African press review 17 October 2012
There are ghosts in Uganda's flying machine. Expats are not particularly welcome in its energy sector. SA mining bosses threaten lockout and its banks are downgraded. Malema is ready to shed blood for land. Kenya's voter registration effort has the kit but not the people. And Botswana's heading for a public-sector strike.
The prize for Most Striking Headline of the Day must surely go the Uganda's Daily Monitor where we read that "67 per cent of aviation authority staff are ghosts"! Halloween is obviously going to be a major time for office parties!
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, which faces a big staff shortage, last year paid out at least 3.5 million euros to ghost employees, according to a government audit report.
By comparing the staff list and the payroll, the audit discovered 608 fictitious employees. The same reports notes that upcountry stations are inadequately staffed and controls cannot be enforced, especially in key areas, including accounting and firefighting.
Also revealed is the suspect handling of money meant for the refurbishment of the airport at Entebbe ahead of the African Union summit in July 2010. An extremely expensive outdoor red carpet which was ordered for the AU meeting, and paid for with government funds, was finally delivered 11 months after the summit ended.
The Ministry of Energy will vet all foreigners for jobs in the Ugandan oil and gas industry.
The Commissioner for petroleum exploration and production gave the assurance yesterday when he appeared before the parliamentary ad-hoc committee investigating the oil sector.
The aim is to ensure that Ugandans do not lose out on jobs to expatriates. If a company does not find a qualified Ugandan, it will be allowed to hire a foreigner. The companies will be compelled to employ a Ugandan to the same job to gain experience and eventually take over from the expatriate.
MPs have been complaining about the lack of local employment in the oil sector, saying most foreign employees earn higher salaries than Ugandans doing the same job.
South African mining company Gold Fields has issued an ultimatum to about 15,000 workers engaged in an illegal strike to return to their jobs by Thursday afternoon or be dismissed.
According to Johannesburg-based financial paper, BusinessDay, the company boss said yesterday that Gold Fields had exhausted all options open to it to resolve the illegal strike that has lasted nearly two months and cost the company millions of rand. He warned that the dispute could put the future of Gold Fields' South African operations at risk and lead to job losses.
BusinessDay also reports that the financial rating agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded the credit status of two of South Africa’s biggest banks, Standard Bank and FirstRand, following a similar decision on the country’s credit downgrade.
The government has already dismissed the sovereign credit downgrade, which was similar to that made by another rating agency, Moody’s.
Both agencies cited the worsening macroeconomic situation in Africa’s largest economy.
The main story in The Sowetan has sacked ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema claiming that bloodshed will help blacks recover their rights to South Africa's land and mineral resources.
Malema was in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, on Saturday to attend a wedding and address Zanu-PF youth.
In the course of his address, he is quoted as saying that Africans are not scared of blood.
"We are scared of defeat," he said. "We don't want to be defeated but seeing blood is not what we are scared of. As long as that blood delivers what belongs to us, we are prepared to go to that extent."
Malema faces fraud charges relating to a five-million-euro government tender awarded to a front company which is officially owned by his five-year-old son.
In Kenya, The Standard reports that the recently acquired Biometric Voter Registration kits needed to create a voter roll for next year's elections, are still in Nairobi and staff expected to handle the exercise have not been recruited or trained.
Kenya currently has no credible voter register. The biometric kits are intended to eliminate double registration, the registration of minors and non-citizens and also ensure that the names of dead voters are no longer on the register.
The kits arrived in the country last week in readiness for the registration, expected to kick off in two weeks.
Eack of Kenya's estimated 18 million voters must be listed electronically for them to be eligible to take part in the elections, scheduled for next March.
A check by The Standard across the country revealed that no registration staff had yet been recruited and trained by the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission.
Botswana could be headed for another public-service strike following the breakdown of salary negotiations between the government and the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Unions.
According to a report in today's Daily Nation, published in Nairobi, the talks reached a stalemate yesterday when the government proposed a three per cent salary increase while the union group reduced its demand to six per cent from an initial claim for a seven per cent hike across the board.