Press Releases

Press Releases




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My fellow South Africans,
As we reflect on the year that now draws to a close, we see a world that is fundamentally different to anything we have known before.
There is no corner of the earth, nor any part of our country, that has been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It has devastated lives and destroyed livelihoods, caused great pain, and left many people hungry and destitute.
At the same time, it has brought our people together.
The pandemic has demonstrated our people’s great capacity for cooperation, solidarity and shared endeavour.
Globally, the countries of the world have worked together to share information and resources.
Our continent, under the leadership of the African Union, came together to develop a common response to this pandemic, and found an innovative way to ensure all countries have access to essential medical supplies.
We have gone out to the rest of the world to advocate for debt relief and to mobilise funds for Africa’s coronavirus response and for its economic recovery.
In the face of this unprecedented crisis, South Africans have demonstrated the true meaning of ‘ubuntu’.
We have taken responsibility for each other’s welfare, by donating our time, our energies and our resources.
Working together, we have mobilised the nation’s resources under difficult conditions and in a very short space of time to support poor families, protect jobs and keep businesses afloat.
It has been a year of uncertainty, pain, worry and loss.
Many people have been called upon to make huge sacrifices.
Many have been worried for their jobs, many have struggled to make a living,.
Nearly all South Africans have had to spend time separated from their loved ones.
As this year draws to a close, we mourn the loss of relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours who succumbed to COVID-19.
As a nation, we mourn the loss of several eminent South Africans and people from all walks of life.
Even as we were struck by coronavirus, we had to confront another pandemic that has long plagued our nation.
We mourn the many women and children who lost their lives at the hands of men.
We think of the many more who have had to endure rape and beatings, abusive relationships and sexual harassment.
We think of the many children that have been injured and traumatised by adults – the very people who are responsible for their wellbeing and safety.
And yet, in the face of both these pandemics, South Africans have remained resolute, determined to overcome the coronavirus, and determined to end gender-based violence.
I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to every South African for the courage and the perseverance with which you have confronted this crisis.
I want to thank the health and social services workers for taking care of people who are ill, hungry or lonely.
Even as the New Year dawns, in hospitals and other health facilities across the nation, committed health workers are caring for the sick in the face of a severe resurgence of infections.
Throughout the year, they have worked tirelessly and at great risk to themselves to care for us and protect us.
We have a duty to protect them from harm and fatigue by acting responsibly, by ensuring that we do not become infected and that we do not infect others.
I also want thank the men and women in our law enforcement agencies and our Defence Force, who are keeping us safe from crime, violence and harm.
In the many ways that COVID-19 affected our lives this past year, one of the most challenging was the disruption caused to learning and teaching in our schools, colleges and universities.
The pandemic threatened the educational development of an entire generation of South Africans.
It is therefore with great admiration and much respect that I salute the learners and the students of 2020 for having continued with their studies under such difficult conditions.
In some instances, they have had to continue the academic year into 2021.
I want to thank the educators, lecturers, administrators and school governing bodies for having worked so hard to save the academic year and to ensure that the young people of our country progress and succeed.
We are grateful to the country’s religious leaders and traditional leaders for having suspended or limited many of their activities during the pandemic.
We are grateful to our sports people and administrators, to our artists and performers, and to all those who have been unable to continue their trade to prevent the spread of the disease.
I want to thank all Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Legislatures, local government councillors and all public servants for having remained at their posts even at the most difficult moments of the pandemic – and for having continued throughout to serve the nation.
We enter a new year ready to rebuild our economy, to revive businesses and restore jobs, and to continue our drive for new investment.
Working together in partnership, we are undertaking an ambitious recovery plan
to build new roads and water projects, human settlements and power generation plants.
We have made important progress in vital economic reforms to ensure we have a secure supply of affordable energy; that we have cheaper, faster and more accessible broadband; and that our ports and railways are more efficient and more competitive.
We are creating public employment opportunities that contribute to the betterment of people’s lives, and providing greater support to the small businesses that drive growth and create jobs.
We are accelerating the redistribution of land and improving the support provided to beneficiaries.
Through this work, we are transforming our economy, enabling more black people, women and young people to participate in, and benefit from, activities from which they had previously been excluded.
Due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, we have had to learn to work, to learn, to trade and to socialise in new and different ways.
We have harnessed technology as never before to keep our economy working, and we need to use the great advances we have made to shape a new world of work that is more productive, more efficient and more focused on the needs of people.
We are just a few hours away from the birth of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which will fundamentally change the economic fortunes of our continent.
It is the start of a new era of trade between African countries, when the continent will produce the goods and services it needs, when its economies will grow, industrialise and diversify, when it will realise the great potential of its abundant natural resources.
I call on the entrepreneurs of our nation to seize the abundant opportunities that this historic development will present to explore new markets and build new partnerships.
This is an opportunity to empower the women of Africa through special trade arrangements, financial inclusion and preferential access to government and private sector procurement.
South Africa’s chairship of the African Union is now coming to an end, just as we also end our term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Through these important bodies, we have championed the cause of peace and development not only in Africa, but across the world.
We have worked to strengthen the multilateral institutions that are so necessary for global cooperation and for the sustainable development of all.
The year ahead will be challenging and difficult.
We are in the midst of a second wave of coronavirus infections, which may be even worse than the first wave.
And while we are greatly encouraged by the progress made in developing an effective vaccine, we know that it will be some time before the pandemic ends.
The year ahead will therefore require our greatest effort and resilience.
The past year has shown what we are capable of when we are united and when we work together for the good of all.
It is this spirit that will carry us into the new year, and which will enable us to prevail and to prosper.
I wish you a happy and healthy 2021.
Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.


  Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister Botes on the occasion of the Virtual Meeting with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Portugal, 01 December 2020

Your Excellency, the Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Portugal, Ms Teresa Ribeiro,

The Ambassador of Portugal to South Africa, Ambassador Carvalho,

Distinguished Members of the South African and Portuguese Delegations,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to participate in these discussions to ensure that the strong and historic relationship between South Africa and Portugal continues to endure and that we can forge ahead with our work in these challenging times.

We are meeting during a very difficult time, a time when world is ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). South Africa remains the epicentre of the corona virus on the continent, with more than 700 000 confirmed cases, and more than 20 000 deaths recorded.

We have witnessed our economies collapsing and our people dying. Many of our people have lost their jobs, as companies were forced to close. These has caused a major setback for our government, as we strive to create employment for our people in order to emancipate them from the scourge of poverty, and to bridge the inequalities we inherited from our dark past. I believe that if we work together and utilise the bilateral and multilateral fora at our disposal, we shall overcome. We shall rebuild our economies and forge new frontiers. One of our main priorities is to strengthen our health systems to better protect humanity.

We had so many big plans for 2020. We were looking forward to hosting President De Sousa for the Portugal National Day Celebrations in June 2020, as he had communicated to President Ramaphosa when they met in Mozambique earlier this year. I was also looking forward to travelling to Portugal, to preside jointly with you, over the Seventh SA - Portugal Annual Bilateral Consultations. I believe that once the COVID-19 storm is over, we can still plan for these significant events to materialise or we should look at the feasibility of a virtual meeting in this regard.

Madame Secretary, as you are aware, South Africa currently is the chair of the African Union, and our priority is for peace and security to reign on this beautiful continent. The year 2020 is dedicated to ending all forms of conflicts, as highlighted in the Silencing of the Guns by 2020 Roadmap. We will forge ahead with the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Agreement, whilst creating opportunities for women to play a significant role in their economies. It is the right of women and girls to be full and equal participants in the workplace, in political life and decision-making and in obtaining an education.

We remain concerned with the security situations in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Mali, and Libya, and we believe that the regional economic communities and the African Union are equipped to address these situations.

In his virtual address during the 76th Session of the UN debate, President Ramaphosa reaffirmed South Africa’s commitment to multilateralism. Throughout our tenure as a non- permanent member of the UNSC, we will continue to champion the peaceful settlement of dispute, highlight the plight of women and children, and the reform of the UN.

As Portugal will be assuming Presidency of the European Union Council in the first half of 2021, I am confident that Africa will be one of your focus. I am looking forward to hearing more about your priorities and your plans regarding Africa. You can count on South Africa’s support in enhancing the EU - AU partnership.

I thank you for your initiative for this call and hope we will have a productive discussion today.


OR Tambo Building

460 Soutpansberg Road



















3 December 2020

My fellow South Africans,

I wish to speak to you this evening about the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in South Africa.

Before doing so, I wish to express my appreciation to all South Africans who observed the five days of mourning from the 25th to the 29th of November for those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 and gender-based violence and femicide.

As we remember them, let us pledge that we will do everything within our means to contain these two pandemics and save lives.

The global pandemic continues to cause devastation across the world, with more than 64 million infections and nearly one-and-a-half million confirmed deaths.

We have seen many countries around the world experience a resurgence of the coronavirus, some with second waves even worse than their initial peak.

Where South Africa once had the fifth highest number of infections in the world, we have now fallen to 14th in the world as infections in other countries have surged dramatically.

And yet, despite the progress we have made, we have always known that a second wave of infections is possible in South Africa if we do not take the necessary measures to protect ourselves and those around us.

There is now clear evidence of a resurgence of infections in parts of our own country, which, if not confronted decisively and directly, could lead to great suffering and death.
This pandemic has already taken a heavy toll on our country.

A total of 800,872 people are confirmed to have been infected by the virus in South Africa since March.

Around 92 per cent of these people have recovered.

As of today, 21,803 people are known to have died from COVID-19 in South Africa.

For nearly 100 days, since the middle of August, we managed to keep the rate of new infections stable, at below 2,000 new cases a day.

However, that has changed in the last three weeks.

There has been a marked rise in new infections and an increase in the number of people being admitted to hospital.

In the first week of November, we were recording an average of 1,500 new cases a day.

