Author Archives: Abbie

South African Teen Wins Google’s Prize

For her innovation, 16-year-old Kiara Nirghin wins a £38,000 scholarship with her orange peel invention that would fight South Africa’s droughts with fruit.

In Google’s Science Fair she used an orange peel to develop a cheap super-absorbent material that would help soil retain water further.

Kiara nirghin is a student from the Anglican Church’s St Martin’s High School in Johannesburg.

Before she discovered her invention worked, she created three experiments in 45 days where she developed and tested the “orange peel mixture” that would serve as an alternative to expensive and environment-unfriendly super-absorbent polymers (SAPs)

These included molecules found in orange peels and naturally occurring oils in avocado skins.

“The product is fully biodegradable, low-cost and has better water retaining properties than commercial SAPs. The only resources involved in the creation of the ‘orange peel mixture’ were electricity and time, no special equipment nor materials were required,” Ms Nirghin added in her online submission.

The Google Science fair is open to children aged 13 to 18. It focuses on encouraging innovation and solution-formulation and development in children.

Google awards winners of their science fairs with scholarships to help the children focus further with their ideas and studies to help society and the world.

Political Killings in South Africa To Be Investigated

According to South African Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, more than 20 politically-motivated incidents have occured in the country.

The Police Minister said in a media briefing in Cape Town that he has set up a task team to investigate political killings.

The team is built with seven detectives, five crime intelligence officers, four members from the Hawks and eleven members of the taxi violence task team.

According to the minister, these are the cases currently before police:


One case reported on 19 June at Pretoria show-grounds when there was an ANC media briefing regarding the mayoral candidate. One suspect was arrested and has been released on bail. The case will be back in court on 11 August 2016.

North West

One case of murder was reported on 18 March in Maboloka and the matter is still under investigation. No arrests have been made.

Eastern Cape

One case of murder was reported in Tsolo after a shooting incident.  Six suspects were arrested and the case has been remanded to 24 September 2016 for further investigations.


One case of murder has been registered at Del Mar police station.

KwaZulu Natal

1. In Imbali township, outside Pietermaritzburg, a case of double murder was reported after  an ANC branch general meeting, two members were shot and killed. Three suspects were arrested, two of them were successfully linked to the murders but one suspect could not be linked. The case will be back in court on 23 August 2016.

2. In area of Inchanga on 24 January 2016 a case of murder and attempted murder was reported after a physical confrontation between South African Communist Party (SACP) members and African National Congress (ANC) members in the area. Seven suspects were arrested and the case was before court 22 July 2016.  Investigations continue.

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South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation Changes Methods

The PIC or South Africa’s Pension Investment Corporation is rarely seen as an aggressive player. As the country’s biggest pension provider, it said it would use new methods that would see it as more of an aggressive player to help boost the country’s economy.

According to PIC Chief Executive Dan Matjila, the fund has about $117bn and is a key shareholder amongst South Africa’s top companies. Matjila plans to create a black consortium and to assert a major stakehold in Barclays Africa. The Johannesburg-based subsidiary of Barclays is selling off its company and the PIC wishes to use it to its advantage.

“The challenge is that we’re facing headwinds now — the economy is expected to grow below 1 per cent,” he says in an interview. “We’re now moving from the passive approach of saying, ‘Strategic asset allocation is going to work for us,’ to, ‘How do we then influence the economy this time? So that we can catalyse growth and therefore that will translate into asset growth’.”

Matjila estimates the new strategies can help drop the PIC’s returns from 14 per cent to 12.5 per cent a year. He said the PIC must be an instigator of growth by using investments to bolster employment.

It would also remove pressure in the Unemployment Insurance Fund given the new jobs the PIC and its other subsidiaries could offer for the country.

But the PIC has had to fend off worries that some of its decisions are politically driven and not necessarily in the best interests of the pension holders. It has also endured criticism from opposition MPs that it lacks transparency, particularly with its unlisted assets which account for 20 per cent of its portfolio.

Greater intervention in the economy is likely to increase scrutiny of the fund.

“We will be working hard to crack open the Public Investment Corporation and ensure that it is fire-walled from becoming a corporate battering ram and a piggy bank for the ruling (African National Congress) party in South Africa,” said David Maynier, an opposition Democratic Alliance MP, in a recent speech.

South African President Expands Saudi Influence

In an effort to expand South Africa’s economy, South Africa President Jacob Zuma had flown to Saudi Arabia during his state visit and had gone to the South Africa- Saudi Arabian Business Seminar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. The President intends to tighten the cooperation between South Africa and Saudi Arabia. He believes that South Africa has competitive offerings for the Muslim kingdom.

According to the South African President:

“The next important step is to enhance bilateral trade‚ investment flows‚ the identification of targeted areas of collaboration and to address impediments in this respect as well as the implementation of a mutually agreed upon framework to enhance economic‚ trade and investment cooperation‚” he said.

“This includes collaboration in skills and technology transfers‚ the strengthening of trade institutions and optimal cooperation between the governments and private sectors of our two countries.”

The President highlights agricultural products, food processing equipment, natural goods from agricultural produce, mining management, mining equipment and technologies, minerals mapping and benefication.

He also highlighted South Africa’s medical and pharmaceuticals sector, clothing, textiles and leather industries, advanced manufacturing equipment, forestry, pulp and paper and furniture.

Saudi Arabia, which has diverse partnerships with the United States and Europe, may find prices in South Africa to its liking. South Africa can benefit from immense business deals, which can help save and uplift its diminishing economy.

Davos Will Not Help African Economy

Africa’s growth does not depend on the decision of Davos according to analysts.

The Times South Africa said the continent did not depend on their visits to Davos to ask for favours that would benefit the country. The newspaper editorial said Africa is linked to the global economy and hosting an annual economic forum in their own country can help make matters better.

