Sumayya Ismail

New high-tech lab puts DRC on the map

The Democratic Republic of Congo, not exactly a country synonymous with state-of-the-art scientific facilities, is about to get a new multimillion-rand laboratory, which, when completed, will be the envy of the mining world. When completed at the end of this year, the facility will have the capacity to produce 100 000 tonnes annually of copper cathode and 12 000 tonnes annually of cobalt cathode.

An energetic catalyst for change

Some of South Africa's leading scientists, science fundis and environmental experts are working on solutions to arrest global warming and help alleviate its effects. Electrical engineer Professor Pragasen Pillay is one of them. He specialises in using science and technology to reduce household waste and is adamant that environmental charity begins at home.

Maties renews alternative energy commitment

It's been a little more than a year since Stellenbosch University's postgraduate programme in renewable and sustainable energy studies opened its doors and welcomed its first students. In the department of electrical and electronic engineering, novel electrical machines are studied to be used in wind and hydro-energy applications.

Makoni’s bold hope

Presidential candidate Simba Makoni used the word “renewal” a total of 13 times during an exclusive interview with the Mail & Guardian, saying Zimbabwe needed fresh leadership to “heal the wounds” of 28 years of President Robert Mugabe's rule. Makoni, who declared his candidacy recently, predicts a landslide win against Mugabe.

Ghana braces for elections race

Ghana's two largest political parties have vowed to battle it out for the December 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. Ghana News Agency reported that the ruling New Patriotic Party and the opposition National Democratic Party (NDC) had promised a ''tough showdown'' for the vote in the country's eastern region.

Tutu to broker peace deal

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was in Nairobi in a bid to mediate between newly-elected President Mwai Kibaki and defeated opposition leader Raila Odinga on Thursday, said at a media conference that Odinga had accepted his mediation. Sources close to the mediation also told the Mail & Guardian that Odinga had dropped his demand that Kibaki resign before the two sit down to talk peace.

The rise of Zim’s ‘one-party tyranny’

Two former leading lights of Zimbabwe's struggle era can testify to how tough life can be for those who try to chart their own course outside the liberation movement. In 1988 Edgar Tekere was sacked as secretary general of Zanu-PF and formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement, pledging to stop what he saw as Zimbabwe's slide into ''one-party tyranny''.

Lots of talk but very little gain

The last stretch of talks mediated by President Thabo Mbeki will be a key test of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC) ability to press meaningful concessions from Zanu-PF. Already under pressure from supporters after agreeing to constitutional amendments in September, the MDC now finds itself four months away from crucial elections without having made any real gains in the talks.

‘A fight to the finish’

Just four months before scheduled elections, and with a breakthrough in talks brokered by President Thabo Mbeki in sight, Zimbabweans are watching in dismay as the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) disintegrates and Zanu-PF tweaks electoral regulations in its favour. Recently, there have been violent clashes between supporters of the MDC and some of his most senior officials.

‘Nigeria must be Balkanised’

The jailed leader of a separatist movement in the south-east of Nigeria -- known formerly as Biafra -- was released from detention at the end of October in a move analysts hailed as a helpful and diplomatic approach by the government to the region's problems. But the secessionist leader says he will continue his struggle for independence.

Internal politics foil Zim negotiations

Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party and the opposition MDC were the "closest they have been" to reaching an agreement over key sections of a new constitution this week, but rowed over Western sanctions and presidential term limits. Officials on both sides involved in the talks, mediated by President Thabo Mbeki, report that they have agreed to a set of reforms, further to electoral changes agreed in September, which would form the basis for a new constitution by next year.

Ginwala to judge Pikoli’s fitness to hold office

President Thabo Mbeki has appointed former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala to conduct the enquiry into whether National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusi Pikoli is fit to hold office, the Government Communication and Information System said on Saturday.

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