South Africa – Marabi Wed, 21 Jul 2021 20:06:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 South Africa – Marabi 32 32 South Africa sends team to contain pollution from chemical factories Wed, 21 Jul 2021 19:10:39 +0000

(Bloomberg) – The South African Department of the Environment has sent a team to the eastern coastal city of Durban to try to help contain air and water pollution from a chemical plant that was set on fire during violent protests.

The factory, owned by Indian agrochemical company UPL Ltd., produces herbicides, fungicides and pesticides and is located in one of the areas hardest hit by days of riots and looting in KwaZulu province -Native. Residents, who were already struggling to get bread, milk and other basic necessities after the unrest, said they saw plumes of gray smoke near the facility site.

“We are deeply concerned about the environmental impact on air quality as well as on aquatic and marine ecosystems resulting from the fire at the UPL installation”, declared the Minister of Forests and Fisheries on Wednesday. and Environment, Barbara Creecy. “The priority at this stage is to ensure that the impacts are mitigated and that the containment measures are effective. “

The factory caught fire on July 12 and continued to burn for days. It was reported that the water flowing into a lagoon changed color and dead fish washed up. Nearby Indian Ocean beaches remain closed to the public.

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Lions boosted by decision to hold South Africa’s three tests in Cape Town | South Africa Rugby Team Tue, 20 Jul 2021 19:47:00 +0000

The British and Irish Lions received a major boost after confirmation that all three test matches against South Africa will now be played at sea level. The plan called for the second and third tests to be played in Johannesburg, but Covid-19 fears have now prompted the entire series to be transferred to Cape Town Stadium.

The Springboks have traditionally been more successful in playing trial matches at altitude, but after “extensive consultation” with medical experts and with teams already in their respective “bio bubbles”, it was decided that the option was the best option. it was safer to stay put.

“The data only pointed in one direction,” said Jurie Roux, managing director of SA Rugby.

“The series has already been greatly disrupted by the Covid-19 and a return to Gauteng at this time would only increase the risks. We now have two teams in biosecure environments with no positive cases or isolated people. Going back to the Highveld now would put the series at a new risk. Everyone wants to see both teams, at their best, play an unforgettable series over the next three weekends and this decision gives us the best opportunity to see that happen.

Lions chief executive Ben Calveley said tourists were “fully in favor” of the decision, which is hardly surprising given the lessons of recent history. In 1997, when the Lions last won a series in South Africa, they won the first two sea level tests in Cape Town and Durban respectively.

The touring team could also be privately cheered on by Bok’s Day Team nominated for Saturday’s opening test, despite the presence of 21 members of the South African World Cup-winning squad of 2019. At first glance, running with the Pamplona bulls would be less intimidating than trying to escape a powerful local team, but several of the starting Boks have played little rugby lately.

Until recently, iconic South African captain Siya Kolisi and his teammates Makazole Mapimpi and Ox Nché all self-isolated with Covid-19 and had to undergo heart and lung tests to ensure their participation. The forward-facing six-on-two bench division, dubbed the ‘Bomb Squad’ at the 2019 World Cup, has also been temporarily disabled with Boks opening half Handrè Pollard and winger Mapimpi n ‘ being not considered to have played enough recent rugby to justify the risk of having only two full-backs in reserve.

Also at No.8, the absence of the ultra-physical Duane Vermeulen through injury prompted Kwagga Smith for promotion, a very different type of player with a seven-man roster. Then there’s the fascinating decision to leave without doubt South Africa’s two best props, Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff, off the bench and start the match instead with Nché and Trevor Nyakane.

Nyakane was well organized by Wyn Jones during the first half of the SA A game last week and, with RG Snyman also injured and Lood de Jager running out of rugby, the Boks will rely on muscle memory to some extent. . Head coach Jacques Nienaber, however, made it clear that keeping Malherbe and Kitshoff on the bench is a deliberate tactic. “We see our first ranks as a couple, as a unit,” he said. “We can trade them and there will be no weaknesses.”

]]> 0 Sorghum beer smuggling bus in South Africa intercepted at Limpopo Tue, 20 Jul 2021 08:09:57 +0000

Through Jonisayi Maromo 2h ago

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Pretoria – As the ban on the sale of alcohol under the adjusted level 4 of the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 continues to propel the illicit market, the South African Limpopo Police Department has arrested people making sorghum beer smuggled into South Africa.

