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from Financial Regulatory Forum:

ANALYSIS-Mining rights issue tarnishes S.Africa’s image

By Agnieszka Flak and Julie Crust

JOHANNESBURG/LONDON, Aug 24 (Reuters) - South Africa's handling of two disputed mine right awards has damaged the resource-rich country's reputation and raised investor concerns over transparency and governance.

Kumba Iron Ore, a unit of Anglo American, and Lonmin have said the government deprived them of mining rights when it awarded prospecting licences, some to people linked to high-ranking officials, over areas where the two mining giants operated.

"The issuing of mineral and prospecting rights by the South African government is a process so fraught with danger that it is impossible to trust the authority not to steal, or be in league with those who wish to steal, your assets," said Nic Borain, an independent political analyst.

The biggest worry for the industry is that mining rights they have exploited for years could come under government review and they could lose a part of their businesses to companies with deep political ties and little experience in mining.

from Africa News blog:

“Kill the Boer”: History or hate speech?

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SAFRICA-ELECTIONSThe African National Congress has defended the singing of an apartheid-era song with the words "Kill the Farmer, Kill the Boer", saying it is no incitement to violence but a way of ensuring a history of oppression is not forgotten.

That does little to assuage the concerns of the white minority, however, in a country branded the “Rainbow Nation” after the relatively peaceful end to apartheid 16 years ago and the government's message of "unity in diversity".

from Africa News blog:

Does Zuma’s polygamy matter?

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SAFRICA-ZUMA/During the run-up to South Africa’s election last year, there were plenty of jibes about which of Jacob Zuma’s wives would become first lady once he was president.

But Zuma’s local critics largely kept silent this week as he married for the fifth time, taking his third current wife. While outside the country, his polygamy was very much still a talking point, in South Africa the wedding was treated more as being a colourful society event than being controversial.

from Africa News blog:

Support slumps for rival to South Africa’s ANC

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SAFRICA-ELECTION/CELEBRATIONIt would be hard for the leaders of South Africa’s COPE party to put a positive spin on its latest poll rating of just over 2 percent. If the breakaway group from the African National Congress gave the ANC a bit of a jolt before elections in April, the ruling party doesn’t seem to have much to worry about from that quarter now.

In terms of electoral success, it hasn’t been a good year for parties trying to challenge the former liberation movements that run most of southern Africa.

from Africa News blog:

What is COSATU fighting for?

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South Africa’s largest trade union federation was quick to break into stirring songs of class struggle during its recent congress and COSATU members showed an impressive ability to sign along in unison.

But the question of what it is fighting for these days and its role in the ruling tripartite alliance with the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party has never been under such great scrutiny as it has since President Jacob Zuma took office in May.

from Fan Fare:

Nicole Richie gives birth to Sparrow

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If it's tough being a celebrity these days, and it's getting even harder finding a unique name for a celebrity baby.richie

But Nicole Richie and husband Joel Madden have come up with something new to greet the arrival of their new son, born "In the middle of night, the very early hours of September 9, 2009."

from Africa News blog:

South Africa’s unions flex their muscles

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After South Africa’s unions came close to blocking the listing of mobile phone group Vodacom, new President Jacob Zuma may want to keep a closer eye on his left wing allies.

The attempt to sink the $10 billion bourse debut of Vodacom, which went ahead on Monday after an 11th-hour court ruling, hurt the rand currency and revived investor concerns over Zuma.

from Africa News blog:

Holding President Zuma accountable

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Making sure South Africans hold their new government accountable is essential if the country is to succeed under Jacob Zuma, believes Mamphela Ramphele, an anti-apartheid activist and prominent South African businesswoman.

"We underestimated what it means to govern a modern democracy," she told Reuters. "In that context we have made many  mistakes. The first mistake was to conflate the leader, the party, the government and the state. That conflation leads to the undermining of state institutions ... and abuse of state resources for party political reasons."

from Africa News blog:

Zuma sweeps in

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It was South Africa’s most exciting election campaign for a long time, enlivened by the split in the African National Congress and the personality of Jacob Zuma, the man who is now pretty much assured of becoming president despite the best efforts of plenty of people within his party as well as the opposition.

So far, the results don’t look too different from the pre-poll forecasts. An ANC victory was never in doubt and the battle was as much as anything about whether the party could keep its two-thirds majority in parliament, which lets it change the constitution and further entrench its power. That was still in doubt after early figures.

from Africa News blog:

Will Mandela effect help ANC?

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Nelson Mandela, a global symbol of reconciliation after the end of apartheid in 1994, appeared at the ruling ANC's last election rally before Wednesday's vote, delivering a last minute campaign boost for party leader Jacob Zuma.

Wearing a Zuma t-shirt, he sat beside the ANC leader, who has been fighting corruption allegations for eight years. The case was just dropped on a technicality and some South Africans still question his innocence.

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