Category Archives: South Africa

Namibia: no alcohol consumption in bars

Namibia has 2,129 confirmed cases and 10 deaths with the country’s rate of daily new cases now the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon, according to President Hage Geingob announcement.
Subsequenly he imposed limits on public gatherings, deacreasing to 100 from 250 amid surging cases, the President announced.

People will also not be allowed to consume alcohol at bars and taverns. They will only be permitted to drink beverges at home.

Geingob relaxed rules for international tourists, who will no longer be subjected to a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival but will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test conducted 72 hours before arrival.

They will, however, be required to remain at their initial destination in the country for seven days. A test will be conducted during this period and tourists can proceed with their holiday if the result is negative.

In a televised speech on Friday July 31, Geingob said there is also a decision to suspend schools from August 4 for 28 days came after considering the risks associated with the spread of the virus.

The measures also affect early childhood development, pre-primary, primary and the first two grades of high school, while Namibian schools will be suspended for the second time in four months next week.

Namibia has 2,129 confirmed cases and 10 deaths with the country’s rate of daily new cases now the fourth highest on the continent following South Africa, Eswatini and Gabon, according to Geingob.

South Africa: 58 murders daily

The number of homicides rose by 1.4% to 21,325 in the 12 months through March — an average of 58 a day — the police service said in its annual crime-statistics report.

The murder rate of 36 per 100,000 people was little changed from the previous year and compares with an international average of seven per 100,000. The number of rapes, sexual offenses and car hi-jackings also increased, but property-related crime declined.

“We are not where we want to be,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a briefing in Pretoria, the capital. “However we are pleased with the improvements in most stubborn crime categories.”

Violent crime is fueled by widespread alcohol and drug abuse, and perpetrators often know their victims, the police data show. A lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus should have a positive impact on the current year’s statistics, with preliminary data showing it helped curtail homicides and other crimes.

De Beers diamond mining to cut jobs

Diamond mining company De Beers is likely to have to cut jobs, its chief executive said on Thursday July 30, as it outlined strategy for an overhaul of its business after the coronavirus pandemic crisis hit demand for jewellery.

De Beers earlier reported plunging earnings in the first half of 2020 as a drop in rough diamond sales and prices hurt margins.

Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were just $2 million in the period, down from $518 million in the first half of last year.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver told media official consultations with workers will begin on August 11. The business overhaul “is likely to lead to some job losses, but I can’t tell you at this point what that number will be”, he continued.

Cleaver said the process would last for three months and involve a review of the entire spectrum of activities from mining to rough sales, retail and the corporate centre, but exclude joint venture businesses in Botswana and Namibia where the miner employs 20,000 people.

Harare in lockdown amid public discontent

Zimbabwe’s two main cities – Harare and Bulawayo – have been in lockdown since July 31, Friday, patrolled by the secuiry forces in an attempt of government to prevent protests called by activists over corruption and rapidly degrading economic situation, causing unprecedented hardships.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s critics blame his government the return to the authoritarian methods of late Robert Mugabe, banning demonstrations, and abducting and arresting opponents.

Mnangagwa has responded that the protests constitute an attempt of “insurrection” by the opposition.

The leading ZANU-PF party this week branded the U.S. ambassador in Harare a “thug,” accusing him of funding protests.

In central Harare, the capital, banks, supermarkets, and businesses were shut as police and soldiers patrolled the streets.

A journalist in Bulawayo, the other main city, described a similar situation there, with some police patrolling on horseback. Businesses also stayed shut in Harare’s townships, including Mbare – an epicenter of protests in the past.

Public indignation is rising over an economic crisis marked by inflation running above 700%, shortages of foreign currency and public hospitals crippled by strikes and a lack of medicine.

More than a dozen activists sought by the police for promoting Friday’s protests were in hiding.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere and Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga separately said on social media they had been detained for protesting in their neighbourhood. Mahere posted a video of police advancing towards her and telling her to stop recording them. She later could not be reached for comment.

“The security situation in the country is calm and peaceful” police spokesman Paul Nyathi said.

«The Constitution of #Zimbabwe guarantees the right to peaceful protests; a right that @efie41209591, @advocatemahere and others exercised today. They should be released from police custody. #EU4HumanRights» reads the Tweet issued by EU delegation in Zimbabwe, calling for immediate release of Tsitsi Dangarembga,the award-winning novelist, and Fadzayi Mahere, the Consitutional lawyer.

Image above: social media

EU expresses concerns about Zimbabwe arrests

«Recent developments in Zimbabwe are deeply worrying. The work of human rights defenders, journalists, and civil society organisations is essential to support reforms that stand the test of time. Upholding constitutional rights is a principle which cannot be compromised» the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

A court ruled on July 24 that a journalist charged with inciting violence was a danger to the public and extended his detention until August, while the United Nations and the European Union expressed concern that authorities could be violating the fundamental freedoms.

Hopewell Chin’ono (pictured) and opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume were arrested on July 20 on allegations of promoting planned protests against corruption in government on July 31, which police insisted degraded to violence.

Both arrested, who deny the charges, face up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted.

Chin’ono’s lawyer Doug Coltart said a Harare magistrate had ruled that the journalist “is a danger to the public because he has not yet completed his mission of inciting people to demonstrate on 31 July.”

Chin’ono, who has gained a following on social media by being critical of the government’s handling of the economy and corruption, told reporters as he was being taken to prison cells: “Journalism has been criminalised. The struggle against corruption should continue. People should not stop, they should carry on with it.”

