| Africatime
Saturday 29 April 2017
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
South Africa hasn’t complied with the constitution in seeking bidders for a nuclear-energy program and must cancel any deals that have already been signed, the Western Cape High Court ruled. The government must hold public hearings and debate the estimated 1 trillion rand ($76 billion) program in Parliament, according to a ruling read out on Wednesday by Judge Lee Bozalek in a case brought by civil-society groups Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute. Agreements set aside included those with Russia, the U.S. and South Korea. “The process by which the nuclear build program is proceeding on is unconstitutional” and any request for proposals or requests for information regarding the plans should be set aside, the ruling...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/26/17)
South Africa, the continent's biggest maize producer, hard hit by an El Nino-triggered drought last year, is considering a strategic reserve as a buffer against future shortages, its agriculture minister told Reuters. Neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe and Zambia have such reserves, but it would entail a significant policy shift in South Africa, where commercial agriculture is market driven and the state does not act as a buyer and holder of crops. A strategic grain reserve usually involves the government buying crops and taking responsibility for their storage until they are needed to make up for shortfalls. "Yes, we are thinking about it," Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana told Reuters late on Tuesday when asked if a grain reserve was being...
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. said protests at its Marula mine in northeast South Africa and low metal prices had led the world’s second-largest producer of the metal to start a reorganization process that could lead to more than 1,000 job losses. The mining regulator and relevant labor unions have been contacted and all parties will work together to minimize the impact of the plan on employment, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Impala expects the negotiation process to be completed by the end of June, it said. “This is something the business and economy can ill afford, but remains imperative if we are to protect the financial viability of our business and preserve jobs as far as...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The South African Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula told the police to "shoot to kill" on Tuesday if they are confronted by rogue and criminals in the line of their duty. Mbalula who vowed to get rid of criminals had a stern warning for criminals and promised to hunt the criminals down with fire. "Police must be ruthless against those who are armed...But what I am saying is if they are shooting at you, you shoot back," Mbalula told journalists while addressing the South African Police Service (SAPS) training center in Pretoria. On March 3, the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) released a report, tracking the changes in crime in the 9 months from April to December 2016. The figures showed...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/26/17)
Sibanye Gold's shareholders on Tuesday approved the South African miner's $2.2 billion buyout of U.S.-based Stillwater Mining , moving it a step closer to significantly boosting its platinum portfolio. About 82 percent of Sibanye shareholders voted in favor of the deal which will cement South Africa's grip on global supply of platinum and advance Chief Executive Neal Froneman's push to diversify away from gold and South Africa. "We thank our shareholders for their support for this transaction which represents a unique and transformative opportunity to acquire world class, low-cost international PGM assets," Chief Executive Neal Froneman said. Sibanye, which was spun off from Gold Fields in 2013, last year bought Aquarius Platinum and Anglo American Platinum's mines in Rustenburg. The...
(Xinhuanet 04/26/17)
The Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative is a golden opportunity to bring about regional integration and sustainable economic growth for Africa, said Berhane Gebre-Christos, special envoy of the Ethiopian Prime Minister, on Tuesday. The special envoy made the remarks at the opening of a seminar organized on the B&R Initiative in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. Welcoming the initiative, the special envoy said he is looking forward to the expected effects of the initiative. "The B&R is a project that will affect millions of people, and it will be one of the most important issues of the 21st century," he said, adding that the comprehensive approach of China means that the aspirations and development strategies of all countries involved will be...
(AFP (eng) 04/25/17)
The 22-year-old South African man on trial for murdering his wealthy family with an axe was taken on Tuesday to the home where his parents and brother were killed. Henri van Breda is accused of hacking his parents, Martin and Teresa, and his brother Rudi to death at the house on an exclusive golf estate in Stellenbosch outside Cape Town. When his trial opened on Monday, van Breda denied the murders and said he had fought off a masked intruder who broke into the four-bedroom family home.
(Bloomberg 04/25/17)
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has taken the gloves off in the contest to become the nation’s next leader, delivering a scathing speech criticizing “the rot” and widespread patronage plaguing the ruling African National Congress. Ramaphosa stopped short of openly declaring his candidacy to succeed President Jacob Zuma, 75, in a speech on Sunday, but his address left no doubt that his campaign is now firmly under way. He made several thinly veiled attacks on Zuma, who’s indicated that he’s backing his ex-wife and mother of four of his children, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the top post. Dlamini-Zuma, who’s spent the past few weeks traversing the country drumming up support while guarded
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
In a case that has gripped South Africa, the 22-year-old son of a wealthy family pleaded not guilty Monday to slaughtering his parents and brother in a frenzied axe attack. The trial, which opened in Cape Town after several delays, has attracted international interest as police failed to arrest anyone for the grisly killings until Henri van Breda handed himself in to police. Van Breda is alleged to have killed his brother Rudi and parents Martin and Teresa, and left his sister Marli struggling with near-fatal injuries to her head, neck and throat. The events took place on January 27, 2015 at the family's luxury home at an exclusive golf estate in Stellenbosch outside Cape Town, where they lived after...
(AFP (eng) 04/24/17)
A new malaria vaccine will be tested on a large scale in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, the World Health Organization said Monday, with 360,000 children to be vaccinated between 2018 and 2020. The injectable vaccine RTS,S could provide limited protection against a disease that killed 429,000 people worldwide in 2015, with 92 percent of victims in Africa and two-thirds of them children under five. "The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine," said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO's regional director for Africa. The vaccine should be used alongside other preventative measures such as bed nets, insecticides, repellants and anti-malarial drugs, the WHO...
