Friday 11 January 2013

Africa News In Brief: New Mining CEO Has Dirty Record, South Africans Speak Out Against Rape; Cote d'Ivoire Need 'Economic Miracle' (IMF); U.S. 'Dagger Brigade' To Train African Troops

SOUTH AFRICAN CEO, WITH LEGACY OF POLLUTION, GETS NEW POST: Jan. 8 (GIN) – A gold mining CEO has been tapped for the top spot at the Anglo American mining company, just days after a damning report that charged his previous corporate home with poisoning water and permitting “ongoing pollution”, all posing a severe risk to a fertile grazing area.
Mark Cutifani is scheduled to leave AngloGold Ashanti to take up the CEO job at Anglo American in March.  His departure comes as charges have been filed against AngloGold for the repeated spills of toxic chemicals into groundwater not far from the vital Vaal River.

Cows grazing in the area have been dying from radioactive contamination and a recent study by the North-West University found cattle in the area to have uranium levels 400 times higher than cattle in other areas.

Mariette Liefferink, head of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, said she pressed charges due to spillages from the company’s dam in Stilfontein in North West Province – a town with a history of mining disasters.

The minister of energy initially issued a directive against the mine, but then retracted it, Liefferink said. “We exhausted all internal remedies, so this is the last way to motivate them to do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, Anglo American chair Sir John Parker said this week: "Cutifani is an experienced chief executive with a focus on creating value… He is a highly respected leader in the global mining industry, with values strongly aligned to those of Anglo American".

Anglo American also has dirty linen. A report by Reprisk cited them as among the top 10 most controversial mining companies of 2011. w/pix of M. Cutifani, CEO, and striking workers at AngloGold.


Jan. 8 (GIN) - A petition drive is underway, organized by India-origin South Africans outraged by the gang-rape and brutal murder in India of a 23 year old girl.

"Watching the huge crowds on satellite TV channels, my friend Jitu Patel and I felt that we could not just stand by and watch and felt that there must be many more local and expatriate Indians who would want to show some kind of solidarity with the tens of thousands protesting in Delhi", businessman Hitesh Bhakta said.

The anti-rape mantra has drawn support from all corners. Zenande Mfenyana, who plays Noluntu Memela in Generations, a daytime soap, joined the ranks of other celebs saying 'enough is enough' to the scourge of rape. She was joined by the former Miss SA Teen, Zizo Beda; PR guru Farah Fortune and hip hop star Zuluboy in videos posted on SowetanLIVE, an online newspaper initiative.

South Africa has been under the spotlight for the ‘normality’ and inevitability of the male use of force in relationships involving people of all ages, writes A. Hawes in the online paper The Root. A study from the Medical Research Council found that more than 1 in 4 South African men have admitted to raping a girl or woman. More than 56,000 rapes were reported to police in a year, but the government group suspects that the actual incidence of rape is 25 times that number. Numbers in the U.S. are also shockingly high. The U.S. Census Bureau said in 2012 there were some 81,000 rapes or attempted rapes in the U.S. in 2009, the last year for which the bureau gives figures.

Meanwhile, at the global level, a coalition of 100 human rights, women’s organizations and others are calling on the U.S. to ratify the landmark U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

Spearheading the ratification effort is the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and w/pix of Indian hunger striker at anti-rape protest


Jan. 8 (GIN) – During a visit to the West African nation of Ivory Coast, the new head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, called for “an economic miracle” to rebuild the country after a prolonged military and political crisis that shook the West African state.

She pledged continued IMF support to the Ivorian authorities and applauded their aim of making Ivory Coast an emerging economy by 2020.

Entrenched poverty affects almost half of the 20 million population. Lagarde urged the government of President Allasane Ouattara to “wipe out corruption” and promote investment and training. She acknowledged, however, that the IMF-approved rise in fuel prices including cooking gas which came into force last week had aroused deep public hostility.

Meanwhile, an investigation is underway into the cause of a deadly stampede that took 62 lives and left about 200 wounded at a government-organized display of fireworks for the New Year. An estimated 50,000 people had gathered at the Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan's Plateau district but upon leaving, they discovered makeshift wooden barricades were blocking the way as police attempted to protect “important people.” Confusion and lack of exits lead to the deadly stampede.

"They told us we must stay in the Plateau area until morning,” said 33-year-old Zoure Sanate from a hospital bed. None of us accepted to stay till the morning for a celebration that ended at around 1 a.m.” w/pix of C. Lagarde (l) and wife of Pres. A. Ouattara in recent visit


Jan. 8 (GIN) – Teams of U.S. military trainers are heading out to Africa as part of a major expansion of U.S. forces on the continent.

The trainers are from the Army's 2nd Brigade, known as the "Dagger Brigade," and will be deployed to as many as 35 African countries beginning in the next couple of months, according to the Associated Press.

Gen. Carter Ham, head of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) released the news during a talk earlier this month at Brown University.  The Army units are prohibited from conducting combat operations without  approval from the Pentagon but AFRICOM has recently added a rapid-response force capable of direct military interventions by American troops.

The growing US military presence in Africa has prompted critical responses in the United States.

Horace Campbell, a professor of Africa-American studies at Syracuse University in New York, criticized AFRICOM for undermining the authority of regional organizations such as the East African Community and the Djibouti-based Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

"In the final analysis of the intended benefits versus consequences of the establishment of AFRICOM, the balance sheet weighs heavily against Africa’s continental good. The current instability in Libya and Mali are directly related to the military planning and activities of AFRICOM. “

“AFRICOM as a formal vehicle of US imperialism is a disaster," Prof Campbell declared. w/pix of 'Dagger Brigade' trainer

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