Friday 23 June 2017
(Bloomberg 05/30/17)
Africa’s corn harvest this year is a tale of two extremes as worries about overflowing silos and rotting crops in the south contrast with the east where supermarkets are running short of the staple food. Zambia and South Africa are both predicting record output of the grain, while Zimbabwe may meet its domestic needs for the first time since it began seizing land from white farmers in 2000. Yet in East Africa, 17 million people may be facing hunger, and concerns about food shortages are driving up prices as governments scramble to secure imports. “It all comes down to weather,” said Wessel Lemmer, a senior agricultural economist at Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s Absa unit in Johannesburg. “There’s usually an inverse...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma survived fresh calls within the ruling ANC party for him to resign, party officials said Monday, as they acknowledged support was "drifting away" from the movement. Senior figures in the African National Congress met over the weekend after Zuma endured months of criticism over his sacking of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. "There was a call made in the national executive committee for the president to consider stepping down," said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe. "A number of members... were of the view that the ANC should listen to this call." Mantashe said that the meeting had not backed the resignation demands
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
BMW AG is set to extend production halts in Germany to China and South Africa on Monday as the luxury-car maker grapples with a shortage of steering parts. Production at the factories in Shenyang and Rosslyn is likely to stop for a day, while its plant in Leipzig, Germany, is expected to be partially shuttered, spokesman Michael Rebstock said. The Leipzig site has been closed since Friday, and another facility in Munich was affected last week as an unidentified Italian car-parts supplier has been unable to make the required deliveries, magazine Focus reported earlier Sunday. BMW’s profitability dropped in the first quarter, as an aging production lineup led the company to offer incentives to accelerate sales. The Munich-based carmaker delivered...
(AFP (eng) 05/29/17)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma faced further opposition at a meeting of his party's top leadership Sunday but managed to sidestep a no-confidence vote after a turbulent three-day gathering. The meeting in Pretoria comes as Zuma faces growing criticism within the ruling African National Congress, which sharpened after a March cabinet reshuffle when he sacked respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. But plans to debate a no-confidence motion in Zuma were blocked by the chairman of the meeting of the ANC's executive committee (NEC), state-owned broadcaster SABC said. Local media reports said several NEC members had tried to force a debate on his future.
(The Associated Press 05/29/17)
Ruling party critics of South African President Jacob Zuma pushed for his resignation on Sunday amid concern about alleged corruption at the highest levels of the government, but the president still retained significant support within the divided party. This weekend, opponents proposed a motion of no confidence against Zuma at a meeting of leaders of the African National Congress party, which has led South Africa since the end of white minority rule in 1994. Many in the party attribute the ANC’s poor performance in local elections last year to scandals surrounding the president and want to shore up their popularity ahead of national elections in 2019. The motion was proposed by party member Joel Netshitenzhe, and it was supported by...
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
A defiant South African President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of the African National Congress’s top leadership to order his removal from office, according to three members of the ruling party’s national executive committee. The committee decided on Sunday not to vote on a no-confidence motion in the president, according to the committee members, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Pressure had built on Zuma to quit following his March 31 decision to fire Pravin Gordhan as finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle, a move that sparked public protests and cost the country its investment-grade credit rating. In his closing address to the three-day meeting, Zuma said...
(Bloomberg 05/29/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma reasserted his control over the ruling African National Congress as a renewed revolt by some of the party’s most senior leaders fizzled out. While some members of the ANC’s national executive committee at a weekend meeting supported a call for Zuma to step down, most spoke neither in favor of nor against the motion and emphasized that the party must remained unified, party Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporters on Monday. Zuma survived a similar revolt in November. “The NEC sought to have a detailed analysis of the consequences of removing the president, appreciating that some calls, especially those made by the opposition, are not so much about removing the president but rather dislodging the ANC...
(AFP (eng) 05/28/17)
At the end of a narrow road stands the dilapidated husk of a golf clubhouse, now overrun with tall weeds and creepers. It stands as a reminder of better times for the once booming mining town of Blyvooruitzicht, an hour's drive southwest of Johannesburg. Joseph Rammusa, 53, was proud to have been the club's president -- its last, because in 2013, the once-prosperous town suffered a dramatic reversal of fortune. "I was called to come in the office, I was given a letter that needed to be printed urgently," said Rammusa, a former clerk at the town's mine. "I started looking at the letter, I was taken aback. I realised that the mine was placed under provisional liquidation." For more...
(AfricaNews 05/27/17)
Two policy proposals are on the table regarding adult prostitution – keeping the practice totally criminalised or partially criminalising the world’s oldest profession, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Friday as he announced a long-awaited report by the South African Law Reform Commission was out for public comment. In a media statement, Masutha said the report followed extensive research on the circumstances around prostitution and the laws governing the practice. The report reviews the laws currently regulating adult prostitution. “The statutory provisions under review are contained in the Sexual Offences Act 23 of 1957 and the Criminal Law
(Reuters (Eng) 05/27/17)
Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy nations met African heads of state on Saturday, the final day of their annual summit which has been marked by discord over climate change, but unity on tackling terrorism. Italy had hoped to make Africa the major focus of the annual G7 gathering, holding the discussions on the island of Sicily that has taken in hundreds of thousands of migrants over the past four years as they flee war and poverty back home. However, the two-day meeting got overshadowed by a suicide bombing in northern England on Monday that killed 22 people, and also got bogged down by lengthy discussions on the merit of free trade and the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle...
