Friday 23 June 2017
(APA 06/13/17)
The South African and Lesotho governments have agreed on the equitable sharing of contracts to be awarded during the construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Speaking at the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) briefing sessions held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Monday, Water and Sanitation Deputy Director-General Lindiwe Lusenga emphasised on the equal participation of the Lesotho and South African contractors. Lusenga said the LHWP was committed to enhance the use of Black entrepreneurs, individual experts and smaller companies. She encouraged smaller and bigger entities to join forces with one another to form a competent and financially efficient...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's tourist capital Cape Town remains gripped by critical water shortages despite being lashed by torrential rains last week in the region's worst storm in 30 years, officials said on Tuesday. More than eight people were killed and thousands forced from their homes after gale force winds and flash floods hit shanty towns already coping with Cape Town's worst drought in a century. "It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and therefore continuing to cut water use drastically is vital," said Xanthea Limberg, the city's mayoral committee member responsible for water services. Limberg said if rainfall does not significantly boost dam levels, Cape Town could run out of water by September. Dams...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/12/17)
Sibanye Gold's (SGLJ.J) $1 billion rights issue, aimed at raising capital to help fund its acquisition of U.S. platinum producer Stillwater, was oversubscribed by almost five-fold, the company said on Monday. Such capital raising efforts are comparatively rare at the moment in South Africa's troubled mining sector, which is beset by a range of challenges including policy uncertainty and labor and social unrest. But Sibanye, which has built a reputation on its dividend flow, is diversifying away from its home base with its Stillwater acquisition, reducing its exposure to the risks associated with doing business in South Africa. Those risks are...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's on Friday said it had downgraded South Africa a notch over gloomy growth prospects and the political instability unleashed by corruption scandals engulfing President Jacob Zuma. Africa's most advanced economy was knocked down from Baa2 to Baa3 -- one notch above junk status -- with a negative outlook, Moody's said in a statement. Fitch and Standard and Poor's, the other two main global ratings agencies, already downgraded South Africa to junk status after Zuma's shock purge of critical ministers in March, including respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The decision outraged the opposition
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Up to 10,000 people in the South African coastal resort of Knysna have been evacuated as wildfires fanned by strong winds ripped through the town, razing homes and other properties, officials said on Thursday. Eight people have been killed, three of them in the Knysna area, as the worst storm to hit Cape Town in three decades made landfall late on Tuesday before hurtling eastwards along what is known as South Africa's "Garden Route". "Humanitarian support is being co-ordinated for an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 residents of the greater Knysna area, after devastating fires last night," said James-Brent Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape local government ministry. The bush wildfires, driven by winds in excess of 50 km (30 miles)...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
South Africa's leftist opposition party on Friday laid graft charges against President Jacob Zuma and his new finance minister over the acquisition of locomotives by the state rail company five years ago. Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF) leader Julius Malema opened the case against minister Malusi Gigaba at a Johannesburg police station, alleging corruption in the purchase of locomotives for the state rail firm Transnet in 2012. "We came to open a case against Jacob Zuma, Malusi Gigaba and those Gupta crooks who stole 17 billion (rand) in Transnet,"
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
South Africa has halted poultry imports from Zimbabwe after a recent outbreak of highly contagious avian influenza at a farm in the neighbouring country, the government said Thursday. The department of agriculture said although South Africa imports "very little" poultry products from Zimbabwe, it has "suspended all trade in live poultry, meat and table eggs" from its northern neighbour and has stepped up surveillance. "We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe," said the department in a statement. Zimbabwean authorities...
