Statement: International Cooperation, Trade and Security clsuter (ICTS) media briefing

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International Cooperation, Trade and Security clsuter (ICTS) media briefing after 2011 State of the Nation Address final speaking notes – Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu
22 Feb 2011

Ministers

Deputy Ministers

Directors-General

Members of the media

We welcome you to this first Ministerial Cluster briefing for 2011. This briefing serves to expand on the announcements made by President Jacob Zuma during his State of the Nation Address on 10 February 2011, as well as to keep all South Africans informed, through you, on progress that has been made as well as plans for the forthcoming year 2011/12.

The mandate of the International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster is to improve the lives of all South Africans through enhanced trade and investment, regional economic integration, improved technical and scientific cooperation for the creation on much-needed jobs at all times ensuring peace and stability.

Our international agenda is anchored on the goal of creating a better South Africa, and contributing to a better and safer Africa in a better world. This is informed by our history and by our values outlined in the Constitution. These include human dignity, the achievement of equity and the advancement of human rights and freedoms; and that of building a non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous society.

We seek to assert ourselves on the global stage with a more widely shared African Agenda. An agenda is based on the need for economic growth and development; economic integration at the regional and sub-regional levels; trade and investment; and democratisation and good governance. In this regard, the development and strengthening of the African Union (AU) as a continental body and its structures is of great importance to us. We will continue our active role at continental through the African Union and at regional level as a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Our various activities as government in the past year were aimed at achieving these objectives.  The FIFA Soccer World Cup helped us to market ourselves and the continent as a region of progress, sustainability, peace and development.  The hosting this year of COP17 is consistent with this objective.

We also celebrate the successes we have been part of, such as the Sudan.  We have taken our place as our part of contributing to the resolution of problems on the continent, as we did in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), etc and today the President meets with four other heads of state to work out a solution for Cote d’Ivoire.  We continue to deploy our Defence Force to participate in United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) sanctioned peace missions.

We give this briefing as North Africa is reeling from discontent spreading from one country to another.  We want to emphasise right from the outset that we had time to analyse the first protests and we were re-assured that our policies and government are on track and that the President’s call to make this year a year of job creation clearly shows we have had our fingers on the pulse of the nation.

We firmly believe that peace and security are the prerequisites for economic growth and sustainable development. We thus place strong emphasis on building African multilateral institutions and the African peace and security architecture.

We are, all of us here, required and committed to refocusing our efforts at the urgent priority of creating jobs.  This, as the President indicated, will be the central issue at all our budget votes.  For now we wish to restate the President’s statement on our cluster responsibilities, plans and successes.

Thus, the work of this cluster in the promotion of peace and stability, co-operation on a range of matters such as scientific and technological advancement and political and economic integration are the fundamental building blocks for economic growth and sustainable development. The work of this cluster therefore remains central in the creation of conditions for enhanced trade, investment and capital flows.

To further promote South Africa as a tourism and investment destination we participated at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo from 1 May to 31 October 2010, increasing awareness about South Africa as a vibrant, modern country, with a sound economy, diverse cultures and languages and majestic scenic beauty. The uniquely designed South African Pavilion and professional exhibitions attracted over 4 million visitors.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup can be defined as the biggest marketing opportunity South Africa and Africa ever received in our history of existence. Our tourism sector will remain the biggest beneficiary and our greatest export to the world.

Tourism’s direct and indirect contribution to the country’s 2009 gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.7% to R198.4 billion compared to 2008. This represents 7.4% of GDP. Tourism is a significant source of foreign earnings for the country and can therefore be effectively positioned as one of the ‘export sectors’ of our economy.  Figures for 2010 reflect continued growth as well. Tourist arrivals from January to November 2010 was approx 7.3 million arrivals.

Our immigration policy has contributed significantly in creating an environment where visas are not an honorary burden.

South Africa has already secured 95 significant meetings and conferences between 2010 and 2016. In addition to this, we have already also put in bids for an additional 45 conferences for 2011 to 2020. In July, we will host a high level sports gathering in Durban, the 123rd International Olympic Committee General Assembly Session.

We have positioned South Africa as a country of choice for business, investment and tourism. In order to facilitate much-needed economic growth, we must promote foreign direct investment with targeted countries.

Since 1994 when the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force, Parties to the Convention have met annually at the Conference of Parties (COP). Later this year we will again hosts the world at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP 17/CMP 7) on climate change. As the President indicated, we are humbled by the confidence shown by the UNFCCC in Africa’s ability to host this meeting.

We have hosted many similar international conferences, ie World Conference Against Racism, the launch of the African Union, etc and we are now becoming quite specialised in these matters.

