v19/07 2 April 04
'Army of Heaven' at Kinshasa's gate
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Three days after the March 28 attacks against military barracks in Kinshasa, official government sources reported that the 20 men arrested had confessed that they belonged to a sect called the 'Army of Heaven'.
Shooting started last Sunday from 2 a.m. in DR Congo's capital simultaneously in the area of the Kokolo military camp, at the headquarters of the 4,000-strong Presidential Security Special Group (PSSG), at the Ndolo air force base and at the Kingabwa naval base. The group that led the attack was made up of only some 40 people, say Congolese military sources....
Special inquiry... >>> Full report
'Uranium leak' likely to be a scam on donors
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Claims by the government that there is continued uranium mining in Katanga province are being regarded with scepticism by analysts.
The country's Mining Minister Diomi Ndongala told the BBC that dangerous activities were taking place at the Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga province and the International Atomic Energy Agency commented that it was "very concerned".... >>> Full report
Chances for election fade amidst continued fighting
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Burundi seems set for an indeterminate period of joint military rule by the officers of the former government and rebel armies, with overarching control by an UN/ African Union force, largely South African.
This was the conclusion of analysts after the announcement earlier this week by mediator SA deputy president Jacob Zuma that the time for elections was not yet right. ...
New national army... >>> Full report
Ban on GM food angers Washington
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Angola has rejected imports of genetically modified food coming in as aid from the US. The surprise announcement was quickly condemned by the US and the UN's World Food Programme, which said that the decision threatened aid in the pipeline to thousands of internal refugees, placing a question mark on month's supply of GM maize from the US on its way to Angola.
But the topic is a diplomatically sensitive one for the US and Luanda's willingness to tread on its toes is an indication of confidence in the leverage its oil is now giving it in Washington. ... >>> Full report
Gold scandal sours Mnangagwa's chances
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Knives are out for Zimbabwe's Speaker of Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, for his alleged role in the externalisation of foreign currency and illegal exports of gold.
Mnangagwa, often touted as President Robert Mugabe's successor, now appears to be pushed out of the running after Mugabe appointed a longtime ally, Didymus Mutasa to his cabinet as senior minister. Mutasa is in charge of his anti-corruption committee.... >>> Full report
New mines draft law mimics SA mistake
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Plans by Zimbabwe's government to give black people extended ownership of mines has caused panic among investors, with some new projects being put on hold, the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe said this week.
The government is in talks with the mining industry over draft legislation that would require foreign mining firms to sell up to 49 percent of their operations in the country to local black people. It has called off a countrywide road show for input on the bill.
The case appears to mirror the course of South African Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) mining industry legislation where the draft similarly scared off investors and caused a dip in the national currency (SouthScan v18/02). The final legislation was aimed partially at repairing the dent to investor perceptions of future security.... >>> Full report
Government shows new interest in privatisation
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] While regional and international attention has been focused on the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe and its spillover into neighbouring countries, the government there appears to be preparing for an end to its isolation in a post-Mugabe era.
This is predicated on the survival in power of Zanu-PF after elections next year, to be achieved through the elimination of political and economic competition. But it also involves a new deal with the International Monetary Fund through a reattachment to its structural adjustment programme, not only through repaying its debt but by showing renewed interest in privatisation. This, together with capping public spending, was central to the IMF programme that Mugabe broke with....
Regional impatience... >>> Full report
Mwanawasa seeks to jail Chiluba for car theft
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] President Levy Mwanawasa said this week former president Frederick Chiluba would soon be arrested for car theft after this was added to his charge sheet.
Chiluba is facing 169 counts of theft and abuse of office and has been appearing in court but is out on bail. The car theft charge would soon be added so that he could be locked up without bail - vehicle theft in Zambian law does not allow bail.... >>> Full report
SA parks company pulls out
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] A South Africa-based private company is pulling out of a controversial deal to take over management of a game park in Zambia's Western Province.
After a political furore African Parks of South Africa announced this week it is scrapping a leasing deal on the Sioma Ngwezi park (SouthScan v19/06). The deal was for the leasing Liuwa National Parks and Sioma Ngwezi. However, the company has not pulled out of Liuwa though it is likely that the volatile situation in the area could force it to withdraw there too.... >>> Full report
Minister warns of SA 'imperialist' image
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] There are strong perceptions in the rest of Africa that many South African companies there are arrogant, disrespectful, aloof and careless in their attitude towards local business communities, work seekers and even governments, Public Enterprises Minister Jeff Radebe told a Pretoria conference on South African trade and investment on Monday.
Radebe said he would ensure that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) under his control did not become the "new imperialists", and noted that Salim Ahmed Salim, former secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity and now head of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, had called for "mechanisms for ensuring that investments are directed towards areas of higher social benefits and promoting sustainable development".... >>> Full report
High percentage poll predicted for election
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] Between 87 and 92 percent of registered voters intend to vote in the general election on April 14, according to the latest SABC/Markinor Opinion 2004 poll. The turnout in the 1999 election was 89.3 percent.
But the latest poll also found a considerable number of South Africans did not register, and showed no interest in voting on election day.... >>> Full report
Parties turn to mass unemployment issue
[© SouthScan v19/07 2 Apr 04] In the final phase of electioneering before the April 14 poll parties have turned to the issue that is by far the top concern for voters, mass unemployment.
While the election is still expected to be effectively a racial referendum, as in the 1994 and 1999 elections, economic policy represents real difference between the parties. This was summed up by United Democratic Front leader Bantu Holomisa who noted that there had been no economic growth in ten years....
Increase in formal jobs... >>> Full report