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

v19/25 10 Dec 04

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Uganda arms itself

Parastatal scandal rumbles on

SA development:
Purchase of military haulage planes

Continuity stressed in Bush administration

Guebuza wins by a large margin

Brazilian coal deal

Tsvangirai sees no 'seriousness' in SA policy

New challenges for Africa's diamond industry


Kabila's deployment in the east increases ethnic tension

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  The presence of Rwandan Defence Force(RDF) troops in the North Kivu province of the DR Congo has been confirmed from many sources, but the government's response of deploying 10,000 troops across the region has already set off demonstrations.

The chairman of the Hutu rebel 'Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda', Ignace Murwanashyaka, said Rwandan soldiers were still in the area on Thursday (December 9) at Lusamambo, Tinga and Kalemba and they were also operating in the Walikale area.

At the same time the deployment in eastern Congo of 10,000 troops from the DRC's Armed Forces (DRCAF), announced by President Joseph Kabila on November 25, has started according to Defence Minister Jean-Pierre Ondekane, speaking on Thursday in Kinshasa....

Covering costs...

Hunde militias...

Progress in Ituri...

Belgian, SA meetings...

31,000 a month dying... >>> Full report


Lacking military means, AU presses diplomacy in Congo

© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  The African Union's Peace and Security Council said on Tuesday that it wants a greater role in disarming the Rwandan rebel armed groups based in eastern DR Congo. However, with no credible military means, this appears limited to seeking dialogue between the Rwandan and Congolese leaderships.

The AU, at a meeting of foreign ministers in Addis Ababa, was unable to spell out a specifically AU role in forcibly disarming the Interahamwe, and at the same time announced it was cutting back on its proposed budget, limiting even its security component.

The organisation announced after a three-hour emergency session of foreign ministers of 15 African countries at its headquarters that the armed Rwandan groups were at the root of new tensions between the DRC and Rwanda. But Said Djinnit, the AU Commissioner for peace and security, said the organisation "discourages any unilateral action by Rwanda". Rwanda, according to numerous reports, and some official statements, has made military incursions into the DRC (SouthScan v19/24)....

Nepad plans out...>>> Full report


Uganda arms itself for stronger regional role

[© SouthScan 10 Dec  04]  While tension mounts in the eastern DR Congo Uganda has been arming itself. Beyond the dispute with Rwanda observers in Kampala say the aim of the Yoweri Museveni government is for Uganda to achieve regional military supremacy.

The country's military machine is currently being strengthened by expertise and materiel from Israel and North Korea. The two should double its firepower with the reported acquisition of Scud missiles, anti-tank guided missiles and towed artillery. Israel is also revamping the country's airforce and has a $50m project to upgrade the country's MiG fighters...

Sending signals...

Planning to hang on...>>> Full report


Parastatal scandal rumbles on after ministers sacked

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec  04]  A number of key ministers entangled in the scandal involving fraud by parastatals in the DR Congo are resisting a further probe, and none have been replaced, leaving President Joseph Kabila dangerously exposed.

On November 25 Kabila suspended six ministers and the members of eight board of administrations of parastatals, following the recommendations of a parliament committee set up in the wake of an audit of the management of the state-owned companies made by the court of auditors and the general inspection of finances....>>> Full report

SA development:

Purchase of military  planes defines new peace role

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  In the first concrete sign of its swing towards away from a conventional military function SA has agreed to buy a fleet of large capacity airilift planes for peace missions.

The cost of the eight European Airbus military cargo haulers will be R8 billion, and will be additional to the current defence procurement deals.

The decision has come in the midst of a rewrite of the 1998 defence review document, which had set out the primary function of the military as defending the country's borders; now there will no longer be a primary or secondary function, but the military will turn more to 'collateral activities' such as peace missions, under local and African Union aegis....

Local contracts...>>> Full report


Continuity stressed in second Bush administration

[© SouthScan v1925 10 Dec 04]  There will be no sharp break with the African policy as developed in the first George W Bush administration, according to the US ambassador in Pretoria, Jendayi Frazer.

However, US policy is likely to become more focused on supporting democracy and on countries that are "doing well" as the key to stability and prosperity, she said at a briefing at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria on Monday...,>>> Full report


Low turnout but Guebuza wins by a large margin

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  As anticipated, Armando Guebuza won the Mozambican election this week and will be the next president of the country. While his rival, the opposition Renamo's Afonso Dhlakama, called for a rerun of the election, the real issue may rather be the extremely low turnout.

In 1999 Dhlakama received nearly 48 percent of the vote, amid claims of vote rigging but this time the turnout was particularly low in the Renamo strongholds in the rural centre and north of the country. Analysts are now surmising that this meant either a complete alienation from both parties, or a substantial error in the voter lists, with most backing the former. In 1994 and 1999 the voter turnout was 5.4m and 4.9m. This time it was between 3m and 3.5m....>>> Full report


Brazilian steel giant will exploit Moatize's coal deposits 

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  The Brazilian steel giant, the Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) has won the tender for the US$1 billion project to develop the Moatize coal deposits in the northern province of Tete, near Malawi.

CVRD stresses that this investment will be the largest ever outside Brazil.

According to the Brazilian paper Valor, CVRD in consortium with its 95% subsidiary, American Metals and Coal International (AMCI), bid $122.8m more than the two rival bidders, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton....>>> Full report


Tsvangirai sees no 'seriousness' in SA policy

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has criticised SA's President Thabo Mbeki's attitude to Zimbabwe - he met the SA leader for the first time before his European tour and at the time said the talks had been very productive (SouthScan v19/22).

But in an interview with the independent Financial Gazette this week on his return from Europe, he said SA lacked "seriousness" on the Zimbabwe question and that without measures to enforce the Southern African Development Community rules for elections next year there was not way to oblige President Robert Mugabe to adhere to them. He said the MDC had not yet decided whether to take part in the elections....

NGO law under attack...>>> Full report


UK boost for health industry may herald larger grant aid

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Nov 04]  In what may be an indicator of a future trend, Britain has promised to give more than $100 million to the Malawi health service.

The grant will increase the salaries of thousands of nurses and other health workers and increase the number of medical staff.  In one of the most severely AIDS-affected states in Africa it will in part offset the drain of nurses to Britain.

AIDS which is hitting the state's institutional capacity and is one of the factors causing life expectancy to drop by a decade in 12 years, to 38 years in 2002 from 48 years in 1990....

IMF sees progress...

NGO plea...>>> Full report


Southern Africa 'between hell and paradise'

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  The annual ranking of worldwide country risks published early this month by the French Risques Internationaux newsletter (RI) shows a widening gap in Southern Africa "between hells and paradises" (lwww.risques-internationaux.com).

Once more, Botswana emerges as the continent's best risk for investors, bankers and insurers. It is the only African risk which fits in RI's very low risk category alongside OECD countries, Chile and the United Arab Emirates.

The mark improved by comparison with 2003 (54.6/70 as against 52.6/70) for medium or long term risk....>>> Full report


New challenges for Africa's diamond industry

[© SouthScan v19/25 10 Dec 04]  Diamond production is central to the economic reconstruction of at least two countries in the region - Angola and the DR Congo - and continues to be a mainstay of the economies of a number of others, including South Africa.

Yet there are serious dangers looming for the sustainability of the industry, based as it is on an artificial market constructed over decades by a monopolistic producer and marketer.

Consumer confidence in natural diamonds was the central theme of the Antwerp diamond conference on November 15 and 16....

Terrorist financing...

Beneficiation call...>>> Full report