Archive for June 7th, 2007

source: Hemscott
Kam Patel, 06/06/07 12:06

African Copper, the copper miner with a focus on Botswana reported yet more encouraging drilling results from its flagship Dukwe prospect, this time indicating the mine can be significantly expanded.

Latest drilling results from Dukwe confirm that high-grade mineralisation extends at least 350 metres to the south of the current Dukwe resource in northern Botswana.

That means known mineralisation at the site now extends over 2.4 km, providing further support for the group’s ambitions to expand the already impressively loaded deposit.

On a further promising note, the group reveals that a geophysical survey to the north of the proposed pit area has also identified anomalies that are larger, deeper and more extensive than the south. A planned drill programme promises to reveal a further extension to known mineralisation.

‘The deposit remains open to the north, south and to depth,’ adds the group.

More confirmatory data is needed but the upshot of today’s data is that there is now a real possibility the mine is capable of being significantly expanded going forward.

The group’s existing production schedule is targeting first production at Dukwe in the first quarter of 2008, with a ramp up to full production – around 20,000 tonnes per annum – over the remainder of the year. Site construction is scheduled for completion late in the fourth quarter of the current calendar year.

With African Copper confident of being able to [continue reading]

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source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

5 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) recently released the results of the fourth Global Software Piracy Study, which showed that a number of countries in West, East and Central Africa (WECA) have managed to decrease piracy rates in their regions.

The study has revealed that Botswana, Kenya and Zambia each saw piracy rates drop by one percent as a result of concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors to promote the message that piracy not only robs software vendors of revenues, but that the end users lose out too.

Chairman of the BSA, Stephan le Roux, says while the African region’s overall piracy rate grew between 2005 and 2006, a number of African countries saw the rate of piracy drop as a result of government and industry actions.

“This also included the rapid influx of branded computers that ship with legitimate software, taking market share from locally-assembled PCs that can ship without legitimate software,” says Stephan le Roux.

She added that it is encouraging to see that the issue of piracy is being taken seriously by governments, organisations and end-users in Africa although the average piracy rate in Africa is still over 80 percent and the region has some of the highest piracy rates worldwide.

“It is important to note that while Botswana, Kenya and Zambia have managed to drop their piracy rates, these drops have not resulted in significant cost savings for those governments, which indicates that there needs to be a much more concerted effort in fighting piracy,” le Roux says.

She said that China, for example, has managed to drop its piracy rate by 10 percent in three years, resulting in a reduction of piracy-related losses of over US$500 million (about P3.1 billion) in total. “I have no doubt that similar savings can be achieved in Africa if governments begin to step-up their anti-piracy activities as Botswana, Kenya and Zambia are currently doing.” Meanwhile, the Microsoft’s Anti-Piracy manager for East and Southern Africa Abed Hlatshwayo says when piracy occurs, those doing it are normally under the impression it will not hurt software vendors.

“People are often under the impression that software vendors have enough money and that one or two illegal copies of their software will not hurt them in the greater scheme of things,” Hlatshwayo says.

“But when you consider the fact that millions of people across the continent are doing the same, this can add up to millions of dollars of lost revenue, US$201 million (about P1.25 billion) in 2006 to be exact.”

This, Hlatshwayo says, has a knock-on effect on the government’s ability to deliver certain services to its citizens, because for every pirated copy of software, the government loses tax revenue that could be put straight back into delivering services to the people of Africa.

This also has an effect on direct foreign investment, which forms a [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

5 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Kester Kenn Klomegah
Moscow

Long seen as funding the continent’s wars and doing little other than seeking out petroleum and mineral resources, Russia is now looking to kick-start better trade relations with Africa, and has made its first move by writing off the majority of the continent’s debt.

“We are helping our African partners reduce the burden of foreign debt. We have written off African debt totaling 11.3 billion dollars, of which 2.2 billion dollars is in the framework of the initiative to reduce the indebtedness of the poorest nations,” Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said at a May 25 gathering of a group of ambassadors, diplomats and ministry officials marking Africa Day.

The move signaled Russia’s intention to fulfill its commitments made at recent Group of Eight (G8) meetings as well as paving the way to increased trade with the African continent.

“We are planning to increase the sum by half a billion dollars more this year,” Lavrov added.

An agreement was also signed into law Mar. 10 ratifying an agreement between Russia and African countries it aided during the Soviet era on trade, economic and financial relations as well as provisions on settling Africa’s debt to Russia, a Kremlin advisor told IPS on condition of anonymity. The aid was primarily through weapon deliveries.

