| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(Xinhuanet 03/06/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma on Monday nominated Justice Mandisa Muriel Lindelwa Maya as the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). Justice Maya will fill the vacancy that has occurred following the discharge from active service of Justice Lex Mpati. The nomination will make Maya the first female SCA President in South Africa. Maya was appointed as an Acting Judge of the High Court in 1999 and a fulltime Judge the following year. She has acted as a judge at the Labour Court, an Acting Judge in the Supreme Court of Appeal, and as an Acting Judge at the Constitutional Court. In 2006 she was appointed a Judge of the SCA and in 2015 she was appointed as...
(Bloomberg 03/06/17)
A stronger rand and falling inflation expectations may allow South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago to start cutting interest rates this year as long as political developments don’t derail the currency’s gains. Higher commodity prices and the end of a severe drought have improved prospects for an economy that probably expanded at the slowest pace in seven years in 2016. This has boosted the rand and led to an expectation of lower inflation, even as political risks, such as the possibility that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan may be replaced, still remain. Forward-rate agreements starting in nine months, used to speculate on borrowing costs, show traders have started pricing in cuts in the repurchase rate. Breakeven rates, a measure of...
(Financial Times 03/06/17)
Violence strains Pretoria ties with Nigeria and raises fears in diaspora communities. After his wife called to warn that people were storming his church in Pretoria, Prophet Samson Sangojinmi rushed back to find an angry mob blocking the entrance. As he approached the crowd, one man swung a machete towards the Nigerian pastor’s head, slashing his wrist as Mr Sangojinmi blocked the blow. “They came here because they know it’s a Nigerian church,” says Mr Sangojinmi, who moved to South Africa in 2005. Now he says he is waiting for a sign from God to decide whether to stay or take his congregation elsewhere. The image of the shocked pastor standing in his bloodstained white robe became a symbol of...
(BBC News Africa 03/06/17)
A row has broken out in South Africa after a government official refused to conduct a radio interview in English. Lumka Oliphant was invited to discuss a crisis over social security payments, amid fears that millions of vulnerable people could be cut off next month when a government contract expires. The spokesperson has been widely condemned on Twitter and accused of using distraction tactics. A minority has praised her decision to respond in Zulu. English is one of South Africa's 11 official languages. "Just for the benefit of all my listeners, could you please just respond in English?" Talk radio 702 host Xolani Gwala asks the Social Development Department spokesperson after her initial answer. Ms Oliphant had been invited on...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/04/17)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will not suspend the head of the prosecution service for laying and then withdrawing corruption charges against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, the presidency said on Friday. State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams in October dropped fraud charges against Gordhan related to his time as head of the revenue service just weeks after they had been filed, drawing criticism from opponents who said it was part of a politically-motivated "witch-hunt". The charges had heightened concerns among investors about a power struggle between Gordhan and Zuma and even drew criticism from senior members of the ruling African National Congress. Zuma and Gordhan deny there is any rift. "It is the President's well considered view that there is no prima...
(Bloomberg 03/04/17)
South African Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said she took responsibility for the failure of the country’s welfare department to comply with a ruling by the nation’s top court. The Constitutional Court in 2013 said a contract between the South African Social Security Agency and Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. was invalid and a tender should be held to secure a new service provider to make welfare payments to more than 17 million people. The Net 1 contract expires this month and no alternative arrangements have been made, threatening to interrupt a program that pays more than 140 billion rand ($10.7 billion) a year to South Africa’s poorest people. “The minister and Sassa accept responsibility for Sassa’s inability to deliver”...
(Bloomberg 03/04/17)
South Africa should consider splitting state power company Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. into transmission and generation units to prevent it from undermining the country’s independent power producer program, the ruling African National Congress said. While the government has championed one of the world’s most successful renewable power programs, Eskom, which generates about 90 percent of the nation’s electricity, has opposed signing new deals with solar and wind power producers because it said their costs are too high. That’s caused conflict between the company, the energy ministry and President Jacob Zuma, who said last month the renewable program is a priority and that Eskom will sign the power-purchase agreements. “Eskom plays a role as both a producer and buyer of electricity,”...
(Bloomberg 03/04/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma contradicted senior members of his ruling African National Congress on Friday in calling for the constitution to be changed to ensure greater access to land for the nation’s black majority and indicating that the government may consider expropriating land without paying for it. “We must undertake a pre-colonial audit of land ownership, use and occupation patterns,” Zuma said in an address to traditional leaders in Cape Town on Friday, referring to the time before European settlers arrived in the country. “Once the audit has been completed, a single law should be developed to address the issue of land restitution without compensation. The necessary constitutional amendments would then be undertaken to effect this process.” Zuma’s comments...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
Cape Town City went top of the South African Premiership Friday after completing a double over title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns by winning 1-0 at home. Lebogang Manyama became the co-leading league scorer on 11 goals after hooking the ball over goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands midway through the second half. Cape Town wasted several other great scoring chances while Sundowns had two goals disallowed because of offside and handball. It was the third league loss of the season for African champions Sundowns and all have been inflicted by Cape Town clubs with Ajax winning 2-0 at home. Playing for the second time in three days, Sundowns could not match fresher and quicker rivals who joined the Premiership this season after buying a franchise...
