African press review 8 October 2012
The platinum sector in South Africa and a looming petrol crisis are among stories in today's African dailies...
If you can believe the front page of this morning's South African financial paper, BusinessDay, there's hope for the country's platinum sector.
BusinessDay reports that talks between the platinum companies and trade unions begin today with the objective of setting up a centralised bargaining council and thrashing out the issues that have brought the sector to its knees in a spate of violent strikes.
The talks are expected to be intense and are likely to continue for the next month. Topics to be discussed include the sustainability of the platinum sector, a centralised bargaining arrangement, wages, instability in the industry, and the socioeconomic problems on the platinum belt that have contributed to the recent unrest.
South Africa is the world’s largest source of platinum, which vies with coal as the country’s largest mineral foreign exchange earner.
And just in case you think those talks will sort out the republic's labour woes, don't forget that the truck and freight drivers’ strike, involving more than 20,000 people, today enters its third week.
Despite weekend talks, the Road Freight Employers Association failed to agree on a deal with unions. This means the country’s petrol suppliers will have to rely on a reserve fleet for another week, and consumers face further frustration as more filling stations run dry.
BusinessDay warns that this could become the most devastating labour conflict in South Africa this year.
On BusinessDay's opinion pages, a look at a book which could have a major impact on the race to lead the ruling ANC.
Suggestions that President Jacob Zuma owes his political survival partly to Kgalema Motlanthe, a potential rival for the leadership of the African National Congress, are likely to unsettle those campaigning for Zuma’s re-election for a second term.
These revelations are contained in a book, Kgalema Motlanthe: A Political Biography, launched this week.
The ANC in Gauteng on Sunday nominated Motlanthe to become president of the organisation when it holds its electoral conference in December. He is currently the ruling party's deputy president.
Zuma could be in a difficult position if Motlanthe accepts the nomination, says BusinessDay. And there are indications in the book that Motlanthe might want to challenge Zuma, chief among them his concerns over factionalism in the ANC.
In Kenya, the Nairobi Standard reports that the government wants The Hague trials against two presidential candidates postponed because of the likelihood of a run-off in the race to State House. The two are Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto.
The cases in which Uhuru and Ruto are charged with complicity in the 2008 post-election violence are expected to start at the International Criminal Court on 10 April. According to Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission, the presidential run-off, if no candidate wins an outright majority, would be held on 11 April when Ruto and Uhuru would have to be present in the ICC courtroom for the hearing of their cases.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said that the trial dates can not be changed.
The Standard also reports that the Constitutional Implementation Commission is to mount a court challenge to the hefty send off package Members of Parliament awarded themselves late last week.
The commissioners have written to President Kibaki asking him not to assent to the Bill, saying the amendments were unconstitutional. Basically, the MPs voted to have their departing gratuity payments increased from 31 per cent of basic pay to 31 per cent of gross income.
According to sister paper, The Daily Nation, each of the 222 MPs is set to receive a Sh9.3 million sendoff package as a result of the hush-hush manoeuvre. That's about 85,000 euros.
The commission is to seek a declaration that any MP who voted in favour of the provisions had violated the Kenyan Constitution and was therefore unsuitable to hold public office.
The main story in Uganda's Daily Monitor is headlined "Museveni sacks two top airforce officers".
The Kampala-based daily goes on to say that the two yesterday became the first victims of an inquiry into the 12 August military helicopters disaster in which seven servicemen died.
Three military helicopters that were bound for Mogadishu in August to be used in war against Somali insurgents crashed on Mount Kenya, killing the seven soldiers.
The sackings affect the Airforce commanding officer and his Chief of Staff.