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Jacob Zuma calls for end to South Africa’s xenophobic violence
January 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Crystal Oderson in Cape Town*

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma

South African President Jacob Zuma has instructed the security forces to work with the local political leadership in the commercial capital of Johannesburg to end xenophobic violence.

Zuma’s plea followed days of violence with l shops belonging foreign nationals were looted in the Soweto township.

Visuals beamed across the country showed foreign nationals fleeing for their lives, some hiding on rooftops, others hurriedly packing up the last few remaining items and mobs of people looting local shops.

Foreigners said locals had robbed them and chased them away. Two people have died in the attacks

The violence was sparked by the shooting to death to death of a teenager who tried to rob a store owned by Somalian national.

The Somalian has since appeared in court and the matter was postponed because there was no translator.

A second person was shot dead during looting in Zola on Wednesday night and police said the man was a foreign national.

More than 100 people have been arrested this week following the deaths.

They were arrested on charges including murder, robbery, public violence, and illegal possession of firearms.

Eight of them were foreign nationals allegedly found in possession of unlicensed firearms.

One was a policeman who was allegedly caught on camera taking part in the looting.

“The actions are pure criminality. For now we won’t declare it xenophobic attacks,” Gauteng safety member of the executive council Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane told reporters in Johannesburg.

An operations centre has been set up to co-ordinate the police’s operations in the area.

The Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urged South Africans to respect human rights.

“If South Africans see foreigners as scapegoats, the country will be on a slippery slope towards the destruction of the unity we have built in the trade unions and community organisations,” COSATU said.

“Human rights are not just for South Africans but for all people, regardless of where they have come from.

“We must never forget that many of those who risked their lives in our liberation struggle and built our trade unions were migrant workers from all over the world.”

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South Africa: Malema Will Never Leave the EFF
January 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Photo: Getrude Makhafola/Sapa EFF leader Julius Malema (file photo). Photo: Getrude Makhafola/Sapa
EFF leader Julius Malema (file photo).[/caption] Johannesburg — EFF leader Julius Malema on Tuesday tweeted he will never leave his party following claims that he planned to return to the ANC. “I will never do that to my people, the EFF remains my only political home now and for the rest of my life,” Malema said on his Twitter page. “I will be buried with the red flag.” He could not be reached for verbal comment. The Citizen reported that Malema was in talks with the ANC to return to the ruling party. Malema was expelled from the ANC Youth League and went on to become president of his own party the Economic Freedom Fighters. The ANC denied the claims.

“The report in The Citizen: we are not aware of it. There are no discussions between the ANC and Malema,” African National Congress spokesman Zizi Kodwa said. “However the ANC remains open to people who want to come back, who were members of the ANC before and left for whatever reason.” He said the ANC would not reject any person wanting to return “home” because it was an organisation of the people. Kodwa also dismissed the newspaper’s other claim that EFF MP Magdalene Moonsamy would be returning to the ANC. “We are unaware of her return,” said Kodwa. “If Malema and others want to come back voluntarily, the ANC will always welcome them.” *Source Allafrica]]>

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Radical S.African lawmakers threaten to derail Zuma's address
January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters' leader Julius Malema adresses his supporters in Polokwane, South Africa, on September 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia) South African opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema adresses his supporters in Polokwane, South Africa, on September 30, 2014 (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)[/caption]

Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa’s radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters threatened Tuesday to disrupt President Jacob Zuma’s annual state of the nation address next month if he fails to answer questions in parliament about controversial “security upgrades” to his private residence.

“We are going to ask Zuma to answer before he starts with the State of the Nation Address (SONA) when he takes to the podium,” firebrand leader Julius Malema told reporters in Johannesburg.

It will be the latest stunt by a young party that has hounded Zuma for months over his refusal to accept an ombudsman’s decision that he should repay some of the $24 million (19 million euros) of taxpayers’ money spent on additions to his rural Nkandla home. The refurbishments included a swimming pool, amphitheatre, cattle pen and chicken run.

In August, Malema and 19 of his lawmakers were suspended from parliament after disrupting a question-and-answer session with the president by chanting: “Pay back the money”. The move sparked unprecedented irreverence among fellow opposition lawmakers, who attempted a filibuster to stop the house passing a report by members of the ruling African National Congress exonerating Zuma of any culpability in his housing upgrades. “The ‘Zuma pay back the money’ will happen straight during the opening of parliament,” said Malema on Tuesday. “We have to hold him accountable.” At the weekend, he demanded that National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete convene a special sitting ahead of Zuma’s speech when Parliament opens on February 12.

“Please note that failure to accommodate our request will give us no other option but to insist that President Jacob Zuma answers these questions at SONA,” he said in a letter to Mbete according to local reports.

Mbete has refused, saying his request could be construed as “intimidation”, reported Johannesburg’s talk radio station 702.

The EFF has risen rapidly since its formation by disgruntled former ANC members, riding on the back of populist policies such as the nationalisation of mines and banks and the seizure without compensation of white-owned land.

