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Embassy Newsletter-June 2015

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Former President Nelson Mandela is critical in hospital

25 June 2013

The condition of former President Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by ANC Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, visited the former President   on 23 June in hospital. They were briefed by the medical team who informed them that the former President’s condition had become critical over the past 24 hours.

The President and Mr Ramaphosa also met with Mrs Graca Machel at the hospital and discussed Madiba’s condition.

“The doctors are doing everything possible to get his condition to improve and are ensuring that Madiba is well-looked after and is comfortable. He is in good hands,” said President Zuma.

Government will continue to monitor the situation and requests the international media to accord Former President Nelson Mandela and his family the necessary privacy they deserve during this critical period.

The South African government expresses its gratitude to the international community for the many comforting messages it has received, including the support given to the family. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family.


South African Government Statement on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”

Statement on “The Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question”25 October 2011The Arab Spring has prompted the United Nations Security Council to consider decisive actions in a number of cases, yet in the matter of the longest standing issue on its agenda pertaining to the Middle East, it remains paralyzed by inaction. 

There are meetings every month to discuss the situation in the Middle East and for the last few years, statements have followed similar lines.  Yet there is no real movement towards a final settlement to the Israeli/Palestinian question. 

On 23 September 2011 President Abbas submitted an application for Palestine’s full membership of the United Nations. The near universal excitement and support that accompanied this historical event is an indication of how important the issue of Palestinian statehood is, not just for the Palestinians, but in fact for the rest of the world.

In this connection, South Africa believes that the issue of Palestine’s UN membership should be resolved expeditiously and in accordance with the provisions of the Charter; the relevant Rules of Procedure of the General Assembly; and the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council. Above all South Africa believes that we cannot make Palestine’s membership to the UN conditional upon a peace agreement.

South Africa wishes to reaffirm its conviction:

  • that Palestine is a state;
  • that Palestine is a peace-loving state; and
  • that Palestine is willing and able to carry out its obligations under the Charter of the United Nations.

Mindful of the political sensitivities inherent in this process, we believe that it is now more important than ever that we act in a manner that befits the stature of this Council and recommend Palestine’s full membership to the United Nations.  In addition, the Council should further fulfill its obligations under the Charter and simultaneously resuscitate the negotiations process with the aim of achieving a two state solution.

While the Quartet proposal for negotiations is welcome and in fact long overdue, we should recall that we have had concrete timeframes for these negotiations before. However, every time the parties have fallen short of an agreement within a given timeframe. We hope that the parties will this time commit themselves to finding a solution even earlier than the envisaged end of 2012. We also call on those countries that have influence on the parties to encourage them to participate in the negotiations in good faith without preconditions or changing the parameters of a final outcome.

The single major obstacle to the negotiations is clearly the incessant building of illegal settlements by Israel. Just last month, after the promulgation of the Quartet blueprint, the Government of Israel defied unanimous calls from this Council and the Quartet and announced its intention to construct 1 100 new units in the settlement of Gilo.  Certainly, this regressive act alters facts on the ground and the parameters of final status issues.  This is an obstacle to peace and not the Palestinian application for membership to the UN.  

South Africa welcomes the recent agreement on prisoner swaps. This agreement, which has been described by the Secretary-General as: “a significant humanitarian breakthrough”, is a positive step towards greater cooperation between Israel and Palestine.  We hope that those released will be allowed to lead normal lives without persecution and that the Israeli Government would fulfill its obligation to facilitate the release, as soon as possible, of all those remaining prisoners.

The Israeli Government must also fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law with regard to the remainder of Palestinian political prisoners by ensuring their safety; allowing access to them by family members and respecting the basic human rights of the prisoners.

We reiterate our deep concern about the abuse of human rights of Palestinian children and their detention. Needless to say, we are all very aware of the long lasting adverse psychological effects that this will have on this vulnerable group. In this regard, the UNRWA report of 12 June 2011 noted that: “The impact of home demolitions on children can be particularly devastating. Many children affected by demolitions show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.”  A few days ago, in an address to the Third Committee of the General Assembly, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied since 1967, expressed concern about reports of violence against Palestinian children during arrest and detention by the Israeli military authorities. We regret that there has been an increase in the detentions of minors in recent years.  Again we call on Israel to fulfill its obligations under international human rights- and humanitarian law and to protect the rights of children.

South Africa looks forward, sooner than later, to welcoming Palestine as the 194th member of the United Nations. We also hope that the Quartet process will, as soon as possible, achieve its stated objectives and ultimately bring lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

We also look forward to meaningful progress that will bring us nearer to the comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. In this connection, South Africa will continue to contribute in any way that could lead to the resolution of the Middle East problem in all its aspects.

For further information, please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

OR Tambo Building
460 Soutspansberg Road

25 October 2011



The South African Government has noted the announcement by the Palestinian parties Fatah and Hamas on 27 April 2011 in Cairo that they have reached an understanding with the view to set up a transitional unity government and hold elections within eight months.

The South African Government views these developments in a very positive light, especially coming as they did on the 17th anniversary of South Africa’s own liberation from oppression and dawn of democratic freedom. On this day, South Africa celebrates its attainment of freedom, democracy, national reconciliation, unity and the restoration of human dignity. 

The Government and people of South Africa understand the importance of national reconciliation, unity and the restoration of human dignity. Therefore South Africa would support all efforts on the part of the leaders of Palestine that would sincerely and constructively contribute towards lasting peace, stability, security and prosperity for the Palestinian people.

The South African Government commends both parties for their efforts to re-initiate reconciliation talks and hopes that they will surmount any obstacles to ensure that a firm and formal agreement is achieved in the near future. We further believe that the unity of the Palestinian people is vital for the creation of a free and democratic Palestinian State along the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its Capital.

In this regard, we urge all Palestinian factions to unite behind a reformed Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) so as to carry forward the hopes and aspirations of all Palestinians for freedom, self-determination and human dignity. We also urge all parties, including the Israeli Government, to negotiate with the leaders chosen by the Palestinian people, in order to establish a free and independent Palestinian State, living side-by-side in peace with the State of Israel.

For further information please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela spokesperson for DIRCO on 082 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

29 April 2011


Mzansi News: August 2010

Embassy Newsletter issued during August 2010

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