Fikeni said a radical change was required to revive
"I doubt such deep structural challenges in nature
can be resolved by meetings of stakeholders.
"We need radical interventions," he said, adding more
attention must be paid to emerging businesses.
"In an economy that is concentrated in few hands,
you’ll never get the growth of small and medium
"We need to emphasize and encourage internal
investment," Fikeni added.
Statistics SA report showed that over 21,000 jobs
lost in the second quarter of this year were in the
The country’s largest union in the finance industry
Sasbo said more retrenchments are looming.
"Right now, we have received notices from four banks
about retrenchments for the next six months.
"We are expecting more job losses," Sasbo’s Secretary
General Modime Joe Kokeka told Xinhua.
A total of 36,000 in the mining sector were lost in
the second quarter of this year and Cosatu’s Pamla said
the industry would continue losing jobs.
With the state having high debt levels, Pamla said if
nothing changes, the country might be forced to borrow
from other institutions.
"The latest statistics bear reflect the jobs
bloodbath that we have seen in the mining and banking
sectors," Pamla said.
"We have seen no plan from the government to save the
mining industry which is hell-bent on replacing workers
with machines or simply just retrenching because of the
crisis of profits," Pamla said.
ruling party stands behind president over election
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- South Africa’s
ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday threw
its weight behind President Cyril Ramaphosa embroiled in
an election funding scandal.
The party said in a statement that it was not aware
of any acts of illegality on the part of a campaign
conducted by any leader of the ANC, including Ramaphosa.
The ANC was responding to leaked emails revealing
some of the donors whom the managers of Ramaphosa’s
election campaign had allegedly approached for election
The emails were published by local news outlet News24
These emails support a report released in July by
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane who accuses the
president of violating the Executive Ethics Code.
The report claims that Ramaphosa received a
controversial donation worth 500,000 rand (about 34,000
U.S. dollars) to the president’s election campaign fund.
The donation was reportedly made by Bosasa company,
also known as African Global Operations, to Ramaphosa’s
campaign team in 2017 to fund his ANC presidential
Ramaphosa was deputy president then.
Mkhwebane found that Ramaphosa deliberately misled
Parliament in November last year when he said in the
House that he did not know the details of the donation
his campaign office received.
Mkhwebane insists that the president did know where
the donation came as he personally attended fund-raising
"The leaks are nothing but a calculated manoeuvre to
defocus and detract from the immediate task of
socio-economic issues and dealing with the challenges of
our economy," the ANC said.
This is an attempt to undermine public confidence in
Ramaphosa whose leadership has been defined by moral and
ethical conduct, the party said.
Earlier Ramaphosa said he had decided to seek an
urgent judicial review of the Public Protector’s report,
its findings and remedial action.
Given the gravity of this matter - and appreciating
the effect that these findings have on the standing and
credibility of both the President and the Public
Protector - it is essential that the courts be given an
opportunity to review the report, Ramaphosa said.
The ANC welcomes actions taken by Ramaphosa who has
acted openly and transparently by providing a detailed
account to the Public Protector on these matters, ANC
national spokesperson Pule Mabe said.
In discharging his leadership responsibilities,
Ramaphosa has always placed his reliance on the counsel
he gets from his party, the ANC, Mabe said.
Local envoys from
Cuba, Iran, Palestine, and Venezuela condemn
'United States bullying and sanctions' at South
JOHANNESBURG South Africa
(Xinhua) -- Envoys from Cuba,
Iran, Palestine, and Venezuela on Tuesday slammed the
United States for its "bullying, intimidation, economic
blockade and sanctions," which they said hurt
international trade and undermine world peace.
They made the condemnation at an international
solidarity symposium in Johannesburg.
Cuban ambassador to South Africa Rodolfo Benitez
Verson said countries facing U.S. economic sanctions
should unite, noting that his country has made progress
despite the U.S. blockade.
Iranian ambassador Mohsen Movahhedi Ghomi said
Washington is addicted to sanctions and unilateral
He called on the world to resist the U.S. "from
bullying countries into submission," stressing that
multilateralism is the only solution to global
Alvin Botes, South Africa’s deputy minister of
international relations and cooperation, urged the U.S.
to respect the United Nations and its decisions.
"Any member of the UN, the primary multilateral
organization, must be subservient to it," he said.
"Unilateralism undermines territorial independence
and democratic outcomes."
Representatives from South Africa’s Young Communist
League, Congress of Trade Unions, and the South African
Communist Party also spoke at the symposium, urging
solidarity against U.S. blockades.
Parliament calls for new strategy to curb
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- South Africa’s
Parliament on Monday urged police to urgently revise its
strategies to deal with growing gender-based violence.
As South Africa was commemorating Women’s Month,
Parliament is aware that the rights of women and
children continue to be undermined as a result of acts
of violence perpetrated against them, Parliament’s
Portfolio Committee on Police said.
