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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
confirms policy is to accelerate land reform

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed on Wednesday to accelerate land reform which he said is a significant part of efforts to unleash growth while advancing transformation.

"We are determined that land should be distributed to those who work and those who need it," Ramaphosa told Members of Parliament during a debate on his State of the Nation Address delivered earlier this month.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa | Coastweek

  By bringing together the portfolios of agriculture, rural development and land reform, the country is establishing the institutional basis for a comprehensive approach to the economic development of rural areas, the president said.

"Through this, we will unlock the potential of the sector by removing constraints in accessing land, finance, markets and water and improving safety in our rural areas," said Ramaphosa.

The government will soon release the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, according to the president.

This report will inform the finalization of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform program.

Among the important tasks of this new Parliament is to finalize constitutional amendments to clearly indicate how expropriate land without compensation will be put into effect, Ramaphosa said.

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has outlined his government’s new policy on infrastructure development before Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa. XINHUA PHOTO - WILLEM VAN DER MERWE
Parliament will also need to debate and finalize the Expropriation Bill, which deals with the modalities and the circumstances in which expropriation will take place, he said.

"Expropriation is as an important land acquisition strategy" which enables the country to conduct land reform in a proactive and planned manner, Ramaphosa noted.

"This frees us from a wait-and-see approach dependent on market sales."

The country’s land reform agenda also includes recognizing individual, family and community rights to land in accordance with lived experience, he said.

"We want to make all rights visible and enforceable, and to strengthen institutions of collective ownership," the president said.

South Africa will never resolve the social ills of the country without addressing the land question, he stressed.

The land issue has been a focus of debate in South Africa since 2018 when the ruling African National Congress (ANC) stepped up efforts to amend the Constitution to pave way for the exproriation of land without compensation.

Despite the government’s comprehensive land reform program, the country has not made sufficient progress in addressing this issue, because most of the country’s land still remains in the hands of the few.


Tanzania national airline spreads its wings to South Africa to bolster relations

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania’s state-owned airline on Friday launched its maiden flight to South Africa’s business capital Johannesburg, a move described by an official as aimed at bolstering relations between the two countries.

Elias Kwandikwa, Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, said the South African route was vital for strengthening relations between two countries.

"Today is a very special day for Air Tanzania after we managed to launch our new route and we shall soon launch other flights to India and China," said the official.

He was speaking shortly before Air Tanzania Corporation Limited’s (ATCL’s) newly acquired Airbus 220-300 left from the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam for Johannesburg at 10.30 a.m. local time.

Kwandikwa said the new route will help in reducing the time that was spent by passengers who were forced to connect through either Ethiopia or Kenya.

Emmanuel Koroso, the Chairman of ATCL Board of Directors, said South Africa was a very important market, especially in the tourism sector.

President John Magufuli prioritized investment in Air Tanzania when he took office in 2015, vowing to revive the loss-making carrier because of the potential to boost the vital tourism sector, a top foreign exchange earner.

Magufuli has since then bought eight brand new planes for the national airline, with six of them already delivered.

The airline had only one plane before Magufuli embarked on the investment drive in 2016.


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stresses
role of state-owned enterprises in economic growth

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Despite their financial woes and poor management, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in South Africa have a critical role to play in driving economic growth and transformation, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

"We disagree with the view that the most effective and efficient way to provide services to our people is through the private sector," Ramaphosa said, refuting growing calls to privatize SOEs, some of which are on the brink of bankruptcy.

Every single day, public entities are providing water, electricity, waste removal services, road maintenance and a myriad other essentials to South Africans, the president told Members of Parliament during a debate on his State of the Nation Addressed delivered earlier this month.

Ramaphosa cited the example of the Post Office which took over the payment of social grants last year.

Before taking on this responsibility, in April 2018, only 31,000 social grant beneficiaries were paid through the Post Office.

Last month, 7.8 million beneficiaries were paid through the Post Office, representing over 70 percent of all beneficiaries, according to the president.

The successful takeover of the distribution of social grants by the Post Office is a clear demonstration that government institutions do have the capacity and capability to effectively implement projects of this magnitude, said Ramaphosa.

