SOUTH AFRİCA (Bllomberg) - Unions representing South African civil servants and the government agreed to above-inflation increases for workers, the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council, said. The deal, to be signed on Monday, will see the lowest-paid government workers get an increase of 7 percent and people on the highest salary level will get 6 percent, the council said in an emailed statement late Friday. The pay rise will be backdated from April 1. The Public Servants Association, which represent about 238,000 workers, said it won’t sign the deal, News24 reported, citing Deputy General Manager Tahir Maepa. Inflation reached a seven-year low of 3.8 percent in March. While central bank governor Lesetja Kganyago has warned the rate will start rising due to tax increases and high salary demands, inflation will stay close to 5 percent until at least at the end of 2020, according to the regulator. Unions initially demanded a 12 percent increase.
SOUTH AFRICA (REUTERS) - Robbers armed with assault rifles and explosives blew up two armoured cash-carrying vans in Johannesburg this week in a brazen broad-daylight incident that underscored South Africa’s reputation for violent crime. In dramatic cellphone footage of the incident recorded by a motorist, the assailants seal off a block in the suburb of Boksburg, east of Johannesburg’s commercial centre, before calmly detonating explosives under the cash vans. Three large explosions are heard, with plumes of grey smoke shooting up into the air. There are also rapid exchanges of gunfire before and after the blasts, although it is not clear where the shots were coming from. The assailants, who numbered around a dozen, then load sacks into at least two get-away cars before speeding away. Motorists caught up in the shoot-out are seen pulling U-turns across the road to escape the scene. Police said two security guards in the cash vans were injured in the incident and were treated in hospital. They also said some of the robbers were arrested after being tracked by helicopter to a run-down industrial park. Security experts quoted in South African media said the way the assailants behaved and handled the weapons suggested they had military backgrounds.
WESTERN CAPE (iol.co.za) - Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has joined forces with the Department of Health and numerous organisations to launch a drug-resistant TB trial in South Africa. Approximately half a million people around the world suffer from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) each year. A staggering 19 000 of those cases are seen in South Africa and 59% of people diagnosed with TB are co-infected with HIV. ‘Expand new drug markets for TB’ (endTB) is a controlled trial of five new, all-oral 9-month treatment regimens for MDR-TB. Their main goal is to find treatments for MDR-TB that are less toxic but more effective than current treatments. Khayelitsha site aims to enrol between 90 to 120 patients until 2020, while a total of 750 patients are set to be enrolled in the clinical trial. “The endTB trial aims to revolutionise the standard MDR-TB treatment by dropping the injectable entirely using bedaquiline and delamanid, the first TB drugs to have been developed in almost 50 years, along with other oral TB drugs such as clofazimine, linezolid, fluoroquinolones and pyrazinamide, in experimental combinations of up to five drugs,” says Jared Borain, Trial Study Coordinator for endTB in Khayelitsha. Patients enrolled with the Khayelitsha site are promised to receive treatment at primary health care facilities rather than hospitals. “MSF, in close collaboration with the department of health, has been providing care for people with dru
SOUTH AFRICA (newstatesman) - Cyril Ramaphosa is discovering how difficult it is to govern the country. South Africa’s newly installed president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is discovering just how difficult governing the country can be. For the first time in living memory (and certainly since the end of apartheid) central government has had to take direct control of a province. Bordering on Botswana, the North West Province is mostly dry, desolate scrub, although the platinum around the town of Rustenberg means it contains some hugely valuable mines. Over the weekend, the cabinet decided it could no longer tolerate the autocratic rule of the provincial leader, Supra Mahumapelo. He was stripped of his powers for at least the next 180 days. The province will be run from the centre. As is now so often the case, this is a conflict at the heart of the African National Congress. Mahumapelo is accused of mismanagement, fraud and corruption amounting to about R160m (£10m). The allegations are being investigated by the elite anti-corruption police unit, the Hawks. Mahumapelo protests his innocence and might have escaped prosecution, if he had not backed the wrong leader: being identified as a Zuma supporter. With Zuma out of office, Mahumapelo’s political cover vanished. For the people of the province, Mahumapelo’s rule has been little short of disastrous. Services of almost every kind have been poor to non-existent. Everything from water to electricity has been in short supp
SOUTH AFRICA (News24) - South Africa has taken a strong stance against the killing of scores of Palestinians by Israeli armed forces by pulling the SA ambassador out of Israel. READ MORE: Scores killed as Israelis celebrate US embassy opening “Given the indiscriminate and gravity of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice,” Department of International Relations spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said on Monday. Mabaya said the attack also resulted in scores of Palestinian citizens being injured. He said government condemned “in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border”. “[This] led to the deaths of over 40 [people] killed following a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem,” he said. Mabaya said South Africa reiterated its view that the Israeli Defence Force “must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories”. “South Africa maintains further that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure.” Mabaya said government reiterates calls made by several member states of the United Nations calling for an independent inquiry into the killings, with a view to holding to acc
