Category Archives: Africa

Xenophobia: Nigeria summons SA envoy

XENOPHOBIA

In this file picture, foreign nationals hold a placard during an anti-xenophobia march

PRETORIA/LONDON. – Amid confirmation that MTN’s offices in Nigeria’s capital were vandalised by anti-xenophobia demonstrators, the International Relations Department says South Africa’s ambassador has been summoned by that country’s government to explain the attacks on foreigners here.

The cellphone service provider has issued a brief statement calling on people to remain calm and to exercise restraint.

It’s understood their offices in Abuja were vandalised and office equipment was stolen during a protest against attacks on foreigners in South Africa.

International Relations’ Clayson Monyela has confirmed that South Africa’s ambassador to Nigeria has been summoned to that country’s foreign ministry for a meeting.

“They want to get an understanding of these sporadic attacks in South Africa as reported on some foreign and South African nationals. We did explain that these are sporadic criminal attacks.”

The Nigerian Union of South Africa’s Emeka Collins says they are worried about the anti-immigrant march in Pretoria today, which has been given the green light.

“We hope the protest march tomorrow will not give leverage to setting criminal elements to take the law into their own hands. We have confidence in the authority.”

The police say they will not tolerate any violence.

Nigerians in Abuja reportedly staged an anti-xenophobia protest outside the South African embassy in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, calling on authorities to “stop attacks on African nationals”.

According to BBC Live, the protest, organised by members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, urged the South African government to urgently address the situation.

The protesters carried placards such as “South Africa we say stop killing our people” and chanted slogans denouncing the attacks, the report said.

“We are doing this because of the killings taking place in South Africa, we want to express our displeasure over that and urge them to take measures to address the situation.

“We presented a petition in which we want them to call their people to order. We have foreigners here and it will not be good if there is reprisal attacks that will not make world a peaceful place to live,” one of the protesters was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba yesterday warned unethical businesses that employ illegal immigrants that they are going to be dealt with harshly and the managers will be arrested for not adhering to the law.

“Companies, businesses: Be warned. We are coming for you. We will charge them, there’s no doubt. The manger will be charged. Often times, we focus on the undocumented employee and not the company,” he said.

They would deport the illegal immigrants, he said, but the businesses would not be left unscathed.

Gigaba made an example of a large supermarket group that had employed 63 people without documentation.

Three shops were found to have employed undocumented immigrants, and two managers were arrested, while another manager was not on duty at the time. SA labour laws require businesses to employ a minimum of 60 percent South Africans.

“But we are not saying businesses should only employ 60 percent of South Africans. Go higher,” Gigaba said, briefing media in Cape Town.

Businesses were a critical factor in dealing with some of the challenges facing communities, such as Rosettenville, he said. — News Agencies.

British immigrants found murdered in South Africa

A couple from south Wales have been found murdered in South Africa.

Christine Solik, 57, who is originally from Mountain Ash, was found bound and murdered 50 miles (80km) from her home in the Kwazulu-Natal province on 17 February.

The body of her husband Roger, 66, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, was found over a mile from her on Monday.

Police in South Africa believe the couple had been kidnapped from their home during a robbery on Friday.

The couple married in Wales in 1980 and travelled to South Africa the following year.

Their four children, Alexander and Gregory, 32, Jessica, 30, and Brendon, 29, issued a statement saying: “Our parents were inseparable and their relationship was something to aspire to.

“It is hard to understand that on their community farmland estate, with rolling hills and endless nature, and neighbours 100m away, that something so violent could happen. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”

Mrs Solik had returned to Wales for the funeral of her father, Glyn Savage, last month.

The couple, who also had two grandchildren, Xavier and Lucy, initially emigrated on a two-year visa, but decided to stay in South Africa.

Molefe’s swearing-in on budget day ‘hit on Gordhan’

ANCCAPE TOWN. — The fact that Brian Molefe will be sworn in on “budget day” is clearly a premeditated political hit on Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier said yesterday.He was reacting to news that the former Eskom CEO will be sworn in as a Member of Parliament tomorrow, the same day Gordhan is set to deliver his National Budget Speech.

Maynier and IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa, who both serve in Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance, told Fin24 yesterday Molefe could soon fill a vacancy in the committee as speculation increased that he is poised for a job at National Treasury.

