Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter November 30-December 4

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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

International News

US Envoy Reaffirms Commitment to Helping RSA in 'War' against

2. (SBU) Pretoria News reports that the U.S. has announced that it
will provide an additional R900 million to South Africa to help
address the stock shortages that have arisen from the new demand for
ARVs. The announcement comes as South Africa commemorates World
Aids Day on 1 December 2009. This one-time funding supplement will
assist the Department of Health and provincial governments to meet
their goals for antiretroviral treatments and to help build capacity
in the provinces for planning and forecasting ARV needs. This
includes working with health clinics, doctors, nurses and community
NGOs to assess and build up skill bases in areas where gaps exist.
In total, the US government has contributed more than R10 billion
over the last five years to groups trying to neutralize the deadly
effects of HIV/Aids in South Africa. [Description of source:
Pretoria News Online in English -- Website of local daily, privately
owned by Independent Newspaper Company; URL:

Zuma's Advisor Implicated in Equatorial Guinea

3. (SBU) City Press reports that one of President Jacob Zuma's key
advisers has emerged as the central figure in allegations that the
South African government gave tacit support to the Equatorial Guinea
coup plot of 2004. In an exclusive interview with City Press last
week, freed mercenary Niek du Toit claimed he had taken part in the
plot after receiving assurances from a friend that Ayanda Dlodlo,
then a deputy director in charge of strategy for the Scorpions, and
now Zuma's parliamentary counselor, "said we should go ahead because
they want to catch the people financing the coup". Although Dlodlo
confirmed that Du Toit's friend, former apartheid military
intelligence officer, Henri van der Westhuizen, had approached her
about the plot, she denied giving him or the coup plotters any
assurances of support and referred Van der Westhuizen to then
National Director of Public Prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka. They
reportedly met on 18 February 2004, but the former prosecutions
chief denied their discussion had anything to do with the coup. The
plot was foiled less than a month later when a planeload of
mercenaries was detained in Harare and Du Toit and a number of
others were arrested in Equatorial Guinea's capital, Malabo.
[Description of source: Johannesburg City Press in English --
privately-owned regional weekly newspaper with a majority black

South Africa Reviews Relations with Cuba

4. (SBU) Department of International Relations and Cooperation
(DIRCO) Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane attended the sixth South
African-Cuba Joint Binational Commission December 1-2 in Cuba.
Nkoana-Mashabane was hosted by her Cuban counterpart Marcello Medina
Gonzalez and both reviewed the status of SA-Cuban relations.
Nkoana-Mashabane indicated that Zuma would pay a State Visit to Cuba
QNkoana-Mashabane indicated that Zuma would pay a State Visit to Cuba
in the first half of 2010 after receiving an invitation from current
Cuban President Raul Castro. (DIRCO Briefing, December 2)

Zuma Attends Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

5. (SBU) Zuma from November 27-29 attended the Commonwealth Heads
of Government Meeting in Trinidad and worked with other nations to
bolster North-South cooperation in areas such as climate change,
sustenance of biodiversity, and conservation of water resources.
Nkoana-Mashabane and the newly appointed South African High
Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Zola Skweyiya,
supported Zuma at the meeting. (DIRCO Briefing, November 27)

Zuma Discusses Improved Treatment of HIV/AIDS with Bill Gates

6. (SBU) Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on December 2
met with philanthropist Bill Gates to discuss critical matters
relating to improving South Africa's policy toward HIV/AIDS. Zuma
and Gates discussed the need to scale up the prevention of the
virus, especially after the announcements made by the President on
World Aids Day. (Note: Zuma promised expanded treatment for
HIV/AIDS patients in a speech on December 1. End Note.) (The

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Presidency, December 2)

Domestic News

Government Claims "Readiness" to Deal with 2010 Visitors

7. (SBU) Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba stated that
South Africa's ports of entry were ready to deal with a spike in
traffic during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He added that security
would be intensified and at least 150 immigration officers would be
deployed to priority areas as well as mobile units being deployed at
the Beitbridge and Lebombo border posts to ease the congestion as
foreigners make their way home in time for the holidays and for the
2010 World Cup. Gigaba also said there was still no set date on
which the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) would take
over borderline control and protection from the South African Police
Services (SAPS). (Early Warning News, December 3)

Young Communist League Wants Mbeki to Take Blame for HIV/AIDS

8. (SBU) Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on December 1 released
statistics of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa, which led to the
Young Communist League (YCL) blaming former President Thabo Mbeki
for the crisis. The League has called for a state-led judicial
commission to be established that would hold Mbeki and former Health
Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang accountable for the deaths of HIV
positive people who were denied ARVs. The African National Congress
Youth League has rejected calls from the YCL for Mbeki to be blamed.
Senior government officials so far have remained silent on the
issue. (Mail & Guardian, December 2)

Selebi Trial Postponed Until February

9. (SBU) The trial against former National Police Commissioner
Jackie Selbi has been postponed until February 1, 2010 to allow
state officials time to challenge a decision to compel former
National Intelligence Coordinator Barry Gilder to testify. The
State Security ministry announced plans to petition the Supreme
Court of Appeal to prevent Gilder from taking the stand, arguing his
testimony could compromise national security. Public prosecutor
Gerrie Nel, however, has insisted that the testimony the state wants
from Gilder is already in the public domain. The ministry's legal
counsel, Advocate Marumo Moerane, has argued that the prosecution's
petition is a matter of principle, as forcing Gilder to testify
could set a precedent. According to news reports, Nel wants to
question Gilder about the existence of a draft intelligence report
which the State believes Selebi showed his friend turned state
witness, convicted drug dealer Glenn Agliotti. (News 24, December

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Save The Children: Tonga Volcano Ash And Smoke Cause Concern For Air And Water Safety
Families in Tonga are at risk of exposure to unsafe air and water due to ash and smoke from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that erupted on Saturday, reports Save the Children...

Sudan: 15 Attacks On Health Facilities And Workers In Two Months

With the crisis escalating in Sudan, there have been 15 reports of attacks on healthcare workers and health facilities since last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday... More>>

Kazakhstan: Bachelet Urges Peaceful Resolution Of Grievances
Amid alarming reports of deadly violence in Kazakhstan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday urged all, including security forces, protesters and others, to refrain from violence and to seek a peaceful resolution of grievances... More>>

Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
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UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

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Afghanistan: Economy In ‘Freefall’, Threatening To Take Entire Population With It

Afghanistan’s economy is in “free fall”, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told a special meeting on Sunday, warning that if decisive and compassionate action is not taken immediately, it may “pull the entire population with it”... More>>