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Deputy President Mashatile to brief National Assembly on Government plans to combat crime in the construction sector towards increasing private sector investment and promoting job creation

Deputy President Shipokosa Paulus Mashatile, will tomorrow, Thursday, 28 March 2024, brief Parliament on plans led by Government to combat the scourge of criminal activities in the construction sector in particular, and on plans to drive private sector investment towards addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.  
The Deputy President will provide answers to Questions for Oral Reply during the National Assembly virtual plenary sitting.   
The six questions the Deputy President will reply to cover a wide range of issues related to; the impact of government led interventions in eliminating the scourge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and rapid response interventions aimed at accelerating the provision of services to communities. 
Deputy President Mashatile is the Leader of Government Business in Parliament delegated to manage the relationship between the Executive and Parliament, ensure Executive Accountability as well as ensure that the transformative legislative programme of the 6th Administration is advanced.
In this regard, the Deputy President will update Members of Parliament on efforts to ensure that Cabinet Ministers attend to their constitutional responsibilities to Parliament.
Details of the National Assembly sitting are as follows: 
Date: Thursday, 28 March 2024
Time: 09h00
Twitter: @PresidencyZA
Facebook: @PresidencyZA
Youtube: PresidencyZA
Media enquiries:  Mr Keith Khoza, Acting Spokesperson to Deputy President Mashatile on 066 195 8840
Issued by: The Presidency

Postponement of Cabinet signing of pledge against gender-based violence

The Presidency wishes to announce the postponement of the signing by Cabinet of a national men’s pledge against gender-based violence.

The event was scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, 27 March 2024, but has been postponed due to the demanding schedule of the final Cabinet meeting of the Sixth Administration.

New arrangements will be announced at an appropriate time.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President -

Issued by: The Presidency

President Ramaphosa welcomes adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2728 (2024) by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 25  March 2024, which demands an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

President Ramaphosa said," We  must seize the opportunity presented by this Security Council Resolution to create a firm foundation for a permanent ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations. We need to stop the carnage and begin walking a path to peace". 

The President called on the United Nations Security Council to ensure that there is compliance with the resolution, which is binding on the parties.

South Africa remains concerned that in over five months, since the escalation the conflict, thousands have lost their lives, including over 13 000 children.   

As Resolution 2728 notes, there is an “urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance and to reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip”.

It is therefore vital that the parties comply with the Security Council, “demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law, as well as Resolution 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023)”.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President on  

