The following are details of an interview with Ambassador Nozuko Gloria Bam of South Africa in Seoul conducted by The Korea post media on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and South Africa.—Ed.
Question: What are the important developments scheduled between Korea and your country, including the possible visit of your Head of Government to Korea?
Answer: South Africa and South Korea will this year mark 25 years anniversary of diplomatic bilateral relations. The Embassy plans to celebrate this milestone by having a number of events that will includes, among others, cultural festivities, film festival and memorial lectures. Again, the two countries, informed by the decision that was taken at their last Policy Consultative Forum (PCF), are now working on finding a date to officiate the upgrading of their relations from PCF to Joint Cooperation Commission (JCC) that will be at Ministerial level. An upgrade to JCC will put the two countries into a good stead for possible exchange of high level visits.
Q: What is the current volume of bilateral trade, its outlook in the next 12 months?
A: Bilateral trade between South Africa and South Korea has developed since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. Total trade in goods between our two countries currently stands at about USD2.2 billion, which is relatively low compared to previous years but is consistent with the current global economic growth. South Africa and South Korea enjoy complementary economies that present our countries with the opportunity to grow and diversify current volume of trade levels. Economic activities are projected to pick up in both the emerging and developed economies this year; therefore we envisage a positive bilateral trade outlook between our two countries in the next 12 month.
Q: What are your competitive field of industry and products attractive to Korea and what are Korean products and services that your country might wish to import?
A: Imports and exports baskets between our two countries are characterised by trade in diverse products. Main exports by South Africa include products such as minerals, citrus, wines, tea, yacht and cut flowers among others. Our main imports from South Korea consist of automotive components, motor vehicles, electronics and lubricated base oils.
Q: Who are the Korean companies (other than Jaebeol business groups) actively engaged in the promotion of economic cooperation between Korea and your esteemed country?.
A: During the past few years a number of Korean companies opened offices in South Africa or have indicated their intentions to do so including small and medium size Korean companies. Major companies such as LG, Hyundai and Samsung have established themselves well in the South African market. As the Mission we continuously encourage South Korean companies of all sizes to consider South Africa as their investment destination of choice, given our countries geographical and economic comparative advantages.The table of KOTRA below details a list of Korean companies in South Africa:
Electronics: LG Electronics, Samsung SDS, Samsung Electronics,
Construction: GS Eigneering& Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries, Daewoo Engineering and Construction, Samsung Construction & Trading, Mijin Engineering & Construction
Automotive: Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Keumho Tire, Nexen Tire, Parts Mall
Trading: Daewoo International, Hyundai Corp.
Shipping & Trading: Pantos Logistics, Polaris
Electricity: KEPCO, KPS, M-TEC (sistere company of Taihan Cable)
Etc: Cheil South Africa, K Sure, KORES
Q: What are the areas in your country where you want Korean companies to invest and what are the areas where you wish your businessmen to invest in Korea?
A: South Africa has travelled a remarkable road since its transition to democracy and through the National Development Plan we have identified number of economic interventions that could enable our country to grow the economy and create jobs. South Africa and South Korean companies could collaborate and form partnerships to draw from their respective skills and experiences so that they could tap into investment opportunities offered by our country in the following areas: advance manufacturing, infrastructure, Natural Gas, services, minerals and agricultural beneficiation. On the other hand South African companies will be delighted to explore opportunities offered by South Korea’s retail and services sectors.
Q: Please introduce in detail the National Day of your esteemed country.
A: The South Africa’s National Day, celebrated on 27 April, is the first South Africa’s declared public holiday post-apartheid. This day marks the turning point in the history of the country as it celebrate the freedom and commemorates the first post-apartheid election held on that day in 1994. It’s a freedom day in that for the first time in the history of the country, all South Africans, across racial divide, were able to vote in what was hailed as democratic, free and fair elections, resulting into a rise to power of the first black government under the later, then former President Nelson Mandela.
On the first commemoration of this holiday, then President Nelson Mandela addressed Parliament and said:
“As dawn ushered in this day, the 27th of April 1994, few of us could suppress the welling of emotion, as we were reminded of the terrible past from which we come as a nation; the great possibilities that we now have; and the bright future that beckons us. And so we assemble here today, and in other parts of the country, to mark a historic day in the life of our nation. Wherever South Africans are across the globe, our hearts beat as one, as we renew our common loyalty to our country and our commitment to its future.”
So, 27 April is a day of reckoning, celebration and reflection on the future in an endeavour to create an equal society. It is a significant event as Government named 2017 the year of Oliver Tambo.This is precisely because this year marks the centenary of the late Oliver Reginald Tambo, who played an integral role in the liberation of South Africa. He dedicated his life to the pursuit of equality and justice for all South Africans and was one of the founding fathers of our constitutional democracy.
