worker’s community.

With her vision and leadership, M4F has grown from an informal support network into a powerful social welfare system for mothers who are sex workers throughout South Africa.

In 1992, Prudence Mabele became the first black woman in South Africa to publicly reveal her HIV-positive status. A trailblazer for the rights of women and people living with HIV, Mabele helped found the Treatment Action Campaign and the Positive Women’s Network before her death in 2017. The new prize, endowed in her honour, recognizes and celebrates those who carry on the fight in her name.

Dlamini said: I am honoured to receive this recognition, named for a great South African activist who spoke truth to power, on behalf of all of the women and families we serve at M4F.

I know their struggles first-hand, and have seen how abuse of sex workers by governments, police, health systems and other institutions has made sex workers and their children exceptionally vulnerable to HIV, poverty and exploitation. We also know that sex workers united are a powerful force for health and social justice. This recognition advances that march toward justice for all the women and children we serve.

The Prudence Mabele Prize will be awarded a high-level special session honouring the life and work of the award’s namesake in the Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre on Thursday.

The mission of the International AIDS Society (IAS) is to lead collective action on every front of the global HIV response through its membership base, scientific authority and convening power.

Founded in 1988, the IAS is the world’s largest association of HIV professionals, with members from more than 180 countries working on all fronts of the global response to HIV. Together, they advocate and drive urgent action to reduce the global impact of HIV.

The IAS is also the steward of the world’s two most prestigious HIV conferences: the International AIDS Conference and the IAS Conference on HIV Science.

The International AIDS Conference is the largest gathering on HIV and AIDS in the world. First convened during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in 1985, it continues to provide a unique forum for the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights.

Each conference is an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to the epidemic. The conference also serves as a focal point to intensify political and financial commitments to AIDS. The 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) will be hosted in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, taking place from Monday to Friday, under the theme, Breaking Barriers Building Bridges.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Minister Lindiwe Zulu: BRICS MSME roundtable meeting

Welcome remarks by Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, on the occasion of the 3rd BRICS MSME roundtable meeting

Programme Director;

Representatives of the BRICS Member states;

Distinguished delegates;

Ladies and gentlemen

I am delighted to join you this morning and welcome you to this historic session.

I am confident that, arising from your engagements today, we will be able to develop robust building blocks for effective collaboration and co-operation among BRICS members on issues of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) development and promotion.

South Africa’s membership of BRICS has been one of the key strategic partnerships of the democratic South Africa and is a key platform for promoting South-South trade and investment.

The BRICS membership is beginning to show its potential benefits to the local economy. BRICS partners share best practices and development models to address and combat these common challenges. More importantly, BRICS seeks to advance the restructuring of the global political, economic and financial architecture into one that is more equitable and balanced and which rests on the important pillar of multilateralism.

BRICS accounts for 40 percent of the world’s population.

With a combined GDP of approximately $15 trillion, BRICS countries account for 19.3% of gross global product; 42.7% of the world population; and has contributed more than 50% to the world economic growth during the last 10 years.

Intra-BRICS trade has grown from US$567 billion in 2010 to $744 billion in 2017. South Africa-BRIC trade has grown from $28bn to $35bn over the same period. Both SA exports to and imports from other BRICS countries have grown at a rate faster than South Africa’s global trade, thus increasing the importance of other BRICS countries in South Africa’s trade basket. Combined, the BRIC countries account for 15.4% of South Africa’s global exports, and 25.4% of the country’s imports. The key focus for BRICS should be to change the structure of our trade and promote value-added trade so as to contribute to the structural transformation of our economies.

The SMME sector in many of the BRICS economies contribute up to nearly half of their exports, manufacturing output and GDP. Together we are addressing key barriers/impediments faced by SMMEs and the need for cooperation among the BRICS countries to effectively address the barriers to trade and investment amongst the SMMEs.

Across the globe, experience demonstrates that small business and co-operatives thrive if an enabling environment is created and if there is a robust partnership between government, big business and the SMMEs and co-operative sector.

In this regard, South Africa has identified small businesses and co-operatives as critical to creating an economy that benefits all. South Africa’s economy needs a thriving small business and cooperatives sector to reach national socio-economic goals of a prosperous and inclusive society. It is only through a flourishing inclusive economy that the challenges of inequality, unemployment and poverty can be comprehensively addressed.

