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

v20/15 29 July 05

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Dissidents in Zanu-PF angle for 'Third Force' alternative party     P.1


Mbeki indicates he may pay off Mugabe's IMF debt     P.2


Appeal for humanitarian aid     P.4


Washington angered by China's Zimbabwe support     P.4

ZAMBIA:     P.5

Mwanawasa jails opposition chief alleging sabotage     P.5

MALAWI:      P.5

Maize exports banned in face of famine     P.5


King finally signs constitution   P.6

REGION:     P.6

Concern in Congo over Uganda's military build-up      P.6

REGION:     P.6

Early warning centre holding up SADC brigade     P.6


Anti-terror, anti-drugs brigades now at airports     P.6


Mbeki's popularity soars over Zuma case, but not in ANC  P.7


Whites join ANC Youth League     P.7


Land summit heralds change in official policy     P.7


State intervention role stressed by Mbeki     P.8


Foreigners may be called in to solve local council failings     P.8


Dissidents in Zanu-PF angle for 'Third Force' alternative party

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] There are growing calls for the formation of a political movement that would provide an alternative to the ruling Zanu-PF and the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change.

The calls seem to be fed by accumulating frustration with both parties as the country goes through unprecedented political and economic problems, but analysts say President Robert Mugabe still holds the key levers of political control and this means that any new party can only come into being after he has left the political stage. ...

Tsholotsho meetingIf such fear persists the Third Force might take a long time to come by way of a political party. Even though Mugabe has said he will retire as president in three years time, he will remain the president of the party until 2010, having been re-elected for five more years at the party's congress in December last ye... >>> Full Report



Mbeki indicates he may pay off Mugabe's IMF debt

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] SA President Thabo Mbeki has been put on the spot again by his neighbour, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. After the international furore over the estimated 700,000 informal traders and squatters made homeless by his mass removals campaign, Mugabe has smartly turned the tables by calling for international aid - most especially for a loan of one billion dollars from South Africa.

SA, facing a disintegrating state and economy to the north, has indicated it will pay off some of Zimbabwe's International Monetary Fund debt, but how much remains uncertain. Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank  governor Gideon Gono appears already to be banking on the support. He said this week he would speed up repayment from the current level of US$9 million per quarter. Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF stand at US$306 million, 57 percent of its IMF quota. ...

China card ...

Solidarity debt ...

Removals continue ... >>> Full Report



Appeal for humanitarian aid

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Zimbabwe's Vice President Joyce Mujuru made an appeal for aid on Wednesday, saying that 'Operation Murambatsvina', the mass removals of shacks and informal businesses, had officially ended.

Independent economists say the government cannot afford the US$325 million it has promised for the reconstruction effort."I appeal to the international community to stop stone-throwing...

Church organised ...

Food aidThe massive food imports come at a time when Zimbabwe's foreign currency reserves are already tightly-stretched, resulting in critical fuel and power shortages.... >>> Full Report



Washington angered by China's Zimbabwe support

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] President Robert Mugabe's Beijing visit this week is raising hackles in Washington. The state department has expressed its dismay over China's increasingly close ties with Zimbabwe at a time when the international community was trying isolate it.

"We will be raising with the Chinese our concerns that Mugabe needs to reform his economic and political policies," Michael Ranneberger, a senior state department official, told a Congressional hearing. ...

Senior leaders meet ... >>> Full Report



Mwanawasa jails opposition chief alleging sabotage

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Zambia's main opposition leader, an outspoken and long-time rival of President Levy Mwanawasa, faces a 27-year minimum jail sentence if he is convicted on a charge of sabotage in the country's High Court.

Michael Sata, leader of the opposition Patriotic Front, was arrested by order of Mwanawasa and has been denied bail. He has been confined in one of the country's filthiest prisons and as further punishment the state has blocked his family from visiting him, a move condemned by the Human Rights Commission. ... >>> Full Report



Maize exports banned in face of famine

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Malawi banned all exports of Malawi's staple maize crop and fertilizer on Monday in a bid to avert famine.

President Bingu wa Mutharika also urged Malawians to contribute at least 10 percent of their earnings to a fund to help feed the needy. ... >>> Full Report



King finally signs constitution

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Swaziland's King Mswati signed the kingdom's new constitution into law on Tuesday, ending a process that took eight years of consultations.