The newspaper said SA President Jacob Zuma must stop trying to sell South Africa to the world every time he visits Davos in Switzerland. Reaffirming his stance that South Africa’s economy is a potential gain for any country does not guarantee developed and other developing nations would immediately work with South Africa’s economy.

The paper suggests seeking new markets. It also stressed maintaining the existing economic agreements in the country to help it grow. South Africa, according to The Times, is looking as if it was begging for the world to invest in its country.

Currently, South Africa’s economic downturn is due to failing Chinese demand with the latter’s economy gradually falling. However, The Times editorial suggested that South Africa is rich in resources and manpower, making South Africa a preferred investment destination.

South Africa can only grow, according to The Times, if it would be prioritised by neighbouring countries for trade instead of relying on non-African nations to help its economy prosper.

Pope Visits Africa For The First Time

On November 25 to 30, Pope Francis will visit Africa, particularly Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic.

The Pope went on an invitation by heads of state and local bishops in each of Africa’s countries. The inviters believe Africa’s Catholic community is growing by the numbers as 200 million Africans were baptised as Catholics in 35 years, staking a 238 increase from the 80s.

However, many stipulate that the Pope’s views on married priests, compassion for homosexuals and owing greater roles in Catholic service for women may displease some Catholic figures and evangelists in the country.

Some heads of state also disagree regarding homosexuality being legalised in both citizenship and marriage.

Security Doubles Up

In Italy, the Pope’s security ramped up due to recent bombing incidents in Europe. Police forces inspected bags before they entered St. Peter’s Basilica where the Pope’s Angelus was heard regularly.

Before entering the square, the faithful must go through a series of metal detectors.

However, security forces close to the Pope knew the latter to be quite indifferent to his own security but are concerned about the attacks and those who flock around him.

South African Government To Investigate Volkswagen Emissions Scandal

Following its emissions rigging, Volkswagen is being investigated in South Africa as the carmaker admits about 11 million cars worldwide may have actually failed all emissions tests. South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs and Transport and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications said it was important to verify the possible rigging of US vehicle emissions tests.

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkom had resigned about two days. Matthias Mueller from Porsche may take over the business.

Meanwhile, the European Commission intends to launch a Europe-wide query into the Volkswagen scandal that many business analysts believe to be Germany’s biggest economic downfall. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Volkswagen must restore confidence in its company.

Volkswagen provides about 250,000 local jobs in Germany and is a key economic player for the international carmaking industry. With Volkswagen’s failing investor confidence, Germany’s consumer economy could possibly fail. Volkswagen’s shares had gone down by 40 percent.

Development heads for Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi may be dismissed as the three were responsible in developing the software emissions examination. The software can lower the fume emissions of the vehicles while undergoing strict emissions tests from different regulators worldwide. Because of the rigging, US regulators had fined Volkswagen with $18 billion.

Maputo Protocol on Women Ratified By Sierra Leone

The Parliament of Sierra Leone finally ratifies a government motion on the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, dated 11th July of 2003.

Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affair’s Minister Moijeh Kaikai said that Sierra Leone will provide the benefits provided by the government action already duplicates the benefits in the Child Rights Act, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, CEDAW, the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.

Honorable Josephine Emma Kowa said the protocol had come and gone out of Parliament but is finally ratified. She said the ratification of the protocol would strengthen the laws passed by the Parliament to protect women from rape and other forms of violence against women.

Honorable Jariatu K. Smith said that the Galleries that the House was not discussing the ban of the Bondo Society. She also discussed that abortion was necessary on the grounds of rape and proven medical conditions.

Funeral of Murdered Opposition Leader Zedi Feruzi Earns Thousands

Thousands of Burundi citizens, particularly young people, visited the wake of Burundi Opposition Leader Zedi Feruzi after his assassination by a drive-by on Sunday.

Young people sang patriotic songs as they carried the coffin of Zedi Feruzi, an open opposition leader against the rule of Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza. Feruzi and his bodyguard were killed during the incident.

His death is one of the casualties of the ongoing street protests against the Burundi President who had announced his re-election for June 26. An attempted coup soon followed on May 13, which was quickly put down by soldiers loyal to Nkurunziza.

Opposition leaders, politicians, journalists and civil rights leaders have fled into hiding after the killing of Feruzi. Ahead of the elections and realising the boiling point of the elections, many Burundi citizens and foreigners have fled the country.

In recent weeks, an independent radio station and a TV station was attacked with grenades and one was completely decimated. The state-owned media is the only source of information for many Burundi citizens who don’t live in the capital.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that he is worried “deeply” for Burundi following the extremely tense situation.

Maputo: The Next Shining Economic Star Of The World.

Compared to Manhattan, journalists and analysts alike have praised the progress of Maputo’s economy and infrastructure and tourism development. Journalists describe the billions of dollars in investments from private individuals and companies. Most of these investments pour into offshore gas wells that will produce enough for the economy in a few years.


With its economic growth, analysts see the confidence and optimism of the city with small theatre shows, great nightlife and dining and showcasing the country’s history.

Many saw the change from the sewage and squatting in the last 20 years into monumental parks and museums, hotels and new condominiums fit for the Manhattan lifestyle.

Taxi companies have progressed greatly, helping contribute to the increasing traffic of the city.

To help improve its tourism image, Maputo’s street corners have maps that indicate areas of interest. Street signs have also been replaced, along with a short description of the street’s name and history.

The French-Mozambican Cultural Centre next to its great nightlife areas had become very popular. The city is alive with music, with plenty of tourists and nationals comfortable with the cool and welcoming atmosphere of the cities.

Analysts see that Maputo could become the next great economic city that showcases what it could offer with its continually improving developments.