Our point of departure is that small businesses can be the backbones of any economy and the main driver of economic growth, poverty reduction and job creation. A healthy SMME sector can make a massive contribution to the economy by creating more employment opportunities and generating higher production volumes.

The country’s high rate of unemployment and extreme inequality call for bold and far-sighted interventions. The National Development Plan is the vehicle which will address poverty, unemployment and inequality. It sets an ambitious aim to treble the size of the economy by 2030, a daunting challenge that will require our collective contribution. Meeting the NDP’s growth target of 5.4 % for the next 16 years would not only guarantee South Africa’s material prosperity, but would be an elevating and inspiring narrative for the country.

As the NDP makes clear, getting South Africa onto a high-growth trajectory demands that we fundamentally change our game plan and place small businesses and co-operatives at the centre of our war against poverty, inequality and unemployment. Developing a strong and growing SME community is a cornerstone of the NDP’s vision. SMEs are expected to be central to South Africa’s job creation efforts, in line with international trends.

One of the specific targets of the NDP is to reduce unemployment to 6% by 2030 through the creation of 11 million jobs. The NDP projects that if we implement the full range of its recommendations, our economy will grow at 5% per annum, with 60-80% of this value being generated by SMMEs and expanding businesses, and that this sector will create 90%, or 9.9 million, of the 11 million new jobs we will boast by 2030. Hence our bold assertion: Small business is big business.

We are heartened to note that the contribution of SMMEs to the economy continued to increase despite the increasingly difficult economic conditions. We are determined to strengthen the small business sector to enable it to occupy its rightful place in the mainstream economy and to demonstrate that Small Business is the Big Business of the future and working together we can indeed achieve more.

This task is not only limited to government but is a joint compact between government, civil society and the private sector. The key responsibility of government is to create an enabling environment for small business to take their rightful places in the mainstream economy.

I thank you

Source: Government of South Africa

Government activities for the week, 23 to 29 Jul

Government Activities for the Week 23 – 29 July 2018

Government has scheduled the following briefings/activities for the week: 23 – 29 July 2018. The activities, which are aligned to the National Development Plan and outlined in the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019, are undertaken to build a better South Africa.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on the BRICS Summit, will on Monday, 23 July, address members of the press on South Africa’s state of readiness to host the 10th BRICS Summit, scheduled for 25 to 27 July 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg. The briefing will be held BRICS Media Centre, Sandton Convention Centre at 14h00.

The Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, and Deputy Minister, Mr Cassel Mathale will host the Third BRICS Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises Roundtable meeting on Monday, 23 July at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank at 09h00.The key objective of the meeting is to enhance collaboration and co-operation among BRICS members on issues of small business development and promotion.

On Monday, 23 July, the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, will brief members of the media on progress relating to the War on Queues Campaign at the Home Affairs Ministry, 909 Hatfield, Pretoria at 11h00. The update follows major systems upgrade undertaken by the department from 13-20 July. Minister Gigaba will also make a major announcement pertaining to the department’s executive management.

The Minister Responsible for Women in the Presidency, Ms. Bathabile Dlamini, is will unveil the government’s programme for this year’s Women’s Month on Monday, 23 July at Hilton Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg. In South Africa’s annual calendar of events, August is not only an important event that is observed to celebrate the strides that have been made to advance the cause of women empowerment, but it also a month that is used to take stock of victories that have been notched in driving the agenda of women emancipation.

The Higher Education and Training, Deputy Minister Mr Buti Manamela will on Monday, 23 July, host an education summit in the Waterberg District Municipality at 09h00. The Deputy Minister, will on Friday, 27 July, also lead a career exposition at Ingwe TVET College in the Eastern Cape.

The Statistician-General of South Africa, Mr Risenga Maluleke, will release the 2018 Mid-year population estimates report. The report provides estimates on the population of South Africa and includes current indicators of fertility, mortality and migration among others. The media briefing will be held on Monday, 23 July at Tshedimosetso House, GCIS Head offices in Pretoria at 11h00. NB: There will be a video link to Imbizo Media Centre, Parliament, Cape Town.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies will on Monday, 23 July, address the BRICS Business Council in Durban. The council will be hosting its sixth annual meeting. The key themes of discussion at the 2018 Meeting are Youth Entrepreneurship, 4th Industrial Revolution and Food Security.

His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa, will on Tuesday, 24 July, host the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Mr Xi Jinping, on a State Visit to South Africa. The State Visit takes place within the context of strengthening strategic and historic political, economic, social and international cooperation partnership between South Africa and China.

