President Cyril Ramaphosa leads the North West Province Presidential Imbizo

President Cyril Ramaphosa led the first Presidential Imbizo of the 6th administration to the North West Province on Saturday, 12 March 2022. The Imbizo was guided by the District Development Model which sees all spheres of government and social partners working together to bring sustained development and growth in an integrated manner in communities.

Government of the people by the people descended in Mahikeng under the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality led by the President, accompanied by the Premier of the North West, Ministers, MECs, Mayors and councillors.

The North West Province hosted the first in a series of DDM led Presidential Izimbizo which are earmarked for the rest of the year. This series of the Presidential Izimbizo will define the character of the 6th administration which places communities at the core of our government and mandate to govern.

The Imbizo follows the commitment made by President Cyril Ramaphosa during the 2022 State of the Nations Address, that he will lead the DDM Izimbizo to meet and engage South Africans.

“As government, we come here to listen and to be guided by communities who are the real beneficiaries of the services we are providing”, President Ramaphosa said.

The people of the North West came in their numbers to attend the Imbizo (PITSO) as it is called in the province. About two thousand community members gathered at the Mmabatho Stadium to speak to their government. Community members came from the five local municipalities on the Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipalities – Mahikeng, Ratlou, Ramotshere Moiloa, Ditsobotla and Tswaing.

In line with the COVID-19 pandemic regulations, attendance of the Imbizo was only limited to two thousand (2000) community members. For those who were not able to attend physically, various media platforms that were covering the event live brought the imbizo into people’s homes and everywhere where there was a TV, Radio and Social media platforms.

Members of the community were vocal in expressing their issues of concern, especially as they relate to service delivery. Some concerns were submitted through written petitions and others were presented orally in a public participation process.

The government leadership across the three spheres of government led by the President recorded issues raised and responded with clear timeframes and action plans. Key issues included the bad state of roads, lack of water as well as the restoration of non-functioning boreholes; the eradication of invasive alien plants rendering cattle pastures unusable; to a lack of access to electricity, the creation of jobs for youth through the multiple natural endowments the North West has; bottlenecks and stoppages in key human settlement and housing projects; and added support to farmers were amongst key concerns raised by communities. The Imbizo was meaningful as it showcased in real time the District Development Model in action with all three spheres working and making a commitment together to work for the people.

Given the high levels of unemployment in general and youth unemployment in particular, the Imbizo agreed to reconsider our approach and reimagine this province. The province’s abundant natural resources and mineral deposits can and should be used to its advantage.

Ngaka Modiri, for example, as the province’s capital, has the potential to grow into a city with a strong agricultural base, including maize and sunflower growing, as well as a goat breeding sector. With Africa’s longest landing strip for trade (both import and export) and the potential to be Africa’s gateway, the airport gives yet another important opportunity. The Department of Transport will consider bringing back the license of the airport to Mahikeng.

Ngaka Modiri has finalised its profile and one plan. Consultations with communities are ongoing to secure their buy in. Transport and SANRAL will take some of the roads in consultation with the Province to fix them.

Plans are in place to bring water to the Province. The old boreholes will be refurbished and new ones drilled. The long-term plan is to get water from a more reliable source like the Vaal dam.

The Minister of Police and Minister of Social Development will be in the North West in three weeks to deal with issues of crime and drugs.

The Departments of Agriculture, Land Reform Rural Development and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment will work together to combat alien and invasive species. Crops will benefit from the eradication of these species.

In as far as Mining is concerned, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy will continue to work with mining companies in Bodibe in an effort to ensure they work with and hire communities.

Earlier in the day, President Ramaphosa visited the Mahikeng Digital and Innovation Hub established in 2020 following the call by President Ramaphosa in the SONA of 2019 to expand township digital hubs which would incubate new businesses. It is also incubating youth, women and people living with disabilities. It prepares them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills development, innovation, and technology and entrepreneurship development.

Being a public-participation platform, the Presidential Imbizo indeed provided communities an opportunity to make their voices heard. The President committed to continuing to build an ethical, capable, and developmental state that delivers on its mandate and is corruption free at every sphere.

President Ramaphosa emphasised that no-one will be left behind as government works with all sectors of society to move the country forward and the Imbizo is an important milestone towards achieving this goal and building a comprehensive social compact of all involved in bringing a better life for South Africans.

A number of build-up events were held ahead of the Presidential Imbizo. These engaging programmes of various types and activities were led by the national, provincial and municipal leadership. This programme of stakeholder engagements, community meetings and walk about further cemented the notion of the government of the people. Through these build up events, government was able to reach many people, some of whom could not be at the Stadium due to COVID-19 restrictions. We want to assure you that even in the build-up events, the issues raised that could not be addressed on-site, were recorded and will be responded accordingly.

Of importance is to note is that the Presidential Imbizo will be followed by District Izimbizo led by DDM champions and the leadership in the respective provinces. Communities will also during this period be given an opportunity to engage and receive answers to issues of concern they raised.

