March 2016

This startup makes buying ZESA prepaid electricity tokens online reliable

By L.S.M Kabweza

Buying ZESA prepaid electricity tokens on the internet is nothing new. For about a year now it’s been possible, with the noteworthy solution being TelOne’s Telpay website which we wrote about last year. There’s a new interesting addition though and this new service solves a key problem with zesa token vending, which the other platforms have seemingly ignored – reliability. The service is called Power.Plus and it […]

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Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems

Ian Scoones, University of Sussex

In December 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation with great fanfare. There were lots of announcements about prospective investments across Africa. Agriculture featured prominently. But what is the real story of China in Africa on the ground, beyond the hype?

As Deborah Brautigam’s investigative research has so effectively shown, the assumptions about China’s role in Africa are often not borne out in reality. The level of investment and linked aid flows are much lower than the high numbers sometimes touted; the numbers of imported Chinese workers are much lower than often suggested; the areas of land “grabbed” for investment are small compared to the vast areas identified by some.

And, as Brautigam’s recent book shows, Africa will not be feeding China or China feeding Africa anytime soon.

Reality on the ground

We set about finding out what was happening on the ground. Working with African, Chinese and European colleagues, our team investigated Chinese engagements in agriculture in four countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. All have featured prominently as priorities for Chinese investment and aid.

If ANC doesn’t want Zuma, he must come back and herd his cows – Nkandla residents

zuma

“If the ANC no longer wants him he must come back and herd his cows, we will always be there for him.

DURBAN – President Jacob Zuma’s neighbours, most of whom live in squalor, have rallied behind the man they call “one of our own”. Most even believing he was entitled to millions in non-security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal.

They were reacting to the Constitutional Court judgment delivered on Thursday on the binding powers of the public protector.

Inkosi Simphiwe Zuma, of the Nxamalala clan in Impendle, said he was confident that Zuma would survive the storm.

“As a clan, we agree that he must pay back the money so people can stop talking about Nkandla. My questions is when someone has a wound that does not heal, even after consulting the best doctors, there is something wrong there.

“I believed that the president has been through all of these situations because there is someone that does not want him to succeed as a president.”

‘Zuma is one of our own’

Zuma said the clan should close ranks around the president because there were people who were benefiting from the president’s bad press.

“We must be strong. We knew that when he got appointed that there would be challenges. I know personally that he will get through this because he gives me the best advice.

L.A. Joins Growing Number of U.S. Bike-Share Cities

Over 70 cities across the U.S. now offer bike-share systems for residents and visitors. I was surprised and proud to see my hometown of Buffalo, NY on bikshare.com‘s tally of bike-share programs across the United States. Buffalo – a city that sees 80 inches of snow, 36 inches of rain, and only about 155 days of sun every year. With an average of 285 sunny days per year in L.A.

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Using green infrastructure to control urban floods: a win-win for cities

We have all come across people whose homes have beautiful and always blooming plants and flowers – people with a so-called “green thumb”.

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Zimbabwean Tycoon offers to make EPL matches available for free: Does this signal bad business for DStv in Africa?

On Wednesday, the Premier League announced that it had closed a deal valid for the the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons with Econet Media, owned by a Zimbabwean tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa. This deal gives Econet Wireless free-to-air broadcasting rights for the English Premier League (EPL) in sub-Saharan Africa.

“We are very pleased that Econet Media has chosen to invest in the package of free-to-air broadcasting rights that we have made available in sub-Saharan Africa. Premier League clubs enjoy passionate support across sub-Saharan Africa and these rights are important to ensuring that as many fans as possible can follow and enjoy our competition,” said Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore.

Under this deal, Econet will be able to air one live Saturday afternoon Premier League match on its Kwese Sports platform each weekend of the season. The rights also come with the weekly preview and review shows and are going to be available in 50 countries in the region. Kwese will assume the role of an agent for the rights and it will handle their distribution across free-to-air channels across sub-Saharan Africa.

