A young boy fills his cup from a water tanker in Coronation, Johannesburg, as South Africa experiences its worst drought in decades. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

Agriculture hit as country suffers worst shortages since the 1930s

According to crop modelling, which helps to estimate yields when certain weather and soil conditions are applied, drought will decimate staple foods under a low mitigation future, especially important ones such as maize

A deal at UN conference in Paris is crucial for continent’s future

South Africa’s former president Kgalema Motlanthe in December 2005, when he was general secretary of the African National Congress. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP

Ex-president Kgalema Motlanthe says party’s MPs do not respect its own constitution

John and Lynette Rodgers, from Holywood in Co Down, are understood to have drowned while visiting Plettenberg Bay as part of their honeymoon. Photograph: Caroline Smyth Photography/PA Wire.

John and Lynette Rodgers from Co Down drowned after becoming caught in a rip-tide in Plettenberg Bay

Students outside  Union Buildings in Pretoria: On Wednesday 29 students were arrested after protesters stormed parliament during a budget speech. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Week of unrest ends in fierce clashes with police outside president’s office

Some of the thousands of students from Wits University in Johannesburg demonstrate during another day of protest against fee increases. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Students charged at Cape Town court with public violence after protesters storm parliament on Wednesday

Pistorius family spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess speaking to   media outside the home of Oscar Pistorius’s uncle, Arthur, where the athlete is to live under house arrest. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Prison authorities sneak Paralympian out of Pretoria facility in darkness to avoid media

South African president and ruling party African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma  at ANC’s 4th National General Council. Photograph: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP/Getty Images

President’s announcement he will not stand for another term adds to concerns

A member of the South African police force arrests a man in a protest against the lack of policing in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Beleaguered police commissioner Riah Phiyega under pressure as murders rise by 4.6%

 Hand of friendship: South African president Jacob Zuma with Chinese president Xi Jinping on a recent visit to  Beijing. Photograph: EPA/Lintao Zhang/Pool

ANC document allies country with China and Russia, in spite of economic risk

Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir: Attended a meeting of the African Union in Johannesburg in June. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir faces charges of war crimes at the International Criminal Court

Boys play soccer in Marikana’s Nkaneng township in front of the Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa. Photograph: Reuters

Government, mining companies and unions reach agreement after weeks of negotiations to stabilise the industry

A derelict gold mine shaft’s winding gear in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The country is  the fifth largest gold producer in the world and has vast amounts of other minerals still to be unearthed. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Organisation says class action may be only access to justice for workers and families

Paralympian Oscar Pistorius will leave prison on Friday: the lenience afforded Pistorius has sparked outrage on many public forums and on chat shows. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Paralympian’s release from jail after just 10 months has sparked outrage in South Africa

The Springboks: pressure is on the team to record a win before heading to compete in the World Cup in England. Photograph:  Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Union accuses ‘rugby mafia and white establishment’ of excluding black players

The bones of the dead ‘canned lions’ are increasingly being sold to Asia for use in potions and medicines

The outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe coincides with a documentary on the brutal phenomenon of South Africa’s (...)

Gold and coal mining companies are engaged in what all parties are describing as difficult wage negotiations against a backdrop of falling metal prices. Photograph: Reuters

Metal prices fall as demand tails off

Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi: the number of  millionaires in Mozambique will increase by 120 per cent to 2,200 by 2024, according to New World Wealth. Photograph: Etienne Laurent

Mozambique expected to have 2,200 millionaires by 2024, research suggests

President Jacob Zuma: the public protector said in a report last year that Mr Zuma had unduly benefited from the security upgrades which included a swimming pool, visitors’ centre, chicken run and cattle enclosure

Leader of South Africa’s opposition party says upgrades far exceed security requirement

A political rally in Burundi for President Pierre Nkurunziza:  Africa’s recent history at holding leaders to account does not inspire confidence. Photograph: Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Regionally run court with mandate similar to ICC’s is ultimately desirable

