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Africa

African press review 28 February 2018

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South Africa's ruling ANC and rivals the Economic Freedom Fighters join forces to support a law which will allow land to be taken back from white owners without compensation. Burundi is not yet ready to hold free, fair and credible elections. And the US embassy in Juba criticises the South Sudanese government without giving crucial details.

The political ground shifted in South Africa's parliament yesterday as the ruling ANC and the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters joined forces to support a law which will allow land expropriation without compensation.

This is the top story in this morning's Johannesburg-based BusinessDay.

Expropriation basically means taking land back from the white descendants of the original colonial invaders.

Commentators have warned that the new law will discourage investment in farm technology and innovation, as well as eroding property rights.

A land audit carried out last year showed that black South Africans owned four percent of farmland while whites had about 76 percent.

Yesterday's vote was carried when 241 MPs voted in favour with 83 against the motion. The matter will now be referred to the constitutional review committee since property rights are protected under the South African constitution.

More deaths in Congo province of Kasai

Fifteen people have been killed in a resurgence of violence in the DRC's south-central Kasai province, regional paper the East African tells us.

There are conflicting reports about the identities of the dead with a military official saying 14 militiamen and one soldier had been killed. Local residents, however, told reporters that about half of those killed in the attack were civilians.

Violence in the Kasai region first erupted after a tribal chieftain who rebelled against the regime of President Joseph Kabila was killed in August 2016.

Congo food riot toll rises

The number of Congolese refugees killed last week during a food protest in western Rwanda has risen to 11, the United Nations refugee agency has said.

Rwanda National Police reported that five refugees had died and 20 others injured after its officers moved into the UNHCR offices to evict refugees who were staging a sit-in.

The refugees from the Kiziba camp were protesting a reduction in food rations that began in January.

The UNHCR said eight refugees died in Karongi town and another three at the Kiziba camp.

Burundi still on the brink

Burundi is not ready to hold credible elections because the ruling party and its allies remain firmly in control of political life and tensions remain high, a UN envoy said earlier this week.

This story is also reported in the East African.

In power since 2005, Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is leading a push for a referendum in May on changes to the constitution that would allow him to run in elections in 2020.

When Nkurunziza ran for a third term in 2015 and won, his victory sparked violence that left at least 1,200 dead and drove more than 400,000 Burundians into exile.

United Nations' envoy Michel Kafando told the UN Security Council that the political situation remains "tense" in Burundi and that conditions are not right for elections.

US condemns South Sudan

The United States embassy in Juba has vigorously condemned the South Sudanese security agents for banning a civil society leader from travelling, without naming the person concerned, according to today's Sudan Tribune.

In a statement released on Monday, the embassy said the National Security Service agents had blocked a civil society leader from travelling to a transitional justice forum.

The embassy didn’t name the civil society leader and didn’t disclose his destination but said the action calls into question the government's commitment to guarantees in last year's peace agreement.

The statement stressed that the truce specifically calls on all parties to encourage civil society to support and promote the agreement.

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