However, this announcement may not be good news for MultiChoice Africa Limited, which offers video entertainment services in Africa through its digital satellite television service, DStv. This is because the company has been enjoying the monopoly of showing premier league matches in most African countries over the decades.

Artisans, repairmen and handymen make up another market ripe for a disruption

Anyone who has dealt with an artisan or handyman in Nigeria, can testify to how unpleasant the experience is. From broken promises or purchasing substandard parts, to causing further damage, the list goes on. The story goes something like this—A while ago, the air conditioning (AC) unit in my bedroom went bad, and I didn’t bother fixing it because I couldn’t picture having to deal with another repairman.

But a few weeks after braving the heat, I finally decided that I was ready to give repairmen yet another shot. I reached out to the man who originally installed the AC unit and after hours of false diagnoses, he declared that the AC was without gas and that there was a deeper problem. Mr. T gave me the price list for the required materials; armaflex, gas refill, half a roll of 1/2 copper pipe, half a roll of 1/4 copper pipe and everything came to about N16,000 including his service charge. We tested the AC with the generator and everything worked fine.

When power was restored that evening, the cooling I celebrated hours ago was non-existent. Eventually, I called Mr. T immediately but he wasn’t taking any of my calls. When I finally got through to him, he promised to come before I left for work, but he didn’t show up.

When Mr. T finally arrived for yet another round of examinations, he fiddled with a thing or two and said the air conditioner transistor was the problem this time. In his words, “Oga, light no dey pass reach the outdoor unit na ‘im make e no dey cool.” I asked him, “why would a transistor go bad, hours after we tested the air conditioner? There was no power surge neither did I use the air conditioner. So why would this happen?”

Regulator limits how much public will cough up for fuel pipeline

© Ying Feng Johansson – 123RF.com
© Ying Feng Johansson – [[www.123rf.com 123RF.com]]</span>New assets accumulated in the construction of Transnet's New Multi-Product Pipeline (NMPP) will not be included in the company's future tariff increase applications until the project is completed in 2019.
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Chefs plunder Chiadzwa diamonds

WALTER-CHIDHAKWA

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa

By Kenneth Matimaire

D-Day for foreign firms

PATRICK-ZHUWAO

Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister, Patrick Zhuwao

War veterans fume

CHRISTOPHER-MUTSVANGWA

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association chairman Chris Mutsvangwa

Land compensation: Another illusion from ZANU-PF

Tendai-Biti-

Former finance minister and People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti

Zimbabwe fuel prices surge

M-gaspump-money-1

Zimbabwe does not produce its own fuel neither does it refine crude oil hence Zimbabwe is exposed to all the global price movements

Banks tighten lending regime

RBZ

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

ZESA grapples with US$100 million salary debt

ZESA-

ZESA grapples with US$100 million salary debt

Financial inclusion . . . Headwins on the way

RBZ-Governor-Dr-John-Mangudya-talks-to-Finance-Minister-Patrick-Chinamasa

RBZ governor, John Mangudya, has a difficult task to encourage banks to embrace previously unbanked people, attract consumers and improve liquidity for on lending to failing industries.

Midlands defies Saviour Kasukuwere

Kasukuwere

ZANU PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere

South Africa trade missions yet to benefit Zimbabwe

Mzwandile Masina ANC BBC screengrab

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina

Patient property game in the North

North Africa is starting to become more attractive to African fund and company investors. Various groups are investing in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia - the region's best performing countries in terms of real estate.

Can Sierra Leone’s economy grow in spite of these intertwining factors?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released a report on the economic realities of Sierra Leone, saying that the country’s citizens will experience a 4.3 percent growth in their economy. However, it is easy to express some doubt over this analysis, after all, the country is just recovering from the effects and economic shocks caused by the Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2013. The IMF team that determined the economic growth of the country in 2016 was led by John Wakeman-Linn during their visit to Freetown from March 15 to 29, 2016.