They accuse the ANC of being lackeys of white minority capital, and appear in parliament dressed in “workers’ solidarity” outfits of red overalls, hardhats and maid’s uniforms.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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South Africa: Work Begins On South Africa's R84 Billion Smart City
January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Construction site (file photo). Construction site (file photo).[/caption] Construction has begun on a Chinese-financed R84-billion city in Modderfontein, eastern Johannesburg, The Star reported last week. Work on the first set of 300 residential units and some of the roads was already under way, the newspaper said. Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai planned to develop the 1,600 hectares of land into the “New York of Africa”, Dai Zhikang, the company’s founder and chairman, said at a press conference in November 2013. The area will be developed into a financial hub, with as many as 35 000 houses, an educational centre, a hospital and medical centre, and a sport stadium. ‘Hope and imagination’ Zendai South Africa chief operating officer Du Wenhui told the Star that the development was a 15- to 20-year project that would see between 30 000 and 50 000 housing units of different types and sizes being built, ultimately housing about 100 000 residents. Wenhui said the project had been met with some scepticism, especially after drawings were released showing what it would look like in 20 years time. But “hope and imagination” were key words, he said. “The project will be market driven, and depending on what our clients or developers want, the sky is the limit,” he was quoted as saying. Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai is a Hong Kong-listed investment company. It develops and manages property projects in 12 cities in northern China, Shanghai city and Hainan province. Africa’s ‘future capital’

It bought the 1,600-hectare property from South Africa’s chemicals and explosives company AECI in November 2013 for R1.06-billion, Business Day reported at the time. The sale was part of AECI’s plans to dispose of surplus land holdings, and the transaction represents one of the largest single foreign direct investments in South Africa. “It will become the future capital of the whole of Africa,” Dai reportedly said at a press conference in November 2013. “This will be on par with cities like New York in America or Hong Kong in the Far East.” The development, which is yet to be named, will become a hub for Chinese firms investing in sub-Saharan Africa, Dai said. Once complete, the city will provide jobs for 100 000 people and house about 100 000 more. Collaboration The Modderfontein site is located between the central business district of Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport. It is on the Gautrain route, and the development will also include the completion of the Modderfontein station. The Gauteng Provincial Government says the new city will benefit Johannesburg’s residents, Eyewitness News reported last week. Nino Zama of the Gauteng Provincial Government said there was possibility for collaboration with local contractors. “There will be jobs created, there will be business opportunities for local people and after stages of the development are completed, there will also be new opportunities created.” *Source South Africa Infos/Allafrica]]>

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Winnie challenges the Late Mandela's family in court
January 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

Winnie Mandela Winnie Mandela[/caption] The late world icon, Nelson Mandela’s family are facing off at the High Court in the Eastern Cape today with his fomer wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela challenging grandson, Mandla Mandela about a family meeting this week that is due to discuss the Mandela estate in Qunu. The Court Action has infuriated some members of the Royal family and some say it is embarrassing the Mandela legacy. But Mandela’s former wife is not taking it lying down.

In court papers Madikizela-Mandela argues that the royal family, which comprises Madiba’s eldest grandson, Mandla Mandela, had no right to hold the meeting at Qunu. Madikizela-Mandela’s lawyer, Mvuzo Notyesi, said: “The meeting cannot be held at Qunu. This is Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s property.” They also argue that the meeting would lead to violence between clan members. She is also worried people would damage property. The meeting which would host the entire royal family AbaThembu nation and the AmaDlomo is due to discuss Madikizela-Mandela’s claim on the property as well as Mandla’s role as head of the family. The meeting is scheduled for Friday. Madikizela-Mandela is challenging the estate in the courts, and claims the property in the Eastern Cape belongs to her. The Nobel Laurette died at his Houghton home in December 2013 after suffering a long illness. According to Mandela’s will, his homes in Qunu and Houghton in Johannesburg would be held in the Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Family Trust and the Nelson Mandela Trust. According to the will, Mandela wanted the Qunu property to be used by his family in perpetuity in order to preserve its unity. In his last will and testament, Mandela said he wanted his wife, Graca to have half of his belongings, but she then waived her rights to those assets. According to Media24, Daludumo Mtirara, a close ally of Mandla Mandela said: “There is clearly a problem in the Mandela household, we need time to sort these things out. We got the court papers that say we are not allowed to have a meeting in that Qunu property. We are not really shocked but we are still trying to find a solution.” The influential AbaThembu king, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo said he would be in court on Tuesday to support Madikizela-Mandela.

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Malema and the EFF are defining a generation
January 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

by Nomalanga Mkhize*

Julius Malema. Picture: BALESENG MOSOTHO

Julius Malema. Picture: BALESENG MOSOTHO

REMEMBER the time, in July 2011, when Johann Rupert reportedly described the African National Congress Youth League under Julius Malema as being like a “mosquito in one’s tent”? When I read that, I remember thinking, “Oh there’s going to be hell to pay for this comment.” It was folly to be dismissive of the upstart politician who had the vigour of youth on his side and was gifted with sharp social insight.

Three months after the reported mosquito comment, in October 2011, Malema led 1,000 young people on a 50km economic freedom march from Johannesburg to Pretoria. They marched through the night with Malema alongside them. Since then Malema, now the commander-in-chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has proven that he will brook no obstacles to his political ambitions and is a formidable political force who has captured the sentiments of 1-million voters.

But why did someone like Rupert seemingly underestimate Malema by characterising him as a minor irritant? Perhaps in part he was deceived by the caricatures of “Malema the buffoon” that were common in mainstream media. For a long time there was a racist subtext about Malema in media that constructed him in the trope of the idiotic, childish African leader with the “thick black accent”. This image of Malema spawned many jokes, drawing in particular on his matric results, specifically making fun of the fact that he did woodwork as a subject.

The reality, of course, is that Malema’s matric results were not a reflection of his intelligence but of the severely dysfunctional state of Bantu education, which especially affected those who were educated from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Malema’s grades did not look much different from many people I grew up with in the rural areas.

