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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter February 1-February 5

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SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 1-FEBRUARY 5

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

South Africa's Crime Rates Reportedly Discourage Fans From
Purchasing World Cup Tickets


2. (SBU) Al Jazeera English reports that, while South Africa will
host the Football World Cup in less than six months, foreign fans
are being discouraged from purchasing tickets reportedly because of
high crime rates. Fewer than half the numbers of foreign fans are
coming - 450,000 - much fewer than the one million estimated back in
2002 and FIFA officials want South African President Jacob Zuma to
intervene. The report noted that officials are spending
approximately 200 million US dollars on security during the World
Cup, hoping to allay security fears, and an additional 40,000 police
will be deployed to maintain law and order. According to police
statistics, South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the
world, with 50 murders a day. [Description of source: Doha Al
Jazeera English TV in English -- international English-language news
service of Al-Jazeera, independent television station financed by
the Qatari Government]


Broad Range of Commentary on Arrest of Security Minister's Wife

3. (SBU) Pretoria News reported that the January 29 arrest of State
Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele's wife on drug-trafficking charges
has raised many questions. Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) MP
Theo Coetzee questioned whether the country's security was the
minister's number one priority, stating that he should have known
about his wife's alleged activities. Commenting on the incident,
the Presidency asserted that the arrest of a cabinet minister's wife
for alleged drug trafficking did not affect the governing African
National Congress (ANC) party at all. Coetzee said the minister
will be called to appear before the intelligence committee "to
demonstrate that he has not been compromised by the matter - failing
which, he should resign." [Description of source: Pretoria Pretoria
News Online in English -- Website of local daily, privately owned by
Independent Newspaper Company; URL: http://www.pretorianews.co.za/]


RSA: Mining Minister Says Nationalization "Not Government Policy"

4. (SBU) The Sowetan reports that Minister of Mining Susan Shabangu
stated on February 4 that there would be no change to the country's
minerals laws in response to a question on the ANC Youth League's
call for the nationalization of the country's mines. Shabangu
asserted that although South Africa was a democracy and people were
free to debate issues of political importance, these debates "did
not inform government policy." South African President Jacob Zuma
and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe have said that there will be
no change to the country's policy and that nationalization is not
yet on the cards. [Description of source: Johannesburg Sowetan
Online in English -- privately-owned weekday regional newspaper
targeting a mainstream black audience and supportive of government
policies; Internet: http://www.sowetan.co.za]

Department of Justice Gears up for 2010
QDepartment of Justice Gears up for 2010


5. (SBU) Some South African courts will extend their hours of
operation hours during the FIFA World Cup to avoid possible backlogs
of justice, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
said on February 5. Each court will be allocated two magistrates,
two prosecutors and clerks, with the first team working from 8.30 am
to 4.30 pm and the second one working from 4.30 pm to 11.30 pm. A
total of 1,140 court officials, 35 paralegals, and 93 foreign
language interpreters will be deployed to all earmarked courts.
Department of Justice spokesperson Tlali Tlali said the beefed up
courts would ensure that existing court rolls are not overburdened
with cases related to the tournament. Tlali reported there will be
54 dedicated courts, 34 district and 20 regional courts, across all
nine provinces. He added there would not be any mobile courts set
up at the stadiums as existing physical infrastructure will be used
instead. (Buanews, February, 4, 2010)


Investigation Unit Uncovers Corruption in Mpumalanga's Department of
Agriculture

PRETORIA 00000256 002.2 OF 002

6. (SBU) Senior officials in Mpumalanga's Department of Agriculture
have squandered thousands of dollars earmarked to assist emerging
farmers and boost food production in the province. Five senior
managers from the department of agriculture have been implicated in
a multi-million dollar fraud claim. Investigation by the Forensic
and Investigative Accounting Unit revealed that top officials paid
the corporation and some service providers without following
standard procedures; it is believed the officials connived with
service providers to make payments for work not done. The probe by
the investigation unit was commissioned by Premier David Mabuza to
look into the affairs of the Mpumalanga Agricultural Development
Corporation, a parastatal attached to the department of agriculture.
(Sowetan, February, 4, 2010)

ANC Women's League Defend Inkatha Freedom Party Chairperson


7. (SBU) The ANC Women's League (ANCWL) in KwaZulu-Natal has
condemned the redeployment of Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) national
chairperson Zanele Magwaza-Msibi from mayor of Zululand district
municipality to the provincial legislature. After weeks of denying
the claim, the IFP confirmed on Sunday that Magwaza-Msibi would be
redeployed. The ANCWL provincial chairperson Lungi Gcabashe called
for "all forces in the IFP who believe in a truly equal society to
jump ship". She told IFP supporters "there is only one conclusion
to be drawn from the IFP's decision to redeploy its chairperson and
that is there is no place for women in the IFP," Gcabashe said.
Gcabashe said the decision gives credence to the long-held suspicion
that there is a ceiling for women among IFP ranks. (Sowetan,
February 5, 2010)

President Takes Time Off

8. (SBU) The presidency has issued a statement noting President
Jacob Zuma would be taking February 4-5 off to "rest following a
hectic schedule." The announcement came after the president
returned from the African Union summit and confirmation on February
3 that he has in fact fathered a child (reportedly his 20th) with
soccer boss Irvin Khoza's daughter, Sonono Khoza. (Eyewitness,
February, 4, 2010)

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

Desmond Tutu Calls For Iranians to Release American Hikers

9. (SBU) Nobel Lauriate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on
February 2 called on Iranian authorities to release three American
hikers, who have been held for six months for straying into Iran
while hiking along the Iraqi-Iranian border. Tutu said it was
difficult to escape the conclusion that they were being held because
they were Americans and not for any legal reason. (SAPA, February
2)

GIPS

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