XENOPHOBIA: South African mob kills 2 Nigerians

After weeks of assault on Nigerians, which led to destruction of property and severe injuries, aggrieved South Africans have finally killed two Nigerians.

While Martins Cobham, Nigerian high commissioner to South Africa, confirmed the death of a Nigerian mechanic identified as Razak Ajao, Ralph Nwachukwu, a Nigerian in South Africa, said another Nigerian was also killed on Thursday.

Both incidents happened in Polokwane, Limpopo province.

“I can confirm that a Nigerian, Razak Ajao, an auto mechanic was killed and four others injured during a mob attack against foreigners in Polokwane, Limpopo Province of South Africa today (Thursday),” Cobahm said.

“The Nigerian mission has formally registered a protest to the South African ministry of foreign affairs on this sad incident.

“The ministry said they would get back to the mission and that is the situation we are now. The mission has also reported the attacks to the South African police.

“Meanwhile, the mission is meeting with officials of Nigeria Union on the incident to decide on the next line of action.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.”

Cobham said two of the injured Nigerians had been treated and discharged while others were still receiving treatment in the hospital.

Meanwhile, Nwachukwu, who could not give the names of the victims, said the attack started when Nigerians living in that area were holding a meeting.

“They held a meeting on Tuesday and today (Thursday) was supposed to be a follow up,” he said.

“It was at the peak of the meeting that the South African taxi drivers swooped on them.

“They accused Nigerians of peddling drugs and began to attack them with dangerous weapons that led to the death of two while many others were seriously injured.”

Nwachukwu said Nigerians, in a bid to register their complaint, went to police station but the commander at the station drove them out instead of listening to them.

He alleged that the commander threatened to shoot them if they did not leave the station.

 

Source: The Cable

South Africa’s top trade demands President Zuma’s resignation

South Africa’s powerful trade union federation Cosatu, a key coalition partner of the ruling ANC, on Tuesday called for embattled President Jacob Zuma to resign following a deeply unpopular cabinet reshuffle.

Union general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said it was time for Zuma to “step down” after his purge last week of cabinet critics, which included the removal of the respected former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.

Gordhan’s sacking contributed to a credit ratings downgrade to junk status on Monday by Standard & Poor’s as pressure on Zuma grew over his move to oust opponents within the cabinet.

“The president was careless and reckless,” he said, adding that the downgrade would “cost the country a lot”.

Cosatu, along with the South African Communist Party and the ANC, was at the forefront of the effort to dislodge white-minority rule in South Africa that led to non-racial elections in 1994.

It has openly backed Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who led Cosatu during the anti-apartheid struggle, to succeed him in 2019 when the president must stand down.

“Even if it means marching into the street we will do that to make our point. We believe in this alliance led by the ANC but we want a reconfiguration of this alliance,” said Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini.

Cosatu’s intervention came as South Africa’s new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said that Monday’s downgrade to junk status was a setback for the economy.

“We acknowledge yesterday’s announcement was a setback… but now is not a time for despondency,” he told a media conference.

“What these reviews highlight is that we need to reignite our nation’s growth engines.”

S&P said the cut to below investment grade reflects “heightened political and institutional uncertainties” following Zuma’s shock purge of critical ministers.

 

Source: AFP

South Africa Parliament To Debate President Jacob Zuma’s Future

The Speaker of South Africa’s Parliament, Baleka Mbete has said the request from the opposition party to hold a “No confidence” vote on President Jacob Zuma would be considered.

The Speaker who is also the National Chairperson of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), cut short her trip to ensure the opposition requests were given the appropriate consideration.

 

Previous no confidence motion filed against Zuma failed as the ruling ANC has a commanding majority.

There has also been a growing backlash against Zuma from within his party and its allies after a string of missteps which culminated with the firing of the Finance Minister that rocked markets.

Analysts say the sacking of the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan last week may trigger damaging credit downgrades from ratings agencies, which would drive up the government’s borrowing costs.

South Africa’s President Zuma ‘Sacks’ Finance Minister, 14 Others.

There are strong indications that 15 ministers of the South African cabinet might have been sacked.

This comes as part of the fall out of an urgent meeting of the African National Congress (ANC) convened on Thursday night by President Jacob Zuma.

According to report, no names have been released, although it is said that nine ministers and six deputies have been fired.

At an earlier news briefing, it was gathered that President Zuma had hinted on his intention to remove the Minister of Finance, based on an intelligence report which stated that the Minister had set up meetings with people who could push for a change in government.

Meanwhile, a party source said that the President is considering to step down in 2018, at least 12 months before his term ends as South African President.

Mr Zuma is due to be replaced as leader of the African National Congress (ANC) at a party conference in December, after serving his allocated two terms.

 

Source: Channels TV

We are on top of the latest xenophobic attacks – Nigerian high commission

The Nigerian Mission in South Africa says it is on top of the latest xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in Polokwane, Limpopo Province.

Martin Cobham, Nigerian High Commissioner in South Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone from Pretoria that the mission had visited the affected area and met with concerned parties.

Mr. Cobham said a senior staff of the high commission travelled to Polokwane with national officers of the Nigeria Union in South Africa, following the recent attacks against Nigerians in the Province.

“Following the reported attack on Nigerians in Polokwane, Limpopo Province, I sent an officer to the area. He held meetings with the local taxi drivers, Nigeria Union and the police.

“The aim is to resolve issues and ensure cordial relationship between Nigerians and South Africans,’’ he said.

Mr. Cobham said the meeting set up a committee comprising the Nigerian community, South African police and taxi drivers to identify trouble makers and hand them over to the police.

“Nigerians in that community volunteered to point out trouble makers and hand them over to the police and with that intervention, peace has returned to Polokwane.

“The committee is to report to the mission periodically, while the mission will take the report to the main body, the Early Warning Unit, set up by the Nigerian Foreign Affairs minister and his South African counterpart,’’ he said.

Mr. Cobham also said, “ the mission is on top of the situation and we assure our people that with the early warning unit in place, a lot will be achieved in this regard’’.

Ikechukwu Anyene, president, Nigeria Union, said the meeting in Polokwane was fruitful.

He said that though no Nigerian died, two were seriously injured and were in hospital.

“We had a meeting with the Nigerian community in the city and told them to be law abiding because the South African Police assured us that they are in charge and will not tolerate lawlessness,’’ he said.

 

Source: NAN

Lawmaker Demands Diplomatic Sanctions Against South Africa Over Xenophobic Attacks

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Hon.  Rita Orji has urged Nigerian government to consider a diplomatic sanction against South Africa, until Nigeria living in the country are protected.

She also urged Nigerians living in South Africa to return home as thier security by the government of thier host country cannot be guaranteed.

Orji in an interview with selected journalists noted that the protracted xenophobic attacks against Nigerians by South African natives persisted even after inter-parliamentary engagement between the two countries.

“let the South African Embassy here go home and let the Nigerian high commission over there return home until there is a lasting solution to this problem. What will be a good relationship when the parliament left their country to South Africa and on returning another attack started? Does it show they value the delegation that came, does it show they have respect for the government of Nigeria, if they do, the reoccurrence will not be within three days,” she said.

Orji added that a diplomatic sanction against the government of South Africa would mea that the Nigerian government is serious about protecting the lives and properties of her citizens abroad.

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“That is to show that what they want us to come and do is talk and go and that is why I don’t want to be part of talk and go. I want action and that action must be seen, felt and heard,’’ Orji said.?

According to Orji, the Nigerian government should not massage the ego it’s South African counterpart.

“It is not to go and massage the ego of South Africans or their envoy, the truth of the matter is that there is a gang up against Nigerians in South Africa. I made it clear that the manner the re-occurrence of xenophobic attack is coming in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the time shall come when it will not take six months before it re-occurs because nobody has been sentenced to death.”

She added that, “No remedy has been given to those that were attacked, those their businesses were looted were not compensated and there is no economic loss to South Africa. Nigeria is supposed to take a critical look at the issues and tell their embassy over here to control these people they call unknown soldiers that are killing human beings.”

 

Source: ThisDay

Onyeama, Dambazau in South Africa to meet Zuma over attacks on Nigerians

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, and Abdulrahman Dambazau, minister of interior, are in South Africa to hold talks with President Jacob Zuma over the attacks on Nigerians in the country.

Clement Aduku, spokesman of the ministry of foreign affairs, disclosed this in a statement, saying the ministers would also meet top officials of the South African government in bid to find solutions to the attacks.

“The honourable minister of foreign affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and the honourable minister of interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau have arrived South Africa to hold high level talks with relevant officials of the country over the spate of attacks against foreigners, including Nigerians,” it read.

“While in South Africa, the delegation will meet the South African President Jacob Zuma and the foreign minister, Maite Nkoana Mashabane, among top ranking officials.

“The talks are aimed at addressing head on, the recent attacks on Nigerians and seek permanent solutions to the crisis. The delegation will also meet with the Nigerian community leaders in the country.”

Last month, aggrieved South Africans attacked businesses and homes of Nigerians.

 

Source: The Cable

South African politicians tell citizens that Nigerians are taking their women – Dabiri

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on foreign relations and diaspora, says South African politicians fuel xenophobic attacks by telling citizens that foreigners, including Nigerians, are taking their jobs.

Dabiri-Erewa admitted that there were foreigners who commit crime in South Africa, and they can be dealt with, but not by discriminating against Nigerians or any other race or country on or off the continent.

Speaking on The Osasu Show, Dabiri-Erewa said the xenophobic attacks in South Africa is driven by hate speech and misinformation.

“There are people who commit crime in South Africa, such people are in any country. If South Africa is fighting crime; let it fight crime, not fight brothers and sisters, who are legitimately working in South Africa,” she said.

“Don’t forget that these attacks happened in the past. This is the seventh attack. The last one was in 2015… the king of Zulu made some remarks that were inciting, that led to the last attack.

“This particular one, let’s look at the circumstances. Fine, there are economic issues everywhere in the world. Politicians are campaigning and telling their people, ‘you know what, drive these criminals away, they are taking your jobs, and they are taking your women too’.

“They don’t say that openly, but there is this thing about it; even the women are not looking at us.”

She said “it is a wrong message and there has to be education, awareness, that it is not these immigrants that are taking your jobs. Look at the jobs they are doing; vulcanisers, mechanics, barbers, these are middle income jobs”.

Dabiri-Erewa advised South Africa companies operating in Nigeria to do more to educate South Africans on the need to stop xenophobia.

“Nigeria must help South Africa to be more decisive, for instance, the only time the minister called this meeting in South Africa was after the MTN reprisal attacks here,” she said.

“Lately, multinationals here; Shoprite, MTN, DStv, also make conscious attempt to try and educate their  citizens. Imagine MTN sending text messages to everyone in South Africa, saying Xenophobia is bad, don’t do this and that.

“They should embark on some corporate social responsibility. Those multinationals should get up and do something. DStv should be doing various jingles on why xenophobia is bad, they should take over the awareness campaign.”

Xenophobia: South Africa and a peculiar problem – Guardian

It is a tragedy that the spate of xenophobic attacks by South Africans on fellow Africans which this newspaper described the other day as a snake only scorched and not killed has, indeed, continued to bare its fangs with more ferocity. Despite international outrage, the xenophobic protests have continued across South Africa, with violence spreading to Pretoria, the country’s capital. The South African police said they arrested 136 people, as the anti-foreigner protesters clashed with African immigrants in the capital.

In Pretoria, a march organised by a group calling itself the Mamelodi Concerned Residents escalated into a tense confrontation between protesters and foreigners, some of whom carried rocks, sticks and machetes, which they said were to protect their property.

The police used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators on both sides. Video footage from the protests showed angry South Africans chanting and calling for African immigrants to be sent home.

The protesters accused African immigrants, including Nigerians and Somalis, of being involved in crimes, such as drug and sex trades. The incidents have prompted an angry response in Nigeria, where protesters in Abuja marched to the offices of South African telecommunications firm MTN and cable service provider, DSTV.

Also, civil rights groups have threatened to embark on a series of coordinated actions that would send a strong message to South Africans to refrain from further xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.

It is, however, an irony that the Federal Government which had earlier asked the South African government to investigate and punish those involved in the killing and end extra-judicial killings, immigrants profiling and xenophobic attacks is facing opposition from angry legislators at home for what they called complacency in responding decisively to the latest attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

Nigeria’s first response came after a citizen, Tochukwu Nnadi, was extra-judicially killed by South African police officers for allegedly dealing in hard drugs. According to reports, more than 116 Nigerians have been murdered within the last two years in inexplicable circumstances either by South African citizens or even officials of the state.

Certainly, governments of Nigeria and South Africa as well as others need to look beyond verbal darts and move from rhetoric to reality checks or actions that can defuse tension on all fronts.

Poverty and desperation, of course, are only a part of the cause of this gory xenophobic tale in South Africa.Extensive research by the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) has shown that South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, are among the most xenophobic countries in the world and that South Africans hold by far the harshest anti-immigrant sentiments. Furthermore, these anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments cut across all major socio-economic and demographic categories: young and old, black and white, educated or not. They display an extraordinary consistency in their antagonism towards foreigners, particularly those from other countries in Africa and especially those deemed to be “illegal immigrants.” Even refugees are viewed negatively.

Suffice it to say that the goodwill once lavished on South Africa by people from across the globe is now being squandered. With those attacks on foreigners, South Africans are betraying the foundation laid over so many years by those who dreamt that their country would take its place as a leading moral force in the world.

Unemployment and economic distress may have been cited as part of the motivators but unnecessary envy also plays a part. Some South Africans are known to be outraged at the competition offered by foreigners and the spectacle of Africans who are more successful than they are. Perhaps because of South Africa’s culture of entitlement, the entrepreneurial spirit and hard work so evident in immigrant communities have become sources of resentment. This is so sad.

As part of cosmetic measures to address the fundamental causes of the ‘twisted nationalism’ the other day, the country’s Interior Minister, Malusi Gigaba, told South Africa’s Parliament that authorities would crack down on the employment of illegal migrants by local businesses. South Africa’s labour law requires 60 per cent of a company’s employees to be South African or permanent residents of the country. The country has experienced periodic outbreaks of xenophobic violence in the past. In 2015, at least five people were killed in attacks on African and international migrants in Pretoria and Johannesburg, while property and businesses owned by foreigners were looted or burnt.

The authorities and leaders within the African Union should realise that the barbaric violence on immigrants in South Africa is not just an issue of xenophobia. The problem is attributable to a crisis of governance and poor leadership.

It is obvious that government officials hardly see poor governance at the core of the current challenge. For instance, in Nigeria, does it worry the leaders that citizens of the “largest economy” in Africa are being forced to search for opportunities in South Africa, a country infamous for one of the highest rates of unemployment in the world? South Africa is incredibly one of the most unequal nations in the world.  Is it not a worthy political project to debate the condition of Nigerians emigrating in desperate circumstances because they cannot find fulfillment at home? If Nigeria were properly governed, not many Nigerians would be searching for opportunities in the slums of South Africa. The failure of governance to create an inclusive economy in Nigeria should be blamed therefore for the fate of Nigerian economic migrants to South Africa, among other countries from where they are being daily deported.

It is the same story of poor governance in South Africa. Over a quarter of the South African population is unemployed and protesters have blamed foreigners for taking local jobs. The founder of a new anti-immigrant political party called South African First, Mario Khumalo, said recently that over 13 million foreign nationals were living in South Africa.

But South Africa’s last census in 2011 estimated that only 2.2 million people born outside the country were living there.The United Nations put the number of foreign migrants living in South Africa at 3.1 million in 2015.

This is not to condone lawlessness by any foreigner in a sovereign nation. Those found guilty of any offences or crimes should be punished according to the South Africa laws. But the laws of the jungle should not be used. When MTN violated regulatory rules here, the Nigerian response was not to burn down its office and kill its South African executives. The regulator imposed a fine.

The poor economic immigrants are not the problem of South Africa.  President Jacob Zuma and the ANC should therefore take a serious look at a political system that has failed to meet the needs of the majority of the people. They should resolve the crisis of governance that has diminished the stature of that great country. The message to African leaders, including Nigeria’s, is that the material conditions that produce economic migration to South Africa and other places should be looked into and stemmed. After all, welfare and security of the citizens must be the primary purpose of government.

Obasanjo Flays South African Government Over Xenophobic Attacks

Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, says the current xenophobic attacks on Nigerians living in South Africa, is a result of the insincerity of the government of that country.

He made his position known in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, while receiving the leadership of the Nigeria Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Jos.

His statement follows the recent attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West.

The former president said the latest development in South Africa betrayed the struggle for the emancipation of the country against the apartheid regime.

He has therefore called on African heads of governments to ensure good governance for overall development of the continent.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement, described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, says the narrative that his country is xenophobic is incorrect.

President Zuma said this is because South Africa is placed quite high among those that welcome and allow foreign nationals to thrive.

He made the remark after a walk in the township of Soshanguve, as part of efforts to tackle crime hot spots in the country.

 

Source: Channels TV

MTN announces first ever loss

South African telecoms giant MTN said Thursday that it made a $200m loss in 2016 – the company’s first – after suffering a huge fine in Nigeria and currency challenges in key markets.

“MTN Group’s financial results for 2016 reflect the most challenging year in the company’s 22-year history,” MTN said in a statement.

Johannesburg-based MTN reported profits of 20.2 billion rand ($1.6bn) before tax for 2015.

Overall performance was hindered by lower than expected growth in both South Africa and Nigeria — as well as the depreciation of the rand against the dollar and the continued impact of a $1bn fine by Nigerian authorities.

Nigerian authorities fined MTN in October 2015 for failing to disconnect unregistered mobile accounts in the country — originally ordering it to pay $1,000 for each improperly registered SIM card.

The Nigerian Communications Commission had ordered the purge for security reasons, as the country battles Boko Haram Islamists as well as criminality — especially kidnapping for ransom.

The original NCC penalty was equal to roughly a quarter of the country’s annual federal budget.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is MTN’s largest market, where it now has 62 million subscribers out of a total of 233 million — a 1.2 percent increase on 2015.

MTN’s operations in South Africa were hit by technical issues and customer service problems during the year, which also hurt the bottom line, the company said.

“Towards the end of 2016 our two largest operations (South Africa and Nigeria)… began to show signs of a turnaround following an extended period of underperformance.”

Revenue was fractionally up for the year at 146.9 billion rand ($11.3bn, 10.7 billion euros), the company said.

The MTN share price on the Johannesburg stock exchange rose five percent after the announcement of the company results compared to the close on Wednesday.

