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Investing in Africa’s Future: Opportunities for Youth

Africa Day 2017 Celebration

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC) in Washington, DC came alive with music, dance and ceremony Thursday, May 25th in celebration of the 54th anniversary of Africa Day. Approximately six hundred attendees, representing the 55 countries of the African Union (AU) and the African Diaspora, observed in awe as the African Group of Ambassadors made a grand entrance into the atrium during a ceremony that began an evening of pageantry and joy. The evening was a culmination of day-long activities, which focused on AU’s commitment to investing in its most important natural resource, its youth.

Setting the stage for tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (PRNewsFoto/RRBITC)

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Evening highlights included:

  • The Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, H.E. Serge Mombouli, Ambassador of the Republic of Congo stated “Let us celebrate Africa Day 2017 by investing in African Youth–their success is the world’s success!”  
  • H.E. Arikana Chihombori Quao, the new Ambassador of the African Union Mission to the USA, remarked “supporting our youth—the future leaders–will provide a guarantee for sustainable peace, community stability and cohesion within the African countries.”
  • The evening’s co-chair, H.E. Ambassador Mninwa Mahlangu, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa, hopes “the AU will be able to transform Africa’s youth into an innovative and competitive labor force that will contribute to the economic growth of the continent.”
  • Co-chair, H.E. Carlos dos Santos, Ambassador of the Republic of Mozambique, believes “Africa is positioned to becoming one of the biggest contributors of youth globally makingour responsibility to involve our youth more urgent.”
  • State Department Peter Henry Barlerin, Acting Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, offered strong supportive remarks celebrating Africa’s importance in the world today.
  • Andrew Gelfuso, Vice President, TCMA, RRB/ITC summed it up best, “Africa is on the move and we are thrilled for the first time in our history to be hosting the Africa Day celebrations!”

Exciting entertainment included the exhilarating Vivalda Dula, Angolan “Queen of Drum,” the popular Kweku Amoako (aka DJ Kweks) of Ghana; and lively Sahel Band representing African culture around the world!

The evening’s great success was due to the sponsors including Sasol (Double Platinum).  Other platinum sponsors included Chevron, Exxon Mobile, Anardarko, Team South Africa (South African Airways, South African Tourism, Brand South Africa, and Wines of South Africa) and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Silver Sponsors included Aetna,Caterpillar, Ethiopian Airlines and Sahouri Insurance. Diplomatic Duty Free Stores of New York, Drumpulse Entertainment were two of the most prominent Partners.

African Ambassadors Group (AAG) in Washington DC
The African Ambassadors Group are all African Ambassadors station in Washington, DC accredited to the United States of America.

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC)
The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center is a dynamic hub for government, business, commerce, and the community, in the heart of the nation’s capital. As the first and only federal building dedicated to both public and private use, the Reagan Building is DC’s premier venue for hosting influential conferences and events and as the World Trade Center Washington, DC, offers a powerful forum for international trade promotion. It is the place where leaders come to lead, where nations and cultures come to connect, and where events matter. Visit

About TCMA (A Drew Company)
TCMA is the exclusive manager of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC). TCMA’s team excels in delivering unparalleled service and expertise in Real-Estate Development, Leasing, Building Operations, Hospitality Services, and International Trade Promotion. For more information, please visit

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North West Legislature Speaker hosts Provincial Speakers Forum at ...

North West Legislature Speaker to host the Provincial Speakers Forum at the Matlosana Local Municipality

On Friday, 23 June 2017, the Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature, Hon. Sussana Dantjie will be holding the Provincial Speaker's forum at the Matlosana Council Chamber at 9H00.

The purpose of the forum will allow Speakers at all districts and local municipalities, the members of the Municipal Accounts Committees in the North West province and the Auditor General to discuss challenges and efficient strategies that will enhance the role of oversight and accountability at municipalities.

Amongst issues that will form part of the discussions will be the State of readiness for submission of Annual Financial Statements, Progress report on the 2015/16 Audit Action Plan, Progress Report on the capacitation of the Municipal Public Account Committee (MPAC) and Inputs to be presented by the Auditor General.

