African National Congress

STATEMENT BY THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS ON TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF FREEDOM

Today marks 25 years of Freedom for our country.

The African National Congress (ANC) joins millions of South Africans in commemorating Freedom Day. This occasion demands that we reflect on the strides we have made as a nation since the dawn of democracy and the challenges that still lie ahead.

To the ANC, Freedom Day is a monumental milestone. We have come a long way as a nation.

After defeating apartheid, many of us thought that ending injustice and inequality would be easy to achieve. We achieved much but the struggle against poverty and hunger will not end until we radically interrupt the structure of our economy. The struggle for a better life for all must continue.

Freedom Day is a stark reminder that the freedom and rights that we enjoy today did not come cheap. Many people paid the ultimate price in the fight for democracy. In memory of the sacrifices of millions of South Africans, including those who lost their lives in the struggle, we have a duty to defend the gains of the national democratic revolution.

This day remains an important one to the ANC as we reflect on the journey we have traversed as a nation in our quest to build a humane and people-centred nation.  The ANC calls on the entire nation never to forget where we come from and to continue with our journey to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society.

Today should not be seen as an ordinary day. We must use this day to remember and pay tribute to many of our people who perished in the course of the struggle for freedom. While many strides have been made by the ANC government to improve the lives of South Africans, the ANC believes that more still needs to be done to expand access to a better life for all.

When the ANC was established in 1912, one of its key strategic objective was to build a united South Africa where people have equal rights. Undoing the legacy of our ugly past remains work in progress.

South Africans must always remember that apartheid was a system that used to thrive on building walls of division, a system that stifled the freedom and growth of all South Africans.

However, through the bravery of many leaders, including former President of the ANC John Langalibalele Dube, Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko, Robert Sobukwe, Lilian Ngoyi, Albertina Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Josie Palmer, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Joe Slovo, Braam Fischer, Walter Sisulu, Charlotte Maxeke, Ray Alexander, Gertrude Shope, Amina Cachalia, Dorothy Nyembe, Hellen Joseph, Amina Chachalia, Ahmed Kathrada
among many others, our country is now free.

The ANC calls on all South Africans to work together with their movement to demolish the demon and legacy of racism, sexism and its stubborn manifestations that continue to haunt our people.

The constitutional injunction which declares that the Republic of South Africa is one, sovereign, democratic state founded on the values of human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedom remain our guiding light.

As our country marks two weeks before it goes into the sixth national general election, the ANC calls on all South Africans to join hands in our collective quest to grow South Africa together.

University of fort hare

Minister Naledi Pandor’s Media Statement on the situation at the University of Fort Hare

Following a range of reports in the media and the purported collapse of the Council at the University of Fort Hare, I have taken the decision to intervene directly to ensure good governance at the university and to make certain that an environment conducive to teaching, learning and research prevails.

Given the seriousness of the situation, I have decided to appoint an Administrator to take over the governance of the University of Fort Hare for a period of twelve months, effective immediately.

This means that the Council is dissolved from the date of appointment of the Administrator.
Professor Loyiso Nongxa has agreed to take on this critical role, and I am grateful to him for agreeing to take on this responsibility.

Professor Nongxa is a respected scisentist and former Vice Chancellor, and I am confident that he will carry out the task assigned to him with the utmost integrity and commitment. I hope that he will receive the unqualified support of all members of the University of Fort Hare community, and be given the space to undertake this important responsibility, which will be to restore the effective governance of the institution.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu remains in office.

The University of Fort Hare is rightly the focus of public concern given its important status in the history of our country, its considerable contribution to the intellectual life of South Africa, and the role that it plays in our public higher education system in one of our poorest provinces.

I will do everything to support the University to ensure that it can function optimally.

Loftus Versfeld Stadium

The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa has announced that the inauguration of the President

Elect will take place on Saturday, 25 May 2019 in the City of Tshwane.

In a departure from the tradition of holding the inauguration at the Union Buildings, the event will take place at Loftus Versfeld Stadium.

Hosting the inauguration in a stadium, the largest in the City of Tshwane, will allow for greater public participation in this important national event.

It is symbolic that the inauguration will take place on Africa Day, as it affirms government’s commitment to advancing the African agenda and to strengthening ties between South Africa and its neighbors.

The theme of the inauguration ceremony is “Together celebrating 25 years of freedom: Renewal and Growth for a better South Africa.”

