Friday 15 December 2017
(AFP (eng) 11/07/17)
The publishers of a book alleging widespread corruption against South Africa's President Jacob Zuma vowed on Monday to resist a demand from the country's spy agency that they withdraw it. The State Security Agency demanded on Friday that NB Publishers remove from bookstores the work by investigative journalist Jacques Pauw after alleging it contained classified intelligence. They also claimed that the book, "The President's Keepers", was "replete with inaccuracies". The publishers said in a legal letter that "the information contained in the book is true and of undeniable interest". The book, released last month, paints a vivid picture of Zuma's scandal-tainted presidency as corrupt, incompetent and nepotistic. It also chronicles how the head of state has purged his adversaries in...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/07/17)
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. [UBER.UL] is growing rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa and considering moves into more markets, despite sometimes violent opposition from metered taxi drivers, a senior executive said on Tuesday. Uber’s service has triggered protests by rivals from London to New Delhi as it up-ends traditional business models that require professional drivers to pay steep licensing fees to do business. “We are bullish on Africa. The growth here is still substantial and we think that given the right regulatory environment, the growth could be even better,” Justin Spratt, head of business development for the sub-Saharan region, told Reuters. “Africa’s growth thus far has been faster than America and a large part of that is...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/06/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Africa’s mobile internet connections are set to double in the next five years, a study showed on Monday, thanks to affordable smartphones and the roll-out of high-speed networks. A report by research and consulting firm Ovum in London estimates that mobile broadband connections will rise from 419 million at the end of this year to 1.07 billion by the end of 2022. “Data connectivity is growing strongly in Africa, and there are also good prospects on the continent in areas such as digital media, mobile financial services, and the Internet of Things,” said Matthew Reed, Practice Leader Middle East and Africa at Ovum. “But as Africa’s TMT market becomes more convergent and complex, service providers are under...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
South African prosecutors argued Friday that Oscar Pistorius' six-year jail sentence for murder must be increased, saying he failed to show genuine remorse after killing his girlfriend. The Paralympic athlete shot dead Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day in 2013 when he fired four times through the door of his bedroom toilet. He pleaded not guilty at his trial in 2014 and has always denied that he killed Steenkamp in a rage, saying he mistook her for a burglar. At a one-day hearing at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, state prosecutors fought for the right to appeal against what they described as a "shockingly lenient" sentence. Pistorius, 30, was not present for the latest stage...
(AFP (eng) 11/04/17)
South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal on Friday heard the state's case to lengthen the jail term of double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius for murdering his girlfriend. Here is a timeline of events following the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine's Day in 2013. - 2013 - February 14: Police arrest the Olympic and Paralympic sprinter for killing Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, who was shot four times at his Pretoria home. February 15: Pistorius bursts into tears as he is charged, denying murder "in the strongest terms". February 19: Pistorius claims in an affidavit he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder. He said he fired through a locked bathroom door, in what prosecutors term "premeditated" murder. February 21: Global sportswear manufacturer Nike...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
South Africa's spy agency threatened on Friday to seek a banning order for a newly released book that makes a series of corruption allegations against President Jacob Zuma. The State Security Agency issued a legal letter, seen by AFP, accusing author Jacques Pauw of disclosing "the identities of the many members and sources of the agency", "intelligence collection methods" and "intelligence gathered". The book, titled "The President's Keepers", alleges that large amounts of public money was transferred into the bank accounts of bogus spies. It paints a picture of Zuma's scandal-tainted...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
In the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, local politics is a deadly game, with at least 40 people killed in politically motivated shootings since last year. A battle for control is raging ahead of a conference of the African National Congress to choose a new leader when President Jacob Zuma steps down as ANC chief in December Violence has spread across the province on the country's east coast, but much of the killing can be traced back to hitmen hired from the notorious Glebelands complex of hostels in the provincial capital Durban. The 71 lawless hostel blocks -- originally built to house migrant workers -- are home to about 20,000 people, often crowded into decrepit accommodation, sleeping more than 30...
(AFP (eng) 11/03/17)
US politicians are voicing concern over America's growing military presence across Africa, where they worry the Pentagon is getting ever more embroiled in a secretive campaign against a shifting enemy. Last month's killing of four US soldiers in a Niger ambush has thrust the issue into the spotlight, with lawmakers calling for greater transparency on what is going on in Africa. "The footprint in Africa is much bigger than the American public understands," Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said this week. The Niger ambush has also rekindled debate over the legal authorities the Pentagon uses to fight jihadist groups overseas, particularly in Africa where about 6,000 US troops are deployed across the vast continent. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis this week faced...
(AFP (eng) 10/31/17)
A son of a wealthy South African family on trial for killing his parents and a brother with an axe on Tuesday recounted the grisly attack which he has blamed on intruders. Henri van Breda, 22, who has pleaded not guilty, calmly took to the witness stand for the first time since the trial opened in April in the Western Cape High Court. The former University of Melbourne student is alleged to have killed his 21-year-old brother Rudi and parents Martin, 54, and Teresa, 55, and left his sister Marli struggling with near-fatal injuries to the head, neck and throat. He casually narrated his version of the night of January 27 in 2015, when his family was hacked to death...
(Bloomberg 10/31/17)
South Africa’s main government workers’ pension fund is seeking permission to invest more cash in international assets to protect against the impact of a possible downgrade of the country’s local-currency debt to junk status. The Government Employees Pension Fund is in talks with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba about easing its investment criteria to include more foreign bonds and equities, Abel Sithole, principal executive officer, told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The GEPF currently has 1 percent of its 1.7 trillion rand ....