“The most important aspect of economic cooperation in our foreign policy is to encourage African countries to trade with us and to not only depend on development aid. Always looking for aid makes these countries less productive and funds for projects end up in foreign banks at the expense of the suffering population,” he said.

Russia decided to write off about 750 million dollars in additional debt from Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) owed by some 16 of the world’s poorest countries, of which the majority are in Africa. Benin, Tanzania and Zambia were included in the 16, and this year Russia is continuing discussions on a full debt write-off to HPIC countries in Africa on a bilateral level. African countries owed nearly 20 billion dollars.

Russia’s Finance Ministry, [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 07 2007 at 12:28AM

The Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) has signed a multi-billion rand contract with the Ilembe Consortium for the construction of a new airport north of Durban, the company said on Wednesday.

Acsa’s managing director Monhla Hlahla said the R6,8-billion contract was “an important step in the right direction. Our main aim is to ensure that the airport is ready for 2010. Since late last year, we have been engaging with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that all legal and governance requirements were met”.

She said that despite the contract being signed, Acas could not begin building until the outcome of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was known.

“Acsa, as a corporate citizen will continue to follow due process in all matters relating to this project and the same will apply for the EIA study. Signing of the contract allows both Acsa and Ilembe to start certain processes within the construction and design framework considering the schedule involved in delivering the airport by 2010,” Hlahla said.

The chairperson of Ilembe, Vusi Mavimbela, said Ilembe shareholders were “honoured to be part of this momentous project”.

The Ilembe Consortium consists of major [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

EDITORIAL
5 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

As we went to press late yesterday, we learnt that the Gaborone Taxis and Local Bus Service Association (GTLBSA) had called off their ill-advised strike. That was the right route to go because the strike was of no benefit to anyone – particularly the transport operators themselves.

As we understand it, the Gaborone transport operators (through GTLBSA) had demanded that bus operators from out-of-town must not be allowed to drop off clients (passengers) at their workplaces once in Gaborone. Such a demand is perplexing in that the out-of-town operators were providing this service at no extra cost to their long-term clients. Giving incentives to customers is a widely accepted business practice worldwide. Perhaps, this situation helps explain the mindset of many local operators who seem not to run their operations as businesses – but instead do so as a favour to passengers! Now the Gaborone operators are demanding these passengers be delivered to them, so that they can make extra money from them. That is absurd to say the least. As much as the GTLBSA members have a right to withhold their services, they have no right to deny those operators who are not their members to service the passengers. Yesterday there were reports of intimidation of operators who were willing to assist commuters at various bus stops around the city. This is unacceptable.

The public reaction to yesterday’s fiasco should serve as a wake-up call to taxi and bus operators in Gaborone. Instead of evoking public support as they had erroneously thought, their strike action was outrightly condemned.

There are still many outstanding issues, which Gaborone operators have to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
06 June, 2007

SEROWE – The construction of internal roads in Serowe will soon start in earnest after the Ministry of Local Government approved more than P104 million for the project.

The package includes building about 36 km of internal roads, storm drainage, rehabilitation of mall roads, bus/taxi rank as well as compensation of people who will be affected by the project.

The roads will among others be upgraded to provide access to secondary schools, some industrial and public institutions.

Mr Lesego Raditanka, the Central District Council council chairperson, emphasised the importance of developing Serowe during a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the commencement of the second phase of the construction on Monday.

Mr Raditankga said the village should be upgraded to provide investment opportunities and to create jobs.

Serowe was declared a planning area and is also defined as a primary centre, he said. As such it has to be upgraded to a standard more or less the same as those of the two cities and four towns.

The village, he said, has more than 200 km of internal roads of which 17 km were bituminised and completed in 1994 as the first phase of the project.

The undertaking, which has been awarded to [continue reading]

source: IOL
June 06 2007 at 04:37PM

Trade union Solidarity is to release details on what it describes as a major skills exodus from electricity giant Eskom.

The union said on Wednesday its findings stemmed from a recently completed doctoral study by Solidarity deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann.

Solidarity, which will make the announcement at a special electrical industry congress, claimed on Wednesday that “thousands want to leave Eskom”.

The union said the skills drain was likely to have a negative effect on Eskom’s plans to expand its generating capacity.

Thursday’s congress will focus on the extent of new skills Eskom will need for its expansion plans.

Solidarity said economist Ulrich Joubert would also assess the economic viability of the Eskom expansions.

Last month, a report commissioned by energy regulator Nersa blamed the skills dearth at power utilities operating in South Africa’s large municipalities and metropolitan areas for a “loss of control over essential technical elements like planning and protection”.

