Give land to South Africa’s landless

SOUTH AFRICA ( - Cyril Ramaphosa has called it the “original sin”. South Africa’s new president has pledged to correct “the violent dispossession of our people’s land”. That dispossession reached its height in 1913 when the Native Land Act set aside a miserable 7 per cent of terrain for four-fifths of the population. That segregationist act merely formalised a de facto policy that had gradually dispossessed black farmers, turning them into a rootless proletariat forced to work as cheap labour in gold and diamond mines. If all property is theft, the larceny in South Africa has been colour-coded for everyone to see. Talk of land reform is back on the agenda in South Africa. In February, a matter of days into Mr Ramaphosa’s presidency, the African National Congress launched a review of the constitution that would allow more explicitly for expropriation of land without compensation. In doing so, it has buckled to pressure from the breakaway and radical Economic Freedom Fighters. It has also raised fears that South Africa could now go the way of Zimbabwe: driving whites off the land, spooking investors, wrecking the economy and endangering the country’s self-sufficiency in food. Those fears are overdone. South Africa, for all its structural problems and festering injustice, is far from being a Zimbabwe. For one thing, it is Africa’s most urban society, with at least two-thirds of the population living in cities. For another, it has strong institutio
Two elephants crossing dirt road with tourists in jeep in background

Aussie travel advisory bashes South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA ( - Murder‚ rape‚ car hijackings‚ civil unrest‚ water shortages‚ spiked drinks‚ drunk drivers and terrorism. These are just a few of the horrors that could be encountered by people heading to South Africa‚ according to travel advice by the Australian government’s department of foreign affairs and trade. Travel advisory website urges visitors to exercise a “high degree of caution” in South Africa and offers an extensive list of dangers under the heading “safety and security”. “Crime‚ including violent crime‚ is a serious issue in South Africa. Most types of crime are increasing. Be alert. Don't expect the same level of service from South African police as you would in Australia‚” warns the website. This comes fast on the back of thorny comments from Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton‚ who stirred up a hornet’s nest by offering to fast track visa applications for “persecuted” white farmers‚ which his own government then rejected. Protestors took to the streets in Australia to draw attention to “farm murders” in South Africa. While the US and UK warn travellers about violent crime in South Africa‚ the advisory to Australians is extensive. It includes warning about criminals operating out of the country’s airports‚ robberies and shopping centres and aboard trains running near Johannesburg‚ Pretoria and Cape Town - and of thefts at hotel guest roo

School pass marks in South Africa vs the rest of the world

SOUTH AFRICA ( - The Department of Basic Education recently requested public comment on several new proposals for changes to pass marks at public schools in South Africa. Among the changes – which comprise mostly of clarifications of the terms within legislation – there are also proposals to change what constitutes a pass for a learner, and alterations for promotion requirements from grades 7 to 9. As it stands in South Africa, anything under 30% is considered a fail – but pass conditions are a little bit more complicated than maintaining a 30% average at bare minimum. Specifically, learners have to get: 50% or more in one language at Home Language level; 40% or more in the second required official language at First Additional Language level; 40% or more in Mathematics; 40% or more in any three of the other required subjects – including Natural Sciences, Life Orientation, Social Sciences, Arts and Culture, and Economic Management Sciences. The department wants this changed to: 40% in four subjects, one of which is a Home Language; Any three subjects at 30%; A condonation of 2% in one subject if it will lead to a pass; The stricter conditions aside, in South Africa’s current grading system, a fail at 29% (with 30% being an ‘elementary pass’), makes the barrier between success and failure one of the lowest in the world. South Africa already has a reputation for having a poor education system, particularly in the fields of

How economics can help solve South Africa’s crime problem

KAGISO (CNBC) - Residents from Kagiso township invade the central business district to evict foreigners in their fight against drugs and prostitution on January 22, 2018, in Krugersdorp, South Africa.
  • Empowering people and dealing with poverty are needed to help fight South Africa's high crime rate, Kingsley Makhubela, chief executive of Brand South Africa told CNBC.
  • Only 30 percent of South Africans feel safe walking at night, an official report said.
South Africa is notorious for its high crime rate, a reflection of its economic inequality and racial tension. However, there is an economic dimension to solving the problem, a prominent business voice in the country told CNBC on Friday. "We can't deal with crime as an isolated incident, we need to look at the totality," Kingsley Makhubela, chief executive of the nation's marketing platform Brand South Africa, said. Transforming society, empowering people and dealing with underlying poverty all must be considered in tackling South Africa's crime, he added. "We can't just look at it as an isolated social phenomena that you find in the country." Only 30 percent of South Africans feel safe walking at night, according to a report by Statistics South Africa that measured the period from April 2016 to March 2017. This trend continues to decline. Some 7.2 percent of South African households were victims of crime in the year recorded, with burglary accounting for the highest proport

