Thursday, June 21, 2018

South Sudan Kiir, Machar Meet in Addis Ababa
Ethiopa's PM Abiy Ahmed (R) President Salva Kiir ((C) and SPLM-IO leader (Photo Ethiopia Govt)

June 20, 23018 (ADDIS ABABA) - South Sudan President Salva Kiir and SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar Wednesday have finally met on Wednesday in a meeting attended by the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The meeting was announced in a twit released by the Director of Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office Fitsum Arega without details about the outcome of the encounter.

"HE PM Abiy Ahmed hosted a private dinner to President Salva Kiir and Dr Rieck Machar together. The two met for the first time in two years," said Arega.

"Faced with the continued suffering in South Sudan, Ethiopia simply can’t stand by. With more work, a peaceful future is possible in S. Sudan," he further said.

Different sources reached in Addis Ababa said the face-to-face meeting only gathered the two rival leaders and the Ethiopian premier.

The first meeting between Kiir and Machar since July 2016, was supposed to discuss only the outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter of the peace agreement.

South Sudanese officials under the cover of anonymity told Sudan Tribune that the meeting was not successful and the two leaders didn’t agree on anything.

"If the meeting was positive, at least, Abiy would be happy to issue a statement about its outcome, but this was not the case," an official said.

Machar, in a meeting with the civil society and opposition groups, pledged to defend their points of view in the meeting.

The IGAD Council of Ministers will discuss the outcome of the intensive consultations and then will submit its conclusions for considerations to the summit of IGAD head of states and government in the evening.

President Kiir is scheduled to return to Juba on Friday but it is not clear if another meeting will take place between him and Machar.

Upon his arrival to Addis Ababa, Kiir held a separate meeting with Abiy. President Kiir was accompanied by Minister of Cabinet affairs Martin Elia Lomuro, Ambassador Ezekiel Lul the Minister of Petroleum, Michael Makuei Lueth the Minister of Information and Awud Deng Achuil the Minister of Gender, and Social Welfare.

The meeting with Kiir, which began at 08:00 pm (local time), discussed the outcome of the Intensive Interlink Consultations and ways to move forward, according to a statement released by the information ministry.

(ST)
Riek Machar, Salva Kiir Meet in Addis Ababa After 2 Years
THURSDAY JUNE 21 2018
Kenya Daily Nation

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir walks towards an airplane at Juba International Airport in Juba, South Sudan, on June 20, 2018 before travelling to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa for meeting with the South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar for the first time in almost two years on efforts to end a five-year civil war. PHOTO | AKUOT CHOL | AFP

The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges between the two — but analysts say the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions.

Once comrades-in arms in the fight for independence, Kiir and Machar experienced a bitter falling out, a development that played a key part in the civil war that blights the future of the world's youngest state.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly a third of the 12 million population have been driven out of their homes, and many to the brink of starvation.

The two figures at the centre of the civil war that has ravaged South Sudan met for the first time in nearly two years on Wednesday evening in the Ethiopian capital.

South Sudan's president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, who fled South Sudan in July 2016, went into a closed door meeting at the Ethiopian prime minister's office.

SCOPE

Machar, who was greeted ahead of the meeting by Ethiopia's foreign minister, Worken Gebeyehu, arrived in Addis Ababa Wednesday morning.

Kiir followed in the afternoon and was met by prime minister Abiy Ahmed.

The official scope of the talks is broad — to build bridges between the two — but analysts say the outcome remains unclear given their notoriously volatile relationship and entrenched positions.

Once comrades-in arms in the fight for independence, Kiir and Machar experienced a bitter falling out, a development that played a key part in the civil war that blights the future of the world's youngest state.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly a third of the 12 million population have been driven out of their homes, and many to the brink of starvation.

The two warring leaders travelled to Addis at the invitation of Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy, who also chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional bloc that has taken the lead in thus-far fruitless peace negotiations.

Abiy "will call upon the two leaders to narrow their gap and work for the pacification of South Sudan and relieve the burden of death and uprooting of South Sudanese people," Meles Alem, Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman, said.

HAILED

Igad heads of state are due to meet in Addis, on Thursday, hoping to get peace talks back on track.

A landlocked state with a large ethnic mix, South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after a long and brutal war.

The event was hailed around the world and by celebrity supporters such as George Clooney.

But in 2013, Kiir accused Machar, his vice president, of plotting a coup against him, and violence erupted between the two factions, feeding on brooding ethnic tensions.

They have not met since July 2016, when heavy fighting in the capital Juba signalled the collapse of a 2015 peace deal and Machar fled to South Africa.

The renewed violence spread across the country, spawning numerous new armed opposition groups and further complicating peace efforts.

Despite the pressure, observers say Kiir has little incentive to make concessions to his rivals.

2015 DEAL

His soldiers are winning militarily, while the opposition is more fractured than ever before.

Efforts to revitalise the 2015 agreement resulted in a ceasefire in December which lasted just hours before warring parties accused each other of breaking it.

The meeting in Addis Ababa comes against a background of growing international frustration.

In May, the UN Security Council gave the two warring sides a month to reach a peace deal or face sanctions.

Washington was a critical backer of South Sudan during its separation from Sudan, and remains Juba's biggest aid donor.

But a top US official earlier this month threatened parties on both sides of the conflict with sanctions after a report from a US foundation, The Sentry, said South Sudanese elites were profiting from human rights abuses.
Ebola Outbreak in Congo is 'Largely Contained': World Health Organization
Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has been "largely contained" and no new cases of the disease have been confirmed since the last known sufferer died on June 9.

The World Health Organization said it viewed the situation with "cautious optimism," despite the difficulty of tracking down people who may have been exposed to the deadly virus.

The outbreak has killed 28 people since early April.

Photo: A World Health Organization (WHO) worker administers a vaccination during the launch of a campaign aimed at beating an outbreak of Ebola in the port city of Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo May 21, 2018.

Kenny Katombe | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak has been "largely contained" and no new cases of the disease have been confirmed since the last known sufferer died on June 9, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

The U.N. health body said it viewed the situation with "cautious optimism," despite the difficulty of tracking down people who may have been exposed to the deadly virus in remote forests close to the Congo River.

The outbreak has killed 28 people since early April.

"Slightly over a month into the response, further spread of EVD (Ebola virus disease) has largely been contained," the organization said in a report.

The outbreak triggered particular concern because it occurred in a remote northwestern area that was hard to reach but close to the Congo River, causing fears it could take root in a neighboring city or spread to the capital Kinshasa, a city of more than 10 million people.

There were also fears that river transport could help the virus spread to neighboring Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo.

This outbreak is Congo's ninth, but the first to be countered with a "ring vaccination" strategy, where all contacts of known patients are vaccinated to try and stop the spread.

"The number of contacts requiring follow-up is progressively decreasing, with a total 1,417 completing the mandatory 21-day follow-up period. As of 17 June 2018, a total of 289 contacts were under follow up, of which 276 (96%) were reached on the reporting date," the WHO report said.

"If no new cases are reported, the last contacts of the known confirmed or probable cases will complete follow-up on 27 June 2018."

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The disease has an incubation period of up to 21 days, meaning the risk declines the longer Congo goes without a new case. The vaccine takes about 10 days to work.

The risk of unidentified Ebola carriers traveling outside the affected province was now considered "very low," but exit screening was being maintained as a precaution, the WHO report said.

An Ebola outbreak is normally declared over once 42 days have passed since blood samples from the last confirmed case tests negative for the second time.

The last laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola was a patient who died on June 9. By a Reuters calculation, if there are no more confirmed cases, the outbreak will be declared over around July 21.
New Shingles Vaccine is Highly Effective, Long-lasting — and in Short Supply
By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post
June 20 at 10:20 AM

A national shortage of a new and more effective vaccine to protect adults older than 50 from the painful rash known as shingles is prompting retailers to create waiting lists and the manufacturer to delay additional promotion.