(Washington Post 03/03/17)
Last week was an ugly, humiliating one for South Africa; a country once considered a jewel of democracy on the African continent has been gripped by a wave of xenophobic violence. In a matter of days, more than 30 stores belonging to foreign nationals were shut down after intense attacks and looting by locals in several townships. We are breathing a sigh of relief that there has been no loss of life. This is not the first time that foreigners have faced attacks in South Africa’s townships and provinces. In 2008, the country’s streets were ablaze, literally, with violence against foreigners. Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a national from Mozambique, was beaten, stabbed and set on fire in broad daylight. A police...
(Eye Witness News 03/03/17)
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says government has set itself an expenditure ceiling. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan says as long as the South African economy is not growing, government will continue to curtail expenditure. Gordhan and his Deputy Mcebisi Jonas are making NationalTreasury’s submission to the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training in Centurion on Friday. President Jacob Zuma established the commission last year to investigate the feasibility of fee-free higher education. Gordhan says government has set itself an expenditure ceiling. “Equally, choices have to be made when new demands or unanticipated demands - as was the case early last year. Once you have an expenditure ceiling, then it’s zero-sum game. If we want to give an extra amount...
(News24 03/03/17)
The DA is planning a march to the Department of Social Development in Tshwane in the hopes of ensuring social grants are paid on time, the party said on Friday. The party had applied for permission to hold a march next Friday, DA social development spokesperson Bridget Masango said. "Thousands of DA supporters and concerned South Africans will take to the street of our capital to make it clear to the ANC that they cannot take the grants away from our poor and vulnerable." The South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) this week indicated it had no clear plan in place to ensure the continued payment of social grants to more than 17 million beneficiaries after March 31. "We are...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States will extend its scrutiny of a $2.2 billion takeover by South Africa's Sibanye Gold (SGLJ.J) of the only U.S. miner of platinum and palladium, Stillwater Mining (SWC.N), Sibanye said on Friday. The committee, which examines deals for potential U.S. national security concerns, extended the deadline for its review from February 28 to no later than April 14, 2017 which the company said was part of the normal process. "Its fairly complicated, it's a South African company with a large Chinese shareholding so they have just asked for an extension so that they can do further investigations," said Sibanye spokesman James Wellsted. Gold One South Africa, majority-owned by a Chinese consortium, holds...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Country Bird Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s third-largest chicken producer, will close one of its three abattoirs as the local industry struggles to compete with cheap European imports that it argues amount to dumping. The company will close its facility in Mahikeng, in the North West province, in the absence of increased government protection against the imports, Country Bird Chief Executive Officer Marthinus Stander said by phone Thursday. The company notified employees last year about the planned closure, he said. South African farmers and labor unions say the European Union is selling chicken legs, thighs and wings at below cost, pushing the local industry to the brink of collapse, and have asked the government to increase protection. The EU has in...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/03/17)
South African researchers developing the world’s largest machine for producing aircraft parts using lasers to melt powdered titanium are in talks with Airbus and Boeing, with the first commercial application expected in 2019. Officially launched in 2011 and backed by government, the Aeroswift research project last year produced its first three demonstrator parts – a pilot’s throttle lever, a condition lever grip which is part of the throttle assembly, and a fuel tank pylon bracket, in a digital process known as 3D printing, or additive layer manufacturing. Increasingly adopted by the automotive, aerospace and military industries as a cheaper way of making complex parts, the new manufacturing process could save millions of dollars on fuel and production costs as aircraft...
(News24 03/03/17)
Cosatu in the Western Cape plans to go on strike over what it calls the City of Cape Town's failure to address the water crisis. The labour union will file an application for legal protest action with the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). In a statement on Thursday, Cosatu said the city has failed to decrease water consumption. "The rich have more than enough money to pay fines and more expensive water bills," Cosatu said. "The water shortages [are] going to lead to poor communities dying of thirst. The rich will be able to buy water at the shops whilst poor people have no alternative water supply." Cosatu said naming the streets where there is high water consumption...
(Eye Witness News 03/03/17)
President Zuma has stressed the important role of traditional leaders in insuring the implementation of radical socio-economic transformation. President Jacob Zuma has called on traditional leaders to review customs that are potentially harmful. Zuma was speaking at the official opening at the National House of Traditional Leaders at Parliament on Friday. It's the 20th anniversary of the House and the Constitution and the National Council of Provinces. President Zuma has stressed the important role of traditional leaders in insuring the implementation of radical socio-economic transformation. Zuma says it's important to preserve traditions, but steps should also be taken to eradicate discriminative practices from communities. “We also need a review of the cultures and customs that are considered to be harmful,...
(BBC News Africa 03/03/17)
South African rescue workers have managed to evacuate everyone trapped under rubble after the roof of a major Johannesburg hospital collapsed on Thursday. The roof caved in at the reception area of the Charlotte Maxeke state hospital as construction work was under way to seal a leak, officials say. At least five people have been treated for minor injuries, including patients. Rain had hampered rescue work at the hospital, one of the country's biggest. One worker told the BBC: "I heard people screaming, saying: 'There are people under the rubble'." Another said: "There was a noise, I saw rubble and dust everywhere. I don't know how many people are under there." Stones had been moved onto the section of the...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...

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