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has been hurt by a new wave of corruption allegations targeting President Jacob Zuma, with the top party brass saying Wednesday that the end may be nearing for the increasingly unpopular leader. “We’ve got a brand to protect as a current leadership as the next leadership will have the same responsibility," party spokesman Zizi Kodwa told journalists. "The more the allegation of corruption is repeated, about any member of the ANC, it damages the ANC ... We’re dealing with difficulties, it’s not like people who gave them a mandate, that ‘go and do corruption.’ There’s not such a policy in the ANC. It’s people who are independent in their own area of work. They...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
A graft scandal enveloping South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration has laid bare the chaos swirling around the nation’s law-enforcement agencies and their vulnerability to political manipulation. Local investigative reporters have published a series of reports over the past two weeks that Zuma, 75, allowed members of the wealthy Gupta family to unduly influence government appointments and contracts -- known in South Africa as “state capture.” The alleged actions coincided with changes at the heads of the police force, its special investigative unit known as the Hawks and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority. The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick news website’s investigative unit, say a trove of as many as 200,000 emails they...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
South Africa named Dondo Mogajane as the director-general in the National Treasury, appointing an official from within the department’s ranks two months after President Jacob Zuma replaced a respected finance minister and his deputy. Mogajane, who has been acting in the position since May 16 after Lungisa Fuzile left, will take up the position immediately, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo told reporters in Cape Town Thursday after a cabinet meeting. Fuzile’s resignation sparked concern that all three top finance positions would be filled by people from outside the Treasury. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. cut the nation’s debt to junk after Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and Mcebisi Jonas as his deputy on March 31, replacing them...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Residents of Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest city, and other towns in the surrounding Western Cape province mopped up the damage Thursday after a devastating storm that caused nine deaths, flattened hundreds of shacks and downed power lines and trees. Four people died in a fire caused by a lightning strike in the northern Cape Town suburb of Kraaifontein, while another was killed in the Lavender Hill area when a building collapsed, according to the provincial government. About 830 shacks in the city were damaged by flooding or had their roofs ripped off. Efforts were under way to provide shelter, food, blankets and other relief to about 2,500 people affected by the storm, the worst in at least three decades,...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(AFP (eng) 06/07/17)
A ferocious storm killed eight people as it pummelled South Africa's west coast on Wednesday, forcing the closure of Cape Town harbour, triggering flash floods and causing extensive damage, authorities said. The weather system which struck on Tuesday has damaged buildings, felled trees, left 46,000 homes without electricity and caused travel chaos as flights and rail services were hit by gale-force winds and flooding. Three people were killed in the Eden District municipality, an area popular with tourists east of Cape Town, while four others died in a fire sparked by lightning, said James Brent-Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape regional government. One other person was killed when a building collapsed.
(Financial Times 06/07/17)
South Africa plunged into its second recession in eight years in the first three months of the year, even before a political crisis in the ruling African National Congress triggered rating cuts to junk status. On an annualised basis Africa's most industrialised economy contracted 0.7 per cent in the first quarter after a 0.3 per cent drop at the end of 2016, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday. The announcement confounded most economists' expectations for growth of about 1 per cent. The two consecutive quarters of decline mean that South Africa had already begun its first recession since 2009 when President Jacob Zuma sacked Pravin Gordhan, his finance minister, shaking fragile investor confidence and threatening to splinter the ANC. The...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
South Africa’s economy fell into a recession for the first time since 2009 after it contracted for a second straight quarter in the first three months of the year as all bar two industries shrank. Gross domestic product receded an annualized 0.7 percent in the first quarter from a contraction of 0.3 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. The median of 19 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for 1 percent expansion. There was only one forecast for a contraction. While rains are helping Africa’s most-industrialized economy recover from a 2015 drought that was the worst since records started more than a century earlier, political...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
South Africa has entered recession for the first time in eight years, data showed on Tuesday, piling pressure on a government facing corruption allegations and credit downgrades. Data from Statistics South Africa showed the first quarter contraction was led by weak manufacturing and trade, suggesting high unemployment and stagnant wages were dragging down South Africa's long-resilient consumer sector, analysts said. Political instability, high unemployment and credit ratings downgrades have dented business and consumer confidence in South Africa and the rand ZAR=D3 extended its losses against the dollar, while government bonds also weakened ZAR186=. South Africa's economy contracted by 0.7 percent in the first three months of 2017 after shrinking by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, lagging...
(AL Jazeera 06/07/17)
South Africa has been experiencing the worst drought in 100 years. Since the 1990s, the country has lost a third of its farms due to water scarcity. As a result, farmers have had to turn to a hi-tech solution to help cope with dwindling water supplies and harsher environments. We speak with Professor Jill Farrant, a professor at the University of Cape Town who has been trying to unlock the secret behind so-called resurrection plants which can survive long periods without water. Professor Farrant believes they may hold the answer to crops surviving long periods without water. "This type of crop will start off well if there's lots of rain. It will continue well if there's lots of rain. But...
(Daily Maverick 06/07/17)
There are many things that are offensive about the conduct of the Gupta family. Their sense of entitlement to South Africa’s resources and disdain for the country’s people are perhaps most infuriating. The deluge of information being released into the public domain about their dodgy business practices and manipulation of political leaders and government officials might create a sense of powerlessness among ordinary citizens. But there should never be hopeless acceptance of the Guptas’ corrupt and immoral practices. Neither should South Africans turn a blind eye towards their racism and exploitation of race dynamics in the country. By RANJENI MUNUSAMY. The Gupta wedding jamboree at Sun City in May 2013 was when South Africa first got to see the family’s...

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