Different types of illicit alcohol, including sorghum beer made in neighboring countries, have become readily available in densely populated South African cities like Johannesburg.

Members attached to Polokwane International Airport were on routine duty along the N1 road next to South African breweries when they arrested nine undocumented foreign nationals traveling on a bus and confiscated packets of beer. of sorghum that were packed in the trailer, ”said Limpopo SAPS spokesperson. Motlafela Mojapelo.

“Alcohol is valued at Rand 175,800. A 31-year-old driver, who is also a foreign national, was immediately arrested.”

The South African Limpopo Police Department confiscated packages of sorghum beer that had been smuggled into South Africa on a bus. Image: SAPS

The South African Limpopo Police Department confiscated packages of sorghum beer that had been smuggled into South Africa on a bus. Photo: SAPS

Mojapelo said the persistent weekly operations carried out in all districts of Limpopo province continue to yield positive results after the arrests of at least 926 suspects from July 11 to Monday.

“The suspects were arrested for various crimes ranging from murder, rape, theft, assault, smuggling of illicit goods, violation of immigration law to violation of management law regulations. disasters, ”he said.

The South African Limpopo Police Department confiscated packages of sorghum beer that had been smuggled into South Africa on a bus. Image: SAPS

In Sekhukhune district, four people between the ages of 26 and 37 were arrested for possession of motor vehicles allegedly stolen during an undercover operation carried out by several security forces.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects allegedly ran a union to fraudulently buy the vehicles from the car dealership and then resell them. Three salary notices that were allegedly used to fraudulently purchase the vehicles from different car dealerships were also confiscated, ”Mojapelo said.

In Seshego, the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses (FCS) and Criminal Intelligence units arrested a 42-year-old traditional healer for a rape allegedly committed in December.

“This after the father left his daughter with the suspects performing rituals who then raped her and fled the scene,” Mojapelo said.

In another incident, four foreign nationals between the ages of 26 and 42 were arrested in Tzaneen on Monday and 72 boxes of illicit cigarettes worth R252,000 were seized. SAPS also confiscated three bakkies.

“The suspects were arrested during a well-coordinated intelligence-led operation that took officers to premises in the town of Tzaneen where the suspects were arrested,” Mojapelo said.

“In addition to these arrests, 815 people have been arrested for violating Disaster Management Act regulations across the province. Some of the suspects have already started appearing in various district courts across the province. Operations are continuing.

African News Agency (ANA)

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South Africa sweat over fitness captain Kolisi for Lions first test | British and Irish Lions Mon, 19 Jul 2021 17:06:00 +0000

South Africa braced on Monday for the prospect of participating in the first test against the British and Irish Lions without their inspiring leader Siya Kolisi, with the Springboks considering replacement options for the captain position.

After spending the last 10 days in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, Kolisi was among six players allowed to join the rest of the squad in Cape Town on Monday, but was due to undergo heart and lung tests Monday night in the part of the return-to-play protocols. Even if Kolisi gets the green light to play on Saturday, it would be a bet to launch him directly against the Lions with South African coach Jacques Nienaber due to name his team on Wednesday.

Among the options if Kolisi does not lead the Springboks to Cape Town Stadium are opening half Handre Pollard, who was declared fit to play after also having to isolate himself, Lukhanyo Am, who captained a solid South African team A to victory over the Lions last Wednesday, and Eben Etzebeth. And Springboks assistant coach Mzwandile Stick is confident South Africa can cope if Kolisi does not take the pitch on Saturday.

“We’re in a good space,” Stick said. “We are almost 100% back to how we want things to be in a week of testing. [With Siya] we wouldn’t do anything stupid. We hope to have good news, but otherwise we have some great players in our squad. Even though Siya is not fit to play, we trust the other guys in this position. We have great leaders on our team. If Siya isn’t in good shape, we know we have players who can do the job. If it’s not allowed, we have a few guys who can do this job.

Pollard, meanwhile, brushed aside former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers’ comments that South Africa’s current style of play is “very boring”. The opener also believes South Africa knows what to expect from the Lions with Pollard doing his homework on Dan Biggar – the favorite to start against him on Saturday.

Responding to De Villiers’ annoying jibe, Pollard said: “For me it’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Apart from my wife. This is the way we were brought up and for me personally it is a thing of beauty. Throwing a ball is good for people who watch on TV but for me it is beautiful. I don’t think it’s a big secret of what’s to come. Both teams play pretty similar games and it will depend on the physicality, set pieces and bases.

