Wednesday 17 January 2018
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Monday condemned "the despicable and racist behavior" by some who took part in the so-called Black Monday protest against farm murders. The party pointed to racial characterization of crime and the stoking of racial hatred by some elements in the campaign. This came after thousands of people, dressed in black, took to streets across the country to observe Black Monday in protest against farm murders. Some protesters hoisted apartheid South Africa's flag, although organizers discouraged them from doing so. This was indicative of an unrelenting yearning for apartheid fascism and white supremacy and made a mockery of the national reconciliation project, continuing to entrench obstacles to the creation a non-racial society in South...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - MTN sees a $4.2 billion claim by Turkcell in a South African court over a disputed Iranian mobile phone license as “opportunistic” and “baseless”, the company said on Tuesday after filing a defense plea. Turkcell first sued MTN in a U.S. court in 2012, alleging the company used bribery and wrongful influence to win a lucrative Iranian license that was originally awarded to Turkcell. It dropped the suit a year later after U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a separate case made clear that U.S. courts would not have jurisdiction in a claim involving two foreign firms in an overseas dispute. A year later it filed in South Africa, where the case has been stuck in procedural wrangling...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Barclays Africa (BGAJ.J) and Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) said on Monday they would stop working with McKinsey, a further blow to the global consultancy as it faces allegations of bribery for work done with friends of South African President Jacob Zuma. Privately-held McKinsey, the world’s largest management consultancy, has denied doing anything illegal but said this month that it was embarrassed by mistakes it made while working with South African state utility Eskom last year. McKinsey said it regretted working on a 1.6 billion rand ($113 million) contract at Eskom...
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
Hundreds of people gathered in Cape Town on Monday to observe Black Monday, an event dedicated to farmers who have fallen victim to rampant crime. Wearing black clothes, protesters began to converge at Cape Town Stadium under blazing sun in the morning. As more people arrived, the Helen Suzman Boulevard became gridlocked. Many motorbikes, cars and even tractors joined the protesters, with a police helicopter hovered overhead. The participants kneeled on the ground to pray for the murdered farmers and held each other's hands in solidarity. "Enough is enough," the protesters chanted. Black Monday was launched in Cape Town by a group called "Enough is Enough" after the murder of 47-year-old farmer Joubert Conradie on his farm in Klapmuts near...
(Bloomberg 10/31/17)
South Africa’s jobless remained at a 14-year high in the third quarter as the continent’s most-industrialized economy staged a weak recovery from a recession. The unemployment rate was 27.7 percent, matching the previous two quarters’ figures, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in Cape Town. The economy expanded 2.5 percent in the three months ended June 30, exiting its second recession in almost a decade after agricultural output surged. Last week, the National Treasury almost halved its growth forecast for this year to 0.7 percent as business and consumer confidence dropped. It expects tax revenue to fall well short of projections made in February, and the lack of measures to mitigate against this shows the country...
(Agence Ecofin 10/31/17)
During a café rencontre organized by Business Report, the American businessman Harold Doley Junior revealed that a consortium of international investors led by his organization pland to invest $1 billion in South Africa. “I am a firm believer that Africa can, and will, fulfil its potential for growth and create opportunities, especially for young people. It is with this in mind, and after many decades of involvement with Africa, that I am leading a group of notable international investors, who are all committed to African growth and prosperity,” he said. Targeted sectors under the initiative are those of technology, education and agriculture, in priority. Expressing himself after a speech on the half-implementation of the South African government’s budget, Doley Junior...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Thousands of white farmers blocked roads in South Africa on Monday to protest against what they say is an explosion of violence against their communities in rural areas. Large demonstrations under the "Black Monday" banner were held in Cape Town, Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria. Marchers dressed in black to commemorate the victims of hundreds of deadly "farm attacks" in recent years. The protest actions halted traffic on main roads and forced police to divert vehicles on several major routes. Monday's day of action was coordinated by AfriForum, a campaign group that advocates for its largely white membership, many of whom speak Afrikaans. It lobbies on issues including farm murders, hate speech and language rights, and is often critical of...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
South Africa's finance minister received some faint praise last week -- not for the economy's performance, but for admitting the country is in a dire position that is set to get worse. Malusi Gigaba delivered a mid-term budget that laid bare South Africa's struggle with slow growth, tax income shortfalls, rising debt and high unemployment. The daunting challenges recently caused business confidence to dip to the lowest level since the apartheid era -- reflecting wider fears that the achievements of the new, democratic South Africa are turning to dust. Gigaba's budget statement on Wednesday slashed the GDP growth forecast for 2017 from 1.3 percent to just 0.7 percent, and revealed that by 2020, 15 percent of government revenue would be...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Tunnels coursing through the bowels of the earth under the city of Johannesburg contain precious treasure -- copper cables that are being stripped out and smuggled as far away as Asia. As in many other parts of the world, copper cable theft is not new in South Africa, but lately it has reached an unprecedented scale. A recent brazen theft knocked out power and plunged the central business district of Johannesburg, the economic hub, into darkness, largely paralysing business for 10 straight days. It is estimated that nearly half of the power outages in the city are caused by cable theft. "In 2004, about four percent of all outages were due to cable theft, and now it is 40 (percent),"...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Tanzania has deported three South African lawyers arrested last week for "promoting homosexuality", their organisation said in a statement. The Initiative for Strategic Litigation (ISLA) in Africa said that the three had been "deported earlier this evening", in the statement dated Friday. The lawyers were amongst a group of 13 people, including a Ugandan and Tanzanians, who were arrested last Tuesday at the Peacock hotel in Dar es Salaam. Local police chief Lazaro Mambosasa said they had been "promoting homosexuality".
