A PHILOSOPHY THAT EMPOWERS FROM WITHIN

By Mr. Dusit Manapan, a Career Diplomat and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thailand

21 July 2021

Thailand is a dedicated advocate for global sustainable development. The Kingdom has been promoting its homegrown Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) as an alternative approach to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). First introduced by King Bhumibol Adulyadej after the Asian financial crisis in 1997, SEP has become Thailand’s development concept that is universally applicable.

The philosophy is a culmination of His Majesty’s reflections from decades of extensive tours and conversations with villagers around the country. Even the grounds of Chitralada Villa, his royal palace, were used for experimenting agricultural projects that could be extended to other areas. This royal legacy remains the core of Thailand’s national development efforts to this day.

SEP provides us with a foundation, and acts as a compass towards sustainability, based on three interrelated principles and two pillars. The first principle is moderation, which means producing and consuming within one’s capacity, and avoiding overindulgence. The second one is reasonableness, or the use of our mental faculties to assess the causes and consequences of actions on our well-being, our household and our community. Prudence is the third principle, which refers to risk management so as to be prepared for impacts from any disruptions. Additionally, the two critical pillars needed to implement SEP principles successfully are knowledge, and ethics and virtues. The former enables us to effectively plan and execute developmental activities. The latter fosters human development by emphasizing honesty, altruism, and perseverance, with the ultimate goal to create active, engaged citizens, and to promote good governance

SEP is obviously not a how-to handbook for development. Rather, it is a philosophy that guides our inner thinking to immunize ourselves from external shocks. Likewise, there is flexibility for the concept to be applied in any environment and level. However, sufficiency economy does not mean we have to be complacent in life. We can consider going beyond our basic needs as long as it does not exceed our existing means and capacity. The essence of SEP is clear that it encourages us to be sensible and realistic.

SEP has inspired numerous projects both in Thailand and elsewhere. The Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) is Thailand’s coordinator in forging development cooperation with international partners worldwide. SEP-based development models implemented by TICA are specifically designed to assist developing countries escape the cycle of excessive dependence on foreign aid. The objective is to create resilient communities starting from the individual level by enhancing productivity within the limitations of existing income and resources.

Since 2003, TICA has carried out 36 SEP projects in 21 countries across Asia Pacific and Africa, from the Kyrgyz Republic to Timor-Leste and from Mozambique to Solomon Islands. At present, there are 29 projects in 19 countries, which testify that SEP can be translated into action anywhere.

There are two main types of overseas SEP projects to institutionalise the self-development process and to conserve local knowledge and wisdom: 1) the establishment of SEP Learning Centres, to serve as a comprehensive database, and community learning centre with a designated expert to provide guidance; and 2) the development of SEP Sustainable Communities to serve as role models on development.

SEP Learning Centre projects are being implemented in Lao PDR, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, Brunei Darussalam, Tonga, Fiji, and Lesotho. At the same time, SEP Sustainable Community projects are in progress in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Benin, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, and Senegal. Thai experts and TICA’s Friends of Thailand Volunteers have been dispatched to work with local stakeholders in several of these countries.

For instance, in Lao PDR, Thai and Lao officials have established Learning Centres for Sustainable Development in Agriculture at Dongkhamxang Agricultural Technical School and Khammouane Technical – Vocational College. These centres maximise the potential of human resources by providing capacity building courses that covers the whole supply chain, such as farm management, productivity management, and market analysis. As agriculture is a vital sector in landlocked Lao PDR, strengthening its agricultural capacity will safeguard domestic food security and enable farmers to sustain their livelihood.

In Bhutan, SEP practitioners assisted in developing community products by localising Thailand’s One Tambon (Sub-district) One Product (OTOP) scheme as One Gewog One Product (OGOP) in Haa and Tsirang Districts. OGOP Model includes the establishment of a Community Learning Centre on community-based tourism in Haa District, and one on sustainable community development in Tsirang District, with a view to empowering local authorities and communities.

In Tonga, the Chai Pattana Foundation under royal patronage and the Tonga Royal Palace have jointly overseen an agricultural model project, which applies “New Theory Agriculture.” The idea is to divide the land for multiple purposes such as for crops cultivation, livestock farming, fisheries, and water resources. This approach has helped to ensure sufficient resources for household consumption, and to reduce the reliance on food imports. It has increased agricultural productivity, generated income, and elevated living standards. The success of this demonstration model has since been replicated around the kingdom island.

Development is achievable through various paths. In many cases such as in Lao PDR, Bhutan and Tonga, the simple yet practical approach of SEP has been as beneficial as any other alternatives while being even more relatable to the respective local conditions.

