Cablegate: South Africa Political Newsletter February 6-February 12

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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
PAC to call for the removal of President Zuma
2. (SBU) The Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) is calling for the
removal of President Jacob Zuma. Spokesperson Mfanelo Skwatsha told
reporters that President Zuma has moved South Africa from being a
miracle country to an international joke. "His bad behavior has
caused a great deal of embarrassment to the country and in the eyes
of the international community," said Skwatsha. The PAC has
directed all its public representatives and the public to pass a
vote of no confidence in Zuma. The party said it would support the
motion of no confidence, which the Congress of the people (COPE)
said it would introduce in Parliament during the State of the Nation
Address debate this week. (Sowetan, February, 15, 2010)
New land tenure policy
3. (SBU) The government will introduce a new draft policy on land
tenure this year aimed at speeding up its program to give land to
landless black people. Rural Development and Land Affairs Minister
Gugile Nkwinti said his department was working on a policy framework
that would set out how the government should go about reversing
inequalities in land ownership between black people and people.
According to Nkwinti, the department of Rural Development and Land
Affairs will table a green paper and will open the debate about
reviewing the whole land tenure system in South Africa. Nkwinti
told reporters that there must be a debate on the 87% to 13% split
in land ownership in South Africa. The expropriation Bill was
submitted to Parliament in 2008 as part of efforts to speed up the
land-reform program, but it was put on hold after opposition
parties, farmers' bodies and other civic groups protested, arguing
it was unconstitutional. Nkwinti said the proposed Expropriation Act
was being reworked by the Department of Public Works in conjunction
with his ministry and would be tabled in Parliament later this year.
(Mail and Guardian, 14 February, 2010)
COPE and DA MP's Walk Out of Parliament
4. (SBU) Congress of the People (Cope) and the Democratic Alliance
(DA) staged a walkout in Parliament, after deputy speaker Nomaindia
Mfeketo ruled Cope's Mluleki George out of order. Deputy Speaker
Nomaindia Mfeketo excused Cope MP Mluleki George out of the chamber
because he refused to withdraw a statement he made during the State
of the Nation debate that "with Zuma at the helm, South Africans are
leaderless." Mfeketo refused to entertain Cope and the DA's
insistent calls for a debate on the statement. The DA and Cope then
staged a walkout after George was ejected from the house.
(Eyewitness, February, 16, 2010)
Nationalization is Not Government Policy says Zuma
5. (SBU) Jacob Zuma repeated firmly on Tuesday that nationalization
is not government policy. Replying to the debate on his State of
the Nation address in the National Assembly, Zuma said, "We have
noted that political formations, including the ruling party's youth
league, have decided to debate the matter. This is a democratic
Qleague, have decided to debate the matter. This is a democratic
society, and as government, we cannot stop political formations from
debating issues." Departing from his prepared text, the president
urged those who object to nationalization to argue their case with
the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), instead of
asking the party leadership to silence Julius Malema. He also told
MPs that creating decent work remains at the centre of the
government's economic policies, and he pointed out that the
short-term public works measures embarked on to assist people to
survive the recession do not replace the jobs that must be created
by the formal economy. (Mail and Guardian, February, 16, 2010)
COSATU Says Zuma Fails to Brief Allies on 'Vision'

6. (SBU) On February 15, the Sowetan reported that labor federation
COSATU [Congress of South African Trade Unions] claimed President
Jacob Zuma is treating workers the same way former president Thabo
Mbeki treated them, charging that Zuma kept his allies in the dark
about the content of his State of the Nation Address on Thursday.
Cosatu bosses said although Zuma did not brief them about his vision
for 2010, they assumed he would steer his government and the economy
towards a developmental path that would create more jobs. Cosatu
spokesperson Patrick Craven told Sowetan the union was in the dark
about Zuma's vision for 2010 and did not know what Finance Minister
Pravin Gordhan's Budget speech had in store. Cosatu president
S'dumo Dlamini said Zuma's address exposed the lack of communication
between the government and the tripartite alliance. "The speech
exposes that there is a lack of communication and all of us must
work harder."
[Description of Source: Johannesburg Sowetan Online in English --
privately-owned weekday regional newspaper targeting a mainstream
black audience and supportive of government policies; Internet:

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Police Minister Warns Reservists Threatening To Disrupt 2010 World

7. (SBU) On 14 February Sunday Times Online reported that Minister
of Police Nathi Mthethwa warned police reservists threatening to
disrupt the World Cup in June if they do not get jobs that he will
not tolerate "such rubbish". Writing on the party's website, ANC
Today, Mthethwa says the South African Police Service would not
compromise its minimum recruitment standards to accommodate militant
reservists demanding full-time positions. "We cannot and will not
compromise on the integrity of the police force for the sake of
appeasing those reservists who have failed to meet the basic
criteria and want to hold the process hostage," he wrote.
[Description of
Source: Johannesburg Sunday Times Online in English -- Website of
privately owned Sunday newspaper; URL:]

International News

European Union Extends Sanctions Against Zimbabwe

7. (SBU) State media reported that the European Union decided to
extend sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year. The sanctions
were imposed in 2002 in reaction to allegations of electoral rigging
and human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe. They include a
ban on the sale of weapons that can be used for internal repression.
The sanctions also prevent Mugabe and his allies from traveling to
EU states and impose an asset freeze on people and firms supporting
the Zimbabwean Government.
[Description of Source: Johannesburg SABC 2 Television in English --
multi-lingual national public service television channel, nominally
independent but partially funded by government]
Zanu-PF to Stall Talks until EU Sanctions Are Lifted
8. (SBU) Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF party says it will not make further
concessions to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) until
sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) are lifted. The EU
decided to extend by a year its sanctions on President Robert Mugabe
and his inner circle. The EU restrictions are at the centre of a
deadlock in the talks. The sanctions bar Mugabe and his aides are
from travelling to EU member states and assets held in the zone are
frozen. The measures also include an arms embargo. It is reported
that the EU is not satisfied with the implementation of the truce
agreement that forms the basis of the country's unity government.
The MDC says the EU decision points to the need to cleanse the
coalition of its demons, by fully implementing the truce agreement.
As for the talks, the party says they were headed for a dead-end,
even before the extension. (SABCNEWS, February, 16, 2010)
Military Exercise with Germany

9. (SBU) SABC News reported on 15 February that four German navy
warships have docked at Simon's Town to participate in a military
training exercise with the South African Navy. The ongoing exercise
is aimed at sharpening the South African navy's capabilities to
safeguard the country's territorial waters during the soccer world
cup and beyond. The German warships arrived at Simon's Town naval
base carrying over 600 naval crew.
They were welcomed with a 21 gun salute in true military style. "It
coincided with 2010 which we welcome - it enables us, as a force
preparation exercise, to ensure that we are ready for 2010. So we
welcome them back here," says SA Navy Task Group Commander Captain
Kavin Packer. [Description of Source: Johannesburg SABC News in
QKavin Packer. [Description of Source: Johannesburg SABC News in
English -- Online news service of the South African Broadcasting
Corporation; nominally independent but partially funded by


© Scoop Media

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