Press Releases

Press Releases

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 23 JANUARY 2023

  

 

THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO END LOAD SHEDDING: TOGETHER

Dear Fellow South African,

A week ago, the Sowetan newspaper carried a front page headlined ‘Unplugged’, listing many small businesses around the country that have been crippled by the electricity crisis. The closure of these businesses shows some of the devastating impact of persistent load shedding on people’s livelihoods and on their dreams for a better life.

There are many other reports about the effects of load shedding on people’s lives, about the disruption at hospitals, schools, courts, and other government services. We hear about the factories that lose precious hours of production, farmers that are unable to keep their produce fresh, and investments that are being held back.

As loadshedding continues to wreak havoc on businesses, households and communities, the last thing South Africans want to hear are excuses or unrealistic promises. The demands for an immediate end to power cuts are wholly understandable. Everyone is fed up.

However, we in the grip of an energy crisis that has been many years in the making.

Though it may be easy to blame our present woes on dysfunctionality at Eskom, a combination of factors have contributed to the crisis. It is important to recall the reasons for the current situation so that our response tackles the causes of our crisis, not just the symptoms.

Lack of investment in new generating capacity, poor power plant maintenance, corruption and criminality, sabotage of infrastructure, rising municipal debt and a lack of suitable skills at Eskom have all created a perfect storm. There can be no sustainable solution without addressing all these factors in combination.

We should not make the mistakes of the past. For many years, critical maintenance was deferred, and our power stations were run too hard in order to keep the lights on. As a country we are now paying the price for these miscalculations.

We must be realistic about our challenges and about what it is going to take to fix them. While we all desperately want to, we cannot end load shedding overnight.

Over the last few days, I have held consultative meetings with representatives of labour, business, traditional leaders, religious leaders and the community constituency. I have also met with premiers, metro mayors and leaders of political parties.

In each of those meetings, I stressed the importance of staying the course, instead of coming up with unsustainable short-term solutions.

Six months ago I announced a national Energy Action Plan to improve the performance of Eskom’s power stations and add new generation capacity as quickly as possible. This plan was the result of extensive consultation and was endorsed by energy experts as the most realistic path towards ending load shedding.

As we know only too well from the experience of the last few weeks, many of the measures in the plan will not be felt in the immediate term.

That is why we are using every means at our disposal, calling on every resource we have, to get power onto the grid as a matter of extreme urgency.

Eskom’s fleet of coal-fired power stations supplies the bulk of our energy needs. That is why there is a singular focus in Eskom on improving plant performance. A team of independent experts is conducting a diagnosis of the problems at poorly performing power stations and taking action to improve plant performance. Six power stations have been identified for particular focus over the coming months to recover additional capacity.

Eskom is also working to connect Kusile Unit 5 to the grid by September this year. Every urgent effort is being made to restore other units at Medupi, Kusile and Koeberg with significant capacity.

Eskom has imported 300 MW of capacity from neighbouring countries. There are negotiations underway to secure an additional 1,000 MW. Eskom is also working to buy surplus power from companies with available generation capacity for a period of three years.

Government has signed agreements for 25 projects from bid windows 5 and 6 of the renewable energy programme, and these projects will soon be proceeding to construction. Collectively they represent 2,800 MW of new capacity.

To increase the overall supply of electricity, in addition to what Eskom provides, we have taken steps to enable substantial investment by private power producers in new generation capacity. The licensing requirement for embedded generation projects has been removed. Since we first raised the licensing threshold to 100 MW, the pipeline of private sector projects has grown to more than 100 projects with over 9,000 MW of capacity.

We have cut red tape and streamlined regulatory processes, reducing the timeframes for environmental authorisations, registration of new projects and grid connection approvals.

Another major source of new generating capacity are solar panels on the roofs of houses and businesses.

Work will soon be completed on a pricing structure that will allow customers to sell surplus electricity from rooftop solar panels into the grid.

We can all play our part by paying for the electricity that we use. The huge debt owed to Eskom by municipalities badly affects Eskom’s ability to fund critical maintenance.

