African press review 4 April 2013

How much is organisational effectiveness worth? Has the ANC run out of excuses? Gold Fields Ghan hit by strikes. The Marikana commission will not be going to Pretoria. And a Zilmbabwe court fails to hear a case brought by a rights lawyer.

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The main story in this morning's Daily Monitor, published in Kampala, is about money, lots of the stuff!

The article says the oil company Tullow Uganda paid a one-man consultancy company 2,700 euros every day for a year to teach company officials about something called “organisational effectiveness”.

Local firms could have done the work of the South Africa-based consultant at a quarter of the cost, industry sources say. The oil company then paid another foreign firm nearly 50,000 euros to evaluate the work done by the first consultant.

According to the Daily Monitor, expenses incurred by oil companies frequently fall under the term “recoverable costs” that the oil companies will claim back from Uganda when the oil revenue starts flowing. A Tullow spokesperson said yesterday that the costs involved in the two consultancy cases were borne by the Tullow Group, not its local branch.

Regional paper The East African also gives pride of place to Ugandan money.

Under the headline "Uganda retains key lending rate on rising inflation" we learn that the Bank of Uganda has maintained its central bank rate at 12 per cent for the fifth consecutive month, this as the rate of inflation edged up after dropping for two months in a row.

The main story in South African financial paper BusinessDay has Planning Minister Trevor Manuel saying the ANC government has "run out of excuses" and must stop blaming apartheid for its own service delivery failures.

Speaking at the 2013 Government Leadership Summit in Pretoria yesterday, Manuel said, "We cannot plead ignorance or inexperience. For almost two decades, the public has been patient in the face of mediocre services. The time for a ruthless focus on implementation has come."

Manuel referred to the "blurring of lines of accountability" and called on public servants to recognise the "confusing" interface between the ANC and a professional public service.

Opening the summit, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe appealed for a better understanding of lines of responsibilities between political appointees and professional public servants. Motlanthe warned that a lack of clarity caused "strained relations" between ministers and their senior officials, leading to a high turnover of skilled staff.

Just to prove that South Africa's mining problems are not limited to South Africa, BusinessDay carries a story headlined "Gold Fields mines in Ghana idled by strike".

Mines owned by the Johannesburg-based firm in Ghana ground to a halt on Wednesday, as wildcat strikes halted output at two sites - just weeks after the company sold off its strife-hit mines in South Africa.

The Ghana mines account for 43 per cent of the world’s fourth-biggest gold miner’s expected annual production.

The company says 3,000 workers are involved. The workers are in dispute with the company over the running of the employee profit-share scheme at Gold Fields

Wage negotiations are currently under way with trade unions in the Ghananian mining sector.

Back to South Africa itself and staying with mining, a judge said yesterday that he could not consider an application to move the Marikana commission to Pretoria.

The commission is investigating what happened when police shot at striking mineworkers in Marikana last August. It is currently based in Rustenburg. The applicant says the move would help lower the costs of legal teams not funded by the government.

The application to move the commission from Rustenburg was suspended yesterday, following late opposition to the move by people in Marikana, where the Lonmin platinum mine is situated.

In Zimbabwe, the privately owned paper NewsDay reports that the application by human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, challenging her placement on remand, was not heard at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday because the state was not available to argue the matter.

The case was remanded to next Monday.

Mtetwa was arrested last month and detained for a week on charges of obstructing the course of justice before her release on bail last week.

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