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Monday condemned "the despicable and racist behavior" by some who took part in the so-called Black Monday protest against farm murders. The party pointed to racial characterization of crime and the stoking of racial hatred by some elements in the campaign. This came after thousands of people, dressed in black, took to streets across the country to observe Black Monday in protest against farm murders. Some protesters hoisted apartheid South Africa's flag, although organizers discouraged them from doing so. This was indicative of an unrelenting yearning for apartheid fascism and white supremacy and made a mockery of the national reconciliation project, continuing to entrench obstacles to the creation a non-racial society in South...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - MTN sees a $4.2 billion claim by Turkcell in a South African court over a disputed Iranian mobile phone license as “opportunistic” and “baseless”, the company said on Tuesday after filing a defense plea. Turkcell first sued MTN in a U.S. court in 2012, alleging the company used bribery and wrongful influence to win a lucrative Iranian license that was originally awarded to Turkcell. It dropped the suit a year later after U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a separate case made clear that U.S. courts would not have jurisdiction in a claim involving two foreign firms in an overseas dispute. A year later it filed in South Africa, where the case has been stuck in procedural wrangling...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Barclays Africa (BGAJ.J) and Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) said on Monday they would stop working with McKinsey, a further blow to the global consultancy as it faces allegations of bribery for work done with friends of South African President Jacob Zuma. Privately-held McKinsey, the world’s largest management consultancy, has denied doing anything illegal but said this month that it was embarrassed by mistakes it made while working with South African state utility Eskom last year. McKinsey said it regretted working on a 1.6 billion rand ($113 million) contract at Eskom...
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
Hundreds of people gathered in Cape Town on Monday to observe Black Monday, an event dedicated to farmers who have fallen victim to rampant crime. Wearing black clothes, protesters began to converge at Cape Town Stadium under blazing sun in the morning. As more people arrived, the Helen Suzman Boulevard became gridlocked. Many motorbikes, cars and even tractors joined the protesters, with a police helicopter hovered overhead. The participants kneeled on the ground to pray for the murdered farmers and held each other's hands in solidarity. "Enough is enough," the protesters chanted. Black Monday was launched in Cape Town by a group called "Enough is Enough" after the murder of 47-year-old farmer Joubert Conradie on his farm in Klapmuts near...
(Bloomberg 10/31/17)
South Africa’s jobless remained at a 14-year high in the third quarter as the continent’s most-industrialized economy staged a weak recovery from a recession. The unemployment rate was 27.7 percent, matching the previous two quarters’ figures, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in Cape Town. The economy expanded 2.5 percent in the three months ended June 30, exiting its second recession in almost a decade after agricultural output surged. Last week, the National Treasury almost halved its growth forecast for this year to 0.7 percent as business and consumer confidence dropped. It expects tax revenue to fall well short of projections made in February, and the lack of measures to mitigate against this shows the country...
(Agence Ecofin 10/31/17)
During a café rencontre organized by Business Report, the American businessman Harold Doley Junior revealed that a consortium of international investors led by his organization pland to invest $1 billion in South Africa. “I am a firm believer that Africa can, and will, fulfil its potential for growth and create opportunities, especially for young people. It is with this in mind, and after many decades of involvement with Africa, that I am leading a group of notable international investors, who are all committed to African growth and prosperity,” he said. Targeted sectors under the initiative are those of technology, education and agriculture, in priority. Expressing himself after a speech on the half-implementation of the South African government’s budget, Doley Junior...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Thousands of white farmers blocked roads in South Africa on Monday to protest against what they say is an explosion of violence against their communities in rural areas. Large demonstrations under the "Black Monday" banner were held in Cape Town, Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria. Marchers dressed in black to commemorate the victims of hundreds of deadly "farm attacks" in recent years. The protest actions halted traffic on main roads and forced police to divert vehicles on several major routes. Monday's day of action was coordinated by AfriForum, a campaign group that advocates for its largely white membership, many of whom speak Afrikaans. It lobbies on issues including farm murders, hate speech and language rights, and is often critical of...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
South Africa's finance minister received some faint praise last week -- not for the economy's performance, but for admitting the country is in a dire position that is set to get worse. Malusi Gigaba delivered a mid-term budget that laid bare South Africa's struggle with slow growth, tax income shortfalls, rising debt and high unemployment. The daunting challenges recently caused business confidence to dip to the lowest level since the apartheid era -- reflecting wider fears that the achievements of the new, democratic South Africa are turning to dust. Gigaba's budget statement on Wednesday slashed the GDP growth forecast for 2017 from 1.3 percent to just 0.7 percent, and revealed that by 2020, 15 percent of government revenue would be...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Tunnels coursing through the bowels of the earth under the city of Johannesburg contain precious treasure -- copper cables that are being stripped out and smuggled as far away as Asia. As in many other parts of the world, copper cable theft is not new in South Africa, but lately it has reached an unprecedented scale. A recent brazen theft knocked out power and plunged the central business district of Johannesburg, the economic hub, into darkness, largely paralysing business for 10 straight days. It is estimated that nearly half of the power outages in the city are caused by cable theft. "In 2004, about four percent of all outages were due to cable theft, and now it is 40 (percent),"...

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