Thursday, May 24, 2018

Zimbabwe Hails Africa’s Support
25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05
Fidelis Munyoro Senior Reporter

GOVERNMENT has hailed African countries for the support they rendered during the country’s peaceful transition last year that opened a new chapter in the history of Zimbabwe.

Addressing diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe during celebrations to mark 55th Africa Day commemorations in Harare last night, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the day had added significance in that it was the first under the new dispensation.

“Allow me to once again thank you all for the tremendous support that your countries, individually and collectively rendered us during and after the peaceful transition,” said Minister Moyo.

“I would like to especially thank Sadc and the African Union for their apt reading of the events in Zimbabwe as well as their unwavering support.”

Minister Moyo noted that after the peaceful transition, both the chairperson of the African Union Mr Mousa Faki Mohamat and the executive secretary of Sadc Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax came to pay tribute to President Mnangagwa and his new administration.

The minister said seven decades ago, one of the founding fathers of Africa Dr Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana urged his fellow countrymen to face their challenges with courage to dream, believe, dare, work and achieve.

Taking a cue from a courageous and great statesman of Africa, President Mnangagwa has dared “us to dream, to work, to hope and believe in ourselves again as a nation”, Minister Moyo said.

“We are more than determined to see this nation rise out of the ashes of the last two decades,” he said.

“You may want to know that for us ministers, there are no weekends under the new dispensation. With boundless energy and wisdom, our President has in the past six months traversed the globe with one enduring message that Zimbabwe is open for business.”

Speaking to The Herald, Dean of African ambassadors Mr Mawampanga Mwana Nanga said Africa Day signifies the continent’s freedom and unity.

“On this day we celebrate the requirements of African people to be free, united and in that as our forefathers said we have strength and prospects for prosperity,” he said. “In March this year we had our leaders converged in Kigali and they came up with significantly one thing that will make Africa a free trade area that will eventually lead into free movement of businesses and services and bring Africa together as a free market.”

Saharawi Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Tayeb Sadik Bachir said: “Africa Day is a great day for all Africans as we take time to celebrate our freedon from colonial bondage have suffered for many years under foreign occupation by the western countries.”

Zambian ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Emmanuel Tawana Chenda said there was reason to celebrate Africa Day because it is a day when Africans take occasion to celebrate the continent’s de-colonisation and to re-affirm the commitment by its four fathers to unite the Africans.

In his congratulatory message to President Mangagwa, Russian leader Mr Vladimir Putin said Africa Day symbolises the aspirations of Africans as a whole.

“Please accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of Africa Day, a significant holiday symbolising the aspirations of the peoples of your continent to freedom, peace and unity.

“For decades of independent development, African countries have achieved considerable success in social and economic spheres. Within the framework of the African union, as well as other regional and sub-regional associations, mutually beneficial integration processes are being promoted, and coordination of actions to resolve local conflicts and crises has been established.

“Russia notes with satisfaction the growing role of African States in international affairs and supports the efforts to build a just and democratic world order, and to counter terrorism, extremism, trans-border crime, and other threats and challenges to regional and global security,” Mr Putin said in his message.

“Let me reiterate that Russia is ready to expand the traditionally friendly relations with African partners, both bilaterally and in various multilateral formats, and to continue its active participation in programmes of assistance for Africa under the auspices of the UN, G-20 and BRICS.”

Turkey foreign affairs minister Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu said evolving political institutions in Africa had led to the emergence of a strong middle class.

“As Turkey marks the annual Africa Day, I take the opportunity to celebrate Africa’s achievements and rejoice in our developing partnership. Africa’s ascendency makes all Turks proud and motivates us to engage in closer ties and cooperation. Political institutions around Africa are evolving even as we are witnessing the emergence of a strong middle class in many African countries,” he said.

“The continent has the aspiration to take strides across all Sustainable Development Goals. Africa’s aspirations include not only eliminating absolute poverty, but also reducing inequality, offering a wealth of valuable education opportunities to all and reinforcing good governance as the norm. Africa operates increasingly as a cohesive unit. The Continental Free Trade Area Agreement has been a critical milestone that will shape the future of Africa.”
Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea to Scale Up Ties
 25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05 

President Mnangagwa addresses journalists at State House in Harare yesterday alongside his Equatorial Guinea counterpart President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (purple tie) who was speaking through an interpreter. — (Picture by Munyaradzi Chamalimba)

Zvamaida Murwira and Felex Share

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who arrived in the country yesterday, has pledged to continue working with the new administration led by President Mnangagwa and take existing bilateral ties to new heights.

President Mbasogo said this last night while addressing journalists at State House after holding a three-hour closed-door meeting with President Mnangagwa.

He was accompanied by a high-powered delegation comprising four Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.

Speaking through an interpreter, President Mbasogo said they had come to reinforce already existing bilateral relations which blossomed during the Mr Robert Mugabe-led administration.

“Indeed, it was a timely visit meant to establish our cooperation, bilateral relations with the Government of Zimbabwe as well as to ensure that we give our full support to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his policies to continue to help Zimbabwe for the overall development of this nation,” said President Mbasogo.

Asked if there were any new areas of cooperation, President Mbasogo said their primary focus on the present visit was to deepen existing areas.

“We did not at this particular visit come to make new negotiations. We have some from the past. We came to reinforce what we have already established for the development of both nations,” said President Mbasogo.

President Mnangagwa described President Mbasogo’s visit as natural and normal.

“This is natural. His Excellency (President Mbasogo) has been coming here in the past and he continues to come here and in future he is going to come. So there is nothing out of the way, this is natural and normal,” said President Mnangagwa.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) said his administration would maintain already existing cooperation agreements and explore more areas.

“We have several agreements between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea government. We will continue to implement them and embrace new ones as we go forward. We have always worked together. We have had cooperation with Equatorial Guinea; we shall cooperate today and tomorrow and forever,” he said.

President Mbasogo arrived at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in the afternoon and was welcomed by Vice President General Dr Constantino Chiwenga (Retired) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Lieutenant General Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Retired), Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and senior Government officials.

ZDF deployed military personnel to provide services at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

The security personnel contingent, which comprised of police, soldiers and intelligence, travelled to Equatorial Guinea at the invitation of President Mbasogo.

Bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea were bolstered in 2004 when Harare foiled an attempted coup by mercenaries to topple President Mbasogo and replace him with exiled opposition leader and Spanish-based Mr Severino Moto.

Zimbabwean security forces arrested British mercenary Simon Mann and 69 others at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport when they landed to pick up weapons, while on their way to overthrow President Mbasogo’s government.
Zanu-PF Pulling Power on Show: 35 000 Welcome ED
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05

Thousands of Zanu-PF supporters listen to the address by President Mnangagwa at St Noah College in Bocha, Marange, yesterday

Farirai Machivenyika
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Zanu-PF’s pulling power was at play yesterday when over 35 000 people thronged St Noah College in Bocha to witness the official ground-breaking ceremony of the St Noah Sports Stadium by President Mnangagwa.

The Sports Centre is the brainchild of High Priest, Mutumwa Noah Taguta, the leader of the Johane Marange Apostolic Church.

The President thanked the people for coming out in their thousands.

“I never thought I would see such a huge crowd because I thought I would just come here and within a short period of time return because I had another engagement in Harare.

“I am, however, happy and very grateful for such a huge turnout,” said President Mnangagwa.

He commended Mutumwa Taguta for the role he has played in complementing Government in the provision of education and recreational facilities.

“I want to thank the Johane Marange Church for inviting me to officiate at the ceremony for a sports stadium that is going to be the first one to be constructed in the rural areas,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Something like what we are witnessing today does not just happen or can be done by an ordinary person. It is something that is done by someone with a vision. Ideas like that do not come to those without a vision and I was talking to your leaders and they were saying they are building six schools at the moment and they would want to come to Harare and I told them we will provide them land for that.”

