SA, UK’s unique relationship

first_imgQueen Elizabeth II and South African President Jacob Zuma ride in the royal carrage to Buckingham Palace in the UK in early March. (Image: The Presidency) MEDIA CONTACTS • Vincent Magwenya Presidential spokesperson +27 72 715 0024 RELATED ARTICLES • Gallery: Zuma’s UK state visit• Zuma speech in UK Parliament• SA to strengthen ties with Britain• UK pupils learn SA languages• Drawing expats back to SAOnly two of the statues outside Westminster are not of British leaders, and both are South African. After President Jacob Zuma’s state visit to the UK, John Battersby reflects on the long and deep relationship between the two countries.I was often asked in the long run-up to President Jacob Zuma’s state visit to the UK: what is the purpose of a state visit?It is a fair question.The amount of preparation and coordination that goes into a state visit is mind-boggling. It involves hundreds of people working continually for three months. It is expensive and time-consuming. And there are no immediate outcomes.Consolidating relationshipsA state visit is a time for consolidating the long-term relationship between two countries and reflecting on what has been achieved and what can be achieved in the future through deeper collaboration, partnership and mutual support.It brings a sense of perspective.As Zuma noted in his closing speech on 5 March to an audience of British investors in the City of London’s Drapers Hall, the state visit would take relations between the countries to a new level.The fact that the president was accompanied by 12 cabinet ministers and a 200-strong contingent of South African businesspeople was in itself a powerful statement about the importance South Africa attaches to its relationship with the United Kingdom.One could not but be deeply moved by the extraordinary hospitality which the British extended to Zuma and his entourage.From the impressive display of pomp and pageantry at the Royal Horse Guards, the ride in the carriage with the Queen, the dazzling state banquet at Buckingham Palace, the white-tie banquet for 700 people hosted by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, to the address in the Royal Robing Room at Westminster, it was an awesome spectacle.Culture, tradition and history come to the fore in a state visit and, as a proud South African and a proud Zulu, no-one was more aware of this than Zuma, attired in his white bow-tie, white waistcoat and black jacket with tails.As the trumpets sounded forth from either end of the historic Guildhall and the Lord Mayor’s guests engaged in the traditional slow-clapping, the mundane nature of government was transcended by a mutual celebration of the enduring relationship between the two countries and the peaks of their national achievements over the past century.A seminal year for South AfricaIt was the third state visit since South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994: first President Nelson Mandela in 1996, President Thabo Mbeki in 2001 and now President Jacob Zuma in 2010, a seminal year for South Africa as host of the 2010 World Cup.And it marked the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, the 49th anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of South Africa in 1961 and the 98th anniversary of the Africa National Congress, which was founded in response to the exclusion of Africans from the Union Parliament in 1910.It is also the 16th year since the establishment of democracy in South Africa in 1994, which marked the final step on the path to nationhood after 358 years of colonial rule, the last 40 years under the notorious apartheid regime which brought the country to the brink of an apocalyptic civil war.Zuma thanked the British people for their prominent role in hastening the end of apartheid through their active participation in the anti-apartheid movement and in providing support to the victims of apartheid.He underscored the importance of Britain as a trade and investment partner and stressed the need to develop and expand partnerships to ensure further knowledge exchange, mentoring and training.Zuma stressed that expanded collaboration was necessary to meeting the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment and to address the government’s five priority objectives: upgrading the health and education sectors, job creation, fighting crime and addressing rural poverty and land reform.An extraordinary royal relationshipSouth Africa already benefits from bilateral relationships with some of Britain’s most influential institutions, including the Royal Society and the Royal Institution of Science, the British Museum, the Royal Africa Society, the Royal Geographic Society, the Royal College of Music, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and the Royal Institute of British Architects, as well as many of the country’s leading universities.On the British side, the continuity of the extraordinary relationship between Britain and South Africa is embodied by the reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have paid two state visits to South Africa: in 1995 during the Presidency of Nelson Mandela and then again in 1999 when President Mbeki became head of state.The Queen’s relationship with South Africa spans more than six decades beginning with her official visit as Princess Elizabeth with her parents, the King and Queen, in 1947 which lasted three months and included Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) and Botswana (then Bechuanaland).The Queen’s personal collection of letters, photographs and memorabilia from that trip – and the subsequent state visits – were on display at Buckingham Palace for the South African delegation and invited guests to view.It was clear from the display that her visit to South Africa was one the highpoints of her youth. She celebrated her 21st birthday during the visit. Five years later, in 1952, her father died and she was crowned as Queen of the United Kingdom at the tender age of 25.Among the letters were those between her and General Jan Smuts, who was Prime Minister at the time. It was the year before the National Party came to power in 1948, which ushered in a dark period in relations between South Africa and the UK.But the monarch’s relationship with Smuts, and later with Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma, has served as an arch of continuity which has preserved the growing and valuable trade, investment, cultural and historic relationship between the two countries.As Zuma observed in his address to Westminster, nowhere is that relationship more powerfully symbolised than in Parliament Square, adjoining the Palace of Westminster, where the statues of British prime ministers spanning more than a century stand.There are only two statues of leaders who are not British and they are both South Africans: Jan Smuts and Nelson Mandela, the only leader whose statue was erected in his own lifetime. John Battersby is the UK country manager of the International Marketing Council of South Africa. He is a former bureau chief of the South African morning group office in London and was editor of The Sunday Independent from 1996 to 2001.last_img read more

