Press Releases

Press Releases


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



Kindly click on the link in the poster to watch Minister Pandor giving remarks at the United Nations Security Council meeting on "Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organisations in maintaining international peace and security” on Wednesday 25th September 2019.

GUY BUTTERY and NIBS VAN DER SPUY perform at Espaço Espelho D'Água

South Africa musicians GUY BUTTERY and NIBS VAN DER SPUY will perform ZULU SOUND TALES at the Espaço Espelho D'Água, in Lisbon, on Saturday, 7 September, at 10 pm. Tickets cost 10,00 EUR and can be bought by contacting Tel: 213 010 510, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or at the venue.

For more information on Guy Buttery and Nibs Van Der Spuy click on the document files/Guy_Buttery__Nibs_Van_Der_Spuy.pdf



25 AUGUST 2019



Your Excellency, President Emmanuel Macron,

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


This Summit’s focus on reducing inequality is particularly relevant for the G7 and Africa Partnership, because of the severe inequality between the countries of Africa and developed nations, and also because of the levels of inequality within Africa.

Inequality is detrimental to growth and development, and peace and security.

I would like to commend the leaders of the G7 for seeking to reorient its relationship with Africa to tackle these challenges.

Africa has reached an important milestone with the adoption by 55 countries of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

This free trade area is now the largest on the globe, bringing together 1.2billion people with a combined GDP of $3 trillion.

This will lead to:

  • The creation of a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments
  • Expansion of intra-Africa trade, and
  • A more diverse, balanced and sustainable export base for African economies.

We are confident that this Free Trade Agreement will unleash Africa’s economic potential and consolidate its position as a new frontier of economic growth and development.

As a flagship of the AU’s agenda 2063, the trade opportunities will engender peace and stability on the continent.

In the context of South-North co-operation, we look forward to G7 countries joining us in a mutually beneficial partnership.

We expect that this Partnership will help Africa realise its potential, through investment and access to markets, capital, technology and skills.

Our focus at this Summit on the digital economy is equally important.

Through the cooperation we have envisaged here, we can work together to ensure digitisation reduces inequality and supports inclusive economic growth.

The African Union Commission is currently developing a comprehensive Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa that will provide a common, coordinated response to realise the digitisation of the continent. 

This will lay the basis for the development of infrastructure and the institutions we need to maximize the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.

It will also unleash the African spirit of enterprise and creativity and will generate more homegrown digital solutions and content.

We are therefore looking forward to developing concrete initiatives through the G7 Africa partnership that will support Agenda 2063 and the digital transformation of Africa.

I thank you.


August is South Africa Women's Month 2019

The South African Embassy in Lisbon will join millions of South Africans on 9 August to celebrate Women’s Day as part our country’s Women’s Month. We pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. A system meant to control women even further and reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men.

This year’s annual commemoration will be held under the theme: “25 Years of Democracy: Growing South Africa Together for Women’s Emancipation” and coincides with the country’s celebration of 25 Years of Freedom and Democracy. 

The Call-To-Action for this year’s campaign is “What Women Want” born out of the 2019 Women's Month theme and seeks to identify multifaceted issues affecting today’s women from all sectors, race, statures and age. Through this campaign, we want to encourage boldness in women, to state without any fear, what they really want. 

We therefor make a call to all women to share their perspectives on the gains, the gaps, the current struggles of women in this government and boldly state what they would want to see happening in order to realise the agenda of women equality by participating in the #WhatWomenWant campaign. You can participate by voicing out your perspectives on different social media platforms under the hashtag #WhatWomenWant. Upload your contribution by sharing a social media post, a mini video or a sound clip using the #.


South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Naledi  Pandor received a courtesy call in Pretoria on 2 August 2019 from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Teresa Ribeiro of Portugal  during the Sixth Session of the South Africa - Portugal Bilateral Consultations.

Deputy Minister Alvin Botes and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Teresa Ribeiro, of Portugal led their respective delegations at the South Africa - Portugal Bilateral Consultations concluded on 2 August 2019. A Joint Communique is attached below.



 Joint Communiqué of the Sixth Session of Bilateral Consultations between South Africa and Portugal

1. South Africa and Portugal concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Consultations on 25 November 2002, which provides for regular meetings chaired by the Ministers or Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries in order to discuss Bilateral Relations, Regional and Multilateral Issues.

2. Mr Alvin Botes, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, hosted the Sixth Session of Bilateral Consultations in Pretoria on 2 August 2019. The Portuguese delegation to the Consultations was led by Ms Teresa Ribeiro, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. During her visit, Secretary of State Ribeiro also paid a courtesy visit to Dr Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa.

3. During their opening remarks at the Bilateral Consultations, both Deputy Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the progress that had been made with the development of relations since the Fifth Meeting of Bilateral Consultations was held in Lisbon in 2017. They also expressed their desire for these relations to grow in substance and diversity. The issues on the agenda included the following:

3.1. Africa

Deputy Minister Botes provided a briefing on developments in South Africa and the rest of the African continent, focusing specifically on peace and security, Africa’s economic development, the African Union and its Agenda 2063. He also elaborated on the outcomes that South Africa expected to achieve when it chairs the African Union in 2020.

3.2. The European Union

Secretary of State Ribeiro provided a briefing on developments in Portugal and in the European Union, including the recent European Parliamentary elections. She also elaborated on the priorities of Portugal’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2021, with Africa at the forefront. It was agreed that South Africa and Portugal should promote closer collaboration between the African Union and the European Union.

