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Cablegate: Thanks, but No Thanks--Some Potential South African Partners

VZCZCXRO0607
PP RUEHDU RUEHJO
DE RUEHJO #0230 2151304
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 031304Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5919
INFO RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1821
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN PRIORITY 0581
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN PRIORITY 0489
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 2643

UNCLAS JOHANNESBURG 000230

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF FOR CAROL THOMPSON
AF/PD FOR CLAUDIA ANYASO

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINR PTER PGOV SCUL KPAO SF
SUBJECT: THANKS, BUT NO THANKS--SOME POTENTIAL SOUTH AFRICAN PARTNERS
RELUCTANT TO WORK WITH US

REF: 06 JOHANNESBURG 435

1. Summary: Three times in as many weeks, potential PAS
partners have reversed course and decided not to accept PAS
grants or offers. Though some of our partners were somewhat
circumspect and only hinted that this was because of an official
disapproval of US foreign policy, one union contact scheduled to
travel to the US as an IV grantee told us the union's central
committee specifically cited its opposition to "Bush
administration policies" in refusing permission for the grantee
to travel. Though we still have many partners with whom to work
in South Africa, those with government affiliations often seem
to want to keep us at a distance. End Summary.

2. Last year, post reported on our difficulties partnering with
organizations or individuals in the Muslim community due to
hostility toward the United States (see reftel.) In the broader
South African context, interactions are much better, but recent
weeks have pointed out that there is some reluctance in official
circles to working with us.

3. On July 13th, the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU)
general secretary Mahlomola Skhosana told us that the union
federation's central executive committee (CEC) had decided to
deny IV candidate Moemedi Kepadisa permission to travel to the
United States to demonstrate its opposition to the "Bush
administration policies." Kepadisa had been nominated to
participate in a Multi-Regional Program (MRP) on organized labor
. A clearly embarrassed, and disappointed, Skhosana could not
indicate which aspects of President Bush's administration policy
the labor federation's leadership found objectionable.
Skhosana, who has had a long-standing working relationship with
the ConGen's labor section, blamed the change in policy on
NACTU's new leadership, led by the federation's newly-appointed
deputy general, Manene Samela. He labeled Samela and colleagues
as "ideologues" who were bent on politicizing NACTU and thus
undermining long-standing relationships that have been built by
the organization.

4. This conversation followed two similar ones that PAS
Johannesburg has had with potential partners. In the first a
reporter for the SABC International called to ask for a meeting
to explore possible exchanges and training. After we had agreed
to meet, the reporter called back and reported that his boss had
told him that he could not meet with us after all, unless he did
so in an unofficial capacity. Shortly after, a long time
partner, the director of the Johannesburg Public Library with
whom we have had discussions about hosting PAS Programs and a
collection at the library, informed us that the Municipal
Council Committee for libraries had rejected any such
arrangements with us. The Director told us that he understood
that politics, and a reluctance to be seen working with the
United States, were major factors in the decision.

5. Comment: We still have partners aplenty in South Africa-our
shared histories and values make our nations natural partners.
People to people contacts between the two countries indeed seem
to be thriving-many private Americans are active in South
African NGOs, academia and the broader community. But there is
also no doubt that for some of our contacts, the USG brand is a
less than positive label. End Comment

COFFMAN

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