However, this caricaturing of Malema demonstrated to me just how much mainstream media and non-African language political discourse blindly uses suburban experience as its point of departure in unpacking South African society. To his opponents in his hometown of Seshego, Limpopo, Malema surely never appeared to be a fool; indeed, they experienced him as a very strategic, authoritarian and fierce competitor in local ANC politics.

More important than the media’s gaze, perhaps Rupert took his cue from the ANC itself.

Perhaps Rupert bought into the notion that no one is bigger than the ANC; that while Malema was noisy, he would be nobody without the ANC. This is why, after Malema’s expulsion from the ANC, there were many predictions of his political death. The rise of the EFF shows that these predictions were out of touch with the rumbling sentiment of youth discontent in SA. Even when the ANC has its finger on the pulse about the national mood, it still tends to operate from the view that the majority of South Africans are unlikely to abandon it wholesale.

Though South Africans will not abandon the ANC overnight, there is a seismic generational shift under way in the movement. What will be passing is the era of the Ruperts and the Cyril Ramaphosas, a cohort of leaders that emerged out of the Convention for a Democratic SA (Codesa) with a template for how we would build a new society.

Today the flagship political vision the Codesa generation is offering is the National Development Plan. But for a growing number of young black South Africans, plans and government 12-point strategies are just no longer enough reassurance.

In this context the EFF, with its 6% of the vote, has shifted the tone and sense of urgency on these matters. What happens between now and 2019 in the political arena is going to mark the politics of this emerging generation for the next two decades. At this juncture it is not clear what kind of political dynamics will emerge.

What is clear is that, for better or for worse, Malema and his EFF peers are leading the way into the future and are boldly defining the mood for a generation. Anyone with a commitment to SA should conduct their politics and activism with that reality in mind.

*Source bdlive. Mkhize is a lecturer in the history department at Rhodes University.

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Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa's leader in waiting
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Crystal Orderson in Cape Town* After helping to found Africa’s largest trade-union federation and establishing a multi-billion-rand conglomerate, Cyril Ramaphosa is back in frontline politics. [caption id="attachment_15350" align="alignleft" width="710"]Simphiwe Nkwali/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images Simphiwe Nkwali/Sunday Times/Gallo Images/Getty Images[/caption] Perhaps the most poignant task for Cyril Ramaphosa after his elevation to deputy president in June is to try to forestall the breakup of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