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi hosts youth in energy dialogue at Emoyeni, ...

As part of the Youth Month commemoration, the Minister of Energy, Mmamoloko Kubayi, will host a youth in energy dialogue at Emoyeni, Parktown, on the 23rd June 2017. The event will be attended by approximately 150 Gauteng based young professionals, entrepreneurs and out of school youth.

This platform will provide much needed exposure to young people with regards access and economic opportunities within the energy sector.

The theme of this dialogue is the Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment in the Energy Sector.

Source: Government of South Africa

Millions could escape poverty by finishing secondary education, says ...

While a new United Nations study shows that the global poverty rate could be more than halved if all adults completed secondary school, data show high out-of-school rates in many countries, making it likely that education completion levels will remain well below that target for generations.

The new analysis on education's far-reaching benefits released today should be good news for all those working on the Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate poverty by 2030, said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

It shows that we have a concrete plan to ensure people no longer have to live on barely a few dollars a day, and that plan has education at its heart, she added.

Based on the effects that education had on growth and poverty reduction in developing countries from 1965 to 2010, the new analysis by UNESCO's Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report team, shows that nearly 60 million people could escape poverty if all adults had just two more years of schooling.

If all adults completed secondary education, 420 million could be lifted out of poverty, reducing the total number of poor people by more than half globally and by almost two-thirds in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, according to UNESCO.

The paper, from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on reducing global poverty through universal primary and secondary education, is being released ahead of the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which will be held in New York from 10 to 19 July and focuses on poverty eradication in pursuit of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It demonstrates the importance of recognizing education as a core lever for ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere.

Studies have shown that education has direct and indirect impacts on both economic growth and poverty. It provides skills that boost employment opportunities and incomes while helping to protect from socio-economic vulnerabilities. An equitable expansion of education is likely to reduce inequality, lifting the poorest from the bottom of the ladder.

However, if current trends continue, of the 61 million primary school age children currently out of school, 17 million will never to set foot in a classroom � one in three of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Asia and Northern Africa, and more than one in four of those in Central Asia and Southern Asia.

Moreover, girls in poor countries continue to face particularly steep barriers to education.

While UNESCO underscores that education must reach the poorest in order to maximize its benefits and reduce income inequality, according to the GEM Report, children from the poorest 20 per cent of families are eight times as likely to be out of school as children from the richest 20 per cent in lower-middle-income countries.

The paper stresses the need to reduce the direct and indirect costs of education for families.

Source: UN News Centre

Young township entrepreneur beats the odds

By Nosihle Shelembe

He was among the winners at the National Youth Awards and this past Friday, he was a special guest of President Jacob Zuma at the National Youth Day celebrations held in the North West province.

Young entrepreneur Bulelani Balabala's career looks bright.

Despite dropping out of school after Grade 9 when his mother was retrenched, Balabala never let the circumstances destroy him.

He now runs an award-winning Printing and Branding Agency in Tembisa. The month of June is declared Youth Month throughout the country and government has been encouraging young people to start up their own businesses and enterprises to lessen the burden of unemployment.

Balabala is one of many young people who are responding to that call.

His entrepreneurial journey started when he sold sweets from his mother's home and at the age of 17, he made his first biggest deal which was to supply matric jackets to a school in the Kempton Park area.

About two years after he left school, Balabala decided to open an internet cafe in his mother's garage as a means to make money and to do branding work, which at the time was printing T-shirts.

I didn't even have computer experience at the time. I started with the little that I had. I got carpets from church, desktops, screens and bins from friends, and ink from my aunt. It was more of the community coming together and assisting. For the first five years or so I was making anything between R180 and R380 per week and sometimes per month, Balabala says.

The first five years were about survival for the business and when things got difficult for Balabala, his parents would encourage him to find a job but he persisted working on his business until he got the opportunity to be incubated at Raizcorp.

Raizcorp provides business support for enthusiastic, growth-hungry entrepreneurs, offering them a platform that fosters learning and guidance, which can be translated into practical business success.

