Charles III To Host South African President In First State Visit Of Reign

In this file photo, Britain’s King Charles III, arrives for a vigil around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown and the Sovereign’s orb and sceptre, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London on September 16, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski / POOL / AFP)

 

King Charles III will next month host the first state visit of his new reign when South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife travel to Britain, Buckingham Palace announced Monday.

“The President of the Republic of South Africa… has accepted an invitation from his majesty the king to pay a state visit to the United Kingdom from Tuesday 22nd November to Thursday 24th November 2022,” the palace said.

“The king and the queen consort (Camilla) will host the state visit at Buckingham Palace,” it added, noting South Africa’s first lady Tshepo Motsepe would accompany her husband on the visit.

Charles III ascended to the throne following the September 8 death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-serving sovereign.

As the UK’s head of state, the monarch makes and hosts state visits with foreign royals, presidents or prime ministers, which are arranged on the advice of the government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The new king is yet to announce his first overseas visit, with reports that plans are being finalised for him to travel to France after he bonded with President Emmanuel Macron over environmental issues.

It emerged late Saturday that he will not travel to next month’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt after UK Prime Minister Liz Truss reportedly “objected” to Charles attending a meeting last month between the pair.

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That follows speculation Truss could controversially scale back the country’s climate change commitments.

State visits to Britain typically involve a ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade in the heart of the capital, accompanied by gun salutes fired from Green Park and the Tower of London.

The visiting dignitaries are invited to inspect a guard of honour before travelling to Buckingham Palace in a carriage procession escorted by a large number of mounted soldiers from the Household Cavalry.

That evening, the monarch usually hosts around 150 guests — invited on the basis of their cultural, diplomatic or economic links to the country being hosted — at a grand “state banquet” in the palace’s ballroom.

The sovereign makes a speech and proposes a toast to the visiting head of state, who replies and makes their own toast.

The visiting dignitary will then usually hold meetings with political leaders in the following days.

AFP

South Africa’s Ex-President Zuma Eyes Political Comeback

In this file photo taken on May 17, 2021 Former South African president Jacob Zuma who is facing fraud and corruption charges greets supporters in the gallery of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, May 17, 2021. South Africa’s top court on June 29, 2021 found former president Jacob Zuma in contempt of court following his refusal to appear before a graft panel.

 

 

South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma, who is facing corruption charges and served a short stint in jail, has said he is ready for a political comeback with the ruling party.

In a statement late Monday, Zuma, 80, said he has been asked by members of the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid, to put himself forward as the party gears up to elect a new leadership.

“I will not refuse such a call should they deem it necessary for me to serve the organisation again,” he said, adding he has been consulting with party leaders “in spite of the difficulties caused by my current legal situation”.

The move comes amid heavy infighting within the ANC, ahead of a national elective conference in December.

The party is to hold internal polls to pick a new leader, who would then become the candidate for the next presidential election in 2024.

Current President Cyril Ramaphosa is hoping to secure a second term but faces a challenge from a faction loyal to Zuma — a divisive figure whose name resonates with graft for most South Africans but remains a hero to many grassroots ANC members.

Zuma said he supports his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace Ramaphosa and hinted he would be prepared to serve as party chairman, another key role.

Support for the party of Nelson Mandela dropped below 50 percent for the first time in local elections last year, and the government is facing growing discontent over widespread poverty, unemployment, and a prolonged power crisis.

Zuma became president in 2009 but was forced to step down nine years later in favour of Ramaphosa, then vice-president.

In July last year he was jailed for 15 months for contempt of court after refusing to testify before a graft inquiry, but was released on medical parole just two months into the term.

South Africa To Bid For 2027 Women’s World Cup

 

South Africa’s football association is planning a bid to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup, its top executive said Tuesday.

“We welcomed the world to South Africa when we hosted the men’s FIFA World Cup 12 years ago, and we would like to be given an opportunity to roll out the red carpet again in 2027 during the women’s tournament,” said SAFA CEO Tebogo Motlanthe told AFP.

The decision to bid was made at the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) weekend executive council meeting.

