| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
Emergency workers dug through rubble in Johannesburg on Thursday after part of a hospital's roof collapsed, reportedly trapping several patients. Others were removed from wards, health officials said of the incident in an area near the maternity department of the Charlotte Maxeke hospital. Local television showed images of men sifting through debris including mangled corrugated iron in a devastated atrium area. "Rescue services are still digging in the rubble which is quite a painstakingly slow process," ER24 spokesman Russel Meiring told AFP. "Initial reports show there were several patients trapped beneath the rubble.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/02/17)
South Africa's central bank on Thursday said it would put up for sale nearly 150,000 of its shares owned by people who have exceeded limits set by a court to prevent undue influence in the regulator. South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago told reporters the bank had identified certain people amassing shares, and that this posed a danger to the bank's independence. He did not identify the shareholders. "These shareholders who decided to buy shares as families and as associates, you could see that they were trying to exert undue influence, or influence disproportionate to the statutory limit," Kganyago said. Shares in the bank may be acquired by means of an over-the-counter share trading facility and earn a dividend...
(Bloomberg 03/02/17)
Bank of Baroda’s South African unit has started closing accounts of companies controlled by the Gupta family, according to three people familiar with the matter, potentially leaving the friends of President Jacob Zuma without banking facilities in the country. The Mumbai-based lender is winding down its relationship with companies related to the Gupta family to ensure it is in compliance with banking rules, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The Guptas, who are in business with Zuma’s son, have been accused by opposition parties and some ruling party officials of using their friendship with the president to influence cabinet appointments and government contracts.
(CNN 03/02/17)
The South African government is planning to implement a sugar tax to help curb the country's growing obesity epidemic. The problem reflects the global increase in obesity and overweight rates across developing countries, surpassing the rate of obesity in developed states. The number of overweight and obese people in the developing world has grown from 250 million in 1980 to a billion in recent years, according to the Overseas Development Institute. In tackling sugar drink prices, South Africa follows in the footsteps of Mexico, France, Hungary and New York, which have pioneered the strategy. It plans to introduce a 20% tax on soft drinks that will come into force April 1, making South Africa, which has one of the highest...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
South African telecoms giant MTN said Thursday that it made a $200 million loss in 2016 -- the company's first -- after suffering a huge fine in Nigeria and currency challenges in key markets. "MTN Group's financial results for 2016 reflect the most challenging year in the company's 22-year history," MTN said in a statement. Johannesburg-based MTN reported profits of 20.2 billion rand ($1.6 billion) before tax for 2015. Overall performance was hindered by lower than expected growth in both South Africa and Nigeria -- as well as the depreciation of the rand against the dollar and the continued impact of a $1 billion (950 million euros) fine by Nigerian authorities. Nigerian authorities fined MTN in October 2015 for failing...
(News24 03/02/17)
No party will be able to effectively govern this country, unless a change occur in the minds and attitudes of South Africans. No party, that is including the DA. The Zancster party has systematically set South Africa up to fail, since they took this country over in 1994, from the NP, with a working infrastructure, dams, roads, harbours, railroads, universities and a well developed private sector. The institutions of State was well run, well maintained, and run by professionally competent people. Of course transformation had to take place, to ensure a society that gives opportunities to all South Africans. Instead of appointing professional, independent people to run institutions, the Zancsters turned to cadre deployment. Instead of creating a society that...
(BBC News Africa 03/02/17)
Nigerian Emmeka Uhanna, 47, is a shop-owner in South Africa's economic hub Johannesburg. He tells the BBC's Pumza Fihlani that he is worried following the recent xenophobic attacks in parts of the city and wants the government to intervene for the sake of all Africans. I've been living in South Africa since 1997, my wife is South African and we have two children, aged 14 and 16. My wife is worried about what future our children will have if the xenophobic attacks become the norm. We don't know how to explain the hatred against Nigerians to our families, to our children. This is the third round of attacks against foreigners; one was in 2008 where people were killed, again in...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/02/17)
South Africa's National Consumer Commission (NCC) said it has launched a probe into the local unit of U.S. automaker Ford over the recall of 4,500 Kuga SUVs after dozens of reports of the vehicles catching fire spontaneously. Ford's Southern Africa President and chief executive Jeff Nemeth in January said the company could confirm 39 incidents of the cars catching fire, as well as one death, which Nemeth said was not directly linked to the defect. Ford's South African unit said the company, a unit of the U.S. auto-maker Ford, would cooperate with the probe. "The National Consumer Commission says that it has instituted an investigation into the activities of Ford Motor Company Southern Africa and its dealerships, for alleged prohibited...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/01/17)
Several coal transporting trucks blocked highways in South Africa's capital on Monday to protest against the country's renewable power program after President Jacob Zuma showed support for the sector in speech to parliament last month. Zuma's directive has angered coal transporting workers, who said the signing of renewable energy contracts will lead to 30,000 job losses in the coal industry. Coal is used to generate the lion's share of power generated in South Africa. Job cuts are a thorny issue in Africa's most industrialized country where the unemployment rate is almost 27 percent, and are a big concern for companies faced with labor disputes.