He commended Mutumwa Taguta for his efforts in providing educational facilities.

“Even in urban areas there are very few schools that are as beautiful as the one we are seeing here,” added President Mnangagwa.

“This is exemplary. May other church organisations follow what you are doing. Government should be providing these facilities, but we are so happy when you provide these facilities,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the sports facility would ensure healthy lifestyles for children.

“Sports ensure physical fitness and produces mental health in our children. The facility that is going to be constructed here should benefit both boys and girls and will offer various sporting disciplines,” he said.

The President, who is also the Zanu-PF First Secretary, also thanked the Johane Marange Church for contributing towards the country’s food security through their farming activities.

“I saw how your farm as a church and I am impressed by how you do your farming activities.

“In the past two years, from the time I was appointed to lead the Command Agriculture programme by the former president, we have said this country should never endure food shortages again whether we experience droughts or not.

“This country should never be food deficient. We have a programme that this country will become and permanently become a food basket for Southern Africa,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa promised that his Government would continue to ensure freedom of worship in the country.

“I want to promise that as long as Zanu-PF and I am in power, freedom of worship will be guaranteed.

“Our Constitution gives us those rights and that make our families, villages and country stable,” said President Mnangagwa.

Family representative Mr Nesbert Taguta said the construction of the stadium would go a long way in their quest to produce well-groomed students.

“It is our belief that the establishment of the sports centre will go a long way in producing students who are empowered, academically, spiritually and physically,” Mr Taguta said.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa donated balls for various sporting disciplines, $50 000 to go towards the construction of the stadium, 100 computers to St Noah College and pledged to bring 100 more and rice and maize to be consumed during the construction.

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kazembe Kazembe donated $10 000 while ZANU-PF national chairperson Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Minister of State for Government Scholarships in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Christopher Mushohwe donated 30 tonnes of cement.

Several businessmen also donated cement and money towards the construction of the stadium.
Zimbabwe Government, Civil Servants Seal Salary Accord
25 MAY, 2018 - 01:05
Felex Share Senior Reporter

Government yesterday further increased its salary offer to civil servants from 15 percent to 17,5 percent in a move that saw the employer and workers’ negotiators finding common ground and putting pen to paper.

Negotiations for a further salary review will, however, continue with other non-monetary incentives being considered.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Government has upped its salary offer to the workers, having last week tabled 15 percent from the initial 10 percent.

The two parties met yesterday under the National Joint Negotiating Council and came up with an agreement after more than four hours.

Apex Council chairwoman Mrs Cecelia Alexander confirmed the development.

“The Apex Council had a meeting with the Government today (yesterday) at Livingstone House in Harare to iron out outstanding issues,” she said.

“After a protracted meeting which almost took the negotiations to their knees, the two sides later agreed on the Government’s latest offer of 17,5 percent as a special civil service salary that covers basic salary, housing and transport allowances. It will be paid to the members of the civil service with effect from July 2018.”

A memorandum of agreement signed by the two sides states that the concessions were made after taking “cognisant of the state of the economy.”

“It was agreed that cash-in-lieu of vacation leave in excess of 123 days maximum accrual for teachers be paid on a staggered basis from July to December 2018,” reads the agreement.

“It was agreed that rentals at institutional accommodation be aligned to appropriate levels of members’ housing allowance and members’ appropriate grade be implemented with effect from July 2018. Government undertook to revisit and review the rental framework for accommodation at institutions like training centres and schools as such accommodation is tied to duties.”

The vacation leave days being paid for came after Government rescinded its decision to bar teachers from going on vacation leave.

Government deferred vacation leave for teachers in 2016 as a cost-cutting measure.

The employer argued that it did not have the resources to pay relief teachers for the months substantive educators would be on vacation.

It was also agreed yesterday that a collective bargaining council be established this year.

Cabinet has already approved principles on the amendment of the Public Service Act to allow civil servants to engage in collective bargaining.
South Sudanese Women Demand Representation on Peace Talks
23 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
JUBA. – South Sudan’s women activists have called for an end to conflict in the country, as delegates hold a forum in in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa in an attempt to jump-start a peace process.

Members of the South Sudan Women Coalition for Peace also used the meeting to demand an increase in the participation of women in all peace and development processes.

The coalition which represents refugee and diaspora communities, released a statement on the side-lines of the talks, calling for a 35 percent allocation in all upcoming processes.

Zainab Yassir, a member of the group and her colleagues made a point to speak with leaders attending the talks, reminding them of their duty to promote peace in the country.

“We are wearing white today because we want to tell our leaders it is time for them to decide for our country, to decide for the peace. This is what the South Sudan people need,” she said.

“The conflict which occurred in South Sudan since 2013 has affected women and children and elderly persons. It is continuing; the suffering of the innocent women and children is continuing, and up to now the majority of the South. Sudanese people have lost hope,” said Amer Deng, representative of Women’s Block of South Sudan.

Despite several agreements and ceasefires, fighting has rumbled on in South Sudan with barely any break since civil war erupted at the end of 2013, just two years after independence.

Troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with forces loyal to Riek Machar, then the vice president. Tens of thousands of people have been killed.

The government and rebel groups signed the latest ceasefire in December in the Ethiopian capital, aiming to revive a pact reached in 2015. But the truce was violated within hours.

The conflict has forced almost 2.5 million people to seek refuge in Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The UN says a further two million are displaced inside the country.

Children are at risk of malnutrition; many are unable to attend school and have been recruited by armed factions.

Women have reported being raped after their husbands were killed.

The forum in Addis was organised by the regional East Africa group, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The meeting between the government and rebel forces was held from May 17-21.

“South Sudanese stakeholders asked to be alone and continue the consultations among themselves. We agree to it and since yesterday we have intra South Sudanese consultation ongoing. And so far, as far as I can see, it’s going very well and it will be very beautiful and recommendable, and this will make the people of South Sudan very happy and very proud if the South Sudanese, without any interventions from outside could come to a solution and lead their country into peace and stability,” said Ismael Wais, the IGAD special envoy to South Sudan.

Agricultural production has also declined as insecurity has left sometimes entire villages abandoned and crops untended.

Aid groups warn that almost two-thirds of the population will need food aid this year to stave off starvation and malnutrition as agencies prepare for the “toughest year on record”. – Reuters
Mozambique, UK Firm Sign Power Generation Pact: KBC
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
NAIROBI/MAPUTO. – The Government of Mozambique has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE) to generate electric power using natural gas for domestic use at an estimated value of US $400 million.

The agreement signed last Friday in Maputo, Mozambique with GLAE, a United Kingdom registered Pan African energy solutions provider, will involve the construction of a 250 megawatt gas fired electricity generating power plant.

As part of the agreement, GLAE will develop, finance, build, own and operate the power plant to be fed with natural gas supplies from Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin.

The agreement was signed by Mozambique’s Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr. Max Elias Tonela, and GLAE Director, Mr. Michael Kearns.

The agreement follows the result of Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin domestic gas tender, the results of which were announced in January 2017.

Michael Kearns of GLAE said: “As part of the Mozambique Government’s intended use of natural gas for the development of domestic power projects, GLAE will develop, finance, build, own and operate a250 megawatt (MW) gas-fired electric generating power plant, planned in Northern Mozambique.”

Mozambique, which has vast offshore gas resources, has decided to use some portion of the extracted gas for domestic power projects, with an aim of achieving a sustainable economic growth, including domestic energy production.