All the stakeholders I have met over the last week, without exception, appreciate the seriousness, the depth and the complexity of the challenges we face. They have all expressed their commitment to take whatever measures that are required to restore our electricity supply and get on with the task of improving the lives of the South African people.

While we cannot end load shedding immediately, what is certain is that if we work together with urgency to implement the Energy Action Plan, load shedding will steadily become less and less severe. Through collective action, we will much sooner reach the point where we have enough power to end load shedding altogether.

With best regards, 

OPEN TENDER FOR PROPERTY IN FUNCHAL

                                                                                    

                                                                                  

PROPERTY FOR DISPOSAL

Bidders are hereby invited to submit offers to purchase the following property owned by the Republic of South Africa located in the Portuguese Republic. The property which will be sold on an open tender is listed as follows:

LOCATION

STREET ADDRESS

TYPE OF PROPERTY

REFERENCE

Funchal, Madeira

Rua Alto Do Amparo, Nº 20, São Martinho Parish, Funchal County, Madeira Island

Residential house

DIRCO:11-2022/23 POR ERF#FUNCHAL

 

Bidders are advised to refer to the Bid Conditions as well as the bid documents as failure to adhere to the conditions and requirements may lead to disqualification of the bid. It is the responsibility of the bidder to ensure that bid documents obtained meet the bid conditions.

Bid documents can be obtained as follows:

  • At the South African Embassy, Av. Luís Bívar, 10, 1069-024 Lisbon, between 8am and 3pm from Monday to Friday.
  • Bid documents can be obtained from the website where the tender is advertised: www.dirco.gov.za and www.embaixada-africadosul.pt
  • Bid documents can be obtained by courier. An authorization letter is needed to enable the Courier Company to collect on behalf of a prospective bidder. (South African Embassy in Portugal)

When requesting a bid document by e-mail, post or courier, clearly indicate for which property a bid form is requested.

It is the responsibility of the bidder to ensure that bid documents are requested and received on time. The Department will not accept responsibility for bids not submitted on time due to late receipt of e-mailed or posted documents.

Bids must be physically submitted in a sealed envelope and be deposited in the tender box at the South African Embassy, Avenida Luis Bivar 10, 1069-024, Lisbon, between 08h00 and 15h00 from Monday to Friday on or before the 10 February 2023. Bids submitted after this date and time shall not be considered.

No e-mail submissions will be considered.

The Department reserves the right to withdraw any property proposed for disposal at its own discretion and reserves the right not to accept any bid.

Prospective bidders will be able to view the property on tender in Funchal on the 2 and 3 February 2023 from 08h00 to 16h00 (Please call Mr Ernest Mahalefa on Tel +351 969 501 605)

When submitting your bid in the RSA, the following information must appear on the sealed envelope:

  • Name and address of bidder
  • DIRCO Reference Number
  • Closing date         

This envelope can be placed in the bic box at DIRCO Head Office Building, 460 Soutpansberg Road, Rietondale, Pretoria

OR

If posted, place the envelope in a covering envelope addressed as follows: Department of International Relations and Cooperation, 460 Soutpansberg Road, Rietondale 0084              

Attention is also brought to any person who may have an objection to the proposed sale of any of the above-mentioned properties to lodge such an objection in writing on or before the closing date and time as mentioned in this advertisement.    

ENQUIRIES REGARDING THE TENDER CAN BE DIRECTED TO MR. MOLEKOA TEL: +27 12 351 0362 (South Africa)   

ENQUIRIES REGARDING THE VIEWING AND SUBMISSION OF BIDS CAN BE DIRECTED TO MR. ERNEST MAHALEFA, TEL: +351 969 501 605 (Portugal)                                                                                                                              

 

 

 

EMBASSY CLOSED OVER CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS

Please be informed that the Embassy will be closed over the Christmas holidays from 10H00am on 23 December 2022 to 2 January 2023 (reopens on 3 January).  

For emergencies only please call 964 151 989.

