| Africatime
Sunday 30 April 2017
(AFP (eng) 04/13/17)
Africa's Matabele ants, fierce predators of termites, rescue their wounded soldiers and bring them back to the nest where they are "treated," a new study showed Wednesday. This helping behavior for the injured is the first to be detected in the insect world, according to an article in the US journal Science Advances by a German research team at the University of Wuerzburg's Biocentre. The ants, formally known as Megaponera analis, are widespread south of the Sahara on the continent. Two to four times a day, they set out in long files on raids to kill worker termites at their foraging sites. But the attacks meet strong resistance from soldier termites guarding the worker termites, which have powerful jaws that...
(AFP (eng) 04/12/17)
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the South African capital Pretoria on Wednesday for further protests urging President Jacob Zuma to step down. The march to Union Buildings, the official seat of government, was organised by a coalition of opposition parties following nationwide rallies against Zuma last week. Zuma's recent sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan unleashed public anger over government corruption scandals, record unemployment and slowing economic growth. Wednesday's march was led by the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, along with the Democratic Alliance (DA) and smaller opposition parties. "I came because Zuma has to step down. He sold the country. I don't want him anymore," Mavis Madisha, a 37-year-old EFF supporter, told AFP. Gordhan's sacking triggered...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/12/17)
South Africa's parliament said on Wednesday a motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma can only be withdrawn by opposition leader Mmusi Maimane and not the Speaker, responding to requests by the opposition to delay the vote. The Constitutional Court said on Tuesday it would consider whether the no-confidence vote should be taken by secret ballot. Opposition leader Mmusi Maimane then requested the Speaker to delay the vote until the case was determined. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by James Macharia)
(Reuters (Eng) 04/12/17)
Somali security forces clashed with a pirate gang early on Wednesday and freed nine seamen kidnapped on an Indian cargo this month, officials said. The pirates seized the dhow Al Kausar off Somalia's coast, part of a surge of attacks after years without a reported incident. The kidnappers took the crew onshore in central Galmudug state on Monday and clashed with troops two days later, the territory's minister for ports and sea transport, Burhan Warsame, said. "We rescued the nine crew and they are healthy and safe," he added. Somali pirate attacks peaked with 237 in 2012 but then declined steeply after ship owners improved security measures and international naval forces stepped up patrols. But this month has seen a...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
South Africa's ex-leader Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday waded into a no-confidence debate against President Jacob Zuma, urging lawmakers to set aside political affiliation during next week's vote. A parliamentary motion of no confidence in the president is due on April 18 following the controversial sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last month. Zuma has easily survived previous such votes against him, thanks to the majority the ruling African National Congress enjoys in parliament. But in an article that extensively quoted the country's constitution, Mbeki said it is "obvious and logical" that lawmakers "must act in parliament as the voice of the people, not the voice of the political parties to which they belong.” “It may be that the current...
(AFP (eng) 04/11/17)
El Nino, the cyclical climatic phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean, is linked to shifts in cholera cases in Africa, providing an early warning that could save lives, scientists said Monday. During the years when El Nino is warming the eastern Pacific, East Africa has about 50,000 additional cholera cases a year, new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests. By contrast, the years when El Nino is not active, there were 30,000 fewer cholera cases in East Africa, according to the study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed more than 17,000 annual observations from 3,710 different locations between 2000 and 2014 in Africa, which has the most...
(AFP (eng) 04/10/17)
South Africa's sacked finance minister on Sunday warned in a speech disrupted by ANC members that the ruling party risks losing the next general election in 2019 unless it unites. Pravin Gordhan was speaking at a memorial service held in Durban in honour of anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada. Youth members of the ruling African National Congress booed Gordhan and disrupted his speech with song and dance. President Jacob Zuma fired Gordhan nine days ago, fuelling divisions within the ANC party which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid rule two decades ago. "If we can't unite among ourselves there is no hope for us in 2019," Pravin told hundreds of people, most of them members of the ANC...
(AFP (eng) 04/08/17)
South Africa on Friday denied flouting international law in 2015 by failing to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for trial by war crimes judges on charges of genocide in Darfur. At an unprecedented hearing at the International Criminal Court, Pretoria disputed accusations it had broken its obligations to the very tribunal it helped found. There "was no duty under international law on South Africa to arrest the serving head of a non-state party such as Mr Omar al-Bashir," Pretoria's legal advisor Dire Tladi argued. Despite two international arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010, Bashir remains at large and in office amid the raging conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur. He has denied the...
(AFP (eng) 04/07/17)
Thousands marched through major South African cities Friday demanding the resignation of President Jacob Zuma after his sacking of the popular finance minister fuelled widespread public anger. Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has been battered by a series of corruption scandals during his time in office, while the country has suffered record unemployment, slowing growth and stubborn racial inequality. His removal of finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week unleashed a fresh bout of criticism, as Gordhan was seen by many ordinary South Africans as a bulwark against corruption. Large crowds gathered in the capital Pretoria, the economic hub Johannesburg and coastal cities of Durban and Cape
(Bloomberg 04/07/17)
South African equity trading volumes are projected to fall by half on Friday as protesters amass across the country to demand the removal of President Jacob Zuma following a cabinet purge that resulted in the country’s credit rating being downgraded to junk. “It’s quiet,” Michael Porter, a trader at Unum Capital in Johannesburg, said by phone on Friday. “I don’t know if anybody’s out marching, or whatever they’re doing, but it’s definitely quiet.” Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and make 19 other changes to his administration in a reshuffle announced after midnight on March 31 caused stock volumes to climb to about 344 million shares a day for the next five trading days, according to data...
