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South African Airways discusses with Banks, National Treasury for an open credit line

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South African Airways (SAA) urgently needs a new capital injection to stay afloat and is in discussions with banks and the National Treasury for “an open credit line”, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

State-owned SAA, which has not generated a profit since 2011, is regularly cited by ratings agencies as a drain on the government purse and has already received state guarantees totaling nearly 20 billion rand ($1.6 billion).

“We do need access to capital to sustain the operations and we are having discussions with Treasury, as well as the banks around how we can have an open credit line,” Chief Executive Vuyani Jarana told parliament.

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Asked by an opposition lawmaker when the airline would need to access billions of rands of extra state support, Jarana responded “Now”.

He later told reporters that SAA would need around 5 billion rand this year to pay down debts and for operational costs. The struggling airline has not had credit facilities since August when bank lenders pulled the plug after a debt repayment scare.

“Over the next six months we will need… in the range of 5 billion rand to make sure we can support the working capital,” Jarana said, adding that amount included arrear payments.

The National Treasury said that SAA needs an equity partner to pump money into the company to address a liquidity crisis and to help with the implementation of a turnaround plan.

The company’s results for the year to March 31, 2017, which had been delayed after the company received a 10 billion rand government bailout last year, showed a deepening loss of 5.6 billion rand, a more than threefold increase from the previous year’s 1.5 billion rand loss.

SAA will need to repay bank debts of 9.2 billion rand by March 2019, Jarana said, adding that this figure could increase.

“SAA has not been able to pay the principal amount, we’ve always been able to service the interest payments on this, so part of the strategic options we are looking at… is an optimal capital structure,” he told reporters.

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REUTERS

Crime

Nigeria Football Federation boss Amaju Pinnick under fresh corruption probe

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Several properties belonging to top officials of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), including its president Amaju Pinnick, have been seized in a fresh corruption probe.

The latest investigation and seizures are being carried out by the country’s Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC).

The ICPC has published a newspaper advertisement about the properties seized – half of which belong to Pinnick.

According to the statement published in the Nigerian papers one of Pinnick’s properties is in London.

It comes amidst wide-ranging claims over how money meant for football development allegedly disappeared.

“We can’t go into further details beyond the fact that many officials of the NFF are under investigation,” ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa said.

“It’s basically because what they have is in excess of what they have earned.”

The ICPC has also taken control of properties belonging to the NFF second vice-president Shehu Dikko and the general secretary Muhamed Sanusi among others.

Source: BBC

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24 Hours Across Africa

Rwanda ban Burundi,s music star ahead of annual festival

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Burundian musician Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, has told the BBC he is confused by Rwanda’s decision to ban him from playing at the upcoming Kigali Jazz Fusion festival.

Kidum is one of Burundi’s biggest music stars and has performed in Rwanda for the past 16 years.

But a police official phoned the musician’s manager to warn that he would only be allowed to make private visits to Rwanda.

“[My manager was told] Kidum is not supposed to perform, tell him to leave. If he comes for private visits fine, but no performances,” the musician told BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme.

The mayor of Rwanda’s capital said that in this instance permission had not been sought from the authorities for him to perform at the festival in Kigali.

Kidum was a leading peace activist during Burundi’s civil war between 1993 and 2003 and used his songs to call for reconciliation.

The 44-year-old musician said he had never had problems with Rwandan authorities until recently when three of his shows were cancelled at the last minute – including one in December 2018.

That month Burundi had banned Meddy, a musician who is half-Burundian, half-Rwandan, from performing in the main city of Bujumbura.

Kidum said he was unsure if the diplomatic tensions between Burundi and Rwanda had influenced his ban.

“I don’t know, I don’t have any evidence about that. And if there was politics, I’m not a player in politics, I’m just a freelance musician based in Nairobi,” he said.

He said he would not challenge the ban: “There’s nothing I can do, I just wait until maybe the decision is changed some day.

“It’s similar to a family house and you are denied entry… so you just have to wait maybe until the head of the family decides otherwise.”

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