By the last week of November, this had almost doubled to an average of around 2,900 new cases a day.

Yesterday, South Africa recorded over 4,400 new infections, the largest daily increase in infections since the middle of August.

The total number of hospital admissions is now over 5,800 nationally and is increasing.

Three weeks ago hospital admissions were 4,900.

There are three areas of the country that account for most of these new infections.

These are Nelson Mandela Bay and the Sarah Baartman District in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route District in the Western Cape.

Hospital admissions in these districts are on the rise, in some instances comparable to those during the first wave of infections.

In the Eastern Cape and Western Cape there has been an increase in both reported COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths.

This must be a concern for every one of us.

There are a number of reasons for the rise in transmission.

Many people are travelling between provinces and within each province in higher numbers, especially with the festive season approaching.

In the case of the Garden Route, this also applies to the movement of seasonal workers who work in one province and live in another province.

Social, cultural and religious gatherings are being held in large numbers.

In many cases these gatherings are often attended by many more people than what is permitted under Level 1 restrictions. What is concerning is that these are also often held in venues with poor ventilation.

This is particularly the case for funerals, which are often followed by large so-called “after tears” parties.

Several hospitals in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have reported a rise in alcohol-related trauma admissions.

As we have said in the past these alcohol-related trauma admissions divert capacity that is needed to deal with Covid-related cases.

But by far the greatest contributing cause of infections is that many people are not wearing masks, and are not observing proper hygiene and social distancing.

As I said during our last family meeting, at alert level 1, we have the measures we need to control the virus.

But our main problem is that there are parts of the country where people are not complying with the current restrictions and the basic prevention measures are not being followed.

The most urgent task before us right now is to contain the rise in infections in the affected districts in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, and to ensure that a similar situation does not develop in other parts of the country.

To prevent this we are putting into motion the resurgence plan that we developed with the World Health Organization’s surge team.

We are making more capacity available at hospitals and clinics in these areas.

We are expanding public health interventions such as testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine.

We are also stepping up our awareness campaigns around public health regulations.

Fellow South Africans,

We must change our behaviour now to prevent a resurgence of the virus and manage outbreaks wherever they occur.

If we think of this pandemic like a bush fire, we need to quickly extinguish the flare ups before they turn into an inferno.

At the same time, we need to do all we can to keep the economy open and to push ahead with our reconstruction and recovery effort.

In line with our differentiated approach to the management of the pandemic, we will therefore implement additional measures in those areas identified as coronavirus hotspots.

When identifying a hotspot, consideration is given to the number of new COVID-19 cases per day, the testing rate within the population, the percentage positivity rate within the population, the number of active cases, the number of hospital admissions and the number of deaths.

Following a recommendation of the National Coronavirus Command Council and after consultation with Premiers, metro mayors and traditional leaders, Cabinet has decided to declare the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality a coronavirus hotspot.

In addition to the existing Alert Level 1 regulations, the following additional restrictions will apply in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro with effect from midnight tonight:

– The hours of the curfew will be from 10pm and 4am.

This means that – except for emergencies – no person may be outside their place of residence between those times.

This does not apply to essential workers who are permitted to work during those hours.

– The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.

– Alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden. This is necessary to prevent large social gatherings.

– Gatherings – including religious gatherings – may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events.

At all times, the total number of people in a venue may not exceed more than 50% of the capacity of the venue.

– Finally, all post-funeral gatherings are prohibited.

These additional measures are necessary to contain the resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay, to prevent outbreaks resulting from social gatherings and to protect the capacity of the healthcare system to provide care to those who need it.

In determining these restrictions, we have sought to take those steps which are absolutely necessary to save lives while limiting disruptions to the economy.

Following extensive consultation with traditional leaders, we have agreed that the summer initiation season in the Eastern Cape may go ahead.

This is because traditional leaders in the Eastern Cape have submitted a risk adjusted plan that has been approved by Departments of Health and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

This plan includes strict adherence to health protocols, including screening of initiates, the provision of personal protective equipment and the provision of water for hygiene and to prevent dehydration.

However, due to the high rates of infection in the metro, no initiation schools will be allowed in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The measures that are being taken in Nelson Mandela Bay are not meant to punish its residents.

They are not intended to increase the hardship experienced by our citizens.

These measures are needed to contain the spread of the virus and to save lives.
In the coming days the Minister of Health will be visiting the Sarah Baartman District and the Garden Route to assess the situation and to engage with various stakeholders in the province.

Based on this assessment and the development of the disease in these areas, the National Coronavirus Command Council will determine the appropriate course of action.

To ensure that we maintain the current prevention measures, the National State of Disaster will be extended to the 15th of January 2021 in line with the Disaster Management Act.

All existing Level 1 restrictions remain in force throughout the country.

We have all the tools we need to prevent a resurgence in the rest of the country.

We can only do this if everyone plays their part.

We can only prevent a second wave if all of us respect the rules that have been put in place for the protection of everyone.

For the safety of all of us, those who break the rules must face consequences.

