Saturday 19 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 08/16/17)
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe was under investigation by South African police Tuesday after she allegedly used an extension cord to assault a model in a Johannesburg hotel. The alleged attack threatened to spark a major diplomatic incident between the two countries, which have strong political and economic ties. The 52-year-old wife of President Robert Mugabe is accused of beating Gabriella Engels, 20, on Sunday evening at the hotel where her two sons were staying, leaving the victim with injuries to her forehead and the back of her head. "She hasn't handed herself over yet. We do not know her whereabouts at this stage," police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo told AFP.
(AFP (eng) 08/16/17)
South Africa on Wednesday marks five years since the Marikana massacre when police shot dead 34 striking mineworkers, with commemorations focused on the lack of prosecutions over the killings. The 34 miners were gunned down after police were deployed to break up a wildcat strike that had turned violent at the Lonmin-owned Marikana platinum mine, northwest of Johannesburg, in August 2012. It was the worst police violence in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. On Wednesday, family members, miners, trade unionists, activists and politicians will gather at the site of the massacre to honour the dead and call for criminal prosecutions and improved compensation. An official inquiry established by President Jacob Zuma put much of the blame...
(Bloomberg 08/16/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress won’t try to expose its lawmakers who voted in secret with the opposition in the no-confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma, the party’s secretary-general said. “There will be no witch hunt for those who voted with the opposition,” Gwede Mantashe said in a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday. “We don’t know who voted what way.” More than two dozen members of the ANC backed the motion of no confidence in the president on Aug. 8, which the main opposition Democratic Alliance filed after he fired his respected finance minister in a March 31 cabinet reshuffle that caused two ratings companies to downgrade the nation’s foreign-currency debt to junk. The vote was conducted...
(AFP (eng) 08/16/17)
Jailed South African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius briefly left his Pretoria prison on Wednesday to attend his grandmother's funeral. "He left in the morning under supervision of our officials and by 20-minutes-past-one he was back at the facility," Correctional Services spokesman Singabakho Nxumalo told AFP. He was driven from Atteridgeville prison in Pretoria after he had been granted permission to bury his maternal grandmother‚ Joyce Bekker, who according to local media, died last week aged 93. The funeral took place in Johannesburg's northern Bryanston's suburb. Nxumalo said there was nothing special about Pistorius being let out because regulations permit low-risk prisoners compassionate leave to attend the funerals of, or visit critically ill direct family members. Earlier this month Pistorius was...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/16/17)
Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe returned home on Tuesday from South Africa after failing to turn herself in to police in Johannesburg to face accusations of assaulting a model in a hotel room. There was no immediate public comment on the case from Grace, 52, a possible successor to her husband President Robert Mugabe, 93, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980. But Zimbabwe government sources confirmed she had returned home. "Yes, she is back in the country. We don't know where this issue of assault charges is coming from," said a senior government official, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the press. A second official also confirmed that Grace had returned, saying "she...
(AFP (eng) 08/14/17)
Zimbabwe's vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is seen as favourite to succeed President Robert Mugabe, has been flown to South Africa for emergency medical care, officials said Monday. Mnangagwa, 74, fell ill at a rally where Mugabe spoke on Saturday in the southern town of Gwanda, and suffered severe suspected food poisoning. "Some of his doctors are in South Africa," health minister David Parirenyatwa told reporters in the capital Harare. "He is well. He is much better, he is almost jovial. He was vomiting with diarrhoea and he became dehydrated. He has done a battery of tests." With Mugabe, 93, in increasingly ...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/14/17)
South Africa's public prosecution service, which is investigating alleged corruption in the awarding of government contracts, has denied reports that it will not accept leaked emails as evidence against President Jacob Zuma's allies. The allegations of influence-peddling in the so-called "State Capture" affair are deepening a divide in the ruling ANC party as factions jostle for control before a conference in December where Zuma's successor as party leader will be chosen. In June, media began reporting on more than 100,000 documents and emails leaked from inside the business empire of the Gupta family
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma indicated that ruling party lawmakers who backed an opposition attempt to oust him should face disciplinary action and said he may consider firing his higher education minister, who has criticized his leadership. More than two dozen members of the ruling African National Congress backed a motion of no confidence in the president on Aug. 8, which the main opposition Democratic Alliance filed after he unilaterally fired his respected finance minister and two ratings companies responded by downgrading the country’s debt to junk. While the motion was defeated by 198 votes to 177, Zuma said “anything could have happened.” “The ANC was put into serious disrepute” by its lawmakers who refused to toe the party line,...
(The Guardian 08/14/17)
PR company summoned before disciplinary committee, accused of divisive social media campaign in South Africa to benefit billionaire Gupta family Bell Pottinger, the public relations company founded by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor Lord Bell, will on Friday be hauled before the public relations and communications association (PRCA) disciplinary committee over allegations it ran a secret campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa on behalf of billionaire clients. Mmusi Maimane, leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, has demanded that the British PR industry body censures Bell Pottinger for running a “hateful and divisive campaign to divide South Africa along the lines of race”. Bell Pottinger is accused of seeking to stir up anger about “white monopoly capital”...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/14/17)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma wants the African National Congress to identify and punish party members who voted against him in a no-confidence motion in parliament last week. Some 30 ANC lawmakers supported the opposition motion in a secret ballot on Aug. 8, not enough for it to pass but the defection exposed rifts within the ANC that could weaken Zuma's ability to influence the choice of next party leader at elections in December. Addressing an ANC meeting late on Sunday, Zuma called the defectors "people who have double hearts, one for the ANC and one for other parties," and said they "must be taken to the (ANC) disciplinary committee," South African media reported. "What our enemies (opposition members of...
