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

v19/13 25 June 04

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SA signs military deal

Army chief sacked

War crimes probe


Burundi elections begin


Refugees' repatriation


DRC events lend urgency to strategic planning


'Nationalisation' as Zanu infighting

China arms purchase

Chinese goods hit textiles

Equatorial Guinea oil deal?


Obasanjo steps in


SA's China hopes

SA economy:

Quandary over BEE

SA politics:

Mbeki promulgates new party line

SA development:

Boost for intelligence service



SA signs military deal as regional tension mounts

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame were set to meet in Abuja on Friday, as tensions pushed the neighbours back to the brink of war.

Threats of renewed fighting have put South Africa in an uncomfortable position - it has just concluded a deal with Kinshasa to train and equip the new army there, but it also enjoys close relations with Rwanda, which it does not want disturb. Added to that it does not want its large contingent in the UN peace force in the region put in the way of danger - government ministers have shown themselves sensitive to reports of SA soldiers being killed in fighting....

SA military deal...

Shared power...>>>Full report


Army chief sacked after coup implication

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] President Joseph Kabila's government fired its army chief of staff last Sunday, citing its investigation into a failed June 11 coup attempt (SouthScan v19/12).

No specific reason was given for the firing of Adm. Liwanga Mata, but in his communique on state radio during the attempt, Maj. Eric Lenge, a former trusted top presidential guard, mentioned Mata by rank but not name, saying the army chief of staff had been aware of his plans.

Lenge managed to escape and his whereabouts are unclear.


First war crimes court probe

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said on Wednesday he was launching an investigation into war crimes in the Congo, the court's first formal case since it was created two years ago.

In April, the Congo agreed to give jurisdiction to the court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed on its territory.

The ICC investigation can only consider crimes committed since the court was founded in July 2002 because it has no retroactive jurisdiction.

The US meanwhile has withdrawn its bid to win UN security council approval for a third year of exemptions for US citizens from prosecution by the tribunal.


Burundi elections preparations begin

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] South Africa is helping Burundi prepare for elections to be held before November 1 with legislation and a post-election power-sharing agreement, Deputy President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

Following a South African model, an independent electoral commission is to be established together with electoral legislation.

Zuma met with 30 political parties and representatives of civil society during a trip to Burundi last week and held talks with church groups in Pretoria on Monday.

Again on the SA model, he is seeking to finalise a post-election power-sharing arrangement, with guarantees for the Tutsi minority.


Refugees' repatriation soon

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Some 32,000 Angolan refugees are to be repatriated from the DR Congo next month.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has promised to provide assistance, including seeds and tools, to all Angolan refugees in DRC on condition that they travel to one of two refugee sites, at Katanga in the south-east and Bas-Congo in the south-west of the country....

SA development:

New chief for army

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Defence Minister Mosioua Lekota has announced a new army chief, Maj. Gen. Solly Shoke, currently chief director human resources support in the SA National Defence Force. He will assume his new post as chief of the SA Army on August 1.

Shoke, was the mission commander of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces in Lesotho between 1998 and 1999, and replaces Lieut. Gen. Gilbert Ramano who is retiring at the end of July.

Shoke was an Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK) officer, trained in the Soviet Union and Angola.


DRC events lend urgency to strategic planning

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] The UN's peace mission to the Congo has been shaken by the turn of events in the east of the country. Now the international organization has to consider how it can further strengthen its force there as well as meeting its increasing commitments on the continent - most recently in Burundi.

Shortly before the brief takeover of Bukavu by rebel forces the UN's peacekeeping chief, Jean-Marie Guehenno, said the MONUC force was "robust" and "capable of defending its mandate" (SouthScan v19/11). A few days later the rebel force moved in. Since then the danger of a renewal of the war involving all the regional states has increased....

Global peace force...

Foreign exchange..>>>Full report


'Nationalisation' a product of Zanu infighting

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] President Robert Mugabe's government has said it will honour ownership rights to land bought on the property market, backtracking on previous announcements it would nationalise all farm land.

Citing a letter by foreign ministry official Joe Bimha to Zimbabwe embassies abroad, the Sunday Mail reported that the government would be nationalising only the land it had seized under its land reform programme....