We have instructed law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with the law, by owners, controllers and managers of workplaces, shops, institutions and buildings to ensure social distancing and wearing of masks.

Taxi operators are also required to ensure that all their passengers wear masks.

In addition, each one of us will be required to comply with the curfew times.

Together with the measures to contain a resurgence in hotspot areas, the national effort continues to strengthen public health interventions such as community screening, increased testing, contact tracing and communication on behavioural change.

As we have said in the past the only viable defence we will have against Covid-19 will be the vaccine.

There are now many initiatives in the world to speed up the development of a vaccine.

We continue to collaborate with our partners in the international community to ensure that all countries have access to an effective and affordable vaccine.

We are participating in the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility – known as the Covax facility – which aims to pool resources and share vaccine development risk and thus ensure equitable access to vaccines when they become available.

We are encouraged that the Solidarity Fund will be making the initial contribution of R327 million towards this vaccine procurement on behalf of our country.

We are also encouraged by the promising results from three trials of candidate vaccines, which have shown efficacy levels of between 70 and 95 per cent.

We await confirmation from medicine regulators that these vaccines are safe, effective and suitable for our needs.

In South Africa, our own Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) will review the approval applications when received from the developers and authorise their use.

But let us remember that until a vaccine is developed and distributed, we remain our own best protection against COVID-19.

It is through our everyday actions that we will keep ourselves and others safe.

It is through wearing a mask in public at all times.

It is by observing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings and indoor spaces where ventilation is poor.

It is through regularly washing or sanitising our hands.

We can also protect ourselves by downloading the Covid Alert SA mobile app that can notify us if we are exposed to the virus and thereby help to break the chain of transmission.

It is extremely encouraging that the Covid Alert SA app has now been downloaded by a million South Africans.

If there is anything this pandemic has taught us, it is the danger of becoming complacent.

Across the world, countries with declining infections have eased restrictions only to experience a second, even more severe wave, forcing them to reimpose restrictions on movement, gatherings and economic activity.

If there was ever a time for caution, it is now.

The festive season is approaching.

Schools and places of higher learning have closed for the summer holidays.

Many of you are winding down at work and will soon be at home with your families.

Many of you are preparing to travel to reunite with friends and relatives.

Travel carries great risks, which we can reduce by avoiding unnecessary travel.

We can also reduce infection risk by wearing a mask in public transport, keeping the vehicle windows open and maintaining prevention measures on arrival.

The summer season is traditionally a time for social gatherings, attending festivals and events, and socialising at weddings, religious gatherings and in both public and private spaces.

These social gatherings can be ‘super-spreader’ events that carry a huge risk of transmission of the virus.

Each of us needs to ensure we take precautions to avoid spreading the virus to our families, especially our elders.

We should keep gatherings small, have them outside or in well ventilated venues, ensure social distancing and wear masks as much as possible.

We must remember that as much as we want to relax, this virus does not take a holiday.

This has been a difficult year for us as a country.

It has severely tested our resolve and demanded great sacrifices of each and every one of us.

But even as the holidays approach, we cannot let our guard down.

Unless we take personal responsibility for our health and the health of others, more people are going to become infected. More people are going to die.

Over the last 8 months, many people have lost parents, siblings, spouses, friends and colleagues to COVID-19.

As a nation, we have lost many brave frontline workers who were caring for those in hospitals and clinics.

We have lost essential services workers who helped to keep this country running during the lockdown.

We have lost teachers who went to school every day to support our children and to ensure our matriculants were able to write their final exams.

We owe it to all those whose lives have been so tragically cut short by this deadly virus not to let the same suffering and pain be visited on even more families.

We owe it to our own friends and relatives and those around us.

We owe it to our country, because a resurgence of the virus would be a severe setback to our economic recovery, to our efforts to restore and create jobs, and to our provision of services to the people.

Most of all we owe it to ourselves and each other, because this affects us all.

Tonight we stand in solidarity with the people of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro as they work to contain this outbreak.

I have the utmost confidence that the leadership of the Eastern Cape is doing and will do all that is necessary to bring the rate of infection down once again.

I call on each and every one of you to remember those whose lives have been lost and the precious lives we have still to save.

Over the past eight months, we succeeded in bringing the virus under control by acting together.

We fought this pandemic with everything that we had.

Through our combined efforts, we saved many thousands of lives which would otherwise have been needlessly lost.

Now, as the number of infections begins to rise again, we cannot sacrifice the gains that we made.

We cannot return to the darker days of June and July, when transmission of the virus was widespread and the lives of our family and friends were at risk.

Just as we know that a second wave is possible, we know too that it is not inevitable.

So tonight, I am asking you to recommit yourself to this fight.

We can still prevent the virus from spreading any further if we take the appropriate steps now.

Just as we did in the early days of the pandemic, let us stand together and let us work together.

We will get through this period of difficulty as we did the ones before.

May God Bless South Africa and protect her people.

I thank you.











