Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Furious reaction in South Africa to sacking of finance minister and his deputy
  2. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa calls the president's move 'totally unacceptable'
  3. Archbishop of Cape Town says Zuma is reckless and launching assault on the poor
  4. Opposition Democratic Alliance condemns the president's 'midnight massacre'
  5. Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema calls for Zuma no confidence vote
  6. Kathrada's widow condemns postponement of state memorial service
  7. ANC youth wing backs reshuffle, urging faster 'transformation'
  8. Ten new ministers prepare to take office in a 'radical' new SA cabinet
  9. South Africans can grow and smoke marijuana at home, court rules
  10. South Sudan rebels free three kidnapped oil workers
  11. Nigeria to introduce electronic voting
  12. Email stories and comments to africalive@bbc.co.uk - Friday 31 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Scroll down for Friday's stories

We'll be back on Monday

That's all from the BBC Africa Live  page this week. Keep up-to-date with what's happening across the continent by listening to the  Africa Today podcast  or checking the  BBC News website  . 

A reminder of today's wise words:

The child of fire is ash."

An Amharic proverb sent by Million Tadege, Debre Markos, Ethiopia

Click here to send your African proverbs .    

And we leave you with this picture of a lion, who found a comfortable spot in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.

View more on instagram

SA cabinet swearing-in delayed

The swearing-in of South African President Jacob Zuma's new cabinet has been delayed. 

It had been due to take place at 16:00 GMT (18:00 local time) but will now take place later this evening, according to the official news agency.

Mr Zuma's sacking of his finance minister and others has caused huge ructions among South African political figures, including senior figures in the president's own ANC party (see earlier posts).

There has been no word on the reason for the delay of the swearing-in ceremony.

View more on twitter

Skeletons of livestock litter landscape in drought-hit Puntland

Abdinoor Aden

BBC Africa

Skeletal remains of dead animals
BBC

The impact of a severe drought in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland is getting worse, as nomads lose hundreds of head of livestock.

Despite traveling for miles in search of pasture and water, pastoralists have been unable to save their livestock because of the worst drought in years, named Siman by the locals. 

Siman means "equal" or "the same", referring to the existence of the drought in all areas.

herdsmen in a landscape of brush and scrub
BBC

Humanitarian agencies, including the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), have been providing water and other support in the last few weeks.

Animals have been weakening after going for several days without water and pasture. 

thin camel with herder
BBC

The lucky ones were transported using vehicles which took two days to reach the destinations.  

The herdsmen have left their families with relatives to travel far distances.

One family told me they lost 800 animals including goats and sheep in one month.

goats
BBC

UN votes to reduce DR Congo peacekeeping mission

BBC World Service


          Blue Helmet peacekeepers in DR Congo look on from a United Nations truck in Goma on November 8, 2016
AFP

The UN Security Council has voted to cut the size of its largest and most expensive peacekeeping mission, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Under the draft plan, the authorised total of 19,000 peacekeepers will be reduced by 3,000.

The UN force is already undermanned by close to that number. 

Several UN member states have signalled a desire to cut spending on peacekeeping, in particular the new Trump administration in the United States - which is the largest donor.

The situation in DR Congo remains uncertain - under an agreement reached with opposition parties, President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after elections later this year.

What's Up Africa: The rapper who upset a president

What does it take to upset a president? How sick does a corrupt politician need to be to earn a get-out-of-jail card? And what could Brexit really mean for Africa?

This is Africa in 90 seconds through the eyes of satirist Ikenna Azuike:

What's Up Africa:The rapper who upset a president

Boko Haram's female suicide bomber strategy

Nigeria's militant Islamist Boko Haram group is abducting, drugging, and forcing women to marry its members, as part of its attempt to recruit them as suicide bombers. 

The BBC's Clive Myrie travelled to the city of Gwoza, a Boko Haram stronghold for eight months, until it was retaken by the army.

Boko Haram's female suicide bombers strategy

Ethiopian maid plunges six storeys as employer films

BBC World Service

Kuwait City skyline
AFP

The Kuwaiti authorities are reportedly investigating a woman who apparently failed to help her Ethiopian maid as she fell from the window of a seventh floor apartment. 

Instead of trying to save the maid, the employer filmed her on a phone. 

The shocking video shows the Ethiopian woman hanging by one hand from the window and begging for help before plunging downwards. 

A piece of roofing appears to have broken her fall six floors down and she survived. 

It's thought she may have been dangling from the window because she was suicidal. But it's not clear why her employer failed to try to save her. 

Read the full BBC News story

BBC Swahili presenter's family snap goes viral

BBC Swahili's Salim Kikeke is something of a social media hero in the office, with nearly two million followers on Facebook and 500,000 on Instagram. 

But even he looked taken aback when we told him that 10,000 people (and counting) had liked his post celebrating his son's first birthday.

Forget hard news for a moment and enjoy these two! 

(THIS MEDIA EMBED IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE)

Kathrada's widow savages Zuma after memorial service cancelled

The widow of veteran anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has accused South African President Jacob Zuma of "greed and corruption", hours after the government indefinitely postponed her late husband's state memorial, which had been due to take place tomorrow. 

The government did not give an explanation for calling off the planned service.

Speaking at a news conference, Barbara Hogan said the president had "gone rogue" and that she was angered at the timing of his cabinet reshuffle, which came three days after the death of her husband.

"Could they not have held off for one more week with their dastardly deeds out of respect for Kathy's death?" she asked. 

"If this isn't a defining moment, nothing will be," Ms Hogan said, adding: "I call on everyone here to not remain silent. The country needs to be taken back."

Mr Zuma did not attend the funeral for the celebrated anti-apartheid figure this week at the request of the Kathrada family.

Local eNCA news has been tweeting video highlights from the briefing:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Journalists have been reacting to Ms Hogan's speech on Twitter:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The family will host a separate memorial service tomorrow, details of which have been shared by South Africa's public broadcaster: 

View more on twitter

Former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, whose sacking has rocked the country, will be among the guests. 

Opposition fails to halt SA cabinet swearing-in

The opposition Democratic Alliance has failed in a court attempt to stop President Zuma's new cabinet being sworn in. 

The judge reportedly said there were not strong enough grounds for judicial intervention in the president's affairs.

The swearing-in is due to take place from 16:00 GMT (18:00 local time).

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Explaining South Africa's night of the long knives

The cabinet reshuffle by South Africa's President Jacob Zuma was expected, but its scale has taken people by surprise. 

The BBC's Lerato Mbele takes a look at the implications.  

South Africa's night of the long knives

Marijuana can be grown and smoked at home, SA court rules

Dagga plant
AFP

We're catching up now on another bit of news from South Africa earlier. The High Court in the Western Cape has ruled that people may grow and consume dagga, or marijuana, at home if it is for private use.

According to the News24 website , the court also ruled that parliament must change sections of the Drug Trafficking Act, as well as the Medicines Control Act, within 24 months to take account of its decision.

The case was brought by Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton and Rastafarian Garreth Prince.

They had argued that laws prohibiting dagga use were unfair, discriminatory, outdated, and applied disproportionately to black users.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

#keepthechangebae daters get Nigerian tweeters talking

Stephanie Hegarty

BBC Africa, Lagos

For three days #keepthechangebae has been trending in the Nigerian twittersphere.

That's after an 18-year-old in Ibadan, going by the handle  @Pabloayodeji , went on a Twitter rant after a girl he took on a date told him she wasn’t ready for a relationship. 

Using a series of profanities, he accused the girl of being hungry and broke and using him to get a free meal. 

But the twittersphere erupted when the girl,  @missmoshiku replied , showing that she had transferred funds to his account, paying for both of them with extra.

(If you’re wondering how she got his bank details, Twitter has answered that one already. He gave them to her in a whatsapp conversation where he joked about needing money to buy himself some chicken.)

In a stroke of marketing brilliance, the Twitter account of the relatively small Wema bank that handles Pablo’s account started the hashtag #keepthechangebae.

First the jokes rolled in. Many people said Pablo had orchestrated the best Ponzi scheme in history – with a 5,000 naira ($12.50) return on a 3,800 naira ($9.50) investment in just one day. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

But the overwhelming majority celebrated @missmoshiku's bold and clever display of girl power.