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 12 DECEMBER 2022

  

 

WE FACE THE NEW YEAR WITH CONFIDENCE AND DETERMINATION

Fellow South Africans,

As 2022 draws to a close, we can reflect on a tumultuous year. Like for many people around the world, this has been a tough year for many South Africans.

In the first half of the year, we experienced devastating floods in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and North West. The Russia-Ukraine conflict sent shockwaves through global energy and food markets, leading to supply chain disruptions and rising prices that continue to be keenly felt, including in South Africa. The energy crisis has caused misery for South African households and businesses.

The events of the last few years continue to cast a long shadow, with the global COVID-19 pandemic severely damaging an already struggling economy and public unrest causing loss of human life and livelihoods.

With this difficult year coming to an end and several challenges still not resolved, we need to keep closely focused on what needs to be done to make next year better.

But we have good reason to be believe things are getting better. Our great country will rise above adversity, as it has done so many times in the past.

Two years ago, when we confronted the fear and uncertainty of COVID-19, I said that if we act decisively and together, the pandemic will pass. It has indeed passed, as will the current misfortunes we are experiencing.

We are more than capable of bringing about the recovery our country needs.

The recovery of our economy and society is underway.

Despite the electricity challenges, the economy is recording growth. In the third quarter of this year real GDP grew by 1.6%, and the size of the economy now exceeds pre-pandemic levels. Major industries and sources of job creation such as agriculture, transportation, construction and finance recorded increased economic output. Exports increased by 4.2% per cent.

Jobs are being created again. While we haven’t recovered all the jobs lost to the pandemic around 1.5 million new jobs were created in the last year.

A few months ago, the Presidential Employment Stimulus reached a one million participants. More than 3 million youth are registered on the innovative SAYouth.mobi platform that connects them with prospective employers. We are revitalising the National Youth Service to create work opportunities for 50,000 young people.

For more than a decade, South Africa has been confronted with a shortage of electricity, with load shedding now a daily reality. Over the last year we have taken urgent steps to remedy this dire situation by significantly and rapidly increasing the construction of new generating capacity.

We have accelerated the procurement of renewable energy and have removed many of the regulatory hurdles to greater private investment in embedded generation. There is now a significant pipeline of embedded generation projects that are preparing for construction. We are working closely with Eskom to improve the performance of their fleet of power stations.

We are undertaking far-reaching reforms to improve the capacity and competitiveness of railways and ports, to open up our telecommunications industry and to improve the supply and pricing of water.

This year has seen several corruption-related cases enrolled in our courts and some convictions have been secured. Multi-disciplinary units that bring together a range of law enforcement agencies are identifying more implicated individuals and entities and preparing cases against them.

After close to four years, the State Capture Commission has concluded its work and presented its final reports to the President. I have submitted the government’s detailed implementation plan of the commission’s recommendations to Parliament.

These are by no means the only difficulties we face. Crime, gender-based violence, poverty and hunger continue to cause great misery.

And yet we should not make light of the change that is taking place in our country. We are seeing the pride of young people who would otherwise be unemployed being restored as they work as education assistants, conservationists and small-scale farmers.

We are seeing commuters getting onto new trains to ferry them to work on lines that were closed for years.

We are seeing new factories being built and existing ones being expanded by investors who see this country as a favourable place to do business.

The road to recovery and to building a better South Africa will be a long one. But we will get there if we act decisively and we act together.

We will overcome our current challenges as surely as we did the pandemic that threatened to lay waste to our nation.

Misfortune has tested us over the past year, but these hard times have brought to the fore once more the traits for which we are known as South Africans.

We are a people of optimism, even as we brace against harsh winds. We are a people who love our country and wish for its success. We are a nation that perseveres, and that never gives up.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 5 DECEMBER 2022

  

 

THE FIGHT TO RECOVER ILL-GOTTEN GAINS IS GATHERING STEAM

Fellow South Africans,

The announcement by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) last week that it had reached a settlement with an international company implicated in corruption at Eskom is a huge development in our effort to hold those responsible for state capture to account.

