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As several parts of South Africa experience a surge in corona virus infections, we are also confronted with the economic damage of this pandemic. Despite the economic challenges we face, we must continue to work towards the achievement of economic dignity for all South Africans.
President Ramaphosa stated that this is not the time to despair but to act. It is unacceptable to live with a seriously growing, which will soon increase. It is also impossible to build an economy built on inequality. Many of the plans under discussion raise these fundamentals, such as reliable energy, access to broadband spectrum, competitive ports and efficient transport. Working with our social partners we must speed up the pace of implementation so that we can rebuild the base of our economy.
In the year of South Africa’s chairship of the African Union, President Ramaphosa said South Africa was planning vigorously for the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which has been delayed by the pandemic. All social partners see the value of expanding trade in an integrated Africa, with concrete proposals on how to overcome the barriers that impede the ability of Africans to trade with one another. Our strategies to promote local production, which is a common theme across the various recovery plans, should support efforts to create regional value chains on the continent.
Analysts have estimated that this pandemic will cost the country millions of jobs. In the supplementary budget presented last month, government made provision for job preservation and job creation efforts. The job preservation efforts, such as those through the UIF and tax measures, aim to prevent job losses in the private sector.
I urge you to follow the press statements and updates released by Ministers of different departments on the risk adjusted approach towards easing restrictions. The Minister of Tourism and her team are doing a brilliant job of developing a recovery strategy for the sector. The implementation of the strategy will assist the country to uplift South Africa’s image and the confidence or traders and investors.
Despite any challenge, South Africa will do what it must to build an economy that is resilient and dynamic, that creates work and opportunity, and that meets the needs of all South Africans.
As we are faced with this COVID 19 challenge, we are sadly confronted with the loss of liberation stalwarts. It is painful to bid farewell to people who dedicated their lives towards freedom and democracy in South Africa. We say “Hamba kahle to Ntate Andrew Mlangeni, Ntate Thomas Manthata, Ntate John Nkadimeng and Ambassador Zindzi Mandela”.
I wish that you all take care of yourselves, stay safe and support the WHO based advises for dealing with COVID-19.
Please find below the highlights for this month;
Women's Month 1 to 31 August 2020
Every year, in August, South Africa marks Women’s Month and pay tribute to the more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. A system meant to control women even further and reduce women to passive beings, at the mercy of men.
Women’s Month is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched on that day in 1956, but also a tribute to the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country, dating back to 1913, when women like Charlotte Maxeke led the way in establishing the ANC Women’s League and encouraging women to engage in the struggle for freedom. Pioneers include Cissy, Jaynab and Amina Gool, who were amongst the leaders of the National Liberation League and the Non-European United Front of the 1930s.
The names of Ray Alexander Simons, Elizabeth Mafikeng and Elizabeth Abrahams will always be associated with the struggles of women. In the 1940s Amina Pahad and Gadijah Christopher, who were amongst the first volunteers to occupy the site of the 1946 Passive Resistance Campaign on Umbilo Road in Durban cannot go unnoticed.
Women's Day 9 August 2020
Women's Day marks the anniversary of the great women's march of 1956, where women marched to the Union Buildings to protest against the carrying of pass books.
On 9 August 1956, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas.
International Day of the World's Indigenous People 9 August 2020
In 1994, the General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1992, of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
Indigenous peoples contribute extensible to humanity's cultural diversity, enriching it with more than two thirds of its languages and an extraordinary amount of its traditional knowledge.
There are over 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries, living in all regions of the world. The situation of indigenous peoples in many parts of the world is critical today. Poverty rates are significantly higher among indigenous peoples compared to other groups. While they constitute 5 per cent of the world's population, they are 15 per cent of the world's poor. Most indicators of well-being show that indigenous peoples suffer disproportionately compared to non-indigenous peoples.
International Youth Day 12 August 2020
On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.
African Traditional Medicine Day 2020
Commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day coincides with the date, 31 August 2000, on which the ministers of health adopted the relevant resolution at the 50th session of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Traditional African medicine is a holistic discipline involving the use of indigenous herbalism combined with aspects of African spirituality.
About 80% of Africa's population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs. In some cases traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible and affordable to many people on the continent. The National Department of Health recognises that there is an entrenched historical bias towards Western/allopathic healthcare that has a long history.
The South African Government has committed itself to the involvement of traditional healers in official healthcare services. This includes the several types of traditional healthcare practitioners who can be broadly categorised as diviners, herbalists, faith healers and traditional birth attendants. These practitioners are separated by the methods that they use to diagnose and treat their patients. They also employ a number of different traditional formularies.
The Department of Health has taken steps towards the official recognition and institutionalisation of African traditional medicine by establishing a directorate of Traditional Medicine within the National Department of Health as well as enacting the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, 2007 (Act No 22 of 2007) which established the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council.
South African Embassy in Ankara, Turkey