 South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma with school children during the closing ceremony of the 25th African Union  summit in Johannesburg on June 16th. Photograph: Elmond Jiyane/EPA

Scandal around African National Congress seen by some as mocking the constitution

Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir waves to his supporters at the airport in Khartoum on June 15th, on arrival for  South Africa. Photograph: Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

Warning comes following failure to detain Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir waves as he arrives in Khartoum from Johannesburg after a court ordered him not to leave South Africa as it decided whether to arrest him over alleged war crimes.  Photograph: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP/Getty Images

Criminal charges to be considered for those responsible for Sudanese president's escape

Kenyan men work at a road construction site near Isiolo town, 320km north of Nairobi, in July 2008. The road was being built by China Wuyi, a Chinese state company, and funded by African Development Bank and the Kenyan government. Since then the scale of Chinese aid to Africa has increased dramatically. Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters

China accused of using aid programme to forge ties with autocratic regimes in Africa

“This is the moment to invest in the continent,” South African president Jacob Zuma told business leaders, academics and politicians. Photograph:  Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

World Economic Forum hears growth in Africa is outpacing the global average

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan: led the trade mission which resulted in more than 200 meetings being held between Irish firms and potential business partners. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

34 companies targeted export opportunities in technology, aviation and energy sectors

South African president Jacob Zuma: the public protector, an anti-corruption watchdog, found he had “unduly benefitted” from security renovations at his rural home. It recommended he repay a reasonable amount of the money to the exchequer. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

South Africa’s parliament hears Jacob Zuma not liable for nearly €20 million in security

South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula:  maintained that the government had yet to see a copy of the indictment that outlines the alleged corruption. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Government ministers quick to dismiss suggestion of a $10 million payment

‘I was never really an adventurous type of person’: Zimbabwe’s small but hardy band of Irish expats have stuck out deteriorating (...)

Itai Dzamara in a protest against Robert Mugabe’s government last autumn. He was abducted on March 9th and has not been since since.

Supporters worry about fate of activist Itai Dzamara, who called for regime change in Zimbabwe

The leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition party Movement for Democratic Change,  Morgan Tsvangirai, addresses supporters at a rally in Bulawayo. Donors to his party are frustrated by its continuing failure to dislodge  Robert Mugabe. Photograph: Zinyange Auntony/AFP/Getty Images

President ( 91) ruling over country that has ground to a halt

Dave Connolly and the other 300-400 white farmers in Zimbabwe seem to be under threat again. In January, the government said white farmers had 90 days to leave their farms, although those who supported Zanu-PF – Mugabe’s ruling party – would be spared. Photograph: Bill Corcoran

The latest wave of land reform is a risk to investment and unjust, say critics

Tobacco farmers in Harare protest during an auction on the first day of Zimbabwe’s marketing season earlier this year, as prices for the country’s biggest agricultural export plunged. Photograph: Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

Mining and tourism present opportunities, but many will resist the ailing economy and 51% indigenisation law

Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithin delivering a speech in Durban yesterday. Photograph: Getty Images

Goodwill Zwelithini rejects accusations over xenophobic assaults in South Africa

People take cover from a stun grenade and tear gas after a skirmish  during this week’s march against xenophobia in Durban, South Africa. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Zimbabwe students’ union calls for retaliation against SA businesses

South African men run from police as rioting and looting is quelled during anti-foreigner violence in Durban yesterday. The wave of anti-foreigner violence spread downtown. Photograph: Rogan Ward/Reuters

Comments by Zulu king – later retracted – believed to have sparked wave of attacks

A statue of Cecil John Rhodes is bound by straps as it awaits removal from the University of Cape Town on Thursday. The university’s council voted on Wednesday to remove the statue of the former Cape Colony governor after protests by students. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

South Africa plans national day of talks on future of controversial monuments

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma: opposition MPs maintain fireworks are likely in Parliament. Photograph: Reuters

President to appear in parliament for the first time since his refusal to address calls to repay taxpayers’ money caused uproar in(...)

