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Dysfunctional South Africa’s Spy Agency SSA Getting Fixed

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South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) is headed for a complete overhaul after suffering a decade-long dysfunctionalty.

“The appointment of competent people in the right spaces, the review of legislation, the appointment of ministerial advisory committees, that work has been done,” said Ayanda Dlodlo South Africa’s state security minister.

The State Security Agency is the department of the South African government with overall responsibility for civilian intelligence operations. However, over the past decade, the agency’s capabilities have been eroded from within.

“We are in the process of rooting out those problems” and the State Security Agency will be a different organization within the next few months,” security minister said on May,18th.

Under former President Jacob Zuma nine-year rule, the State Security Agency was sucked into factional battles within the ruling African National Congress, and widespread looting of state funds.

A commission of public inquiry was launched in January 2018, to “investigate allegations of state capture, corruption, fraud and other allegations in the public sector including organs of state” in South Africa.

Zuma, was forced by the ruling party to quit in 2018, was replaced by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa.

South Africa’s main opposition party Democratic Alliance, accuses Dlodlo of trying to cover up the wrongdoing at SSA during the Zuma era. This month, Intelligence Inspector-general Setlhomamaru Dintwe told the panel headed by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Dlodlo had appointed 26 managers without following proper procedures.

However, Dlodlo said the law gave her sole prerogative to make SSA appointments, although she had consulted with other officials before signing off.

Some of the testimony given to Zondo, including that U$4.2 billion went missing from the SSA, was a “complete fabrication,” and accusations that the agency paid judges to influence the outcome of cases couldn’t be backed up by evidence, the minister said. The alleged misappropriation of funds predated Dlodlo’s term in office.

Ayanda Dlodlo South Africa’s state security minister

Dlodlo’s Experience

Dlodlo, 57, joined the African National Congress (ANC) and its armed wing at the age of 17.

She is schooled in intelligence from the former Soviet Union, underwent military training in Angola and fought against White-minority rule.

She has previously worked at port authorities in the U.S. and U.K., state-owned South African phone company Telkom SA SOC Ltd. and insurer Sanlam Ltd.

Dlodlo is accused of clandestinely working for interests of former leader Jacob Zuma.

“In the work of government I have never experienced such hostility, such hate, such push-back,” she said. “I don’t have his number, I don’t even talk to him, but I am still branded as a Jacob Zuma person today.”

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South-Africa

EU Military Mission To Mozambique May Be Up And Running In Months, Bloc Says

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The European Union could have a military training
mission in place in Mozambique within several months, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Friday, helping the southern African country tackle Islamist
insurgents.

“I think we could be able to approve this mission,” Josep Borrell told reporters ahead of an EU defence ministers meeting in Lisbon where the subject
was due to be discussed.

The problem is to find additional countries besides Portugal to supply troops, he added.

Borrell has previously said 200-300 personnel could be sent by the end of the year.

Portugal sent 60 soldiers to its former colony Mozambique this month to begin training soldiers to counter the insurgency, share intelligence and use drones to track militants’ movements.

Portuguese Defence Minister Joao Cravinho said 7-8 other countries had expressed willingness to send troops but declined to name them. Portugal would
be the “principal participant” in the mission, he said.

Cravinho expected the remaining EU troops to be dispatched within three to four months, “perhaps faster”.

Mozambique has been grappling with an insurgency in its northernmost province of Cabo Delgado since 2017 and violence has grown significantly in the past
year.

Dozens of civilians were killed in Islamic State-linked attacks in the coastal town of Palma in April, and a $20 billion liquefied natural gas project run by oil giant Total was brought to a halt by the violence.

Source: Reuters

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South-Africa

Zimbabwe Bids Farewell To Hunger After Bumper Harvest

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Zimbabwe has reported a bumper harvest of maize and other grains capable of feeding for the next one year the country’s 14.65 million people.

According to Zimbabwe’s  Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report, traditional grains production for the ending season is estimated at 347 968 tonnes compared to 152 515 tonnes harvested in 2019/2020. The increase in production has been attributed to the amount of rainfall and its distribution.

The report has revealed that most districts in Zimbabwe are harvesting enough maize and traditional grains to last more than 12 months with only a few areas having enough to cater for six months and below.

“In addition to the good rainfall season in the 2020/2021 season, the practice of climate proofed technologies significantly contributed to the increased yield levels supported by well-coordinated input programmes.

The report says, “There was marked improvement in maize yield across the country as a result of increased amount of rainfall and good distribution from the onset of the season in November 2020 to the end of February 2021.”

Under the President Mnangagwa government, new innovations have been implemented to revamp agriculture production. Some of the innovations include; the practice of climate proofed technologies (Pfumvudza/ Intwasa).

Pfumvudza is a crop production intensification approach under which farmers ensure the efficient use of resources (inputs and labour) on a small area of land. This farming concept aims at ensuring food, nutrition and livelihood security at household level.

