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Leon Engelbrecht

PW Botha was ‘kragdadige’ autocrat

By the early 21st century, Pieter Willem (PW) Botha's name had become a byword for unaccountable government and the autocratic exercise of power. Botha, who died on Tuesday night at his home Die Anker near the Wilderness in the Western Cape, aged 90, was the archetype ''kragdadige'' Afrikaner and a worthy successor to John Vorster, whom he replaced as prime minister.

Continent braces for deadly new TB strain

Africa is facing the prospect of a sharp increase in new and fatal strains of tuberculosis (TB) as drug-resistant forms of the disease find those living with HIV easy victims, according to medical experts. Specialists in communicable diseases will gather in Johannesburg this week for a conference on the topic.

SA company at forefront of bio-fuel development

A South African company on Tuesday unveiled plans for the continent's first billion-dollar factory to make bio-ethanol from maize, as Africa races to find alternative energy sources in the face of soaring oil prices. The Ethanol Africa plant, located in the Free State province, is expected to be in full production next year, making up to half-a-million litres of bio-ethanol a day.

Minister refers Seta ‘corruption’ to Scorpions

Minister of Labour Membathisi Mdladlana has referred allegations of corruption at a sectoral education and training authority (Seta), involving at least R13,7-million, to the Scorpions for further investigation. He has also given its board two weeks to study a forensic report by the auditor general and act on its findings.

SACC, Jesse Jackson to join forces on development

The South African Council of Churches (SACC) and United States civil rights leader Jesse Jackson on Wednesday resolved to develop a strategic partnership. Jackson and SACC general secretary Eddie Makue said the partnership will see the two collaborating on a variety of development projects.

Cosatu to probe ‘link’ between ANC, security

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is to investigate the link, if any, between security-sector employers and African National Congress leaders. Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said such a link, if found, ''may help explain the apparent indifference of political leaders to the plight of security workers''.

Cosatu: ANC drifting towards a dictatorship

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) voiced fears on Thursday that South Africa and the African National Congress are drifting towards a dictatorship. ''Dictatorship never announces its arrival,'' Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said in Johannesburg. ''It won't, like drum majorettes, beat drums and parade down the street to announce it has arrived.''

SA air force takes delivery of two new Hawk planes

The South African Air Force on Wednesday took delivery of its first two Hawk Mark 120 lead-in fighter trainers. The air force will receive 10 of the aircraft from Denel and BAE Systems in the next few weeks. Parts of the aircraft are locally manufactured, others imported and the assembly is done in South Africa under British supervision.

Jo’burg International airport to get R11bn facelift

Johannesburg International airport is to spend R3,4-billion upgrading facilities and security over the next four years -- and at least another R8-billion in the next decade. The upgrades include readying the airport to handle the giant Airbus A380, accommodating the Gautrain and building a 25km concrete perimeter wall.

Cosatu strike ‘a powerful statement’

The Congress of South African Trade Unions-led strike on Thursday was a powerful statement by workers, the South African Communist Party said on Sunday. Party secretary general Blade Nzimande said the strike to highlight the plight of the working class and poor was very well supported.

SACP wades into succession debate

The South African Communist Party (SACP) would not be an absentee participant in the election of a new African National Congress president, the organisation's deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin said on Sunday. He said the SACP was planning to uphold the values of the liberation struggle in the debate rather than act as a campaign manager for any one personality.

Security industry prepares for huge strike

The security industry is preparing for next week's strike by guards, a company said on Thursday. Chubb Security South Africa, one of the country's larger security companies, said it has a plan in place to ameliorate the impact of the upcoming industrial action. The strike is expected to start on Thursday and last an indefinite period.

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