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Mining companies allow zama zamas to mine legally
29 April 2018, 11:32 AM

Illegal miners in Kimberley are excited over a new deal struck with mining companies in the city, which allows them to mine legally without threats of trespassing.

Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture (KEM-JV) has given the small scale miners permission to continue mining for diamond residue on land owned and previously used by mines.

They are not allowed to go inside currently operating mines, but they’re content with the go-ahead to mine on at least one thousand hectares of mining dumps.

Chairperson of the Kimberley Artisan Miners, Lucky Seekoei says, “This initiative is the initiative of the people because the residues were actually abandoned by the mines for centuries and houses were built on top of these residues. There is a program whereby mines should assist small miners and now people will not threaten the mine, because they have the floss, the mine will keep their dump the people will keep their floss.”

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Nzimande calls on motorists to be vigilant on roads
29 April 2018, 9:28 AM

Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande has appealed to all motorists to be vigilant when using the country’s roads during this long weekend.

Nzimande says since the beginning of this long weekend, there has been an increase in the number of people travelling to various destinations around the country.

At least eight road deaths have been reported in Gauteng alone.

Nzimande’s spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi says traffic officers will be out in full force.

“Our law enforcement operations will target enforcement of legislation of wearing seatbelts, using cell phones while driving, un-roadworthy vehicles, whilst they continue to clamp down on drunken driving, excessive speed and other moving violations,” says Mnisi.

Meanwhile, Nzimande has extended his condolences to the families and friends of the seven passengers who died in a bakkie that collided with a train at the Buttskop Level Crossing, in Blackheath, Cape Town.

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King Mswati’s decision to change country name described as ‘populist nationalism’
29 April 2018, 7:50 AM

The Communist Party of Swaziland has described as ‘populist nationalism’ a decision by King Mswati III to change the name of the country from Swaziland to the Kingdom of eSwatini.

The name change was announced more than a week ago, during the celebrations of the Monarch’s 50th birthday and the nation’s 50 years of independence.

The Party’s Secretary General Kenneth Kunene says the name change will not bring transformation in the country.

“The only way that Swaziland can transform, is when it is a democratic republic. Being a democratic republic will mean people taking charge of the country, using institutions and political systems that will make sure that when they run the country their voices are heard, not a particular elite of a family that can determine how Swaziland should be run,” says Kunene.

Long battle to stop firms bribing Africa for contracts
29 April 2018, 7:21 AM

A spectacular probe into French tycoon Vincent Bollore over suspected graft in Africa marks a rare exception among corporate titans doing business south of the Sahara.

Bollore — charged on Wednesday over contracts to operate ports in Guinea and Togo — is by far the most prominent business leader to be investigated in France for suspicious activities in Africa.

Campaigners have hailed the development as a break from decades of judicial indifference or nods and winks from the government over dubious deals in the former French colonies.

The investigation stems largely from laws that are less than 18 months old. The so-called Sapin II Law, passed in December 2016, compels French firms to take preventive steps against graft.

It also beefs up measures dating back to 2000 that enable punishment of corrupt practices used to win public contracts abroad.

Under Sapin II, “corruption is punishable in all circumstances and in any place, even it is a crime committed abroad”, says Thierry Dal Farra, director of the public business law department in UGGC Avocats, a large Paris-based firm of attorneys.

The tougher legislation came after years of criticism by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and specialised NGOs which accused France of turning a blind eye to corporate corruption abroad.

The Bollore probe breaks new ground in France — but the United States already goes much further.

Its prosecutors are empowered to pursue non-American companies for economic crimes committed outside US soil — such cases often culminate in hefty fines.

– Competition without ethics –

If France is a European example of tighter regulation, ferocious competition from China — the main trading partner of the African continent — is deemed a hurdle to abolishing bad practices.

“Emerging nations that will take decades to incorporate ethical concerns into their search for market share” are a major obstacle, said William Bourbon, head of an anti-corruption association called Sherpa.

“The most stereotypical are the Chinese, who intimidate the entire world and who, when it comes to corruption in Africa, act with complete impunity,” he told AFP.

Already losing ground, French companies in Africa face seeing their share of contracts threatened by potentially unfair competition.

“We would really like everybody to play by the same ground rules. We need competitors who are subject to the same requirements, shared regulations and reciprocity,” said a spokesman for MEDEF, France’s principal employers’ organisation.

– Whistleblowers wanted –

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced the adoption of new guidelines providing for more systematic assessment of corruption in its 189 members, stressing that bad practice undermines growth, investment and tax revenue.

Many African countries are only too well adapted to underhand deals. Most of them languish among the bottom ranks of the annual Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International.

“What matters most is for African governments to adopt a practice of zero tolerance concerning corruption. If this is done, wherever investors come from, they will have to abide by the laws,” says Samuel Kaninda, African regional advisor for Transparency International.

“The problem is not a lack of legal instruments (in Africa). It is that the institutions that fight against corruption suffer from a lack of independence at the political level,” he adds.

Setting a rare example, South Africa recently reopened legal proceedings against a subsidiary of French arms manufacturer Thales in an old case of alleged corruption. Former president Jacob Zuma has been charged with 16 counts of graft.

Beyond legislative measures, activists argue that whistleblowers remain key to efforts to clamp down on corruption.

“Whistleblowers are the worst enemies of a particular kind of financial elite,” says Bourdon.

“They are the ones who smash the locks, giving access to secrets.”

Last year, Bourdon became part of an international team that established a Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa, based in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

With lawyers listed in almost a score of African countries, the association offers legal and technical assistance to whistleblowers at risk and an online archive of cases in French and English.

Arsene Wenger
Departing Wenger wants peaceful end to Mourinho rivalry
28 April 2018, 4:23 PM

Arsene Wenger says he hopes his farewell match at Old Trafford on Sunday passes off “peacefully” but has admitted he is unsure he will ever be friends with Jose Mourinho.

Wenger, 68, made the surprise announcement last week that he will end his 21-year reign at Arsenal when the season is completed.

His rivalry with Mourinho often spilled over into physical altercations dating as far back as when the Portuguese took over at Chelsea in 2004 and promptly grabbed Premier League supremacy from Wenger’s Arsenal team.

Wenger had not got the better of Mourinho in a competitive fixture until Arsenal beat United 2-0 at the end of last season.

Mourinho has greeted Wenger’s announcement warmly and even suggested they could “even be friends in the future”.

“It depends,” said Wenger. “I respect him of course… you should give me a little bit of peace for my final weeks and not try to push me into another confrontation.

“I want to go peacefully, and with Mourinho now because he is a great manager. I say goodbye to everyone. In France we say ‘au revoir’ which means you might see me again.”

Before Mourinho, Wenger frequently clashed with Alex Ferguson in Arsenal-United matches, but former United chairman Martin Edwards revealed in 2017 that he held talks with Wenger about replacing Ferguson when the Scot originally announced he would retire in 2002.

Ferguson changed his mind and would stay for another 11 years while Wenger said at the time Arsenal’s “values” meant he would never have accepted the job anyway.

“I turned many clubs down to stay here and face the challenge when we built the stadium. I don’t regret that because I see my life and what is important to me,” he said on Friday.

The Gunners go to Old Trafford ahead of the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, with the tie delicately balanced after a 1-1 draw at the Emirates on Thursday.

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