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

v20/21 21 October 05

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[Page numbers as in PDF file]


MDC split may open way for Tsvangirai initiative    P.1

Mbeki warns on fall-out for SA from collapse    P.2

Most graduates are preparing to emigrate, survey shows    P.2

Behaviour change credited for decline in AIDS    P.3


Trade union rights violations throughout SADC    P.3

ZAMBIA: Total likely to go after 'scapegoating'    P.3


HIV plus famine adds new dimension to state failure     P.4


US 'al-Qaeda' concern blocks fertiliser import     P.5


Aid shortfall adds to structural economic problems    P.5


Katangan leaders incite hatred against Kasaians    P.5

IMF calls high living  leaders to account    P.6

Uganda seeks to pursue LRA over its borders    P.7

EU's plan for Congo River bridge hits an obstacle    P.7


Mbeki seeks to quash local level corruption    P.8




MDC split may open way for Tsvangirai initiative

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] The opposition Movement for Democratic Change was this week heading for a split after a dispute between its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the party’s vice president Gibson Sibanda over the upcoming November 26 senate elections.

Tsvangirai has been touring the country to mobilize support for his policy of boycotting the poll, while the majority of the party’s national council wants to engage. Indications are that he will seek to reform the party on the basis of its earlier mass support. ...

‘Police report’NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku is also on the list, with Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Lovemore Matombo, Zimbabwe Progressive Teachers Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe and Felix Mafa, of the Post Independence Survivors Trust.... >>> Full report




Mbeki warns on fall-out for SA from collapse

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] SA President Thabo Mbeki has again warned about the implications of the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the International Monetary Fund.

All Zimbabwe creditors would have demanded to be paid and this would have seen the seizing of exports to settle debts; private banks would not have made loans to individuals, and neighbouring countries would have inherited the consequences, he told a conference last week. ...>>> Full report



Most graduates are preparing to emigrate, survey shows

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05]  The prospects of Zimbabwe’s economy bouncing back from its current crisis are likely to be dim if the results of a new survey of university and college graduates are taken into account.

Over three quarters of the parents of new graduates are now urging their offspring to leave, mainly because their families depend on remittances from abroad. Tens of thousands of Zimbabwean doctors, nurses, pharmacists, teachers and other professionals have already left the country. Most seriously affected is the health sector where, according to one estimate, 60 percent of state-registered nurses and about half of the medical doctors have left the country since 1999. ...>>> Full report



Behaviour change credited for decline in AIDS

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05]  The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe is declining due to greater condom use and fewer sexual partners, according to a UN report this week.

UNAIDS said it was “encouraged” by the findings. Its study, which will be released in December, found that rates of HIV have fallen in Zimbabwe to about 20 percent, from 25 percent five years ago. ...>>> Full report



Trade union rights violations throughout SADC

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05]  The Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has highlighted Zimbabwe as one of the worst violators of trade union rights on the African continent.

During 2004 the authorities continued to harass the leaders and members of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) with many arrests, including that of the ZCTU’s secretary general Wellington Chibebe, of  Zimpost workers and of members of the CASWUZ Communication workers union. ...

Mozambique, Angola ...>>> Full report



Total likely to go after ‘scapegoating’

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] Indications are that Zambia will expel the French company Total International from the management of the Indeni Oil Refinery over a fuel shortage that lasted for a month and brought riot police to the streets of Lusaka (SouthScan v20/20). Indeni was shut down for maintenance in early September and only resumed operations last week.

But it is apparent that problems at the country’s only oil refinery are many and complicated. The refinery is jointly owned by the government and Total, but government now accuses Total of mismanagement, though its fuel policies mean the company must make a loss. The import price of diesel before tax stands at $725 a tonne, but government instructed Indeni to sell at $545 a tonne. It is now facing bankruptcy but Total believes it is being scapegoated and blames the government for being “too casual” over advice to have 45 days of fuel stocks in its reserves. ...>>> Full report



HIV plus famine adds new dimension to state failure

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] The food crisis in Malawi may become the first major example of the ‘new variant famine’ associated with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Reports from the countryside indicate that the coping mechanisms of small farmers are collapsing under the weight of caring for the sick, or trying to bring in crops with fewer able-bodied family members.

Up to five million people are in need of food aid in Malawi, the hardest hit in Southern Africa where five other countries are also struggling with extreme hunger that is expected to reach its peak in December and January, according to the UN World Food Programme. ...

Institutional collapse ...

Health systemIn Malawi life expectancy by 2000 had fallen to the country’s 1969 level, essentially reversing 30 years of development investment....


