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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter November 2-November 6

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SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2-NOVEMBER 6

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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.

-------------
Domestic News
-------------


African National Congress Youth league Wants Money for National
Development Agency

2. (U) The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has
called on the government to spend millions of dollars to bolster the
newly established National Development Agency. Earlier this year,
former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel allocated funds to the agency,
which is a body composed of the National Youth Commission and
Umsombovu Youth Fund. The ANCYL says the initial money was for
setting up offices in 283 municipalities and now additional funds
are needed to "fund youth entrepreneurs." The ANCYL has also
expressed its disappointment at Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's
decision not to make any allocation for youth development in his
medium-term budget policy statement. (Sowetan, November 02, 2009)

Housing Audit to End Graft

3. (U) Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale is planning to root
out corrupt contractors and officials from the housing system. He
told reporters that a national housing audit headed by the Special
Investigations Unit (SIU) will investigate culprits accused of
causing chronic and massive problems in housing. Sexwale said
publicly that millions of dollars have been recovered by the SIU,
and that 800 government officials have been arrested for being
unlawful beneficiaries of housing subsidies. Sexwale ended his
remarks by saying that it is unfortunate that human settlement was
not among government's key priorities alongside national security,
health, job creation, education and rural development. (Sowetan,
November 3, 2009)

SAHRC To Launch Inquiry On 2008 Xenophobic Attacks

4. (U) The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will at
last launch an inquiry into the government's response to the
xenophobic attacks of mid-2008. According to advocacy group the
Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CORMSA), which
has been publicly pressing for an official inquiry for over a year,
the SAHRC is reaching out to victims, communities, and NGOs for
testimonials on the performance of law enforcement and the judiciary
in arresting and punishing perpetrators. (Note: many arrests were
made, and special courts for xenophobic violence cases were
established in several provinces. However, most cases were
dismissed, and postQs unaware of any convictions on charges serious
enough to entail jail sentences. End note.) The SAHRC is a
government-funded body, but it has autonomy from political
interference in its investigations, and it reports to Parliament,
not the executive. Its inquiry may take some months, but NGOs hope
its findings will include forceful recommendations to the SAG to (a)
take proactive steps to avert future violence, and (b) end the
impunity that characterized last year's attacks.

5. (SBU) Post sent in five additional cables on domestic politics
this week. See Reftels for more information.
Qthis week. See Reftels for more information.

------------------
International News
------------------


South Africa, DRC Vow to Continue Strong Ties

6. (U) The Sixth Binational Commission between South Africa and the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was held in Pretoria from October
27 to 30. South African President Jacob Zuma hosted Congolese
President Joseph Kabila, who was accompanied by 12 Ministers and
senior government officials. Both countries reviewed curQt
cooperative projects in various fields including security sector
reform, capacity and institution building, and infrastructure
development. The governments want to boost cooperation in the areas
of energy and agriculture. (Note: The South African Government is
seeking to find land across the continent for many of its white
farmers to help with land development in Africa. End Note.) Both
delegations also discussed DRC's recent ascendancy to the position

PRETORIA 00002272 002.2 OF 002


of Chair of the Southern Africa Development Community. In this
regard, the two Heads of State reiterated the importance of security
sector reform in view of the planned phasing out of the UN Mission.
Both parties agreed that the next Session of the RSA-DRC BNC will be
held in the DRC on a date to be determined through diplomatic
channels. (DIRCO Briefing, October 30)

Deputy Foreign Minister Reaffirms South Africa's Stance on
Palestinian State

7. (U) Department of International Relations and Cooperation
(DIRCO) Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim attended the Al Quds
International Forum, in Rabat, Morocco on October 28 to discuss the
situation in the Middle East. Ebrahim reiterated South Africa's
support for the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the
1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. (DIRCO Briefing,
October 28)

DIRCO Hosts UK Minister for Africa

8. (U) DIRCO Deputy Minister Ebrahim hosted the UK Foreign Office
Minister for Africa Baroness Glenys Kinnock for bilateral political
and economic discussions at the DIRCO offices in Pretoria on
November 2. The meetings focused on strengthening North-South
relations and consolidating the African Agenda. Bilateral relations
between South Africa and the United Kingdom are strong across the
board, covering fields as diverse as defense, trade liberalization
and development co-operation. Minister Baroness Kinnock paid a
courtesy call on the DIRCO Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
Discussions included the strengthening of bilateral political and
economic relations, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,
climate change, international institutional reform, and African
regional matters. (DIRCO Briefing, October 30)

Namibian Leader Urges RSA to Ease Border Controls, Share World Cup
"Benefits"

9. (U) On 4 November Pretoria News Online reported that Namibian
President Pohamba complained that Namibian citizens would not be
able to take full advantage of the World Cup unless the South
African government eased border controls between the two countries.
Zuma agreed to look into the matter. Pohamba was speaking in
Pretoria at the start of the annual South Africa-Namibia Bilateral
Economic Forum which the two presidents co-chaired. He said progress
had been made in implementing most of the past agreements between
the two countries, but expressed concern about the slow pace of some
undertakings. "We have agreed on the potential benefits that SADC
member countries can obtain from South Africa's hosting of the World
Cup. This potential will not fully materialize if the matter of
cross-border operations by Namibia tour operators is not addressed,"
he said. [Pretoria Pretoria News Online in English -- Website of
local daily, privately owned by Independent Newspaper Company; URL:
http://www.pretorianews.co.za/]

SA President Zuma Welcomes Equatorial Guinea's Decision to Release
Mercenaries

10. (U) Zuma has welcomed a decision by Equatorial Guinea to
release five mercenaries including South African Nick du Toit and
Briton Simon Mann, reported Eye Witness News 3 November. The men
were pardoned by the West African country for plotting to overthrow
its president in 2004. Mann led the failed coup attempt. He and du
Toit were both serving 34 year jail terms. The president's
spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said Zuma was headed for Equatorial
Guinea on 3 November afternoon. Fellow South African George Alerson
was also behind bars. [Johannesburg Eye Witness News in English --
Qwas also behind bars. [Johannesburg Eye Witness News in English --
News website owned by media company Primedia, which owns several
radio stations including Radio 702 and 567.CapeTalk; URL:
http://www.ewn.co.za/]

SADC Official Says Zimbabwe's Leaders Remain Committed to
Power-Sharing Deal

11. (U) AFP reported on 4 November that Zimbabwe's rival leaders
remain committed to the nation's power-sharing deal, despite a
deadlock that has paralyzed the unity government, a regional
official said ahead of a summit on the crisis. "We're here to
continue to help the Zimbabweans in their difficult journey," said
Tomaz Salomao, secretary general of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), on the eve of the summit in Mozambique's capital.
"One thing I can guarantee is that there is a commitment from all
the Zimbabwean parties to make the political agreement work, to make
the unity government work, given the positive results it's achieved
in its nine months of existence." [Paris AFP (World Service) in
English -- world news service of the independent French news agency
Agence France Presse]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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