Issued by: The Presidency

Keynote address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba at Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy,
Premier of Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs,
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders,
and all the Royal Highnesses who have graced this occasion,
Chairpersons of Boards of public entities,
Heads of Department,
Representatives of business, civil society and organised labour,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to join the important conversation at this Indaba on growing, transforming and financing our significant biodiversity economy. 
South Africa is endowed with rich biodiversity. 
We have many iconic plant and animal species that have long been integral to our culture, spirituality and livelihoods as Africans, and also highly valued across the world. 
We have co-existed harmoniously with our biodiversity because we recognise the importance of the interdependent and respectful relationship between humankind and nature. 
Natural resource use has underpinned traditional economies and societies of Africa, and our people have been harvesting biodiversity products for millennia, and doing so sustainably.
Today, sustainable use of biodiversity is a pillar of rural economies across South Africa, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. 
Sustainable biodiversity use also contributes to urban economies. For example, traditional medicine markets exist in nearly every major urban centre in South Africa. 
The trade in indigenous medicine plants is a multi-million-rand industry that supports jobs and livelihoods across the value chain. 
As a country, we have been firm that communities must benefit in a tangible manner when plant and animal species are harvested for commercial gain.
A good example of this approach is rooibos, a product that is popular not just in South Africa but around the world.
Four years ago, the first industry-wide benefits sharing agreement was launched between the South African Rooibos Industry and the Khoi and San Councils.
This agreement has to date distributed a total amount of R28 million to the two councils in recognition of the communities’ indigenous knowledge of the rooibos species. 
Another product is aloe, a plant that is indigenous to Southern Africa and is harvested for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. 
To date approximately, R46 million has been paid by permit holders directly to aloe ferox tappers.
Aloe Ferox is just one of countless indigenous species with medicinal and other value that are being used in commercial applications. 
There is also Sceletium, Marula, Pelargonium and Buchu, the shrub that has been used by the Khoi and San peoples for healing and traditional rituals for centuries. 
Approximately R29 million has been paid to traditional authorities in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo in recognition of indigenous knowledge associated with these species.
We know that compensation in recognition of indigenous knowledge held by communities is not enough. 
We know that payment to communities for harvesting these species is also not enough.
There must be tangible beneficiation in communities when indigenous plant species are harvested for commercial benefit, whether it is for medicine, cosmetics or other purposes.
Sustainable mass cultivation of indigenous plant species must support the creation of businesses, factories and value chains that allow for end products to be exported to the rest of the continent and abroad. 
This mass cultivation can also assist land restoration and rehabilitation, as well as carbon sequestration, which is important in the context of climate change.
To ensure a more holistic approach to access and benefit sharing, we are developing nurseries for the production of indigenous species, so these can be cultivated for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
When it comes to animal species, beneficiation must result in the establishment of community-run businesses, be they lodges or game meat butcheries and production facilities. 
We have a Game Meat Strategy that is focused on scaling economic enterprises for communities and previously disadvantaged individuals and providing land use patterns that are compatible with conservation.
There are already a number of commercially successful game meat production facilities in several parts of the country.
Another example is marine biodiversity. For many decades, fishing was the preserve of commercial enterprises only. This is something we are working hard to change.
In January this year, we allocated 15-year fishing rights to the small-scale fishing sector in the four coastal provinces. We must build on this.
Job creation must be at the centre of our efforts. 
As with our mineral resources, we cannot simply be mere exporters of raw materials so that jobs and industries can be created elsewhere. 
Jobs and opportunities must remain here, in South Africa, in our communities.
This is what the revised Biodiversity Economy Strategy aims to address. 
It aims to synergise our economic and conservation objectives by emphasising that a successful biodiversity economy must be linked to the restoration of ecosystems. 
It broadens the existing terrestrial goals and adds marine, coastal, estuarine and freshwater opportunities. 
This strategy places the transformation of the biodiversity sector at the centre of all we do. 
Rural communities, disadvantaged individuals and traditional leaders must be part of devising new approaches to investment in community-owned land for biodiversity-based enterprises. 
This Indaba is an opportunity for business entities, conservation management authorities, previously disadvantaged individuals and communities to pitch their biodiversity business concepts to potential investors. 
The projects include investment opportunities with national parks, world heritage sites, botanical gardens and provincial nature reserves; community-owned wildlife businesses; bioprospecting; and ecotourism.
For us to fully harness the benefits of the biodiversity economy, we have to understand its scope and breadth.
Work is underway to develop Natural Capital Accounting for the biodiversity sector. 
This is being done through a partnership between the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Statistics SA and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.
This initiative will ensure that the contribution of the biodiversity sector, including its entire value chain, is formally recognised.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Global Biodiversity Framework that was adopted in December 2022 aims to ensure that biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.
The Framework has three central aspects.
The first is the recognition that human and ecosystem sustainability requires a global target of 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of the sea be placed under protection by 2030.
The second is that communities living in and adjacent to conservation estates must benefit from the economic opportunities created.
The third aspect is that the intellectual property of indigenous people must be recognised and compensated.
There is also agreement that developed economy countries must assist developing economies in achieving global conservation targets. 
The work to conserve and restore our biodiversity takes place as the world is experiencing the increasingly destructive effects of climate change.
African countries are among the most vulnerable to the effects of a rapidly changing climate. They have to adapt and build resilience within the context of historically low levels of development and severely limited capacity. 
The Climate Change Bill, which is currently before the National Council of Provinces, seeks to enable a just transition towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient society.
This just transition must contribute toward the creation of decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty. 
The Bill recognises that a robust and sustainable economy and a healthy society depend on the services that well-functioning ecosystems provide.
The Bill maintains that enhancing the sustainability of economic, social and ecological services is an integral component of an effective and efficient climate change response. 
A just transition puts people at the centre of decision making, especially those most affected by the transition, by empowering and equipping them for new opportunities of the future.
We must put rural communities at the centre of every decision making process, and ensure we are empowering and equipping them for the new opportunities in the biodiversity sector.
Just as we will rely on forging meaningful partnerships between government, business and communities to grow and restore South Africa’s conservation estate, we also need to deepen collaboration on ventures that help us mitigate and adapt to climate change and its effects. 
Carbon sequestration projects are one such example for which funding streams are needed.
I call on industry, finance institutions, philanthropies, civil society and traditional leaders, healers and practitioners to collectively embrace our vision for a transformed biodiversity economy. 
The scientific, research and academic community also has an important role to play. 
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for instance, is doing important work around identifying and developing the use of traditional plants and plant-based remedies for commercial use.
Collective action can shape a future in which both nature and people thrive. 
The success of the initiatives that will come out of this Indaba will not only enable us to meet our international sustainable development obligations. 
They will also empower rural economies, create jobs and support our industrialisation efforts.
I wish you well in your deliberations and look forward to seeing the results that will emerge from this Indaba.
I thank you.

