African press review 13 May 2014
Issued on: Modified:
Violence flares up in the South African platinum sector, South Sudan likely to postpone next year's scheduled presidential election and the ongoing power struggle in Harare are all topics in today's African papers.
There's been movement in the South African platinum sector, but the news is not particularly heartening.
According to the top story in this morning's Johannesburg-based BusinessDay, one mineworker was killed and six others assaulted yesterday as violence flared up on the platinum belt. The mining company Lonmin is preparing to restart operations in the expectation that striking employees will begin to return to work this week.
The strike, which has crippled the operations of Lonmin, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, is now in its 16th week. Last week the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union rejected the platinum producer’s latest offer.
The companies said last week that they would take the proposal directly to employees, cutting Amcu out of the process. This has angered the union, which accused the companies of attempting to undermine the strike.
At least three other violent deaths have been reported in the area affected by the strike since Sunday.
Also in BusinessDay, a follow-up to yesterday's story about the resignation of Lindiwe Mazibuko from her post as parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance.
Last Sunday Mazibuko said she planned to take leave from politics for at least a year to read for a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University in the US.
Yesterday the party was abuzz with talk about "the real reasons" for Mazibuko's departure. Several long-standing Alliance members blamed party leader, Helen Zille, whom they said was "control-obsessed" and bent on "driving out anyone who disagrees" with her.
BusinessDay says Mazibuko's departure was prompted by Zille's support for Mmusi Maimane for the position of parliamentary leader.
In Juba it is reported that South Sudan is now likely to postpone next year's scheduled presidential election to give warring factions time for reconciliation, according to President Salva Kiir. The vote may have to be pushed back to 2018.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011. Ethnic divisions have been a significant driver of the recent violence, which pits Kiir’s Dinka people against the Nuer of his former deputy Riek Machar.
Kiir and Machar signed a new ceasefire pact in Ethiopia on Friday and pledged to hold further talks about forming an interim government to end nearly five months of bloodshed.
That plan, however, has got off to a shaky start with each side accusing the other of violating the truce.
According to Kenyan paper the Daily Nation, fighting between South Sudanese rebels and government troops raged yesterday, just hours after a fresh ceasefire deal, dashing hopes for a swift end to five months of civil war.
Rebel chief Riek Machar said government forces had been on "a continuous offensive", while Defence Minister Kuol Manyang claimed there had been insurgent attacks in the oil-producing state of Upper Nile.
NewsDay in Harare continues to give prominence to the ongoing power struggle in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
A front-page report this morning says the fight for control of party assets raged on in Mutare and Kwekwe over the weekend when members of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction were locked out of provincial offices by a group sympathetic to sacked secretary-general Tendai Biti.
Tsvangirai and Biti are fighting for control of the party following their acrimonious fallout last month with both men claiming to be the legitimate leader of the party. Biti and his “renewal team” held a consultative meeting at the party's provincial offices on Saturday, and reportedly barred their rivals from using the facilities.
The CairoDaily News reports that the next Egyptian parliament will have 630 seats, up from the current 454, with 30 MPs being appointed directly by the president.