Daily Archives: June 1, 2017

EAC MEMBER STATES URGED TO UPHOLD COLLECTIVE BAN ON IMPORTS OF SECOND ...

KAMPALA, Member nations of the East African Community (EAC) have been urged to adhere to the grouping's decision to ban the importation of second hand clothes in order to promote value addition in the cotton and textile industries in the sub-region.

According to Mukhisa Kitui, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), adherence to the ban will create domestic demand for textiles and increase the share of manufactured exports of the EAC member States.

My home country, Kenya, for example, imports Boeing planes from the United Staes at a very high cost, so the reciprocity on trade should not be at the level of used clothes. Therefore, East Africa should stand with one voice and resist importation of used clothes into the region, he said during the 2nd Manufacturing and Business Summit held here recently.

Last year, EAC leaders met in Arusha, Tanzania, during their 17th Ordinary summit, and proposed a ban on importation of used clothes, shoes and leather products but Kitui said they have of late come under pressure to reverse the decision.

According to the proposal, the region would devise ways of promoting the Community's textile and leather industries, and stop importation of used clothes, shoes and other leather products from outside the region. The proposal also seeks to prioritise the region's manufacturing sector, with the presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi expected to promote modalities for industrialisation.

Individual governments should not make reversals on that position because it's a collective decision that was taken at a high level summit, and every individual country must reiterate the collectiveness of the decision. If we have countries doing reversals on key decisions like that, it will have adverse effects on the spirit of integration, Kitui warned.

According to the International Trade Commission, Uganda imports at least 1,500 tonnes of second-hand clothing annually from the United States alone, while another 2,000 tonnes are imported from Britain, Canada and China annually.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Partnerships delivering high impact outcomes for government

Cape Town � Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says partnerships and collaborations have resulted in green shoots for the country in key government programmes.

He said this when participating in a debate on The Presidency's Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Dedicating his speech to demonstrating how partnerships are effective in modern day governance, the Deputy President said working together in various endeavours of social and economic interaction has become the new norm around the world.

He said leaders and policymakers who ignore this tried and tested approach to addressing and resolving problems do so at the peril of preventing societies from moving to higher levels of progress and development.

I have seen over the past year how working together can achieve great outcomes on a number of issues where positive outcomes were thought to be impossible.

Positive outcomes can be achieved if we draw on the energies of all stakeholders to address the challenges that face our people, be they how to grow an inclusive economy, build skills and capabilities, enhance the capacity of the state and promote leadership and partnerships throughout society.

It can be done, but only if we forge new ways of working together that involve all South Africans in a common struggle to fundamentally transform our economy and our society, he said.

The Deputy President cited a few examples where new partnerships have resulted in new initiatives, creating the space for collective effort.

This includes the collaboration between social partners in coming up with the R3 500 National Minimum Wage in February this year following two years of consultation.

Earlier this year, the social partners at Nedlac [National Economic Development and Labour Council] reached a historic agreement on labour stability and the introduction of a national minimum wage.

Many of us thought the differences between the social partners � particularly a militant labour component and a business class whose main focus is profit � would stand in the way of reaching agreement.

Following two years of intensive engagement between government, labour, business and the community sector, an agreement was reached, he said.

The Deputy President said even though social partners at times differed in opinion and position, they all remained committed to an outcome that would be in the best interest of the country.

Although they were representing the interests of their respective constituencies and although they fought vigorously to protect those interests, they were all keenly aware that over and above everything else, they had to represent the collective interests of the people of South Africa, he said.

Youth employment initiative

Another initiative, the Deputy President said, was the youth employment initiative, which has seen commitment of business, government and labour collaborate to provide paid internships for up to a million young South Africans over three years.

We are pleased that a number of companies recognise the importance of making meaningful interventions on skills development.

It is this recognition that we have encouraged and that has inspired a number of leading companies to form partnerships with various TVET [Technical and Vocational Education and Training] colleges across the country.

Through these partnerships, companies are providing resources and skills to institutions that are critical to the skills revolution that our country must necessarily undergo, he said.

