| Africatime
Sunday 30 April 2017
(AFP (eng) 04/06/17)
South Africa's highest court Wednesday rejected a bid by the government to keep a ban on domestic trade in rhino horn, a court document showed. The ruling by the Constitutional Court effectively means rhino horns may be traded locally. The department of environmental affairs had sought to retain a moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horns which was dismissed by last year by another court. In a one paragraph ruling, the Constitutional Court ruled that the application by government be "dismissed". Environmental department spokesman Albie Modise said authorities were still considering
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
President Jacob Zuma's pledge to expropriate South African land is unlikely to lead to violent seizures of farms like those that impoverished neighboring Zimbabwe, but could still hurt the economy by scaring off investors worried about property rights. Zuma is fighting to retain control of South Africa against opponents within the ruling African National Congress who want him to resign the party leadership. The confrontation came to a head last week when Zuma sacked Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who was often at odds with the president but widely respected by financial markets and whose dismissal triggered a credit downgrade. Faced with opposition mainly from urban constituencies within the ANC, the president has doubled down on appeals to the rural poor,...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma pledged on Thursday to redistribute wealth in the economy to poor black people as part of a policy he calls "radical socio-economic transformation". "We mean the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favor of South Africans, especially the poor," Zuma said in a speech to members of local government. Zuma's fresh "transformation" pledge has been criticized by opponents who say it is a populist attempt to win votes and vague rhetoric similar to many promises made since the end of apartheid in 1994. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by James Macharia)
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
South Africa's former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas has resigned as a member of parliament, a week after President Jacob Zuma sacked him from the cabinet, the African National Congress said on Thursday. Jonas was fired alongside finance minister Pravin Gordhan in a cabinet shake-up that triggered a credit ratings downgrade and rocked markets. The ruling ANC party has backed Zuma, and rejected calls for him to resign. "Comrade Jonas has served both as Deputy Minister and MP with absolute distinction and dedication," the office of the ANC Chief Whip said in a statement. Jonas was an outspoken critic of government corruption. He made headlines last year when he said that he had been offered the finance minister job by...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/06/17)
Workers at Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine west of Johannesburg have returned to work, ending an illegal strike that started more than two weeks ago, the company said on Thursday. Kusasalethu, which employs about 4,500 workers, has been a flash point for labor violence and strikes in recent years, threatening the viability of the mine and underlining the social risks of mining in South Africa. "Unprotected industrial action affects the mine's viability, its employees and their families," Harmony CEO Peter Steenkamp said in a statement. Workers downed tools on March 23 after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) encouraged the strike in response to disciplinary procedures against 40 employees following an illegal sit-in at Kusasalethu in January. AMCU was...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
South Africa's embattled President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday won the backing of the ruling ANC party, which rejected calls for him to resign over a controversial cabinet reshuffle. The African National Congress acknowledged growing calls for Zuma to step down, admitting to "serious and difficult disagreement" over the president's sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan last week. Zuma could in theory be ousted by the ANC recalling him or a vote of no confidence in parliament. ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg that although the party had "reflected" on the resignation demands, "we won't recall President Jacob Zuma because opposition parties say so.
(Xinhuanet 04/05/17)
The South African government remains committed to a measured fiscal consolidation that stabilizes the rise in public debt, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday. It is more important than ever now that South Africans unite as a country and work together in light of the unrelenting socioeconomic challenges that they face, Zuma said at the launch of the Trans-Africa Locomotive project in Koedoespoort, Gauteng Province. Zuma was speaking one day after international rating agency Standard & Poor (S&P) lowered the long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating on South Africa to 'BB+' from 'BBB-' and the long-term local currency rating to 'BBB-' from 'BBB'. It was the first time in 17 years that South Africa's sovereign credit was downgraded to junk...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
War crimes judges will Friday hear why South Africa failed to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir during a 2015 visit, as they mull whether to report Pretoria to the United Nations for possible action. South Africa's lawyers will defend the decision not to detain Bashir -- wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity -- at a hearing scheduled to start at 0730 GMT at the International Criminal Court. At the heart of the matter is South Africa's refusal to arrest Bashir when he attended an African Union summit in Johannesburg in mid-June 2015, insisting he had "head of state immunity" and allowing him instead to slip out of the country under shadowy circumstances. Judges at the tribunal based...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
Recent political turmoil in South Africa has come at a cost, with ratings agency S&P Global saying a controversial Cabinet reshuffle and growing pressure on the president to resign have lowered the country's sovereign credit rating to “junk” status. Economists predict that will result in higher interest rates and higher prices on imported goods. It could, however, also give the South African leaders the opportunity to finally carry out their promise of radically transforming the economy away from minority ownership and toward a more equitable model. The ratings agency did not mince words in its downgrade announcement, pinning the blame for South Africa’s poor credit rating squarely on controversial political decisions made by President Jacob Zuma. On Tuesday, new Finance...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/05/17)
South Africa's ruling African National Congress backed President Jacob Zuma after calls for his resignation from various groups after he dismissed a respected finance minister, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said on Wednesday. The rand fell by 1 percent and bonds weakened after Mantashe said the ANC would not be part of a movement to remove Zuma, despite a chorus of criticism by ANC-allied parties and unions, religious groups, civil society and the opposition. Mantashe said the ANC had accepted the "irretrievable breakdown of the relationship" between Zuma and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan as the reason Gordhan was sacked, a move that deepened a rift within the ruling party. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Writing by James Macharia; Editing by...
