South Africa: Why South Africa needs formal rules for class action lawsuits

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image What do Ford, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Tiger Brands have in common? They are just a few of the well-known companies in South Africa facing class actions: lawsuits filed on behalf of a group. The international retail group Steinhoff could soon join the list. South African shareholders and the Dutch Investors Association plan to launch a lawsuit against Steinhoff following allegations of accounting fraud. Class actions against businesses like these can improve access to justice because they reduce the expense of litigation. It’s much more expensive for individuals to pursue a case on their own, so many claims are never judged and claimants don’t get justice. Class actions also deter antisocial behaviour by compa

Technology: How we’re making the tools to connect isiXhosa and isiZulu to the digital age

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image We live in a world where around 7000 languages are spoken, and one where information and communication technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. This puts increasing demands on more, and more advanced, Human Language Technologies (HLTs). These technologies comprise computational methods, computer programmes and electronic devices that are specialised for analysing, producing or modifying texts and speech. Engaging with a language like English is made easier thanks to the many tools to support you, such as spellcheckers in browsers and autocomplete for text messages. This is mainly because English has a relatively simple and well investigated grammar, more data that software can learn from, and substantial funding to d

Africa: How Kinshasa’s markets are captured by powerful private interests

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image Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is home to 10 million people. With an estimated 400 markets and over 1 million traders, markets are an important supplier of goods and source of livelihood. They are also an important source of revenue for the state. Our ongoing research found that markets are also a major source of private revenue. A wide variety of actors are in constant competition for their share of revenue. These include market administrators, mayors, security officials, provincial ministers, high ranking bureaucrats, family members of the President, Presidential advisors, family members of high ranking civil servants. All are fighting to get their piece of the market income. On th

Africa: birds do it, bees do it – and fungi do it too. Here’s...

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image S£x is an essential part of life. You, me and almost every other living organism on this planet are only here because two individuals got together at some point in the past to have their genes represented in the next generation. For many species on earth – especially humans – that’s a pretty inflexible process. There are strict requirements: for instance, having two partners of the opposite sex tends to be indispensable for the production of offspring. But there are a number of exceptions to this rigidity. Some of the most beautiful and interesting are exemplified by certain species of fungi. Fungi play a variety of roles in our lives. Some are food sources, like button mushrooms; some are used in the production of c

Africa: How corporate social responsibility projects can be derailed

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image Big companies operating in developing countries often use corporate social responsibility initiatives to position themselves as development agents and friends of the host communities. But in places like South Africa – and within the mining sector in particular – initiatives aren’t achieving the objectives they were designed to meet. Animosity between corporations and hosting communities persists. The Marikana massacre is a case in point. A labour dispute between platinum mining company, Lonmin, and its workers, spiralled out of control, resulting in the death of 34 miners after police opened fire on a demonstration. The events at Marikana show how animosities continue to exist, and the damage they can cause. One of the f

Politics: Ramaphosa and Mabuza to Malema: ‘Come back home’

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image President Cyril Ramaphosa and Deputy President David Mabuza on Sunday extended an olive branch to EFF leader Julius Malema and others‚ urging them to return “home” to the ANC. “We would love to have Julius Malema back in the ANC. He is still ANC down‚ deep in his heart‚” Ramaphosa said. He also urged others to rejoin the ANC. “The ANC is the home of many political parties that splintered out of it and we would like to build unity amongst all our people.” Mabuza said earlier on Sunday he had a “special space in my heart” for Malema. “We had times together. He knows. When he was in the ANC‚ I supported him to be the president of the Youth League and I remember comrade Julius saying‚ ‘My blood is black‚ green and gold. I will never le

Sports: The Sharks lose their bite

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image Sharks coach Robert du Preez is all about results and less about the process at this juncture of his team's campaign. After their 50-22 win against the Sunwolves at King's Park on Saturday‚ he may have a point. The Sharks tried to look pretty against the Waratahs last week and ended up with an unexpected 24-24 draw that revolted Du Preez. The Sharks just wanted to get forward and puncture the Sunwolves line at will but the visitors put up a gallant fight. The win was a first and important one for the Sharks as they'll be embarking on a four-match Australasian tour that'll probably shape their season. Du Preez is aware of this and knows there won't be any easy games on tour. The Sharks have two games on Australia soil against the Brumbies and the Melbourne Rebe

South Africa: Man given 10-year jail term for killing youth who asked him for...

