Press Releases

Press Releases


Please be informed that the Embassy will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period from 25 December 2019 to 3 January 2020.  The Embassy will reopen on 6 January 2020.

For emergencies only please call Tel: 964 151 989

The Embassy wishes you a happy and safe Christmas!



This year marks 42 years since the United Nations (UN) General Assembly established the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The commemoration of this day seeks to galvanise global action towards ending the occupation of Palestine.

The Government and the people of South Africa join the international community in reiterating our unwavering solidarity with the people of Palestine. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN, South Africa urges the global community to act purposively towards a just and peaceful end of the occupation as guided by international law.

South Africa is concerned by the actions of the Government of Israel which seek to foreclose the final status issues, thereby disregarding UN Security Council resolutions on the Middle East Peace Process.

A just ending of the occupation must address disputes regarding the borders for a viable two-state solution, the return of all Palestinian refugees, the status of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State and halting all illegal settlements.

South Africa calls on all key stakeholders to ensure that all obligations under international law are met in order for a peaceful and just ending of the occupation of Palestine.



SA from 25 November is marking 16 days of Activism For No Violence Against Women and Children. This is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day).


The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign (16 Days Campaign) is a United Nations campaign which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). Other key commemorative days during this period include World Aids Day on the 1st December and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, on 3 December of every year.


The official opening of the 2019 16 Days Campaign will take place in Limpopo, SA  on 25 November under the theme: Enough is Enough – 356 days to Gender-Based violence and Femicide (GBVF).


Given the scourge of Gender-Based violence in the country, which is declared a national address, government is implementing the Emergency Response Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide, which was announced by President Cyril in September 2019.


The 16 Days Campaign forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. At the end of the campaign on 10 December 2019, government will officially launch the 365 Days Behavioural Change Campaign.


During the 16 Days period, Government together with civil society and the private sector will host a series of community and sector dialogues and activities to foster a collaborative effort in dealing with GBVF.


a.    Be an activist against GBV in your homes, communities, work and positions:

•Challenge cultures and practices that perpetuate gender inequalities and consequent abuse of women and children at personal and societal level.


b.    Play your part:

•Reject and report abusers- Act and don’t look away!

•Do not protect abusers, report them!

•Sign the Pledge Against Gender-Based Violence. Do not engage in abusive activities and become an abuser- Stop abuse.

•Challenge and denounce cultural practices that perpetuate gender inequalities

•Be sensitive and supportive to GBV victims - share helpful information and support causes near you.

•Seek personal help to change harmful behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse

•Teach children values of gender equality

•Protect children from exposure to violence and harmful content on internet and social media, including pornography, sexual solicitation

•Develop policies that prevent and deal with gender based violence in your sector, workplace and communities.

•Organise targeted community outreach and dialogues on solution towards a gender equal society.


Together, let us take actions to support the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.































Brand South Africa welcomes the release of the 2019 edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), which indicates South Africa’s over-all ranking improved from 67 out of 140 nations in 2018, to 60 out 141 nations in 2019.

The WEF GCI is made up of 12 pillars, each covering a unique area of performance that ultimately influences the over-all competitiveness profile of the market. It offers insights into the prospects of 141 economies, providing unique acumen into the drivers of economic growth. Competitiveness has a direct impact on the reputation of countries for several reasons, but primarily plays a role in framing an understanding of the broader environments that impact on societal productivity and efficiency. Most importantly, competitiveness is a major factor that impacts Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) decisions.

According to the GCI data, South Africa now ranks number one out of 141 nations for budget transparency, a significant ranking that is an illustration of the robust and transparent political governance system of the country, which is anchored in the Constitution of the Republic. This is also supported by the Open Budget Index, where South Africa ranks number two out of 103 nations, clearly highlighting South Africa’s high levels of transparency in its political governance system. South Africa’s ranking on judicial independence also improves markedly with 15 positions in 2018 and currently stands at 33 out of 141 nations.