Aside from members of the public, it is expected that Heads of State and royalty from a number of countries will attend, as well as religious representatives, political parties, and representatives from regional, continental and international organisations and bodies such as the Southern African Development Community, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

Pieter Louis Myburgh book launch in Sandton.

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE CONDEMNS THE INTIMIDATION AND THREATS OF BURNING OF BOOKS

The ANC Veterans League, tried and tested members of the ANC, serve as the custodian of the ANC values, principles and policies. We condemn, with the contempt it deserves, the actions of individuals who disrupted the launch of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s web of capture.

Gangster State Book

The protesters stormed the store and ripped pages from the book which they threw around before security at Sandton Exclusive Books escorted them out.This atrocious behaviour occurred just prior to the launch of the Oliver Tambo School of Leadership. To quote the President of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, the school will produce “cadres who understand the fundamental values and principles of our movement, cadres who reject all forms of intolerance and intimidation.” He unambiguously distanced the ANC from the outrageous disruption of the launch, which is not what the ANC stands for, and made it crystal clear that the school will produce “cadres who, like all of us, condemn in no uncertain terms, the actions of those who disrupted a book launch in Johannesburg a few days ago and who call for books to be burned.”

As the ANC Veterans League we call on young people to desist from burning or encouraging others to burn books that they do not agree with. We remind young people of the burning of books associated with the fascism and genocide of the 2nd World War. We urge young people to read books, critique books, write books. We urge young people to desist form thuggery and win their arguments by the strength and clarity of their ideas. It is important that young people value education and knowledge and actively involve themselves in research, always engaging with the uncomfortable truth.

The Oliver Tambo School of Leadership will definitely inculcate the culture of research, reading and appreciation of the immense sacrifices that were made by the majority of our people to usher in democracy. All cadres of the movement starting from the elected leaders will be compelled to spend some time at our School of Leadership to acquire knowledge about our rich history of the struggle and how we should defend our democracy.

Pallo Jordan reminded those who attended the launch that the founding members of the ANC were editors and writers “our first SG, Sol Plaatje, wrote in both English and Setswana. For decades his book ”Native Life in South Africa” was unavailable in South Africa because publishers would not touch it.”We must not forget that newspapers, editors and journalists who exposed the brutality of aparthied were banned by the racist regime.

We must not forget that our people laid down their lives for the freedom of expression that is enshrined in our Constitution.

The ANC Veterans League calls on young people to engage in the battle of ideas, to always research and to seek the truth. The future is in the hands of young people but has to be built on a solid foundation based on research, knowledge and of defending our constitutional values.

Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

Anc Veterans_Snuki Zikalala

WHY WE SHOULD REVITALISE AND RE-ENERGISE THE VETERANS LEAGUE

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Good morning ANC Veterans and senior leadership of the ANC in the Province of the Legends of our struggle.

Today’s all-inclusive workshop on the elections campaign by the Provincial Elections Team of the Veterans League is to ensure that members of the Veterans League are united and fully involved in every aspect of the Eastern Cape elections campaign. It happens with only thirty days to the most contentious elections in the history of the South African elections.

It also happens when a number of small parties have been established to democratically contest the elections. Its all about weakening the ANC and not to allow us to have the majority in Parliament.

The all inclusive workshop is the first step in the revitalisation of the structures of the Veterans Leagues in the Eastern Cape after we have fully participated and ensured the ANC decisively win the elections on 8 May.

At the last ANC NEC meeting that took place on 1 April 2019, where a thorough assessment was made on our elections campaign, the ANC Youth League and the Veterans League were sighted by our President Cyril Ramaphosa as structures that were absent during the elections campaign.

Anc Veterans

It is a fact that leaders and members of the Veterans League are not visible and are not part of the provincial and national elections campaigns.

As long serving members of the ANC, we have to lead by example. We have to revatalise ANC branches, our regional and provincial structures and ensure that we are part of our well-oiled elections machinery that will lead us to a resounding victory on May the 8th 2019.

As Veterans of the ANC we must admit that since the late Cde Norushe was elected as the Deputy President of the Veterans League in October 2017, the Eastern Cape Veterans League has not played its most critical role of mobilising, uniting, and intervening authoritatively on all issues that affect the integrity and credibilty of our glorious movement.

It is our duty and responsibility to change the Veterans League from a passive, ineffective and docile League to a more robust, constructive and authoritative league that has the authority to restore the integrity and credibility of our organisation.

The involvement of members of the Veterans League in the Integrity Commision which will soon have powers to summon members of the ANC to appear before it to answer allegations or complaints of unethical conduct is of primary importance.