South African Government seems to have no control over Xenophobic attacks – Minister

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Khadija Bukar-Abba, says no Nigerian was killed in the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The minister disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on what the Nigerian Government is doing to protect its citizens in South Africa from attacks.

She said the government would send a delegation to the country to ascertain what the issues were with the aim of finding solutions.

After the last xenophobic attack in April 2015 where 10 deaths were recorded and properties looted or destroyed, Nigerians in South Africa are still seeking compensation for destroyed properties.

However, Bukar-Abba told the committee that no compensation has been paid by the government.

The committee expressed displeasure at the manner with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so far handled the crisis.

A member of the committee, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, called for hard hitting actions from Nigeria to address what has become a regular occurrence in South Africa.

The senators strongly condemned the recent attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West in South Africa.

The Nigerian community, led by Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

The Senior Special Assistant to Nigeria’s President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Honourable Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement described the attacks as an unnecessary setback.

She advised Nigerians to be extra cautious, saying it appears the South African Government seems to have no control over the attacks.

South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma Refutes Xenophobia Claims

South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, says the narrative that his country is xenophobic is incorrect.

President Zuma said this is because South Africa places quite high among those that welcome and allow foreign nationals to thrive.

He made the remark after a walk in the township of Soshanguve, as part of efforts to tackle crime hot spots in the country.

The President’s statement follows the recent attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West in South Africa.

The Nigerian community said they had reported the incident to the Nigeria Mission and South African Police.

Concerned Mamelodi residents consequently staged an anti-foreigners protest in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital.

The locals, during the march, presented a Memorandum of Grievances and Demands to the Departments of Labour and Home Affairs.

They expressed worry over criminal foreign nationals who they claimed were abusing the country’s hospitality.

However, the Acting Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Martins Cobham, spoke to Channels Television on how both countries are working together to calm the situation.

Ambassador Cobham urged Nigerians to remain peaceful and abstain from activities that may come in form of reprisal attacks.

Commonwealth Games 2022: Durban ‘may drop out as host’

Durban may be unable to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games because of financial constraints, South Africa’s sports minister has said.

“We gave it our best shot but we can’t go beyond. If the country says we don’t have this money, we can’t,” Reuters quoted Fikile Mbalula as saying.

He said a final decision would be made by the Commonwealth Games Federation.

Durban was awarded the Games in 2015 after being the only city to make a confirmed bid.

In December, South African officials had said the country was “fully committed” to hosting the event.

The government had estimated the Games could generate up to 20 billion rand ($1.5 bn; £1.2bn) in economic benefit.

But Mr Mbalula said the government had been forced to reconsider.

“I don’t want to raise your expectations and say everything looks good, it doesn’t because we don’t agree on the fundamentals and that is the operational budget,” he told a media briefing.

The Games were first staged in 1930 and are held every four years. They feature athletes from more than 50 countries, mostly former British colonies.

The 2022 event is due to be the first time the Games are hosted in Africa.

 

Source: BBC

Senate resolves to send ‘strong signals’ to South Africa over Xenophobic attacks

The senate has resolved to send a strong delegation to South Africa to protest against the attacks on Nigerians in the country.

The upper legislative chamber took the decision after? Rose Oko, a senator from Cross River north, moved a motion urging it to intervene in the resurgence of xenophobic attacks.

In recent times, aggrieved South Africans have descended on Nigerians and their businesses.

The Nigerian Union in the country reported that pieces of property worth millions were destroyed in the attacks.

Responding to the development on Tuesday, the senate resolved, “to send a strong parliamentary delegation to the South African parliament to register its displeasure at the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians”.

It also condemned the attacks.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, had earlier warned the South Afric?an government against the attacks, threatening consequences if they continue.

 

Source: The Cable

Over 100 ransacked shops overnight in Johannesburg — Police

Police on Monday said no fewer than 100 people ransacked shops in Johannesburg overnight, in the latest wave of looting incidents in South African cities.

“We are following up on leads and we are expecting to make more arrests,” police spokesman, Mathapelo Peters, a Brigadier, said.

She said she did not know the nationalities of the shopkeepers and police were waiting for owners to come forward, so that they could open cases of violence and damage to property.

Similar incidents have taken place in Pretoria this month, but police have been reluctant to characterise the attacks as being directed against foreigners.

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of criminal activity and taking jobs from locals.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday acknowledged violence had flared up against foreigners this year, saying that “unfortunately, xenophobic violence is not new in South Africa.”

On Friday, police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse marches by hundreds of anti-immigrant protesters in Pretoria, after mobs looted stores believed to belong to immigrants. More than 150 people were arrested.

Also, a Reuters witness said doors and windows were smashed in, and food and other items were strewn on the floor in stores believed to belong to immigrants in Jeppestown, an area in the central business district.

“We’ve been stuck inside here until the police came,” Abdul Ebrahim, a Somali shop owner, said after emerging from his store, where a number of his colleagues had barricaded themselves.

“No one told us what they were looking for,” he added when asked why the mob had attacked his shop.

At least one person was arrested.

The Nigerian Government on Thursday urged the South African government to put in place measures to end the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, gave the task in Abuja during a second summon to the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, on the issue.

The Ministry had on Monday, February 20, summoned the South Africa High Commissioner over the matter.

NAN also reports that Nigerian buildings, properties and places of worship worth millions of dollars were destroyed by South Africans on Feb. 5 and 18.

“The Federal Government strongly urges the South African government to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and foreigners living and working in South Africa.

“Furthermore, the federal government urges the South African Government to bring perpetrators of these deplorable acts of violence to justice.

“The ministry continues to urge Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and law abiding, and be vigilant at the same time.’’

“The Federal Government of Nigeria will strenuously work towards the protection of Nigerians everywhere, including in South Africa,” she added.

However, the minister said that no Nigerian lost their lives in the attacks contrary to reports in some media.

According to her, the reports that mentioned the killing of Nigerians in the xenophobic attacks are unsubstantiated.

“The ministry has not received the report of any death of Nigerian in the latest incidents of attacks against foreigners.”

 

Source: Reuters/NAN

South Africa issues statement over Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, MTN properties

South African government has said that there is need to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

This is coming as Nigerian protesters on Thursday attacked and vandalised the head office of Africa’s biggest mobile firm in Abuja in apparent retaliation for anti-Nigerian violence in South Africa.

The retaliation also coincided with the visit of South Africa’s mobile operator MTN Group, who paid Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo a visit in Abuja.

The South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni, on Thursday stressed the need for the South African Government to collaborate with major stakeholders in Nigeria to find lasting solution to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

The Commissioner stated this while receiving the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani, in Abuja.

While condemning the recent attacks on foreigners, particularly Nigerians, Mnguni said there was need for the two countries to work together to bring an end to the problem. He said that it was important for Nigeria and South Africa to bring strategists together to discuss the issues at stake in order to find lasting solution to the problem.

“We will look for ways to contain the tension and come up with ways to encourage interaction between the two countries and other African countries.

“South Africa cannot see itself as an island. Instead, it will continue to work towards peace building and integration,’’ he said.

The High Commissioner further said the South African Government had always advocated for respect for human rights, stressing that there was no justification for the attacks. However, he called on foreigners to always abide by the laws of the countries where they live.

He pointed out that there were concerns among South Africans that a few foreigners, including Nigerians were involved in drug peddling.

Earlier, Sani expressed concern over the recurrent nature of xenophobic attacks on foreigners, including Nigerians, saying that if allowed to continue, it would portray the continent in bad light, adding that it was time for major stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the problem. “Nigeria’s relationship with South Africa dates back to the time of Apartheid.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Arts and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa also condemned strongly any attempts to mobilise communities against African brothers and sisters.

“This is totally unacceptable

He said: “African neighbours are our brothers & sisters. We are all Nigerians, we are all Zimbabweans, we’re all South Africans”.

President Jacob Zuma condemns violence against Nigerians, others.

President Jacob Zuma has condemned acts of violence by South Africans against foreigners, his office said on Friday.

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of taking jobs from citizens and getting involved in crime.

Citizens in Pretoria are set to march against foreigners on Friday and domestic media are reporting vandalism and acts of violence in the Atteridgeville area west of the capital.

At least 20 stores in Pretoria owned by foreigners were looted on Tuesday, but police could not confirm that the attacks had deliberately targeted foreigners.

“Many citizens of other countries living in South Africa are law abiding and contribute to the economy of the country positively.

“It is wrong to brandish all non-nationals as drug dealers or human traffickers.

“The threats and counter-threats on social media must stop,” Mr. Zuma said in a statement.

The Nigerian government on Thursday urged the South African government to put in place measures to end the incessant xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in that country.

Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, gave the task in Abuja during a second summon to the High Commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, on the issue.

The Ministry had on Monday, summoned the South Africa High Commissioner over the matter.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nigerian buildings, properties and places of worship worth millions of dollars were destroyed on Feb. 5 and 18.

“The Federal Government strongly urges the South African government to take all necessary measures to protect the lives and foreigners living and working in South Africa.

“Furthermore, the federal government urges the South African Government to bring perpetrators of these deplorable acts of violence to justice.

“The ministry continues to urge Nigerians in South Africa to remain calm and law abiding, and be vigilant at the same time.’’

“The Federal Government of Nigeria will strenuously work towards the protection of Nigerians everywhere, including in South Africa,” she added.

However, the minister said that no Nigerian lost their lives in the attacks contrary to reports in some media.

According to her, the reports that mentioned the killing of Nigerians in the xenophobic attacks are unsubstantiated.

“The ministry has not received the report of any death of Nigerian in the latest incidents of attacks against foreigners.

“The Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria is in constant touch with the Nigerian Union in South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa, as well as the South African police.

“All these agencies have confirmed that no Nigerian life was lost in the recent incident,” she said.

 

Source: Reuters/NAN

BREAKING: Protesters besiege MTN office in Abuja over Xenophobic Attacks

Disheartened by the continuous attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, some protesters on Thursday attacked and vandalised the head office of South African owned telecommunications company, MTN in Abuja in apparent retaliation, an MTN spokesman said.

“They are protesting against the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa. It’s our regional head office in Abuja. That’s where we have our customer care center,” the MTN spokesman said.

“They vandalised equipment, stole customer phones and iPads. Some customers too were attacked.”

A South African government source described the attack as serious. “This wasn’t just some people on the street throwing stones. They broke into the building and stole things and broke things,” the source said.

The attack happened just as MTN’s chairman Phuthuma Nhleko is on a visit to see Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

Early this week some South Africans issued threats to Nigerians living in the country, few days after at least 20 shops believed to belong to immigrants were looted.

 

Source: YNaija

Xenophobia: We’re sorry for the attacks, South Africa apologizes to Nigeria.

Lulu Mnguni, high commissioner of South Africa to Nigeria, has apologised to Nigerians, and other foreigners involved in the recent xenophobic attacks.

In an interview with NAN on Wednesday, Mnguni said the unjustifiable attacks were a poor representation of South Africa’s values.

He said the South African government had taken measures to stop them.

“We reiterate our view that South Africans are generally not xenophobic,” Mnguni said.

“We are deeply saddened by these acts of violence that have taken place against the foreign nationals, especially the Nigerians affected in these communities.

“The South African government is sorry for the destruction and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

“If they were, we would not have such a high number of foreign nationals who have successfully integrated into communities all over the country.

“No amount of anger or frustration can justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops.”

He said his country’s minister of home affairs had led a delegation to areas where crisis broke out, and that the police had been directed to provide security.

“We have dispatched a ministerial delegation to the affected communities in Johannesburg and Pretoria which is being led by the minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba, to address the issues in the area,” he said.

“The South African government is specifically interested in addressing the alleged claims of illegal activities of undocumented migrants which have been raised by communities.

“The police have been directed to work round the clock to protect both foreign nationals and citizens and to arrest looters and those committing these acts of violence.

“The security cluster has been instructed to ensure that these matters are resolved to the satisfaction of South Africans and foreign nationals in the communities bringing about better policing between communities and authorities.

“We urge communities to assist the police by providing information on the incidents that have taken place so that the perpetrators could be brought to justice.

“Our government is doing everything possible to sensitise all South Africans that the country is an integral part of Africa and our success or failures cannot be isolated from that of Africa as a whole.

“We expect any issues of concern to South African citizens and residents to be resolved through peaceful dialogue.”

Mnguni added that the complaints made by some South Africans about some undocumented foreigners was not enough to attack all foreign nationals, especially Nigerians.

“The underlining cause is the fact that we have had complaints about undocumented and illegal immigrants in the country committing crimes or using small shops and business places to carry out criminal acts,” he said.

“However, while some foreign nationals, documented and undocumented, have been arrested in relation to these claims, it is wrong to regard all foreigners as being involved with crime in the country.

“Also, not all foreign nationals in the country are there illegally as many have come to South Africa legally and have contributed to our economy immensely with development skills that we might lack.

“Even those who came as refugees escaping conflict in their home countries have also contributed to the social development of the country.

“As South Africans are expected to respect the rights and freedom of anyone on our shores, we also expect foreign nationals on our shore to abide by the laws and freedoms of South Africa.

“Our government is also emphasising on the need for responsible public comments to be made by all leaders, representatives and public figures so as to prevent situations like these from happening.

“We don’t want these incidents to discourage foreigners from coming to South Africa because we need them to develop a cosmopolitan atmosphere.

“We also want an increase in tourism figures from countries within and outside the continent and to promote sustainable economic development in Africa through business opportunities.

“So many countries helped us in our fight against apartheid so it would be wrong to fight against these same nationals in our country.

“We can’t afford to forget where we are coming from so we are promoting this unity so that we can develop our respective countries and Africa as a whole.’’

 

Source: The Cable

South Africa still intends to withdraw membership of ICC – Justice Minister

South Africa’s government still plans to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, ICC, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Wednesday, after a court ruled that it was unconstitutional to do so.

Masutha described October’s notification to the UN of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, as a policy decision.

He said the government would decide how to proceed, including a possible appeal, after reading the full judgment.

The ICC, which launched in July 2002 and has 124 member states, is the first legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

South Africa notified the UN of its intent to withdraw from the Rome Statute, the 1998 treaty establishing the Hague-based court, last October.

The withdrawal would take effect this October.

High Court Judge Phineas Mojapelo in his ruling ordered the government to withdraw the notice to quit the ICC, according to a ruling broadcast on television.

“We have won in our application to have SA’s withdrawal from the #ICC set aside,” the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which challenged the withdrawal, said on its Twitter feed.

It was not immediately clear whether the government would appeal the court ruling.

The ICC has had to fight off allegations of pursuing a neo-colonial agenda in Africa, where most of its investigations have been based.

South Africa, Gambia and Burundi, in 2016, signalled their intention to quit the ICC.

Gambia’s President Adama Barrow, elected in December, said earlier this month it will remain in the ICC.

South Africa said it was quitting the ICC because membership conflicted with diplomatic immunity laws.

Pretoria had in 2015 announced its intention to leave after the ICC criticised it for disregarding an order to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accused of genocide and war crimes, when he visited South Africa.

Bashir has denied the accusations.

 

Source: Reuters/NAN

Nigerian House of Representatives condemn xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

The lawmakers also urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to recall the country’s ambassador to South Africa ahead of a major anti-Nigerians rally planned for Friday.

The resolution followed a motion by Rita Orji, a PDP member from Lagos State, who decried how Nigerians are being unjustly targeted in that country.

Another lawmaker, Sergius Ogun, PDP-Edo State, said the poor treatment being meted to Nigerians was particularly troubling giving the role Nigeria played in ending the South African Apartheid regime.

“I want us as a House to condemn it and I also want our government to take a stand on it.

“How can we say that we are the giant of Africa when in other African countries, our citizens are being killed?” he said.

In her contribution, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, PDP-Abia State, said Nigeria should take extra-diplomatic measures in dealing with the latest deadly assaults because the “the attacks on Nigerians in SA have persisted” despite all diplomatic solutions explored by the government.

Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, said it was time for all stakeholders to “call a spade a spade.

“This isn’t the first time this is happening. South Africans continue to kill Nigerians for no justifiable reason and this is completely unacceptable,” Mr. Ogor, PDP-Delta State, said. He urged the South African government to take up its responsibility of securing live and properties within its borders.

No fewer than 20 Nigerians were killed in xenophobic attacks in South Africa last year.

The South African government has also condemned the attacks, saying it will introduce teaching of history in schools to help South Africans understand the roles Nigeria and other African countries played during the apartheid struggle.

 

Source: Premium Times

Despite Xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in S/Africa, Shoprite’s profit soars in Nigeria.

South African retailer, Shoprite, reported a 15.5 per cent jump in half-year profit, buoyed by sharp sales growth in Angola and Nigeria.

Shoprite on Monday scrapped plans to merge with Steinhoff International.

Shoprite, which sells mostly groceries, has grown rapidly outside its home market with sales in other African countries now accounting for more than a fifth of the retailer’s total.

A merger with Steinhoff International would have created an African retail giant, but the plan was called off after minority shareholders complained that the proposed deal would offer little value for Shoprite.

Some analysts said there were no obvious synergies between the two businesses.

Shoprite reported diluted headline earnings per share of 460 cents for the six months to end-December in line with forecasts and compared with 398.2 cents a year earlier.

Sales in Angola surged 155 per cent from a year ago, while Nigerian revenue jumped 60 per cent.

Both are important growth markets for the retailer, but experienced a shortage of foreign exchange as oil revenues remained under pressure affecting economic growth.

However, Shoprite said it was able to fund its stock requirements from its external balance sheet and kept shelves stocked while many traders in the region struggled.

“It was exceptional growth and we must be cautious because to continue at 150 per cent is unlikely,” Chief Executive Pieter Engelbrecht, said in an investor presentation.

He took the reins from stalwart Whitey Basson in January.

 

Source: Reuters/NAN

#Xenophobia: Nigerian mechanic who lost ‘N240m worth of cars’ in S/Africa cries for help.

Simon Adeoye, a Nigerian automobile mechanic based in South Africa, on Tuesday said he lost N240.650m (R10m) worth of cars in the recent Xenophobic attack.

Speaking with NAN on telephone from Pretoria, South Africa, Adeoye said some of the cars belonged to South Africans, while others were being repaired for sale.

He explained that on the day of the incident, he got a call that his workshop had been set ablaze, and he rushed to the place to see what was left of the place.

“By the time I got there, 29 cars of different make, some Nigerian passports, documents of the workshop, money and other personal effects had been destroyed by fire,” he said.

“I was helpless and could not do anything… I appeal to the federal government to assist me get back to business. Officials of the Nigerian mission have visited the workshop to do an assessment and we are yet to hear from them.

