Wednesday 26 July 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
South Africa's anti-corruption watchdog has launched an investigation into several allies of President Jacob Zuma allegedly linked to corruption at three state-owned companies, based on a trove of recently leaked emails. South Africa's Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she would probe alleged "improper or dishonest" acts and "unlawful enrichment... by certain public officials" at rail company Prasa, power company Eskom and the Transnet freight logistics conglomerate. One of the allegations involves suspected kickbacks worth 5.3 billion rand ($411 million) on a contract...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/14/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma is consulting legal advisers about setting up a judicial inquiry into allegations of influence-peddling within his government, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa told parliament on Wednesday. New allegations in recent weeks of inappropriate collusion between state-owned companies and business interests close to Zuma have put more pressure on the scandal-plagued leader and ministers close to him. "He (Zuma) has indicated that he is not opposed to the establishment of a commission of inquiry and as we speak now, he is in the process of consulting his legal advisers to find ways of giving effect to this proposal," Ramaphosa told...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Former Champions League winner and South Africa's record goalscorer Benni McCarthy was named Cape Town City coach Tuesday. The 39-year-old takes over the one-season-old South African Premiership club after former international Eric Tinkler quit to join another top-flight side, SuperSport United. Cape Town had a fairytale first season after buying a franchise, winning the League Cup and qualifying for the CAF Confederation Cup by finishing third in the championship. McCarthy has previous managerial experience as an assistant coach at Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden. The highlight of his playing career in Europe was helping Jose Mourinho-managed Porto defeat Monaco 3-0 in the 2004 Champions League final. He also played for Ajax in the Netherlands, Celta Vigo in Spain and Blackburn Rovers and...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's competition commission said Tuesday it had launched investigations into pharmaceutical giants Roche, Pfizer and Aspen for suspected overpricing of cancer drugs. The commission said it had initiated probes into US firms Roche and Pfizer for suspected "excessive pricing" of breast and lung cancer medication, respectively. "The commission has reason to believe that Roche and its USA-based biotechnology company, Genentech Inc. (Genentech) have and continue to engage in excessive pricing, price discrimination ... in the provision of breast cancer medicine in South Africa," it said in a statement. It said it had information to reasonably suspect that Roche...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's main opposition party Tuesday removed former leader Helen Zille from all party leadership roles after a disciplinary hearing over a controversial tweet in which she praised aspects of colonialism. Zille also apologised 'unreservedly" Tuesday for the tweet, which she posted in March. Mmusi Maimane, the current leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) party, said Zille "has agreed that it is in the best interests of the party for her to vacate her position on all decision-making structures of the party," Zille told a news conference that she was "genuinely sorry" and that she realised that her comment was insensitive to South Africans who suffered under colonial oppression.
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's on Tuesday said it had downgraded a slew of top South African banks, insurers and local authorities prompted by fears over the country's worsening financial position. It slashed the creditworthiness of the five largest banks -- FirstRand, Standard, Nedbank, Investec and Absa -- to just one notch above junk status, all with a negative outlook. "The primary driver for today's rating downgrades is the challenging operating environment in South Africa, characterized by a pronounced economic slowdown, and weakening institutional strength," Moody's said in a statement.