A Association of Women Ambassadors in Lisbon, mais vulgarmente designada por AWA, é um grupo informal de embaixadoras acreditadas em Portugal com embaixadas em Lisboa, e das representantes diplomáticas do Gabinete do Presidente da República e do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros. Das 86 embaixadas residentes em Lisboa, 23 são chefiadas por mulheres: UCRÂNIA, ÍNDIA, ROMÉNIA, ÁFRICA DO SUL, FILIPINAS, PERU, SUÉCIA, CUBA, PARAGUAI, HOLANDA, ESTÓNIA, CANADÁ, ESPANHA, BÉLGICA, TURQUIA, COLÔMBIA, FRANÇA, AUSTRÁLIA, CROÁCIA, TIMOR-LESTE, TAILÂNDIA, FINLÂNDIA e NORUEGA.*.

Enquanto Embaixadoras, a nossa missão é a de promover os nossos países em Portugal e desenvolver as relações bilaterais com Portugal nas esferas política, económica, cultural e interpessoal. Os nossos interesses nacionais variam, visto que representamos vários países de todo o mundo, mas partilhamos temas comuns. Cada uma de nós, por exemplo, representa um país que acredita na igualdade de género entre homens e mulheres, nos direitos fundamentais das mulheres e jovens mulheres e que estas devem viver livres de violência. E é por isso que participamos na campanha pela Eliminação da Violência Contra as Mulheres.

As estatísticas sobre a violência contra as mulheres são claras. De acordo com as Nações Unidas, uma em cada três mulheres e jovens mulheres sofrerá violência física ou sexual durante a sua vida. Todos os dias, 137 mulheres são mortas por um membro da sua família. Em todo o mundo, 15 milhões de meninas adolescentes, com idades entre 15 e 19 anos, foram sujeitas a sexo forçado. Quando paramos para considerar que o número de vítimas adolescentes é maior do que o de toda a população de Portugal, entendemos com grande preocupação a dimensão do problema. E a pandemia da COVID-19 exacerbou esta violência. Desde o início da crise, os dados mostram um aumento nas chamadas para as linhas de apoio à violência doméstica, em muitos países.

A violência pode assumir muitas formas. Cerca de 71% de todas as vítimas do tráfico humano mundial são mulheres e meninas, das quais três em cada quatro são exploradas sexualmente. A ONU também observa que, pelo menos 200 milhões de mulheres e meninas, com idades entre 15 e 49 anos, sofreram mutilação genital feminina, em 31 países onde a prática está concentrada.

Apesar desta evidência esmagadora da violência contra as mulheres, muitas vezes é fácil ignorar o problema, fingir que não se vê ou pensar que é um problema entre casais e que deverá ser resolvido a portas fechadas. Mas essa visão está a mudar. Mulheres e meninas têm todo o direito de viver sem medo da violência, de desfrutar dos mesmos direitos fundamentais que todas as outras pessoas.

Por isso, é importante que cada uma de nós faça a sua parte para sensibilizar e acabar com a violência contra as mulheres.

Entre colegas embaixadoras conversamos e sabemos que individualmente as suas embaixadas organizaram outras iniciativas de sensibilização e para #orangetheworld. Este cartaz representa um esforço coletivo da parte de 23 países para um mesmo propósito: a defesa da igualdade de género, a capacitação das mulheres e jovens meninas e a promoção e proteção dos direitos humanos.

Estamos unidas para fazer as nossas vozes serem ouvidas. Temos a sorte de viver e trabalhar em Portugal, um país que partilha da nossa crença na necessidade de combater a violência contra as mulheres e agradecemos os esforços dos vários participantes da sociedade portuguesa, tais como o governo, os meios de comunicação e organizações da sociedade civil, na chamada de atenção para este tema. Esperamos que juntos possamos continuar a agir para acabar com a violência contra as mulheres. ( fim)

Lisboa, 27 de Novembro, 2020

*Esta ordem tem por base a data da Apresentação das Credenciais da Embaixadora do país junto do Presidente da República.









