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Cablegate: South Africa: Political Newsletter September 28-October 2

DE RUEHSA #1997/01 2780638
R 050638Z OCT 09



E.O. 12958: N/A

PRETORIA 00001997 001.2 OF 003

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

Service Delivery Protests Continue

2. (U) Residents protesting against service delivery in Sakhile
informal settlement Mpumalanga have set fire to all municipal
buildings. Protesters are demanding that all municipal councilors
in Lekwa Municipality resign after a report that implicated several
officials and councilors in fraud, poor governance, and corruption.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo
Shiceka has established a task teams to investigate the service
delivery protests in Mpumalanga. Protests continue to spread as
residents south of Johannesburg were up in arms on September 29,
demanding better service delivery and protests continued in
Johannesburg's volatile Thokoza Township, where residents demanded
better housing. (SABCNEWS, September, 28, 2009)

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South African Local Government Association (SALGA) Meets with

3. (U) Minister of Planning in the Presidency Trevor Manuel has
emphasized that municipalities have a responsibility to implement
government priorities as listed in the Medium Term Strategic
Framework. The priorities in the framework include inclusive
growth, decent work, and access to quality education, rural
development, and land reform. Manuel was speaking at the South
African Local Government Association (SALGA) national executive
committee meeting in Durban on September 30. He said that although
the African National Congress has some of the best policies in the
world, the challenge has always been the implementation of those
policies. He emphasized the need for the Green Paper, which
outlines a government direction for administration, to be accepted
by members of the ruling tripartite alliance. The Congress of South
African Trade Unions felt the Green Paper usurped the powers of
trade unions. (The Times, September, 29, 2009)

Zuma Supports Call for More Police Power

4. (U) President Jacob Zuma expressed his support for an amendment
to Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act. Zuma was speaking at
the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria, where he was meeting with
roughly one thousand station commanders to discuss the fight against
crime. He supported Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's proposal that
Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act be amended, giving police
more power in dealing with violent and dangerous criminals (Pretoria

Chief Demands Kingship Status

5. (U) Prince Mmelizwe Dlamini, chief of the Nhlangwinini in
KwaZulu- Natal, has applied to the High Court in Pretoria for an
order to force the government to make a decision on his kingship.
Prince Dlamini and the Nhlangwini Traditional Council want the court
to force the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and
Claims to declare Prince Dlamini and his clan a kingdom within the
next three months. Dlamini has been quoted in media reports as
saying that he had no aspirations to the Zulu throne but wants the
Dlamini clan to be recognized as a head kingdom. The South African
QDlamini clan to be recognized as a head kingdom. The South African
government currently recognizes the Zulu Kingdom as the only
monarchy in country. (The Citizen, September, 30, 2009)

IFP Launches Legal Battle Against Zuma

6. (SBU) The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has launched a legal battle
against President Zuma for alleged human rights violations of 384
political prisoners whose requests for presidential pardons have
been ignored for six years. The 384 applications by prisoners were
submitted five years ago but were not considered, leading to the IFP
embarking on legal proceedings to force the Justice Ministry to
attend to them. The decision to initiate legal action against Zuma
is a result of a Constitutional Court ruling that said the legal
action should have been lodged against the Presidency rather than
the Justice Ministry because the President grants presidential
pardons. IFP parliamentarian Koos van der Merwe said this has been
a lengthy and painful battle to have the rights of these prisoners
recognized and the IFP has been the driver in the entire process and
will continue to do so. (Note: The timing of the legal battle is
interesting as there are rumors that the Zuma-led ANC wants to form
an alliance with the IFP. The decision to push the issue now could

PRETORIA 00001997 002.2 OF 003

be the result of the IFP trying to force Zuma to make concessions or
a sign that talks about a coalition are not going well. End Note.)
(The Times, 0ctober, 01, 2009)

RSA: Minister Says SANDF Service Commission Will Not Replace
Military Unions

7. (U) Pretoria News reports that the Military Service Commission,
which will regulate the conditions of service of all soldiers, will
not replace unions in the army, according to Defense and Military
Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. She said the commission, which is
an interim set-up, would assist her to establish a separate
dispensation for soldiers outside of the public service and to
regulate salaries, recruitment, transfers, promotions and dismissals
in the defense force. This follows clashes last month between
members of the SANDF [South African National Defense Force] Union
and police outside the Union Buildings when they protested over poor
salaries. Although government officials, including Zuma, have vowed
to ban military unions due to national security concerns, COSATU has
stated its intention to resist these attempts. However, Sisulu
insisted that the new commission is merely intended to ensure that
soldiers are treated differently from the public service. [Pretoria
News Online in English -- Website of local daily, privately owned by
Independent Newspaper Company; URL:]