South Africa hosted the 2010 FIFA men’s World Cup, becoming the first and only African country to have hosted the prestigious competition.

But it faces stiff competition from other bidders such as Netherlands, Belgium and Germany which have already launched a shared bid for the 2027 tournament.

READ ALSO: FIFA Quash Appeal To Kick Ecuador Out Of World Cup

The United States of America has indicated a desire to bid for the 2027 or 2031 contest.

South Africa had been in running for the 2023 clash but pulled out.

In 2010 it hosted 64 matches during the month-long tournament in 10 stadiums, five were built from scratch, and five received upgrades.

The stadiums are now used by football and rugby teams.

South Africa, Morocco, Zambia, and Nigeria are the African countries that have qualified for the 2023 WWC to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

Cameroon and Senegal are among 10 teams who have qualified for play-offs with three places up for grabs.

AFP

Homes ‘Swept Away’ After S.Africa Mine Dam Burst

South Africa flag.

 

A mine dam burst and sparked flooding that swept away houses and cars in central South Africa, officials said on Sunday, forcing residents to be evacuated.

Television footage showed a river of mud and water flowing away from the mine and into a nearby residential area, covering roads and sweeping houses away, in Jagersfontein, a town about 100 kilometres (62 miles) southwest of the Free State province capital, Bloemfontein.

“The mine dam in the area burst this morning… around 6:00 am (0400 GMT),” Palesa Chubisi, a spokeswoman for Free State premier Sisi Ntombela, said in a statement.

“The incident has swept away houses and cars,” she said, but did not provide figures.

Chubisi added no fatalities had been reported so far, but 11 people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

A disaster management team was at the scene to determine the extent of the damage, but the cause was not yet known.

The provincial department of social development said it was assisting with the evacuation of those affected and coordinating relief efforts.

The flooding caused some houses to collapse “leading some members of the community to escape with only the clothes on their backs”, the department said in a statement.

Nigeria, South Africa Miss Out On CHAN Finals In Algeria

The Super Eagles Team B. [email protected]

 

Nigeria and South Africa will be notable absentees from the African Nations Championship after qualifying for the 2022 finals in Algeria concluded on Sunday.

Ghana pipped arch-rivals Nigeria on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw, while South Africa slumped to a 4-1 loss at home to Angola, who triumphed 6-1 overall.

Leading nations who will be at the seventh edition of the tournament reserved for home-based stars include Senegal, title-holders Morocco, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast.

Trailing 2-0 after the first leg, Nigeria staged a late rally in Abuja to win the return match 2-0 through goals from Zulkifilu Rabiu and Chijioke Akuneto, from an added-time penalty.

Ghana converted all five spot-kicks in the shootout while Maurice Ugochukwu missed to eliminate 2018 runners-up Nigeria.

The dramatic victory took two-time beaten finalists Ghana back to the finals after failing to qualify for the last three editions.

Although Nigeria boast one of the stronger national leagues in Africa, they have reached the finals only three times, with their qualifying failures including a stunning 2020 loss to Togo.

In Soweto, South Africa got off to a great start with Prince Nxumalo halving the aggregate deficit by nodding home a free-kick just six minutes into the first half.

Disaster Strikes

But disaster struck for the home side on 39 minutes when an attempted headed clearance by Mosa Lebusa looped over goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse into his own net.

It left South Africa needing to score three unanswered goals to survive with a team sorely weakened by the absence of stars on club duty.

Angola grew stronger as the second half progressed with Jaredi Teixeira a constant menace on the left wing.

He set up the second and fourth goals for Deivi Viera and Daniel Kilola, and Joaquim Paciencia netted the third with a free-kick that flew in off the underside of the crossbar.

Cameroon, fourth when they hosted the 2020 tournament, netted twice late in the opening half to beat Equatorial Guinea 2-0 and squeeze through having lost 1-0 away.

Djawal Kaiba broke the deadlock on 43 minutes in the northwestern city of Garoua and Souaaibou Marou snatched what proved the crucial goal in stoppage time.

There was an even closer call for the Ivory Coast, who beat Burkina Faso on penalties after both legs finished 0-0.