A GAA player in South Africa: Steven “Papi” Malingaer

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe trips up: the 91-year-old oversaw the installation of his wife Grace as president of the Zanu-PF women’s league. Photograph: AP

As Robert Mugabe turns 91 today, he continues to cling to power at home

Studying by candle light during load shedding in Soweto.  Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

South Africans endure up to three power outages a day as its electricity company, Eskom, struggles to cope

A  protest outside police headquarters in Pretoria. Despite some    efforts by authorities to clean up the police force, there has been no significant decline in criminality. Photograph: Mujahid Safodien/AFP/Getty Images

Institute of Race Relations finds 1 per cent of officers have criminal records

Archbishop  Desmond Tutu: said recently it felt like the dark days of apartheid had returned. Photograph: Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Spate of attacks has stoked concerns about growth of white racism

Zimbabwe’s former vice-president Joice Mujuru, who has denied plotting against  the country’s president and her party leader, Robert Mugabe. Photograph: EPA

Mnangagwa’s new role sets him up to succeed Zimbabwean president

Children from the Zip Zap circus school prepare ahead of a World Aids Day concert in Khayelitsha, South Africa. Today is the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death. Photograph: Nic Bothma

A year after his death, the ANC is tarnished by suspicions of corruption

Kenyan men work  on a road being built by China Wuyi, a Chinese state company: China has played a crucial role in Africa’s economic development over the past 15 years. Photograph: Antony Njuguna/Reuters

Western countries increasingly see Beijing’s relationship with the continent as a threat

 Joyce Mujuru: Until recently she was considered the leading contender to take over from Robert Mugabe. Photograph: Getty Images)

Ruling Zanu-PF bars vice-president from contesting seat on party’s top committee

South African president claims not to have been involved in project so says he is not liable for any overspend

Mr Higgins and his wife Sabina were given a first-hand account of the methods employed by the apartheid government to break and divide inmates on Robben Island by prisoner turned tour guide Thulani Mabaso. Photograph: Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography 2014

Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in jail on Robben Island

President Michael D Higgins delivering the keynote address “On International Human Rights and Global Development” at the University of Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, yesterday. Photograph: Fennell Photography

Analysis: Higgins comes close to challenging Government during South African speech

 President Michael D Higgins with  South African president  Jacob Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

President meets Zuma during South African visit

hildren in an Oranjekloof School classroom in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Photograph: Rogan Ward

A recent survey found that two-thirds of South Africa’s citizens with no education were living in poverty, and so Niall Mellon has(...)

President Michael D Higgins at the University of Johannesburg, Soweto Campus, yesterday, where he delivered the keynote address, Challenges and Opportunites in Africa, on the 16th day of his 22-day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa. Photograph:  Chris Bellew/Fennell

Impact of climate change and depletion of natural resources meant economies had to change, which involved risks and opportunitie(...)

South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma is greeted by assistant minister for defence Stuart Robert and Queensland’s premier Campbell Newman on his arrival in Australia today in advance of the G20 summit. He left behind a controversy over a multimillion-euro overspend on upgrades to his home. Photograph: Steven Holland/Getty

Punches thrown as opposition parties try to block approval of ANC MPs’ findings

Members of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF show their support for Mugabes’s wife, Grace, in Harare. Photograph: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters

Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF factions vying for control of ruling party

Jacob Zuma: South Africa’s public protector (ombudsman) had found that the president had unduly benefited from several non-security feature upgrades at his property. Photograph:  Neville Hopwood/Getty Images

South African president cleared over €17.8m upgrades at home by own party members

Oscar Pistorius after his sentencing at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph: Themba Hadebe/New York Times

South African paralympian could be moved to house arrest after serving 10 months

Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Renamo, the opposition political party, rallies support in Maputo, Mozambique,  at the weekend. Photograph: Antonio Silva/EPA