(APA 06/13/17)
The South African and Lesotho governments have agreed on the equitable sharing of contracts to be awarded during the construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Speaking at the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) briefing sessions held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg on Monday, Water and Sanitation Deputy Director-General Lindiwe Lusenga emphasised on the equal participation of the Lesotho and South African contractors. Lusenga said the LHWP was committed to enhance the use of Black entrepreneurs, individual experts and smaller companies. She encouraged smaller and bigger entities to join forces with one another to form a competent and financially efficient...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/13/17)
South Africa's tourist capital Cape Town remains gripped by critical water shortages despite being lashed by torrential rains last week in the region's worst storm in 30 years, officials said on Tuesday. More than eight people were killed and thousands forced from their homes after gale force winds and flash floods hit shanty towns already coping with Cape Town's worst drought in a century. "It may take a few seasons of normal rainfall for the dams to recover and therefore continuing to cut water use drastically is vital," said Xanthea Limberg, the city's mayoral committee member responsible for water services. Limberg said if rainfall does not significantly boost dam levels, Cape Town could run out of water by September. Dams...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/12/17)
Sibanye Gold's (SGLJ.J) $1 billion rights issue, aimed at raising capital to help fund its acquisition of U.S. platinum producer Stillwater, was oversubscribed by almost five-fold, the company said on Monday. Such capital raising efforts are comparatively rare at the moment in South Africa's troubled mining sector, which is beset by a range of challenges including policy uncertainty and labor and social unrest. But Sibanye, which has built a reputation on its dividend flow, is diversifying away from its home base with its Stillwater acquisition, reducing its exposure to the risks associated with doing business in South Africa. Those risks are...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's on Friday said it had downgraded South Africa a notch over gloomy growth prospects and the political instability unleashed by corruption scandals engulfing President Jacob Zuma. Africa's most advanced economy was knocked down from Baa2 to Baa3 -- one notch above junk status -- with a negative outlook, Moody's said in a statement. Fitch and Standard and Poor's, the other two main global ratings agencies, already downgraded South Africa to junk status after Zuma's shock purge of critical ministers in March, including respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The decision outraged the opposition
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Up to 10,000 people in the South African coastal resort of Knysna have been evacuated as wildfires fanned by strong winds ripped through the town, razing homes and other properties, officials said on Thursday. Eight people have been killed, three of them in the Knysna area, as the worst storm to hit Cape Town in three decades made landfall late on Tuesday before hurtling eastwards along what is known as South Africa's "Garden Route". "Humanitarian support is being co-ordinated for an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 residents of the greater Knysna area, after devastating fires last night," said James-Brent Styan, spokesman for the Western Cape local government ministry. The bush wildfires, driven by winds in excess of 50 km (30 miles)...
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
South Africa's leftist opposition party on Friday laid graft charges against President Jacob Zuma and his new finance minister over the acquisition of locomotives by the state rail company five years ago. Economic Freedom Fighters Party (EFF) leader Julius Malema opened the case against minister Malusi Gigaba at a Johannesburg police station, alleging corruption in the purchase of locomotives for the state rail firm Transnet in 2012. "We came to open a case against Jacob Zuma, Malusi Gigaba and those Gupta crooks who stole 17 billion (rand) in Transnet,"
(AFP (eng) 06/09/17)
South Africa has halted poultry imports from Zimbabwe after a recent outbreak of highly contagious avian influenza at a farm in the neighbouring country, the government said Thursday. The department of agriculture said although South Africa imports "very little" poultry products from Zimbabwe, it has "suspended all trade in live poultry, meat and table eggs" from its northern neighbour and has stepped up surveillance. "We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe," said the department in a statement. Zimbabwean authorities...
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has been hurt by a new wave of corruption allegations targeting President Jacob Zuma, with the top party brass saying Wednesday that the end may be nearing for the increasingly unpopular leader. “We’ve got a brand to protect as a current leadership as the next leadership will have the same responsibility," party spokesman Zizi Kodwa told journalists. "The more the allegation of corruption is repeated, about any member of the ANC, it damages the ANC ... We’re dealing with difficulties, it’s not like people who gave them a mandate, that ‘go and do corruption.’ There’s not such a policy in the ANC. It’s people who are independent in their own area of work. They...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
A graft scandal enveloping South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration has laid bare the chaos swirling around the nation’s law-enforcement agencies and their vulnerability to political manipulation. Local investigative reporters have published a series of reports over the past two weeks that Zuma, 75, allowed members of the wealthy Gupta family to unduly influence government appointments and contracts -- known in South Africa as “state capture.” The alleged actions coincided with changes at the heads of the police force, its special investigative unit known as the Hawks and the head of the National Prosecuting Authority. The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism and Scorpio, the Daily Maverick news website’s investigative unit, say a trove of as many as 200,000 emails they...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
South Africa named Dondo Mogajane as the director-general in the National Treasury, appointing an official from within the department’s ranks two months after President Jacob Zuma replaced a respected finance minister and his deputy. Mogajane, who has been acting in the position since May 16 after Lungisa Fuzile left, will take up the position immediately, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo told reporters in Cape Town Thursday after a cabinet meeting. Fuzile’s resignation sparked concern that all three top finance positions would be filled by people from outside the Treasury. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings Ltd. cut the nation’s debt to junk after Zuma fired Pravin Gordhan as finance minister and Mcebisi Jonas as his deputy on March 31, replacing them...

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