Adopt a TVET college

Another programme that has seen collaboration at work includes the Adopt a TVET College programme, which the Deputy President said has helped to ensure that the curricula is relevant to the needs of industry.

Over the course of the last year, more than 700 000 South Africans were engaged in a number of public employment programmes, where they were providing essential public services while receiving a stipend income, gaining work experience and acquiring skills, he said.

SA National Aids Council

The Deputy President also said he has seen the value of collaboration, leadership, patience, and understanding through the work government does through the SA National Aids Council.

By bringing together such a wide range of social groupings and interests to forge a common programme to overcome a disease that so fundamentally threatens our society, we are demonstrating what can be achieved if we work together.

In developing the new National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs, which was launched in March this year, we had to draw on the insights, experience, learnings and concerns of dozens of different partners, organisations and individuals, he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

South African Leaked Emails Heap More Pressure on Zuma

JOHANNESBURG � Leaked documents released by the South African media on Thursday alleging improper dealings in government contracts will open President Jacob Zuma up to renewed scrutiny and may deepen divides in the ruling African National Congress.

Zuma has survived calls to resign from within the usually united ANC in recent weeks due to disputes over political appointments and his friendship with the Indian-born Gupta family, wealthy businessmen whose companies have contracts with state-owned firms.

Investigative journalists at AmaBhungane, a non-profit group that has a strong track record of exposing what it says are government corruption scandals, released some of more than 100,000 leaked emails and documents.

It says they prove Gupta-owned companies unduly influence the award of government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars - including the building of locomotives and pre-payments for coal deliveries before a deal was signed.

A Gupta family spokesman did not respond to questions by phone and said he may reply to emailed inquiries from Reuters later. The Gupta family and Zuma have denied wrongdoing when similar allegations have been made in the past.

Spokesmen for Zuma and the ANC did not respond. Reuters was not independently able to verify the allegations. Zuma is due to appear in parliament at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) to respond to questions about the presidency budget. There is no planned interaction with lawmakers but he will likely face heckling from opponents in the chamber.

"Zuma is running a criminal state and is using state institutions to enrich himself and his friends," Mmusi Maimane, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, told Reuters.

"These documents show once again that the ANC has embarked on a state-sponsored corruption campaign that runs deep."

'Factional battle'

The latest allegations of influence-peddling may deepen a divide in the ANC as factions battle for control ahead of a conference in December where Zuma's successor as party leader will be chosen. Zuma can remain as head of state until a 2019 election.

Zuma's camp is expected to back his ex-wife and former African Union chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, while another faction will support Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The contents of the leaked confidential government documents will likely embolden Zuma's opponents in the ANC who want to oust him or prevent his chosen successor from becoming party president in December, analysts say.

"The leaks will play into the factional battle over succession which is getting intense. The stakes are very high," said Daryl Glaser, politics professor at Johannesburg's University of Witswatersrand.

"I don't think that what comes out will be enough to result in Zuma resigning before December."

A constitutionally mandated anti-graft watchdog said in a report last year that the Guptas had undue influence over government officials and former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas said he was offered a promotion by the family.

Jonas and finance minister Pravin Gordhan were removed by Zuma in a reshuffle in March.

On Wednesday, government ministers bowed to mounting pressure and told Eskom to remove its chief executive Brian Molefe, a Zuma ally, after senior politicians and the public reacted with anger at his re-appointment two weeks ago.

Molefe resigned in November last year following allegations he had links to the Gupta family. Molefe denied wrongdoing and said he resigned in the interest of good governance.

Source: Voice of America

National Youth Development Agency launches Youth Month, 2 Jun

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) invites members of the media to the launch of Youth Month at the Hector Pieterson Memorial Museum in Soweto, Johannesburg. Youth Month 2017 will be commemorated under the theme The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment.

The event will be attended by Minister in the Presidency, responsible for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe, Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela and the Executive Chairperson of the NYDA, Sifiso Mtsweni.