Ruling party Frelimo likely to lose at least some seats to post-conflict rivals

Shrien and Anni Dewani. Photograph: Bristol Evening Post/PA Wire

Shrien Dewani accused in Cape Town of paying taxi driver to hire two hit men

File image taken from video by Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist network, shows the alleged missing girls abducted from the northeastern town of Chibok. Refugees from Nigeria  come primarily from the north, where they are fleeing the activities Boko Haram. Photograph: AP Photo/File

Eritrea, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia are where the majority hail from

Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “Ashamed to call this lickspitle bunch [the ANC] my government.” Photograph: Reuters

Laureates refuse to attend over South Africa refusal to give visa to Dalai Lama

The South African government’s refusal to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to enter the country next month for a Nobel peace laureate summit has prompted a number of participants to pull out of the event in protest. Photograph: Ashwini Bhatia/AP

Activists pull out of event after South Africa refuses visa for peace laureate

“I couldn’t believe a place like this existed.”  Frankie Hannigan with his wife Susannah and children Rafferty, Gabriel and Finlay

Miners, missionaries and medics have been attracted to the country, with 30,000 Irish passport holders now living there

Oscar Pistorius leaves North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, yesterday. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Paralympian faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced in October

Oscar Pistorius reacts to the verdict in his murder trial at the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa, yesterday. Photograph: EPA/Alon Skuy

Acquittal on lesser charge could leave court’s decision open to appeal

Members of the African National Congress Women’s League protest outside the trial of Oscar Pistorius in Pretoria yesterday. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

SA has progressive legal system on paper, but in practice ‘there are a lot of abuses’

Reeva Steenkamp’s father, Barry Steenkamp, glances at Oscar Pistorius  in the High Court in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph: Getty Images

Judge says evidence against athlete was ‘purely circumstantial’

South African president Jacob Zuma. The presidency welcomed the decision by South Africa’s supreme appeals court to release the so-calld ‘spy tapes’ tapes but has said nothing else on the matter. Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

South African opposition leader seeks to have withdrawn corruption charges reinstated

Julius Malema, leader of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), leaves parliament with supporters in Cape Town. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/Reuters

EFF MPs anger speaker with repeated calls for Zuma to pay back money they say he owes

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace , greet supporters at a  rally in Harare. Photograph: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

President Mugabe’s wife nominated as sole candidate to lead Zanu-PF women’s league

A baby white rhinoceros walks with its mother in the Kruger National Park. While rhino poaching occurs across South Africa, Kruger has been hardest hit. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Move to protect South Africa’s endangered animals from poachers

South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma   at the US-Africa leaders summit  in Washington. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Extension was a main item on Africa-US summit agenda

Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s government has given mixed signals on plans to seize majority stakes in foreign-owned companies as part of its indigenisation policy. Photograph: EPA/Aaron Ufumeli

Zanu-PF’s electoral victory 12 months ago has led to a worsening economy

 South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma: The Regulations of Land Holdings Bill is one of a number of land reform bills that his government is trying to sign into law before the end of his term in office in 2019. Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

ANC against expropriation of property owned by foreigners, estimated to be about 7% of South Africa

People watch as their dwellings are dismantled in Lwandle, an impoverished area about 45km from Cape Town, after the South African National Roads Agency Limited obtained a court order to  remove squatters from the land. Photograph:  Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images

Progress on reform slow as landowners and state trade blame for delays

Residents pass the perimeter of the Wonderkop platinum plant operated by Lonmin in Marikana, South Africa. Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Industrial action for pay increase affected 40 per cent of global platinum production

A South Africa fan in Pretoria, 2010:  about €2.5bn was spent on new stadiums, renovating airports, upgrading roads and a high-speed public railway. Photograph:  Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Looked at holistically, the middle classes would seem to have benefited the most

South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela leaves his office in Johannesburg with assistant Zelda la Grange.  Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images

Zelda la Grange’s book reveals how family controlled matters at end of Mandela’s life

Frank Gormley’s  Howard Eurocape property development company was one of the driving forces behind the regeneration of Cape Town’s city centre. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Dublin developer has multimillion euro debts

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe. Critics of the country’s business indigenisation law accuse his Zanu-PF party of using it as a way to keep intact the patronage system that enriches the president’s allies. Photograph: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwean indigenisation law to be made more investor-friendly

South African president Jacob Zuma arrives at his inauguration in Pretoria. Photograph: EPA/Mujahid Safodien

President makes ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa his second-in-command

A police car escorts a bus outside Lonmin’s Saffy shaft mine in Rustenburg. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Industrial action by 70,000 workers has halted nearly 40 per cent of normal production in world’s top platinum-producing count(...)

