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South Africa’s nuclear deals unlawful, court rules

A South African court has annulled initial agreements the government reached with three countries to help it build nuclear power stations.

The deals with Russia, the US and South Korea were unlawful, the court ruled.

The government failed to hold public hearings and a parliamentary debate over its plans, it added.

Environmental groups said they welcomed the ruling, pointing out it came on the eve of the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The government has not yet commented on the ruling, in a case brought by the Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

Its plan to build eight nuclear plants at an estimated cost of around 1tn rand ($76bn; £59bn) has been dogged by controversy, Critics fear the deal will be unaffordable and plagued by corruption, and suspect that Finance Minister Pravin Gordan was sacked by President Jacob Zuma last month because he had serious reservations about it.

“In the past few weeks citizens have demonstrated their willingness to mobilize against corruption and the capture of our state. The nuclear deal is at the center of it all.” SAFCEI official Siphokazi Pangalele said in a statement.

Concerns about the affordability of the deal contributed to global rating agency Fitch’s decision on 7 April to downgrade South Africa to “junk status”.

The government says it needs new nuclear power stations to meet South Africa’s growing electricity demand, and to move away from relying on coal-fire plants. The country currently has one nuclear plant.

It had reached preliminary agreements with Russia, the US and South Korea to build eight more, AFP news agency reports.

Environmental groups say South Africa should rely more on renewable energy to meet its electricity needs

Rugby Championship: South Africa beat New Zealand in thriller

South Africa ended world champions New Zealand’s 22-match unbeaten run with a thrilling victory in Johannesburg.

Patrick Lambie landed a 55m penalty with two minutes remaining to clinch a gripping Rugby Championship Test match.

The Springboks led by 11 points just after half-time but Dane Coles’ 71st-minute try put the visitors ahead, only for Lambie to snatch the win.

The defeat was the first for the All Blacks in 23 matches since they lost to England at Twickenham in December 2012.

New Zealand have lost just twice in 38 matches since winning the World Cup in 2011, while South Africa went into the match at Ellis Park with only one win in their last 10 meetings with the All Blacks.

Handre Pollard scored 19 points for the hosts, converting both of his two first-half tries as well as Francois Hougaard’s opener.

2014 Rugby Championship

16 August: Australia 12-12 New Zealand, South Africa 13-6 Argentina 13 September: New Zealand 14-10 South Africa, Australia 32-25 Argentina
23 August: New Zealand 51-20 Australia, Argentina 31-33 South Africa 27 September: South Africa 28-10 Australia, Argentina 13-34 New Zealand
6 September: New Zealand 28-9 Argentina, Australia 24-23 South Africa 4 October: South Africa 27-25 New Zealand, Argentina v Australia

Malaki Fekitoa went over for the first All Blacks try, but the home side led 21-13 at the break.

Pollard kicked a penalty after half-time to put South Africa 24-13 ahead, but this served as a prelude to a stirring comeback from New Zealand.

A try from winger Ben Smith was converted by Beauden Barrett to reduce the gap to four points, and this year’s Rugby Championship winners were ahead when Coles crashed over in the corner.

But Barrett missed the conversion, which meant that Lambie had a chance to retake the lead when Liam Messam’s challenge on Schalke Burger resulted in a penalty on 78 minutes.

McCaw closing in on O’Driscoll’s record

Richie McCaw’s 134 internationals comprise 133 Tests against other countries, and one appearance against the Barbarians. He trails only Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll (141 Tests) and Australia’s George Gregan (139) in the all-time list.

The substitute fly-half nervelessly slotted the kick over from just inside his own half, giving his side a lead they held to deny All Black captain Richie McCaw a win on his record-breaking 134th international appearance for his country.

The result was the first defeat for McCaw’s side in 18 matches since the start of the four-team Rugby Championship in 2012.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer: “All credit to Pat, it was an unbelievable kick under huge pressure.

“I have been involved in rugby for 30 years and always wondered what it felt like to beat the All Blacks.”

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen: “I have no problem with (referee Wayne) Barnes giving the penalty, I don’t think there was intention to hit him high, but he did.

“It was a great game of rugby and could have gone either way, but my heart tells me the Boks deserved it today.”

South Africa: Le Roux, Hendricks, Serfontein, De Villiers (capt), Habana, Pollard, Hougaard; J du Plessis, B du Plessis, Mtawarira, Matfield, Etzebeth, Vermeulen, Mohoje, Coetzee.

Replacements: Burger for Mohoje (49), Strauss for B Du Plessis (52), Pietersen for Hendricks (57), Lambie for Pollard (62), Botha for Etzebeth (62), Van der Merwe for J Du Plessis (62), Reinach for Hougaard (66), Nyakane for Mtawarira (72).

New Zealand: Dagg; B Smith, C Smith, Fekitoa, Savea; Barrett, A Smith; O Franks, Mealamu, Moody, Whitelock, Thrush, Reid, McCaw (capt), Kaino.

Replacements: Messam for Thrush (48), Coles for Mealamu (48), Franks for Moody (h-t), Faumina for O Franks (57), Luatua for Kaino (60), Kerr-Barlow for A Smith (65), Crotty for C Smith (73), Slade for Kerr-Barlow (74).

