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Ramaphosa urges SA citizens to emulate the legacy of Mandela
13 July 2018, 9:51 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa urges South Africans to emulate the legacy of the late and former President Nelson Mandela by making a meaningful and lasting difference in their communities.

Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to emulate the legacy of the late former President Nelson Mandela by making a meaningful and lasting difference in their communities.

The country will celebrate Madiba’s birthday next Wednesday.

The late struggle icon and statesman would have been 100 years old had he lived.

Former US President Barack Obama will deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

President Ramaphosa says showing compassion for the poor will be a fitting legacy for Madiba.

The President had this to say as the country and the world celebrate Mandela Day next week.

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Wage increase by Eskom is a generous offer: Economist
13 July 2018, 8:12 PM

One Economist reckons the unions in the Eskom wage talks are being ambitious by asking for a wage increase higher than 7%.

Chief economist at the SAIRR, Ian Cruickshanks says with inflation at 4.4% and the financial difficulties, the power utility’s 7% wage increase is a generous offer.

Cruickshanks says a higher-than-budgeted-for wage settlement may push up the financial risk to government and the economy.

Unions are currently consulting with their members on the latest offer on the table.

While parties do not want to disclose the offer, Eskom says it has upped the rejected 7% offer, but would not say by how much.

It is believed the power utility has offered a 7.5% increase for the first year and 6.5% and 6.25% for second year and third, respectively.

The unions had demanded an 8% salary increase for 2018, R500 adjustment on housing allowance and 12% on bonuses.

Cruickshanks believes the power utility should try to push costs down.

Eskom says it plans to pursue the number of municipalities and companies that owe it money to offset the demands from the unions. It also plans to trim operating costs and the capital investment programs because of the financial pressures it is facing.

Eskom and the unions are expected to meet again next week to give feedback on the consultation with members on the offer on the table.

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Zimbabwean election authorities dismiss irregularities claims
13 July 2018, 8:09 PM

Zimbabwean election authorities have dismissed reports alleging irregularities in postal voting currently under way ahead of the July 30 polls.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said that postal voting was done in accordance with the law and that according to the Electoral Act, postal ballots are a secret and no one will be present or can observe the voting.

The opposition MDC Alliance said it was concerned that postal voting by police officers in a police camp in Bulawayo was done secretly.

They allege it’s a ploy to rig the upcoming vote in favour of the ruling Zanu-PF.

But Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) say there was no role for candidates, political party representatives or observers. ZEC Chairperson Priscilla Chigumba’s sentiments were echoed by police commander for the 2018 elections

Who said that no police officer was being forced to vote for certain candidates?

Police Commander Erasmus Makodza said the police were fully geared to ensure the polls are held in a peaceful environment.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party marched to the independent election agency for the second time in as many months demanding reforms it said were vital for a credible vote in July.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa will square off with 22 other presidential candidates in the polls.

He has promised to deliver a free and fair vote.

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“Zuma should not have been shackled”
13 July 2018, 7:41 PM

Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, says former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, should not have been shackled during his appearance in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.

Pictures of Zuma in leg irons stirred up outrage on social media earlier this week.

Minister, who recently spent time in hospital, was speaking at the end of an Imbizo which focused on two courts in Gauteng.

Against his doctor’s orders, Minister Masutha visited the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Johannesburg.

This after former President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane Zuma, appeared in the court wearing leg irons.

Minister Masutha says officials explained that, because the court is located in a converted office block, there are no cells to secure accused persons.

“They at some point tightened security measures where there were incidents of escape in the past as well as incidents of suicide apparently about six months ago. It is apparent to me even before I get a full report that what transpired in that court on that day is not ideal. That is not how the situation should have occurred.”

Servicing one of the largest townships in the country, the Tembisa Magistrates Court is one of fifty new courts erected since the dawn of democracy.

Officials there complain that the court’s services, including the estate’s office and small claims court, are under-utilised.

Following a walkabout at the court, Minister Masutha addressed the packed community hall.

“All expenses that the government is incurring every month to make this court work for no other purpose than to ensure that Tembisa people have full access to justice.”

Minister Michael Masutha on Duduzane Zuma’s debacle

 

UN Security Council imposes arms embargo on S Sudan
13 July 2018, 6:53 PM

The divided United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan through a US-drafted resolution that expresses deep concern at the failures of the country’s leaders to bring an end to hostilities there.

An earlier resolution adopted in May threatened an arms embargo and target sanctions if the UN reported by June 30th that fighting had not ended.

In a letter to the Council on June 29th, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that there had been credible reports of fighting and continued serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Nine votes in favour but with six abstentions with both Russia and China calling the move unproductive to the peace process, but declining to deploy their vetoes.

The resolution means all UN member states must immediately prevent the direct or indirect supply of sale of weapons, ammunition, military vehicles and other equipment to South Sudan until May 31st next year.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley says:”For too long, the Security Council has failed these people.  We failed to impose arms embargo years ago, when we could have helped prevent so much suffering.”

“We have failed to stop the fighting. We have failed to hold South Sudan’s leaders accountable for the misery they have caused. But today, we can and we must defy this history. ”

Ethiopia that currently chairs the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) took strong exception to the embargo through Ambassador Takeda Alemu.

“While in no way opposed to punitive measures, it is a view of the AU and IGAD that now is not the appropriate time for taking such measures. The IGAD Council of Ministers has made it clear that pursuing such a course of action at this stage is note helpful at all.”

“This is a matter of judgment taking into account the complexities of the situation. The same view is also reflected by the AU Peace and Security Council.”

He said the resolution did not reflect the spirit and principles that should underpin the relationship between the UN and the African Union.

“What is equally troubling is that this proposed course of action does not meet the consensus of members of this council. A divided Council on this issue, we all know, will not be helpful to the peace process because it will send the wrong message to the parties, the result of which will be loss of the Council’s credibility and thus leverage – that is what we have been trying to avoid but to no avail.”

The resolution further imposes sanctions on two leading military officials in the country.

The United Kingdom, for its part, said the resolution was not about the peace process but about protecting the people of South Sudan.

Sweden’s Ambassador Olof Skoog who also serves as Council president in July agreed.

“I think everyone is clear that the region’s efforts are really important and they’re making some progress but there’s also reports of continued violations of some ceasefires and some very extremely horrendous things happening on the ground so the Council is likely to adopt a resolution this morning that will impose an arms embargo.”

Some Council members tried but failed to impose a similar arms embargo in December 2016, failing to get the required nine minimum votes in favour.

While a peace deal reached in August of 2015 and several subsequent ceasefires and security agreements have failed to quell the conflict.

The peace process was further complicated this week with South Sudan’s parliament voting to extend the tenure of President Salva Kiir by three years with the opposition under Riek Machar reportedly rejecting the move.

 

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