Once again, as was the case with Kenya, this presents us (and Africa) with another opportunity to rise to the occasion, just like we did when the world gave us an opportunity to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup last year. As an African developing country we will use the opportunity afforded by COP17/CMP7 to showcase the way in which climate change impacts on our country and continent, as well as the responses we are implementing.

If climate change is not addressed, its impact will undermine the developmental gains we have made since 1994 as a country and the progress made by SADC and the African continent to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs). Climate change is a sustainable development challenge that affects all countries and is not solely an environmental issue. It demands an urgent global agreement that takes into account different historical responsibilities in forging a shared common responsibility for the future.

We are committed to further develop unity of the African Group and a common African position in the multilateral climate change negotiations. In view of the fact that Africa is the continent most affected by Climate Change, it is important that Africa continues to speak with one voice. To this end, South Africa will be hosting a preparatory meeting of the African Group in March this year.

South Africa and its key allies in Africa, the G77 and China and the BRIC countries  – South Africa, India, China and Brazil – call for an inclusive, fair, effective, ambitious and binding climate change deal, which is favourable to both developed and developing countries.

Enhanced African agenda and sustainable development

We firmly believe that peace and security are the prerequisites for economic growth and sustainable development. We thus place strong emphasis on building African multilateral institutions and the African peace and security architecture. The promotion of political and economic integration of the continent also continues to drive the African Agenda. 

We remain committed to the advancement of the African Agenda as the President stated in the State of the Nation Address.  The development and strengthening of the African Union (AU) as a continental body and its structures is of great importance to South Africa.

The remarkable contribution we are making to peace and stability on the continent paves the way for economic growth and sustainable development in those areas. Not only does our contribution improve the lives of our fellow Africans, but also facilitates South African access to develop new markets on the continent in the wake of the new possibilities created.

We firmly believe that the deployment of the members of our Defence Force on the continent as part of the UN or the AU, directly provides the opportunity for our entrepreneurs to diversify our trade profile on the continent and our investment in African economies.  We call on South African entrepreneurs to take advantage of prevailing opportunities.

Regional integration and SADC

We are committed to the regional integration of SADC and will support efforts to deepen both political and economic integration.

Our economic development can be entrenched by deepening regional economic integration in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the wider African continent. This can also promote industrial development and employment creation.

Deeper regional integration in Africa and Southern Africa are prerequisites for engaging more competitively with the world economy. South Africa’s continental trade agenda is focused on supporting Africa’s economic integration in line with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the AU and the Abuja Treaty to establish the African Economic Community. The formation of the SADC-EAC (East African Community)-COMESA (Common Market for East African States) Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will assist in rationalising the different regional economic communities on the continent. This will create a market of 26 countries with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$624 billion and a population of approximately 700 million people.

South Africa will continue to support infrastructure development and trade facilitation in the continent (as raised in the SoNA), largely through the spatial development initiative (SDI) methodology.

Our five priority spatial development initiatives (SDIs) have been identified to be pursued over the medium term strategic framework (MTSF) period, namely: Mozambique SDI Programme Phase (Ph) 2; Tanzania SDI Ph2; DR Congo SDI Ph2; ANSA SDI Ph1; Zimbabwe SDI Ph 1 and the Mtwara corridor in Tanzania which now has investors for implementation. All these infrastructure programmes are important for regional integration and trade. When completed Africa will never be the same.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

We are leading Africa’s bid to host the world’s most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). The International SKA Steering Committee shortlisted Africa and Australia in 2006 as the bidders for the project. The selected site for the SKA will be announced in 2012.

Hosting the SKA in Africa would mean an investment of about $2 billion in the continent during construction and $200 million per annum over a 20-30 year period.

The SKA will ensure that both South Africa and the continent are strategically repositioned as the continental hub of choice for science and technology initiatives.  The SKA will drive the development of internet connectivity in both rural and urban areas in Africa.

Securing our borders and SADC security

To facilitate the flow of goods and people and effective management of our borders with our neighbouring countries, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has returned to the borders of South Africa with Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and, from 1 April 2011, to the border with Lesotho. We seek to cover the over 4 800 km of land border by end of 2013. South Africa is also strengthening its sea and air border management with additional deployments being made. The SS Mendi, a South African Navy MEKO Class Frigate, has resumed patrol along the Mozambique Channel where we are cooperating with the Mozambican authorities to ensure maritime security in Southern African waters.

Concerns over Somali piracy are also being attended to by the security institutions of our country. South Africa’s main priority is the continuity of trade and the smooth movements of cargo within the SADC Maritime Zone. We are working with other defence forces and security agencies of the region to protect our maritime areas for the purpose of smooth trade and movement of goods.

The SANDF has made noticeable achievements since its deployment to the borders. Farmers and business people along the borders have reported a drop in cross border crime, and a number of arrests have been made which have impacted heavily on syndicates trading in illegal goods and vehicle thefts.

