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

v19/15 23 July 04

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CONTENTS

International:

Pretoria agrees to US military training

Massive US arms market finally opens to SA

Free trade talks with US hit election deadlock

 

Region:

Mbeki steamrollers a Burundi deal

Congo:

Goma is centre of fresh tensions

Monuc seeks takeover of uranium mine

 

Mozambique:

Election register massively expanded

 

SA politics:

Atomic energy body seeks to mop up radioactive waste

 

SA development:

Key constitutional issues raised by mercenaries' trial

 

SA economy:

Mbeki prepares to follow EU regional policy line

 

SA politics:

Winelands share-out enrages unions

International:

Pretoria agrees to US military training as part of African security scheme

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] South Africa has agreed to the US training and equipping two of its infantry battalions for peacekeeping operations. The move (as anticipated in SouthScan v19/13) is a breakthrough in relations on the military front between the two states and is part of a new assessment in Pretoria of SA's regional role.

Training will be through the Acota (African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance) programme, a State Department-coordinated scheme to boost African states' military capabilities....

Global initiative...

Medical exercise... >>Full report


International:

Massive US arms market finally opens to SA

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] News of the US-SA military training announcement came this week together with the announcement that Washington had ended its ban on South Africa's Armscor, Fuchs and Denel companies. This has opened up to South Africa a massive and burgeoning arms market that has already revitalized manufacturing in a swathe of centres across middle America.

Arms maker Denel, the Armscor acquisitions agency, and private fuse-maker Fuchs paid a US$6.25 million (then about R625 million) fine in 2000 in admission of illegal apartheid-era sanctions-busting in the 1980s.... >>Full report


International:

Free trade talks with US hit election deadlock

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] South Africa has been talking up its relative advantages in the trade talks with the US, but does not now expect any concessions from Washington until the presidential election there on November 2.

"The political climate leading up to elections may not lend itself to any material shift in United States positions", trade and industry department chief director Iqbal Sharma told reporters in Pretoria on Wednesday....>>Full report


Region:

Mbeki steamrollers a Burundi deal despite Tutsi rejection

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] South Africa has announced a power-sharing deal between the parties in Burundi despite its rejection by the main Tutsi party. Plans are going ahead for elections at the beginning of November and SA Deputy President Jacob Zuma is to travel to Burundi on 26-27 July to brief stakeholders.

All signs are that President Thabo Mbeki now hopes to steamroller the peace process through. SA troops make up the main part of the UN peace force in the country which the new UN special representative for Burundi, Carolyn McAskie, notes has a UN chapter seven remit, which enables it to use force....

Disagreements...

UN peace force...>>Full report


Congo:

Goma is centre of fresh tensions

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] Deep concerns remain about the continuing conflict in the east of the country and the threat this represents to the stability of the transitional regime in Kinshasa after a UN report alleging that Rwanda actively backed the mutiny in Bukavu last month. The next weeks will be crucial to whether the state will consolidate or disintegrate, say observers.

Military tension this week centred on the North Kivu capital of Goma and thousands of refugees have been leaving the city. At press time former rebel Brig. Gen. Laurent Nkunda - who together with Col. Jules Mutebutsi took control of Bukavu, some 100 km south of Goma, last month - and his men were based in Minova, near Goma, while thousands of loyalist government reinforcements sent in last month to counter the revolt, are waiting in nearby cities....

Kivu secession move?...

International community...>>Full report


Congo:

Monuc seeks takeover of uranium mine

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] The UN mission in the DR Congo, Monuc has recommended that the former uranium mine at Shinkolobwe be handed over to a private business because of the health risk from high radiation levels for around 15,000 miners there.

Levels of radioactivity in the mine and the surrounding areas have been measured at between 10,000 and 15,000 hits per second; a level of 100 hits per second is dangerous, say Congolese experts....>>Full report


Mozambique:

Election register massively expanded for December vote

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] Some 200,000 Mozambicans living abroad, mostly in South Africa, will for the first time be able to cast ballots in the December presidential and parliamentary elections, it was announced this week.

They were unable to vote in two previous multi-party elections and their numbers will be added to the 550,000 and 700,000 people added to the electoral register in an updating exercise that ended last week....>>Full report


SA politics:

Atomic energy body seeks to mop up radioactive waste

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] The SA government this week formally agreed to observe the UN Security Council's resolution 1540 which imposes a legal obligation on member states to enforce laws prohibiting the manufacture, acquisition, transport or use of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by non-state actors.

The resolution, which includes references to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as terrorism, comes in the midst of a flurry of activity aimed at restricting potential terrorists' exploitation of Africa's failing states....>>Full report


SA development:

Key constitutional issues raised by mercenaries' trial

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] The case of the Equatorial Guinea 'mercenaries' is bringing to the fore a number of key constitutional questions for South Africa as its relatively new juridical institutions are tested.

In particular South Africa's constitutional court has been asked to rule on issues to do with national sovereignty - a key issue as SA and the African Union develop regional intervention forces....

Government intervention sought...

Death penalty...

'Spanish intelligence knew'...>>Full report


SA economy:

Mbeki prepares to follow EU regional policy line

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] After his speech in parliament apparently signaling a decisive shift to the left (SouthScan v19/13) President Thabo Mbeki has spelled out some of his strategy for moving wealth to the pauperised mass of South Africans.

The prime mechanism may be through state-directed regional development funds on the European Union model, he said in his ANC newsletter last week, with the backward regions of Europe equated with poor black communities....

'Obvious' strategy...>>Full report


SA politics:

African parliament promised conducive atmosphere

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] South Africa's cabinet this week formally noted the unanimous decision of the African Union to approve SA as the host country for the Pan African Parliament (PAP).

In a statement the government said it would do "all it can to provide a conducive atmosphere for African political representatives to meet their obligations to the people of the continent"....>>Full report


SA politics:

Winelands share-out enrages unions

SouthScan v19/15 23 July 04] The farmworkers' trade union in SA's Western Cape Province has threatened land takeovers and a strike in the wine growing region where the massive KWV (Kooperatiewe Wynbouers Vereniging) is moving towards further 'empowering' 14 selected black business leaders.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) this week voiced warnings of "Zimbabwe-style land invasions" should the attempt by a black economic empowerment consortium to buy stakes in the wine industry succeed....

KWV restructuring...

Main beneficiaries...>>Full report