This year's 16 June Youth Day commemorations will take place at Tshing, Ventersdorp in the North West Province in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture and other government stakeholders. Activities for the month of June will also be outlined at the launch.

The programme for Youth Month will entail a month long of activities aimed at highlighting the work of the government in providing opportunities for the youth, educating young people about their history and heritage, communicating opportunities brought by the democratic government, while having conversations with the youth on their role towards social cohesion and nation-building.

Source: Government of South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA BUILDING STRONGER TRADE TIES WITH NEIGHBOUR MOZAMBIQUE

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa is fostering closer trade relations with Mozambique, the country's eastern neighbour and one of the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Addressing the Mozambique Economic and Social Forum (MOZEFO) Conference in Sandton, near here, Tuesday, Davies said stronger trade ties with Mozambique would boost growth and add value to both countries. Mozambique is a strategic and important trading partner for South Africa, he added.

We are partners in this journey towards continental and developmental integration. As we create a larger regional market, eventually culminating in a continental market, we have to do it in a way that is going to support the economic diversification and industrialisation of our countries, said Davies, who stressed that it was important for both countries to move away from being only producers of mineral commodities.

Only by moving away from being proud producers of mineral commodities can we add value, move up the value chain and diversify our economies. It is the only way to raise the living standards of our people and promote greater economic inclusivity, he said.

He noted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which both countries are members, was on a journey towards implementing the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and the region had to come up with an implementable industrial action plan.

As we work on regional integration and diversification of our economies, infrastructure development is critical in areas such as energy, power, transport and the improvement of urban infrastructure. These are all central pillars to us promoting developmental integration, said Davies.

Both South Africa and Mozambique have been involved in a number of initiatives to promote greater economic contact and joint activities. South Africa has taken a number of trade missions to Mozambique and regularly exhibits at the Maputo International Trade Fair (FACIM) to facilitate a stronger economic relationship with Mozambique. This is part of the South African government's efforts to mobilise outward investments into the African continent by South African companies.

At this stage, there are 35 foreign direct investment projects by South African companies in Mozambique, with a total investment value of 122 billion Rand (about 9.45 billion US dollars). These investment projects have created over 11,000 jobs in Mozambique, said Davies.

Both countries have established a number of government-to-government agreements to enhance trade and investment. Some of the ongoing work in this regard pertains to the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Economic Co-operation, which needs to be reviewed and updated. The MoU, in particular, needs to cover new areas in investment, infrastructure and industrial development, said Davies.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize: Gender based violence debate

Speech by Home Affairs Minister, Hon. Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, On the occasion of the Debate on the Scourge of Violence against Women and Children at the National Assembly, Cape Town, 1 June 2017

Honourable Speaker

Honourable Members

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Introduction

This august house is holding a discussion on gruesome victimisation of children and women, on the first day of our youth month. Given the manner in which child abuse has become more prevalent in our country, Save the Children International has called it a pandemic. Honourable Members, heinous crimes against women and children are a shame of our times.

It has become almost an expectation that during the annual child protection week and 16 days of activism, the public get to know about the most gruesome acts of violence against women and children.

One life lost is one too many. Our society has over the past few weeks been entangled psychologically in pain and suffering emanating from:

murders of women in the hands of their loved ones (femicide),

children found buried in shallow graves on what is supposed to be their playgrounds,

child trafficking, abduction and kidnapping,

child marriage, illegal adoptions and sexual exploitation'

1.1. The Cost of Gender Based Violence to Society

Families and friends who live with the survivors of these brutal attacks often carry the pain which the victims are going through. They bear the brunt of emotional costs.

Gender based violence negatively affects our country's GDP because it is well established that long term consequences of victimisation affect productivity. We also pay heavily in terms of promoting survivors' well-being and holding perpetrators accountable. The costs which nations pay dearly because of these crimes are in terms of:

law enforcement,

health care, lost labour,

high levels of school drop-out

children survivors developmental milestones, and

general progress in development.

1.2. OR Tambo's Principles on Women's Emancipation

His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has declared this year, The Year of Oliver Tambo, it is therefore fitting that we be reminded of Tambo's principles on women's participation and emancipation.