The NPA Investigating Directorate finalised a landmark agreement with Swiss engineering company ABB Ltd to pay R2.5 billion in punitive reparations to South Africa. This in connection with bribes allegedly paid to obtain contracts with Eskom between 2014 and 2017.

This amount, which will be paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account, is in addition to R1.6 billion that ABB paid Eskom in 2020 to settle an investigation into allegedly criminal conduct involving contracts at the Kusile power station. Importantly, the current settlement does not indemnify the company or its staff from prosecution.

For the last five years, we have been working hard to end the looting of resources meant for the benefit of South Africa’s people, to prosecute those responsible and recover stolen funds.

When we embarked on this journey, we understood that the results would not be felt overnight.

We first had to rebuild state institutions that had been deliberately weakened, emptied of expertise and rendered incapable of preventing capture by criminal elements. We had to strengthen law enforcement institutions and shield them from outside interference.

One of the most important steps we took was to establish, in 2019, the Investigating Directorate in the NPA to deal with cases emanating from the state capture commission and other corruption-related offences. We recently announced plans to make the Investigating Directorate a permanent structure.

We are now seeing the results of this work. The fight against state capture and corruption is gaining momentum.

In the last few months, several cases have been brought to court, with former executives of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) like Eskom and Transnet charged alongside business people for allegedly colluding to steal public funds.

In addition to the arrests of those implicated in wrongdoing and bringing the cases to court, progress is being made in other areas as well where there has been malfeasance.

For example, work is continuing at Eskom to recover money from irregular and corrupt contracts, recover overpayments and bill contractors for project over-runs.

The Special Investigating Unit continues with its investigations into corruption and mismanagement at state institutions and SOEs, with its Special Tribunal empowered to recover stolen funds.

The South African Revenue Service continues to fight corruption through lifestyle audits and other legislative tools. It is piloting a new unexplained wealth initiative to recover assets suspected of having been acquired illegally or through the proceeds of crime.

The NPA, through the Investigating Directorate, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and other structures, is successfully using preservation orders, asset forfeiture and other tools to tighten the noose around those involved in corrupt activities.

Many of those involved in state capture and their enablers in the private sector saw nothing wrong with diverting public funds to private pockets. At the height of the state capture era, unscrupulous politicians repurposed state institutions for private enrichment and to cover their tracks.

Today we have law enforcement authorities and a prosecuting authority devoted to investigating and prosecuting without fear or favour. We have state institutions committed to fulfilling their respective mandates regardless of the status or influence of any individual or a company.

As a society, we need to give these agencies and the people working in them our full support and encouragement. We need to guard against any efforts to weaken these institutions or undermine their resolve.

Working together, we have, within a relatively short space of time, rebuilt the supporting architecture to investigate and prosecute serious corruption and other crimes.

I have always said that the fight against corruption will not be won easily or quickly, given how many years it took for patronage and graft to become entrenched.

Now that we see that progress is being made, we must do everything we can to ensure that this work continues unhindered and that none of the gains we have made are reversed.

With best regards, 

SOUTH AFRICA PARTICIPATES IN 'PORTUGAL EXPORTADOR' EVENT

The South African Embassy, led by Ambassador Gaoretelelwe, participated in the Portuguese Exportador event on 23 November 2022, which exposes Portuguese companies to export and investment opportunities abroad. The Embassy was further supported by the participation of Mr Jorge Maia, Head of the Research and Information Department of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) based in South Africa. Together with a South African stand, offering information on South Africa as a trade and investment destination, Mr Maia delivered a presentation to a invited group of Portuguese businessmen, titled: The emerging new energy landscape in South Africa. The positive responses from the Portuguese companies participating reflected an increased interest in South Africa’s economy and its development.

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 28 NOVEMBER 2022

  

 

MEN ARE THE PROBLEM, BUT THEY SHOULD BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

Fellow South Africans,

In my address to the second Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide at the beginning of this month, I said that we are a nation at war with itself.

This is borne out by the crime statistics for the last quarter, which were released last week, just ahead of the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children.

