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Ibrahim Boubacar Keita
Mali junta, regional negotiators hammer out transition details: Sources
24 August 2020, 6:21 PM

Mali’s military junta and regional mediators on Monday discussed the make-up and goals of an interim administration following an August 18 coup, rather than the possibility of reinstating the ousted president, sources familiar with the talks said.

West Africa’s regional bloc dispatched negotiators to Mali at the weekend to try to reverse President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita‘s removal from power, but diplomats say his reinstatement is highly unlikely given the popularity of the coup.

 

The parties said on Sunday that they reached agreement on certain points during talks that lasted around nine hours, but some outstanding issues remained.

Talks are taking place with the threat of regional sanctions hanging over the junta, known as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), which arrested Keita last week. However, the regional branch of West Africa’s BCEAO central bank reopened on Monday.

Four sources, who have direct contact with people involved in talks, said there was not yet any agreement on the time frame of the transition or who would run it but Keita would not be involved.

Two sources said a year-long transition, similar to the one in Niger following a 2010 coup, was on the table. Another source said the junta was eager to prioritise reforms over elections so it could be longer.

Colonel Ismael Wague, spokesman for the junta, on Monday denied reports by French radio RFI that the CNSP wanted a three-year transition led by a soldier and mostly made up of the military.

“I want to clarify that at this stage of the discussions, nothing has been decided,” Wague told reporters in Bamako. “At no moment did we talk about a government with the military in the majority.”

An African diplomat monitoring the talks said that ECOWAS is keen to push for a “short transition” with a focus on holding the elections and allowing a civilian, elected administration to handle the reforms afterwards.

However, several analysts warned against rushing to fresh elections without addressing the corruption and mismanagement that the soldiers and opposition leaders who led weeks of protests in the run-up to the coup complained about.

“We did that in 2012 and here we are with another coup,” said Lori-Anne Theroux-Benoni, head of the Dakar office of the Institute for Security Studies, referring to the vote that brought Keita to power in 2013 after his predecessor was also ousted.

“We should be innovative and use the time of the transition to make the process of the reform irreversible,” she said. “This might take longer than what some international actors want.”

Regional bloc ECOWAS in Mali to resolve coup dispute:

Video: In conversation with Minister Bheki Cele
24 August 2020, 6:00 PM

Police Minister Bheki Cele was in conversation with SABC News current affairs show Expressions.

DA raises alarm regarding Eastern Cape thermometer procurement
24 August 2020, 5:25 PM

The Democratic Alliance (DA)  in the Eastern Cape says it will refer the procurement of infrared thermometers by the Ndlambe municipality to the Special Investigating Unit.

The DA says information at hand shows the municipality paid more than R71 000 for 28 thermometers, which a local supplier could supply for less than R17 000.

The DA’s Kevin Mileham says they also want to ensure that the companies doing business with municipality comply with the necessary requirements.

“It is unacceptable that public funds are utilised in a poor manner so we have handed the information to the Special Investigation Unit and we will be tabling a motion to the council calling for a full investigation to companies awarded and value received by the municipality.”

SABC News approached the Ndlambe Municipality for a reply on the matter. The municipality says it will reply in due course once it has gathered the relevant information.

COVID-19 tender corruption is discussed in the video below:

School
Durban school endeavours to make COVID-19 protocols less scary
24 August 2020, 3:29 PM

The staff at one Durban school have gone out of their way to make the children’s return, after nearly 6 months in lockdown, exciting instead of scary.

Across KwaZulu-Natal children as young as five years had to stand two metres apart, waiting to have a thermometer pointed at their heads and have their hands and feet sprayed with sanitiser.

The principal of Durban Primary School in Umbilo, Shaylene Miller, says staff made colourful posters with COVID-19 protocols in child-friendly language, that they put on their classroom doors.

“We have to go all out to make it exciting in these times because they know they’re living through times that they will tell their children about one day. This is history in the making. But its got to be exciting. You cant learn if you’re fearful. You have to be happy and secure. And that’s what our job is. Amongst all this, we’re making our best effort to make it an exciting time at school.”

Below are some of the protocols that schools need to observe:

President Ramaphosa
Ramaphosa urges support for “a new and inclusive economy”
24 August 2020, 3:05 PM

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to support efforts to build a new and inclusive economy, as the country prepares to rebuild post the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his weekly letter to the nation, the President says collective efforts towards climate change will be a key driver in the new economy, which will not just work to reduce carbon emissions for nature’s protection, but to also increase economic opportunities in the green economy.

 

The President says the Cabinet’s decision to approve the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy shows his government’s commitment to deal with climate change and create new opportunities. He says this will be backed by the Climate Change Bill, which is before social partners at NEDLAC.

A Presidential Climate Change Commission will also be established to coordinate the country’s strategy and the implementation of the carbon tax.

Ramaphosa says with a focused strategy on dealing with climate change, South Africa will also benefit from global resources of funding for the green economy with the end goal of moving faster towards a sustainable economy that is inclusive.

Ramaphosa shares plan to rebuild South African economy:

Weather

 

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