South African police on Monday arrested more than 60 people following looting in Johannesburg and protests in the transport industry linked to a wave of anti-foreigner sentiments.
At least 41 people were arrested after hundreds of people marched through Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD), plundering shops and torching cars and buildings, the police said in a statement.
The unrest started on Sunday when an old building in the CBD caught fire and collapsed, killing at least three people. It then spread two eastern suburbs.
Such violence breaks out sporadically in South Africa, where many nationals blame foreigners for high unemployment, particularly in manual labour.
Police Minister, Bheki Cele insisted the violence was linked to “criminality” rather than “xenophobia”.
“(Xenophobia) is used as an excuse,” Cele told journalists after a tour of the CBD.
“For now, there is nothing that has sparked any form of this conflict between the South Africans and foreign nationals.”
Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama reacted strongly to the scenes of violence.
“Received sickening and depressing news of continued burning and looting of Nigerian shops and premises in #SouthAfrica by mindless criminals with ineffective police protection. Enough is enough. We will take definitive measures”, he said on Twitter.
Separately, police in the southeastern province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) said at least 20 individuals had been arrested “in connection with incidents related to protests within the trucking industry”.
Taxi drivers clashed with police in the capital Pretoria last week, and truckers started a nation-wide strike on Sunday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers.
Eleven trucks on Sunday blocked the road to Richards Bay Harbour, one of the deepest natural harbours in Africa, KZN police spokesman Jay Naicker said.
In the Western Cape province, several protesters blocked roads with their vehicles.
“Several roads had to be closed for traffic from early morning due to trucks blocking the road, while others were seen offloading sand on the road,” said a statement from the provincial transport minister, Bonginkosi Madikizela.
Human Rights Watch last week reported that dozens of truck drivers in the country had died in attacks against foreigners since March 2018.
The report was released after a recent spate of xenophobic violence fuelled by economic decline and record unemployment.
A South African truck owners’ association quoted by the HRW reported 75 such incidents since March this year, 15 of which were independently confirmed by the watchdog.
Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, police chief for KZN province, where at least two trucks were torched, said they had intensified patrols along major routes.
South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from the southern Africa region, with many moving from neighbouring Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in search for work.
‘Hungry and angry’ –
The latest population census in 2011 shows that numbers surged in the previous decade, with nearly half of international migrants having moved to South Africa between 2005 and 2010. An unknown number of the migrants are undocumented.
Labour ministry spokesman Makhosonke Buthelezi last week told reporters that employers “prefer (foreign truck drivers) because they can work long hours at a much cheaper cost, so they tend to exploit them”.
Sipho Zungu, chairman of the All Truck Drivers Foundation told reporters his group had had “nothing to do with the strike”, but stressed that it was fighting for the employment of South African drivers.
“People of South Africa are hungry, they are sitting at home.. while companies in South Africa are employing foreigners …(because) its cheap labour. We are hungry and angry,” Zungu told reporters.
But the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU), which has over 200,000 members, distanced itself from the violence.
“Whenever there are faceless people calling a strike, there tends to be violence,” SATAWU spokeswoman Zanele Sabela told reporters.
Anti-graft agency seizes NFF chiefs’ properties in Nigeria
Rasheedat Okoduwa said “many officials of the NFF are under investigation
Nigerian authorities on Monday seized a dozen properties from senior officials of Nigeria’s top football body, including its president Amaju Pinnick, in a fresh corruption probe.
Agents of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) took over 12 properties – half belonging to Pinnick, including a property in London — in the latest investigation to target senior officials of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), accused of laundering millions of dollars.
ICPC spokesperson Rasheedat Okoduwa said “many officials of the NFF are under investigation. What they have is in excess of what they have earned.”
NFF bosses led by Pinnick are currently under three separate corruption probes, including a 17-count charge in courts ranging from failure to declare assets and embezzling $8.4 million (7.5 million euros) paid to the federation by world football governing body FIFA.
The case continues on September 26.
In a separate case, Pinnick, general secretary Mohammed Sanusi and three NFF accountants have also been charged to court over an alleged theft of over $10 million in grants from both FIFA and the African Football Confederation (CAF), meant for the development of football in Nigeria.
In July, CAF sacked Pinnick as vice president of the body following the charges against him, which he denied, with the NFF branding the investigations a “witch-hunt.”
Kenya becomes 3rd country to adopt world’s first malaria vaccine, RTS,S
Kenya, which joins Malawi and Ghana, earlier this year, commenced their own pilot vaccination programmes supported by the WHO
Kenya on Friday became the third country to start routinely innoculating infants against malaria, using the world’s first vaccine to combat a disease that kills 800 children globally every day.
The vaccine — RTS,S — targets the deadliest and most common form of malaria parasite in Africa, where children under five account for two-thirds of all global deaths from the mosquito-born illness.
Kenya, which is rolling-out RTS,S in the western county of Homa Bay, joins Malawi and Ghana, which, earlier this year, commenced their own pilot vaccination programmes supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“This is the most advanced malaria vaccine that we have today. It has been in the making for the last almost three decades,” Dr Richard Mihigo, WHO’s co-ordinator of immunisation and vaccine development programme, told reporters before the Kenyan launch, which will expand to other malaria-prone areas of the country.
“Children are the most vulnerable group to this severe disease that is malaria, so protecting children can make a big impact in preventing malaria.”
The vaccine will be added in these pilot areas to the other routine shots given to young children under national immunisation schedules.
RTS,S acts against ‘Plasmodium falciparum’, the deadliest form of malaria, and the most prevalent in Africa, where illness and death from the disease remains high despite some gains.