(Bloomberg 04/07/17)
Tens of thousands of protesters marched in South Africa to demand that President Jacob Zuma resign after he fired the finance minister and reshuffled the cabinet. Marchers chanting “Zuma must go” in Pretoria, the capital, walked to the Union Buildings, the official seat of government, while there were sporadic clashes between Zuma supporters and police in Johannesburg, eCNA television reported Friday. Thousands of people faced riot police outside the chained gates of parliament in Cape Town. Zuma’s decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and make 19 other changes to his administration on March 31 drew widespread criticism, prompted S&P Global Ratings to downgrade the nation’s credit rating
(AFP (eng) 04/07/17)
South Africa will on Friday seek to defend its failure to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide, at an unprecedented hearing before international war crimes judges. It will be a humbling moment for Pretoria, one of the leading voices in the creation of the International Criminal Court, whose lawyers will be fending off accusations that it failed in its obligations to the tribunal. To the frustration of the ICC's prosecutors, Bashir remains in office and at large despite two international warrants for his arrest issued in 2009 and in 2010. He faces 10 charges, including three of genocide as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western Darfur region. The...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Thousands marched in major South African cities to protest against President Jacob Zuma on Friday, demanding he quit after a cabinet reshuffle triggered the latest crisis of his presidency. Zuma's sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the reshuffle last Thursday has outraged allies and opponents alike, undermined his authority and caused rifts in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has governed South Africa since the end of white-minority rule in 1994. Rating agency S&P Global Ratings cited Gordhan's dismissal as one reason for its downgrade of South Africa to "junk" in an unscheduled review on Monday. Syriana Maesela, 65, a retiree was on her way by train to Pretoria to join the march carrying a South African flag...
(AFP (eng) 04/07/17)
South Africa's ANC party, the celebrated political force that ended white-minority rule and ushered in democracy, had hoped its dominance of national politics might last for generations. But deep concerns over the country's post-apartheid direction and President Jacob Zuma's unpopularity have raised the sudden prospect of the African National Congress failing to win the next election in 2019. Zuma's recent sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan brought to a head a nationwide crisis over record unemployment, stagnant growth and corruption, 23 years after Nelson Mandela led the ANC to power. Zuma will complete his maximum two terms in office in 2019, and is seen as backing his ex-wife, former African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to take over. Dlamini-Zuma inspires...
(Bloomberg 04/07/17)
Former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan won’t resign as a lawmaker for the ruling African National Congress before this month’s debate of a motion of no confidence in the nation’s leader who fired him last week. “Not yet,” Gordhan said Thursday in an interview in Cape Town when asked if he will step down from his post in the National Assembly as three other former members of President Jacob Zuma’s executive have done. “See you on the 18th” of April, he said when asked if he will be on Parliament on the day of a no-confidence vote in Zuma. Former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was the energy minister, and ex-Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas resigned as...
(Bloomberg 04/07/17)
Three former members of South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration resigned as lawmakers for the ruling African National Congress before this month’s debate of a motion of no confidence in the nation’s leader. Former Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who was the energy minister, and ex-Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas resigned as members of parliament, effective March 31, the National Assembly said in emailed statements. Zuma fired Peters, Joemat-Pettersson and Jonas in a cabinet reshuffle announced shortly after midnight the same day. By resigning immediately after their removal, the former ministers and Jonas may ensure they receive pensions according to their previous positions in the administration instead of what they would receive as lawmakers should they retire later. While...
(Xinhuanet 04/07/17)
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday distanced itself from radical ANC members who threatened to take up arms in self-defence as a national shutdown approached. The party made the statement ahead of the national shutdown scheduled for Friday. Opposition parties and civic organizations are planning nationwide protest actions against President Jacob Zuma, including a march to the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, prompting radical ANC members to threaten to take up arms in defence of the organization and Zuma. "We condemn in the harshest possible terms reports of people seeking to take up arms in the name of the ANC. Such behavior has no place in a democratic society," the party said. The ANC also denied reports that it...
(Xinhuanet 04/07/17)
A Constitutional Court order setting aside the moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns does not mean unregulated trade in rhino horns, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said on Thursday. "Whilst we are studying the implications of the order handed down by the Constitutional Court, it should be noted that the court's decision should not be construed to mean that the domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an unregulated fashion," Molewa said. She was speaking after the Constitutional Court on Wednesday dismissed an application by Molewa to overturn a 2015 order by the High Court in Pretoria to set aside a moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns with immediate and retrospective effect. Since the moratorium...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/07/17)
Access to off-grid solar energy in rural areas of Africa goes beyond lighting up homes - it also enables people to connect to the wider world and boosts their economic prospects, said the head of one of the continent's biggest solar companies. Azuri Technologies' entry level solar system - for which customers pay a one-off installation fee, then use scratch cards or mobile phone payments to top up on a weekly or monthly basis - provides eight hours of lighting each day. Having power at home for the first time encourages customers to also buy mobile phones, radios and televisions, giving them regular access to the media and the internet, said Simon Bransfield-Garth, chief executive officer of UK-based Azuri. "This...
(AFP (eng) 04/06/17)
South Africa's former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, whose sacking has fuelled divisions within the ANC party, warned Thursday that the government risked being taken over by "a bunch of gangsters". President Jacob Zuma sacked Gordhan last week in a cabinet overhaul that threatens to split the ANC party, which has been in power since the end of apartheid in 1994. Gordhan, widely respected by many South Africans and financial investors, made no direct mention of Zuma in his speech and pledged his loyalty to the ANC. "We are running the risk in South Africa that honest people don't want to participate in government institutions," Gordhan said. "When the society reaches that point, then we know that we have handed over...

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