As ANC Veterans we should strive and insist to have leaders who are beyond reproach. The integrity of the ANC is sacrosant.

We should ensure that we involve skilled, experienced and well-grounded members of the Veterans Leagues at our most crucial sub committees of the ANC like: Organisation and Building Campaigns, Communications, Constitutional Affairs, Commission on Religious Affairs, Economic Transformation, Education and Health, Elections, International Relations, Legislature and Governance, National Appeals Committee, Disciplinary Committee, Peace and Stability and others.

We should raise our voice loudly against corruption, unethical behaviour and wrong doing wherever it occurs in our ranks and in government. We must also inculcate the culture of holding meetings of the National Office Bearers as well as Provincial Office Bearers. Meetings of the National and Provincial Working Committees, meetings of the National Executive and Provincial Executive Committees, and general meetings to report back to our constituancy.

When we had the Gauteng all inclusive workshop on the 12 March, Veterans were so excited as they met for the fisrt since their last elective conference in 2014.

One must commend the Eastern Cape for being the only province that had a Provincial Consultative Conference.

However, for us to hold the above meetings, we have to be financially independent and aggressively raise funds for the Veterans League.

Our leadership must ensure that our Provincial Government implements the 30 per cent set asides for women, youth, disabled and the ex-combatants.

In all honesty, the ANC leadership has high regard for the Veterans League, however, we need to work hard to earn that respect.

We are gathered here when our movement and the country had entered an era of renewal, when we are aggressively addressing problems of divisions and dysfunctionality and when we are restoring the integrity and credibility of our time-tested movement.

The Veterans League should play a leading role in restoring the integrity and credibilty of our glorious movement. We should be more active in the elections campaign, unite society and the country and ensure that we are given another chance to govern the country on behalf of society. We have nothing to lose but our country and our glorious organisation.

How do we revitalise the Veterans League in the Eastern Cape?

Our plan going forward from today’s meeting is to work with the PEC of the Veterans League in the Eastern Cape to properly constitute branches and regions of the Veterans’ League. Many of our comrades are fully fledged members of the Veterans League and there are those who qualify as members of the League but have not yet applied for membership. Others might be over 60 years of age but have not yet completed 40 years of unbroken service in the ANC as set out in the ANC Constitution. There is a category of membership that provides for your active participation and support of the work of the Veterans’ League. Every year we also have comrades who reach the age of 60, whose activism, experience and participation in the Veterans’ League is needed so that members of the Veterans’ League play their active role in the political and organisational work of the structures of the ANC.

However, our Constitution has not been amended as Veterans League Conference resolution of October 2017, that we should establish regions and plan for a provincial conference in July.

We need a solid Veterans League structure with a full-time provincial secretary and a strong Veterans League Provincial Executive.

Without a strong Veterans League we will not have a strong ANC.

As elections will take place in less than 34 days, let us leave this meeting knowing that we will actively participate in the Eastern Cape Elections Campaign under the leadership of the Eastern Cape Veterans’ League PEC.

As the ANC, we have submitted our lists of respresentatives to serve in the National Assembly and Provincial Legislatures.

We support the nomination of those who are tried and tested, credible and ethical. We do not support the inclusion in our lists of anyone who has been involved in corruption and unethical behaviour. We urge all the nominated candidates of the ANC to introspect and decline their nomination if their inclusion in the lists will in any way dent the image of our glorious movement.

We support the NEC resolution that the Integrity Commission must be given the lists of nominated candidates and summon all those implicated in unethical behaviour to account.

Let us all work for unity and ensure that we build a strong Veterans League and that will build a strong ANC that will deliver our set objectives.

We must all play an active role in ensuring that we win these elections with a resounding victory.

Amandla!
Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

Zimbabwe African People's Union

Zanu-PF refused to shelter exiled ANC cadres

ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa has said Zanu-PF staunchly refused to shelter South Africa’s exiled ANC cadres in Zimbabwe just after independence, forcing his party to shelter the Umkhonto we Sizwe guerrillas secretly.

Dabengwa, who was giving a presentation at a two-day Umkhonto we Sizwe conference held in South Africa last week, said Zapu was forced to secretly hide members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) in the country against Zanu’s wishes.

Dabengwa, a former Zipra liberation stalwart who for the past two months had been plagued by illness, took time to reveal what he termed secrets of Zimbabwe and South Africa’s history, particularly on the liberation struggle front.

