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South Africa: Sibanye-Stillwater bows to workers’ pressure, increases wage offer for mineworkers

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Following industrial action that has lasted a month and a half by gold miners in South Africa, a mining company, Sibanye-Stillwater on Friday gave South African gold mine workers higher wage offers.

A BBC report says some 80,000 gold miners in South Africa went on a strike to call for higher pay, but their union has significantly scaled down its demands. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is calling for a 10% wage rise, down from earlier demands for increases of up to 60% for some workers. Workers last week rejected an offer of a 6% rise – the same as the current annual rate of inflation.

The latest arrangement by Sibanye-Stillwater offers entry-level employees an annual increase of 850 Rand in a month each year between 2022 and 2024, including a 50 rand increase in living out allowance.

Sibanye previously offered entry-level workers an annual increase of 800 Rand a month, including a 100 rand a month increase in living out allowance. The company’s offer to miners, artisans and officials remains a 5% pay increase each year.

Executive vice president of Sibanye’s South Africa gold operations, Richard Cox “urged employees to carefully consider the offer we have made and to ensure that their voices are heard,”

Trade unions are recognized within the 1996 Constitution of South Africa, which provides for the right to join trade unions, and for unions to collectively bargain and strike. This has translated into the Labour Relations Act which established the working framework for both unions and employers.

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Rwandan President, Kagame sacks over 200 military personnel in major shake-up

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Rwandan President, Paul Kagame has sacked over 200 soldiers including top military brass and commanders from the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) in a massive shake-up.

The dismissed officers include the former Commander of the Reserve Forces, Maj. Gen. Aloys Muganga, and Brig. Gen. Francis Mutiganda, a former Head of External Security in the National Intelligence Services, as well as 14 senior officers.

The announcement of the sacking of the officers which was contained in a statement released by the RDF on Wednesday, did not give reason for the sackings, but the move come a day after the president reshuffled the top echelon of the country’s military, which saw the firing of the Defence Minister and an Army Chief.

The sacking of the soldiers has further heightened tension between Rwanda and neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, with each side accusing the other of working with rebels to topple one another’s governments, according to reports in local media.

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UN war crimes court declares Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga unfit to stand trial

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An 88-year-old Rwandan genocide suspect, Felicien Kabuga has been declared unfit to stand trial by judges at a United Nations War Crimes Court in The Hague.

In a decision published by the court on Wednesday, the judges acknowledged that Kabuga was no longer able to actively participate in his trial, and rather proposed an alternative process that aims to resemble a trial but does not allow for a conviction instead of stopping the proceedings completely.

“The trial chamber finds Mr. Kabuga is no longer capable of meaningful participation in his trial,” the publication said.

“The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, therefore, finds that Mr. Kabuga is not fit for trial and is very unlikely to regain fitness in the future.

“It is therefore agreed to adopt an alternative finding procedure that resembles a trial as closely as possible, but without the possibility of a conviction,” it added.

Kabuga who was arrested in Paris where he had been in hiding under a false identity for several years, was one of the most wanted suspects of the Rwandan genocide, and was charged at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with genocide and crimes against humanity.

At his initial arraignment in September last year, the ICC heard that Kabuga was alleged to have been the main financier of the ethnic Hutu militias who slaughtered over 800,000 minority Tutsis as well as political opponents during the genocide in 1994.

According to the UN, Kabuga, a wealthy businessman from the Hutu ethnic group, had established and financed an infamous media outfit, Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), which was notorious for inciting violence and promoting the targeting and elimination of individuals from the Tutsi ethnic group who were referred to as “Cockroaches”.

Kabuga was arrested in Paris in 2020 after decades on the run and sent for trial in The Hague where he pleaded not guilty to charges of sponsoring the infamous Hutu radical radio station urging people to kill Tutsi “cockroaches”.

He also denied supplying machetes and supporting the murderous Interahamwe Hutu militia.

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