Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Victims of the world's worst listeriosis outbreak on Thursday took the first step in a class action suit against the company blamed for contaminated meat that killed 180 people in South Africa. Group lawyer Richard Spoor, who represents 70 affected families, said an application had been filed in a Johannesburg court seeking permission to sue the company in a class action. Officials reported that Tiger Brands and its subsidiary Enterprise Food were the origin of the listeria epidemic. "The application to get approval for a class action was filed today," Spoor told AFP. The complaint was filed by 10 representatives who included relatives of the dead and survivors. Among them are a mother who lost...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Self-testing kits and vending machines distributing prescription drugs are two ways that HIV treatment is being automated to reduce stigma in South Africa, home of the world's biggest HIV epidemic. With 7.1 million people living with HIV in the country, removing human intervention is helping experts target hard-to-reach groups like young men who are often reluctant to queue in public clinics. Students, porters and labourers have flocked to a new HIV self-testing stand outside a supermarket in Hillbrow, a gritty district of central Johannesburg. The project was started in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2015 and expanded last year to include South Africa, which has an 18.9-percent HIV rate among adults.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/27/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Murray & Roberts (MURJ.J) on Tuesday rejected German investor ATON’s buyout offer, which values the engineering and construction company at nearly $600 million, as “opportunistic” and poor value for shareholders. German investor Lutz Helmig’s ATON, which already owns a third of Murray & Roberts, offered to buy the rest of the company at 15 rand ($1.29) per share — a 56 percent premium to last Thursday’s closing price. However, Murray & Roberts’ independent board said...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Former South African president Jacob Zuma is set to appear in court on April 6 to face corruption charges, police said Monday. Zuma is accused of taking kickbacks before he became president in 2009 from the $5 billion purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and military equipment manufactured by five European firms. He resigned on February 14 when the ruling African National Congress party turned against him after a nine-year reign scarred by corruption allegations, an economic slowdown and diminished popularity. "We can confirm that the summons has been served to the former president," Hangwani Mulaudzi...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Disgraced former South African president Jacob Zuma could appear in court within weeks on charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering in connection with a decades-old $5 billion arms deal, reports said Sunday. Quoting sources close to the case, news websites News24 and TimeLive said the first hearing could take place in Durban on April 6. Prosecutors in the case allege that Zuma took kickbacks from the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and other arms manufactured by five European firms including British military equipment maker BAE Systems and French company Thales. It was announced last week that Zuma, who resigned as president last month, would face prosecution...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
Former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe says South Africa should have sent troops instead of a team of negotiators to prevent his ouster by the military last year. Mugabe said his regional neighbours betrayed him "in a sense", in an interview with the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper and other regional and international media. "When you look at their conditions, except for South Africa, they haven’t got the capacity to intervene," the 94-year-old is quoted as saying. "But South Africa could have...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
South Africa, whose debt is rated as "junk" or non-investment grade by credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P, has escaped a third junk rating from Moody's which suggested the country's economic outlook was set to improve under its new President Cyril Ramaphosa. Moody's said in a statement that it was holding the rating on South Africa's long-term debt at Baa3, the lowest investment grade above junk status. But the statement, released overnight on Friday, said that the ratings agency had decided to upgrade the outlook for the country's debt from "negative" to "stable", meaning that a further downgrade...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
South Africa's government was facing growing questions on Thursday over who should foot the legal bills of former president Jacob Zuma as he fights numerous allegations of corruption. His successor President Cyril Ramaphosa appeared to endorse underwriting the mounting legal court costs of his erstwhile political master. "The acts on the basis of which it is alleged that the former President committed criminal offences took place during his tenure as a government official both at provincial and later at national...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
South African internet and entertainment group Naspers on Friday raised $9.8 billion (7.8 billion euros) selling two percent of its hugely-profitable stake in Chinese technology giant Tencent. Naspers' investment in Tencent has been "one of the greatest venture-capital investments ever", according to Bloomberg News. It said the stake in Tencent that Naspers bought for $32 million in 2001 was valued at $175 billion on Thursday. Naspers, Tencent's biggest investor, vowed to not sell any more shares for three years. "These...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
South Africa's new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has suspended the head of the tax service ahead of "disciplinary proceedings" as he vows to fight graft following his predecessor Jacob Zuma's ousting. In a statement released late Monday, Ramaphosa announced that Tom Moyane had refused to resign as the South African Revenue Service (SARS) commissioner and had then been suspended. Ramaphosa has replaced his finance minister and several other senior officials since coming to power last month, when graft-tainted Zuma was pushed...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
A private jet used by a business family at the heart of corruption allegations against former South African president Jacob Zuma was grounded Monday by a court order, according to court documents. The whereabouts of the Bombadier Global 6000 jet is unknown, but the High Court in Johannesburg ordered that it must be landed and kept at the Lanseria airport outside the city. The court gave the Guptas 15 days to hand over the luxury jet. "Within 15 calendar days...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
A ship's cargo of phosphate claimed by the disputed territory of Western Sahara has been put up for auction in South Africa, 10 months after being seized by local authorities. The cargo, which was extracted by a Moroccan company, has been claimed by Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled by Rabat where the Polisario Front group is fighting for independence. Last month, a court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa gave an order granting the auction after a petition from the Polisario Front. South Africa is a strong supporter of Western Sahara's struggle for independence.
