Archive for April 10th, 2009

source: The Botswana Gazette
Written by Botswana Gazette online
Thursday, 09 April 2009 00:00

Members of the public are understandably riveted by the Kwelagobe affair – the ouster of an undoubted political icon who has been associated with national politics since he was a young man some 30 years or so ago. The decision by President Ian Khama to remove Daniel Kwelagobe from Cabinet has thus sparked debate around the country about the direction that our politics is taking and whether we can continue to take our democracy, the rule of law and protection of human rights for granted.

The health of democracy within a political party is as important as the health of democracy within the society. Before a political party can profess to lead a democratic state, it must demonstrate that it practises what it preaches.
To convince ordinary voters that it respects elections and democratic processes nationally, a political party must convince them that it respects and upholds those principles and processes within its own structures and [continue reading]


source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

There have been calls from some quarters for the pula to be deliberately devalued in order to boost waning exports, but the Bank of Botswana (BoB) has stuck to its guns, placing faith in the current regime.

However, some analysts agree with the central bank, arguing that devaluing the currency is not a valuable option for the country despite dwindling export revenues.

London-based leading analyst of African economies, Razia Khan, says even though the government would get fiscal revenue in dollar earnings and spend more in pula after devaluing the currency, it is a minimal benefit.

She was speaking in an interview in Gaborone Monday.
“Botswana faces a problem because no amount of pula devaluation will increase the demand for its diamonds,” Khan, who is the Standard Chartered Bank Group’s Head of Research for Africa, says.
Infact, she warns that [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Alex Bell
09 April 2009

Robert Mugabe on Wednesday once again moved to condone the fresh wave of farm attacks across the country, saying the land reform will continue.

The ageing dictator was addressing the ZANU PF central committee, where he also stated his demand for the immediate and unconditional removal of the targeted sanctions imposed on his regime by the US, the European Union, Australia and others. But the International Monetary Fund and Western countries have made it clear that they will not consider giving aid to the government while the farm invasions continue.

The irony in Mugabe’s comments would be laughable, if not for the fact that farm attacks have violently intensified in recent weeks, forcing many farmers into hiding. At least 100 farms have been targeted for seizure since the renewed campaign against the commercial farming community started in February, and more than 100 farmers are facing prosecution on various trumped up charges.

The list of farmers who will likely have their cases fast tracked through the courts includes Chegutu farmer Martin Joubert who, along with [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
John Allen
9 April 2009

Cape Town — Two weeks before national elections in which the ruling African National Congress is being challenged for the first time by an opposition party formed from within its ranks, the party’s leader, Jacob Zuma, has questioned the basis of South Africa’s constitutional order.

In an interview with one of the country’s leading political journalists, Zuma hinted that he believed judges ought to be brought under the authority of other branches of government. South Africa’s Constitution – hailed as one of the world’s best when it was adopted in 1996 – makes its Constitutional Court the final arbiter of the rights of South Africans.

According to Moshoeshoe Monare, political editor of South Africa’s Independent newspaper group, Zuma said in the interview on Wednesday: “If I sit here and I look at a chief justice of the Constitutional Court [South Africa’s top judicial officer], you know, that is the ultimate authority, which I think we need to look at it because I don’t think we should have people who are almost like God in a democracy… Why are they not human beings?”

He added: “Because… you can have a judge of [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

During the past week, there was a rumour doing rounds alleging that Sejelo police in Kanye had arrested two men along Sir Seretse Khama Highway (Kanye/Jwaneng road) in connection with three human heads, which were allegedly found in a cooler box in their bakkie.

According to this rumour, in some instances e-mail messages received by some people, two women who were hitch-hiking got a lift from two men who were driving a double-cab van.

They occupied the back seat where there was a cooler box.

On the way the lid of the cooler box fell off because of the bumpy road and that is when one of the women made the gruesome discovery.

It is because of this background that the police would like to set the record straight.

It is not true that [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Artwell Dlamini
9 April 2009

Johannesburg — AS THE truck strike entered its second day, the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (Satawu) and employers were still locked in wage battles yesterday as worries about the strike mounted.

Four unions, Satawu included, and employers held wage talks yesterday for the third successive day in a bid to end the impasse over wage increases and stop the strike, which started on Tuesday. Satawu, whose 30000 members were on strike, stood firm on its demand for a 37% hike in minimum wages for ultra-heavy drivers, now earning R4317 a month. This excluded an across-the-board wage demand of 13%.

The Road Freight Employers Association’s Magretia Brown said employers offered a phased-in approach to a 37% increase in [continue reading]

source: News24
09/04/2009 13:03 – (SA)

Johannesburg – Some petrol stations across the country have run dry as a strike in the road freight industry enters its third day, the Fuel Retailers Association said on Thursday.

CEO Reggie Sibiya could not say how many petrol stations had been affected, but added that most complaints had been received from Shell and Chevron.

Other members of the association, such as BP, Engen and Sasol, “have had no issues so far.”

The areas most affected were in Witbank, Pretoria and Durban.

“Easter doesn’t make it any easier,” said Sibiya, as many motorists prepare to go on holiday over the long weekend.

Sibiya said that the impact of the road freight strike by [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
Staff Writer

The continued exploration success and consistent results from infill drilling and potential extensions at the Petra Prospect indicate that the Boseto Mineral Resource could grow materially in size and provide Discovery Metals with increased scheduling flexibility in any future mining operations, the company’s Managing Director has said.

Announcing the test results of recent drilling at Petra in which the combined strike length of the Petra and Plutus Prospects now exceeds 24 strike kilometres, Brad Sampson said they are demonstrating an ability to generate more mineral resources economically and quickly over longer strike lengths through exploration at Boseto.

“Any new mineral resources potentially allows the mining of areas with copper grades substantially higher than the average of the total mineral resource,” Sampson said.

“As we progress to the commencement of mining, there is [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Hajra Omarjee
9 April 2009

Johannesburg — FORMER president Thabo Mbeki yesterday denied that he had meddled in African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma’s corruption case and again called for vigilance against the practice of spreading deliberate falsehoods.

Mbeki’s comments came as public pressure mounted on former National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head Bulelani Ngcuka and former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy to explain their alleged conspiracy over Zuma’s corruption case.

Mbeki said he had initially decided not to comment about “unfounded speculation” but now thought it prudent to reassure the nation.

“Over the years, we have consistently assured the [continue reading]

source: Mmegi

FRANCISTOWN: Landlords of executive and high cost houses are feeling the pinch of the global economic crisis as demand for their properties here has taken a tumble.

The global recession that hit the mining sector in Francistown, resulting in most houses returned to either property managers or landlords as tenants lost their jobs.

Some mine employees that escaped the axing by various companies operating at Tati Nickel Mining Company have moved to medium and low cost houses respectively.

Property agent Walter Baaitse of City Connections says demand for high cost houses has seriously declined, leaving many houses vacant.

Medium cost houses are now in higher demand while low cost houses are fully occupied due to demand mainly from students of ABM University, NIIT and GIPS.

Baaitse says their monthly rentals for high cost houses used to range between [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Thabang Mokopanele
9 April 2009

Johannesburg — DESPITE the expectation of further interest rate cuts, the household sector is likely to continue experiencing financial strain, with house prices forecast to drop by a nominal 3%-4% and a real 8,5%-9,5% this year.

The Absa house price index released yesterday showed that average nominal price of middle-segment housing dropped 0,4% annually last month to about R961800, after declining 0,2% in February.

On a month-on-month basis, nominal house prices were declining since the middle of last year, after peaking at R965800 in May.

In real terms, middle-segment house prices were down 8,2% annually in February, while [continue reading]

source: The Botswana Gazette
Written by Botswana Gazette online
Tuesday, 07 April 2009 15:46

Motor vehicle sales in Botswana plummeted last month despite the cuts in the interest rate by the central bank, thus confirming a depressed economy. Statistics from the Ministry of Works and Transport show that vehicle sales dropped by 29 percent last month which analysts say is a bad omen. Vehicle sales dropped to 1,889 which shows the industry might become increasingly desperate because last year, 35, 015 vehicles were registered while in the first quarter of this year only 6, 874 cars have been registered.

However, Bakang Seretse of Investec Asset Management said in an interview that motor vehicle sales in Botswana have generally never been sensitive to fluctuations interest rates. Under normal economic circumstances conditions are ripe for increased demand and purchases of vehicles because of low interest rates.
“The expectation is that there should be high demand and purchase but the weakness in [continue reading]

source: Reuters
April 9 (Reuters)

African Copper Plc (ACU.L) said on Thursday its shareholder Natasa Mining Ltd (NSN.L) had agreed to inject the much-needed funding via a 4.4 million pounds share purchase and an $8.5 million loan facility.

It would also issue about 5.3 million new shares in swap deal to settle 16.1 million pounds of debt, the company, which has no income currently as its principal Mowana Mine in Botswana is on care and maintenance, said in a statement.

The company said the low copper prices are expected to remain weak in the near term and “the group is therefore dependent on the injection of funding by Natasa pursuant to the proposals to enable it to continue to trade”.

African Copper said it would issue [continue reading]

source: IOL
April 09 2009 at 08:38AM
By Louise Flanagan

The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was twice this week accused of leaking information to Jacob Zuma’s allies.

Judge Bess Nkabinde told the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on Wednesday that Cape Judge President John Hlophe spoke of a “list” of people implicated in the arms deal that he got from NIA and that “some of the people on the list are going to lose their jobs when Mr Zuma becomes president”.

She questioned how Judge Hlophe knew she was the Constitutional Court judge tasked with writing a note about the issue of privilege for the then upcoming Zuma cases judgment, wondering if she was under surveillance.

On Monday, acting National Director of [continue reading]