Pollard has also sought to allay fears that the Springboks are undercooked, having had more than 20 positive cases of Covid-19 in the past three weeks and having played only one test since the Cup final of the world 2019. And in an admission that raises eyebrows given the epidemic in the camp, Pollard revealed that the families of the players had been allowed to join the bubble.

“Having our wives and partners here, the kids running around… a lot of people would see that as a distraction, but for us it’s great. It helps a lot in the life of the bubble, ”he said. It takes you a bit of the head of the game. Over the next three weeks we have to focus on the task at hand. You don’t care about staying sane. You don’t have to stay sane. You just have to stay focused on what we want to accomplish. There’s no way you’re not ready. Physically we are all fine.

]]> 0 South African expats unite against country’s ‘heart-wrenching’ riots Sun, 18 Jul 2021 21:16:07 +0000

A stroll through a green and peaceful suburb of regional New South Wales is, for these South African nationals, a far cry from the violence that has unfolded in their home country.

The expat group finds solace with each other as their loved ones are caught up in the unrest, sparked by the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma for failing to show up for a corruption probe.

Durban is among the hot spots of the riots that broke out following the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.(

Reuters: Rogan Ward


Confronting images of ransacked shops, flaming main streets and destruction across the country have flooded the social media feeds of Ms Chippendall and her friends over the past week.

She and her friends live in Coffs Harbor on the north coast of New South Wales, which is home to a large South African expat community.

Among them is Beverley Harper, whose parents – both aged 70 – live in Emalahleni, where some of the riots have taken place.

The country’s government has deployed more than 25,000 troops to try to quell the riots, which have so far claimed 212 lives.

For her friend Michelle Collard, it is the worst violence she has seen in the country.

“I have never seen South Africa as bad as it is now.”

Group of friends holding photos of their loved ones
Bev Harper (second from left) and Mariette Chippindall (far right) and their friends hold pictures of their loved ones in South Africa.(

ABC Coffs Coast: Claudia Jambor


Live in fear

Despite the ongoing conflict, Ms Harper says her father continues to work, which means her mother is the only one listening to the commotion in the nearby streets.

“She was barricaded in the house,” Ms. Harper said.

“She was home alone and was afraid of what was going on.”

Ms Harper called her parents daily to give them as much emotional support as possible from a distance.

“It is extremely heartbreaking,” she said.

Fire near Durban
Hell in Durban as riots continue in parts of South Africa.(

Provided: Kovin Moodley


Bunkering, limited supplies

His expatriate compatriot Mark McClurg has also been in regular contact with his friend Ryan Pembroke and others in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal province, one of the main hotbeds of riots.

“It pulls on the chords – this is the country I grew up in.”

He said some have chosen to isolate themselves in their homes.

“It was an unexpected situation of protest and looting. People didn’t have time to go and get food,” McClurg said.

“So now they are heading home with limited food supplies.”

two friends repairing a surfboard
Mark McClurg (right) has been in close contact with his friend Ryan Pembroke who is in hiding in Durban.(

Provided: Mark McClurg


Fuel in high demand

The violence has disrupted food and fuel supplies throughout the county and left many – like Mr McClurg’s friends who want to leave Durban – in dire straits.

“The problem with guys who want to go out is that there is no fuel and the very few places that still sell fuel have queues of several miles,” McClurg said.

He said he felt “utterly helpless” despite his efforts to provide support from a distance.

“It is difficult. We are here, it is a safe place, it is a safe country,” he said.

“Maybe if we do, other governments can offer some kind of support.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa said calm had returned to the worst-affected parts of South Africa.

More than 2,500 people have been arrested for theft and vandalism as the country faces a clean-up bill expected to run into the billions of dollars.

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South Africa cleans up after violent protests rock nation | national Sun, 18 Jul 2021 01:41:00 +0000

Clean-up continues in South Africa after violent unrest was stemmed by military intervention, with major roads reopening in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces.

At least 212 people have died in a week of chaos, hundreds of shops have been looted and key infrastructure damaged or destroyed, potentially slowing South Africa’s recovery after the 2020 downturn.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has authorized the deployment of 25,000 troops to restore calm. The month-long operation is expected to cost 615.7 million rand ($ 42.7 million).

The protests followed the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of court, and widened as poor communities took to the streets to express their anger at substandard living conditions.