(Times Live 08/14/17)
Claim of irregular contract is to 'impugn Gordhan's legacy'. Tensions are starting to show between Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba's office and the Treasury as allegations of suppressed investigations and the running of parallel structures have surfaced. Cracks emerged this week as the Treasury wrangled with the office of the auditor-general over a R571-million contract awarded for the multibillion-rand Integrated Financial Management System. The system was envisioned to integrate all government payments into a single platform. The row includes allegations by Gigaba's backers that former finance minister Pravin Gordhan's administration, led by his director-general, Lungisa Fuzile, failed to act on an audit committee report on irregularities in the IFMS contract for more than a year. They allege the report was handed...
(Times Live 08/14/17)
Malusi Gigaba unhappy about 'stubborn' board chair and her deputy Instability and disunity within the board of ailing state airline SAA are placing the continued tenure of deputy chairwoman Tryphosa Ramano in jeopardy. Business Times has learnt that infighting between SAA chair Dudu Myeni and Ramano has become a matter of concern for Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba who, it is alleged, believes it has hurt the national carrier. Ramano, who is expected by many to become chairwoman when Myeni departs in two weeks' time, could also find herself out in the cold, Treasury insiders say. "The minister is not happy about it, as they can't do things that require intervention as long as they are so busy dealing with each...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead next year, Gates said in an interview in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital. “It’s quite clear that they won’t make those drastic cuts,” Gates said. “I’m hopeful they won’t make any cuts at all, but that’s still subject to...
(Times Live 08/12/17)
ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has rubbished accusations that calls for radical economic transformation are tantamount to anti-white sentiment. Dlamini-Zuma said the policy of radical economic transformation was in fact "pro-South Africa". Dlamini-Zuma was speaking on Friday at an event hosted by the Progressive Professionals Forum in Woodmead‚ north of Johannesburg. She advised white people to get behind radical economic transformation because they would benefit from a peaceful and stable country‚ arguing that failure to include black people in the mainstream economy will result in resentment and instability. "Some people argue that RET is anti-white. It is not. It is pro-South Africa. RET is not only for black people. It is for everyone because it will help this country maintain...
(Financial Times 08/12/17)
Businesses hold off investment as bitter divisions rack ANC. Kutlo Marumo, the man who makes President Jacob Zuma’s trademark leather jackets, emblazoned with the black, green and gold insignia of the African National Congress, should be doing a roaring trade. South Africa’s ruling party is gearing up for a five-yearly conference where thousands of delegates will elect a new leadership and the jackets are a favourite of ANC members. But even Mr Marumo is feeling the pinch as a string of political and corruption scandals have battered confidence in Africa’s most industrialised economy, plunging it into its second recession in a decade. “If there is hype in the movement, business picks up,” he says at his shop in downtown Johannesburg,...
(AFP (eng) 08/11/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma, who survived a vote of no confidence in parliament this week, is "a fighter but he knows he is bowing out," one of his closest allies told AFP on Friday. Police Minister Fikile Mbalula called for ANC lawmakers to rally behind their leader after at least 30 of them voted to oust him in Tuesday's crunch parliamentary motion brought by the opposition. Zuma, 75, is due to step down as head of the African National Congress (ANC) party in December, and as national president before the 2019 general election. Whoever succeeds him as party leader will be likely to be the next South African president. "We must really rally behind the president until he finishes...
(Bloomberg 08/11/17)
South Africa could escape a further slide to junk status on Friday in the same way the nation’s leader, Jacob Zuma, defeated a parliamentary rebellion and clung onto power -- comfortably but not without some sweating. Moody’s Investors Service is scheduled to release a ratings review two months after it cut the local- and foreign-currency assessments to one level above junk, citing risks to growth and fiscal strength due to the political outlook. That was after it put South Africa on review for a downgrade following a cabinet reshuffle in which Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, prompting S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. to cut the nation to sub-investment grade. Policy uncertainty and political turmoil increased in...
(Times Live 08/11/17)
"Mistakes have been made‚" KPMG SA said on Friday. The auditing firm announced it had suspended its lead audit engagement partner and was relieving two other partners of their board and executive positions pending the outcome of a review of the work the company did for Gupta-linked companies. However‚ the company is mum on who these partners are. KPMG SA CEO Trevor Hoole admitted on Friday that the global consultancy should have stopped working for the controversial family sooner than it did. The company ended its 15-year relationship with the Gupta family after the Public Protector initiated an investigation into their dealings. Hoole said while the last audit opinions for the group were signed off for the February 28 2015...
(Reuters (Eng) 08/11/17)
Olympic champion Caster Semenya maintained her two-year unbeaten record over 800 meters as she eased through the first round at the World Championships on Thursday. Her main challengers, Francine Niyonsaba, Margaret Wambui and Ajee Wilson, also cruised into Friday's semi-finals but defending champion Maryna Arzamasova was eliminated after finishing fourth in her heat. South African Semenya, last beaten at the World Championships semi-final in Beijing two years ago, was third going into the final straight and eased past Rose Mary Almanza and Natoya Goule to win in 2:01.33. "I just want to keep winning. That's all I'm concentrating on. I'm feeling okay after the 1,500 meters, so I'm ready to go again," said Semenya, who won bronze in the 1,500...
(Times Live 08/11/17)
Each time the president survives, the ANC loses the battle of regaining people’s trust Just when many thought that President Jacob Zuma’s fate was sealed, he emerged victorious against a motion of no confidence in him - for the eighth time. The fanfare associated with his expected loss was largely in sync with the increasing public discontent with his leadership. On the day of the no confidence vote political parties slugged it out: the ANC was on the defensive, barraged with the opposition parties’ critique of Zuma, who is blamed for the morass the country finds itself in. Cautiously couched, and with an eye on winning over ANC MPs who hold the majority of seats in parliament, the opposition’s fusillade...

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