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Southern Africa

Lonmin to cut social, discretionary spending to save cash

Aug. 12, 2016  - miners leave the Lonmin mine after a shift to make their way home in Marikana South Africa. Photo: Denis Farrell/AP/SIPATroubled platinum producer Lonmin plans to cut spending on social and labour projects and freeze "non-critical" recruitment, part of an array of measures to save cash, according to an unpublished presentation reviewed by Reuters.


Finance: Stamp of approval

The Post Office has lost a share of the delivery market to private sector companies. Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Getty Images
Around a tenth of South Africans use Postbank as a trusted savings bank. But will the state-run post office be able to make a go of running a fully fledged bank?


Tens of thousands dying from $30 billion fake drugs trade, WHO says

A chemist is seen working in a legitimate lab at a Cipla manufacturing unit, Mumbai, India, Feb 9, 2012. Photo: Rafiq Maqbool/AP/SIPAOne in 10 drugs sold in developing countries is fake or substandard, leading to tens of thousands of deaths, many of them of African children given ineffective treatments for pneumonia and malaria, health officials said on Tuesday.


Investors undeterred by South Africa's tumble to junk "buying the dips"

A worker at the Stock Exchange in Johannesburg, South Africa uses his mobile phone, April 4, 2017. Photo:Denis farrell/AP/SIPASouth Africa has plunged deeper into "junk" ratings territory and its fiscal situation is worsening but some investors are undeterred, choosing to buy its bonds cheap and pocket one of highest yield premiums offered in emerging markets.


Mnangagwa promises to govern for all in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks at the presidential inauguration ceremony in Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 24, 2017. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/SIPAZimbabwe's new president Emmerson Mnangagwa laid out a grand vision on Friday (November 24) to revitalise the country's ravaged economy and vowed to rule on behalf of all the country's citizens.


Revolutionary justice

To the barricades as the African sun beats down, comrade judges.
You have nothing to lose but your horsehair wigs and billowing black robes.
But surely the idea that the courts, deep in pomp, would constitute a revolutionary guard against the global tide of authoritarianism and political crookery is naive in the extreme?
Why would this elite cadre of judges flaunting their self-belief as they pass judgements have any interest in challenging the status quo?
Yet, for the past few years, the courts have shown a thrillingly robust spirit as better organised activists use them to show governments the limits of their power.
In the US, the courts struck down Donald Trump’s ban on Muslim immigrants; in ­Britain, they forced Prime Minister ­Theresa May to consult parliament before she signs its divorce with the European Union (EU).
This has extended to Africa where lawyers, in and out of court, find themselves on the frontline of political battles.
The ruling by Kenya’s Supreme Court on 1 ­September to annul presidential elections because they did not meet the standards set out in the electoral law was held up as a ­triumph for judicial in­dependence.
The court’s decision was also a side-swipe at international observers who had rushed to endorse the election and lecture the losers about the need to move on.
It may have been helpful for the court that Kenya’s chief justice, David Maraga, is a conservative and deeply religious figure with no record of radical affiliations.
Critics accuse the court of heating up Kenya’s political climate; in fact, it was already on the boil.
The judges were doing what they should do: testing the provisions of the constitution against realities on the ground to make the political system more accountable to the people.
Radical justice
Far better that arguments about fair elections and legitimacy should be hammered out in courtrooms or council chambers than settled on the streets.
Kenyan activists took a cue from their Ghanaian counterparts, who launched a monumental appeal against the 2012 election results.
Although those petitioners failed after eight months of detailed public hearings, the case helped change electoral law.
That laid the groundwork for last year’s far more credible and accountable elections.
In South Africa, the courts are being dragged into the centre of the political ­arena.
Asked to rule on the reliability of provincial and the African National Congress’s elections, they have been handing down verdicts inimical to President Jacob Zuma’s interests.
Most of all, the tacticians of the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Democratic Alliance have been scoring successes in their efforts to ensure that the 783 charges of corruption and racketeering against Zuma are tested in court.
There is no immutable plan for all this.
The activists and petitioners are losing as many cases as they win.
But by pushing back against arbitrary power, the courts are opening up ways for people to organise a more honest and accountable political system.
That’s radical, if not revolutionary, justice. 
From the November 2017 print edition 

Page 4 of 560

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