South Africa

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  2. South Africa calls for dialogue to end Ukraine crisis

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor (R) and Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) attend a strategic dialogue opening session meeting in Pretoria on 8 August.
    Image caption: It comes after Naledi Pandor met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

    South Africa's minister of international relations has called for more effort to be made to resolve the war in Ukraine through dialogue.

    Speaking after a meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, Naledi Pandor said South Africa abhorred war.

    She also called for an even-handed approach to international issues - saying the world should be equally concerned about what's happening to the people of Palestine as the people of Ukraine.

    Relations with the US have been somewhat strained in recent months as South Africa, a regional superpower, remained neutral in the Ukraine war.

    Mr Blinken is also due to visit Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  3. African Union chief condemns Israeli airstrikes on Gaza

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    Moussa Faki Mahamat
    Image caption: He says the AU supports the founding of a sovereign Palestinian state

    Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the AU commission, has condemned Israeli airstrikes on sites in the Gaza Strip in which he said more than 30 Palestinian civilians, including six children, were killed.

    The "targeting of civilians" was "in stark violation of international law" and the AU supports Palestinians "in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital", Mr Mahamat said on Sunday.

    Israel’s military however says it only attacked sites used by militant fighters.

    The AU chief made the comments hours before Israel and Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad signed a ceasefire, after three days of fighting in Gaza that killed at least 44 people, including more than a dozen children.

    South Africa, where pro-Palestinian sentiment is strong, also condemned the violence.

  4. Ukraine is the elephant in the room at SA-US talks

    Analysis

    Lebo Diseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) is greeted by South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor (R) as he arrives for a meeting at the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, South Africa, on 8 August.

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor have both stressed the historic ties between their two countries, ahead of bi-lateral talks in Pretoria.

    Mr Blinken and Ms Pandor also highlighted the importance of their co-operation in areas such as trade and investment, health and science.

    But the elephant in the room was the war in Ukraine.

    Relations between the two countries have been strained by their differing positions on Russia’s invasion: South Africa has remained neutral in the Ukraine war, refusing to join Western calls to condemn Moscow.

    While neither mentioned it explicitly, Ms Pandor did state that the world is "going through an extraordinarily difficult period" - listing conflict as one of the challenges.

    She also said that diplomatic efforts were necessary in order to resolve the conflict.

    The foreign minister also acknowledged that she and Mr Blinken had had "very frank discussions where at times we don't agree - but it has not broken this friendship", she said. "In fact it has made it stronger."

    Mr Blinken said he was "grateful" to Ms Pandor for helping him to "look at things in a different way", and called their current position an "ongoing conversation".

    He is set to announce a new US strategy for Africa later on Monday, as the US tries to counter the influence of China and Russia on the continent.

  5. Blinken to hold SA talks amid new Africa strategy

    Lebo Diseko

    BBC News, Johannesburg

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) speaks with jeans designer Tshepo (R) as he tours the Victoria Yards neighborhood in Johannesburg, on August 7, 2022. -
    Image caption: Mr Blinken is expected to announce a new strategy for Africa to boost American influence

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken - who's in South Africa at the start of a three-nation African tour - will hold talks on Monday with his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor.

    Mr Blinken is expected to announce a new strategy for Africa to boost American influence on the continent amid concerns that Washington is losing out to both China and Russia.

    Relations have been strained in recent months as South Africa, a regional superpower, remained neutral in the Ukraine war.

    Ms Pandor has accused the US of trying to punish African countries for refusing to join Western calls to condemn Moscow.

    After South Africa, Mr Blinken will go to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

  6. Blinken starts Africa tour to counter Russian influence

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives at Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, August 7, 2022

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in South Africa at the start of a three-nation African tour aimed at countering Russia's efforts to boost its influence.

    Last month Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited four African countries as he tried to gain support for the war in Ukraine.

    South Africa has remained neutral in the Ukraine war, refusing to join Western calls to condemn Moscow.

    After Pretoria Mr Blinken will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

    Tensions between the neighbouring countries have flared in recent months amid an escalation of conflict in eastern Congo.

  7. SA politician Mmusi Maimane robbed at gunpoint

    Mmusi Maimane
    Image caption: He called the ordeal traumatic

    South African politician Mmusi Maimane has revealed he was robbed at gunpoint on Wednesday night at a bar in Cape Town.

    The former leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party said the moment "felt like a movie" and the effects were "traumatic", according to an Instagram post.

    He was hosting his brother-in-law for a drink when three gunmen walked in, ordered all patrons to lie down and proceeded to rob every table.

    "I worry about crime in our nation. It’s truly out of hand... I must be honest, not sure those guys will get arrested," he said.

    He added: "I don’t give up on our crime, we have to fight. We have to ensure policing is effective and the criminal justice system works."

    Police spokesman Wesley Twigg is quoted by local outlets as saying they are investigating the case.

  8. Mobs set upon illegal miners after gang rape outrage

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    A home set on fire.

    Residents of Kagiso, a township west of Johannesburg, are setting fire to homes thought to belong to illegal miners.

    Police on the ground and in helicopters have been firing stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse angry mobs.

    Local residents are armed with garden tools and are chasing away illegal miners who’ve fled into mine ventilation shafts underground.

    Police have called for more back-up.

    Rocks, rubble and burning tyres have been used to blockade major roads in the township.

    This comes nearly a week after eight woman were gang raped near a mine dump while filming a music video.

    Some 130 men have been arrested and are facing charges related to illegal possession of firearms and explosive. None of them have been charged for rape.

    The police are still waiting for DNA tests to be concluded.