One case in point is the shortage of rape kits, also
known as a sexual assault kit, at various police
stations countrywide, Committee Chairperson Tina
Joemat-Pettersson said in a statement emailed to Xinhua.
A rape kit is a package of items used by medical
personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence
following an allegation of sexual assault.
The SAPS should urgently deal with this matter and
ensure the availability of these rape kits at all police
stations, Joemat-Pettersson said.
Joemat-Pettersson also urged the SAPS to ensure that
police stations are at all times ready to deal with acts
of violence against women and children.
She stressed the need for a collaborative and
multi-dimensional approach if the country is to
successfully end the scourge of gender-based violence.
This includes measures to reduce alcohol and
substance abuse across the country, measures to grow the
economy and decrease unemployment and poverty, as well
as a societal commitment to monitor abuses against women
in their communities, said the chairperson.
"Of high priority must be strengthening strategies to
deal with the scourge of gender-based violence and
establishing an environment conducive for women and
children to report these cases at police stations,"
She called for SAPS management to ensure that there
are adequately trained female SAPS members to deal with
gender-based violence victims and be able to take
samples with the rape kits.
But above all, training modules for trainee police
officers must include a component of gender-based
violence, she said.
Parliament will intensify its monitoring of the
implementation of the Domestic Violence Act and the
Sexual Offences Act by checking the support and
assistance victims receive at all police stations,
according to Joemat-Pettersson.
The South African government dedicates August as
Women’s Month to raise awareness of women’s plight,
particularly persistent gender-based violence which "has
reached worrying proportions."
According to a report issued by Statistics South
Africa last year, 70,813 South African women experienced
sexual offences in 2016/2017, as compared to 31,665 in
2015/2016, a more than 100-percent increase.
A SAPS crime statistics 2018 report also showed that
the country saw an increase of 11 percent in femicide
cases in the past two years.
threatens South Africa with more power cuts
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- Widespread
concerns mounted on Monday over a possible strike at
electricity utility Eskom which could plunge South
Africa into darkness again later this year.
Eskom managers have reportedly threatened to
implement more load shedding if their demand for a
salary hike was not met.
The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday
added its voice to the call on all the parties involved
to resolve the salary dispute in a responsible manner
and avoid plunging the economy and the utility into even
According to local news outlet TimesLIVE, a group of
Eskom senior managers is taking the power utility to the
Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)
after not receiving salary increases and incentive
bonuses last year.
The group of between 180 and 200 managers earn up to
3 million rand (about 200,000 U.S. dollars) per person
annually. They want a 4.7-percent increase, which breaks
up to 141,000 rand (about 9,500 dollars) each.
As a state-run parastatal that provides about 95
percent of the electricity consumed in South Africa,
Eskom is facing a deepening financial crisis, with 20.7
billion rand (about 1.4 billion dollars) in losses in
the past financial year.
Last month, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni
announced a bailout of 59 billion rand (about 4 billion
dollars) to allow Eskom to formulate a recovery plan for
another 12 to 18 months.
The DA said ordinary South Africans will now be
expected to pay up yet again as Eskom’s senior managers
are requesting higher salaries and bonuses.
"Senior management should be an example when it comes
to austerity measures by reviewing salaries instead of
holding the country and the economy to ransom because
they have not been given a salary increase," the party
Crippled by poor management and corruption, Eskom has
been blamed for electricity insufficiency that has
gripped the country for the past decade, particularly
for the past three years when constant power blackouts
were implemented, seriously impeding economic
development and affecting people’s lives.
"Eskom’s financial trajectory is not sustainable," DA
Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone
"South Africa cannot afford a recurrence of load
shedding, as we stare down the slow collapse of the
This will have irreparable consequences for the
country’s already ailing economy and ordinary citizens,
In order to reduce the cost of electricity and bring
about much-needed competition, the DA has introduced the
Cheaper Energy Bill as an alternative plan to save and
stabilize Eskom to secure South Africa’s power supply.
Under the bill, Eskom will be broken into two
separate entities, a generation entity, which is
privatized, and a transmission/ distribution entity.
unemployment rate increases to 29 per cent
JOHANNESBURG (Xinhua) --
South Africa’s unemployment rate has
risen to 29 percent in the second quarter of 2019,
increasing by 1.4 percentage points from the first
quarter of this year, said Statistics South Africa on
Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said this
marked the highest level of joblessness recorded in the
country since the Quarterly Labour Force Survey was
introduced in 2008.
Meanwhile, the expanded unemployment rate, which
includes discouraged job seekers, stands at 38.5 percent
after it went up by 0.5 percentage point.
"The number of unemployed persons increased by
455,000 to 6.7 million in second quarter compared to the
first quarter," Maluleke said.
