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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter September 6-September 11

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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

MOD Sisulu Hints at Forum to Discuss Soldiers' Work Conditions

2. (U) SABC News reported on 8 September that Minister of Defence
Lindiwe Sisulu says it may have been a mistake to allow the
formation of a trade union in the South African National Defence
Force, and that there is a serious lack of discipline among
soldiers, referring to the recent protest action by soldiers at the
Union Buildings in Pretoria. Sisulu said it may be necessary to
create a forum where the conditions of service of members could be
addressed, "where the defence force has its own version of the
public service commission, where we have a military commission to
deal with the salaries of the defence force, and allow a mode of
engagement with the defence force, which does not result in this
kind of unionisation which has been allowed for the past few years."
She reiterated that government would not reconsider the dismissal
of 1,300 soldiers who took part in the protest action. [Online news
service of the South African Broadcasting Corporation; nominally
independent but partially funded by government;]

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Congress of the People (COPE) to Cooperate with Other Opposition

3. (U) The Congress of the People (COPE) is moving ahead with plans
of establishing a cooperation agreement with opposition parties.
COPE communications head Phillip Dexter told reporters that his
party had no major differences with other opposition parties and is
willing to work with them. He emphasized that the coalition was for
winning political power in the 2011 elections and not an anti-ANC
society. Last month, political parties met to work out a strategic
approach to re-aligning opposition parties in the country. (Sowetan,
September, 08, 2009)

Manuel's "New Deal"

4. (U) The National Planning Commission released a green paper on
strategic national plan. Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel,
who released the report on September 4, set out a vision that helps
the country's long-term planning priorities. The paper is to guide
decisions and policy choices beyond the five year political terms.
Until now, government has focused only on five-year plans linked to
the mandate given by voters during general elections and election
promises, but has never pursued long-term planning. The document
will also guide Minister for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
Collins Chabane to ensure that decisions are implemented and can be
measured against clear long-term goals. The documents will be
tabled in the National Assembly on September 08. The National
Planning Commission is encouraging a national discussion on the
green paper. (The Star, September, 04, 2009)

African National Congress (ANC) Not "Recalling, But Restructuring"

5. (U) African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede
Mantashe told students at the Tshwane University of Technology that
the ANC is not recalling leaders but restructuring regional
positions. The ANC Youth league in Northwest Province in early
Qpositions. The ANC Youth league in Northwest Province in early
September recalled Chief Whip Bassie Moepeng. In Tshwane, the youth
league also called for executive mayor to resign. Mantashe reported
that chief whips and mayors are not being recalled, but "regions are
restructuring" for the 2011 local elections. He also told the
audience that the ANC is aware of infighting in the regions and has
made a clear distinction between protests related to service
delivery and those caused by infighting from people positioning
themselves for the 2011 local government. (September, 09, 2009)

AZAPO Destroys for Biko

6. (U) The Azanian Youth Organisation (AZAYO) a youth wing of the
Azanian People's Organisation (AZAPO), plans to commemorate the
anniversary of Steven Biko's death by destroying Steve Biko memorial
sites. The Garden of Remembrance in Ginsberg and the Steve Biko
statue in East London have been selected as targets. Siyabonga
Kave, a member of AZAYO, says they took the decision to destroy
these memorials when they recognized that the people who erected
them do not follow any of Biko's principles. The threats by AZAYO
cannot be taken lightly as during the April election AZAPO disturbed

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a live SABC broadcast in Port Elizabeth, claiming that they were not
given enough airtime for the election campaign. (Sunday Times,
September, 06, 2009)

Children's Act to be Reviewed

7. (U) Children rights groups have forwarded a petition to the
Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities,
calling for a revision of the Children's Act. The groups want the
act to include more decisive action against perpetrators. The
Children's Act was passed four years ago, but according to Sushila
Dhever from the Legal Resources Centre, the act still looks good on
paper. According to recent statistics one in four children are
sexually abused a year and one in nine are reported. (SABCNews,
September, 08, 2009)

International News

Motlanthe Defends Call to Lift Zimbabwe Sanctions

8. (U) Replying to questions in Parliament on September 9, Deputy
President Kgalema Motlanthe defended SADC calls to lift sanctions on
Zimbabwe, highlighting that the Global Peace Agreement says "that
all forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted in
order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that
are currently facing Zimbabwe" and that the parties "commit
themselves to working together in re-engaging the international
community with the view to bringing an end to the country's
international isolation". Motlanthe stated that the South African
government together with SADC and the AU supports the implementation
of the GPA and the lifting of sanctions. (The Presidency, September

Ebrahim Ebrahim receives credentials from new NEPAD CEO

9. (U) International Relations and Cooperation (DICO) Deputy
Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim on September 7, 2009, received credentials
from New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Secretariat
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, at the
Union Buildings in Pretoria. (DICO Briefing, September 7)

Zuma to lead delegation to the 64th session of the UNGA

10. (U) President Jacob Zuma will lead the South African delegation
to the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled
to take place from September 21-25. The remainder of his delegation
will be announced soon. (DICO Briefing, September 9)

Zuma To Host Swedish Prime Minister

11. (U) Zuma will on September 10 host Swedish Prime Minister
Fredrik Reinfeldt for bilateral political, economic and trade
discussions in Cape Town. Zuma will be supported by the DICO
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and will host Reinfeldt within the
context of South Africa's efforts to consolidate relations with
Sweden with a view to strengthening the North-South dialogue in
support of the African Agenda. (The Presidency, September 8)

Motlanthe Speaks Plainly About Gadhafi

12. (U) Motlanthe spoke plainly about Gadhafi's ambitions to turn
Africa into a single state and "be crowned the king of kings in
Africa." The Deputy President said, "He entertains such grandiose
airs because the fact is that, in the main, he has been very
generous. That's why, when poorer nations run out of funds, he can
simply close the tap if they do not vote for him." (The Times,
September 9)

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