(AFP (eng) 04/23/17)
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa called Sunday for an independent probe into suspected corruption in the upper echelons of power. "We must be honest and brave enough to confront state capture," he said, using a term referring to allegations of corruption by President Jacob Zuma and his associates. Tens of thousands of South Africans have staged protests in recent weeks demanding Zuma stand down, and opposition parties, religious groups and civil society activists last week joined forces in a new alliance against him. "Unless the ANC addresses these challenges, we can be certain that our electoral support will continue to slide," Ramaphosa warned. "I support that there should be a judicial commission of inquiry. And we must be prepared...
(AFP (eng) 04/23/17)
Looking out at his 50-hectare (124-acre) estate in a valley nestled below the Helderberg mountains, winemaker Ken Forrester beams with pride in his achievements over 20 years in the business. "We never had a bad year, it's been a consistent grow," said Forrester, who is based in Stellenbosch -- the wine region just north of Cape Town. But like many South African vineyard owners, he is nervous about what the future holds for the industry, facing price pressure and for many an unsustainable return on investment. "Look at this moisture, it's perfect, this one is ready to be picked," Forrester told AFP as he caressed a handful of chenin blanc grapes. "It's very important to pick the grapes at the...
(AFP (eng) 04/23/17)
In a case that has gripped South Africa, the 22-year-old scion of a wealthy family goes on trial in Cape Town on Monday, accused of slaughtering his family in a frenzied axe attack. The case has also made headlines internationally, as police failed to arrest anyone for the grisly killings until Henri van Breda handed himself in. Van Breda is alleged to have killed his brother Rudi and parents Martin and Teresa and left his sister Marli struggling with nightmarish injuries. The events took place at the family's luxury home at an exclusive golf estate in Stellenbosch outside Cape Town, where they lived after returning from several years in Australia. The family's fortune is estimated at $16 million. Van Breda...
(Bloomberg 04/22/17)
South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he had “constructive” talks with Moody’s Investors Service in an attempt to tackle the credit rating agency’s concerns about fiscal policy after a surprise cabinet reshuffle that saw the ouster of his predecessor. Moody’s placed South Africa on review for a downgrade after the firing of Pravin Gordhan last month raised questions about the country’s political stability and whether the government was committed to fiscal discipline. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. have already cut South Africa’s credit rating to junk. Gigaba, speaking in an interview in Washington on Friday, said the government is working to restore the investment-grade rating, which would help bolster investor confidence and lower borrowing costs. The downgrade...
(AFP (eng) 04/22/17)
At least 20 children were killed in a bus crash outside the South African capital Pretoria on Friday, emergency services said, with many trapped inside the burning vehicle. The minibus collided with a truck on a road between the towns of Bronkhorstspruit and Verena, about 70 kilometres (45 miles) from Pretoria. "It is confirmed 20 children have been killed," Russel Meiring, spokesman for the ER24 emergency medical service, told AFP. By the time paramedics arrived "the fire services had already extinguished the burning vehicle, which was found lying on its side", he added.
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
A painting by a South African artist showing President Jacob Zuma raping the late Nelson Mandela has caused outrage in the country, with the ruling party Friday describing it as "grotesque". The piece by controversial artist Ayanda Mabulu shows Zuma seated on a red chair, penetrating a crying Mandela. Both men have their legs wide apart, exposing their genitals. The African National Congress and the Nelson Mandela Foundation have condemned the colourful artwork titled: "The economy of rape". "Whilst we respect Mabulu's freedom of expression, we find his work grotesque, inflammatory and of bad taste,"
(AFP (eng) 04/21/17)
South African opposition parties, religious groups and civil society activists on Thursday launched a new alliance to try to force President Jacob Zuma to step down. Called the Freedom Movement and backed by retired archbishop Desmond Tutu, it plans to hold a mass rally on April 27, the annual holiday marking South Africa's first post-apartheid election in 1994. Zuma's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last month fanned years of public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth.
(Xinhuanet 04/21/17)
A total of 235 people were killed on South African roads during the Easter holiday, a sharp increase of 52 percent from the same period of last year, the Ministry of Transport said Friday. This was 79 more deaths than last year's Easter when 156 people were killed in road carnages, the ministry said in its latest update on road fatalities during the holiday from April 14 to 17. However, this year's fatalities were still significantly lower than the 333 fatalities recorded in 2015. "Our preliminary report shows that many people who died on our roads were victims of hit and run incidents, jaywalking or motorists who were driving at speeds that were too high for circumstances," Minister of Transport...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/20/17)
South Africa's credit rating could get downgraded deeper into junk status if political uncertainty triggered by the recent firing of the finance minister stalls reforms needed to grow the economy, an executive from S&P Global Ratings said on Wednesday. "There are risks that potential growth outcomes could be weakened, especially with uncertainty that's been brought along in a year where you may not get strong decisions for strong reform programs," said Gardner Rusike, the associate director and lead analyst for South Africa at S&P . Ratings agencies S&P and Fitch downgraded South African debt to sub-investment grade while Moody's placed its sovereign credit rating on review, citing President Jacob Zuma's decision
(Xinhuanet 04/20/17)
Economic commentators believe all hope is not lost on South Africa after the downgrading of its foreign currency ratings to subinvestment by international rating agencies. Standard & Poor's (S&P) lowered the country's foreign currency ratings to junk status, which led to seven banks suffering the similar fate. Many economists contributed to a panel of discussion on Thursday saying South Africa could rise from this bad situation if they put their act together. Lesiba Mothata, chief economist of Investment Solutions, said the South African rand and bonds did not sharply decline after the downgrade. Countries like South Korea, Hungary and Thailand have fallen into junk status and lost policy direction which is not the case with South Africa. He said South...

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