30 October 2012

South Africa: African Press Review 30 October 2012

Tanzania has sugar overload but at least the new trains run on time. Zuma blames history for the Marikana massacre. SA chicken feed prices aren't chicken feed. Tension is hihg in Kisumu. And high-level implementers give the North and South Sudan two ultimatums.

There's good news and bad news on the front page of this morning's Daily News in Tanzania.

The bad news is that the local sugar market is completely saturated, leaving an estimated 50,000 tonnes of the stuff stockpiled in warehouses. Last year the government had to issue special licences to allow the import of 180,000 tonnes of sugar while the local factories were closed for maintenance.

Now the producers are asking for special licences in the opposite direction, so they can export the surplus.

The good news is that the commuter train service in Dar es Salaam got under way on Monday and is a roaring success. The Daily News suggests that the new services will save the economy the equivalent of millions of euros by lessening traffic congestion. The service is already a financial winner, says the government paper, since billions of shillings were saved by rehabilitating the locomotives and coaches locally.

Tanzania Railways Limited now plans to restore the service linking Dar and Mwanza, on the shores of Lake Victoria.

South African President Jacob Zuma told foreign correspondents in Johannesburg on Monday that the country was "not in crisis" after the Marikana mine killings and subsequent downgrades of its economic rating by Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The story is on the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay.

"Marikana was an unfortunate incident," the president told journalists.

He went on to say that people fail to understand the history of the country. They also fail to appreciate that South Africa's huge inequalities are a legacy of both colonial oppression and apartheid.

"It is not a failure of the African National Congress leadership," said President Zuma. "It is a failure of the past."

Zuma made no mention of the role and responsibilities of municipalities and provincial and central government in the provision of social services. Nor did he address the lack of property rights in squatter camps around the mines, home to thousands of migrant workers from the Eastern Cape region.

He did say the dialogue with business, labour and civil society earlier this month had agreed to address gaping income inequalities in South Africa.

Also in BusinessDay news that a KwaZulu-Natal poultry farmer is feeding his chickens worms to supplement their diet because maize prices are too high.

Chicken litter is used to attract flies, which lay eggs that hatch into maggots 20 days later.

The maggots are then fed to the chickens. It costs nothing to produce the grubs and the chickens apparently love them.

Chicken feed prices in Pietermaritzburg, one of two centres in South Africa where the price is benchmarked, rose 38 per cent last month, effectively wiping out the producers' profit margin.

In Kenya The Standard reports that protests over the killing of Kisumu businessman and politician Shem Kwega turned ugly when three people died after a tear-gas canister caused a fire in a shop.

A local witness quoted by The Standard alleged that police locked the door from outside, as the shop burned. Tension remained high in the lakeside town last night with a heavy police presence.

Kwega died after being shot by what the Standard call "thugs" and his wife is still in hospital in a critical condition.

The Daily Nation also carries the story of Kwega's death, describing the killers as gangsters and suggesting that the motive was robbery. The assailants reportedly left the scene of yesterday's killing with a briefcase full of money, which the dead man had been transporting to the bank.

The Nation reports four deaths in subsequent violence.

The African Union panel on the Sudans has given the two countries two weeks to implement the temporary agreements on the contentious Abyei region, according to The East African.

The High-Level Implementation Panel, comprising former South African president Thabo Mbeki, former president of Burundi Pierre Buyoya and former president of Nigeria Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar, has also asked Sudan and South Sudan to resolve the outstanding issues of Abyei and the rebellion in Southern Kordofan in six weeks.

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