I have been incubated at Raizcorp for the past five yearsit has helped me as an entrepreneur to understand systems and processing income statements, balance sheets and asset variations. I learned how to position my business in such a way that although I am not in the office right now, money is being made, Balabala says.

He says in the early stages it was a challenge to find the right people to work for the company.

Balabala's company, IAF Brands, does in-house concept development, design, printing, events set-up and brand activations.

Some of the brands that the company has worked on include Lenovo, Mofaya, Touch HD and the City of Ekurhuleni. The company employs 12 permanent staff members and five part-time staff members.

Balabala is also the founder of the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance (TEA), a professional speaker and host of his own radio show.

The success he had speaking at schools got him booked to speak at events.

TEA is a non-profit organisation established in 2015 with the aim to develop and grow township entrepreneurs so that they have a long lasting as well as a profitable business that will create employment.

The organisation facilitates a platform for entrepreneurs to give talks about their business journey, training or education.

Running IAF Brands has not always been easy for Balabala but he believes being resilient and focused on his goals helped his business to survive.

I live on the premise that if no opportunity comes my way, let me go get the opportunity so I am not waiting for anyone to give me anything, he says.

He encourages other aspiring entrepreneurs to be specialists in the industry they want to operate in.

Start, hold on very tight, delay the gratification, when the money comes, focus on investing it and reinvesting on the business up until a point where the business can run itself. I believe in being a master in what you do and not be jack of all trades.

Balabala has big plans for the future as his goals for IAF Brands include reaching an annual turnover of R56 million in 2021, employing 70 creatives and keeping big accounts on retainer.

With the organisation like TEA, my dream is to build incubators in the township, have TEA sessions happening in two townships in every province per month, with the flagship event impacting over 20 000 to 40 000 young people during the Global Entrepreneurship week in November, he says.

Balabala has been awarded Best Corporate Citizen in Youth Development by the Mayor of Ekurhuleni.

His journey to being an entrepreneur is a testament that with hard work, resilience and tenacity, young people can run successful businesses in the townships and contribute towards job creation.

Source: South African Government News Agency

President Zuma extends his programme of building safer communities ...

President Jacob Zuma will on Saturday, 24 June 2017 undertake a Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Visit to Lusikisiki, in the Eastern Cape, with a strong focus on building safer communities and the improvement of service delivery in Lusikisiki and the surrounding communities.

Lusikisiki is faced with enormous challenges relating to huge service delivery backlogs in infrastructure, high levels of poverty and underdevelopment especially among the youth, access to dwelling units, proper sanitation, electricity, water as well as refuse removal.

It is also one of the areas hardest-hit by crime in South Africa, with a widely reported gang called Amavondo said to be terrorising the community. Malizole, Mdikana and Joe Slovo villages as well as New Rest and Unity Park have the most prevalent incidents that relate to the Amavondo gang criminal acts.

In terms of the challenges in education, the community of Kuhombe in Ward 20 are planning to build a High School and have requested assistance from the Department of Basic Education. Currently, leaners have to travel about 15 to 20 kilometres to get to nearby schools and each household in the area is contributing R350 towards the building of the school.

In addition, roads within Lusikisiki and those leading to and out of Lusikisiki (R61) are in bad condition, full of potholes and stray animals, requiring a massive infrastructure upgrade.

President Zuma has previously expressed his concern at the slow pace of service delivery in the remote rural communities such as Lusikisiki and other areas.

During the visit the President will:

a) Visit Lusikisiki Police Station to interact with Police Management, take a guided tour of the newly built Police Station as well as assess and gain first-hand account of progress, particularly in relation to fighting crime in the area

c) Visit St Elizabeth Hospital on a guided tour as well as assess the delivery of primary health services and challenges faced by the community

d) Visit the SASSA Local Office situated on the premises of Lusikisiki College of Education to inspect the facility and its operations.

The Siyahlola Monitoring Visit will also assess progress and challenges in the delivery of transport, infrastructure and other basic services to the community of Lusikisiki.

President Zuma will be accompanied by the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MECs and mayors.