The concept is, of course, not free from skepticism. But Thailand has tried and tested the applicability of SEP well enough before sharing it abroad. Based on its policy of prosper thy neighbour, SEP is one of Thailand’s tools in helping neighbouring countries to attain economic security, food security, and self-sufficiency. The success of SEP projects in neighbouring countries would not only benefit the local communities there, but also contribute towards peace, prosperity, and closer people-to-people ties along the border areas with Thailand. The same principle applies to cooperation with countries beyond the region, which is to assist them to transition from being recipient countries towards becoming Thailand’s partner in a wider array of dimensions.

Sustainable development is a global agenda that requires collective action, and SEP is Thailand’s contribution to such end. Through decades of accumulated experience, Thailand has discovered its answer on how to pass on a sustainable world to our younger generations through local empowerment. Thousands of development projects based on SEP in Thailand have already improved the livelihood of communities nationwide. As such, SEP could perhaps be another practical and worthy development track that other countries can adapt to their specific contexts.

Mr Dusit Manapan is currently serving as the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand. In his current capacity, he also oversees the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), Thailand’s international aid agency. Mr. Manapan has vast experience in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, and previously served in key positions including Ambassador of Thailand to the State of Kuwait and Director-General of the Department of South Asia, Middle East, and African Affairs.

​THE FUTURE OF CLIMATE-SMART AGRICULTURE ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

By Mashudu Malema

20 July 2021

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been widespread and well documented, conversely, perhaps what has received moderate attention in respect to the human health implications, is the ever increasing climate effect, both of the human population, as well as previously untouched wildlife. The human impingement into the natural world has over the years been driven largely by the need for more agricultural land to support a growing population; which has subsequently resulted in high social and ecological trade-offs.
Back in 2007, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that over 150 000 people suffered fatalities attributed to climate-change related issues every year. A further study conducted in 2014 indicated that climate change was responsible for 3% of diarrhoea, 3% of malaria, and 3.8% of dengue fever deaths worldwide. WHO has since classified human impacts from climate change as “the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.”
More and more, human beings are inescapably exposed to climate change through the changing of weather patterns in the form of temperature, precipitation, sea level rise and more frequent extreme events; additionally, indirectly through changes in water, air and food quality; changes in ecosystems, agriculture, industry and settlements as well as the economy. Air pollution, wildfires, and heat waves caused by global warming have also adversely affected human health, the world over.
The consequences of climate change have long been projected to negatively affect all four pillars of food security; not limited to food availability, but food cost, quality and stability. Global warming directly communicates to the increase of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, and rainstorms. These events are predicted to intensify as scientists have determined climate change to be responsible for trends in weather patterns.
It is further worth noting that climate change threatens agricultural yields with drier climates in already dry areas, and wetter climates in already wet areas. These effects will only worsen the food insecurity in dry places like Southern Africa and other areas across the globe. Climate change already contributes to migration in certain parts of the world; and the future of this status quo heavily depends on the extent to which nations implement prevention efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, and adapt to unavoidable climate change effects. The effects of climate change, together with sustained greenhouse gas emissions, have resulted in scientists categorising the effect as a climate emergency and an existential threat to civilisation.
So what needs to be done?
Climate-smart agriculture is a holistic concept, connecting numerous issues related to agricultural development and other global development objectives. It covers environmental issues, for example energy and water, alongside social impacts such as gender and economic issues. Additionally, it has proven to be a sustainable recourse towards development and food security, built on increasing productivity and incomes of both men and women; enhancing resilience of livelihoods and ecosystems, whilst reducing and removing greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
Climate-smart agriculture speaks to agriculture which increases sustainability through productivity and income; strengthening resilience to climate change and variability; enhancing the achievement of national food security and development goals set by the World Food Summit Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations framework Convention on Climate Change, to name a few.
The effects of climate change are clearly evidenced in our physical environment, ecosystems and human societies; its effect also include economic and social changes from rising global temperatures. The many physical effects of climate change are already apparent in; extreme weather events, glacier retreats, changing in the timing of seasonal events and rising sea levels. This in combination with food climate variability, has worsened food security impact in many areas, increasingly putting pressure on fresh water supply. Climate change has further contributed to the desertification and land degradation in many regions of the world. Its negative implications aren’t limited to livelihoods of people dependent on land for food and energy, but rising temperatures are changing precipitation patterns and the increase in extreme events threaten development due to adverse effects on economic growth in developing countries.