Q: What are the attractive tourist destinations of your country?
A: South Africa has nine provinces which all boost of unique breathtaking scenery and spectacular tourism offerings, inter alia, include but not limited to:
Cape Town – mostly visited and hailed as the best province in South Africa; its offering include, among others, Table Mountain (that is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World);Robben Island that is known for its then most famous prisoner, former President Nelson Mandela; and the Winelandsthat is home for South Africa’s award-winning wines as well as offering one of the breathtaking scenery of the Cape wine routes that take you through green valleys and historic towns.
Mpumalanga – is the home to the Kruger National Park, a world-renowned park of nearly 2 million hectares featuring 16 ecosystems. Some of the amenities that onecan enjoy in the park include seeing the Big Five on a 4x4 game drive or walking safari.
North West Province – famously known for being a home to Sun City Resort, the province also offers premier wildlife destinations, including the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Gauteng– dubbed the smallest province in the country, this is a cosmopolitan, multicultural mix of people from all walks of life, from all corners of the world. It’s the country’s busiest province by far. Here you find Johannesburg, aka City of Gold. Some of the notable attractions include, but not limited to, Cradle of Human Kind, Apartheid Museum and Soweto where you find Vilakazi Street, once a home to two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Q: Please introduce yourself in detail, including your career, family and hobbies.
A: My name is Nozuko Gloria Bam, Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to the Republic of Korea. As a mother of three children, I have to be flexible to keep balance between my work as an Ambassador and mother. This include, having to juggle with all my children’s home work after work and try to attend their school activities. At the end of the day, this leaves me with less time to accommodate what you would call hobbies, which in my case would be singing, visitingmuseums,traveling and reading. That said, once in a while one do find time to accommodate these hobbies.
Q: Please add whatever other details that we might have left out from our questionnaire.
Tripartite Free Trade Agreement
The Tripartite Free Trade Agreement is an agreement aimed at bringing together three of Africa’s major regional economic communities namely, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Its main objective is to promote intra Africa trade and once concluded it will give companies the opportunity to access the African market.
• South Africa’s main exports include:
Agricultural products, minerals & mineral products, precious metals & metal products, chemical & food products, automotive & components.
• South Africa’s Defence Industry:
The South African Defense Industry is characterised by the indigenous capabilities that cut across the value chain, from research and development (R&D) to support activities in the fields of aerospace, electronic systems, maritime, system support, safety & security, vehicles and weapons & ammunition. Our leading edge manufacturing plants are also world class. Therefore, our manufacturing capabilities are characterized by short manufacturing cycles and are geared towards meeting the needs of niche markets. Because of our fully developed supply chain and logistically integrated support, we offer excellent life support to our systems and products.
About Heritage day - Heritage Day is an important public holiday in South Africa celebrated on 24 September. It recognises different aspects of South African culture and encourages South Africans across the spectrum to celebrate their cultural heritage, the diversity of their beliefs and different traditions. Heritage not only refers to our historical inheritance, creative expression and food, but it also embraces the various languages that have become entrenched in our cultural milieu.
About Cape Town International Jazz Festival -The Cape Town International Jazz Festival, held in South Africa, is the largest jazz festival in Africa and one of the largest anywhere in the world.This April, saw the city hosting its eighteenth edition. The festival has previously welcomed globally famous stars alongside national talent on a lineup that fuses traditional jazz with modern funk, soul, R&B afropop and much more.
Some of the Arts and cultural festivals that are held includes but not limited to; the National Arts Festival, held annually in July in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape, is one of the largest and most diverse arts gatherings in Africa; the Mangaung African Cultural Festival in Bloemfontein increasingly gaining status of the biggest cultural tourism events in southern Africa. This 10-day festival showcases the cream of African and international talent; and Arts Alive International Festival in Newtown in Johannesburg which provides the best in homegrown and overseas entertainment in September.
Ubuntu Awards - The annual Ubuntu Awards were launched to celebrate South African citizens who play an active role in projecting a positive image of South Africa internationally. Through excellence in their chosen fields, these proud South Africans serve as global ambassadors of our nation. The awards celebrate South African citizens, who, through their Integrity, Passion, Patriotism and Humility have raised the South African flag high on an international stage. This comes from Ubuntu that says “I am what I am because of who we all are”. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness.
About the Rain Queen: The Modjadji or Rain Queen is the hereditary queen of Balobedu, a people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The succession to the position of Rain Queen is matrilineal so her eldest daughter is the heir, and males are not entitled to inherit the throne at all. The Rain Queen is believed to have special powers, including the ability to control the clouds and rainfall.