Archive for August 21st, 2008

source: allAfrica
The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)
21 August 2008
Posted to the web 21 August 2008

Zambia has been plunged into national mourning. The death of President Levy Mwanawasa comes at a time when he was playing a key role in the affairs of his country, the southern African region and the continent as a whole. In fact, the Zambian leader fell ill while attending an African Union Summit in Egypt, which tackled an issue that had become more of a personal crusade for him.

It’s the Zimbabwean political crisis, which was exacerbated by President Robert Mugabe’s defiance of the continent and the international community to go ahead with an election run-off in which he competed against himself.

President Mwanawasa will be remembered for his blunt criticism of Mr Mugabe over the Zimbabwe debacle as chairman of the Southern African Development Community. Here was a man who was not only committed to strengthening democracy in his own country, but was also keen to help put out a fire in a neighbour’s home by pushing for negotiations to resolve the impasse in Harare.

The accolades have been fast in coming, with [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

HARARE – The influx of Zimbabwean shoppers into Botswana is set to continue after the government there extended the waiver on import duty for basic commodities from August 10 to December 31.

Originally, the Zimbabwe government suspended duty on food and other critical goods in May this year but the suspension expired on August 12.

During the 90 day suspension, Botswana experienced an increase in the number of Zimbabweans visiting Botswana, especially Francistown and Gaborone, to buy basic commodities which are in short supply at home.

More did their shopping in other neighbouring countries – South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia – as Zimbabweans took advantage of the relaxation on imports.

In a statutory instrument published in an extraordinary government gazette last week, the Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi extended [continue reading]

20 August 2008

South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth was higher than expected in the second quarter, rising 4.9% quarter-on-quarter and 4.5% year-on-year, with mining and manufacturing bouncing back and agriculture also showing strength.

Releasing the latest figures on Tuesday, Statistics South Africa said that real quarterly GDP increased by 4.9% in the second quarter, compared to 2.1% growth in the first quarter.

Strong performers in the second quarter were agriculture (nearly 20% growth), mining (15.6%) and manufacturing (14.5%).

But the country’s wholesale, retail and motor trade sector (including hotels and restaurants) shrank by 2.2%, its first contraction since 2001, as the combined five percentage point increase in interest rates over the past two years took its toll on consumer spending.

Finance, real estate and business services were similarly affected, with growth in the sector slowing further, from 4.9% in the first quarter to 2.3% in [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Investors’ strong expectations of healthy profit margins for the listed financial sector firms continue to push the DCI to greater heights on the Botswana Stock Exchange.

In the trading period beginning last week to yesterday, financial counters, BIHL, Barclays, FNBB and Investec have been star performers on the bourse as the reporting period gets into full swing.

In yesterday’s trade Letshego continued with its impressive performance up 10 thebe to 1,510 thebe on positive investors’ sentiment since announcing that their interim financial results for the six month period ending 31 July 2008 will be materially higher than the previous period, as a result of the continued growth and performance across all existing businesses.

The DCI therefore gained a further 0.26 percent yesterday to 7 528.84 points amidst increased activity in most stocks as other gains were [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 21 2008 at 12:22PM

The SA National Defence Force opened the doors of its hospitals to civilians on Thursday, while the health department welcomed military personnel to make use of government hospitals.

This followed the signing of a memorandum by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang with Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota on the opening of military hospitals to the public.

Although overcrowded government hospitals would have to deal with a higher intake of patients, Tshabalala-Msimang said the move would take the delivery of health services in South Africa to “another level”.

Defence spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said there were only three military hospitals in the country – one in Pretoria, another in Cape Town, and the third in Bloemfontein.

Years ago, he said, there was a [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

Divisions in cabinet exploded yesterday when Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, confronted Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Daniel Kwelagobe, for altering parliament’s order paper.

Kwelagobe, also leader of the house, wanted to give priority to business concerning his office. He requested Parliament to postpone consideration of other bills to give priority to the Electoral Amendment and Public Service Bills.

Kwelagobe wants a law, according to the order paper for yesterday, “to re-enact with amendments the provisions relating to the public service of Botswana and all matters incidental thereto and connected therewith”. He also said because of the approaching general election, it is important to urgently deal with the Electoral Amendment Bill.

However, Venson-Moitoi said Kwelagobe’s proposal was not more urgent than the Media Practitioners Bill under discussion. She said that [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tichaona Sibanda
20 August 2008

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has hit back at suggestions that he is the stumbling block to the current power-sharing talks, instead blaming Zanu-PF for their failure to cede some of the powers held by Robert Mugabe.

“Let them demonstrate what powers they have ceded to the prime minister or to the other party. Identify those areas and you will easily see who the stumbling block is,” Tsvangirai said in response to questions by ZimOnline.

Commenting on reports he was not being sensible to claim complete executive powers when, he and his party did not win an absolute majority, Tsvangirai replied; ‘We are talking about shared executive power. Anyone who claims that we are overplaying our hand doesn’t understand the mandate given to us by the people on 29 March. The thing that is fundamental is that the people of Zimbabwe spoke. Fifty-seven percent of the people who voted said they no longer had any confidence in Mugabe. If you then consider the events of June which was not accepted by anyone, then [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

High Court Judge, Gabriel Rwelengera on Friday dismissed an urgent application lodged by the Liquor Traders Association of Botswana challenging government’s new liquor regulations that reduce trading hours of liquor outlets.

The association filed the application three weeks ago.
In the application, the association prayed that the liquor traders’ licenses should be declared valid. They were also seeking a ruling that the continued disruption of their businesses by the state is unlawful for which the association also wanted the government interdicted.

The applicants applied that government should shoulder costs of the legal action.
In his short ruling on Friday, Rwelengera found that the officials of the association have no locus standi in the matter. He said the constitution of the association does not give them the powers to sue.

Rwelegera said the application therefore, amounts to a [continue reading]

source: News24
20/08/2008 21:42 – (SA)

Johannesburg – The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) has decided against holding an early general election, the SABC reported on Wednesday.

ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe told the public broadcaster the NEC agreed at its recent meeting to allow the current government to complete its five-year term.

The decision followed proposals within the [continue reading]

source: IOL
August 20 2008 at 03:35PM

A “big drop” in the petrol price is expected in September, T-Sec economist Mike Schussler said on Wednesday.

“I see petrol dropping around R1 per litre – or even more,” Schussler said.

He expected diesel to drop by R1,45 a litre.

However, even if the decrease in the petrol price was as large as expected in September, petrol would still be up 38 percent compared with a year ago, he added.

He expected petrol to drop month-on-month by 9,6 percent – the largest month-on-month drop in the last 10-and-a-half years.

Diesel would see a month-on-month drop of 14,1 percent – the biggest month-on-month decrease in [continue reading]