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African press review 6 February 2014

SA platinum miners strike against an "aparthied wage structure". There are claim and counter-claim about Sisi in Egypt. Kenyan police issue a list of those arrested at the Masjid Musa mosque. And is the ICC case against Uhuru collapsing?


In South Africa financial paper BusinessDay reports that the labour crisis in the platinum industry deepened yesterday as a proposal by the government's Conciliation Commission was rejected.

Miners are now gearing up for a protracted strike, according to the Johannesburg-based daily.

Striking workers are insisting that the "apartheid wage structure” be dismantled. The companies say they cannot afford double-digit wage increases. The strike is now into its 14th day.

Also in BusinessDay, a report that mining entrepreneur Robert Friedland yesterday made a plea for "responsible leadership" from mining companies, labour unions and the South African government in resolving the turmoil on the country’s platinum mines.

Addressing the Mining Conference in Cape Town, Friedland said that while underground workers certainly deserve better, it is equally important for workers and their leaders to understand that mining companies must make a profit or investors will not inject the billions of dollars needed to find and develop profitable mines.

Friedland's current projects include the Flatreef platinum mine near Mokopane in Limpopo, which is not affected by the current strrike since a mining licence has not yet been granted.

Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union president Joseph Mathunjwa says his members distrust efforts, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and including the police, to address conflict in the platinum industry as they are designed to protect the interests of rival National Union of Mineworkers

Mathunjwa’s union is leading the strike in the platinum sector with its demands for an 830 euros minimum wage. The minimum wage in the sector is currently 318 euros.

No trade union representatives were invited to the Cape Town mining conference.

In Egypt the Cairo-based Independent reports that Egypt's top military council has approved recently appointed Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president.

Dossier: Revolution in Egypt

General Sobhy Sedky, currently the commander of Egypt's Third Field Army, will replace Sisi as defense minister.

The army later said that remarks by Sisi had been "misinterpreted".

In a separate development, the Independent reports that the Cairo Criminal Court decided yesterday to adjourn to the first of March the trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and 14 Muslim Brotherhood figures over charges of instigating violence outside the Ettehadeya presidential palace in December 2012.

Leading Brotherhood figures including Freedom and Justice Party vice chief Essam al-Erian and Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Beltagy are among those charged.

In Kenya the Standard reports that the government has released a list of those arrested after police stormed the Masjid Musa mosque in the coastal city Mombasa last weekend, as the official death toll from the violence was revised to four.

One hundred and twenty-nine arrests were made after police stormed the mosque, claiming that shots had been fired at officers from inside the compound. The authorities allege that a jihadist conference was being held at the time, involving individuals suspected of having fought against Kenyan troops in Somalia.

Those arrested are said to include Ugandan and Tanzanian nationals.

The Standard also reports that the prosecution at the International Criminal Court in the Dutch city of The Hague has admitted it is no longer confident of presenting a credible case against President Uhuru Kenyatta.

An ICC prosecutor yesterday acknowledged that efforts to find new evidence had yielded nothing.

Kenyatta faces charges of complicity in the violence which followed the presidential election in December, 2007.

The ICC prosecution conceded that the contents of Uhuru’s bank statements remained the only piece of evidence they hoped to rely on to move the case forward. If they fail to trace any tangible evidence in the statements, which the Nairobi authorities have so far refused to release to the court, the prosecution said they would withdraw the charges against the president, the paper says.

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