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
Coal-truck drivers brought traffic to a standstill on roads surrounding South Africa’s capital on Wednesday as the state-owned power utility said it won’t renew their contracts because of an electricity surplus. Truck drivers whose employers are members of the Coal Transportation Forum used their vehicles to blockade the main roads entering Pretoria, Talk Radio 702 reported. The blockade disrupted business in the city, with the nation’s Competition Tribunal canceling hearings because of the congestion, it said in an emailed response to questions. The protesters didn’t obtain permission for the stoppage, Mayor Solly Msimanga said on his Twitter account. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which supplies about 90 percent of the country’s power, won’t renew agreements with 48 transport companies because weak...
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
The number of rhinoceroses killed by poachers in South Africa last year fell 10 percent as arrests for illegal hunting of the animals more than doubled to a record. A total of 1,054 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns in 2016, down from 1,175 a year earlier, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement on its website. In the Kruger National Park, a game reserve about the same size as Wales, the carcasses of 662 rhinos were found last year, down from 826 in the previous 12 months. Rhino horn demand has climbed in nations including China and Vietnam, because of a belief that they can cure diseases such as cancer and even ease a hangover. The...
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
South Africa’s welfare agency said it withdrew its application to the nation’s highest court to extend a payment distribution contract with Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc. the day after it filed it. That’s added to confusion around how the government plans to ensure more than 17 million people continue to get their payments in April. The application was filed by Chief Executive Officer Thokozani Magwaza on Tuesday even as social development ministry officials told lawmakers on the same day that the South African Social Security Agency would inform the Constitutional Court of its decision to conclude a new contract with Net 1. Nathi Mncube, a spokesman for the court, said that while it had been notified of the intention to...
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc said it may close South Africa’s only cigarette plant if plans to ban branded tobacco packaging are implemented. BAT operates its eighth-largest factory globally in Heidelberg, south of Johannesburg. The proposed new rules would threaten the financial viability of the operation, Joe Heshu, BAT’s head of external affairs in Southern Africa, said in an e-mailed response to questions on Monday. Plain packaging threatens the closure of the factory and “poses a threat to the viability of the legal tobacco industry in South Africa,” Heshu said. The move will make it harder to distinguish the cigarettes from black-market cigarettes and “the illegal market will benefit from having a cheaper product,” he said. South Africa is cracking down...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
South Africa's sports minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday that host city Durban may not be able to hold the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to financial pressures. "I don't want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good‚ it doesn't. We are unable to agree on the fundamentals," Mbalula told South African media at a press conference in Cape Town. Despite successfully bidding for the Games, South Africa has been unable to come to agreement with the Commonwealth Games Federation over paying for the tournament. "It does not look like we will find each other," said Mbalula, who added that a final decision was expected from the federation when it meets shortly. "We have given it our best shot,...
(Eye Witness News 02/28/17)
At a briefing in Parliament, officials said government's Nine-Point Plan was putting conditions in place to reduce poverty, grow the economy and create jobs. Government's economic sectors, employment and infrastructure cluster says it is well on track to realise the radical economic transformation commitments made by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address. During his address, the president said that the economy was not growing fast enough and stressed the need to create jobs. He said: "It is for this reason that we decided to focus on a few key areas packaged as the Nine-Point Plan to reignite growth so that the economy can create much-needed jobs." At a briefing in Parliament on Tuesday, officials said government's...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/28/17)
The number of rhinos poached for their horns in South Africa fell 10 percent in 2016 to 1,054, the second straight year of decline according to government data released on Monday, but conservationists said the levels remain alarming. Rhino poaching rates in South Africa had surged from 83 in 2008 to a record 1,215 in 2014 to meet red-hot demand in newly-affluent Asian countries such as Vietnam, where the horn is prized as a key ingredient in traditional medicines. South Africa has more than 80 percent of the world's rhino population with about 18,000 white rhinos and close to 2,000 black rhinos, which is why it has been at the frontline of the horn poaching crisis. In the Kruger National...
(Bloomberg 02/28/17)
The number of rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa last year fell 10 percent as increased efforts to combat the killings start to take effect, particularly in the country’s Kruger National Park. A total of 1,054 rhino were slaughtered for their horns in 2016, down from 1,175 a year earlier, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs said in a statement on its website. In the Kruger Park, a game reserve about the same size as Wales, the carcasses of 662 rhinos were found last year, down from 826 in the previous 12 months. Rhino horn demand has climbed in Asian nations, including China and Vietnam, because of a belief that they can cure diseases such as cancer and even...
(Eye Witness News 02/28/17)
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says her department has identified at least 41 police stations that have been involved in corruption. Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says her department has identified at least 41 police stations that have been involved in corruption. Nkosi-Malobane is among the Social Cluster MECs who’ve given progress updates in the Gauteng legislature. The MEC says despite efforts to eradicate corruption within the police service, more than 40 Gauteng stations are underperforming when compared with the 2015/2016 crime statistics. “Underperforming station commanders, whose stations performed below 30%, have been relocated.” She says station commanders will be held to account more stringently and monthly performance meetings will also be held. Several community members involved in...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/28/17)
Fikile Mbalula says cost challenges may mean Durban could lose out on hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games. South Africa's Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday Durban may lose out on hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Games due to cost challenges. In December South Africa's officials said it remained "fully committed" to hosting the games despite falling short of requirements. Durban was the only city with a confirmed bid after Edmonton in Canada withdrew in February.

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