Wednesday 26 July 2017
(Xinhuanet 07/17/17)
Africa is making progress towards the establishment of a trade zone by Oct. 30 that will cover approximately half of the continent's member states. The Common Market for the Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Director of Trade and Customs, Francis Mangeni, said in a commentary published in the Star Newspaper on Monday that so far 19 of the 26 countries involved have signed the agreement. "Three outstanding annexes had meant the tripartite agreement was not complete and this was advanced by some countries as the reason they could not sign or ratify the agreement. However their adoption represented a milestone in the negotiation, as it removed the last obstacle to signing and ratifying the agreement," Mangeni said. The tripartite free...
(AFP (eng) 07/14/17)
Two white South African farmers accused of pushing a black labourer into a coffin and threatening to burn him alive were granted bail on Friday. The assault was captured on video apparently filmed on a mobile phone by one of the alleged assailants, causing widespread outrage after it was posted on the internet. Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson who have been charged with assault and kidnapping, were granted bail of 1,000 rand ($76) by Middelburg Magistrate's Court. Their trial has been set to start on July 31. The two men were arrested in November after the 20-second video of the attack on a farm in northeastern South Africa appeared online. It shows one of the assailants shoving the alleged...
(Bloomberg 07/14/17)
South Africa will extend more support to the beleaguered state-owned power utility and is considering selling assets as part of a 14-point plan to revive an economy that’s in its second recession in almost a decade. The country will approach the energy regulator this month about the “hardship” Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is dealing with, and will develop a case for “soft support” of the electricity producer until its new tariffs are finalized next year, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told reporters in Johannesburg Thursday. Eskom is spending tens of billions of dollars on new power plants that are years behind schedule and is at the center of allegations that President Jacob Zuma allowed the Gupta family to take advantage of...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/14/17)
South Africa's finance minister laid out an ambitious 14-point program on Thursday to wrench the economy out of recession that included the sale of non-core assets and partial privatization of state-owned firms. The plans to stimulate growth in the continent's most industrialized economy appear to represent an ideological shift by the ruling African National Congress, whose political alliance with the unions has tended to make privatization a dirty word. A team commissioned by President Jacob Zuma to review state firms last year recommended that some should be sold. Now the government has set a date - March 2018 - by which to roll out a "private sector participation framework". But despite the opposition the plans are likely to face, Zuma's...
(Business Day 07/14/17)
The government has backtracked on the immediate implementation of the contentious Mining Charter, a move welcomed by the Chamber of Mines on Friday. The chamber said in a statement that Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane and his department had given a written undertaking not to implement or apply the provisions of the 2017 reviewed charter, pending judgment in the urgent interdict application brought by the chamber. “The minister has furthermore undertaken that, in the event of any breach of the above undertaking, the chamber can set the urgent interdict application down for hearing on 48 hours’ notice to the minister,” the chamber said in a statement. Based on this undertaking, the chamber has acceded to the department’s request for extra...
(Bloomberg 07/14/17)
South Africa is considering a merger of state-owned technology companies Broadband Infraco and Sentech to help accelerate the roll out of high-speed internet to the population within three years, according to two people familiar with the matter. The combined entity will be expected to extend broadband to rural communities that don’t yet have internet access, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the plans haven’t been publicly announced. Broadband Infraco is the country’s second largest fixed-line operator after Telkom SA SOC Ltd., while Sentech has wireless broadband assets and operates signals for South Africa’s broadcasting companies. The government is “pursuing the rationalization of state broadband assets to reduce the duplication of infrastructure and mandates of state-owned companies,”...
(Eye Witness News 07/14/17)
The report lists names of people who allegedly misled MPs during a probe into the SABC. Parliament has hit back at the Democratic Alliance’s claims that Speaker Baleka Mbete's office is withholding a report related to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC). The report compiled by Parliament's legal services lists the names of people who allegedly misled Members of Parliament during a probe into the public broadcaster. Mbete has promised to refer the report to the communications portfolio committee in August after giving those cited in the report time to respond to the allegations. Parliament's spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said, “In the interest of fair justice, people have been given a chance to respond and they have until the end of...
