Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter November 16-November 20

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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

Standard Bank Playing Politics?

2. (U) Businessman Saki Macozoma, Standard Bank's deputy
chairperson of the board and active member of the Congress of the
People (COPE), has been overlooked for the bank's chairperson
position. Various newspapers speculate that Macozoma was overlooked
because of his involvement in COPE. (Note: Macozoma was rumored to
have helped bankroll the party when it broke from the African
National Congress last year. End Note.) Macozoma played a key part
in blocking Nedbank's takeover bid for Standard Bank in 1999, and
was widely expected to be the next chairperson. (,
November 17, 2009)

Government to Fix Housing Mess

3. (U) The South African Government is planning to confiscate the
assets of developers who built poor subsidized housing. The
Department of Human Settlements has had to demolish and rebuild
10,000 houses because of poor construction. Human Settlements
Minister Tokyo Sexwale reported that millions of dollars are needed
to rebuild defective houses. (Note: Most of the houses were built
immediately after 1994 prior to the introduction of the National
Home Builders Registration Council in 1997. End Note.) Sexwale
laid the blame for these inferior houses on corruption by
construction companies and government officials. (Sowetan, November
17, 2009)

Pikoli Testifies Against Selebi

4. (U) Former Head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Vusi
Pikoli took the stand in Jackie Selebi's corruption trial on
November 17. Pikoli told the court how he was sidelined by former
President Thabo Mbeki in a bid to protect Selebi from prosecution.
Pikoli testified against the former commissioner and detailed how
the investigation into his alleged corrupt activities began. German
South African businessman Jurgen Kogl also testified on November 17
as his name was in an intelligence report tipping authorities off
about the relationship between Selebi and late businessman Brett
Kebble. Kogl is also alleged to have laundered money paid to
President Jacob Zuma by arms company Thint. (, November
17, 2009)

Zuma Concedes Government's Promised 500,000 Jobs Target Not

5. (U) City Press reported on November 15 that President Zuma has
conceded that his government will not be able to create the 500,000
jobs he promised in his state of the nation address in June. "Given
the manner in which we are shedding jobs we will welcome any number
of job opportunities created during this period. Even 100,000 job
opportunities can be considered a success," Zuma said. He
emphasized that the global economic crisis "has set back, at least
for the moment, our efforts to tackle unemployment and poverty," and
has "placed a greater burden on the State as we seek to alleviate
the plight of the poor." [Johannesburg City Press in English --
privately-owned regional weekly newspaper with a majority black

ANC Emerges as Economic Policy "Driver" at End of Three-Day Alliance
QANC Emerges as Economic Policy "Driver" at End of Three-Day Alliance

6. (U) Business Report stated on November 16 that the ANC and its
alliance partners ended a three-day summit on 15 November in which
the economic policy direction was the major issue of difference, but
that "the party appears to have held its ground with broadly
pro-free market policies supported at the meeting." COSATU had
wanted itself, the South African Communist Party and the ANC to
jointly forge economic policies, "thus weakening the more
conservative and pro-free market rump of the ANC, which supports
inflation targeting, limited government spending and prudent
monetary policies." This followed "weeks of dissent" within the
party over whether Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, a
former trade unionist with strong left-wing credentials, and his
allies, including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who is
the SACP general secretary, should play a stronger role in setting
the alliance's policy goals. However, it would appear that the

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Left's desire to play an equal role with the ANC in determining
policy did not succeed. President Zuma reiterated his support for
Manuel, giving him a vote of support to press ahead with a National
Planning Commission. [Website of business and financial
publication, privately owned by Independent Newspaper Company; URL:]

ANC Members Shoot Each Other in Eastern Cape

7. (U) Eight African National Congress (ANC) members were wounded
when a man with a rifle opened fire at Lusikisiki College in Eastern
Cape Province. The shooting was reported to be between rival
members of the ANC in Lusikisiki and was caused by infighting within
the party's local branch. The gunman has been arrested. The ANC in
the Eastern Cape region told reporters they were investigating the
incident. (Eyewitness news, November 17, 2009)