Introduction to smart farming
The agricultural sector is not only among the most vulnerable sector to the impacts of climate change, it is also directly responsible for over 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the sector is a global key driver of deforestation and land degradation, which account for an additional 17% of emissions. This particular sector can be an important part to the solution to climate change by developing more productive food systems and improving natural resource management.
The consequent impact of climate change on agriculture and food production globally, sees effects of elevated CO2 in the atmosphere, rising temperatures, altered precipitation, modified weed, pest and pathogen pressure; all of which influence a multitude of factors associated with droughts; such as rainfall and rain evaporation. This is set to increase the severity and frequency of droughts worldwide; as evidenced in a number of case studies, droughts ultimately result in crop failures and the loss of pasture for livestock.
Climate change relief measures rely heavily on projected future social and economic development. As of 2019, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues Report, an estimated 831 million people are undernourished. Compared to a no climate change scenario, this would put between 1-181 million extra people at risk of hunger.

The need for smart-farming agricultural industry
Conventional farming practices are at a point where agricultural inputs are overused, as labour is no longer in abundance, this is frustrated by increasing, continual energy demand. In response to the upshot, new farming opportunities are emerging. Smart farming aims to improve economic returns of traditional farming whilst reducing environmental impact.
Controlled environment agriculture (also known as smart-farming, weather and climate proof farming, or more commonly, indoor vertical farming), is the production of plants in a restrained environment. While indoor farming is not a new phenomenon, as green houses have been used for centuries; the more recent innovation of hydroponic and aeroponic farming eliminates the outmoded components of traditional farming practices.
Smart farming is based on a precise and resource-efficient approach and attempts to achieve high-efficiency on agricultural goods production, with increased quality in a sustainable basis. Smart farming technologies can be divided into three main categories; Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS), Precision Agriculture (PA), and Agricultural Automation and Robotics (AAR)
Although the attention toward smart farming is growing rapidly, farm size and income reflect the most important barriers to adaptation for all countries, specifically, in countries where small farms of low income, subsidy and taxation are considered the main positive drivers of smart farming technology intake.


Hydroponic – Areoponic Smart-Farming
The current agricultural system has been set a mammoth task; by the year 2050, the world will need to have increased food production by at least 70% in order to meet the global population need of 9.8 billion people, 68% of whom are projected to reside in urban areas. Globally, 70% of water usage is consumed by agricultural production, largely attributed to unsustainable irrigation practices. By 2050, 593 hectares of land will need to be transformed into agricultural land to meet the calorie needs of a global population.
With the amount of scarce resources utilised by traditional agriculture rising daily at alarming rates, most crop production is already stretched to concerning degrees, both genetically and chemically, as significant increase in fertilizer and/or pesticides have not shown to sufficiently increase produce.


