Policy issues from South Africa and its neighbours. Reports every two weeks.

v19/05 05 Mar 04

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CONTENTS

Angola
Donors and investors wary

Congo
Risk for exporters still prohibitive

International
New bid to stop Iraq security gold rush

Region
AU summits clears way for regional intervention force


Concerns in Zambia after Caprivi trial releases


Donors fail to back aid project

SA politics
Big companies move to funding ANC


Biggest post-election change may be for IFP


Government backs down on terror law

Zimbabwe
Mugabe clamps down on forex scams


Venezuelan deal may bring fresh fuel supplies



International:

Mbeki tries to extend 'no coups' rule to diaspora

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] The SA government has admitted it tried to send arms to the beleaguered government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti before his ousting last week. He is now believed bound for exile in South Africa from his first base in the Central African Republic.

A South African Air Force Boeing was reported to have carried 150 R-1 rifles, 5,000 rounds of ammunition and 200 bullet-proof jackets. It went instead to Jamaica after Aristide left the country....

Like Mugabe?... >>Full Report


SA politics:

Biggest post-election change may be for IFP

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Major shifts in the political scene in South Africa are being anticipated ahead of the April 14 election. Inside the African National Congress the signs have been seen in the candidates' list for the election, with some well-known faces disappearing and new ones appearing.

But significant shifts on the party scene are also visible, with a realignment of politics away from its crudely race-based nature starting to appear. The political centre of gravity in SA today has moved confidently into an African urban core, and the battles and compromises of the transition period are being left behind, say commentators.

Buthelezi's role...

Provincial leaders...>>Full Report


SA politics:

Big companies move to funding ANC

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Insurance giant and bastion of 'Afrikaner' business Sanlam has given the African National Congress and New National Party R1 million each at the request of former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. In another development the UK-based mining giant Anglo American has said it is giving R6m to the main parties in the election and half of this to the ANC....

Iraq oil allegations...>>Full Report


SA politics:

Government backs down on terror law

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] The SA government has backed down on a new anti-terrorism law in the face of protests from the labour movement. The union federation Cosatu said that even just ahead of the election it would strike and demonstrate against the bill which it says had been brought in to please US President George Bush....>>Full Report


International:

New bid to stop Iraq security gold rush

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] The SA defence ministry has repeated its warning against SA security personnel taking mercenary jobs in Iraq, where a security services gold rush in on the go.

The warning comes amidst reports that members of the police's elite Special Task Force have been resigning in droves to take three, six or 12-month contracts protecting key Iraqi buildings and personnel....

Arms policy reasserted...>>Full Report


Region:

AU summits clears way for regional intervention force

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] The extraordinary summit of the African Union last week in Libya succeeded in clearing the way for the formation of an African intervention force - perhaps as soon as next year. But this substantial success for the AU was taken in the face of a challenge for the leadership of the AU and to the direction of its policy by Libyan president Muammar Gadaffy.

The special summit was called by Gadaffy but his push for a pan-African army was regarded by the assembled heads of state as wholly unrealistic....

US military presence...

Japanese peace role...>>Full Report


Region:

Donors fail to back aid project

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Eight UN aid agencies say they still require US$318 million for the food and other needs of Southern Africa. The situation remains "precarious" they said in a statement.

A mid-term review of the consolidated appeal for the region notes that the food security situation is "again being severely threatened", while aid for non-food items has not been forthcoming....>>Full Report


Region:

Concerns in Zambia after Caprivi trial releases

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] A group of Caprivi triallists were released last week on the order of a Namibian high court judge who agreed that they had been abducted unlawfully from Zambia and Botswana by the Namibian security forces and had only been brought to court six months later. His court did not thus have jurisdiction, the judge in the Grootfontein high court said.

The issue is causing tremors not just in Namibia but also in neighbouring Zambia, where any successful outcome for the group of separatists could ignite a serious ethnic dispute. The trial coincides with a demand from the Lozi tribe of Barotseland, of which Caprivi was historically a part, that the Barotse Agreement, suspended in 1999, should be written into the Zambian constitution. President Levy Mwanawasa is unlikely to concede, but because of the size of the Barotse vote this may undermine his government....

Barotse Agreement...>>Full Report


Zimbabwe:

Mugabe clamps down on forex scams

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has embarked on an anti-corruption drive in what appeared to be an attempt to swing popular support behind him ahead of elections next year.

But local analysts have dismissed the drive, which appears primarily aimed at stopping the drain of forex needed for fuel and power imports. Zimbabwe has only enough foreign exchange to cover a few weeks of imports, according to the SA Standard Bank....

Confident at 80...

Anti-corruption arrests...

Land clean-up promised...>>Full Report


Zimbabwe:

Venezuelan deal may bring fresh fuel supplies

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe may have secured fresh supplies of oil on favourable terms through populist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez whom he met last week last week. Chavez already supplies nearby Cuba with oil on favourable terms. However, he is also facing a crisis after his UN ambassador resigned this week amid opposition demonstrations and with the US set against the continuance of his rule.

Chavez and Mugabe last week signed an energy cooperation agreement to share technology and develop mining. ...>>Full Report


Congo:

Risk for exporters still prohibitive

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] The World Bank last week approved a US$200-million credit for the government of the DR Congo under its International Development Association (IDA) programme. The money would go to supporting the DRC's economic and recovery programme, the bank said.

But private foreign investors and traders, especially in the main economic partner, Belgium, remain cautious because of the security situation....

Bank helps on arrears...

Security situation tense...>>Full Report


Angola:

Donors and investors wary

[(c) SouthScan v19/05 5 Mar 04] Slow movement towards a deal with the International Monetary Fund has meant that investors are still holding back from putting their money into reconstruction project. The main foreign investor, Portugal, believes the classification of Angolan risk will move up on international markets as the Luanda government moves ahead in its macro-economic stabilisation programme....

Still no donor conference... >>Full Report