6 February 2013

African Press Review 6 February 2013

SA unemployment goes down. Alleged DRC plotters are rounded up in Limpopo. Anglo-American doesn't like a new mining law. Kenyatta and Uhuru face a summons from The Hague. And a Ugandan general escapes prosecution over an alleged coup threat.

South African unemployment fell unexpectedly in the last quarter of 2012, according to official figures released on Tuesday.

The jobless rate declined to 24.9 per cent of the labour force in the fourth quarter from 25.5 per cent in the previous quarter, Statistics South Africa said in its quarterly labour force survey.

This amounted to 4.5 million people without work in the fourth quarter, down from 4.67 million jobless in the previous three months, the agency said.

The group of Congolese nationals arrested by South African police special units in Limpopo yesterday is suspected of plotting to overthrow DRC president Joseph Kabila's government.

The men will appear in court this week on charges under the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act, according to this morning's BusinessDay.

Details of the 19 suspects are sketchy but the pre-dawn arrests came after a months-long intelligence operation.

A police spokesperson declined to confirm reports that the arrested men were members of the small but powerful M23 rebel force, which is active in eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The spokesperson said the authorities don't know about their links to the M23 structure as yet. Reports have emerged that two of them may be from M23 but the police are continuing their inquiry.

Still in South Africa, BusinessDay reports that there are glaring shortcomings in the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill that could hamper South Africa's ability to attract and retain investment in mining, according to outgoing Anglo-American CEO Cynthia Carroll.

The bill was approved by the cabinet in December and interested parties have until the end of this week to comment.

Anglo is particularly worried about the impact of the proposed legislation on its capacity to export coal, which would be classified as a strategic resource under the new law.

The main story in the Kenyan Standard reports that National Alliance presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto have been ordered by the International Criminal Court to participate in a status conference at The Hague on 14 February.

The two must either appear in person or participate via video link to discuss the summonses connected to their alleged roles in the 2008 post-election violence.

Ruto is accused in one case of being criminally responsible as an indirect coperpetrator for the crimes against humanity of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population and persecution. His coaccused is radio journalist Joshua Sang, who faces the same charges. Their trial begins on 10 April.

Uhuru is accused in the second case alongside former head of the Kenyan Civl Service, Francis Muthaura, of being an indirect coperpetrator for the crimes against humanity of murder, deportation or forcible transfer of population, rape, persecution and other inhumane acts. Their trial is set to begin on 11 April.

Both Uhuru and Ruto have made attempts to have the trials moved to east Africa.

A court in Uganda has thrown out an application to issue criminal summons against the Chief of Defence Forces, General Aronda Nyakairima, over comments he reportedly made about the possibility of a coup.

The judge said the complaint was incomplete and therefore invalid.

Nyakairima allegedly warned that the army could be forced to take over power if Uganda's politicians do not change course.

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