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Current affairs


Current affairs

In the relaunching of broad spectrum bilateral relations, institutional visits are particularly important. We would like to bring some of the most recent to your attention.

• The visit by the Italian Minister of internal Affairs Cancellieri to South Africa, on this occasion an agreement between police forces was signed. Besides his counterpart Dlamini-Zuma, Minister Cancellieri also met the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and the Minister of Intelligence Siyabonga Cwele
• The visit in Italy during the month of October 2012 by South African Vice President Motlhante, in the framework of the ANC’s centenary celebrations during the course of the month dedicated to Oliver Reginald Tambo (Party President from 1967 to 1991). Besides meeting the Prime Minister, Senator Mario Monti, Motlhante also participated at a work lunch organized by Confindustria and attended other important institutional meetings. The visit then proceeded to Reggio Emilia, seeing the strong ties between the ANC and this city.
• The participation of Prime Minister Enrico Letta and the President of the House of Representatives Laura Boldrini at the funeral of ex-President Nelson Mandela which took place on the 10th of December 2013.
• The stopover in Cape Town of the 30th Naval contingency of the Italian Military Marine corps, accompanied by the aircraft carrier “Cavour” (5-11 February 2014), which aroused great interest and admiration on behalf of the public including business circles and South African Authorities. The huge humanitarian mission was much appreciated: the Italian ONG, Operation Smile, Fondazione Ravenna and the nurses of the Italian Red Cross in cooperation with their South African counterparts, performed on-board operations and medical examinations on children of disadvantaged communities. The visit by the Defence Chief of Staff, Admiral Binelli Mantelli took place on the same occasion (5-7 February) where he was met in Pretoria by his South African counterpart.
• In the economic field, besides the numerous missions by businessmen to the country, of particular relevance are, the institution of an Italian Business Network in Cape Town, the first study trip by the directors of Confindustria in 2012, the Italian participation at Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 and the Italian – South African Summit, 3-5 October 2014 which was promoted by “The European House – Ambrosetti”. During the Summit which was attended by the Honourable vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lapo Pistelli, bilateral collaboration prospective, regarding in particular, main sectors of the manufacturing industry, energy, agriculture, finance and infrastructure were discussed.

The second edition of the Summit was held in Cape Town on the 2nd of October 2015. The 2015 Forum distinguished itself for the significant business participation with over 150 representatives from the business communities and in excess of 40 speakers. The South African Government was represented by the Ministers Rob Davies for Trade and Industry and Lindiwe Zulu for development. The Italian delegation was led by Honourable Maria Chiara Carrozza, member of the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, which included the President of the Agency ITA/ICE Riccardo Monti. The presence of Gauteng Premier, David Makhura who had just returned from a mission to Italy is regarded as being very important.
Of great importance is also the Embassy’s activity of social promotion in favour of disadvantaged communities of the Gauteng and Eastern Cape regions, especially through initiatives involving sports. Of particular interest in this respect is the “Italian Ambassador’s Perennial Trophy”, which is a charity regatta wanted by the Ambassador of Italy in South Africa, Vincenzo Schioppa. The sailing competition was first organized in Cape Town on the 23rd of November 2013 whilst the second edition took place on the 1st of November 2014. On the occasion of the two events, that were very successful, two special English editions of the monthly Italian magazine “Insider Magazine” were launched which were intended for the South African public. The latest edition of the magazine is available here:
On the 22nd of November 2014, amongst the events organized on the occasion of the Italian Presidency of the EU, the Embassy also organized the first edition of the “EU Soccer Tournament”, a soccer tournament involving the disadvantaged communities in the Gauteng Province. Eight EU Missions, including Italy, “adopted” an under 13 team from an elementary school enabling them to compete in the tournament. More than 200 children enthusiastically participated in the event which was organized at the Italian Club in Johannesburg.
Finally, in May 2015 at 16:34, more than 30 students from the Elementary School “Sol Plaatjie” in Mafikeng – a rural area in the North East Region, approximately 300km from the capital Pretoria – had the extraordinary opportunity to talk to Captain Samantha Cristoforetti, who at that moment was on board the International Space Station for the mission “Futura”.
The radio contact was organized by the Embassy of Italy in Pretoria in collaboration with the Amateur Radio of the International Space Station (ARISS), the South African Ministry of Science and Technology, the Italian and South African Space Agencies, and also the South African Amateur Radio Satellite Association (AMSAT) in the framework of the project “ARISS School Contact”. The students thus had the opportunity to talk to Captain Cristoforetti together with the students from the Scuola Secondaria di I Grado di Caprino Bergamasco (BG), who were also in contact with the astronaut. The two schools also connected to each other via Skype: an important occasion to get to know each other and share the exceptional experience they had just lived.
Besides these initiatives, an important aspect is the promotion of the Italian Culture in South Africa, through an incisive action aimed at a greater diffusion of the Italian Language.