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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter January 4- January 8

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TAGS: KDEM PGOV ASEC SF POL PAS ECON
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL NEWSLETTER JANUARY 4- JANUARY 8

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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
-------------

Report Speculates Zuma Likely To Pardon Apartheid Hit-Squad Chief


2. (U) The Sunday Independent on January 3 reported that President
Jacob Zuma spent more than three hours in a meeting with convicted
apartheid hit-squad commander Eugene de Kock during a secret visit
to Pretoria Central Prison last year. "It was two warriors from
opposing sides talking about peace and reconciliation," according to
sources close to De Kock who spoke to Independent Newspapers and who
described the encounter as "cordial." In return for a pardon, the
man once dubbed "Prime Evil" has made it clear that he is prepared
to cooperate in helping with any new investigations into
apartheid-era atrocities, including the recovery of bodies of
victims of the security forces. De Kock was sentenced in 1996 to
two life terms and 212 years on 89 criminal charges, including
murder, conspiracy to murder, and fraud. [Description of Source:
Johannesburg The Sunday Independent in English -- weekly newspaper,
self-described as "serving the leaders and opinion-makers who are
forging an inclusive democratic society," privately owned by
Independent Newspaper Company]

Service Delivery Protest in the Vaal

3. (U) Residents of Mamello informal settlement near the Vaal Dam
in Johannesburg on January 3 took to the streets in demand of better
services. Community leader Jonas Matshaneng said he was tired of
living in an area where there is no development. He said they have
been living in the area for more than 20 years and there were no
changes. He said protesters want housing, water, electricity,
sanitation, a clinic, and schools. Gauteng Department of Housing
and Local Government spokesperson Fred Mokoko told reporters that
they were prepared to build houses for the residents but will meet
the Midvaal local municipality to discuss the issues first.
(Sowetan, January 4, 2010)

ANC to Focus on Job Creation

4. (SBU) African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede
Mantashe told reporters on January 4 the country's economic climate
will get worse before it gets better. Mantashe says growing the
economy will be the main focus this year. The Secretary General
warned that South Africans can only expect to see jobs being created
towards the end of the year. Last year, the ANC committed to
creating more quality jobs and sustainable livelihoods but plans
were disrupted by an economic recession leading to thousands of lost
jobs. The ANC government is working hard to refine and finalize its
high impact industrial strategy which seeks to deepen South Africa's
manufacturing base. (SABCNEWS, January 5, 2010)

"Hawks" to Investigate Leaked National Exams

5. (SBU) A case involving Mpumalanga giving exam answers out to
students ahead of South Africa's national educational test has been
handed over to the government's special investigating team known as
the "Hawks." Department of Education officials on January 5 told
reporters the "Hawks" should take over the investigations because
Qreporters the "Hawks" should take over the investigations because
the unit is more advanced than the police. Thirteen people,
including an official from the Department of Education, were
arrested in late 2009 for releasing test answers. (Sowetan, January
6, 2010)

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

Experts "Confident" Bomb Scares Will Not Deter 2010 World Cup
Visitors

6. (SBU) The Star Online reported on January 4 that experts are
confident that the foiled plot to blow up a US-bound plane on
Christmas Day will not prevent spectators from flying to South
Africa to attend the World Cup. The comments come amid worldwide
condemnation and heightened security at airports around the world.
[Description of Source: Johannesburg, The Star Online in English --
Internet version of weekday regional newspaper, privately owned by
Independent Newspaper Company; URL: http://www.thestar.co.za/]


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South African Islamic Body Condemns Tough Security Measures for
US-Bound Airline Travelers


7. (SBU) Cape Town Voice of the Cape Online reported on 06 January
that the increased security measures being introduced in many
countries after a failed attempt to bomb a US plane last month
amounted to clear racial and religious profiling. As such, it
should be resisted more than accommodated, said Iqbal Jassat,
chairperson of the Gauteng lobby group, the Media Review Network
(MRN), on Tuesday evening while speaking on VOC's Late Night Live.
The comment came after the US announced that it would toughen
security measures for US-bound airline passengers from or via 14
countries. [Description of Source: Cape Town Voice of the Cape
Online in English -- Website of Voice of the Cape radio station,
reporting local and international news of importance to the South
African Muslim community;
URL: http://www.vocfm.co.za]

Department of International Relations and Cooperation Minister
Attends Regional Meeting

8. (SBU) Department of International Relations and Cooperation
(DIRCO) Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane attended the South African
Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defense and
Security, meeting January 7 in Mozambique. The purpose of the
meeting was to prepare for the African Union (AU) Summit and
Executive Council and whether to support Malawi's candidacy for the
chairmanship of the AU summit. There were also briefings on
mediation efforts by South Africa in Zimbabwe and Mozambique on
Madagascar. (DIRCO Briefing, January 5)

Gips

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