Governance and democracy

RIP Fidel Castro

Thousands of Cubans began lining up early near Havana's Plaza of the Revolution Monday carrying portraits of Fidel Castro, flowers and Cuban flags for the start of week-long services bidding farewell to the man who ruled the country for nearly half a century.

One of the first in line was Tania Jimenez, 53, a mathematician who arrived at 04:00 carrying a rose.

"Fidel is everything to us, the soul of this country who gave everything, all his life," Jimenez said in tears.

14 Million Nigerians in Need of Humanitarian Aid

Around 14 million people will need humanitarian help in the former northeast Nigerian stronghold region of Boko Haram militants and tens of thousands of children will be at risk of dying from famine, a UN official said on Tuesday.

The Islamist militant group has killed 15,000 people and displaced more than 2 million from their homes during a seven-year insurgency in Africa's most populous nation and biggest energy producer.

Burundi Seeks to Replace UN Envoy

Burundi's president has asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a new envoy less than two weeks after the emissary returned from crisis talks in Bujumbura, according to a letter seen by AFP on Monday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza said in the letter sent last week that Ban and incoming Secretary-General Antonio Guterres should begin consultations on choosing a successor to British diplomat Jamal Benomar.

Trump is President, What Does It Mean for SA Economy

Would the effects of a Donald Trump presidency in the US be felt in SA?

The Republican candidate’s stance on economic and foreign policy is still quite vague, but one thing is clear — if Trump wins, there will be repercussions in markets all over the world.

Dr Heinrich Bohlmann, senior lecturer of economics at the University of Pretoria, says that the poor performance of the stock market in the past week can be attributed to increase in support for Trump in opinion polls.

Tensions Have Risen At #FeesMustFall Protests

As organisations that work to protect and advance the right to protest, we note with concern the situation on various university campuses across the country.

Tensions have risen to an all-time high with the shutdown of many universities across the country, the widespread use of force, interdicts, arrests, private security and police brutality on campuses.

South Africa and the Ratings Agencies – II Fitch

The most recent decision

Fitch affirmed South Africa's investment grade rating in June 2016. Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) have been affirmed at BBB- and BBB respectively. The stable outlook remains unchanged.

Key drivers
 
The BBB- rating is a reflection of low trend gross domestic product (GDP) growth, significant fiscal and external deficits, and high debts levels. These are balanced by strong policy institutions, deep local capital markets and favourable government debt structure. 

Political Interference Weakening the Rule of Law in SA

One of the founding values of democratic South Africa is ‘the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law’. The World Justice Project defines ‘rule of law’ as ‘the process by which the laws [in a democracy] are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient’. This means that the level of a country’s democracy is determined by its adherence to the basic principles in which all people – regardless of their economic or political status – are subject to equal legal rules.

South Africa and the Ratings Agencies – 1 Moody’s

South Africa is in the middle of controversies relating to the South African Revenue Service, the Hawks, the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, the National Treasury, and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). There are also serious tensions within the government and the ruling African National Congress. South African government bonds have lost money for investors as bond yields have increased. This could get worse if Gordhan is to be replaced by someone who is less trusted by investors.

A Decaying Public Service

Thursday, 15 September 2016, was a bad day for South Africa’s public sector. First, two of the country’s most senior legal officials were struck off the roll of advocates, the High Court having found them unfit for office. Then, a very senior revenue official was suspended, after various unexplained payments, running into more than a million rands, were made to his bank account. Finally, late in the afternoon, the long-overdue financial statements of South African Airways (SAA) for 2014/15 were tabled in Parliament, revealing an annual loss of well over R4 billion.
 

Term-Limit Changes the Biggest Threat to Democracy in Africa?

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (92) is famous for quirky responses when asked why he has stayed in power since 1980. Asked by journalists whether it isn’t time he said farewell to the people of Zimbabwe, he replied: ‘Why, where are they going?’

On a serious note, he also angrily told journalists who asked about his decades-long presidency: ‘Have you ever asked the Queen that question, or is it just for African leaders?’ According to Mugabe: ‘Only God who appointed me can remove me’.

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