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
Egypt striker Amr Gamal has quit reigning South African champions Wits after failing to make an impact, lessening his chances of featuring at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Wits coach Gavin Hunt on Tuesday confirmed the early end to a one-year loan deal, saying: "Amr is a good footballer, but I thought he would settle in much quicker. "I understand he is joining a Finnish club (HJK Helsinki) on loan and we wish him the best of luck there."...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
South Africa are trying to tune out the noise behind the scenes of a bad-tempered series against Australia and focus on the third Test, opening batsman Dean Elgar said on Monday. "It's been a hectic last two weeks with everything that’s been happening behind the scenes," Elgar told journalists. The chief drama involves fast bowler Kagiso Rabada who on Monday gave his version of events in his appeal against a ban that could sideline him for the two remaining Tests...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
A judge on Monday ordered the South African government to pay $100,000 to each of the families of 144 psychiatric patients who died of neglect, as he detailed a "terrible tale of death and torture". Many of the deaths occurred due to pneumonia, dehydration and diarrhoea after patients were hurriedly transferred from a private hospital to 27 poorly-prepared facilities as a cost-cutting measure. More than 1,700 patients were moved out of Johannesburg's Life Healthcare Esidimeni hospital in a decision that Justice Dikgang Moseneke criticised as "irrational". It led to a "carnage" of patients and a "total disrespect of dignity", Moseneke said in his damning ruling after weeks of arbitration hearings.
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
South African winemaker Marlize Jacobs looks out across the parched brown earth that sustains her award-winning vines, surveying the effects of the water crisis ravaging Cape Town and surrounding areas. "It's the strangest thing -- I think vines like to suffer. When the berries are shrinking, there's more concentration of flavours," she told AFP, describing the impact on her crop of the worst drought in 100 years. The Western Cape region has gone without significant rains for more than three years, forcing South Africa's second city to slash residential water consumption by more than 60 percent. Wine flavours may benefit, but water-intensive businesses like Marlize's farm, 35 kilometres (20 miles) east of Cape Town...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/18)
A South African supermarket chain has withdrawn a third brand of sausages after the world's worst listeria outbreak which has claimed at least 183 lives since January last year. Shoprite said it would no longer be selling farmer's Deli sausages as a precautionary measure as "the presence of Listeria monocytogenes was identified in an initial testing of a single batch of red Viennas." It said more tests were needed to confirm "harmful levels of Listeria bacteria. "The results of the...
(AFP (eng) 03/17/18)
Veteran South Africa fast bowler Dale Steyn Friday ruled himself out of the third Test against Australia, paving the way for Morne Morkel to replace suspended Kagiso Rabada. Steyn is recovering from a heel injury and told the South African media that he would not be fit to face the tourists in Cape Town from next Thursday in a fiery series deadlocked at 1-1. "I cannot imagine another Test where I need to retire halfway through it because my foot...
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Former South African president Jacob Zuma will face prosecution on corruption charges that haunted much of his term in office, the country's chief prosecutor said Friday. The ruling is the latest twist in a case that has dogged post-apartheid South Africa's democratic leadership after the country inked a $5-billion (4.2-billion-euro) arms deal in the 1990s. "After consideration of the matter I am of the view there are reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution of Mr Zuma on the charges listed...

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