Vertical farming practiced on a large scale in rural and urban centres has great potential to; supply expanding markets with enough food in a sustainable fashion to comfortably feed the global population for the foreseeable future. It allows for large tracts of land to revert to the natural landscape restoring ecosystem functions and services; safely and efficiently using the organic portion of human and agricultural waste to produce energy.
Its effect accelerates the remedial of black water, creating a sought after new strategy for the conservation of drinking water; takes advantage of abandoned and unused urban spaces and allows year-round food production without loss of yields due to climate change or weather-related events. It further eliminates the need for large-scale use of pesticides and herbicides, and ultimately creates an environment that encourages sustainable urban life, promoting a state of good health for all those who choose to live in cities.
In order to support food security and boost incomes, agricultural systems in developing countries will increasingly be under pressure to upsurge productivity sustainably, and strengthen the resilience of agricultural landscapes. Improved agricultural systems can also potentially emit lower levels of greenhouse gases.
Climate-smart agriculture rooted in sustainable agriculture and rural development objectives, is able to contribute to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing hunger and improved environment management. However, early intervention is needed to identify, pilot and scale-up best practices which will strengthen institutional capacities and build experiences that can help agricultural stakeholders make informed choices in order to effect transformation in climate smart agriculture.
Gradually, smart farming technologies are being adapted across agricultural spectrums and changing lives in many areas. Aeroponic farming for example, has been proven to be an efficient and effective process for growing plants without using soil, its technology advances improvement by decreasing water usage, increasing plant yields, minimising rate of growth and reducing work force. This is mainly attributed to aeroponic systems use of 95% less water sources than traditional soil based farming techniques, its system requires minimal energy sources and is easily adaptable to entry level solar alternatives.
Local companies like Gauteng based smart farming entrepreneurs, Impilo Projects are at the forefront of actively meeting the growing demand for urban residential self-reliance on climate-smart produce for daily consumption unhindered by seasonal availability. The climate-smart farmers use what they call, Impilo-ponics, a method of adapting areoponics systems to engineer advanced food sustainability.
Founder and chief engineer, Tony Bryant says, “the core business of Impilo Projects is the design and manufacturing of modular vertical aeroponic/NFT growing tower systems, as well as recently introduced horizontal aeroponic growing towers. Impilo’s modular greenhouse structures, which range from microstructures to full scale commercial structures are designed and manufactured to both their client needs and affordability to; locally create micro-farming opportunities for rural and urban community-based operations which eliminate logistic costs, as well as reliance on seasonal availability for prime nutritional produce such as spinaches, potatoes, cabbage etc.
The Impilo-ponics system uses a soilless growing method and has a non-seasonal growing cycle, which Bryant explains, “does not require large growing space areas – approximately 1.5m2 floor space per 108 plant growing pocket tower of 300 + plants with multi-planting on various cultivars; growth cycles are achieved in a shorter period of time, with the system being less susceptible to bacteria and pathogen issues”.
One of the smart-farming projects currently undertaken by Impilo Projects is the development of an agricultural training facility conjoined with a community agricultural research facility; to train and accredit emerging micro farmers and SMME-entrepreneurs in its Impilo-Ponics, aeroponic vertical farming systems. This, Bryant says, is a unique project designed, manufactured, and supported by local government in South Africa, to locally contribute towards the future of sustainable food security in both rural and urban areas, as well as in the neighbouring SADC region, with potential for international adoption.
Locally, the project will utilize existing obsolete building infrastructure, such as unused traditional tunnels, industrial factories and farm storage buildings. Impilo Tower systems have shown to be cost effective through their optimisation of retrofitting – i.e., solar adaption and rain collecting for water source, particularly in remote areas where grid energy and water sources are not readily available.
“The key components in the medium to long term timelines are that this venture is quite unique to Africa; when operational success lends itself to exposure to various future investors both from government and private sector, the whole working infrastructure is adaptable to anywhere in any region within Africa, Bryant explains.
Agricultural ventures of the calibre undertaken by Impilo Projects, are integral to the success of allaying climate change effects on developing nations, which experience the most severe impacts; specifically in areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty is already exacerbated. In order to respond to the World Bank estimation that climate change could drive over 120 million people into poverty by 2030, a transformation of the agricultural sector, including crop and livestock production, fisheries and forestry is crucial. Ventures such as these are urgently needed to respond to climate change, through sustainably increasing agricultural productivity.
Verified practices and technologies can and must contribute to reaching the objectives of climate-smart agriculture. However, in order to effect this objective, increased investment is needed to build the institutional capacity to support their adaptation. Said investment will also be needed to address gaps in skills training and environmental systems to support uptake at a local and continental level. The achievement of such attainments are well within our collective reach.

To find out more about Impilo Projects, visit: www.impiloprojects.com

NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY

18TH JULY

Nelson Mandela was a global champion of equality, justice & human rights. As societies worldwide become more polarized, his calls for solidarity & an end to racism are as relevant today as ever. Let us honour Madiba’s call to action & be empowered by his legacy.

Mandela was a great hero. The extent of his triumph extended largely from his sagacious understanding that even parties with important differences and contentions can find common ground and cooperate for the good of the larger community.

 In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 18 July as Nelson Mandela International Day, in recognition of the contributions made by the first democratically elected president of South Africa, Former President Nelson Mandela, to the culture of peace and freedom.

Every year, on Mandela Day individuals and organisations in all over  the world, are encouraged to make a difference in their communities by taking 67 minutes doing their part, however small, to enrich the lives of others.
Humanity is facing some of its toughest challenges. But with courage and commitment, we can find the solutions needed to ensure a safer, fairer, greener future for everybody. 💫

Nothing is impossible.  It’s time to live up to Nelson Mandela’s words!

#MandelaDay
#MandelaDay2021
#MandelaMonth #MandelaDay2021 #MandelaDay #ActionAgainstPoverty

UPDATE BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON SECURITY SITUATION IN THE COUNTRY

16 July 2021

My Fellow South Africans,

Earlier today, I visited the areas of KwaMashu, Springfield, Mobeni and Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, which have been sites of unprecedented violence and destruction over the past several days.

The streets and buildings I saw bear the scars of looting and mayhem.

But what is most devastating is the toll that these events have taken on people’s lives, livelihoods and sense of security.

The human toll will take much longer to repair.

It is clear now that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy.

The constitutional order of our country is under threat.

The current instability and ongoing incitement to violence constitutes a direct contravention of the Constitution and the rule of law.

These actions are intended to cripple the economy, cause social instability and severely weaken – or even dislodge – the democratic state.

Using the pretext of a political grievance, those behind these acts have sought to provoke a popular insurrection.

They have sought to exploit the social and economic conditions under which many South Africans live – conditions that have worsened since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic – and to provoke ordinary citizens and criminal networks to engage in opportunistic acts of looting.

The ensuing chaos is used as a smokescreen to carry out economic sabotage through targeted attacks on trucks, factories, warehouses and other infrastructure necessary for the functioning of our economy and the provision of services to our people.