He had helped found it and became its first general secretary, turning it into a powerful movement with the United Democratic Front in 1985 to confront the apartheid regime. That coalition became the triple alliance of the African National Congress (ANC), Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. Today Cosatu is divided between those, such as its president, Sdumo Dlamini, who back President Jacob Zuma, and his opponents led by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), with some 350,000 members. Fearful of the consequences of Cosatu’s breakup, the ANC’s national executive committee asked Ramaphosa to mediate between the factions. But on 7 November, Cosatu announced it was expelling NUMSA, which immediately said it would appeal against the decision. Ramaphosa tells The Africa Report (TAR) that the ANC “would never leave Cosatu alone. We want to walk every inch of the way with them. The ANC has a responsibility to preserve and advance the integrity of Cosatu. We want workers to be united in their unions […] Cosatu should remain a militant voice advancing the interests of working people.”
Publicly, Ramaphosa has remained conciliatory towards NUMSA. Just before Cosatu’s expulsion order, he told TAR: “We’ve put all our energies in making sure that Cosatu remains united […] What we got very clearly from all the unions is that Cosatu is their home, and it’s our preference that Cosatu should remain united.” Farming reform Despite the setbacks, Ramaphosa will stay with the Cosatu project if only to limit the damage to the ANC. In November, to tackle growing rural discontent, he called together local government minister Pravin Gordhan and labour minister Mildred Oliphant with a group of farmers, farmworkers and trade unionists, including Cosatu. “Change has to happen. We cannot carry on like this, and we have to find a way for true and lasting transformation [in farming],” Ramaphosa tells TAR. He speaks of trade-offs and a new social contract based on the economic strength of the country’s agriculture. “Think out of the box, re-imagine a successful farming sector,” he told a gathering in Paarl, the centre of the country’s wine industry. He also called on “farmers to stop the evictions of farmworkers”. Antagonisms between farmers and farmworkers have continued, with illegal evictions pushing thousands of families onto the streets. Ramaphosa said there would be a moratorium on evictions until at least next year. Niklaas Koopman, 57, who faces eviction after living on a farm for 40 years, applauds Ramaphosa’s statement: “I am delighted he has announced the moratorium. It will help thousands of families.” Farmers were less impressed. Theo de Jager, deputy president of agricultural association AgriSA, says: “This is cheap politicking that will cost our country dearly. It speaks of poor leadership in the ANC and puts tremendous pressure on the only sector that has not collapsed under poor economic policies.” For Ramaphosa’s older supporters, his return to political centre stage is a reminder of the hopeful 1990s after the collapse of apartheid. “It is the Cyril of old, bringing sophistication and understanding to the issues. Unlike Zuma, who seems not to care, Cyril is much clearer as to what needs to be done,” says a senior trade union leader who requests anonymity. Those memories of Ramaphosa’s key political role go back to Nelson Mandela’s release from the Victor Verster prison near Paarl in the Western Cape on 11 February 1990. That morning Ramaphosa was in hospital recovering from pneumonia, reading a book by historian Barbara Tuchman. On hearing of Mandela’s imminent release, he pulled out his drip and left hospital. Six hours later, Ramaphosa held the microphone for Mandela as he made his historical freedom speech on the steps of Cape Town’s City Hall alongside his wife, Winnie, and Walter Sisulu. Taking a sabbatical That propinquity to Mandela suggested to many that Ramaphosa was his natural successor. Yet in 1996 after having led the ANC team to negotiate a radically new constitution, Ramaphosa resigned as ANC secretary general and member of parliament. ANC insiders explained that once it was clear that Thabo Mbeki, a leading figure among the ANC exiles and someone close to former ANC president Oliver Tambo, would pip Ramaphosa for the succession, the die was cast. Tom Lodge, a former professor at Witwatersrand University, writes: “Ramaphosa does not wear tweed sports jackets like Mbeki. He is his own man politically, and his experience in collective bargaining has given him an acute sense of the limits of possible.” It was seeing those limits – in the short term – that persuaded Ramaphosa to take a break from power politics. He went into business, becoming deputy chairman of the black-owned business New Africa Investment and then built an empire in telecommunications, mining and banking worth an estimated R6.5bn ($579m), according to local analysts. Lodge describes Ramaphosa as “a superb political negotiator, combining personal warmth and high-spirited humour with calculating courage.” He has the confidence and charisma to make him a prime target for journalists trying to decipher the latest political developments. Ramaphosa’s friends saw his sabbatical in the business world as a temporary aberration. Politics – not price-earnings ratios – remained his consuming interest. Ahead of the ANC national conference in Mangaung in December 2012, ANC members in KwaZulu-Natal led by Zweli Mkhize, a former premier of the province, lobbied for Ramaphosa to be on President Zuma’s slate of candidates in the party elections. It catapulted Ramaphosa back into frontline politics as the ANC’s deputy president. After this year’s national elections in May, Ramaphosa was appointed national deputy president and leader of government business. He has relentlessly criss-crossed the country, meeting farmers, workers, businesspeople and opposition leaders, and has flown to South Sudan on diplomatic missions. Tough questions As leader of government business, Ramaphosa fields questions in the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, the upper house. Switching between the country’s main languages, he comes across as well briefed and knowledgeable. In November, Ramaphosa defended Zuma’s absence from parliament after Zuma was barracked by parliamentarians from the Economic Freedom Fighters party. He explains: “The relationship between government and opposition should be based on respect […] it becomes difficult when there is howling and screaming in the house.” A close aide to Ramaphosa insists that he wants to make parliament work for all sides: “The deputy president is not shying away from Lonmin or the Marikana massacre. He believes South Africa is a democracy, and he must answer the tough questions.” The worst blemish on Ramaphosa’s record goes back to the August 2012 Marikana massacre when he was a shareholder and non-executive director of Lonmin, one of the platinum mining houses involved in a labour dispute. Several emails were subsequently leaked in which he called for intervention from the highest levels of government to clamp down on the striking workers. Bruised reputation Ramaphosa then phoned the minister of police Nathi Mthethwa to ask for an increased police presence around Marikana to deter violence. Tragically, the fighting escalated and police shot dead 32 mine workers in the worst post-apartheid violence. Geoff Budlender, a lawyer for the mine- workers, holds Ramaphosa partly to blame for the police action. On the other hand, a senior official in Cosatu, which had opposed the strike at Marikana, argues: “There was lawlessness, and the police had to act against the violence and aggressive mine workers. It’s easy to blame Cyril.” It is unlikely that judge Ian Farlam’s commission into the Marikana massacre will hold Ramaphosa directly responsible, but the episode has damaged him, according to his generally sympathetic biographer Anthony Butler. “A picture emerged during the [Marikana] hearings of a businessman overstretched by multiple board memberships, inattentive to the living conditions of workers and serving as a broker between the company, the ANC, the National Union of Mineworkers and the government,” wrote Butler. The most merciless judgement on Ramaphosa is likely to come from his supporters in the growing black middle class and business world who have high expectations. Their highest expectations relate to the national economy – that he will somehow be able to use his twin experiences as a trade union militant and as the billionaire owner of Shanduka Group to tackle rising unemployment and labour unrest. He organised a Labour Relations Indaba (consultation) under the auspices of a National Economic Development and Labour Council meeting in November with unionists, executives and politicians. “We need to start looking at income inequality against the backdrop of labour relations,” he told parliament. “When we do succeed in finding solutions around these two issues […] we will expand our economy and improve the livelihood of millions of South Africans.” A big advance would be to win agreement on implementing the national minimum wage, he added. On the diplomatic front, Ramaphosa has been an envoy in South Sudan, Sri Lanka and Lesotho. After some hard bargaining, he helped broker a deal between Lesotho’s army, police and political factions. All this, he told parliament, was of direct interest to South Africa: “We are not Father Christmas in Lesotho. We have an interest we have to advance, and we buy our water from them.” A political bridge Despite this heavy workload, Ramaphosa is careful not to steal Zuma’s limelight, in an evidently difficult relationship. An ANC source describes Ramaphosa as “a bridge between the party, government and business. He is taken seriously and we need that bridge. The leadership issue tussle has not been talked about openly, but it is there and very underground. Right now he has the respect of the party”. Ramaphosa remains an ANC man to the hilt and will not hear talk of disunity in the party. “Our membership base is growing and our influence is spreading,” he tells TAR. “We remain robust and confident about our future prospects.” Many, inside and outside the party, argue that Ramaphosa will play a key role in those prospects. Few doubt that he has his sights on the presidency. Like Judith February, an analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, most forecast a “bruising battle”. Calls, from politicians such as Paul Mashatile, for Zuma to step aside for Ramaphosa are unlikely to help him. Ramaphosa’s best chance for the presidency would be for Zuma to retire before the end of his second term, allowing him to take over automatically and be in pole position for the next ANC elections. But for now, the best guess, judging by Zuma’s reinvigorated appearance, is that ‘number one’ is not going anywhere. And he has no intention of making things easier for ‘number two.’

