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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
action.

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.

Apr 6, 2013

South Africa’s Mandela leaves hospital after pneumonia

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Former South African president Nelson Mandela left hospital on Saturday after more than a week of treatment of pneumonia that raised global concern about the health of the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader.

“(He) has been discharged from hospital today … following a sustained and gradual improvement in his general condition,” the South African presidency said in a statement.

Mar 29, 2013

South Africa’s Mandela spends second night in hospital

JOHANNESBURG, March 29 (Reuters) – Nelson Mandela spent a
second night in hospital being treated for a lung infection
while the South African government sought to reassure the nation
about the health of its first black president and hero of the
anti-apartheid struggle.

The 94-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate received well
wishes from global figures including U.S. President Barak Obama
after he was admitted to hospital before midnight on Wednesday,
his third stint in hospital in four months.

Mar 27, 2013

China cash for S.Africa port shows continental priority

DURBAN, South Africa, March 27 (Reuters) – China’s decision
to spend billions of dollars this week to revamp South Africa’s
rail lines and a major port show the importance Beijing places
on making sure African minerals reach its fast-growing
industries

China has long invested heavily in Africa to secure
strategic commodities but has faced huge difficulties getting
them to ports in some of the world’s poorest countries, many
still reeling from damage inflicted by decades of civil war.