Wednesday 26 July 2017
(Bloomberg 07/10/17)
Many cell phone companies are rethinking their headlong rush into the continent. Only Orange is staying the course. Back when African countries were auctioning off mobile licenses by the boatload to serve the region’s young, tech-savvy population, investing in the continent’s fast-growing economies seemed like a no-brainer. Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers rushed in. Now they’re wondering if they made a mistake. Increasing government and regulatory scrutiny, as well as a lack of expansion opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, are making it harder for operators such as Vodafone Group Plc, Orange SA and Bharti Airtel Ltd. to grow. Their choice: Pull back or double down. Two companies beating at least a partial retreat are Millicom International Cellular SA, which...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/07/17)
South Africa's metalworkers union said on Friday it has requested a certificate to strike in the engineering sector after wage hike talks deadlocked, and expects a decision by 15 July. The union -- the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, or NUMSA, -- wants wage hikes of 15 percent across-the-board in the metal and engineering sectors on the actual rate workers are earning and not on the minimum rate. In line with government's recent minimum wage deal with rival union federation Cosatu, employers were offering 20 rand ($1.48) an hour for new entrants, while the current minimum rate was double that, NUMSA said. "We will fight to block the greedy employers from implementing this poverty wage. We have requested...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
War crimes judges Thursday ruled that South Africa failed in its duties to the International Criminal Court in 2015 when it refused to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on genocide charges. "The chamber concludes that by not arresting Omar al-Bashir while he was on its territory ... South Africa failed to comply with the court's request" for his arrest and surrender, presiding judge Cuno Tarfusser said. However, the judges declined to refer the matter to the UN Security Council, which has tasked the ICC with prosecuting war crimes in western Darfur.
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
War crimes judges will rule Thursday if South Africa flouted international law by failing to arrest Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, wanted for trial on charges of genocide in Darfur. Legal experts widely expect that judges at the International Criminal Court will find that Pretoria, one of the founding members of the tribunal, failed to co-operate with the ICC based in The Hague. And while the landmark decision will be aimed at sending a message to signatories of the court's founding Rome Statute that they must cooperate, many believe little concrete action will follow. Despite two international arrest warrants issued in 2009 and 2010, Bashir remains at large and in office as conflict continues to rage in the western Sudanese region...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
A South African trade union Thursday defended prison officers for organising an erotic dance show for inmates, denying the performers were strippers as they were "not half naked as alleged". Pictures emerged of dancers in scanty black lingerie and knee-high boots cavorting with orange-clad prisoners at the high-security Johannesburg Correctional Centre jail. After the images spread across the internet, 13 prison staff were suspended over the show, which was part of annual Youth Day celebrations last month. "Social media took an innocent entertainment program of the youth day celebrations at the prison and turned it into something ugly," the Public Servants Association trade union said in a statement. "The dancers were clothed in appropriate, suitable dancing attire (tights) and not...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
Johannesburg-born former Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland midfielder Steven Pienaar joined South African Premiership champions Wits Wednesday on a one-year contract. "I am officially a Clever Boy," tweeted Pienaar, referring to the nickname of his new club whose home ground is on the University of the Witwatersrand campus in Johannesburg. The former South Africa captain made 61 international appearances and scored three goals. He moved from Ajax Cape Town to Ajax Amsterdam in 2001, setting in motion a European career that spanned three countries and 16 years. Pienaar left Ajax for German Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund, then played for Everton, Tottenham, Everton again and Sunderland. His contract with relegated Sunderland ended last month and the 35-year-old had been linked with...
(AFP (eng) 07/06/17)
The African Union's new chair Moussa Faki Mahamat on Wednesday questioned US commitment to fighting terrorism on the continent after it blocked efforts to get UN funding for an anti-jihadist force in the Sahel. "This is a specific case of a certain number of African states taking the initiative to create a dedicated force to fight terrorism. So, we don't understand how the United States could hold back or not engage in the fight against terrorism," Faki said in an interview with AFP. Faki's January election as chairperson of the AU commission came days after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has proposed slashing US funding for aid projects and multilateral institutions like the UN. The former Chadian...
(AFP (eng) 07/05/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday sought to calm an increasingly fractious battle to succeed him that is threatening to split the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. Zuma, who has been hit by corruption scandals and the country's poor economic performance, will step down as ANC party head in December and as national president ahead of the 2019 election. The next ANC chief should be on track to win the general election and become South African president, but the party has recently suffered a sharp decline in popularity. Zuma, giving his closing address at an ANC policy conference in Soweto outside Johannesburg, called for the party to drop its "winner takes all" attitude to the divisive leadership race...