“At the moment, I have lost everything I have. I need urgent help to re-start my business. This will also assist me pay my workers who have families to carter for.”

He appealed to the mission to provide replacement for the passports gutted by fire to enable affected Nigerians have documents.

Meanwhile, Mathapelo Peters, spokeswoman of South African, said at least 20 shops possibly belonging to immigrants, were looted in the country’s capital overnight.

Peters said the motive for the latest attacks were unknown, and no deaths had been reported.

“There are allegations that these shops belong to foreign nationals,” she said.

“It is alleged that the community members are saying that these shops were used for drug dealing but that is unconfirmed.

“We will only be able to start a formal investigation once the shop owners come forward.”

The Atteridgeville neighbourhood, where the looting took place, was calm on Tuesday as police cars drove through the streets.

An unemployed man in his mid-twenties, who declined to be named, said: “we are sick and tired of foreigners who are coming to sell drugs and kill our people, we can’t let the community go down like this.”

South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants.

In 2008, at least 67 people were killed in anti-immigrant violence, with thousands of people fleeing to refugee camps.

 

Source: The Cable

20 shops ‘possibly belonging’ to immigrants looted in South Africa — Police

At least 20 shops possibly belonging to immigrants were looted in South Africa’s capital overnight, police said on Tuesday, but could not confirm if the attacks had deliberately targeted foreigners.

Anti-immigrant violence has flared sporadically in South Africa against a background of near-record unemployment, with foreigners being accused of taking jobs from locals and getting involved in crime.

Responding to similar incidents in Pretoria at the weekend, Nigeria’s foreign ministry said it would summon South Africa’s envoy to raise its concerns over “xenophobic attacks” on Nigerians, other Africans and Pakistanis.

South African police said they did not yet know the motive for the latest attacks, and no deaths had been reported.

Police spokeswoman, Mathapelo Peters, said: “there are allegations that these shops belong to foreign nationals.
“It is alleged that the community members are saying that these shops were used for drug dealing but that is unconfirmed.

“We will only be able to start a formal investigation once the shop owners come forward.”

The Atteridgeville neighbourhood, where the looting took place, was calm on Tuesday as police cars drove through the streets.

An unemployed man in his mid-twenties, who declined to be named, said: “we are sick and tired of foreigners who are coming to sell drugs and kill our people, we can’t let the community go down like this.”

South Africa, with a population of about 50 million, is home to an estimated 5 million immigrants.

In April 2015, Nigeria recalled its top diplomat in South Africa to discuss anti-immigrant attacks that killed at least seven people and sent hundreds of foreigners fleeing to safety camps, as authorities sent in soldiers to quell unrest in Johannesburg and Durban.

In 2008, at least 67 people were killed in anti-immigrant violence, with thousands of people fleeing to refugee camps.

 

Source: Reuters/NAN

“Further xenophobic attacks on Nigerians may have dire consequences”, Presidency warns South Africa.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and the diaspora, says further attacks on Nigerians resident in South Africa may have dire consequences.

The Nigerian community in South Africa experienced two major attacks in the last one week.

Ikechukwu Anyene, president of Nigeria Union in South Africa, had raised the alarm over the attacks and looting of Nigerian-owned businesses in Pretoria West.

“As we speak, five buildings with Nigerian businesses, including a church have been looted and burned by South Africans,”  he had told NAN.

In a statement issued in Abuja, on Monday, Dabiri-Erewa called on the South African government to take decisive and definitive measures to protect Nigerian citizens and other Africans within its borders.

She advised Nigerians to be cautious as “it looks like South African government seems to have no control over these attacks”.

Dabiri-Erewa also called on the African Union (AU) to intervene in the renewed xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other Africans in the country.

She said the attention of the AU was called because information had it that there would be more xenophobic attacks on foreigners on Wednesday and Thursday.

“These attacks should not be allowed to continue because it is a big setback,” she said.

Two weeks ago, Dabiri-Erewa met with Lulu Aaron-Mnguni, South African high commissioner in Nigeria, on the killing of Nigerians in his country.

Aaron-Mnguni had promised that the South African government was investigating the matter.

“We have lost about 116 Nigerians in the last two years. And in 2016 alone, about 20 were killed. This is unacceptable to the people and government of Nigeria,” Dabiri-Erewa had said.

 

Source: The Cable

South Africa opposition seeks court order barring military from parliament.

South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance said on Friday it was seeking a court ruling on the deployment of armed soldiers in parliament saying the move, during President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation speech, was unconstitutional.

The president’s address was delayed by more than an hour and descended into chaos on Thursday as far-left lawmakers brawled with officials after interrupting the speech and the main opposition party walked out.

Mr. Zuma had authorised no fewer than 400 soldiers to join the security team at the parliament building during the speech, an unprecedented move his opponents described as a “militarisation” of parliament.

“Armed military police, with live ammunition, on the precinct of parliament is completely untenable in a constitutional democracy,” Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane told reporters.

Mr. Zuma told state broadcaster SABC the disruption in parliament did not reflect a divided nation.

He said: “I doubt that it’s a reflection of the national character. `

“I think it is a reflection of a few kind of people like some parties in parliament.

“Democracy is not about angry young people, democracy is about debating what we need to do with our country.”

He said of the opposition’s actions in parliament: “It does not bother me.

“The fact that you could make parliament not to talk and undermine the choice of the majority of this country because you have your own feelings, I think it’s a misplaced kind of vision, in fact there is no vision at all.”

Previous speeches in parliament by Mr. Zuma have also led to disruption, but Thursday’s, in which he said the government would push for a greater role for blacks in the economy, was the most violent, with the scuffles spilling over into the precinct of the building.

Mr. Zuma, halfway through his second five-year term, ousted Thabo Mbeki in his African National Congress (ANC) party and became president in 2009.

He has been dogged by persistent corruption allegations that he has denied.

In September, the president took out a home loan to repay state money spent on non-security-related upgrades to his rural home, in compliance with a court order.

The president’s popularity has waned in tandem with an economy that has slowed sharply over the past five years while unemployment has hit a record 27 per cent.

 

Source: Reuters

Fight breaks out in South African parliament during Zuma’s address

South Africa’s parliament was thrown into disarray on Thursday when opposition MPs tried to scuttle the State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma.

 

The South African president was greeted with hostility by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ party (EFF), who chanted “thief” as he made his entrance into the chamber.

 

Members of Zuma’s party, African National Congress (ANC), attempted to counter the chants of “thief” by shouting “ANC, ANC.”

 

Zuma twice tried to address the chamber but the EFF MPs continuously interrupted his speech.

 

Baleka Mbete, speaker of the parliament, tried to bring order to the chamber but Julius Malema, EFF leader, accused him of being partisan.

 

Malema said, “Your conduct has failed you. You are irrational, impatient, partisan.”

 

Mbete replied, saying, “We have been patient with you, we have been trying to give you an opportunity to express yourselves but… it is being abused.”

 

When it appeared that the EFF MPs were hellbent on disrupting proceedings, security guards were invited to take them out.

 

The lawmakers were forcefully ejected from the chamber but not before a few punches were exchanged.

 

Members of another opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, also staged a walk out, after which President Zuma was eventually able to address the chamber.

 

South African opposition parties and even factions of the ANC have of late called on Zuma to resign in the wake of corruption allegations.

 

The chaotic scenes at the parliament were captured on national television.

South Africa introduces $260 monthly minimum wage

South Africa will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rand (261 dollars) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, following protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can stimulate growth as workers can spend more, as well as reducing inequality.

Critics say it could lead to increased unemployment as employers will be unable to afford higher wage bills.

Credit ratings agencies have said agreeing a minimum wage would help Africa’s most industrialised economy hold onto its investment-grade rating by stabilising the labour market and reducing the number of strikes.

“The balance we have sought to strike is that it must not be too low, so that it doesn’t affect the lowest paid workers, but not too high that it leads to massive job losses,” Ramaphosa told a news conference.

Ramaphosa said the national minimum wage, which equates to 20 rand (1.50 dollars) per hour, would come into effect in May 2018.

Businesses that are unable to afford the minimum wage would be permitted to apply for an exemption of up to 12 months, Ramaphosa said. The Treasury had also thrown its political weight behind the policy initiative.

Chief economist at Nedbank Dennis Dykes said the agreement was a sign of an improving relationship between labour, business and government, but warned that its implementation needed to be monitored.

“It is by no means certain this will lead to job creation. “It needs to be watched carefully for any negative effects,” Dykes said.

Monthly earnings for employees averaged 18,045 rand (1,200 dollars) per month in May 2016, according to Statistics. Mmany workers earn far less than that, with domestic workers and farm labourers among the lowest paid.

Some unions had asked for a minimum wage of as much as 4,500 rand.

South Africa’s mining sector was brought to its knees by a crippling five-month stoppage over pay in 2014,pushing the economy to the brink of a recession.

South Africa’s unemployment rate hit its highest level on record, 27.1 per cent of the workforce, in the third quarter of 2016, and it remains amongst the world’s most unequal societies.

South Africa introduces $260 monthly minimum wage.

South Africa will introduce a national minimum wage of 3,500 rand (261 dollars) per month in 2018, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, following protracted negotiations between the government and labour unions.

Supporters of a minimum wage say it can stimulate growth as workers can spend more, as well as reducing inequality.

Critics say it could lead to increased unemployment as employers will be unable to afford higher wage bills.

Credit ratings agencies have said agreeing a minimum wage would help Africa’s most industrialised economy hold onto its investment-grade rating by stabilising the labour market and reducing the number of strikes.

“The balance we have sought to strike is that it must not be too low, so that it doesn’t affect the lowest paid workers, but not too high that it leads to massive job losses,” Ramaphosa told a news conference.

Ramaphosa said the national minimum wage, which equates to 20 rand (1.50 dollars) per hour, would come into effect in May 2018.

Businesses that are unable to afford the minimum wage would be permitted to apply for an exemption of up to 12 months, Ramaphosa said.

The Treasury had also thrown its political weight behind the policy initiative.

Chief economist at Nedbank Dennis Dykes said the agreement was a sign of an improving relationship between labour, business and government, but warned that its implementation needed to be monitored.

“It is by no means certain this will lead to job creation.

“It needs to be watched carefully for any negative effects,” Dykes said.

Monthly earnings for employees averaged 18,045 rand (1,200 dollars) per month in May 2016, according to Statistics.

Many workers earn far less than that, with domestic workers and farm labourers among the lowest paid.

Some unions had asked for a minimum wage of as much as 4,500 rand.

South Africa’s mining sector was brought to its knees by a crippling five-month stoppage over pay in 2014,pushing the economy to the brink of a recession.

South Africa’s unemployment rate hit its highest level on record, 27.1 per cent of the workforce, in the third quarter of 2016, and it remains amongst the world’s most unequal societies.

 

Source: Reuters

Survey: Black South Africans still earn far less than whites.

Black South Africans earned far less than their white counterparts in 2015, according to data published by Statistics South Africa on Friday.

According to the Statistics South Africa’s Living Conditions Survey, annual household income for blacks stood at an average of 92,893 rand (about 7,000 dollars) compared with 444,446 for whites.

The survey conducted once every five years, also showed that the national average income was 138,168 rand.

Total household income in South Africa was 2.3 trillion rand (172 billion dollars).

Black Africans account for more than 80 per cent of the 55 million population and whites a little over eight per cent.

Statistician General Pali Lehohla said policymakers should take note of the numbers as they showed “what we are up against”.

“We see inequality between population groups but also within population groups,” he said.

Africa’s most industrialized country has struggled to reduce poverty and inequality since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

The economy grew strongly in the first years after apartheid, but growth has tapered off in the past five years to below 3 percent.

This has pushed the country to the brink of credit downgrades that would cause borrowing costs to spiral. Unemployment is at 27 per cent, the highest since 2003.

Protests over the cost of university education and services such as water, roads and electricity have increased, as well as crime.

 

Source: Reuters

“Engine cleaner healed, delivered my church members” – South African Pastor

Theo Bongani Maseko, a South African pastor, has joined the league of religious leaders who carry out deliverance through unconventional means.

 

Maseko, a pastor at Breath of Christ Ministry, makes use of engine cleaning fluid to “cast out disease and devils”.

 

“What I am holding now with my hand, is the fullness of Christ in this bottle. With this bottle you can empty HIV wards. You can cast out any disease and devils. By looking at this bottle you are now free! By touching it you are imparted with a strange anointing from above,” a post on the church’s Facebook page read.

 

“The fullness of Christ is in this bottle. Healing and strange deliverance #Mark 16: 17 -18,” another post read with pictures of the congregation attached to it.

 

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Maseko confirmed to The Star, a South African newspaper, that he made congregants drink the chemical to demonstrate the power of God.

 

“When we pray over anything, its poison dies. So it can’t harm people. Nothing happened, no one has been to hospital,” he said, claiming that those who drank the engine cleaner had been “saved, healed and delivered”.

 

“Jesus spat on the ground and made mud. He took that mud and smeared it on the eyes of a blind man and, instantly, that blindness was healed,” he added.

 

Before now, some religious leaders have made headlines by using items like insecticide and disinfectants for deliverance sessions.

Crocodiles maul tour guide to death in Cape Town, South Africa.

A South African tour guide working at a crocodile farm in the Western Cape province near Cape Town has been mauled to death by the beasts, police said on Monday.

 

An inquest has been opened after the body of the 54-year-old man was discovered in one of the ponds at Le Bonheur crocodile farm in Paarl over the weekend, police said in a statement.

 

Le Bonheur, which provides interactive tours for visitors, says it keeps more than 1,000 crocodiles at the farm. They are generally farmed for meat and leather products.

 

Source: Reuters

 

AFCON 2019: Super Eagles to battle South Africa, Libya for qualification

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will have to battle against South Africa and Libya in their bid to return to competing at the biennial Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON 2019.

Placed in Group E in the draws conducted on Thursday, the Super Eagles will also be facing Seychelles in the AFCON 2019 qualifiers.

The three-time African champions have failed to qualify for two straight AFCONs – the 2015 and 2017 editions – and the third in four editions, after also missing out on the 2012 edition.

The next AFCON will be hosted by four-time African champions, Cameroon.

Only group winners are guaranteed a place at the next edition of the AFCON tournament

Cameroon will be hosting Africa’s biggest football event for the first time in 45 years, having last hosted in 1972, and edition which was won by Congo.

The central African country already hosted the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) last year, which Nigeria won.

Meanwhile, Chad, who pulled out of the qualifiers for the 2017 AFCON from Nigeria’s qualifying group, are banned from this edition of the competition as a result.

This year’s AFCON begins on Saturday in Libreville, Gabon.

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Xenophobia: We don’t want Nigerians in our country – South Africans

Following the brutal murder of a Nigerian resident in South Africa by the police on suspicion of being a drug peddler, some of the country’s citizens have come out in support of its police, saying they do not want Nigerians in their country.
Despite the fact that Nigeria was at the forefront of fighting for the liberation of South Africa from its apartheid masters, the citizens think that Nigerians should be sent packing because they are criminals, drug barons, armed robbers and kidnappers.

Taking to the social media after the murder of Victor Tochukwu Nnadi by the SA police, some South Africans believe Nigerians are not wanted in their country.

One Lucki Lucky wrote this:

“What was he doing in SA? Nigerians must get out of South Africa. These criminals are hated and unwanted here and that will NEVER change.

Nigerians are the seed of Satan. There is not going to be any kind of friendship between Nigerians and South Africans. Will Nigerians ever put it in the tiny skulls that South Africans hate them?

Anyway, which nation in the world like Nigerians? Nigerians are hated all over the world. In China, they slit their throats and in Brazil, they cut their stomachs open and leave them for dead.

We don’t need Africans, Middle Easterns and Asians in the country.”

Dube Mtulenga wrote:

“Why can’t Nigerians stay back in their country? I wonder what they want in South Africa. Many of them come into our country illegally and are often the perpetrators of crimes like robbery, rape, gang fighting, drug trafficking, among others in our communities.

If it takes killing them all one after the other, so be it. We don’t want them polluting our land. They should go back to their stupid country.”

Karen Rethabile also wrote:

“In my own opinion, very few South Africans love Nigerians and they know this very well. They come into our country, steal our money, sell drugs to our people, corrupt our young men and treat our women as prostitutes.

We don’t want them and they should go back to their corruption-infested country.”

Sibuso Kunene wrote:

“Nigerians are thieving, conniving bastards and should not even be allowed to enter South Africa. All they know is sell drugs, rape, kidnap and rob us while our policemen are not helping matters at all.

More of the idiots should be killed to send a message to them that they are not welcome here.”

For how long will Nigerians be disrespected, maimed, killed and insulted by their South African hosts while the government back home sits comfortably doing nothing? This is the big question that needs answers immediately.

JUST IN: One Nigerian killed, another abducted in South Africa.

The Nigerian community in South Africa  on Sunday confirmed the death of a Nigerian and the abduction of another in that country.

Ikechukwu Anyene, the president of  Nigeria Union, South Africa, told NAN via telephone both  incidents had  been reported to the Nigerian mission in that country.

He  said on Thursday, one Victor Nnadi, a native of Orlu in  Imo state, was suffocated to death by the metropolitan police in Cape Town.

Anyene said witnesses saw the police handcuff the victim.

“When the people saw what happened, they  raised  an alarm and confronted the police,” Anyene said.

“The union`s chapter in Cape Town is already on top of the situation and trying its best to facilitate the release of   the detained brother of the deceased.”

Anyene urged the federal government to persuade the South African government to put measures in place to stop  the killing of  Nigerians.

He said on  December 24, the union got information that one Austin Agunwa,  a native of  Umuawulu, in Awka south local government area of  Anambra state, was abducted by unidentified persons  at Rustenburg, north-west province.

He said Nigerians in the province raised a search team, which later found the victim’s car abandoned, after a crash  near a bridge.

Anyene said the vehicle had no blood stain.

“As we speak, we don’t know his whereabouts  and nobody has claimed responsibility for his abduction,” Anyene said.

“We have directed the union`s chapter in the area to report the incident to the police and open a case on  the missing Nigerian.”

Anyene also said that the union`s national body would liaise with Nigeria’s high commission to visit Rustenburg over the incident.

“We have also advised our people to be calm and  remain law abiding as the union and  the Nigerian Mission are handling the situation,” he said.

South Africa’s vice-president unveils government-issued Grape, Apple and Berry flavored condoms

South Africa’s deputy president prompted hilarity in Parliament when he unveiled a new brand of government-issued condoms.

Cyril Ramaphosa told MPs that ‘scientific development’ meant the flavoured condoms do not make a funny noise during use or smell bad – complaints which have plagued previous brand Choice.

