South Africa – sex lies and the Zuma spy tapes

Mail and Guardian

Sex, lies and the Zuma spy tapes

01 Aug 2014 00:00 AmaBhungane

Explosive new evidence has come to light of how crime intelligence systematically targeted top NPA officials.

Mokotedi Mpshe used Leonard McCarthy's taped comments to justify his decision to drop the charges against Jacob Zuma. (Lisa Skinner)

Crime intelligence appears to have grasped at any tool available – including sex – in a dirty-tricks operation waged against the National Prosecuting Authority.

In the campaign, which started at least a decade ago and still reverberates today, the spooks gathered potentially compromising information about the alleged sexual peccadilloes of top NPA figures.

This included allegations of an affair involving advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, who was then the acting national director of public prosecutions. Mpshe took the decision to terminate the prosecution of Jacob Zuma in April 2009, paving the way for his ascendancy to the country’s number one post.

At least one member of the security community believed at the time that the allegations, if true, could have rendered Mpshe vulnerable to blackmail. But Mpshe has strongly denied the alleged affair or that there was any attempt to blackmail him.

The crime intelligence operation that targeted the NPA also produced the so-called “Zuma spy tapes”.

Rumours that the tapes disclosed evidence of sexually compromising behaviour by senior figures in the NPA first emerged shortly after Mpshe’s bombshell decision to drop the charges against Zuma.

But evidence that such allegations were recorded in writing and conveyed officially to the NPA – albeit only in 2010 – has surfaced recently, in the wake of the battle over the future of the NPA’s current director, Mxolisi Nxasana.

A document seen by amaBhungane shows the claims were included in representations made to the NPA by a former crime intelligence boss, Mulangi Mphego, in January 2010. He was seeking the withdrawal of charges for obstruction of justice instituted against him by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

In a confidential submission to Mpshe’s short-lived successor, Menzi Simelane, the state attorney, on behalf of Mphego, made extraordinary allegations about the NPA, the Scorpions, Nel and Mpshe.

Nel, who was a target for crime intelligence, was implicated in the allegations made against Mpshe.

The Mphego document, marked “secret”, stated: “It was also reported that the individuals [within the NPA] had evidence about fraudulent claims that the deputy director of public prosecutions, Adv Mpshe, had allegedly approved. These claims were purporting that another NPA employee, Ms Ngobeni, attached to a provincial NPA office and alleged to be romantically involved with Adv Mpshe, had undertaken an official trip when in fact she visited [him] to pursue their alleged relationship …”

Although the claims about Mpshe were clearly intended to influence Simelane to drop the charges against Mphego, amaBhungane has seen no evidence that this information was ever used to exert pressure on Mpshe. He denied the affair last week and also said he was hearing the allegations for the first time, implying they could never have been used to blackmail him.

The woman cited by Mphego, former NPA employee Gift Ngobeni, has also dismissed the allegations (see story below).

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said that Nel “denies all the allegations in so far as they relate to him”.

Jeff Radebe, then the justice minister, controversially appointed Mpshe as an acting judge after Simelane took over as national director. Mpshe remains an acting judge of the Land Claims Court four years later and has never appeared at a Judicial Service Commission hearing, where potential judges are often challenged over previous cases and their actions.

The Mphego submission makes similar damaging claims about other NPA executives, echoing a summary of the contents of the spy tapes described to amaBhungane in April 2009.

Given that much of the material on the NPA gathered by state intelligence was leaked to Zuma’s allies, including his lawyer, it appears likely that these “sexual” allegations were also conveyed.

Mphego’s submission also throws new light on the origins of the current war within the NPA and suggests a reason for why Zuma and the NPA’s former acting director, Nomgcobo Jiba, have been resisting bids to have the spy tapes released.

The Democratic Alliance has sought a high court review of Mpshe’s decision to halt the Zuma prosecution for about five years, but it has been stymied by the refusal of the president and the NPA to give DA lawyers access to the tapes.

