Press Releases

Press Releases

President Cyril Ramaphosa hosts the President of the Portuguese Republic, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa, on a State Visit to South Africa.

 

06 June 2023

South Africa and Portugal maintain friendly political relations. The State Visit to South Africa by the Portuguese President occurs in the same week Portugal celebrates its National Day on 10 June 2023. Each year, the Portuguese President visits a different country to celebrate the Day of Portugal with the Portuguese Diaspora.

There are approximately 500 000 South Africans of Portuguese descent and about 200,000 Portuguese nationals who reside in South Africa permanently, serving as an important economic link between South Africa and Portugal.

Bilateral relations between South Africa and Portugal remain strong, covering a wide range of areas of cooperation. The 7th Bilateral Consultations were hosted in Portugal on 24 June 2022 and co-chaired by South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation, Deputy Minister, Mr. Alvin Botes and Portuguese Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. Francisco Andre.

During the State Visit, a Defence Agreement was signed which creates a legal framework for closer cooperation in this area. 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT – 05 JUNE 2023

Dear Fellow South African, 
 
Efforts to improve the lives of South Africans will only succeed when we effectively address the challenges in local government. 
 
Last week, the Auditor-General released the Municipal Audit Outcomes for 2021/2022. It is worrying that only 38 out of 257 municipalities – and only two out of the eight metros – achieved clean audits. While clean audits are not the only indicator of good service delivery, there is a clear correlation between achieving good audit outcomes and improving services to communities. 
 
Local government provides the infrastructure and services that help improve people’s livelihoods. All spheres of government must therefore work together to ensure that municipalities are able to fulfil their responsibilities. 
 
This issue of improving the lives of our people was prominent on the agenda of the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC), which met in Cape Town last Friday. The PCC is the President’s platform for consultation with provinces and organised local government to coordinate and strengthen the implementation of government programmes.
 
The Council makes an important contribution to the District Development Model, which approaches local development in an integrated way that focuses the efforts of local, provincial and national government at the district level. 
 
The Council was presented with proposals on local government reform and improving intergovernmental coordination in the critical areas of electricity distribution, water and sanitation services, waste management and roads. 
 
The Council focused on the challenge of municipal underspending. While many municipalities are in great financial difficulty, they often do not spend the grants they are allocated by the national government. 
 
In the last year, around 88 municipalities failed to spend at least 10% of their Municipal Infrastructure Grant, which is supposed to be used for eradicating infrastructure backlogs. Another challenge is that money that is not allocated for a specific purpose is often misspent. 
 
A number of municipalities state that they do not have sufficient funds to implement programmes and projects. This is often the case because they are not able to collect revenue for key services like water and electricity. 
 
It is imperative that municipalities must have credible, sustainable and well-managed revenue collection programmes that apply fair and equitable standards to all customers. Citizens should play their part by paying for services. All businesses and government departments must pay outstanding debt to municipalities. 
 
The PCC recommended that National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance should develop measures to further support and strengthen municipal revenue collection systems with urgency. As the Auditor-General’s report noted, municipalities are often to blame for their own financial woes because of poor debt collection practices. 
 
More broadly, the Presidential Coordinating Council deliberated on the urgent task to review the funding model for municipalities to ensure they have the resources they need to do their work. 
 
In the face of the great needs of our citizens, the dire material conditions in which millions of people live, and ongoing service delivery failures, the findings of the Auditor-General are serious and need a coordinated response.
 
The people of South Africa expect and are entitled to local governments that are there to serve them and to uphold their right to dignity. All spheres of government are committed to play their part to make this a reality. 
 
With best regards,

New South African Honorary Consul in Porto

The Embassy is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr David Jose Guedes Schneider da Silva, as the new South African Honorary Consul in Porto. This appointment will enhance the work of the Embassy in Porto, through facilitating trade and consular activities.  With the appointment of Mr Schneider, the Embassy will soon announce the date when the new Office in Porto will begin with consular services. Contact details will then be supplied. Congratulations Mr Schneider on your new appointment!

