PRESIDENT UNDER PRESSURE TO RESIGN AMID SERIOUS ACCUSATIONS

SOUTH AFRICA: PRESIDENCY/AGENCIES/7/2/18 SABANews 1
President Zuma calls it quits under heavy pressure
JOHANNESBURG – President JACOB ZUMA of SOUTH AFRICA is under pressure to leave office about ONE-AND-A-HALF years before the end of his SECOND term in 2019.
 
Media reports say the 75-year-old Head of State has avoided an obvious showdown with his ruling AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS Party, which this week had plans to unseat him.
 
The SOWETAN newspaper says the ANC has delayed its National Executive Committee meeting after President ZUMA met Deputy President CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, who replaced him as party leader in DECEMBER
 
It quotes Parliamentary Speaker BALEKA MBETE as saying Vice President RAMAPHOSA will outline the fate of his boss very soon.
 
The publication also says President ZUMA last night (TUESDAY) agreed to step down following a deal struck with Vice President RAMAPHOSA at their meeting in CAPE TOWN.
 
It says the mood in the ANC has been to take the fight to President ZUMA after his refusal on SUNDAY to step down, but Vice President RAMAPHOSA has always sought to ensure the Head of State steps down decently.
The powerful ANC Party finally pushes Zuma out of office
The SOWETAN says President ZUMA had refused to leave office and challenged his Deputy and other officials to bring the matter before a full National Executive Committee meeting.
 
Nevertheless, facing a possible recall by the ANC or a vote of no confidence sponsored by the opposition, as well as the move by the National Assembly to put off his State of the Nation Address, he has finally realised his time is up.
 
President ZUMA was to deliver the State of the Nation Address tomorrow (THURSDAY) evening, but National Assembly Speaker MBETE and other presiding officers cancelled the plans amid doubt over his future.
 
REUTERS news agency says his presidency has been marred by alleged corruption scandals and an economic decline, with his position weakened since Deputy President RAMAPHOSA replaced him as party leader last year.
 
President ZUMA, despite allegations of corruption against him, took over from former President THABO MBEKI who left office under pressure from ANC in SEPTEMBER 2008.
 
Former President MBEKI had reportedly hoped to make a dignified exit and retain some of his legacy as a peace broker on the continent, where he mediated conflicts in the IVORY COAST, the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, and ZIMBABWE.
 
The THIRD SOUTH AFRICAN Head of State after NELSON MANDELA came to power amid charges of an illegal arms deal, which are likely to resurface on top of fresh corruption charges./Sabanews/cam

CONTINENT HEADING TOWARDS CHEAPER AIR TRAVEL

AFRICA: TRANSPORT/SABC/31/1/18 SABANews 1

Towards cheaper air travel on the Continent

ADDIS ABABA – At least 23 AFRICAN countries have signed an agreement to set up the Single AFRICAN Air Transport Market, SAATM, with the aim to reduce air travel costs.

SOUTH AFRICAN SABC News says the move comes after people of the Continent have, for years, paid sky-high airfares when travelling within AFRICA.

It says the AFRICAN UNION has launched the major aviation trade agreement to change the situation, by allowing the airlines of signatory countries to access each other’s airports freely.

AU Chairperson, President PAUL KAGAME of RWANDA, has revealed the move at the launch of SAATM on the sidelines of the recent AU Summit in ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA.

He says the market is vital for the overall development of the continent, where international air links between many cities are expensive or non-existent.

SABC News also quotes a 2010 World Bank study as saying air travel between AFRICAN countries has for years, been governed by a relatively small number of bilateral agreements.

The report says the situation has been a legacy of the post-colonial era when air carriers from newly independent states connected chiefly with their former colonial powers.

It says many AFRICAN countries restrict their air services markets to protect the shares of national carriers, but the new deal hopes to reduce airfares and increase the number of direct air connections.

The SOUTH AFRICAN Representative to the International Civil Aviation Organisation has told the media companies can now freely access all countries in the single market, without relying anymore on bilateral agreements, whether they exist or not.