Hundreds of businesses have approached @missmoshiku via her Twitter feed asking her to endorse their brands. It’s become an opportunity for brands to ride a celebratory wave of female empowerment.

And some Twitter users are seeing this of a sign of something deeper. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

The good news is Pablo has publicly apologised and hopes the pair can move on as friends. Miss Moshiku has yet to reply.   

SA finance experts spot 'unusual trading' before Gordhan sacking

The Johannesburg correspondent of the LA Times draws our attention to a piece published on the Intellidex finance website two days ago. 

It raises the intriguing possibility that someone may have profited by trading in foreign exchange futures very shortly before former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was recalled from London to be sacked, triggering a fall in the rand.

Of course, there'd be nothing illegal or improper in that per se, unless perhaps the person knew what was about to happen. For a more detailed explanation, follow the link below. 

View more on twitter

Saudi Arabia begins foreign worker amnesty

An amnesty has begun in Saudi Arabia during which huge numbers of illegal workers will be permitted to leave the country without facing heavy fines or other punishments. 

It's thought hundreds-of-thousands of undocumented foreign residents might take advantage of the three-month grace period. 

The oil-rich kingdom draws in workers from poorer states across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. When a similar amnesty was offered a few years ago there were thought to be 2.5 million illegal residents in the country. 

Correspondents say the number may be significantly higher now.  

Mbeki warns of 'serious social instability' over reshuffle

Thabo Mbeki (L) and Jacob Zuma (R)
AFP
Thabo Mbeki (L) and Jacob Zuma (R) had a bitter rivalry over the ANC leadership

South Africa's former President Thabo Mbeki has urged President Zuma to explain the reasons behind his controversial cabinet reshuffle, warning of "serious social instability" if he fails to do so. 

A statement from the former leader's Foundation on Facebook said:

Given [the] unprecedented nature and widespread public concern surrounding this reshuffle, we therefore hope that President Zuma will take the necessary and urgent steps to explain to the country more than he has [about the changes made].

"We accept that under normal circumstances there is no need for the president publicly to explain changes to the composition of the national executive. However, both the extent of the cabinet reshuffle and the circumstances in which it has occurred are not normal.

It is therefore imperative that President Zuma and the rest of the ANC leadership use the occasion of today’s major cabinet reshuffle constructively to respond to the existing serious public concern and unease about the state of the nation, which could result in major and very serious social instability if it is not addressed honestly and properly."

View more on facebook

Recap: Zuma cabinet cull causes political storm

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent

If you're just catching up with the political storm in South Africa, here's a brief recap from our Africa correspondent:

South Africa’s highly respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, has been credited with keeping South Africa’s fragile economy afloat. His departure set the currency falling. 

It was after midnight when President Jacob Zuma announced a wide-ranging cull of his critics, and the promotion of his supporters. 

The new finance minister has little economic experience. 

Mr Gordhan rejected allegations he was trying to undermine the economy as "absolute nonsense," saying "the country is not for sale" – amid allegations of corruption against the president, and of so-called "state capture" by an influential business family. 

Even the vice-president called the reason for Mr Gordhan’s sacking "totally, totally unacceptable" and the ANC’s secretary general was also critical saying he was "informed, not consulted" over the reshuffle. 

The opposition is seeking an urgent court order to prevent the new ministers being sworn in.     

Malema speaks out on plan 'to get rid of President Zuma'

Julius Malema, leader of South Africa's radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, is briefing the media following President Zuma's controversial cabinet reshuffle.

He's been discussing the party's plan to impeach Mr Zuma and to trigger an emergency session in parliament to hold a vote of no confidence in the president.

Follow the presser live below:

View more on youtube

The party's official account is tweeting updates from the press conference:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Analysis: The politics will be felt in people's pockets

Lerato Mbele

BBC African Business Report

Rand coins
Reuters

Midweek, as the markets got wind of the fact that something was amiss and a cabinet reshuffle was imminent, the South African rand started losing its value. 

Once the news broke that Pravin Gordhan and his deputy had been fired, it lost about 3.7% of its value overnight. 

In terms of the week’s trade, it's about 7% worth of a decline in the currency that had started to recover from the political uncertainty and international volatility that has plagued it in the past year. 