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S. Africa Takes Helm of UN’s Group of 77 Developing Nations
January 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Anita Powell*

South Africa has taken leadership of the United Nations’ “Group of 77,” during a particularly interesting year for that coalition of developing nations. [caption id="attachment_15335" align="alignleft" width="640"]A United Nations promotional poster for the Millennium Development Goals. The deadline for attaining the goals is 2015. A United Nations promotional poster for the Millennium Development Goals. The deadline for attaining the goals is 2015.[/caption] The new post puts South Africa in a position both of power and responsibility as the U.N. enters its deadline year for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – global targets for developing nations. The G77 represents a third of the U.N.’s membership, and includes nations as diverse as Bosnia and Herzegovina, a once-war-torn nation that is now striving to join the European Union – and Somalia, a chaotic, violent, woefully underdeveloped nation on Africa’s east coast. South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, made clear that he understood the gravity of the situation in his acceptance speech before the group in New York this week. The development goals, he said, will be a top priority. “This year will prove to be a crucial year in which the various envisaged development processes would demand that we, as a group, remain even more steadfast in promoting the interests of developing countries,” he said. “The MDGs, adopted in 2000, set bold targets for development and were key in forging a global cooperation framework for development. Foremost in our efforts this year will be the evaluation of the progress made in reaching these goals and the negotiation of the post-2015 development agenda.” But Landers also reminded the world’s superpowers of the collective might of the group. South Africa has repeatedly hinted at its own global ambitions, notably by joining BRICS, the economic bloc that also includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. Landers noted that the Group of 77 will continue to press to upturn the northern hemisphere’s grip on global power. All five of the U.N. Security Council’s permanent members — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the U.S. — are northern nations. “South-South Cooperation is key for international cooperation and partnerships for development. This is especially in terms of global, regional and country-level efforts to achieve balanced sustainable development,” he said. “We must reiterate that South-South Cooperation is not intended to be a substitute for the obligations and responsibilities of the developed North.” “Over the last few years, several developing countries have become the key drivers of global growth and their development is having a significant impact on the world economy,” Landers contined. “Growth and economic development in the South has significantly altered the strategic balance of power towards the countries of the South.” *Source VOA

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South Africa: Africans in Particular, People of Colour in General, Not Welcome
January 10, 2015 | 2 Comments

By Anna Majavu* [caption id="attachment_15317" align="alignleft" width="290"]Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa Protesters demonstrate during a march to the home affairs department against revised immigration regulations in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 Photo: Werner Beukes/Sapa
Protesters demonstrate during a march to the home affairs department against revised immigration regulations in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 25 June 2014[/caption] This year looks set to be another gloomy one for asylum seekers, as the ANC government makes a renewed attempt to deport and restrict the number of African migrants to South Africa. Black Africans are not welcome anywhere, even as tourists, and must jump through dozens of hoops to apply for visas to enter almost every country in the world to prove their worthiness. Lately, the quest for tourist visas can even entail providing proof that they have paid their children’s South African school fees. Given that Black South Africans experience these indignities when applying for visas to Europe, Australia and North America, it is continually disappointing when the ANC government concocts new ways to keep other Black Africans out of South Africa. A strange new form for asylum seekers now compels applicants to provide pay slips, details of property owned and to reveal how much money they have. It is still not known what this information will be used for, since governments are only supposed to assess applications for asylum based on the level of persecution faced in the home country – not the amount of money in the applicants’ bank accounts. In 2013, only two out of 12 000 applicants were granted asylum and the new ‘asylum seekers’ form is likely part of government’s quest to rid South Africa completely of genuine asylum seekers and allow in only those with money. It has become fashionable for governments globally to decry the fact that people of colour are seeking asylum when in fact they are ‘economic migrants’ making contrived claims of persecution. This false separation was laid bare last week when the Ezadeen, a livestock cargo ship run by people smugglers and carrying 360 Syrian asylum seekers, was set adrift off the coast of Italy, fortunately being rescued before it crashed. The passengers, who paid R60 000 each for a place on the floor in the livestock hold, have since been dubbed economic migrants even though as Syrian victims of war, they clearly deserve asylum status. It does not seem likely that they will find homes in Italy because they have already been removed to “identification and expulsion centres” which the media is mysteriously and euphemistically describing as “immigration centres”. Refugee rights groups in Europe say that one million asylum seekers per year are detained in these centres, sometimes for years. The only people who benefit from this system are the people smugglers and multinational corporations like Group Four Security (G4S) and ‘immigration solution provider’ MITIE, which are paid billions every year to run these notorious deportation centres where human rights abuses are reported regularly. Back in South Africa, an estimated 50 000 Zimbabweans are facing deportation soon for failing to apply for permission to stay in South Africa under the new ‘Zimbabwean Special Permit’ system. Every four years or so, the South African government attempts to get rid of Zimbabwean migrants but instead succeeds only in creating fear, panic and ultimately highlighting the deficiency of its own systems.

