Archive for May 27th, 2007

source: BOPA
25 May, 2007

BOBONONG – Despite the anticipated shortage of potatoes in South Africa, local farmers might not supply that market due to tariff barriers.

South Africa has barriers that make it impossible for us to export our produce because one has to satisfy a lot of requirements if they wish to export said chairman of the Botswana Horticultural Council Mr Alfred Dlamini.

The South African media reports have indicated that the country might experience shortage of potatoes due to several reasons including the fact that fewer farmers planted the crop this season.

Mr Dlamini said another factor that could hinder local farmers from exporting was that there are strict tests that products have to undergo for them to be accepted in the South African market.

Also, he said farmers must produce a full record of the plant indicating where and when it was planted until harvest time.

He said if it was not for the barriers farmers located in parts of the country where it is not too cold like the Tuli Block area, may be able to take advantage of the shortage.

However, Talana Farms Managing director, Mr Jan Willemse said the 40 hectares of potatoes they have planted was only for the local market.

Although he was not aware of the shortage in South Africa, Mr Willemse said they can only export provided we are able to satisfy the local market.

He, however, noted that his main objective was to supply vegetables within Botswana.

Talana Farm also produces butternuts, tomatoes, onions, spinach and cabbage all for local consumption. BOPA

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source: IOL

May 26 2007 at 11:10AM

By Melanie Peters and Sapa

As early as next year, customers will have a choice when it comes to picking a fixed-line telephone company, and the cost of calls could be cut by as much as 70 percent.

“Customers will be able to select carriers of their choice for the transmission of voice and data,” information engineering expert Tshilidzi Marwala told journalists in Cape Town on Friday.

Speaking at the handover of a report by the Local Loop Un-bundling Committee to Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, he said the process of “unbundling” the telephone network would start next January.

Marwala is chairperson of the unbundling committee, established by the minister to investigate allowing multiple local and national operators entry to the multi-billion-rand industry.

A “local loop” is the term used to describe the cables between a home or business and the local telephone exchange.

According to one committee member, unbundling of the network – currently owned and managed by Telkom – could see the cost of telephone calls dropping by between 30 percent and 70 percent.

The fixed-line network generates an annual revenue of about R80-billion, but opening it up could create a “multiplying effect” that could see this figure grow between 25 percent to 50 percent, he said.

Marwala said the response had been positive. About 10 companies could enter the market over the next four years. “The unbundling will encourage competition … and with this the price will go down … We are hoping it will be completed in four years.” IOL

source: news24

26/05/2007 07:31  – (SA)

Johannesburg – Thousands of small business owners were flooding revenue offices with last-minute applications for tax amnesty before Thursday’s deadline, said the SA Revenue Services (SARS) on Friday.

All SARS offices will be open on Saturday from 08:00 to 13:00 and on Monday to Thursday from 08:00 until 18:00 daily and officials would help applicants fill in amnesty forms, said SARS spokesperson Adrian Lackay.

“In the past few days SARS offices have been flooded with calls and queues have formed at many of our service points to file amnesty applications,” said Lackay.

Lackay said applications were flooding in at a rate of “about 2 000 plus” a day and by Friday afternoon, SARS had received about 65 000 to 66 000 applications for amnesty since the amnesty period opened on August 1.

“They’re really coming in quite fast.”

Lackay said about 5 000 of those arrived since Finance Minister Trevor Manuel spoke in Parliament on Thursday, when he warned small businesses to make use of the opportunity before it was too late.

“Those who choose not to make use of this unique window period will have to face the consequences of losing their businesses and face up to five years in jail,” Manuel told Parliament.

Lackay said SARS would intensify its campaign next week and thousands of its officials would visit small businesses.

He said: “In addition, an SMS will be sent to taxi operators as well as [continue reading]

source: allAfrica

The Herald (Harare)

26 May 2007
Posted to the web 26 May 2007

Harare

AFRICAN countries with elephants have organised an urgent meeting to try and find common ground on a proposed total ivory ban before the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meets soon.

Mali and Kenya, the authors of the proposal to ban all ivory trade ban for the next 20 years and are expected to attend the meeting. The meeting is to be held in the Hague Netherlands, three days before the start of the main CITES meeting.

Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Director General, Dr Morris Mtsambiwa yesterday said at least 50 wildlife representatives from African countries are expected to attend the meeting.

“This is a very critical meeting because it involves all elephant range states. We look forward to coming up with a common position on critical issues on the CITES agenda,” Dr Mtsambiwa said.

The meeting would debate hunting quotas of all species that include the elephant, leopard and lion.

Of major concern to Botswana, [continue reading]

 

source: BBC
Last Updated: Saturday, 26 May 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK

 

Zimbabwean police (March 2007)

Zimbabwean police have cracked down on MDC activities

Police in Zimbabwe have raided the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare and arrested as many as 200 activists. The activists were taken away in police vans, though the MDC’s Nelson Chamisa said police had no search warrant.

Mr Chamisa told the BBC that the meeting was held in party offices to discuss civil issues and insisted the MDC was doing nothing illegal.

The arrests came a day after police extended a ban on political rallies.

‘Harassment’

The BBC’s Peter Greste, in South Africa, says the police cordoned off a number of blocks around Harvest House and burst into the party headquarters, beating and arresting anyone they found inside.

Mr Chamisa said those [continue reading]

source: news24
26/05/2007 20:24  – (SA)

Johannesburg – South Africa and Brazil urged the United States on Saturday to abide by an agreement of the Group of 20 economic powers for an open and transparent appointment of the new head of the World Bank.

The G20, in the final communique of its 2006 annual meeting, called for the managing director of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank president to be chosen in a transparent and consultative way, and not restricted to nationality.

“These communiques are so carefully negotiated and every single word gets approved line-by-line and reflects the views of those who participated,” Thoraya Pandy, spokesperson for Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, told Reuters.

“It would be fair to say that those who participated in the agreement should be bound by it.” South Africa is the current chair of the G20, which also includes the United States.

The US government looks set to appoint an American as the new head of the bank following the resignation of Paul Wolfowitz over accusations he authorised a pay rise for his companion.

This is in line with a past understanding that Washington appoints the president of the bank and a European leads the IMF, but South Africa’s National Treasury said other countries should be considered.

“At a time when the effectiveness and [continue reading]