The Eastern Cape recorded the highest number of
joblessness with 35.4 percent, while the North West has
the higher levels of expanded unemployment at 46.6
Job losses were recorded in transport sector, where
42,000 jobs were lost, the mining sector saw a decline
of 36,000 and the finance industry lost over 21,000
jobs. Maluleke said 49,000 jobs losses were recorded in
Sectors that added jobs in the economy include trade,
construction and manufacturing.
that this increase in unemployment must be come as a
"The economy was in the down turn in the first
quarter, we should not be surprised.
"We also saw lay-offs in the first quarter," said
Jannie Rossouw, Head of School of Economic and Business
Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.
He said the minimum wage which came into effect in
January might have contributed to this.
The minimum wage compels employers to pay lowest paid
employees a minimum of R3,500 a month.
Rossouw said President Cyril Ramaphosa must show
"clear leadership on the economy" and focus on
revitalizing the stagnant growth.
He also said that currently the country’s population
growth was higher than that of the GDP.
"That can’t work, you need to grow the GDP first."
government urged to tighten labour law to address job
CAPE TOWN government
(Xinhua) -- South Africa’s
largest trade union federation urged the government on
Saturday to tighten the labor law to address a worsening
Tightening the labor law could make it harder for
employers to retrench workers, the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU) said.
COSATU, a coalition partner of the ruling African
National Congress (ANC), stressed the urgency to review
section 189 of the Labor Relations Act (LRA) as the
country’s unemployment rate kept rising.
The section in question regulates the conditions and
processes for retrenchments by employers.
This section has been under fire for making it easy
and cheap for employers to retrench workers.
COSATU also called for a moratorium on retrenchments
in the country until the economic crisis is over.
"It must be very difficult and very expensive for any
employer to rush to section 189 as and when they want to
lay off workers,"
COSATU first deputy president Mike Shingange said.
The federation made the appeal after Statistics South
Africa (Stats SA) announced on Tuesday that unemployment
rate in the country increased by 1.4 percentage points
from 27.6 percent to 29 percent in the second quarter of
this year, compared with the previous quarter.
This means that 232,000 more people are unemployed
from the first quarter of 2019 to the second quarter of
The number of unemployed persons increased by 455,000
to 6.7 million in the second quarter, Stats SA said in
its Quarterly Labor Force Survey.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday that the
latest unemployment numbers are a wake-up call to the
country which is in a "deep and serious crisis."
According to COSATU, the South African National
Econoic Development and Labor Council (NEDLAC) has
started discussing the review of section 189 of the LRA.
COSATU forms part of the NEDLAC which is the vehicle
by which the government, labor, business and community
organizations seek to cooperate, through problem-solving
and negotiation, on economic, labor and development
issues and related challenges facing the country.
While working on achieving the goals set at the Jobs
Summit last year, the NEDLAC partners must also work on
section 189 of the LRA, COSATU said.
The summit delivered a landmark Framework Agreement
consisting of high-impact actions to drive job creation,
job retention and economic growth.
The agreement is an enabler for the creation of an
estimated 275,000 jobs annually.
South Africa to
build digital hubs to boost innovation and
JOHANNESBURG South Africa
The South Africa government will
establish ten digital hubs across the country to bridge
the digital divide among township residents and equip
the youths with skills and knowledge to prepare them for
the fourth industrial revolution, said a senior
government official on Friday.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nomalungelo
Gina on Friday said the digital hubs would be built
inside the state-owned industrial parks.
They will focus on creating a central meeting point
for technology, innovation and creative businesses in
the areas surrounding the industrial parks.
She stated that these will assist start-up
accelerator programs, business incubators and training
"The digital hubs seek to provide young people with
skills and access to e-learning opportunities, basic
business development support and business intelligence
in order to encourage them to pursue entrepreneurship,"
She said the government would like to prioritize the
creation of digital hubs as part of its efforts to skill
the country’s youth and reduce youth unemployment.
on nationalization of South Africa central bank
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- A debate
re-emerged on Wednesday on the nationalization of South
Africa’s central bank after the ruling African National
Congress (ANC) threatened to put the bank "in the hands
of the people of South Africa."
The ANC’s attempt to nationalize the central bank,
known as the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), must be
stopped, the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) said.
The DA made the statement after ANC Deputy
Secretary-General Jessie Duarte confirmed on Tuesday
that her party will continue to pursue the
nationalization of the bank.
Duarte made the remarks after the ANC National
Executive Committee (NEC) concluded its policy meeting
Duarte described the nationalization of the SARB as
an "issue of sovereignty," saying the mandate of the
bank will continue to be a matter that will, from time
to time, be consulted with the government.
