Archive for December 23rd, 2008

source: Diamonds.net
By Avi Krawitz Posted: 12/22/08 11:39
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RAPAPORT… De Beers has put most of its global mining operations on hold for a month beginning mid-December as the company takes an extended vacation due to the slump in demand for rough diamonds. In South Africa, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) spokesperson Tom Tweedy said the company basically doubled its Christmas break, suspending operations from December 15 until January 12, give or take a few days depending on the mine. Tweedy noted that as operations start up again in mid-January, the company would reassess its production plan for the first half of 2009. Similarly, Debswana, the De Beers joint venture with the Botswana government, will close its mines on December 25 through January 23, spokesperson Esther Kanaimba said.

In a statement sent to Rapaport News, Namdeb, De Beers’ Namibia mining subsidiary, explained that some of its mine sites have been reduced to [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Chandapiwa Baputaki
Staff Writer

Members of the public have been advised to constantly wash their hands to prevent contracting cholera while in Zimbabwe where the disease is decimating the people, they have been warned to refrain from shaking hands.

With the Christmas holidays upon us half a million Zimbabweans staying in Botswana legally and illegally would be travelling back home. Even though it does not mean that all of them will be at risk of contracting cholera, some people still panic.

Almost 90 percent of the residences in Botswana stay with a Zimbabwean or work with one who will be travelling home this festive season. The question is whether Batswana would be at risk when the Zimbabweans return from Christmas and New Year holidays next month.

The Ministry of Health stated this week that they are [continue reading]

source: IOL
December 23 2008 at 08:26AM
By Kamini Padayachee

Law enforcement and traffic officials have questioned the introduction of an SMS service that could help drunken drivers and even criminals to avoid roadblocks and police spot checks in KwaZulu-Natal.

The service, known as Get Road Smart, which is being run by Belgian company ERTi, was launched in the province this month.

Previous methods used by motorists to avoid being caught in roadblocks and by speed cameras include navigation systems that detect roadblocks, jammers that confuse speed-reading equipment and a spray that makes a number plate unreadable by a speed camera.

The introduction of the service came after the national Road Traffic Management Corporation released accident statistics on Monday that showed that the highest number of road fatalities in the country was recorded in KZN.

According to the statistics, 125 people have been [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 December, 2008

GABORONE – Food and clothes stores in and around the capital city appear to be making brisk business, while others stores are experiencing the opposite.

A snap survey by BOPA to determine how businesses are doing this festive season found that chain stores appear unaffected by the financial crunch, while the same can not be said about other stores.

The general observation was that chain stores seem to be performing well despite high prices of food, while sport, music and other outlets of non essential products are experiencing low sales.

The store manager of Musica, Ms Ompeile said her store is going through a lean period of low sales this festive season.

She observed that most people are not interested in luxury items this year compared to last year.

“I used to order stock after every three days but now I can go for weeks without making orders simply because people are not buying.” When asked about how she is planning to [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Vanguard (Lagos)
23 December 2008

Lagos — Standard Chartered Bank emerged as the top foreign exchange bank for Africa in Global Finance Magazine’s annual awards.

Winners are nominated by Global Finance editors, industry analysts, corporate executives and technology experts, and based on criteria including transaction volumes, market share, scope of global coverage, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative technologies.

Standard Chartered’s win is attributed to its clear leadership in market share for FX in Africa- no other bank in Africa covers the top African markets (in terms of GDP) more comprehensively as Standard Chartered, which has FX sales and trading capabilities covering 12 countries in Africa, including Botswana, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Standard Chartered also leverages technology to provide leading FX solutions: the bank is the first to auto-quote African currencies 24 hours a day and the first to offer African currencies via [continue reading]

source: International Herald Tribune
The Associated Press
Published: December 22, 2008

PRETORIA, South Africa: The United States can no longer support a proposed Zimbabwean power-sharing deal that would leave Robert Mugabe, “a man who’s lost it,” as president, the top American envoy for Africa said Sunday.

Jendayi Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, made the announcement in South Africa after spending the last several days explaining the shift in the American position to regional leaders.

The new stance will put pressure on Zimbabwe’s neighbors, South Africa in particular, to abandon its support for Mugabe. But South Africa said its position was unchanged.

The United States, Frazer said, has become convinced that Mugabe is incapable of sharing power. She cited political moves he has made since September without consulting the opposition, reports that his government has continued to harass and arrest opposition and human rights activists, and the continued deterioration of Zimbabwe’s humanitarian and economic situation.