During the visit, the IMF team met with several country financial representatives as well as President Ernest Bai Koroma, Minister of Finance, Dr. Kaifalah Marah, and Minister of State for Finance, Patrick Conteh. Members of the private sector, civil society, and development partners were also present.

Wakeman-Linn believes that although the country experienced an economic downgrade due to the spread of the Ebola virus disease and the slump of the Leone, the economy will bounce back in 2016. Beyond that, the IMF is of the view that in subsequent years, the country can maintain a certain economic growth standard only if some factors do not resurface. “Over the medium term (2017–19), growth could average 5 percent owing to expected improvements in the external environment and implementation of a wide range of post-Ebola recovery initiatives in key sectors,” Wakeman-Linn said.

Has Angola’s Jose Eduardo Santos bitten more than he can chew this time?

A court in Angola sentenced 17 political activists to jail on Monday, with the longest sentence being eight-and-a-half-years long, while some were as short as two years. Fifteen of these activists were arrested at a book reading session, last year, to discuss governance and democracy. Charges levied against them in the court ranged from acts of rebellion, planning mass action of civil disobedience in Angola and producing fake passports, amongst others. Perhaps, the highest profile name among the list of activists is Angolan rapper, Luaty Beirao, who went on a hunger strike while in detention.

In what appears to be a government crackdown on rebellion, Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo Santos, seems to be employing every power within his reach to tamp down growing dissent to his nearly 37-year-long dictatorship. Despite his recent promise to step down next year, this latest move may suggest otherwise.

Angola’s biggest headache

Here is why this HRW report on the missing Damasak children may not yield any positive results

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a report drawing attention to the abduction of over 400 people from Damasak in Borno state, Nigeria, last year. The report highlighted the government’s indifference to the 300 school children and about 100 women who have been carted away from the state to an unknown destination.

The organisation claims that six witnesses confirmed that Boko Haram insurgents attacked the town in November, 2014, and children between the ages of 7 and 17, alongside several women were locked inside the Zanna Mobarti Primary School in the area. Over the following weeks, they were held captive, fed rotten food and forced to learn the Quran. As a result of the inconducive living conditions, some of the people held hostage died.

In March 2015, the Boko Haram insurgents fled Damasak with their captives and, according to the witnesses who spoke to HRW, none have returned since. Not many Nigerians heard of this matter as journalists refused to visit Damasak, to protect their lives, especially with the presence of Boko Haram; therefore, it was unable to garner as much attention as the abduction of the Chibok girls in the same year.

Angola jails 17 activists for anti-government rebellion

An Angolan court has sentenced 17 youth activists, including a prominent rapper, to between two and eight years in jail for rebelling against the government of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The sentence was handed down on Monday at the end of a lengthy trial in the capital Luanda that the Angolan opposition has said proves the existence of ingrained political repression.

The activists were arrested in June and have always denied the charges against them.

Rapper Luaty Beirao, who went on hunger strike for over a month last year to protest his detention, was given a five-and-a-half year sentence for "rebellion against the president of the republic, criminal association and falsifying documents".

Another activist, Domingos da Cruz, who was identified by the judge as the "leader" of the group, was handed eight-and-a-half years for planning a coup and for criminal association.

The defendants were calm as the sentences were read out before being taken away to jail at the judge's orders.

The activists insist they are peaceful campaigners for the departure of dos Santos, who has ruled the former Portuguese colony since 1979 and is Africa's second longest-serving leader.

Michel Francisco, a lawyer representing 10 of the accused, said he would appeal.

"Justice has not been done in a transparent way because things have been politicised and the judge only obeyed higher orders coming from the president of the republic," he told reporters.

Rights groups say activists in Angola, Africa's second-largest oil producer and third biggest economy, are being increasingly targeted by the government of dos Santos.

Amnesty International has previously said the activists should have not been arrested in the first place and described their detention as a "travesty of justice".

Earlier in March, dos Santos said he would step down in 2018 but the announcement was received with scepticism following two similar pledges in the past.

Strong focus on water at African Utility Week in May 2016

National Water Week and World Water Day: will the next big conflicts in Africa be on water usage?