Cde OR reminded us at the concluding session of the Conference of the Womens Section of the ANC on 14 September 1981 in Luanda, Angola, that:

"The mobilisation of women is the task not only of women alone, or of men alone, but of all of us, men and women alike."

To deal with this scourge is a revolution within a revolution; this is one revolution that we should all wage.

Women of South Africa fought side-by-side with men during liberation struggles and even this attack on women calls for all of us to fight side by side.

2. The South African constitution

We find solace in knowing that women and children's rights are protected in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, which is the supreme law of the country.

2.1. Section 9 � Equality Clause

The equality clause, section 9, calls for the right to equal protection and benefit of the law and expressly forbids unfair gender based discrimination.

2.2. Section 12 � Freedom and Security of the Person

Section 12 of the Constitution provides for the freedom and security of the person, including freedom from violence against women.

The mere fact that the equality clause is entrenched in the Constitution should encourage us to fight vigorously to triumph over gender based violence.

3. Women's revolutionary agenda and resilience

Struggles for gender equality have over decades been at the core of our struggles against racism and class oppression.

3.1. Mobilising against the Native Land Act

When the colonial government sought to spatially segregate people through land dispossession using the 1913 Natives' Land Act, women couldn't let this happen on their watch for land was critical for their survival.

Incredible women of substance such as Cde Charlotte Maxeke, who was an activist, a teacher, politician and founder of the Bantu Womens League of South Africa mobilised other women to march and protest against these inhuman actions of the colonial government.

This was not the only progressive resistance of women at the time. Cde Maxeke also detested pass laws and the manner in which they sought to restrict the movement of women. She organised and mobilised women against the pass laws. In June 1913 she led the first anti-pass campaign against the Union government.

3.2. The Women's March to the Union Building

In 1955 at a meeting of the Federation of South African Women (FSAW), Cde Margaret Gazo made a suggestion that: "Let us go to Pretoria ourselves and protest to the Government against laws that oppress us."

On 9 August 1956, 20,000 women from all parts of South Africa staged a victorious march on the Union Buildings. The success of the demonstration challenged the stereotypes about women and their assumed lack of political drive.

In praising the resilience, courage and strength expressed by women at the march, men ended up saying: Wathint' Abafazi, Wathint' Imbokodo

4. Gender mainstreaming

The democratic government has put gender mainstreaming at the centre of our socio-economic transformation agenda.

4.1. The Establishment of Women's Ministry

The creation of the women's ministry shows government's highest commitment to protecting children and women's rights. Many communities have shown support and appreciation of the dedication demonstrated by Minister Susan Shabangu, who has been moving from community to community encouraging communities to work with government in fighting this scourge of gender based violence.

4.2. The UN's Call for 16 Days of Activism

The United Nation's Secretary General's study on Ending Violence against Women: From Words to Action (October 2006), amongst others, stressed that:

The most effective weapon to fight violence against women is a clear demonstration of political commitment, such as statements by high-level government officials, backed by action and the commitment of resources by the States, and that

States should take urgent and concrete measures to secure gender equality and protect women's human rights.

South Africa has expanded 16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Children campaign to a year-long campaign.

4.3. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) � Agenda 2030

South Africa is fully committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was formally adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September 2015. SDG 5 talks to the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, which should be driven by member states. South Africa is working very hard to ensure that we excel in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

4.4. African Union Commission Agenda 2063

Aspiration number six of the AU's Agenda 2063, encourages us to build: An Africa Whose Development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by African People, especially its Women and Youth, and caring for Children.

4.5. South Africa's Ratification of CEDAW

As South Africa we further bound ourselves by being a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1995.

4.6. South Africa's Ratification of the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights

South Africa has ratified the African Charter on Peoples and Human rights (in 1996). Article 18 of the African Charter compels member states to ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also to ensure the protection of the rights of women and the child.