Shingrix, licensed in the fall by the Food and Drug Administration, is the preferred vaccine recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for protection from a disease that affects 1 in 3 adults in their lifetime. By recommending that healthy adults start receiving the vaccine at age 50 — a decade earlier than the previous recommendation — federal health officials are hoping that millions more people will be protected from shingles, which is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox.

One of the most common complications of shingles in those 50 and older is nerve pain that can last for months or even years after a shingles rash goes away and can be so debilitating that the touch of clothing on skin can cause searing pain. It has no treatment or cure.

The new two-dose vaccine provides greater protection — more than 90 percent — and lasts longer than the older single-shot vaccine that has been in use since 2006. The CDC recommends that people should get the new vaccine if they have had shingles, have previously received the old vaccine or have had or are unsure if they have had chickenpox. There are an estimated 1 million cases of shingles in the United States each year; the risk of the disease increases as people age.

Since the new vaccine became broadly available in the United States earlier this year, demand has soared. Supply has not kept pace. Manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline “implemented order limits and providers have experienced shipping delays,” according to a note posted on the CDC’s vaccine shortage list earlier this month. Even though GSK is working to increase supply, those order limits and shipping delays will continue through 2018, the note said. The CDC began reporting shortages in early May.

The scarce supply of Shingrix is likely to be mentioned at a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday of the federal panel that advises the CDC on immunizations.

Drugstore chain CVS said it began offering the vaccine to patients broadly in mid-March. But because of high demand, “it has become challenging to keep an ample supply across all of our more than 9,800 stores due to supply restrictions from the manufacturer,” CVS spokeswoman Amy Lanctot said in an email on Tuesday. “We are still getting shipments intermittently,” she wrote. She said patients should call their local store to find out if the vaccine is in stock.

People who called their CVS pharmacies in recent weeks and were put on hold were likely to hear a recorded message about the new vaccine, saying that it is up to 97 percent effective and recommended for adults older than 50. “Talk to your pharmacy team today,” the message says.

Several CVS pharmacies in suburban Maryland reported the vaccine has been on back order for weeks. Shipments are limited to one box of 10 doses. At the CVS pharmacy in a Target store in Rockville, a person who answered the telephone said the pharmacy had not received any doses since a first shipment “a couple months ago.” He offered to put a customer on a waiting list.

A nearby Harris Teeter grocery store that had signs advertising the vaccine was also low on stock, also limited to receiving one box of 10 doses at a time and also had a waiting list.

Like other providers, the Kaiser Permanente health system said it has also experienced “high demand” since May. Physicians and pharmacists have been working to “provide vaccine to members most at risk, according to CDC guidelines,” a spokeswoman said.

GSK spokesman Sean Clements said officials are seeing immunization rates “many times that of previous years,” leading to “extremely high” demand for the vaccine. Since Shingrix  became available at the end of October, more than 1.5 million people have received at least one dose as of early May, he said.

The company is shipping more doses this week, he said. The manufacturer is increasing the U.S. supply available for 2018 and plans to release doses to all customer types on a consistent and predictable schedule for the remainder of the year. “People will be able to plan,” he said.

He declined to disclose how many doses of the vaccine GSK planned to bring to market this year. For the first quarter of the year, Shingrix had a “strong and fast start” and earned more than $150 million, company officials said in an earnings call in April. Officials suggested annual revenue of about $600 million for the vaccine.

The company relied on historical demand for shingles vaccine to predict demand for the new vaccine, Clements said. The company has informed the CDC and FDA that there is enough supply to vaccinate more patients in 2018 than were vaccinated against shingles during 2017.

The CDC recommendation is for two doses of Shingrix, two to six months apart. For patients who received both doses, Shingrix is 97 percent effective against shingles for those ages 50 to 59, compared with about 70 percent effectiveness for the older vaccine, Zostavax, industry-sponsored data show. For those in their 60s, the new vaccine is 97 percent effective, compared with 64 percent for Zostavax. For those in their 70s, Shingrix is 91 percent effective, compared with about 41 percent for Zostavax. (Data have not been provided for the effectiveness of a single dose of Shingrix.)

For those in their 80s, who are most at risk of developing complications from shingles, the new vaccine is about five times as effective: 91 percent vs. 18 percent. Protection stays above 85 percent for at least the first four years after vaccination.

Each dose costs $140. Most private health insurance covers recommended adult vaccines, including shingles vaccine. All Medicare Part D plans cover the shingles vaccine. But depending on the plan, individuals may need to pay a portion of the total cost.

Unlike the older Zostavax, which is injected under the skin, the new vaccine is supposed to be a shot in the muscle of the upper arm, like the annual flu vaccine. That difference has apparently led to some errors in giving the vaccine. During the four-month period from October to February, of 155 reports about problems associated with the vaccine, 13 instances involved at least one error, according to a CDC report last month. Nine involved Shingrix being given under the skin instead of in the muscle; eight of those nine injections caused reactions such as pain, redness and itching at the injection site.

The remaining 142 reports were patients reporting temporary side effects, such as joint pain, flulike symptoms, headaches, fatigue and soreness in the upper arm.

GSK said it is focusing its efforts on educating providers and pharmacists to stress the importance of two-dose compliance, and holding off on additional promotion, such as television commercials, until the shortage is under control.

“We want to make sure there is the right level of things out there for education, making sure we’re not driving excessive demand when we have to catch up with supply,” Clements said.
New Flu Vaccine Works a Little Better than Traditional Shot
Wednesday, 20 June 2018 02:30 PM

A newer kind of flu vaccine only worked a little bit better in seniors this past winter than traditional shots, the government reported Wednesday.

Overall, flu vaccines barely worked at all in keeping people 65 and older out of the hospital, with roughly 24 percent effectiveness.

The best performance was by a new shot called Flucelvax; it was about 26.5 percent effective in that age group. The difference wasn't as large as some had hoped.

"The big problem is still the same — we need better vaccines. But these incremental improvements are very important," said Brendan Flannery, a flu expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings of the Food and Drug Administration study were presented in Atlanta Wednesday to a panel that advises the government on vaccine recommendations.

The vast majority of flu shots in the U.S. are made in chicken eggs. Seqirus' Flucelvax is made by growing viruses in animal cells instead.

The U.S. just went through one of the most severe flu seasons in more than a decade, driven by a nasty flu bug that tends to cause more hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among the elderly. Researchers are finding vaccines made in eggs don't work well against that kind of flu bug. Growing vaccines in cells is thought to provide a better match.

In a statement, Seqirus said it was encouraged by the results and is doing additional analysis.

The FDA study included more than 13 million Medicare beneficiaries. It looked at what kind of flu shots they got and whether they came down with a flu that put them in the hospital. Flu diagnoses were not based on lab confirmations, though, so the results could have underestimated the vaccines' effectiveness if other bugs had made them sick, experts noted.

The study also showed that a higher-dose, egg-based vaccine intended for seniors worked slightly better than the traditional dose.

For Americans of all ages, the CDC estimates that flu shots were 40 percent effective against all strains this past season. They were far less effective against the kind that made most people sick.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SACP Free State Statement of the Provincial Executive Committee Plenary Session of the 7th Provincial Congress
13 June 2018

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Free State held its seventh Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) ordinary plenary session of its 7th Provincial Congress in Bloemfontein on 9th June 2018. The PEC received a presentation of alliance reconfiguration by a Central Committee (CC) member, comrade Frans Baleni. The PEC also received a political input by CC member, comrade Lechesa Tsenoli as well as the provincial political and organisational reports.

The meeting discussed both these important reports as well as a report presented by South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in the context of the Auditor-General audit findings on municipal finances.

Post-Nasrec political trends in the province

The PEC noted that the post-Zuma period has given rise to a new positive mood and hope in the liberation movement and society as a whole. The PEC agreed that the post-Nasrec orientation at a national level signal a plausible break with the downward trajectory that faced the movement and the country. The downward trajectory was occasioned by wanton looting of public resources by parasitic networks and factionalism in our movement. The situation however remains dire in some provinces such as the Free State. The ANC in the province is still plagued by high levels of factionalism and divisions in the post-Nasrec era.

