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African press review 3 August 2018


There's anger at Implats's plan to cut jobs and close mines in South Africa. Two political heavyweights line up for Madagascar's next presidential canter. Jean-Pierre Bemba will contest long-delayed elections in the DRC; Moise Katumbi may not.

South African financial paper BusinessDay reports a critical reaction to the news that the mining company Impala Platinum plans to cut 13,000 jobs over the next two years.

According to BusinessDay, the Department of Mineral Resources has reacted with "fury and invective" to yesterday's announcement that five shafts will be closed by the second-largest platinum producer in the world unless a buyer can be found.

Implats boss Nico Muller said there had been consultations with the department and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, as well as with organised labour, about the plans to restructure the loss-making mines.

Mantashe doesn't seem to remember those consultations. Yesterday, he described the company's decision as "a display of arrogance", especially at a time when the president has called on all South Africans to put their shoulders to the wheel to turn the country’s economic fortunes around.

The stock market seemed to agree with Implats, boosting the value of the company's shares by four percent in mid-afternoon trade on Thursday.

Madagascar's presidential pronunciation poser

Madagascar’s former leader Andry Rajoelina has submitted his papers seeking to run for the presidency.

Rajoelina announced earlier this week that he will stand in the November election.

“I am ready to devote my life to the nation,” he told his supporters at a meeting in the capital Antananarivo.

He is expected to face former president Marc Ravalomanana and the incumbent Hery Rajaonarimampianina in what is likely to be a heated, and frequently mispronounced, race.

The two former heads of state were barred from contesting elections in 2013 in an attempt to end the political crisis following a 2009 coup that brought Rajoelina to power after he ousted Ravalomanana.

Rwanda ready to avert Ebola epidemic

Rwanda is on high alert following a fresh outbreak of Ebola in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Ministry of Health in Kigali yesterday assured the country that the government was “well prepared and ready to avert any possible outbreak of the epidemic”.

The authorities in the DRC reported on Wednesday that a new outbreak has killed 20 people in eastern Beni in North Kivu Province.

The report of the latest cases came barely a week after Congo declared the epidemic over in its north-west region. Ebola killed 33 people in Mbandaka, a city on the Congo River.

In the latest outbreak 26 suspected cases have been recorded with 20 fatalities in Mangina, 30km west of Beni. Of six blood samples analysed, four tested positive of the virus.

Bemba goes into the ring against Kabila

Staying with the DRC, former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba yesterday officially launched his bid for the country's presidency, putting forward his candidacy for the long-delayed election now due in December.

Opposition leader Moise Katumbi, another rival of long-serving President Joseph Kabila, was however barred from entering the country after saying he planned to return today to contest the election.

Bemba filed his papers at the electoral commission offices in the capital Kinshasa, launching his challenge to Kabila, who has ruled for the past 17 years.

The International Criminal Court in the Hague acquitted Bemba of war-crimes charges in June.

Katumbi, who has been living in self-imposed exile in Belgium since May 2016 after falling out with Kabila, had planned to return today to his former stronghold of Lubumbashi but the city's mayor said he would be refused entry.

If he does return, Moise Katumbi faces arrest as a result of a three-year jail term imposed in absentia in June 2016 in a case of alleged property fraud, charges which he denies.