Through social media, through fake news and misinformation, they have sought to inflame racial tensions and violence.

Worst of all, they have sought to manipulate the poor and vulnerable for their own benefit.

Yet, despite the widespread destruction, this attempted insurrection has failed to gain popular support.

It has failed because of the efforts of our security forces, and it has failed because South Africans have rejected it and have stood up in defence of our hard-won democracy.

I saw that determination in action today as I walked through the streets of eThekwini.

I saw people cleaning up the streets, rebuilding their lives, standing together united in their diversity – young and old, men and women, black and white.

They were grateful for the support of the security forces and made it clear to me that they stand united and will work with government to restore stability.

My fellow South Africans,

Since the outbreak of this violence, at least 212 people have lost their lives.

Of these, 180 have been in KwaZulu-Natal, and 32 in Gauteng.

The South African Police Service is investigating 131 cases of murder and has opened inquest dockets in respect of 81 deaths.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost their lives to this senseless violence. This is a pain that no family and no community should have to endure.

Since the unrest started, the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has recorded over 118 incidents of public violence, arson, looting and other unrest-related instances.

These incidents were concentrated in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Since the height of the unrest on Monday and Tuesday, there has been a sharp decline in the number of incidents and calm has returned to most of these areas.

Over 2,550 people have been arrested in connection with the unrest, and special arrangements are being put in place to ensure that these cases are prioritised.

The destruction of property and theft of goods has cost businesses, consumers and the country as a whole billions of rands.

According to preliminary reports compiled by NatJoints, extensive damage has been caused to 161 malls and shopping centres, 11 warehouses, 8 factories and 161 liquor outlets and distributors.

This does not include the damage caused to roads and other infrastructure.

Fellow South Africans,

As this government, we must acknowledge that we were poorly prepared for an orchestrated campaign of public violence, destruction and sabotage of this nature.

While we commend the brave actions of our security forces on the ground, we must admit that we did not have the capabilities and plans in place to respond swiftly and decisively.

Our police were faced with a difficult situation and exercised commendable restraint to prevent any loss of life or further escalation.

However, once additional security personnel were deployed, they were able to quickly restore calm to most areas that were affected.

Once this crisis has passed, we will undertake a thorough and critical review of our preparedness and our response.

For now, our priorities are:

Firstly, to stabilise the country,

Secondly, to secure essential supplies and infrastructure,

Thirdly, to provide relief and support recovery and rebuilding,

Fourthly, to encourage the active efforts of citizens in defence of lives, livelihoods and democracy.

To stabilise the country, we have massively increased the numbers of law enforcement and security personnel on the ground in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

I have authorised the deployment of 25,000 members of the South African National Defence Force to support the work of the police.

Of these, 10,000 are now on the ground, with the remaining forces arriving in their respective areas of deployment over the course of the weekend.

Steady progress is being made to secure our logistics infrastructure:

– The N3 freeway between eThekwini and Gauteng has been re-opened and security forces are in place to keep vital supply routes open.

– The security forces are working with business to ensure the safe transport of fuel, food, oxygen, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and other critical supplies.

– Operations at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay are being restored to enable the resumption of exports and imports.

– Regulations have been issued in terms of the Competition Act to enable firms involved in the supply of essential goods to share information about the availability and demand for certain goods. This is to help prevent shortages of essential goods and promote the equitable distribution of scarce essential goods across the country.

These measures will ensure that supply chains remain intact.

I want to emphasise that there is no shortage of food or supplies in most parts of the country, and that panic buying will only worsen the situation.

In addition to supporting the police in maintaining order, SANDF members have been deployed to protect key installations and commercial sites that are vital to the functioning of the economy and the uninterrupted provision of services to citizens.

Specialised units of our law enforcement agencies are working around the clock to locate and apprehend those responsible for planning and coordinating this violence.

We will spare no effort in bringing these individuals to justice.

There have been calls from several quarters for the declaration of a state of emergency to contain this violence and destruction.

These calls are understandable given the levels and extent of disorder.

Our view has been that a state of emergency should only be declared when all other means of stabilising the situation have shown to be inadequate.

A state of emergency would allow a drastic limitation of the basic rights contained in our Constitution, which no responsible government would want to do unless it was absolutely necessary.

For now, it is our firm view that the deployment of our security forces, working together with communities and social partners across the country, will be able to restore order and prevent further violence.

We will extinguish the fires that are raging, and stamp out every last ember.

We will identify and act against those who lit the flame, and those who spread it.

We will find those who instigated this violence. They will be held accountable for their deeds. We will not allow anyone to destabilise our country and get away with it.

