Louis Oelofse

Banking costs too high, inquiry hears

While banking in South Africa is competitive there is a need to bring down bank costs, Nedbank's retail managing director Rob Shuter said on Thursday. Nedbank became the first of the big four banks to testify in front of the competition commission's banking inquiry public hearings into bank fees and the national payment system.

SADC free trade soon a reality, summit told

The final step in harmonising finance, investment and other macroeconomic policies in Southern Africa, which could lead to the increase of foreign direct investment in the region, was taken on Monday. The majority of members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) signed the Protocol on Finance and Investment.

SA’s Top Gun trainees take off in Makhado

South Africa's version of Top Gun is running again with the first 10 Hawk lead-in fighter-trainer aircraft officially handed over to 85 Combat Flying School at the Makhado air-force base on Thursday. Minister of Defence Mosiuoa Lekota also officially reopened the school on Thursday.

Mbeki: War on terror not won

South Africa and India will share intelligence to help prevent international terrorism, President Thabo Mbeki said on Monday. He met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Union Buildings in Pretoria where they signed a declaration "reaffirming the strategic partnership" between the two countries.

Pupils set to face ‘much tougher’ curriculum

Grade 11 pupils will write a nationally set end-of-year examination in 2007 to prepare them for the new National Senior Certificate (matric) exams to be introduced in 2008, the Department of Education said on Tuesday. Schools have already received a national examination for Grade 10 pupils this year, but it will only be used as example for teachers to set exams.

Minister denies SA involvement in Burundi plot

South Africans had nothing to do with the alleged coup plot in Burundi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad said on Tuesday. Speaking a day after the Burundian Supreme Court refused an application by the alleged plotters to be released, Pahad denied any South African involvement in the plot.

Pahad: SA won’t mediate in Uganda

South Africa will not take up the role of mediator in the peace process between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad said on Tuesday. Pahad said South Africa received a letter from the LRA last week asking it to mediate the process.

SA centre stage in Iran nuclear issue

South Africa is trying to help resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme through separate discussions with the Iranian foreign minister and the United States's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motakki met Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Pretoria on Monday.

Gautrain on track for World Cup 2010

The Gautrain Rapid Rail link will be ready for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe said on Friday. Notwithstanding utterances from some involved that it will not be ready and delays on the project, Radebe said he believed Gautrain will be moving come the Soccer World Cup.

Eskom disputes negligence findings

Eskom on Tuesday disputed the findings of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa that the energy supplier's negligence and breaches of licence conditions were causes of power outages in the Western Cape. Eskom CEO Thulani Gcabashe said it accepted certain shortcomings on its part but that these did not amount to a breach of licence conditions or negligence.

Lebanon looks to SA for help

South Africa has been asked to use its political influence internationally to help end the conflict in Lebanon, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad said on Tuesday. He said at a media briefing in Pretoria that President Thabo Mbeki had received a letter from Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora asking the government to intervene politically and help with humanitarian aid.

Pretoria zoo welcomes first koala born in Africa

The first koala to be born in Africa has finally emerged from his mother's pouch, the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria said on Monday. Conservation staff at the zoo have reported that the young joey, as young koalas are known, is regularly seen with its head out of mother Renée's pouch.

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