Minister Pandor concludes successful Official Visit to Portugal

Media Statement

19 May 2023

The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Naledi Pandor, has concluded her successful Official Visit to Lisbon, Portugal, where she met her counterpart, João Gomes Cravinho, for bilateral talks. Ministers Pandor and Cravinho reviewed the state of bilateral relations between South Africa and Portugal, noting with satisfaction that the two countries enjoy strong relations at the bilateral and multilateral levels. The two Ministers discussed preparations for the upcoming State Visit to South Africa by the President of Portugal, His Excellency Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The State Visit is scheduled to take place during June 2023. In their discussions, the Ministers noted that South Africa and Portugal collaborate in a number of sectors, such as basic and higher education, science and technology, defence as well as trade and investment.

Portugal is an important trade and investment partner of South Africa. South African exports to Portugal in 2021 were valued at approximately R2,8 billion, while imports from Portugal were approximately R4,6 billion in the same year. There are approximately 500,000 South Africans of Portuguese descent and about 200,000 Portuguese nationals who reside in South Africa. Minister Pandor also met representatives of the Portuguese companies operating in South Africa. The Minister outlined the steps being taken by the government to ensure that South Africa maintains its position as an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.

Minister Pandor also met the Mayor of the City of Lisbon, Mr Carlos Manuel Félix Moedas.

Minister Pandor and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, HE Dmytro Kuleba, took advantage of their presence in Lisbon to hold talks at the Ukrainian Embassy. Minister Pandor briefed Minister Kuleba about the envisaged mission to Kiev and Moscow by a committee of six African Heads of State and Government, amongst them President Cyril Ramaphosa. Minister Kuleba told Minister Pandor that Ukraine welcomed the initiative and is looking forward to received the African leaders in Kiev.

The Minister concluded her visit to Lisbon by paying courtesy call on President de Sousa, where she relayed President Ramaphosa’s readiness to host President de Sousa on his forthcoming State Visit to South Africa.

 

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

 

OR Tambo Building

460 Soutpansberg Road

Rietondale

Pretoria

0084

 

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 22 MAY 2023

Tourism is making a strong and sustained recovery
 
Dear Fellow South African,
 
After the devastation caused by the COVID pandemic to our local tourism industry, the latest figures on tourist arrivals show that the industry is making a strong and sustained comeback.
 
Statistics from StatsSA and SA Tourism that were released by Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille recently show that nearly 5.7 million visitors graced our shores last year. This was an increase of over 150% on the previous year.
 
In the first quarter of this year, we received just over two million visitors, more than twice as many compared to the same period in 2022.
 
Although tourist arrivals are not yet at pre-pandemic levels, the latest figures show that a significant and rapid recovery is underway. This is taking place in the midst of heightened political and economic uncertainty across the world and particular challenges, especially around electricity supply, here at home.
 
Yet, despite these difficult conditions, visitors see South Africa as an attractive destination with unparalleled natural beauty, warm and hospitable people, and good value.
 
The potential of our tourism industry was evident at Africa’s Travel Indaba held in eThekwini earlier this month. The Travel Indaba is one of the largest tourism marketing events on the continent and regularly attracts high numbers of exhibitors, marketing bodies and representatives from hotels, airlines and tour operators and media from Africa and the rest of the world. We were able to showcase the great variety of our tourism products to give further impetus to our recovery.
 
Of the exhibitors at the Indaba, over 120 were small local tourism enterprises that were supported by Government to display their unique products and services, expand their networks and foster partnerships. This is part of our commitment to nurturing small operators in the tourism sector to encourage transformation and the creation of many more jobs.
 
Not only are we seeing more tourists coming to our shores, but they are also spending more during their visits – more than R25 billion in the first quarter of 2023. This is a valuable stream of foreign exchange, sustaining and creating jobs and enabling further investment in our tourism infrastructure.
 
The release of these figures during Africa Month is particularly encouraging given that the majority of visitors to South Africa in 2022, approximately 4 million, were from our continent. Travellers from the region and the broader continent are increasingly seeing South Africa as a premier tourism destination and are flocking here to experience our natural wonders and to spend money at South African businesses.
 
Given the importance of growing tourism to South Africa’s economy, we are determined to forge ahead with the process of immigration reform to improve our competitiveness as a tourism destination.
 
At this year’s 5th South Africa Investment Conference, I announced that we will be expanding the e-Visa system from the 14 countries in which it currently operates to include an additional 20 countries.
 
There are obviously linkages between tourists visiting a country and potential future trade and investment. Last week, the Department of Home Affairs published its visa reform implementation plan, which will help to further boost touri