Holding two wrappers containing the new Max condoms as he spoke, Ramaphosa confidently assured his Parliamentary colleagues:  ‘The Max condom is in response to what a number of people were saying.

The Max is for maximum pleasure, maximum protection, and it does not make noise at all.
Cyril Ramaphosa

‘They were saying that the other condom that had been introduced by government did not smell so well, and it made a noise whenever it was used.

‘Now, through scientific development, we were able to develop a new condom that is called Max.

‘The Max is for maximum pleasure, maximum protection, and it does not make noise at all.’

He said the smell issue had been addressed too.

Ramaphosa said: ‘And it comes in different flavours.

Rampahosa is a frontrunner to take over from the embattled President Zuma at the ruling ANC¿s elective conference next year

Rampahosa is a frontrunner to take over from the embattled President Zuma at the ruling ANC’s elective conference next year

‘If you want a grape flavour you can get a grape flavour, if you want an apple flavour you can get an apple flavour.’

Behind him, senior ANC MPs rolled their eyes and shook their heads as MPs catcalled, clapped and called out ‘give them to Zuma’, in reference to the president’s failure to use condoms with an HIV-positive woman he was accused, and later acquitted, of raping.

Zuma told the trial that he had taken a shower after sexual intercourse instead.

Ramaphosa, the former leader of a mining trade union whose wife is a medical doctor, told parliamentary question time that government research had suggested their previous brand, Choice, was not popular.

The new Max condoms replace Choice, which users complained made a lot of noise while they were being used

The new Max condoms replace Choice, which users complained made a lot of noise while they were being used

South Africa still has one of the highest HIV/Aids rates in the world, with an estimated seven million people suffering from the disease.

Recent research suggested that, although government distributes over half a billion condoms per year, only 36 per cent of people actually use condoms.

Mncedisi Filtane, an opposition MP, asked who cared to listen to noise ‘at that moment’.

Ramaphosa replied that they were merely responding to concerns from the users.

Rampahosa is a frontrunner to take over from the embattled President Zuma at the ruling ANC’s elective conference next year and is at present the acting president while Mr Zuma is on visits to Swaziland and China.

The deputy president held up the wrappers in the South African Parliament when he unveiled the new condom range

The deputy president held up the wrappers in the South African Parliament when he unveiled the new condom range

A multimillionaire businessman, he owns South Africa’s McDonalds franchise and also has interests in mining including a position on the board of British firm Lonmin, which put him at the centre of the tragedy that saw police shoot dead 34 of the company’s striking miners after he urged them to deal with the ‘dastardly criminals’.

He was, however, thought to have been Nelson Mandela’s pick to take over from him when he retired, and helped to draft South Africa’s liberal constitution.

Ramaphosa is known to be pained by the controversy surrounding Mr Zuma – which resulted in the ANC losing control of key cities including Johannesburg and Pretoria in recent local elections – but he has failed to speak out publicly.

Ranjeni Munusamy, associate editor of the Daily Maverick news analysis website, applauded his promotion of safe sex but said he should now declare his hand politically.

‘The country is in need of a firm hand to regain stability,’ she said.

‘If Ramaphosa does not grab the mantle soon, someone else will and he will be forced to slink back to the business world.

‘He might have to reinvent himself as a full-time salesman – perhaps of buffalos, burgers and condoms – when the pinnacle of his political ambitions is actually within reach.’

Man laments how MMM in South Africa got frozen, and his money disappeared.

A South-African man has schooled Nigerians who are MMM participants. Relaying his experience of what happened to the popular money doubling scheme in his country way back in May, the man said contrary to reports that the participants will get their money when the bans on Mavros have been lifted, nothing like that will happen.

He said that was the exact thing that happened to them in May and up till now, no one has been able to get their money. He went ahead to say that Nigerians should have leanrt from South Africans. Read what he wrote below:

”LOL u should have learned from your brothers and sisters here in south africa , our own mavro money is gone as we speak and MMM is at silence as we speak so watch out for this ponzi schemes i have also learned my lesson here in south africa but atleast is not to much money that i lost”

“Nigerians This Serves You Right You Guys Are Very Greedy, This Was The Same Technique MMM Used To Scam People In South Africa” (Must See)

From reports gathered, this exact occurrence happening in Nigeria had happened also to the South African MMM sometime back. Headlines like:

“Controversial “donation platform” and alleged Ponzi scheme, MMM” and “South Africa collapsed and rebooted amid what it calls a “media panic”, flooded the news page when it happened in SA.

In a notice posted to participants of the scheme after it happened, the group said that “persecution against MMM organized by the mass media” has provoked a panic which has forced the scheme to “start all over again”.

MMM’s administration said that the scheme’s currency – “Mavros” had been frozen and were impossible to use. The group blamed the collapse of the system on media reports and South African banks, which it alleges have hurt and robbed “millions” of people who were part of the MMM scheme.

The scheme said it has started over with a clean sweep and all users whose mavros were frozen will be rewarded handsomely. They promised that the “old” version of the Mavro currency will be ‘bought out’ through trades of the “new” version of the currency, where equal value would be paid out to participants over six months, using 10% of total trade – effectively placing a debt burden on all participants. All these were made known May 1, 2016. See the exact notice as sent to all participants below:

“Dear participants!

Unfortunately, the persecution against MMM organized by the mass media has provoked a panic. We have been working in South Africa for almost 2 years and we have millions of members. During all that time, we had no complaints and accusations from participants, everything was paid to everyone in time and in full amount, by 30% per month. We held charity events and helped children. We did a lot of useful things for people! Well, who was suffering from this?

“The bankers and the adherents of the current unjust financial system. That is why they planned and brought all these crazy investigations and persecution in the mass media. “The only thing which prevents the investigation is the fact that non of the participants reported to the police”. If there are no complaints, and everybody is happy, then what is the investigation for? What is the subject? Did not they understand the consequences? Did not they understand that their irresponsible actions would hurt people? Millions of people! Well, try oppressing any bank, even the most reliable one, in the same way, and see what will happen tomorrow.

“However, it is futile to explain that to them. MMM prevents banks from robbing people, that is the only reason why all this is happening. And nobody cares about people. If we managed to pay millions of participants 30% per month for two years (and would still be paying, if the mass media did not lie about MMM!), why do banks not do the same? Why do they offer only a few percents a year? Make your own conclusions. Thought everything is clear right now. You are simply robbed, we have always been saying it. The modern financial system is predatory by nature. It is not for ordinary people, it is for the bankers. Its purpose is financial slavery! And it achieves this purpose perfectly. In general, in this situation, we have to start all over again. We have no choice. You can see on your own what is happening.

Oscar Pistorius celebrates 30th birthday in prison.

Oscar Pistorius celebrated his 30th birthday in a new, more comfortable jail as his family insist “some amazing things are happening for him”.

 

The shamed athlete last month won his claim to be moved from to a newly-refurbished, “more relaxed” prison, aimed at “low risk, non violent offenders” and disabled inmates, where he is surrounded by acres of lush gardens and trees.

 

As part of his rehabilitation programme, Pistorius will be expected to grow vegetables and work in the orchards, according to a top lawyer with knowledge of the prison.

 

“It is the ideal place for Oscar,” a family source revealed. “It is all on one level, so he can move around easily, and the bathroom facilities are now much less dangerous for him.


“There are some worthwhile programmes of all kinds on offer and some amazing things are happening for him. He is in the ideal place for where he needs to be at the moment.”

 

Last week, the South African double amputee – who is serving six years for murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp – quietly marked his landmark birthday at Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, in Pretoria, where bags of cards and letters arrived.

 

Many of them were sent to his family who live only a few miles away.

 

The prison, which has undergone a multi-million pound facelift and boasts upgraded bathrooms for disabled inmates, is described as “more family like atmosphere” by defence lawyer Llewellyn Curlewis, who visits regularly.

Man found dead on Arik Air plane in Johannesburg

The lifeless body of a stowaway was on Wednesday found in the main wheel well of one of Arik Air’s A330-200 aircraft at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

 

The airline confirmed the incident in a statement by its Communications Manager, Ola Adebanji, a copy of which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

 

According to the airline, the aircraft operated the scheduled Lagos-Johannesburg flight that departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 3:55 p.m. on Tuesday and arrived in Johannesburg shortly before 11 p.m.

 

It said engineers of South African Airways Technical facility at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, where the aircraft was scheduled for a routine maintenance check, discovered the body of the stowaway during the inspection phase.

 

The airline said investigations were ongoing to determine how the stowaway found his way into the aircraft’s main wheel well.

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma faces ANC vote of no confidence

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is facing a vote of no confidence from the leaders of his own party, the ANC.

 

He has survived several parliamentary votes but this is the first time the ANC will formally discuss his position.

 

The top ANC body has extended its meeting to debate the motion, tabled by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom.

 

Mr Zuma has increasingly come under criticism over corruption allegations, with a recent report highlighting his links with the wealthy Gupta family.

South Africa’s opposition parties urge Zuma to report corruption to police.

South African opposition parties on Sunday urged President Jacob Zuma to report acts of corruption after the scandal-plagued leader said he knows who is stealing public funds.

Since coming to power in 2009, Zuma has survived a string of corruption scandals almost unscathed, but this month the country’s anti-graft watchdog called for a judicial inquiry into allegations of influence-peddling in the ANC government.

Zuma, in a bid to cement support in his home province of Kwazulu-Natal, on Friday told supporters in Zulu: “I know they are stealing. I’m just watching them. I know them,” local media reported.

Both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the nation’s two largest opposition parties, on Sunday called on Zuma to share the information he has with authorities.

“President Jacob Zuma has a legal duty to report, to the law enforcement authorities, those who he knows to be engaged in criminal behaviour,” DA-leader Mmusi Maimane said in a statement.

The DA, which tabled a failed no-confidence motion against the president in Parliament last week, filed a criminal complaint against Zuma on Tuesday and will ask the police to also “investigate those people known by the President to be stealing”, Maimane said.

Zuma must immediately report those stealing public funds, otherwise the EFF too will lodge a criminal complaint against the president, the EFF said in a statement.

South Africa pledges more support for Nigeria

The Consul-General of the South African High Commission in Nigeria, Mr Darkey Africa, on Wednesday announced his government’s new plans to further support Nigeria in the development of her agriculture and tourism sectors.

Africa told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the South African Government’s move was to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s ongoing economic diversification drive.

“As we all know, the Federal Government of Nigeria is currently looking at how best to diversify its economy.

“We know how much that Nigeria is looking at the possibility of moving away from a single product economy into a multi-product economy.

“And we know how central the development of Nigeria’s agriculture and tourism sectors would be in this drive.

“So, we stand ready to make sure that all agreements signed between Nigeria and South Africa in the development of her agriculture and tourism sectors are well implemented,” he said.

Africa said that it was imperative for Nigeria to know that the development of her agriculture and tourism sectors would boost her revenue, as well as create more employment opportunities.

The Consul-General also said that his government was prepared to share its agricultural development expertise with Nigeria, to enable her boost her food production for both local and international consumption.

Africa said that the South African Government had recently evolved a discussion with the Delta State Government on the possibility of a partnership between them for agriculture development.

“We need to jointly tackle the issue of job creation, poverty and at the center, it should be the issue of food security through a sustainable
agricultural sector.

“We have got the expertise and are very ready to share that expertise so that we can have sustainable agriculture in Nigeria as well,” he added.

We are happy you are still in one piece – Mugabe tells Zuma.

A clearly-shaky President Robert Mugabe has told President Jacob Zuma: “We are happy you are still in one piece in spite of what the papers are writing every day.”

Speaking at the opening of a Bi-National Commission in Harare on Thursday, the 92-year old leader told his South African counterpart: “Comrade president, we need each other even more now than before.”

Both leaders are facing growing calls for them to step down, Mugabe from #ThisFlag protesters and Zuma in the wake of the #StateCaptureReport.

Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980, said Zimbabwe and South Africa “face renewed assaults on our independence and sovereignty”.

The Zimbabwe president spoke in a much weaker voice than normal and hesitated at times during his speech. There have been concerns over his health for a long time.

Following a couple of embarrassing stumbles in public in recent months, cameras from the state broadcaster resolutely refuse to focus on the nonagenarian as he walks to a podium to give a speech. Thursday was no different, with the cameras fixed on the seated audience.

#MTVMAMA2016: Yemi Alade wins ‘best female’, says women not only good in the kitchen

Yemi Alade, self-acclaimed Mama Africa, beat Tiwa Savage to win the ‘best female artiste’ award at the MTV Africa Music Awards 2016.

The Effyzzie Music act is one of three ladies hosting the award ceremony after Trevor Noah, US-based South African comedian, pulled out over health issues.

To win the award, Yemi Alade fought off competition from Josey (Ivory Coast), Mz Vee (Ghana), Vanessa Mdee (Tanzania) as well as Mavin singer, Tiwa Savage,

While delivering her acceptance speech, Alade reacted to president Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial comments that his wife, Aisha, belongs to the kitchen and the other room.

“Women, don’t forget that we are not only good in the kitchen, living room and the other room — we are also good at anywhere we want to be”, she said.

The ‘Johnny’ singer is also the first female to be nominated for ‘artiste of the year’ category.

She also performed with Sauti Sol, Kenya group, winners of the ‘best group’ category.

South Africa To Quit International Criminal Court

South Africa is pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) because its obligations are inconsistent with laws giving sitting leaders diplomatic immunity, according to government officials.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Friday that the government will soon submit a bill in parliament to withdraw from the court in The Hague, a move that comes as several African countries express concerns over what they call the ICC’s disproportionate targeting of the continent.

The bill will propose that South Africa repeal the Rome Statute that created the court because the statute is “in conflict and inconsistent with” the country’s diplomatic immunity law, said Masutha.

“A difficult choice had to be made,” Masutha told reporters in the capital Pretoria.

Last year, South Africa said it planned to leave the ICC after it faced criticism for not arresting Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, who is accused of genocides and war crimes, when he visited the country. Bashir has denied the accusations.

“Officials here say the ICC unfairly targets African governments and leaders,” Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Johannesburg, said.

Mutasa said that government began the process of withdrawing from the ICC last year after civil society groups dragged the government to court over its decision to let Bashir go.

A document seen by Reuters at the United Nations on Thursday showed that the move would take effect one year after notice is formally received by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The document was dated October 19, and signed by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation.

“The Republic of South Africa has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court,” the document said.

Read More: aljazeera

Two Nigerians Killed In South Africa.

The Nigeria Union in Pretoria has confirmed that two Nigerians residing in South Africa have been killed this month. The Secretary of the union, Mr Adetola Olubajo, told newsmen in Pretoria on Tuesday that the first victim, one Adeniyi Olumoko, a petty trader, was stabbed to death on Oct.7. Olubajo said that Olumoko, 37, an indigene of Ogun, was killed at Marabastard in Pretoria by a South African, who forcefully took the victim’s goods without paying.

He cited witnesses as saying that Olumoko was left bleeding for up to five hours because para-medics could not show up to attend to him. The secretary said that the killing had been reported to the Central Police Station in Pretoria and Nigerian Mission in South Africa. Olubajo said that another Nigerian, Christian Onwukaike, was also shot dead by assailants at Empangeni in the North Coast area of Kwazulu Natal on Oct.16.

He said that reports from the union`s chapter in the province, indicated that the assailants shot the victim from a moving car. The scribe explained that Onwukaike, a native of Awgbu in the Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra, drove himself to the hospital after the shooting and eventually collapsed and died. “Nigeria Union is calling on the Nigerian Mission to demand results of investigations of all murder cases involving Nigerian victims from the South African authority, he pleaded.

Olubajo said that the union was not happy that all murder cases involving Nigerians in South Africa were never resolved. “ We recommend that the consulate officials visit the area immediately in company of some members of the national and provincial executives of the Nigeria Union to speak with the police and the Nigerian community,” he said. A source close to the Nigerian Consulate in South Africa said correspondent that the report of the incidents had been received at the consulate.

Plateau To Partner South Africa On Tourism- Governor

The Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, on Tuesday said the state is doing everything possible to re-embrace tourism which it is known for over the years.

But he said peace must first be guaranteed in the state for tourism to thrive.

He spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The governor said his recent visit to South Africa was aimed at developing tourism in Plateau State.

He said: “In South Africa I didn’t go alone, I went with some commissioners and some House of Assembly members and right there in South African we told them what we are doing at every places we visited. It was really to the benefit of Plateau State, specifically it was about tourism.

“Our relationship in the area of tourism, you know plateau is the home of peace and tourism. We are trying to maintain the peace now, when we achieve that fully we are going back to tourism.

“South Africa is one place that is renowned for tourism, so we went there to see some of the places and also to create partnership with them, to come to Plateau and invest in tourism.

“While we were there, we also explored opportunities to visit sites like the headquarters of Shoprite. We need shopping malls in plateau, we are building the main market and in addition to that we are also thinking of having so many shopping malls in the state.

“From this week some of the investors will be visiting Jos to see things for themselves and possibly sign MOU.”

Credit:

Plateau to partner South Africa on tourism – Governor

South African Universities Close After Tuition Fee Protests

At least three South African universities suspended classes on Wednesday because of student protests over tuition fees after the government recommended above-inflation increases for 2017.

Students demanding free tertiary education marched near Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, known as “Wits”, where classes were called off for the rest of this week.

Academic activities were also suspended at the University of Pretoria’s main campus, and the University of Cape Town said it had temporarily suspended classes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Demonstrations since 2015 over the cost of university education, prohibitive for many black students, have highlighted frustration at the inequalities that persist more than two decades after the 1994 end of white-minority rule.

The latest protests were triggered by a government recommendation on Monday that 2017 tuition fee increases be capped at 8 percent. Inflation stands at 5.9 percent.

Police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said 31 students arrested on Tuesday at Wits had been released, but gave no further details.

The government and the main opposition party have accused students of turning campuses across the country into battlegrounds and damaging university property.

Weeks of violent demonstrations last year forced President Jacob Zuma to rule out fee raises for 2016, but university authorities have warned that another freeze for the coming year could damage their academic programmes.

African Universities to offer B.Sc in Witchcraft

The South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande has announced plans to have witchcraft included in the curriculum from 2018.

Speaking to representatives from student unions around the country, the minister announced the shocking move and urged future university entrees to consider taking Witchcraft. “There is a lot we can learn from witchcraft, like how they fly in that winnowing basket. Imagine if we learn that skill. It will eradicate traffic jams and everyone will just get in their basket and fly. It also means we will not be importing fuel anymore.” Blade said.