President Zuma has already taken the fight against crime and building safer communities to Nyanga and Elsie's River in Cape Town, Soshanguve in Tshwane and KwaMhlabuyalingana in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa


JOHANNESBURG,South Africa's targeted consumer price inflation registered 5.4 per cent in May, slightly up from 5.3 per cent in April, reports Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), which says the the marginal increase in headline inflation was driven by some food items, including meat, and transport.

The good news is that certain food items have recorded deflation, resulting in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) remaining within the target range of between five and six per cent for the second straight month.

Food and transport have continued to be the major drivers of inflation. Food prices climbed by a higher-than expected 0.6 per cent month-on-month on the back of bigger increases in prices of processed foodstuffs, including meat.

Higher meat prices are attributed to the current shortage in meat supply following culling activities carried out in 2016 in response to severe drought conditions. However, prices of some food items are falling sharply.

On the food prices we have seen some subsistence in inflation rate; in fact, we have seen some deflation on year-on-year basis in oils and fats products like cooking oil and margarine, as well as for vegetables. We have also seen the price of bread and cereal products which include products like bread and maize meal dropping by 0.5 per cent from April to May, said Patrick Kelly, the head of Price Statistics at StatsSA.

Economists are confident that the current deflationary momentum, including the price of maize meal and cereals, will continue to push food prices lower in the months ahead.

Other economists say the Reserve Bank will not be quick to cut rates despite expectations of a lower inflation rate.

Nedbank economist Busisiwe Radebe forecast that inflation would resume its downward trend in the June data. Radebe expects the central bank to start with its monetary easing in early 2018.

The Rand is very volatile and that is the biggest threat. If we didn't have that threat it would be a straightforward thing that the next move will be down because we don't know the Bank will be cautious to see what is going to happen the next move will probably be down in 2018.


Cabinet approves White Paper on NHI

Pretoria - Cabinet has approved the White Paper on the National Health Insurance (NHI) to be gazetted as a policy document.

Cabinet on Thursday said that the White Paper takes the country closer to ensuring all South Africans have access to healthcare, irrespective of their socio-economic status.

The NHI is a health financing system that is designed to pool funds to provide access to quality affordable personal health services for all South Africans based on their health needs.

This is consistent with the National Development Plan's objective that seeks to ensure everyone has access to healthcare, regardless of their income, Cabinet said in statement.

The Department of Health will on Thursday, 29 June hold a briefing to fully unpack the elements of the White Paper.

During his department's Budget Vote in May, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said tax credits worth R20 billion are being earmarked for the establishment of the NHI Fund.

The NHI is being implemented in phases over a 14-year period, which started in 2012. It is being established through the creation of the single fund that will buy services on behalf of the entire population. Funding for the NHI will be through a combination of various mandatory pre-payment sources, primarily based on general taxes.

Revised Human Resource Development Strategy

Cabinet has also approved the Revised Human Resource Development Strategy towards 2030.

The revised strategy addresses the weaknesses identified in the last five years in some parts of the education and training system, and the lack of coordination between the different arms of the system.

The strategy is now aligned to the NDP and the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019. It also focuses all the relevant stakeholders (government, labour, civil organisations and private sectors) on the needs of the economy and the importance of supporting an industrial strategy to achieve inclusive growth and development, Cabinet said.

Funding for Scientific and Technological activities

Cabinet has further approved the publication of the key findings of the 2015/16 survey on government funding for Scientific and Technological Activities.

The 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology requires that the Department of Science and Technology monitor government funding of the science and technology sectors, and its contribution to South Africa's growth and development.

The results of the findings of 30 national departments indicate that an estimated R23.4 billion was spent from the national fiscus in the 2015/16 financial year.

Cabinet noted the nominal increase of 6.6%, compared with the previous year given the current fiscal constraints.

This total investment represents 1.7% of the total national budget for the year. Cabinet appreciated the fact that most of these funds were used in scientific services that support service delivery in core areas of government competency such as education, health, minerals, energy, agriculture and environment.

Source: South African Government News Agency