We will not allow any person or any group to challenge the authority of our democratically elected government.

While our security forces are steadily establishing control on the ground, the effects of this violence will be felt by all South Africans in the days, weeks and months to come.

The damage that has been done to vital economic infrastructure will take time to repair.

This in turn will have an impact on the availability of food, fuel, medicine and other supplies not only in South Africa, but across the region.

The violence and destruction has done enormous damage to our economy at a time when we are struggling to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has destroyed businesses and will undoubtedly lead to further job losses.

Ultimately, it will deepen poverty and cause even greater hardship for millions of South Africans.

The widespread looting of the past week is likely to fuel a further increase of COVID-19 infections.

These events have also disrupted our COVID-19 vaccination programme in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng just as it was gaining momentum.

Now, it is imperative that we should take further steps to provide support to households and to help businesses to restock and rebuild.

We are in the process of providing immediate food relief to households. We are targeting areas affected by the looting and where people have no access to food.

Provincial Departments of Social Development and SASSA will use their remaining budget in the Social Relief of Distress programme to provide support in the form of food parcels, cash and food vouchers.

We are working hard to bring all SASSA offices into operation. Cash pay points are expected to resume services from the 19th of July in all the areas that have been declared safe to operate.

To assist with the immediate needs of affected communities, the Solidarity Fund has established a Humanitarian Crisis Relief Fund to assist those in greatest need at this time. We are calling on all South Africans to support this fund.

We appreciate the support of the many companies, organisations and faith-based groups that have already started providing support to families in distress.

Social partners have been meeting to discuss a range of measures which can be implemented to provide immediate relief within our fiscal means.

This includes the provision of emergency food relief and other assistance to those in greatest distress.

We will also help our small businesses, including those in townships and rural areas, to heal from the damage they have suffered.

Our business people provide important goods and services in our communities, and we will help them to rebuild their businesses.

A team in the Presidency and National Treasury is hard at work to develop a comprehensive support package for Cabinet’s consideration.

We will be in a position to make a further announcement in this regard soon.

In the short term, it is essential that we get the vaccination programme back on track as soon as possible, and no effort will be spared in that regard.

Fellow South Africans,

While calm has returned to most of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the threat to our country and to our democracy remains present and real.

Those responsible for organising this campaign of violence and destruction have not yet been apprehended and their networks have not yet been dismantled.

We must therefore remain vigilant and resist any efforts to incite further violence.

We welcome the unwavering support from religious, traditional, political party, labour and business leaders.

We applaud those individuals, organisations and communities that have taken the initiative, through peaceful means, to restore calm and protect lives, property and infrastructure.

We thank all those people who have remained at their posts under difficult and dangerous conditions, providing services to our people and our nation – the law enforcement personnel, health care workers, social workers, security guards, municipal employees and many other frontline public servants.

We thank the journalists who have been reporting as these events have been unfolding, helping to ensure that South Africans are informed and empowered.

We call on communities across the country to work with the police through Community Policing Forums.

No person should take the law into their own hands.

We must guard against vigilantism and anything that could inflame tensions further.

We call on all South Africans to encourage calm and restraint, to desist from sharing false information, and to report any incidents of violence to the police immediately.

By doing these basic things, we can all work to protect South Africa.

This Sunday, South Africans will join people across the world in celebrating Nelson Mandela Day.

As we reaffirm our commitment to our democracy, let us use Mandela Day to provide food to the most vulnerable in our society, to clean up our streets and to start the task of rebuilding.

While security forces are essential to restoring order and stability, this assault on our democracy will ultimately fail because the people of South Africa will not allow it.

If we stand together, no insurrection or violence in this country will succeed.

We are engaged in a struggle to defend our democracy, our Constitution, our livelihoods and our safety.

This is not a battle that we can afford to lose.

When we look back on this moment in our history, let us say that we faced down a grave threat and defeated it together.

Let us bear witness to the strength and endurance of our democracy, not its downfall.

Let us speak of the triumph of our Constitution, not its destruction.

We will never allow this great project of humanity, our South African democracy, to fail.

Lasly, I wish to pass condolences to the families of the following South Africans who have passed away in the past few days:

iNkosi Mahlangu (Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders), Tsepo Tshola (one of our outstanding artists), Prof Ben Ngubane (former KwaZulu-Natal Premier), Aubrey Mokoena (Leader of the Release Mandela Campaign and former MP), Khehla Mthembu (business leader), Dr Sam Gulube (Former Secretary of Defence), Geoff Makhubo (Mayor of Johannesburg), Dr Vanguard Mkosana (former Director-General of Labour) and Michael Zuma (younger brother of former President Zuma).

May God bless South Africa and protect her people.

I thank you.