Speaking on behalf of the Government, Bruno Senguaio, an Assistant to the Minister, said: “Mozambique has considerable renewable and conventional energy resources and is fast becoming significant energy producer. Our Government’s chief priority is to ensure a secure and reliable energy supply for the people of Mozambique. This is why the project is so important. In GLAE we have found a reliable partner which will help us deliver this power plant.”
Three Ebola Patients Escape Quarantine in DRC, Two Later Die: MSF
24 MAY, 2018 - 00:05
KINSHASA. – Two of three Ebola patients who escaped quarantine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Mbandaka have died, the head of medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission in the city said.

The third patient was found alive and is currently under observation by MSF and the World Health Organisation (WHO), the MSF’s Henri Gray said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the WHO said yesterday it was accelerating efforts with nine countries neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to try to prevent the spread of the current Ebola outbreak beyond its borders. The UN agency said teams are being deployed to assess how prepared the countries are.

“The highest priority countries at risk are the Central African Republic and the Republic of the Congo, Congo Brazzaville, due to their proximity to the current event,” Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said.

Moeti said the two countries are high risk due to their shared border with the region at the epicentre of the current outbreak. Both Brazzaville and Bangui have porous borders with the Ebola-affected areas, she added.

“At the second level of priority are Angola, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, which are also neighbouring countries to the DRC but not directly linked to the epicentre of the epidemic,” Moeti said.

The current outbreak is believed to have claimed the lives of at least 27 people since it was first reported last month. Three of those deaths are confirmed to be from Ebola, according to Congolese health ministry.

The Health Ministry of the central African country reported late on Tuesday that the total number of suspected and confirmed Ebola cases had risen to 58.

– Al Jazeera/News Agencies
Kenya Issues 60 Day Ultimatum to Expatriates 
NAIROBI. – Expatriates working in Kenya have been given 60 days to regularise their status with the authorities as the government intensifies a crackdown on illegal foreign workers in the country.

The interior minister, Fred Matiang’i said the government is determined to weed out undocumented foreigners because they are a security threat and deny the government tax revenue in addition to cheating Kenyans of job opportunities.

The department of immigration services which began the exercise on Monday will be issuing foreign workers with electronic work permits in a bid to improve efficiency and reduce paperwork.

“The verification exercise, which will be ongoing for the next 60 days, shall be used to rid the country of illegal and undocumented workers by according them an opportunity to standardise their papers. Those who fail to do so within this period will be jailed,” said Matiang’i.

The verification exercise, which will be ongoing for the next 60 days, shall be used to rid the country of illegal and undocumented workers by according them an opportunity to standardise their papers.

The government says it has records of only 34,000 work permits yet there are more than 100,000 foreigners in the country.

“We want, for the first time, to come up with clean, new and searchable effective digital registers of those who have work permits in the county,” Matiang’i added.

Police officers are to be issued with gadgets that can confirm the authenticity of the electronic cards.

After the 2 months window, foreigners who will not have obtained valid work permits will be deported.

Matiang’i who was opening the work permit and passport control sections in Nairobi, also mentioned that government is working on a proposed law that will see deportees cater for their own expenses.

According to Matiang’i, the government of Kenya spends about $3.6m on air tickets every year to deport foreigners.

– Africa News

Namibia’s Homeless Get Voice in Parliament
Southern Times
May 23,2018
By Annines Angula 

Windhoek - Lack of proper shelter, unemployment and human rights violations were the main concerns that a group of homeless Namibians raised during their special parliamentary session in the National Council Chambers last week.

A group of 31 extraordinary women and men gathered in the National Council Chambers as ambassadors for homeless people for a one-day model-parliament session, which gave homeless people a voice at the heart of Parliament for the first time in Namibia under the theme: “Voice of the Voiceless, Dignity Restored”.

During the session, the homeless expressed the anguish of being homeless and how they feel left behind by the system, and that they do not feel they form part of the Namibian House.

Former First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, who officially launched the Homeless People’s Parliament, said it provided a unique opportunity for Namibia to examine challenges that the homeless people face.

“Homelessness is not just a housing problem and getting people off the streets. It's also about us working hard to find lasting solutions to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place; not just this generation, but future generations as well,” she stressed.

“The proliferation of homeless people is evident everywhere in the world and Namibia is no exception. Every day we see homeless people struggling for survival in parks, and on the streets, especially in and around the business districts. In Windhoek, they are more prominent in the city business district, in old and abandoned buildings, under the bridges and in and around informal settlements.

“These homeless people receive handouts from good people but a good number of them become scavengers at rubbish dumps for survival, thereby exposing themselves to different hazards, contamination and possible poisoning.”

Madam Pohamba said “it is a shame for people who have once been able and contributed to the development of the country to find themselves is such a horrible and unacceptable situation.

“These fellow Namibians should be given the opportunity to restore their lives back to normal. This is the first project ever undertaken to look at the homeless who find themselves in hopeless situations. This is the reason why we are all here today to launch this noble project.”

The Chairperson of the National Council, Margaret Mensah-Williams, said the theme of the Parliament labels the story of a group of people who were once voiceless but now have been given a chance to speak and to be listened to.

“As a result, they now feel empowered and that their dignity, once lost, has been restored,” she said.

Mensah-Williams also said that the reports of meetings of the Homeless People’s Parliament would be tabled in the National Council for consideration and later confirmed that her office has in place a plan of action through which she will render assistance to street kids and homeless people.

“By bringing their voice to the public and national platform, that is, Parliament, the whole nation will be afforded a rare opportunity to hear their key priorities, concerns and stories about what it is like to be homeless,” she said.

During the session, the homeless delegates who have made the country’s bridges, abandoned government buildings and many other unusual places their homes, blamed and accused the police, especially the Windhoek City Police, for abusing the power vested in them to abuse them.

They described how they are kicked and poured with cold water to wake them up in the middle of the night chasing them from the abandoned building, which the police claim belong to the government.
‘Colonial Shoprite’ Obnoxious - Shareholders and Directors ‘Too Busy’ to Meet Government
Southern Times
May18, 2018
By Timo Shihepo

Shoprite shareholders have ignored the Namibian government’s call for a meeting to address the issue of alleged exploitation of workers at Shoprite stores in Namibia.

The Southern Times has established that the Namibian government requested to meet the Shoprite shareholders in April. The request was, however, flatly rejected allegedly because the owners of Africa’s largest retail chain were too busy.

Namibia’s Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation called the meeting in the hope of resolving a four-year impasse between Shoprite and its workers.

Labour Minister Erkki Nghimtina and his management team decided to intervene in the hope of finding an amicable solution to the plight of workers employed by the Shoprite/Checkers group of companies.

The Southern Times understands that Shoprite initially wanted to send a team comprising the Namibian operation’s management team, but the attempt was rejected by the ministry, which demanded that it wanted to deal directly with the multinational company’s board of directors and shareholders. The company then requested for the meeting to be held on May 21, a date the ministry also rejected.

Shoprite Holdings, a company listed on the Johannesburg, Namibia and Zambia bourses, has been at the centre of the alleged exploitation of its workers. The company has allegedly been denying its workers in Namibia a living wage.

The Southern Times has learned that Namibia’s labour ministry has gathered a dossier on Shoprite’s alleged exploitative behaviour. Some of the information in the dossier states that 42% of the Shoprite/Checkers employees in Namibia are classified as ‘permanent part-time employees’. The workers in that category perform the same amount of work as permanent employees but are not entitled to benefits and are subjected to lower wages.

 These employees do not have fixed time schedules and are paid less per hour than full-time employees, work an average of 30 hours per week, and some are kept on the permanent part-time employment status for more than 10 years.

The dossier further records that workers, employed as till cashiers, at some Checkers stores are not allowed to sit during their nine-hour shifts.

