Wednesday 26 July 2017
(Business Day 07/12/17)
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is the latest ANC leader to hit out at PR company Bell Pottinger for tarnishing SA’s image. Addressing the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) national congress on Wednesday‚ he accused the UK-based company of sowing racial divisions in the country. The company was engaged by the Gupta family and is accused of coming up with a campaign blaming "white monopoly capital" for SA’s problems. "It is a matter of great concern that a public relations company … from outside our country was able to so effectively poison the political discourse in our country [and] in our movement to drive their own personal narrow interest," he said. "It says much about our lack of political cohesion and...
(News24 07/12/17)
The ANC's top brass will pay a visit to the regional and provincial structures of the Western Cape ANC this weekend, amid growing factionalism in the region. The ANC's top six, headed by President Jacob Zuma, will make stops this weekend in all of the party's six regions to consult about the provincial executive committee (PEC)'s reasons to disband the Dullah Omar (Cape Town) metro leadership two weeks ago, and over calls by some regional leaders to disband the PEC. The meetings with the regions are set to take place on Sunday, and a final meeting with the PEC will take place on Monday. The six leaders will be meeting individually with one of the six regions. "We are hopeful...
(Bloomberg 07/12/17)
Unless something changes, it's on the fast track to an economic disaster. The International Monetary Fund just pointed out that “South Africa’s vulnerabilities have become more pronounced.” That’s one way of putting it. A potentially prosperous and dynamic economy is on the fast track to ruin. Altering its course will take real political reform. Unemployment has risen five percentage points since 2008, to a hope-crushing 28 percent. The country’s population is expanding faster than its economy, which lately has grown at less than half the rate of sub-Saharan Africa as a whole. And its inequality is among the highest in the world. These are the fruits of failed economic policy. Yet far from grasping the need for change, at a...
(News24 07/12/17)
Addressing some of the main challenges currently faced by the ANC while speaking at the SACP’s 14th National Congress in Boksburg, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has emphatically said he would no longer remain quiet on issues like state capture. Once again touching on the issue of state capture and its profoundly damaging impact on South Africa’s economy, Ramaphosa called for action to prevent further damage. "Should we remain quiet?" Ramaphosa asked the members gathered in the hall, to which the response was a resounding "No". Ramaphosa himself then reiterated, "I for one will not remain quiet."
(Eye Witness News 07/12/17)
Debates on monetary policy in South Africa over the last couple of decades seem to have come from a madhouse. First, in the 1990s the country had old discredited Washington Consensus policies rammed down its throat. This was done with little regard for alternative progressive ideas and little or no democratic debate or public participation. And then recently the country’s Public Protector, Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report that made sweeping populist recommendations about the South Africa Reserve Bank. The report favoured revising the country’s Constitution and a binding recommendation for a monetary policy regime that excludes any reference to price stability. A mandate like this simply doesn’t exist in any comparable country with a well-developed private banking system. To put...
(Business Day 07/12/17)
South African property stocks’ offshore exposure has more or less doubled since 2014. The South African listed-property sector has seen a dramatic shift offshore with about 46% of its value in overseas markets, including eastern and western Europe. South African property stocks’ offshore exposure has more or less doubled since 2014 as investors have diversified their risk and sought better growth opportunities. The South African listed-property sector is now worth about R500bn and is exposed to 25 countries, most recently Spain, according to Keillen Ndlovu, head of listed-property funds at Stanlib. "The exposure to these 25 countries now makes up almost 50% of the South African listed-property sector. Therefore it has become a very diversified sector with most of the...
(AFP (eng) 07/12/17)
Renowned South African jazz singer and guitarist Ray Phiri, who played on Paul Simon's groundbreaking Graceland album, has died after a long battle with lung cancer, his family said Wednesday. Phiri, 70, was the lead vocalist of the successful band Stimela, and gained an international audience through his work on 1986's Graceland. "I spoke to him on Monday and he was struggling but unfortunately, there was nothing we could have done," a family spokesman told local media. "The doctors say they tried all that they could to help him out." Tributes poured in for the raspy-voiced singer, including from South African President Jacob Zuma. "He was a musical giant. This is indeed a huge loss for South Africa and the...
(Cnbc Africa 07/12/17)
"Africa is an awakening giant," according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul. The leader who oversaw the transition of his country's power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure. "I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform," he said. De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world's growing size. "If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution," he...
(AFP (eng) 07/11/17)
South Africa's Communist Party, a key ally of the ruling ANC, has banned President Jacob Zuma from addressing its congress this week, an official said Tuesday, highlighting his political troubles. The South African Communist Party (SACP) has been increasingly critical of Zuma's corruption-tainted leadership, which has seen the ANC suffer a sharp drop in public support. It will be the first time that Zuma, who came to power in 2009, has not addressed the congress, held every four years. "We advised the ANC that due to the tensions we...
(Bloomberg 07/11/17)
South Africa’s anti-graft ombudsman won’t oppose the Reserve Bank’s court application to review and set aside her instruction to parliament to change the constitution and amend the central bank’s primary role. Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane considered legal advice and decided not to oppose the application the central bank filed on June 28, her office said in an emailed statement on Monday. In a report last month, Mkhwebane instructed the legislature to start a process to change the nation’s constitution to make the central bank focus on the “socioeconomic well-being of the citizens” rather than inflation. Her comments caused the rand to slide as the change was seen by investors as a threat to the independence of the Reserve Bank. The...