(The Associated Press 07/14/17)
South African forces are hosting the U.S. military in an exercise modeled on a United Nations peacekeeping mandate — currently applied in eastern Congo — that allows for offensive military action against rebel groups. The South African military said Thursday that joint field training begins Monday at the Lohatla military area in Northern Cape province. The exercise ends Aug. 4. South African authorities say U.S. C-17 aircraft will participate and U.S. military vehicles will travel from Cape Town to the training. South Africa says maneuvers will follow a robust U.N. mandate in which “belligerent forces are forced to disengage and to discontinue the armed conflict.” The U.N.’s Congo mission aims to protect civilians from conflict, notably from armed groups that...
(Business Day 07/14/17)
Mbeki tells a shocked audience that the ANC raided the strategic reserve to pay salaries of civil servants and wiped it out Former president Thabo Mbeki has warned leaders and society to refrain from being driven by popular slogans that are not based of facts. Speaking on Power FM on Thursday night‚ Mbeki said leaders had to think of the reality of the current situation and how they wanted to change it in the future. The talk took place before an audience that included former finance minister Trevor Manuel‚ Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema and ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa. "Avoid being driven by what appears to be popular opinion and sexist slogans. You have to look at the reality...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
Three male lions that escaped over the weekend from South Africa's Kruger National Park have been shot dead after a farmer found them eating his cattle, officials said Thursday. The farmer shot one dead and wounded another on Wednesday. Parks authorities armed with rifles then used a helicopter to track down the injured animal and the third lion. "We had to obviously kill the wounded lion because it becomes very dangerous," South African national parks spokeswoman Janine Raftopoulos told local media. "With the last one remaining, because he had come into contact with the farmer's livestock, we assessed the situation and the decision was taken to put (him) down." She said that if the lion had been returned to the...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
Morocco's phosphate industry giant OCP on Thursday accused South Africa of "political piracy" by detaining a Moroccan cargo vessel loaded with phosphate from the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The South African judiciary had "passed an eminently political decision and committed a gross abuse of power", Morocco's state-run group said in a statement. The 34,000-tonne ship bound for New Zealand via Port Elizabeth in South Africa has been blocked from sailing since the start of May following a court application seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The application filed by the Polisario Front, which seeks the independence of Western Sahara, asks for the return of the phosphate "removed in contravention of the international principle", said Webber Wintzel, a lawyer...
(AFP (eng) 07/13/17)
Inside South Africa's maximum security Groenpunt prison, hawk-eyed guards stroll between rows of wooden benches, watching inmates closely as they meet visitors. Among the notorious jail's residents is 51-year-old triple murderer Percy Chepape, an anti-apartheid fighter serving a 60-year sentence for his "politically motivated" crimes committed in the chaos that followed liberation in 1994. The former underground operative of an armed group linked to the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) has been behind bars for 20 years, convicted of a deadly armed robbery...
(Eye Witness News 07/13/17)
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will on Thursday morning announce details of government’s inclusive growth action plan at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton. South Africa is currently in a technical recession after being downgraded to junk status by two rating agencies this year. The downgrades followed President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle in which he fired Pravin Gordhan as Finance Minister, replacing him with Gigaba. Adding to the country’s woes, the unemployment rate hit a 13-year high of 27.7%. Argon Asset Management economist Thabi Leoka says that the minister needs to restore business confidence.
