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Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter February 6-February 12

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SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICA POLITICAL NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 6-FEBRUARY 12

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

Gay Rights Groups Protest Appointment of Qwelane as Ambassador to
Uganda

2. (SBU) Gay and Lesbian rights groups gathered outside Parliament
on February 12, the day after President Zuma's State of the Nation
address, to protest the appointment of John Qwelane as South
Africa's Ambassador to Uganda. Columnist Qwelane is facing charges
of hate speech for comparing homosexuality to bestiality in one of
his columns. Gay and lesbian rights groups called the appointment
of Qwelane, at a time when Uganda is considering further steps to
criminalize homosexuality, a step backward in the fight against
homophobia.

News of Zuma Love-Child Sparks Outrage
3. (SBU) Public outrage over news reports that President Zuma
fathered an out-of-wedlock child
undercut planned atmospherics for the annual State of the Nation
address, timed to take full advantage of the twentieth anniversary
of Nelson Mandela's release. News of Zuma's 4-month-old daughter,
the 20th child for the 67-year-old president, born to the daughter
of a top World Cup organizer, generated headlines that continued for
days in the run-up to the State of the Union. Initially addressing
the "love-child issue" as a personal matter, Zuma issued a statement
of apology on February 6, saying he regretted the pain he had caused
the nation.

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

4. (SBU) The South African government has been ordered by a Pretoria
High Court judge to pay damages to a South African farmer, farming
in Zimbabwe, for not protecting South Africans from Robert Mugabe's
land expropriations. Free State farmer Crawford von Abo, who began
farming in Zimbabwe 50 years ago, was arrested for "trespassing" on
his one of his 11 farms in 1997 and even spent time in a Zimbabwean
jail as Zanu-PF cracked down on white farmers and expropriated their
land. The damages are estimated to be as high as R100 million.
Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled then that the government should, within 60
days, take all necessary steps to have Von Abo's violation of his
rights remedied and to report back to court about the steps it had
taken. (IOL, February 9)


5. (SBU) Zimbabwe's Co-Ministers of Home Affairs on Saturday
February 6, urged thousands of Zimbabweans living in South Africa to
return home and help rebuild the country's economy. Addressing a
gathering in Johannesburg, Ministers Kembo Mohadi (Zanu-PF) and
Giles Mutsekwa (MDC-T) said the government was ready to drop all
charges against political activists and specified business people
who are currently living outside the country. Unemployment in
Zimbabwe however, remains over 90 percent. (Zimbabwe Weekly Summary,
February 8)

3. (SBU) Parliamentary speaker Max Sisulu led a parliamentarian
delegation to Iran as part of enhancing bilateral relations between
the two parliaments. Both South Africa and Iran are members of the
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The South African delegation
consisted of Ms. M. Oliphant, house chair of international
Qconsisted of Ms. M. Oliphant, house chair of international
relations, and members of parliament, former Western Cape Premier
Ebrahim Rasool, as well as supporting staff. (Parliament, February
8)

GIPS

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