(Bloomberg 05/26/17)
South African Mines Minister Mosebenzi Zwane has proposed raising the mandatory black ownership of mining assets to 30 percent from 26 percent, drawing opposition from some ruling-party officials who fear it will deter investment, two people familiar with the situation said. The proposal is part of a long-delayed draft mining charter outlined by Zwane, an ally of President Jacob Zuma, to the African National Congress’ economic policy committee on May 13. Senior party policy officials warned of the potential negative consequences of his plans, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Zwane hasn’t formally proposed the changes for public comment before they become binding. Zuma’s cabinet on Wednesday approved the draft mining charter, which will be released...
(Bloomberg 05/26/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma faces a key battle for his political survival this weekend when senior members of his ruling party say they’ll push for its decision-making national executive committee to order him to step down. Zuma, 75, goes into the meeting of the committee facing an unprecedented level of opposition from within the African National Congress and its labor and communist supporters following a series of scandals he’s faced since he took office in 2009. His vice president, Cyril Ramaphosa, echoed the South African Council of Churches on Sunday by saying the nation is at risk of becoming a “mafia state.” While ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa denied that the option of Zuma’s ouster will feature at the three-day...
(Bloomberg 05/26/17)
South Africa forecast a record corn harvest this year as improved rainfall boosts yields and helps farmers recover from the worst drought since records began. The country will probably reap 15.63 million metric tons of corn this year, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Friday. That would top 1981’s 14.66 million tons, according to data from the South African Grain Information Service. The committee raised its estimate by 7.5 percent from the previous 14.54 million tons in April due to increased expectations for yields in the Free State and North West provinces, Ndou said. South Africa’s corn harvest is rebounding sharply from last season’s nine-year low. Grain SA, a local producers’...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said on Friday he was not opposed to setting up a commission of inquiry into corruption into his government after anti-graft report alleged he was influenced by the wealthy Gupta family in making government appointments. The former Public Protector, a constitutionally mandated corruption watchdog, called for a commission of inquiry in the "State of Capture" report into alleged influence-peddling. The report was released in November. Zuma has challenged the report in court, arguing that the Public Protector had no right to ask him to form such a commission, as this was the president's prerogative. In a statement from his office on Friday, Zuma said he was not opposed to such an inquiry, but did not...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma has appointed Justice Mandisa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the president's office said on Friday, making her the first woman to occupy the position. "Her appointment to the position elevates her to the third highest position in the Judicial Branch, after the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic," Zuma said. (Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)
(Reuters (Eng) 05/26/17)
The exhibit coincides with the publication of a controversial paper that questions the widely-held view that humanity’s evolutionary roots lay in Africa. An exhibit of the largest collection of fossils of close human relatives ever to go on public display opened on Thursday in South Africa, not far from the caves where they were unearthed. Launched on Africa Day in an area named “The Cradle of Humankind,” the exhibit coincides with the publication of a controversial paper that questions the widely-held view that humanity’s evolutionary roots lay in Africa. The displays contain more than 1,000 original fragments of Homo naledi, named in 2015 after a cache of its fossils was discovered in caves near the Sterkfontein and Swartkrans dig sites...
(AFP (eng) 05/26/17)
Entertainment | France | film | festival | Cannes | Zambia | witchcraft Cannes, France | AFP | Friday 5/26/2017 - 14:01 UTC+3 | 615 words by Katy Lee Being accused of witchcraft is no laughing matter in Africa -- but movie director Rungano Nyoni decided a dose of humour was just what was needed to tackle a problem rampant in parts of the continent. Set in Zambia, the sharp satire "I Am Not A Witch" has premiered to strong reviews at the Cannes film festival, taking aim at the blatant sexism behind accusations that overwhelmingly target women. White tourists are seen gawping at women detained in a "witch camp" in the movie, taking pictures of them as if they're...
(Financial Times 05/24/17)
The South African rand was boosted on Tuesday following reports that the African National Congress is discussing options to remove the country’s president, Jacob Zuma, from office, although some gains were trimmed after an ANC spokesman denied the claims. The rand, which was down as much as 0.7 per cent earlier in the day to $0.075, rallied as much as 1.5 per cent to $0.076 after Bloomberg reported that the ruling ANC’s national executive committee would raise the possibility of removing Mr Zuma at its May 26-28 meeting. However, an ANC spokesman later told Reuters the reports were “a complete fabrication and not true”. The rand had trimmed its gains to trade about 1 per cent higher at pixel time...
(Xinhuanet 05/24/17)
The South African government continues to engage intensively with all the rating agencies to avoid further downgrade, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday. The engagement is aimed at taking the rating agencies to have confidence in South Africa's ongoing reforms, growth initiatives, and the commitment to measured fiscal consolidation and improving the governance and sustainability of state-owned companies, Gigaba said in his Budge Vote Speech in Parliament. "We hope these engagements will avert further downgrades in the short term, and that progress in these areas will improve our credit ratings in the medium term," he said. For South Africa to be able to borrow and refinance debt, credit rating agencies are critical as they rate public debt, and therefore...
(iAfrica 05/24/17)
Last week the International Monetary Fund upgraded their 2017 growth forecast for South Africa to 1%. Markets reacted with surprise given the spate of recent investment grade downgrades the country has faced, with Moody’s verdict still pending their June announcement. The fact is that economic growth at 1% is negligible and, in fact, South Africa’s population growth outpaces this number by almost 0.8% which implies that we are getting poorer despite having positive economic growth. South Africa has seen little growth these past few years, leading some to label it the “wait-and-see” economy. While the world’s economy grew slightly more than 3% last year, South Africa clocked growth of just 0.3%, largely due to embedded structural issues weighing on potential...

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