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

v19/16 6 Aug 04

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CONTENTS

International:

Government seeks to quash 'al-Qaeda terror' panic

Shoot-out

Secure haven

SA development:

Concourt dismisses 'mercenaries' appeal

International:

SA, UK sign military pacts

Congo:

Fears grow for Kivus

Criminal Court ends visit

Region:

Fresh Burundi meeting

Malawi:

Reforms create tensions in ruling party

Namibia:

Opposition criticises land appropriation

SA in cross-border talks

Swaziland:

Amnesty hits at rights abuse

Zimbabwe:

Talk of dialogue

Malaysian water project

International:

Government seeks to quash 'al-Qaeda terror' panic

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] The SA government was this week desperately seeking to play down dramatic news reports that two of its nationals had been arrested in Pakistan after a long gun battle with police and had allegedly confessed to preparing an al-Qaeda bombing campaign in South Africa.

Government officials called the SA media irresponsible for carrying the reports - widely disseminated throughout the world, based on news agency interviews with Pakistani police officials. The reports were akin to shouting 'fire' in a crowded cinema, said government spokesman Joel Netshitenzhe. But analysts noted that a terror campaign in SA could wreck government hopes for building SA's international reputation as a stable and peaceful democracy, a key aim....

Shoot-out...

Secure haven... >>> Full report


SA development:

Concourt dismisses 'mercenaries' appeal

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] The SA Constitutional Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal by 69 South Africans held in Harare against a judgment by the Pretoria High Court in June that the government be compelled to assist them (SouthScan v19/15).

The men are charged with plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea. They have since pleaded guilty before a special court in a Harare prison to violations of Zimbabwe's aviation, immigration, firearms and security laws. They are currently awaiting sentence....

Malabo trial...>>> Full report


International:

SA, UK sign military pacts

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] South Africa and the UK signed two defence co-operation agreements on Monday, partly aimed at boosting South Africa's peace support capacity. The announcement follows a deal to accept US military training, for the same purposes (SouthScan v19/15).

The first pact formalised the establishment of a British Peace Support Team (BPST) to advise and assist the SA National Defence Force in developing a joint peace support operational capability, the British High Commission said in a statement...

Army upgrading Casspirs...>>> Full report


Congo:

Fears grow of conflict or secession in the Kivus

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] Fresh rebel movements in the east of the Congo this week are causing UN concern about a renewal of fighting in the Kivu provinces.

At the same time government leaders have called on the eight members of parliament now in Goma to return to their posts in Kinshasa amid fears that they may develop a Kivu secessionist movement....

Dissident MPs...

Kivu competition...

Nationality issue...>>> Full report


Congo:

Demobilisation programme

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] A key to securing stability in the east of the DR Congo is the success of the government's disarmament and demobilisation process. This was launched on 24 July at a ceremony in Kinshasa at which Azarias Ruberwa, one of Congo's four vice-presidents, presided.

There are two programmes. The disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme for Congolese combatants was started on 24 July. The other, already underway, is the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) of non-Congolese fighters in the Congo. Monuc is to implement the disarmament and demobilisation components of both programmes....


Congo:

Criminal Court ends visit

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] A team from the International Criminal Court completed its first official visit to the DR Congo last week.

The team was composed of Deputy Prosecutor Serge Brammertz and representatives of the court's registry. They arrived in Kinshasa on 26 July and held closed-door talks with Congolese political and judicial authorities on co-operation between the country and branches of the court. In addition, the team consulted diplomats, representatives from NGOs and those of civil society. It has been silent on the details of the discussions....>>> Full report


Region:

Fresh Burundi meeting after Tutsis boycott Zuma

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] South Africa was this week hosting a new round of talks involving 28 Burundian political and ex-militia leaders seeking to finalise an agreement on power-sharing and elections.

Last week, five parties representing Tutsis walked out of talks with SA Deputy President Jacob Zuma in Bujumbura accusing him of not listening to their demands for representation in the new government (SouthScan v19/15). The Tutsi parties, however, agreed to continue the dialogue and were scheduled to take part in the talks in Pretoria this week....

Army repels Interahamwe...>>> Full report


Malawi:

Presidential reforms create tensions in ruling party

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] President Bingu wa Mutharika's reforming zeal is creating divisions in the ruling party and tension with former president Bakili Muluzi only a few months after Malawi's third democratic parliamentary and the presidential elections of May 20. There are fears the poor relationship could affect the country's reform path.

The failure of Muluzi's bid to change the constitution to allow him standing for a third term of office created serious rifts in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) party. When the move failed he hand-picked Bingu wa Mutharika, an internationally renowed economist and former staffer at the IMF, World Bank and the UN to be his successor....

Top level arrest...>>> Full report


Namibia:

Opposition criticises Swapo's land appropriation plans

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] The leader of Namibia's largest opposition party last week criticised the government's plan to expropriate white farmers, saying that it would destroy agriculture and harm black farm labourers.

The statement appeared to open up a mirror image of Zimbabwe, where the opposition Movement for Democratic Change also opposed the way the ruling party government organized land reform....

Hate speech...>>> Full report


Namibia:

SA in cross-border talks

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] South Africa's Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his Namibian counterpart Erkki Nghimtina were set to participate in the fourth South Africa-Namibia Joint Commission on Defence and Security from Wednesday.

The commission was to meet at Walvis Bay for three days and on its agenda were cross-border drug trafficking, illegal firearms, poaching, ivory smuggling, trafficking in endangered wildlife and crime along the two countries' common border.

The South African delegation was set to include Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, secretary for defence January Masilela and senior military officers.


Swaziland:

Amnesty hits at rights abuse

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] Amnesty International (AI) has urged Swazi authorities to resolve the ongoing constitutional crisis that has left the kingdom without a Court of Appeal since 2002.

The international rights group said in a report last week that despite becoming a signatory to four key human rights treaties between April and June 2004, a wide gap remained between promises and practices....>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Zanu talks of dialogue over electoral reforms

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF on Tuesday called for the support of its opposition rival, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to amend the constitution to allow electoral reforms before next year's parliamentary poll.

"We only need four votes from the opposition to form a [two-thirds] majority and then make constitutional amendments to enable us to implement the electoral reforms, and we hope the MDC will join us in effecting the reforms," Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity, Nathan Shamuyarira, said at a two-day conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls on democratising Southern Africa's electoral laws....

Home searched...

Constitutional changes...>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Malaysian water project for Bulawayo postponed

[© SouthScan v19/16 6 Aug 04] Malaysia and Zimbabwe have postponed plans to cooperate on a massive infrastructure project that will improve water distribution.

Government and corporate officials from both countries had been expected to sign a deal regarding the project during an ongoing business summit on Malaysia's northern Langkawi island. The project is expected to cost at least US$600 million....>>> Full report