Same concerns raised in Namibia have also been aired in other SADC countries such as Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia.

Information provided to The Southern Times shows that the average worker at Shoprite Namibia still earns about R2,500 or less per month. As they receive no transport allowance, the workers spend between R480 and R960 per month on transport, depending on where they live. They also have to pay rent, on average R1,000 a month.

In contrast, Shoprite boasted that it made a turnover of over R130 billion in 2016. During the same year, former Shoprite CEO, Whitey Basson, was paid a total package of over R100 million, which included a bonus of R50 million and an annual basic salary of about R49 million. News of Basson’s salary drove Shoprite workers in South Africa to the streets in protest.

In Namibia, the company dismissed 176 workers in Rundu and Gobabis, while 100 workers are facing ongoing disciplinary proceedings, emanating from a strike in 2015. The workers downed tools after protesting to what they called was the company’s unilateral decision to give them a R200 increase. The workers felt their union representatives were not consulted and that the R200 was just too little an increase. 

Permanent secretary in the labour ministry, Bro-Mathew Shinguadja confirmed this week that Shoprite refused to meet a government committee for the whole month of April.

“Yes, we had requested to meet up with the shareholders of Shoprite in April but they declined. They informed us that they are only available on May 21. They are demanding to meet up on their terms apparently they are occupied with other things.  But you must remember that we are the State and we are not a banana republic. We will not meet up with them on May 21 but what I can tell you is that we will deal with them. We cannot be taken for a ride. The government has always been serious with this issue and we will not rest until a solution has been found,” said Shinguadja.

Government sources also informed The Southern Times that if a solution is not found soon, the government might be forced to initiate a consumer boycott against Shoprite and its subsidiaries in Namibia.

Some of the shareholders in Shoprite Holdings include the chairman, Christoffel Wiese who is the majority shareholder with 17.1 %, the Namibian Government Institution Pension Fund (GIPF) with 1.92%, Public Investment Corporation of South Africa with 12.0%, former CEO Basson with 1.52%, Government Pension Fund – Norway with 1.41%, Government Employees Pension Fund of South Africa (11.22%), among others.

GIPF said the fund is a mere investor and does not directly get involved in Shoprite’s operations. This was because it acquired its shareholding on the stock exchange through an asset management firm.

Questions sent to Shoprite Group of Companies communications manager, Sarita van Wyk were not answered at the time of going to print. 

During October, last year, eight cashiers, at the Shoprite Pelican Park store in South Africa, were dismissed after they accepted tips. The workers were quoted saying there was no money missing from their tills and tips have been allowed for several years, but the store manager handcuffed them (all women) and called the South African police service to arrest them.

In Malawi, media reports state that compassionate leave for Shoprite employees is available for permanent workers only. Permanent workers employed for less than a year, go on maternity leave without pay. In 2003, it was revealed that Shoprite forced its employees to sign a contract that states that, “you agree that from time to time you may be scheduled and required to work up to 12 hours a day, inclusive of meal intervals, without overtime pay”.

In Swaziland, some employees have complained that even though they are classified as managers they cannot afford to eat lunch every day except on paydays. 

In Namibia, Shoprite seized the opportunity provided by a divided labour movement to sideline the unions altogether. As a result, the company has for years ignored the workers and their union representatives’ demands when deciding on increases in salaries and benefits. It was also reported that workers at a Checkers store in Windhoek were also compelled to clock in when taking bathroom breaks. Namibian labour researcher and unionist Herbert Jauch, this week, told The Southern Times, that the attitude of Shoprite towards Southern African Development Community governments, unions and workers is that of colonial masters.

“They are arrogant. They think they are untouchable throughout the region. They are constantly in blatant violation of the workers’ rights. They are acting like colonial masters and you can quote me on that,” he said.

Jauch, who has been vocal regarding the ill-treatment of workers in Namibia especially by Shoprite, added that the company must drop the charges and they must understand that the 2015 strike was a result of provocations from their ill-treatment of workers.

He urged the Namibian government to take the first steps of not purchasing goods from Shoprite and their subsidiaries.

“They (government) can also start giving sanctions because really this can’t go on like this anymore. I really hope that the government can now really go after them because the disrespect that these guys are showing is equivalent to the colonial period.”
China to Build Polytechnic in Gorongosa
By Southern Times

Maputo-  The Mozambican government is negotiating with China to fund a mid-level polytechnic institute in Gorongosa town, in the central province of Sofala.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher and Technical Education, this would be a professional and technical training institute with the capacity to accommodate 400 students. It would be set up on an area of 310 hectares – 10 hectares for school buildings, and 300 hectares for agriculture and livestock facilities. 

 The Minister of Science and Technology, Jorge Nhambiu, received a Chinese delegation in Maputo, with whom he discussed the design of the Gorongosa institute, which will cost an estimated US$18 million.

 The eight member Chinese team included designers and engineers as well as the manager in charge of overall coordination.

 The institute will include classrooms, libraries, laboratories, workshops,  dormitories, a kitchen and a canteen that can accommodate 210 people. There will also be houses for the teachers, a gymnasium and sports facilities.

It will teach courses linked with agriculture, livestock, agricultural processing, renewable energies, and information and communication technologies.

 Nhambiu told the visiting delegation he wants the Gorongosa institute to become a “centre of excellence”, as a step towards Mozambique becoming a reference point for excellence in technical and professional education within the SADC region.

 Once the plan of the project of the institute is ready and approved, construction should take 24 months.

  - AIM.
Museveni Promises to Finance Moza School
By Southern Times

Maputo – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday promised to finance a technical school in Montepuez, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

 Museveni, who was on a state visit to Mozambique, visited the Military Training Centre in Montepuez where he, and 28 other Ugandans, had trained in the late 1970s, in preparation for the war to overthrow Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

 According to a report on the independent television station STV, Museveni also promised to finance reconstruction of the barracks in Montepuez.

 This, he said, was to thank the Mozambican people for their solidarity. After his training in Montepuez, Museveni headed one of the Ugandan rebel units which fought alongside Tanzanian and Mozambican troops to overthrow Amin in 1979.

 During the visit, Museveni also decorated some of the military instructors involved in training the Ugandan contingent in the 1970s.

 Mozambican Defence Minister Atanasio M’tumuke thanked Museveni for his gesture, and declared that his visit would immortalise the relations of friendship between Uganda and Mozambique. 

 On Thursday, the first day of Museveni’s visit, the Mozambican and Ugandan governments signed a general cooperation agreement, which covers defence and security matters, as well as political and diplomatic cooperation, agriculture, industry and trade and tourism. 

  - AIM.
The Struggle of African Women in Politics Continues
By Southern Times
May 21,2018
Charity Ruzvidzo

Most African countries are signatories of numerous protocols that encourage gender equality in politics, yet analysts say more still needs to be done to implement these protocols and ensure women are not sidelined.

Women in the region and beyond are breaking the glass ceiling in politics as evidenced by the likes of former Malawian president Joyce Banda and other women who have managed to occupy important positions in national governments and multilateral organisations.

Despite this development, statistics indicate that worldwide at least one-fifth of the seats in parliaments are occupied by women.

Countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe are amongst the signatories of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) .

CEDAW defines discrimination and provides a practical blueprint to promote human rights and open opportunities for women and girls in all areas of society.

The treaty calls on each ratifying country to overcome barriers to discrimination in the political, social, economic, and cultural fields.

Recently, Zanu-PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe, held its primary elections and the large majority of female candidates fell by the wayside. Out of 190 national assembly constituencies being vied for, only 21 will be represented by women in the harmonised elections scheduled for July or August.

Women constitute 54 percent of Zimbabwean population but have been lacking when it comes to occupying high ranking positions in political parties.