The bond markets have also reacted negatively - this is where government debt is sold and the values are directly linked to the prospects of the economy – growth, currency and inflation. 

Bonds yields have gone up by nearly 40 basis points, meaning the yields are higher and governments debt obligations on paying out these "coupons" will shoot up. 

For foreign investors that’s a boon, but for South African taxpayers subsidising the state it doesn’t represent value for money.  

Costs are ballooning and local markets have little to show for it. Ultimately ordinary people will feel the pressure of these political moves - a weaker currency means the cost of basic imports such as fuel and some foods will go up. 

Pensioners due to retire soon will lose value on their savings because pension funds invest in many local assets. 

A government with more debts will have less money to pursue pro-poor programmes. 

A country whose reputation is dented may ultimately lose face with international ratings agencies and finally be downgraded to "junk status" when the economic assessments are done again in June.  

Zuma's 'midnight massacre bad for South Africa'


          President Zuma (C) has been criticised by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) for sacking Pravin Gordhan (R)
Sa gov
President Zuma (C) has been criticised by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) for sacking Pravin Gordhan (R)

The chief whip of the main opposition Democratic Alliance has described President Zuma's reshuffle as a "midnight massacre", AFP news agency reports.

John Steenhuisen accused newly appointed Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba of having links with the influential Gupta family, who have extensive business interests, which he has strenuously denied in the past:

Zuma has got what he wanted, a Gupta ally in control [of the treasury].

Bad news for our country, bad news for the economy but mostly bad news for the nine million unemployed South Africans."

Gupta family members have repeatedly denied accusations by opposition parties that they wield undue influence over Mr Zuma and members of his administration.

Read more: The Guptas and their links to South Africa's Jacob Zuma

ANC youth wing backs Zuma reshuffle

Collen Maine
Reuters
Younger ministers 'mean more transformation', says Collen Maine

Among the chorus of condemnation for Mr Zuma's sackings, there is also support for his moves in some sections of his ANC party.

The ANC youth wing said it welcomed the reshuffle and appointment of the "experienced and intelligent" Malusi Gigaba as finance minister. 

"Younger ministers will mean more transformation," Youth League leader Collen Maine told Reuters, citing land redistribution, free education and the creation of a state bank as reforms the youth league wanted. 

Analysis: South Africa's night of the long knives

Milton Nkosi

BBC Africa, Johannesburg


          President Zuma (C), flanked by Pravin Gordhan (R) and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L)
SA gov
President Zuma (C), flanked by Pravin Gordhan (R) and Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa (L), in October 2014

It was the night of the long knives when President Jacob Zuma sacked the finance minister against the wishes of his senior party leaders.

Some say he has chosen a path to the abyss by removing the much respected Pravin Gordhan from the Treasury.  

There is huge outcry across the nation following the biggest cabinet reshuffle since the early 1990s. Calls for President Zuma to step down are now echoing throughout South Africa.

This reshuffle affected nine ministers and six deputies. But the biggest fish, by far, is the finance minister.

There is no doubt that Mr Gordhan was a hard-working minister, respected globally and he came with impeccable anti-apartheid struggle credentials as well.

Mr Zuma used his presidential powers to steamroll a list of cabinet ministers not approved by either his deputy president or the secretary general of the governing African National Congress (ANC) as is the norm.

This move surprised not only ordinary folks but it has also shocked those right at the top table sitting alongside him.

"It felt like this list was developed somewhere else and it was given to us just to legitimise it. These were hard working ministers. We are unhappy," lamented ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe. 

President Zuma was clearly rewarding loyalists and getting rid of opponents within the party. 

To demonstrate how high the stakes are for the 74-year-old president you have to look at what opposition MP Julius Malema said about the repercussions that would follow if Mr Zuma were to sack Pravin Gordhan.

"Once Zuma announces the removal of Pravin and (deputy) Mcebisi that will be the end of his journey as the president," warned the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader.

Mr Malema has lodged an application with the Constitutional Court to order the speaker of parliament to institute impeachment proceedings against Mr Zuma.

If you want to know why President Zuma fired Mr Gordhan, you have to trace the story back to December 2015.

