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African press review 12 September 2018


There's more on the alleged plot by senior South African figures to bring back Jacob Zuma. The ICC stands up to Washington in the name of global justice. What's happening to Africa's vanishing school textbooks?

The local bad news is relentless on the front page of this morning's South African BusinessDay.

The price of petrol is probably going to increase, by as much as a rand (0.6 euros) per litre; the revenue authorities have admitted that 40 percent of outstanding tax may never be collected; and the serious crime statistics are off the dial, with an average of 57 people murdered every day in South Africa.

That's 20,336 violent deaths in the course of a year. BusinessDay's editorial describes the statistics as worthy of a war zone. And when it comes to bank robbery, the police have been accused of grossly underestimating the annual number of heists - 238 last year according to the police, 385 according to the Banking Risk Information Centre.

Coincidence in Durban

But at least there's some clarity on that mysterious Durban meeting, which took place last week, allegedly involved sacked president Jacob Zuma and several top ruling party figures, and might have been to discuss a plot to dislodge the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, in favour of Zuma.

BusinessDay has the details.

According to ANC boss Ace Magashule, the meeting did indeed take place. But it was a simple face-to-face affair involving only himself and Jacob Zuma. Nothing but routine party business was discussed.

The sacked North West regional premier, Supra Mahumapelo, photographed with Magashule and Zuma in the same Durban hotel on the same day, just happened to be there. So were at lot of other party stalwarts who have reasons to dislike Cyril Ramaphosa, but that all comes down to coincidence.

Magashule says he's going to complain to the press council about the original report in last weekend's Sunday Times. That article suggested that the meeting had been held in secret to plan a coup to remove Ramaphosa.

ICC undeterred by Bolton

The International Criminal Court has issued a defiant response to recent US attacks.

According to a story on the front page of this morning's Kenyan Daily Nation, the ICC yesterday said its work would continue "undeterred" after Washington threatened to prosecute court judges if Americans are charged with war crimes allegedly committed in Afghanistan.

France and Germany also weighed in to support the Hague-based court after White House National Security Advisor John Bolton said the ICC was irresponsible, out of control and "dead" as far as Washington is concerned.

Teachers cause schoolbook crisis

Some African teachers are hoarding textbooks, according to a story in today's Nairobi-based Standard newspaper.

The report says children are being deprived of reading materials in class because some teachers have locked up the books for safety.

A report by the World Bank suggests that the teachers' fear of having to pay for lost books, allied to laziness and absenteeism means that some children leave school without ever seeing the books bought for their use.

The report also says that governments are not setting aside sufficient funds to make books available in schools, with some countries adopting the wrong procurement methods for learning materials, leading to losses.

On average five African school students are obliged to share the same textbook.

The Standard says the World Bank findings are likely to catch the attention of top education ministry officials in Nairobi, coming just days after the Kenyan government announced it had completed the distribution of 33 million textbooks to the nation's state schools.

Buhari dismisses ruling party defectors as selfish

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday lashed out at defectors from the ruling All Progressives Congress, describing them as weak and selfish.

The report in Punch newspaper says the president named no names but goes on to quote observers who believe Buhari was referring to Senate president Bukola Saraki and former vice-president Abubakar Atiku, who recently defected from Congress to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

Meanwhile, Abubakar Atiku has said Buhari’s failure to retain significant individuals in his party is a sign of weakness and lack of leadership.

Atiku says his own effort to come to power is motivated by a desire to clean up the mess caused by Buhari that has resulted in job losses, weak economic performance and the ranking of Nigeria as one of the poorest countries in the world.

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