South Africa: What’s Happening In South African News – March 22, 2022

Cape Town —  

No Food Shortages Here, We’re South African!

Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development  Minister Thoko Didiza has been in discussions with  food processors, leaders in the fruit and grains industry, agricultural trading groups, and farmer associations, to ensure the availability of food supplies and farming input supplies for the country.  The minister has assured people that South Africa will not run short of food, despite the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The minister says there are also sufficient  supplies for neighbouring Southern African Custom Union (SACU) countries for the foreseeable future, and therefore no need to panic that the country could experience shortages.

Renowned Ndebele Artist Esther Mahlangu Attacked, Robbed 

Internationally-acclaimed Ndebele artist Dr Esther Mahlangu was attacked in her home and robbed of her firearm and an undisclosed amount of cash. Police said that Mahlangu, 87, was punched by the suspect before her hands were tied with a cable.  Mahlangu is  known for bold large-scale contemporary paintings that reference her Ndebele heritage. She was conferred with an honorary doctorate by the University of Johannesburg in 2018. Mahlangu is well-known for painting her geometric patterns on a BMW 525i in 1991, becoming the twelfth artist and first woman to take part in the BMW Art Car Project, after artists such as Andy Warhol. Mpumalanga  police are still looking for the suspect.

President Announces Licensing of New Digital Spectrum

In his newsletter From the President’s Desk, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country is taking a giant leap in the digital sphere with the licensing of a new spectrum, which he says is critical for economic growth. He added that cheaper data would enable young people to gain access to digital platforms to find employment online and students will be able to access information and educational materials. He also said that entrepreneurs will be able to start businesses and gain access to new markets.

The high-demand spectrum had been met with several delays in implementation, which, according to ITWeb – was described in 2021 by the South African Communications Forum as “devastating for the sector, consumers and the economy”. Telkom had reportedly obtained an urgent court order to halt the auction of the high-demand spectrum by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, ICASA, citing irregularities in the process, in March 2021.

President Ramaphosa said the licensing will be accompanied by agreed social obligations to connect public schools, health facilities and police stations over the next three years. “Like the mineral wealth that lies beneath our soil, radio spectrum is a valuable national resource that needs to be used for the benefit of all South Africans”, he said.

ActionSA Gives Makhosi Khoza the Boot

ActionSA has parted ways with its former KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Makhosi Khoza, after a disciplinary hearing found that she had brought the organisation into disrepute and caused disunity.  ActionSA said the move followed a series of public outbursts in January 2022.

Khoza has previously accused the party leadership of targeting her on suspicion of colluding with the ANC. She left the ruling party in 2017 and joined OUTA, before joining ActionSA.

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