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John Magufuli
Kiswahili to become one of the official languages in SADC bloc
17 August 2019, 6:12 PM

The outgoing Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)  – president Hage Geingob of Namibia – has  announced that Kiswahili will be one of the official languages in the SADC bloc.

He was speaking at the SADC Heads of State Summit in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. President Cyril Ramaphosa is attending the summit with a South African delegation.

Tanzanian president John Magufuli has taken over as the Chairperson of SADC.

In his acceptance speech, Magufuli pledged to put industrialisation as top priority during his Chairmanship.

Magufuli had promoted the use of Kiswahili during his visits to South Africa, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. He also called on SADC member states to unite and push for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe that were imposed by the West.

The theme of the two-day summit is titled “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-trade and Job Creation”.

The summit will conclude on Sunday.

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Russian opposition activists picket for free elections
17 August 2019, 3:32 PM

Russian opposition activists staged a string of pickets in central Moscow on Saturday to call for free elections and for charges against protesters detained at recent rallies to be dropped.

Moscow has been rocked by weekly protests for more than a month since the authorities barred opposition candidates from running in an election for the city’s legislature in September.

Police have briefly detained more than 2 000 protesters in recent weeks; launched criminal cases against some dozen people for mass disorder and used force to disperse what they said were illegal protests.

In contrast Saturday’s solo pickets, spread across three locations in Moscow, were peaceful and opposition supporters scarce. The recent opposition demonstrations have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013,when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.

Earlier on Saturday some 4 000 people attended a Communist rally in Moscow that had been authorised by the authorities to call for “clear and honest elections” in Moscow, police said.

IFP supporters
IFP reacts to the killing of councillor
17 August 2019, 2:56 PM

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has described the killing of its councillor Mthembeni Majola as a second and sadly successful assassination attempt. Majola was gunned down in Estcourt in the province’s midlands.

Majola, who worked for the Nkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality, was travelling with two occupants in his car when they were attacked by gunmen.

Majola is said to have died on the scene while the other two were rushed to hospital.

IFP spokesperson, Mkhuleko Hlengwa says the party’s leadership has met with the Majola family.

“An IFP councillor was killed yesterday in what is seemingly an assassination. It is clear that the target was Majola and of course we are expecting the law enforcement agencies to give us information. We think it’s prudent that we tread carefully on this matter given the sensitivity of political killings and politics in the province of KZN in general but the district of uThukela in particular. This was not the first attempt on the life of Majola as he was already in a wheelchair having previously been injured in another shooting some few years ago. So his life has been on the line.”

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Marikana
WATCH: Marikana Commemoration
16 August 2019, 1:54 PM

Marikana commemoration activities are taking place in North West on Friday. A total of 44 people were killed in Marikana – with 34 of those being miners who died in a hail of police gunfire on this day in 2012.

Ex-mineworkers march to parliament

A small group that includes ex-mineworkers have marched to parliament to demand access to their employment benefits.

The group , known as the informal settlement network, used the seventh anniversary to cast a spotlight on the plight of ex-miners – many of whom never received proper benefits. They’ve pointed the finger at big financial service providers and the Department of Labour.

Gracias Mgquba, who was a mineworker until 1988, says they have been fighting for their money for more than 20 years.

“I left the mines in 1988. Now the time was apartheid, they took money without giving us  something … provident fund, pension fund, blue card not UIF. I am not talking about UIF. UIF is the new implementation.”

Joseph Mathunjwa
AMCU concerned over miners’ employment conditions
16 August 2019, 8:00 AM

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has expressed concern over miners’ conditions of employment. This as thousands of AMCU members prepare to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the Marikana tragedy on Friday.

Thirty-four mine workers were shot dead by police during a protracted wage strike at the then Lonmin operations, now owned by Sibanye-Stillwater on August 16, 2012.

AMCU President Joseph Mathunjwa says workers are still fighting to change their conditions of employment.

“There is a slight shift on the conditions of employment in salaries, but it never came on a silver platter. We still have to sacrifice to change the conditions of employment. But in general the lives of mine workers haven’t changed. Workers are still killed every day without any consequences to the bosses of the mines. Therefore, one cannot say in general there is a noticeable change. Mining was created on the backdrop of exploitation.”

To mark the anniversary of the Marikana massacre, Western Cape civil society movements are set to march to Parliament in solidarity with former mine workers under the banner of the Unpaid Benefits Campaign (UBC).

The UBC is an informal network of organisations and workers trying to ensure former miners have access to their pension and provident funds.

The UBC says at the end of 2016, there remained more than R41 billion in unpaid pension and provident fund benefits owed to more than 4 million people.

These funds are held by both financial service providers and employers. It is overseen by the Financial Services Board (FSB).

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