 Dear Fellow South African,
As we continue our efforts to manage the devastating coronavirus pandemic, we cannot ignore the other public health challenges that our country faces.
For more than three decades, our country has been engaged in an ongoing struggle against HIV and AIDS, which has cost many lives and caused great hardship and suffering.
Tomorrow, we will join people across the globe in marking World AIDS Day. As the Chair of the South African National AIDS Council, Deputy President David Mabuza will lead the national commemoration with an address on progress in the country’s response.
This year, World AIDS Day is taking place under difficult conditions.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, with the nation-wide lockdown and the pressure on our health facilities, many HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis services have suffered. This has posed a challenge for people testing and starting antiretroviral treatment. Many people found it difficult to collect their medicines and fewer people accessed other services, such as voluntary male medical circumcision.
At the same time, there are many lessons that have been learnt from our public health response to the coronavirus pandemic that can strengthen our fight against HIV and TB.
South Africa continues to have the largest number of people living with HIV in the world. It is encouraging, however, that over the last decade we made progress in reducing the number of new HIV infections in the population by nearly 60%.
It is also encouraging that HIV infections in adolescent girls and young women have significantly declined in the last decade. This is a crucial group because they are much more likely to be at risk of getting HIV.
Our treatment programme has contributed to a reduction in the number of deaths due to AIDS by 60%. There has been a greater reduction in HIV-related deaths among young people.
It was possible to reduce the number of deaths because we, together with our partners, have rolled out an extensive antiretroviral programme reaching millions of people living with the disease.
At the beginning of the decade, our programme to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV had very low coverage. Now we have one of the highest rates of coverage of PMTCT in Southern Africa, which has substantially reduced rates of infection among children.
While we have reduced deaths and new infections, we still are far from reaching the goal we committed ourselves in 2016 of achieving a 75% reduction in HIV infections by 2020. If we succeed in doing so, we are likely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
Unfortunately, we are not there yet. We have to do far more to ensure that young people are empowered to prevent infections, including through changing behaviour, accessing condoms and testing regularly. We need to make sure that everyone who is infected has access to treatment and care.
We need to work harder on HIV prevention among key populations, including sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs. We must end the stigma and discrimination towards these populations. We cannot hope to end HIV if we ignore the needs, concerns and rights of any part of our population.
South Africa needs to increase efforts to medically circumcise young men to reduce their risk of acquiring HIV. Unsafe circumcision should not leave young men with lifelong health problems, and no one should die from circumcision. We must make sure that young men have safe circumcision.
We are encouraged by findings of a recent study on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Unlike antiretroviral treatment that is given to people who are HIV positive, PrEP involves the regular use of antiretroviral drugs by HIV negative people to prevention infection. The study, conducted by scientists from the HIV Prevention Trials Network, found that long-acting injections once every eight weeks was better than the daily tablet used for HIV prevention. These findings have the potential to significantly strengthen our response to the epidemic.
If we are to succeed in ending AIDS as a public health threat within the next decade, we need to combine these medical breakthroughs with fundamental changes in behaviour. We also need to tackle the economic and social conditions that contribute to high rates of infection.
One of our central tasks is to empower adolescent girls and young women, educationally, economically and socially. They need to be able to make their own decisions about every aspect of their lives, including their sexuality and sexual behaviour.

As the country marks 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, we need to work even harder to address the unequal relations between men and women – which contribute both to gender-based violence and to the spread of HIV.
Ultimately, we will achieve the end of AIDS through the empowerment of young people, women and other people at risk. This includes empowerment through access to information, advice and support. It includes access to education and economic opportunities, especially for young women. Empowerment also means that every person must have access to testing, treatment and other health services.
The people of South Africa have come so far, endured so much and made such great progress in the fight against HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis.
On this World AIDS Day, which is taking place in the shadow of another devastating pandemic, let us intensify both our resolve and our actions to confront and overcome AIDS once and for all.
With best regards, 


South Africa will observe five days of remembrance from 25–29 November 2020 for victims of COVID-19, gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF). During this period, the national flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country and all South Africans are encouraged to wear a black armband or related sign to show respect for those who have departed. The remembrance period will also be used to encourage South Africans to play their part in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide as well as COVID-19.

The government is sending condolences to the families and friends who lost their loved ones to COVID-19 or gender-based violence and femicide, stating, "Let us honour the victims in a meaningful way by ensuring that we adhere to lockdown restrictions and report perpetrators of gender-based violence and femicide to the police".

President Ramaphosa will launch the event on 25 November 2020 with the President’s GBVF dialogue at 17:00- 19:30.


Opening address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the third South Africa Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg

Programme Director,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the third South Africa Investment Conference.


I would like to extend a particular welcome to those delegates from the SA Tomorrow Conference who are joining us from the African continent, the United States, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.


Over the past two years, this conference has earned its place at the centre of our economic agenda.


It is an expression of our commitment to achieve economic growth through strong partnerships with our key role players – business, labour, and communities.


We meet this year at a time of great uncertainty and upheaval across the world.


Most of the delegates participating in this year’s conference are doing so virtually, a reminder of the extraordinarily difficult situation we are in.


Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we have understood that the best way to protect the economy is to bring the disease under control.


As we confront this crisis and as we look to the future, I am reminded why the protea is South Africa’s national flower.


The protea has survived for millions of years.


Like most of the fynbos which is native to this country, it settled into a symbiotic relationship with wildfires for its existence and survival.


The protea has a thick underground stem which allows it to endure significant heat.


In the aftermath of a fire, dormant buds survive and the protea releases its seeds.


The land comes back to life even richer than before.


In many ways it exemplifies how a phoenix rises from the ashes.


This is the situation we find ourselves in today.


The coronavirus pandemic has severely damaged our economy, causing the greatest economic contraction in decades and driving the unemployment rate to its highest level.


In the wake of this pandemic, our foremost task now is to rebuild our economy.


This must be akin to how the protea germinates after the fire.


Our strategic approach must be to restore it to what it was before, but to make it even more vibrant, more resilient and more inclusive.


