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  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 - Friday 31 March 2017

Live Reporting

By Hugo Williams

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. 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:

    Quote Message: The child of fire is ash." from An Amharic proverb sent by Million Tadege, Debre Markos, Ethiopia
    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.

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  2. 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
  3. Skeletons of livestock litter landscape in drought-hit Puntland

    Abdinoor Aden

    BBC Africa

    Skeletal remains of dead animals

    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

    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

    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.

  4. 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

    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.

  5. 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:

    Video content

    Video caption: What's Up Africa:The rapper who upset a president
  6. 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.

    Video content

    Video caption: Boko Haram's female suicide bombers strategy
  7. Ethiopian maid plunges six storeys as employer films

    BBC World Service

    Kuwait City skyline

    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

  8. 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! 


  9. 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:

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    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter

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

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    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: 

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

  10. 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).

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    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  11. 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.  

    Video content

    Video caption: South Africa's night of the long knives
  12. Marijuana can be grown and smoked at home, SA court rules

    Dagga plant

    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.

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    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  13. #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.   

  14. 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. 

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  15. 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.  

  16. Mbeki warns of 'serious social instability' over reshuffle

    Thabo Mbeki (L) and Jacob Zuma (R)
    Image caption: 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:

    Quote Message: 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].
    Quote Message: "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.
    Quote Message: 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."
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  17. 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.     

  18. 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:

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

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    View more on twitter
  19. Analysis: The politics will be felt in people's pockets

    Lerato Mbele

    BBC African Business Report

    Rand coins

    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.  

  20. 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)
    Image caption: 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:

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