Small parts of the intercepts, which recorded how Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy discussed the timing of re-charging Zuma with former prosecutions boss Bulelani Ngcuka, were used to argue that the Zuma prosecution was fatally tainted by political interference.

Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy.

Zuma’s lawyers have argued that the tapes are covered by the confidentiality of his representations to the NPA. The Mphego submission suggests the tapes might expose the extent of the dirty tricks concerning the NPA and raise questions about how the information gathered might have affected decision-makers.

The document seen by amaBhu-ngane gives a sense of the pressure the NPA was under and provides a context for McCarthy’s seeming partiality.

For example, it records that McCarthy and Nel were among at least seven “current or erstwhile” members of the NPA who were among the 45 “suspects” of a full-scale intelligence investigation that began in about 2003.

Mphego’s submission states: “In conducting these investigations, various intelligence-gathering techniques were employed, including telephone and direct interceptions, remote data mining, source cultivation and agent penetration …”

On August 7 2007, Mphego approved an application for one of his undercover officers to intercept the phone and electronic communications of six targets who were supposedly suspected of committing drug-related offences. One of the targets was McCarthy.

At the same time, police officers under the direction of the then Gauteng crime intelligence boss, Richard Mdluli, began an investigation of Nel relating to the alleged obstruction of justice in an unrelated matter.

In September 2007, Mdluli approached the head of the NPA’s integrity management unit, Prince Mokotedi, for help with the case against Nel. Mokotedi referred Mdluli to Jiba, who, it emerged, went to considerable lengths to help to procure an arrest warrant for Nel, who she allegedly blames for the arrest and conviction of her husband, Booker Nhantsi.

Nhantsi, a former attorney and member of the Scorpions, was convicted because of a shortfall in his attorney’s trust account.

Jiba was also in frequent communication with another colleague and advocate, Lawrence Mwrebi, who provided an affidavit in support of the police investigation of Nel.

She was charged internally for her actions. After a protracted labour court battle, Mpshe approved an out-of-court settlement and she was reinstated.

Former crime intelligence boss Mulangi Mphego. (Samantha Reinders)

The moves to arrest Nel caused consternation within the NPA and were interpreted as a calculated attempt to prevent Nel from charging Mphego’s boss, police commissioner Jackie Selebi.

When McCarthy phoned a senior colleague to complain about the behaviour of Jiba and others, his conversation was picked up by Mphego’s intercepts and fed back to Mdluli and Jiba.

The Mphego submission characterised McCarthy’s discussion as “a plot to sabotage and subvert an active police investigation against Nel”. It reveals that Mphego instructed Mdluli to meet Mpshe and play him the recording of the McCarthy interception in a bid to persuade Mpshe to help the police to prosecute Nel.

The Selebi matter also led to Mphego making the secret representations that have now emerged.

In early January 2008, Mphego took part in a clandestine interview with convicted criminal Glenn Agliotti, the Scorpions’ key witness against Selebi. Agliotti took the opportunity to recant much of his previous evidence and claim he was a pawn in a political conspiracy hatched by the Scorpions.

An affidavit to this effect was then provided by crime intelligence to Selebi’s lawyers, who used it in a January 2008 court bid to pre-empt Selebi’s arrest. This failed, as did a parallel process to prosecute Nel.

Nel was arrested, but the case against him was withdrawn for lack of evidence. A year later, Nel charged Mphego with obstructing the administration of justice.

The Mphego submission was an attempt to persuade Mpshe’s successor, Simelane, to quash the charges.

Simelane did not withdraw the charges but he did remove Nel as the prosecutor, and the case was stuck off the roll when the magistrate refused to give the new prosecuting team more time.

Mphego, now a private security consultant, questioned in an email last week whether the document seen by amaBhungane is genuine.

“I don’t know if the document you have quoted was included in my

representation to the NDPP [national director of public prosecutions]. I have no recollection of such a document, or a person who authored it. As far as I am concerned, the document you are showing me may even be fake.”

