Archive for August 15th, 2008

source: Mmegi

The crisis in Zimbabwe is likely to be one of the top issues at the forthcoming Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit of heads of state and government leaders to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 16.

Political, economic and social happenings in Zimbabwe can be expected to take centre stage because they have the potential to impact negatively on SADC’s march to the envisaged regional integration and South Africa’s hosting of the FIFA 2010 World Cup finals.

At the SADC meeting of heads of state held in August last year, it was anticipated that the economy of Zimbabwe would improve and pave the way for a Customs Union and Free Trade Area. To the contrary, Zimbabwe’s economy has nose-dived while unemployment has reached the 80 percent mark.

Hyperinflation and unemployment has forced Zimbabweans to [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Lance Guma
14 August 2008

Zimbabwe’s political drama continued Thursday, with accusations from the MDC that ZANU PF government ministers and security agents were trying to bribe its members of parliament to join a unity government. A statement from the party said Mugabe’s regime had approached several MP’s asking them to submit their C.V’s for possible appointment into a new government. ‘These are the actions of a desperate and cornered regime, which we find corrosive,’ the MDC said.

Analysts say Mugabe and his party were hoping to pressure Tsvangirai into accepting a junior role in a unity government, but that Tuesday’s walk out by the MDC leader had shattered the plan. The new strategy attempts to side-step Tsvangirai and offer some of his 100 MP’s positions of power, influence and wealth. The state media reported Tuesday that a deal had been struck with the Mutambara MDC to form a new government. This was denied by the breakaway faction and even the talks facilitator Thabo Mbeki was forced to deny a deal had been done without Tsvangirai.

While the SADC summit this weekend offers another window of opportunity to break the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
14 August 2008
Posted to the web 14 August 2008

Dumisani Muleya

ZIMBABWE’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai walked out of talks with President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday after Mugabe was unable to guarantee in writing that Tsvangirai would be head of government in a power-sharing deal, it emerged yesterday.

Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said yesterday he remained committed to the talks and hoped the sticking points would be resolved soon.

On Tuesday evening he refused to sign a draft power-sharing agreement at a meeting chaired by President Thabo Mbeki.

Informed sources said he refused to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

LUSAKA: Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa will not attend the August 16-17 Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government summit to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Health Minister, Dr Brian Chituwo, told parliament yesterday that the president is under high sedation and the healing process may take a little longer.

President Mwanawasa, who is the current SADC chairman, has been admitted to Paris’ Percy Military Hospital in France, where he was flown after suffering a stroke as he attended the recent special African Union (AU) meeting on Zimbabwe in Egypt.

Mwanawasa was supposed to hand over the chairmanship of the regional grouping to South Africa’s President, Thabo Mbeki, at the [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
15 August 2008
Posted to the web 15 August 2008
Jocelyn Newmarch

DIGITAL TV will be a success, and timelines for the project will be met.

That is the word from the communications department, which is in charge of making sure that the big switch from analogue to digital broadcasting happens by 2011.

“There are no signs to suggest that we will not be ready by 2011. One of our goals is to speed up uptake and use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) among South Africans,” department spokesman Joe Makhafola said.

“Digital television applications have an important role to reach especially rural regions effectively for interactive solutions. It is in the interests of both government and its citizens that we accelerate uptake and use of ICTs,” he said.

From November, broadcasters will start transmitting a digital signal, on a trial basis, in addition to [continue reading]

source: Business Day
Joseph Balise

GABORONE — Botswana’s government has postponed the imposition of a 70% levy on alcoholic beverages until the end of next month .

The postponement followed a request by a business council to be allowed to make proposals on ways of curbing alcohol abuse in Botswana, the government said yesterday.

The increase announced last month by President Ian Khama, an anti-alcohol campaigner, was due to take effect on Monday.

The levy could be increased by a further 70% within three months should consumption not decline, Khama said.

Alcohol was the most common primary substance of abuse accounting for [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

President Ian Khama has quickly reacted to the suggestion made by Assistant Minister, Oliphant Mfa that he should rule for 15 years instead of the maximum 10 under the Constitution. Mfa made the call citing the cost of maintaining an ex-president.

In an interview with Mmegi yesterday, the Assistant Minister said that it is very costly for a small country such as Botswana with a small budget, to maintain retirement homes for three former presidents.

As a result, he said that he wanted the constitution to be amended to allow Khama to remain in office until 2023 and not 2018 under the current law.

But in a quick response, the Office of the President (OP), has said Khama is not interested in a third term.

“In the light of an article appearing in today’s edition of the Mmegi newspaper (“15 years for Khama” 13/8/08), the President wishes to reassure members of the public that he has absolutely no intention whatsoever of seeking to remain in office beyond the maximum tenure of 10 years as proscribed by the Constitution (should he be so re-elected).

Further to the above, His Excellency is a strong believer in the principle of [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Southern African News Features (Harare)
14 August 2008
Posted to the web 14 August 2008

The implementation of the SADC Trade Protocol has been a long and painstaking regional process that will continue beyond the formal launch of the Free Trade Area at the SADC Summit in mid-August.

Twelve SADC Member States have signed up to the protocol following a ratification process and are therefore part of the Free Trade Area (FTA), with the exception of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo who have asked for more time before joining the FTA.