The conduct of some leaders of the ANC in the province points to an orchestrated attempt to undermine the positive mood of the post Nasrec moment. These could reverse the prospects of rolling back the parasitic networks and associated factionalism that have weakened our movement and plunged our state institutions in chaos.

The distasteful insults directed at the ANC President by a leader and Mayor of Dihlabeng Municipality and the factional appearance and address by the regional chairperson of the ANC in Lejweleputswa at the KZN court appearance of comrade Zuma are not coincidental. The PEC calls for an investigation to ensure that the cost associated with ferrying people from the Free State to comrade Zuma`s KZN court appearance were not paid with tax payer`s money, in light of recent Auditor-General report that reveals deteriorating financial management in municipalities. The SACP continues to urge the ANC to act consistently against ill-discipline and factionalism whenever they rear their ugly head within its structures.

The PEC agreed on the need to insist on a principled and programmatic approach to strengthening and building a functional alliance in the province, taking into account the ongoing discussions on reconfiguration of the alliance. This includes continued coalition engagements to resolve all outstanding issues at Metsimaholo Local Municipality. The PEC also agreed to intensify building the independent profile of the party through a systematic organisational renewal process underpinned by mass work and campaigns. These will include working with trade union movement on focused attention on the rollout of National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot in Thabo Mofutsanyana and fighting against the outsourcing of health services to Buthelezi Ambulances across our health facilities.

The PEC committed to strengthen working relations with Cosatu in the interest of building working class unity in the build-up to its Provincial Congress. The SACP will encourage joint progrmames and campaigns with Cosatu post its Congress.

Reconfiguration of the alliance

The PEC welcomed and enthusiastically contributed to the enrichment of the discussion document on the reconfiguration of the alliance. The PEC agreed that the discussions on the reconfiguration of the alliance must be advanced simultaneously with and to supplement and intensify ongoing work on other elements of the 14th Congress resolution on state and popular power. To this effect, all Districts in the province will hold District Councils to engage and contribute to these foregoing discussions. These discussions will culminate into a consolidated provincial contribution to the roadmap process.

The PEC agreed that while acknowledging that the current mode of operations within the alliance is outdated, these discussions should aim to locate the working class at the forefront in pursuit of the national democratic struggles. It is imperative that the discussions are guided by current strategic tasks of the party and informed by concrete analysis of the concrete situation on the ground.

The land question and evictions in the province

The PEC agreed with the CC perspective on the need to anchor the radical land reform programme around the pillars of restitution, redistribution and land tenure security. Land reform should primarily benefit the working class and the poor. The PEC acknowledged the failure of the post-apartheid government to effectively drive land reform. The PEC also noted that the high levels of evictions in farms in the province and corruption such as the Gupta-led looting and marginalization of poor communities at Estina Vrede Farm feeds the resurgent agitation that characterise the discussions on the land question. The decline in the agricultural sector and high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality in the province compounds the challenges.

The PEC condemned the irresponsible and opportunistic encouragement of people to embark on reckless land grabs by some leaders and Mayors is the province.

The PEC welcomed the open and participatory processes initiated by parliament. The PEC agreed to mobilise our structures and communities to constructively engage with the process. The PEC believes the approach to land reform should be holistic and integrate considerations for provision of appropriate infrastructure, water and energy. The PEC further agreed to intensify the ongoing Party programme to fight against evictions at farms and bonded houses, led by the NGO Izwe Lethu- Le rona re batho.

State of municipalities in the Free State

The PEC received a detailed presentation from SALGA on the state of municipalities in the Free State, based on Auditor-General`s audit findings on municipal finances. The essence of the presentation is that most of the municipalities in the Free State are facing serious challenges including high debt levels, financial viability and sustainability problems. Most municipalities in the province are still characterised by apartheid era spatial planning- which is also reflected in the patterns of paying service- with working class and poor communities located in the periphery and often poorly services.

The view of the PEC is that the high levels of irregular, unauthorised and fruitless expenditure across our municipalities exposes the extent to which governance has been systematically collapsed. This appears done deliberately to facilitate corruption and the looting of state resources for the benefit of parasitic networks in the province. The limited to lack of consequences for the collapse in municipal finances and service delivery despite consistent and repeated transgression revealed by Auditor General is indicative of a continuing culture of looting with impunity. Failure by 13 of our municipalities to respond positively to back to basics support given to them reinforces the existence of this culture. All these, in the view the PEC confirms the "leadership`s involvement in decision-making that led to transgressions" as pointed out by the Auditor-General.

The PEC views as unacceptable the high levels of debt by Free State municipalities to bulk service providers such as electricity and water. The PEC calls for urgent intervention by COGTA. These debts are spiraling out of control posing major risks to stability since money meant for service delivery has to be redirected towards servicing debts and interests.

The working class is at the receiving end of this cycle of looting with impunity. Workers` salaries are often paid late and failure to pay statutory obligations such as third party payments for pension funds and medical covers is rife in some municipalities in the province such as Maluti-a-Phofung, Matjhabeng, Mafube, Mohokare etc. Equally, our communities suffer from the continuing deterioration in service delivery across our municipalities.

The PEC calls on COGTA in the province as well as municipalities across the province to address the root causes of lack of accountability, internal controls and performance failures. These should include instituting criminal prosecution where acts of corruption are uncovered followed by removal and subsequent recovery of lost resources from those responsible. The PEC also calls for urgent proactive measures to ensure effective and sustainable monitoring and oversight to arrest the deteriorating state of our municipalities by responsible entities such as municipal councils, COGTA and Treasury, including by the ruling party.

ISSUED BY THE SACP FREE STATE PROVINCE

Contact:

Bheke Stofile - SACP Free State Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 071 600 4899

Phillip Kganyago - SACP Free State Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: 071 896 0157
SACP Supports the National Health Insurance, Condemns Health Care Profiteers
18 June 2018

The South African Communist Party has noted the pursuit of an orchestrated campaign against the introduction of the National Health Insurance (NHI). The SACP is combat ready and will take the capitalist profiteers - who benefit from the status quo - and their agents head-on until the NHI is successfully implemented. The SACP is therefore encouraging the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to release the NHI Bill for and in the interests of the workers and poor, the majority of our nation.

The NHI must equalise access to quality health care for all, regardless of whether one is employed or unemployed, and regardless of one's class location and income category. At the heart of the campaign against the NHI are private financial interests and fronted elitist groupings. Private monopoly interests walk all the way to the banks smiling while the majority of South Africans, especially the workers and poor, face exclusions by private hospitals and medical aid schemes.

Those workers who have a medical aid cover find themselves stranded around midyear onwards as medical aid schemes increasingly structure "benefits" to curtail or even exclude day-to-day medical care needs. Private hospitals are charging astronomical fees and medical aid administrators and brokers continue to benefit financially while the workers and poor suffer.

Our country is spending 8.5 per cent of its gross domestic product on health care. However, the greater portion of the money - that is 4.4 per cent - is spent on only 16 per cent of our population. Only 4.1 per cent is spent on 84 per cent of the over 56 million population. This is inhuman, cruel and unjust if not also barbaric and is obviously unacceptable. The NHI must bring an end to this class inequality in health care.

Health care is a human right rather than a commodity. South Africa is host to the world's unequal access to quality health care. This is what private monopolies that have captured the lion's share of health care funds are seeking to entrench. Theirs is primarily profit making rather than health care.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON SACP STATEMENTS CONTACT:

Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo
Head of Communications & National Spokesperson
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM

CIRCULATION & MEDIA LIAISON SERVICES

Communications Officer: Media Liaison Services, Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator
Hlengiwe Nkonyane
Mobile: +27 79 384 6550

OFFICE, WEBSITE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, USTREAM TV CHANNEL

Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: SACP1921
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NEHAWU North West PEC Statement
19 June 2018

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] in the North West province convened its 7th plenary session the Provincial Executive Committee [PEC] meeting of its 11th Provincial Congress on the 13th-14th June 2018.