It is, however, not a necessity for Molefe to first serve in the finance committee as he could be appointed straight to Cabinet, Hlengwa told Fin24.

“It would be a good introduction and a conduit to the finance ministry — as finance minister or deputy finance minister, (but) it’s not a prerequisite that he first serves in the committee,” he said.

Maynier said that it is “highly likely” that Molefe will fill the vacancy in the Standing Committee on Finance.

“I don’t think he will be a committee member for long though. He is a man in a hurry and is likely to be appointed as deputy minister of finance, possibly within weeks.”

The rand weakened more than 1 percent by 12:45 as news of Molefe’s move to Parliament fuelled negative rand sentiment.

“Local political risks remain a concern. USD/ZAR’s brief spike to 13,17 early yesterday presumably reflected the concern over a possible Cabinet reshuffle. And the public backing of Molefe for finance minister by various parties will imply the unease continues,” said RMB currency strategist John Cairns.

Yesterday afternoon, the rand was trading at R13,17/$ from an overnight close of R13.04.

Molefe resigned as Eskom chief in November last year after he had allegedly been associated with the wealthy Gupta family in former public protector Thuli Madonsela’s State of Capture report.

Speculation around Molefe’s move to finance came after committee chairperson Yunis Carrim announced on February 15 that the ANC’s Makhosi Khoza would no longer serve in the finance committee and will henceforth chair the portfolio committee on public service and administration.

Two days later it was announced that Molefe would become an MP after he was nominated to fill a vacancy on the North West list.

Yesterday, Carrim referred speculation around Molefe’s appointment to the committee to the ANC’s office of the chief whip. “First of all, it’s not my committee. I don’t get to decide,” he told Fin24.

He also stressed that Khoza’s move was a promotion and not to make way for Molefe. “Makhosi (Khoza) is long overdue for a promotion.”

Khoza, who has been promoted to chair the public service committee, was considered a rising ANC star in Parliament. She served in the finance committee from 2014 and also chaired the ad hoc committee responsible for appointing a new public protector. — Fin24.

Tanzania to publish ‘list of gay people’

DAR ES SALAAM. – Tanzania on Saturday announced plans to publish a list of gay people allegedly selling sex online – just days after shutting dozens of Aids clinics accused of promoting homosexuality.

The country’s deputy health minister Hamisi Kigwangalla said on Twitter that the government was investigating “the homosexuality syndicate” and would arrest and prosecute those involved in the gay sex business.

“I will publish a list of gay people selling their bodies online. Those who think this campaign is a joke are wrong. The government has long arms and it will arrest all those involved quietly,” he wrote.

“Once arrested they will help us find others.”

Gay male sex is punishable by anything from 30 years to life imprisonment under Tanzanian law, but there is no such ban on lesbian relations.

However politicians have largely ignored the gay community – which was not subject to levels of discrimination seen in other countries such as neighbouring Uganda – until a recent spike in anti-gay rhetoric by the government.

In July last year, the regional commissioner for the port city of Dar es Salaam, Paul Makonda, announced a crackdown against gays, followed by arrests in clubs.

Some people who have been openly gay on the internet stopped posting after Makonda threatened that police would arrest those who follow them on social media.

Dozens of men suspected of being gay have been detained and taken to hospital for anal exams to confirm their homosexuality.

Also in July last year the government banned the import and sales of sexual lubricants, which Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said encouraged homosexuality which led to the spread of HIV and Aids.

On Thursday government announced it was stopping many privately run health centres from providing Aids-related services after they were accused of providing services to homosexuals.

“We have suspended the provision of HIV and Aids services at less than 40 drop-in centres for key populations operated by NGOs countrywide after it was established that the centres were promoting homosexuality, which is against Tanzania’s laws,” Mwalimu told a Press conference.

Last year she said it was estimated that 23 percent of men who have sex with men in Tanzania were living with HIV and Aids.

Homosexuality is illegal in 38 of 54 countries in Africa, and is punishable by death in Mauritania, Sudan and Somalia, according to Amnesty International.

Uganda in 2014 tried to impose the death penalty on those found guilty of being homosexual, however the controversial law was later repealed. – AFP.