    A fire used to blockade a road.
  9. SA police arrest more than 130 in gang rape probe

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    A BBC map of South Africa

    Police in South Africa say more than 130 people have been arrested as part of an investigation into last week's gang rape at an abandoned mine in Gauteng province.

    The previous figure given for the number held was just over 80.

    A group of women were attacked while filming a music video.

    Forensic evidence is still being checked and no rape charges have been brought yet.

    Most of those arrested have been appearing in court on immigration charges, having allegedly entered South Africa illegally from neighbouring Lesotho.

    A protest is taking place at Krugersdorp to the west of Johannesburg, where the attacks took place, calling for more action against illegal mining.

  10. Bain barred from UK contracts over SA scandal

    Grant Ferrett

    BBC World Service

    Former President, Jacob Zuma at The State Capture Inquiry in 2019
    Image caption: The Cabinet Office in London said Bain had been guilty of grave professional misconduct during Jacob Zuma's presidency

    The US management consultancy, Bain, has been barred from government contracts in Britain because of its involvement in a corruption scandal in South Africa.

    The Cabinet Office in London said Bain had been guilty of grave professional misconduct during Jacob Zuma's presidency, which ended in disgrace four years ago.

    For its part, Bain said it had apologised for mistakes made by its South Africa office and had repaid all fees from its work with the tax authority (SARS).

    It has denied acting illegally.

    A government appointed commission in South Africa found that Bain colluded with other private sector companies in a type of corruption known as state capture.

    Read more: Bain consultancy banned from government work over 'misconduct'

  11. Calls for calm after South Africa protest deaths

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    Stones are strewn along a main street as people gather outside the Tembisa Customer Care Centre after protesters set it on fire after a night of riots caused by angry community members demanding better service delivery in Tembisa on August 1, 2022
    Image caption: Images from Tembisa on Monday show steones strewn across the street in the wake of the protest

    Amnesty International has called for calm following violent protests which left four people dead in Tembisa, a South African township east of Johannesburg.

    Thousands of residents took to the streets on Monday, protesting over the lack of basic services and high electricity tariffs.

    They blocked off several roads with burning tyres, bricks and rubble.

    A police station was also set alight.

    It‘s alleged that the protesters who died were caught in crossfire between police and demonstrators.

    Amnesty International has said swift action against those responsible for the deaths of the protesters must be taken.

    “It is unacceptable for any person to get killed while exercising their right to protest, authorities must use restraint when it comes to the use of non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets… however, protesters must also refrain from using violence and damaging infrastructure,” said Amnesty International’s Genevieve Quintal.

  12. Police wait for DNA tests after SA rape outrage

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    A map showing Krugersdorp and Johannesburg, in South Africa.

    More than 80 suspects have appeared in a South African court following the gang rape of eight women who were attacked while filming a music video last Thursday.

    The victims described how they were accosted by gun-wielding men wearing balaclava masks and blankets, who took turns raping them before robbing them of their belongings.

    All the suspects are undocumented immigrants and have been charged with contravening the country’s immigration laws.

    DNA tests will determine if any of them will face rape charges.

    The vicious attack on the women near a disused mine in Krugersdorp has sent shockwaves across South Africa.

    President Cyril Ramaphosa called it the "ugly and dark side of society", and said the magnitude of the problem meant it would no longer be possible to avoid responsibility of reporting sexual offences.

    South Africa's rape conviction rate is low, and civil society groups and opposition political parties have accused the country’s justice system of failing victims.

    The suspects who were arrested and appeared in court on Monday belong to a gang of illegal miners, but they haven’t been officially charged for raping the women aged between 19 and 35.

    Police say they must wait for DNA tests to be concluded.

  13. SA gang rape is 'shame of the nation' - police minister

    BBC World Service

    People protesting outside Krugersdorp Magistrates Court.
    Image caption: Hundreds are demonstrating outside Krugersdorp Magistrates Court

    Protestors calling for an end to gender-based violence have gathered outside a South African court where more than 80 suspects are appearing, following the rape of a group of women filmmakers.

    The women, who are aged between 19 and 37, were attacked when they were filming a music video on a mining waste dump in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

    One of the eight victims told a local newspaper that a group of masked illegal miners ordered young men to rape the women and rob them of their belongings.

    The suspects face charges including illegal mining and attempted murder. But it's still unclear if any has been charged with rape.

    South African Police Minister Bheki Cele said that after meeting some of the survivors of the attack, he realised the impact it had had on them:

    Quote Message: What happened in Krugersdorp is just the shame of the nation.
    Quote Message: We were lucky to meet the families and the survivors.
    Quote Message: When you see those people and you realise... the destruction which is not temporary, some of those destructions are permanent with those kids."
  14. More than 80 in court following gang rape in South Africa

    Nomsa Maseko

    BBC Southern Africa correspondent

    A map of South Africa showing Krugersdorp and Johannesburg.

    Some 82 people are appearing in a South African court on Monday on suspicion of illegal mining, attempted murder, possession of explosives and contravening immigration laws.

    Police have said the suspects - most of whom are illegal miners - may also be linked to the gang rape of eight women who were part of a crew filming a music video.

    That incident occurred on Thursday in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

    The group of 12 women and 10 men said they were attacked while filming a music video at a mine dump. The eight women who were gang raped were aged between 19 and 37.

    One of the victims who spoke to a local newspaper alleged that the group of illegal miners, wearing blankets and masks, approached them and fired gunshots in the air.

    The victim said one of the elderly suspects then ordered the younger boys to rape the women before robbing them of their belongings.

    The incident has shocked South Africa and has sparked renewed calls for chemical castration of convicted rapists.