3.3. Multilateral Issues

3.3.1. South Africa and Portugal emphasised their shared commitment to multilateralism, respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter and acknowledged the high level of mutual understanding and coordination in multilateral affairs. South Africa and Portugal cooperate on multilateral issues and the importance Human Rights and a rules-based global governance system was highlighted.

3.3.2. South Africa and Portugal recalled their good record regarding the mutual support of candidatures in international elections and reiterated their desire to continue to do so, whenever possible.

3.4. Agriculture

South Africa and Portugal agreed that both sides would facilitate technical points of contact on sanitary and phytosanitary requirements to promote trade in agricultural products.

3.5. Culture

South Africa and Portugal expressed their intention to intensify their cultural cooperation as an integral part of mutual knowledge and understanding of their respective people.

3.6. Defence

South Africa and Portugal noted with appreciation the efforts being made to foster bilateral defence cooperation through the negotiation of a Defence Cooperation Agreement and emphasised their willingness to develop collaboration in areas such as maritime security, peacekeeping, military education and training, as well as in the defence industry.

3.7. Education

3.7.1. Portugal expressed an interest in continuing to support the Department of Basic Education to offer Portuguese as a Second or First Additional Language in South African schools (Grade R to 12) and as a Home Language (Grade 10 to 12). A Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation has already been concluded with the Gauteng Department of Education, which provides for the inclusion of Portuguese language teaching in the Province’s curricula. Portugal is already supporting nineteen Portuguese-language teachers, who teach 2,400 students and provide training for South African teachers wishing to become Portuguese language teachers. They are also involved in curricular development to comply with South African guidelines.

3.7.2. At the level of higher education, Portugal is currently present in five universities in South Africa, promoting an offer for Undergraduate, Honours and Masters Degrees in Portuguese language and culture, which it intends to develop further.

3.7.3. This offer was welcomed, particularly because Portuguese is referred to in the South African Constitution as one of the languages that must be promoted and respected. The Government of Portugal was requested to submit a formal proposal, through its Embassy in Pretoria, to the Department of Basic Education of South Africa.

3.8. Ocean Economy

3.8.1. South Africa and Portugal acknowledged the importance of the ocean economy and agreed to pursue collaboration in this field. Portugal has already submitted a draft Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Marine Environment. to South Africa, which is currently being studied.

3.8.2. Portugal also thanked South Africa for its support in organising the second United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon in 2020.

3.9. Science and Innovation

3.9.1. South Africa and Portugal signed an agreement in the fields of science and technology in 2015 and it was noted that several joint initiatives had been launched since then. These include: The National Research Foundation of South Africa and the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal are exploring the possibility of launching a Call for Research Proposals (CRP) in the future. The CRP is will cover thematic research areas such as big data, renewable energy, sustainable development and the ocean economy. The parties further discussed the possibility to host a joint researcher workshop in the thematic areas identified under the CRP. The time and place of the workshop will be communicated through diplomatic channel. The two sides will explore the possibility of establishing trilateral cooperation with other African countries such as Angola and Mozambique. South Africa and Portugal are among the founding signatories of the Convention establishing the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Observatory. It was noted that both countries were in the process of concluding the ratification process in order to become party to the Convention. The South

African side expressed greatly appreciation for the support that Portugal has provided to the SKA project. South Africa and Portugal are both members of the Board of the Atlantic International Research Centre (AIR Centre), which is an international partnership aimed at promoting research and innovation cooperation on the sustainable management of the Atlantic Ocean and its resources. The Centre’s research agenda focuses on space, atmosphere, climate-energy, oceans and data science and analytics. It was noted that South Africa was in the process of nominating a national focal point institution to represent South Africa in the AIR Centre. Portugal will be looking forward to an early indication from South Africa in this regard, welcoming the prospect of intensified South African participation in the AIR Centre. The South African side has invited the Portuguese side to take part in the OR Tambo Research Call initiative, which is a strategic South African programme aimed at strengthening research and innovation capacities in public research-intensive universities in Africa, enhancing the training of a new generation of researchers and the further development of established researchers in all knowledge areas while responding to national priorities and strategies. The Portuguese side will consider the proposal and communicate the decision to the South African side. The South African side extended an invitation to the Portuguese side to participate in the Science Forum South Africa event scheduled to take place in Pretoria on 4 and 5 December 2019.

3.10. Tourism

South Africa and Portugal are both popular tourism destinations and it was agreed to foster collaboration in this field, particularly as far as training and skills development, exchange programmes and the sharing of best practices are concerned. In view of this, Portugal has submitted a draft Memorandum of

Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Tourism, which is currently under consideration by the Government of South Africa.

3.11. Trade and Investment

Satisfaction was expressed with the growth in bilateral trade and investment, but it was agreed that the economic relationship between the two countries has not yet reached its full potential. It was agreed to explore closer collaboration in areas such as infrastructure development, as well as the promotion of small and medium enterprises. It was also agreed to foster economic relations between South African Provinces and the Portuguese Autonomous Regions.

4. It was agreed that the Seventh Session of Bilateral Consultations will be held in Portugal before the end of 2021.

The Joint Communiqué of the Sixth Session of the South Africa – Portugal Bilateral Consultations was signed in Pretoria on 2 August 2019



South Africa’s role serving in the United Nations Security Council for the past six months (Jan-June 2019) is being reviewed favourably.  The attached review is providing an independent assessment of the progress made, challenges faced and possible ways to improve South Africa’s engagements for the coming 18 months on the Council. South Africa is also in the process of its own internal review as well as an open interaction with civil society on this.  This process will also be used to prepare for South Africa’s Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in October 2019.


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