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African press review 25 March 2015

South African President Jacob Zuma says ordinary people are too dependent on government, while today's African papers also cover charges against the deputy director of public prosecutions. The UN Security Council is again threatening sanctions after the collapse of South Sudan peace talks, and the wife of Uganda's ex-prime minister says she was locked out of a National Rainbow Movement conference.


Still struggling to avoid paying back some or all of the 17 million euros of public money spent last year on so-called security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, Zuma yesterday told the South African Local Government Association that people rely too much on the state to resolve their problems.

According to the report in today's edition of Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, Zuma said that South Africans are too dependent on the government for their basic needs.

Slideshow Mandela

With no hint of irony, Zuma reminded the assembled local councillors that they were in their positions to "serve the people".

Speaking of which, BusinessDay also reports that the deputy national director of public prosecutions, Nomgcobo Jiba, has been summoned to appear in court on charges of fraud and perjury. The summons was served on her employer, since Jiba has vanished without a trace.

The charges relate to the failed prosecution of KwaZulu-Natal police chief Major-General Johan Booysen on charges of racketeering.

On what was clearly an eventful day for the South African criminal justice system on Tuesday, it was also confirmed that the head of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Robert McBride, has been suspended by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on charges that McBride doctored a report. In it, he had accused the head of the special police unit known as the Hawks, Anwa Dramat, of involvement in the illegal expulsion of Zimbabweans.

At least two of those forcibly returned to Harare were later murdered by Zimbabwean police.

South Africa’s large banks are expected to stay profitable this year despite potentially slower growth in their local retail operations, according to the international ratings agency Fitch.

An official of the same agency yesterday said that a possible downgrade of the South African economy in June would not reduce sovereign bonds to junk status. Even if South Africa was downgraded by one notch, the sovereign credit rating would still be investment grade. Junk status is not a likely outcome, according to Fitch.

The main story in this morning's Nairobi-based Daily Nation reports that the UN Security Council yesterday deplored the collapse of peace talks between South Sudan's warring factions, and once more threatened sanctions.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

Peace talks held in Ethiopia, brokered by the east African regional bloc Igad, have resulted in a string of broken ceasefires. The last round of talks collapsed earlier this month.

Since then, both sides have confirmed the outbreak of fresh fighting on several fronts in the north of the country, centre of the oil industry.

In Uganda, the main story in the Daily Monitor reports that drama ensued yesterday when President Yoweri Museveni’s guards denied the wife of ex-prime minister Amama Mbabazi entry to the ruling National Rainbow Movement's (NRM) Women’s League conference.

Jacqueline Mbabazi is the national chairperson of the Women’s League. However, when she arrived Tuesday morning, Special Forces Command officers informed her she was not on the list of the accredited 112 NRM district chairpersons who were supposed to attend.

Mbabazi told journalists that she suspected the decision to lock her out was pre-planned.

According to the Monitor, the relationship between Mbabazi and some of her NRM colleagues deteriorated after her husband was sacked as prime minister in September last year for reportedly harbouring presidential ambitions.

Mbabazi was finally admitted to yesterday's meeting, but was forced to take a seat in the audience.


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