Daily Archives: November 17, 2017

African Union Calls for Libya ‘Slave Market’ Probe

DAKAR, SENEGAL The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.

The demand followed the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths were presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, demanded an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade … from another era.”

Meanwhile, Senegal’s government, commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”

African migrants from nations including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gang leaders, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable north African nation for years.

More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.

Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations about squalid jails and detention centers that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.

“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.

Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their countries of origin.

Source: Voice of America

Qasha’s Nek closed due to bad weather

South Africa and Lesotho have taken a joint decision to close the Qasha’s Nek Port of Entry due to adverse weather conditions caused by heavy snowfall.

Heavy disruptive snowfall at the port has created harsh conditions for travellers from both countries, resulting in extremely dangerous underfoot conditions for all, including officials.

In this regard, there is no traveller movement currently due to the snow conditions. The hostile weather conditions have uprooted electricity poles while wires have been disconnected. Electricity has been cut off and telephone lines are also down, the department said in a statement.

According to the Department of Home Affairs, Eskom is currently busy attending to the matter.

Source: South African Government News Agency

SOUTH AFRICA EYES MANUFACTURING INVESTMENTS FROM FELLOW BRICS MEMBER COUNTRIES

CAPE TOWN, Manufacturing forms the backbone of South Africa’s economy and is an integral element in addressing some of the challenges facing the country, said President Jacob Zuma when he answered questions posed in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the upper chamber of Parliament here Thursday.

In his last session in the NCOP, according to the Parliamentary programme for the year, the president said collaboration with South Africa’s fellow members of the BRICS grouping — Brazil, Russia, India and China — with regards to manufacturing was ongoing and included inward foreign direct investment (FDI) and outward export promotion of South African products, trade relations and technical co-operation, including training programmes.

The manufacturing sectors of both India and China continued to be key drivers of broader economic and industrial growth in the global economy, he said, adding that South Africa benefited considerably from the exports of primary commodities and intermediate goods to both these economic powerhouses.

We are keen to further promote foreign direct investment, particularly from manufacturing companies in BRICS member States, said President Zuma, who added that significant progress had been registered in this regard. A good example was the significant investments made by Chinese companies into South Africa’s automotive sector, estimated to be in the region of 8.0 billion Rand (about 565 million US dollars).

The government has been engaging the BRICS Think Tank Council in order to identify concrete areas of co-operation which South Africa can take forward during the country’s BRICS presidency in 2018. A BRICS Network of Smart Manufacturing Hubs has been recommended and it is expected to pool together knowledge, technology and new ideas on the identification of new and inter-connected value chains.

We will indeed seek to implement the declaration as it relates to the fostering of partnerships for co-operation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) hardware, software and skills through developing the next generation of innovative solutions in the areas of smart cities, healthcare and energy-efficient devices, amongst others, said the President.

Enhanced support for the manufacturing sector will be set out in the Industrial Policy Action Plan 2018-2019 which will be announced by the Minister of Trade and Industry.

The President said South Africa looks forward to hosting the BRICS Summit next year. He said the summit will enable South Africa to take the co-operation further and enhance benefits for the country.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

African Union Calls for Libya ‘Slave Market’ Probe

DAKAR, SENEGAL The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men.

The demand followed the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths were presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400.

Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also chairman of the African Union, demanded an inquiry and prosecutions relating to what he termed a “despicable trade … from another era.”

Meanwhile, Senegal’s government, commenting on Facebook, expressed “outrage at the sale of sub-Saharan African migrants on Libyan soil,” which constituted a “blight on the conscience of humanity.”

African migrants from nations including Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Gambia make the dangerous crossing through the Sahara to Libya with hopes of making it over the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.

But testimony collected by AFP in recent years has revealed a litany of rights abuses at the hands of gang leaders, human traffickers and the Libyan security forces, while many end up stuck in the unstable north African nation for years.

More than 8,800 stranded migrants have been returned home this year, according to the International Organization for Migration, which is also amassing evidence of slavery.

Conde further appealed for the Libyan authorities to “reassess migrants’ detention conditions” following revelations about squalid jails and detention centers that await migrants who are caught trying to reach the coast.

“These modern slavery practices must end and the African Union will use all the tools at its disposal,” Conde added.

Libya has opened an investigation into the practice, CNN reported Friday, and pledged to return those taken as slaves to their countries of origin.

Source: Voice of America

South Africa: President Jacob Zuma Arrives in Botswana for the 4th Session of SA-Botswana Bi-National Commission

President Jacob Zuma has this evening arrived in Botswana to participate in and co-chair the 4th Session of the South Africa- Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC).

President Zuma and President Seretse Khama Ian Khama will tomorrow, 17 November 2017, co-chair the BNC session.

The SA-Botswana BNC is preceded by a Ministerial session held today, 16 November 2017, to consider and adopt the draft Agreed Minutes and Joint Communique negotiated by Senior Officials on 14-15 November 2017, as well as the agenda and programme for the Heads of State session.

During the BNC, both countries are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Tourism.

South Africa and Botswana enjoy cordial relations which are informed by cultural ties and geographical proximity. They also cooperate on a wide range of areas including, transport, trade and investment, health, education, environmental issues, water, science and technology, agriculture, justice, immigration, energy, finance, culture, security and sports.

The two countries meet annually at the level of the Heads of State within the framework of the BNC to review bilateral cooperation and discuss issues of common interest.

South Africa remains one of Botswana’s major trading partners. At present, a number of South African companies are currently operating in Botswana in various sectors.

President Zuma is accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Ms Naledi Pandor, Minister of Science and Technology; Dr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water and Sanitation and Ms Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism.

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa