Archive for August 4th, 2007

source: IOL
August 04 2007 at 09:32AM

By Melanie Peters, Mzwanele Mkalipi and Sapa

Panic petrol buying is sweeping Cape Town as the fuel industry strike bites and pumps run dry across the Peninsula.

And there is no chance of more fuel until early next week.

While the Western Cape was only beginning to feel the pinch on Friday, the impact the shortage of fuel supplies had been felt in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape earlier in the week.

Hastily scribbled “Sorry, no petrol” signs went up at Cape Town garages on Friday.

Late on Friday, some Cape Town petrol stations were turning frustrated motorists away as their pumps ran dry, while others which still had petrol had long, snaking queues of vehicles lining up outside.

On Saturday union and petroleum industry representatives meet to try to find a resolution to the crippling five-day petroleum industry strike that has left parts of the country without petrol, but even if the organisations find a solution it will take at least two days to catch up.

“We are hopeful this meeting will bring about an amicable solution to the current strike,” said Keith Jacobs, Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood, and Allied Workers’ Union spokesperson.

A talk-radio station reported 30 Engen garages had no petrol, but the company said it did not have [continue reading]

source: The Sunday Times
AFP Published:Aug 03, 2007

LUSAKA – Zambia and Botswana have concluded bilateral agreements to construct a joint bridge at their common border, Botswana President Festus Mogae said in Lusaka.

Mogae, who is in Zambia to open an agricultural trade show, said a lot of progress had been made in the construction of the jointly funded Kazungula bridge.

“The bridge will open up trade and facilitate easy movement between the two countries. The bridge will promote tourism,” Mogae said after talks with his Zambian counterpart Levy Mwanawasa.

Mwanawasa said the bridge would [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
International Finance Corporation (Washington, DC)

2 August 2007
Posted to the web 3 August 2007

Washington, D.C.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will invest in the East African Submarine Cable System, a landmark fiber-optic cable project that will connect 21 African countries to each other and the rest of the world with high-quality Internet and international communications services. The cable will transform the telecommunications landscape in the region as it improves access for 250 million Africans and substantially reduces costs for consumers and businesses. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks, with the EASSy cable fully operational by the beginning of 2009.

Consumers along the east coast of Africa typically pay between $200 and $300 a month for internet access. These prices, some of the world’s highest, have an adverse economic impact. Estimates suggest that reducing the price of international communications by 10 percent would benefit consumers here by more than $2.5 billion. As a result of this project, prices for international connectivity will drop by two-thirds at the outset, and the number of subscribers will triple. Because the project gives open access to service providers, prices will fall further as volume and competition increase.

IFC’s Board today approved an investment of up to $32.5 million in the cable, known as EASSy. It will run 10,000 kilometers from the continent’s southern tip to the African horn, connecting South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, and Sudan. Another 13 adjoining countries will also be linked to the system as terrestrial backbone networks are completed through a broader World Bank Group initiative: these include Botswana, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

To expand the benefits of the new cable and stimulate traffic, IFC is coordinating its efforts with the World Bank, which is financing a complementary system of terrestrial backhaul and backbone networks through the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program.

“The EASSy cable will complete Africa’s integration into the global communications network, with significant development impact [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 03 2007 at 02:19PM

Cellular network operator Vodacom has given the Communication Workers Union (CWU) a green light to represent their workers, the union said on Friday.

The settlement, which recognises the union, has put an end to a month-long strike by Vodacom workers affiliated to the union, and the immediate withdrawal of a lock-out. The CWU members downed tools on July 2.

CWU spokesperson Mfanafuthi Sithembe said the union applauded the removal of the Performance Measures and Bonuses to Executives “based on the limitation of the unionisation of the workforce”.

“The CWU will intensify the call for the representation of workers in all key structures of the company. That also include pension funds and board of directors,” Sithebe said.

All CWU members at Vodacom were expected to report to work not later than Monday, August 7.

Vodacom had said it would recognise the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

3 August 2007
Posted to the web 3 August 2007

Constantine Chimakure

WHILE it appears a fait accompli that President Robert Mugabe will be endorsed as Zanu PF’s 2008 presidential candidate, political analysts this week said the ruling party’s first secretary faces a bumpy road ahead.

The analysts said that factions in the party — one backing Mugabe, the other rooting for Vice-President Joice Mujuru and another one supporting Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa — would slug it out before and during either an annual national people’s conference or an extraordinary congress, pushing for their preferred candidates for the presidency.

Mugabe, the analysts said, would emerge the victor as he enjoys support from at least six of the 10 Zanu PF provinces — enough for him to secure endorsement at a congress.

Provinces reportedly backing the 83-year-old leader are Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Harare, Manicaland, Masvingo and one of the three Matabeleland provinces.

The analysts said Mugabe still wields enough power to sway support his way despite having run down the country through bad political and economic policies.

But others argued that Mugabe was now a spent force and would be challenged by the Mujuru faction at either the conference or congress. They argued the president had lost the power he used to enjoy in the high echelons of Zanu PF.

The analysts cited how Mugabe lost to the Mujuru faction during last December’s people’s conference when he wanted to push for harmonised presidential and parliamentary polls in 2010. The Mujuru faction opposed him until Mugabe, backed by Mnangagwa and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, three months later decided that the polls be held next year.

Political scientist Michael Mhike said while Mugabe used to have his way in Zanu PF before, politics in the ruling party had changed and rivals were prepared to challenge him.

“Those opposed to Mugabe’s continued stay in power, especially the Mujuru faction, are going to fight tooth and nail to oust him,” Mhike said.

“There is a lot happening behind the scenes in the party. You should realise that Mugabe no longer wields as much power as in the 1980s and 90s. Those in the Mujuru camp will fight him to the bitter end either at an extraordinary congress or a people’s conference.”

But National Constitutional Assembly chairman [continue reading]