The actions coincided with various measures taken to control a third wave of coronavirus infections that have pushed hospitals to capacity. South Africa is on virus alert level 4, its second highest level since the end of June, as public gatherings are theoretically prohibited. Riots interrupted COVID-19 vaccinations in two key provinces.

“Calm has returned and is returning in most of these areas,” Ramaphosa said in a televised address Friday, his third since the unrest began. “We will put out the fires that are still raging and we will eradicate until the last embers. “

Ramaphosa said “a good number” of the alleged instigators have been identified. He said the unrest, far from being spontaneous, had been “planned and coordinated”.

South Africa faces a long way to restore the confidence of battered investors. While the rand gained 1.1% against the dollar on Friday as calm returned, it still fell 1.5% on the week. The FTSE / JSE Africa Top40 index fell 1.6% on Friday.

Government officials met with CEOs of 34 of the country’s largest companies on Thursday to discuss the situation, acting presidential minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters.

Gross domestic product is likely to decline in the third quarter, as delays in the vaccination program could lead to new infections, said Annabel Bishop, chief economist at Investec Bank Ltd. in a note sent by email. Business and consumer confidence has been “decimated,” she wrote.

Deutsche Bank AG sees unrest slash South Africa’s economic growth rate by 0.8 percentage points this year. In June, the World Bank forecast South Africa’s GDP to grow 3.5% in 2021 after falling 7% in 2020, the highest in a century.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, president of the Southern African Development Community, on Friday warned of a wider regional economic impact if unrest resumes.

Food, medicine and fuel remain insufficient in several towns in KwaZulu-Natal following the closure of hundreds of retail outlets and traffic disruption on major transport routes.

The government has received reports of extensive damage to 161 shopping centers, 11 warehouses, eight factories and 161 alcohol outlets and distributors.

The South African Council of Churches on Friday urged the government to initiate a limited amnesty during which people could return looted property to police without being charged.

In Port Shepstone, south of Durban, long lines of people were waiting outside malls to buy food on Friday. Government buildings and almost all stores other than grocery stores remained closed. There was a heavy presence of soldiers on the city streets, and Metropolitan Police officers and civilians manned roadblocks at key access points.

Ramaphosa described the violence as a deliberate and orchestrated attack on South African democracy.

“Through social media, fake news and disinformation, they have sought to stir up racial tensions and violence,” he said. “This attempted insurgency has failed to gain the popular support of our people. It failed because of the efforts of our security forces and because the South Africans rejected it.

More than 2,550 people have been arrested and the police are investigating 131 murder cases.

Ramaphosa said it was imperative to provide support to households and businesses to enable them to rebuild and restock. The Presidency and Treasury were working on a full package that will be presented to Cabinet for consideration, with details to be announced shortly, he said.


© 2021 Bloomberg LP Tour Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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What is happening in South Africa? Riots after Jacob Zuma’s arrest Fri, 16 Jul 2021 21:06:00 +0000 The arrest of former South African President Jacob Zuma this month sparked looting and violence in the country’s two most populous provinces amid a record spate of Covid-19 infections. Current President Cyril Ramaphosa said the unrest was the result of an orchestrated campaign to spark an insurgency against South Africa’s constitutional order.

Why was Jacob Zuma arrested?

Mr Zuma was President of South Africa from 2009 to 2018, a time when alleged corruption escalated within the government and the ruling African National Congress. After his resignation, a government-mandated commission began investigating some of the allegations, but Zuma has repeatedly refused to testify, despite an order from the Constitutional Court of South Africa. On June 29, the same court sentenced Mr. Zuma to 15 months in prison for contempt of court, and he was subsequently arrested. He denied any wrongdoing. Sporadic protests against his arrest turned into wider violence and looting, much of which appeared to be unrelated to political motives.

How widespread is the unrest in South Africa?

Most of the riots and looting have been concentrated in Mr. Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, where South Africa’s economic capital Johannesburg and political capital Pretoria are located. Crowds have targeted shopping malls, factories and warehouses, many in impoverished townships, where residents have been hit hard by three brutal waves of Covid-19 infections and government-imposed closures. Some residents have formed vigilante groups to protect their communities.

South Africa faces unrest on a scale rarely seen since the end of white minority rule in 1994. Here’s how a political event revealed deep inequalities that grew during the pandemic. Photo: Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

At least 212 people have died in the unrest, some in the rush of shopping malls, and more than 2,500 have been arrested in the two provinces. Mr Ramaphosa said the looting was “used as a smokescreen to carry out economic sabotage”, including through targeted attacks on trucks, factories and critical infrastructure, which were part of the system. an attempt to dislodge South African democracy.