This was when the president fired a highly regarded finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with a little-known ANC backbencher, Des Van Rooyen. Chaos ensued and markets reacted negatively to the sudden reshuffle.

The value of the rand tumbled to record lows, as it has today. The scandal was known locally as Nenegate.

Mr Zuma was then forced to make the biggest political u-turn since the end of apartheid. He removed the newly appointed finance minister a mere four days after appointing him.

He was forced to re-appoint Mr Gordhan, who had served as finance minister in his first term.

So in essence, Mr Gordhan was never Mr Zuma’s choice in the first place.

Now, Mr Zuma wants to spend, and he wants to spend big.

He supports a deal to build two nuclear reactors set to cost nearly $60bn (£50bn) - money the country does not have, according to the former finance minister. 

Another reason why Mr Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas were axed is because they also wanted to rein-in State Owned Enterprises (SOE) such as the forever thirsty national carrier South African Airways, the on-and-off power utility Eskom and others such as Transnet which is responsible for ports and rail.

The government has been spending billions of dollars to shore up SOEs, which have been described as cash cows for the politically connected elites who milk the state through corrupt contracts.   

One of the ANC’s key partners in the tripartite alliance, the South African Communist Party (SACP), opposed the idea of axing of the finance minister and also challenged the president’s right to do it unilaterally. 

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa reacted with shock too. He said the sacking was "unacceptable".

So the question is  - what is he going to do now?

He said he will continue to work in government - but will he take his boss head-on or will he just keep going with the hope that come December he will be richly rewarded at the party leadership contest. 

He wants to replace Mr Zuma as president of the ANC. Mr Zuma prefers his former wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, instead. We have a fight at hand.

This reshuffle could have triggered the hairline crack that eventually splits the 105-year-old liberation movement. 

And that would bring to an end the ANC’s grip on power here, after such great promise.

South Africa's political crisis - in cartoons

South Africa's Times Live website has a cartoon that vividly depicts the political machinations of the past few hours. 

In it, President Jacob Zuma is seen stabbing Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the back, after he requests his assistance during an "operation" on the country's economy:

View more on facebook

And South Africa's leading political cartoonist Zapiro has reshared a cartoon from March last year, in which President Zuma is depicted as a lapdog eating out of the hand of one of the members of the powerful Gupta family, who are lined up on the sofa together.

The Guptas have denied accusations that they wielded undue political influence and tried to interfere with the appointment of ministers.

View more on twitter

Where is President Zuma?

SA Gov News has tweeted a photo of the president avoiding the storm over his cabinet sackings, with a visit to a mealie (maize) field in the Eastern Cape:

View more on twitter

ANC chief whip latest to disagree with Zuma

The governing ANC party's chief whip  Jackson Mthembu  has become the latest senior figure to disagree publicly with President Zuma over his sacking of the finance minister and his deputy.

He said the two had integrity, were incorruptible and had unquestioned commitment to the national democratic revolution.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Zuma sackings 'an assault on the poor' - Archbishop

Thabo Makgoba
AFP

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Thabo Makgoba, has said President Zuma's cabinet sackings "constitute an assault on the poor of South Africa". 

In a statement, he said:

Who stands to lose when we can't raise foreign investment to finance growth in our country? The poor. Who stands to lose when interest rates on the money we already owe gobbles up our nation's resources? The poor.

Who stands to gain when corrupt elites enrich themselves on the side while doing deals worth billions of rands with state-owned enterprises? The people of suburbs like Saxonwold.

Ignorance can be educated but there is no cure for recklessness. The President's decisions are a frightening example of a leader who has continually showed his profound indifference to the economic health of South Africa. It is telling that he failed to secure agreement to this reckless move even from within his own party and the ruling alliance.

The archbishop said he hoped the ANC would "reflect on how they are betraying the hopes of our people and take appropriate action". 

He said the risk was that "the gains of our democracy [would be] destroyed".

Read the full statement here.    

Live - Sacked finance minister addresses media

Former South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is addressing media live following his sacking by President Jacob Zuma.

