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

v20/16 12 August 05

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UN says main business federation is in cahoots with ex-warlords     P.1

Militias in Ituri province     P.3

Conflict continues in northern Katanga     P.4


SA MPs to visit troops in Congo P.4


SA joins US military training scheme     P.4


More funding sought for attack helicopter      P.5


Economic conditions set as a route to political change     P.5

Eastern Europe style reforms ahead?     P.6


Nujoma linked to investment fraud company     P.7


Malawi, SA in deal to counter cross-border crime P.7

SADC faces severe food emergency says UN     P.7


Gold miners' strike seen as political challenge to Mbeki     P.8



UN says main business federation is in cahoots with ex-warlords

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] A new UN report has revealed a vigorous war economy continuing in the east of the country based on gold smuggling to Uganda and out of the reach of the transitional government in Kinshasa. Former warlords, even while ostensibly integrated into the new national army, are running it in Ituri province, but according to the UN investigators they are in harness with a significant number of the DR Congo's business leaders. The main business federation, the 40-year-old Congolese Federation of Enterprises (FEC - Federation des entreprises du Congo) is deeply involved.

The UN report, published at the end of last month, concentrated on the loss to the state of several billions of dollars in potential revenues. But the main outcome of the trade is that former warlords can continue to buy arms - the report also focuses on the lack of controls for air transport into the DRC and its neighbours, a major means of ferrying in arms against UN sanctions.

Cross border trade ...

Most taxes uncollected ...

Expanding authority ...

Gold dealing ...

Smuggled cigarettes ...>>> Full report



Militias in Ituri province

Some of the Ituri militia leaders have been arrested and others have been integrated into the national army or are in the transitional government.

RCD-ML - Congolese Rally for Democracy - Liberation Movement. Mbusa Nyamwisi. Also know as RCD-Kisangani, the RCD-ML was launched in September 1999 in Kampala when Wamba dia Wamba split from the RCD-Goma. Backed at the start by Uganda. Mbusa Nyamwisi took power after ousting Wamba dia Wamba. Military wing - Congolese Popular Army (APC). Part of the Sun City agreement of April 2002. ... >>> Full report



Conflict continues in northern Katanga

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] Violence over the past six months in parts of the DR Congo's Katanga province has been displacing thousands of civilians. Aid workers in Katanga say that the conflict in the area has attracted little national or international attention.

The fighting has been between the regular army and local Mayi-Mayi militiamen. The UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) has too few troops to place in northern or central Katanga, the MONUC military spokesman, Lt-Col. Thierry Provendier, said last week.




SA MPs to visit troops in Congo

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] South Africa's parliamentary committee on defence intends visiting South African troops in the DR Congo in early October, chairman Kader Asmal said on Wednesday. This will be the first visit in over two years by a parliamentary oversight committee to the region. South Africa has approximately 1,200 troops based in Deni in North Kivu.

"There have also been very libellous statements made about them and not followed up. We must find out about these from the troops on the ground and see how they feel about them," he said, referring to accusations of sexual misconduct aimed at certain individuals. ...



SA joins US military training scheme

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] South Africa agreed this week to join the US military training African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (Acota) programme. The deal, signed an on Thursday (August 11), signals the consolidation of co-operation around African peacekeeping with SA the thirteenth African state to participate.

But the deal has come only after years of trying by the US to persuade SA on board, facing local suspicions and outright hostility. In the view of US analysts close to the programme SA realized after its involvement in Burundi that it lacked peacekeeping skills - a view dismissed by SA military experts. ... >>> Full report


SA development:

More funding sought for attack helicopter

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] A further R600 million is required to complete the development of South Africa's Rooivalk attack helicopter, it was reported in parliament last week.

The commitment to the machine is the strongest indication that SA sees itself taking a growing military role in African operations in the future. Despite intensive marketing in foreign arms fairs the arms maker Denel has singularly failed to sell the machine abroad. The report blamed the political nature of arms sales and the lack of sufficient weapons testing. Major arms manufacturers, particularly in the US, have effectively tied up non-African markets, say analysts. ...