AmaBhungane has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the information.

Mphego added: “It is Gerrie Nel’s Scorpions that concocted false allegations against me. I don’t know how their battle plan projected me as a target because I was not fighting any battle.

“When I made representations to the NDPP, I was responding to a criminal charge that Gerrie Nel’s Scorpions had preferred against me. They were unable to sustain that rubbish and it was thrown out of court.”

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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this story. All views are ours. See for our stories, activities and funding sources.

West Africa – ebola agencies at breaking point


Agencies fighting Ebola reach “breaking point”

KENEMA/KAILAHUN/FREETOWN/MONROVIA, 31 July 2014 (IRIN) – A shortage of trained health workers in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who can treat Ebola victims and prevent further spread of the deadly disease is hampering response efforts, say Health Ministry and NGO staff, who say their efforts are at “breaking point”.

Stéphane Doyone, West Africa coordinator of NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is shouldering a bulk of the case management burden in the three countries, told IRIN: “We are reaching the breaking point of our capacity where today we can’t guarantee to do more of what we’re doing – particularly when it comes to human resources. We need more actors to get involved on the ground.”

MSF has deployed 300 health workers, 80 of them expatriate staff, to work on the Ebola response. “It’s a huge programme but human resources are very challenging: staff must be highly trained and they have to be turned over every 4-6 weeks due to stress and fatigue,” said Doyone. Thus far, MSF has spent US$9.3 million on its Ebola response and does not know how much more it will take, “but rather than focusing on more money, what is needed are more actors on the ground and implementation… Ministries, humanitarian organizations could all be doing more.”

Ministry of Health staff in Liberia and Sierra Leone also called on donor governments and international agencies to urgently step up their response. Tolbert Nyensuah, assistant health minister for preventive services in Liberia, told IRIN both the Liberian Health Ministry and the government as a whole, lacked the capacity to contain the Ebola virus. “We need trained nurses, trained doctors who can help our local staff manage Ebola patients who are in isolation units. We need additional medical supplies. We need to increase the number of treatment centres as the caseload is increasing.”

As of the latest reported statistics from 23 July 2014, the cumulative number of Ebola virus cases has reached 1,201, with 672 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), making it the largest recorded outbreak. Between 21 and 23 July 2014, 96 new cases and 7 deaths were reported from Liberia and Sierra Leone, and 12 new cases and 5 deaths in Guinea.

One health worker, who preferred anonymity, said governments should be doing a better job of sending over specialist health teams to help the response. “[Affected] governments should appeal directly to the US, Europe, Canada, Japan to do more to help.”


There has been criticism that WHO is not doing enough and its response has not been sufficiently concrete. The government and aid agencies are “overwhelmed” said Nyensuah. “This has become a humanitarian crisis and Liberia alone cannot handle this now.”

The presidents of Sierra Leone and Liberia each launched National Action Plans today to up the fight against the disease. In Sierra Leone all epicentres will be quarantined and house-to-house searches will be undertaken to identify at-risk individuals. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf committed US$5 million to up the response. Sierra Leone’s President, Ernest Bai Koromoa, has declared Ebola a public health emergency.

WHO declared Ebola an emergency on 26 July and has set up an outbreak coordination centre in Guinea’s capital Conakry, which will coordinate support to governments at the local, national, regional and international levels.

WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said WHO is helping with case management, surveillance and epidemiology, working with health ministries, as well as MSF, the Red Cross, UNICEF, NGO Samaritan’s Purse and others. Some 120 experts have been sent in to the region and WHO is trying to source more, he said. National and International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are focusing on raising awareness of hygiene practices during funerals, which have been a major transmission source; while UNICEF and the Liberian and Sierra Leonean governments have stepped up community awareness raising, with radio messaging, posters and door-to-door visits.

“We are going to ministries and agencies carrying out social mobilization campaigns and we are also talking to local and international media raising the awareness… but we need more resources to intensify community to community awareness,” said the Liberian Health Ministry’s Nyensuah.