Indian Ocean nation Madagascar will be the only tournament debutants — despite being held 1-1 by Botswana in Antananarivo they progressed 2-1 on aggregate.

FIFA classify Nations Championship matches as full internationals and the results count toward its world rankings.

AFP

South African Inflation Hits New 13-Year High

Volunteers and members of the public clean up the massive debris at the North Beach following heavy rains earlier the week in Durban, on April 15, 2022. (Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)

 

 

Inflation in South Africa accelerated to its highest level in 13 years in July, pushed mainly by surging food, transport and electricity prices, official data showed Wednesday as workers staged protests over the high cost of living.

Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 7.8 percent in July, up from 7.4 percent in June, the national statistics agency StatsSA said in a statement.

The publication of the latest statistics coincided with protests in major cities over the worsening economic conditions, which have been particularly crushing for the poorest in the continent’s most industrialised country.

Strikers led by South Africa’s two largest trade unions called for government action to combat rising poverty and the cost of living in the world’s most unequal country.

While the new inflation figure is bad news for consumers, economists see the country likely reaching a tipping point and believe inflation could ease in the coming months.

This “is likely the peak in the current inflation cycle,” according to Investec bank chief economist Annabel Bishop.

“Inflation will be lower this time next year,” said Dawie Roodt, an economist with the financial services firm Efficient Group.

Inflation has been soaring worldwide, fuelled by supply chain disruptions after the easing of Covid restrictions as well as surging energy and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For South Africans, it has resulted in rising costs for necessities including food, electricity, fuel and medication, the statistics agency said.

Although grain prices are on the decline internationally, Roodt said, “it takes as much as two years before a price shock works its way through the economy.”

Prices for breads and cereals were up 13.7 percent in July, from 11.2 percent in June. It means a loaf of white bread now costs 17.84 rand ($1.05) compared to 15.57 rand ($0.91) a year ago, the statistics agency said.

The price of fuel increased by 56.2 percent on last year.

Rising inflation prompted the country’s central bank to impose the steepest hike to the benchmark interest rate last month, raising it by three-quarters of a percentage point to 5.5 percent.

Roodt said another hike is likely to come.

It will have a spiralling impact on the broader economy with higher rates resulting in higher debt repayments for consumers, which will hit household budgets, said Christie Viljoen, senior manager and economist for PwC South Africa.

“This, in turn, results in reduced spending power for consumers and companies. This is a challenge for South Africa which is a consumer-driven economy,” he said.

The rising cost of living is taking a toll on a population where the unemployment rate hovers near 34 percent.

The government called the unemployment figures a “major concern” on Wednesday, saying more needed to be done to improve conditions following the pandemic.

“Job creation and economic recovery remain the top priorities for government,” said cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams in a statement.

Anambra Lawmaker Nnamdi Okafor Slumps, Dies In South Africa

A file photo of Nnamdi Okafor.

 

The Majority Leader of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, is dead.

He was the member representing Awka South State Constituency. Reports say he slumped and died in a hotel room in South Africa on Tuesday but the cause of his death is yet to be ascertained.

The late lawmaker was among the Anambra State Assembly members that attended a legislative retreat in South Africa.

While other members had returned, he stayed back to meet some of his constituents in South Africa when the incident happened.

READ ALSO: Four Kidnapped Catholic Sisters Regain Freedom

In a condolence message on Wednesday, Governor Chukwuma Soludo described Okafor’s death as “shocking”.

“It is shocking that the State Assembly lost another lawmaker to the cold hands of death, coming barely three months after the demise of the lawmaker representing Aguata Two Constituency, Hon. Okechukwu Okoye,” the governor said in a statement by his Press Secretary, Christian Aburime.

“Dr. Nnamdi Okafor was an active participant at the 7th Assembly who devoted his time and energy to representing his constituency. He’ll be sorely missed”.

“On behalf of the Anambra State Government, may I use this medium to convey my sympathy to those he left behind, including his family, Awka Constituency One, and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor as well as other lawmakers. Indeed, life is ephemeral. May the living continue to reflect on the essence of life and live for the good of the society like Dr. Okafor did”.

