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Ruthless killing of eight women sparks outrage in South Africa

CAPE TOWNSouth Africa  (Xinhua) - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday added his voice to the chorus of condemnation against the ruthless killing of eight women.

“Such outrageous and inhuman action against defenceless women is a gross violation of the right to human life as enshrined in the Constitution,” Zuma said.

The eight women, who belonged to one family, were killed in Embangweni Village near Greytown in KwaZulu-Natal Province on Tuesday night when unknown gunmen stormed two family homes a few meters apart and opened fire. The killers then doused the houses with petrol and set them alight.

The motive for the killing is unknown and details regarding the murder remain sketchy.

Zuma reiterated that violence against women has been declared a priority crime by the government.

Many perpetrators are being caught and are given long jail terms due to the cooperation of the public by coming forward with information, the president said.

“All forms of violence against women, children and the elderly should never be tolerated in our society,” said Zuma.

South Africa has been gripped by a surge of killing of women and children this year.

In May, a three-year-old girl was raped and murdered by a family friend in Cape Town. It followed the murder of a teenage girl by her boyfriend in Johannesburg after a heated argument.

Since the beginning of this year, about 30 female killings have taken place in South Africa, shocking the nation that has been already plagued by rampant crimes.

South Africa has among the highest rates in the world for the rape and murder of women.

Statistics show that a woman is killed every eight hours in South Africa. More than 1,000 women are killed by intimate partners each year.

Intimate partner femicide, which is the most serious form of domestic violence, is the leading cause of the murder of women in South Africa.

A study by the South African Medical Research Council showed that the vast majority of female homicides went unpunished, with less than 38 percent of intimate-partner femicides leading to conviction in less than two years.



President Zuma still waiting to finalize controversial mining bill

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma is still waiting for Parliament to finalize the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment (MPRDA) Bill, the presidency said on Thursday, amid growing concern over the fate of the controversial legislation.

The bill is currently before the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for processing.   It has caused jitters in the mining sector as it puts massive power in the mineral resources minister’s hands.

The bill was passed by Parliament in 2014 and referred to Zuma for assent and signing into law. Zuma referred it back to the National Assembly for reconsideration in January 2015.

The presidency reiterated on Thursday that Zuma is of the view that the bill as it stands would not pass constitutional muster.

Another reason for Zuma to refer the bill back to Parliament is that the NCOP and provincial legislature did not sufficiently facilitate public participation when passing the bill, said presidential spokesperson Bongani Ngqulunga.

Opponents argue that bill will open the door to corruption, allowing the minister to hand out mining rights to friends, cronies or the highest bidder.

Under the bill, up to 20 percent interest in any such venture should go to the state and a portion of the extracted resource would have to be processed domestically instead of exported in raw form.


South Africa tighter mining regulations worry investors

By Stanley Karombo JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- Tighter mining regulations are causing investors to shun and lose confidence in South Africa’s mining industry, investors said on Thursday.

According to investors attending a two-day Indaba mining conference in Johannesburg, mining investors who were willing to come and invest in South Africa are now considering other African countries such as Ghana, Rwanda and Botswana.

Botswana remains a leading mining destination for investors thanks to its attractive regulatory environment, while Ghana has created an independent minerals committee to reduce corruption in mining industry, said Peter Leon, Partner and Africa Co-chair of Herbert Smith Freehills.

Their focus was on removing administrative discretion, Leon said. “as far as possible from the law that’s the one thing that Botswana did ... so there is no discretion in the granting of licenses ... If a license is compliant you basically get it in six weeks compared to South Africa where it takes a section 11 consent.”

In South Africa, the issuing of license needs a consent of a minister of mine.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s mining lobby has given up talks with the mining ministry over changes to the industry’s charter, which include raising targets for black ownership, saying the matter will have to be settled in court. The review will be heard between December 13 and 14.

The industry body said talking to the South Africa minister of mines Mosebenzi Zwane would not yield any positive results.

The mining industry is currently challenging the unilateral implementation of the 2017 Reviewed Mining Charter at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

According to the paper filed in the court, the industry is pleading for the charter to be reviewed or set aside, arguing that its implementation would be harmful to the industry and the economy.



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