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Jul 3, 2013

South Africa looks to sell some of $1 billion rhino horn stockpile

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South Africa is seeking permission for a one-off sale of some of its $1 billion stockpile of rhino horn to finance conservation and potentially flood a thriving black market, its environment minister said on Wednesday.

However, conservation groups fear the plan could end up increasing demand in major markets such as Vietnam, where the horn is sought after for use in traditional medicine, as well as enriching black marketeers.

Jun 26, 2013

Tributes for ‘pillar of peace’ Mandela pile up at hospital

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South Africans have been coming in their hundreds to offer notes, flowers and prayers for Nelson Mandela at a wall surrounding a Pretoria hospital where the 94-year-old anti-apartheid hero remains in a critical condition.

Well-wishers’ messages, bouquets and stuffed animals have piled up at the guarded boundary around the compound where doctors are treating the former South African president for a recurrent lung infection.

Jun 24, 2013

South Africans resigned over ‘critical’ Mandela

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africans appeared resigned on Monday to the inevitability of one day saying goodbye to former president Nelson Mandela after the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader’s condition in hospital deteriorated to critical.

Madiba, as he is affectionately known, is revered among most of South Africa’s 53 million people as the architect of the 1994 transition to multi-racial democracy after three centuries of white domination.

May 30, 2013

South Africa’s Zuma seeks calm at mines; rand falls

PRETORIA, May 30 (Reuters) – South African President Jacob
Zuma appealed on Thursday for a fair and speedy outcome to tense
wage talks in the mining sector, but the rand fell further after
his attempt to soothe investor concerns.

In a hastily convened news conference two days after
weaker-than-expected economic data, Zuma tried
to calm fears of a repeat of last year’s violent industrial

May 16, 2013

The cost of no sweatshops: South Africa struggles not to be Bangladesh

NEWCASTLE, South Africa (Reuters) – It’s not luxurious, but Goldfinch Garments, the Chinese-owned South African factory where Sindisizwe Zwane works nine hours a day, is far from a sweatshop: the ventilation is decent, the lighting is good and basic safety measures are in place.

South Africa says its garment industry is better regulated and workers are better paid than in ultra low-cost Asian producers like Bangladesh, where the collapse of a factory killed more than 1,100 people last month.

May 3, 2013

Four officials suspended in South Africa’s widening Gupta scandal

PRETORIA (Reuters) – South Africa suspended four top security officials on Friday, including two brigadier-generals, in a widening scandal over a plane chartered by a family with close ties to President Jacob Zuma using an air force base without proper permission.

The affair – dubbed “Guptagate” after the influential Indian-born Gupta family – has transfixed South Africa since the private flight landed at Pretoria’s Waterkloof Air Force base on Tuesday with nearly 200 guests for a lavish family wedding.

May 2, 2013

South Africa summons Zambia envoy for leader’s blunt comments

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s foreign ministry said it summoned Zambia’s ambassador on Thursday after its vice president was quoted telling a British newspaper that South Africans were arrogant and “I hate” them.

Relations between Zambia and South Africa are normally cordial. But Vice President Guy Scott’s comments reflected the reality that many of South Africa’s neighbours feel they live in the shadow of its dominant economy, which makes up about two thirds of the GDP for southern Africa.

Apr 26, 2013

South Africa police investigate PetroSA over alleged graft

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s police anti-corruption unit said on Friday it had opened an investigation at state oil company PetroSA, which reported “deviations” in financial procedures that a newspaper said involved millions of dollars of irregular payments.

In an investigative report published on Friday, the weekly Mail & Guardian questioned payments made when PetroSA last year secured crude oil acreage in Ghana through the acquisition of Sabre Oil and Gas Holding Ltd.

Apr 25, 2013

South Africa passes secrets bill; critics say it may hide graft

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s parliament approved a bill on Thursday for managing state secrets, ending a three-year battle over legislation critics say could be used to cover up corruption.

The Protection of State Information Bill has been one of the most hotly-contested legislative proposals of President Jacob Zuma’s government. The administration says it is needed to provide more effective regulations for managing sensitive information 19 years after the end of apartheid rule.

Apr 11, 2013

Despite armed guards, Africa’s rhinos losing battle to poachers

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa (Reuters) – Five days after the rhino was gunned down, its carcass had been picked apart by scavengers while the poachers who killed the threatened animal had probably taken its valuable horn over the South African border into Mozambique.

All that was left of its calf was a skull swarming with flies and a few other bones collected by crime scene investigators at South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park for DNA tests that may one day be used to link the poachers to the stolen horns.