According to female politicians in the country, women continue to face challenges due to lack of finances, stereotyping, political violence and low support from fellow women.

The incumbent Goromonzi Member of Parliament, Beater Nyamupinga, who lost in the Zanu PF primaries, said Government should financially empower women ahead of elections.

“It is very important that women are empowered financially so that they are able to conduct campaigns. Unlike men, women lack the financial muscle to undertake a campaign. We thought that the coming in of a Women’s Bank would ease the financial challenges that we face. We were looking forward to having a project that would give women access to funds to use for campaigns,” she said.

Nyamupinga said political violence discourages women from contesting in elections.

"The primary elections this year were marred with violence. Women vying for a political office are subject to political violence. In most cases women shy away from violence and this leaves a gap for men to participate. There is need for a conducive political environment for women to participate without them fearing for their lives,” she said.

MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said women were ready to take up leadership positions save for lack of support from the Government.

“Women are capable of leading but they face challenges of a low performing economy. This makes it difficult for them to raise money for campaigns, which are very expensive, instead of looking for bread and butter for their families.

“Also, political parties are very patriarchal, we have seen how men hold the top leadership positions and women are just given honorary positions in most cases.  Political violence limits women. In most cases women are beaten up and even raped. This affects women’s participation in politics,” she said.

Bulawayo legislator, Jasmine Tofa, said despite having a constitution that stipulates on gender equality in politics women are still under-represented in the political arena.

“Our constitution is clear and fantastic when it comes to gender equity. However, this is not practiced but it’s just on paper. At the end of the day women are being given a pie in the air. We need to have equal opportunities for women as we have for men to participate in politics,” she said.

According to the country's Constitution, 60 National Assembly seats are reserved for women, 60 senatorial and 10 persons on each provincial council are elected on the basis of proportional representation.

Tofa said young women must be taught not to shy away from politics.

“Education is very important if we are to have female politicians in the country. Young girls and boys must be educated at a tender age to think like leaders. For example, in Australia, children start learning to vote from school for a class monitor. In Zimbabwe most people vote during national elections and it’s a feared process. Women must be taught not to fear leadership, elections or joining politics,” she said.

According to organisations that advocate for women’s rights, women have made strides in the economy, engineering, science, technology, academia, media, and many more sectors.

However they say this progress does not translate to politics. In 2001, nine out of 191 countries had a woman elected head of state or government.

They say there is a need to implement laws that call for gender equality in politics in order to fully realise women's potential.
Land Reform Hots-up in SADC Regional Agricultural Body Calls for Speedy Reforms
By Southern Times
May 21,2018
Ranga Mataire in Victoria Falls

The Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU) has called for the speedy implementation of land reform before the issue gets out hand and destabilises economic growth in the region.

SACAU’s call follows initiatives by the South African government to introduce a motion in parliament calling for the expropriation of land without compensation after the dismal failure of the willing-buyer, willing-seller policy.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has in the past reiterated that the ruling ANC party would not back down its land reform resolutions.

Speaking on the side-lines of a three-day regional agriculture indaba in Victoria Falls, SACAU president Dr Theo de Jager said the land issue in Southern Africa was an emotive issue that could no longer be delayed or postponed.

“We want to get to a situation where SADC does not become the battlefield of land discussions but as an example of how the land issue can be resolved. However, we will not impose any prescriptions to governments in terms of the land tenure that should be put in place,” said Dr de Jager.

Dr de Jager said the big issue in South Africa and Namibia was to have a candid conversation between the white land owners and aspiring farmers without the issue turning into an explosive election campaign issue.

He said it was unfortunate that the land debate in South Africa was being undertaken in the run-up to elections. Dr de Jager said the issue at the centre of the debate was whether land could be expropriated without compensation.

“Let me tell you, today the debate between white farmers and black farmers, those who gained land and those who lost it, rich farmers and poor farmers is much more healthier in Zimbabwe than anywhere else in the region. I have used this as an example all over the world. In Namibia, the biggest stability at this stage is managing land reform, the polarisation between the farmers is at its biggest. Somehow, it seems we need some kind of crisis to be on the same page,” Dr de Jager said.

He said there was maturity in the debate in Zimbabwe and unity about agriculture could grow the economy. Dr de Jager said Zimbabwe has shed-off all fancy things about land and was now more focused in making sure that the land becomes productive.

He said SACAU’s position was that the distribution of land in some member countries was uneven and it needed to be redistributed but the process has to be done in an orderly manner.

“This region is very small and if Zimbabwe or South Africa sneezes, the whole region catches the bug. The big issue is to be able to look at each other in the eye and come to a consensus of how best we can address this issue,” said Dr de Jager.

In a separate interview, president of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa), Dr Vuyo Mahlati, emphasised the need for urgent land reform in her country to address pressing inequality and gender issues.

She said land reform was slow in her country and there was a need for the government to address the issue of how the issue could be dealt with in an orderly fashion.

“The big issue is how we find a mechanism that will address the imbalances and slow progress as far as land reform is concerned. I don’t think anyone is saying it won’t happen but what everybody is getting nervous about is how are we to govern it in a way that is orderly. Otherwise, there is no turning back as far as addressing the land reform in South Africa,” said Dr Mahlati.

He said different political and interest groups were putting forward various suggestions on how the land issue could be resolved and Afasa was at the forefront in advocating for land reform to address historical injustices. 

“The good thing about being in discussion like this is that we share and exchange views. But we believe that the responsibility at the higher level is that there should not be any destabilisation of the economy. So it is something that we hope it will not get us to that level and similarly within the Namibian environment as well,” Dr Mahlati said.

Vice president of the Agricultural Council of Tanzania, Dr Sinare Sinare, cautioned against taking decisions on impulse in dealing with the issue of land reform. He said Tanzania was still feeling the after effects of the country’s land reform undertaken way back in 1967.

“We encourage dialogue. This is a very emotive issue.”

A total of 13 countries attended the two-day regional farmer’s conference, which ran under the theme: “Trade As Driver for Agricultural Transformation”. The indaba, which began on 14 May, ended on Wednesday last week.

A number of issues were discussed at the conference, including trade arrangements and practices, key elements in pursuing trade-driven agricultural transformation agenda and the need to create opportunities from Southern African farmers to understand rules and regulations within which trade happens at global, continental and regional level as in between countries.
KZN, South Africa's Political Killing Field
Southern Times
By Colleta Dewa

Johannesburg ‑ True to the statement “politics is a dirty game”, South Africa’s ruling ANC party is in a mess following an upsurge in internal political killings.

KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is the worst affected province, with being a politician becoming the deadliest profession. KZN recorded three politically motivated murders last week alone.

The latest victim, ANC councillor Musawenkosi Mqatha Mchunu‚ was gunned down at his home Friday night‚ a day after he called for the elective conference in the Moses Mabhida region to be postponed.

Sibuyisele Dlamini councillor in the Zululand district was also killed in an ambush between uLundi and Nongoma on the same day as Mchunu.

Their murder came days after ANC activist Sifiso Cele was shot dead on the south coast in front of his family.

Concerned about the increasing political violence in the province that has caused serious fractures in the party, President Cyril Ramaphosa was in KZN on Monday to ascertain the cause of the fracas.

Accompanied by top party officials, the President expressed concern over the disturbances and promised bereaved families that no stone will be left unturned till the perpetrators are brought to book.

“Mchunu is the 14th leader to be killed in this region. We don’t want any more killings.

There are people who do not want peace and want to turn KwaZulu-Natal into a killing field.

We will not allow KwaZulu-Natal to be the killing field of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said while paying his respects to the murdered councillor Mchunu’s family.

“We must find those who are perpetrating these acts of killing against our people. At the same time, we want to engage with various communities so that we can form a line of defence against these types of killings‚” he added.