The PEC considered the international context, political and socio-economic situations as well as organisational assessment.

The meeting also took place after the province finally witnessed the forced resignation of the Premier of the North West and the decision by national government to invoke section 100 of the constitution against the provincial government.

This PEC meeting took place after the conclusion of the public service wage negotiations which lasted for almost ten months. The PEC agreed that these negotiations were the most difficult as they took place under conditions which were not favourable to the workers.

On International

The meeting remembered The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale which marks 30 years since it took place in Angola. To us Cuito Cuanavale, where battle lines were drawn alongside ideological conviction, is a historic turning point in the struggle for the total liberation of the region from racist rule and aggression. It represents the defeat of the South African Defence Force and the USA which was aided by UNITA, by the Angolan army which fought alongside Cuban, Soviet Union, MK and SWAPO forces.

We noted and condemn the barbaric killings by the Israeli troops of innocent Palestinians including women and children in Gaza. We condemn the actions of apartheid Israel and the USA in their brutal annexation of lands from the Golan Heights in Syria to the whole of Palestine to Lebanon. In this regard, we reiterate the call for our government to cut all ties with Apartheid Israel guided by the African National Congress 54th national conference resolution to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the SA embassy in Israel to a liaison office. We will also ensure that we implement all activities under our international relations pillar.

On the Political Situation

The meeting noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the passing on of the African National Congress' longest serving President, Cde Oliver Reginald Kaizana Tambo. We also remembered the late President of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli. Both these Presidents of the ANC understood the alliance and its importance in relation to our national democratic revolution and its logical conclusion. In that regard, we call on the current President of the ANC, Cde Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa to ensure that the alliance is revived and strengthened in pursuance of our national democratic revolution.

Premier

The meeting feels vindicated after the forced resignation of Supra Mahumapelo as Premier. For a long time, the provincial government has been deteriorating in terms of service delivery. This deterioration of service delivery was a result of the disguised looting of the state in the name of the five concretes. The PEC would also like to caution the progressive forces in the province that the forced resignation of Supra Mahumapelo as Premier is not the end of our problems in the province but should be seen as the beginning of finding solutions. The efforts that led to the forced resignation should be harnessed in order to ensure that we have a clean government led by a trusted African National Congress.

We also commend all progressive forces in the province who worked tirelessly to ensure that an end is brought to the cancer of corruption especially in government departments and entities.

We thanked all our members who participated in both the Provincial and National Days of Action against corruption in the provincial government.

Section 100 and the Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT)

The PEC welcomed the invoking of section 100 of the Constitution of the Republic on the provincial government. The meeting noted that there is relative calm in the province since the appointment of the IMTT. On the same breath, the meeting felt that the IMTT is moving very slow in terms of addressing the challenges raised especially as it relates to demands raised by the union. We will call on our national office to meet with the IMTT and ensure that all our demands are met speedily as we want a stable provincial government.

Acting Premier

The meeting discussed the issue of the Acting Premier in length and resolved that as a union we will not sponsor any particular name for the position as it is the prerogative of the President guided by the deployment committee which should include the alliance partners.

However, as NEHAWU in the province we strongly feel that whoever is appointed Premier should be equal to the challenges currently facing the government, be beyond reproach and satisfy the criteria of leadership as contained in through the eye of the needle.

COSATU Provincial Congress

The meeting noted that the Provincial Congress of the Federation is taking place on the 4th -6th July 2018. The union is also alive to the challenges confronting the federation in our province. In that regard, we will convene an Extended Provincial Political Commission to prepare for the COSATU Provincial Congress. We are also aware of the resolution of the 11th and 12th national congresses of Federation on affiliation of COSATU to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and will sharply raise it in congress.

ANC

The meeting noted the political and organisational challenges facing the African National Congress in the province. We note the regrouping of the premier league faction in the province and its fight to cling to positions of power in the organisation and in government. We call on the collective leadership of the national executive committee of the ANC to dismantle factions and instil discipline and unity in the organisation. Any failure in this regard will only serve to hurt the ANC and divide the revolutionary alliance.

Despite all these challenges confronting the ANC the meeting felt that the ANC remains the relevant vehicle to drive the emancipation of blacks in general and Africans in particular. We also noted that the 2019 general elections are fast approaching. Therefore, in the face of the challenges confronting the ANC in the province the meeting resolved to mobilise its members, workers and the working class communities to rally behind and vote for the ANC in the coming general elections in 2019.

On Socio-Economic

The meeting noted that the protracted negotiations in the public sector have finally come to an end. We note that these negotiations were challenging taking into consideration the conditions under which they took place.

We also want to call on our members in the public service to remain calm and attend branch general meetings and regional bargaining forums which deal with the agreement signed at the PSCBC. These are the channels were we will directly communicate with our members on matters related to the public service wage agreement.

On Health

The PEC noted the state of health in our province. We know for a fact that the state of health in our province has been deteriorating long before our actions that led to the department being placed under section 100 (1) (b). We note the appointment of the IMTT and are willing to work with it to ensure that the standard of health in the province is uplifted. On the same breath, we note that health has not only being a challenge in our province but country-wide.

Part of the bigger challenges in this department is outsourcing, privatisation, irregular expenditures, litigations, shortage of staff and corruption. We reiterate the call for a health indaba to scrutinise the crisis in health.

To that effect we will convene the Provincial Health Sub-Committee, the Provincial nurse's forum and the Community Health Workers general members' meetings to discuss the situation in our province and map out a way forward to ensure that the crisis in health is dealt with.

We also want to applaud all our members for actively fighting the cancer of corruption, especially in the Departments of Health and Social Development. Corruption is at the centre of our challenges in the province and we must not rest but fight this cancer wherever it rears its ugly head.

On Higher Education

The PEC noted the fact that the higher education sector in the province needs dedicated attention. In that regard, we will convene the Provincial Education Committee to look into all matters affecting our members in the higher education sector.

Conclusion

The PEC is aware of the attacks coming from other organisations of workers towards NEHAWU and other sister unions in relation to the public service wage negotiations. We will not return the favour by spewing bile against other workers' organisation as that only serves to give courage to our class enemies. We will convene general meetings of members where we will communicate with members.

The PEC also noted that there are some members of the ANC who are hell-bent on perpetuating factional politics at the expense of the movement as a whole, all in the name of satisfying their gigantic appetites for abusing power and looting. We therefore call on all ANC loving members to fight these appetites and restore the ANC to its glory.

For further information, please contact: Patrick Makhafane @ 082 455 2486 or Toffies Moemi @ 073 064 9300.
NEHAWU Mpumalanga Provincial Executive Committee Statement
19 June 2018

The National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union [NEHAWU] in the Mpumalanga province convened its Provincial Executive Committee [PEC] meeting on the 14th - 15th June 2018 in Mbombela. The meeting deliberated on the work of the union and implementation of our program of action as mandated by the six months work plan, CEC and 10th Provincial Congress.

International situation

The PEC assessed and discussed international developments especially, the US-North Korea summit, the recent Presidential election in Venezuela, and the situation in both Palestine and Swaziland as priority countries. The meeting was impressed with the work of the union on the international front especially the two big successful marches in solidarity with the people of Palestine and the call for the release of Amos Mbhedzi. The PEC resolved to intensify its solidarity work with the people of Palestine and the release of Cde Amos Mbedzi. The meeting further resolved that there is as a need to persuade all MDM formations to pressurize the Swaziland government and to ensure that Cde Amos Mbedzi is released as soon as possible. The PEC further welcomed the meeting which took place between the US and North Korean President as part of managing the tensions between the two countries. We salute and congratulate the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for winning the elections overwhelmingly against the imperialist forces.