South Africa’s over-all performance in the 2019 GCI is specifically driven by improvements in Institutions, Health and the Product Market.
The Institutions pillar improves from 69 out of 140 to 55 out of 141 – this is due to reputational damage in the area of governance in recent years.
Health, also historically a weaker area of South Africa’s performance, improves from 125 to 118 in 2019.
Product market improves from 74 to 69 in 2019.

Speaking on the results, Brand South Africa’s General Manager for Research, Dr Petrus de Kock, says: “Interestingly enough following on 2018, a year wherein local and global media carried extensive and mostly negative coverage on South Africa’s proposed land reform policy, South Africa’s rankings in Property Rights & Quality Land Administration show improvement. This affirms the country’s strengthened competitiveness profile and a growing economy”.

For the full report, visit – Source:


Get ready for this year's Diplomatic Bazaar, to be held on 15 and 16 November 2019 (Friday and Saturday), from 11h00 to 19h00, at the Centro de Congressos de Lisboa.  All proceeds go to institutions caring for people with rare diseases.  South Africa will be selling SA crafts, wines and foods.  SEE YOU THERE!


Ambassador Gaoretelewe participated in the Leadership Summit that took place on 1 October 2019 at the Casino Estoril, on a panel together with the Ambassadors of France, Peru and India.  The general theme of the panel discussion was "Are we going together?".  You can read the Ambassador's contribution to the discussion below.



Theme: “Are we going together?”

Yes, because TOGETHER as women we are like a rock!

“When you strike a woman, you strike a rock”, these words in song have come to represent the struggle of women in South Africa with the Woman’s March of 1956, when over 20 000 women of all races marched TOGETHER to the Union Buildings to protest against discriminatory pass laws.  Since 1995 this march has been celebrated in SA as Women’s Day, bringing TOGETHER women, but more so society as one to recognise the significant role played by women’s activism during the struggle for liberation against colonisation & apartheid and beyond.

Through the symbol of that rock, we TOGETHER salute their resilience, strength and power.  

Today, we pay tribute to many generations who have taken up the baton of struggle towards a world that is truly non-sexist and equal. TOGETHER we are blazing a trail - in the workplace and in the boardrooms, in our factories and on our farms, in our Parliament and in our civil society organisations.  

South Africa is celebrating 25 years of our democracy this year, and we can say with certainty that TOGETHER we have made a real difference in the lives of our women.  The empowerment of women has been placed at the heart of Government’s work. Thus we are proud to have implemented policies and programmes to give practical expression to women’s rights to education, to health care, to basic services and to social support. Therefore, today in South Africa:

  • women comprise 58% of all students enrolled at universities and colleges;
  • 47% per cent of Members of Parliament (MPs) are women;
  • Cabinet has achieved a 50/50 gender parity of Minsters.

    In this regard I am also proud to be the fourth female Ambassador to Portugal since 1994. And I am proud to say that the number of Women Ambassadors has been increasing and is now 34. And similarly through AWA we have witnessed an increasing number of Woman Ambassadors in Portugal, currently standing at 24.

Yes, we know more needs to be done. There can be no true liberation unless women are also economically empowered across all levels. Working with partners in business and labour, in communities and across civil society, we are taking measures to build the economy and create economic opportunities, especially for women and youth. But we must do more to skill and train our women especially young women, to becoming entrepreneurs and to start their own businesses. Women entrepreneurs are known to use profits from their business to improve their families' living conditions and lifestyle. More critically they also invest in their children's education which ensures that the cycle of poverty is broken.

Yes, we are doing it TOGETHER, because we know when women are empowered, families thrive, communities are safer and economies grow.  It is up to us to ensure that women empowerment becomes a reality. We dare not be happy with the status quo which excludes many women from the social and economic mainstream.  By working / going TOGETHER we can ensure a societal shift so that women can take their rightful place in becoming that ROCK, making a significant impact on socio-economic growth and development in our societies.

Ambassador Mmamokwena Gaoretelelwe


To read the Newsletter (30 September) from the Desk of the President of the Republic of South Africa, please click here

                                            To read the Newsletter (14 October) from the Desk of the President of the Republic of South Africa, please click here

                                            To read the Newsletter (25 November ) from the Desk of the President of the Republic of South Africa, please click here