Pfumvudza involves the utilisation of small pieces of land and applying the correct agronomic practices for higher returns. The approach can be used in marginal areas and still give high yields.

A total of 202 037 hectares were put under Pfumvudza maize and 1 066 755 tonnes are expected from that while 50 016 tonnes of sorghum are expected from the 10 634 hectares put under Pfumvudza.

Meanwhile, last week President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to propel Zimbabwe to reclaim Africa’s Breadbasket crown through implementing a series of adjustments in the country’s Agriculture systems.

He was speaking at a high-level dialogue on feeding Africa , under the theme “Leadership to scale up successful innovations”.

“In Zimbabwe between 2020 and 2021, crop yield is expected to increase by 199% for maize harvest, 128% for the harvest of traditional grains (and) 94% for cotton harvest,” President Mnangagwa said last week.

President Mnangagwa targets to shift Zimbabwe into a “Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Status by 2030.”

According to President Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy launched last year premised on achieving a US$8,2 billion agriculture economy by 2025, is anchored on climate-smart technologies, extension services and increased innovations.

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Business

How A Career In Public Relations Helped Shape An African Royal

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To some, it might seem like an unusual career trajectory, but for Ewetse Khama, working in the Public Relations industry in Africa has been the perfect preparation for the next step in his unique journey.

From today, Ewetse is stepping down from his role at APO Group, the leading pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service, to serve his country and his people.

This year, Ewetse’s father, Sekgoma Tshekedi Khama, retired from active duty in the Bamangwato tribe. This made way for the eldest son, Ewetse to assume his father’s role as a Kgosi – a Batswana term meaning ‘Chief’, ‘King’ or ‘Elder’ – in the Khama Family, one of Botswana’s most prominent royal families.

The Khamas have a long and illustrious history in Botswana. Ewetse’s paternal uncle, Sir Seretse Khama, served as the country’s first President after independence in 1966, and was the subject of a Hollywood blockbuster – A United Kingdom – about his marriage to English woman Ruth Williams. Sir Seretse’s eldest son, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama was Botswana’s 4th President from 2008-2018.

Botswana is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, which Ewetse attributes partly to the role that traditional leaders play as a conduit between government and the people, especially in promoting harmony and understanding. 

That might be one of the reasons the PR industry has been such a good fit for Ewetse, helping prepare him for the big challenges that lie ahead.

“I felt that I needed to do things for myself and forge my own career, instead of relying on my name or status,” Ewetse says. “As a Khama, I had so much choice in life because many doors were always open to us, I could do or be anything I wanted. But I have always felt strongly about communications and working with people, so PR seemed like the perfect choice.”

Working within the PR Agency division of APO Group has given Ewetse a grounding, and a sense of normality. It has also broadened his horizons internationally, and given him new perspectives on Africa after being educated in Europe. Ewetse believes his PR career – and his time at APO Group – will help make him a better leader.

“I’m a good listener, which is essential in PR. You listen to what somebody has to say, then you help them develop their ideas, and connect with their audiences. The key appeal to me is that Public Relations is really about creating opportunities for people.” 

Ewetse’s work with APO Group has certainly helped him do that. He has offered a guiding hand to many multinational organizations looking to navigate the diverse African media landscape. His experience and local knowledge has enabled those companies to succeed in markets that are often difficult to crack. Like all his APO Group colleagues, Ewetse is passionate about Africa, and provided customers with ‘on-the-ground’ networking and support.     

As APO Group Founder and Chairman, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard explains: “Not everyone in our team is from African royalty! But they are all deeply attuned to the people, country and region in which they live and operate. Ewetse’s extraordinary story epitomises our commitment to local expertise, and is also a testament to APO’s talent pool across Africa.”

APO Group holds a unique position in the Public Relations industry in Africa. Formerly known as the African Press Organization, it has been providing content to media in all 54 African countries since 2007. Journalists in Africa know and trust APO Group, making them the perfect partner for companies looking to develop their presence on the continent.

Ewetse is now looking to bring the communications skills he honed in the PR industry into his new role as a Kgosi – a Batswana term meaning ‘Chief’, ‘King’ or ‘Elder’ – where his responsibilities include fostering local consensus and governance while also promoting social welfare and the economic empowerment of disadvantaged groups.

“My time at APO Group has been an important part of my career, and I am proud of the work we have done to help our multinational clients and drive business into African economies. I have great memories of the people and the experiences I’ve enjoyed along the way. They will stand me in good stead as I take this next exciting step!” 

Even though Ewetse has now moved on to serve his community and country, he will be remembered fondly by his former colleagues.

“Ewetse will always be a valued part of the APO Group team – a colleague and a friend,” Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard says. “We will miss him, of course, but APO Group’s loss is Botswana’s gain. His nation is lucky to have him. I am grateful for the fact that, thanks to our fantastic team, our clients across Africa will continue to receive a royal standard of quality service!

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