Disgruntled Youth Turn to the Streets in Gauteng

8. (U) Disgruntled youth in the National Youth Service (NYS)
program protested outside the Gauteng Provincial legislature on
November 18. They accused the Gauteng government of failing to
implement the program in ways that would allow them to benefit. The
NYS is a national program meant to train young people in order to
enable them to play a role in social and economic issues. The
protesters accuse provincial officials of corruption, mismanagement,
and ignoring the plight of the youth. According to protestors, there
has been no training since the program was launched. Police had to
disperse the youth after they exceeded the three hour time limit
allowed to for their protest. (Sowetan, November 19, 2009)

Soldiers to Patrol South African Borders

9. (U) South African soldiers, instead of police, will be deployed
to patrol and protect South Africa's borders. The government
announced publicly that the South African National Defense Force
(SANDF) members will be better placed to fight cross-border crime,
which includes smuggling and illegal immigration. Addressing a
post-Cabinet briefing, government spokesperson Themba Maseko said
soldiers will gradually replace the police both along the country's
frontiers and at border posts. He told reporters that there will be
an intermediate phase when some sections of the border will be
guarded by police and some guarded by the SANDF. The Police began
taking over responsibility from the army for border security five
years ago but the move has been widely regarded as a mistake.
(SABCNEWS, November 19, 2009)

Police Commissioner Meets With Interpol Chief Ahead of 2010 World

10. (U) The South African Press Agency reported that National
Police Commissioner Bheki Cele met with Interpol Secretary General
Ronald Noble on 17 November in Lyon, France, to discuss cooperation
during the FIFA World Cup, police said. Noble praised South
Africa's ability to host international events saying, "South Africa
can be proud of its past achievements, particularly in its ability
to deliver major events without incidents, including its support in
the latest ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean," he said,
referring to the South African Police Service (SAPS) assistance in
probing the death of Pakistani cricket coach Bob Woolmer, who was
found dead in his hotel room during the event. Cele's office said
Interpol would help the SAPS with passport control measures,
screening travel documents against its international database. "Mr.
Noble further pledged that the full resources of Interpol will be
QNoble further pledged that the full resources of Interpol will be
made available to South Africa to support their security
arrangements," Cele's office said. Noble will visit South Africa in
December this year. [Cooperative, nonprofit national news agency,
South African Press Association; URL:]

600 Foreigners Reportedly Flee Settlement in Western Cape Following

11. (U) According to the South African Press Agency, about 600
foreigners were forced to flee their homes in informal settlements
around De Doorns after angry residents destroyed their shacks
accusing them of stealing their jobs, Western Cape police said.
Superintendent Desmond van der Westhuizen said the locals were
mainly targeting Zimbabweans, adding that the situation was tense
but that there was no violence. "They say that farm owners opt to
hire foreigner because they are cheaper and South Africans demand
more pay. The community says the Zimbabweans settle for less money,
which is not true," he said. Van der Westhuizen said officials were
still looking for alternative accommodation for those affected. The
attack resembled the wave of xenophobic violence which spread across
the country in May last year. [Cooperative, nonprofit national news
agency, South African Press Association; URL:]

ANC Youth League Defends Former President Mbeki

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12. (U) ANC Youth League (ANCYL) President Julius Malema, who
severely criticized Mbeki before demanding the former President
resign, defended him publicly after Young Communist League National
Secretary Buti Manamela said Mbeki and former Health Minister Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang should be charged with genocide for their policy
of denying the link between HIV and AIDS. Manamela said the two
former leaders had denied many HIV-positive people access to
anti-retroviral drugs while they were in government, which led to
many thousands of deaths. Malema said allowing Mbeki to stand trial
would result in a number of African leaders facing trial for various
crimes. (SAPA, November 16)