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image A man who stabbed a 15-year-old to death for asking him for a cigarette while he was busy speaking on his cell phone has been sentenced to 10 years in jail Twenty-six-year-old Aviwe Mgungubali admitted to stabbing the youth in November 2016 in Atlantis near Cape Town and entered into a plea bargain with the state. “The detective in partnership with the senior state prosecutor and the deceased's family agreed on the plea and the sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment‚” Western Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said. At about 3.30am on November 20 2016‚ the youth approached Mgungubali and asked him for a cigarette while he was talking on his cell phone. “As the youngster persisted in asking the accused for a cigarette‚ the accused got upse

Politics: DA’s e-tolls bill to be discussed in Parliament

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image The DA’s private member’s bill (PMB) to ensure that the public is consulted on e-tolls is scheduled to be discussed in Parliament’s transport portfolio committee on Tuesday. The bill‚ tabled in Parliament on August 18 last year‚ seeks to amend the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads (SANRAL) Act. The Bill will make provisions for the public‚ provincial legislatures and local councils to be reasonably consulted and afforded an opportunity to give their inputs regarding proposed toll roads. This PMB will also facilitate democratic involvement “by requiring a majority vote in favour of the proposed declaration in the relevant provincial legislature”. The PMB also proposes the construction and maintenance of alternative roads

Politics: Final day for voter registration

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image Despite some “continued isolated disruptions” in a handful of areas‚ most incidents which affected voter registration operations on Saturday had been resolved and almost all voting stations were operational on Sunday‚ the Electoral Commission said. Voting stations opened at 8am for the final day of the weekend registration drive and address update campaign which are part of early preparations for the national and provincial elections scheduled for 2019. On Saturday‚ the process was marred by community protests in some areas‚ where tents erected as temporary voting stations were torched or damaged. One tent was even stolen. The Electoral Commission urged all eligible voters and especially the youth of our country to visit voting stations in their numbers

Politics: Moyane must submit Lovells, Motau reports to Parliament before March 13: DA

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image The DA says it has written to the chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCOF)‚ Yunus Carrim‚ asking him to request SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane to submit the Hogan Lovells and Motau reports on Jonas Makwakwa before March 13. It said Moyane is scheduled to appear before the SCOF on this date and that it is essential that these reports are submitted in time to enable Parliament to perform its oversight function on the controversial circumstances that saw Makwakwa reinstated as the second in command at SARS. “Should Moyane fail to submit the reports as requested‚ I will recommend that Parliament considers taking legal action to force him to release the reports‚” said DA shadow deputy minister of finance Alf Lees. He said Makwakwa’s

South Africa: Gold miners’ silicosis lawsuit settlement expected within 6 weeks

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image South African gold producers will likely reach a settlement within six weeks in a lawsuit over a fatal lung disease that companies have set aside 5 billion rand in provisions for, a lawyer and industry group said on Sunday. "I am confident we will finalise the settlement within six weeks," Richard Spoor, the human rights lawyer who has spearheaded the class action suit over the disease silicosis, which gold miners contract while working underground, told Reuters. A spokesman for the working group on Occupational Lung Disease (OLD), a group put together by the six companies involved, said it was is "hopeful" the settlement can be reached in that timeframe. This article was Posted By DJXBAZZ kindly Add

Sports: Cyclist killed in accident during Cape Town Cycle Tour

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image A cyclist taking part in the Cape Town Cycle Tour on Sunday has died after being injured in an accident‚ the organisers have confirmed. The Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust said that the 40-year-old male cyclist was involved in a an accident involving a group of 20 cyclists on Wynberg Hill. It said he had received immediate medical attention at the scene but that “tragically‚ his injuries proved fatal”. “Our sincere condolences to his family‚ who have been advised. “No further details will be made available until our medical briefing at 15h00 this afternoon‚” the trust said in a brief communique. Nolan Hoffman won the men's elite race. This article was Posted By DJXBAZZ kindly AddUp D

South Africa: Becoming a whistleblower changed her life ‘forever’

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image Becoming a whistleblower changed her life “forever”. That is what Eskom’s head of legal compliance Suzanne Daniels said on Sunday in an interview with eNCA. “You want to get some normality back into your life‚ but it’s changed forever‚” Daniels said. “When it’s you‚ the person that is affected‚ it’s a whole different ball game. Objective and rationally you know those things‚ but then when you get down to the nitty-gritty you have to think‚ ‘I can’t just go to a supermarket anymore’.” The Commission for Conciliation‚ Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) found on Tuesday that Eskom suspending Daniels was an “unfair labour practice”. “The respondent party Eskom is ordered to uplift the suspension with immediate effect and ta

Sports: We’ll just enjoy the win over the Bulls for now‚ says Tana Umaga

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image It was a case of attitude over altitude as the Blues recorded a rare away win on South African soil over the Lions on Saturday. The 38-35 Super Rugby win was only their second since 2012 on this side of the Indian Ocean with their only other success coming against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in 2016. What made the performance even more remarkable was that the Blues lost a day in their preparation after their plane got grounded in Auckland due to technical reasons. They‚ however‚ showed remarkable fortitude and staying power in the last quarter to deliver a shock defeat on a Lions team that usually lengthen their stride in that period. It probably also says something about New Zealand teams’ conditioning that the Lions have now lost on the last two o