Calm returned to much of Gauteng, and residents of other provinces were sending food and other essentials to KwaZulu-Natal, where some communities were cut off from supplies due to roadblocks and insecurity. Thousands of volunteers helped clean up trash-strewn streets and destroyed shopping malls to start repairing some of the damage.

But the situation in parts of KwaZulu-Natal remained tense with nearly 1,500 new incidents reported overnight to July 16.

How did President Ramaphosa react?

On July 12, Mr. Ramaphosa deployed the South African military to support overwhelmed police and other law enforcement agencies, including in provinces unaffected by the unrest.

Since the unrest began, Mr Ramaphosa has avoided calling Mr Zuma or his supporters by name, but said violence was provoked and the government would not allow lawlessness and chaos to reign. “It is now clear that the events of the past week were nothing less than a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy,” he said in his third address to the nation in less than one week on July 16. under the pretext of a political grievance, the perpetrators of these acts sought to provoke a popular uprising.

Government officials said their investigations are focused on 12 suspected instigators and that one of them has been arrested, but declined to provide the names of suspects.

Mr Zuma’s arrest was initially seen as a victory for his successor, Mr Ramaphosa, who pledged to cleanse the South African government and the ruling ANC. But the escalating unrest has also drawn attention to the continuing factional fighting within the former liberation movement, where Zuma continues to enjoy support.

Is there a link between the unrest and the pandemic?

South Africa has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. It is currently in the midst of a third wave of Covid-19 infections, which has already overtaken the country’s two previous waves. Only about 2.5% of its 60 million people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, so many continue to fall ill and die. Government lockdowns that were supposed to stem the transmission of the virus pushed the economy into its deepest recession on record last year, leading to increased hunger and poverty, and pushing up an unemployment rate that climbed. rose to 33% at the end of March. Many looters say they steal to help support their families and to pressure a government that has failed to provide for them. “Politics was the trigger, but the central issue here is socio-economic grievances and frustration with the state,” said Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk, a Cape Town-based risk consultancy.

A policeman was guarding a group of suspected looters at a Johannesburg shopping center.


James Oatway / Getty Images

The unrest also disrupted Covid-19 screening and vaccination efforts in the two affected provinces, and hospitals and clinics said staff shortages due to insecurity made it difficult to care for patients. Authorities have also warned that the mass gatherings could lead to a new wave of infections.

What was the economic impact of the unrest?

Several large companies, including South Africa’s largest oil refinery, have had to temporarily suspend operations due to insecurity. The highway connecting the important port of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal to Johannesburg, one of South Africa’s busiest transport routes, has reopened after being partially cut.

The lockdowns had raised concerns over shortages of food and other essentials, and disrupted exports from some of the country’s agricultural hubs, as well as trade with other African economies as far away as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Congo. Shopping malls, factories, warehouses and small businesses targeted by the riots are major employers, especially for poorer and less skilled South Africans. Authorities have warned that rebuilding the damage could take years.

Write to Gabriele Steinhauser at

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EMERGING MARKETS – South African Rand up, Turkish Lira tops weekly gains in EMEA Fri, 16 Jul 2021 08:33:53 +0000

* Read up 1.3% this week

* Rand worst weekly performance, down more than 2%

* The Polish zloty lags its peers in the EEC this week

By Ambar Warrick

July 16 (Reuters) – The South African rand dominated gains in emerging market currencies on Friday as it slashed large weekly losses on civil unrest fears, while the Turkish lira was among the best performers this past week, with low volatility favoring high yielding currencies.

The rand rose 0.6%, but is expected to lose more than 2% this week after a wave of violence ravaged the country’s major financial centers. The currency was the worst performing Emerging Markets Unit (EM) this week.

MSCI’s currency index was set to end a two-week losing streak, building on gains in the Chinese yuan. But an increase in Asian COVID-19 cases has marred the broader sentiment, while fears of slower growth kept risk appetite moderate.

Losses in Asian markets pushed the MSCI Emerging Markets Equity Index down 0.5%. But the index was expected to end the week up about 1.8%, much of the gain coming from assurances from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that policy would remain accommodative.

The Turkish lira rose about 0.4% on Friday and is expected to overtake its peers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with a gain of 1.3%.