Resource intensive

Human resources are hard to find because so many trained staff are needed. Each new reported case involves isolation and treatment under rigid safety rules; a tracing operation of everyone the individual has been in contact with over the past 21 days; tracking each of these contacts for 21 days; developing epidemiological surveillance networks; and carrying out community health promotion activities to prevent others from catching the disease.

“We can’t just have one system of social mobilization, training, etc. We have to set them up in multiple locations, which uses a lot of time and resources,” said Jasarevic.

The region is marked by a highly mobile population, which makes it difficult to trace contacts. “The best that we can do with such a mobile population is to get good at tracing and sensitization so people will alert you if they’re on the move,” said MSF’s Doyone.

MSF has limited its Kailahun Ebola treatment hospital to 88 beds because safety has to be the “overriding priority”, said Anja Wolz, head of the operation there. “For us the most important thing is that we’re sure about the protection of the staff – from cleaners and drivers to doctors and nurses, and the safety of the patients.”

Safety measures in place in Kailahun, where no staff members have died from the disease, involve disposing of up to 5,500 euros’ worth of equipment each day, with the majority of staff’s protective suits only worn once, said an MSF spokesperson. When entering or exiting the compound all must pass a security post to disinfect their footwear and hands. Before entering the isolation ward, staff pass through dressing rooms where assistants ensure they are wearing protective suits properly and their gear is sprayed with disinfectant when they leave to ensure nobody contracts the virus while removing the contaminated suit.

Kenema, Sierra Leone

These safety measures were not adhered to as strictly at the Ministry of Health-run Ebola treatment centre in Kenema in central-eastern Sierra Leone, where up to 20 staff have died since treatment started two months ago, including the hospital’s top Ebola doctor, Sheikh Umar Khan. In Liberia, Samuel Brisbane, a senior doctor working at the Ebola treatment centre on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia, died, while a doctor working with NGO Samaritan’s Purse has been infected.

In Kenema treatment centre, IRIN witnessed staff taking blood from a suspected Ebola patient with their heads exposed and their protective suits unzipped to their chests. Some staff members donned their suits hurriedly without assistants, and thus were not fully protected.

Overworked and severely stressed health staff will inevitably make mistakes, said Health Ministry spokesperson Yahya Tunis. “You have to understand, the nurses at Kenema work 12 or 14 hours a day. And with Ebola, the slightest mistake can be fatal… We are very short of staff. Before this [outbreak] started, we did not have many staff to deal with Ebola.”

The Ebola operation at Kenema is currently on hold.   irin

Sierra Leone declares ebola emergency


Sierra Leone declares Ebola public health emergency

Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, 25 June 2014President Ernest Bai Koroma has cancelled his forthcoming trip to Washington because of Ebola

Sierra Leone’s president has declared a public health emergency to curb the deadly Ebola outbreak.

Ernest Bai Koroma said the epicentres of the outbreak in the east would be quarantined and asked the security forces to enforce the measures.

The UN says 729 people in West Africa have died of Ebola since February – 233 of them in Sierra Leone.

This includes Dr Sheik Umar Khan who led Sierra Leone’s fight against the virus. His funeral is on Thursday.

Ebola is spread through human contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.

Airport screening

As part of the new measures to contain the viral haemorrhagic fever, travellers at airports will have to wash their hands with disinfectant and have their temperatures checked, President Koroma said in a statement.

Liberian information minister Lewis Brown: Ebola “attacking way of life”

All deaths must also be reported to the authorities before burial, he said.

His measures – to remain in place for between 60 and 90 days – follow tough anti-Ebola policies introduced this week in neighbouring Liberia, where schools have been closed and some communities are to be quarantined.

Both President Koroma and his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson Sirleaf have cancelled visits to Washington for the US-Africa summit next week because of the crisis.

Meanwhile, Ethiopia is to begin screening all passengers arriving from West Africa and Kenya has stepped up surveillance at all ports of entry.