100 000 face starvation in S. Sudan UN agencies

JUBA. – Three UN agencies said wars and a collapsing economy have left some 100 000 people facing starvation in parts of South Sudan where famine was declared yesterday.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday also called for urgent action as almost 5 million people urgently need food, agricultural and nutrition assistance.

The UN agencies said famine was currently affecting parts of Unity State in the northern-central part of the country, adding that a further 1 million people are classified as being on the brink of famine.

“A formal famine declaration means people have already started dying of hunger. The situation is the worst hunger catastrophe since fighting erupted more than three years ago,” they said in a joint statement issued in Juba.

FAO Representative in South Sudan Serge Tissot said famine had become a tragic reality in parts of South Sudan.

“Our worst fears have been realized. Many families have exhausted every means they have to survive,” Tissot said.

“The people are predominantly farmers and war has disrupted agriculture. They have lost their livestock, even their farming tools. For months there has been a total reliance on whatever plants they can find and fish they can catch,” he added.

According to the UN agencies, if sustained and adequate assistance is delivered urgently, the hunger situation can be improved in the coming months and further suffering mitigated.

The total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million at the height of the lean season in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released yesterday by the government, the three agencies and other humanitarian partners, 4.9 million people – more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population – are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance.

Unimpeded humanitarian access to those facing famine, or at risk of famine, is urgently needed to reverse the escalating catastrophe, the UN agencies urged.- Xinhua.

56ha of marijuana destroyed in blitz

ARUSHA. – Authorities in Tanzania’s lake zone district of Tarime have seized 20 sacks of dried cannabis and destroyed 56 hectares of the plant for the past three days in the ongoing narcotics crackdown.

Glorius Luoga, Tarime District Commissioner said on Sunday that the crackdown has been possible due to his task force established to fight against illegal narcotic drugs business in the area.

He said the task force arrested drug moguls including those cultivating or importing it from the neighbouring Kenya.

Luoga, who is also the District Security Committee chairman, noted that the operation was conducted between February 13 and 15, this year across the district, which is located on the eastern shores of Lake Victoria.

“We have so far arrested 14 people in connection with illicit drugs,” the official said, noting that police were still looking for suspects who escaped during the operation. – Xinhua.

Cyclone Dineo to hit Mozambique first

JOHANNESBURG. – Cyclone Dineo continued to deepen overnight on Tuesday and was packing wind speeds of 120km/h around its eye, with wind gusts exceeding 160km/h.

Winds of this strength mean Dineo is now classified as a tropical cyclone.

The predicted path still indicates Dineo heading in a westerly direction yesterday, making a beeline for the Mozambican coast and will make landfall this evening just to the north of Inhambane, near Massinga.

By the time the eye of the storm reaches the coast it is expected to be have obtained “intense tropical cyclone” status with winds estimated to reach 160km/h, gusting over 200km/h.

The hurricane force winds will be accompanied by extremely heavy rainfall that will push further inland overnight and into today.

Another major threat to life and property is the storm surge that will accompany this tropical cyclone. A storm surge is a tsunami-like rise of the sea level as the cyclone moves ashore.

The low central atmospheric pressure literally heightens the sea level underneath the cyclone, while extreme wave heights exceeding 10m aggravate the effect of the storm surge.

The storm surge, together with natural tides, was expected to allow ocean water to push in much further inland than usual and can have devastating effects for coastal communities.

The storm will move westwards today into the interior of southern Mozambique, severely affecting the provinces of Inhambane and Gaza, which borders on South Africa.

Although winds speeds will begin to abate, gales will still batter these areas with driving rain continuing for much of the day.

Very strong, gusty winds and heavier showers will gradually start reaching the lowveld and escarpment areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in the evening today and persist well into tomorrow.

Continuous heavy downpours along with the strong winds may make travel through those areas difficult and in addition, swollen rivers could make crossings dangerous and travellers should avoid low-lying bridges in such conditions.

The remnant low of Dineo will move across northern Limpopo tomorrow, bringing gusty easterly winds to the province as well as Mpumalanga and Gauteng where wind speeds could exceed 50km/h.

Winds over these areas could be strong at times and there will still be heavy downpours affecting Limpopo and eastern Mpumalanga.