COMMUNIQUÉ: NAMIBIA – SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC CONSULTATIONS – 14-15 JULY 2021, WINDHOEK

1. Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Namibia hosted Hon. Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, for Diplomatic and Political Consultations in Windhoek, Namibia, from 14-15 July 2021.

2. The consultations allowed the Ministers to consult each other and exchange views on a wide range of issues pertaining to the strengthening and consolidation of bilateral relations and cooperation between Namibia and South Africa.

3. The Ministers agreed that the Republic of Namibia would host the 3rd Session of the Namibia-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC), on dates to be mutually agreed upon in 2021. In this regard, the Ministers directed their Senior Officials to convene before the end of August 2021, to prepare for the BNC.

4. The two Ministers underscored the importance of holding regular diplomatic and political consultations as an effective mechanism to track progress on the implementation of decisions taken by the BNC, and other bilateral fora.

5. The Ministers commended the efforts by the two Governments to combat the spread of COVID-19, including the rolling out of vaccines to their respective populations. Namibia commended South Africa for leading, together with India at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the initiative to have intellectual property rights waiver on COVID-19 related medicines and vaccines to enable equal and fair access to all countries, rich and poor. Namibia commended South Africa on being chosen to host the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) first Covid-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine technology hub, to scale up production and access to vaccines.

6. The Ministers applauded the excellent cooperation with regard to the facilitation of secure transit and repatriation of stranded citizens through their respective countries, to return home when countries instituted hard-lockdowns to curb the further spread of COVID-19. They further welcomed the continued stance by both countries to keep their common borders open thereby enabling cross border trade and commerce, consistent with their desire to realize closer regional integration and the objectives of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

7. Namibia reiterated her gratitude for the R100 million donation towards her drought relief efforts pledged by the Government of the Republic of South Africa. The Ministers noted the good progress with the roll-out of the donation with the installation of boreholes and the distribution of maize in several regions in Namibia.

8. On regional matters, the meeting exchanged views on issues related to the peace and security situation in the SADC region and commended SADC initiatives to address the challenges in the republic of Mozambique and the Kingdom of eSwatini to ensure lasting peace and security in the region.

9. On Lesotho, Namibia congratulated South Africa for the excellent work as the SADC Facilitator with regard to the security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho, and the

meeting noted progress made pertaining to political and security reforms being fast-
tracked for completion in October 2021.

10. Namibia expressed concern at the incidences of looting and criminality prevailing in some Provinces of South Africa. Minister Pandor assured Namibia that transport corridors would continue operating uninterrupted to deliver goods and services to Namibia, particularly essential ones needed to fights Covid-19.

11. The Ministers reiterated their constant and unequivocal call for the unconditional removal of all economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. In this connection, they undertook to continue to intensify calls for the removal of sanctions in bilateral and multilateral platforms.

12. The meeting noted with concern that no progress has been made in the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions on Western Sahara, and the Palestine Question, and called for the intensification of efforts towards the full exercise of the inalienable right to self-determination and national independence of the Saharawi people and the Palestinian people.

13. Minister Dr Pandor commended Namibia for the establishment of the International Women’s Peace Centre (IWPC) aimed at showcasing women as important role players in conflict resolution, peace-keeping and peace-building initiatives. South Africa looks forward to collaborating with Namibia on the key initiative. Similarly, Namibia congratulated South Africa for keeping alive what Gertrude Shope stood for, not only in South Africa, but beyond, and expressed the hope that the IWPC and the Gertrude Shope Annual Dialogue would start to cooperate.

14. Minister Pandor paid a courtesy call on His Excellency, Dr. Hage G Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, during her visit.

15. Hon. Dr Pandor expressed her sincere appreciation for the fruitful deliberations aimed at strengthening the strong and historic relations based on the spirit of mutual respect, friendship and solidarity.

Windhoek, Namibia, 15 July 2021.

OPENING REMARKS BY HON. NETUMBO NANDI-NDAITWAH, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION DEURING THE DIPLOMATIC AND POLITICAL CONSULTATIONS BETWEEN THE REPUBLICS OF NAMIBIA AND SOUTH AFRICA, 14 JULY 2021, WINDHOEK

Honourable Dr. Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa

Your Excellencies, the High Commissioners of the Republic of Namibia and the Republic of South Africa

Distinguished Senior Officials from Namibia and South Africa Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like at the outset to warmly welcome you and your delegation to Windhoek, and to thank you, my dear sister, for accepting my invitation for us to have Diplomatic and Political Consultations today. We are indeed pleased to host this very important meeting that affords the stage to further consolidate our bilateral relations.

Comrade Minister and Co-Chair,

Before proceeding further, allow me to pay tribute to all those who have sadly succumbed to COVID-19 May I kindly request that we observe a minute of silence in their honour.

