World South Africa's power cuts a key issue in local elections
In South Sudan, flooding called 'worst thing in my lifetime'
MALUALKON, South Sudan (AP) — He feels like a man who has drowned. The worst flooding that parts of South Sudan have seen in 60 years now surrounds his home of mud and grass. His field of sorghum, which fed his family, is under water. Surrounding mud dykes have collapsed. Other people have fled. Only Yel Aguer Deng’s family and a few neighbors remain. This is the third straight year of extreme flooding in South Sudan, further imperiling livelihoods of many of the 11 million people in the world’s youngest country. A five-year civil war, hunger and corruption have all challenged the nation.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — As South Africa heads into crucial local elections Monday, the country has been hit by a series of crippling power blackouts that many critics say highlight poor governance.
With South African residents and businesses struggling to cope with cuts in electricity for up to six hours a day, the government’s failure to provide a stable power supply is a burning election issue. The country’s state-owned power utility Eskom, which provides about 90% of South Africa’s electricity, has for years been marred by allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
African effort to replicate mRNA vaccine targets disparities
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — In a pair of Cape Town warehouses converted into a maze of airlocked sterile rooms, young scientists are assembling and calibrating the equipment needed to reverse engineer a coronavirus vaccine that has yet to reach South Africa and most of the world's poorest people. The energy in the gleaming labs matches the urgency of their mission to narrow vaccine disparities. By working to replicate Moderna's COVID-19 shot,The energy in the gleaming labs matches the urgency of their mission to narrow vaccine disparities.
“The majority of households just want to open a tap and get water, turn a switch and see lights," Shenilla Mohamed, executive director of Amnesty International South Africa, told The Associated Press. "They don’t want to go outside their door and see sewage. They don’t want their children to be sick. These are basic human rights that they want to be upheld.”
South African court rules Zuma's corruption case to continue
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former South African President Jacob Zuma’s effort to get a prosecutor removed from his corruption case has been dismissed by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. Zuma filed a special application to have prosecutor Billy Downer taken off his case, accusing him of bias. Judge Piet Koen on Tuesday dismissed Zuma’s application, paving the way for the corruption case against the former president to proceed. The trial will continue on April 11, 2022, said the judge.“I conclude that Mr. Zuma’s complaints, even if taken at face value, do not affect the title of Mr. Downer to prosecute,” said Koen delivering the judgment.
The local government elections, which take place every five years, determine who will be on the councils that run the country’s cities, including holding responsibility for delivering basic services like water, waste management and sanitation. The councilors will elect city mayors.
The rise this year of independent candidates going up against the ruling party, the African National Congress, and other major parties is a sign that many South Africans are looking for alternatives, Mohamed said.
BioNTech to work with Senegal, Rwanda to make mRNA vaccines
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Senegal and Rwanda have signed an agreement with German company BioNTech for the construction of its first start-to-finish factories to make messenger RNA vaccines in Africa. BioNTech, which developed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, said Tuesday that construction will start in mid-2022. It is working with the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, and the Rwandan government, a statement said. “State-of-the-artBioNTech, which developed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, said Tuesday that construction will start in mid-2022. It is working with the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal’s capital, and the Rwandan government, a statement said.
“People are just tired of the same rhetoric from the same parties over and over again. The emergence of independent candidates shows how disillusioned people are with the existing parties," she said. "They are looking for hope and leaders who will make their lives better.”
Eskom announced that no blackouts will take place on election day, Monday, which has been declared a national holiday to encourage a good turnout at the polls.
President Cyril Ramaphosa's government has announced plans to increase power generation capacity through renewable energy projects from independent power producers, but these are far from being implemented.
The local elections in 2016 saw major political shifts, with the ruling ANC losing control of Johannesburg, the country's largest city and economic hub; the Tshwane metropolitan area that includes the capital city of Pretoria; and the Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan area that includes Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth).
The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, governs Cape Town and has formed coalitions with smaller parties to run Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
Fulton County holds elections amid state takeover threat
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's most populous county, a Democratic stronghold that includes most of Atlanta, faces a high-stakes test in Tuesday’s municipal elections, with some Republicans itching for a state takeover using a sweeping new law. Struggles to deliver a smooth voting process during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic trained a national spotlight on Fulton County. That only intensified as former President Donald Trump and his allies pushed unproven claims that widespread fraud robbed him of victory last year. © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this Nov.
The leftist Economic Freedom Fighters led by Julius Malema is campaigning by strongly criticizing the ANC government for not delivering adequate services to South Africa's Black majority.
Campaigning has been lively in Cape Town, where former mayor Patricia de Lille is taking on the Democratic Alliance with her Good party. Posters of de Lille in boxing gloves say she will fight for good government in Cape Town and the Western Cape province.
Another party is the Cape Independence Party, which is advocating “Capexit,” the independence of the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces from South Africa.
Also in Cape Town, former news anchorman Eben Jansen is a candidate for the Dagga (Marijuana) party. Jansen, now a marijuana farmer, said he wants to become Cape Town's mayor and make the city South Africa's marijuana capital.
The white student braving racial politics in S Africa
Jess Griesel faces a backlash for joining a party that backs the interests of poor black South Africans. The party describes itself as "a left-leaning, radical, anti-imperialist and economic emancipation movement, inspired by the broad Marxist-Leninist school of thought." Members are disruptive, literally and figuratively.They are often accused of being anti-white. That is because they have repeatedly demanded that white South Africans give up the land taken from black people.
Meldrum reported from Cape Town.
A landmark as South Africa's ANC dips below 50% support .
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South Africa's ruling African National Congress party has received less than 50% of votes in nationwide elections for the first time, emphatically confirming the declining popularity of the once-revered organization that was led by Nelson Mandela and freed the country from apartheid. The final results of Monday's local government elections were announced Thursday night and saw the ANC win 46% of votes. It remained the largest party, with its closest opposition getting 21.83%.