Minister of Electricity to visit priority power stations

Dr. Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the Minister in The Presidency responsible for Electricity, will be conducting a third round of power station visits as part of the Energy Action Plan's efforts to address issues within Eskom and enhance the availability of existing supply.

As part of the programme, the Minister will prioritise six identified power stations that are facing significant challenges. Each of these power stations have developed  detailed recovery plans, and the Minister will engage with the station managers to ensure the effective implementation, support and capacitation for these plans.

The visits will commence tomorrow, 26 March 2024 to Kendal power station. 

Members of the media are invited as follows:

Date: Tuesday, 26 March 2024
Time: 14:30
Venue: Kendal Power Station

Details to the rest of the power station visits will be shared with members of the media as the programme unfolds. 

Members of the Media who are interested in covering tomorrow’s visit need to fill the attached form and return to by no later than 09:00 on 26 March 2024. 


Media enquires: Tsakane Khambane, Spokesperson in the Ministry of Electricity on 082 084 5566 /
Issued by: The Presidency

President to lead Cabinet signing of nationwide anti-GBV pledge

President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President Paul Mashatile will on Wednesday, 27 March 2024, lead Cabinet’s signing of a pledge against gender-based violence which the President initiated in the 2024 State of the Nation Address.
All men in the country are urged to attach their signature as a demonstration of their personal commitment to ending this scourge.
Wednesday’s signing will take place at 11h00 at the Women’s Memorial at the Union Buildings during a brief adjournment of a Cabinet meeting.
President Ramaphosa, Deputy President Mashatile and male Ministers will append their signatures to a symbolic, large-format version of the pledge. Male Deputy Ministers have also been invited to express their commitment in this way.
Soon after members of the national executive sign the pledge, the document will be posted online to allow men across the country to add their names as signatories. The pledge will progressively be made available in other formats to men all around the country.
The pledge forms part of the effort, conceptualised in the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), to end GBV altogether by mobilising all of society.
In this regard, President Ramaphosa said in the February 2024 State of the Nation Address that government supported calls for a pledge that men in South Africa are invited to demonstrate their personal commitment to ending the scourge of GBVF.
Jointly developed by government and civil society following the historic 2018 Presidential Summit on Gender-based Violence and Femicide, the National Strategic Plan on GBVF was adopted in 2020 as a society-wide programme to end gender-based violence and femicide.
The plan aims to provide a multi-sectoral, coherent strategic policy and plan to strengthen a coordinated national response to the crisis of gender-based violence and femicide by government and the country as a whole.
The 10-year national strategy on GBVF seeks to address the needs and challenges faced by all, especially women across age, sexual orientation, sexual and gender identities; and specific groups such as elderly women, women who live with disability, migrant women and trans women, affected and impacted by the gender-based violence scourge in South Africa.
Around R21 billion has been dedicated over the medium term to the implementation of the six pillars of the strategic plan, including the economic empowerment of women.
Details of the Anti - GBV Pledge Signing Ceremony are as follows: 
Date: Wednesday, 27 March 2024 
Time: 11:00 (Media to arrive by 10:00)
Venue: Women’s Memorial, Union Buildings 
Media wishing to cover the pledge signing are requested to fill in the attached form and submit it to or on WhatsApp 079 898 4621 by 16h00, Monday 25 March 2024.
Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –
Issued by: The Presidency

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