Malawian president Joyce Banda  answers journalists’ questions during her final election campaign in her home village of Songani, on the outskirts of Zomba, on Saturday.  Photograph: Amos Gumulira/AFP/Getty Images

Encumbent Joyce Banda will have to fight to retain the presidency

South African president Jacob Zuma greets opposition DA party leader Helen Zille at the results operations centre in Pretoria. Photograph: EPA

South African election hailed as most competitive since end of apartheid

Voters queue to cast their ballots in Johannesburg’s Alexandra township.   Photograph: Reuters

First election for seven-million-strong generation born post-apartheid

South African president Jacob Zuma speaks at the weekend at the African National Congress’s final rally before elections in Johannesburg. Photograph: Joao Silva/New York Times

Timing of revelation two days before South African election questioned by critics

Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema points the way to supporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Photograph: Ihsaan Haffejee/EPA

Malema’s new party is set to make a real impact in the May general election

Supporters of the ruling African National Congress protest against the provincial government over the alleged lack of services and housing in Cape Town. South Africa is to hold its fourth general election since the end of apartheid on May 7th. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Western Cape is the only opposition-run province, and the ANC wants it back

Democratic Alliance  members chant party slogans during a march in downtown Johannesburg. Photograph:  Kim Ludbrook/EPA

Democratic Alliance is confident it can win provinces from the ANC

Helen Zille, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, dances with supporters at a campaign rally in Hout Bay, Cape Town, on Thursday. The main opposition party has steadily increased its support base since 1994. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Party losing support amid corruption scandals and economic stagnation

An artwork created by South African artist Anton Kannemeyer depicting South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma (right) and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki at the Stevenson gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.  Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

The main players as voters go to the polls

Oscar Pistorius   in the dock inside court in Pretoria. The murder trial will resume on Monday.  Photograph: Werner Beukes/AP

Athlete may have no option but to testify

South Africa president Jacob Zuma: €16.8 million was  spent on renovating his residence near Nkandla village in KwaZulu-Natal province.  Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

South African president claims he did not ask for €16.8m makeover

Jacob Zuma: the report recommended that he pay a percentage of the upgrade work overseen by the department of works. Photograph: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Investigation paints damning picture weeks before South African general election

Oscar Pistorius (centre) leaves North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday. Photograph: Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Evidence of Estelle van der Merwe a further blow to athlete’s defence

Oscar Pistorius and June Steenkamp (second from right), the mother of Reeva Steencamp, at the North Gauteng High Court on Monday for the opening day of his trial. Photograph: Getty Images

Paralympian pleads not guilty to murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

Police try to hold back the media as Carl Pistorius, the brother of Oscar Pistorius, arrives at North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday for the opening day of the athlete’s murder trial. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Athlete walks in through front door

An Australian TV journalist reports from outside  North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday ahead of today’s opening of Oscar Pistorius’s  trial for murder. Photograph:  Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Star’s family calls for end to commentary as he prepares to face Steenkamp’s mother

On trial: Oscar Pistorius in court last August. Photograph: EPA

Oscar Pistorius goes on trial for murder on Monday, with a 24-hour TV channel, a live Twitter feed and the world’s media on standb(...)

Oscar Pistorius. Court documents outline the key evidence prosecutors believe will prove the athlete murdered his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on St Valentine’s Day last year. Photograph: AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

Trial of South African Paralympian charged with murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp scheduled to begin on March 3rd

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