The currency has slowly risen since the central bank held interest rates this week and pledged to hold them until inflation is brought under control, although analysts have argued that further tightening was needed. necessary to contain inflation.

However, with the bank expected to maintain the status quo, the pound’s volatility indicators hit a year-old low. And with benchmark rates of 19%, the pound is one of the most profitable currencies in the world.

But with that return comes the risk of further government interference in monetary policy, which has seen the lira collapse to record levels.

“The ‘stringency’ of the current position remains questionable, in our view, and we believe that the broadly accommodative nature of (the central bank’s) guidance is unjustifiable given the predominant upside risks to the inflation outlook,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a recent note.

In central Europe, the Polish zloty has lagged its peers this week, as the country’s central bank maintained interest rates this week, unlike hikes in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

For the CHART on the performance of emerging markets forex in 2021, see For the CHART on the performance of the MSCI emerging index in 2021, see

For TOP NEWS in emerging markets

For the CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For the TURKISH market report, see

For the report on the RUSSIAN market, see

(Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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Counting the costs: South African businesses destroyed by unrest Thu, 15 Jul 2021 07:59:00 +0000

JOHANNESBURG, July 14 (Reuters) – After losing 53 cars in xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2019, Johannesburg car dealership owner Okey Uchendu never thought he would see his business destroyed again by civil unrest in less than two years.

Already facing the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, Uchendu received a call at midnight Sunday saying his concession was engulfed in flames as looting and violence, the worst in South Africa in years, escalated, destroying hundreds of businesses.

“I am speechless,” the 45-year-old man, standing next to 58 burned cars, told Reuters on Wednesday. “I feel like killing myself because my livelihood has been taken away from me. I was sitting crying helplessly because I can’t do anything.”

Among the badly burned cars was an unrecognizable second-hand Range Rover Evoque valued at Rand 220,000 ($ 15,000), which rubbed shoulders with low-end and high-end cars.

“All those things are gone. I don’t even know where to start because how am I going to start. I still have to pay my rent, I have three children to take care of, how am I going to take care of my children? ”said Uchendu, visibly moved.

Triggered by the jail of ex-President Jacob Zuma last week after he failed to appear for a corruption probe, the unrest has turned into a wave of anger over poverty and inequality. Read more

Many small, medium and microenterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa are uninsured, making attempts to recover those damaged in the unrest even worse.

“We, the small businesses, nobody wants to insure us here in Jules (rue), it’s a high risk area. When you call insurance (the businesses), they say no, it’s a high risk area. “, he said of his company which employed 16 people. .

A survey by the Small Business Institute (SBI) last year found that up to 55,000 SMEs may not survive the COVID-19 pandemic. With the unrest, the number is expected to increase, SBI chief executive John Dludlu told Reuters.

More than 200 shopping centers have been looted or destroyed and more than 600 stores have been set on fire or damaged so far, the South African Landowners Association said on Wednesday.

The liquor industry said more than 200 liquor stores were looted in the provinces of Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng, which are most affected by the unrest.

Bigger companies like clothing retailer Mr Price (MRPJ.J) have been forced to temporarily close hundreds of stores after being completely looted, with some shopping centers also closing.

“Investing in this particular property here, in this area, I got out, I was done,” Uchendu said.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Toby Chopra

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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INSIGHT-South African farmers dream of drought cover on climate frontline Wed, 14 Jul 2021 05:03:31 +0000

* A fraction of South African farmers have drought insurance

* Climate change leads to longer and harder periods of drought

* Insurers say they are unable to cover their risks

* The new state subsidy plan aims to fix the failing system

By Emma Rumney

JOHANNESBURG, July 14 (Reuters) – Happy Letsitsa has failed to repay the money he borrowed to survive the 2019 drought that ravaged his corn and sunflower farm in South Africa‘s Free State province.

He has no drought insurance. If the rains fail again, they could spell the end of his business, which supports his wife, child, father and extended family.

“It’s like going to the casino and playing a high bet,” he said of running his small farm with no cover. “It’s not easy, especially if you only have one income: farming.”

This precarious lifestyle is common among the hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers in South Africa. Most cannot access any drought cover in a country that is feeding the wider region with staple foods like maize, but increasingly beset by extreme weather on the front lines of climate change.

It’s not just the little guys. The problem is also acute among large farmers. Most cannot afford the primary commercial drought cover known as Multi-Hazard Crop Insurance (MPCI), or is not offered by insurers.

