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News

  • #ZimbabweCoup: follow the developing ‘bloodless transition’ on Twitter

    #Zimbabwe, #ZimbabweCoup and "Mugabe" were all trending topics on Twitter across the world this morning. And there's no real surprise as to why. The country's president Robert Mugabe has been overthrown by the military, with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa reportedly instated as temporary leader. It's a rapidly moving story, changing from minute to minute. And that's probably why social media is your best bet for keeping abreast of the ever-breaking news. Below you'll find a number of accounts live-tweeting news and opinion, owned by politicians, parties and news organisations, with their bios below. ZANU PF (@ZANUPF_Official) The #Official #ZANUPF Twitter handle. #ZANUPF is a product of the Unity...

  • The five-minute story of Zimbabwe’s ‘bloodless transition’

    There are two words you're going to hear a lot today: Zimbabwe, and coup. According to numerous reports, Zimbabwe is now under the control of its military. President Robert Mugabe and the first family has been "detained". Last night the first family was detained and are safe, both for the constitution and the sanity of the nation this was necessary. Neither Zimbabwe nor ZANU are owned by Mugabe and his wife. Today begins a fresh new era and comrade Mnangagwa will help us achieve a better Zimbabwe. — ZANU PF (@zanu_pf) November 15, 2017 The latest wave of political upheaval comes after President...

  • When will Cape Town run out of water? This tool imagines the scenarios

    For the second week running, Cape Town's dam levels have fallen sharply. As summer draws nearer, the City continues to plead with residents to reduce consumption, as it juggles solutions to the crisis. But taking into account the City's current consumption rate, the dams' current storage levels, and the likelihood of augmentation schemes coming online in the new year, when will Cape Town likely run out of water? It's a multi-million rand question that UCT CSAG's "Big Six Monitor" allows users to imagine. Named after the six largest reservoirs in the Western Cape Water Supply System and created by CSAG's Piotr Wolski,...

  • Cape Town’s dam storage drops again to 36.8%

    Every one of Cape Town's largest dams, bar one, lost storage capacity over the past week, this according to the City of Cape Town's latest dam level report (pdf). This comes after dam levels fell from 38.5% to 37.8% a week ago. The second successive drop in the Western Cape Water Supply Scheme now puts Cape Town's dam storage at 36.8%. That's an overall loss of around nine-billion litres, or just over two-week's worth of water at our current consumption rate. A dam-by-dam breakdown paints an even bleaker picture. Image: City of Cape Town The Theewaterskloof Dam fell by 1.2% over the previous week,...

  • Here’s what Twitter’s saying about the #FeesCommission report

    The long-awaited Fees Commission Report has finally be released -- albeit over 30-minutes later than advertised -- and Twitter has responded in earnest. After waiting years for the ANC government to take a firm stance on the possibility of free tertiary education, users not only crashed the official website, but also pushed #FeesCommission to top trending nationwide. The first issue on the table? The official document's (found here) 752 pages -- though a few have already offered sub-280 character summaries. Can the law students kindly read and then give us a summary. I practically got a headache just looking at so many words....

  • SA Presidency’s website crashes prior to Fees Commission Report release

    The official account of the Presidency of South Africa posted a tweet at 11.51am Monday stating that it will today at 12pm release the much anticipated Fees Commission Report. Officially called the "Report of the Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training in South Africa", the document is a study into the possibility of free tertiary education in the country. President Jacob Zuma had previously been called on by protesting students and opposition to release the report. President Jacob Zuma will release the Report of the Commission into the Feasibility of Fee-Free Higher Education and Training in South Africa...

  • Somaliland, Zimbabwe crack down on social media

    Somaliland, the self-declared republic in northwestern Somalia, and Zimbabwe have cracked down on social media in the face of current and upcoming elections. Somaliland will be restricting access to various social media platforms in an effort to protect voters from "fake news" surrounding the election held Monday, 13 November. The electoral commission asked telecommunications companies to block the likes of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Viber, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, Duo, and Google Plus. The companies agreed to the request. NEC declared Social media will be shutting down on the voting day, until the result comes out for fake news avoiding #somaliland. News link https://t.co/JtQJeAd0iR pic.twitter.com/o41CMADFDc —...