(Bloomberg 07/13/17)
Executives from Sibanye Gold Ltd., South Africa’s biggest gold miner, were in Los Angeles in the final stages of a roadshow with U.S. bond fund managers last month when a bombshell hit from back home. The government had introduced shock new rules requiring local mines to be 30 percent black-owned in perpetuity, toughening existing requirements and implying hefty dilution for shareholders. South African stocks tumbled and bond yields rose that day. The measures, called Mining Charter 3, put at risk funding for Sibanye’s $2.2 billion acquisition of Stillwater Mining Co. of the U.S., the biggest foreign takeover by a South African mining company in 16 years. “We had to hold back the financing, find out what the charter meant, and...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/13/17)
Four lions that escaped on Sunday from South Africa's Kruger National Park and remain on the loose were probably driven out by population pressures, parks officials said on Tuesday. The breakout follows one by five lions in May, raising alarm bells in South Africa, which contains its big, dangerous wildlife in fenced reserves to prevent conflict with rural communities and livestock. "The lion population has grown exponentially and is a contributing factor to young males looking to new territories," South African National Parks (SANParks) said in a statement. "This is as a result of naturally occurring factors like drought which we have seen in the last two years, allowing for an abundance of animals for predators like lions to feed...
(Times Live 07/13/17)
Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has rejected the apology by London-based PR firm Bell Pottinger‚ which worked for the controversial Gupta family‚ labelling it "pathetic cover up" and an "insult" to South Africans. Gordhan‚ one of several targets of the company's shamed campaign for the Gupta family‚ has called for the company to make a full disclosure‚ which would include details of what their clients‚ "the Gupta syndicate"‚ briefed them on. He also wants the firm to reveal what their dismissed partner‚ Victoria Geoghegan‚ did that concerned them‚ and for South Africans to start focusing on South Africans who were part of the campaign. The Sunday Times reported that Bell Pottinger prepared media releases and provided briefing notes for the...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/13/17)
South Africa Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba laid out an ambitious 14-point program on Thursday to wrench the economy out of recession that included the sale of non-core assets and partial privatization of state-owned firms. South Africa Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba laid out an ambitious 14-point program on Thursday to wrench the economy out of recession that included the sale of non-core assets and partial privatization of state-owned firms. The plans to stimulate "inclusive growth" in the continent's biggest economy appear to represent an ideological shift by the African National Congress (ANC), whose political alliance with the unions has tended to make privatization a dirty word. The continent's most sophisticated economy entered recession for the first time since 2009 in the...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/13/17)
Europe's top technology company, SAP (SAPG.DE), has put four senior managers in South Africa on leave and begun a probe into reports that have dragged the company into an influence peddling scandal involving friends of President Jacob Zuma. South African media reported allegations on Tuesday that SAP paid kickbacks in the form of sales commissions to a firm linked to the politically connected Gupta family, helping SAP clinch a deal worth 1 billion rand ($76 million) with rail and logistics company Transnet and other state-owned firms. AmaBhungane, a non-profit investigative reporting group that has a strong record of exposing corruption, named SAP in a story based on leaked emails and documents that it says show how the Gupta family unduly...
(Bloomberg 07/12/17)
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa used his strongest words yet to slam deepening corruption and the undue influence of private business interests over government institutions, known as “state capture.” Ramaphosa, 64, called for the establishment of a judicial inquiry “without further delay” to investigate a report by the Public Protector in November that said President Jacob Zuma and some ministers may have breached the government’s code of ethics in their relationship with the Gupta family, who are in business with Zuma’s son. Zuma and the Guptas deny wrongdoing. “The house is burning,” Ramaphosa told a meeting of the South African Communist Party on Wednesday
(News24 07/12/17)
South Africa's manufacturing sector is in a crisis, Democratic Alliance shadow minister of trade and industry Dean Macpherson said in reaction to the latest data released by Statistics SA. His view is that Parliament should step in and take control by holding hearings "to get to the bottom of what is really going on in the sector", and how it can be turned around. Stats SA revealed that manufacturing was down 0.8% year-on-year (y/y) between May 2016 and May 2017 and down 0.3% from April 2017 to May 2017. This is a continuation of a decline in manufacturing from last month’s y/y figures of 4.9% between April 2016 and April 2017. "By these figures, we now know manufacturing is in...

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