Food production...>>>Full report


Applause for 'anti-imperialist' speech

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe was whipping up regional support at the summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in Maputo this week. He said he would not allow "former imperialists" to monitor parliamentary elections in his country next year, and aimed his sharpest barbs at British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

At the same time his banking chief has been visiting Washington and London to win support for a return to economic legitimacy....

Positive growth forecast...>>>Full report


Alarm grows over HIV in armed forces

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Health workers in Zimbabwe have called for increased efforts to stem the high number of AIDS-related deaths in the armed forces.

The recently released 2003 Zimbabwe Human Development Report claimed that HIV prevalence in the armed forces far exceeded the general population infection rate of 24.6 percent in the general population, and three-quarters of soldiers died of AIDS within a year of leaving the army, the UN agency IRIN reports....>>>Full report


China arms purchase confirmed

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Zimbabwe's defence ministry has confirmed it is buying military equipment from China. Opposition defence spokesman Giles Mutsekwa said 12 fighter jets and 100 military vehicles were being bought, worth an estimated US$200m.

The terms of the deal have not been revealed, but Mugabe has in recent months opened up the economy to Chinese imports as he has turned away from a hostile West....

Sanctions effect...>>>Full report


Mugabe's Chinese opening hits textile industry

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] As relations with the West have chilled President Robert Mugabe has increasingly sought investment and friendship from the East, and particularly from China, which is unwilling to allow a poor human rights record stand in the way of a good export opportunities.

As a consequence Chinese have made large strides in Zimbabwe's retail clothing business and have increased their visibility in the fields of electronics, machinery, information technology and tourism....




Equatorial Guinea deal suspected on mercs and oil

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea are to open embassies in each other's capitals, forging stronger links three months after Harare captured 70 men allegedly on their way to stage a coup in Malabo.

Zimbabwean newspapers reported recently that President Robert Mugabe's government had concluded a deal with Equatorial Guinea to extradite the men for US$1.2 billion worth of crude oil....>>>Full report


Obasanjo seeks to stop Mwanawasa-Chiluba battle

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa last week said he could drop corruption charges against his predecessor Frederick Chiluba if the former leader returned about 75 percent of what he allegedly stole.

Mwanawasa told visiting Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in front of journalists that he had already extended an "olive branch" to Chiluba to return three-quarters of the ill-gotten wealth but he had not yet received any response....



SA hopes to unlock investment flood from China

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] After years of stagnant fixed foreign investment South Africa is seeking a breakthrough, first and foremost from China. At the same time it has set about defusing investors' concerns about its Black Empowerment Programme (BEE).

Earlier this month Minister for Public Enterprises Alec Erwin acknowledged at the World Economic Forum's summit in Maputo, Mozambique, that SA was falling short of the government's FDI target of two percent of GDP, currently averaging 1.5 percent....

Companies in Africa...

Diplomatic agreement...>>>Full report

SA economy:

Mbeki in quandary over investment and BEE

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] South Africa needs to improve communications to dispel misconceptions among potential foreign investors about government's black economic empowerment (BEE) programme, President Thabo Mbeki said after the seventh presidential International Investment Council (IIC) meeting in Cape Town ended this week....>>>Full report

SA politics:

Mbeki promulgates new party line

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] On the eve of the visit by the Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong, SA's President Thabo Mbeki has made an unapologetic attack on "American conservatism" and the neoliberal economic theory his government was till now formally supporting. He spelled out the theoretical underpinning for the move now underway towards a strong state and to redistribution.

His speech came also after a favourable meeting with his advisers in the International Investment Council, the captains of some of the world's largest companies.

In his response to the budget vote in parliament on Wednesday Mbeki cited a prominent political analyst in England to castigate individualism and the right wing, as exemplified by the opposition Democratic Alliance's leader, Tony Leon....>>>Full report


SA development:

Boost for intelligence service announced

SouthScan v19/13 25 June 04] SA's intelligence budget shot up 115% in the period since 2001, the new Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils revealed on Wednesday. But the rise, after the September 11 shocks, was on the basis of budgetary stagnation for the previous years.

During debate in the National Assembly on his budget vote, Kasrils said this financial year the amount allocated for the civilian intelligence services was just over R1.978 billion. This was 0.53 percent of the total government budget, or 0.14 percent of GDP, and was a R316 million increase over last year.... >>>Full report