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This week in South Africa
The South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC, has denied accusations of sabotage from the ANC youth leader claiming that the public broadcaster « tampered » with the audio during Zuma’s address at the party’s 96th anniversary rally in Atteridgeville. SABC “rejected the claims with contempt” stating that it was only 35 minutes into Zuma’s speech that technicians were allowed to move microphones to the podium. The question still remains, did someone try to sabotage the Zuma speech?

Zuma on the other hand is to settle a defamation case out-of-court with the editor of Rapport Newspaper, Mr. Tim Du Plessis, the newspaper that published a reader’s letter on April 2006, during the Zuma rape case. Mr. Tim Du Plessis said he was satisfaied with the outcome. Mr. Zuma received a finiancial settlement of R50,000, said Liesl Gottert, Zuma’s spokesperson.

In a letter this week to ESKOM, the South African Public Protector, Lawrence Mushwana stated that he is mandated to investigate the reasons leading to the black outs and load shedding. He asks Maroga, the chief executive of ESKOM for a detailed information on steps that his company is taking to curb the situation and the time frame within which the problem will be solved.

Questions on compensations for those who have suffered damages was also brought to the fore, including steps taken to ensure that centres like hospitals, police stations and traffic lights are exempted from the load shedding. Answers are demanded at the earliest possible convenience.

Concurrently, the Johannesburg Property Company is planning on producing “serious” black property investors in a new plan that aims to unlock R20 billion worth of new real estate development. A panel of high powered advisory consortium including, Pentagon Africa, Blackacre Capital, HSB Associates and Kgomotso Africa/Africa Venture Partners.

The Plan covers 13 properties in mainly underdeveloped areas from Sandton in the north to Bruma in the east. Tenders for the development have been issued.

The high demand for rental accommodations in the country is said to be fuelled in part by corporate lettings linked to 2010 infrastructure projects, says Rob Downey, head of of Property World at Century City, Cape Town. The present paucity in expertise in the construction industry has seen an importation of skilled hands from countries like the U.K., the U.S. and Germany among others, to work on projects linked to the 2010 soccer world cup.

This increase in demand has also been driven by interest rates and the introduction of the national Credit Act which had affected affordability levels of potential buyers.

He hopes that the lates increase in interest rates and the prospect os further increase will boost demands for rentals.

The JSE all share index fell 2.6% as fears of a US recession heightened around the world. This month alone, the JSE has recorded a fall of half of its overall fall since last October when it enjoyed a peak at 31531 points.

Meanwhile, expected growth in S.A. scientific research is set to rise with the launch of the country’s two nanotechnology innovation centres.

The centres are based at Mintek, the national mineral research organisation in Johannesburg and at the council for scientific and industrial research’s national centre for nano-structured materials in Pretoria.

With a focus on the health challenges in Africa, these research facilities will harness the potential of nano-technology to improve the quality of life. This will be useful in the creating of simple, cheap and yet highly sensitive devices for testing malaria, HIV and even the safety of water.


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