 

The announcement was met with boos and bottle throws from the packed auditorium who had gone to the meeting hoping the minister would announce a 0% fee increase for the coming year. The unperturbed minister also invited renowned witches to make an appointment with his office so they can have their skills tested and those outstanding would then be hired as lecturers.

 

He also invited witches from across the border, promising them permanent residents permits. “I spoke to Gibs (Minister of Home affairs Malusi Gigaba) and he agreed to issue witches from outside South Africa with permanent residence permits. I heard Malawi and Zimbabwe have an impressive collection of witches. We are hoping they will heed the call”, he added.

 

Applications is said to be closing on the 30th of September at midnight, after which an appointed panel with conduct interviews. There currently is an opening for 109 witches.

South African park kills 350 hippos, buffalos amid drought

Rangers in South Africa’s biggest wildlife park are killing about 350 hippos and buffalos in an attempt to relieve the impact of a severe drought.

 

The national parks service says the numbers of hippos and buffalos in Kruger National Park, about 7,500 and 47,000 respectively, are at their highest level ever.

 

Meat from the killed animals is being supplied to poor communities on the park’s perimeter.

 

Parks service spokesman Ike Phaahla says the two species consume large amounts of vegetation and that many of the animals are expected to die anyway because of the drought.

 

The southern Africa drought has been called the worst in 35 years.

 

A drought in the early 1990s reduced Kruger’s buffalo population by more than half to about 14,000, but the population rebounded.

South Africa Bans Anti-gay US Pastor

South Africa on Tuesday banned a Holocaust-denying, anti-gay American pastor from entering the country, after an outcry from rights groups over his characterisation of gays as “sodomites” and “paedophiles”.

Steven Anderson, who in 2009 infamously prayed for US President Barack Obama’s death, had planned a “soul-winning” visit to South Africa at the weekend.

But Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba declared the Christian preacher a “prohibited person” following objections over his “hate speech”.

“Steven Anderson and members or associates of his church are prohibited from entering the Republic of South Africa,” Gigaba said at a press conference in Cape Town.

“We have a duty to prevent harm and hatred, in all forms, against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex) as against any other person in a democratic state,” the minister said.

Anderson has frequently courted controversy through his Arizona-based Faithful Word Baptist Church, which preaches a literal reading of the Bible.

A Holocaust denier, he prayed for the death of US President Barack Obama in 2009 over his pro-choice stance on abortion, and called the victims of the November 2015 attack on the Bataclan nightclub in Paris “devil worshipers”.

Read More:

http://leadership.ng/news/550323/south-africa-govt-bans-anti-gay-us-pastor

South Africa’s ANC Faces Deep Crisis After Vote Defeat

Record electoral losses and deep internal divisions are threatening both the long hold on power enjoyed by South Africa’s ruling ANC party and the political future of President Jacob Zuma.

Since 1994, the African National Congress — once led by Nelson Mandela — has comfortably swept to victory in elections, and remains the largest party in the country.

But in last month’s municipal elections, the loss of control of the capital city Pretoria, economic hub Johannesburg and port city Port Elizabeth point to the party’s new fragility.

“The ANC is being consumed by three demons — corruption, factionalism and a leadership without credibility,” Prince Mashele, analyst and co-author of “The Fall of the ANC: What Next?”, told AFP.

The party has always bred factions and divisions, but its dismal showing during the August 3 local elections has brought tensions to the surface.

On Monday, activists from rival party factions scuffled in downtown Johannesburg as anti-Zuma members threatened to occupy the party’s headquarters.

“This is certainly the first time it has come to the fore in such a widely expressed way,” said Mari Harris, an analyst and director of Ipsos pollsters in South Africa.

Despite the increasingly vocal calls for Zuma to step down, many experts caution that he retains a strong grip on the party’s power structure and draws loyalty from his extensive patronage network.

“There are two extremes within the party — pro and anti Zuma — but in between there are other people who tolerate the president for now,” said Harris.

The party is due to choose a new leader at the end of next year, with the selected name then running as president in national elections in 2019 when Zuma cannot stand for a third term in office.

Read More:

http://guardian.ng/news/south-africas-anc-faces-deep-crisis-after-vote-defeat/

Gay Couple Makes History In South Africa With Birth Of Triplets

A gay couple have become the first recorded same-sex couple in South Africa to have children born of both parents’ DNA by way of a surrogate mother. 

Christo and Theo Menelaou reportedly fertilized a single egg each by way of their surrogate, resulting in the birth of triplets. The Menelaou’s triplets also contain a set of identical twins.

“When you are gay, there is always the thought that it just may not be possible to be a parent no matter how much you would love to be,” Christo Menelaou told Sky News. “It’s very hard to be accepted for adoption and we were told we would always come after heterosexual couples. And then we just never thought we’d ever find a person who would want to be surrogate to a gay couple.”

According to The New York Daily News, while the birth of the triplets to a same-sex couple is a recorded first in South Africa, a similar birth occurred in America on June 28. 

South Africa has strict laws when it comes to surrogacy, according to Sky News, and both the surrogate and her husband had to both appear before a judge and sign documents “insist[ing] they all agreed and were willing participants and no money would be exchanged (aside from expenses incurred as a result of the pregnancy).”

While each child born to the South African couple doesn’t contain the DNA of both fathers, a new scientific proces called IVG (In Vitro Gametogenesis) could one day make it possible for same-sex couples to have babies who are biologically related to both partners.

Read More: huffingtonpost

South African Pastor Dies Following 30 Days Fasting To Beat Jesus Christ’s Record

A quick reminder not to dare God, after a popular South African pastor dies following 30 days fasting in a bid to break Jesus Christ’s record.

In a determined bid to break the record set by Jesus Christ of Nazareth, a 44-year-old popular South African pastor, Alfred Ndlovu, has died of malnutrition following a dry fasting that lasted for 30 days.

According to Buzz South Africa, the cleric left home on June 17 for a nearby bush to have prayers just like Jesus did in an attempt to equal or break Jesus Christ’s record of fasting for 40 days, but died just a month despite having no history of illness.

It was learnt that the pastor was alone in the wilderness and his body was found by a stranger who then called on his family, congragation and the police.

He was known by his family and community at large as a very spiritual person whose faith could move mountains and his death surprised everyone, even church members.

A close relative said: “He was a very spiritual man. Its unfortunate he had to die this way. After a month we got the sad news of his death. Pastor was a healthy and religious old man who did not even look his age.”

South Africa’s Petrol Price To Drop By 7.4% In August

The retail price of petrol in South Africa will decrease by 7.4 per cent from August 3, the energy department said on Friday.

The department also said that the price of wholesale diesel will go down by 6.3 per cent.

The department said the price of petrol will fall by 99 cents to 12.35 rand per litre in the commercial hub of Gauteng province.

It said that diesel will also go down by 74 cents to 10.97 rand per litre.

Nigeria Seeks South Africa’s Cooperation To Build Military Complex

Nigeria is seeking the support of South Africa to build a national industrial military complex, even as both countries are working to prevent illegal defence transactions.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Danladi Sheni, who revealed this yesterday at the opening of the Nigeria-South Africa Defence Industry Inaugural Seminar (NIGSA 2016), said enhanced military cooperation based on certain legal frameworks could be achieved after the seminar.

Sheni said, “We are looking at the whole gamut of our military cooperation, at the end of it all Nigeria and SA will have a mutually beneficial defence relationship. We also want to see how the SA military establishment will assist us in establishing our own industrial military complex.” According to the top civil servant, besides the military equipment and training that Nigeria stands to benefit, the military industrial complex would create jobs, boost industrialization and on the overall would contribute to the economic enhancement of the country.

Responding, South African Secretary for Defence Sam Gulube said the threats being faced today in Africa and the entire global community require decisive action and cooperation among nations, especially in defence, which is critical.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Army yesterday said it was carrying out a comprehensive forensic audit of all its formations, the operations in the Northeast and other parts of the country.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, who made this known yesterday in Abuja when he received the principal partner of a law firm, St. Francis Xavier Solicitors in his office, said that the Army under his leadership would not tolerate any form of corruption as he has always emphasized the need for basic audit of army accounts.

Credit: Guardian

Dr. Kayode Fayemi: Nigeria And South Africa; Forging Bonds of Mutual Prosperity in Mining

 

The recent state visit to Nigeria by President Jacob Zuma marked the beginning of a new chapter in relations between Nigeria and South Africa. Both countries have shared a sometimes turbulent history; we have also at different times reveled in the joy of aligned moral purpose – at some point towards the dismantling of apartheid, at some other point in the struggle to enthrone democracy.

During the visit, both President Zuma and his host President Muhammadu Buhari made it a point of duty to strengthen the historical bonds of friendship between the peoples of Africa’s two largest economies. The rapprochement between both countries is one of the results of President Buhari’s economic diplomacy, which has focused on rebuilding Nigeria’s image and relationships in the comity of nations. This development can only result in positive outcomes for both economies, and also ensure alignment on the strategic future that we believe offers Africa its full potential.

The visit also offered the opportunity for Nigeria and South Africa to renew the pledge of partnership on a number of key issues including Mining. An existing 2013 MoU outlining areas of partnership in the fields of Geology, Mining, Mineral Processing and Metallurgy which had not been implemented, was resuscitated. President Buhari thus mandated the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development to work with our South African counterparts to pursue the full implementation of the Agreement.

Having identified South Africa as one of our strategic partners towards growing our mining sector, and on the back of improved diplomatic relations, I recently led a small delegation on a 2-day working visit to South Africa, during which I met with my counterpart, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Hon. Mosebenzi Joseph Zwane, as well as the leadership of mining-related government entities, mining industry leaders and experts.

Our delegation gained a lot of insights from the knowledge sharing sessions with the leadership of the Department of Mineral Resources, Council of Geosciences, MINTEK and other government entities, and the progressive discussions on opportunities of collaboration with some of South Africa’s finance institutions – especially the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

Accordingly, the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has outlined details of the implementation plan for the 2013 MoU on Mining which provides details of the priority areas Nigeria wishes to benefit from the South African mining industry’s competitive advantage. These include: Advanced Geological Surveys – detailed geo-sciences data generation; data interpretation analysis and application; assistance in the accreditation of the Geosciences Analytical Metallurgical Laboratories in Kaduna; exploration data reporting standards, e.t.c.; Mining Governance – the review of existing legal and legislative framework; improved mines inspectorate operations and technologies; upgrading and management of cadastral processes and operations e.t.c.; Mineral Processing and Development – processing of industrial Minerals; Beneficiation processes and technologies; value addition, quality assurance and standards in mineral development, e.t.c.

Other areas include Metallurgy – improvement of metallurgical inspectorate operations and technologies; indigenous professional skill acquisition and technology transfer; metallurgical processes; steel making technologies e.t.c; Artisanal & Small Scale Mining Operation – production/supply of small and medium sized plants and machinery for small and mid-tier mining and processing e.g. the Igoli gold processing mill; development of Industrial Clusters in downstream mineral fabrication and manufacturing; Environmental Safety and Sustainability – enforcement of environmental safety and compliance regulations; review of  sustainability frameworks and regulations; remediation processes e.t.c.

Nigeria is also looking to benefit from the wealth of Human Capital Resource in South Africa’s mining industry in areas such as – capacity building in global best practices along the value chain of the mining industry – occupational, health, safety and environment (OHSE), mines inspectorate and revenue collection, mineral production assessment, ASM management, steel and metallurgical inspectorate technology and regulation, etc.; as well as benefiting from technical assistance in the development of coal-to-power projects in Nigeria as part of our objectives to achieve a vibrant energy mix and realize our target of 10,000 mw of energy by 2019. The ministry also seeks to learn from the optimal organization of private sector players in the South African mining space.

Conversely as South Africa’s putative oil industry gets off the ground, Nigeria should share the lessons that our experience affords us. Nigeria’s Oil history, while it has a number of prominent missteps, still contains critical lessons which should be shared, together with our expertise in the Oil and Gas industry built over the years.

Invariably, both our countries need to implement a departure from the perception and treatment of resource-rich locales as extractive farms, and move towards encouraging the establishment of value-added economic activities within them. This administration is particularly focused on creating a broad spectrum of value-added activities by fully maximizing the abundant opportunities for mineral beneficiation, exploiting the possibilities inherent in support services and support industries that will be nurtured around core mining activities.

For the new resource economy to benefit both local and global stakeholders, we are taking an activist posture towards issues of developing local content and ensuring a transfer of skills and technology that will be to our nation’s advantage in the medium and long term. While we are committed to maintaining a liberal business environment, we are also mindful that the new resource economy results in a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

This is why we intend to see to it that host communities are directly and positively impacted by the activities that will be undertaken in their domains. The historic restiveness in the Niger Delta and labour related uprisings in the South African mining industry can be put permanently in the past with this new approach to governance of the extractives industries.

Today, the continent’s fortunes appear partially stalled. Pundits wonder if our work of reform is entirely hostage to shrinking commodities demand from China and India. The decline the Naira and the Rand have suffered in the past year is partially linked to the commodities narrative. Nonetheless, the truth is that Africa’s narrative of prosperity has deeper roots, and is firmly in our control.

Nigeria has our eyes set on a rebound in the global commodities market, hopefully sooner than later, and we are doing everything possible in the interim to ensure we position our industry for market dominance when that time comes.

We will work towards stoking aggregate demand and restructuring entire swathes of our societies to prepare them for the next generation of jobs, and delivering a joined up locomotive of growth. Hopefully, other African countries will take a cue from the renewed commitment of our countries to partner towards building the capabilities to create jobs and broaden the economic opportunities available to young Nigerians and South Africans. The aggressive integration of our economies will also create new corridors of growth for our neighbors and partners in both the ECOWAS and SADC regions.

We will find smart mechanisms for leveraging each other’s key strengths and easing the modalities for engagement between businesses in both countries e.g. visa liberalization for skilled mining and petroleum workers to help speed transitions as well as maintain growth momentum. We will also push our citizens to interact more intensively, whether it is in vacationing in each other’s countries or forming new personal networks. A shared experience and prosperity is the key to a new wave of African economic growth, and our Presidents are determined to deliver on that pledge.

As we welcome South Africa’s delegates to Abuja on a follow-up technical visit next week, and as momentum gathers towards the Nigeria – South Africa Bi-National Commission holding in August this year, we will continue to explore means of creatively building bridges between our countries towards modeling the possibilities that African integration offers for shared growth and prosperity. While we may have started at different points as independent, proud nations, our commitment to improving the living conditions of our citizens continues to pull us along a familiar pathway. Neither republic is perfect; we have our flaws, but we also have our strengths, and we are constrained by our responsibility to history and to our fellow Africans, to leverage them for the common good.

We look forward to welcoming more South African investors to Nigeria, just as we know that South Africa is extending an equally warm embrace to Nigerians. Nelson Mandela’s historic admonishment that Nigeria and South Africa must work together to transform Africa rings louder at this time than ever before. This is the least we can do in fulfilling the African Mining Vision (AMV). Indeed, as Madiba’s spirit smiles on this partnership he so treasured, let us his followers and friends ennoble his legacy with a renewed pledge of progressive brotherhood, towards shared prosperity in mining.

Dr. Kayode Fayemi is  the Minister of Solid Minerals Development

 

South Africa To Work With Nigerian Military

The Chief of South African National Defence Force, General Zakaria Shoke, has re-affirmed his country’s willingness to work with Nigerian Armed Forces to the benefit of the two countries.

A statement by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, says General Shoke made this known when he visited the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin in his office in Abuja.

The Chief of South African National Defence Force promised to support Nigeria in its quest to end Boko Haram in the country.

General Shoke further reaffirmed the commitment of the South African Armed Forces to the development of the Nigerian military in the area of capacity building, exchange programme and logistics support, among others.

In his response, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Olonisakin, thanked the South African Chief of National Defence Force for the visit and solicited for more cooperation in defence related matters.

This, he said would go a long way in strengthening the two countries’ bilateral cooperation.

General Olonisakin also requested for training of more Special Forces and other equipment that could be used in the operations against Boko Haram which has been substantially decimated and degraded.

He said the war against terror is closing up and would soon end.

Credit: ChannelstV

Xenophobia: Nigerians Want FG To Prevail On South Africa To Compensate Victims

Nigerians in South Africa have called on the Federal Government to prevail on the country’s authority to adequately compensate the victims of the 2015 xenophobia outbreak.

 

The President of Nigeria Union, South Africa (NUSA), Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

 

Anyene urged President Muhammad Buhari to use the occasion of President Jacob Zuma’s two-day visit to Nigeria from Tuesday to address their concerns.

 

The federal government had on Sunday said that Zuma’s visit would be used to address the challenges being faced by Nigerians in South Africa.

 

Anyene who said that the April 2015 xenophobic violence affected some Nigerians in South Africa, expressed regret that none of them had been compensated.

 

“Lots of Nigerians lost their means of livelihood, material possessions and for many, all their hard work.

We have sought for compensation on behalf of these victims from the South African government through the Nigerian government so that the victims can be adequately compensated.

“Up to this point in time nothing has been heard about the compensation request on behalf of the victims,” he said.

 

He therefore called on President Mohammadu Buhari to urgently intervene and ensure that the rights of Nigerians were not trampled upon.

 

It will be recalled that Some South Africans accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them which resulted in attacks that saw some foreigner in South Africa killed and property destroyed.

 

The violence followed reported comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential figure among the Zulu ethnic group, that foreigners should pack their bags and leave.

While acknowledging that the South African government had done a lot of work to curb the xenophobia, Anyene said that, “more still needed to be done”.

The President maintained that xenophobia still remained a huge challenge in South Africa and a major concern to Africans.

According to him, there seems to be institutionalised xenophobia in South Africa where Nigerian professionals and students are discriminated against and victimised simply because they are non indegenes.

He expressed sadness that Nigerians in South Africa have for some time now been unduly harassed or killed.

“For some years now, a lot of Nigerians in South Africa have been victims of assassination by unknown people and rogue officers of the South African Police Service.

“Most of the cases have not been solved and nobody has been arrested in majority of the cases, even as many of them were reported to the police with official case numbers,’’ he said.

 

Speaking further, “this is strange in a country where the police force is efficient and the rate of successful prosecution is high up to 92.2 per cent in 2014/15.

 

“We implore the minister to demand from the highest level of South African authorities to set up a panel to investigate our claims and address our concerns,’’Anyene said.

 

 

(NAN)

Reps Want Killers Of Nigerian Boy In South Africa Prosecuted

The House of Representatives, on Thursday, said it would do everything to ensure that the murderers of a Nigerian, Timothy Chinedu, in South Africa, faced the law.

