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Labour clash ahead for Platinum miners in early Ramaphosa test

South Africa produces about 70% of the world’s supply and has 80% of the world’s platinum reserves.

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Labour clash ahead for Platinum miners in early Ramaphosa test
Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) president, Joseph Mathunjwa gestures as he addresses a rally of miners on the fourth anniversary of the Marikana Massacre. (Photo by MUJAHID SAFODIEN / AFP)

Platinum miners in South Africa are bracing for a tough round of talks to negotiate a three-year wage deal.

Already, tensions are high over this meeting, which could lead to the labour unions going on strike. More worrisome is that the strike could send platinum prices soaring.

This sit-down with the world’s biggest miners is seen as important, as it is also an early test case for Cyril Ramaphosa’s new presidency.

An amicable outcome will be good for Ramaphosa, a former union leader and one-time platinum company investor, as he seeks to lure foreign investors.

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, AMCU, the largest and most militant labour organization in the sector, is expected to push for higher wages as the industry reaps windfall profits.

According to the spokesperson for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd, Johan Theron, preliminary wage talks should begin this month. Negotiations are expected to pit AMCU and three other labour unions against at least, seven producers, including Anglo American Platinum Ltd.

Across the negotiating table, some producers have accumulated cash to withstand a repeat of the prolonged and violent strike in 2014.

South Africa produces about 70% of the world’s supply and has 80% of the world’s platinum reserves.

The market is controlled primarily by three companies; Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats), and Lonmin.

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Zimbabwe’s business community calls for economic reform

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had initiated a massive protest against worsening economic conditions

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Zimbabwe’s business community calls for economic reform
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

The Zimbabwe business community has called on its government to urgently address ordinary people’s concerns in order to avoid continuous loss of production time through protest shutdowns.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had initiated a massive protest in central Harare to express growing impatience with the government’s failure to remedy a deepening economic crisis that has pushed many to the edge.

The government, however, insists that the pain caused by its tough policy measures was necessary for an economy which is reeling from decades of mismanagement under former President, Robert Mugabe.

Police moved on Thursday to impose an unpopular ban on the demonstration, setting the stage for ugly clashes with MDC followers.

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Nigeria’s state oil firm awards crude oil swap deals to 15 firms

The awarded oil firms include Vitol, Trafigura, oil major, BP and local downstream companies

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Nigeria's state oil firm awards crude oil swap deals to 15 firms
NNPC Towers, headquarters of Nigeria's state oil firm in Abuja, Nigeria. (File photo)

Nigerian state oil company, NNPC, has announced that 15 companies have won the right to swap the country’s crude oil for fuels, following a tender for the deals.

About 132 companies made a bid for the deals. The tender for the one-year contracts effective from the 1st of October and dubbed direct sale, direct-purchase (DSDP), was issued in March.

Nigeria is almost entirely reliant on imported fuel due to years of neglect at its own refineries.

It has leaned heavily on the swap arrangements to get fuel, particularly gasoline, as other would-be importers struggle to make money due to price caps.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation says the companies that won the bids are made up of a consortium of 15 companies including Vitol, Trafigura, oil major, BP and local downstream companies.

Since the scheme’s inception in 2016, replacing a program that paid subsidies to importers, the NNPC has said it had saved the country $2.2 billion and supplied some 90 per cent of its import requirements.

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Zambia rejects donor aid amid its worst drought

The government says it has enough corn, the country’s staple food, to last until the next season and won’t need to import

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Zambia declines donor aid amid its worst drought
(File photo)

Zambia is experiencing its worst drought since 1981, but its government insists that a state of national emergency will not be declared.

Neither will donor assistance be accepted. A Southern Africa Development Community report last month, forecast 2.3 million Zambians will be food-insecure by March after large parts of the southern and western areas of the country received the lowest rainfall since 1981.

Over the same period, the report forecast Zambia will experience an 888,000-ton cereal deficit.

The Zambian government says it has enough corn, the country’s staple food, to last until the next season and won’t need to import.

Retail prices for the cornflour that Zambians consume mostly are already the highest since at least, 2003, according to data from the national statistics agency.

In July, prices were 41 per cent higher than the same time last year, helping to push inflation to 8.8 per cent, the highest since November 2016.

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