The President concluded the Imbizo by making a clarion call to those who are not yet vaccinated to do so and also encouraged people to get booster shots. The President led by example when he himself took the COVID-19 vaccination booster shot at the onsite exhibitions which showcased delivery of services to the communities in attendance. We call on all people in our country to follow the example set by the President.

The message is clear, we are you and you are us, we will leave no one behind as we work together to grow South Africa

Source: Government of South Africa

Media Watchdog Wants Zimbabwe Government to Ensure Peace During Coming Elections

The Media Institute for Southern Africa is calling on the Zimbabwe government to ensure peace ahead of March 26 elections, following opposition rallies that have been marred by violence claiming two lives and leaving dozens injured. Journalists also have lost valuable equipment during the melees.

Tabani Moyo, director of the Media Institute for Southern Africa, said in an interview that his organization is “deeply worried” by violence at Zimbabwe’s opposition campaign rallies.
“We therefore urge the police to enforce the law and ensure that perpetrators of violations against the journalists are brought to book. Secondly, we call upon politicians to desist from inciting their supporters or making inflammatory statements that risk putting journalists on the line of fire. This exposes journalists to possible harm from their supporters. By the same call, we call upon journalists to desist from taking part in political processes if they are still to practice their craft,” he said.

Zimbabwe is to hold by-elections March 26 to fill parliamentary and local authority seats that have become vacant since the country’s 2018 general elections.
Thandiwe Garusa is a freelance journalist who lost her phone and other equipment she was using to stream the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change rally about 300 kilometers southwest of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harrare, last week live.

“It’s also the phone I was using for pictures and stories, now that has affected my work because I can’t do that anymore,” she said. “I no longer have a phone with good picture quality, the phone I am using right now is a 2016 model, it can’t even install some applications that I need to use like photoshop, I can’t even use Word, it doesn’t have a good battery and replacing the phone is now a challenge because I don’t have the money.”

Police arrested 16 suspected ruling ZANU-PF supporters who are accused of causing the violence and who now face murder charges in connection with the deaths at the rally.
Ndabaningi Nick Mangwana is the Zimbabwe information ministry permanent secretary.

“Investigations are already in place, there is a wanted man, there are people in custody, he said. “What happens in situations where a crime has been committed? There is commitment from law enforcement agents to enforce the law and that’s exactly what is happening.”

Zimbabwe’s pre-election season has been marred by violence that has claimed lives and left thousands injured since 2000 after a strong opposition party emerged.

Source: Voice of America

Working meeting of Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kostas Fragkogiannis with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Sedat Önal

In the context of the Positive Agenda dialogue between Greece and Turkey, focusing on the economic and trade sectors, Deputy Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Greece and Turkey, Kostas Fragkogiannis and Sedat Önal respectively, will hold a working meeting in Athens, on Monday February 21, 2022.

It is the third meeting of the two officials on the Positive Agenda initiative which was initially agreed between the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Nikos Dendias and Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara, on April 2021. The previous two meetings were held in Kavala, on May 28-29, 2021 and in Antalya, on June 16, 2021.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

Egypt’s President, German FM Discuss Cooperation, Regional Issues

CAIRO– Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, yesterday held talks with visiting German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional issues of mutual interest.
“Egypt considers its partnership with Germany pivotal to Egypt’s relations with Europe, given Germany’s position and leverage as a major European country,” Sisi said, during the meeting, held in the capital, Cairo, according to a statement from the Egyptian presidency.
The Egyptian president hailed the participation of German companies, in development projects in Egypt in recent years, and welcomed their further investments in the country.
For her part, Baerbock said that, Germany values its distinguished relations with Egypt, which she described as “a cornerstone for stability and balance in the Middle East and Africa.”
Sisi and Baerbock stressed the consensus between Cairo and Berlin, “to continue coordination and consultation between Egypt and Germany, to face the current challenges in the region, mainly the Palestinian issue and the situation in Libya,” the statement added.
Baerbock’s visit to Cairo came, as part of her Middle East tour, during which she visited Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan, in the hope of revitalising the Middle East peace process between Israel and Palestine.

Source: Nam News Network

Algerian, French Presidents Hold Phone Talks After Months Of Diplomatic Riffs

ALGIERS – Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, yesterday held phone talks, with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, after months of diplomatic tension.
According to a statement issued by the Algerian presidency, the two sides “discussed bilateral cooperation and prospects of convening the higher intergovernmental committee,” which had been scheduled last Apr, but was postponed due to the mounting diplomatic tension between the two.
According to the statement, the French president renewed the invitation for his Algerian counterpart to attend the sixth European Union – African Union summit, which will be held in Brussels on Feb 17 and 18.
The French-Algerian ties have been characterised by diplomatic riffs in recent months, since Algeria recalled its ambassador to France and closed its airspace to French military planes in Oct, 2021.
The move was a response to a Paris’ decision in Sept, 2021, to reduce the number of visas provided to Algerian officials by 50 percent, as well as Macron’s critical remarks on Algeria.