 

Chairman, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (Abia-PDP), disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja, after a closed door meeting with members of Nigeria Union, South Africa, on Thursday.

 

The lawmaker said that due to the recent killings of Nigerians in that country, there was urgent need for Nigerian Parliament to meet with their South African counterpart on the issue.

 

“We spoke concerning the Nigerian boy who was killed and it is something the parliament will continue to put pressure until the killers are brought to book.

“In fact, we have had riots and a lot of extra-judicial killing of Nigerians, culminating in the very tragic murder of the Nigerian a month ago.

“We have seen that there is no institutionalised help coming from the government of South Africa in the same way that Nigeria offers institutional help.

“Aside from the violation of MTN, the Nigerian Government still overlooked some fines which the South African companies ought to have paid,” she said.

According to her, I think it is Nigeria’s commitment to building and growing Africa that informed the good will that Nigeria shows.

Elendu-Ukeje emphasised the fact that it was heart-breaking that Nigerians who live in South Africa constantly complain about institutional discrimination against them.

“We are very glad that the President of South Africa is going to visit Nigeria very soon. I think that underscores the closeness of both governments.

“Unfortunately, as our governments are getting closer, it will seem that the citizens are getting farther apart.
“I think this is the role the parliament can play, where our parliament engages the parliament of South Africa in a constructive way to show to them what Nigeria has done to promote brotherliness among African people.

“This is expected to be reciprocated,” she said.

The lawmaker also said that the Nigerian foreign policy was about taking care of the plight of Nigerians outside the country.

Also speaking to NAN, President of Nigeria Union, South Africa, Mr Ikechukwu Anyene, said that the meeting was a fruitful and that they hoped for more engagement with the committee.

“The President of South Africa is coming soon, which is one of the reasons why we are here so that the situation of affairs of our people will be presented through the platform.

“The Nigerians in South Africa are expecting a lot from us and from our government as they are going about their businesses peacefully, though everything is calm for now.

“I want the Nigerians in South Africa to continue to be law-abiding, to continue to be hard working as the challenges we are having would be sorted out soon, ” he said.

 

(NAN)

South Africa Leads The World In Economic Crime, Survey Reveals

The PwC Global Economic Crime Survey revealed on Wednesday that South African organisations had reported the highest rate of economic crime in the world over the last two years.

 

Some of the most alarming statistics include at least 69 per cent of organisations reporting being victims of economic crime, while 32 per cent had experienced cybercrime and 70 per cent of survey respondents viewed local law enforcement as inadequately resourced to fight economic crime.

 

Louis Strydom, Forensic Services Leader for PwC Africa, said that economic crime remained a serious challenge to business leaders, government officials and private individuals in the country.

 

“When compared to the global statistic of 36 per cent, we are faced with the stark reality that economic crime is at a pandemic level in South Africa. No sector or region is immune from economic crime,” said Strydom.

 

The 2016 Global Economic Crime Survey interviewed 6,337 participants in 115 countries.

 

In South Africa, 232 organisations from a broad spectrum of industries took part.

 

Conducted biennially, the main aim of the survey is to inform business leaders about developments in the continuously changing landscape of economic crime and to encourage debate around strategic and emerging issues in this sphere.

 

Asset misappropriation remained the most prevalent form of economic crime reported by 68 per cent of respondents.
It was followed by procurement fraud at 41 per cent and bribery and corruption at 37 per cent.

 

Cybercrime has risen to fourth – up two places since 2014 – with 32 per cent of South African organisations affected, on par with the global average.

 

Local businesses are paying a heavy price with almost a fifth of local respondents reported to have experienced losses of between 100,000 dollars and one million dollars to economic crime.

 

One in four indicated having suffered losses of more than one million dollars.

 

More than half of organisations believed it was ‘likely’ that they would experience bribery and corruption and cybercrime within the next two years.

 

More than a third of financial services respondents that had undergone inspections by regulators had to address major findings.

 

Overall, the reports found that business detection and response plans were not keeping pace with the level and range of threats now facing organisations.

 

 

(ANA/NAN)

Buhari To Discuss Railway, Power Projects In South Africa With Chinese Leader

President Muhammadu Buhari will be in South Africa on Thursday to participate in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) which would hold in Johannesburg on December 4 and 5.

In a statement, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media  and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said that Mr Buhari, at the forum would follow up his meeting with the Chinese Leader Xi Jinping which took place in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in November.

“President Buhari had indicated to Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader at the bilateral meeting in New York, that he wanted China to re-commence stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.

“Of particular interest is the coastal railway project stretching for 1402 kilometers linking Lagos in the West with Calabar in the East; a project that is expected to be financed with 12 billion U.S Dollars Chinese loan and which will create about 200,000 jobs.

“Another rail project that will be up for renegotiation is the 8.3 billion Dollars Lagos-Kano standard gauge modernisation project, of which only a segment, Kaduna-Abuja has reached completion stage”, the statement read.

Credit: ChannelsTV

Guess Which African Country Is Most Corrupt According To Transparency Intl.

Corruption is on the rise in Africa, with South Africa topping the list of countries where citizens believe the problem has got worse in the last year, said a Transparency International survey released Tuesday.

According to the report, 83 percent of South Africans interviewed felt that corruption had increased, with Ghana and Nigeria also among the worst-affected nations.

Across all 28 countries surveyed, the police, business executives, government officials and the courts were all perceived as corrupt, with 75 million people estimated to have paid a bribe in the past year.

The survey also said that during the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Sierra Leone, corruption may have contributed to the slow government response.

“In both of these countries there are very high bribery rates and the public sector is perceived to be affected by extensive levels of corruption,” said the survey.

It said 58 percent of all the people surveyed conducted across sub-Saharan Africa believed that graft levels were on the rise.

On the plus side, Botswana scored well, with 54 percent indicating that their government was doing well in combating graft.

Only 20 percent of South Africans said they felt the same.

South Africa has been rocked by high-profile corruption scandals in recent years, including lavish public spending on renovations at President Jacob Zuma’s private homestead.

“People are outraged, they see this huge spending as part of government corruption,” David Lewis, director of Corruption Watch, a local anti-graft organisation, told AFP.

Madagascar ranked bottom, at nine percent, on the government’s commitment to fight corruption.

“Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion,” Transparency International head Jose Ugaz said in a statement.

He said whistleblowing was key to fighting graft, but people were scared to come forward as they felt it was “too dangerous (or) ineffective”.

Credit: Vanguard

South African Police Investigate ‘Snake Pastor’ Church Raid

South African police are investigating the raid of a church run by a self-styled prophet accused of making his followers eat snakes, rats and hair.

Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party activists disrupted a service near the capital, Pretoria, and a tent was burnt down in the fracas.

Pastor Penuel Mnguni gained notoriety after photos showed him dangling a live snake into a man’s mouth.

However, police withdrew charges of animal cruelty against him.

Police spokesman Mathews Nkoadi said in July that there were no witness statements and insufficient evidence to bring a case.

Dubbed the “snake pastor”, Mr Mnguni runs the End Times Disciples Ministries in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

The EFF said that they had raided a service on Sunday because they wanted Mr Mnguni to “lead by example” and eat snakes and rats.

But EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi tweeted that the pastor “ran away” so they were unable to confront him. Mr Mnguni has not commented on the raid.

A man eats grass at service
People at the service on Sunday ate leaves
Man offered toilet paper
They were also offered toilet paper

EFF activists advanced on the church carrying mice and small lizards, South Africa’s Pretoria News reports.

“We are fighting corruption and this man is [allegedly] a prime example of that,” EFF official Mandisa Mashego is quoted as saying.

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South African Court Bans Sudanese President From Leaving Country…

A South African court on Sunday issued a temporary ban on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir leaving the country after the International Criminal Court called for him to be arrested at a summit in Johannesburg.

Bashir, who is wanted over alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur conflict, mostly travels to countries that have not joined the ICC, but South Africa is a signatory of the court’s statutes.

The Pretoria High Court said in a statement it was “compelling respondents to prevent President Omar Al-Bashir from the leaving the country until an order is made in this court”.

The hearing is set to take place later Sunday, the opening day of the African Union summit.

The ruling came after the Southern African Litigation Centre, a legal rights group, launched an urgent court application to force the authorities to arrest Bashir.Bashir joined a group photograph of leaders at the summit despite the calls for his arrest.

More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict and fighting has forced some 2.5 million people to flee their homes, the United Nations says.
Khartoum, however, disputes the figures, estimating the death toll at no more than 10,000.

“Allowing President al-Bashir into South Africa without arresting him would be a major stain on South Africa’s reputation for promoting justice for grave crimes,” said Elise Keppler of Human Rights Watch.
“South Africa’s legal obligations as an ICC member mean cooperating in al-Bashir’s arrest, not in his travel plans.”

AFP

Jonathan Suspends Permanent Secretary Over South Africa Envoy Recall

President Goodluck Jonathan has rebuked the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danjuma Sheni, for allegedly prompting the recall of Nigeria’s envoys to South Africa without due authorisation, triggering a diplomatic spat between the two countries. The president queried Mr. Sheni Monday, and placed him on suspension to allow investigation into the matter, officials told PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday.

Nigeria announced the recall of its acting High Commissioner in Pretoria, Martin Cobham, and the deputy High Commissioner in Johannesburg, Uche Ajulu-Okeke, on Saturday, in protest of xenophobic attacks against African immigrants in South Africa. A statement from the foreign affairs ministry, attributed to the minister, Aminu Wali, said the diplomats were “summoned for consultations” over the attacks. South Africa slammed the decision, describing it as “unfortunate and regrettable”, and portraying Nigeria as opportunistic.

South Africa’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said in a statement that his country was shocked that the Nigerian government would resort “to such an extraordinary diplomatic step to express outrage at actions or behaviour of another government”.

“We are not sure which actions or behaviour of the South African Government the Nigerian Government is protesting,” Mr. Monyela said. “If this action is based on the incidents of attacks on foreign nationals in some parts of our country, it would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode for whatever agenda.”

Read More: premiumtimesng

South Africa Condemns Nigeria’s Recall Of High Commissioner, Jabs Jonathan On Chibok Girls

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, has described the recall of Nigeria’s High Commissioner as an “unfortunate and regrettable” diplomatic step.

In a statement, Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, said the South African government was shocked that the Nigerian government would resort “to such an extraordinary diplomatic step to express outrage at actions or behaviour of another government”.

“We are not sure which actions or behaviour of the South African Government the Nigerian Government is protesting,” Mr. Monyela said.

“It is only Nigeria that has taken this unfortunate and regrettable step. If this action is based on the incidents of attacks on foreign nationals in some parts of our country, it would be curious for a sisterly country to want to exploit such a painful episode for whatever agenda.”

The. South African authority said despite the recall, the country remained committed to a strong bond of friendship and bilateral relations with Nigeria despite the death of 84 South Africans at a collapsed guest house of Synagogue Church of All Nations on September 12, 2014.

The country also took a jab at the outgoing administration of President Godluck Jonathan saying it would raise its concerns through diplomatic channels with the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration and referencing the failure of the current administration to rescue the kidnapped chibok girls and also end Boko Haram insurgency.

“We shall also continue to support and not blame the Nigerian Government as it battles to deal with Boko Haram that continues to kill many innocent civilians,” the statement said. “We hope that the more than 200 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram will someday be reunited with their families.”

South Africa and Nigeria have had a tense relationship since the former seized millions of dollars in cash illegally brought into its territory by Nigerian authorities.

Creditpremiumtimesng

Xenophobic Attacks: Nigerian Envoys Arrive Home To Brief Parliament

Nigeria’s two heads of mission in South Africa have arrived in their home country.

They arrived ahead of their appearance before the National Assembly.

Nigeria’s Acting High Commissioner in South Africa, Ambassador Martin Cobham, and the Consul-General in South Africa, Ambassador Uche Ajulu-Okeke, are to brief lawmakers on the welfare of Nigerians in the wake of the xenophobic attacks recorded in KwaZulu Natal and Johannesburg this month.

The Nigerian Union in South Africa says more than 4.6 million Rand, about 84 million Naira, has been lost by Nigerians to the xenophobic attacks, as against 1.2 million Rand (21 million Naira), initially estimated.

According to the union, they had compiled the losses and given the list to Nigeria’s Consul-General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke.

The leader of the union said that the Nigerian victims of the attacks needed urgent assistance to re-settle, as many of them had lost their means of livelihood.

Across South Africa, many town hall meetings and dialogue sessions are ongoing in order to quell the tension.

Also some of those displaced have remained at temporary settlements while others have returned to their homes to beginning the process of reintegration in their host communities.

Some of the victims have also fled to their home countries.

Anti-immigrant protest started on March 20 after an influential Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, spoke out against foreign workers.

Xenophobia: OPC Leader Storms South Africa

The National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, on Thursday visited the Nigerian Embassy in South Africa in support of Nigerians affected by the spate of xenophobic attacks in the country.

Mr. Adams promised to propose to the Nigeria?n? government the need to make additional laws that will further protect Nigerians who have legitimate reasons to be outside the country.

Mr. Adams was received by the Ambassador at the Consulate General of Nigeria, Uche Ajulu-Okeke. He later addressed Nigerians assuring them that the mission was doing everything it could to ensure their safety He promised to sensitise the Nigeria?n? government and Nigerians o?n? the need to come to the aid of Nigerians affected by xenophobia in South Africa. He expressed his willingness to be of support to the mission and Nigerians in any capacity that his assistance may be required.

In her welcome remarks, the ambassador narrated the genesis of xenophobia especially after the post apartheid era which led to the hate of foreigners and the eventual violent attacks. She revealed that some Nigerians were target of attacks and had their businesses disrupted. She informed Mr. Adams that the embassy had dedicated its old building as a camp for Nigerians to seek refuge in case of any threat or danger.

The OPC leader commended the embassy for its ?effort? since the unwarranted attack on foreigners. He thanked the ambassador for her hospitality and the good work she was doing, which he said was being noticed in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the interaction was attended by the executive members of the Nigerian Union in South Africa, a cross section of Nigerians and members of the Nigeria Mission in South Africa.

Creditpremiumtimesng

S.A Police Say Murdered Nun, 86, May Have Been Raped

Police in South Africa were on Thursday investigating whether an 86-year-old nun of Austrian origin found murdered had also been raped. The body of Sister Getrud Tiefebacher from the Sacred Heart Home Convent in the village of Ixopo, southwest of Durban, was discovered in her room on Saturday.

Police said her hands were tied with an electric typewriter cord and she had been suffocated with a towel. “It is also suspected that the victim was raped before she was killed,” a statement said. An undisclosed amount of foreign currency was taken from Tiefebacher’s room.

The killing has shocked the small village, which is the setting for Alan Paton’s famous novel Cry the Beloved Country. “Police have not made any arrests in connection with the crime. The search is ongoing,” police spokesman Thulani Zwane said.

Zwane said Tiefebacher came to South Africa 50 years ago and had spent all her time working for the Roman Catholic Church. Regional police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni described the murder as “barbaric”, urging the community to help police arrest the suspect. Rape is common crime in South Africa, with 662,649 cases reported in 2013/14, according to official crime statistics.

Read More: vanguardngr

Nigerian Senate Wants South Africa’s Zulu King Sued At ICC

The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday urged the federal government to immediately recall its ambassador from South Africa, and sue the country’s Zulu King at the International Criminal Court, over ongoing xenophobic attacks.

Violence has continued in South Africa as locals target foreigners, with at least seven migrants killed. After three weeks of unrest, the South African government deployed troops to the streets Tuesday. The government said 300 people have been arrested. The motion to recall the Nigerian diplomat was moved by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba. The Senate, subsequently, considered five prayers for the motion.

Apart from calling for immediate recall of the Nigerian ambassador to South Africa, the legislators said the federal government should sue the Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini, who incited the attacks, at the International Criminal Court.

While deliberating on the xenophobic attacks going on in South Africa, the legislators invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, to brief the committee on foreign affairs on the situation and the measures taken to safeguard the lives and property of the Nigerians in South Africa.

The Senate also urged the federal government to pressurize the South African government to call the perpetrators of the evil act to justice and ensure adequate compensation of the affected families.

In addition, the legislators commended Nigerians for their restraint in the face of the attacks.

Nkechi Nwogu representing Abia South senatorial district thanked the Senate leader for bringing the motion to the senate. “This is not the first time that South Africa and their youth have gone after international communities.

“The same thing happened in 2008 and what happened to the perpetrators when it happened.

“We must ensure that we get to the bottom of things and should make sure that the South African government pays dearly for it.

Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi central, said the South African government should be suspended from the African Union.

Read More: premiumtimesng

Finally! Zimbabweans Leave South Africa After Xenophobic Attacks

Hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals who fled attacks in South Africa are now being processed in a border town in Zimbabwe.

At least 400 people affected by xenophobic attacks in the city of Durban crossed into Zimbabwe late on Monday, spending the night at a camp set up in the border town of Beitbridge. They are expected to leave to different destinations across Zimbabwe later on Tuesday.

South Africa saw a wave of xenophobic attacks at the end of March, starting in Durban, and later spreading to the townships in and around Johannesburg. At least eight people were killed and thousands of others displaced.

Brenda Mavenge said she left Durban after her husband was attacked. “My husband was attacked [and] he is in hospital right now. The men who attacked us took all our possessions, even cell phones. Now how will I communicate with my husband who is still in South Africa?” Mavenge asked.

Read More: aljazeera

Xenophobia: Nigerians Lost N21m In Burnt Cars, Looted & Burnt Shops – Envoy

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, the Nigerian Consul-General in South Africa, Amb. Uche Ajulu-Okeke, said Nigerians residing in South Africa have lost more than N21m Rand (1.2m) in looted shops, burnt shops, two burnt mechanic workshops, 11 burnt cars and two stolen cars, among others since the xenophobic attacks in some parts of South Africa started. She said the damages are enormous. Here’s What she said below…

“Nigerians have compiled the cost of the damage to their property and it is totalling about 1.2 million Rand or N21 million, which will be sent to the Federal Government for further action. The Nigerian mission in South Africa is on top of the situation. We are working hard to protect Nigerians in South Africa. Though the task has not been easy but we are trying our best. In one of the hot spots at Jeppe, near Johannesburg, the mission assisted about 50 stranded Nigerians to re-settle. I have also visited the site of the attacks in Johannesburg to assess the damage and it was enormous. I am bringing all Nigerians together so that we work out a vigilance and alert mechanism; they will also tell me what their challenges and issues are” she said.

