Category Archives: South Africa

Drought impacts grapes harvest in Western Cape

South African Distell Group 2018 wine grape harvest was 30% down on the previous year due to drought in the Western Cape but grape quality was promising, its head winemaker conveyed.

South Africa has declared Western Cape and other regions as disaster areas as a prolonged dry spell decimated the wheat crop and reduced apple, grape and pear exports to Europe.

“The ongoing drought in the Cape has certainly had an impact on this year’s harvest,” Niël Groenewald said in a statement. “We have seen slower ripening of the grapes than usual due to smaller canopies, limited water in the soils and that which is available for irrigation.”

Ramaphosa sends mixed signals on land grabs

Contradictory information comes from South African leader Cyril Ramaphosa, who delivers different narratives to different players. Previously Ramaphosa said he intended to organise land summit in April, but the event did not take place. However during his visit  to London he reassured Queen Elizabeth there won’t be such expropriation without compensation.

During his first official visit to Britain as South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa met Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May. At present Ramaphosa is in London for the Commonwealth summit starting on Thursday, April 19.

The President is using his visit to Britain to launch his plan for attracting a trillion in foreign direct investments to South Africa.



South Africa joins sugary drinks tax

South Africa has joined the international trend of taxing sugary drinks to reduce high rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity. But the long-anticipated measure recommended by the WHO was fraught with controversy.

South Africa and the UK are the latest in a string of countries around the world to impose a soda surcharge, together with Ireland, Canada and the Philippines among those expected to follow in due course.

Efforts to raise the tax on sugary drinks — by up to 50% in some countries — have sparked standoffs between the beverage industry and the health lobby.  It was no different in South Africa.

The protracted debate in the run-up to the new law saw Coca Cola executives suggest taxes don’t work in solving obesity.

However, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the 11% surcharge levied on a can of soda since April 1 was long overdue.

“We are not banning sugar. We are just saying take them in moderate amounts. Every life minute of our existence we are being fed with these substances. It’s an overload on the human body,” Motsoaledi said.

The government said it was acting in the interests of the public in a country with a diabetes epidemic fueled by sugar and an overburdened health system.

Jürgen Dünhofen ‘in solo’

Jürgen Dünhofen is a proud participant of  @KKNK2018,  the biggest Afrikaans cultural festival held in picturesque  streets of Oudtshoorn. The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) which “turns the sleepy town into a colourful and chaotic melting pot of performance, theatre, sound and visual art” Cape Town Magazine claims.

Among  Jürgen Dünhofen  latest creations – the monumental fresco (see Tweet below) assembling precision of the Oriental calligraphy, and fluidity of the Western gestural; the power of American expressionism, and refinement of Proto-Renaissance masters. The spectacular outcome is the unique in its integrity Abstract piece, striking with its polyphony, accumulating melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic qualities. which can without doubt claim the status of South African state of art.

“A multi disciplinary Artist, I’m especially fond of installation art. Besides carving out a career as an artist I love to teach as well as explore nature”- Jürgen Dünhofen writes about himself in a few humble lines. Graduate from the University of Cape Town, he advances the endeavour of contemporary art with courage and ease, making him one of the most brilliant South African creators of his generation.

The #KKNK2018 took place from the 29th March to the 4th April 2018.

Images: social networks, courtesy of Jürgen Dünhofen

“I enjoy being close to my work being able to write phrases onto the paper. I also like the ability to show movement easily when standing so close to the piece” -explained Dünhofen to Africa Diplomatic.

Mimica supports small business in South Africa

Neven Mimica Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development is visiting South Africa, where he is meeting the Minister of Finance, Mr Nhlanhla Nene, and the Minister for Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu.

The new EU programme “Employment Promotion through small, micro and medium enterprises Support Programme for South Africa” worth €52 million will help to boost job creation in South Africa, while the new Enhancing Legislature Oversight Programme of €10 million will strengthen democracy and good governance.

“Ten years after the establishment of a strategic partnership with South Africa, the European Union remains very much engaged with the country as a crucial regional and global player”, – on the occasion, Commissioner Mimica said. “We are looking forward to enhancing our relations with President Ramaphosa and his administration. The fight against unemployment, poverty and inequality are at the heart of our common agenda and I am happy to launch two programmes, worth a total €62 million, in line with those priorities, during my visit.’ 

Grace Mugabe faces ivory smuggling charges

The former First lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, is suspected of smuggling ivory worth millions of dollars.

Tinashe Farawo, speaking for Zimbabwe‘s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said “we opened our investigations and realized that former first lady Grace Mugabe was illegally dealing in ivory.”

Grace Mugabe, the spouse of former President Robert Mugabe, faced accusations on raids of the country’s ivory stockpiles during her period at power as First lady and sending the pieces as gifts to high-profile personalities in the Middle East and Asia.

Ms.Mugabe defends her actions, describing smuggled ivory items as ‘diplomatic gifts’.

Zuma to be charged with corruption

The South African chief prosecutor Shaun Abrahams announced the state will reinstate fraud and corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma for the case relating to a 30 billion rand ($2.5 billion) arms deal in the late 1990s.

The decision follows the ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal which set aside the 2009 decision to withdraw the case against the former President.

A team of five senior state prosecutors spent four weeks studying Zuma’s reasons if there are sufficient grounds to pursue him, after submitting the information at the end of January.

Abrahams announced two weeks ago that he had received a recommendation from the team and was ready to make the announcement, which is made public on 16th of March.

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