South Africa: Minister’s downgrade fears over motion to nationalise Reserve Bank

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image An ANC motion to debate the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank was ditched in the eleventh hour following an intervention by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. This is according to insiders who attended the ANC political strategy meeting on Tuesday morning hours before the motion was tabled. Party MPs and senior leaders revealed that Nene persuaded the committee to drop the motion citing the presence of credit rating agency Moody's in the country. Insiders said Nene said the debate could unsettle the markets which could lead to another downgrade of the country's credit rating to junk status. The decision exposed further cracks within the party as some structures publicly criticised the decision. Nene confirmed attending the meeting but said discussions

Politics: KZN ANC shocked after 3 members ‘assassinated’ ahead of voter registration

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image The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal has expressed shock and outrage after its elections coordinator and two community members were shot dead by unknown assailants in Mfume in the south coast on Saturday. The deadly attack comes as the Independent Electoral Commission opened its doors for voter registration on Saturday and Sunday to allow the electorate to confirm their details. Sihle Zikalala‚ ANC KZN provincial interim committee coordinator‚ said Nqobizwe Mkhize‚ 42‚ was “assassinated” in the early hours of the morning at his residence in Imfume‚ Ward 105 of eThekwini Municipality. Mkhize was responsible for election mobilisation in the district. “While escaping the scene‚ the assassins fired shots at two other community members who sa

World: All hail Xi, China’s ‘Chairman of Everything’

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image Mao was the "Great Helmsman", Deng the "Paramount Leader" - now meet Xi Jinping, whose growing personality cult has some calling him China's "Chairman of Everything". On Sunday, China's rubber-stamp parliament endorsed Xi's move to abolish rules limiting the head of state to 10 years in power, paving the way for another potential title: President for Life. Since taking over the Communist Party in 2012, Xi has steadily tightened his grip on virtually all aspects of the party, state apparatus and even how China's citizens should think. Along the way he has accumulated an array of increasingly fawning titles to justify this one-man power grab. It can be difficult to keep track of them all, but here are the key titles, honorifics and other heapings of praise that Xi w

Politics: Madikizela Mandela says ANC starting to overcome challenges plaguing it

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image Struggle veteran Winnie Madikizela Mandela is optimistic about the ANC's chances in the 2019 general elections‚ saying the party is chasing a two-thirds majority win. image Speaking at her voting station in Orlando West on Saturday where she went to verify her address and confirm her registration‚ Madikizela-Mandela said the ANC was beginning to overcome the challenges it was plagued with. President Cyril Ramaphosa accompanied her to the Orlando West High School where she was also flanked by Gauteng Premier David Makh

World: Trump says N. Korea talks could fail or bring ‘greatest deal’

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image U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could fizzle without an agreement or it could result in "the greatest deal for the world" to ease nuclear tensions between the two countries. "I may leave fast" if progress does not seem possible, Trump said at a campaign rally for Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone in western Pennsylvania. Trump said he believes North Korea wants to make peace and that, "I think it's time." A time and place to meet has not yet been set, although the meeting is supposed to happen by the end of May. "Who knows what's going to happen?" said Trump, who added that if the meeting takes place, "I may leave fast or we may sit down and make the greatest deal for the world." T

Cult classic ‘Death Wish’ gets a 21st-century reboot [Watch Video]

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image Remember the 1974 cult classic film Death Wish starring Charles Bronson? Well, the controversial flick, which is said to have inspired many copycat killers, has been remade by director Eli Roth (Hostel, Hostel: Part II, The Green Inferno) and stars Bruce Willis and Elisabeth Shue. If you’ve never watched the original or the series it spawned, perhaps it’s best to start with the reimagined thriller that sees Dr Paul Kersey (Willis) burning for revenge after his wife (Elisabeth Shue, best known for her roles in Leaving Las Vegas, Back to the Future and Cocktail) and teenage daughter (Camila Morrone) are brutally attacked in their suburban home. As the anonymous killings of criminals grab the media’s attention, the city wonders if the avenger is a guardian angel o

World: Crocodiles lastest danger for Australian flood towns

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image Receding floodwaters in the northern Australian state of Queensland have revealed a new danger - crocodiles. The unwelcome visitors have made their way into the town of Ingham towards the country's north-east tip, according to several residents' photos posted on social media, after four days of torrential rain broke river banks, covered pastureland and cut off towns. Toby Millyard, crocodile researcher at Australia Zoo in Queensland, said the reptiles were known to use flood waters in the region to travel to different areas and search for food. "Some crocodiles love it when it rains and they use the water's currents to travel; they're very smart animals," Millyard said in a phone interview. "But they're very easy to stay away from. As long as you're not in the wa

Sports: Pay TV’s influence weighs on rugby election

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image Several rugby unions are disillusioned with pay channel SuperSport's alleged influence in the running of the sport. They accuse the pay channel of wielding its power behind the scenes by virtue of being the sole broadcast rights holder of the rugby in the country. SuperSport has minority share interest in the Cheetahs and the Sharks and the smaller unions argue that this arrangement provides the pay channel with a platform to influence major rugby decisions. This state of affairs, perceived or otherwise, provides the backdrop against which the SA Rugby elections will play out next month.

