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

v20/11 3 June 05

For subscription details ...


CONTENTS

SA politics:
Rough ride for Mbeki in face of riots and scandals

Newspapers gagged over ANC oil scam report

Shaik case revives arms deal suspicions

SA economy:

ANC moves to ease labour regulations

SA development:

Riots may be harbinger of the future

Zimbabwe:
Clean-up operation, seen as punishment

Currency devalued in bid to ease forex shortage

Mujuru gets into lucrative chrome production

Unions are next on Mugabe’s list

Congo:
Final date for transition but concern grows on stability

China scoops up minerals, infrastructure contracts

Namibia:
Textile sector stumbles as foreign owners pull out

Angola:
Donors’conference likely to be delayed over oil accounts

Zambia:
Allegiance plea buys corruption charge indemnity


SA politics:

Rough ride for Mbeki in face of riots and scandals

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] SA President Thabo Mbeki has had a rough ride over the past week. His deputy president and comrade in exile Jacob Zuma has been politically wounded by a corruption trial, riots have erupted in an number of centres round the country over tardy delivery of promised services, and a corner has been lifted on his party's funding in what may turn out to be a highly damaging scandal. ...

Zuma's alliesCosatu said that it could not be assumed that he was guilty and it would "perhaps" issue a fuller statement later. The Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL) said the judge had played politics and that Zuma should not resign.... >>>Full report

 

__________

SA politics:

Newspapers gagged over ANC oil scam report

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] After having faced down a court bid to uncover its sources of funding earlier this year (SouthScan v20/08) the African National Congress is faced with a major financial scandal, dubbed by the media 'oilgate'.

Last week for the first time since the days of apartheid the Mail and Guardian newspaper was barred by the Johannesburg High Court from running a follow-up to its expose which claimed that the state-owned oil company, PetroSA, had channelled R11 million (US$1.6 million) of taxpayers' money to the ANC ahead of the 2004 elections. ...>>>Full report

__________

SA politics:

Shaik case revives arms deal suspicions

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] Calls for official investigations by the auditor general into the involvement of the deputy president in arms deal corruption may not have the impact they had before last week's court case in which Jacob Zuma was heavily implicated.

The auditor general gave a clean bill of health to the 1999 arms deals, saying there had been no corruption in the 'primary' tenders. This was again stressed in the government's response to the verdict - but to many it seemed logic chopping since the deputy president of the country was involved. ...

Who leaked? ...>>>Full report

__________

SA economy:

ANC moves to ease labour regulations

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] Ahead of its National General Council Meeting later this month, the ruling African National Congress has produced a discussion paper aimed at reversing mass unemployment. Its key proposals challenge the regulations that now control every labour sector and which critics say reduce investment and business activity.

Among the proposals are - ...>>>Full report

__________

SA development:

Riots may be harbinger of the future

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] South African cities and towns have been hit by a series of major riots over the failure of local authorities to deliver housing and services. In response government ministers have promised speedier delivery and have warned local authorities to hit the targets.

But independent researchers say that the number of slum households is set to increase from 1.9 million in 2001 to 2.4 million in 2008. At the same time poverty is rising - in 1995 around 28 percent of households were living below the poverty line; four years later that percentage had escalated to just below 33 percent, according to official Statistics SA figures. ...

Lever for BEE ...

Frequent cut-offs ...>>>Full report

__________

Zimbabwe:

Clean-up operation, seen as punishment

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] As the UN World Food Programme gears up to send in aid to forestall a famine in Zimbabwe, aid agencies are preparing to feed the tens of thousands thrown out of their homes last week in mass removals.

The crackdown left nearly two million homeless in a total population of around 11m, preliminary estimates from non-governmental organisations suggest. President Robert Mugabe welcomed the action by over 3,000 riot police, saying it will give rise to "a whole new and salubrious urban environment". ...

Rural president ...

Mbeki meets Bush ...>>>Full report

__________

Zimbabwe:

Currency devalued in bid to ease forex shortage

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] As predicted (SouthScan v20/09, May 6) Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono last month announced the devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar by 31 percent from ZD6,200 to ZD9,000 per US$1.