International News

DIRCO Minister Concludes Her Visit to South Asia

13. (U) Department of International Relations and Cooperation
(DIRCO) Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane concluded a three-day
working visit to India on November 15. Nkoana-Mashabane held
several meetings with the business community in Mumbai as part of
South Africa's efforts aimed at strengthening economic diplomacy.
Nkoana-Mashabane paid a courtesy visit on Sonia Gandhi, President of
the Indian Congress Party, and met with various senior government
ministers. The Ministerial visit to India was aimed at laying the
foundation for President Zuma's state visit to India in 2010.
(DIRCO Briefing, November 15)

Ebrahim Ebrahim Going to South Korea

14. (U) DIRCO Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim will be going to South
Korea for the South Korea/Africa Forum in Seoul from November 23-25.
In addition to attending the forum, Ebrahim will have a bilateral
meeting with the South Korean Government. (DIRCO Briefing, November

Zuma to Attend Commonwealth Meeting in Trinidad and Tobago

15. (U) Both President Zuma and DIRCO Minister Nkoana-Mashabane
will attend the Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting (CHOGM)
from 27-29 November in Trinidad and Tobago. The CHOGM will be
preceded by a ministerial meeting; issues to be discussed include
climate change and the future of the Commonwealth. (DIRCO Briefing,
November 15)

Government "Carefully" Probing Reports of Mercenaries Training
Guinea Junta Recruits

16. (U) AFP reported on 17 November that DIRCO Director General
Ayanda Ntsaluba said South Africa is "very carefully checking on the
veracity" of reports that local mercenaries were training pro-junta
recruits in Guinea. Witnesses in Guinea reportedly told AFP that
junta-hired South African and Israeli army instructors are "training
recruits in a camp in Forecariah, 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of
the capital Conakry." Ntsaluba warned, "We do not want to see our
citizens involved in nefarious activities abroad. These could
undermine our foreign policy," he said. Around 40 military
instructors are training soldiers "recruited on the basis of their
ethnicity" as they belonged to the same group as junta leader
Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, witnesses said. Observers allegedly
accuse the junta, under increasing international pressure after the
massacre of over 150 opposition supporters at a rally in September,
of recruiting young men from Camara's home region close to Liberia
and Sierra Leone. Afrikaans daily Beeld reported on 18 November
that according to Ntasluba, the South African legal position with
regard to the prosecution of mercenaries is "unclear," adding that
"it is true that the altered South African mercenary legislation was
Q"it is true that the altered South African mercenary legislation was
promulgated two years ago, but the regulations have not been
published in the Government Gazette." [World news service of the
independent French news agency Agence France Presse; Pretoria Beeld
in Afrikaans -- Privately-owned national daily newspaper, targeting
liberal-minded Afrikaners]

ANC Delegation to Tour China

17. (SBU) The ruling African National Congress (ANC) will be
sending 20 senior leaders to China on an educational exchange
program with the Communist Party of China. The ANC's national
leadership body released a statement saying that the program is the
result of party-to-party relations with the Communist Party. The
delegation will be led by wealthy businessman Cyril Ramaphosa. It
is unclear who among the ANC's senior leadership will be involved in
the program, but ANC parliamentarian Nyamni Booi said the delegation
would travel to multiple cities to "train and educate" and would
return to South Africa on December 4.

18. (SBU) The trip would follow a visit by Communist Party senior

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official Zhou Yongkang, who arrived in Johannesburg on November 18
on an official goodwill visit to South Africa. Yongkang expected to
meet with South African President Jacob Zuma and other senior
government leaders.

Inkatha Freedom Party Leader Meets with the Pope

19. (U) Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) leader Prince Mangosuthu
Buthelezi met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in Rome on
November 18. The meeting took place while Buthelezi was attending
the 5th World Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet attended by the
Dalai Lama. Buthelezi chaired a session of the 5th World Convention
on how the world can support the cause of democracy and autonomy in
Tibet which, as all parliamentarians agreed, coincides with the
cause of democracy, autonomy and cultural diversity, anywhere in the
world. (IFP, November 19)

© Scoop Media

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