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South Africa: President Ramaphosa cautions against protests, as power outage wrecks economy

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has labeled the planned national wide protest by members of the opposition party as an attempt to overthrow him.

The police had confirmed that although it didn’t get an official notice, it is aware the opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is organising nationwide marches to protest against the country’s power crisis and further call for President Ramaphosa’s resignation.

KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, said on Friday while briefing media on security plans to deal with threats posed by the protests adding that over 18,000 security officers would be deployed during the march.

President Ramaphosa on Thursday warned that anarchy will not be tolerated during the protests and called on security forces to “defend our people.”

“This is an attempt to overthrow the government. This is not a shutdown, but it’s anarchy.

“The magnitude of threats differs from other planned shutdowns and that is why we have to be extra vigilant.”

The country lately has had challenges with its electricity supply which has forced struggling state power company, Eskom to announce the previous series of power rotation arrangements.

Eskom has implemented scheduled electricity outages every day in 2023, with most households and businesses without power for up to 10 hours a day.

Earlier this month, it was reported that the South African economy contracted more than expected in the last quarter of 2022, as an escalation in rolling power cuts contributed to most sectors from agriculture to mining shrinking.

Experts have hinted the country could be heading toward a recession as the damaging effect of the power outage continues to wreak havoc on Africa’s most industrialised economy.

Politics

South Africa: Parliament reelects Cyril Ramaphosa as president

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President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Julius Malema, the opposition Economic Freedom Fighter, was also put forward for the nation’s presidency, necessitating a vote in parliament to determine the winner.

With a majority of votes in the National Assembly, Chief Justice Ramaphosa was proclaimed president. Julius Malema, the leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party, received 44 votes, while Ramaphosa received 283.

The Democratic Alliance party said earlier in the day that it would support Ramaphosa in the election as part of a deal to establish a unity government with the African National Congress.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been re-elected for a second term. He was nominated for re-election on Friday by a member of his African National Congress (ANC) party during the first sitting of parliament following last month’s election.

Out of the 400 seats in the recently elected National Assembly, 246 are held by the ANC and DA.

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Niamey court revokes immunity of overthrown Nigerien president

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The State Court of Niamey has revoked the immunity of Niger’s deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum, signalling the start of criminal proceedings against him by the junta, according to a statement from his attorneys on Friday.

In July of last year, a military coup overthrew Bazoum. Since then, he and his spouse have remained in custody despite numerous requests for his release from Western nations and the ECOWAS regional political and economic grouping.

 

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the junta’s spokesperson, stated on state television in August that the military government had “gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute the ousted president and his local and foreign accomplices for high treason and for undermining the internal and external security of Niger before competent national and international authorities.”

In a statement, one of his attorneys, Moussa Coulibaly, claimed that the court’s ruling cleared the path for Bazoum to face charges of treason and conspiracy to compromise state security.

The court proceedings “violated (ed) the absolute rights of the defence: we were not authorised to meet our client and the court refused to hear our arguments,” he added.

It was not immediately able to get in contact with the Niger government for a response. Because of Bazoum’s interactions with foreign heads of state and international organizations, the junta declared last year that it would bring high treason charges against him.

Following 2020, there have been eight coups in West and Central Africa that have brought the military government to power. Calls for Bazoum’s reinstatement have gone unanswered, including by the ECOWAS Court of Justice, which declared last year that his arrest was unjustified.

According to Bazoum’s attorneys, he and his spouse had never appeared before a magistrate. Lawyers said that since October, when their phone line at the White House was taken away, they have been cut off from the outside world and are only permitted to have visitors from their doctor.

Mohamed Bazoum Salem, the 23-year-old son of the deposed president, was given provisional parole from house imprisonment by the Niger military tribunal in January.

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