South Africa

Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa’s first online auction of rhino horn opened Wednesday, despite conservation groups protesting that the legal, domestic sale would encourage poachers. The three-day selloff, organised by the owner of the world’s largest rhino farm, kicked off after a last-minute legal tussle pushed it back two days. “It has started,” a representative of Pretoria-based Van’s Auctioneers who declined to be named, told AFP after the auction website went live. John Hume, who owns 1,500 rhinos on his farm north of Johannesburg, has stockpiled six tonnes of rhino hornsRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Former South Africa skipper and batsman Graeme Smith will be among the coaches when the maiden Twenty20 Global League starts in the republic this November. His appointment as coach of the Benoni Zalmi, one of eight teams in the nationwide tournament, was confirmed Tuesday by the owners of a franchise based in eastern Johannesburg. It will be the first senior-level coaching post for the 36-year-old since he retired from international cricket three years ago. Geoffrey Toyana, the successful coach of all-formats South African franchise the Highveld Lions, willRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) A controversial online auction of rhino horn set to open Monday has been delayed by two days after a legal challenge delayed the South African permit for the sale, the organisers announced. Outraged conservationists say the three-day auctoin could undermine the global ban on rhino products, and the South African authorities had moved to ban the sale. But in an 11th-hour decision on Sunday, the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of the auction’s South African organiser, John Hume, who runs the world’s biggest rhino farm. HisRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) A South African civil rights organisation said Monday it would challenge the government’s decision to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe first lady Grace Mugabe, who was facing assault charges. The wife of President Robert Mugabe allegedly attacked a 20-year-old model with an electrical extension cord at a hotel in Johannesburg where the couple’s two sons were staying. The attack left Gabriella Engels with cuts on her forehead and on her head that required stitching and she filed an assault charge against Mugabe. South Africa’s foreign affairs ministry saidRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) A South African court on Sunday gave the go-ahead for an online auction of rhino horns that has outraged conservationists. South African authorities had moved to ban the three-day auction which they feared would undermine the global ban on rhino trade, refusing to issue a permit. But the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of the auction’s South African organiser John Hume, who runs the world’s biggest rhino farm. His lawyer had argued that the permits had been approved but not issued by the authorities in SouthRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Scrum-half Jano Vermaak replaced the injured Ross Cronje on Sunday when the South Africa squad was named for a Rugby Championship match in Argentina next Saturday. Cronje won a fitness battle to start in a 37-15 opening round triumph over the Pumas this weekend, but was not at his best. The 28-year-old Golden Lion is injury prone, missing the final Test in a 3-0 whitewash of France two months ago. Western Stormer Vermaak debuted for the Springboks in 2013 against Italy in Durban and has been capped threeRead More
Pretoria (AFP) Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe failed to appear Saturday at a summit in South Africa attended by her husband, an event overshadowed by her effort to obtain diplomatic immunity over assault allegations. The wife of President Robert Mugabe has not been seen since being accused of attacking a 20-year-old model with a electrical extension cord last weekend in a Johannesburg hotel where the couple’s two sons were staying. The case has become a media spectacle, with protesters gathered outside the summit, some brandishing placards that read “Grace, disgrace.”Read More
Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa launch their Rugby Championship campaign at home to Argentina Saturday knowing they have not convinced everyone a new chapter has begun following a horror 2016 season. After a calendar-year record eight defeats in 12 Tests under new coach Allister Coetzee, the 3-0 series whitewash of France two months ago was warmly welcomed. But while Coetzee spoke of “setting the record straight”, sceptics noted that France were average at best and dismal at worst during the tour. Were South Africa good or France awful or was itRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa said Friday it would oppose an online auction of rhino horns due to start next week, as outraged conservationists said the sale would undermine the global ban on rhino trade. The three-day auction by South African John Hume, who runs the world’s biggest rhino farm, comes after a ban on domestic trade in the country was lifted three months ago. The government said it would fight Hume’s court application to be granted sale permits. “The Minister of Environmental Affairs is opposing the application,” the government saidRead More
Johannesburg (AFP) Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe is a “massive flight risk” and must be arrested over allegations that she attacked a model in Johannesburg, South Africa’s main opposition party said Friday. Grace Mugabe, who has not been seen since the alleged assault on Sunday, is due to attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Pretoria this weekend along with her husband President Robert Mugabe. South Africa police said Thursday they were on “red alert” to prevent Grace Mugabe from leaving the country. The Mugabes will join otherRead More