Current members of the SAATM are BENIN, BOTSWANA, BURKINA FASO, CAPE VERDE, REPUBLIC OF CONGO, IVORY COAST, EGYPT, ETHIOPIA, and GABON.

Others are GHANA, GUINEA, KENYA, LIBERIA, MALI, MOZAMBIQUE, NIGER, NIGERIA, RWANDA, SIERRA LEONE, SOUTH AFRICA, SWAZILAND, TOGO, and ZIMBABWE.

Nevertheless, SABC News says the group is hosting some of the continent’s busiest airports, including JOHANNESBURG, CAPE TOWN, CAIRO, LAGOS, and NAIROBI.

The new single air travel market comes as a priority of the AU Agenda 2063 for a peaceful and prosperous AFRICA, and the AU Chairperson says work is ongoing to apply TWO other planks of the Blueprint: a free trade zone and a single AFRICAN passport./Sabanews/cam

GOVERNMENTS ENCOURAGED TO IMPROVE DATA SHARING ON WEATHER

SADC: DISASTERS/SABANEWS/24/1/18 SABANews 1
When disaster strikes, women and children suffer most
HARARE – Governments in the SADC Region have been urged to improve on information sharing to ensure communities are evacuated on time when weather-related disasters strike.
 
The Southern AFRICAN Research and Documentation Centre, SARDC, says people expect increased moisture to improve cropping, but floods can destroy crops and disturb food security.
 
It says excessive rainfall may also increase the incidences of malaria and water-borne diseases in the region as well as the possibility of damage to infrastructure due to flooding.
 
SARDC says ONE of the challenges still affecting SADC member states is the lack of current and reliable data on possible weather scenarios, resulting in many people getting killed or becoming homeless.
 
It says there is also need to retrofit, or to add new technology or features to, public infrastructure such as schools – as they act as both centres of learning and as sanctuaries in cases of emergencies such as floods.
 
The Centre says River Basin Organisations, like the ZAMBEZI WATERCOURSE COMMISSION, ZAMCOM, are making efforts to improve the sharing of information on water flow and climate conditions.
 
ZAMCOM is in the process of strengthening information sharing in the EIGHT Basin States: ANGOLA, BOTSWANA, MALAWI, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, TANZANIA, ZAMBIA and ZIMBABWE.
 
The involved nations share the data through the ZAMBEZI Water Resources Information System Enhancement THREE: Hydro-meteorological Database and Decision Support System, or ZAMWIS-DSS.
 
The SARDC says the main objective of the ZAMWIS-DSS is to support the promotion and coordination of the management and development of resources of the ZAMBEZI Watercourse in a sustainable and climate-resilient manner.
 
Authorities expect that once the system is completed, riparian states will be able to respond better to flood hazards in the future; and the region is taking another measure to set up village-based response systems to respond to floods.
 
The alert system includes the use of traditional knowledge systems in raising awareness through civic education, like, for example, the appearance of large populations of ants will indicate occurrence of floods.
 
Weather and other experts say floods may present opportunities to the SADC Region if countries start prioritizing water harvesting projects to harness rains and use the water for agricultural purposes in future, especially during drought years./Sabanews/cam

AU CONSULTS REGIONAL PARTNERS ON COMMON POSITION TO END TB

AFRICA: TB/SABANEWS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
JOHANNESBURG – The AU Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria has reviewed the draft Common AFRICA Position on TB for the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting in 2018.
 
A statement from the continental group says the Draft Common Position on TB was last month reviewed by the Ministry of Health TB Program Managers in HARARE, ZIMBABWE.
 
It says the document focuses on SIX pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
 
Others are access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies; research and innovation; health financing and strategic information; promoting leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability.
 
The draft calls for sustained political commitment and for increased leadership, ownership, integration, governance and management of TB programs to promote accountability.
 
It further calls on governments to intensify TB responses through working with AFRICAN leaders as champions, cross-sector partnerships, increased oversight and accountability, improved monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
 
The AU says while recognising structural and operational barriers to achieve universal access, the draft calls for Member States to scale up TB programs to reach, find, treat and cure all people with the killer disease.
 