In 2010, the government gave just three months warning that it would end a ‘special dispensation’ for Zimbabweans. This progressive dispensation was started to allow Zimbabweans free access to South Africa during the Zimbabwean cholera epidemic of 2009, for 90 days at a time without passports and without fearing deportation. But ending the special dispensation failed mainly because the Zimbabwean government would not issue Zimbabwean passports to its citizens in time for them to apply for the permits, and also because the department of Home Affairs could not process the number of applications anyway. Similarly, Home Affairs has already admitted that the new ‘Special Permit’ system for “regularising” Zimbabweans has been plagued by “a lot of technical glitches”, including – again – the failure of the Home Affairs’ call centre to answer thousands of calls from those who wanted to apply for permits. Home Affairs’ top officials said in 2010 that they planned to follow the “regularising” of Zimbabwean migrants by documenting Malawians, Angolans, DRC citizens and others from Africa in the same way. This has not materialised, thankfully. No similar race based country-by-country purge was planned for white migrants from Europe and North America, who are generally prized by the DA and ANC governments for the “skills” they bring to South Africa. It is for this reason that Black Consciousness activists have pointed out in the past that xenophobia in South Africa is more accurately described as afrophobia, and that the DA and ANC governments are generally afrophobic. An astonishing tweet by COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi this week, decrying Asian shop owners in townships, indicates how far the phobia of migrants of colour has spread. “We condemn xenophobia but the current displacement of Africans even in spaza shops mainly by guys from East is not politically sustainable”, tweeted Vavi. Being the country’s leader of organised workers, Vavi knows better than most that the biggest problem facing the South African Black working class and poor is not Asian spaza shop owners in the townships but the out-dated free market system adopted by the ANC and DA governments. Jobs in manufacturing have been slashed, profits from the mining industry continue to flow to a tiny elite, and the ANC is dead set against nationalising even the unallocated mineral deposits, which could fund the redevelopment of the whole country, let alone the mines themselves. The privatised housing delivery programme favoured by both the ANC and DA sees a small handful of contractors getting rich by skimping on cement and by engaging subcontractors who pay workers as little as R20 for every roof they put on a house. Little wonder that the bill for rectifying all these substandard dwellings stood at R58 billion four years ago. Instead of setting up a state run, job creating solar and wind power project, the ANC will borrow a trillion rands to build dangerous and discredited nuclear power stations. Institutional racism is deeply embedded in South Africa with the Commission for Employment Equity’s annual report continuing to reveal that whites still occupy most senior management and top management positions. Under these circumstances, for Vavi to be tweeting against “guys from the East”, is absurd. Migrant workers are not to blame for the high levels of unemployment. Vavi’s tweet, although made against Asian migrants, will increase xenophobic sentiment in general, and consequently fuel afrophobia against spaza shop owners from Africa. Criticism of Asian migrants today quickly leads to resentment of African migrants tomorrow. Under South Africa’s free market economic system, deporting African migrants and asylum seekers and encouraging xenophobia against Asian migrants will not uplift the Black poor and working class whose lives seem set to continue to deteriorate until the ANC and DA governments are voted out of power completely. *Source  allafrica.Majavu is a writer concentrating on the rights of workers, oppressed people, the environment, anti-militarism and what makes a better world. She is currently studying for a Masters Degree in New Zealand.]]>

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Sequel to Mandela’s autobiography to be published in 2015
January 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Mandela_smiling-1024x815A sequel to the late Nelson’s Mandela’s autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom is to be published in South Africa next year, the former president’s foundation said on Wednesday. The book titled The Presidential Years, which Mandela began writing in 1998, will be based on his five years in office. He had already drafted 10 chapters “when he finally ran out of steam” in 2002, said the foundation which has released a handwritten manuscript of the opening sentences of the book. “The book will be based on the 10 chapters written by Mandela himself,” Danielle Melville, the spokesperson for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, told AFP. She did not say who has been brought in to finish the book. The foundation, which oversees the legacy of South Africa’s first black president said it had “embarked on a project to see the completion of ‘The Presidential Years’ as an authorised account of Mr Mandela’s presidency.” The hand-written draft opens with a poignant passage: “Men and women, all over the world, right down the centuries, come and go. Some leave nothing behind, not even their names. It would seem that they never existed at all.” Mandela died a year ago at the age of 95 after a long illness. His first internationally acclaimed autobiography published in 1995 has been translated into numerous languages and adapted into an award-winning film. Mandela left instructions for the draft to be handed to five of his comrades for comments, including President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj, who was also jailed with Mandela on Robben Island. The internationally revered anti-apartheid hero spent 27 years in prison before coming out to lead South Africa after the fall of apartheid in 1994. He only served a single five-year term as president, stepping down from office in 1999 having laid the foundation for a united South Africa. *Source AFP/Voices of Africa]]>

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Ali Mazrui, Julius Nyerere and Apartheid South Africa: A Tribute
January 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