The SANDF, in partnership with the South African Police Service (SAPS), are working with law enforcement agencies of the region to investigate and stop cross border crimes.

To ensure safe and secure tourism we have now started deploying on our border along the Kruger National Park. We will also deploy inside the Park to support the internal security of the Kruger Park and to assist the SAPS with combating rhino poaching. We seek to create a crime free environment that guarantees safe tourism. We also seek to stop the illegal movements of people and goods and related criminal activities.

Enhancing regional integration and peace

We have committed ourselves to enhancing our contribution to the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC). Acceleration of the full operationalisation of the SADC REWC will form an integral part of efforts to prevent and manage conflict situations in the region and the continent.

South Africa has made a significant contribution to the establishment of the SADC Standby Force and the SADC Brigade in particular, as was witnessed in September 2009 by the hosting of Exercise GOLFINHO which tested the readiness of the SADC Standby Force.

In the next year we will seek to maintain the readiness of our pledged defence, police and civilian components of the SADC Standby Force as determined in agreements. Renewed focus will be on strengthening our contribution to the civilian component of the SADC Standby Force that is necessary to provide the core support to the civilian Head of Mission.

Not only will we be seeking to enhance our capacity to make this contribution, but we will also strengthen our understanding of the civilian component concept and the development of a strategy in this regard.

The President said that during the coming 2011/12 financial year, we will be deploying a total of 2 240 military personnel in operations across the African continent, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (1271 personnel), Darfur (850 personnel) and Central African Republic (100 personnel). These deployments are tasked with restoring peace, training, and formalising and developing the security structures of those countries to stabilise and facilitate economic growth and a better life for the citizens.

In addition to these enduring missions, we will continue to provide humanitarian support, disaster relief, election assistance and general military assistance to our continental partners.  In the DRC we have also deployed to support the elections. We assist with elections logistics, protection of observers and officials.

AU/NEPAD/UN
2011 marks ten years since the adoption of NEPAD as the AU flagship socio-economic programme in Lusaka in July 2001. South Africa ranks amongst fourteen AU Member States of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) which was established in 2003 as a voluntary instrument to ensure efficient delivery of services to the peoples of the continent, and promoting good democratic governance and economic and corporate governance. 

Reform of global governance institutions

We remain committed to the reform of institutions of global governance, including the comprehensive reform of the UN which includes the expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Our membership of the Security Council presents an opportunity to contribute to reforming the working methods of the Council and to work towards the achievement of a representative, legitimate and more effective Council.

We are greatly honoured to join the BRICS forum. It is an important bloc of emerging economies.

We look forward to the inaugural meeting of BRICS on 14 – 15 April in China through BRICS we will continue with existing collaboration in various international organisations and formations such as the UN, the Group of 20 (G20) and IBSA. 

In the coming years we are committed to deploying/seconding South Africans into strategic positions in strategic regional, continental and global governance institutions according to determined modalities. Over the next years we will be striving to meet the geographical quota available in the UN system and meet the assessed quota available in SADC and the AU. To do this, we will in the medium-term develop a national secondment strategy to operationalise the implementation of the National Secondment Policy, revise the National Secondment Policy and develop a database of possible posts and candidates that South Africa can deploy into or put forward as candidates.

Diplomacy in the continent

The President already said that we welcome the successfully concluded referendum and support the activities of the AU in the post-conflict reconstruction and development of Sudan.  Despite the successful conclusion of the referendum, remaining challenges must be addressed to ensure smooth transition. Our troops remain committed to their current operations as part of our efforts to maintain peace and stability on the African continent.

The strong political relations that exist between South Africa and the people of Southern Sudan have cultivated a positive environment for the greater involvement of the South African private sector in the region’s economic development. There is a growing presence of South African businesses in Southern Sudan, namely:

SABMiller has built a US$ 30 million brewery in Southern Sudan which has been functional for over a year. The brewery is one of the biggest investments in that region by an outside country. South African consulting engineers (KV3) are managing the refurbishment of government buildings, such as the Juba Hospital. Arelco has been appointed on a project basis to lead livestock development in Southern Sudan and MTN also has investments in the region.

Given that Southern Sudan is given independence on 11 July 2011, it is important to identify commercial opportunities and establish an early footprint in Southern Sudan, ahead of our competitors. 

Key sectors to be pursued in Sudan include agriculture, minerals and energy, infrastructure development and management, information and communications technology (ICT) and telecoms, water purification and supply, forestry and banking. South African business must take advantage of these opportunities.

We must emphasize that the ICTS cluster’s responsibility is to facilitate peace and stability on the continent and by so doing stimulate growth, jobs; fight poverty and under-development. A peaceful and stable Africa is central for growth, job creation and economic development.

Enquiries:

Neo Momodu

Cell: 079 462 5081



Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
22 Feb 2011