In a statement, Ethiopian Airlines said ground and on-board staff would have also been sensitised on how to handle suspected cases of the virus.

A member of the Samaritan's Purse medical staff demonstrates personal protective equipment to educate volunteers on the Ebola virus in LiberiaDoctors educate volunteers on how to use protective equipment to avoid catching the virus in Liberia

However, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Thursday that it was not recommending any travel restrictions or border closures after consulting the World Health Organization, according to Reuters.

Any risks would be low in the rare event of an Ebola sufferer travelling by air, it adds.

Earlier this week, two airlines – Asky, a regional carrier, and Nigeria’s Arik Air – suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone.


Sierra Leone Ebola doctor: “National hero”

Dr Sheik Umar Khan

Sheik Umar Khan, 39, was a leading doctor specialising in viral haemorrhagic fever who died after contracting Ebola while treating patients. When it was announced that he had been infected, the health minister called him a “national hero” for his tireless work.

“He’d become a real figurehead for the Ebola response so there’s a sense of deep sadness in what’s a very small community here in Freetown,” his colleague Dr Oliver Johnson said.

“When the news first broke that he was sick, I think it added to fears amongst the many doctors and nurses about treating Ebola patients. People thought, if even Dr Khan can get sick, then any of us can get sick.”

Profile: Dr Sheik Umar Khan


The outbreak – the world’s deadliest to date – was first reported in Guinea in February. It then spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and a person who travelled from Liberia to Nigeria died of the virus shortly after arriving in Lagos last week.

Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

President Koroma said that in Sierra Leone there had been more than 130 survivors of the disease.

“This is why it is very necessary to get those with the virus to treatment centres not only to prevent others from contracting the virus, but also increasing their own chances of survival,” he said.


Ebola virus disease (EVD)

Coloured transmission electron micro graph of a single Ebola virus, the cause of Ebola fever
  • Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
  • Fatality rate can reach 90%
  • Incubation period is two to 21 days
  • There is no vaccine or cure
  • Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
  • Fruit bats are considered to be virus’ natural host


Sudan – floods disrupt schools and isolate villages in Khartoum region

Sudan Tribune

(KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s Khartoum state has declared a state of high alert following heavy rains which hit the capital on Wednesday.

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A Sudanese woman sits with her child next to her house in a flooded street on the outskirts of the capital Khartoum on 10 August 2013 (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens of families in the west of Khartoum’s twin city of Omdurman were seen carrying their belongings after their homes were destroyed by rain which amounted to 43 mm. Floods have also destroyed homes in villages and areas south of Omdurman.

Eastern parts of Omdurman also suffered from heavy rains and power outages and distress calls were heard in Al-Thawra neighbourhood. Fallen trees and shattered signboard impeded normal flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic on public streets.
Khartoum state governor, Abdel-Rahman Al-Khidir, toured areas affected by floods in Um badda and Karrari neighbourhoods, announcing closing of schools for one week.

Al-Khidir declared a state of high alert and formed a 24-hour central emergency committee in the state’s 105 administrative unit besides giving localities the right to use heavy machinery to draw waters and clean up roads.

He also decided to put the civil defence and river rescue forces in a high of alert besides putting police in a %50 state of readiness of 50% in anticipation of emergency matters following weather forecast that heavy rains will continue until 11 August.

The governor also directed state’s authorities to supply affected families with sheeting and tents.

Khartoum state stressed in a press report that old and new water drains were able to discharge most of the waters, saying some lowlands and squares need additional work.

It underscored there were no casualties or serious damage to property, saying that primary outcome showed that 60 homes were completely or partially destroyed in Um Bada besides 10 others in Karrari.

The governor further called upon Khartoum residents to allow the concerned engineering bodies carry out their work and not to throw wastes on water drains.

The commissioner of Jebel Al-Awliya, al-Bashir Abu Kasawi, told the state-run radio of Omdurman that localities of Karrari, east Nile, and Jebel al-Awliya and other areas have been affected by rains and floods.