“The next big conflicts in Africa will be on water usage” was the chilling prediction made earlier this year by the recently departed Dr Lawrence Musaba of the Southern African Power Pool and last year’s recipient of the African Utility Week Lifetime Achievement Award.

“The food-energy-water nexus is becoming a challenge for Africa”, Dr Musaba said, “and African energy pioneers should find a way of how to deal with this dilemma as the population of Africa keeps growing. The demand for water and food is growing, but at the same time we need electricity from hydropower stations to power the industry and as a result, the scramble for water is becoming a huge challenge.”

South Africa’s National Water Week kicked off earlier this week and will culminate in the final international World Water Day on 22 March.

“Water, while once an abundant natural resource, has become a scarce and therefore more valuable commodity due to droughts and overuse”, says African Utility Week event director Evan Schiff, adding: “effective and innovative water management is fundamental to ensuring the optimum use of our water resources and how technical innovation can improve water delivery. Water utilities have to explore both innovative and alternative water supply options in order to meet rapid growth in urban demand, including wastewater reuse, grey water recycling, storm water, rain water harvesting and seawater desalination.”

Strong focus on all aspects of water

This year’s African Utility Week in Cape Town in May will have a particularly strong focus on water, from the water-energy nexus, resource management, water efficiency to wastewater management.

Here are some of the featured experts who will address the conference sessions:

Ramaphosa wrong, economy controlled by black people - De Klerk Foundation

Johannesburg - The FW De Klerk Foundation has countered Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's statement that the economy is owned and controlled by white people, saying that black South Africans control economic and fiscal policy.

"They control the state's 35% share of the economy, they own the 10% represented by the informal sector and, according to the JSE [Johannesburg Stock Exchange], they own a higher percentage of the stock market than whites," the foundation's executive director, Dave Steward, said in article on its website.

"Whites still control and own a disproportionate - but diminishing - share, but this should not be surprising when one considers that they built up many of the companies involved and that they represent a disproportionate share of the entrepreneurial and management skills in the 45+ manager/owner age group."

Steward accused Ramaphosa of playing the race card in a bid to secure support when he stands for the position of ANC president at the party's 2017 national congress.

Last week, speaking at an ANC Gauteng summit for academics and professionals, Ramaphosa promised black business that government would spend billions on broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) in the coming years.

He said the time of white business monopolies was over. Government was hell-bent on making sure blacks owned and managed the economy.

"For far too long this economy has been owned and controlled by white people. That must come to end.

"Those who don't like this idea - tough for you. That is how we are proceeding," Ramaphosa said.

Steward weighed in on the debate of alleged state capture, saying this was nothing new, and was something the ANC had been doing.

This has dominated the public discourse since allegations surfaced that the Gupta family - who are said to have close ties to President Jacob Zuma, his family and other ANC leaders - were interfering in the running of government and offering Cabinet positions.

Gauteng officials to be charged for tender irregularities

Genevieve Quintal, News24

Johannesburg - Gauteng officials will be criminally charged for tender irregularities, the provincial health department said.

"The Gauteng Department of Health investigation into alleged wrongful awarding of R32-million security contracts has recommended that criminal charges be instituted against the chairperson...," it said in a statement.

"It was also recommended that four officials who were part of the BEC be charged departmentally for their role in the said process."

This was revealed by Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to questions in the Gauteng legislature.

"The MEC said legal process was underway to terminate the contract of the four companies that were irregularly appointed."

The companies were Might Women Investments (R6m), Skets Projects (R7m), Mjayeli Security (R9m) and Bokone Bokone Guarding (R10m).

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/gauteng-officials-to-be-charged-f...

Rand falls below R15/$ for first time since Dec

Matthew le Cordeur

Cape Town – The rand has broken the R15/$ ceiling on Wednesday after US fed chair Janet Yellen surprised on Tuesday night with dovish comments, depreciating the dollar against most currencies.