Thereafter the low is expected to move into Botswana, although showers will continue in the north of South Africa and gusty conditions will spread to North West on Saturday, while calming elsewhere.

Tropical weather systems of this nature are notorious for changing direction and movement suddenly and the South African public are urged to closely monitor weather forecasts and updates issued for Tropical Cyclone Dineo. – eNCA.

Lungu reads riot act to Cabinet

Edgar Lungu

Edgar Lungu

LUSAKA. — President Lungu warned members of his Cabinet failing to juggle their ministerial jobs and duty to their constituents that he would not hesitate to fire them. “If you are not capable of being both a minister and an MP, choose one job. I am warning those ministers that are MPs, but not visiting their constituencies, soon I will soon let you go,” he said, addressing a public rally at Samfya primary school.

The head of state said that he was in possession of information that some ministers were not visiting their constituencies because they were too remote. He reminded the MPs that he had also served in parliament and held cabinet portfolios at the same time, but still regularly visited the electorate in Lusaka’s Chawama constituency.

He said the role of MPs was not only to make laws in parliament, but also to contribute to development in their respective constituencies. “I have been deputy and cabinet minister before and I used to work in my constituency, that is why I am here today. It does not matter whether you are a cabinet minister you should visit your constituencies,” he said.

And, President Lungu has cautioned civil servants against shunning rural areas as such attitude slows down the pace at which Government intends to develop the country.

Lungu said he wanted to see patriotism in all civil service staff as Government was addressing the challenges they faced when posted to work in far-flung areas.

Addressing civil service staff and PF officials in Lunga District of Luapula Province yesterday, President Lungu called for co-ordination between the civil service and the Patriotic Front (PF) so that service delivery to the people was enhanced.

The president said he did not expect antagonism between civil service staff and PF members, warning that any ruling party official or civil service employee frustrating the operations of the institution would be dealt with.

“Anyone against the development vision for this country is an enemy of the people and that one, I will remove. We want to transform this country and I want to see harmony between the civil service and the party,” President Lungu said.

The president also had an engagement with traditional leaders in Samfya, whom he assured of Government’s unwavering commitment to roll out development countrywide.

The traditional leaders are chiefs’ Kalasa Mukoso, Chitembo, Kasoma Bangwe, Mwewa, Mbulu, Mulongwe and Mwansa Kombe.

Lungu tasked Members of Parliament and ministers from the province to ensure that service delivery to the people was enhanced as the PF promised this to the people during last year’s electoral campaigns. — Lusaka Times.

‘Students should stop cooking for boyfriends’

LUSAKA. — Female students in higher learning institutions should stop cooking meals for their boyfriends because they are in school to learn. Minister of Higher Education Nkundu Luo is disappointed that female students in some higher learning institutions have added extra responsibilities to their academic time-table. Professor Luo, who surprised some students at Kwame Nkrumah University in Kabwe with her visit to one of the libraries as they were studying, said female students should take their education very seriously.

“What I know is you come to school to learn and not to cook. Anybody who is doing that must stop, pay attention to school,” Prof Luo said. Prof Luo, who shared with the students her brief academic journey, also said Government will not condone lecturers who resort to having relationships with students.

Prof Luo said female students should guard against being lured into relationships by their lecturers. “If there are any lecturers that want you, anyone should pick up the phone and report to me so that I phone your vice chancellor (Racheal Kabeta),” she said, and proceeded to give the students her mobile number after they demanded for it.

Prof Luo, who was accompanied by Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga, Ministry of Higher Education director in the department of vocation education and training Muzano Simumba and Dr Kabeta said students in higher learning institutions should “jack up and take the space”.

The first female professor in Zambia has encouraged female students to aim high and not end at getting degrees. “There is nothing exclusive for men, women can do anything. Boys should stop making girls to cook for you,” she said.

Prof Luo, who also visited Mulungushi University in Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe Institute of Technology in Kabwe, challenged women to show that they are capable of doing many things in different spheres of life.

And in Kitwe, Mwila Ntambi reports that Prof Luo has directed management at the Copperbelt University (CBU) to come up with a programme for students to participate in cleaning their hostels and surroundings at least once a month.

