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

v19/22 29 Oct 04

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Slim parastatals pickings

Deal may hit Washington lobbyists

Row with Belgium


Mauritian WTO candidate


Crusade yields no advance


Corruption rating


Cosatu expulsion

NGOs produce ethics code

Ugandan expansion


Mandela backs Guebuza

Observers seek transparency


Ex-finance minister arrested

SA economy:

No empowerment charter for auto industry

SA development:

Police moving to Iraq

SA economy:

Exchange control easing

SA politics:

TRC 'sensitive' documents


Kabila gets slim pickings in parastatals grab

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The row over the control of the DR Congo's parastatals is far from over. While the 'International Committee of Support to the Transition', a grouping of the major interested powers, is seeking a consensus between President Joseph Kabila and his opponents, they have agreed to strip Kabila's 'Party for Reconciliation and Development' of most of the top jobs on the boards of the parastatals.

Their agreement, which presented Kabila with a fait accompli, was signed by a coalition of about 80 percent of the members of parliament, including four rebel groups (the Movement of Liberation of Congo, the Congo Rally for Democracy, the CRD-National and the CRD-Movement of Liberation), the civil society representatives and the political opposition....

World Bank backing... >>Full report


Wartime deal may hit Washington lobbyists

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] A dubious deal between the main DR Congo diamond company and an Israeli diamond trader may have unexpected repercussions for the Bush administration as the US prepares for elections.

Dan Gertler, an Israeli diamond dealer who plays a significant role in the marketing of 88 percent of the production of the main Congolese diamond company, the Miniere de Bakwanga (Miba), is well connected in the US administration and has acted as a lobbyist for the DRC's president, Joseph Kabila. However, his deal with Miba is now being challenged in Kinshasa as a war contract detrimental to the Congo....

National interests...

UN panel...>>Full report


Corruption and slow progress bring on row with Belgium

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Slow progress on governance issues and on the transition process triggered a diplomatic row between Kinshasa and Brussels last week.

President Joseph Kabila's spokesman Kudura Kasongo announced that the DRC government was recalling for consultations its ambassador in Brussels, Jean-Pierre Mutamba....

Full support...>>Full report


SADC backs Mauritian candidate for WTO

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The Southern African Development Community is backing a Mauritian to head the World Trade Organisation, against the outgoing European Union trade commissioner Pascal Lamy and other contenders.

Jaya Krishna Cuttarree confirmed his country would present him as candidate for the job of director general of the WTO in December. In an interview with SouthScan on the Wednesday, Cuttarree, who is the foreign affairs and international trade minister of Mauritius, says his government's decision was made after he received the support of SADC and was welcomed by the Brussels ambassador of the ACP - African, Caribbean and the Pacific countries....

Brazil meeting...>>Full report


Anti-corruption crusade yields no advance

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Despite the high profile 'war against corruption' being waged by President Levy Mwanawasa, Zambia has barely moved from its ranking last year in the Transparency International Index - it is still grouped in at 102 out of 145.

The Zambian government, convinced that it is fighting a winning battle, has refused to accept the accuracy of the listing, the same for three consecutive years. "It's a lie", Mwanawasa commented. But the responses of the donor community has been variable....

Daily bribes...>>Full report


Corruption rating high as Frelimo promises reform

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The ruling party Frelimo has issued a manifesto for the December election promising to root out corruption, one of the biggest concerns in its constituency.

This week in its annual report on perceptions of corruption, Transparency International put Mozambique's in 90th position out of 146 countries. It is in the group of countries considered to have "rampant corruption", with a score of 2.8 out of ten, the same ranking for corruption as India, Malawi, Nepal, Russia and Tanzania and the same position as last year....>>Full report


Cosatu expulsion puts more pressure on Mugabe and ANC

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Zimbabwe's expulsion of a Cosatu (Congress of SA Trade Unions) delegation this week was "embarrassing" to the African National Congress, according to SA Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

The expulsion may be a rare misstep by the Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe....

ICFTU condemnation...>>Full report


Lukewarm NGOs produce ethics code

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe have adopted a code of ethics to show government that they are capable of self-regulation. The code, adopted at the NGO expo in early October, comes just before a new NGO law seeking to shut them down for maladministration and human rights work considered political.