“A need for caution is all it took from Janet Yellen in a speech last night to see the rand move back below 15.20,” said Umkhulu Consulting’s Adam Phillips.

By 10:15, it was trading at R14.96.

Yellen highlighted the lower oil price and slower global growth, which “was all operators needed to push the dollar lower against the majors”.

“The chances of a hike in the US before the first (half) of 2016 has dropped to below 25% now,” according to TreasuryOne. “US treasury 10Y yields also dropped below 1.80% overnight. This has caused the dollar/rand to gain some momentum ....”

RMB analyst John Cairns said Yellen was “outright dovish in her comments yesterday, saying explicitly that the Fed would ‘proceed cautiously’ with rate hikes, while arguing that ‘it is too early to tell if this recent faster pace [of core inflation] will prove durable’.

“Market expectations of hikes have shifted back accordingly.”

The dollar remains the major risk for the rand, notably with the US payrolls data due on Friday, but local politics comes to the fore in the next two days, explained Cairns.

Concern the rand will remain at R15/$ comes as Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is expected to reply to the Hawks on Wednesday regarding the alleged “rogue unit” in Sars.

“More importantly, the Constitutional Court has said that it will hand down its ruling on the Nkandla matter tomorrow, probably opening up the way for opposition parties to step up their calls for the president’s removal from office,” said Cairns.

Phillips said “all eyes will be on the Concourt on Thursday with regards to a decision on Nkandla”.

These events could change the rand/dollar story as the currency has proved politically volatile this year, analysts said.

Fin24

Tanzanian president calls for reduced reliance on foreign aid

Dar Es Salaam - Tanzanian President John Magufuli has called on citizens of the east African country to lessen their dependence on donations made by foreign entities.

According to a report by the Zambian Post, Magufuli made his plea during an Easter mass held in the capital of Dar Es Salaam on Sunday.

"Tanzanians can stop relying on conditional loans from foreign donors if they cultivate a culture of working hard," he was quoted as saying.

Since taking up his seat in office in November last year, Magufuli has taken a number of austerity measures that have earned him notoriety.

Along with his cost-cutting measures, Magufuli has also spawned his own hashtag #WhatWouldMagufuliDo, sending social media users into a frenzy over his unorthodox style of governance.

Many presidents across the continent have been urged to follow the Tanzanian leader's example, with Zambian President Edgar Lungu having been put on the chopping block for his overspending and extravagant lifestyle.

According to a previous News24 report, Lungu was called out over his alleged squandering of resources, with opposition leaders calling him to "take a leaf from Magufuli".

Magufuli continues to stun onlookers, with the president having been spotted riding bicycles through the streets and cleaning pavements with civilians in an effort to better his country.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/tanzanian-president-calls-for-reduced-...

Katlehong calm after looting of foreign-owned shops - police

Jeanette Chabalala, News24

Johannesburg – Gauteng police are monitoring Katlehong, east of Johannesburg, where a group of people attempted to loot foreign-owned shops on Tuesday evening, police said on Wednesday.

"The situation is calm in Katlehong and the police are still monitoring and patrolling the area after residents attempted to loot the shops," said Colonel Noxolo Kweza.

Kweza said police were called to areas in the township on Tuesday night, where a number of shops were damaged.

This after the community had a meeting about crime in the area.

"Residents had split into two groups, the other group wanted foreign nationals to be removed from the area, while one group said it did not have a problem with foreign nationals." A case of public violence and malicious damage to property had been opened.
No arrests had been made yet and no injuries had been reported, she said.

Earlier this month, clashes broke out between locals and foreigners after a Pakistani shop owner allegedly shot and killed one person and injured four others in Katlehong.

Four people were arrested after the shooting. Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

Meanwhile, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) condemned the renewed violence and called for the community to stop taking the law into their own hands.

"Justice must be seen to be done to dispel the notion that communities need to take the law into their own hands. Likewise, those involved in retaliation attacks must face the wrath of the law," spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said in a statement.

News24
Source http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/katlehong-calm-after-looting-of-f...