Mobile video-streaming app for low-bandwidth Africa

first_img20 August 2014A South African developed video streaming solution, specially designed to cater for the low-speed internet environment encountered in most parts of Africa, has been released as a free mobile application for Apple and Android phones.The platform, known as Adaptive Real-Time Internet Streaming Technology (Artist), makes unbroken video-streaming possible with the use of algorithms to adjust quality to available bandwidth – meaning that the rate at which a video streams varies depending on the available bandwidth at the time.Artist’s rate-adaptive technology makes buffering a thing of the past, by automatically adjusting picture quality to ensure that the video stream does not have to buffer or break. Users can increase video quality with a simple volume-like button, allowing them to control their own data costs.The platform was developed by a consortium of researchers and engineers from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the University of Cape Town and East Coast Access, and is now being commercialised by start-up company Tuluntulu (the Zulu word for “stream”).The mobile app, recently launched on the Apple iOS and Google Android App stores, delivers 10 unique “TV-type” channels 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The download of the app is free, but viewers do pay for the associated data costs.The new technology could have a major impact in Africa, where accessible bandwidth is still an issue.The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates that fixed (in other words, high speed) broadband penetration is less than 1% in sub-Saharan Africa, compared to about 27.2% in developed nations.For mobile subscriptions, however, Africa isn’t nearly as far behind the rest of the world as it is with high-speed broadband. The ITU reports that per 100 inhabitants, Africa has around 63.5 mobile subscriptions, while Asian regions are at 88.7, Europe is at 126.5 and the Americas are at 109.4.“The app opens up new opportunities for content creators and advertisers across the African continent,” Tuluntulu CEO Pierre van der Hoven said in a statement last week.“Only two of the launch channels are established broadcast channels and the rest are new players in the market. There are now new voices, new content and new business models,” Van der Hoven said.“The reach offered by this medium can also have a quick and significant impact in areas such as education. Furthermore, with users able to control their own data costs, they can watch video content for as little as R5 an hour.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Costs And Incidence Of Malicious Corporate Attacks Way Up

first_imgCognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts And while it’s never been cheap to have hackers hit your system, the cost from malicious breaches is rising sharply. This will come as small consolation to enterprises, however, which are coping with a 614% increase in mobile malware exploits in the last year alone, according to a new report from Juniper Networks. Up to 92% of such malware has been targeted at Android, given its dominant market position.While most of the malware remains targeted at retail consumers, sending fraudulent premium SMS messages, the report finds that “several attacks…could potentially be used to steal sensitive corporate information or stage larger network intrusions,” giving hackers the ability to “use the mobile device to do reconnaissance and go deeper into the corporate network.”Unfortunately, this isn’t simply a hypothetical problem.Corporate IT Under SiegeEven as IT departments and users have apparently become less prone to system glitches and negligence, according to a 2013 study by the Ponemon Institute and Symantec of 277 companies that experienced losses or thefts of protected personal data, the incidence of malicious attacks is rising fast. Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Matt Asay It used to be that the biggest threat to corporate data breaches was simple incompetence. But even as the volume of malware remains roughly constant, the incidence and cost of malicious attacks on corporate networks are increasing.Malware Contained?Google recently updated its Transparency Report to showcase fluctuating levels of malware and phishing. The good news is that while phishing sites have increased, malware seems to somewhat contained: 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now While all enterprises need to concern themselves with data breaches, the cost of infiltration increases significantly for highly regulated industries like Finance and Healthcare.Raise The Barricades?What to do? It’s simply not going to work to demand an entire enterprise use a particular phone – those days of Blackberry uniformity are over – and it’s not clear that attacks mostly originate at the device level, anyway. Mobile devices are being used to infiltrate corporate networks, but much of the threat remains on the server side.As the report finds, U.S. and U.K. companies received the greatest reduction in data breach costs by having a strong security posture, incident response plan and chief information officer appointment. The U.S. and France also reduced costs by engaging data breach remediation consultants.In other words, while it’s impossible to blockade all threats – the Ponemon Institute found that 51% of enterprises report getting hit with hourly attacks – a little vigilance goes a long way.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#hacking#malware#security last_img read more