On Tuesday, 24 July, The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Adv. Michael Masutha, in partnership with the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will launch of the Nelson Mandela Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners at the Drakenstein Correctional Centre, formerly known as Victor Verster Prison.

From 25 to 27 July, His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa will chair the 10th BRICS Summit at the Sandton International Convention Centre, Johannesburg. President Cyril Ramaphosa will also host a BRICS Welcome Dinner on 25 July, at Monte Casino at 19h00. The summit will be held under theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

The Minister of Public Works, Mr Thulas Nxesi, in partnership with Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, will on Friday, 27 July, host an International Nelson Mandela day in Welkom. The event forms part of the centenary celebrations of the former president Nelson Mandela.

All members of the media are advised that the media briefings/activities are subject to change. However, the GCIS will update the media through advisories.

Source: Government of South Africa

Any Further Violence in Gaza, Occupied Territory, Risks Inflaming Already Fragile Situation, High Commissioner Warns in Briefing to Palestinian Rights Committee

Delegates Elect Cheikh Niang of Senegal Chairman by Acclamation

The top United Nations human rights official voiced acute concern today over developments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, warning that any further violence risks inflaming the already fragile situation and may pose threats across a far broader region.

Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, briefed the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People via video conference from Geneva, following that body’s election, by acclamation, of Cheikh Niang (Senegal) as its new Chairperson. Noting that the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory � including the Gaza Strip � has escalated dramatically in recent months, he described two heavy exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and armed groups in Gaza within the past two weeks. On 20 July, he said, the situation almost exploded into a serious conflict triggered by the killing of an Israeli soldier and the subsequent killing of four Palestinian civilians, while during the weekend of 14 July, air strikes by Israeli security forces killed 2 Palestinian children and injured some 35 others.

During the same period, he continued, Palestinian armed groups fired 184 rockets and mortar shells towards Israel � injuring three people � and deployed burning kites and incendiary balloons. I remind all parties that any disproportionate or indiscriminate use of weapons which lead to the death and injury of civilians is prohibited by international law, he stressed, noting that, while efforts by Egypt and the United Nations have led to a ceasefire, the situation remains extremely fragile. The parties and all those with influence over them should do their utmost to avoid another round of violence and misery, he said, pointing out that skyrocketing unemployment and poverty, crumbling infrastructure and other challenges � including a bleak political horizon � are already creating a massive, devastating and multifaceted deprivation which is both entirely man-made and entirely preventable.

Recalling that the Human Rights Council decided to dispatch an international commission of inquiry to examine the recent violence at the Gaza border � which led to the deaths of more than 100 Palestinians � he called upon Israeli authorities to cooperate fully with its work. He also voiced concern that the situation may be aggravated in the coming months by the funding crisis being experienced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), as well as by Israel’s adoption last week of its Nation State Basic Law, which anchors discrimination against non-Jewish communities. Also of concern is the continued construction of Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank, restrictions on movement, daily intimidation, threats against and arrests of human rights defenders, and the holding of some 440 Palestinians, including children, under Israel’s so-called administrative detention system.

Although they are of a different magnitude, I also have concerns about restriction on civil society by the Palestinian authorities, he continued. Such assaults on fundamental rights dismantle trust in institutions, strip away the social structures that enable the peaceful resolution of disputes and create a tinderbox in which any flash of conflict may ignite severe and unpredictable consequences, he warned. Above all, only an end to the occupation can bring about lasting peace and establish the conditions in which the human rights of all people can at last be fully respected � and in which each side respects the humanity and equality of the other. All States have a responsibility to realize this hope, too long promised and too long denied.

Riyad Mansour, Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine, also briefed the Committee on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and developments in the political process. We have just witnessed a latest round of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip in which the Israeli forces unleashed firepower on the population there, he said, adding that his delegation has appealed to the good offices of the Secretary-General, resulting in the latter issuing an appeal to Israel for an end to those attacks. What the people of Gaza really need is an end to the blockade and the occupation, leading to economic development. The Palestinians had gone to the Security Council and the General Assembly, authorizing the Secretary-General to submit a report identifying ways and means to protect the Palestinian civilian population, including an international protection mechanism, he added.

