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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

South African opposition vows to interdict any nuclear deal

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) vowed on Sunday to interdict any attempt to force through a nuclear deal.

This came after the City Press newspaper reported on Sunday that Minister of Energy David Mahlobo forces his nuclear power plans into action as officials at his department are working at weekends to finalize the country’s reviewed Integrated Energy Resource Plan in the next two weeks, four months ahead of schedule.

With each passing day, it becomes clear that Mahlobo was appointed to make sure that the necessary nuclear deal would be pushed through, DA Shadow Minister of Energy Gordon Mackay said.

President Jacob Zuma appointed Mahlobo as minister of energy last month in a move widely seen as an attempt to push the nuclear deal with Russia.

“We will not allow Mahlobo to appease his friends, the Russians, at the expense of millions of South Africans who are struggling to survive with no jobs in a flat economy,” Mackay said.

The DA, Mackay said, will use every legal and parliamentary tool at its disposal to ensure that the generations to come will not be shackled to massive debt that will compromise South Africa’s future.

There have been speculations that South Africa would soon reach a nuclear deal with Russia, under which the latter would help the former build nuclear reactors at a cost of 1 trillion rand (about 71.4 billion U.S. dollars).

The South African government has approved its Integrated Energy Resource Plan of 2010-30, which provides for coal, gas, renewables and 9,600 megawatt nuclear as part of the energy landscape by 2030.

But environmental groups, which question the safety of nuclear energy, have launced a series of campaigns against the plan.

In an apparent bid to alleviate concerns, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said in late October that South Africa can’t afford a major nuclear program for lack of money and that it is unnecessary for the program as there’s less pressure on the government to deliver more energy into the grid, with a slowdown in demand for power due to low economic growth.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

South African tax authorities threaten to sue
those revealing Zuma’s tax information

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) threatened on Friday to take criminal action against those who revealed President Jacob Zuma’s tax information.

This came after the Sunday Times newspaper last week published excerpts from a book called “The President’s Keepers,” which claims that Zuma received a “salary” of 1 million rand (about 70,000 U.S. dollars) a month from a controversial tender mogul without declaring it to the SARS.

The book also alleges that SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane is aiding Zuma to avoid his tax obligations.

“SARS wishes to categorically state that it is deeply concerned about the publication of confidential taxpayer information” in contravention of the Tax Administration Act (TAA), which prohibits the disclosure of taxpayer information by a SARS official or former SARS official, the agency said in a statement.

Further, the TAA prohibits the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information outside judicial processes and in particular an Order of the High Court, said the agency.

As a result, SARS is duty-bound to address the violation of the TAA by Jacques Pauw, author of the book, the agency said.

“SARS views the publication of confidential taxpayer information through Mr. Pauw’s book and the Sunday Times as unlawful and a criminal offence in terms of Section 236 of the TAA,” the agency said.

Thus SARS is seeking legal advice on what steps to take, including but not limited to criminal and civil investigation against Pauw and the Sunday Times into the circumstances pertaining to the unlawful disclosure of confidential taxpayer information, said the agency.

In a related development on Friday, the State Security Agency (SSA) has initiated an investigation into Pauw and his publisher over violation of the Intelligence Services Act.

NB Publishers, who last week released Pauw’s book, said they have received a cease and desist letter from the SSA, demanding that they withdraw the book from stores, as well as retract certain parts of the book.

“As our client is constitutionally mandated to ensure the security of the State and protect the identity of its members and agents, it has a duty to act in instances where such security is breached either by disclosure of its legitimate operational methods, classified documents, as well as the identity of its agents,” said the letter.

The SSA threatened to go to court to get an interdict preventing NB Publishers from further distribution, further printing, publishing or promotion of the book” should they refuse to withdraw it from book shops.

Criminal charges would also be laid against Pauw and any other individual concerned in relation to those parts of the book which are in violation of the relevant statutes, the SSA said.

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South African unemployment remains at 27.7 percent

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s official unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2017 remained unchanged at 27.7 percent, but still 0.6 of a percentage point higher compared to the same period last year, according to figures released on Tuesday.

The third quarter saw the addition of 92,000 jobs, but it was offset by an additional 33,000 job-seekers during the same period, resulting in a stable unemployment rate of 27.7 percent, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said in its Quarterly Labor Force Survey.

The growth in employment was mainly driven by finance and other business services industry, which grew by 68,000, followed by community, social and personal services, 56,000, and transport,  34,000.

All other industries reported employment growth quarter-to-quarter except manufacturing, construction and agriculture, which declined by 50,000, 30,000 and 25,000 respectively.

The expanded unemployment rate, which includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work, increased by 0.2 of a percentage point to 36.8 percent in the thrid quarter.

Unemployment among the 15-34 age group reached 38.6 percent, 10.9 percentage points above the national average.

However, youth unemployment registered a decline of 0.6 of a percentage point quarter-to-quarter. Of the 10.3 million young persons aged 15-24 years, about 30 percent were not in employment, education or training. 

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Egypt probes into death of citizen in South Africa

CAIRO Egypt (Xinhua) -- Egypt is verifying and probing into the death of an Egyptian citizen who was reportedly killed by a gang in South Africa, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Mohamed Ahmed Sherif has been reported missing since Sept. 29 and the Egyptian embassy in Pretoria has been communicating with South African authorities until the latter reported his death after more than a month of investigation, said Egypt’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Consular and Expatriate Affairs Khaled Rezq.

“The South African police tracked the missing citizen’s cell phone and located his car that they found in the possession of a South African national, who was arrested and confessed killing and burying the Egyptian with fellow gangsters,” said the Egyptian diplomat.

“The Egyptian embassy immediately informed the South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs to identify the dead body through necessary medical analysis,” Rezq added.

He added that the consular section of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry would provide all necessary assistance to the man’s family if his death is verified.

           

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