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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter October 26-October 30

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SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 26-OCTOBER 30

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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 intelink.gov.

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Domestic News
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Pakistani Syndicate Illegally Enter RSA Using Fraudulent Documents

2. (U) "Rapport" South African Afrikaans weekly reported on 25
October that Pakistani crime syndicates are operating in South
Africa. The ease with which illegal immigrants can enter the
country and the cooperation of corrupt public servants and police
officers reportedly make South Africa particularly attractive for
the syndicates. Many Pakistanis do not qualify for a South African
visa. They allegedly pay agents in Pakistan between $4,000 and
$6,000 (30,000 rand and 45,000 rand) for safe passage. This amount
includes a bribe, false documents and accommodation in a "safe
house." The report further stated that Pakistani criminal gangs are
also lured to South Africa by the growing market in illegal drugs.
[Description of Source: Johannesburg Rapport in Afrikaans --
Privately-owned national Sunday newspaper critical of government
policies]

Challenges to Mpumalanga Name Changes

3. (U) More than 600 businesses in Mpumalanga are seeking legal
advice on how to challenge what they claim is "a flawed name change
process." The South African Government earlier this month announced
plans to rename cities and towns in Mpumalanga, including changing
Nelspruit to Mbombela. The Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism
argue that the consultation process conducted by Minister of Arts
and Culture Lulu Xingwana was unfair as businesses were not fully
consulted and the deadline for public comments or objections
relating to the proposed name change was not widely publicized. An
additional objection from business is that Nelspruit is not a
politically offensive name in South African history. The Democratic
Alliance (DA) in Mpumalanga also has questioned the name change as
the party's provincial leader said while the DA is not opposed to
the changing of offensive or derogatory names, the motive behind the
changes in Mpumalanga "must be questioned." (News24, October 27,
2009)
Service Delivery Protests in Diepsloot "Motivated by Anti-ANC
Campaign"
4. (U) The African National Congress (ANC) in Diepsloot, north of
Johannesburg, says service delivery protests on October 24-25 were
spurred by anti-ANC activists. Residents barricaded roads and
looted small businesses and demanded the local councilor step down.
(Note: The South African Communist Party SACP leaders in the area
came out in support of the protests. End Note.) The ANC
chairperson in Diepsloot, Rogers Makhubele, says the protest action
was organized by criminals and those opposed to the ruling party.
(SABCNEWS, October 27, 2009)
Tshwane Mayor Keeps Her Job in Reshuffled Cabinet
5. (U) Tshwane Mayor Gwen Ramokgopa reshuffled her mayoral
committee, which might help save her own political future.
Ramokgopa announced her new council on October 26 as seven members
of the Mayoral Executive Committee were recalled under pressure from
the ANC's Tshwane branches. Ramokgopa said the moves would help
strengthen service delivery in the city, which is dealing with
Qstrengthen service delivery in the city, which is dealing with
several problems including poor debt collection and financial
management. The mayor said, "These changes that we are making, it
is improving our capacity to move faster and to ensure that we deal
with complex challenges we acknowledge still remain." Ramokgopa
added that her administration remained committed to good governance
and would build on the successes of the past. (Eyewitness, October
26, 2009)
Inkatha Freedom Party Keeps Mangosuthu Buthelezi as Leader
6. (U) The national council of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has
taken a resolution that party president Mangosuthu Buthelezi will
continue as leader. Political analyst Zakhele Ndlovu has warned
that this is likely to cause more harm than good for the divided
party because younger members want a greater say in the party's
future. Ndlovu's comments come after the national council of the
IFP decided that Buthelezi was the only unifying member in the party
and that neither IFP National Chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi nor
IFP General Secretary Musa Zondi should avail themselves for
nominations to take over from Buthelezi when he retires. Ndlovu
said the resolution was a clear indication that the party has failed
to produce new leaders or deal with the succession issue. (Soweto,
October 26, 2009)

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International News

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Zimbabwe Leaders Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai Hold Direct Talks
26 Oct

7. (U) On 26 October French news agency AFP reported that
Zimbabwe's leaders met in their first direct talks since Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai suspended his party's participation in
meetings with government partner President Robert Mugabe. "This is a
regular Monday meeting and they will discuss the issues of the GPA
(Global Political Agreement)," which underpins the unity government,
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said, confirming the meeting was
under way. "However (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara is
going to leave the two to discuss further," Charamba told AFP.
(Note: There also were press reports this week that South African
allies of former President Thabo Mbeki, Frank Chikane and Manjaku
Gumbi, were in Harare for talks on the progress of the GPA. End
Note.) [Description of Source: Paris AFP (World Service) in English
-- world news service of the independent French news agency Agence
France Presse]

MDC's Tsvangirai, Other Ministers Boycott Zimbabwe Cabinet Meeting
Led by Mugabe

8. (U) Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and ministers
drawn from his MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) party Tuesday
boycotted a cabinet meeting led by President Robert Mugabe for the
second time in as many weeks, reported AFP 27 October. "We did not
attend a cabinet meeting again today (and will not) until the
outstanding issues have been addressed," Nelson Chamisa, spokesman
for the MDC, who is also a cabinet minister, told AFP. The second
boycott by Tsvangirai came after his talks with Mugabe on 26 October
failed to break a deadlock after the MDC withdrew from participation
in the unity government on October 16, sparking a crisis in the
eight month partnership. "It is not possible to continue with this
inclusive government without addressing outstanding issues, "Chamisa
later told a press conference. [Description of Source: Paris AFP
(World Service) in English -- world news service of the independent
French news agency Agence France Presse]

South Africa, DRC Bilateral Talks Move Forward Under Zuma

9. (U) Zuma co-chaired the SA-DRC Binational Commission Summit with
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Joseph Kabila on
October 30 in Pretoria. Zuma was supported by a full team of
ministers, underscoring the importance of the relationship to the
South African Government. Nearly every minister in the Zuma Cabinet
played a role in the visit, especially International Relations and
Corporation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Home
Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Defense and Military
Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, and Minister of Trade and Industry Rob
Davies. The Commission focused on South Africa's continued support
for the Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development program in the
DRC. (DIRCO Briefing, October 27)

South Africa, Nigeria Mark Anniversary of Bilateral Talks

10. (U) Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on October 29 hosted a
series of activities in South Africa with his Nigerian counterpart,
Goodluck Jonathan, as part of the 10-year anniversary celebrations
of the South Africa-Nigeria Binational Commission. During the South
African meetings, Motlanthe and Jonathan promised to promote trade
and investment on the African continent as well to push for stronger
cooperation in building institutions in South Africa and Nigeria.
Motlanthe is expected to visit Nigeria next month to reciprocate the
QMotlanthe is expected to visit Nigeria next month to reciprocate the
exchange. (DIRCO Briefing, October 22)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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