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

v20/02 28 Jan 05

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Botswana:
Zimbabwean illegals to serve jail terms


Zimbabwe:
Economic turnaround anticipated after election hurdle


Swaziland:
Strike fizzles out as soldiers block off capital


Namibia:
Caprivi triallists may reject court's standing


Congo:
Panic lies just below the surface in Kinshasa


Million clients for Vodacom


Region:
Cloud over former Burundi leader


Angola:
Booming economy brings change on transparency issue


Expulsions cut diamond production


Malawi:
Boost to AIDS treatment

 


Zimbabwe:

SA turns the heat on slightly as it faces election decision

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] A strategic decision faces the South Africa government and other Southern African Development Community governments as Zimbabwe heads for its election in March.

While the SA government appears to be gingerly egging the Zimbabwe regime to present an at least plausible election few analysts see any hope of the vote being free and fair, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has called for a postponement.

Human Rights Watch said this month that the elections "are likely to unfold in a climate of repression and intimidation"....

SADC team visits... >>>Full Report


Botswana:

Zimbabwean illegals to serve jail terms

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] Botswana is strengthening its plans to keep Zimbabwean illegal immigrants out of the country. Stiffer fines are being imposed - between P300 (US$60) and P4,000 (US$800) - with sentences imposed on those entering the country illegally.

Those convicted will be kept at a new centre in Molepolole, a village 60 km west of the capital, Gaborone, for up to five months before being deported. ...>>>Full Report


Zimbabwe:

Economic turnaround anticipated after election hurdle

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] President Robert Mugabe is calculating on a post-election economic recovery. His Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono this week announced further success in cutting the inflation rate and a projected growth rate of 5 percent this year.

But while his success in bringing down the inflation rate is acknowledged, many have concerns about his other projections.

Gono has been given the job of squaring the circle - running an economic empowerment programme with the clientilist links on which Zanu-PF depends, and also instituting the structural reforms that will bring Zimbabwe back into the Washington Consensus fold and access to international finance....

Patronage remains...

Financial sector...>>>Full Report


Swaziland:

Strike fizzles out as soldiers block off capital

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] Only 300 people took part on Wednesday in a second day of protest in Swaziland to back a call for democratic reforms. The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) had hoped to draw some 20,000 protesters but thousands of police and military personnel were deployed, manning roadblocks at the entrances to the capital.

A few hundred protestors also turned out on Tuesday in nearby Mbabane. Shop and business owners disregarded the call to join in the two-day nationwide strike against King Mswati's rule....>>>Full Report


Namibia:

Caprivi triallists may reject court's standing

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] A further delay in the long running treason trial against a group of 120 Caprivi separatists is now expected, after a split in the defence strategy.

Some of the accused are now expected to raise the plea that the Caprivi region is not in actual fact legally a part of Namibia. The defence team is apparently against this line of argument. The trial relates to violent attacks in Caprivi in 1998/99 (SouthScan v13/23)....>>>Full Report


Congo:

Panic lies just below the surface in Kinshasa

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] Two weeks after the violence during clashes between the army and demonstrators opposed to the postponement of the elections and two days of strikes the situation seems to have calmed down in the capital (SouthScan v20/01). But widespread anxiety remains just below the surface, as was revealed by the spate of coup rumours in Kinshasa this week and the panic that ensued.

Signs that the transitional government was starting  to unravel met a strong response. The UN called on the parties to resolve their differences before the end of the week, and South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki called in one of the vice-presidents to persuade him back into the government....

Restoring confidence...n the government and the ICST.

Disarming the militias...

Eastern Congo situation...

Ivory and 4x4s....>>>Full Report


Congo:

Million clients for Vodacom

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] South Africa's mobile phone company Vodacom, which established itself in the country in 2001, announced this week that it had reached one million clients in the DRC. It offered a prize of one million Congolese francs (about $2,200) to its millionth client.  ...>>>Full Report


Region:

Cloud  over former Burundi leader adds to uncertainty

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] The chief mediator in the Burundian peace process, South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma visited Uganda last week for talks with President Yoweri Museveni who chairs a regional peace initiative for Burundi. They discussed the possibilities for Burundi holding elections within three months as planned.

The election timetable has been postponed repeatedly. A referendum on Burundi's post-transitional constitution was initially scheduled for October last year, and was then put off to December and again for a third time with no new date being set (SouthScan v19/21).

But an additional complication has been added. Former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya was on Thursday (January 27) accused of having ordered the assassination in November 2001 in front of the appeal court in Bujumbura of the World Health Organisation representative Kass Manlan. ...>>>Full Report


Angola:

Booming economy brings change of tack on transparency issue

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] Signs are increasing that the West is giving up on its attempts to induce an equitable distribution of the massive oil profits now flooding into the Angolan government's reserves. It needs to engage with a booming economy - the government suggest a 16% growth rate this year - and with rivalry from China, which recently announced a massive $2 billion loan package and whose companies will get most of the infrastructural work.,,,

Swiss decision...

EC backs off...

Aid turns to development...

Chinese credit...>>>Full Report


Angola:

Expulsions cut diamond production

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] The Angolan parastatal Endiama's 2004 output will reach some 4.37m carats, 9.4% below the 2003 production figure of 4.82m cts, according to its chairman, Arnaldo de Souza Calado.

 The fall being attributed to the expulsion of Congolese illegal miners (garimpeiros) from the Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul provinces which started in December 2003 and lasted until the end of 2004, with a two-month break to enable the Congolese authorities to resettle the returnees. The government estimates that last year diamonds worth a million dollars were being smuggled out of Angola each day. Human Rights Watch estimates that 60,000 people were expelled to neighbouring countries....>>>Full Report


Malawi:

Boost to AIDS treatment

SouthScan v20/02 28 Jan 05] A $14 million grant will ensure a large boost in provision of AIDS treatment drugs from June this year, according to an announcement last week. The procurement of the drugs is to be through the UN Unicef agency because of Malawi's shortage of personnel and concerns that funds will be diverted.

The money is from the Global Fund to combat AIDS, malaria and TB and the World Health Organisation is providing technical guidance on procurement of the drugs. The ARVs will be made available at both government and mission hospitals throughout the country....>>>Full Report