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African press review 1 July 2014


Implications of the Southafrican metalworkers' strike, Zuma’s private residence in KwaZuluNatal and Kenyan divisions in former prime minister Raila Odinga’s opposition coalition are all topics in today's African papers.

The main story in South African financial paper, BusinessDay, looks at some of the implications of the metalworkers' strike, which began at midnight.

According to the Johannesburg-based daily, motor companies may have to halt production from the end of next week if the latest National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa stoppage continues until then.

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While some motor constructors have built up stocks of components so they can continue to work during the strike, others have only a few days’ supply.

The dispute is expected to disrupt production at about 10,500 companies in the manufacturing sector.

The metalworkers are striking at steel and engineering companies in pursuit of a 12 per cent wage increase. Employers are offering about eight per cent.

Though motor companies are not involved directly in the strike, many parts suppliers are.

A spokesman for BMW SA said yesterday that, although only nine of the company’s 200 local suppliers are affected, they produce critical components such as axle assemblies, sheet metal parts, batteries, wheel rims and brake and fuel lines. The company has six weeks' stock of these parts.

Other motor assemblers say they will review the situation on a day-to-day basis.

Analysts warn that the strike’s effect on iron and steel production as well as in the telecommunications and plastics sectors could push the South African economy into recession.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

Elsewhere in BusinessDay, a report that a political row has erupted over the delay in publishing the Special Investigating Unit report into the 17 million euros of public money spent on President Jacob Zuma’s private residence at Nkandla in rural KwaZuluNatal.

Zuma, when asked to respond to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s report which found that the president had benefited unduly from the spending and should repay the money, said he would comment on her report only after the Special Investigating Unit report was finalised.

The report should have been published yesterday. Citing circumstance beyond its control for the delay, the unit said it expects to be in a position to publish in "not much more" than two weeks' time.

The opposition Democratic Alliance says it is deeply concerned by the unit's failure to complete its work on time. The Freedom Front Plus has described the delay as a deliberate move to slow the process.

TheStandard in Kenya reports that divisions have rocked former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy over the planned July 7 Saba Saba rally in Nairobi.

The rally is intended to protest the Jubilee Government's refusal to convene a national dialogue conference and coincides with the day in 1990 when the then Opposition clashed with the Kanu government in the push for multiparty democracy.

Several state governors and MPs allied to the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy have opposed calls for mass action, saying the rally will destabilise Kenya and disrupt business.

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My favourite story this morning is a little further down the Standard front page. There we learn that Kenyan police are currently trying to trace three of their colleagues who vanished yesterday with the shilling equivalent of three-quarters of a million euros that they were escorting to a bank in Nairobi.

The three officers who were escorting the cash are missing, but their guns, uniforms and a vehicle they were using were found abandoned in Huruma slums, on the outskirts of the capital. Also in their company were two KK Security personnel who could not be traced on Monday evening. The police are investigating.

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