African People’s Union Declares Citizen Economic Sanctions Against South Africa

The Position of the African People’s Union on the decades-long and ongoing xenophobia in South Africa:

Whereas it has come to the notice of the people of Africa that blacks in South Africa still live in apartheid-like conditions, in ghettos called ‘townships.’

Whereas it is realized that in spite of South Africa’s booming economy there are limited opportunities for blacks, leading to animalistic competition.

Whereas it is understood that the ‘townships’ ghettos for blacks lacks reasonable security for life and property. Whereas we do realize that xenophobia in South Africa was initiated as government policy of the ANC since 2002.

Whereas we do recognize that the subhuman style of mass deportations of migrant foreign workers since 1994 bearing all brutality and insolence of colonial operations deployed against blacks during apartheid, directly contributed to the development of systemic xenophobia in nation. *Lindela.

Whereas we do recognize that the “community policing” and spying provision in the 2002 Immigration act adopted by the ANC in 2005 directly promotes and endorses xenophobia.

To This Effect:
The African people’s Union expects the South African government to review its Immigration laws towards protecting and not persecuting foreigners.

We expect the South African government to act to protect foreign nationals in the state.

We expect the South African government to act to protect South African blacks in the townships.

We expect the South African government to provide real opportunities for African blacks in the townships.

The African People’s Union Resolves:
To embark on widespread citizen economic sanctions against the South African government and corporate business interests via citizen boycotts.

To continue to promote citizen sanctions against the Pretoria government and South African big Corp. until there is actual policy change and real effort to improve the living conditions in the townships and the security of lives and property of citizens and foreigners is treated as high priority.

To this effect, all Africans and friends of Africa are encouraged to boycott South African big Corp. products and South African government operations:

Boycott their MTN phone networks

Boycott South African Airlines

Boycott South Africa’s DSTV

Boycott ShopRite stores

Xenophobic Attacks In South Africa Spread To Downtown Johannesburg

Twelve people were arrested overnight as anti-foreigner attacks in South Africa spread to parts of downtown Johannesburg, police said Friday.

“Twelve suspects were arrested for trying to break into foreign-owned shops,” said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

It was the latest incident in a wave of immigrant-targeted violence that began earlier this month in the port city of Durban, leaving at least six people dead.

According to local reports, the protesters from a local hostel demanded foreign nationals leave South Africa, setting cars alight and clashing with police.

No injuries were reported, said Dlamini.

The scene remained tense Friday morning, with hostel-dwellers telling reporters they wanted immigrants to know they were not welcome in the country.

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the violence in parliament.

“No amount of frustration or anger can ever justify the attacks on foreign nationals and the looting of their shops,” he said Thursday night.

Locals and African immigrants in South African often compete for scarce jobs, making them a target for violence and intimidation.

Early this year, foreign shopkeepers in and around Soweto, south of Johannesburg, were forced to vacate their premises after violence and looting broke out.

In 2008, 62 people were killed in xenophobic violence in Johannesburg townships.

Rep Calls For Evacuation Of Nigerians From South Africa

The Chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, has called for immediate evacuation of Nigerians within 24 hours from South Africa if the ongoing attacks on foreigners continue unabated.

Ms. Ukeje (PDP-Abia), in an interview with newsmen on Thursday, said the call became necessary due to increasing attacks on Nigerians and non Nigerians alike in South Africa. “The Federal Government of Nigeria should rise up to the occasion by having contingency plans to evacuate Nigerians within 24 hours to avoid us losing our citizens to this attacks.

“It is expedient to think of where all Nigerians can gather within 24 hours for safety either in our embassy or mission for the safety of our citizens,” she said.

The lawmaker suggested a concrete arrangement with some airlines to evacuate Nigerians back home while the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) should equally be mobilised to take care of the returnees.

Ms. Ukeje noted with concern that the xenophobic attack was degenerating to Afrophobic as many black Africans, including Nigerians, were being attacked from Johannesburg to Durban.

Creditpremiumtimesng

Foreigners Killed In South Africa Amid Zulu King’s Comment

At least five killed in Durban since last week in violence that has left hundreds stranded, unable to return home.

Violence against immigrants in South Africa has killed at least five people since last week in one of the worst outbreak of violence in years against foreigners in years.

Hundreds of migrants mostly from other African countries had been forced out of their homes, authorities told the Associated Press news agency on Tuesday.

Most of the recent unrest occurred in and around the coastal city of Durban, where police said two foreigners and three South Africans were killed.

The dead included a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly shot during looting on Monday night and died at a hospital, police official, Jay Naicker, police spokesperson, said.

About 34 people have been arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms and other crimes in the last two days, he said.

“Police are deployed and in high alert in most of the areas where there are foreign nationals,” Naicker said in a statement.

Despite the increased police presence, authorities are hard pressed to stop unrest that recalls similar violence in South Africa in 2008 in which about 60 people died.

In January this year, four people died during a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and other violence in Soweto and other areas of Johannesburg.

Some South Africans have accused immigrants of taking jobs and opportunities away from them.

The latest violence followed reported comments by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, an influential figure among the Zulu ethnic group, that foreigners should “pack their bags” and leave.

Zwelithini has since appealed for an end to the unrest.

Read More: aljazeera

South Africa Offers GMB Seized Nigerian $15m

South Africa has indicated her willingness to return the more than $15 million seized from some Nigerians last year in a move designed to please the country’s new president.

This is contrary to claims earlier by South African Ambassador to Nigeria, Lulu Mnguni,  that the money  seized by the South African Government had been released to Nigeria.

It would be recalled that the South African Government had, on September 5, 2014, seized $9.3m cash belonging to Nigeria and a month later seized another $5.7m, claiming that both funds were to be used for illegal purchase of arms.

But The Mail & Guardian reported yesterday that, Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect made positive overtures to Jacob Zuma of South Africa before the elections and relations between the two countries are likely to improve.

“South Africa is considering returning the Nigerian money that it confiscated last year, or clearing the way to sell arms to the West African country”  The Mail & Guardian reported.

The newspaper also has learned through diplomatic sources that South Africa has begun talks to work out a process to return the money in an effort to start off on a clean slate with the recently elected government of the Nigerian president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari.

South African law enforcement agencies seized $15 million in two batches: $5.7-million that had been wired to Standard Bank and $9.3-million in cash, which was confiscated.

It was brought into the country through Lanseria airport in Johannesburg in three suitcases by a delegation said to represent the Nigerian government. In both cases, the money was suspected to be for illegal use.

Now South Africa wants to use the money to extend an olive branch to Buhari’s government and mend relations between the two countries, which became strained during the tenure of outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan.

“The positive thing about [Buhari] is that one of the people who supported him is Atiku Abubakar. That makes him our man and he will automatically work well with [President Jacob] Zuma,” a government source said

Source – www. nigeriacommunicationsweek.com.ng

South African Troops, Others Join Fight Against Boko Haram

South African troops as well as other foreign soldiers have joined in Nigeria’s offensive against Boko Haram insurgents in the nation’s north east region, engaging in ground combat and flying combat air sorties.

According to VOA, the Federal Government explained that the foreign military personnel were only advisers accompanying military equipment purchased from South Africa, Russia and Ukraine.

However, it appears the soldiers are also actively combating the insurgents as Nigerian soldiers disputed the government’s claim and disclosed that many of the soldiers were participating in actual combat, VOA reported on Thursday.

Activities of the extremist group seeking to impose Islamic rule in the region have caused the death of several thousands and displaced over 1 million people in northern Nigeria.

“One soldier, who is living alongside the foreign personnel in a barracks in the city of Maiduguri, identified the foreigners as South Africans, Ukrainians and others. He said they were flying aircraft from the Maiduguri airport.”

“The South Africans don’t want to deploy with any Nigerian military units, they want to go on their own,” the sergeant, who was not authorized to speak to the media, told VOA.

“The white soldiers, they were the only ones who knew how to operate the mobile rocket launchers,” the corporal said.

The corporal, who was also based in the barracks in Maiduguri, said South African pilots had been flying combat missions using Nigerian jets, surveillance planes and helicopters, along with jets he said appeared to be South African.

“All the aerial attacks are being done by the white soldiers using Nigerian and hired military aircraft,” he said.

Another officer, who served as a top aide to the commander of a brigade in Borno state, told VOA there were between 100 and 150 foreign soldiers, mainly South African, working out of Maiduguri and they were flying fighter jets daily out of the Maiduguri airport.

The post South African Troops, Others Join Fight Against Boko Haram appeared first onChannels Television.

#PhotoNews: Did You Know the New Miss World is a Medical Student?

Meet the new Miss World. Rolene Strauss of South Africa won the 2014 international pageant at the ExCel Centre in east London Sunday. Strauss, 22, a Nelspruit native, who counts women’s rights, health and education as her main causes, was among 122 contestants who competed for the coveted title. She was given the crown by her predecessor, Miss World 2013 Megan Young of the Philippines.

So just who is Rolen Strauss? People magazine says Strauss has both beauty and brains. The brunette pageant queen has four years of medical school under her belt with plans to become a doctor. Her parents also work in the medical field.

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Credit: www.ibtimes.com

The Hut

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Represented Nigeria at the World Economic Forum Meeting at the Vatican. He shares his experience from his meeting with the Pope.

The Hut

by Jake Okechukwu Effoduh.

Insight from the World Economic Forum meeting at the Vatican

 There is a common Igbo[1] proverb that says, ‘A man who does not leave his hut will bring nothing in.’[2] This saying describes a person with self-interest who is only concerned about the business in his hut and does not see the need to go or look outside. The hut represents a mindset. It is a way of thinking, that restricts not only the individual, but also their family and community at large.

Reflecting on this proverb reveals the potential of an increasing value to an individual and the community at large when a person is willing to go outside and bring more people in. The notion of: ‘with more people in the hut, the food gets smaller for everyone’ is a deceitful concept because with more people let inside, there will be more food. There are more resources outside therefore, more people coming in, means more resources and capacities.

“Whoever looks into a mirror in order to improve himself hasn’t really changed”. The capitalist world has looked at businesses in the same mirror for many years and the image it creates is a widening gap between the rich and the poor. Perhaps it is time to look, maybe not at the mirror anymore, but the window – to see who is outside the hut and if possible open the doors to let them in.

This reason why the World Economic Forum called together 80 leaders from around the world was to explore ways of overcoming social and economic exclusion. The event was a result of the collaboration between the Holy See (Pontifical Council for the Laity) and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, and it took place on the 18th and 19th of November 2014 in Rome, Italy. The meeting was inspired by the teachings of Pope Francis contained in the book, Evangelii Gaudium[3] and his message to participants at the Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos-Klostiers[4]. His Holiness states that, ‘Business is – in fact – a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged by a greater meaning in life’[5].

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.

Jake Effoduh Speaking With Chidiogo Akunyili, The Senior Manager Africa Of The Global Shapers Community As Well As, Mauro Ometto, A Global Shaper Of The Rome Hub.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, half of the largest 100 economies are companies[6]. The governments who are meant to be custodians of the ‘greater meaning’ are now losing economic power to the Fortune 500s. Businesses are more interested in profits than the ‘greater meaning in life’ and this has dragged the world to an extreme poverty trap. With a billion and a half of the world’s population living in slums, the current social inequality has resulted into a global economic dysfunction. Economic and social inequalities are the root causes of social evil. This is evidenced by Oxfam’s statistics revealing that more than half of the world’s population owns the same wealth as the richest 85 persons[7]. In other words, 85 individuals in a world of 7 billion are living in huts that can accommodate half of the world.

Participants at the Vatican meeting comprised of World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Social Entrepreneurs communities. Also present were representatives from the Holy See, senior business leaders and global experts on inequality and social inclusion. We examined the drivers of inequality and explored novelties from the private and public sectors, and civil society that can help build more inclusive, entrepreneurial economies that are based on the principles of love and respect for all.

The outcome of the meeting was the creation of a new social contract for all human progress, which will provide essential resources for economic engagement, ensure well-functioning institutions, rights and responsibilities, and enable all global citizens to lead purposeful lives. The three areas to enable the realization of a new global mindset are: personal transformation, organizational transformation and cultural transformation.

Jake Effoduh Discussing With A Caucus Group As They Draft The "New Social Contract"

Jake Effoduh Discussing With The Caucus Group As They Draft The “New Social Contract”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On personal transformation: The Pope made it clear that people can make relevant contribution by placing their expertise at the service of those who are still in poverty; “The vocation of an entrepreneur is a noble work when it is led by a quest towards the broader meaning of life[8].” One hut can change the mindset of an entire community. One person can make the difference. Professor Klaus Schwab is one person. He founded the World Economic Forum in 1971[9] through inspiration from his own book, Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau[10] – in which the stakeholder principle was first ever defined[11]. He is the same person who created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship[12] in 1998, at a time when nobody knew what social entrepreneurship was! Two heads may be better than one, but one head is enough to inspire and commit others to improving the state of the world. Schwab’s ideology is that even if one hut (or stakeholder) may be too small, one must realize that there are those who do not have huts – and they constitute one and a half billion people.

The purport of organizational transformation is to create a new language in organizations. The language of using long term dynamism to meet short term goals; the language of leadership not rulership; the language of owning the responsibility for social transformation and human development. We have to evacuate ourselves from the circular economy of “take-make-waste” to “take-make-retake-remake-retake-remake.” Capitalism in its current model is unequivocally broken and it is going to get worse if we don’t incorporate ecological boundaries as well as the need to embrace equality in humanity. We need a world of plenty and not plenty for a few. Therefore there is need for organizations to transform their mindsets. It’s not about making profits but about making people.

Cultural transformations will only fruition with acceptance. We must work towards a system that embraces all people from all backgrounds, ensuring that each individual and group has the ability to contribute to a prosperous, purpose-driven world to their highest potential. They say what a man can do; a woman can do better. But why do women constitute 70% of the world’s poorest?[13] Anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation have an especially strong correlation with GDP per capita[14]. But do we need a business case before we advance equality? Living by the culture of your hut is like looking into the mirror to improve yourself. Stepping outside your hut will give you an opportunity to have a better perspective. Stereotypes must be unlearned.

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The Podium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new mindset is about recognizing the human dignity. It is about selflessness and sacrifice. It is ensuring that institutions exist for common good and stewardship. Businesses must be capable of feeling emotion, compassion and humanity. ‘How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?’[15]

The Qur’an instructs us to ‘give them [the poor] of the wealth of God, which He has given you’.[16] The bible says ‘whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed’[17]. Charity is a necessity in life because some of us are tested by being rich and some of us are tested by being poor, but charity is not enough. The new mindset goes beyond the thinking that the poor cannot help themselves, or that they have no capacity. Our role in helping the poor is not likened to filling up empty vessels but to ensure that the vessels are uncovered to all their potentials. There is no dignity in giving another man bread, if you are capable of teaching him how to make bread.

Social and economic exclusion is not our inescapable destiny. We can make what seems inevitable, intolerable. We need to change the mentality of “we can’t fix this world” to “we can’t have this world like this” Hence the reason why the pope calls us to action, with a sense of urgency: ‘to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it’[18].

 

Cross Section of Participants

At The Plenary With Participants

 

 

 

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Speaking With Experts On Inclusion

ABOUT:

Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is one of the 4,401 Global Shapers: A Community of exceptional young individuals under the age of 30, initiated by the World Economic Forum with currently 359 independent hubs worldwide. Jake Okechukwu is the Deputy Curator of the Abuja Global Shapers Hub, one of the 5 existing hubs in Nigeria. He was invited to The Forum’s meeting at the Vatican where he worked with a selected caucus to draft the new social contract; a framework for meeting the challenge to overcoming social and economic exclusion in the world. It was submitted to, and accepted by His Holiness Pope Francis I. Email: effoduh@gmail.com

FOOTNOTES:

  • [1] A tribe from the South- Eastern region of Nigeria and one of the major spoken languages in Nigeria.
  • [2] Akporobaro F.B.O and Emovon J.A Nigerian Proverbs: Meaning and Relevance Today Nigeria Magazine, Lagos, (1994), p. 113.
  • [3] His Holiness, Pope Francis I ‘Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Cergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World’ accessed 7th December 2014.
  • [4] The Vatican, ‘Message of Pope Francis to the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum on the occasion of the Annual Meeting 2014 at Davos-Klosters’ (17 January 2014) Vatican.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Michael Posner, former U.S Under Secretary of State, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, July 2012
  • [7] Oxfam International, “Number of billionaires doubles since financial crisis as inequality spirals out of control”, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [8] Ibid. (n3).
  • [9] The history of the World Economic Forum, accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [10] Meaning “Modern Management in Mechanical Engineering”
  • [11] This concept states that the management of an enterprise is not only accountable to its shareholders but must also serve the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and, more broadly, government, civil society and any others who may be affected or concerned by its operations.
  • [12] http://www.schwabfound.org
  • [13] Carly Fiona on ABC’s “This Week” January 12th 2014. accessed 7 December 2014.
  • [14] The Williams Institute, ‘The Relationship between LGBT Inclusion and Economic Development: An Analysis of Emerging Economies’ (2014) P.2.
  • [15] Ibid. (n3), P. 53.
  • [16] The Holy Quran, Verse 24:33.
  • [17] The Holy Bible; Proverbs 19:17.
  • [18] Ibid. (n4).

South Africans Remember Madiba On One Year Anniversary #Mandela

South Africans have started marking the first anniversary of the death of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, who died last year at the age of 95.

Official ceremonies to mark the passing of the former South African leader will include an interfaith prayer service early on Friday, followed by a wreath-laying commemoration by veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle, as well as a cricket match.

Bells, hooters, and traditional horns called vuvuzelas, will be sounded for three minutes and seven seconds, followed by three minutes of silence, combined to equal a six-minute and seven-second ceremony designed to symbolise Mandela’s 67 years of public service.

Many other events are due to take place over the weekend and beyond, including widespread artistic performances, as a way of remembering and celebrating the former president who led the country out of the apartheid era after enduring 27 years in prison.

Fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called on South Africans to emulate Mandela’s example in a statement to mark the anniversary.

“Our obligation to Madiba is to continue to build the society he envisaged, to follow his example,” Tutu said, referring to Mandela by his clan name.

South Africa: Opposition Nixes Report on President

South African opposition parties have rejected a report absolving the country’s president from financial wrongdoing in the upgrades of his personal home.

Opposition parties on Wednesday released their own report calling for President Jacob Zuma to be removed from office. They also demanded a criminal investigation and that Zuma pay back a portion of the more than $20 million in state funds used to improve his rural homestead in Nkandla in the Kwazulu-Natal province.

On Tuesday evening, a parliamentary committee released the findings of its investigation which cleared the president. The opposition walked out of that committee last month.