Security threat ...>>> Full report



US ‘al-Qaeda’ concern blocks fertiliser import

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] More trouble may be brewing for the Malawi government after it yielded to a US demand that it stop a fertiliser shipment because the shipper had an alleged al-Qaeda link. The blocking of the shipment will exacerbate the critical food situation in the country, but it could also reignite local hostility that spread two years ago when the government similarly gave in to a US ‘terrorist’ linked request.

Last week Malawi cancelled the US$30-million fertiliser deal it had with a Saudi Arabian company after the US-based Citibank refused to deal with firm because “they had Al-Qaeda connections”. ...

Blacklisted firmCitibank has corresponding relations with all the major Malawian banks....>>> Full report




Aid shortfall adds to structural economic problems

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] A funding shortfall had forced the reduction by a third of the 100,000 orphans previously receiving assistance through the World Food Programme, the agency said this week. Lesotho needs food aid for more than half a million people despite a bigger maize crop this year, while the loss of farming skills due to HIV/AIDS is mounting. HIV infections - close to 30 percent of adults - and AIDS mortality among the farming community have slashed food output in recent years.

The WFP says it can help between 250,000 to 300,000. And the International Monetary Fund in a new report says over a quarter of the population may be in need of emergency food assistance. ...>>> Full report



Katangan leaders incite hatred against Kasaians

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] Tensions are rising in Katanga, where death threats have been made at a public rally against Kasaians living in the province. The UN has tried to dampen the flames but the government of President Joseph Kabila has been ambivalent, raising yet another concern about stability during the transition period.

Leaders of the Union of Nationalist Federalists of Congo (Unafec) made the threats two weeks ago (October 8) in the Lubumbashi suburb of Kenya during a meeting of the party militia called the Martyrs’ Brigade. ...

Warning of relapseThe ICG wants the transitional government and major donors, such as the US, the UN and the European Union to take steps including to -... >>> Full report



IMF calls high living  leaders to account

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] An International Monetary Fund mission to the DR Congo has urged the government to reduce its budget expenditure and instead increase the salaries of the civil servants. Foreign budgetary support cannot be used for the payment of salaries that are considered as sovereign expenditures, the IMF says. But at the same time strikes by unpaid workers have increased social tensions.

The IMF resident in Kinshasa, Arend Kouwemaar was more explicit and on October 10 called on members of the government to reduce their standard of living so that they could compensate teachers who were on strike at that time. Kouwenaar recommended a reduction in travel and other non-priority expenditure to help hike the salaries of teachers. ...

Jeeps controversyA spokesman for the UN Mission in the Congo (MONUC), warned on October 19 of the risk of violent military demonstrations on issues of unaddressed payment and reinsertion....>>> Full report



Uganda seeks to pursue LRA over its borders

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] Uganda has asked for permission to deploy troops in the DR Congo to pursue Lord’s Resistance Army rebels there.

The request was made during a meeting with Rwandan, Burundian and DRC officials this week and has still to be submitted to the respective capitals. ...

ICC actionHowever, there were concerns in Uganda that the indictment may derail the peace process with the rebels and instead trigger an escalation in violence....>>> Full report




EU’s plan for Congo River bridge hits an obstacle

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] Last week the European Commission presented its ‘Strategy for Africa’ to help the continent meet the UN’s Millenium Development Goals by 2015. This envisages increasing development aid to Africa from the EU and its member states from Euros 17 bn in 2003 to Euros 23 bn in 2010.

One of the priorities is the development of infrastructure to help Africa’s integration in the world markets. The EU’s Development Commissioner Louis Michel said in an interview with Le Soir Brussels daily that one of the mega-projects which could be financed was a railway bridge over the Congo river between Kinshasa and Brazzaville, also one of the NEPAD’s flagship projects. It seems, however, that before making such statement, the Belgian European Commissioner forgot to consult the Kinshasa authorities; the DRC government is not in favour of the project. ...>>> Full report


SA politics:

Mbeki seeks to quash local level corruption

[© SouthScan v20/21 21 Oct 05] SA President Thabo Mbeki and his ministers are pulling out all stops to end the corruption in local municipalities that has engendered a rumbling revolt through the country (SouthScan v20/11). He has warned in extreme terms that corrupt officials could “guarantee both the destruction of the ANC and the rest of the progressive movement, as well as the failure and defeat of the National Democratic Revolution”.

In some municipalities numbers of officials have already been dismissed or arrested and charged. ...

Candidates being chosen ...

Insider informationENDSFILE...>>> Full report