Particularly worrying, she said, is the rapid spread of cholera, an [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Wanetsha Mosinyi
Staff Writer

Botswana’s era of “fast economic growth” that lasted for a decade is probably over as a global economic recession cuts demand for diamonds and other commodities, says Moody’s Investors Service.

The government’s “financial strength” will underpin the country’s A2 credit rating, even as growth slows, Kristin Lindow, senior vice president at Moody’s sovereign risk team, said in a statement on Friday. Botswana, the world’s biggest diamond producer, relies on exports of the gems for about two-thirds of government revenue.

The US and Japan, which are in their deepest recession period, account for the bulk of Botswana’s diamonds.”The recent collapse in commodity prices as a consequence of the onset of the global recession is likely to have a dampening effect on diamond as well as other resource [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 December, 2008

GABORONE – Government has kick-started the operationalisation of its implementation and coordination office, which was set up in May last year.

Director General of Government Implementation Coordination Office (GICO), Mr Moses Lekaukau said it was a tall order to start the office.

He was speaking at the signing ceremony of a contract of the National Programme Implementation Coordination Project with Accenture last Wednesday at GICC.

“It has been a tall order because the office had to be set up from scratch including the selection and recruitment of professional and support staff,” he said.

Mr Lekaukau said it is now imperative that government policies are implemented through programmes and projects to benefit the society.

He said the ideal goal of any country is to spend 100 per cent of its annual development budget, and it is GICO’s mandate to aid the nation to achieve the ideal through [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Monkagedi Gaotlhobogwe
Staff Writer

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday called on Southern African Development Community (SADC), to be more actively involved in finding a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s crisis.

“There is nothing to be gained from trying to push the MDC into an agreement just for the sake of removing Zimbabwe from the SADC agenda.”

Addressing journalist at the Gaborone Sun on Thursday, Tsvangirari said: “The MDC can only enter a new government when our support from the people translates to substantial gains for them in terms of democracy, freedom, and economic growth.”
Tsvangirai questioned the commitment of the regional body in ensuring fair resolution to the Zimbabwean stalemate.

“We are told that SADC is the key to resolving the Zimbabwe crisis but [continue reading]

source: IOL
December 22 2008 at 03:52PM
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South Africa should pull the plug on Zimbabwe’s electricity supply and plunge the country into darkness, former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser said on Monday.

According to the Australian Online newspaper, the former Liberal party leader said the situation was now so dire that sanctions should be increased and the electricity cut off.

“It’s my understanding that South Africa has it within its capacity to turn off electricity supplies to Zimbabwe,” Fraser was quoted a saying on ABC radio.

“Short of war, all measures to bring pressure to bear on Zimbabwe or Mugabe ought to be entertained.”

Fraser said turning off the lights wouldn’t be as bad as war.

“A direct military intervention would have a [continue reading]

source: BOPA
22 December, 2008

GUMARE – The Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Brigadier Ramadeluka Seretse has expressed concern that Botswana is fast becoming a haven for criminals.

Addressing residents of Gumare recently he lamented that the tranquil Botswana that they used to know, enjoy and wished for the future generation, was fast becoming a crime ridden state.

This, he said, was because the nation at large had abdicated the responsibility of its own security and placed it in the hands of the police and other security forces.

Minister Seretse said crime comes from within the nation and government had also realised that the remedy should come from within, adding that the Batswana tend to call on the police when crime ensues but never stop to ask what brings it about.

“Gumare started with one family, then it grew into a village in the same manner, crime begins at home and if left unchecked it corrodes the whole nation,” Seretse explained.

He castigated parents for [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
By Business Reporter

In line with De Beers’ decision to scale down, the company’s African operations are starting to reduce production. In South Africa, Namibia and Botswana staff levels have been reduced, most on early holiday leave some of whom are not expected to return.

Botswana – the site of De Beers’ most important mines – has been hit hard by the drop in rough diamond sales. At the last DTC Botswana Sight, many sightholders chose to not take the goods, leaving the company with unwanted diamonds.

Work at the Jwaneng, Orapa and Letlhakane diamond mines has also been reduced, with staff going on early holiday vacation. While lay-off plans are not clear, like its sister companies elsewhere in Africa, Debswana is considering its options. As [continue reading]