indexProfessor Ali Mazrui died two months ago at his home in Binghamton, New York. He was a Kenyan in the Diaspora and a scholar of monumental standing. Julius Nyerere was President of Tanzania from independence in 1961 to 1985 when he voluntarily stepped down. He died in 1999. In a historical sense then, the two global icons were contemporaries. Ali Mazrui and Julius Nyerere were my leading East African public heroes. Mazrui, a fellow Kenyan, was an outstanding scholar. He joined the teaching staff of Makerere University in Uganda in 1963 and, after only two years, he jumped to full professorship, bypassing the ranks of Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor. That happened before Mazrui had defended his dissertation for a doctorate degree at Oxford University. He indeed was a bona fide scholar in the Western tradition of objective inquiry. On the other hand, Nyerere was a politician from Tanganyika (mainland Tanzania.) But he was much more than a political ideologue. He was an astute, seasoned man of letters, a giant intellectual in his own right and a remarkable leader. In addition, he was by all accounts a decent human being of impeccable integrity. Most importantly, Nyerere was also a man of action, an exceptional African of vision and conviction. He was sufficiently audacious to act if that would improve Tanzania’s and Africa’s tormented condition. Little wonder that many enlightened Africans today are convinced that, in terms of political leadership, Nyerere is by far the best that free Africa has produced. Both Nyerere and Mazrui shone in their respective fields. In 2004, the London-based magazine, The New African, invited its readership to respond to the question: Who are the greatest Africans of all time? Both Nyerere and Mazrui were featured in the results as numbers 4 and 50, respectively. This was one year before Ali Mazrui was selected as the 73rd topmost intellectual on the list of top 100 public intellectuals worldwide by Prospect Magazine (UK) and Foreign Policy (United States.) As a ‘back door’ salute to the two East African icons, we pose two questions: What set Mazrui and Nyerere apart? What was their relevance to the all-important issue of apartheid in South Africa? After all, South Africa’s racist policy did trigger public comparisons between the two giants. Historically, no issue has bedeviled post-colonial Africa as deeply and uniformly as apartheid. The racially-driven policy actually united the entire Black world in an alliance-in-adversity. How did our two East African heroes handle apartheid’s existence on their continent? Rooted in the firm conviction that apartheid was a repugnant moral abomination, Nyerere was decidedly and unalterably against it from the outset. He made this clear before his country became independent in 1961. On October 22, 1959, he made a powerful pledge before the colonial Legislative Council, “We, the people of Tanganyika, would like to light a candle and put it on top of Mount Kilimanjaro which would shine beyond our borders giving hope where there was despair, love where there was hate and dignity where there was before only humiliation.” images.jpg 1Henceforth, Nyerere effectively became a diplomatic globe-trotter, urging the Western world to desist from supporting apartheid. Meanwhile, Dar es Salaam quickly transformed into a Mecca for all the liberations movements from across white-dominated Southern Africa. In sum, Nyerere provided moral, political and material support to the struggles against white-rule in southern Africa. In the end, his contribution was consummated by his peers when they installed him as the Chairman of the Frontline States upon its establishment in 1970. Ultimately, Nyerere’s dedication to the liberation of the African sub-continent earned him the distinction of being glorified as the ‘carrier of the torch that liberated Africa.’ Nyerere was thus a hands-on political actor regarding South Africa in particular and southern Africa generally. Ali Mazrui entered the South African scene differently, as a scholar steeped in the Western orientation. After apartheid, the next most agonizing issue in post-colonial Africa was arguably that of white mercenaries. Indeed apartheid and white mercenaries were often perceived and projected as one and the same thing to the extent that the latter was a byproduct of the former. As rejects of apartheid, mercenaries were jettisoned out of the white war-machine and were happy to become soldiers-of-fortune who hired themselves out to the despots in black Africa. This tradition of mercenaries continued until 1998 when it was legally banned by democratic South Africa. The first captive in this ‘dogs of war’ aberration was Congo’s Moishe Tshombe. He first engaged the much despised mercenaries in the mid-1960s to fight for the secession of Congo’s mineral-rich Katanga Province, and subsequently for a united Congo. As a result of this illogical flip-flopping, a question arose: Was Tshombe having fellow Africans killed by South African white racists in the interest of his country or for his personal ambitions? Mazrui of that time was the ultimate scholar in the Western tradition of genuine inquiry and free speech. Regarding the presence of white mercenaries in the Congo he argued that there was a silver lining to it in the long run, because the Congolese had less to forgive each other for if the killing was done by foreign mercenaries. In his own words, “…the use of foreigners to commit some of the atrocities (in the Congo) might cynically but truly, be a positive contribution to the realization of future peace.” As far as pure logic goes, Mazrui’s proposition here was certainly viable. However, human affairs do not happen in a vacuum. In an abstract sense, there was coherence to Mazrui’s logic but, in an African setting, there was something about that logic that was cold-blooded and abrasive. Regardless of the fate of peace in future Congo, the very idea of entertaining (and paying) racist South Africans to spill African blood anywhere in freed Africa, was itself anathema, absolutely unacceptable. It was a classic case of the ends not justifying the means. What is more, the collective will of post-colonial Africa was total isolation of apartheid South Africa. Mazrui’s logic-of-the-head overlooked those deeply-held sentiments in black Africa. By repeatedly employing insensitive and unpalatable reasoning, Mazrui was nearly tagged with a pejorative stigma of being stoic to pan-African causes, the critic of orthodoxies of African thought. At least he earned the label that, in his earlier scholarship, Mazrui was an aloof and pointlessly combative polemicist. Yet, there was another side to Ali Mazrui, a kinder and gentler person who was deeply devoted to Africa and easily moved by the misfortunes of fellow Africans. Unfortunately, this side of Mazrui remained largely unknown except to those who got to know him personally. Relative to South Africa, Mazrui-of-the heart was exposed to me in the late 1960s by a South African event. In 1969, the University of Cape Town tracked Mazrui down to Makerere University in Uganda and invited him to give a public lecture at the ‘world class’ institution. This was at the height of the dark days of apartheid. UCT is the same university where in 1966 the US Senator Robert F. Kennedy had directed some brutally challenging remarks at apartheid. Mazrui took the bull by the horns by stating three conditions for accepting the offer. He was prepared to give the lecture at UCT provided (a) he was free to say whatever he wanted (b) that he addressed only a racially mixed audience and (c) he could bring along his British wife. UCT responded that it was prepared to risk the first two conditions but the third one was ‘going too far.’ Indeed bringing his white wife to South Africa would make Mazrui liable to prosecution under the Immorality and Mixed Marriage laws. So, in 1969 Mazrui did not go to the old South Africa but he made his point of protesting against apartheid by upholding pan-African sentiments. So, he was indeed capable of being moved by feelings after all!   [caption id="attachment_15187" align="alignleft" width="194"]Prof James N. Kariuki Prof James N. Kariuki[/caption] In the early 1970’s, there was a propensity among upcoming African scholars to ‘dismiss’ Ali Mazrui. To them, he had succumbed to becoming a detached, ivory tower academic committed to being a negative critic of orthodox African thought. Why did he not animate his scholarship by applying it to public affairs of society in the mold of Julius Nyerere, Martin Luther King or WEB Dubois? Yet, by the time his body started to fail him, Mazrui was deeply involved outside the academy in gigantic global projects of denouncing injustice. Such included campaigning on behalf of the African Union for reparations for slavery and seeking justice for the Palestinians. Similarly, after the presidency, Julius Nyerere took on a global responsibility of becoming Chairman of the South Commission, comprising of the continents of the Southern Hemisphere. What is the moral of this story? The two East African icons travelled different routes to international acclaim but they arrived at the same destination of combating injustices of this world. Beneath the façade in their external appearances, what they had in common transcended those differences. Perhaps African critics should allow time and space for their homegrown intellectual treasures to shine when they are ‘good and ready.’ *James N. Kariuki is Professor of International Relations (Emeritus), a consultant and an independent writer. More of his work and the Special PAV edition on Prof Ali Mazrui can be found on his blog Global Africa]]>

