UN International Day of Rural Women

The United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women that is observed on 15 October, celebrates and honours the role of rural women around the world. The day recognises the important role women play in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating poverty.

The first International Day of Rural Women was observed in 2008. The idea of honouring rural women with a special day was put forward at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. It was suggested that October 15 be celebrated as “World Rural Women’s Day,” which is the eve of World Food Day, to highlight rural women’s role in food production and food security.

Celebrating Southern Africa’s rural women

GenderCC Southern Africa, a nonprofit organisation with the vision of becoming a leading platform for women to effectively represent their needs and rights at grassroots, national, regional and international climate policy areas, will be hosting a workshop in Johannesburg (Joubert Park, Greenhouse Project) on 15 October. Hundreds of women from around Gauteng and the country will be in attendance, as well as various local and regional stakeholder organisations.

According to Ms Dorah Marema, Executive Director of GenderCC Southern Africa the day will be celebrated by looking at challenges as well as the proposals from women for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France in December 2015.

“Although progress has been made to recognise the role of women in agriculture, much more still needs to be done. Despite women in Africa being the primary providers of household food security, women still do not receive the same level of support from governments and financial institutions, as men do. We want to build partnerships women which can influence policy and the status quo for the benefit of the broader society,” Marema explained.

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Cape Floral Region gets UNESCO status

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on 3 July 2015 approved the extension of the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas World Heritage Site. This approval was granted by the 39th Session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee taking place in Bonn, Germany from 28 June to 08 July, 2015.

The Cape Floral Region was first inscribed onto the World Heritage List in 2004.  At the time of inscription, the site was made up of 8 protected areas comprising about 553 000 hectares. The 8 protected areas are located in the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape provinces and are managed by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency, Cape Nature and the South African National Parks (SANParks).

The Cape Floral Region is one of the eight South African World Heritage Sites with the other seven being:

  • Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Robben Island
  • Maloti-Drakensberg Park (Transboundary with Lesotho)
  • Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape
  • Vredefort Dome
  • Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape


The extension brings the size of the World Heritage Site to 1,094,742 hectares thus significantly increasing the size of South Africa’s protected areas with outstanding international recognition. These include Table Mountain National Park, Agulhas Complex, Langeberg Complex, Anysberg Nature Reserve, Swartberg Complex, Baviaanskloof Complex and the Garden Route Complex. The extension also increases the number of protected area clusters making up the Cape Floral Region from 8 to 13.

New era in listing of World Heritage sites

The last time South Africa had a site inscribed on the World Heritage List was in 2007 with the inscription of the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape. Since then the government shifted its focus to improving the management of the sites that are already inscribed and to put in place measures to minimise challenges experienced in world heritage sites. As a result, no new nominations were submitted to UNESCO from 2007 until now. The extension of the Cape Floral Region is the first nomination to be submitted after the development of the Procedure for Nomination of World Heritage Sites. As new nominations are also being compiled, it is envisaged that in the next few years the number of World Heritage Sites in South Africa will increase and thus increasing the size of the conservation estate.

In accepting the approval of the extension, the Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson said: “South Africa is delighted to add more protected areas to its portfolio of world heritage properties. The country has in the last few years learned a few lessons in management of its world heritage sites and has through its engagement with the Committee and the Advisory Bodies achieved high standards of conservation to levels expected by UNESCO.”

The extended Cape Floral Region is one of the richest areas for plants when compared to any similar sized area in the world. It represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora with some 69% of the 9000 identified plant species being endemic to the area.

South Africa views the listing of our heritage as a significant part of the country’s development imperatives because while it ensures protection of this highly prized heritage, it also has potential to boost economic development, create jobs and develop skills.  The country has in the last few years worked tirelessly in ensuring that conservation and development are not pursued in exclusivity of each other.

The World Heritage Committee has in the last few years emphasised the need to ensure that communities derive benefits from world heritage sites, especially those living adjacent to the sites. This is a view that fits in well with South Africa’s efforts to involve communities in the protection of world heritage, as custodians of our heritage.

