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SOUTH AFRICA: Ramaphosa cuts UK trip short as protests break out at home

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South Africa’s Ramaphosa cuts short Britain trip to deal with protests at home

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his visit to Britain by a day to return home to deal with protests in the country’s North West province, his office said on Thursday.

Protesters seeking jobs, better housing, roads and hospitals frequently clash with police in a country faced with weak economic growth and near-record unemployment – but these are the first big demonstrations since Ramaphosa took power in February.

The unrest, dubbed “service delivery protests”, has mounted over the years.

The latest protests erupted on Wednesday with residents demanding that the province’s Premier Supra Mahumapelo, a member of Ramaphosa’s ruling African National Congress party, step down.

Ramaphosa called for calm, ordered police to exercise maximum restraint and urged the aggrieved parties to express their grievances without resorting to violence.

He was due to return to South Africa on Friday from London, where he is leading a delegation to a Commonwealth summit.

“The president will return to Pretoria today, Thursday,” the president’s office said in a statement.

South African media reported that a bus was set alight, vehicles stoned and roads blockaded by protesters calling for Mahumapelo to quit because of a failure to adequately deliver services. Police fired teargas to disperse the crowds.

Botswana’s government said on Thursday it had closed exit points to South Africa’s North West province, where the two countries share a border. The troubled province lies 300 km (200 miles) west of South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg.

South Africa to charge Zuma’s son over car crash death

South African prosecutors will charge former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane with homicide after a 2014 car crash that left one woman dead, a spokesman said on Thursday, reversing a previous decision not to do so.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) gave Duduzane Zuma a two-month deadline that expired at the end of March to make representations as to why he should not be prosecuted, but he failed to do so, spokesman Luvuyo Mfaku said.

“He will be charged with culpable homicide,” Mfaku said.

Attempts to reach Duduzane, who rarely speaks to the media, were unsuccessful. His lawyers could also not be reached.

State lawyers initially decided not to prosecute Duduzane after his Porsche 911 sports car ploughed into a minivan taxi in Johannesburg, killing Phumzile Dube and seriously injuring two others, police said at the time.

In October, rights group Afriforum said it would privately prosecute Duduzane Zuma, if the public prosecutor did not. The NPA has since reversed its initial decision.

During an inquest in 2014, Duduzane said his car hit a puddle and he lost control‚ veering into the taxi‚ which in turn smashed into a barrier, describing the incident as “tragic”.

It was not immediately clear when the case against Duduzane Zuma would be brought in court, Mfaku said.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 19, 2018 at 05:04PM

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