(AFP (eng) 07/05/17)
Seven people died Wednesday when a dilapidated high-rise building occupied by illegal squatters in downtown Johannesburg caught fire, highlighting a housing crisis in South Africa's economic hub. Emergency workers said the fire broke out in the abandoned building which had no running water and electricity early in the morning. "Six people died from smoke inhalation and one person died after he jumped out of the building try to escape," said Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokeswoman Nana Radebe. She said 50 people were rescued from the blaze, seven of them requiring hospitalisation for burns and smoke inhalation treatment. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, but an eyewitness told local media that the inferno was sparked by a generator...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
A South African opposition party on Monday asked police to investigate allegations that taxpayers' money paid for the lavish wedding of a family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma. Citing leaked emails, local media alleged last week that $3.3-million meant to help poor farmers was instead moved through companies owned by the Guptas and used to settle bills for the 2013 wedding. The four-day event marked the marriage of a niece of one of the Gupta brothers. The wealthy Indian business family is at the centre of a slew of graft scandals...
(AFP (eng) 07/03/17)
Deirdre Larkin breezes through Johannesburg's suburbs most mornings, her white hair buffeted by the wind as she runs her well-trodden eight-kilometre training course. At 85-years-old, this retired concert pianist who only began running in later life can complete a half marathon in just over two hours and holds the world record time for her age. "Before I turned 78, the last time I ran was in college, and I was really bad," she said, standing in her home in front of a wall of some 500 medals recognising her athletic feats. Stopping for selfies with children and to offer her fellow runners encouragement, Larkin has become a major draw at the races she runs. "As people pass me, because most...
(AFP (eng) 07/02/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma, who has been weakened by growing criticism from within the ruling ANC party, will face a vote of no confidence in parliament on August 8, officials announced Sunday. Opposition parties have pushed for the vote to be held in secret, hoping to encourage ANC lawmakers to vote Zuma out of office after a series of corruption scandals. But the president retains strong support from many lawmakers in the African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid. In the last two years, Zuma has easily survived three votes of no confidence and a separate parliament vote to remove him from office. Parliamentary Speaker Baleka Mbete on Sunday issued a statement saying the date for the...
(Reuters (Eng) 07/01/17)
South Africa may need outside financial assistance to get out of its economic spiral, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Friday, calling for "drastic measures" to revive growth. At the same time, embattled President Jacob Zuma admitted that the economy may not hit the forecast 1.3 percent growth target set by his government, and urged political allies to discuss policies, including land redistribution, to revamp the economy. He called for "radical solutions" -- albeit within the constitution -- to redistribute land to the country's black majority. Both men were speaking at a conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which will be looking for a new leader to replace Zuma in December. South Africa is in recession and has...
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma admitted Friday the ruling ANC party is beset by corruption and divisions that could threaten its uninterrupted hold on power since the end of apartheid rule. Zuma, who has himself been at the centre of several major corruption scandals, called on the African National Congress (ANC) to reform and turn around its fortunes ahead of elections in 2019. Zuma may stay on as national president until the election, but he is due to step down as ANC chief in December and the party faces a bitter internal leadership battle.
(AFP (eng) 06/29/17)
South Africa's ruling ANC party will look to "self-correct" at a six-day meeting starting Friday, a senior official said after a series of bruising scandals and fierce criticism of President Jacob Zuma. Zuma has been engulfed by graft allegations and humiliating court rulings while grappling with record unemployment and an economy that has dipped into recession. The African National Congress, which led the fight against apartheid, has ruled South Africa since Nelson Mandela won the first multi-racial elections in 1994. But the party faces tricky elections in 2019, and could lose its grip on power as many South Africans...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
A South African who has been held hostage by Al-Qaeda in Mali since 2011 is alive and well, his father said Wednesday, having received information from a recently released Swedish captive. Stephen McGown's father Malcolm said he had spoken twice to Johan Gustafsson, who was detained alongside Stephen, since his release earlier this week. "He said they were both well, he says Stephen is well. So there has not been any sort of abuse or anything like that," McGown told AFP. "We just sort of hope that Stephen will come out soon. At this stage he is now on his own,"
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
AngloGold Ashanti, the world's third largest gold miner, said Wednesday it was considering 8,500 job cuts in South Africa as part of a turnaround strategy to curb losses. "This restructuring contemplates some 8,500 roles across AngloGold Ashanti's South African business," the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. The firm employs around 28,000 people. It said challenges faced in South Africa included the "near-depletion of ore reserves" while some older mines had become uneconomic. "This is a difficult decision which follows a period of significant and ultimately unsustainable losses...
(Bloomberg 06/28/17)
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. may cut about 8,500 jobs in South Africa and halt some unprofitable operations as the world’s third-largest gold producer pursues a turnaround in its home country. AngloGold intends to place its Kopanang mine and the Savuka section of the TauTona mine on care and maintenance, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Wednesday. AngloGold is taking the steps “to ensure the viability of our remaining operations,” spokesman Stewart Bailey said by phone. AngloGold’s South African mines made their first loss since 2012 in the first quarter of this year, as costs surged 44 percent and output slid. The company said in May it was reviewing operations in the country, where it employs about 28,000 people, including contractors...

Pages