African press review 19 June 2014
The platinum strike in South Africa, Julius Malma's maiden speech in parliament, labour protests in Egypt - all in today's African papers ..
There's bad news on the front page of the South African financial paper, BusinessDay. According to their main story, new demands from the striking Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union threathen to scuttle an agreement to end the five-month strike in the platinum industry.
In a move that appears to have caught the world’s three largest platinum producers by surprise, the union yesterday tabled additional demands, including a 200 euro return-to-work payment, the dropping of criminal charges against union members arrested during the dispute, and a moratorium on the sacking of workers for economic reasons. BusinessDay says this would add an extra 25 to 30 per cent to the cost of the agreement accepted in principle by the union last week.
Meetings between the parties are scheduled to continue today.
The companies have already described the additional demands as "unaffordable".
Julius Malema is back in the news. Yesterday, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters made his maiden speech in the South African parliament, and ran into trouble with the house rules.
Delivered in reply to President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address, Malema's speech was punctuated by calls to order.
He confronted house chairwoman Thandi Modise after he refused to apologise for calling the Higher Education Minister simply "Blade Nzimande", without using the title "honourable" as is required when naming MPs during a debate.
When corrected, Malema acted truculently and Modise reprimanded him, saying he couldn't continue speaking while she was making a ruling.
Finally, when Modise ordered Malema to end his speech because his 15 minutes were up, he complained that the points of order had eaten into his time. He then reluctantly left the podium. He'll be back.
In Uganda, The Monitor reports that the African Union has readmitted Egypt, ending Cairo’s year-long suspension from the organisation.
Egypt was suspended from the 54-member pan-African bloc last July, after president Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected leader, was ousted by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a coup.
Sisi overwhelmingly won last month’s election, which was boycotted by Morsi supporters and other dissidents.
The AU also readmitted Guinea Bissau, which was suspended following a military coup in 2012.
The only African country that remains blocked from the AU is the Central African Republic.
In Egypt itself, the Cairo-based Independent newspaper reports that yesterday, the first working day of Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s new government, was marked by a series of labour protests.
Temporary journalists demanded permanent contracts.
Drivers of chilled food transportation trucks asked to be awarded six-month visas, contending that their counterparts from Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia enter Egypt without any visa.
Workers of the Mother and Child Education Project administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation in rural areas demanded permanent contracts, minimum wages and health insurance.
Residents of the Ras al-Sawda district in Alexandria demonstrated against thugs forcibly occupying eight acres there and called on the government to remove them.
Holders of MAs and PhDs protested against the education minister's decision to appoint them as teachers and administrators.
In Kenya, the main story in The Standard reports the angry response by opposition leader Raila Odinga to President Kenyatta’s suggestion that political activity by Odinga's Coalition for Reform and Democracy had paved way for last weekend's Mpeketoni attacks.
The former Prime Minister took issue with the President’s assertion that the attacks, already claimed by Somali islamist group Al Shebab, were really provoked by what the president called “local political activity”, and a political wing described as “reckless”, “hate-mongers” engaged in “ethnic-profiling”.
Raila rejected claims that he is planning to overthrow the government.
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