“Whilst history does record the long standing co-operation between Zapu/Zipra and ANC/MK in the 1960s and 1970s, very little has been said or recorded about how Zapu/Zipra continued its support for Umkhonto we Sizwe after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

“Today I would like to reveal some details of this crucially important period of our common history. Following the emergence of the Mugabe-led Zanu government in April 1980, the situation facing the ANC and Umkhonto we Sizwe in Zimbabwe was very difficult.

“Zanu were openly hostile towards the ANC at that time and they were assisted in their efforts to block ANC/MK presence in Zimbabwe by former Rhodesians and the many South African agents operating in the Zimbabwe security services,” Dabengwa told the gathering.

The former Zipra intelligence supremo further claimed that former president Robert Mugabe frustrated efforts by ANC for political dialogue with Zanu. This was after Mugabe reportedly denied Umkhonto we Sizwe a request to set base in the country at the height of that country’s liberation war.
The Zapu leader revealed that Zapu, through its armed wing Zipra had to take the risk of hiding the MK guerrillas in the country.

“Efforts at political dialogue with Zanu by ANC leaders were rebuffed by the new Zimbabwean government in the early years of independence in Zimbabwe and attempts by the ANC to establish a presence in Zimbabwe were rejected for some time.
“Them prime minister Mugabe publicly stated his opposition to Umkhonto we Sizwe establishing any presence in Zimbabwe.

“In fact MK guerillas were already inside Zimbabwe concealed within our Zipra forces. When this was discovered by apartheid agents and made known to Zanu, we were instructed by the Zimbabwean government to remove these MK guerrillas.
“We discussed this with MK commanders and agreed that we should comply with this instruction and informed the Zanu leadership of this decision.
“What has remained a closely guarded secret for many years was that we did not remove all the MK guerillas.

“We made a show to Zanu of removing some of them but others were hidden and provided with assistance by Zipra to establish themselves in our own towns and villages. So the first MK presence was established secretly in Zimbabwe with support from Zipra,” Dabengwa said.
Dabengwa also lifted the lid on the arms cache that became one of the reason why a post-independence civil war in Matabeleland broke out.

“Weapons were also secretly cached by Zipra for use by MK. Some of these weapons were later ‘discovered’ by the Zanu government with the direct involvement of apartheid agents and used to mount a treason trial against myself and other senior Zipra commanders, and to provide a pretext for the suppression of Zapu and Zipra and the unleashing of ‘Gukurahundi’.

“During this period, and whilst we of Zapu and Zipra were under direct threat and facing a wave of terror unleashed against us by the Zanu government, we continued to provide support and assistance to Umkhonto we Sizwe and to underground ANC operatives in Zimbabwe,” Dabengwa revealed.

He however, insisted that it was Zapu and Zipra who singlehandedly arranged Umkhonto we Sizwe guerrillas safe houses, safe passage and provided weapons and other facilities to support the armed struggle inside South Africa.

“Of course at the time the ANC was trying to build bridges with Zanu and the role of Zapu and Zipra in supporting Umkhonto operations had to be kept secret. As a result this history has never been told, but today I would like to appeal to our comrades from the ANC and MK to acknowledge this history.”

SACC_logo

Statement of the SACC NEC on probity and Integrity

The National Executive Committee of the South African Council of Churches, and the leaders of SACC member churches, meeting in Johannesburg, from 18 – 19 March 2019, believe that holding public office is the highest honour given in trust, to any individual by the people of South Africa through elections as mandated by our Constitution.

We further believe that precisely because this is the highest honor given to any individual in trust, the highest levels of morality and integrity are expected of those who wish to serve in public office. Leadership, therefore, must be entered into with deep humility and honest introspection.

We are aware that the stature of our public institutions has taken a serious knock in the eyes of our people as a result of the many scandals that have rocked our young democracy including, Nkandla, State Capture and Bosasa. This is a clear sounding gong of the need for the electorate to apply gravity and wisdom in their scrutiny of candidates.

We affirm our belief in the principle of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the right to defend oneself in case of allegations made against one. It is our belief, though, that our standard for what is right should not only be founded on the standards of criminality, but must include morality and ethical behavior consistent with public trust. A mere appearance or perception of impropriety is a serious challenge to the trust that our people have in our public Institutions.

We note with concern that the candidate lists given to the IEC by political parties fall short of the ethical standard that must guide all of us. Some candidates named in these lists have been implicated in wrong doing in the public service; some are actually fingered by the courts of the land including the apex Constitutional Court, whilst others are facing serious allegations of sexual assault and acts of racism.