Noting that those issues are likely to be discussed during the Security Council’s upcoming quarterly open debate on the Middle East � to be held on 24 July � he expressed hope that the Secretary-General’s protection proposals will he both practical and realistic. He noted that, in a dangerous recent development, Israel has legislated that the State does not belong to all its citizens, but, instead, to the Jewish people. Shame on them for giving preference if you belong to a certain religion, he stressed, describing the move as racist and yet another step towards apartheid. Spotlighting parallels between the new law and the historic equal but different policies of the southern United States, he called upon States to expose and defeat such racist policies, asking the delegates of South Africa and Namibia in particular � as experts in fighting apartheid � to share their experiences.

Following those briefings, delegates took the floor to voice grave concern over the deteriorating situation on the ground, with many emphasizing the need for redoubled efforts to end the Israeli occupation and push the two-State formula forward.

Venezuela’s representative expressed concern over Israel’s repeated violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, which results in violence, economic, social and cultural marginalization while pushing the prospect of a political solution further away. Israel must cease its policy of demolishing Palestinian homes and end the occupation, he emphasized, calling on the United Nations to welcome Palestine as a full Member State as soon as possible. The recent decision by the Governments of the United States and others to move their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem � in contravention of international law � is further exacerbating the challenges on the ground, he added.

Indonesia’s delegate also expressed concern over violations of international law, describing recent events that have killed more than 100 Palestinians and injured tens of thousands more as extremely tragic. When considering the conflict, the international community must recognize the distinction between the actions of the occupying State and those of a population under occupation, she stressed, welcoming efforts to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Namibia’s representative said the High Commissioner’s report paints a bleak picture of the situation of human rights on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. We certainly cannot continue to go on like this, he stressed, asking the Committee how long it will keep meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation and ultimately do nothing. The time has come for us to take the situation up in the Security Council with more vigour resulting in action on the ground, he said.

South Africa’s representative described the situation in Palestine as the tragedy of our times. Recalling the origins of the crisis � the 1917 Balfour Declaration � he underlined that the United Nations itself has failed subsequently to establish a free and independent State of Palestine. We are to blame, and the United Nations must take full responsibility, he said. South Africa embraces the notion that all people are born equal and have the right to be free, he said, pointing out that many nations around the globe have undergone struggles related to colonialism and self-determination. Palestinians are not demanding anything that most other States have not also demanded, he emphasized.

Lebanon’s representative, expressing serious concern over UNRWA’s funding crisis, called upon the international community to ensure that lack of funds did not negatively impact the ability of Palestinians to exercise their right of return. The economic and social impacts of the occupation and the blockade are worsening, and the de facto annexation of lands continues to stand in the way of a holistic global solution to the question of Palestine.

Saudi Arabia’s delegate voiced concern over Israel’s adoption of the Nation State Law, saying it enshrines different rights for Israelis on the one hand and for other communities on the other. He asked the United Nations and the international community to deliver on protection for the Palestinian people.

Mr. Mansour of the State of Palestine took the floor a second time, asking the High Commissioner whether he would make his briefing available to the Security Council during its 24 July open debate. Agreeing that no solution to the conflict will be possible unless the occupation is brought to an end in accordance with the two-State formula, he called upon Member States to transmit to the United Nations information on their relationships with Israeli settlements � including the importation of goods produced there � in order to bring more pressure to bear on that Government. Finally, he expressed concern over the slow pace of the formation of the Human Rights Council’s commission of inquiry, asking the High Commissioner when that that body would be dispatched and when it planned to submit its report.

The High Commissioner responded by stating that his statement will be made available on the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), adding that his colleagues will make Security Council members and others aware of it. Regarding the establishment of the commission of inquiry, he said his Office has nearly completed its secretariat, but it always takes more time that we hope due to logistical challenges. He expressed hope that the commission will be in a position to issue its report in March 2019.

In other business, Carmelo Inguanez (Malta), Rapporteur of the Committee, presented reports covering its recent activities, including its visit to Panama; the convening of the United Nations Forum on the Question of Palestine under the theme 70 Years after 1948: Lessons to Achieve a Sustainable Peace; and the holding of the International Conference on The Question of Jerusalem after 50 Years of Occupation and 25 Years of the Oslo Accord in Rabat, Morocco.

Also delivering statements were representatives of Ecuador, Afghanistan, Turkey, Nicaragua, Cuba and Tunisia. The representative of the Israel-Palestine Non-Governmental Organization Working Group also participated.

Source: United Nations