The South African delegation is led by the Deputy Minister for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Ms. Barbara Thomson, who is supported by the South African Ambassador to France and permanent delegate to UNESCO, HE Ambassador Rapulana Molekane.

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Illegal lion industry activities raise concern

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa held a ground-breaking stakeholder engagement to discuss matters around lion management in South Africa; and in particular, breeding and hunting. The Minister convened the engagement to address widespread and mounting public concern around the practice of so-called ‘canned hunting’ of lion.

The engagement is the first in what is to be a series of regular interactions between the Minister, departmental officials, and industry role-players on matters of mutual interest and concern.

Among those in attendance were representatives from lion breeders and the hunting industry. This included high-level representation from the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA), the South African Predator Association (SAPA), the Confederation of Hunters Associations of South Africa (CHASA), the South African Predator Breeders Association (SAPBA) and the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA).

They engaged with the Minister as well as with the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Northern Cape, Gauteng and Eastern Cape provincial environmental departments, and representatives from Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.

“This meeting is a reflection of the seriousness with which we as the department view allegations of criminality operating at the fringe of the legal, well-regulated breeding and hunting industries,” says Molewa, adding that the engagement would open channels of communication between all stakeholders on issues relating to lion management.

“South Africa is recognised worldwide for its conservation successes with regards to African lion, so much so that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently hailed our advances in protecting the species,” says Molewa.

On the matter of so-called ‘canned hunting’ of lion, all industry role-players present at the meeting conceded that ‘rogue elements’ were operating within the lion breeding and hunting industries, and that these needed to be rooted out. Departmental representatives emphasized that in terms of the Threatened or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations published in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (NEMBA) it is prohibited to hunt a lion:

  • In a controlled environment (the minimum size of the hunting camp is not prescribed in the TOPS Regulations, as it will differ from area to area. However, the minimum size is prescribed in many of the provincial acts/ ordinances);
  • While it is under the influence of a tranquiliser (the minimum time frame before a lion may be hunted after it has been darted, is not prescribed in the TOPS Regulations but is regulated in terms of some of the provincial acts/ ordinances); and
  • With certain methods, such as poison, snares, air guns, shot guns, or by luring it with scent or smell.

The organisations present agreed that the illegal hunting of lion was damaging the legal industry. They further noted that negative publicity fuelled by misconceptions that ‘canned hunting’ took place in South Africa, was resulting in substantial financial losses for the local legal hunting industry.

However it was noted that provincial conservation authorities have taken a proactive stance with regards to rooting out illegality, adding that there were a number of cases before the courts relating to suspected illegal activities around lion breeding and hunting, particularly in the Free State province.

Forum established to investigate industry

In a move to promote consistency across provinces with regards to hunting ordinances, provincial authorities (such as in the North West province) are considering developing norms and standards to further ensure compliance on lion hunts. Industry role-players have similarly developed norms and standards which have been presented to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) for consideration. These include clarifying issues around the release period (prior to a hunt) of captive bred lions; handling of cubs and the prohibition of contact with humans in facilities where lions are bred for hunting.

Participants agreed to the establishment of a forum to investigate a number of issues related to the lion industry in South Africa. Participants agreed, inter alia, to:

  • Work together to determine how to move forward as the Department of Environmental Affairs in cooperation with DAFF in addressing and regulating the welfare of captive bred lions; and
  • Support research relating to captive bred lions.

“The Department is reviewing the comments received on the draft Biodiversity Management Plan for Lion that was published for public participation on 17 April 2015 and regulations are being reviewed and tightened to ensure that all gaps that exist in the lion breeding and hunting industries are closed.  This stakeholder engagement, the first of many, will assist us, as the Department, in addressing areas of concern” Molewa said.

Participants emphasized their commitment to promoting sustainable use as South Africa’s conservation model, noting further that responsible utilization of wildlife was a key driver of economic growth, skill development and job creation in the sector.


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South Africa’s R3, 5 billion trade target

The development of new markets for South African value-added manufactured products in growth emerging markets and Africa is in full swing, with work of facilitating trade of value-added South African exports – informed by the Market Diversification Strategy – which entails maintaining South maintain the country’s market share in the traditional markets. In implementing this strategy, government has set a target of R3.5 billion of trade value that will accrue to South Africa in 2015 /2016 financial year.