While this time of rebuilding our economy is fraught with risk, danger, hardship and difficulty, it is also a time of great opportunity.


We have embarked on a mission of economic reconstruction and recovery, building on the successes of attracting investment we have achieved over the past two years.


Since April 2018, when we announced our ambitious target to attract R1.2 trillion of investment over five years, local and international investors have made commitments to invest approximately R664 billion.


At this year’s Conference we want to consolidate the commitments that have been made to date, to ensure that they are realised.


We want to see this R664 billion translated into new factories, production lines, mining operations, retail outlets and infrastructure.


We want to see it translated into new jobs, new skills and new opportunities.


We have been closely tracking the implementation of the 102 projects announced at the last two conferences.


R172 billion of the committed amount has been spent on projects to date.


This is just over a quarter of the commitments made in 2018 and 2019.


These projects alone portray an economy with exciting opportunities for growth across a wide diversity of industries.


The sector that has seen the greatest flow of investment from these commitments is mining and mineral beneficiation with just over R63.6 billion having been spent to date.


The flow of investment into the ICT sector currently stands at R31 billion.


Our automotive sector has attracted some R23 billion.


Other sectors that have seen substantial actual investment flow so far include:


·         property and hospitality at R8.2 billion,

·         infrastructure at R7.7 billion,

·         forestry, paper and pulp at R6.3 billion,

·         fast-moving consumer goods at R6 billion, and,

·         financial services at R5.6 billion.


Nineteen investment projects from the last two years have already been completed or launched.


A further 44 projects – representing 57 per cent of the total investment commitment – are under construction, with another 12 projects in the early stages of implementation.


Unfortunately, 21 projects – representing around 10 per cent total commitments – have been delayed or are on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


This means that despite the severe disruption of the last few months, the vast majority of projects are making steady progress.


Significantly, these investments are taking place throughout the country, with projects planned or underway in all 8 metropolitan municipalities and 26 district municipalities in all provinces.


We are already beginning to see the benefits of the investment commitments.


A new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant built by Aspen Pharmacare in Nelson Mandela Bay, which was one of the first investment pledges at our inaugural conference, has reached a preliminary agreement with Johnson & Johnson to manufacture and package its COVID-19 candidate vaccine.


Aspen has been able to build further capability to manufacture vaccines following the investment commitment they announced at our inaugural conference.


This would position the Eastern Cape as a global hub for the manufacturing of vaccines and other pharmaceutical products.


The most recent project to be commissioned is a new LPG storage facility built by Bidvest and Petredec in Richards Bay, the largest of its kind in the world, which will bolster the supply of liquefied petroleum gas to South Africa and the region.


Earlier this year, Amazon Web Services launched three new data centres in Cape Town, and Teraco is expanding on its commitment at last year’s conference to build the largest data centre in Africa.


Nissan will start production on their R3 billion production plant for the Navarra bakkie in 2021.


Dalisu Holdings, a black industrialist company manufacturing chemicals, will be commissioning their factory in December 2020.


The Toronto Group, another beneficiary of our Black Industrialists Scheme, broke ground on their green charcoal facility in August this year, in the midst of the pandemic.


Poultry producers such as Astral have reached commercial operation of new facilities and are now expanding even further as part of commitments in the SA Poultry Master Plan.


Due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic to the global economy – and our own economy – we decided that this year’s conference should focus on the implementation of the investment commitments that have already been made.


Yet, as we have found in preparation for this Conference, there is still a strong appetite for new investment in our economy.


I am therefore pleased to announce that there are over 50 companies that will be making commitments at this year’s Investment Conference.


These commitments are much more than statements of intent.


These commitments are a form of compact between companies, their shareholders and their stakeholders.


These are compacts that companies enter into with the communities they serve, with workers and their unions, with the municipalities in which they operate and with broader society.


These compacts place a responsibility on all involved to support the implementation of these commitments and work together to ensure that they are realised.


As we have seen, these commitments do actually translate into new and improved facilities, expanding production, creating employment and opening up new markets.


This progress is testament not only to the resilience of our economy, but also the huge potential that investors see in it.


As we meet here, the African continent stands on the cusp of a new era in its economic development.


In January next year, the African Continental Free Trade Area will take effect, establishing a continental market of some 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP in the region of $2.3 trillion dollars.


With its advanced infrastructure, diverse economy, sophisticated capital markets and developed manufacturing capacity, South Africa is the ideal location for any company wanting to reach the continental market with greater effectiveness from a cost and logistical point of view.


As we outlined in our economic reconstruction and recovery plan we are pushing ahead with critical reforms.


Our energy sector is undergoing a paradigm shift as our power utility, Eskom, is being restructured into separate entities for generation, transmission and distribution.


This begins with the establishment of the transmission subsidiary as the basis for a competitive electricity supply market, which Eskom is moving ahead with vigorously.


This will improve efficiency and transparency and lay the basis for greater competition and lower energy costs.


We are rapidly expanding our generation capacity, which will see a substantial increase in the contribution of renewable energy sources, battery storage and gas technology.