You can watch the press conference live on eNCA below:

View more on youtube

Local Eyewitness News has been tweeting key quotes from the speech. Mr Gordhan has been addressing allegations believed to be in an intelligence report that was reportedly used as a basis for his sacking:

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

SA finance minister's sacking 'totally unacceptable' - Deputy president

View more on twitter

South Africa's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called the sacking of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan " totally unacceptable " and said the minister had been serving in his position with "absolute distinction". 

However, Mr Ramaphosa has said he is not going to resign over the issue, local eNCA news reports. 

SA opposition tries to block Zuma's sackings

South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) plans to go to court to block the appointment of new cabinet ministers after the mass sackings announced by President Jacob Zuma overnight.

"We will this afternoon file papers in the Western Cape High Court seeking an urgent interdict to halt the swearing in of Jacob Zuma's compromised cabinet members, and the implementation of his reshuffle," a DA statement said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane told media:

Our country has now reached a crucial tipping point. Jacob Zuma, and his cabal of liars and looters, have made it crystal clear: they come first, and the people of South Africa come last. Our country deserves better than treasonous conduct by those in power."

His full address to the media has been shared on the opposition party's Facebook page:

View more on facebook

The new cabinet is due to be sworn in at 16:00 GMT (18:00 local time).

Nigeria approves electronic voting

Chris Ewokor

BBC Africa, Abuja

The Nigerian Senate has passed a law to approve electronic voting in future elections.

It was an amendment to the Electoral Act 2010.

The lawmakers also approved a move for election results to be electronically transmitted to vote collation centres.    

This law is likely to change the entire system and structure of future elections in Nigeria.

SA cabinet reshuffle 'purges' Zuma critics

One of South Africa's most prominent political commentators has made some powerful comments about the cabinet reshuffle. Justice Malala calls it a "purge" of South African Communist Party members who stood up to President Zuma.

He also criticises Mr Zuma's reported lack of consultation with senior colleagues over the reshuffle, saying South Africa now has a "rogue president".

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter

Watch: Zuma explains mass cabinet sackings

The South African government has just posted a video of President Jacob Zuma explaining what lay behind his dramatic midnight cabinet reshuffle, which saw Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan sacked, along with more than a dozen other ministers and deputy ministers:

View more on youtube

South Sudan oil workers freed


          Sudanese officials walk with three foreign oil workers kidnapped by rebels in South Sudan after being released at Khartoum Airport, Sudan, March 30, 2017
Reuters

Three foreign oil workers seized by rebels earlier this month in South Sudan have arrived in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, following their release from captivity.

The men, two Pakistani nationals and one Indian, were released on the orders of rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar, his SPLA-IO group said in a statement. 


          Three foreign oil workers kidnapped by rebels in South Sudan smile as they arrive after being released at Khartoum Airport, Sudan, March 30, 2017
Reuters

One of the released men said his rebel captors had told him to pass a message to foreign oil companies to stop operating in South Sudan because oil revenues were being used to fund war. 

Oil is the main driver of the country's economy. 

There were no orders given in relation to locals seized alongside the foreign workers, who would continue to be held, a rebel spokesman said. 


          Three foreign oil workers kidnapped by rebels in South Sudan arrive after being released at Khartoum Airport, Sudan, March 30, 2017
Reuters

South Sudan has been devastated by more than three years of civil war and a famine was declared in parts of the country last month. 

Read more: South Sudan conflict - The hungry emerge from swampland for aid

'Radical' new South Africa cabinet to take office

Alastair Leithead

BBC Africa correspondent

Jacob Zuma
AFP

President Jacob Zuma said his midnight cabinet reshuffle was all about "radical socioeconomic transformation" but by sacking detractors and hiring loyalists it was clearly about politics. 

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was in London reassuring investors to have confidence in his country’s economy, but his sacking will have the opposite effect. 

The rand immediately started to drop in value as his replacement was announced – a man with little economic experience, but a keen supporter of President Jacob Zuma. 

There will be a sharp economic and political reaction to this move by a president still fighting off allegations of corruption and what’s known as "state capture", over the political influence of a controversial family. 

A nuclear power station deal with Russia worth billions, could now be back on, and commentators will wonder if radical transformation refers to his recent comments about taking land without compensation to give to the people.

The new cabinet members, who will be sworn in later today, are as follows :

List of new South African ministers and deputy ministers
South Africa government