The ConversationLand debates are reverberating across South Africa after the country’s parliament resolved to accelerate land redistribution through expropriation without compensation where necessary. Twenty four years since the advent of democracy, land remains a stark and visible symbol of dispossession and racial and income inequality. The current wave of land reform debates is different in one key respect: there’s been an emergence of an urban angle to them. And rightly so. The majority of South Africans live in urban areas. On top of this spatial apartheid lives on in South Africa’s cities. But genuine land reform requires a shift in the country’s approach to urban land: it can’t be seen simply in terms of its market value and its potential for profit. Land’s social and redress value must be considered. There’s also the real possibility of the land debate being hijacked for political party or elite gains rather than a genuinely re-distributive agenda for poor and working class people. South Africans need to pay attention to the voices dominating land debates, and constantly ask: land reform for whom? In spite of the challenges, the current moment could provide a golden opportunity to redefine the country’s approach to urban land. I spoke to Lauren Royston, who has been working on the urban land question in the research and advocacy arena for more than a quarter of a century. She recently co-authored “Untitled: Securing Land Tenure in Urban a
SOUTH AFRICA (The Guardian) - One killed and two critically wounded in knife and petrol bomb assault on Shia worshippers near Durban. South African police searching for three men who stabbed worshippers at a mosque near Durban have said the attackers’ motive was unknown but “elements of extremism” were involved. One Muslim leader said the mosque was targeted because it was a Shia place of worship that had received previous threats, exposing deep tension between the Shia and Sunni population. The assailants killed one man by slitting his throat and critically injured two others after midday prayers on Thursday at the mosque in Verulam, a town on the outskirts of Durban. “There are elements of extremism,” said Simphiwe Mhlongo, a spokesman for the Hawks police unit. “It shows hatred towards the worshippers.” A local Islamic leader, Aftab Haider, said Shias in South Africa had been subjected to a prolonged hate campaign. He said the attack may be connected to the Sunni extremist group Islamic State. “There has been a huge organised hate campaign in different mosques, radio stations and on social media against the Shia community. There have been threats at this mosque before, but not in the weeks leading up to this incident,” Haider said. “It has all the hallmarks of the Isis style of operations in Iraq and Syria.” The assailants, who also set off a petrol bomb inside the mosque, escaped in a car. Emergency services found the victims
JOHANNESBURG (sacbee.com) - South Africa's elite police unit says it's investigating an "element of extremism" in a mosque attack in which three people's throats were slit after midday prayers, killing one of them.
Hawks spokesman Simphiwe Mhlongo told The Associated Press that "you can see elements of hatred to a certain religion" in Thursday's attack in the mosque's worship space. But Mhlongo says police can't yet say whether the assault on the Imam Hussein mosque in the eastern town of Verulam, just north of Durban, can be called a terror attack. He says police can't confirm reports that the three attackers were Egyptian. They are still at large. In this photo supplied by the South African Police Services, paramedics attend to an injured man after attackers entered a mosque in Verulam, Durban, South Africa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Attackers entered a South African mosque after midday prayers, stabbed three people and set the place on fire before fleeing, local police said Thursday, as people expressed shock at the kind of attack rarely seen in the country. One of the victims later died, an emergency responder t
SOUTH AFRICA (Times Live) - The credibility of higher education at South Africa's top institutions is on a decline while other BRICS countries like China‚ India and Russia are improving their standards. The Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings 2018 comprises a total of 378 universities from 42 countries‚ across four continents. The scores are calculated from judging: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume‚ income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International outlook (staff‚ students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer). South Africa has eight universities ranked‚ the same as last year. However its leading institution‚ the University of Cape Town‚ drops five positions to rank number nine. The University of the Witwatersrand has dropped to 12th‚ from 8th the year before. Others have made progress‚ but off a very low base. The University of Johannesburg‚ for example‚ climbs 49 places to rank joint 92nd. China dominates the ranking‚ with the nation claiming one in every six positions in 2018. Sixty-three Chinese institutions are represented in the ranking - up from 52 in the previous year – making mainland China home to the highest concentration of leading universities in the emerging economies nations‚ the authors state. China also dominates the 2018 ranking’s elite Top 10‚ claiming seven spots. For the fifth consecutive year‚ Peking University leads the t
SOUTH AFRICA (aljazeera) - Coal mining companies want to expand their mines, threatening the pristine nature that brings visitors to South Africa every year. One of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations - South Africa - is hosting Africa's biggest travel trade show this week. But the growth of the tourism sector is often hindered by another key industry - mining. Al Jazeera's Malcolm Webb reports from Matubatuba, South Africa.