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African press review 26 April 2018


Should the South African government continue to finance the national airline?Was it a mistake for workers to vote for a billionaire to become South Africa’s president? What happened to yesterday's Saftu strike call? And what have Gambia, Zimbabwe and Angola got in common?

In South Africa the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay reports that the opposion Democratic Alliance has renewed its call for the national carrier, South African Airways (SAA), to be placed under business rescue following revelations by Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele that the airline will need additional state bailouts amounting to R5bn this year, R5bn next year and at least R2bn in 2020-21.

Five billion rand is the equivalent of about 330 million euros; two billion rand is 132 million euros.

The prospective cash injections by the state would be in addition to the 700 million euros given to SAA in October last year.

The airline boss, Vuyani Jarana, told parliament’s standing committee on public accounts this week that the airline did not generate sufficient revenue to pay back the capital amounts of its debt, managing to repay only the interest.

The opposition alliance claims that Gungubele told the appropriations committee that the cost of liquidating SAA would amount to R60bn. Getting on for four billion euros.

Vavi says Ramaphosa was a mistake

Also in BusinessDay, Zwelinzima Vavi says it was a mistake for workers to vote for a billionaire to become the country’s president.

Vavi, general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), yesterday lashed out at rival federation Cosatu‚ which supported Cyril Ramaphosa during the ANC elective conference in December 2017. Where in the world would workers put a multibillionaire as president? he asked "The first thing Ramaphosa did when he took office was to raise value-added tax.”

Vavi was speaking during yesterday’s march against the minimum wage and proposed changes to the country’s labour laws.

Fit for a buffalo

According to a report in the Mail & Guardian, around 6 000 workers and community organisers from Johannesburg and surrounding areas marched against the new amendments to the Labour Relations Act and the national minimum wage on Wednesday.

One participant said the proposed minimum hourly rate of 1.30  euros was fit for a buffalo but was no wage for a human being.

Salva Kiir warns those who want his job

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has vowed to crush the rebels fighting to dislodge him from power.

President Kiir told a military parade at the army headquarters in Juba on Tuesday that many people were lured into rebellion by the prospects of higher ranks in the military or the government.

He said such intentions posed a major threat to the nation's peace and stability.

President Kiir said the "war" waged against his leadership had no national agenda but was the work of individuals keen to improve their personal positions.

Tensions rise in Rwandan DRC refugees camp

There’s tension at a camp in western Rwanda for refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo after Rwandan security forces entered the camp yesterday morning.

According to refugees at the Kiziba camp, the security forces want to arrest some of their leaders accused of masterminding demonstrations and acts of disobedience against the Rwandan authorities.

Two months ago the refugees marched to the headquarters of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in the town of Karongi to protest against living conditions and asking to be repatriated to the DRC.

Rwandan security forces used live bullets to disperse them, killing at least 11 and injuring many others, according to the UNHCR.

Presidential departures boost press freedom

The departure of "predatory presidents" from Gambia, Zimbabwe and Angola has led to an improved media freedom ranking in each of those nations, according to a statement from press watchdog Reporters Without Borders yesterday.

President Adama Barrow last year took over in Gambia from Yahya Jammeh after 22 years, while Robert Mugabe was replaced in Zimbabwe by Emmerson Mnangagwa after 37 years. Jose Eduardo dos Santos was replaced in Angola by Joao Lourenco after 38 years.

Reporters Without Borders, however, warned that press freedom around the world is under threat.

The organisation singled out US President Donald Trump, Russia and China as major contributors to the worrying trend.

A "climate of hatred and animosity" towards journalists, combined with growing attempts to control the media pose a "threat to democracies", RSF says in its annual report.

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