A clear sign that the ANC fears for the worst in the province, the President has directed the security cluster ministers to meet urgently regarding the political killings in KwaZulu-Natal and wants an urgent report back.

“I have directed the minister of police, minister of intelligence, minister of justice and minister of defence to meet as soon as possible and to give me a report about the investigations and the work that has been going on in relation to these killings.”

In 2016, KwaZulu-Natal premier Willies Mchunu established the Moerane Commission to investigate politically connected violence in the province from 2011 onwards. The commission completed its investigation in March this year and its final report is awaited.

Despite heightened awareness of the problem, including the commission of inquiry, the recent murders are a clear indication that the party has been rocked by serious divisions, backbiting and factionalism. 

Inside sources confirmed to The Southern Times that the province is divided between former president Jacob Zuma and current President Ramaphosa’s factions.

“Remember the party is holding regional elective conferences ahead of the provincial conference at the end of this month. There are serious divisions in the province because there are some who maintain that it is a Zuma stronghold, hence, they are on a mission to eliminate all obstacles who support Ramaphosa. It is a serious issue. I am grateful the President visited the province to see for himself that people’s lives have been cut short simply because some people are power hungry,” said a source from the ANC, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Allegations of gate-keeping to prevent the Ramaphosa faction from dominating at the conferences have not been ruled out.  Ramaphosa supporters believe their members are being kept from participating in party processes in order to bolster the numbers of the larger faction in the province, which supports Sihle Zikalala, at the provincial conference.

Zikalala is aligned to former president Zuma while the pro-Ramaphosa faction is believed to support former eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo to rival Zikalala at the conference.

In October last year, Zikalala testified before the Moerane Commission confirming that 80 politicians had been killed in the province since 2011.

Since the beginning of 2016, 30 politically motivated deaths were recorded with 19 of those being ANC members.

“Since January 2016, the killings included 19 members of the ANC; three members of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP); three members of the National Freedom Party (NFP); three members of the South African Communist Party (SACP); and one member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF),” Zikalala said last year. 

Soon after his testimony at the commission, two men from the party’s Moses Mabhida region (Pietermaritzburg area) were shot to death in separate incidents.

In November last year, former ANC branch chairperson Lungisani Mnguni was shot and killed near Camperdown while he was delivering items for a school nutrition programme.

A few days later, Sthembiso Mhlongo, the deputy regional secretary of the ANC youth league in the Moses Mabhida region, was also shot at his home in the Mpophomeni area. He died hours later in hospital. According to police, the 35-year-old opened the door for his killers, who said they were police officers.

In a separate incident, Jozini ward two Councillor Njabulo Dlamini was stabbed to death on Richards Bay’s main beach.

Two months ago, ANC local voting district coordinator Nqobizwe Mkhize was killed at his home in the Imfume area of Durban over the voter registration weekend. Despite the establishment of a special task team and a reward of up to R450,000 being offered by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, convictions remain vague.

Police minister Bheki Cele has, however, given his officers an ultimatum to bring the perpetrators to book urgently.
South Africa's Ramaphosa Gives Half His Pay to Mandela Charity
24 May 2018
BBC World Service

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he will be donating half of his salary to charity.

Mr Ramaphosa said the gesture was aimed at encouraging the wealthy to dedicate some of their pay to help build the nation.

The donation of 1.8m rand ($130,000; £100,000) will be managed by the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF).

Mr Ramaphosa is one of South Africa's richest men, with a fortune of around $450m.

His critics often accuse him of being out of touch with the poor, and he was criticised for bidding more than $2m for a buffalo and her calf in 2012.

Mr Ramaphosa, 65, was a businessman before he became deputy president in 2012.

He held a stake in sectors from telecoms and the media to beverages and fast food - he owned the South African franchise of the US chain, McDonalds.

Mr Ramaphosa's decision to take a pay cut has been met with mixed reactions in South Africa, reports the BBC's Pumza Fihlani from the main city, Johannesburg.

Some feel the donation is "peanuts" given his wealth, while others see it as a selfless move aimed at reintroducing a culture of public service in the governing African National Congress (ANC), she adds.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Mr Ramaphosa said he had decided to make the donation to the NMF in honour of South Africa's first democratic president, Nelson Mandela.

"This is a private, citizen-driven initiative that will ask all those with the means to contribute a small portion of their salaries to supporting the many small projects that build the nation," Mr Ramaphosa said.

The fund will be launched on 18 July to mark the 100th anniversary of Mr Mandela's birth.

Mr Ramaphosa became president in February after Jacob Zuma was forced to resign amid a welter of corruption allegations.

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said in January that Mr Ramaphosa would not be corrupt because he did not need the money.

"He is wealthy, he is rich. If he steals, we will ask him: 'Why do you steal, because you have enough?'" Mr Mantashe said.

What have other leaders done?

US's Donald Trump donates his annual salary of $400,00 to different programmes

Liberia's George Weah allocates 25% of his annual salary of about $100,000 to a development fund

Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari took a 50% pay cut when he assumed office in 2015

Russia's Vladimir Putin took a 10% pay cut in 2015 because of tough economic times
South Africa Seeks Agreement with France
Posted on May 24, 2018
by Viggo Stacey

The South African Department of Higher Education and Training is seeking to boost outbound and inbound student mobility with a mutual recognition of qualifications agreement with France.

Viggo has previously worked in teaching in Germany and Turkey, until his change of career in 2017.

Known as 'Sitting-Vig' to his friends, in his free time he is normally watching a film as he attempts to watch more films than anyone else.

The country currently has qualification agreements with Germany, Russia, Brazil and the SADC region

Shirley Lloyd, director of South African National Qualification Framework Directorate, told The PIE News that the French agreement process has started in April 2018 and could take up to eight months.

“We have already signed one with Russia, we are very close to signing one with China, and India as well,” she said. “We are hoping to have those signed and ready at least by September this year.”

The country currently has qualification agreements with Germany, Russia, Brazil and the SADC region.

“There is already that agreement of equivalence and parity of esteem”

Lloyd added that South Africa is also working to create an agreement with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.

The main purpose of the agreement is to enable student mobility across borders.

“If a student holds a bachelor’s degree from Brazil and they want to come to South Africa to do a master’s, there is already that agreement of equivalence and parity of esteem.”

Lloyd said that a qualification agreement can also help refugees if their details are stored on its digital system.

“If refugees are coming from other countries, they can provide us with where they studied via our digitised system.”

“We can then place them within our framework, they can then study further or apply for a job because we can give them an e-certificate to say what their qualification would equate to.”

Agreements tend to arise out of a lead from student demand to study in specific places, Lloyd explained.

She added that there are 66,000 international students currently studying in South Africa, 8.8% of whom are from 15 countries in the SADC region.

Regional education ministers from the 15 SADC countries approved a framework for the area in 2011. The countries are now working on alignment projects and the implementation program is very similar to the Bologna Process, Lloyd said.
This is the Average Take-home Pay in South Africa Right Now
Staff Writer
23 May 2018

BankservAfrica has released its latest Take-home Pay Index (formerly the Disposable Salary Index) for April 2018.

The Index is based on the average banked salary after taxes, pension funds and medical insurance that firms pay their workers electronically.

It found that despite a number of new tax increases (including a new 15% VAT rate) introduced by the 2018 budget in April, most middle and upper-class South Africans are earning slightly more.

South Africans earning below R432,300 per annum received relief from the revised personal income tax that came into effect at the beginning of April.

According to the Index, this amounted to a 1.5% salary increase above inflation in April.

“The average take-home salary was R14,681 in nominal terms for April 2018, representing a 5.8% increase on April 2017,” said Shergeran Naidoo, head of stakeholder engagements at BankservAfrica.