  • Beaufort West’s Gamka Dam hits 0%

    Beaufort West, the largest town in the Western Cape's arid Karoo region, has officially run out of dam water. This according to the Western Cape Government's media liaison James Styan. "The town has run out of surface water but has relied on boreholes for a long time," he tweeted Monday morning. #WCDROUGHT Note: Beaufort-West has NOT reached day Zero. The town has run out of surface water but has relied on boreholes for a long time. — James Styan (@jamesstyan) November 13, 2017 He did however suggest that the town, home to nearly 40 000 people, has not reached "day Zero" -- suggesting that there...

  • Viral video: Johannesburg Metro police officer attacked in Hillbrow

    A video of a group of people attacking a Johannesburg Metro Police (JMPD) officer has gone viral on both Twitter and Facebook. The video of the incident, which was captured in Hillbrow on Sunday, depicts members of a Johannesburg church congregation pushing, disarming and beating a JMPD officer. The cause of the incident was reportedly the towing of an illegally parked car. Quoted by News24, JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said that the officer at the centre of the incident was left "beaten" and "unconscious" and was later "rushed to Milpark Hospital". The two-minute-long video, initially uploaded to Facebook by Yusuf Abramjee, received more...

  • Crime reporting app Namola now available across South Africa

    South African crime response app Namola is now available to use across the country, the company and its partner Dialdirect announced Friday. The app, which was initially available in Tshwane, allows users to request police or emergency assistance by sharing acute details with officials, including current location, and the nature of the emergency from their devices. It has been dubbed the "Uber for police". "For genuine alerts, police, other emergency response and citizen responders are then dispatched and monitored," the company noted in a press release. According to Dialdirect's executive head Warwick Scott-Rodger, the app is a "smart compliment" to other police dispatcher...

  • ‘Incels’ subreddit removed for inciting violence against women

    Reddit has banned the Incels subreddit for its content that promoted violence against women. The community was comprised of men who blamed women for their virginity, or "involuntary celibacy", and sometimes advocated rape. "Communities focused on this content and users who post such content will be banned from the site," Reddit said in a statement. "As of Nov. 7, r/Incels has been banned for violating this policy." This removal is in line with its latest policies, announced in October, forbidding violent content on its platform. Of the first to go were white supremacist and Nazi groups. The r/Incel community consisted of around 40...

  • Google to announce merchant support on SA Play Store? [Update: yes]

    Update: It didn't take place on Monday, but Google nevertheless announced support on Thursday, issuing a press release. "Starting today, developers in South Africa can sell paid applications, in-app products, and subscriptions in Google Play, with monthly payouts to their local bank accounts," read an excerpt of the release. Original article: The Google Play Store might be popular in South Africa, but it's lacking one major feature in the form of merchant support for local developers. The lack of merchant account support means South African developers can't publish paid apps directly onto the Play Store. But that could change as soon as...

  • TripAdvisor adds badge to properties where sexual assault has occurred

    A damning report by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal on 1 November showed how travel website TripAdvisor was removing hotel and resort reviews that included rape and sexual assault claims. The report found that the website labelled such reviews "inappropriate, not "family-friendly", and "hearsay" when they included third-party medical diagnoses -- and now TripAdvisor is responding by placing symbols "designed to identify health, safety and discrimination issues", The New York Times reports. "These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive," company spokesperson Kevin Carter told NYT. In reality, the badges offer a vague way for the company to justify its intent on continuing to remove claims of injury and violence...

  • Russia to ban Facebook if it doesn’t comply with data storage laws

    Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor will check to see if Facebook is abiding by a Russian data storage law -- and the result may lead to the company blocked from the country altogether. "In the near future Roskomnadzor will plan a series of supervisory activities aimed at analyzing the activities of the administration of Facebook in terms of the processing of Russian users’ personal information, the terms of services for users, and the content of existing legislation," it said in a statement Wednesday carried by the Interfax news agency, according to Reuters. The law, which came into effect last year, requires websites that store citizens' personal data to do...

  • Truecaller reveals the top spam callers in South Africa

    Spam calls are part of daily life for most with a cell phone in South Africa, but which industry is most responsible for making them? These statistics and more were this week provided by Scandinavian company Truecaller, best known for its spam alert and management app. For Truecaller, South Africa has become an integral market. It's where the company is experiencing its fastest growth (120%) on the African continent, and boasts around 3.2-million users. With that growth and user pool stems some interesting statistics regarding spam calls in the country. South Africa ranks fifth on its list of countries most affected by spam...