Political Situation and ideological work

The PEC noted that the whole movement is very weak on the ground. The branches of the MDM formations and the alliance are not strong enough ideologically, and the membership lacks political direction. The meeting noted that factionalism and patronage continues to define our political spectrum and our movements are under serious attack from reactionary forces from within. The PEC applauded the improved alliance relations in the Province since the provincial alliance summit which was convened almost two years ago. We are however disturbed by the fact that there are no concrete joint political, international and socio-economic programs on the ground, and that the alliance is turned into an alliance of deployments and congresses.

The meeting noted that the ANC PGC has not yet been convened in the province to fill the vacancies in the position of the Provincial Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the ANC since they were elected into the NEC of the ANC in December 2017. We have however noted that the non-convening of the PGC is a blessing in disguise as progressive forces in the province are in disarray and they all want to contest for the position of the Provincial Chairperson. The PEC further condemned the violence and court battles surrounding the recent ANCYL Regional Congresses, including the death of a MKMVA member in Gert Sibande who was shot during the congress. We have further noted that the divisions among the young people in all four regions are caused by some senior leaders of the ANC who have direct interests on who should emerge in those congresses. The PEC resolved to call for a joint coordinated program of political education in the alliance as part of cadre development.

Socio Economic

The PEC noted the recent ANC land summit as a progressive move going forward. The meeting also noted that unemployment is still very high in the province and that there will be no real economic transformation unless key strategic sectors are in the hands of the state such as the land, forestry and SASOL. The state of health and education in the province are in a state of paralysis and close to total collapse. The PEC views the moratorium and the non-filling of vacant post as an attack to the socio-economic rights of both the unemployed and employed workers as well as the public in general.

We have noted report presented by the Auditor General in relation to the state of our municipalities and we are in agreement that our municipalities are also collapsing as a result of lack of political leadership. We therefore call upon the ANC led government to come up with some serious interventions which will be aimed at rescuing our municipalities. There is a need to have strong leadership and consequence management in our municipalities, departments and state owned entities in the province.

The PEC also resolved to embark on a Provincial Day of Action on the 28th June 2018, whereby a memorandum incorporating issues affecting our members in the provincial administration will be delivered to the Premier of the province, including the call for the removal of the MEC for Health and the head of department. The meeting also resolved that there is a great need to convene an education and training indaba which will be aimed at addressing the challenges faced by the education and training sector.

As NEHAWU in the province, we shall revive all our health and education committees at all levels of the union. We also re-iterate our call for the removal of the MEC and HOD for health due to the collapsed health care system in the province and the removal of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Mpumalanga (UMP) who is involved in corruption and union bashing in that institution. We are going to mobilize our members at all levels to ensure that the above demands are achievable going forward.

Organizational

The PEC noted that 2018 is the year of branch congresses, as part of our organizational renewal we shall continue strengthening the workplace organization by improving service to our members and prioritize issues affecting our members and workers in general. We shall also pay more attention on servicing members in smaller workplaces, such as clinics, schools, private institutions and etc. The PEC calls for the continuous convening of war rooms in all our regions and the provincial office, where continuous assessment of the branch congresses will be done and intervene where a need arises. The PEC raised its concerns about the Provincial Government task teams which the union participates in, and that we shall conduct a proper and thorough assessment on the effectiveness of our work in all the task teams. The PEC has directed all regions to convene membership meetings of SAVF and CECT, as well as the Community Health Workers where the members will be taken through with regard to the progress made in relations their absorption and the conditions of service.

COSATU

The PEC noted that COSATU is going to its provincial congress in a few weeks' time, and that some of the affiliates are not in good standing and they only pay affiliation fees towards congresses. The PEC calls for maximum unity of affiliates towards the provincial congress. We shall continue engaging other affiliates in the province in preparing for the 13th provincial congress and ensure that the federation remains, united and coherent pre and post the provincial congress, and that the relations between unions that are affiliated to WFTU is strengthened at all material times. The meeting further resolved that an Extended Provincial Commission shall be convened on the 18th -19th to prepare for both the provincial and national congress.

We appreciate the recent launch of the Red Fridays which is about going back to basics, servicing workers at the workplace and the recruitment of new members throughout the country. The congress resolution of COSATU's affiliation to WFTU should be implemented as soon as possible and cannot be debated forever.

DAY OF ACTION

The PEC noted that the are many challenges confronting workers and the general public in relations to service delivery, and that some of these issues were presented to the then Premier of the province in 2016 and have not been resolved as per the commitment made by the then Premier Honorable David Mabuza. The meeting has therefor resolved to embark of a Provincial Day of Action on the 28th June 2018 where the entire provincial administration will be closed, and the union will be presenting a memorandum to the current Premier of the Province Honorable Refilwe Mthsweni.

Our demands are as follows:

Removal of the MEC and HOD for Health
Insourcing of Services
Forensic Investigation on corruption in MRTT, MEGA, Department of Health, Human Settlement, Provincial Treasury and Public Works Roads and Transport
Complete Lifting of Moratorium and filling of all vacant posts in Mpumalanga Provincial Administration,
Full Implementation of Resolution 1 of 2012,
Full Implementation of parity and many other issues affecting our members in general.
Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

For more information contact: NEHAWU Mpumalanga Provincial Secretary, Cde Welcome Mnisi, at 082 455 2897 or email welcome@nehawu.org.za visit NEHAWU website www.nehawu.org.za

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COSATU's Land Reform Statement on the Day We Mourn 105 Years Since the Adoption of the Natives Land Act
On this day, 19 June 1913, the Union Parliament passed the Native Land Act, which consolidated the dispossession of African land and its natural resources. The South Africa Act and the land acts of 1913 and 1936 rendered Africans landless, homeless and hopeless. The lack of progress in expediting land reform is seriously disconcerting and the consequences of those decisions like poverty, unemployment and inequality are still with us today.

It is lamentable and deeply unjust that 105 years after the adoption of the Native Land Act, millions of our members and their families still find themselves landlessness across South Africa. This ranges from millions of South Africans condemned to living in squalor in informal areas to millions living landless in rural areas. It includes farm workers who work the land for their survival but they still have no land security.

This is a crisis has gotten worse since 1994 because despite government's efforts and billions of Rands spent, most farming land is in white hands. Property ownership is deeply racially skewed. COSATU believes that a mixed approach is needed to resolve this and that it must be balanced and sustainable. It must advance the cause of transformation because continuing on the current trajectory is to invite future conflict.

Section 25

Much has been said about Section 25 of the Constitution. The federation believes that the section provides a clear mandate to government. Yes it establishes property rights, including the right to compensation when expropriated but it also compels government to advance land reform and restitution. It compels government to provide security of rights and tenure to the dispossessed and states that property rights cannot block this broader transformational mandate.

COSATU does not believe that the Constitution can be blamed for government, property owners and society's failures to transform.

We must own our failures and not look for scapegoats.

Expropriation Bill, 2016

COSATU participated in the development of the Expropriation Bill at Nedlac and during Parliamentary negotiations. We strongly support it because it is based upon the progressive transformational clauses of the Constitution. It gives government a clear mandate to advance land reform and restitution and redistribution. It compels government to address the legacies of apartheid and colonialism.

It also provides clarity and the necessary protections for all citizens from possible abuses. It clarifies timeframes and court processes that have often been abused by those who want to delay transformation.

COSATU understands that property is not solely the concern of the wealthy but also the working class. Our members own homes and other properties they also want to have their rights protected.

However we do not want to see property rights and the right to compensation for expropriation to be used to delay land reform etc. We do not want to see informal areas be denied security by absentee land lords. We do not want to see farm workers remaining defacto serfs as they have no land.