This will be implemented through South African participation of 1025 companies at various National Pavilions in 29 trade shows as well as 32 trade mission that are planned to traditional markets and high growth emerging markets in Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Of a total 32 missions, 17 will take place in Africa (inclusive of inbound missions), confirming the fact that the region has become the most strategic market for South African value added exports. Resources will also be directed to facilitating 8 inward buying missions for buyers from abroad, 3 missions will be in the Americas, 5 in Asia, 1 in Europe and 2 in the Middle East. The remaining missions will be in the form of Investment and Trade Initiatives in China, DRC, India, Russia and Brazil.

Of the R3,5 billion target, R1.5 billion worth of export sales will be facilitated from Europe; R525 million from Asia; R350 million from Africa; R350 million from Latin America; R400 million from North America and R375 million from the Middle East. In the current financial year Minister Rob Davies of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) led a business delegation during the state visit to Indonesia. During the Africa-Asia summit an Asia-Africa Declaration was signed which aims to establish an Africa-Asia Business Council. This Business Council is aimed at strengthening South-South trade. It is also tasked with drafting an Africa-Asia strategy that tackles skills development, infrastructure and access to finance challenges.

Deputy Minister Mzwandile Masina of DTI led the business delegation to the Zimbabwean International Trade Fair (ZITF). Projected sales for South Africa’s participation at this show are expected to be R403, 470.00. Additional export sales for the country’s participation at the Copperbelt show in Zambia during May 2015 are anticipated to be R9, 9 million.

In the Europe region, anticipated sales for South Africa’s participation in a defence show in Turkey are projected at R115 million whilst the agro-processing focused mission to Netherlands and Belgium is expected to yield sales of R62, 5 million. In the Latin American region export sales of R226 million have been projected from the Latin American and Aerospace Defence show. Sales of R 5, 5 million were secured at the Exponor show in Chile.

In the past financial year export sales that were facilitated from various country visits amounted to R2.77 billion. The sales were garnered through leading 24 trade missions as well as South African participation at 27 National pavilions. A total of 923 companies received financial assistance through the Export Marketing and Investment assistance scheme which aims to partially compensate exporters for costs incurred in respect of developing export markets for South African products and services as well as identifying new export markets through market research.

The regions from which the export sales have been facilitated include the Africa amounted to R254 million, whilst export sales to Latin America and Asia were valued at R294 million and R400 million respectively. The traditional trade partners in established markets still dominated with export sales facilitated to Europe and NAFTA in excess of R1.7 billion.

The sector that accrued the highest sales is agro-processing with export sales facilitated to the value of R2 billion, followed by Capital Equipment at R265 million rand. The remainder of the sales can be attributed to a mix of sectors inclusive of aerospace, rail and marine, metals fabrication, electro-technical and automotive sectors – all of which are sectors wherein there is beneficiation.

Masina also led the Investment and Trade Initiative to India where export sales of R24, 3 million were facilitated through the sale of wines, preserved flowers, cosmetics, automotive components and pharmaceuticals. Both Minister Davies and his deputy Masina led business delegations to five cities in China for the South African Expos where sales of R380 million worth of sales are expected.

At SIAL export orders of R1.3 billion were generated as a result of their participation. For example the company Dynamic Commodities from the Eastern Cape, reported that it generated R53 million worth of export business as a result of its participation. At the WAPIC in Nigeria 18 South African companies exhibited their products and services. The Gauteng based exhibitors which include Powertech, Landis + GYR Pty Ltd, General Cables, ADC Energy, Poynting Antennas and Doble Engineering Africa reported expected product and service exports of R112 million as a result of their participation.

At the Ghana International Trade Fair (GITF) Aveng Africa from the Gauteng province, reported that it has signed a joint venture investment that is worth an excess of R12 billion. During an Outward Selling Mission to The Netherlands, Redsun Raisins from the Northern Cape, reported having made export sales totalling R16, 6 million. After a special mission to Russia, Sea Harvest based in the Western Cape received an order of $10 million for hake and hake related products from a Russian company.


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