“In real terms, the average salary was R13,909 – 1.5% higher than a year ago. This is the seventh consecutive month of positive salary increases,” he added.

Mike Schüssler, Chief Economist at explained that although the personal tax revision was not the main driver of salary growth, it is still significant that for the first time in two years, the partial tax relief of 3.2% for those with an annual earning of below R432,000 has helped somewhat.

“The adjustment of the primary tax rebate helped the South African take-home pay increase slightly more. The personal tax relief in 2018 was far more than the 1% in the 2017 tax year and also slightly higher the 2016 tax relief,” said Schüssler.

However, he warned that the increases may not be as strong in the coming months with the public servants wage negotiations underway.

“In addition, the protracted wage talks suggest the implementation of the increases will be delayed, which will have a negative impact on the positive take-home pay trend in the coming months.”

Reflecting on April’s take-home pay, Schüssler believes the increases will be evident in the improved retail sales and overall spending during the month.

However, the VAT increases may also have a dampening effect. Furthermore, expectations of inflation trending upwards in the coming quarters may also see take-home pay increases slowing down.
Sweeping Changes for South Africa State Companies
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to reform the companies as part of efforts to tackle state corruption/AFP

By AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 24 – The South African government, led since February by Cyril Ramaphosa, announced Thursday sweeping changes to several state-owned companies at the centre of graft and mismanagement allegations.

Ramaphosa had vowed to reform the companies as part of efforts to tackle state corruption, which he admitted blossomed under the nine-year rule of his predecessor Jacob Zuma.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan announced Phakamani Hadeb had been appointed a permanent head of Eskom, the state-owned power monopoly on the verge of bankruptcy.

He also confirmed Popo Molefe as chairman of the Transnet transport company, while announcing further board changes at Transnet, arms manufacturer Denel and the SA Express airline.

“A number of the state-owned enterprises are experiencing financial, operational and governance challenges. This has negative spillover implications for the economy,” Gordhan said.

“The poor performance of these companies was a result of deep and widespread corruption and maladministration.”

Gordhan criticised “stealing” by the management of SA Express, which on Thursday was grounded by the South African Civil Aviation Authority due to safety concerns.

Mismanagement allegations at the state-owned companies have been linked to the wealthy Gupta business family, who are accused of receiving favourable government deals during Zuma’s presidency.

Zuma was forced to resign as president in February as criticism grew from within the ruling ANC party over corruption allegations against him
ANC Condemns the Escalation of Bloodbath in KwaZulu-Natal
23 May 2018

The African National Congress (ANC) condemns the escalation of murders in KwaZulu-Natal again this week. Yesterday, violent crime claimed the lives of two people and one fighting for his life after attacks in separate incidents in the province. As a leader of the society, the ANC is devastated by the assassination of Abahlali baseMjondolo leader in Mariannhill, West of Durban.

The barbaric murders of shack dweller's movement chairperson in eKhukhanyeni, Mr. S'fiso Ngcobo and a Professor at the University of Zululand, Professor Gregory Kamwendo are very concerning. Mr Ngcobo was shot several times by attackers who stormed his home and opened fire without a word.

The ANC is equally devastated by the murder of Professor Gregory Kamwendo, who was the Dean of The Faculty of Arts at the University of Zululand. Professor Kamwendo was shot dead in his vehicle on his way to home on the Durford Road in Empangeni yesterday afternoon. He served the University from 2016, following his tenure as the Dean of the College of Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The ANC strongly condemns the continuation of blood spill in the province. Crime fighting remains one of the ANC's key priorities and we are pleased with the move of our government to mandate the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to fast-tract and solve all cases of murder that occurred in the province.

Another leader of Abahlali BaseMjondolo, Mr. Ndumiso Mnguni, is fighting for his life after allegedly being shot in Foreman Road settlement, Clare Estate. Whilst details surrounding his shooting are sketchy, we wish Mr. Mnguni a speedy recovery as he fights for his life in hospital.

The ANC calls on the South African Police Service to leave no stone unturned in apprehending the perpetrators of these ghastly deeds in the province. We are very concerned that so many citizens are being butchered but no one gets arrested. We urge communities to work hand in gloves with the police to strengthen structures such as community policing forums to step up effective collaborative anti-crime efforts in the province and on investigation every step of the way to end the horrifying incidents in the province.

We believe that this will go a long way in ensuring that criminals have no place to hide in society and are hunted wherever they are. In this hour of need, we send our heartfelt condolences to the Ngcobo and Professor Kamwendo families, relatives and friends


Pule Mabe
National Spokesperson
071 623 4975
‘Enormous Challenges’ in Solving Political Killings in KZN
22 May 2018 - 07:00

A high-ranking delegation of security cluster ministers has made a frank admission about solving political killings in KwaZulu-Natal: they are faced with enormous challenges.

The delegation - made up of top officials including Police Minister Bheki Cele‚ State Security Minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba‚ Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula‚ Justice Minister Michael Masutha‚ NPA head Shaun Abrahams‚ and national police commissioner General Kehla Sitole‚ - descended on the volatile province on Monday in a bid to solve rampant political slayings.

The powerful delegation was in the province at the request of President Cyril Ramaphosa‚ who made the investigation into political killings an urgent priority following his visit to KZN last week in the wake of the murders of former ANC councilor Musawenkosi Maqatha Mchunu and IFP councillor Sibuyiselo Dlamini.

The team is expected to give a preliminary report to Ramaphosa about their findings based on their meeting with the province’s top police brass‚ KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu‚ community safety and liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and the team assigned to investigate the killings‚ which have continued unabated.

But after a marathon meeting lasting several hours at the provincial police headquarters‚ it was clear that finding a solution would be a mammoth task.

Cele told the media that due to certain technicalities they were not in a position to divulge what was discussed during the meeting as they still need to report back to Ramaphosa.

“Today’s [meeting] comes from the instruction given by president last week...that security cluster ministers have to come here and deal with the matters of politically-related murders. We will be giving him a preliminary report‚” said Cele.

Mapisa-Nqakula said after interacting with the multi-disciplinary team investigating political killings “it became clear to us that there has been enormous challenges” which had resulted in the inability to conclude investigations in some cases.

“But as the [police] minister said earlier‚ most of these killings are politically motivated and they may be intra-party. However‚ we can only make that kind of statement when the investigation has been completed.

“It’s clear that there are challenges that the team have. At times the witnesses themselves are reluctant to come forward and instances where witnesses have come forward‚ they change their statements later and they are intimidated into withdrawing those statements‚” she said.

Letsatsi-Duba said they were concerned about coordination from the various clusters within the task teams investigating the political killings.

“From those observations we need to understand why the delays in terms of arresting‚ in terms of prosecutions‚ in terms of containing witnesses so that they don’t disappear or they don’t become intimidated.

“So politically there are these challenges which are very serious and‚ as the police minister indicated‚ we’re tempted to talk but we’re restricted because we must report to the boss first otherwise we will be fired‚” she said.

Masutha lauded Ramaphosa for his decision to “pull us together in the manner that he did to look at these things collectively because it has been become abundantly clear that this is a situation where we cannot work in silos and hope to achieve the maximum outcomes”.

He said that this coordination would also prevent “shifting of blame” over who had or hadn’t done their job.

Masutha added that Monday’s meeting was not just a once-off engagement.

Mchunu revealed that the Moerane Commission of Inquiry he set up to investigate political killings had requested an extension until the end of May to finalise its report.