Between July and September this year, 989 women were murdered, 1,277 were victims of attempted murder and more than 13,000 were victims of serious assault. In just these three months, more than 10,000 rape cases were opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Not even children, our most vulnerable citizens and most deserving of our care and protection, were spared. In the six months to September 2022, over 500 children were killed.

We are in the grip of terrible crimes in which offenders are known to the victims. Women and children are being violated not only by strangers but by people who are known to them – by their fathers, boyfriends and husbands, by colleagues, teachers and even classmates.

However, as a society, we are not powerless to stop these crimes. We can stop gender-based violence.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing mobilisation of all sectors of society to stop the abuse of women and children. There have been some areas of progress.

The latest crime statistics show some of the successes of the criminal justice system in bringing perpetrators to book. In the reporting period, the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units arrested over 4,000 alleged perpetrators of gender-based violence and 410 alleged rapists were traced and arrested.

More than 17,000 trial-ready GBV cases were processed by teams of the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority. The courts are also handing down heavier sentences to perpetrators.

While we should be encouraged that many of the perpetrators are not being allowed to get away with their crimes, our foremost task is to prevent men and boys from becoming abusers in the first place.

Men are the perpetrators of gender-based violence and it is therefore men that need to change. It is men – as husbands and partners, as fathers, colleagues, peers and classmates – who need to consider their own attitudes towards women and girls.

To give meaning to 16 Days of Activism we now need to engage the men of South Africa in a dialogue about their responsibility towards women and toxic masculinity. All of society should be mobilised to organise these men’s dialogues.

The government, non-governmental organisations and the private sector should be encouraged to support such dialogues in every workplace, place of worship, school, college and university, and in every community. Every day various entities devote resources to public engagements, conferences and seminars on various pressing social, economic and political issues of the day. These are forums where this engagement should happen.

Eradicating gender-based violence is no less urgent or important. These crimes affect every aspect of our society, including health and well-being, safety and security, and economic growth and productivity.

In these dialogues, we need to examine our understanding of sexual consent. We must challenge the myth that rape is only considered rape if it involves a stranger, or if the victim responded by screaming for help, fighting back or reporting the matter immediately to the police.

By bringing together men of all races, classes and generations to speak frankly about their understanding of masculinity, we can show how some assumptions and practices that many people consider ‘normal’ are harmful to women and children.

We must change beliefs that men are strong and women are weak, that men have to be in charge, or that men can do as they please with women. Men need to understand that they can and should express their pain and frustrations without inflicting harm on others.

As President, I stand ready to participate in men’s dialogues. I call on Ministers, Premiers, religious, political and community leaders, sports people, artists, celebrities and business people to do the same.

The men of South Africa owe it to the women and children of this country to take up the struggle against gender-based violence.

These men’s dialogues can be platforms for men to challenge each other to become better men, more responsible, more understanding and more caring.

With best regards, 

16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN 2022

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is an international United Nations-endorsed initiative that takes place annually from 25 November (International Day of No Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). The period was designated by the UN General Assembly to raise public awareness on gender-based violence in line with resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999.

 

The South African Government has run a parallel campaign since 1998. As the 16 Days Activism Campaign matures in the country, it has evolved to include issues relating to violence against children as well. Since 2019, with the establishment of the Ministry in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, the campaign is broadened to also look at issues of violence against the youth, the LGBTQIA+ community and persons with disabilities, in particular women and children with disabilities. The period also allows reflection on violence and abuse experienced by women pushed to the periphery of society – women migrant workers, and illegal citizens, and sex workers, etc.

 

Other key commemorative days observed annually during this 16-Day period include World Aids Day on 1 December and the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.

 

The 16 Days Activism Campaign continues to generate a heightened level of awareness amongst South Africans on the deleterious effect and impact of gender-based violence and femicide on our society. Over the past two decades, all partners, especially government, working with civil society, have been making concerted efforts in raising awareness about the 16 Days of Activism campaign within a broader approach of 365 days of action to address the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide in the country.

 

“Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment to build Women’s Resilience against Gender Based Violence and Femicide: Connect, Collaborate, Contract!”