Editorial Views 'Suspicious' Attempts by Alliance Partners To Take
Over ANC

8. (U) Sunday Times reports that in the months leading up to the
ANC's 2007 conference, some figures in the Thabo Mbeki fold were
warning of its leftist partners wanting to use "Trojan Horse
tactics" to seize control of the party. Similar trends were seen at
the conferences in Mafikeng and Stellenbosch in 1997 and 2002
respectively, with the Left pushing to get candidates ideologically
in tune with or well disposed to it elected onto the ANC's National
Executive Committee. Following the SACP's [South African Communist
Party] "gains" of Polokwane and the brazen manner in which they have
been going about their "power grab", there has been a backlash by
mainstream ANC leaders against the perceived takeover of the ANC by
the Left. With the 2011 municipal elections and the next national
conference in 2012, the Left will likely seek to increase its
influence during these key milestones. SACP General Secretary Blade
Nzimande warned of the "new anti-left tendency" and brand of "narrow
Africanism" within the ANC that had to be nipped in the bud. [Sunday
Times Online in English -- Website of privately owned Sunday
newspaper; URL:]

COSATU Calls for Nationalization of Reserve Bank

9. (U) Business Report reports that COSATU wants the South African
Reserve Bank to be nationalized, as highlighted in the final
declaration of the labor federation's four-day 10th national
congress. A resolution adopted at the congress said that over the
past years South Africa's monetary policy continued to have a
one-sided focus on inflation with negative consequences for
industrialization, social development and job creation. Dennis
Dykes, Nedbank's chief economist, said the Reserve Bank is guided by
the government and the current structure works well, adding that if
it was changed it would send the wrong signal to foreign investors.
Outgoing Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni echoed these sentiments,
saying that the bank would not be nationalized. [Johannesburg
Qsaying that the bank would not be nationalized. [Johannesburg
Business Report Online in English -- Website of business and
financial publication, privately owned by Independent Newspaper
Company; URL:]

International News

Security Threat to US Facilities "Emanated from Al-Qaeda Splinter

10. (U) Pretoria News reports that the security threat, which led to
the temporary closure of US government installations around South
Africa, is alleged to have emanated from an al-Qaeda splinter group.
According to well-placed security sources, the group telephoned the
US embassy in Pretoria on Monday and apparently gave detailed plans
about alleged attacks planned against several US government
buildings in the country, including the US embassy and USAID
offices. It is thought that the killing of al-Qaeda operative,
Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, in Somalia by US forces earlier this month
may have prompted the threat. South Africa intelligence agents from
the National Intelligence Agency, police crime intelligence unit, as
well as operatives from the South African Secret Service, are
working with US intelligence officials to track down those behind
the threat. US Embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean said that
additional security measures have been put in place, including the
deployment of static police units to the US embassy and
consular-general offices in Cape Town and Durban. All US government

PRETORIA 00001997 003.2 OF 003

facilities in South Africa resumed normal operations on 25
September. [Pretoria News Online in English -- Website of local
daily, privately owned by Independent Newspaper Company; URL:]

President Zuma's Address at 2d Africa-South America Summit

11. (U) Zuma delivered an address at the 2nd Africa-South America
Summit (ASA) on 26 September 2009 in Margarita Island, Venezuela.
The summit was a historic event aimed at promoting South-South
cooperation and enhancing the mutually beneficial partnership that
has developed over the years between Africa and South America. The
Margarita Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the summit
focuses on advancing the development agenda of the South,
particularly with regard to social upliftment, rural development,
tourism, renewable energy, climate change, sport, education and
cultural exchange. Skills transfer in specific sectors, such as
health, foreign direct investment into Africa, cooperation in peace
and security efforts, good governance, and cooperation on efforts to
reduce poverty was identified as a key priority for Africa-South
America cooperation, as well as the reform of the current global
multilateral system following the devastating impact of the global
financial crisis. [Pretoria Department of International Relations
and Cooperation in English -- Official government website; URL:]

Deputy FM Concludes Visit to Tehran

12. (U) Department of International Relations and Cooperation Deputy
Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim visited Iran from September 27 to October 1
to lead the 11th session of the South Africa-Iran Joint Commission,
established in 1995. South African Ambassador to Iran, Ebrahim
Saley, welcomed Ebrahim. Ebrahim's visit comes within the context
of South Africa's commitment to enhance and broaden the scope of the
relationship and cooperate with Iran in trade and economic matters
within the framework of South-South Cooperation. In October 1
remarks, Ebrahim thanked the Government of Iran and pronounced the
Joint Commission meeting successful. Ebrahim said Iran continues to
be one of South Africa's biggest markets in the Middle East.
Ebrahim said South Africa shares Iran's view of a stable Middle
Eastern region and strongly believes in the creation of a
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Ebrahim said
South Africa supports Iran's peaceful nuclear program and continued
cooperation with the IAEA. (DIRCO Briefing, September27)

China-Africa Ministerial Meeting on the Horizon

13. (U) The 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum for China-Africa
Cooperation will be held on November 8-9 in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.
The Forum will be co-chaired by Egypt and the Peoples' Republic of
China. (DIRCO Briefing, September 29)

Madagascar Tries Playing Hard Ball

14. (U) Madagascar may refuse visas to officials from the South
African Development Community (SADC) after African nations blocked
Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a March coup, from addressing
the United Nations. SADC mediators, led by former Mozambican
President Joaquim Chissano, are expected to attend an International
Contact Group meeting on October 6. (EWN, September 30)


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