South African pastor jailed in New Zealand for sexual abuse

Pastor Neil Rischbieter, former from Johannesburg in Gauteng, has been found guilty of sexually abusing two young girls in New Zealand. Rischbieter had committed the offences while one of the girls’ mother was dying of cancer. reports a court in Waitakere City, Auckland, found Rischbieter guilty on Wednesday and sentenced him to 26 months in jail. Detective Jason Hamblyn of the New Zealand police says the pastor’s victims were between 12 and 19 years old and the abuse was perpetrated between 2009 and 2017. “She [one of the victims] was so vulnerable and her mother had died. He knew that she couldn’t possibly tell anyone, no one would believe her,” a stepmother of one of the girls told She added that the community had trusted and respected Rischbieter. “He came across as this person who helped the elderly, helped people who were struggling. It’s sickening that he got away with it,” she said. The stepmom says the family is shattered and the now 17-year-old girl’s life has been destroyed. According to IOL Rischbieter and his family were the victims of a violent attack in South Africa in 2007. They immigrated to New Zealand shortly after, where he worked as a pastor and businessman. Sources: IOL,

South Africa celebrates Winnie Mandela

SOUTH AFRICA (BBC) - Thousands of people have paid tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at a memorial service in Soweto. The anti-apartheid campaigner and ex-wife of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, died on 2 April. Mourners, many clad in the green and yellow colours of the ruling African National Congress, danced and sang in a soccer stadium under grey skies.

South Africa’s economy could grow much faster than expected

SOUTH AFRICA ( - South Africa’s economic growth could pick up faster than forecast if the right structural reforms are implemented, the Reserve Bank said. That means the economy could expand faster than the 2% for 2020 the central bank projected last month, a rate it hasn’t exceeded since 2013. While 2017 growth at 1.3% beat predictions, this doesn’t mean the economy performed well, the Reserve Bank said in its six-monthly Monetary Policy Review released Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. Cyril Ramaphosa replacing Jacob Zuma as head of the ruling African National Congress in December and as president two months later boosted sentiment and the currency on hopes of structural reforms in Africa’s most-industrialised economy. While Ramaphosa has since changed the cabinet to remove some Zuma appointees who were seen as compromised, overhauled the board of the state power utility and pledged to root out corruption, confidence indexes show business and investors now want to start seeing real reforms. “The pickup in growth is not especially strong,” the central bank said. “This is mainly because, at this early stage, there is little clarity around the reform agenda and without specifics it is difficult to quantify growth responses.” Junk Averted Moody’s Investors Service last month removed the threat of a junk credit rating, citing the impact of


CAPE TOWN ( - Delays for hundreds of medicines have kept the latest treatments off South African shelves and hampered the fight against cancer, heart and other diseases. Drugmakers in Africa’s largest pharmaceutical market may be asked to pay a “backlog fee” to help clear a pipeline of medicines waiting years for approval, according to a proposal being considered by South Africa’s new industry regulator. Delays for hundreds of medicines have kept the latest treatments off South African shelves and hampered the fight against cancer, heart and other diseases in a country which also has more people receiving antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) than anywhere else in the world. Besides improving access to life-saving medication, analysts say the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) proposal could help boost the revenue streams for companies competing in the $3.8 billion-a-year market. “It’s the first time South Africa offers this and we would support a backlog fee, provided it is performance driven,” said Stavros Nicolaou, senior executive for strategic trade at Aspen Pharmacare. Sahpra wants to cut the backlog and allow the regulatory assessment of all products in an “achievable but ambitious” timeframe, the authority told Reuters. “As part of this process, Sahpra is also exploring other potential sources of revenue, including a backlog fee to ... speed up the registration of pro

Biggest South Africa Cement Maker PPC Eyes Growth Post Turmoil

SOUTH AFRICA (Bloomberg) - PPC Ltd. is weighing expansion into new markets as South Africa’s biggest cement maker seeks to draw a line under a tumultuous two years that included an emergency rights issue and takeover interest from competitors. Since taking the top job in July, Chief Executive Officer Johann Claassen has reviewed the company’s operations and balance sheet, with a particular focus on boosting liquidity and extending debt maturity, he said in an interview in Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office. “We had to steady the ship and make it sustainable,” he said. “Now we need to get a new pipeline of projects.” New investment would follow a 12 billion rand ($995 million) outlay on five plants in the past half decade, which took PPC into countries including Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo from its South African base. All are now in operation and generating cash, said Claassen, 58, allowing the company to consider new facilities. East Africa is a particularly fast-growing region, while an abundance of projects in Ivory Coast implies a high demand for cement in the West African country, Mokate Ramafoko, PPC’s head of Africa operations, said in the same interview. While he and Claassen declined to identify specific markets PPC will expand into, Ramafoko said Kenya had a shortage of cement clinker plants and Uganda also looked promising, with a new project coming up. The plan marks a step change in the strategy of PPC, which raised 4 bil

What you need to study to become a millionaire in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA ( - Global market research group New World Wealth has released its latest South African Wealth Report, looking at the trends among the country’s wealthiest people. The report found that South Africa is home to 43,600 High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) – defined as individuals who have net assets of $1 million or more. Additionally South Africa is home to 2,200 multimillionaires (net assets of $10 million or more), and 5 billionaires with net assets of $1 billion or more. The average age of HNWIs in South Africa is 57 years, slightly above the worldwide average. However South Africa is also home to a large number of young millionaires with those aged 40 and under accounting for 29% of the total make up. The largest portion of South Africa’s HNWIs acquired their wealth through the financial and professional services (including banks, law firms, accountants, fund managers and wealth managers), however this is closely followed by the real estate and construction industry. The financial and professional services industry was also the fastest growing sectors for South African HNWIs over the past decade.