Daily Archives: April 5, 2018


SKUKUZA, SOUTH AFRICA– In an effort to address wildlife trafficking, governments in southern Africa have diversified and expanded their capabilities to meet the escalating threat, says South African Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Addressing the 4th Multi-Lateral Meeting of the Defence and Security Chiefs on Anti-Poaching at the Protea Marriott Kruger Gate Hotel at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park on Wednesday, she said countries in the sub-region had adopted the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Law Enforcement and Anti-poaching Strategy (LEAP Strategy).

The illegal killing and trafficking of our wildlife undermines our investments in the protection and conservation of our natural heritage. It is for this reason we, as Southern African countries, have, after much deliberation, adopted the LEAP Strategy, which now needs to be implemented, she said.

She added that the strategy would boost efforts to combat poaching and trafficking in wildlife by introducing a common approach to combat illicit transnational trade in wildlife.

It has been almost a decade since rhino poaching started intensifying and increasing in the sub-region. Through our efforts to combat the scourge, we have learnt lessons and have developed best practices that we can share with each other, she said.

Molewa said as rhino poaching escalated, South Africa had to adapt and enter into a number of collaborative agreements to ensure wildlife is protected and properly managed.

The South African government, at a Cabinet level, approved an Integrated Strategic Management Approach for the protection and management of rhino in the country. This approach is implemented through a joint collaboration within the Security Cluster comprising the Ministries of Defence and Military Veterans (Chair), Justice and Correctional Services, Police, Environmental Affairs as well as state owned entities, such as the State Security Agency, South African Revenue Service, National Prosecuting Authority, South African National Parks (SANParks) and the provincial conservation and security authorities, she said.

The Integrated Approach comprises specific interventions aimed at increasing rhino numbers by expanding the range, which also involves sharing animals with other range countries as well as strengthening law enforcement and anti-poaching capabilities.

Other objectives include working with communities adjacent to national and provincial parks and broader awareness programmes. These have delivered a number of significantly satisfying results most significantly, an established downward trend in the number of rhino poached in South Africa since 2016. It is an approach that is now being utilised to curb elephant poaching in the Kruger National Park, Molewa said.

The anti-poaching meeting was first held in Botswana in 2014, with subsequent meetings held in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Defence and service chiefs of the defence forces of Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as officials in the departments of Police, Justice, Environmental Affairs and Intelligence are attending the three-day meeting.

Part of the agenda for this fourth meeting in South Africa is for the countries to deliberate on legal issues pertaining to the fight against poaching.


Runner-Up in Sierra Leone Presidential Poll Will Challenge Result

The losing candidate in Sierra Leone’s presidential election has said he will challenge the results.

Former Foreign Minister Samura Kamara announced the challenge Thursday, after the electoral commission declared Julius Maada Bio the winner of last weekend’s run-off poll.

Official results showed Maada Bio, the candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party, winning almost 52 percent of the vote. Kamara garnered just over 48 percent.

Kamara, of the ruling All People’s Congress Party, said in a televised address that the outcome “did not reflect the will of the voters” and that the APC would take “appropriate legal action.” He also counseled his backers to remain peaceful.

At his swearing-in ceremony, however, Maada Bio appeared upbeat.

“The people of this great nation have voted to take a new direction,” he said Wednesday to cheers from supporters in the capital, Freetown. “We are honored and privileged to serve the new government of Sierra Leone.”

The Associated Press reported that any registered voter has up to a week to contest an election’s outcome.

In the March 7 general election, neither candidate reached the 55 percent threshold constitutionally required to win. Some 3.1 million people were registered to vote.

Maada Bio, who had campaigned against corruption, succeeds President Ernest Bai Koroma of the APC. Koroma had governed for two five-year terms, the constitutional limit.

Koroma spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay said the government was relieved that the first round and runoff elections generally were peaceful. He denied that the outcome served as a rejection of Koroma’s 10 years at the helm.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesman, congratulated Maada Bio on his election. In a statement issued Thursday, Guterres applauded the people of Sierra Leone “for the sense of responsibility that they have demonstrated in successfully completing the elections in a peaceful manner.”