Referring to concerns over poor performance of some SOEs, the president said the government has done much to address governance challenges at several SOEs and has been decisive in tackling corruption and state capture.

The government, he said, is supporting companies like South African Airways and weaponry manufacturer Denel as they seek to manage their dire financial positions and work to implement sustainable turnaround strategies.

"As we address challenges at specific SOEs, we are also working towards a new SOE landscape in which state owned companies have the expertise, leadership and appropriate financial models to fulfill their respective mandates," said Ramaphosa.

In its recent engagement with the chief executives of some of the country’s largest SOEs, the government has identified the key challenges they faced and the impediments towards the effective implementation of their respective mandates, according to Ramaphosa.

"We have agreed that we will work together through the Presidential SOE Council to address all the issues they raised," he said.

The government is also closely engaged with the situation at cash-strapped electricity utility Eskom, assisting the entity with the implementation of its nine-point-plan, putting in place a world-class executive team, strengthening the board and setting out in detail a comprehensive road-map for Eskom into the future, Ramaphosa said.

The measures that the government announced in February to end load shedding and place Eskom on a sustainable financial and operational path have seen improvements, he said.

South African government committed to restoring investor confidence: President

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government is committed to restoring investor confidence through greater policy certainty and consistency, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

"We recognize that there are several areas where we need to move with greater urgency, unleashing the potential of sectors like telecommunications, tourism, agriculture and mining," Ramaphosa told Members of Parliament (MPs) during a debate on his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered earlier this month.

This year the government is intensifying its investment drive which has achieved good results, he said.

South Africa, he said, is going to hold its second investment conference in November "because we have seen commitments made at last year’s conference being implemented," the president said.

At last year’s investment conference, pledges of investment worth 209 billion rand (about 14.7 billion U.S. dollars) were announced.

These are the investments that will, in the months and years to come, be creating new jobs, developing new supply chains and reviving local economies, Ramaphosa said.

South Africa is seeking through its investment drive not only to generate foreign direct investment, but also to encourage local businesses to invest, he said, adding that his government also intends to crowd in local investors into various subsectors of economy.

"We are working to become an entrepreneurial state that is able to crowd-in local private sector investment in certain sectors of our economy, collaborating on the development of master plans for each one," said Ramaphosa.

Alongside the investment drive, much detailed work is being directed towards reducing the cost and improving the ease of doing business, according to the president.

This is a difficult task because it requires significant coordination and integration among a wide range of government departments, spheres and entities, he said.

"We are determined to achieve our goal of being among the top 50 global performers in the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report within the next three years," the president said.

South Africa tourism operators encouraged to be innovative

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s tourism players were advised to be technically savvy and innovative at The Hospitality Leadership Forum in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Victor Tharage, director general of South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, called on the tourism sector to be innovative and always bring new things to spice up the customer experience.

"Most of our tourism sites and 3,000-kilometer coastline are yet to be fully exploited and discovered.

"Customers need experience and we have to look beyond the big lights and skyscrapers," said Tharage.

He pointed out that two of the country’s sites have been added to the World Heritage sites list. The country’s tourism looks bright with easing of visa regime, tourism promotions, removal of travel hurdles and the welcoming of the South African people.

Gillian Saunders, former special advisor to tourism ministry, called on the tourism role players to research about the industry and know what is required.

She called on the focus on China to realize maximum benefits.

She said, "The Chinese are great travellers and their millenniums are ready to travel into the world."

She pointed out that statistics show Chinese love traveling and called for countries to ensure their travel do not have hassles.

Saunders said countries must research on what Chinese travellers love and ensure they are lured to visit.

Food imports an opportunity for Africa says South African government official

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- A senior South African government official on Monday called on African countries to increase trade, particularly food trade, among each other.

John Rocha, chief director of Trade Invest Africa at the Department of Trade and Industry, made the remarks at the Africa Big 7 exhibition in Johannesburg.

He pointed out that the latest research on the agro-processing sector indicates that Africa is estimated to spend up to 50 billion U.S. dollars on food imports this year.

"We can no longer afford to lose this much-needed income and opportunity to increase trade amongst us and to build stronger developed trading partners," said Rocha.

He said research by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) shows that intra-Africa trade has great growth potential if the continent matches supply and demand by replacing global resources with the continental resources.

These efforts are part of many to implement the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which aims to scale up the levels of intra-Africa trade and investment "while we continue to nurture our trade and investment relations with other important regions of the world," Rocha said.

He encouraged African enterprises to familiarize themselves with the trade agreement and take up opportunities it presents.

The Africa Big 7 is an annual event for food and beverage professionals across the continent who visit to source, meet, and gain insight into the latest developments in the industry.

South Africa red meat sector suffers from livestock theft incidents

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s red meat sector has recorded rapid growth over the years, but the industry’s success is being threatened by rise in livestock theft incidents, said Red Meat Producers Organization on Thursday.

CEO Gerhard Schutto told Xinhua that the sector lost 1.3 billion Rand (91.8 million U.S. dollars) last year due to livestock theft.

"Internationally, we’re competitive when it comes to repeat reproduction, red meat is an 80 billion Rand (5.6 billion USD) industry," he said.

He said red meat exported to other countries has been increasing until the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

"We’ve been growing our exports, we can make a big contribution to the economic growth, but livestock theft is a big issue," he said.

Between March last year and April 2019, 29,000 cases of stock theft had been recorded.

The organization believed that syndicates from neighboring countries were involved in stock theft.

"Regions like the Eastern Cape and Kwazulu Natal and areas close to Lesotho, Mozambique borders are hot spots for theft.

"It’s a cross border crime, livestock theft has become a white collar crime and an organized crime with syndicates," Schutto said.

He said the syndicates attack farmers at night and steal dozens of small livestock like sheep and goats and change their branding before selling them at auctions or slaughtering them.

A number of farmers who stopped livestock farming due to the problem.

Zweli Manzi, who lost a total of 98 sheep in one night last month in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, told Xinhua,

"You work so hard to invest in farming only to have most of your animals stolen at once.

"I think, this will discourage other small farmers like me interested in it, remember there’s no insurance against stock theft."

Agri SA recently announced that it would partner with a private security company Fidelity ADT to clamp down on agricultural crimes.

Cash-in-transit robberies in South Africa decline 22 percent in 2018

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- Cash-in-transit (CIT) robberies decreased 22 percent in 2018 from 2017 while cyber crime is on the rise, said South African Banking Risk Information Center (SABRIC) on Wednesday in Johannesburg on behalf of South African banks.

"We are pleased that cash-in-transit robberies decreased by 22 percent from 376 to 292 incidents from 2017 to 2018.

Cash losses here also showed a decrease of 22 percent for the same period," said SABRIC CEO Kalyani Pillay.

She said that the decrease in CIT was as a result of collaboration between the police, CIT companies and the banks.

Pillay noted that cyber crime increased in 2018 compared with the previous year.

Credit card fraudulent transactions across the country were 27.2 million U.S. dollars in 2017 and 32.4 million U.S. dollars in 2018 which, an increase of 18.4 percent.

"To have any significant impact on the fight against all of these crimes, the collective efforts of banks, bank customers and law enforcement are imperative," Pillay said.

SABRIC advised clients not to click the links sent to them by criminals purporting to be banks, constantly change PIN numbers and be alert all the time.

South Africa and Mozambique to meet over border killings

PRETORIA South Africa (Xinhua) -- The South African government on Thursday said they are investigating an incident in which two Mozambican policemen were shot dead at the border between the two countries this month.

South Africa’s Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said this at a media briefing in Pretoria.

He stated that a high level team wills meet their Mozambican counterparts to discuss the matter.

The delegation comprises of South African National Defence Force and South African Police Service.

"We remain committed to work with the government of Mozambique as a neighbor in improving the well being of all our citizens," said Mthembu.

Two Mozambican border policemen were killed in a shooting incident at the border between the two countries on earlier this month.

It is yet to know what sparked the incident.



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