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Mozambicans fleeing violence forcibly removed from Tanzania: UN
11 June 2021, 9:05 PM

Almost 10 000 Mozambicans have been forcibly removed from Tanzania so far this year after fleeing a deadly militant in their homeland, a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency said on Friday.

Mozambique’s northern-most province of Cabo Delgado has been the focus of an insurgency linked to militants since October 2017, but the conflict began gathering pace last year with militants regularly seizing and holding key towns.

That culminated in an attack on the town of Palma in March, which killed dozens, displaced 70 000 according to the UNHCR and forced oil giant Total to halt its nearby $20 billion gas project.

Many people headed north to the Tanzanian border, but were rejected, or were admitted then returned via a different border post hours inland.

UNHCR spokesperson, Babar Baloch, said on Friday 9 600 people had been forcibly removed from Tanzania since January.

“Those pushed back from Tanzania end up in a dire situation at the border and are exposed to gender-based violence and health risks as many are sleeping in the open at night in extreme cold without blankets or a roof over their heads,”Baloch told a news briefing in Geneva.

Tanzanian authorities were not immediately available for comment. Senior officials in the ministry of home affairs did not respond immediately to Reuters calls and messages.

The UNHCR has previously said returnees reported being separated from their families, detained and interrogated before being returned to Mozambique, despite wanting to remain in Tanzania for safety.

Baloch said thousands of people were also reported to be stranded in very insecure areas around Palma, where those fleeing say the situation is still unstable with regular gunfire at night and the torching of houses.

Almost 800 000 people had now fled their homes overall, headed.

Mozambique insurgency requires an urgent regional response:

Ghana court grants bail to 21 LGBT+ activists
11 June 2021, 8:48 PM

A high court in Ghana has granted bail to 21 gay rights activists arrested three weeks ago for what police described as an unlawful gathering, the prosecutor said on Friday.

The 16 women and five men, who were arrested on May 20 at a hotel where they were attending a rights advocacy training, were released on a 5 000 Ghana cedi ($866) bail, the prosecutor said.

The arrest has drawn condemnation as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face widespread persecution in the West African nation, where gay sex is punishable by up to three years imprisonment.

Ghana has not prosecuted anyone for same-sex relations in years, but the LGBT+ community has reported a crackdown by authorities in recent months.

The group was denied bail twice, drawing condemnation from advocacy group the Ghana Center for Democratic Development, which said in a statement that it was appalled by the court’s handling of the matter.

“It is clear that gathering to educate people at a hotel venue on LGBT+ issues is not a criminal act or crime under the constitution or any statute,” the advocacy group said.

The case is expected to resume on a later day.

Previously, the 21 activists were denied  bail:

Gift of the Givers drills borehole for Helen Joseph Hospital
11 June 2021, 8:33 PM

The CEO of the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, Relebohile Ncha, has expressed relief that the hospital’s water problems may soon be over thanks to a borehole being drilled on the premises by Gift of the Givers.

Gift of the Givers says the borehole will help alleviate the water crisis at the Helen Joseph Hospital.

The hospital has been battling with water shortages since last month because the Hurst Hill Reservoir has been running low. It also affected the water supply to the Rahima Moosa Hospital and surrounding areas.

Ncha says patients and staff have been frustrated with water shortages they’ve had to endure in recent weeks. She says those on dialysis and those needing surgery have been the most affected.

She says despite pre-scheduled surgery, they had to prioritise emergency operations as very little water supply was coming into the hospital.

Despite the availability of water tanks and various donations, Ncha says the borehole will give the hospital much-needed relief so they can deliver services to patients in the best possible way.

Humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, says they were approached by the Helen Joseph Hospital and the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital to assist in providing water security to these two facilities.

“At 8 o’clock this morning we started drilling to start finding water. Before that geologist, Dr Groenewald gave us 8 points where we should start looking for water. We drilled for 28 metres, we went through some clay … and then some that’s too soft. When you have soft sand it’s difficult to drill and the borehole will collapse. So then we have to stop drilling and put steel casing and then continue drilling until we find the first amount of water.”

Meanwhile, Sooliman says they have successfully found water at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

About 18 000 litres of water per hour is being pumped from the borehole directly to the hospital.

Sooliman says they are elated at the good news. “Whilst we started to drill at Helen Joseph this morning we connected the borehole directly to the hospital infrastructure. Now if from the municipality the water doesn’t come we are providing 130-thousand litres of water per day uninterrupted supply for the total needs of the hospital every single day. ”

 

Struggling steel industry gets boost from government
11 June 2021, 8:26 PM

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition has signed the steel metal Master Plan on Friday. The plan aims to implement the re-imagined industry strategy, reconstruction and recovery plan launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in October last year.

With the country’s renewed focus on infrastructure investment, the Steel Master Plan aims to broaden business opportunity in the steel industry.

The industry is reeling from the unreliable power supply, high Eskom winter tariffs and lack of demand. These challenges threaten investor and business confidence.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel says state capture and corruption have also added more woes to the sector. Patel has expressed confidence in the future of the steel industry despite some of the current challenges that it’s facing.

“State capture and corruption deeply damage industries and economies. It leads to loss of jobs and lower GDP and the steel industry saw that if we divert the money to boost the industry the demand drops which means fewer jobs and less output.”

The steel industry contributes 1.2% to GDP from the 12% that the manufacturing sector adds to the economy.

Over 200 000 people are employed in the steel sector.

The Master Plan aims to boost job creation. The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) has welcomed the newly signed Steel master plan. Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim says, “This is a platform in our view to play a critical role to stop the current job loss, blood bath and in the same breath create the most desperately needed jobs in our country today.”

The steel Master Plan will focus on localising the industry and promote export.

And to lay a strong foundation for the development and growth of the Metals and Engineering sector.

Recovery plan programme

The new agreement will see steel manufacturers benefit from government procurements through its reindustrialisation and recovery plan programme.

Manufacturers will also benefit from the Africa Free Trade Agreement and exposure to international markets.

The industry now contributes less than 3% to the GDP. Steel and metal fabrication is one of the industries that has been identified by the Government’s economic recovery plan.

Jim says, “We think it’s a platform where we should basically engage robustly amongst each other as business and labour, and also engage with government on the kinds of measures that are critical to ensure that we take forward manufacturing and industrialisation of our country.”

Numsa warns that the current load shedding crisis facing the country will be a huge challenge for the sector to fully recover despite the boost it’s getting.

“Blackouts called load shedding are disruptive. They must be stopped. They should have been stopped a long time ago. Workers at Eskom if they are to be consulted they know how to stop the current load shedding.”

Under the steel master plan, SARS will prioritise and include the steel industry in the interagency working group to address under-invoicing.

Trade and Industry has also collaborated with Eskom and industry to ensure localisation of High Voltage Composite Insulators.

Steel manufacturers can now work with other State-Owned entities like Transnet to build local supply chains for large-scale projects and consumables. -Additional reporting by Nothando Magudulela

 

Natasha Mazonne
DA says it is finalising Private Members Bill to amend the Referendums Act
11 June 2021, 6:11 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is finalising a Private Members Bill to amend the Referendums Act to enable Premiers to call a provincial referendum on crucial service delivery issues.

Party Chief Whip Natasha Mazzone says in its current form, the Referendums Act only allows for the President to call a referendum. She says the draft Bill seeks to address this omission.

Mazzone says an amendment will enable Premiers to ensure that their residents can make their voices heard on important issues.

The DA says the government has failed in addressing issues such as rail transport, police deployment and electricity generation.

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