New Zealand's Dane Coles scores against South Africa

Dane Coles scored his first try for his country in his 23rd Test

Patrick Lambie of South Africa kicks the match-winning penalty

Patrick Lambie of South Africa held his nerve to kick the match-winning penalty

New Zealand's Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw, pictured with All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, broke Colin Meads’ international appearance record for his country

Masai Mara National Reserve

This world-renowned reserve, which stretches over 1510 sq km (938 sq mi) of open rolling grasslands, is backed by the spectacular Esoit Oloololo (Siria) Escarpment, watered by the Mara River and littered with an astonishing amount of wildlife.

Of the big cats, lions are found in large prides everywhere, and it is not uncommon to see them hunting. Cheetahs and leopards are less visible, but still fairly common. Elephants, buffalos, zebras and hippos also exist in large numbers.

The ultimate attraction is undoubtedly the annual wildebeest migration in July and August, when millions of these ungainly beasts move north from the Serengeti. While you’re more likely to see endless columns grazing or trudging along rather than dramatic TV-style river fordings, it is Happy New Year 2018 nonetheless a staggering experience.


Living in South Africa

South African Lifestyle – sun, braais and the great outdoors

Diversity is a key feature of South Africa, we are the only country in the world, a “rainbow nation” where 11 languages are recognised as official, where foods from many cultures are enjoyed by all and especially marketed to tourists, where community leaders include rabbis and chieftains, rugby players and returned exiles, where traditional healers ply their trade around the corner from stockbrokers and where housing ranges from mud huts to palatial homes with swimming pools.

Over the past 15 years South Africa has experienced enormous change. The achievement of democracy in 1994 led to transformed institutions, new policies and the start of a new society, a true “rainbow nation”.

In general we South Africans are fun-loving and laid back. This is a place where visitors are always welcome and where simplicity is the keyword to the South African lifestyle.

South African Lifestyle – Daytime Activities
The lifestyle in South Africa is full and varied. Daytime activities include dining at some of our many phenomenal restaurants, tasting wines at wine farms, or touring any number of natural and historically significant sites. If shopping’s your thing, a visit to one of the country’s large shopping malls may be more up your alley – most have cinemas to boot.

South African Lifestyle – Nighttime Activities
By night, experience our vibrant nightlife, starting with sundowners at a local bar or restaurant, and moving on to any one of the hundreds of clubs and bars on offer.

South African lifestyle – Food
Generally speaking South African cuisine is heavily meat-based and has spawned the distinctive braai, or barbecue. This being said South African restaurants offer a variety of exotic dishes and traditional cuisine so that you can not only satisfy your appetite. The European colonists brought their cookery styles and contributions with them, like Dutch fried crueler or koeksister, Malva Pudding and melktert (milk tart). French Hugenots brought wines which has since then had South Africa develop into a major wine producer, with some of the best vineyards lying in valleys around Stellenbosch, Franschoek, Paarl and Barrydale. Then there is Afrikaans favourites such as succulent potjiekos, tamatiebredie (tomato bredie) or stews of lamb or mutton with tomato and onion sauce, with or without rice. A very distinctive regional style of South African cooking often referred to as “Cape Dutch” is characterized by the use of spices such as nutmeg, allspice and hot peppers.

South African lifestyle – Nightlife
After a relaxing drink and some fine food, you’ll find that the nightlife scene in South Africa doesn’t disappoint! We suggest you check out website such as Cape Town Magazine, Eat Out and Johannesburg Live for more local and up to date information.

If you are in a festive mood then you must visit the one of our many festivals and events. The National Arts Festival is one of the most important events of South Africa, but don’t forget Rock the daisies, the Klein Karoo Kunsfees, the Grahamstown International Arts Festival, the Durban July and Cape Town International Fashion Week Grahamstown festival, Arts alive, Opikoppie and may more. which draws tourists in their thousands from South Africa, from the rest of the continent and from overseas and give the regional and metropolitan economies of the hosting cities a valuable economic shot in the arm.

South African lifestyle – Sports & Outdoors
Because South Africa is a place where the weather is good and there is plenty of outdoor space to enjoy, there are a wide variety of great activities to enjoy. Indeed, virtually every activity imaginable is available in various parts of the country. You can enjoy, kite surfing in Blouberg Strand horseback riding, sand boarding, paragliding from Lions Head, hang gliding, skate boarding, surfing, 4×4 trails, snow skiing, rock climbing, abseiling, quad biking, mountain biking, shark cage diving and much, much more! Our most popular sports are soccer, rugby and cricket and over the years we have produced some world class players including Francois Pienaar, Joost van der Westhuizen, Danie Craven, Frik du Preez, Naas Botha and Bryan Habana. In golf, Gary Player is generally regarded as one of the greatest golfers of all time, having won the Career Grand Slam, one of five golfers to have done so. Other South African golfers to have won major tournaments include Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Louis Oosthuizen.

Sports fans won’t be disappointed – South Africa is a sporty nation. Some of our favourite sports include tennis, boxing, athletics, netball and swimming and we love soccer! Out of the mainstream, a growing number of people are also crazy about activities like basketball, skateboarding, surfing, windsurfing and many more.

More than this, South Africa has the infrastructure, the capability, the range of accommodation and the tourist-friendly national culture that equips it ideally to host the world. South Africa proved this in 201 during the FIFA World Cup when hundreds of thousands of football fans fell in love both with the destination, and with the friendly, outgoing, welcoming demeanour of the South African people.

Should you have any questions with regard to the South African Lifestyle or immigrating to South Africa, feel free to contact one of our experienced immigration consultants.