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African press review 3 July 2014


The Sudan Tribune has some back ground information to the story about South Sudanese security officials who, earlier this week, allegedly detained and eventually prevented four national staff working for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan from leaving Juba airport.

The four were among a party of nearly 30 officials heading for a UN training program organised in Uganda.

According to one of those prevented from leaving, and quoted by the Sudan Tribune, security staff at Juba airport identified four of the party who are members of the Nuer ethnic group, and confiscated their passports and United Nations papers.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan accused the security operatives at the airport of “exercising tribalism and denying individuals freedom of movement based on their ethnic background.”

Last week, security operatives at Juba airport also detained and confiscated passports of two rebel colonels; Gathon Jual and Daniel Gatbel, both from the Nuer tribe.

The two military officials were trying to fly to Addis Ababa for training organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, which is mediating the South Sudan peace talks.

The country has seen six months of violence pitting President Salva Kiir's Dinka people against the Nuer led by former vice-president, Riek Machar.

There's plenty of contradiction on the front page of this morning's South African financial paper, BusinessDay.

The main story has the striking metalworkers' union and the employers contradicting one another about how many people are supporting the current strike.

The union yesterday declared the second day of its strike a success, saying more than 200,000 members had heeded the call to stay away from work.

But employers in the steel and engineering sector confirmed much lower support for the strike.

The National Employers Association of South Africa said less than 50 per cent of the union's 220,000 members had stayed away.

The union will meet employer organisations later today with a view to settling the strike, which has drawn criticism because of the likely impact on South Africa’s struggling economy.

Kenya's post-election violence 2007-8

In the separate wage dispute at Medupi and Kusile, Eskom’s two new coal-fired power plants, construction was disrupted for a second day on Wednesday. More workers stayed away than on Tuesday.

An Eskom spokesman said 30 per cent of the workforce on the construction sites had not come to work.

Workers in both disputes are demanding double-digit wage increases.

The other main contradiction is suggested by a BusinessDay headline which reads: "South African consumer confidence rises to its highest level in two-and-a-half years."

The five-month platinum strike, the longest in the country's history, is barely over, the metalworkers are just getting started, the economy would be on its knees, if they hadn't been amputated by the ratings agencies, the rand is a shadow of its former self . . .

Despite all that, the First National Bank/Bureau for Economic Research’s consumer confidence index rose from -6 in the first quarter of 2014 to 4 in the second quarter   its highest point in two-and-a-half years.

The report, however, warns that factors such as high fuel prices, rising inflation, debilitating industrial action, anaemic job creation, higher interest rates and slower growth in government spending, could prevent the growth in real consumer spending from significantly improving.

That, at least, sounds a bit more like reality.

This morning's prize for headline of the day goes to the Kenyan Standard for their wonderful "Fear as blood sucking demon is spotted in town."

Villagers were left gobsmacked by the sight of a 'Dementor-like' creature floating over the Surrey countryside in the south of England. Several called police, describing an object "like something out of a horror film". Others said it looked like a Dementor from the Harry Potter books. In the popular series, Dementors are phantom beings which can suck the life from humans.

The mystery floating object turned out to be nothing more horrific than agricultural netting blown from a local farm.

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