(APA 07/11/17)
A recent string of break-ins at key justice and government institutions must be “inside jobs,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has said here. The minister was briefing the media after a Monday visit to OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg‚ which also has recently been targeted by criminals. Responding to reports of the latest burglary at the Pretoria offices of the National Prosecuting Authority on Sunday night which saw two laptops belonging to prosecutors being stolen along with hard drives, Mbalula said the thefts were undertaken by insiders at the offices. “Criminals who undertake these operations of breaking into offices are not criminals from the outside. They are people who are working inside those offices. “It’s an inside job for one...
(The Associated Press 07/11/17)
Africa has several new sites on the United Nations world heritage list, including an old royal capital in Angola, the Eritrean capital of Asmara and a desert area in South Africa that was inhabited during the Stone Age. UNESCO said this weekend at a meeting in Poland that Mbanza Kongo in northwest Angola was the capital of the Kongo kingdom, a largely independent state between the 14th and 19th centuries. The U.N. cultural agency says Asmara, which experienced large-scale construction under Italian rule in the 1930s, showcases "early modernist urbanism" in an African context. And it says the Khomani cultural landscape at South Africa's border with Botswana and Namibia testifies to the way of life of the once-nomadic San people...
(Voice of America 07/11/17)
In the past five years, terrorist attacks have killed nearly 20,000 people across Africa. Two groups, Boko Haram and al-Shabab, accounted for 71 percent of reported incidents and 91 percent of fatalities. But, while these and other militant groups remain active, fatal terrorist attacks across the continent are on pace to fall for a second straight year, and the total number of attacks is running far below 2012 highs. These findings are part of VOA’s original analysis of data from ACLED, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project. ACLED tracks political violence, protests and terrorist events across Africa. Their reports include attacks since 1997 based on data collected from local news media, government statements, non-governmental organizations and published research...
(Xinhuanet 07/10/17)
The just-concluded G20 Summit managed to discuss and agree on various developmental matters that would be of advantage to South Africa and the African continent, South African President Jacob Zuma said Sunday. These included the launch of the G20 Africa Partnership, Zuma said upon return from Hamburg, Germany where the summit was held on July 7-8. This program was launched in recognition of the opportunities and challenges in Africa as well as the goals of the United Nations Social Development Agenda 2030, said Zuma. "It was agreed that this initiative would be based on equal partnerships and will be in line with the African Union Agenda 2063," the president said. The partnership will serve South Africa's national interest as it...
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Eskom SOC Holdings Ltd. said auditors have raised concerns about issues relating to Matshela Koko and Brian Molefe, who both ran South Africa’s state-run power utility this year, in their year-end review. The company’s external auditors reported two irregularities to the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors, Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said in an e-mailed statement Monday. The first was Eskom’s relationship with Impulse International, which received contracts from the power provider while Koko’s stepdaughter was a non-executive director. The second related to the reinstatement of Molefe as chief executive officer in May.
(Reuters (Eng) 07/10/17)
The South African parliament has filed papers in court challenging the anti-graft watchdog's proposal that the central bank be forced to change its economic mandate, it said. Parliament said the affidavit by Speaker Baleka Mbete was in support of the South African Reserve Bank's legal bid to quash the recommendation, which was made by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, the head of the powerful anti-graft unit. The proposal is also being challenged by Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Mbete said Mkhwebane's bid to force the central bank to target growth rather than inflation was unconstitutional as it was beyond the scope of the her mandate and encroached on Parliament's domain of enacting legislation. Mkhwebane made the proposal to change the bank's mandate...
(AFP (eng) 07/10/17)
Four male lions escaped over the weekend fromm South Africa's famed Kruger National Park, officials said Monday, two months after five others slipped out. Park management said in a statement that the majestic predators were believed to have sneaked out on Sunday night, and that they had been spotted in a nearby village. They urged residents to "exercise extra caution" as the hunt for the animals was underway. Kruger Park, which borders Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is home to about 1,500 lions, and nearly the size of Belgium. Animals sometimes slip past the barrier fences, especially during the dry winter season. Two months ago, five other lions escaped from the park. Four were re-captured in neighbouring farms and one is still...
(The Associated Press 07/10/17)
Police in northern Vietnam have seized nearly 3 tons of ivory smuggled from South Africa in the latest action taken against the illegal trade. Thanh Hoa provincial police said the ivory was found in boxes on a truck stopped by police early Saturday morning. The account posted on the police website quoted the truck driver as saying he was hired to transport the ivory from southern Dong Nai province to the capital Hanoi. Police declined to give further information on Monday. Last year, nearly 7 tons of ivory were seized in Vietnam's southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh city. Vietnam is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of ivory and rhino horn. It bans hunting of...
(Xinhuanet 07/10/17)
South African authorities on Monday issued a public warning following the escape of four lions from a national park, the second lion escape from the same park in two months. Residents should be extra vigilant and report any sightings of these dangerous predators to the authorities, the South African National Parks (SANParks) said. The four male lions were believed to have escaped from the Kruger National Park (KNP) in northeastern South Africa on Sunday night. The predators were spotted at Matsulu, a village outside the park, causing panic among residents. "SANParks would like to urge the residents to exercise extra caution," SANParks spokesperson William Mabasa said. "KNP Rangers and their counterparts at the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) are...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/10/17)
Thieves broke into South Africa's state prosecutors' offices early on Monday and made off with two laptop computers, the latest in a series of high-profile burglaries targeting law enforcement bodies. "I can confirm that there was a break-in in the early hours of Monday. Two laptops belonging to prosecutors in those offices were stolen," said Luvuyo Mfaku, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority. No arrests have been made. The burglary, in a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world, including for murder and corruption, came just days after thieves stole hard drives and other computer equipment from an elite police crime-fighting unit, the Hawks. The Hawks, whose full name is the Directorate of Priority Crime...

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