 

Social empowerment is fundamental to women achieving and fully enjoying their human rights. However, women’s ability to do this is hampered by patriarchal practices and negative social norms. Economic empowerment is one of the most powerful routes for women to achieve their potential and advance their rights. It promotes women's ability to reduce household poverty, hunger and food insecurity, as well as reducing the heightened levels of inequalities they face on a daily basis. Women’s economic resilience will enable them to walk away from situations that make them vulnerable to GBVF, and to take control of their own lives and that of their children.

 

The absence of social and economic power for women creates patterns of violence and poverty which over time become self-perpetuating, making it particularly difficult for the victims to detach themselves from abusive relationships. Thus the programmes embarked on in the 2022/23 fiscal year must be geared towards addressing both social imbalances of power as well as economic marginalisation that women expereince – which are fundamental drivers of GBVF.

 

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 21 NOVEMBER 2022

  

 

TAKING PARLIAMENT TO THE PEOPLE IS VITAL FOR DEMOCRACY

Fellow South Africans,

Twenty-eight years since the first democratic Parliament sat in Cape Town, we continue to have a Parliament that is activist, responsive and determined to make a difference in the lives of our people.

As our democracy has matured, there are a number of facets of our political life that we often take for granted. One of these is the principle of participatory democracy, where every South African is able to meaningfully participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

A great example of this principle in practice is the National Council of Province’s annual programme of ‘Taking Parliament to the People’, which was held last week in the Ugu District Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

During the week, NCOP members held public hearings on issues affecting communities in the district, ranging from crime and safety to housing to water to economic development. The programme ended last Friday with a formal plenary sitting of the NCOP opened by the President and attended by hundreds of community members.

Last week’s programme showed how effective the NCOP is in coordinating between the three spheres of government. Representatives of national, provincial and local government were involved in the community interactions and were able to assist with many of the issues raised.

In this way, Parliament is contributing to the building of participatory democracy. Not only are citizens able to vote every five years for their representatives. They are also able to participate in the decisions that affect their lives.

In South Africa today, no law can be passed or amended, no development can proceed, and no policy can achieve consensus without the input and participation of the South African people.

This is premised on the understanding that those who are affected by a decision have the right to be involved in the decision-making. Community members are able to engage directly with government officials and other stakeholders and challenge them on decisions that may adversely impact them.

Public participation in our democracy is not done in a superficial manner. This is evident not only in the substance of the laws that are passed, but also in the manner that laws are considered and debated. Before any law is passed, parliamentary committees invite submissions from the public and hold hearings – often in communities – to gather people’s views on the proposed legislation.

In recent times, we have seen communities asserting their rights in various ways. The environmental impact assessment process, for example, requires meaningful consultation with a range of interested and affected parties before an authorisation for a development is granted. This provision has supported grassroots citizen activism seeking to protect their communities and the environment against harmful practices.

This year I have led five Presidential Izimbizo, in North West, Free State, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Northern Cape. Through these izimbizo, citizens have an opportunity to engage directly with mayors, Premiers, MECs, Ministers and the President.

These engagements are interactive and at times robust. They are an important tool of accountability because the respective officials are expected to report back directly and in public to the people on what they are doing to fix their challenges.

As we work to implement the District Development Model across the country, platforms for public participation help to make citizens partners in their own development.

We are trying to move away from ‘parachuted’ development, where projects are planned in offices hundreds of kilometres away from communities and do not take into account the particular needs of those communities.

There is a complaint in some quarters that public participation in decision-making is cumbersome, protracted and holds back development.

To the contrary. We come from a past where citizens were completely disempowered by a repressive order that had no regard for the impact of its laws on those most affected by it. We come from a past where companies could build factories and industries with no regard to whether they would damage people’s health, endanger their lives or pollute their environment.

We should be proud that in South Africa today, every citizen has a voice and has ways to hold decision-makers to account, be they lawmakers, businesses or the President.

Public participation enables the state to make better decisions. It builds trust between the government, communities and stakeholders. It empowers citizens with the knowledge that their voices are heard.

Public participation in decision-making is democracy itself.

With best regards,