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Zuma moves to defuse Dar, Kampala, Kigali tensions
December 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

[caption id="attachment_15051" align="alignleft" width="595"]South African President Jacob Zuma (centre), Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (right) met in Kampala on December 21. In their meeting, the two leaders discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes region. PHOTO | FILE South African President Jacob Zuma (centre), Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (right) met in Kampala on December 21. In their meeting, the two leaders discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes region. PHOTO | FILE[/caption] Defusing rising tensions around the imminent deployment of the East African Regional Standby Force to disarm Rwandan Hutu rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, was the major reason for South African President Jacob Zuma’s surprise visit to Dar es Salaam and Kampala earlier this week, The EastAfrican has learnt.

Zuma held meetings with his Tanzanian and Ugandan counterparts during which they discussed peace and security in the Great Lakes Region, according to official statements. It turns out, however, that this was a euphemism for differences over the proposed deployment of troops from the East African Standby Brigade in the DRC in early January to attack “negative” forces that threaten regional security despite the recent routing of the M23 rebels by a combined Tanzanian, Malawian and South African force.
The major negative force is the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), which the United Nations Security Council gave a January 2, 2015 deadline to surrender, demobilise and renounce its genocide ideology or an international force would be brought in.
The other is Ugandan rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Recently, some 1,000 former M23 rebels fled from a camp in western Uganda to avoid forcible repatriation to the DRC.
Fittingly, Zuma’s visit to Dar on December 21, and Kampala the following day was about regional peace and security, although Uganda and Tanzania do not seem to pull in the same direction on the FDLR issue.
Tanzania is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with close ties to South Africa. Given the bad blood between President Jakaya Kikwete and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, who like Museveni favours an all-out attack on the FDLR, analysts say Zuma’s mission to Kampala was to delay the deployment of Ugandan, Kenyan and Rwandan combat units under the East African Standby Forces (EASF).
It is said EASF, mandated by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, is itching to attack the negative forces in eastern DRC, particularly the FDLR, following the UNSC’s verdict that the group will not meet the deadline to fully demobilise.
“Since July 2, no further voluntary surrenders of the members of the FDLR have happened and the FDLR have failed to deliver on their public promise to voluntarily demobilise. Only substantial progress towards the full demobilisation called for by the region and committed to by the FDLR could justify further reprieve from military action against the FDLR,” the UNSC said.
But SADC states, led by South Africa, Tanzania and the DRC, are edgy over this imminent attack. South Africa has economic interests in DRC — mining, oil and gas, as well as food chains —which an attack on FDLR could hurt.
The EastAfrican has learnt that in the meeting between Presidents Zuma and Museveni, it was agreed that a quick mini-summit be held to “first consult Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos on his position for this deployment.”
Museveni would then carry the position of the ICGLR chairman to his counterparts Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda’s Kagame, on whether to proceed with or suspend the onslaught on the FDLR.
“President Museveni and Uganda have a very inspiring position of pan-Africanism as well as the defence of our continent. When we come here, we come to consult and we come when we are sure that we get good advice,” Zuma said after the meeting with Museveni.
Dos Santos is the chairman of the 12-member state regional peace and security pact, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) comprising Angola, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The other members are Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Congo Brazzaville, the Central African Republic and Zambia.
“It’s the festive season but the presidents are not resting; the deadline for the FDLR to surrender is almost one week away. Tomorrow, we are heading to Addis Ababa, where Museveni will meet Dos Santos,” a highly placed government source said.
Zuma’s intervention is seen as an effort to stop the bad blood between Rwanda and Tanzania spilling over into a regional fight for hegemony over who controls eastern Congo, where South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi deployed an international brigade in 2012 to fight the M23, a rebel force that Rwanda is allegedly sympathetic to.
As SADC states, both Tanzania and DRC are seen as having recently struck up an alliance that seeks to stop Rwanda from influencing the geopolitical configuration of eastern Congo.
Zuma also discussed the role South Africa can play in helping the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in the proposed transitional government of national unity in South Sudan.
Rival groups led by President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar have been seeking Pretoria’s intervention in the formation of transitional government and a power-sharing structure, where Igad proposed an executive president and the nominal slot of prime minister to be taken by the opposition. But Machar’s side is pushing for an executive prime minister.
 *Source theeastafrican

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