We therefore call upon all political parties:

1. To adopt a higher moral standard which transcends the standard of criminality, and invest in the future of our public institutions.

2. To scrutinize their lists closely so as to identify individuals in their lists who have any blotches on their conduct and remove them as an investment in the public good and a show of good faith.

We also call upon individuals

1. Of good will in all political parties to find their voice and speak up in their parties to advocate for high ethical standards of integrity.

2. Implicated in wrongdoing, to exercise serious introspection, and, guided by their conscience and personal sense of integrity, voluntarily withdraw from these lists.

Lastly, we call upon all South Africans to, as requested by the IEC, “scrutinise parties’ candidates and object if they spot anyone they deem to be unfit.”. We therefore urge everyone who will exercise their right to vote on 8 May, to not only respond to political rhetoric, but also scrutinise the character of the candidates by paying close attention to the names in the lists so as to vote in a manner that confirms their commitment to ethical leadership.

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)

The State of ICT report shows growth in employment within the sector

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published the State of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) report that represents the development and performance of the sector focusing on telecommunications, broadcasting and postal services.

The report breaks down mobile network population coverage in terms of geographical type (urban or rural) at provincial levels. It records that national population coverage for 3G remained stable at 99.5% and for 4G/LTE it increased from 76.7% (2017) to 85.7% (2018).

The ICT sector remains one of the biggest employers and contributors to the mainstream economy. The total overall employment numbers for the three sectors increased by 18.8%, from 51,993 in 2017 to 61,757 in 2018. Over the same period, employment changes in the telecommunications sector increased by 20%, postal sector employment also showed a double-digit increase of 21.9% and broadcasting sector employment increased marginally by 0.3%.

While the ICT sector continues to demonstrate dynamic growth, particularly as driven by the mobile services sector, the growth has not necessarily met ICASA’s vision of affordable access to the wide range of communication services. Though access to mobile services continues to grow, broadband access (both fixed and mobile) remains at unsatisfactory levels due to perceived high cost of communication services, in particular, data services.

In that regard, ICASA has embarked on several interventions aimed at addressing this challenge, these are the mobile services market review process and the regulation of data expiry and transfer rules.

President Cyril Ramaphosa

WELCOME REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON THE OCCASION OF THE SADC SOLIDARITY CONFERENCE WITH THE SAHARAWI ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC

Your Excellency Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and Chairperson of SADC,

Your Excellency, Mr Brahim Ghali, President of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic,
Your Excellency, Mr Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda,
Your Excellency, Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe,
Your Excellency, Dr Tom Thabane, Prime Minister of Lesotho,
Your Excellencies, Heads of Delegation,
Your Excellency, Former President Obasanjo,
Representatives of the Chairpersons of the African Union and AU Commission,
Esteemed comrades from the liberation movements and governing political parties in our region,

Your Excellency, Ambassador Joseph Nourrice, Deputy Executive Secretary of SADC,
Distinguished Guests,
Members of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the people and government of South Africa I would like to welcome you to our country.

We are honoured to be hosting this historic act of solidarity with the Saharawi people.

It is fitting that this conference is taking place in a building named after Oliver Reginald Tambo, a legendary statesman and a committed internationalist who was unwavering in his support for the struggle for self-determination of the Saharawi people.

It was Oliver Reginald Tambo who affirmed, as we do today, that international solidarity is an imperative for progressive peoples everywhere.

Building bridges of friendship is a natural and just course of action for all who share the vision of a world free from subjugation, a world where the strong do not exert their dominance through force of arms.

In the many times he addressed the international community on the anti-apartheid struggle, Comrade OR, as he was known, spoke of the role of ‘men and women of conscience’ in giving voice to the struggles of oppressed peoples everywhere.

Gathered here today are men and women of conscience.

You stood by South Africa during the struggle for our own liberation, and today you are here to affirm your solidarity with the Saharawi people in their quest for self-determination.

The presence of representatives from the national liberation movements of the region, from the African Union and African Union Commission, from the Southern African Development Community and our friends in the international community sends the clearest of messages.

That we are with the people of the Western Sahara.

We stand with you, we support you, and we will never forget you.

This conference reflects our commitment, as the countries of Africa, supported by our friends in the international community, to call for a just, acceptable and lasting solution to the situation in Western Sahara.

