Deputy Bureau Chief, Southern Africa
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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
impact.

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.

Jul 31, 2014

Mountain bikers eye $1 mln in ‘toughest race on earth’

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Mountain bikers tempted by the $1 million in prize money up for grabs in a new South African endurance race are given a warning before they sign up: “This could change your life, or end it”.

Teams of two will have to come up with a $10,000 entrance fee to race on Dec. 3 in The Munga – a grueling unassisted 1,000-km (620-mile) ride across South Africa’s semi-arid Karoo desert region at the height of summer.

Jul 29, 2014

South Africa’s ANC prefers local buyer for Amplats mines

JOHANNESBURG, July 29 (Reuters) – South Africa’s ruling
African National Congress (ANC) would like a local company to
buy mines being sold by Anglo American Platinum but it
will not try and influence the deal, the party said on Tuesday.

The world’s biggest platinum producer, a unit of Anglo
American, said last week it would sell a swathe of its
most labour-intensive South African mines after a five-month
strike hit its revenues and as it follows a long-term pivot to
mechanised operations.

Jun 24, 2014

New labour threat looms after South Africa’s longest strike ends

JOHANNESBURG, June 24 (Reuters) – The end of South Africa’s
longest strike will provide respite for its troubled platinum
sector, but the stranglehold unions have over a flatlining
economy has not loosened and more industrial action is looming.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU)
signed a wage deal on Tuesday with Lonmin ,
Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum to
end a five-month stoppage that dragged Africa’s most developed
economy into contraction.

May 29, 2014

Special Report: The rifts behind Nigeria’s mass kidnap

CHIBOK/ABUJA (Reuters) – When local people warned that hundreds of Islamist militants were heading towards his remote town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria, Danuma Mphur hurried to summon help.

As chairman of the Parent Teachers Association at the town’s school, Mphur feared for the safety of children who were staying there to take exams. The 15 Nigerian soldiers in Chibok were no match for the forces of Boko Haram, a militant group waging a campaign to create an Islamic state in the region. Reinforcements were needed, fast. Mphur says he called the police and the local government chairman.

May 28, 2014

South African court to decide fate of girls ‘swapped at birth’

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – A South African court will rule on the future of two four-year-old girls who were accidentally switched the day they were born and have been raised by each other’s biological mother, officials involved in the case said on Wednesday.

One of the mothers wants to get her biological daughter back, while the other prefers to keep the girl she has raised.

May 15, 2014

Hunt for abducted Nigerian girls ‘unlikely to have happy ending’

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s hunt for more than 200 abducted schoolgirls is not all that it seems. In public, an international operation is gathering pace while behind the scenes, officials say it is unlikely to deliver the success that global opinion demands.

The United States and Britain are helping Nigerian forces in the effort to liberate the girls taken from their school in Borno state a month ago by Boko Haram Islamist militants.

    • 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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