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African press review 13 September 2011

Hate speech, a worrying weather outlook and budgets are all big stories in some of today's African papers.

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If Julius Malema was "against the ropes" yesterday, it's hard to say exactly where he is this morning.

According to the main story in today's Johannesburg Star, African National Congress Youth League leader Malema was on Monday found guilty in the country's High Court of hate speech, for singing an apartheid-era song that calls for the killing of white farmers.

The verdict against Malema, one of the country's most prominent politicians, comes as he fights for political survival in a separate disciplinary case brought by the ruling ANC, which has charged him with bringing the party into disrepute.

Yesterday, Judge Colin Lamont decided that Malema's singing of the song “Shoot the Boer” - could not be justified. He ordered that Malema pay some of the costs of the case.

Malema's attempt to have himself enshrined as a protector of the ANC's legacy of struggle has thus failed. He now faces a slew of charges before the ANC's disciplinary body.

Analysts said the civil case won't have serious political implications for Malema and could even strengthen his support among the poor black majority who have seen little improvement in their economic fortunes since the end of apartheid.

Malema's regular calls to nationalise mines and seize white-owned land have unnerved investors but struck a chord with poor blacks who see him as a future leader of Africa's biggest economy.

The ANC's disciplinary committee meets again later today to discuss the charges against Malema. If he is found guilty, he could be suspended or expelled from the party.

The Daily Monitor in Uganda has been looking at the long-range weather forecasts. The news, I'm afraid, is not good.

The second rainy season started unusually early, but experts are now warning of disasters as the seasonal rainfall outlook for the period from September to December predicts above normal rains in some parts of the country.

The Department of Meteorology suggests that thunderstorms, strong and gusty winds as well as flash floods might be experienced in some areas, putting lives at risk.

The acting commissioner for meteorology said other disasters might follow as a result of landslides in mountainous areas of western, south-western and eastern Uganda.

The transport sector is also likely to be affected as roads would be cut off by intense rainfall. Water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid may also emerge across the country.

The only good news is that the abundant rains will increase levels of water behind hydro-electric dams, making energy easier and cheaper to produce.

The Monitor also casts a critical eye on a request from the president's office for a third supplementary budget.

According to the paper, State House has lodged a supplementary budget request, the third so far this year, asking Parliament to approve an extra 3.7 million euros for, among other expenses, presidential trips, welfare and entertainment, bringing presidential spending last year to 49.5 million euros.

That would bring expenditure on the presidency last year to just 2.9 million euros short of what the government needs to boost the salaries of the entire national health workforce. It is also eight times more than what 23 regional referral hospitals need for their development budgets.

Responding to criticism from the Budget Committee, a presidential spokesman asked MPs and Ugandans to stop complaining about the President’s expenses.

The Namibian in Windhoek reports that the fight between the mining company Namdeb and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia yesterday came to a head with the union threatening strike action countrywide and the company filing an urgent application with the High Court to declare the 28-day strike illegal.

Negotiations collapsed after a last-minute intervention by Prime Minister Nahas Angula failed on Sunday. The urgent application will be heard on Thursday.

Labour relations have soured since Namdeb, according to the mineworkers' union, “unilaterally repudiated” a 2009 agreement paying employees working 14-day-shifts a monthly housing and utilities allowance ranging from just over 99 euros to over 248 euros.

The 538 striking workers are losing an average of 61 euros in wages and benefits per person per day.

By yesterday, the company’s net loss stood at 11 million euros.

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