The official launch of the FTA is expected during the 28th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit in South Africa on 16-17 August, signalling the creation of one of the largest free trade zones on the African continent with more than 250 million people.

This historic event that will usher in a new era of economic integration and rapid industrialisation of the sub-region through expanded trading opportunities.

Premised on the gradual removal of barriers to trade, the [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 14 2008 at 05:14PM

Johannesburg – Mauritius-registered private equity venture SEACOM said on Thursday a fibre optic undersea cable linking east Africa to Europe and Asia would be launched in June 2009, in time for the 2010 soccer World Cup.

The company said in a statement it would start laying the $650-million cable, which is needed to provide high-speed Internet access and spur investment, in October this year.

The 15 000 km cable will wind around the east of the continent between South Africa and Egypt, then on to Mumbai in India and Marseille in France.

The group will start connecting sections of the cable in April 2009.

“The team is also trying to expedite the construction in an attempt to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Botswana has exported rough diamonds worth P11.5 billion in the first six months of the year compared to P9.9 billion in the same period in 2007, statistics from the Central Bank show.

But the establishment of the Diamond Trading Company (DTC) Botswana in March saw diamond exports plunge by 21 percent in the second quarter of the year from the first quarter as the gems are now being first sold locally to the 16 licensed sightholders for polishing and cutting.

According to a Bank of Botswana June financial statistics report, which still only factors in exports of rough diamonds, exports of diamonds stood at P5.1 billion in the second three months of the year from P6.4 billion in the first quarter.

“In the second quarter of 2008, exports of diamonds reported to the Bank of Botswana, were P5,107 million, a decline of P1,361 million (21.0 percent) from P6,468 million recorded in the first quarter,” the BoB report says.

“This decline is in large part explained by the [continue reading]

source: Mining Weekly
By: Brindaveni Naidoo
Published: 15 Aug 08 – 0:00
Botswana-based company Karoo Sustainable Energy (KSE) has been appointed as the independent power producer (IPP) to develop a peaking-to-midmerit power plant with a minimum capacity of 250 MW.

This project is an initiative by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the national power utility, to enhance the security of supply in the country. Power demand in Southern Africa is outstripping supply, posing a huge challenge to regional power utilities to secure power supply to their countries.

This $400-million project includes the production of coal- bed methane (CBM) and [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

Canadian gold-miner Iamgold increased net earnings in the second quarter to P219 million, compared with a loss of P535 million a year earlier when it took a P616-million impairment charge related to its Mupane Mine near Francistown.

The BSE-listed company said in a statement that stripping out the effects of the impairment, profit rose 169 percent year-on-year, thanks to higher gold and niobium prices as well as slightly increased production levels.

Iamgold realised an average gold price of P5,777/oz compared with P4342/oz in the same period a year ago, and gold production rose to 255, 000 oz, from 251, 000 oz in the second quarter of 2007.

Cash costs increased to P3105/oz, compared with P2717/oz a year earlier. “Our cash costs and increased production guidance demonstrate our focus on [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
By Celia W. Dugger
Published: August 14, 2008

JOHANNESBURG: In a blow to the prospects for a settlement of Zimbabwe’s political crisis, agents of the country’s intelligence service temporarily confiscated the travel documents of the chief opposition leader and his party’s main strategist at the airport in Harare, the capital, Thursday, preventing them from boarding a flight to Johannesburg, opposition officials said.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, and Tendai Biti were on their way to a regional summit meeting here, where heads of state from across southern Africa are to consider further action to break the deadlock in power-sharing talks between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

The travel documents were returned and Tsvangirai left for South Africa later Thursday, said Tapiwa Mashakada, a spokesman for his party, the Movement for Democratic Change.

But the government’s interference in Tsvangirai’s ability to travel freely and to meet with regional leaders seemed to damage further the chances of a power-sharing government that [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Violet Gonda
14 August 2008

The MDC leadership have had their travel documents returned, after they were confiscated on Thursday afternoon to block them from travelling to South Africa. President Morgan Tsvangirai, Secretary General Tendai Biti and Secretary for Foreign Affairs Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro were heading to Johannesburg to attend the SADC summit this weekend, when they were prevented from boarding their flight by immigration officials.

SADC is expected to have a session on Zimbabwe and have invited the main political parties to attend, after talks broke down on Tuesday.

Biti told SW Radio Africa his party was still committed to the talks, despite the extreme provocation by the regime. But he warned that the MDC would have to decide on whether or not to continue with the dialogue, as ZANU PF was negotiating in bad faith.

The much needed food aid is still being politicised, politically motivated violence is taking place in [continue reading]

source: Mining Weekly
By: Liezel Hill
Published on 14th August 2008

TSX- and Botswana-listed CIC Energy has published an updated NI 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate for its Mmamabula coal field, in Botswana, which is now estimated to contain 2,93-billion tons of coal in the measured and indicated categories.

This is an increase of 28% from the previous estimate of 2,28-billion tons.

The project also contains 34-million tons of inferred resources.

“The updated coal resource estimate for Mmamabula of almost 3 billion tons potentially positions CIC Energy as a major coal supplier in the region,” said president Greg Kinross.

“We are particularly pleased that our comprehensive exploration program has resulted in 98% of our coal resources being in the measured category, which is the highest level of resource.”

CIC Energy plans to build a mine-mouth coal-fired power station at Mmamabula, and is studying the [continue reading]