Zimbabwe's parallel market exchanges currency at rates of up to ZD18,000 per US dollar. ...

Gono implicated ...

Takeovers legitimised ...>>>Full report

__________

Zimbabwe:

Mujuru gets into lucrative chrome production

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] Zanu-PF kingmaker and retired army general Solomon Mujuru has bought out Amzim - Anglo American Zimbabwe's high carbon ferrochrome producer Zimbabwe Alloys Ltd eight years after his failed bid to wholly acquire Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco).

Sources said Mujuru used the influence of his wife, Joyce, Zimbabwe's vice president, in persuading Amzim, which intends to use the proceeds from the sale to fund its US$100 million Unki Platinum Mine project. ...

Synergies ...

Finding funds ...

Chinese demand ...>>>Full report

__________

Zimbabwe:

Unions are next on Mugabe's list

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] The Zimbabwean government is seeking to neutralise opposition support in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the main representative body of the Zimbabwean workers.

The ZCTU is the power base of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the latest move seems a consequence of Zanu-PF's failure to break MDC's grip on mostly the urban population. ...>>>Full report

__________

Congo:

Final date for transition but concern grows on stability

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] The democratic transition process in the DR Congo should be over by May 2006, just before the extended deadline envisaged by the participants of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue in Pretoria in December 2002.

In a scenario painted by Vice-President Azarias Ruberwa the referendum on the new constitution should take place in November; then would follow the local, provincial and legislative elections between March and April 2006. ...

Monuc patrols ...

Explosive situationHe considered that many conditions for holding the elections have not yet been met. The country is not yet reunified - there are still areas at war. Only 5% of the military and the police can be considered as national forces, while all the rest of the 300,000 fighters (including security, intelligence, rebels and militias) still belong to one of the factions that fought each other before July 1 2003, he said. National reconciliation is still far from achieved and incitement of ethnic hatred continues....

 

Progress achieved ...>>>Full report

__________

Congo:

China scoops up minerals, infrastructure contracts

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] Despite political uncertainties Chinese businessmen are aggressively prospecting the DR Congo market. Since President Joseph Kabila's visit to Beijing in March, a delegation from a Beijing-based company Cobec has discussed with the Minister of Mines, Ingele Infoto plans to rehabilitate the Kamatanda copper and cobalt mines and three copper-processing plants in Katanga for $27.5m.

In April Feza Mining, a joint venture between the Chinese company Wambao Resources and the Congolese firm COMIDE, opened a plant in Likasi with a production capacity of 4,000 tons of cobalt-copper alloys. ...

Power line ...

Highways network ...>>>Full report

__________

Namibia:

Textile sector stumbles as foreign owners pull out

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] Namibia's troubled Ramatex textile industry is in crisis after 1,600 workers were retrenched last month.

The Rhino Garments factory, a subsidiary of the Malaysian company, Ramatex Textiles, closed its doors at the end of March after worker protests over conditions of service. ...>>>Full report

__________

Angola:

Donors'conference likely to be delayed over oil accounts

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] The donors' conference on the reconstruction of Angola which Belgium and the European Commission offered to host in Brussels some time this year, is likely to be delayed because Luanda is still blocking the development of oil revenue transparency.

The International Monetary Fund is seeking to wield the stick with the donor conference as the carrot to persuade the government to change its oil accounting habits that have reportedly moved billions of dollars into the hands of the Luanda elite.Isaac Maria dos Anjos said that making transparency a condition for holding a donor conference - to help fund Angola's reconstruction effort - was "uncalled for" and added, "Is any organisation raising the issue of transparency with Afghanistan or with Uganda?"...

De Beer's regains access ...>>>Full report

__________

Zambia:

Allegiance plea buys corruption charge indemnity

[(c)SouthScan v20/11 3 June 05] A public outcry has followed the revelation that State House sanctioned the surprise refusal to prosecute an accused senior civil servant in a major corruption case.

The move seemed to critics to be a reward for his testifying favourably in President Levy Mwanawasa's presidential election petition case, which he won in February. ...>>>Full report

__________