COSATU Proposals

1.1 Expropriation Act

COSATU believes the main legislative route to address this crisis is the existing Expropriation Bill. COSATU believes that the following should be done

A new clause should be inserted into the Expropriation Bill that states under which conditions compensation does not need to be paid or to be paid according to market value:

Abandoned land;
Neglected land owned by absentee landlords;
Idle land that is needed for productive public use;
State owned land;
Land occupied by labour tenants historically;
Land who's value has been unfairly inflated due to massive state investments there or nearby;
Land held to speculative ransom that is needed for productive use;
Land that is offered by its owner to the state as a donation e.g. for land reform etc;
Land that was expropriated during the apartheid or colonial era where market value was not paid to the original owner and that was not paid for by the current owner; and
Land who's owner benefited from an unfair discriminatory loan during the apartheid era e.g. a farmer who was given a below market value loan and now wants a market value compensation.
1.2 Section 25, (Property Clause)

COSATU does not believe that it is ideal to amend the Constitution. This should only be done if absolutely necessary. Ideally legislation such as the Expropriation Bill is what should be amended and utilised. We believe that Section 25 empowers the state sufficiently to advance land reform and restitution and redistribution.

We are confident that the above proposals to amend the Expropriation Bill as well as other land reform legislation are sufficient to empower the state. However if it is necessary to amend Section 25, then we would propose its clause dealing with compensation be amended to provide for the above criteria when compensation is not necessary or when compensation may be partially paid. We would not want to see Section 25 deleted as it also compels the state to drive transformation of property ownership, land reform etc.

Other Relevant Legislation

COSATU feels that government has performed poorly on the question of land transformation. In particular it has failed to prioritise the rights of farm workers. It has not placed them at the top of beneficiaries to receive land. It has failed to provide adequate support to emerging farmers. It has failed to protect the agricultural sector as a whole from heavily subsidise international competition. It has failed to provide land security to informal areas and back yard dwellers and residents of communal areas.

Government and Parliament have equally been shamefully slow to prioritise and fast track the following legislation which would have further significantly empowered government to advance land reform:

Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill:
This bill has been in Parliament for more almost four years and yet to be passed.
Provisions to protect farm workers from evictions agreed to by government at Nedlac were then forgotten by government when tabling the bill at Parliament.
Regulation of Land Holding Bill:
Government has delayed tabling this bill at Nedlac and Parliament.
It will advance land reform by placing caps on how much agricultural land one person may own and by limiting foreign ownership of agricultural land.
Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill:
This bill will help preserve agriculturally prime land for agriculture.
Government has delayed tabling this at Parliament due to resistance from the mining industry.
Communal Land Tenure Bill:
This will give persons living in communal and other areas the right to choose what type of ownership they want to live under.
Government has delayed tabling this at Parliament.
If government and Parliament are serious about land reform etc. then they will prioritise these long delayed and overdue progressive bills. To keep delaying them will make us doubt their commitment.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
ANC Statement On the Outcomes of the Special National Executive Committee Held on the 18th of June 2018
19 June 2018

The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) met in a Special Session on the 18th of June 2018, as decided by its 3rd regular meeting held on the 26th to the 28th of May 2018 to consider reports on the E Cape, Free State and North West, and more generally preparations for Regional and Provincial conferences.

The Special NEC dealt with these issues based on the report of the National Working Committee.

ON REGIONAL AND PROVINCIAL CONFERENCES

EASTERN CAPE

The Special NEC noted the update on the audit and preparations for Regional conferences in the province and urged the National Officials to ensure an urgent political programme, working with the PEC and NEC Deployees, to facilitate a political solution that will ultimately aid unity and renewal given the organizational challenges, including ongoing litigation.

LIMPOPO

The Special NEC received and welcomed a report on the preparation towards the Limpopo Provincial Conference which is expected to take place from the 22nd of June 2018. The NEC will assist the province to ensure a successful conference.

The Special NEC took note of the disbandment of the RECs in Waterberg and Peter Mokaba Regions as well as the subsequent appointment of Regional Task Teams(RTT's) in both Regions.

The Special NEC noted the work being done by the Provincial Dispute Resolution Committee and NEC Deployees to resolve complaints and disputes with affected structures and ANC members in Limpopo, and urge that these processes be concluded and decisions communicated to structures before the Provincial conference sits.

FREE STATE

The Special NEC noted the report of the NEC Deployees as requested by the last NEC on the Free State Conference and accordingly endorsed and accepted the outcomes of the Free State Provincial Conference.

The Special NEC urged the newly elected PEC and NEC deployees to make use of available legitimate instruments to facilitate unity and renewal in the Province of the Free State.

KWAZULU-NATAL

The Special NEC noted that the challenges in the province can be resolved, in line with the mandate of the 54th National Conference.

The Special NEC directed the National Dispute Resolution Committee (NDRC) to continue work with the PTT to address the issues raised by members who interdicted the Provincial Conference. In this regard, it would be possible to render the legal contestation redundant.

The fundamental objective is to unite the organisation in pursuit of the core objective of the ANC which is to build a better life for all, especially the poor.

The Special NEC agreed that the PTT, working with the National Officials and the NEC Deployees will ensure that the KZN Provincial Conference, when it sits before the end of July, focuses on substantive issues of social transformation, organizational renewal and a decisive victory in the elections.

The Special NEC noted the good work done by the PTT, NEC and the NDRC and further encouraged all involved to continue on the path of unity and renewal.

NORTHERN CAPE

The Special NEC noted the report of the NEC Deployees on the processes around Namaqua, and the efforts to unify the Region and strengthen the movement. It endorsed the recommendation that the the Namaqua Regional conference be held immediately after the elections.

NORTH WEST

The Special NEC mandated the NWC to take a decision on the Premier Candidate by Thursday the 21st of June 2018. In this regard, a Special NWC will sit on Wednesday the 20th of June 2018 to conclude on the matter.

GAUTENG

The Special NEC noted and welcomed the report on preparations for the Provincial and Regional Conferences expected to all have convened on or before the end of July 2018.

The Special NEC noted the work done by the Gauteng PEC working together with NEC Deployees in attending to disputes and complains and accordingly encourage all our structures to subject themselves to internal processes of the organization in seeking solutions to disputes.

ON THE USE OF THE JUDICIARY TO FIGHT INTERNAL ANC PROCESSES

The Special NEC affirmed its commitment to the measures for internal dispute resolution as set out in the ANC Constitution and Resolutions adopted by 54th National Conference at all levels.

It implored responsible leadership structures and collectives at all levels to abide by the letter and spirit of the ANC Constitution, in how they oversee and run organisational processes, and give ANC members the space to be heard and raise their grievances and complaints.

It urges members to utilize internal processes.

COUNCIL OF ELDERS

The President will act on Conference resolution to convene a Council of Elders and report to the NWC and NEC.

COUNT DOWN TOWARDS SEAPARANKOE/ISITHWALANDWE TATA NELSON MANDELA CENTENARY

The ANC launched the first of daily online citations of Tata Nelson Mandela's speeches which form part of the countdown towards his centenary celebrations to pay tribute to this giant of the Congress Movement on Monday the 18th of June 2018.

Born on the 18th of July 1918, Tata Mandela would have turned 100 years old on 18 July 2018. The count-down commenced exactly a month before we honor his centenary. The citations are posted daily across all our information dissemination and mass media platforms.

Nelson Mandela 29 DAYS TO #Mandela100

"I pay tribute to the endless heroism of youth , you , the young lions. You the young lions, have energized the entire struggle"

Issued by ANC Secretary General Cde Ace Magashule

Enquiries:
Pule Mabe
0716234975
China and DPRK Hold Third Meeting to Discuss Peace in Korean Peninsula
Jessica Stone@JessicaStoneTV
China Global Television Network
June 19, 2018 at 9:54 PM

The leaders of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea met for a third time in three months. This comes as Seoul and Washington suspend military drills scheduled for August. It’s all part of renewed efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un’s trip comes as Beijing takes steps to strengthen its role as a mediator between Washington and Pyongyang. Beijing is claiming it has compelling security and economic interests in the region.