We are meeting during an unprecedented time when our countries and the wider global community are faced with many challenges, including the ongoing scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic which is now in its third wave with experts now warning of an imminent fourth wave. The threat of the Coronavirus pandemic has unprecedentedly negatively affected trade worldwide and presented our nations with many new threats and challenges, some of which we never anticipated. Namibia, with the limited resources at its disposal, is facing challenges in the prevention and management the Covid-19 pandemic.

Comrade Minister, the best way to combat the pandemic is through a sustained united, global and multilateral approach, as no country has been spared from this pandemic. It is against this background Comrade Minister, that I wish to commend the Republic of South Africa for the continued steps taken by your Government to contain the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

Hon. Minister, as you would recall when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, all countries closed their borders, including Namibia and South Africa. I wish to register my appreciation and gratitude to the Government of South Africa for enabling trade and commerce of basic goods to move freely between our borders.

I also wish to thank the Government of South Africa for facilitating the safe repatriation and transit through South Africa, of many of Namibians who were stranded abroad, when countries instituted lockdowns. Equally, we were able to assist the smooth passage of many South Africans citizens to return home.

This culture of generosity between our two nations also came to light when the Government of the Republic of South Africa pledged a donation of R100 million towards our drought relief efforts, when we had a period of recurrent drought from 2015 to 2019.

The spirit with which our two countries collaborated was indeed consistent with the strong bonds of friendship and solidarity that tie our two nations.

Comrade Minister,

Namibia and South Africa enjoy warm and mutually supportive bilateral relations as reflected by the frequency and reciprocity of high level visits and the intensive nature of bilateral cooperation.

There are currently 91 signed bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between Namibia and South Africa. This is the highest number that the Republic of Namibia has signed with any bilateral partner.

South Africa continues to be one of Namibia’s biggest economic partner, while our currency continues to be pegged to the South African Rand.

A vast majority of Namibian students continue to receive their post-graduate education at South African universities.

Direct airlinks between Windhoek and Johannesburg, Windhoek and Cape Town, Walvis Bay and Cape Town continue to bring our people closer together.

Against the backdrop of such intensive cooperation and close people-to-people cooperation, both governments agreed to elevate their Heads of State Bilateral Economic Meeting to a Bi-National Commission (BNC), which is co-chaired by our respective Heads of State.

Indeed, this is testament to the importance both countries attach to the consolidating their relationship.

Equally this is the foundation which characterizes our joint efforts towards the advancement of our development agenda in the SADC region, as well as at the continental level, where we aspire to realise the Africa We Want, namely Agenda 2063.

Comrade Minister,

Our consultations today will afford us an opportunity to exchange views on the state of our bilateral relations and cooperation, regional, continental and multilateral issues of mutual interest and concern.

The fact that we are meeting amidst a pandemic is a clear testimony of our commitment to further consolidate the strong and warm relations that so happily exist between our two countries.

I wish ourselves fruitful deliberations aimed at deepening and broadening our bilateral cooperation.

At this stage, I now invite you Hon. Minister, to deliver your remarks. I thank you!

JOINT LOCAL STATEMENT BY THE EU DELEGATION TO SOUTH AFRICA AND THE EU MEMBER STATES’ EMBASSIES IN SOUTH AFRICA, 15 July 2021

15/07/2021

As friends of South Africa the EU Embassies are saddened by the unprecedented loss of lives during the unrest, condemn violence and looting that affects the life and livelihood of many South Africans and foreign residents, including EU citizens.

We are troubled by media reports of an organised action, and support the Government for its efforts to bring peace and restore the rule of law and ensure accountability. We encourage the Government to take necessary additional steps to this end.

We join the United Nations’ call for all law enforcement agencies to act proportionately and respect human rights whilst they tackle these complex incidents.

We stand by South Africa in its efforts to build a brighter future for all by achieving the full potential of its economy through necessary reforms.

Register for the vaccine today

Walk-ins at public vaccination sites without an appointment are not recommended.

Register now ➡️ https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za/#/
#VaccineRolloutSA #COVID19Vaccine

NAMIBIA RECEIVES 25 TONS OF COVID SUPPORT FROM GERMANY

On 15 July 2021, a second plane, bringing 25 tons of much needed COVID-19 support from Germany, arrived at Hosea Kutako International Airport. The consignment, consisting of 20 000 protective googles and 40 000 antigen rapid tests, forms part of Germanys ongoing commitment to assist Namibia in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. A big thank you to both Germany and the EU.

Rest in Peace Tsepo Tshola

The Diplomatic Informer Magazine SA wishes to extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of the legendary singer Tsepo Tshola.
May his Soul rest in peace