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Weeks of gruelling testimonies at an inquiry in South Africa have tried to answer an unfathomable question -- how authorities allowed 141 mentally-ill patients to die after being moved out of a hospital. The evidence presented has been a litany of neglect, incompetence and cruelty that lawyer Dirk Groenewald described as "the greatest human rights violation since the dawn of democracy" in South Africa. Every day, families of the victims have told shocking stories of how their loved ones were taken from the hospital, badly mistreated at unlicensed health facilities and then died. Starting last February, more than 1,700 patients were rapidly relocated from the Life Esidimeni hospital in Johannesburg to 27 privately run clinics that were unable to care...
(AFP (eng) 10/27/17)
A South African judge on Friday handed down jail terms of 19 and 16 years to two white farmers who filmed themselves forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to burn him alive. Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Martins Jackson, who both shifted nervously in the dock, laid their heads on the bench after their sentencing while female family members wept in the public gallery. "The conduct of the accused was most dehumanising and disgusting," said judge Segopotje Mphahlele, handing down sentence in the High Court sitting in Middelburg, 165 kilometres (100 miles) east of Johannesburg. They had pleaded not guilty over the incident last year in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, saying they only intended to scare Victor...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/27/17)
MIDDELBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Two white South African farmers who were filmed pushed a wailing black man into a coffin were sentenced to jail on Friday for attempted murder, assault and kidnapping. The 20-second video, widely circulated on social media last year, shows the victim, Victor Mlotshwa, cowering inside a coffin as one man pushes the lid down and the other threatens to put petrol and a snake inside. The defendants - Theo Jackson, sentenced to 14 years, and Willem Oosthuizen, sentenced to 11 years - had pleaded not guilty. They said they had caught Mlotshwa trespassing on their farm in possession of stolen copper cables. The case, heard at a court in Middelburg, about 160 km (100 miles)...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
South Africa faces mounting debt and a widening fiscal deficit, the finance minister said Wednesday, as he cut the country's growth forecast in a pessimistic mid-term budget statement. Malusi Gigaba told parliament in Cape Town that "the period ahead is not going to be an easy one", as South Africa struggles with high unemployment and political turmoil in the ruling ANC party. "It is not in the public interest, nor is it in the interest of government, to sugar-coat the state of our economy and the challenges we are facing," he said. Gigaba was appointed in March after the sacking of Pravin Gordhan, who was widely seen as a bulwark against corruption in President Jacob Zuma's government. Gigaba said that...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
South African police said Wednesday they had started a murder investigation after a judge ruled an anti-apartheid activist who died in police custody 46 years ago did not commit suicide but was killed. Ahmed Timol, 29, was arrested in Johannesburg in October 1971 and died five days later when he plummeted from the 10th-floor of the city's police headquarters. Officers said at the time he took his own life -- a verdict that was endorsed by an inquest in 1972 but finally overturned by a court earlier this month after a decades-long campaign by his family. "An investigation has already started," Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Hawks elite police unit, told AFP. "The investigation will be finalised by the end...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
South Africa's murder rate rose by 1.8 percent in the last year, with over 19,000 people killed across the country -- 52 a day -- official statistics released Tuesday showed. The eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, which is hit by political violence, recorded the highest number of murders, followed by Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria. "Over the past four financial years, murder has reflected an upward trend. We need a combative and decisive policing when we deal with such crimes," said Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. A total of 19,016 were killed between April 2016 to March 2017, up from 18,673 the previous year. "We must not see these statistics just as pure numbers," Mbalula told lawmakers in parliament...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
PRETORIA (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma has asked the High Court to reject a call by an anti-corruption watchdog for an official inquiry into alleged influence-peddling in his government. A report a year ago by South Africa’s anti-graft agency known as Public Protector recommended a judicial probe be held to look into allegations of systemic corruption by Zuma, some of his ministers and heads of state-owned companies. The report focused on allegations that Zuma’s friends, businessman brothers Ajay, Atul and Rajesh Gupta, had influenced the appointment of ministers. The 75-year-old Zuma, whose rule has long been dogged by scandal, and the Gupta brothers have denied the accusations. The president, who previously described the “State of Capture” report as...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...

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