South Africa: Minister’s downgrade fears over motion to nationalise Reserve Bank

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image An ANC motion to debate the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank was ditched in the eleventh hour following an intervention by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene. This is according to insiders who attended the ANC political strategy meeting on Tuesday morning hours before the motion was tabled. Party MPs and senior leaders revealed that Nene persuaded the committee to drop the motion citing the presence of credit rating agency Moody's in the country. Insiders said Nene said the debate could unsettle the markets which could lead to another downgrade of the country's credit rating to junk status. The decision exposed further cracks within the party as some structures publicly criticised the decision. Nene confirmed attending the meeting but said discussions

South Africa: Gigaba making moves to revoke Ajay Gupta’s permanent residency

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image The permanent residency of Ajay Gupta hangs in balance after home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba initiated a process to revoke it. The Sunday Times can today reveal that Gigaba has instructed his director-general Mkuseli Apleni to investigate how Ajay obtained the residency permit and to seek legal advice about how to withdraw it. Gigaba’s actions came a day after he met with President Cyril Ramaphosa to discuss his contradictory statements on the citizenship of Atul Gupta and  inform him of his intention  to act against Ajay. Gigaba’s latest move is seen strategy to distance himself from the controversial family following a blunder during press conference on Tuesday when he claimed both Ajay and Atul were not citizens. Apleni has since clarified that Giga

United States: 100 years later, the madness of daylight saving time endures

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image One hundred years after Congress passed the first daylight saving legislation, lawmakers in Florida this week passed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which will make daylight saving a year-round reality in the Sunshine State. If approved by the federal government, this will effectively move Florida’s residents one time zone to the east, aligning cities from Jacksonville to Miami with Nova Scotia rather than New York and Washington, D.C. The cost of rescheduling international and interstate business and commerce hasn’t been calculated. Instead, relying on the same overly optimistic math that led the original proponents of daylight saving to predict vast energy savings, crisper farm products harvested before the morning de

Education: How class and social capital affect university students

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image There’s a great deal of comfort to be had in the idea that success at university is primarily or exclusively the result of a student’s hard work. All that’s needed is for students to do their best and fairness will prevail. Students who don’t apply themselves will fail. End of story. Or is it? A far more complex picture of student success and failure has emerged from a study tracking the influence of higher education on young people’s lives. We worked with 73 people who first registered for a BA or BSc six years before the data was collected. They had pursued these degrees at three South African research-intensive universities. Many of the participants shared a strong sense that their university years had provi

Africa: Proper child care helps poor working women – and it can boost economies

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image On March 8 each year trade unions and women’s rights organisations mark International Women’s Day by calling for policies and legislation that better support working women. Such calls relate to wage equality, maternity leave and early child care programmes. But these demands tend to overlook the needs of some of the most vulnerable: the millions of poor working women in cities in developing countries who are forced to take their kids with them to work or miss out on better paid opportunities because they’re caring for young children. Some women take up work out of their homes – from stitching clothes to making snacks to sell at a market – to take care of their children. The earnings may be lower than in formal

World: African universities are ignoring a rich, invaluable resource: their alumni

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image Universities across Africa are sitting on – and ignoring – a potential gold mine: their graduates. Research from the global North, where tracking and keeping in touch with alumni is common practice for universities, shows that this reaps huge benefits. Alumni pledges sometimes give money to their alma mater annually. Others use their influence in particular industries or business circles to convince others to donate. The situation is very different in African countries. A recent study by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA) paints a gloomy picture of the state of alumni and career tracking in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi. CARTA aims to build a vibrant, productive African academy an

World: Plant fossils have a lot to teach us about Earth’s history

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image There’s a particular feeling of excitement that comes from receiving a gift. It’s a feeling of the unknown, of anticipation – and then you unwrap the package and find something spectacular. As palaeontologists, rocks are our idea of a great gift. That’s because when you crack them open, you might well find a fossil. And we aren’t talking about dinosaurs: our area of specialisation is palaeobotany. This involves hunting for plant fossils which can tell us a great deal about the landscapes of past ages. South Africa is home to a range of lesser known and neglected plant fossils, called the glossopterids. These trees once grew in vast swamps along with ancient plant groups such as ferns, horsetail ferns and clubmosse

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