He will be kept in prison until the next court hearing on August, Coltart said he would appeal the ruling extending his detention until that hearing.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement it was concerned by allegations that Zimbabwean authorities may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to clamp down on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“Merely calling for a peaceful protest or participating in a peaceful protest are an exercise of recognised human rights,” it said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed an overnight curfew and tighter restrictions on movement from July 22 to combat rising coronavirus infections. But activists say the measures are meant to stop the July 31 protests.

Image above: Hopewell Chin’ono Facebook page

Five killed in Johannesburg hostage situation

Five people were killed and hostages were being held at a church west of Johannesburg, South African police said on July 11, Saturday.

Police announced in a statement that they were alerted to a “hostage situation and shooting” in the early hours of the morning at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom.

Thirty arrests were made and more than 25 firearms seized, police wrote on Twitter microblog, adding hostage negotiators were still at the scene.

Police did not explain the reason behind hostages situation.

Television station eNCA suggested there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.

Portugal takes control of Dos Santos shares

The Portuguese government took control of a stake held by Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos in Efacec Power Solutions SGPS SA as it attempts to help the manufacturer find a new shareholder, Bloomberg news agency reports. The daughter of late President of Angola Eduardo dos Santos, often named as the “richest woman of Africa” complained about injustice committed to her. Ms.Dos Santos also denied any wrong-doings, used as a pretext to seaze and privatase part of her immense wealth.

The 72% stake in Efacec was held through Malta-based firm Winterfell 2, which is indirectly controlled by Isabel dos Santos, Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said in Lisbon on July 2 following a cabinet meeting. The government will immediately launch a plan to sell the stake and there are already proposals from various companies, he said.

An “impasse” in Efacec’s shareholder structure has led the producer of electrical equipment including transformers to face some difficulties with clients, suppliers and creditors, and some orders have been canceled in the last few weeks, according to Siza Vieira. Efacec has annual sales of about €400M, the minister said.

Efacec said in January that dos Santos planned to sell her majority stake in the company.

In December, an Angolan court froze some assets of dos Santos, as well as those of her husband Sindika Dokolo and one of her executives, after prosecutors alleged they engaged in deals with state-owned companies that led to the Angolan government incurring losses.

In February, Portuguese prosecutors froze her bank accounts in the country. Dos Santos has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Angolan billionaire businesswoman said she had been “denied justice” after losing an appeal against an asset freeze over alleged corruption.

Described by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest woman in Africa, she is accused of diverting billions of dollars from state companies during her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s nearly 40-year rule of the oil-rich nation.

Since her father retired in 2017, her business empire has been targeted by his successor, Joao Lourenco, who has vowed to defeat corruption.

“I have been denied justice from the courts in Angola and Portugal,” dos Santos said in a statement.

Botswana repatriates citizens

Botswana will undertake efforts to repatriate citizens stranded abroad due to coronavirus travel bans, with more than 100 travellers to arrive on June 3 from Ethiopia, President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Saturday, May 30.

In order to alleviate the plight of our citizens abroad who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, mostly students and those affected by the global travel bans, we have decided to assist them with financial assistance to either cope where they are or to return them home,” Masisi said in a speech, transmitted by TV channels.

Masisi said the government has already helped 400 people to return from South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Botswana medics have established 35 coronavirus cases, one of patients died.

However in spite of the relatively low contamination cases rate the economy has been severely hit, with real gross domestic product forecast to contract by 13% in 2020.

Botswana ended a 48-day lockdown a week ago, allowing businesses and schools to reopen under strict conditions but its borders are still closed with only returning citizens and essential goods allowed in.

At present the toursitic industry operators reamin trapped between clients requesting their money back, and accommodation in safari lodges reluctant to return deposits. This has caused serious cash flow problems.

The proposal of a voucher or credit for the future trips do not convene many clients,
explainging they found themselves in a financially fragile situaiton, and they are not sure they will be able to afford the luxury trip to Botswana natural resorts in the future.

As a result the Botswana communities has been suffering a serious economic set back caused by absence of toursits, who were the major consumers of local services of guides, drivers, restaurants, traditional crafts, and souvenirs, and other endeavours related to the touristic industry infrastructure.

Africa’s tourism industry in general has been hard hit by coronavirus lockdowns. Overnight, hotel bookings were canceled, safaris postponed and cultural tours abandoned. The operators are struggling to stay afloat in hope the tourists will come back soon.

Wildlife trafficking to China

Under the guise of legal exports, South African traders with China are illegally selling thousands of wild animals threatened with extinction and endangered, according to an investigation.

Apes have been stolen from the wild along with cheetahs, tigers, rhinos, lions and meerkats, they have been trafficked to circuses, theme parks, laboratories, zoos and “safari parks”, and simply as exotic foods, researchers revealed.

Their report says at least 5,035 live wild animals were exported to China from 2016 to last year – “an extremely conservative” estimate – including chimpanzees and “a bewildering number” of giraffe, which “are also eaten in China”.

Lesotho PM «dignified retirement» 

Government of the Kigndom of Lesotho has agreed that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is accused of murdering his estranged wife, will resign without any further delay.

The deal brokered with the help of South African mediators is said to promise the Prime minister a “dignified and secure” exit from office.

Thabane has been under pressure to resign over persistent suspicions he was involved in the assassination in 2017, and his new wife has been charged. Both deny any involvement in the brutal murder. Gunmen shot and killed Mr Thabane’s then-wife Lipolelo Thabane on 14 June 2017. Officials charged Mr Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah with the murder this year, and also named Mr Thabane as a suspect – although he has not yet been formally charged.

It is not yet clear if he will agree to stand down immediately, as the deal indicates.

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