South African Inflation Hits New 13-Year High

Volunteers and members of the public clean up the massive debris at the North Beach following heavy rains eaelier the week in Durban, on April 15, 2022.  (Photo by RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP)

 

 

Inflation in South Africa accelerated to its highest level in 13 years in July, pushed mainly by surging food, transport and electricity prices, official data showed Wednesday as workers staged protests over the high cost of living.

Consumer prices rose at an annual rate of 7.8 percent in July, up from 7.4 percent in June, the national statistics agency StatsSA said in a statement.

The publication of the latest statistics coincided with protests in major cities over the worsening economic conditions, which have been particularly crushing for the poorest in the continent’s most industrialised country.

Strikers led by South Africa’s two largest trade unions called for government action to combat rising poverty and the cost of living in the world’s most unequal country.

While the new inflation figure is bad news for consumers, economists see the country likely reaching a tipping point and believe inflation could ease in the coming months.

This “is likely the peak in the current inflation cycle,” according to Investec bank chief economist Annabel Bishop.

“Inflation will be lower this time next year,” said Dawie Roodt, an economist with the financial services firm Efficient Group.

Inflation has been soaring worldwide, fuelled by supply chain disruptions after the easing of Covid restrictions as well as surging energy and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

For South Africans, it has resulted in rising costs for necessities including food, electricity, fuel and medication, the statistics agency said.

Although grain prices are on the decline internationally, Roodt said, “it takes as much as two years before a price shock works its way through the economy.”

Prices for breads and cereals were up 13.7 percent in July, from 11.2 percent in June. It means a loaf of white bread now costs 17.84 rand ($1.05) compared to 15.57 rand ($0.91) a year ago, the statistics agency said.

The price of fuel increased by 56.2 percent on last year.

Rising inflation prompted the country’s central bank to impose the steepest hike to the benchmark interest rate last month, raising it by three-quarters of a percentage point to 5.5 percent.

Roodt said another hike is likely to come.

It will have a spiralling impact on the broader economy with higher rates resulting in higher debt repayments for consumers, which will hit household budgets, said Christie Viljoen, senior manager and economist for PwC South Africa.

“This, in turn, results in reduced spending power for consumers and companies. This is a challenge for South Africa which is a consumer-driven economy,” he said.

The rising cost of living is taking a toll on a population where the unemployment rate hovers near 34 percent.

The government called the unemployment figures a “major concern” on Wednesday, saying more needed to be done to improve conditions following the pandemic.

“Job creation and economic recovery remain the top priorities for government,” said cabinet spokeswoman Phumla Williams in a statement.

Two Dead As South Africans Protest Over High Cost Of Electricity


In this file photo, supporters of former President Jacob Zuma and loyalists of the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) protest outside the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, on July 24, 2022.(Photo by Rajesh JANTILAL / AFP)

 

Two people were killed in alleged police shootings during protests over the cost of electricity in a South African township on Monday, police officials said.

Residents angry at the high cost of basic services barricaded roads with burning tyres and set ablaze a municipal building in Thembisa township northeast of the financial hub Johannesburg.

There were “two fatal injuries” linked to “the protest action that occurred during the early hours of this morning”, local municipal police spokeswoman Kelebogile Thepa confirmed.

“It’s alleged they have been shot,” she told AFP.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate watchdog earlier told AFP it had recorded a case of shooting “by a member of the police”.

Investigations are underway.

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Protests over poor services occur regularly in South Africa, which is battling some of the highest unemployment and crime rates in the world.

The latest bout of protests came after former president Thabo Mbeki warned the country could see an uprising similar to the Arab Spring, triggered by mounting discontent.

Mbeki last month accused his successor Cyril Ramaphosa of failing to deliver on his promises to tackle widespread poverty, inequality, and unemployment, which stands at over 34.5 percent, with youth joblessness at nearly 64 percent.

A year ago South Africa saw an outbreak of the worst violence the country has experienced since the end of the apartheid era three decades ago. The large-scale rioting and looting left more than 350 dead.

The ten days of rioting followed the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma for snubbing graft investigators.

