Weekly News Brief

Weekly News Brief
Lowveld National Botanical Garden, Nelspruit- credits: Rooms for Africa

World Economic Forum for Africa, Nigeria Leads Other African Countries In Boycotting WEF, Ramaphosa on Gender Based Violence, Mugabe Is Dead, and much more…

HEADLINE NEWS THIS WEEK

In a week in which the South African government was embarrassed after other African governments cancelled their participation in the World Economic Forum for Africa in Capetown citing the violence against their citizens in South Africa, experts have warned of the creation of divisive and destructive politics should the government not deal with rising anti-immigration sentiments. They said that the reluctance to deal with xenophobia and the South African public’s violent predisposition were enabling an environment which could result in far-right politics. Scenes of anti-immigration and anti-integration mass protests across the United States and some parts of Europe were a common feature on international media platforms. The far-right politics which often evoked negative stances towards groups that were deemed as undesirable in society had always appeared to be far from home. But with South Africa engulfed by yet another outbreak of hate crimes against immigrants, senior research specialist at the Human Science Research Council (HSRC), Dr Steve Gordon, said that the South African government had to act now or the country could face a similar fate.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday promised swift implementation of measures announced by his government to fight gender-based violence, saying the attacks on women and children had become a crime against humanity. The president addressed the nation on Thursday night following public pressure for his government to announce plans to fight the scourge. There were protests against gender-based violence in Parliament this week following the murder of several women and children including University of Cape Town (UCT) student Uyinene Mrwetyana and boxer Leighandre Jegels. Meanwhile, the killings of two more women have been confirmed by police, which means the nation is dealing with the news of at least three femicides since this Friday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) ambassador to South Africa said on Wednesday the country would not have an official presence at the World Economic Forum for Africa due to the ongoing transition of its government.  EWN reported that the DRC, Malawi and Rwanda would not be attending the meeting due to attacks on foreign nationals. Ambassador Ben Mpoko said they informed the South African government of their non-attendance earlier. Nigeria too said on Wednesday it would boycott an Africa economic summit in Cape Town, intensifying a diplomatic row after a series of deadly attacks on foreigners in South African cities. The withdrawal of Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo from the World Economic Forum gathering has cast a cloud over initiatives to boost intra-African trade. He was scheduled to address a panel on universal energy access on Thursday.

The Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Thursday said security would be beefed up at Laerskool Kollegepark in Vanderbijlpark following the abduction of a six-year-old girl. Amy’Leigh de Jager was snatched next to her mother’s car by four men this week. She was reunited with her family a day later. Three people were arrested for the crime and were expected to appear in court on Monday. A grade R teacher at the school was among the arrested suspects. Lesufi said the teacher was suspended and faced disciplinary action.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday morning confirmed that his predecessor Robert Mugabe (95) has died. Mugabe passed away in Singapore where he had been seeking treatment. He had ruled the country for close to four decades. Mugabe had been involved in the conflict which saw Rhodesia become Zimbabwe and later became president. However, after a military takeover in 2017, he stepped down from power with Mnangagwa taking over.

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has told the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town that the majority of South Africans are appalled at the violence being meted out against African migrants and refugees in the country. Mboweni told delegates South Africa was going through a difficult time but that the authorities were dealing with the matter. The minister was speaking during the opening plenary session of the world event on Thursday and made the remarks after delivering a speech on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africa said Thursday it has closed its diplomatic missions in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos following violence carried out against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg. “After receiving reports and threats from some of the Nigerians we decided to temporarily close while we are assessing the situation,” foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele said, adding the missions were shut on Wednesday. “So we will be monitoring the situation and when see it necessary to open, we will re-open,” he said.

Malawian civic organisations have appealed to the African Union and SADC to hold South Africa’s leaders accountable for their utterances on migration in the lead-up to the May elections. The NGOs believe those statements have resulted in the sporadic looting of foreign-owned shops. They’ve called on the SADC to convene an extraordinary session of the heads of states to resolve the matter once and for all.

Gauteng police said they had increased visibility across the province and noted a decline in violence following sporadic attacks and mass looting of shops. Over 280 people have been arrested for public violence since Sunday. There’s been unrest in the province resulting in people being displaced from their homes in some areas and shop owners seeking refuge after their stores were ransacked. Meanwhile, the scale of the carnage continues to unfold. Two burnt bodies were discovered in shops on Wednesday in Alexandra after the buildings were set alight during looting in the area earlier this week.

The Communication’s Minister is demanding answers as to how a man arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old woman was allowed to work for the Post Office. Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has ordered an investigation. “We’re investigating his convictions and why he was employed on the frontline.” The accused was arrested recently and has confessed to raping and killing Uyinene Mrwetyana. She was attacked inside a Claremont Post Office late last month.