Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter August 9-August 15

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1. (SBU) This was written in partnership with the Open Source
Center's Pretoria Bureau. The newsletter is open to contributions
from officers in the Embassy or in the Consulates who wish to
highlight political trends. Contact Madeline Seidenstricker or
Jonathan Smallridge for more information, or to make contributions.
The newsletter also is available on the Political Section's blog, "A
View from South Africa," found on

Domestic News

Attempts to Address Ministerial Spending
2. (U) Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan has tabled a draft report
that addresses public concerns over large expenditure by government
ministers. The report was completed by a ministerial task team
mandated to develop concrete proposals and guidelines that would
ensure all spheres of government reduce wasteful expenditure and
divert spending to new areas. The report calls for a reduction in
the amount of press advertising bought by government bodies, and on
spending on ministerial vehicles. The report also suggests that the
travel budgets - especially international travels - by departments
and ministers be cut down, from four officials to one official per
trip. The task team consists of Gordhan, Minister of Monitoring and
Evaluation in the Presidency Collins Chabane, and Minister for
Public Service and Administration Richard Baloyi. (,
August, 13, 2009)
Manuel Calls for More Transparency in the MPC
3. (U) Minister in the National Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel,
has asked for minutes of the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC) meetings to be published. He made the call as the
MPC prepares to announce its decision on interest rates. Manuel
first made the appeal a few years ago while he was still Finance
Minister, in the interests of transparency. (SABCNEWS, August, 13,

Call for Fresh Schabir Shaik Probe
4. (U) Questions have surfaced again about the conditions of
Schabir Shaik's medical parole. This comes after he was allegedly
seen driving around in Durban in his black BMW on Monday. Shaik, the
former financial adviser to President Jacob Zuma, was released on
medical parole after serving only two years and four months of a 15
year prison term for fraud and corruption. Shaik has denied reports
that he was driving around in Durban. Correctional services
officials also denied the allegations and said that they were
confident that Shaik did not break his parole conditions.
(, August, 12,2009)
SA to Build New Prisons

5. (U) South Africa wants to build seven new generation prisons to
help ease chronic overcrowding in its jails. Correctional Services
Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula reported on Thursday that the
department of Correctional Services has designed new generation
prisons. The new prisons are meant to facilitate rehabilitation,
and differ from the old prisons which were primarily used to
warehouse inmates. The minister said the Kimberley Correctional
Centre, would be the country's first new generation prison and will
be completed in January 2010. The prisons will be built at a cost
estimated of R700-million; similar prisons will be built in
Klerksdorp, Nigel, East London and Paarl by 2012. (The Star, August
13, 2009)

Creating a Blue Print for Municipalities

6. (U) Local Government and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube
announced that her department will undertake a comparative analysis
of the state of municipalities in the country. This comes after
Qof the state of municipalities in the country. This comes after
reports that over 17 municipalities in Kwazulu- Natal are
inefficient, with no sources of revenue and limited capacity to
deliver services to their communities. The assessment also comes
amid calls for the review of municipal functions. The minister
hopes the study will produce "a blueprint" for an ideal
municipality. (The Star, August 13, 2009)------------------
International News

Motlanthe Goes to Zimbabwe

7. (U) Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe attended the funeral of
the late Zimbabwean Vice-President Joseph Msika this week.
President Zuma issued a condolence message, stating that the death
of Msika was a painful loss to the people of Zimbabwe and the
Southern African Development Community (SADC). (DFA briefing,
August 10)

SA Regrets Decision by Myanmar Authorities

8. (U) South Africa joined the international community in

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condemning the decision made by the authorities in Myanmar to
convict opposition leader Aung Sen Suu Kyi on charges of subversion.

This statement was issued by Deputy Minister of International
Relations and Cooperation (DICO) Ebrahim Ebrahim. (DFA briefing,
August 11)

DICO Minister Hosts a South African Heads of Mission Conference

9. (U) Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane began a three-day conference
for South African Heads of Missions. This is the first such
conference since the election. Zuma, Manuel, Gordhan and Rural
Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti are expected to
address the conference. The current DICO minister will host a
dinner for Former DICO Minister Dlamini-Zuma. (DFA briefing, August

Desmond Tutu Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom from American
President Barack Obama

10. (U) Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu received the medal from
President Barack Obama yesterday the 12th at a ceremony held at the
White House. Tutu dedicated his medal to all South Africans who
fought for freedom and justice. The Presidential Medal of Freedom
is the highest civilian award in the US, and is not limited to US
citizens or civilians. (Mail and Guardian, August 13)

Zimbabwe Requests More Financial Aid From SA

11. (U) Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed that the
Zimbabwean government had requested more financial assistance from
the South African government. This comes two weeks after DICO
revealed that it had transferred two thirds of the R300 million it
pledged to assist the power-sharing government earlier this year.
Zimbabwe wants a further R300 million from the SA government.
(Zimbabwean Independent, August 12)

La Lime

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