AFP

Eight Models Raped At South Africa Music Video Shoot

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reacts during the state visit President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara (not pictured) at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on July 22, 2022. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

 

 

A gang of gunmen forced their way into a music video shoot and raped eight young women from the cast in a small South African town this week, police said Friday.

Security forces have arrested three of around 20 suspects so far over the Thursday attack on the outskirts of Krugersdorp, a small town west of Johannesburg, Police Minister Bheki Cele said.

The gang attacked the crew and cast while they were offloading equipment and preparing the set, he told reporters.

The women were aged between 18 and 35, Cele said, adding one woman was raped by 10 men and another by eight.

Even the men were stripped naked and robbed of their personal belongings, he told reporters on the sidelines of a conference of the ruling party in Johannesburg.

“It looks like they are foreign nationals, basically they are zama zamas,” he said, referring to people who illegally exploit mines in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa told the same conference that he had ordered the police minister to make sure the perpetrators were “apprehended and dealt with”.

Rape is grossly under-reported in South Africa, but on average one such crime is reported to the police every 12 minutes in the country.

South Africa Central Bank Raises Key Rate To 5.5%

File photo of South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

 

 

South Africa’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to 5.5 percent on Thursday — the steepest hike in a decade.

The move — announced a day after South Africa reported a 13-year high in inflation — was the fourth rate hike in a row, as the South African Reserve Bank voiced concerns over high inflation and weak economic growth.

The central bank “decided to increase the repurchase rate by 75 basis points to 5.50 percent per year,” with effect from Friday, said governor Lesetja Kganyago said during a televised media briefing.

“We hear the cries of South Africans that inflation is eroding their income, their salaries and their wages,” he said.

“And we are determined as the South African Reserve Bank to protect the income of South Africans.”

The rate lift was higher than market analysts’ forecasts of an increase of 50 basis points.

Inflation has soared to the highest level in decades in many countries, fuelled by the war in Ukraine and the easing of Covid restrictions.

That has forced central banks across the globe to hike interest rates, risking the prospect of recession as higher borrowing costs hurt businesses and consumers.

But on Wednesday the country’s statistics agency, StatsSA, said annual consumer inflation had jumped to 7.4 percent in June –- the highest reading since 2009 –- driven by rising prices for food and transport.

Kganyago said the rate increase aimed to help bring inflation back down to the bank’s target band of three to six percent.

Kganyago also announced updated economic forecasts.

He said the South African economy is now expected to grow by two percent to this year, an upwards revision from the May forecast of 1.7 percent.

That is still a drop from the 4.9 percent growth South Africa registered in 2021.

Growth is expected to slow down further to 1.3 percent in 2023, before edging higher to 1.5 percent in 2024, which are downward revisions, he added.

The bank revised higher its forecast of headline inflation for this year to 6.5 percent.

South Africa Inflation Hits 13-Year High In June

Workers at the Beerhouse, in Long Street join other people working in the restaurant, food and alcohol industry in a nationwide protest against provisions in South African government Lockdown legislation, which threatens the survival of the businesses and jobs, in Cape Town city centre, on July 22, 2020. – The reintroduction on the ban on alcohol sales and a night curfew by the South African government will have a negative economic impact on the hospitality industry. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

 

 

Inflation in South Africa surged to its highest level in 13 years in June, driven primarily by rising prices for food, transport and housing, official data showed on Wednesday.

“Annual consumer price inflation was 7.4 percent in June 2022, up from 6.5 percent in May, and the highest rate since May 2009,” the statistics agency, StatsSA, said in a statement.

Inflation has soared to the highest level in decades in many countries, fuelled by the war in Ukraine and the easing of Covid restrictions.

That has forced central banks to raise interest rates, risking the prospect of recession as higher borrowing costs hurt businesses and consumers.

Monetary policymakers of Africa’s most industrialised power had sought to keep inflation within a range of three to six percent.

In May, South Africa’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 4.75 percent -– the steepest increase in years.

The bank had drastically slashed interest rates in 2020 to a low of 3.5 percent to help the economy weather the coronavirus pandemic.