The shots, administered over four doses, have been shown in clinical trials to significantly reduce cases of malaria, and malaria-related complications, in young children.
The vaccine prevented about 4 in 10 cases of malaria and three in 10 cases of the most severe, life-threatening form of the disease, within the trial group, WHO says.
RTS,S will be considered for use more broadly as a tool to fight malaria, alongside other preventative measures such as long-lasting insecticidal nets.
The disease kills more than 400,000 people around the world every year. Of these about 290,000 were children under five.
WHO says a child dies roughly every two minutes from malaria somewhere in the world.
Most of these are in Africa, where more than 90 per cent of the world’s malaria cases — and fatalities — occur.
Tunisia decides: Voters head to polls in test on democracy
Tunisia has been praised as a rare success story for democratic transition after the Arab Spring regional uprisings
Tunisia will hold on Sunday its second free presidential election by universal suffrage since the 2011 uprising that toppled an autocratic regime, with growing uncertainty over who will reach the next round.
Twenty-six candidates are in the race, including the incumbent prime minister and a media magnate who was arrested just weeks before the polls, as well as a presidential hopeful put forth by an Islamist-inspired party.
Seven million voters are expected to head to the ballot box after a campaign that largely focussed on social and economic challenges that have plagued the country’s fledgeling democracy.
“There are favourites and everything is possible, but even God cannot predict the results of the first round, let alone what will happen next,” columnist Ziyed Krichen said.
Political analyst Hatem Mrad agreed. “This election is really one of uncertainties,” he said.
Tunisia has been praised as a rare success story for democratic transition after the Arab Spring regional uprisings sparked by its 2011 revolution.
Three years later, it held its first post-revolution election, during which the political fault lines were clear, said Mrad, with Islamists squaring off against modernists.
But this time around, the differences are huge, with a plethora of candidates — Islamists, secularists, populists and partisans of the toppled regime — political programmes and issues, he added.
Preliminary results are expected to be announced by the electoral commission on September 17, but the date of the second round, which will decide the presidency, is not yet known.
Heavyweight candidates include Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and his nemesis Nabil Karoui, the media magnate arrested on charges of money laundering just three weeks before the election.
Karoui’s supporters accuse Chahed of orchestrating his arrest, a charge denied by the ambitious prime minister who became the country’s youngest-ever head of government in 2016 at age 40.
A controversial businessman, Karoui has built his popularity by using his own Nessma television channel to launch charity campaigns, handing out food aid to some of the country’s poorest.
On Wednesday, the jailed candidate started a hunger strike, according to a member of his defence team, Ridha Belhaj.
Studies suggest that his arrest boosted his popularity, and observers say that if Karoui makes it to the second round of voting, it will be hard for authorities to justify keeping him behind bars without a trial.
Also in the race is lawyer Abdelfattah Mourou, 71, who was selected to run by the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, and Mohammed Abbou, who was imprisoned under the ousted regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Candidates also include former defence minister Abdelkarim Zbidi, a technocrat who said he would “restart the social ladder” and make public services accessible to all Tunisians, if elected.
Two women are also eyeing the presidency, including Abir Moussi, a staunch anti-Islamist lawyer and champion of Ben Ali’s regime.
Social challenges –
The presidential campaign wraps up on Friday, but none of the candidates appears to have stood out despite squaring off in multiple debates that were broadcast on radio and television.
Around two to three million Tunisians are believed to have tuned in to three major debates, during which candidates were asked to respond to questions drawn randomly.
The economic and social hardships that undermine Tunisia’s transition to democracy took centre stage during the campaign.
The country, hit by terrorist attacks against its key tourism sector and security forces, has struggled to combat unemployment and bring down inflation.
Unemployment in Tunisia is at 15 per cent, while the cost of living has increased by more than 30 per cent since 2016.
The election was brought forward from November after the death in July of Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia’s first president democratically elected in nationwide polls in 2014.
It will be followed by legislative elections, due to take place on October 6.
Some of the 26 hopefuls have called for the president’s powers to be beefed up in Tunisia, which has a parliamentary system.
Former Tunisian President Ben Ali dies in exile aged 83
Ethiopia becomes East Africa’s largest FDI recipient
Uganda’s teenage environmental activist calls for urgent climate change action
Africa’s smaller economies secure 13-year fragile sector protection
South Africa struggles with surge of gender-based violence
12 people arrested in Côte d’Ivoire over DJ Arafat’s tomb desecration
Nigeria’s President Buhari inaugurates 43-member cabinet
Wanna meet your match? 5 best makeup tips to keep you winning
CAF Confederation Cup: Bolton City overcomes Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana
Gambia’s first President, Dawda Jawara dies aged 95
The #AfricaFirst Pledge with Efe Paul Azino
Harsh abortion sentences are putting Malagasy women at risk
NBA’s Africa Academy is building a local talent pipeline
Meet the wildlife conservation game changer
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
North Africa2 days ago
Kais Saied and Nabil Karoui to face off in Tunisia’s runoff election
Technology News1 day ago
African tech start-up, Andela lays off 400 junior developers
Culture & Tourism1 day ago
Ake festival 2019: A festival of arts and books
Southern Africa1 day ago
South Africa’s apex court rules spanking children as unconstitutional
Feature News1 day ago
Struggle continues: Nigeria’s Libya returnees experience tough reintegration
Culture & Tourism11 hours ago
Moroccan TV show suspended for celebrity guest’s boast of “beating his wife”
News13 hours ago
Anti-graft agency seizes NFF chiefs’ properties in Nigeria
Southern Africa1 day ago
Traditional rulers demand customary rituals for burial of Robert Mugabe