Monthly Archives: August 2017

Environmental Affairs concludes AFRIMAB Southern Africa Sub-Regional Workshop

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has today, 29 August 2017, concluded a two day African Network of Man and Biosphere Reserves (AfriMAB) sub regional workshop, in Saldanha Bay, Cape Town.

South Africa was elected for the second time to coordinate AfriMAB Southern Africa sub-region workshop during the AfriMAB General Assembly held in Ghana in November 2015. As the coordinator, South Africa seeks to strengthen the Southern African Biosphere Reserve network through facilitating capacity building and sharing of good practices and lessons learned in effective nomination process, implementation to derive maximum benefits while conserving biodiversity, natural resources and management of the Man and Biosphere Programme.

The Southern African region, has suffered considerably from the impacts of climate-change/ variability, among them floods and droughts that are threatening economic growth/development and jeopardising livelihoods. As a result the region is grappling with poverty, water, food and energy security issues.

The MAB strategy 2015-2025 and Lima Action Plan 2016-2025 offer opportunities to member states and stakeholders to urgently meet the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular through exploring and testing policies, technologies and innovations for the sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources, as well as mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The workshop also responded to the objective of AfriIMAB created by the “Regional Conference for forging cooperation on Africa’s Biosphere Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development” in Dakar, Senegal in 1996, to promote regional co-operation in the fields of biodiversity, conservation and sustainable development through trans-border projects, which are primarily based in biosphere reserves.

Over 40 participants comprising of high level policy makers from the Ministries of Environment in the sub-region, UNESCO National Commissions, National MB Committee members, SADC Secretariat, UNESCO-ROSA, AfriMAB continental, local governments, community representatives, universities, private sector and NGOs from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Tanzania are attended the two day workshop.

Delivering the key note address on behalf of the Minister of DEA, Ms Skumsa Mancotwya, Chief Director of Protected Areas System Management, said the workshop was a significant milestone for the country as a coordinator of the sub-region.

We created a platform for stakeholders from government, private sector, non-governmental organisations and community representatives, as well as business community to share information and good practices on the establishment and management of Biosphere Reserves in the sub-region, by using existing functional biosphere reserves in the sub-region to explain the programme.

For more than 40 years, UNESCO Biosphere Reserves have added value to sustainable development and conservation in many countries. As we celebrate 72 years of UNESCO’s existence, today we are proud that the World Network of Biosphere Reserves enlists 669 Biosphere Reserves in 120 countries. As we are all aware, despite limited resources which continues to define life in our region, AfriMAB is responsible for 74 Biosphere Reserves in 28 countries, representing approximately 13% of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, she said.

The AfriMAB Southern Africa Sub-regional workshop will also serve as preparatory meeting for the AfriMAB General Assembly meeting scheduled to take place in Abuja, Nigeria from 11 – 15 September 2017. Recommendations and action plan will be made to AfriMAB General Assembly to enhance effectiveness and impact of Biosphere Reserves in the region.

Source: Government of South Africa

Women artisans, apprentices saluted

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande has saluted women artisans and apprentices for venturing beyond social stereotypes and debunking the myth that certain skills and occupations are the preserves of men.

Minister Nzimande paid tribute to women artisans and apprentices during a ceremony held on Tuesday at Ekurhuleni West Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College to honour women in artisanship.

In his address, Minister Nzimande said women artisans and apprentices must be empowered economically so that they can win the war against poverty.

Income inequality based on gender bias also needs to be confronted and reversed wherever it shows its ugly head. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, the Minister said.

He said providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

The Minister also acknowledged that the numbers of females registered for artisanal trades are still low at below 25% for the 2015/16 financial year.

He said the department will continue with the Decade of the Artisan Programme, which is the department’s artisan advocacy programme aimed to showcase young women that it is cool to be a woman artisan.

The National Development Plan directs us to produce 30 000 artisans per annum by 2030, we will endeavour to encourage women, especially young women to join artisanal trades, if we are to succeed in our fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality. �

Source: South Africa Government News Agency

South Africa deplores the launch of ballistic missile by Democratic People’s Republic of Korea over Japan territory

The South African Government deplores the latest launch of a ballistic missile by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the territory of Japan, which again violates the obligations of the DPRK under various UN Security Council resolutions, including 1718 (2006), 1874 (2009), 2087 (2013), 2094 (2013) and 2270 (2016). This most recent ballistic missile launch over the territory of Japan represents a serious and unacceptable escalation of an already complex security situation in the region.

South Africa shares the concerns of the international community regarding the nuclear weapon and delivery system-related activities of the DPRK, which undermines regional and international peace and security. We reiterate our call on the DPRK to adhere to its Security Council-mandated obligations, to return to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to fulfil its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards obligations. South Africa also calls upon the DPRK to fulfil its commitments under the Six-Party Talks with a view to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

We strongly urge the DPRK and all States involved to refrain from any further action which may undermine the pursuit of such a negotiated solution or that could further increase tensions in the North East Asia region and beyond. It is only through a negotiated solution that the issues affecting the Korean Peninsula can be resolved.

Source: Government of South Africa


DURBAN, Five robbery suspects and a bystander have been killed during a shootout with police at two scenes in Durban Monday as a group of armed men robbed a cash-in-transit vehicle, the police say.

One other suspect is in critical condition in hospital and two other suspects were arrested at the scene, said KwaZulu-Natal Province Police Spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele. One bystander, who was wounded during the shootout, died later in hospital, while three other bystanders are in critical condition.

In what was described as the deadliest robbery the city has seen in the last few months, one suspect was shot dead at the scene of the robbery in Springfield, Durban, and his accomplices fled the scene in a getaway car. They were confronted by police after a high-speed car chase at Parlock, north of the city, where a further bloody shootout ensued, leaving four suspects dead and four bystanders wounded.

Col. Mbhele said investigations into the incident were continuubg. One suspect was shot and killed at the scene and one was taken to the hospital. A police officer was also injured whilst at Springfield and then the chase carried on to Parlock where four suspects in a Mercedez Benz car, which was later discovered to be hijacked yesterday (Sunday) in Sydenham,” he said.

“A number of firearms were also recovered from the suspects and also the box with cash was also recovered at the scene. We are waiting for the local fingerprints record centre to come and attend the scene where they are still going to do investigations. It’s not clear for now whether it’s police that shot the bystanders or it’s the suspects because it was a crossfire. That will be determined by ballistics after the firearms have been tested.

One of the bystanders wounded during the shootout has since died in hospital while three others are in a critical condition. They are employees of a nearby firm and were on their tea break at the time of the incident.

We heard gunshots and saw a vehicle involved in a shootout with police. We ran for cover and lay down on our stomachs on the floor. They even arrested a colleague thinking he was one of the suspects. Three of my colleagues who were going to buy food during tea time sustained gunshot wounds during the shootout, said one bystander.