This report examined the spate of power failures that affected the country in 2005.

Meanwhile, Solidarity is in a wage dispute with the power utility that could lead to strike action. The National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers are also part of the wage negotiations with Eskom. – Sapa, IOL

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

5 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Tiro Kganela

The official opening of the Convention on the International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES) 14th conference of parties at the World Forum Centre was held at The Hague, the Netherlands on Sunday.

The Botswana delegation to the European Union (EU) in Brussels Tshenolo Modise and the Wildlife and National Parks director Rapelang Mojaphoko led the Botswana party of 14 people.

In his opening remarks, CITES secretary general Willem Wijnstekers touched on several key points that:

* Many animal and plant species are endangered as a result of human activities, such as habitat destruction, poaching, over-harvesting and pollution. These threats to wildlife have continued to grow as expanding human populations; development, poverty and war have tested the ability of animals and plants to survive.

* CITES in its more than 30 years’ existence had not lost any of its importance as an international legal instrument to conserve biodiversity. To the contrary, it is now more important than ever to ensure that trade in wildlife is non-detrimental and to combat illegal trade in wild animals and plants.

* Over the years, CITES [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
New Zimbabwe (London)

6 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Lebo Nkatazo

THE two feuding factions of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are no closer to reuniting than they were when they split, officials said Wednesday.

Talks aimed at reuniting the two groups – one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by Arthur Mutambara – broke down two weeks ago.

Officials from both factions tied themselves to a strict code not to make statements to the media, but in separate interviews this week, senior officials from both factions privately told of their exasperation at the stalemate.

“We are as far apart as the North Pole to the South Pole,” an official aligned with the Mutambara faction said.

Mutambara has led calls for the reunification of the MDC, and is said to have been prepared to take a lesser position in the united party to leave Tsvangirai as the sole MDC candidate in presidential elections set for the first half of 2008.

The unity envisaged was to take the shape of a loose coalition of the two factions, possibly leading to the total re-integration of both factions.

The MDC split in October 2005, a result of escalating internal tensions which saw Tsvangirai differ sharply with some of his senior colleagues on various policy issues, including election participation.

After Tsvangirai lost a vote of his party on boycotting senate elections that year, he rejected the outcome. Some of his senior colleagues who favoured taking part in elections – including Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube and Fletcher Dulini – accused Tsvangirai of being a dictator, and claimed to have suspended him.

Tsvangirai rejects the charges and has insisted in interviews that his former colleagues were dissidents, while portraying his faction as the genuine MDC.

There have been signals of a thawing of relations between the two groups after they jointly undertook to take part in SADC-brokered talks with the ruling Zanu PF.

The two groups have been under pressure from their international backers and some of their domestic supporters who say only a united front can challenge President Robert Mugabe’s fresh bid for office.

Foreign diplomats are known to be [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

5 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Gaborone

The year-on-year growth in commercial banks’ credit increased to 18.4 percent in April, up from 16.5 percent in March. The growth in credit remained above the Bank of Botswana target range for 2007 of 11-14 percent.

The high annual growth was due to faster growth in credit to the business sector, which accelerated to 19.3 percent from 14.4 percent in March.

Within the business sector, the year-on-year growth in credit to parastatals rose from -11.2 percent to 62.0 percent. Month-on-month, credit to businesses rose by 2.6 percent compared to a fall of 0.7 percent recorded in the previous month.

On the other hand, annual credit growth to the household sector fell slightly to 17.8 percent from 18.1 percent in March. On a monthly basis, growth in household credit was unchanged at 0.7 percent. The share of credit to the household sector in overall credit decreased from 59.0 percent to 58.5 percent. allAfrica

source: IOL
June 06 2007 at 11:36AM

Vodacom workers began industrial action at all the company’s premises on Wednesday, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said.

Workers began with a go-slow on Wednesday morning, to be followed by demonstration and meetings at noon outside all Vodacom premises. Picketing would continue on Thursday.

CWU deputy chairperson Thabo Mogalane said the action was in support of the union’s demand for recognition. He explained that every time the CWU wanted to meet the employer, they were told they did not have enough members at Vodacom to be recognised.

The dispute was referred to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in February.

A one-day strike is scheduled for Friday, with workers to demonstrate at all Vodacom premises and hand over a memorandum to regional offices in major centres.

Vodacom obtained a temporary interdict from the Labour Court in February forbidding a strike. The interdict has recently been lifted.

The CWU said if there was no [continue reading]