President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan welcomed Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju to the Great Hall of the People. Xi and Kim also inspected an honor guard together.

According to Chinese domestic media reports, Kim thanked Xi for his support, telling him he “hopes to work with China and other concerned parties to promote and establish a solid, long-lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

Kim was also expected to brief Xi on his talks with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore last week. Xi told Kim he hopes Pyongyang and Washington can carry out the results of their historic summit, and Seoul welcomed the meeting.

“The governments of South Korea and China share the same strategic goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. Also, our government hopes China will play a constructive role in resolving this problem. We hope Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit will contribute to that,” said Noh Kyu-duk of the South Korean Foreign Ministry.

On Monday, Seoul and Washington announced they are suspending plans for their annual August military drills. Last week, President Trump appeared to surprise some in the region by announcing he was willing to suspend the exercises as long as Kim was “engaging in good faith negotiations” on the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

The South Korean Defense Ministry said regional defense remains a priority, and Pyongyang will be expected to live up to its recent commitments.

“Regarding the South Korea-U.S. joint defense, both countries are preparing diligently without any trouble and will continue to do so. Also, about the issue of North Korea, we are expecting corresponding measures as we decided to suspend joint drills,” said Choi Hyun-soo of the South Korean Defense Ministry.

Last year, more than 17,000 American and more than 50,000 South Korean troops participated in the August training. As of now, that’s the only round of joint drills to be suspended. Decisions on subsequent training will be made at a future date.
Congratulatory Letter and Floral Basket to Xi Jinping
Kim Jong Un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea and Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK, sent a congratulatory message and a basket of flowers on June 15 to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, on his birthday.

In his message he extended the warmest congratulation and friendly greetings to the Chinese President.

Xi Jinping at the helm of the Chinese Party, government and military has led the Party and people to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, opening up bright prospects for socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, Kim Jong Un said, adding that Xi has also raised the profile of China on the international arena and made a positive contribution to protecting global peace and security.

He highly appreciated the latest meetings with Xi, saying that they marked occasions in deepening particular comradeship and trust between them and further bolstering up the DPRK-China friendship, strategic choice of the two Parties and two countries, as required by the new era.

It is a steadfast will of the Korean Party and people, he noted, to set great store by the blood-tied friendship and steadily strengthen it, whatever the situation and challenge. And he was hopeful that the concerted efforts with Xi Jinping would give fuller play to the invincible vitality and inexhaustible potential of the bilateral ties, a priceless asset of the two Parties and two peoples.

He wished Xi Jinping greater success in his responsible work with good health and happiness for his family.
Bitter Past of Pain and Frustration Should Not Be Repeated
The conservative group of traitors in south Korea is going more reckless at a time when the expectation and desire of the public for implementation of the historic Panmunjom Declaration grow stronger with each passing day.

Having hurled mud at the third and fourth inter-Korean summits and the Panmunjom Declaration, the "Liberal Korea Party" set itself against the adoption of a bill backing the Panmunjom Declaration at the "National Assembly".

All the fellow countrymen are trembling with anger at the reckless moves of the conservatives to make a mockery of the historic agreement common to the nation reflecting its unanimous desire.

The misbehaviour brings into bolder relief the true colours of the group of traitors against reunification.

Hong Jun Phyo and his LKP are a group of the worst traitors like Lee Myung Bak and Park Geun Hye.

The fellow countrymen still remember the great joy at the birth of the June 15 Joint Declaration in June 2000 which witnessed a breakthrough in the 55-year-long history of national division and the emotional days when the October 4 Declaration was adopted in 2007.

The thrice-cursed crimes of the Lee Myung Bak and Park Geun Hye groups of traitors will never be pardoned as they reduced the priceless north-south declarations to scraps of paper and drove the inter-Korean relations into the lowest ebb, trampling upon all the successes gained by the June 15 Joint Declaration.

A handful of the LKP coterie is now going to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors.

The authorities and ruling and opposition parties of south Korea decided to adopt the bill supporting the Panmunjom Declaration. This is a reflection of the public mind that the crime-woven history should not be repeated and the Panmunjom Declaration should be implemented to the letter.

Clear is the intention of the LKP coterie claiming that there is no "hardcore content". It is to block the compulsory and institutional implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration which stands above any political group and regime. In fact, such attempt is a crime against the nation as it is designed to mar the improvement of the inter-Korean ties and destroy peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

The historic significance and justice of the declaration can neither be played down nor be changed by anyone's denial.

Watching the last-ditch efforts of the group of traitors with the 18th publication anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration approaching, all the fellow countrymen come to conclusion that it is a disgrace to the nation to allow the existence of such group of traitors as Hong Jun Phyo and that if they are left intact, the bitter past in which the agreements common to the nation were violated and the inter-Korean ties went through pain and frustration will be repeated.

The abnormal situation, in which marginalized philistines are running amuck, should no longer be allowed.

Human scum such as Hong Jun Phyo and his LKP going against the desire and aspiration of the nation will surely face judgment by history.
Firm Pledge Made at Party Central Committee
Chairman Kim Jong Il started working at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on June 19, 1964. He was lost in deep thought throughout that night. At dawn the next day, he looked up at the Party flag fluttering in the sky over the building of the Party Central Committee for a while before saying to officials in the following vein: The WPK has traversed the most glorious and brilliant road along with the red flag. The Party flag crystallizes the revolutionary history of President Kim Il Sung. It is my lifelong task to strengthen and develop the WPK into the eternal party of Kim Il Sung, and we should carry through this glorious cause.

This firm pledge he made at the dawn represented his noble faith and steadfast will which heralded the rosy future of the WPK.

Over the nearly five decades from that historic day the Chairman made great efforts to develop the WPK into the Juche-type revolutionary party which breathes and acts with the President’s ideology both in name and in reality, and the vanguard for the revolution which firmly defends and glorifies his ideas and exploits.

He formulated the President’s revolutionary ideology as an integral system of the idea, theory and method of Juche, and made sure that the WPK was developed into a powerful body that is ideologically pure and organizationally integrated, an organization over which the President’s revolutionary ideology holds undivided sway, under the unfurled banner of modelling the whole Party on the Juche idea.

After the demise of the President, he added brilliance to the purity of the Party’s ideology from one century into the next by putting forward the revolutionary slogan “The great leader Comrade Kim Il Sung will always be with us!” He also made public such immortal classic works as The Workers’ Party of Korea Is the Party of the Great Leader Comrade Kim Il Sung and The Workers' Party of Korea Is the Great Party Which Carries Forward and Accomplishes Victoriously the Revolutionary Cause of Comrade Kim Il Sung, in which he gave comprehensive and perfect answers to theoretical and practical problems arising in developing the WPK into the glorious party of Kim Il Sung for ever and further enriched the President’s ideas and theories of building a revolutionary party.

He ensured that the spirit of defending the leader to the death pervaded the whole Party and that the Party building and its activities were conducted in the same way as the President had done. Under his sagacious leadership the WPK could staunchly safeguard its revolutionary character even in the face of all the severe upheavals of history and lead the country and the revolution along the road of victory.

It is the source of the greatest honour and fortune for the Korean people to hold Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, another peerlessly great man, at the highest post of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

The brilliant history of the WPK will go on along with the immortal Juche idea, under the seasoned leadership of Kim Jong Un who indicated the correct way for steadily building up the WPK into the glorious party of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
WPK—Invincible Guiding Force
Chairman Kim Jong Il started working at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in June 1964. Under his nearly-half-a-century-long leadership, the WPK has developed into an invincible revolutionary party. Its history adorned with victory and glory is shining more brilliantly thanks to Kim Jong Il who performed immortal exploits in its building and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un who is successfully carrying forward his cause.

Kim Jong Il strengthened and developed the WPK into a revolutionary party of a Juche type in which the unitary character of the leader’s ideology and leadership are securely guaranteed.