4.7. South Africa's Ratification of the UNICEF's Convention on the Rights of the Child

South Africa ratified the UNICEF's Convention on the Rights of the Child in June 1995.

5. Legislation to anchor gender equality

Government has come up with a legislative framework to ensure that criminals who commit these crimes are prosecuted and sentenced accordingly. Our progressive legislation paved the way for us to establish:

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE);

Equality Courts;

Sexual Offences Courts;

Family Courts; and

Enforce the Domestic Violence Act.

Government has done all of this to ensure people are held accountable and to send an unambiguous but clear message that perpetrators of such heinous crimes will be held accountable.

Strategic centres such as Thuthuzela centres have been established using donor money for victim empowerment. Government has also invested in the training of officials in the criminal justice system to ensure proper implementation of our laws. Government will continue to intervene to ensure the integrated criminal justice system works, for greater impact specifically in stopping this anarchy.

6. Our analysis

Poverty is a major cause of vulnerability to gender based violence. Some of our young girls are lured with promises of better economic and social opportunities, to their detriment. We saw in the media, news about the brothels in the East Rand, where young children disguised as hairdressers are prostituted.

Mothers who are economically independent are better equipped to support their children. Hence in terms of the BBBEE legislation women inclusion has been elevated.

7. New strategic directions

The question is where we go now that we have all these intervention mechanisms in place.

7.1. Border Management Authority

The establishment of a Border Management Authority (BMA) is a critical intervention to ensure that even at our 72 Port of Entry women and children are protected from violations and crimes such as human trafficking and abduction.

7.2. Education and Skills Development Initiatives for the Youth and Women

Capacity building and improving on the required resources for effective interventions have been priorised.

The National Education Policy Act 27 of 1996 and the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 promote access to education for all. The Further Education and Training Colleges Act 16 of 2006 regulates further education and training and advancement of women in previously male-dominated fields.

The Skills Development Act 97 of 1998 provides for upgrading and new skills for employment. Universal primary education is already a reality. A major challenge that poses a threat to the retention of girls in education is teenage pregnancy. Priority should continue to be accorded to combating sexual offences and domestic violence.

7.3. Civil Society Mobilisation

The fight against gender based violence cannot be waged by government alone. Broader civil society and the various political parties have to drive programmes targeted at arresting this scourge. We should all take a stand, and also support the trending hashtag, #notinmyname.

Uyi ndoda ecabanga kanjani uma ushaya owesifazane, umuhlukumeza, buphi Ubuntu bakho?

We will continue strengthening the interventions of the criminal justice cluster. Nobody should look away, or turn a blind eye. We are all obliged, civil society, business, government and the youth to lend a hand.

7.4. Early Birth Registration

Registration of birth within 30 days is a free universal right that provides an opportunity for the creation of genealogy, family tree, natural justice, a credible and accurate National Population Register (NPR). It further serves as a barometer or statistical instrument we use to measure and scale up progress about children, guarantees protection of children, contributes to better planning, access to children's rights and basic services.

Thus, the basic purpose of birth registration is to guarantee the civil status of all persons based on legal principles, through which individuals can be assured of the legitimacy and authenticity of civil status.

7.5. Statement by the ANC NEC On Gender Based Violence

As we debate today we make a clarion call to all political parties represented here today to take up this campaign. The ANC cannot watch as our country is plagued by the scourge of violence against women and children.

Our Secretary General, Cde Gwede Mantashe, said in a statement that the ANC calls to action all its structures and society at large to become actively engaged in campaigns that involve communities in the prevention of femicide, rape and child molestation. We must affirm women's inalienable right to justice, safety, freedom and equality.

This campaign, against violence on children, should assist us all to understand the value of life and that physical, mental and sexual abuse rob people of their dignity.

8. Conclusion

In closing I appeal to all survivors of gender based violence in our communities in both urban and rural areas that they should at all times break the silence, speak out and expose these perpetrators.

To our communities, they should become a human shield and smell like a rose's scent any threat of violation of children and mobilise for action lines. Gains made so far give us hope, and we believe this battle of gender based violence will be won if we work together.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa