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African Press Review 18 January 2018


Back to school worries in South Africa. Dry as a bone in Cape Town. And, who are the real racists?

In South Africa, the Star has a story likely to make us despair of the modern world.

"It's back to school and as parents celebrate their children starting Grade 1 on Wednesday, the Film and Publication Board has warned them to be alert of child predators."

The Star tells readers that "Social media has been flooded with heartwarming pictures of little ones wearing their school uniform with parents and family members doting on them.

"In some of the posts, particularly on Twitter, the pictures bear the school uniform emblem making the school identifiable while some posts contain the children's names and Grades as well as a clear description of where the pics were taken."

The FPB said the detailed information was the perfect platform for on-line predators to target young children.

The paper quotes social media law expert Diana Schwarz  who said "The fact is that there is a real danger that lurks out there and their world we live in today is not safe. We have to put these measures in place to protect children from those who target them online."

FPB spokesperson  Manala Botolo advised parents to perhaps hide the school badge and any other information that might give away the location.

Welcome to the 21st century?


Business Day offers to explain why "Why Cape Town’s levy looks dead in the water."

Which is a fairly lame joke.

As you may have heard, there is a drought in South Africa's Cape - one of the world’s favourite tourist designations - for the third year running. The city of Cape Town, the country's second most populous city with 3,7 million inhabitants, has less than a 100 days of water supply left.

If rain doesn't begin falling soon the city is forecast to run out of water in April on what's being called "Day Zero".

The water shortage has led the city government to create an online water consumption map, enabling residents to check up on their neighbors’ water habits based on households’ municipal bills.

However, says Business Day, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille’s plan to introduce a water levy looks likely to fail, with many outside and within her DAP party opposing it, saying a drought levy would create "an undue burden on ratepayers".

DA provincial chairman Anton Bredell said the party had made a formal submission objecting to the proposed levy. In its submission, the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse said it strongly opposed the imposition of the proposed drought levy and urged the city to engage with the Western Cape provincial government and the Department of Water and Sanitation in finding realistic and long-term solutions.

De Lille has been hauled before the party’s federal disciplinary committee on a number of charges - including maladministration, ignoring misconduct and tender irregularities.

The paper says De Lille is to seek legal advice over attempts to take away from her the co-ordination of efforts to survive the drought.


Staying in South Africa - the row over alleged racism by the Scandinavian clothing giant H&M continues to excite coverage.

If you missed the news, some H&M stores have been stormed and trashed by demonstrators and H&M has closed its 17 South African outlets and apologised for an advertisement which many considered offensive.

"Is H&M racist, tone deaf or just stupid?" asks a Business Day headline.

"When you follow coverage of the H&M story in Scandinavia, you quickly find that a large part of that society is struggling to get to grips with criticism from SA. As a mainly white, middle class but also profoundly egalitarian society, Danes and Swedes have huge problems grasping what it feels like to live as a black person in a fundamentally unequal society," the paper says.

It cites an editorial in a Danish newspaper which argued that putting a hoodie with a monkey slogan on a black boy was not racist. The people who made the connection were racist. "In a South African or African-American context such reasoning is almost dizzying," Business Day believes. "To claim it is not H&M but their critics who are racist is absurd."

Never a dull moment in the South African papers.

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