The investigation began after South Africa’s government watchdog, the Public Protector, released a report concluding that Zuma inappropriately benefited from state funding.

Credit: Yahoo News

Another South African Footballer Targeted in Robbery Attack

Gunmen have robbed the parents of another South African international football star, Sibusiso Vilakazi, while he was sleeping at their Johannesburg home, in an attack he claims was targeted at him.

Police and the midfielder for the national team Bafana Bafana said the robbers held up his family at gunpoint at his parents’ house in Soweto township and stole an array of valuables.

The attack shortly after midnight on Saturday came just under a week after national football captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was gunned down in what police said was a robbery that went “horribly wrong”.

The burglars stormed in and asked for Vilakazi by name while he slept in a backyard room.

“Those people knew what they wanted. They came looking for me,” the 24-year-old who captains local club Bidvest Wits, told local Eye Witness News.

The robbers also asked his parents to hand over his car keys before making off with cellphones, cash, a television set, his parents’ wedding rings and clothing.

“Everything happened when I was sleeping and I didn’t hear anything,” said Vilakazi. “Imagine if I woke up and went in what would have happened.”

Vilakazi’s teammate Meyiwa was shot dead while visiting his girlfriend last week in another suburb of Johannesburg, in a attack that shocked the crime-weary nation.

On Tuesday, Vilakazi was named in the 26-man Bafana Bafana squad that will host Sudan on November 15 in Durban before travelling to west Africa for a November 19 final-round clash with Nigeria.

Police spokesman Kay Makhubele told AFP that a manhunt for three suspects has been launched.

Credit: Yahoo News

South Africa Delay Naming Slain Football Captain’s Successor

South Africa coach ‘Shakes’ Mashaba said Tuesday he will name a successor to slain captain Senzo Meyiwa on the eve of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan.

 “I will decide who succeeds Senzo on the eve of the match,” Mashaba told reporters after naming a 26-man squad in Soweto for mid-November qualifiers against Sudan and Nigeria.

Bafana Bafana (The Boys) host Sudan in Durban on November 15 before travelling to west Africa for a November 19 final-round clash against Nigeria. There is no need to rush the decision — we need to think carefully about who succeeds Senzo in order to choose the right captain. My fellow coaches and I will have a good look at the players in camp because it will not be easy to replace Senzo as a goalkeeper and a captain. But will we do our best to find suitable replacements and life has to go on. We are confident whoever takes over will be able to deliver,” said the coach who wept publicly in the days before the burial of Meyiwa last Saturday.”

Defenders Tefu Mashamaite and Anele Ngcongca and midfielders Dean Furman and Andile Jali are possible choices as skipper.

S.Africa Footballer’s Murder was Robbery ‘Gone Wrong’

The murder of a South African football captain last week was a “robbery gone horribly wrong”, investigators said Monday, adding they were searching for other suspects involved in the crime.

Thirteen people have been questioned and one person has been arrested for the killing of Senzo Meyiwa, a 27-year-old goalkeeper who played for Bafana Bafana and top flight team Orlando Pirates.

Lieutenant-General Vineshkumar Moonoo told journalists they were confident that “the person we have charged was involved in the incident.”

Twenty-five year old Zenokuhle Mbatha was arrested in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg, the same township where Meyiwa was gunned down by intruders while visiting his pop-star girlfriend.

Mbatha will make a second court appearance on Tuesday November 11.

Moonoo added that there were “two people who were directly involved in the accident.”

The suspects made off with a cell phone.

Police have offered a reward of 250,000 rand ($23,000) for any information leading to his killer’s arrest and conviction of the two suspects.

Local media reported that Meyiwa’s family have hired private investigators to conduct a parallel probe of the death.

Credit: Yahoo News

Location of Detained Madagascar Ex-president Unknown- Family

The whereabouts of former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana are unknown after he was seized by police shortly after his surprise return from exile, his family said Tuesday.

“We are desperately worried about his safety,” his son Tojo said in a statement, adding that the family had been denied access to give him medication and clothing.

Ravalomanana, who was ousted in a coup in 2009, was picked up by armed police at his home in the capital Antananarivo after addressing supporters on his return from South Africa Monday.

The family have accused the authorities of kidnapping him and are appealing to the Southern African Development Community or the South African ambassador to intervene. The South African government has not commented on his departure.

Madagascar’s new President Henry Rajaonarimampianina said Ravalomanana was taken “for his safety” and had not been arrested. “He has been taken to safety against all kinds of threats,” said Rajaonarimampianina, who won December 2013 elections.

Prosecutor: Pistorius being Portrayed as ‘Victim’

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel was cross-examining Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl, on the second day of a sentencing hearing in South Africa for the double-amputee Olympic runner who was found guilty last month of culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

Oscar Pistorius was being portrayed as a “poor victim” ahead of his sentencing for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the chief prosecutor said Tuesday.

Van Zyl was called to testify by Pistorius’ defense lawyers, who are arguing that Masipa should be lenient on the multiple Paralympic champion, who they say has suffered emotionally and financially after the shooting. Van Zyl testified Monday regarding what he called Pistorius’ extensive charity work before the Feb. 14, 2013 shooting death of Steenkamp and said that Pistorius had now lost all his product endorsements because of the killing. Cross-examining van Zyl, Nel said “You view Mr. Pistorius as a poor victim of this case,” which Van Zyl denied.

Pistorius, 27, could receive a fine and a suspended jail sentence or as many as 15 years in prison.

Madagascar’s Ex-president Returns from Exile

Former Madagascar president Marc Ravalomanana, who has been living in exile in South Africa since his ouster in 2009, returned home on Monday.

“I am here to support peace and democracy, but more urgent is the fight against poverty,” he told supporters at his home in the capital Antananarivo.

Madagascar has on several occasions blocked Ravalomanana’s return to the Indian Ocean island since his rival Andry Rajoelina seized power.

In 2012, a plane carrying him was turned back in mid-flight when he tried to return home after nearly three years in exile.

Ravalomanana first fled to Swaziland after the coup and later moved to South Africa.

The former leader was in 2010 sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment with hard labour for the death of 30 opposition protesters killed by his presidential guard in February 2009.

Africa’s First Albino Model

refilwe_modiselle

Refilwe Modiselle is breaking all the rules while sashaying down the catwalk as Africa’s first albino model.

“I was being tenacious and saying ‘no, wait a minute. This is a different representation of what African beauty is,'” Modiselle says.

“You’re told that a black child should be brown-skinned, but what do you then call a girl like myself? I’m not tall either. But there I was modeling with the likes of your Adiambo’s, your famous models that have really done well.”

Refilwe-3 refilwe-modissele--340x340 20130117-141913refilwe-modiselle_main_story

In 1999, Modiselle was just 13 years old when she was first approached to do a five-page shoot for a youth magazine aiming to showcase how the African fashion landscape would change with the turn of the millennium. It was her first taste of fashion, but she got the bug.

Yet it wouldn’t be until she finished her high school education and entered college (at the behest of her mother) that Modiselle found herself in front of a camera again.

The move kickstarted her career and soon the South African student was staring back at herself from glossy magazine pages and gliding down runways at high-profile events, like Mercedes Benz Africa Fashion Week.

“I was defying everything about what society says defines a model. I’m basically saying ‘OK, let’s teach our kids a different definition of beauty, or a definition that’s always been there but has just always been disregarded”, she said.

She also added that, “People with albinism are often not given the opportunity to get into such industries because we’re not known as extroverts, we’re not given a chance to be identified in society as people who have the potential to represent something,” 

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Dalai Lama Accuses South Africa of ‘Bullying’

The Dalai Lama on Thursday accused South Africa of “bullying a simple person” after authorities there failed to give him a visa to attend a summit of Nobel peace laureates.

His comments, at a ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of his 1989 Nobel peace prize, followed claims that the peace summit had been cancelled after several other laureates pulled out in protest.

“The Nobel Peace Summit scheduled to be held in South Africa to honour the legacy of our fellow laureate, the late Nelson Mandela, has been cancelled as the South African government wouldn’t allow me to attend it,” the Dalai Lama said in a speech in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala where he is based. “This is sort of bullying a simple person.”

South Africa has been criticised in the past for refusing to grant the Dalai Lama a visa, reportedly under pressure from China.

This year a number of laureates pulled out of the summit, scheduled to be held next week in Cape Town, in protest at South Africa’s failure to grant the Dalai Lama a visa.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader thanked his fellow peace laureates for their efforts, saying they had “worked hard” to resolve the issue.

He made his comments at a ceremony in Dharamshala attended by two fellow laureates Jody Williams, founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and the Iranian human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi both of whom are boycotting the South Africa summit.

Williams accused President Jacob Zuma’s government of “selling its sovereignty” to China in a speech at the ceremony at the Dalai Lama’s monastery in Dharamshala on Thursday.

“Not a single laureate is happy about that decision (to cancel). Fourteen laureates protested to President Zuma, pressuring him, begging him, to give a visa to His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) so that we all could be together and celebrate in South Africa the legacy of Nelson Mandela.

“We could not go, and the message we were sending… was a message of protest to China. It was a message of protest to governments who sell their soul and their sovereignty to China, as South Africa did,” she said to loud applause from the audience of hundreds of Tibetan refugees.

South Africa’s Tutu Backs Hong Kong Protesters

 South African Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu Wednesday backed pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, criticising police for trying to suppress them and calling on Bejing not to “fear the will of its people”.

“I salute the courage of the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens who have participated in mass demonstrations in the territory,” said Tutu, who rose to worldwide fame as an opponent of apartheid in the 1980s.

“The firing of teargas at demonstrators, as happened on Sunday, was a bitter blow to what many still hope will be a peaceful, inclusive and dignified transformation process,” he said in a statement.

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Tens of thousands of protesters have assembled in three major commercial and retail areas of Hong Kong for the past three days, campaigning for free elections in 2017.

“I pray that the voices of the people of Hong Kong will never be stifled,” said Tutu, the Anglican archbishop emeritus.

“And I pray for a compassionate and just government in Beijing that does not fear the will of its people.”

Crowds on the streets of Hong Kong are expected to swell on Wednesday before a national holiday marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China.

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Pro- Gay Mosque Shut in S. A.

South Africa’s first gay-friendly mosque, which also allows women to lead prayers, has been closed indefinitely, a local official has told reporters.

A City of Cape Town Councillor says the newly-established Open Mosque had violated municipal by-laws by not having any parking spaces.

The mosque officially opened its doors on Friday despite criticism from members of the local Muslim community.

Founder Taj Hargey said the mosque would help counter radicalism.

“We are opening the mosque for open-minded people, not closed-minded people,” he said ahead of the launch.

S. A Nuclear Power Deal with Russia

South African government officials said on Tuesday that the South Africa’s nuclear cooperation deal signed this week with Russia is part of a tender process that will involve other competing countries and is not a contract to build power plants.

The Russian atomic agency Rosatom issued a statement on Monday saying that it had signed a $10 billion deal with Pretoria for the installation of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030, to help Africa’s most advanced economy cope with chronic electricity shortages.

However, South African government officials involved said the agreement was still in early stages.

Xolisa Mabhongo, an executive at South African state agency Nuclear Energy Corporation said, “There will be a South African procurement process of course. There will be other inter-government agreements signed.”

There would be a bidding process before any final contracts were signed, Mabhongo said from Vienna, where the agreement was signed.

“They jumped the gun,” a senior South African government source, who is part of the country’s delegation to an International Atomic Energy Agency conference in Vienna, told reporters.

“These kinds of inter-governmental agreements are standard with nuclear vendor countries. We foresee that similar agreements will be signed with other nuclear vendor countries, France, China, Korea, the U.S. and Japan.”

Lesotho to Hold Election to Ease Political Crisis

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Lesotho will hold elections earlier than scheduled in 2017, in an effort to ease a political crisis that resulted in an apparent coup last month, southern African regional leaders said on Tuesday.

“The Leaders of the Coalition Government have agreed to bring forward the date of the elections from 2017 to the date to be agreed upon after consultations,” a statement from the Southern African Development Community said.

South African President Jacob Zuma, whose territory envelops Lesotho, called a meeting of regional leaders on Monday night to discuss security developments in Lesotho. Regional leaders urged Lesotho to lift the suspension of parliament and restore “constitutional normalcy”.

Oscar Pistorius’ Trial Judge Expected to Deliver Verdict

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South African Judge Thokosile Masipa will begin delivering her verdict on Thursday morning on the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius.

The South African track star is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. Mr Pistorius says he mistook Ms Steenkamp for an intruder. The stop-start trial has lasted more than six months and included many moments of drama.

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These are some of the key moments in the case against Oscar Pistorius, which was led by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

The athlete has admitted firing the shots which killed her, but exactly what happened in his home that night lies at the centre of his murder trial.

S. A. Prisoners Gunned Down Trying to Escape

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Two prisoners have been kiiled as they tried to escape from Mthatha Hight Court in Eastern Cape Province.

An official from the justice ministry said that the prisoners, who were awaiting their hearing, apparently retrieved a firearm from a dustbin and there was exchange of gunfire with officers.

Mthunzi Mhaga, the justice ministry spokesman, said one prison officer was wounded in the leg during the shootout.

He said, “they attempted to escape on entering the court premises,” adding that the police were now in control and “the situation was under control.”

S. A Denies Dalai Lama Visa Again

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South Africa has denied a visa to the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader. This constitutes the third time in five years, said one of his representatives on Thursday.

The Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India and is at loggerheads with China over Tibet, had been hoping to join a Nobel peace conference in Cape Town next month but withdrew his visa application after being told it would be unsuccessful.

The South African foreign ministry confirmed that its High Commission in India had received a visa application but denied it had been rejected, saying it was being subjected to “normal due process”. It then said the Dalai Lama had canceled his trip and did not provide details.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang thanked South Africa for its “support” saying,

“China highly appreciates the respect given by the South African government on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and the support given to China on this issue…,We believe that South Africa will continue to support China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” He said, adding that the Dalai Lama had “destroyed” China’s ethnic unity “under the guise of religion”.

Lesotho’s PM Returns After Fleeing “Coup”

Thomas Thabane, Lesotho’s Prime Minister is back home after fleeing to South Africa due to the alleged coup attempt on Saturday.

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During the unrest, regional leaders rejected his call for troops to be deployed to restore order, because the unrest is thought to be linked to a struggle between Mr Thabane, (reportedly supported by the police), and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing who has the loyalty of the army.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma held separate talks, under the auspices of the South African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc, with Mr Tabane and his rivals.The prime minister and his deputies in the coalition government are due to appear before the king later to present a report about the meeting.

The army on the other hand is however still denying the allegation of attempting to overthrow Thabane.

South Africa: Some South Africans Protest Obama Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to touch down in South Africa within a matter of days, and his schedule includes meetings with political leaders, student groups and an honorary degree from the University of Johannesburg. There are several groups, however, calling for a boycott of Obama’s visit.

When Obama arrives in Johannesburg on Friday, he should expect a sideshow beside his warm welcome by South African dignitaries.

Some South African communist groups, student organizations, Muslim groups, unions and other political organizations are planning what they hope will be large protests of Obama’s visit.

The groups say they will demonstrate for the closing of Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for the stoppage of any wiretapping of emails or phone calls, and against the involvement of the U.S. in conflicts throughout the world, including Syria.

Phutas Tseki, the Gauteng Province chairman of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, said Obama has failed to keep his campaign promises.

“One of the things that we are standing up against here is the hypocrisy of the Obama administration. When Obama was elected he said to the world that he would lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba, that was not done. He said to the world he would close Guantanamo Bay. That was not done. Obama promised the world that we would be in a state of peace – that was not done. Instead, Obama administration is approving the supply of weapons to people who are not a state, to people who are not a government, such as it is happening in Syria. These are the type of actions that we are opposed to,” said Tseki.

Among the activists protesting the Obama visit is Yousha Tayob, with the Muslim Lawyers Association. His group had asked prosecutors and police to arrest Obama as a war criminal on his arrival in South Africa. Prosecutors have rejected the request, which the group is now appealing to a high court.

Their request for an investigation and arrest was based on the usage of Guantanamo Bay and drone strikes used to kill alleged terrorists, among other things.

“Absolutely shocking, absolutely shocking. So these are all the things we rely on in the docket and our NDPP and Police Authorities have seen fit not to even to investigate the matter,” said Tayob.

The groups have three major protests planned, two on Friday and one on Saturday outside of the University of Johannesburg, which plans to bestow an honorary doctorate of law on the U.S. president.

Masete Levy of the South African Students Congress urged the university not to move forward with the plan.

“Our contention is very simple – that President Obama and the imperialist U.S. regime have consistently undermined international law and created a situation of anarchy, war and disruption of normal human life in the world.” said Levy. “We think that as a university based in a country that respects democracy, human life, freedom and the general liberty of human species, the University of Johannesburg must not implicate itself as a university that respects violations of human rights and international law.”

South Africa’s Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said Friday the protesters should be allowed to protest. But he also said this visit by a U.S. president is important for economic and political relations between the two countries.

Obama is expected to meet with key leaders, including South African President Jacob Zuma, during his three-day visit.

Source: allAfrica.com

South Africa: Mandela Remains Critical – Zuma

Former president Nelson Mandela’s condition remains critical, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

“Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital and doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort,” Zuma said in Johannesburg.

Zuma and deputy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa visited Mandela at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria on Sunday night.

“… I was told by the doctors, that Madiba’s health had changed in the past 24 hours and he was now critical,” Zuma said.

“They were doing everything… to make him feel comfortable.”

Mandela was asleep when Zuma visited.

“It was late when we got to the hospital and he was already asleep. We were there, looked at him, and we saw him,” he said.

“We had a discussion with the doctors and his [Mandela’s] wife, Graca Machel… and then we left.”

Zuma said he was not in a position to give further details.

Answering questions from reporters, Zuma said Mandela’s condition would not affect United States President Barack Obama’s planned visit to South Africa.

“If there was such a visit… and somebody fell sick, I don’t think we would stop the visit… So we [are] not going to stop because Madiba is sick,” Zuma said.

“So Obama is coming… ,” Zuma said.

Obama was due to arrive in South Africa on Friday.

In reply to another question about Mandela’s condition, Zuma reiterated: “I am not a doctor… when a person is critical, he is critical… I am not in a position to say how critical… .”

Mandela, 94, was admitted to hospital on June 8 for treatment of a recurring lung infection.

The briefing by Zuma was initially scheduled as an off-the-record editors’ briefing on the economy and youth, but evolved into a fully fledged press conference.

Source: AllAfrica.com