Speaking to journalists after she toured CBU Riverside campus in Kitwe yesterday, Prof Luo said she was disappointed with the way students were keeping their hostels. She said the hanging litter bins and clothes on walls gave a bad impression about CBU especially to first-time visitors at the institution. — Lusaka Times.

What Zuma had to say on fees, land

Jacob Zuma

Jacob Zuma

CAPE TOWN. – President Jacob Zuma says government will look at increasing the R122 000 household income threshold for students needing full National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) bursaries.President Zuma held his annual State of the Nation Address on Thursday on a night that was overshadowed by violence, with Cope, the EFF and DA MPs thrown out or walking out in protest.

EFF MPs interrupted President Zuma’s speech for over an hour, leading to House chairperson Thandi Modise ordering party leader Julius Malema out of the House.

Parliamentary security dressed in white shirts proceeded to bundle the EFF out, and punches were thrown. Members of the public gallery also fell victim to the illegal use of pepper spray, apparently dispersed by an unknown member of the public.

The powdery substance, with effects similar to teargas, was let off in the upper gallery while the EFF were being thrown out, affecting those around including Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille.

President Zuma eventually continued his speech after their exits, detailing key areas of focus for his government, including university fees, land reform and corruption.

He said that students were correct to highlight their plight of rising university fees in 2016.

His “caring” government would look into the prospect of raising the NSFAS threshold to above R122 000 through a phased basis, while students from families earning below R600 000 would continue to have their increases covered.

President Zuma said government had also settled all debt owed by NSFAS students and had extended the coverage to larger numbers of students than ever before.

“All students who qualify for NSFAS and who have been accepted by universities and TVET colleges will be funded,” he said.

“The university debt of NSFAS qualifying students for 2013, 2014 and 2015 academic years has been addressed. “In total, government has reprioritised R32 billion within government baselines to support higher education.”

He called on South Africans to work together on the issue, and to also allow the Fees Commission to complete its work this year.

Land

President Zuma also said it would be “difficult, if not impossible”, to achieve true reconciliation until the land question was resolved. Arable land needed to be returned to black people, he said.

“Only eight million hectares of arable land have been transferred to black people, which is only 9.8 percent of the 82 million hectares of arable land in South Africa.”

He said there had been a 19 percent decline in households involved in agriculture, from 2.9 million in 2011, to 2.3 million households in 2016.

President Zuma said he would be referring the Expropriation Act back to Parliament for more public participation so that they could continue to pursue land reform and land redistribution, in line with the Constitution.

He also said that government would continue to implement other programmes, such as the Strengthening of Relatives Rights programme, also known as the 50-50 programme.

“In this programme, the farm workers join together into a legal entity and, together with the farm owner, a new company is established and the workers and the owner become joint owners.

“To date, 13 proposals have already been approved, benefiting 921 farm dweller households at a value of R631m. We applaud farmers and farmworkers for this innovation.”

He also said that many black workers would be better off keeping the land they had rights to, rather than accepting deals for their land.

Government would also commit itself to black farm owners, and would implement a commercialisation support programme for 450 black smallholder farmers, especially women.

Corruption, crime

President Zuma said the fight against corruption would continue.

“Within the National Prosecuting Authority, the Asset Forfeiture Unit completed 389 forfeiture cases, to the value of R349 million. They obtained 326 freezing orders to the value of R779 million.”

A total of R13m was recovered in cases where government officials were involved in corruption and other related offences in the past year. He also announced the establishment of three specialised units, focusing on drug-related crime, taxi violence and firearm violations.

“The fight against crime is an apex priority. The police will increase visible policing, building on the successful pattern of deployments utilised during the Safer Festive Season Campaign.”

The police would also enhance the utilisation of the DNA Database in the identification of suspects. Another high court was due to be opened in Mpumalanga this year.

Drought

In terms of drought, President Zuma admitted that 2016 was a difficult year for the country’s farms and citizens.

“Our farmers went through a difficult period last year because of the drought,” Zuma continued.

He said an estimated amount of R2.5 billion was made available for the provision of livestock feed, water infrastructure, drilling, equipping and refurbishment of boreholes, auction sales and other interventions.

R500 million would also be made available to distressed farmers to manage their credit facilities and support with soft loans. – News24.

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