Request for Proposals will be issued in December 2020 to enable the opening of various bid windows, including bid window 5 of our renewable energy programme.


We have recently taken steps to enable greater self-generation and allow local municipalities to generate their own power.


We will complete the allocation of high-demand spectrum by March 2021 to enable new investment in our telecommunications infrastructure and open the way for a digital economy.


We have already reduced the cost of data through a Competition Commission settlement with the country’s mobile operators, which resulted in a 30% drop in the cost of key data bundles.


At last year’s Investment Conference, we witnessed the signing of master plans for the poultry sector and the clothing, textiles and footwear sector.


These plans, together with the automotive sector plan, have resulted in real progress and reignited the growth prospects of these sectors.


On Monday this week, Minister Ebrahim Patel and Minister Thoko Didiza signed the Sugar Master Plan with industry stakeholders.


The plan was developed in partnership with sugar cane growers, millers, food producers, beverage bottlers and organised labour.


It provides a framework for a competitive industry that is still Africa’s largest sugar producer.


We are now working to finalise masterplans in the digital economy, forestry, agriculture and agro-processing, creative industries, aerospace and defence, renewable energy, steel and metal fabrication and furniture.


In responding to the coronavirus emergency, South Africa has demonstrated its capacity for innovation, collaboration and versatility.


With the support of the Solidarity Fund, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the country’s automotive sector have over the last few months developed and manufactured 20,000 ventilators for COVID-19 patients.


The country has increased its capacity to produce N95 medical face masks from 6 million a month at the start of the pandemic to around 13 million a month now.


I would like to commend those companies that have taken steps, working with government, to increase the level of local content in their supply chains.


You are demonstrating what is possible when stakeholders work together to deepen local production.


We have followed through on our commitment to accelerate land reform in a way that addresses the profound injustices of our past and ensures social stability, while providing strong protection for property rights and expanding agricultural production.


We have demonstrated that these objectives can be achieved when we all work together.


We have introduced an Expropriation Bill in the National Assembly to provide greater certainty on this issue, and have released 700,000 hectares of vacant or underutilised state-owned land to support our land reform efforts.


We have taken a firm stand against corruption and state capture.


We continue to strengthen and capacitate our law enforcement agencies and we are working to restore their integrity and credibility.


We have installed capable and experienced managers at our state-owned enterprises, and, despite many challenges, have begun to turn them around.


Through our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, we are pursuing a few high-impact priorities and focusing relentlessly on implementation.


These priorities include:


·         a massive infrastructure programme;

·         an employment stimulus to create and support jobs;

·         immediate steps to achieve energy security; and

·         measures to deepen local industrialisation and African integration.


The private sector is vital to the achievement of these priorities and shifting the economic trajectory of our country.


This is particularly true of our infrastructure programme, which relies on private investment in new infrastructure projects to create efficient, world-class network infrastructure and boost aggregate demand.


Through the Infrastructure Fund, public funds will be used to leverage private investment at a larger scale.


To drive the delivery of key reforms, we have established Operation Vulindlela with a dedicated team from the Presidency and National Treasury.


‘Vulindlela’ means to ‘open the way’ in isiZulu and isiXhosa.


Operation Vulindlela will open the way for high-impact economic reforms in network industries such as energy, water, telecommunications and transport, as well as in attracting critical skills and streamlining the visa regime.


We will focus on a number of priority reforms with clear timeframes and make sure they are effectively and swiftly executed. The team reports directly to me on progress in implementation.


In every part of our country – from the deserts of the Northern Cape to the shores of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, from the high-rises of Gauteng to the valleys of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, from the wide expanses of the Free State and North West to the splendour of the Western Cape – we are seeing the emergence of green shoots of growth.


We are positioning South Africa as a leading market for global business services, leveraging our unique strengths in customer service, broadband infrastructure and expert skills.


We are rebuilding our manufacturing capacity through the establishment of special economic zones and the revitalisation of industrial parks.


Our mining sector has proved resilient through the worst of the pandemic, and is benefiting from renewed demand for our strategic minerals.


Our financial services sector remains among the strongest and best-regulated in the world.


The discovery of significant natural gas reserves off our Southern coast offers the promise of a new surge of investment in our rich natural resources.


Ladies and gentlemen,


I would like to believe that you are here because you believe in the potential of South Africa.


You are here because you believe in the strength of our institutions and in our robust and vibrant democracy.


You believe in our stable macroeconomic framework and in our commitment – even under huge constraints – to maintaining a path of fiscal responsibility.


You believe in our efforts to rebuild the state and to turn the tide on corruption and state capture.


You see the progress we have made and you recognise your own role – as partners and investors in our future – in working with us to achieve the ambitions we have set for ourselves.


Time and time again, South Africa has proven its ability to overcome great challenges and emerge stronger.


Like the protea that adorns our coat of arms, we have flourished even in the harshest of environments.


We have come a long way and we have a long way still to go.


Now is the time to grow anew. Now is the time to invest.


I thank you.