Jan Pretorius, in the North West Province, is one of the lucky few who can pay for MPCI, but even he struggles. His premiums represent about 11% of the roughly 7,000 rand ($ 492) he spends to plant each of his more than 600 hectares of maize.

“Where we grow, nobody has comprehensive crop insurance,” he said.

Farmers and insurers say the insurance system is broken, as droughts are getting longer and harder. Parts of the country are in their ninth dry year, while a drought across much of the southern African region that began in 2018 has left tens of millions of people hungry.

Now a plan has been formulated by insurers and the government for a 10-year, R3.2 billion ($ 223 million) government subsidy program to address market problems, according to a South African document. Insurance Association (SAIA) consulted by Reuters who previously unreported proposals.

The program, which has been confirmed by the government, would allow commercial grain and oilseed farmers to see 25% of their MPCI premiums subsidized. Smallholders of grains, oilseeds or livestock would be offered a type of coverage called weather index insurance, and the state would pay 75% of their premiums.

Weather index coverage is used by millions of farmers in several countries, such as Kenya and India, but has never been tried in South Africa. It automatically pays when a measurement, such as precipitation, is above or below a certain level, eliminating the need for costly site visits to assess claims.

Nkhangweleni Ramashia, chief director of the agriculture ministry for development finance, told Reuters the subsidy program was essential to protect farmers from climate change.

“I have high hopes,” he added. “If you look at climate change, I don’t see how agriculture can survive without a product like this.”

This was picked up by Richard Boys, senior executive at Hannover Reinsurance South Africa.

“Without such initiatives, the inevitability of MPCI becoming increasingly unaffordable for farmers and unsustainable for insurance companies is a real concern,” he said.


South Africa’s agricultural industry employs over 800,000 people. Yet the high costs, combined with low availability, mean that only 20% of the country’s commercial grain producers have drought insurance, according to the SAIA document.

There are more than 7,000 commercial grain producers, according to the industry association Grain SA. Smallholder estimates vary, and the vast majority also have no drought cover.

Ramashia, who said his ministry was trying to take money out of its budget for the subsidy program, said the priority was to help small farmers.

An industry pilot project that started this month, led by the country’s largest non-life insurer, Santam, aims to cover around 50 smallholders with a product related to soil moisture, measured by satellite, according to Santam’s agricultural manager, Gerhard Diedericks.

The premiums would be added to loans that farmers already get through agricultural cooperatives or other organizations that provide supplies like seeds

A similar pilot project led by the state-owned Land Bank is still awaiting Treasury approval, the company told Reuters.

Paswel Marenya, senior economist for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, said climate index insurance was key to increasing the resilience of smallholders and that payments would be faster and cheaper for the government.

However, this poses problems, he said: Farmers can be worse off if losses exceed payments and, in some countries, implementation has lagged behind expectations, with even subsidized premiums too high for many poor farmers.

Grant programs should also be combined with other initiatives, such as education or new technologies, he added.


The type of MPCI subsidies offered to commercial farmers under the plan have protected farmers from rising premiums elsewhere, such as in China and the United States, Swapnil Soni, senior underwriter at reinsurer Scor, told Reuters.

Currently, the high costs mean that farmers in wetter regions are choosing to take their chances rather than paying, leaving insurers unable to cover the risks on their books.

“It goes against the whole concept of insurance,” Soni said, adding that the South African crop insurance books of reinsurers, including Scor’s, had suffered frequent annual losses. As a result, he had reduced the volume of business he writes in his crop insurance book by around 70% by 2020, he said.

Many insurers and reinsurers have completely stopped offering MPCI, according to the SAIA document. The number of hectares insured rose from a peak of 859,000 in 2009/10 to 201,000 in 2017/18, according to the press release. Premium volumes fell by around two-thirds to R113 million between 2012/13 and 2017/18.

There is little respite as the weather can only get more extreme.

A 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described the southern African region as a projected climate change hotspot.

He cited studies showing that temperatures have risen in its subtropics at twice the global rate on average over the past five decades and warned of longer and more frequent heat waves or that the region is likely to become drier even if global temperature increases are limited to 2 degrees Celsius.

North West Province farmer Pretorius said even with drought insurance he had no control over the weather conditions that could make or break his business. So every day he looks up and pleads for the heavens to open.

“I am a Christian. I pray for the rain.”

($ 1 = 14.2284 rand) (Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Pravin Char)

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