The DA rejects the proposed nationalization of the
SARB, which "is a bad idea that should be resisted by
all South Africans, and which we will fight against in
Parliament," DA Shadow Minister of Finance Geordin
Nationalization would allow the ANC to ramp up the
political pressure on the Reserve Bank, with the aim of
exerting influence over monetary policy and importantly,
over commercial bank licensing and regulation,
Unlike most central banks in the world, the SARB has
been privately owned since it was established in 1921,
but its shareholders have no control over monetary
policy, financial stability policy or banking
Its current mandate is to protect the value of the
currency in the interest of balanced economic growth and
Although the independence of the SARB is enshrined in
South Africa’s Constitution, the bank has been
criticized for failing to help boost the economy and
create jobs, resulting in calls to change the bank’s
The debate on the SARB has been on and off these
In 2018, the ANC, which would like to see the
government owning 100 percent of the bank’s shares
instead of the current arrangement where the shares were
held by a number of private shareholders, tabled a
motion in Parliament to nationalize the central bank,
but it later withdrew the motion due to strong
The SARB insists that changing the ownership
structure of the bank could raise the level of risk and
uncertainty for the country in both the financial and
economic policy sense.
Although President Cyril Ramaphosa affirmed earlier
this month that the bank’s independence must be
maintained, some senior officials within the ANC,
including ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule and Duarte
have openly advocated the nationalization of the bank.
The ANC’s policy confusion over the SARB highlights
the divisions within the ANC and further complicates
Ramaphosa’s plan to turn around South Africa’s
"There is not a single positive outcome from this
proposed nationalization, and the ANC has made no
argument as to why this is necessary or desirable,"
The fact is that it is neither necessary nor
desirable, and it will lead to more investment flight
and more job losses, he added.
rate recorded in South Africa
gang-ridden areas despite army deployment
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- The murder rate in
South Africa’s gang-ridden areas continued to rise over
the weekend despite the deployment of troops,
authorities said on Monday.
A total of 46 people were murdered over the weekend,
with 21 shootings, 20 stabbings and five murders by
other causes in Cape Town and other areas in the Western
Cape Province where gangs have been spiralling out of
control, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said in his
latest update on crime statistics since the deployment
of troops on July 18.
There were also several reports of shootings, in
which residents were injured over the weekend.
Among those shot and injured were two children aged
six and 16, according to Winde.
During last weekend, a Ukrainian tourist was stabbed
to death while hiking on Table Mountain, a tourist
attraction in Cape Town, Winde said.
All these happened despited intensified anti-gang
operations by police, with the assistance of the
deployed troops, Winde said.
The South African National Defense Force (SANDF)
deployed the troops after police failed to stem
The deployment will last three months and can be
extended depending on the situation.
It is still too early to record the real impact of
the deployment of troops in the communities affected by
gangs, Winde said.
While the deployed troops have three months to
stabilize the situation, "we call on the South African
Police Service (SAPS) to make maximum use of the
additional resources provided by the SANDF," said Winde.
"We cannot expect the SANDF to solve this crisis.
"They are a temporary tool at our disposal.
"What we really need is a fully resourced,
functioning police service, and in order to do this, we
need effective, committed police management," the
Winde reiterated his call on Police Minister Bheki
Cele to ensure proper allocation of police resources in
the Western Cape.
Confronted by rising crimes, the Western Cape
province’s police force is dramatically under-resourced
compared to other provinces run by the ruling African
National Congress (ANC), according to Winde.
The Western Cape, the only province run by an
opposition party, has requested more police officers but
to no avail.
While one officer must protect 375 people on average
nationally, in the Western Cape, the ratio is 1:509.
The opposition Democratic Alliance, which administers
the Western Cape, accuses the ruling African National
Congress (ANC) of turning a blind eye to rising crimes
in the province in a bid to weaken the DA’s control.
South Africa HIV
prevalence estimated at 13.5 percent of population
CAPE TOWN South Africa
(Xinhua) -- The estimated
overall HIV prevalence rate is approximately 13.5
percent among the South African population, according to
figures released on Monday.
South Africa’s total number of people living with HIV
stands at approximately 7.97 million in 2019, a sharp
increase from an estimated 4.25 million in 2002,
Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said in its latest
This indicates that South Africa has the biggest and
most high-profile HIV epidemic in the world, accounting
for a third of all new HIV infections in southern
In 2018, South Africa’s registered total number of
people living with HIV stood at 7.52 million, making up
13.1 percent of the total population of 57.7 million
For adults aged between 15 and 49 years, an estimated
19.07 percent of the population is HIV positive in
mid-year 2019, Stats SA said.
The agency also said South Africa’s mid-year
population is estimated to have increased to 58.78
million in 2019.
Life expectancy at birth for 2019 is estimated at
61.5 years for males and 67.7 years for females.
The infant mortality rate for 2019 is estimated at
22.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to the