Policy issues from South Africa and its neighbours. Reports every two weeks.
v20/18 9 September 05
Kabila forced to share parastatal top jobs, loses access to funds
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] Teams in charge of over 30 parastatals in the DR Congo have been replaced according to regional and political criteria, following an August 3 decree, ending President Joseph Kabila's hegemony in this key sector for patronage and political influence. The announcement has put an end to a year-long controversy over control of the state-owned companies between the presidential clan and the other political groups in the government.
Kabila's People's Party for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) has remained in control of the national television, the Congolese Control Office, the Airports Authority, the Fund for the Promotion of Industry. Its Mai-Mai allies secured the jobs of CEO of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature - ICCN, and the National Satellite Telecommunications Agency - RENATELSAT. ...
International pressureIn fact, the only company where professional criteria seem to have been applied is the main copper and cobalt company Gecamines, which launched on August 8 an open tender to recruit a new management....>>>Full report
IMF waives conditions to lend $40m to Kinshasa in 'fragile' situation
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] The international Monetary Fund has agreed to lend nearly $40 million to the transitional government in Kinshasa, waiving key conditions and turning a blind eye to misreporting by the authorities, because it sees the situation in the country as "fragile".
It has also focused on the need to boost government revenues, particularly from the mining sector, and on increased financial control by the central bank. ...
Funds released ...>>>Full report
Some progress registered as UN boosts mission
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] As the pace quickens towards next year's election, the assessment of international observers and diplomats in Kinshasa remains overall optimistic, in the belief that substantial progress had been made towards the completion of the transition progress. Most wouold, however, concur with the description by the International Monetary Fund of the process as still "fragile".
The UN Security Council on Tuesday agreed to boost the size of police personnel in its peacekeeping mission, currently the largest UN in the world, in preparation for the election. ...
Rwandan border ...
Barrack miseryThe government earlier promised to pay monthly salaries ranging between USD$200 and $2,000, but for the time being the average salary of a Congolese teacher is only $20 plus a $10 allowance to cover transport costs....>>>Full report
Big mining companies anticipate increased stability
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] While the DR Congo is making slow progresses in its transition process, the big regional and international mining houses are anticipating stability in the country.
In early July, a new joint venture, the Societe Kasaienne de Diamant (SKD) was set up between the main Congolese diamond corporation MIBA and De Beers. Two other joint ventures will be created with Southern Era and BHP Billiton, according to the MIBA management. ...
Chinese interest ...
Brazzaville diamonds ...
Angolan diamondsThe Kimberley Process, established in 2002, has 43 members including Sierra Leone, DRC and Angola. It governs annual production worth $8.5bn and annual trade worth $20bn, 99 percent of the world's total output...>>>Full report
$564m in copper exports despite production fall-off
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] Zambia earned US$564 million in copper exports during the first six months of this year as the price of the metal hit record highs, and despite a 5.7 per cent drop in production during the same period last year.
Copper production is central to the country's economy and a weak spot for government, if Copperbelt miners are alienated. Earlier this year miners at the Konkola mine, owned by Vedanta Resources, whose smelter produces 150,000 tons of finished copper per year, rioted for eight days demanding better pay. The mine lost $20m and the government arrested an opposition leader it accused of inciting the strike (SouthScan v20/15). ...>>>Full report
Coup-struck oil territories sign security pact
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] Oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and its neighbour Sao Tome have signed a security pact. Both have been hit by attempted coups, and both are of key security interest to the US.
Equatorial Guinea was the target of an attempted coup in which Mark Thatcher was allegedly involved last year, and a group of mercenaries from South Africa is still in jail there (SouthScan v19/05; 06 et.seq.). There was a brief military coup in Sao Tome in July 2003, and South Africa and Angola have both been keenly involved in seeking stability in the countries. The two countries are members of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), dominated by Angola (SouthScan v19/05). Equatorial Guinea is currently training security forces in Sao Tome. ...
Mauritanian oilMauritania's recently discovered oil reserves in the Chinguetti and Tiouf fields, which hold an estimated billion barrels of oil and 30-billion cubic metres of natural gas. The commercial sale of these resources is scheduled for January next year. Soon after the coup, the US agreed to work with the junta to ensure that multiparty elections would be held....>>>Full report
Main oil congress heads for SA
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] The leading global organization on oil and gas, the World Petroleum Council (WPC), will be holding its congress in South Africa - about 4,000 delegates and 500 speakers will be present between September 25 and 29.
This is the most important event on the petroleum industry's calendar and this year's congress will be keenly watched by industry observers around the world in light of recent developments in the oil sector. ...>>>Full report
Government opens way for reform, admits need for IMF funds
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] There was still no certainty this week about the future status of Zimbabwe in the International Monetary Fund after it has paid an installment on its debt arrears. However, officials were signaling they regarded good standing in the international organisation as crucial to hopes for economic revival, despite defiant statements from President Robert Mugabe, and they hinted at a willingness to follow some of the conditions laid on IMF loans.
At the same time the origin of the initial US$120 million paid remained a mystery. According to media reports in South Africa the funds did not come from SA but from sums garnered by the authorities outside the bounds of normal state accounting, though the Zimbabwe authorities denied that the money had in some way been collected illegitimately. Instead the state media suggested that the money had come from a contingency fund for fuel purchases - as soon as the payment was made the government doubled fuel prices - and for agricultural inputs. ...
Price controls ...
UN goals ...>>>Full report
Civil society registers objections to constitution
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] In the weeks following King Mswati's promulgation of a palace-authored constitution, pro-democracy and civil society organizations have weighed in with their own opinion of the new national ruling document.
"The constitution is not making any sense. I don't understand it. It is contradictory," said Dominic Nxumalo, secretary general of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, in a statement. ...>>>Full report
Ageing military to get more recruits
[(c) SouthScan v20/18 9 Sept 05] South Africa's police and army are to be boosted with thousands of new recruits over the next year.
The country's defence force has an ageing soldier complement, many of whom are HIV positive (SouthScan v20/04). ...>>>Full report