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South African President Ramaphosa condemns renewed xenophobic violence2 minutes read

Ramaphosa “has condemned in the strongest terms a resurgence in public violence that claimed two lives in Johannesburg on Sunday

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South African President Ramaphosa condemns renewed xenophobic violence

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday condemned weekend violence in Johannesburg that claimed two lives after security forces clashed with looters involved in fresh xenophobic attacks.

At least ten people have been killed since the start of the month in a surge in attacks targeting foreign-owned businesses in and around South Africa’s largest city.

Riot police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets on Sunday to disperse crowds targeting shops in Johannesburg’s gritty central business district and other neighbourhoods.

Ramaphosa “has condemned in the strongest terms a resurgence in public violence that claimed two lives in Johannesburg yesterday,” the presidency said in a statement.

One person was stabbed and another victim shot dead in an incident involving a large group of armed attackers, it said.

Many shops remained closed on Monday morning in the central business district, a reporter said. Shops were set alight and burned on Sunday in the neighbouring Malvern district.

Officials said most of the ten people killed since last week were South Africans. Local residents say at least one of those was killed when a shop owner defended their property.

South Africa is a major destination for economic migrants from Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. But others come from Nigeria and as far as South Asia looking for work in the continent’s number two economy.

Immigrants are often the focus for anger among South Africans hit by chronic job shortages and the limited progress made by the majority black population since white-minority rule ended in 1994.

The recent violence has also strained relations between South Africa and Nigeria, which summoned Pretoria’s envoy and boycotted an economic summit in Cape Town in protest.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will visit South Africa in October to discuss responses to “challenges affecting people and businesses” in both countries.

Officials have said several Nigerian businesses were attacked and burned down, though they said no Nigerians were killed.

Xenophobic attacks are not uncommon, especially for migrants working in low-skilled labour or shops in poor districts. In 2008, violence targeting migrants left 62 people dead, while in 2015, seven were killed in attacks in Johannesburg and Durban.

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Politics

Isabel dos Santos considers running for Angola’s presidency

“I will do everything I need to do to defend and serve my country,” Isabel dos Santos said.

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Chairman of the Unitel SA Isabel Jose dos Santos attends the "Business Dialogue Russia-Africa" session at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) , in St. Petersburg, Russia. Iliya Pitalev / Sputnik

Africa’s richest woman and billionaire daughter of Angola’s ex-president, Isabel dos Santos, has said she would consider running for president in the next election in 2022.

Asked in an interview with Portuguese state broadcaster Radio e Televisao de Portugal (RTP) whether she would run for the top job in Angola, dos Santos said it was “possible”.

“I will do everything I need to do to defend and serve my country,” she said in the interview, which was broadcast late Wednesday, an AFP report said.

Dos Santos has been targeted in an anti-graft campaign led by her father’s successor President Joao Lourenco, who has vowed to fight corruption and rebuild the economy of sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest oil producer.

Prosecutors froze the bank accounts and holdings owned by the 46-year-old businesswoman and her Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo last month.

Dos Santos, reportedly Africa’s richest woman, has denied any wrongdoing and denounced the investigation as “politically motivated”.

The investigation surrounding dos Santos is centred on the alleged use of state-owned companies to siphon off over one billion dollars.

It is delving into irregularities involving Angola’s national oil company Sonangol and Sodiam, a national diamond marketing firm.

Dos Santos was appointed head of Sonangol by her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos in 2016, one year before he stepped down and handed the reins over to Lourenco.

The president forced her out of the position within months of coming to power in 2017.

He has since launched a large-scale purge of the dos Santos 38-year administration, during which top positions were awarded to the ex-president’s cronies.

Dos Santos’s brother Jose Filomeno — nicknamed “Zenu” — went on trial last month for allegedly embezzling $500 million from Angola’s sovereign fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.

Zenu, who faces a maximum of 12 years in jail if found guilty, is the first member of the dos Santos family to be prosecuted.  

“The selective manner of this so-called fight against corruption (is being used) to neutralise future political candidates,” dos Santos told RTP, adding that she continued to be “shocked” by the allegations.

Dos Santos has been named Africa’s richest woman by Forbes magazine, which last year rated her net worth at $2.2 billion (two billion euros).

She has holdings in two private banks, mobile operator Unitel, a supermarket chain and cable television among others.

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Business

Eskom Chairman resigns amid persistent power cuts

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Chairman of South Africa’s struggling state-owned power Utility Eskom, Jabu Mabuza, has resigned following worrying power cuts over the festive period.

The entity had implemented severe nationwide power cuts in several bursts last year and again sporadically this week, despite low electricity demand as many businesses and factories were closed for the holidays.

“In his resignation letter , Mabuza apologised for Eskom’s inability to meet the commitment it made to the President, the Deputy President and the relevant Ministers at a meeting on 11 December 2019 to avoid load shedding over this period,” a statement from the presidency read.

The power cuts are reported to have dented economic output last year, sapping investor confidence in Ramaphosa’s efforts to turn around Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Eskom supplies more than 90 percent of South Africa’s power but has struggled to meet electricity demands in the country.

Mabuza was appointed to the Eskom board of directors shortly after Ramaphosa became leader of the governing African National Congress party in December 2017.

“In the wake of Mr Mabuza’s resignation, Government will soon announce a re-configured Eskom board with the appropriate mix of electricity industry, engineering and corporate governance experience,” the presidency announced.

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East Africa News

No casualties as South African military plane crashlands in DR Congo

“There were eight crew and 59 passengers. Everybody was evacuated safe and sound. Nobody suffered major injuries. The runway has reopened,” MONUSCO said.

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The pictured plane served South African peacekeepers deployed in Beni, in the volatile North Kivu province/Enca

Atleast 67 people on Thursday escaped death after a South African military transporter aircraft caught fire on landing in Goma, a city in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo but UN officials said there were no casualties.

The plane was flying from Beni, a city about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Goma and also in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s East, an AFP report said.

“The left engine caught fire upon landing,” said the UN mission in the country, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, adding that its firefighters “intervened.”

“There were eight crew and 59 passengers. Everybody was evacuated safe and sound. Nobody suffered major injuries. The runway has reopened,” it said.

The plane served South African peacekeepers deployed in Beni, in the volatile North Kivu province.

Some reports said the plane was a Soviet/Russian-made Antonov.

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