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White workers begin strike in South Africa

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They are protesting against their exclusion from a company share scheme that benefits black workers.



More than 6,000 workers from the mainly white union – Solidarity – have begun a three-week strike in South Africa over their exclusion from a company share scheme by petrochemicals company Sasol.

Sasol recently introduced a new 10-year staff share scheme, Khanyisa phase 2, which excludes white workers and foreign nationals, something the union’s Dirk Hermann says is “causing racial tensions on the work floor”.

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However, Sasol has defended its decision, saying the scheme is designed to boost black ownership within the company, as part of the legislated Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) programme which seeks to redress historic inequalities in South Africa.

“The company is in the middle of a scheduled three-week maintenance programme. The union has chosen to go on strike at the same time to ensure that the effects of the strike are felt.”

Delays in the maintenance programme will cost the company huge sums of money and many of the union’s members are technical staff and artisans and are needed to carry out the maintenance programme at various sections of the plant.

The Khanyisa share scheme is the second employee related incentive scheme in recent years. In a previous scheme, known as Inzalo, all workers could take up share ownership.

Mr Hermann said the change is purely aimed at earning Saso, BEE status with the government and was not meant to benefit workers.

The strike action will include go-slows and lunchtime pickets, the union said.

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Crime

Ethiopia : 36 spy officers enter detention over corruption, rights abuses.

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After five months of investigations, Ethiopian authorities have arrested over thirty officials of the intelligence services, the attorney general Berhanu Tsegaye told reports on Monday.

According to him, the 36 officials currently being held have questions to answer over human rights abuses and alleged corruption. The officials were detained over the weekend, he added.



Local media portals quotes him as revealing grim details of rights violations on especially Ethiopians suspected and detained in connection with terrorism.

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He said investigators have uncovered 7 illegal dungeons in Addis Ababa, used purposefully to torture victims. Some of the actions of the detained officials led to death, rape and castration in some cases.

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He also gave details with regards to the case of a bombing at a pro-Abiy rally in Addis Ababa.

The third detailed corruption within the business wing of the Ethiopian National Defence Forces’ commercial wing.

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Motherland News

Uganda: Raging fire kills nine students in boarding School.

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Nine students died after fire engulfed a dormitory at a secondary school in southern Uganda early Monday, police said, one of the deadliest in a string of conflagrations at schools across the country in recent years.

Police spokesman Patrick Onyango said, the nine male students died when the blaze erupted at a dormitory that housed about 130 students at St. Bernard Maya secondary school in a district near the border with Tanzania.



Security personnel, Onyango said, suspect the fire was started deliberately by a group of students who had been expelled days earlier from the same school over indiscipline.

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It is suspected that they could be the ones that set the school on fire because of anger. They came back between midnight and 1 a.m. (local time Monday) and set the school ablaze,” he said.

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Our investigation is along that line because that is what we suspect happened.”

Other students were injured in the fire and had been rushed to nearby health facilities but Onyango said he was yet to establish their number.

Fire outbreaks at schools, mostly in dormitories, have become more frequent, often leaving buildings and students’ personal effects reduced to ashes.

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