The new constitution still bans political parties and prevents the High Court from presiding over cases that have a bearing on the institution of the monarch and other Swazi law and custom issues. ... >>> Full Report



Concern in Congo over Uganda's military build-up

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Uganda is to begin implementing a new military programme soon that would strengthen its capacity to engage in regional peace-keeping or conflict. The development, to cost $600m over a three-year period ending 2008,has become a source of concern for Uganda's neighbours, especially the DR Congo, which has been accusing Kampala of trying to destabilise it through the creation of a new rebel group and by allowing six militia groups hostile to Kinshasa government to convene in Kampala.

It is planned the Ugandan army which will grow to 100,000 with mechanised divisions and a stronger logistical and management system. ... >>> Full Report



Early warning centre holding up SADC brigade

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Delays in the development of an early warning centre is holding up the formation of the Southern African Development Community brigade. "The SADC Brigade is up and running and ready to go," SA deputy foreign affairs minister Sue van der Merwe said on Wednesday. Headquarters staff are based in Gaborone and soldiers will be based in their own countries.

The military force was ready for deployment, but she said the brigade was being held back because an early warning centre was not complete.Around 350 delegates from all the 13 member states were expected to attend this meeting. The ICM is a committee of at least two ministers from each member state and meets annually to prepare the agenda for the SADC Council of Ministers that reports to the SADC heads of state and government summit.... >>> Full Report



Anti-terror, anti-drugs brigades now at airports

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Special security brigades have started operating at Mozambique's airports in a drive to prevent terrorism and drug trafficking.

The force is made up of 57 agents trained by the Portuguese Public Security Police to control public and restricted areas of the airports, electronically inspect luggage and prevent of armed attacks, hijackings and other terrorist acts. ... >>> Full Report


SA politics:

Mbeki's popularity soars over Zuma case, but not in ANC

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] SA President Thabo Mbeki has had a strong boost in popularity because of his handling of the Zuma affair. A new poll of city dwellers shows an approval rating of 83 percent across all races.

In January, Mbeki's approval rating was 48 percent, but five days after he fired his deputy Jacob Zuma after he was implicated in a corruption case he registered a sharp rise in public approval.Forty-six percent of the sample of 300 adults believed Shaik's sentence was too severe (Africans 48 percent, whites 32 percent, Coloureds and Indians 54 percent).... >>> Full Report



SA politics:

Whites join ANC Youth League

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Seventy young white people have joined the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal in what the organisation described as the largest number of whites to join the ANCYL at the same time.

The recruits, described as "middle line managers" from the textile, banking and clothing industry, were welcomed into the party by ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize and ANCYL president Fikile Mbalula at a ceremony held in Durban. ... >>> Full Report


SA development:

Land summit heralds change in official policy

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] The latest crisis in Zimbabwe, involving pleas for a massive bale-out loan from South Africa, has come at a difficult time for the government. It is hosting a summit on land reform in SA, where it has been on the back foot and vulnerable to attacks from the extra parliamentary opposition that supports Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's policy of forced land takeovers.

The government has been facing mounting criticism over the pace of its land reform and the summit heard numerous attacks on the willing buyer, willing seller approach, up till now official policy. Indications are now that the government is prepared to modify this stance. ...

Government targets ...

Property rights clause ... >>> Full Report


SA development:

State intervention role stressed by Mbeki

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] Increased intervention by the state in the economy was necessary to alleviate poverty, according to SA President Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the Progressive Governance Conference in Johannesburg this week.

The statement was the latest in a series heralding more direction intervention in the market and a move back from the earlier precepts of the Gear macro economic plan. Increasingly Mbeki is describing running the economy as a balancing act between keeping private sector growth going while pushing resources into social services.It was the state's duty to address issues of poverty and development and to facilitate the transfer of resources. "It is clear in Africa that poverty will continue to lead to a scramble for available resources, which will lead to conflicts," he said.... >>> Full Report


SA development:

Foreigners may be called in to solve local council failings

[(c) SouthScan v20/15  29 July 05] There has been an outburst of anger from opposition parties in South Africa after SA President Thabo Mbeki  announced skilled foreigners would be sought to run some of the countries underperforming municipalities.

The announcement was made after a cabinet meeting last weekend and came in response to the demonstrations against the government for failure to deliver services and for corruption at the local level (SouthScan v20/11).... >>> Full Report