| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(Voice of America 02/23/17)
Traditional South African beer, brewed for centuries by peoples such as the Xhosa, is in danger of "disappearing." That's according to Slow Food International, an organization trying to revive local food cultures. It says growing numbers of South Africans are abandoning the brew — made from ingredients such as corn malt — in favor of mass-produced lager. Nomsa Khiwa lives in a village in South Africa's Eastern Cape region and has been making the beer, called umqombothi, for almost half a century. First, she crushes corn with a large, round rock. Later she'll add sorghum, yeast and water to the maize, cook the mixture in a pot on the fire and ferment it. Khiwa worries, though, that her days as...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
A South African court on Wednesday ruled the government's plan to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was "unconstitutional and invalid", dealing a blow to President Jacob Zuma. The ICC has been rocked by threats of withdrawal in recent months, with complaints focusing on its alleged bias against Africa. South Africa announced in October it had lodged its decision to withdraw with the United Nations, following a dispute over Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir visiting the country. South African authorities refused to arrest Bashir despite him facing an ICC arrest warrant over alleged war crimes, saying he had immunity as a head of state. "The cabinet decision to deliver the notice of withdrawal to the United Nations secretary general without...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivers the annual budget in parliament Wednesday as he battles to revive the economy and head off loyalists of the president who seek to oust him. Gordhan, a popular figure in South Africa and among international investors, is widely seen as being at loggerheads with President Jacob Zuma, who has shrugged off a series of recent corruption scandals. The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been engulfed by friction between Zuma's plans for funding "radical economic transformation" and Gordhan's stand against graft and uncontrolled expenditure. "The budget will allow Gordhan to show his independence as the head of treasury and not be influenced by politics," political analyst Mcebisi Ndletyana told AFP. "But he also...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
China remained the leading growth market for South Africa's tourism industry, with year-on-year growth recorded at 38 percent last year, figures released on Monday showed. The growth in tourist arrivals from China has been consistent over the year, following improvements in the visa application processes in those countries, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said. South Africa can build on this and attract even more tourists from China and other countries, the minister said after Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) released figures which showed a sharp increase in tourist arrivals. According to Stats SA, international tourist arrivals surpassed 10 million last year, 13 percent more than 2015. This is well over the global average growth rate for the period. It is estimated...
(The Guardian Nigeria 02/22/17)
A Reprisal attack against South Africa’s business interests in Nigeria could do huge damage to its economy, those who have been following the ongoing xenophobic attacks against other Africans in South Africa told The Guardian yesterday. Although most business analysts — including the Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf — dismissed concerns over reprisal, they said South Africa has firm grip on major sectors of the Nigerian economy and could lose badly unless it does more to stop the recurring attacks. Most of the attacks in South Africa occur in areas occupied by black Africans. “Cape Town is governed by the opposition party and they are mainly whites and coloured. The problems are always...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/22/17)
A decision by South Africa to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) is unconstitutional, the country's High Court ruled on Wednesday. The ICC, which launched in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. South Africa notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, last October. The withdrawal would take this October. High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo on Wednesday ordered the government to withdraw the notice to quit the ICC, according to a ruling broadcast on television. "We have won in our application to have SA's withdrawal from the #ICC...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
The South African Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police said Monday the xenophobic attacks on foreigners by South Africans in Rosettenville and Pretoria West could be avoided if the police responded timely to complaints by the community. At least 15 Nigerian residents' houses were burnt last weeek in Rosettenville community and Pretoria West. The South Africans accuse Nigerians of selling drugs and making young girls sell their bodies. Last weekend over six houses were burnt in Pretoria West. Police said they have arrested six suspects with the burning of houses belonging to foreigners. The Portfolio Committee on Police said if the police had build trust with the community the tragedy could be avoided. The Committee Chairperson Francois Beukman said, "Cluster and...