Guterres appealed for continued calm, stressing “the need for all stakeholders to seek redress of any grievances that could arise through established legal means.”

The United States also congratulated Maada Bio on his victory, commending Sierra Leone’s electoral commission for the “orderly, well-managed elections.”

Earlier taste of leadership

Maada Bio led a military coup in early 1996, becoming head of the National Provisional Ruling Council military junta government for almost three months before stepping aside with the democratic election of a civilian president. He unsuccessfully ran for president against Koroma in 2012 as the SLPP candidate.

The new president has accused the ruling party of corruption and financial mismanagement. He said he plans to open a special division in Sierra Leone’s high court to deal with corruption.

Maada Bio also contends the ruling party is too close to China, which is funding a new international airport and is engaged in other infrastructure projects.

Sierra Leone, a nation of 6.1 million people, is still recovering from the effects of a devastating Ebola epidemic in 2014 and 2015 that killed roughly 4,000 people.

Source: Voice of America


HARARE — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says consumption patterns in southern Africa are shifting from cereals only and this requires governments to expand their food baskets.

Most countries in the sub-region, including Zimbabwe, use the cereal balance sheet as a tool for planning and safeguarding national food security but the FAO warns that rapid urbanization and rural transformation have resulted in changes in food consumption patters, requiring governments to diversify food baskets and not rely solely on cereals such as maize.

We believe a focus on food balance sheets will help us move away from maize-centric input support programmes and focus on agricultural diversification which is critical for resilience building, FAO

representative Lewis Hove said at a regional workshop on food balance sheets here this week.

Focusing on cereals only leads to poor diets resulting from consumption of insufficient nutrients. As a result, Hove said, the sub-region faced a triple burden of under-nutrition, over-nutrition and micro-nutrient deficiency among children.

The inclusion of all food commodities would allow for the much needed information on the production and availability of both cereals and non-cereal commodities.

The move to strengthen food security forecasting through food balance sheets comes at a time when several countries in southern Africa have been adversely affected by drought conditions experienced between December 2017 and January 2018.

In several areas of southern Africa, erratic rainfall has disrupted cropping activities and crop condition, indicating reduced prospects for 2018 seasonal production.

Food balance sheets provide essential information on a country’s food consumption as they present a holistic picture of a country’s food supply pattern during a specified reference period, Hove said.

It is hoped adoption of the food balance sheets will help SADC member states monitor the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals on food security as well as assist governments come up with a regional food

balance sheet so that they have knowledge of the available food stocks in the sub-region for purposes of food security planning and sourcing of commodities.



JOHANNESBURG– The African Union (AU) Commission says Africa has lost an icon on liberation with the passing of South Africa’s Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and it expressed its condolences to the country and the family of Madikizela-Mandela.

The Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said in a message received here Wednesday that Africa would forever remember Madikizela-Mandela as a fearless campaigner who sacrificed much of her life for freedom in South Africa.

The AU honours her for what it called her never-relenting struggle and unwavering commitment, despite imprisonment, banishment, and decades-long separation from her then husband, Nelson Mandela, during his imprisonment.

In 2017, the AU awarded Winnie a lifetime achievement award in absentia. This was in recognition of the way she paved the way for women in the struggle to end Apartheid and fought relentlessly for their rights and welfare in her country.

Heads of State from different member states of the African Union continue to express their respects and praises for a woman whom they describe s a heroine of the continent.



PRETORIA– South African Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe has finally signed the agreements for 27 renewable energy projects with Independent Power Producer (IPPs).

Also signed here Wednesday were the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between the IPPs and national power utility Eskom.

The 27 projects are worth a total of 56 billion Rand (about 4.7 billion US dollars) in new direct investments in the energy sector and will create 58,000 jobs. The projects will benefit mostly rural areas and their communities.

The Minister said the agreements would bring much needed policy and regulatory certainty and maintain South Africa’s position as an energy investment destination of choice.

Some labour unions earlier went to court over the matter complaining that the projects would lead to job losses in the coal mining sector.