Friday 19 January 2018
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa enjoyed a sharp lead on Tuesday in the contest to become the leader of the ruling African National Congress party. A majority of party regional delegates backed Ramaphosa ahead of an elective conference to be held in Johannesburg which will select a successor to ANC chief President Jacob Zuma between December 16 and 20. Ramaphosa leads his closest rival, Zuma's ex-wife and former African Union Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, by 529 regional delegates according to a provisional official tally released on Tuesday. He currently has 1,859 pledges to her 1,330. They have been embroiled in an increasingly bitter proxy battle, with allies of the two trading insults and allegations in recent months. The successful...
(Reuters (Eng) 12/05/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has received the most nominations for leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) ahead of a party vote this month, voting data from the country’s nine provinces show. Ramaphosa is one of two frontrunners in a closely watched contest to take over from President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader at a party conference starting on Dec. 16. Whoever becomes ANC leader will most likely be the next president of South Africa, owing to the ruling party’s electoral dominance. Ramaphosa received 1,862 nominations by ANC branches, whereas his main rival for ANC leader, former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, received 1,309 endorsements. Reuters compiled the number of nominations for each candidate based...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
South Africa's ailing economy grew by 2 percent in the third quarter, lifted by the agricultural sector which is recovering from a severe drought, official figures released on Tuesday showed. "The South African economy grew by 2.0 percent in the third quarter of 2017... down from a revised 2.8 percent in the second quarter," Statistics South Africa said in a statement. The agency said agriculture, mining and manufacturing were the "main drivers of the expansion" -- with increased corn and vegetable production. Improved gold and platinum production saw the key mining industry grow by 6.6 percent. Africa's most industrialised economy in the second quarter came out of its first recession in eight years, but economists have warned that the worst...
(AfricaNews 12/05/17)
The head of South Africa’s anti-corruption watchdog, Busisiwe Mkhwebane has confirmed a R250‚000 payment into Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle’s private account was among a litany of irregular transactions made with money meant for Nelson Mandela’s funeral. In a damning 300-page report‚ Mkhwebane has laid bare the details of how provincial and municipal officials went on a spending spree with money initially allocated for development in one of South Africa’s poorest provinces. While Masualle did not benefit from the payment – he ordered that the payment be reversed – Mkhwebane has made it clear that the transaction was “was improper and constitutes maladministration”.
(Reuters (Eng) 12/05/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - U.S. law firm Pomerantz LLP said on Tuesday it had launched an investigation into whether South Africa’s Naspers and its directors had engaged in any business malpractices. Pomerantz said it was conducting the probe on behalf of Naspers’ shareholders after a unit of the media and e-commerce giant said it would investigate claims of improper payments to a TV channel, ANN7, when it belonged to the wealthy Gupta family, which has close ties to President Jacob Zuma. Shares in Naspers dropped more than 4 percent in late afternoon deals in Johannesburg, weighed down by both the investigation and a sell-off in Tencent Holdings. Naspers holds a third of Tencent’s stock “The investigation concerns whether Naspers and certain...
(AFP (eng) 12/05/17)
The head of the UN's AIDS agency on Monday urged African countries to protect young women and children who are bearing the brunt of the continent's AIDS epidemic. A sharp rise of people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has now slowed, "but now is not the time to drop our guard," Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, told the start of a six-day conference on HIV/AIDS and sexually-transmitted diseases in Africa. "The many changes under way in our world should not threaten the sustainability of our great achievements in the AIDS response," he warned. "We cannot afford to lose our gains. If we want to end this epidemic, we must act now and act differently." About 36.7 million...
(AFP (eng) 12/01/17)
Leaders at an EU-Africa summit called Thursday for the immediate evacuation of nearly 4,000 distressed African migrants in Libya under a new drive to fight slave traders and traffickers. Wrapping up a two-day summit in Ivory Coast's economic capital, a top African Union (AU) official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans stranded in Libya, where many have suffered atrocities and even been sold into slavery. He said a fact-finding mission had seen one camp in Tripoli where all the residents, numbering several thousand, were "living in inhumane conditions" and were desperate to return home. "We have agreed, along with the EU and the UN, to set up a task force for repatriating at least 3,800 people," Moussa...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/30/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Lawyers for Jacob Zuma have until midnight to file papers outlining why nearly 800 corruption charges shelved before he became South African president eight years ago but recently reinstated by the courts should not be brought against him. The revival of the charges could increase pressure on Zuma to step down before his term ends in 2019 and diminish his influence over who succeeds him when the ruling African National Congress (ANC) chooses a new leader in December. The 75-year-old president has faced and denied numerous other corruption allegations since taking office in 2009. The 783 charges, which relate to a 30 billion rand ($2.2 billion) government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s, were filed but...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
A summit gathering European and African leaders from more than 80 countries drew to a close Thursday with plans for the immediate evacuation of some 3,800 African migrants stranded in Libya. Wrapping up the summit in the Ivorian capital, a top African Union official said there could be as many as 700,000 Africans trapped in Libya, where many have suffered attrocities and even been sold into slavery. The two-day summit of the African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) was showcased as a project to boost development in Africa as it faces a population crunch.
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
It was an operation that earned him acclaim, but the world's first heart transplant also provoked hate mail and outspoken criticism of South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard, 50 years ago. "We did not realise that it would take the public by storm and create such an outcry," says Dene Friedmann, a specialist nurse on the cardiovascular team, standing in the same Cape Town operating theatre where the medical feat took place. Its watery-green tiled walls, visited by schools and the public, stir many memories for her of the historic procedure. And its aftermath. "There were people who wrote quite critical letters to Professor Barnard, horrible letters calling him 'the butcher'," says Friedmann, now in her seventies. The insults rained. "I...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Fifty years ago South Africa stunned the world: A surgeon in Cape Town, Christiaan Barnard, successfully transplanted the heart of a woman into the chest of a dying man. Here is a narrative, largely based on AFP reporting at the time, of the extraordinary details surrounding the first human-to-human heart transplant. - A terrible accident - Ann Washkansky could not have imagined that the traffic accident she comes across on December 2, 1967, would bring both life and fame to her terminally ill husband. As Washkansky is driving back from visiting her husband at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town when she sees a vehicle slam into Denise Darvall, a young bank worker, as she is crossing a busy road...
(AFP (eng) 11/30/17)
Twenty-five asylum seekers from Africa arrived safely in Rome Thursday, using a Christian "humanitarian corridor" set up for Syrians fleeing the war in their homeland. "It was just a project but it became THE project, the way of the future," said Mario Morcone of the Italian interior ministry. The 25 men, women and children from Somalia, Eritrea and South Sudan arrived in Rome before dawn on a flight from Ethiopia. They will be moved to centres across the country. "We want to ensure that people do not risk their lives in the desert and at sea," Morcone said. "This is an important turning point in the politics of our country. You are witness to this turning point and we will...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
LONDON (Reuters) - South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC) is planning to ask for two seats on the board of Lonmin by the end of 2017 and has suggested the platinum miner move its main listing to Johannesburg, its chief executive said. Lonmin, majority-owned by state-run PIC and listed in London since 1961, has been hobbled by persistently low platinum prices, rising costs and strikes, forcing it to tap investors three times in the last eight years. PIC, which manages $150 billion of government employee pensions, raised its stake in Lonmin in 2015 to 30 percent from 7 percent after a rights issue was undersubscribed. “We are a 30 percent shareholder, so we can ask for at least two board...
(AFP (eng) 11/29/17)
More than 80 African and European leaders will gather in the Ivory Coast on Wednesday to promote jobs and stability for Africa's exploding population, with some calling for a new "Marshall Plan." The two-day summit in Abidjan opens as the European Union increasingly sees its fate linked to Africa's following the twin shocks of unprecedented migration and terrorist attacks. It comes as China, India, Japan, the Gulf Arab states and others also compete for influence on a continent where the 28-nation EU remains as a whole the biggest economic and political player. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told parliamentarians from both continents before the summit...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/29/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Brian Joffe’s South African investment firm Long4Life (L4LJ.J) has agreed to buy Chill Beverages for at least 452 million rand ($33 million) in cash and shares, Long4Life said on Tuesday. Joffe, former chief executive of the conglomerate Bidvest (BVTJ.J), listed Long4Life in April and has since made a string of acquisitions, including sporting goods retailer Holdsport and beauty chain Sorbet. Chill, whose brands include energy drink Score and tonic Fitch & Leedes, has a manufacturing plant in Stellenbosch, around 50 km from Cape Town. The company is currently owned by management and unlisted firms Africa Beverage Venture and Raubenbel. Long4Life will pay a minimum of 452 million rand for Chill, but the purchase price could rise to...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
Hard cash but also the intangible ties of history have kept Europe in pole position as Africa's main partner, even if an influx of Chinese investment is prompting many African countries to look eastward. Successive years of hefty spending, particularly in infrastructure, have propelled China into the continent's top slot when calculated in terms of individual investor nations. But a quite different picture emerges when this is seen through a broader prism -- the ties between Africa and Europe as a 28-nation bloc. "Europe is in front, given the shared history," said Pierre Dagbo Gode, professor of political science at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University of Abidjan. "Europe is the premier trade partner, the top investor, the top donor," a...
(AFP (eng) 11/28/17)
A furore over migrant slave markets in Libya casts a shadow over an AU-EU summit this week that aims to promote Africa's long-term economic growth and stability, spurred by European fears of terrorism and mass migration. The two-day African Union and European Union summit opening Wednesday in the Ivory Coast economic capital Abidjan is focused mainly on the need to create jobs for Africa's rapidly growing population. The summit marks what Europe sees as a potential turning point for broader and deeper ties with a continent it once colonised widely -- while China, Japan, India and Gulf Arab states also compete for influence. However, outrage over the slave trade in Libya looms over the talks in Abidjan, with the scandal...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Hundreds of white South African farmers on Saturday took to the streets of Pretoria, demanding government action over a wave of murders targeting their communities in rural areas. The march is the latest protest staged over the murder of at least 72 white farmers so far this year, according to figures from campaign group AfriForum. "In the last six years, (there has been) an increase every year in farm attacks and murders," said Ernst Roets, a member of AfriForum, which advocates for its largely white membership, many of whom speak Afrikaans. Protesters marched under the rain to Union Building, seat of the South African government. "Stop farm murder" and "We are mourning", read some of the marchers' placards. Dirk Hermann,...
(AFP (eng) 11/27/17)
Like many other Zimbabweans who found freedom and work in neighbouring South Africa during Robert Mugabe's oppressive rule, dissident Muchaneta Chijakara was overjoyed to see the veteran leader ousted. Now, the dream of returning home to her husband and five children seems almost within reach. "I was... dancing in my house yesterday, it's like Christmas, it's like New Year," the 43-year-old said. Chijakara, a supporter of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), left Zimbabwe in 2003. At the time, a government crackdown on her party was in full swing. "Next year, I'm going back home, if the industries are open... I'm not afraid of my country any more," she said. After nearly four decades in power, Mugabe resigned Tuesday...
(Reuters (Eng) 11/27/17)
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has directed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba to identify concrete measures to urgently address the country’s economic challenges, the president’s office said on Monday. President Jacob Zuma gestures as he addresses parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham The directive comes after S&P Global Ratings on Friday downgraded the country’s local currency debt to sub-investment grade, while Moody’s place the sovereign on review for downgrade.

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