It also calls for Multi Drug Resistant TB to be declared a global emergency and health security threat, to ensure it can be addressed properly in most affected countries.
 
The draft calls for access to TB services in congested settings, high risk areas like prisons, mines and areas affected by conflict and humanitarian emergencies, to help guarantee no one is left behind.
 
The Common AFRICA Position calls for governments to pursue new innovations and ensure access to affordable and quality assured medicines, commodities and technologies for TB.
 
The draft says governments should strengthen ties with research institutions to enhance innovation and evidence-informed policies and programs as well as increased investments in research and innovation.
 
AFRICA will also push for increased domestic and international funding to health through innovative financing mechanisms, social health insurance schemes and increased allocations at various levels.
 
The Common AFRICA Position also calls for improved data to inform policy and programs for TB, while the AU Commission has lined up various consultation conferences ahead of the UN meeting.
 
TB is spread through the air from person to person, when a patient coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings; and people nearby may breathe in the bacteria and become infected./Sabanews/cam

SABC BOARD APPOINTMENTS PROCESS IN FULL MOTION

The process to appoint an interim the SOUTH AFRICAN Broadcasting Corporation, SABC Board will now begin in earnest.

SABC News says the National Assembly adopted the report of the adhoc committee looking into the fitness of the SABC Board.

Committee Chairperson VINCENT SMITH had earlier told the House it was evident the SABC Board was set to fail from the very beginning.

Opposition DA Deputy Chief Whip MIKE WATERS says the report reads like a SHAKESPEAREAN tragedy, with Communications Minister FAITH MUTHAMBI playing Lady MACBETH, and former COO HLAUDI MOTSOENENG acting as Lord MACBETH.

The lawmaker says the Communications Minister should be fired and criminally charged for her role at the national broadcaster.

SABC News also says the National Assembly has adopted an adhoc committee report highly critical of Minister MUTHAMBI into the affairs of the SABC.

It says the UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT has voiced objections to the fact that Mr MOTSOENENG was not afforded the opportunity to reply in person.

Mr MOTSOENENG says he will seek legal advice after he was refused the right to reply and he will hold a news conference to set the record straight.
Earlier, the ECONOMIC FREEDOM FRONT said it wanted criminal charges to be laid against the people implicated in the report.

Party MP FANA MOKOENA says Minister MUTHAMBI used an illegal Memorandum of Incorporation for the running of the SABC.

The group says it recommends criminal prosecutions of corrupt individuals in the entity and, most vital, the President to fire the incompetent minister.

The SOUTH AFRICAN opposition party says it hopes the Head of State will set aside his alleged factional and self-enrichment interest and do the right thing, for once in his life.

GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATES TEACHER FOR ALLEGED RAPE OF PUPILS

MPAKENI – The MPUMALANGA Provincial Department of Basic Education in SOUTH AFRICA is investigating ONE of its teachers for allegations of rape.

The move comes after the teacher allegedly sexually abused TWO pupils at the MPAKENI Primary School, in yet another such sex scandal in the region.

The authorities are also probing to find out the truth about reports claiming ONE of the parents accepted money as compensation when he found out about the rape.

State radio, SABC News says a 12-year-old girl has also reported her teacher for trying to have sexual relations with her.

It quotes the child as saying the FIRST encounter was when they were doing athletics and the teacher asked her to go and sleep with him at the Grade FOUR classroom, and he would give her 450 rand.

She says she then asked him if he could not see she was very young, to which he said is it only adults who sleep; and she just ran away from him.

The SECOND time he allegedly sent her to go and put books in the staff room and he blocked her from leaving, asking her to sleep with him; but she managed to open the door and ran out crying.

SABC News says the girl reported both incidents to her grandmother, who then informed the school principal.

It quotes the grandmother as saying she is hurt because the principal called her child and the teacher into his office, and ordered the child to forgive the teacher, without even calling her to be present.

The SOUTH AFRICAN national broadcaster says the MPAKENI community went on a rampage, demanding the teacher and principal leave the school.