Israel ties ... >>> Full report



Economic conditions set as a route to political change

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] The SA government is seeking economic reforms in Zimbabwe before political reforms, as it prepares to hand over a massive loan to pay International Monetary Fund arrears. But in talks around the loan it is calling for all stakeholders to be engaged.

Inside SA even critics of SA President Thabo Mbeki's 'constructive engagement' policies have now arrived at a consensus with the government that further meltdown in Zimbabwe and its expulsion from the IMF must be avoided. Zimbabwe owes the IMF around US$300 million (SouthScan v20/15). ...

No details ...

Meltdown ... >>> Full report



Eastern Europe style reforms ahead?

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] The "comprehensive economic reform programme" Zimbabwe officials say South Africa is seeking there in return for paying off the International Monetary Fund debt may need to look like the reforms in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

This is the view of the World Bank's country representative in Zimbabwe, Hartwig Schafer, who said that major economic restructuring would be needed to end the economic crisis, similar to policies that helped rebuild former Soviet states also endowed with infrastructure and human resources. ...

Agricultural breakdown ...

Hard currency fuel ... >>> Full report



Nujoma linked to investment fraud company

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] Namibia's founding president Sam Nujoma has been linked to a multi-million-dollar scandal in which a state loan was allegedly moved into private accounts abroad.

A former financial manager at the Social Security Commission told a Windhoek court on Wednesday that a newly established investment company, Avid Investment Corporation, was given a loan worth US$4.7 million under political pressure. Avril Green said the youth wing of the ruling South West Africa Peoples' Organisation (Swapo) had an 80 percent stake in the firm and that Nujoma also held a share.  The loan, which was to be paid back in May, is still outstanding, and some of the money has disappeared into bank accounts in South Africa and Uruguay, a court heard.Swapo Youth League secretary and Works Deputy Minister Paulus Kapia, a former Avid director, has also appeared in court. The CEO of the Social Security Commission, Tuli Hiveluah, has been cited as one of the beneficiaries of the missing ND30m. Hiveluah was reportedly given ND250,000, sacked SSC manager for corporate finance Gideon Mulder ND150,000, a certain "group" ND180,000 and some "office" received "three hundred and something thousand"....

Rights situation improvesThe report noted that three-quarters of the rural population live in poverty and are deprived of basic human rights, such as the right to education, proper healthcare and work.... >>> Full report



Malawi, SA in deal to counter cross-border crime

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] South Africa's new National Director of Public Prosecutions Vusunzi Patrick Pikoli was this week on a tour of Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. In Malawi he signed an agreement to combat cross border crime.

In Malawi Pikoli's host, Director of Public Prosecution Ishmael Wadi noted that drug and firearms trafficking as well as money laundering needed to be curbed. These have been identified as key regional problems (SouthScan v20/15).




SADC faces severe food emergency says UN

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] The UN has made an urgent appeal for food aid for the Southern African region where it says more than 10 million people will need support this year.

In a letter sent to potential international donors this week, UN secretary general  Kofi Annan said that while the world's attention is focused on the food crisis in Niger, Southern Africa was facing the triple threat of HIV/AIDS, food insecurity and weakened capacity for governance. ... >>> Full report


SA economy:

Gold miners' strike seen as political challenge to Mbeki

[(c) SouthScan v20/16 12 Aug 05] The massive miners' strike that ended this week was signal of a fresh rift between the labour movement and the government, breaking with Tripartite Alliance solidarity. Some 80,000 SA Mineworkers' Union members and some 10,000 Solidarity members downed tools last weekend before they accepted a pay and conditions deal on Thursday to end the first gold mine strike in 18 years.

Most analysts said the action, coinciding with a rash of other strikes, had been political first and foremost, aimed at countering what the Left in the African National Congress sees as a rightwards movement by the government. The strike by the NUM, a firm traditional ally of the ruling ANC, followed a similar ground-breaking white collar workers' strike late last year. Then more than 700,000 public service workers, half of them teachers, went on the biggest strike in South Africa's history (SouthScan v19/19).The provincial party chairman warned that the names of ANC leaders could be abused by people with "sinister agendas."...

More strike actions ...>>> Full report