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WRAP: Majority of South Africans against xenophobia, Mboweni tells WEF

2019-09-05 11:25

The finance minister, standing in for President Cyril Ramaphosa at a WEF discussion, has said that 'African solidarity is key'.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni

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Last Updated at 10:28
05 Sep 12:52

WRAP: Ramaphosa addresses protesters at Parliament, while Mboweni calls Africans to 'live together' at WEF

President Cyril Ramaphosa had to put off his address at WEF Africa on Thursday to meet with protesters marching against gender-based violence at Parliament.

Ramaphosa was set to address delegates at a WEF event on inclusive growth in the fourth industrial revolution.

Before the panel discussion began, WEF Africa Head Elsie Kanza said the forum "expresses solidarity with the people of South Africa, seeking to drive change in the face of systemic violence against women. [It is] one we want all our leaders to take action on."

She then said that Ramaphosa was "unexpectedly" called to Parliament. Finance Minister Tito Mboweni took his place and read Ramaphosa's prepared remarks.

He added his own concluding remarks, saying, "We welcome all Africans living in South Africa. We are all Africans. God bless Africa.'

Speaking of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, he said that the free movement of goods requires the free movement of people. "Why should I not be allowed to settle in Uganda and be a farmer? Why these differences among ourselves?".

"African solidarity is key. Living together as Africans is key. If a South African wants to live in Abuja they should be free to do so. If a Nigerian wants to live in Johannesburg, they should be free to do so

"The artificial barriers we created and the hatred we have among ourselves must be a thing of the past," Mboweni said.

His remarks follow violent xenophobic attacks and looting in Gauteng. As a result of the attacks, Nigeria has withdrawn from the WEF and advised Nigerians not to travel to "high risk" and "volatile" areas.

"We must go to people and discuss politically that what some of them are doing is wrong,"  said Mboweni. "The majority of South Africans are against what is happening, they are appalled. The majority of us do not want this thing, but we shall overcome," he said.

05 Sep 12:42

As the opening session nears its end, its time for final remarks. Mohammed says the most important message has been one of inclusion. 'How do we not leave anyone behind'. 

Mboweni says the 4IR must be embraced. "It is here. It is a continuous process." He says working arrangements between young and old must be integrated. 

He ends by saying that global solidarity must be reinforced as the African Continental Free Trade Area nears implementation. 


05 Sep 12:37

05 Sep 12:32

Mohammed says leaders have to speak to their people about xenophobia. 

"The fear factor is real," she says. 

05 Sep 12:28

He says "we have to go to our people and discuss politically what some of them are doing is wrong". 

"The majority of South Africans are against what is happening". 

He says his niece called him to say she had to leave her residence and come home as she felt unsafe.

"But we shall overcome," he says. 


05 Sep 12:26

A question is now asked on how SA can lead in stopping xenophobia.

Mboweni says the signing of the African-wide freetrade pact - the African Continental Free Trade Agreement - is a good thing. 

He says goods are moved by people, and the free movement of people is a logical conclusion of the free trade pact (which is yet to be fully implemented)

"As an African, I should settle wherever I want to settle in Africa," he says.  "Africa solidarity is key". 

He says Africans should be free to live where they want on the continent, says 'artificial barriers" must be a thing of the past. 

05 Sep 12:20

Schwab says he has impressed by the dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit of start-ups he met on Wednesday. They get a round of applause. 

05 Sep 12:18

The panel is asked about improving collaboration between government and the youth. Mohammed says presidents must become champions of the youth "today, not tomorrow". 

She says plans alone don't work - governments have to report back on how the plans are working, and engage with the youth.  

05 Sep 12:13
Following on from their prepared statements, Mboweni, Schwab and Mohammed take their seats for a discussion. They start with questions from the audience. 

05 Sep 12:09
Mohammed says national policies and laws should shape an enabling environment for technological progress. 

05 Sep 12:08
Ramaphosa, who was set to address the forum, is at Parliament, as News24's Jan Gerber's reports. 

05 Sep 12:05
Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, says the pace of technological change is ever increasing.  

05 Sep 12:01
"We welcome all Africans," says Mboweni, noting that he was adding to the president's prepared address. "We welcome all Africans living in South Africa. We are all Africans. God bless Africa."

05 Sep 11:59
The finance minister, standing in for President Ramaphosa, says broadband access must be available to all - live healthcare. 

05 Sep 11:58

Mboweni says SA's response to the fourth industrial revolution should not be purely "defensive", saying new technologies can be put to better use to improve service delivery. 

05 Sep 11:56

Mboweni says automation will impact just about every industry. Millions of workers globally will have to acquire new skills. 

Employers will have to upskill workers to meet the new needs of the market. 

05 Sep 11:54

Mboweni starts be saying when he says "I" in delivering the text, it is president Cyril Ramaphosa. 

The WEF has been marred by African anger at South Africa following a recent spate of xenophobic attacks in Johannesburg. This has resulted in Nigeria boycotting the event. 

Wednesday also saw protests at the event venue in Cape Town. As News24 reported, "fear and horror over the rape and murder of women was brought to the attention of delegates attending the forum ... with the refrain "Where is Cyril? Where is Cyril" being chanted by protesters". 

05 Sep 11:51
Schwab now introduces Mboweni - a "friend for 30 years". 

05 Sep 11:49
Schwab says the fourth industrial revolution is a fundamentally disruptive force, adds it can serve as a catalyst for Africa to leapfrog into the 21st century.  

05 Sep 11:46
WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab, one of three panellists, is now welcoming guests. 

05 Sep 11:43
Ramaphosa has been "unexpectedly called to Parliament". 

05 Sep 11:42
It looks like Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni has taken Ramaphosa's place. 

05 Sep 11:41

05 Sep 11:26

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to discuss the implications of the digital revolution in Africa at the  World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town at 11:30.

Ramaphosa will be in discussion with WEF founder Klaus Schwab, and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. 

Earlier on Thursday McKinsey & Co., in a new report, said digitisation and automation advancements could boost SA's struggling growth rate and add 1.2 million jobs by 2030, but only if businesses, government, labour and educational organisation take "concerted action". 

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