It follows on a decision made at the 37th Summit of the SADC Heads of State and Government that took place here in Pretoria in August 2017.

It was the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who himself had known the pain of dispossession and exile, who once wrote:

‘A person can only be born in one place. However, he may die several times elsewhere: in the exiles and prisons, and in a homeland transformed by the occupation and oppression into a nightmare.’

We cannot but be moved by the plight of the Saharawi people.

It has been 43 years since Western Sahara was annexed, and for these four decades the people of Western Sahara have had to ensure dispossession, displacement, conflict and the deprivation of their liberties.

The Saharawi people have lived in refugee camps in Tindouf in Algeria since the 1970s, making this one of the longest humanitarian crises the world has known.

In these camps, men, women and children live in desperate conditions, relying on international aid to survive.

The situation of the Saharawi people is a blight on the human conscience, all the more so that it has endured for far too long.

It has been three decades since the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 621 of 1998 first calling for a referendum on self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

But despite successive Security Council resolutions and decisions of the Organisation of African Unity and African Union, this critical step has not taken place.

The ultimate result has been that the people of Western Sahara have been deprived of the most fundamental right of a people – the right to determine their own destiny.

We are here to hear from the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and Polisario what we can do to aid them in advancing their cause.

While we are here to express our unwavering solidarity with the just cause of our brothers and sisters, any actions going forward must be decided upon by the Saharawi people and not any external entity.

We are here to deliberate on the way in which we can use our respective positions with the United Nations and African Union to advocate for the urgent implementation, without delay, of all the UN Security Council and AU decisions on Western Sahara, including the holding of a referendum.

It is only through the implementation of these decisions that a solution to the Western Sahara question can be achieved.

This must be done in the spirit of multilateralism, based on the Charter of the United Nations and the applicable provisions of the African Union.

We continue to urge all the parties involved to negotiate, in good faith and without preconditions, to ensure that an enduring solution is found.

We once again affirm our support for the work being done by the AU and the UN, particularly the initiatives taken by the UN Secretary-General.

We are immensely encouraged by the efforts of the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, former German president Horst Koehler, who is facilitating a political dialogue between the Kingdom of Morocco and Polisario.

This is a development to be welcomed and encouraged.

As countries of the SADC region who have waged struggles in pursuit of our own liberation, we know too well the pain of being deprived of the right to be treated as full citizens in the land of one’s birth.

The pain of the Saharawi people, their trauma brought about by displacement and exile, is ours too.

So long as the aspirations of the people of Western Sahara are not met, we will fall short of realising the vision of the AU’s Agenda 2063 of a continent at peace with itself.

As a collective, let us reaffirm our support for the UN process that seeks to bring these two African nations, Morocco and the SADR, back to the negotiating table.

As lovers of peace and freedom – as men and women of conscience – let us step up our international solidarity efforts, in both word and deed, with the people of Western Sahara, with Polisario and with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

It was international solidarity that brought down the barbaric system of apartheid, and it is international solidarity that will see realised the foremost aspiration of the people of Western Sahara: to be independent and free.

I am told the deliberations held on the first day of this conference have been fruitful and that consensus has been reached on a number of key issues.

Let us continue to harness this spirit of cooperation and of multilateralism in pursuit of a continent in which all its people are free.

I once again welcome you all and wish you well on this final day.

I thank you.

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)

ICASA appoints an Acting Chairperson

The Council of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) announces the appointment of Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng as acting Chairperson effective from today, 25 March 2019 until a permanent Chairperson is appointed. 

The appointment of the acting Chairperson follows a Special Council Meeting held this morning and is informed by the provisions of section 5(2) of the ICASA Act, 2000 which provides that…‘in the absence of the chairperson, the remaining Councillors must, from their number, elect an acting chairperson, who, while he or she acts, may perform all the functions of the chairperson.’  

In accepting the acting appointment Dr. Keabetswe Modimoeng committed to ensure that ICASA continues to execute its mandate independently and in the public interest.  

“We are governed by legislation and guided by the public interest mandate and for that we will continue to put the South African public first when taking decisions. We will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders (including government) to ensure that the Authority’s regulatory decisions advance transformation in the ICT sector, support economic growth and unlock opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the digital economy,” says the acting Chairperson, Dr. Modimoeng. 

Dr Modimoeng holds MBA and PhD (Management Sciences) degrees. He is a Harvard senior executive fellow and has completed an Executive Development Program from Wharton University as well as Africa Director Program (Stellenbosch).