(AL Jazeera 04/05/17)
South Africa's largest trade union has joined calls for President Jacob Zuma to step down. While the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have vigorously defended Zuma in the past, they now say they have lost confidence in him after his dismissal of Pravin Gordhan, the finance minister. The sacking in the early hours of Friday has had serious consequences for the country's economy and deepened the rift within the ruling African National Congress (ANC). "The time has arrived for him [Zuma] to step down and allow the country to be led forward by a new collective at a government level," Cosatu said in a statement. Cosatu is in an alliance with the ANC and the South African Communist...
(Bloomberg 04/05/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma survived calls to resign by members of the ruling party following his decision to fire his finance minister and stack the cabinet with loyalists, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The rand reversed earlier gains. At a Tuesday meeting in Johannesburg of the ANC’s National Working Committee, Zuma rejected accusations that he hadn’t consulted adequately before a cabinet reshuffle that included the removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and received some support from members of the party’s so-called Top 6 officials, the people said, asking not to be identified because a public statement hasn’t been made. The decision heightens chances that Zuma will survive an opposition-sponsored vote of no confidence in parliament...
(AFP (eng) 04/05/17)
Wits became the third top-flight club to be knocked out of the South African FA Cup this season by lower-league rivals when they lost on penalties to Jomo Cosmos Tuesday. Second-tier Cosmos won the shootout 5-4 after a 1-1 draw following extra time in a last-16 tie in Tsakane, 70 kilometres south of Johannesburg. Premiership leaders Cape Town City and neighbours Ajax Cape Town fell to lower division clubs in the previous round. The fifth successful Cosmos spot-kick came down off the crossbar, hit the back of Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs and trickled into the net. Wits defender and man of the match Sifiso Hlanti then had his kick saved by Thabo Modiba to eliminate the club who lie second...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but stay within their own country. African Union Commission head of humanitarian affairs, refugees and displaced people Olabisi Dare says the situation of IDPs in Africa is very critical, dire and worsening. "...The issues that are generating internal displacement [are] multiplying...
(AFP (eng) 04/04/17)
South Africa's powerful trade union federation Cosatu, a key coalition partner of the ruling ANC, on Tuesday called for embattled President Jacob Zuma to resign following a deeply unpopular cabinet reshuffle. Union general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said it was time for Zuma to "step down" after his purge last week of cabinet critics, which included the removal of the respected former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan. Gordhan's sacking contributed to a credit ratings downgrade to junk status on Monday by Standard & Poor's as pressure on Zuma grew over his move to oust opponents within the cabinet. "We no longer believe in his leadership abilities," Ntshalintshali said at a media
(AFP (eng) 04/04/17)
Credit ratings agency Standard and Poor's downgraded South Africa's rating to junk status on Monday, as pressure on President Jacob Zuma grows following a controversial cabinet shuffle. S&P said the cut to below investment grade reflects "heightened political and institutional uncertainties" following Zuma's shock purge of critical ministers on Friday, including respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The shake-up has "put at risk fiscal and growth outcomes", the ratings agency added as it downgraded South Africa to BB+ from BBB-. The rand fell a further two percent against the US dollar on Monday night, after already suffering a five percent drop since Friday.
(Bloomberg 04/04/17)
The head of South Africa’s Treasury, Lungisa Fuzile, has asked to leave his post at the end of this month, a year before his contract runs out, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Fuzile, 51, informed former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan of his plans to leave a day before Gordhan was fired on March 31, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because no announcement has been made yet. He’s been in the post for six years. The cabinet last year extended his original five-year term for 24 months. “It’s not my focus right now,” Fuzile said Tuesday after a briefing in Pretoria, the capital. “My objective is that the handover to the new...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/04/17)
S&P cut South Africa's credit rating to junk status on Monday, saying the dismissal of its respected finance minister heralded a damaging policy shift, while President Jacob Zuma readied for a showdown with other ANC leaders over the sacking. In an unscheduled review that prompted a selloff in South African assets, the credit agency handed South Africa its first downgrade since 2000, citing the impact of divisions in the ANC-led government that led to leadership changes including Pravin Gordhan's removal on Zuma's orders late on Thursday. "This has increased the likelihood that economic growth and fiscal outcomes could suffer," said S&P, which cut its rating by one notch to BB+ -- its highest non-investment grade mark -- and also assigned...
(APA 04/04/17)
Newly-appointed South African Tourism Minister Thokozile Xasa has said that growth in international and domestic tourism means more opportunities for local suppliers and providers of services to tourists. Speaking at the 2017 Local Government Tourism Conference underway in Johannesburg, Xasa said tourism growth meant more opportunities for small businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators, and people from local communities to become actively involved in “the wonderful world of tourism.” Themed “Tourism Planning is Everybody’s Business”, the conference is expected to provide a platform for public and private sector stakeholders to deliberate on how integrated tourism planning could lead to a sustainable and inclusive sector that creates employment opportunities, and contributes to poverty alleviation. The South African government recently allocated US$38 million to...
(Voice of America 04/04/17)
Last week's court ruling allowing home use of marijuana has sent South Africa buzzing about the possibility that cannabis will now be widely legal in the Rainbow Nation. To which pro-marijuana activist Julian Stobbs says: Chill. Friday’s ruling from the Western Cape province High Court does apply across the nation, but the decision is really more about privacy than it is about pot. The ruling struck down part of an old law that prohibits private and personal use of marijuana. The ruling still has to be solidified by parliament and pass through the constitutional court, which could take up to two years. South Africa first criminalized the substance in 1908. Police statistics say that drug-related arrests have recently risen, with...

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