“We are still awaiting for a report. There was a request for an extension and that request was given until the end of May. We have an understanding that there will be no further extensions required because this was mainly for them to finalise their report. The ministerial task team will also have access to that report‚” said Mchunu.
South African Ruling Party Condemns Series of Political Killings
2018-05-24 03:51:52

CAPE TOWN, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Unabated political killings in South Africa prompted the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to voice its condemnation on Wednesday.

This came after S'fiso Ngcobo, chairperson of the Shack Dwellers' Movement, was assassinated on Tuesday in Mariannhill, west of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province. Another leader of the movement, Ndumiso Mnguni, was also shot in Durban and is now fighting for his life.

The ANC "is devastated" by the assassination of Ngcobo and strongly condemns the continuation of blood spill in the province, ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.

The two shootings are believed to be politically motivated.

In another incident also on Tuesday, Gregory Kamwendo, a professor at the University of Zululand, was shot dead in his vehicle on his way home in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal Province. It remains unknown whether his death was politically motivated.

The barbaric murders of Ngcobo and Kamwendo "are very concerning," Mabe said.

"Crime fighting remains one of the ANC's key priorities and we are pleased with the move of our government to mandate the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to fast-tract and solve all cases of murder that occurred in the province," said Mabe.

The KwaZulu-Natal Province has been gripped by a series of political killings recently. Earlier this month, Msawenkosi Mchunu, an ANC leader in Moses Mabhida Region, KwaZulu-Natal Province, and Sbuyiselo Dlamini, leader of the Inkata Freedom Party (IFP) in Ulundi, also KwaZulu-Natal Province, were shot dead. Their killings were preceded by the assassination of Sifiso Cele, an ANC branch treasurer in KwaZulu-Natal's Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.

The motives for the killings are still under investigation. No one has been arrested. But it is believed that the killings are related to rivalry among factions of political parties before the 2019 general elections.

The ANC called on the South African Police Service to leave no stone unturned in apprehending the perpetrators of these ghastly deeds in the province, Mabe said.

"We are very concerned that so many citizens are being butchered but no one gets arrested," he said.

Editor: yan
KZN Gets New Police Boss to Tackle Political Killings
21 MAY 2018 - 21:39

Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi has been appointed as the acting head of the police in the volatile KwaZulu-Natal and immediately tasked with ending political killings in the province.

His elevation was announced on Monday by Police Minister Bheki Cele during an Inter-Ministerial Committee meeting in Durban to discuss political killings in the province.

The Pietermaritzburg-born career policeman has built a reputation as a tough, determined and resilient officer. He has in the past headed the police’s Special Task Force and the forces’ air wing.

Ironically, Mkhwanazi took over from Cele as the SAPS’ acting head in 2011 when the then "General" Cele was forced to vacate his position after he was facing charges of misconduct after his alleged meddling in the R1.78 billion police headquarters lease deal.

Mkhwanazi was expected to be elevated to the SAPS top position but was surprisingly dumped by Zuma in favour of then little-known Ria Piyega. Now Mkhwanazi is taking over from another acting police commissioner‚ General Bheki Langa‚ who was appointed after the suspension of provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mammonye Ngobeni over allegations that she had a "cosy relationship" with controversial Durban businessman Thoshan Panday.

Ngobeni has been on suspension for two years‚ which means the province can’t have a permanent police commissioner until her matter has been finalised.

Cele said they have discussed the elevation of Mkhwanazi with General Langa, who agreed to return to his former position. Cele said they have faith in Mkhwanazi to help bring an end to the ongoing political killings in KZN.

He said a permanent head of the police in KZN will only be appointed once the Lt-General Ngobeni disciplinary processes have been dealt with.
Thousands Attend KZN ANC Protest Rally Over Political Killings
22 MAY 2018 - 10:28

Thousands of disgruntled ANC members from five regions are calling on the national leadership to postpone the provincial elective conference until the killing of prominent party members stops and all outstanding complaints about "gatekeeping" and other contentious issues are resolved.

ANC members from Ukhahlamba, eThekwini, Lower South Coast, Harry Gwala and Moses Mabhida regions converged in Durban’s Curries Fountain Stadium on Sunday in protest. They said the ruling party’s values were being "hijacked" by individuals intent on stealing money from state institutions.

They agreed to petition the ANC national leadership to postpone the provincial elective conference, which is expected within a few weeks.

A separate meeting at the Ukhahlamba regional offices in northern KwaZulu-Natal was disrupted by ANC members brandishing traditional weapons and guns. They demanded that the provincial conference must be delayed and the regional leadership disbanded, charging that the leadership was elected "fraudulently" in December.

The KwaZulu ANC regions remain divided between supporters of former president Jacob Zuma and President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In January, after a court judgment that nullified the November 2015 provincial elective conference, the ANC national executive committee was forced to appoint an interim structure led by Mike Mabuyakhulu and Sihle Zikalala and comprising members from both factions.

But the intervention has done little to ease tensions between factions.

Those supporting Zuma are led by provincial task team co-ordinator Sihle Zikalala. They want the conference as soon as possible. Their opponents, who largely support Ramaphosa and former KwaZulu premier Senzo Mchunu, want the postponement to deal with all outstanding complaints.

Speaker after speaker at the Durban rally on Sunday said there could be no "free and fair" provincial conference while "comrades are being killed".

In Moses Mabhida region outside Pietermaritzburg  ANC activists buried Musawenko "Maqatha" Mchunu on Saturday. He was gunned down by unknown assailants last week.

Mourners said Mchunu knew he was on the hit list. A few weeks ago he had led dozens of unhappy ANC members to a meeting between members of the ANC national working committee (NWC) and the regional leadership. They were protesting about prevalent ''gatekeeping'' (when politicians pursue their own political and economic ends), as well as abusing ANC processes in branches to favour the dominant faction in the region. The group led by Mchunu clashed with bodyguards and several rounds of ammunition were fired and threats were exchanged.

Sthembiso Mshengu, spokesman for the disgruntled members, said it was clear that in all the five regions problems of political murders, gatekeeping and unfair exclusion from ANC branch processes were still rife.

He said although the provincial task team was appointed to deal with these issues, it had so far failed to deal with them meaningfully.

"Many of our members in these regions feel these issues have not been dealt with. We have resolved to petition the NEC to postpone the provincial elective conference. We want a provincial leadership that has been elected in  credible and fair processes so that our people will have confidence in such a leadership.

"We are urging the national leadership to postpone the provincial conference until well-orchestrated violence against ANC members and leaders stops. We want the NEC to stop the conference until all outstanding complaints, such as gatekeeping and other corruption of ANC processes, are dealt with adequately. If the conference is held under this current atmosphere of fear and intimidation, it will be nothing but a farce and we will again approach the court to nullify the result of such a farce."

Howard Msomi, from the Lower South Coast region, said some current and former ANC leaders were behind the "elimination" of  leaders in the province.

"We know these untouchables and they don’t want to be opposed. If you oppose them they bump you off of the face of the earth. They want to create an atmosphere of fear in the organisation so that they can be able to do as they please, to loot and plunder at will," he said.

Pule Mabe, spokesman for the ANC, was not available for comment.

But Zoleka Capa-Langa, who is one of the NEC members deployed to KwaZulu to deal with complaints, said they had received the complaints from disgruntled members and would "pass them to the NEC for further discussion". She said the ANC NEC was doing everything to resolve problems in the province.

Dumisani Hlophe, a political analyst based at the University of South Africa, said divisions in the province showed that some groups had not accepted the ANC leadership under Ramaphosa. He said leaders from the winning side had not ''extended an olive branch to the vanquished''.

"Some believe that the stalemate will only be resolved by an elective conference while others strongly believe that an elective conference cannot be held while they are marginalised from taking part in ANC processes," he said.

He said this problem was only limited to KwaZulu and would not affect the performance of the ANC in next year’s general elections