Deputy Bureau Chief, Southern Africa
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Oct 23, 2014

African beacon Botswana prepares for tight election

GABORONE (Reuters) – Botswana will on Friday hold what are expected to be its closest elections since gaining independence from Britain 48 years ago as President Ian Khama’s ruling party faces growing dissent in a country often heralded as a beacon of African democracy.

Khama’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to win a reduced majority, extending the grip on power it has held since 1966. There is, however, growing support for opposition parties who say change is needed with economic growth slowing and unemployment stuck at around 20 percent.

Oct 21, 2014

Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years for Steenkamp killing

PRETORIA (Reuters) – A South African judge on Tuesday sentenced Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the negligent killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.At the culmination of one of the most watched murder trials in recent history, the 27-year-old disabled sprinter was led away by police officers to holding cells beneath the courtroom in Pretoria.

Pistorius wiped his eyes as Judge Thokozile Masipa handed down the prison sentence for culpable homicide.

Oct 21, 2014

Grim-faced Pistorius faces sentencing in South African court

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Oscar Pistorius arrived at the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday to be sentenced for killing his girlfriend, closing one of the most sensational trials in South African history and one that may yet fuel controversy about race and money in its justice system.

The Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who was convicted of culpable homicide last month for shooting 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, was escorted by armed police into court, past a scrum of reporters.

Oct 16, 2014

Africa set to switch on gas-to-power potential

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Africa’s under used gas reserves, either exported or burnt away into the sky, are set to play a big role in stemming the continent’s crippling electricity void, a shift that should boost economies and small-cap energy firms.

Sub-Saharan Africa contains some of the fastest growing and most dynamic economies in the world but electricity shortages deter investment, pushing up business costs and sustaining poverty and inequality.

Sep 22, 2014

South Africa says toll in Nigeria church collapse rises to 115

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The death toll from the collapse of a church guesthouse in Lagos has risen to 115, South African government minister Jeff Radebe said on Monday, urging the heavily criticized Nigerian government to investigate the “tragedy”.

The Sept 12. disaster in the church compound of popular preacher T.B. Joshua, which Radebe says killed 84 South Africans from visiting church groups, has opened up a diplomatic rift between the two African economic heavyweights.

Sep 9, 2014

South Africa wants to resume Iran oil imports in three months

PRETORIA, Sept 9 (Reuters) – South Africa wants to resume
oil imports from Iran, once its biggest supplier, and hopes to
resolve “sanction issues” that have blocked purchases within the
next three months, its deputy foreign minister said on Tuesday.

South Africa bought around 68,000 barrels of oil per day
(bpd) from Iran in May 2012, a month before it halted crude
purchases as Western countries pressured Tehran over its nuclear
programme. That was well down from peak purchases in 2011.

Aug 21, 2014

S&P says will not follow South African bank downgrade by Moody’s

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Ratings agency Standard &
Poor’s said on Thursday it had no plans to downgrade South
African banks, easing concerns a cut by Moody’s on the country’s
four biggest lenders this week could have a knock-on ratings

Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded deposit ratings for Standard
Bank, FirstRand, Nedbank and Absa
Bank — Barclays Africa Group’s local operation.

Aug 20, 2014

Ebola fears slowing tourist flow to Africa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is putting off thousands of tourists who had planned trips to Africa this year, especially Asians, including to destinations thousands of miles from the nearest infected community such as Kenya and South Africa.

Ebola, a hemorrhagic disease which can kill up to 90 percent of those it infects, has claimed more than 1,200 lives this year in the three small West African states of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and also has a toehold in Nigeria.

Aug 11, 2014

Protesters disrupt “massacre” evidence by South Africa’s Ramaphosa

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Protesters chanting “Blood
on his hands” briefly halted South African Deputy President
Cyril Ramaphosa’s evidence on Monday at an inquiry into the
police shooting of 34 striking mine workers two years ago.

Ramaphosa was a non-executive director at Lonmin
when negotiations to halt a violent wildcat strike at its
Marikana platinum mine ended in police shooting the strikers
dead on Aug. 16, 2012.

Aug 11, 2014

South Africa’s Ramaphosa defends actions before Marikana massacre

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Deputy
President Cyril Ramaphosa was trying to “prevent further loss of
life” when he intervened in a wildcat strike that ended with the
police killing 34 miners, he told an inquiry on Monday.

Ramaphosa, who led a historic strike for fairer pay for
black miners under apartheid in 1987, has faced accusations of
putting political pressure on the police to take action against
striking Lonmin employees before the shooting at the
Marikana mine on Aug. 16, 2012.

    • About Joe

      "Joe is Reuters deputy bureau chief for southern Africa, covering ten countries in the region out of Johannesburg. Joe has previously been based in Abuja, Nigeria and London."
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