With a plan to develop the WPK into the party of President Kim Il Sung, he conducted energetic ideological and theoretical activities to formulate the President’s revolutionary ideology as Kimilsungism, an integral system of the idea, theory and method of Juche, and further enriched it as required by the times and the developing revolution. He ensured that all problems arising in Party building and activities were solved in line with the President’s plan and intention and energetically led the effort to embody the requirements of the Juche idea in the revolution and construction to the letter, with the result that the unity in ideology and purpose and organizational solidarity of the Party ranks were consolidated rock-solid.

Kim Jong Il developed the WPK into a powerful political General Staff in implementing the socialist cause.

With an unshakeable will to carry forward the socialist cause of Juche pioneered by the President down through the generations, he clarified the scientific accuracy and veracity of socialism and made sure that the principle of collectivism, the original features of socialism and the Juche character and national identity were strictly maintained in the revolution and construction. Under his leadership the WPK could steer the cause of socialism along the road of victory even in the face of the imperialists’ sanctions and blockade.

Kim Jong Il ensured that the WPK developed into a motherly party that forms an integral whole with the people and serves them.

He always regarded the people as his mentors and mapped out the Party’s lines and policies in reflection of their opinions and demands. His absolute trust in and ardent love for them found expression in his people-bound train by which he made on-site guidance trips to different parts of the country throughout his life and in the people-oriented policies which have been pursued invariably even in the period of the Arduous March when the country was undergoing difficulties. Regarding it as an important principle for Party building and activities to form a harmonious whole of the Party and the people, he led the WPK to give top and absolute priority to their demands and interests with firm belief in their strength. Accordingly, the Korean people have trusted and followed the WPK, regarding it as their closest motherly party, and entrusted their all entirely to it.

Kim Jong Un ensures that the WPK, guided by Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, conducts its building and activities in the same way as Kim Jong Il did, and staunchly safeguards and adds eternal brilliance to his ideas and exploits. Great changes are taking place in the work style and attitude of the WPK under his leadership for further strengthening and developing it into a powerful vanguard force of the Juche revolution. The Seventh Congress of the WPK, the First Conference of Chairpersons of the WPK Primary Committees and other Party-wide conferences held under his guidance marked a historic milestone in building up the WPK into the party of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.

He is brilliantly carrying forward the Chairman’s revolutionary ideas and mode and leading the service personnel and people to victory, foiling the imperialists’ sanctions and blockades with his matchless courage and guts. The DPRK has brought about events of national significance which fully demonstrated its invincible might, achieved a miraculous victory of building beautiful socialist villages in the flood-stricken areas and created legendary stories of building one magnificent street after another every year. Credit for these remarkable successes must go to the wise leadership of the WPK.

Kim Jong Un invariably embodies the idea of “The people are my God” cherished by the Chairman as his motto throughout his life. The WPK regards making selfless, devoted efforts for the good of the people as the mode of its existence and its revolutionary climate and administers benevolent politics based on affection for and trust in them. Under its leadership the people-first principle is being thoroughly applied in all fields of Party work, state activities and social life.

The immortal exploits Kim Jong Il performed for Party building will shine forever along with the invincible might of the WPK which always emerges victorious, enjoying the absolute support and trust of all the Korean people.
Motto for Party Officials
The history of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which always emerges victorious, enjoying absolute support and trust of the masses of the people, is associated with the energetic leadership of Chairman Kim Jong Il who led the Party officials to be faithful servants of the people.

Flower and Butterfly

It happened when the Chairman took a break on a lakeside during his on-site guidance trip in the summer of Juche 59 (1970).

Feasting his eyes on the beautiful scenery of the flowering lakeside, he said to his entourage as follows: If you carefully examine the movements of bee and butterfly, it will be easy to discern between fragrant and scentless flowers. This principle still works in human life. As bees and butterflies travel in quest of fragrant flowers, so the people find their way to warm-hearted Party officials. Fragrance of a Party official precisely means his humanity and kindness. Bees and butterflies go in quest of fragrant flowers to collect nectar, the source of their living, whereas the latter emits fragrance to promote pollination for bearing good fruits with the help of the former. The same is the case of relationship between the party and the people. Only when the masses of the people entrust their destiny to the party and are guided by it can they add lustre to their political integrity, and only when the latter rallies the foremr behind it can the latter emerge victorious in the revolution.

Listening to his precious teachings, the officials realized afresh the principles of life and Party work from a common natural phenomenon and kept deep in their minds that the integral whole of the party and the masses is the mode of existence of the WPK.

Fertilizer and Fruit

One day in May Juche 62 (1973), the Chairman had talks with officials on the cause of some shortcomings revealed in work with people.

He said in the following vein: I think it is attributable to the fact that Party officials do not make a deep study of their work methods without a high sense of being responsible for the people’s political integrity, adding that the most important for them in equipping themselves with correct work methods and art of leadership is to cherish the spirit of devoted service to the people and the self-sacrificing spirit of devoting themselves for the sake of the revolution. Their painstaking efforts may not be recognized because they are like the fertilizer that fosters the crops under the ground. Likewise, Party officials should not put themselves forward in doing anything but go deep among the masses, mix with them and give efficient support and boost to the work of administrative and economic officials. Only then can they achieve good results.

His instruction on becoming the fertilizer that fosters sound fruits served as a guideline that Party officials should regard as the motto in their work and life.
Genius of Ideology and Theory
Chairman Kim Jong Il illuminated the path ahead of the era of independence by energetically conducting ideological and theoretical activities with unexcelled wisdom.

Endowed with extraordinary insight and analysis and judgment, good memory and profound knowledge, he formulated President Kim Il Sung’s revolutionary ideology as Kimilsungism, an integral system of the idea, theory and method of Juche, in the early days when he started working at the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea on June 19, 1964. It is his unique achievement that he glorified the President’s as the guiding ideology in the era of independence by further developing and enriching it as required by the times and the developing revolution.

Busy as he was with the overall affairs of the country, the Chairman authored many works that gave comprehensive solutions to the building of party, power organs and working people’s organizations, literature and the arts, Korea’s reunification, the cause of global independence and all other fields of the revolution and construction. They include On the Juche Idea, the library of the Juche idea and Juche philosophy, and many other works which provided correct answers to the theoretical and practical problems arising in party building and its activities, and encyclopedic ones which clarified the principled matters for developing the Korean People’s Army into an invincible army, building up the people’s government and stepping up socialist economic construction and cultural development.

On the Art of the Cinema and other works published in the days when he guided the cinema, opera and drama sectors to bring about a revolutionary change in their work served as ideo-theoretical assets that ushered in the “Renaissance of the 20th century”.

When the tragic event of collapse of socialism happened in several countries in the previous century he published a series of works such as The Historical Lesson in Building Socialism and the General Line of Our Party, Abuses of Socialism Are Intolerable and Socialism Is a Science, in which he corroborated the truth that it is a law of irresistible historical development that mankind advances towards socialism.

In the grim periods when the country was at the crossroads of downfall or survival he wrote such works as Our Party’s Songun Politics Is a Powerful Mode of Socialist Politics and The Songun-Based Revolutionary Line Is a Great Revolutionary Line of Our Era and an Ever-Victorious Banner of Our Revolution and administered Songun politics. Under his leadership the DPRK could frustrate the imperialists’ isolation-and-stifling schemes and firmly defend socialism of its own style, giving fuller play to its might as a politico-ideological power and a military power.

While making ceaseless guidance trips to all sectors of the revolution and construction, he made public On Making a Decisive Advance in the Building of a Great, Prosperous and Powerful Socialist Country, The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Is a Juche-oriented Socialist State with Invincible Might and other works to guarantee the rosy future of socialist Korea.

Today, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is exalting the brilliance of the Chairman’s ideo-theoretical exploits by formulating Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the eternal guiding ideology of the Workers’ Party of Korea and carrying forward the revolutionary ideas of the great leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il. Under his leadership the Korean people will always emerge victorious, vigorously speeding up the building of a socialist power.