Some doubts have however, been expressed about the actual benefits of the code. It commits the 400 Nango (National Association of NGOs) members to transparency and accountability within their structures and in dealings with government, donors and beneficiaries....

Government code...>>Full report


Ugandan expansion for hotels operator

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Zimbabwe's largest hotel operator, the Zimbabwe Sun Leisure Group, is set to construct a hotel along the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda.

Zimbabwe Sun owns and controls the Zimsun brand and Monomatapa Crown Plaza. The group sent a team to Uganda on a feasibility study to assess the piece of land last month. Ironically the Ugandan multi-million dollar venture is being constructed to profit from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) summit to be hosted by Uganda in 2007. The Commonwealth has sanctioned Zimbabwe for its anti-democratic domestic policies....>>Full report


Mandela backs Guebuza for president

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Armando Guebuza, Frelimo candidate for the December presidential election, has been endorsed by former South African president Nelson Mandela.

In the foreword to a new biography of Guebuza, Mandela writes that when he first met him "I realised he was a man of exceptional talent", an impression that was deepened through Guebuza's involvement in the search for peace in Burundi....>>Full report


International poll observers seek more transparency

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Deadlock was looming this week between Mozambique and the international groupings sending election observers to Mozambique for the December 1-2 poll.

Analysts say it the election may be a close call between Frelimo and Renamo in some regions, making it more important that the legitimacy of the winner should not be in question....>>Full report


Ex-finance minister arrested for alleged graft

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] Police in Malawi on Wednesday arrested a former finance minister over graft allegations involving the illegal sale of strategic grain reserves that led to a food crisis.

Friday Jumbe, a lawmaker and top official of the ruling United Democratic Front chaired by former president Bakili Muluzi, was accused in a probe of being the main culprit behind the corrupt sale of 60,000 tonnes of maize to Kenya.

SA economy:

No empowerment charter for auto industry

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The government would not enforce a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) charter in the automotive industry, allowing it to commit to its own initiatives, Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa said on Tuesday.

"Government regards it as more advantageous to allow multinationals in certain parts of the industry to commit to their own BEE initiatives," he said at the opening of the Auto Africa 2004 show in Johannesburg....

'Diversity' statement...>>Full report

SA development:

Mercenary law fails to stop police moving to Iraq

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The SA government's determination to tighten up its anti-mercenary law is increasingly being seen as aimed at the haemorrhage of security personnel to Iraq.

The SA Police Service has now introduced a scarce skills retention fee, but this is miniscule in relation to what can be earned in Iraq. Already there are reports that the elite police Special Task Force is facing a crisis, with dozens of its members leave for Iraq. The media reports in SA appear to confirm earlier analysis about the main motivation behind the focus on mercenarism (SouthScan v19/03)....>>Full report

SA economy:

Exchange control easing and growth increasing

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] In an upbeat medium term budget announcement, SA Finance Minister Trevor Manuel this week announced the end of exchange control limits on outward foreign direct investment (FDI) by South African companies, and the removal of restrictions on the repatriation of foreign dividends. His focus again demonstrated the government's anxiety to attract inward direct investment.

A small improvement in the unemployment figures was also announced. The trade union federation Cosatu welcomed this but noted that it made hardly making a dent on the overall figure of over 40 percent joblessness. In the last election unemployment was the main concern of voters....>>Full report

SA politics:

Quest for TRC 'sensitive' documents continues

[© SouthScan v19/22 29 Oct 04] The SA History Archive (SAHA) has refused to agree to an extension, as sought by the justice department, to a court ordered deadline for deciding whether to grant the archive access to certain documents. The department wanted the deadline extended from November 15 to November 25.

SAHA says the department must provide a sworn affidavit that the file entitled 'List of Informers' cannot be found, SAHA director Sello Hatang said on Wednesday....>>Full report


Two of the HIV/AIDS charts in our last issue - SouthScan v19/21 - were too unclear to read in the print edition. We are repeating them now.

The charts were presented at the recent African Development Forum in Addis Ababa, and show the number of AIDS orphans in the region by 2010, and the increase in the numbers of by-elections in Zambia, presumably caused by AIDS deaths.