(AL Jazeera 02/22/17)
Nigerian community in South Africa calls for protection after reports of renewed 'xenophobic' violence in Pretoria West. Members of Nigeria's community in South Africa have raised concerns over renewed anti-immigrant violence, appealing to authorities to intervene before the situation gets out of control. Nigeria's presidency on Monday called the South African government to step in to stop what it said were "xenophobic attacks" following recent reports of violence against Nigerians and other nationals in the capital, Pretoria. The Nigerian Union South Africa (NUSA) on Tuesday confirmed that Nigerian homes and businesses in Pretoria West had been attacked in several late-night incidents in recent days. "Homes and shops of Nigerians were targeted and looted in the events of past few days,"...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/17)
A record-breaking century from Ross Taylor steered New Zealand to a gripping six-run win over South Africa in the second one-day international in Christchurch on Wednesday. Taylor scored an unbeaten 102 as New Zealand batted first and set a target of 290, with South Africa coming close thanks to a late 26-ball half-century from Dwaine Pretorius. The result snaps a 12-match ODI winning streak for South Africa and levels the five-match series in New Zealand at 1-1. Taylor completed his ton in dramatic fashion with a boundary off the last ball of the innings, claiming a New Zealand record of 17 ODI centuries. The 32-year-old, who had shared the record of 16 with Nathan Astle, has been in a rich...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma’s year-long feud with his finance minister over the nation’s purse strings appears to be coming to a head. When Pravin Gordhan presents his annual budget in Parliament on Wednesday, Gordhan will seek to keep state spending in check and fend off a junk credit rating. Zuma, meanwhile, wants to spend billions of rand on new nuclear plants and embark on “radical economic transformation” to target yawning racial inequality and widespread poverty. Those factors contributed to the ruling African National Congress’s worst electoral performance in a municipal poll in August.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/21/17)
South Africa's Competition Commission has granted Barclays Africa (BGAJ.J) conditional immunity from prosecution in return for its continuing cooperation in the rand currency trading probe, the head of the Commission said on Tuesday. The Commission said last week it had found more than a dozen local and foreign banks colluded to coordinate trading in the rand and the U.S dollar using an instant chat room called "ZAR Domination". It recommended fines amounting to 10 percent of the banks' South African revenues in a scandal that has piled political pressure on the country's big four banks and raised questions about their dominance in Africa's most industrialised economy. The local lenders have around a 90 percent market share of the South African...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/21/17)
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Monday he sees a "difficult political year" for the ruling African National Congress (ANC) but that he saw "green shoots" of growth in an economy that is barely growing. The ANC has a major policy conference at the end of June and late this year will pick a new party leader to replace President Jacob Zuma as its candidate when his second term ends in 2019. In an interview with the eNCA TV news channel before the unveiling of his annual budget on Wednesday, Gordhan said: "We seem to be improving slightly on the growth side, seeing some green shoots which we will describe for you on Wednesday." "At the same time...
(News24 02/21/17)
South African rand rigging scandaOne of the banks implicated in the recent scandal surrounding the South African currency, the rand; has agreed to pay an administrative penalty for their part in the forex trading scandal. The News24 portal reports that the Competition Commission announced a settlement of 69.5 million rand (approximately $5.3m) with Citibank on Monday, one of 17 implicated banks. “This figure does not exceed 10% of Citibank NA’s annual turnover in the Republic of South Africa. Citibank NA undertook to cooperate with the Commission and avail witnesses to assist the prosecution of the other banks that colluded in this matter.” This figure does not exceed 10% of Citibank NA’s annual turnover in the Republic of South Africa. Citibank...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/21/17)
South African retailer Shoprite posted a 15.5 percent jump in half-year profit on Tuesday, buoyed by its operations in Angola and Nigeria. Shoprite, which generates more than a fifth of its sales outside its home market, reported diluted headline earnings per share of 460 cents for the six months to end-December, compared with 398.2 cents a year earlier. The firm's two important growth markets of Angola and Nigeria experienced a shortage of foreign exchange as oil revenues remained under pressure, affecting economic growth. But Shoprite said it was able to fund its stock requirements from its external balance sheet and kept shelves stocked while many other traders in the region struggled. "During the reporting period the customer base of the...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
South African retail firms Steinhoff International and Shoprite Holdings announced Monday they had scrapped plans to merge their local assets to form the continent's biggest retailer. The plan announced in December 2016 was geared to create a discount retailer worth over $14 billion to target Africa's value conscious consumers. The companies said in a joint statement they "decided to terminate their negotiations related to the proposed transaction" as their shareholders could not reach agreement. "The fact that the relevant parties could not reach an agreement in respect of the share exchange resulted in the negotiations being terminated," read the statement. The proposed ventured was to be called Retail Africa. Both companies are leaders in the African retail sector. Shoprite is...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
Nigeria on Monday urged the African Union to step in to stop what it said were "xenophobic attacks" on its citizens and other Africans in South Africa. The presidency said there was a need for the continental body to "intervene urgently," claiming that in the last two years "about 116" Nigerians had been killed, including 20 last year. "This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria," a senior presidential aide on foreign affairs, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said in an emailed statement. There was no independent verification of the claimed number of deaths, which may have been the result of wider criminal activities rather than anti-immigrant sentiment. According to the Nigerian Union in South Africa, there are about 800,000 Nigerians...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/17)
Fallen South African giants Orlando Pirates named Swede Kjell Jonevret as coach Monday in succession to Turk Muhsin Ertugral. The 54-year-old Scandinavian inherits a team lying 10th in the league after suffering a club record 6-0 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend. Pirates only realistic chance of success this season is winning the South African FA Cup, which begins next month. "I have visited South Africa several times and watched local matches," he told reporters after the announcement. "This is a fantastic opportunity for me with one of the biggest names in African club football."

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