Sudan’s General Authority for Meteorology (GAM) said Khartoum state saw an increase of rainfall ranging from 60 to 110 mm which led to raising levels of the Nile waters, pointing the increase represent a real threat to residents of the White and Blue Nile banks.

Competent bodies have advised Khartoum state to carry out strategic plan to build permanent water drains, spray insecticides, and drying waters of public squares.

Heavy rains also isolated 15 villages in the locality of south Gazira in Gazira state.

Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, was seen on Monday in a surprise inspection tour for construction works of a bridge in east Nile locality following heavy rains which hit Khartoum state on Saturday.

Heavy floods have been common in the past few years in Sudan’s east along the Blue Nile but happen more rarely in the capital and the north where much of Sudan’s population live.

Floods and rains that hit different areas in Sudan last year lead to the death of at least 38 people and injured dozens.

Rains which fell during the past few days have turned Khartoum into a pond of water amid widespread anger over what is perceived as an inadequate government response.

Meanwhile, the commissioner of south Gazira locality, Kambal Hassan al-Mahi, attributed isolation of these villages to poor drainage, saying walls and bathrooms of several homes and schools were destroyed by the rain.

He announced mobilization of all resources of the locality, state, and Gazira scheme board to rescue the isolated villages.

The commissioner of Al-Ghorashi locality in Gazira state, Abdel-Basit al-Dikhairi, for his part, announced collapse of 114 homes and several government buildings in 15 villages due to heavy rains in the past two days.


South Africa – Malema and EFF threaten to shut down Businesses after Gauteng ban

Mail and Guardian

‘We are going to shut down business’ – Malema

31 Jul 2014 15:04 Chantall Presence

Julius Malema has threatened mass protest following the Gauteng Legislature’s decision to bar EFF’s members from wearing their red uniforms.

EFF leader Julius Malema. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema on Thursday vowed to shut down central Johannesburg with a protest against the Gauteng Legislature’s decision to bar his party’s members from wearing their red uniforms.

“We are taking them to court as well, but we are going to organise another march to Gauteng of not less than 50 000 people because we think we need to teach them a lesson,” Malema told reporters at Parliament.

“That thing they did in Gauteng was a coup of a special type,” Malema said in reference to police forcibly removing EFF members from the Gauteng Legislature on July 1. Party members refused to leave when speaker Ntombi Mekgwe deemed their red overalls, with the word “Asijiki” (we will not retreat) printed on them, unparliamentary. On July 22, hundreds of EFF members stormed the legislature, causing thousands of rands in damage, demanding to hand a memorandum to Mekgwe.

“We’ll try the court, but we’ll also continue to use the power of the masses,” Malema said. “If we go wearing red suits, they are going to pass a law or a rule that says red suits are not welcome. If we allow it with overalls, they going to do it with something else just to keep you outside the house.”

‘We are going to shut down business
Malema said he was not concerned about police denying them permission to march in the Johannesburg city centre because of the violence on July 22. “We are going to march in Gauteng with or without permission,” he said. “Police, if they know what’s good for them, they will have to come plan with us. They shouldn’t be surprised one day to wake up with 50 000 people in Johannesburg.”

Malema said the party was still putting together a budget for transporting thousands of its supporters to Johannesburg. A date for the march would be announced once this was done. “We are going to shut down business on that day. That Johannesburg will not be functional,” he said. “If the ANC knows what’s good for the business of Johannesburg, and the country, and the continent, it will have to resolve the issue of overalls.” – Sapa M&G

Africa and ICC – who will get court presidency?

What will Africa make of its opportunity to lead the ICC?
30 July 2014

Amid the debate on the increasingly tenuous relationship between the African Union (AU) and the International Criminal Court (ICC), 2014 presents a rare opportunity for Africa to take leadership of the main bodies established by the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Already, the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, is Gambian. It is possible that ICC judge and First Vice-President of the Court, Sanji Monageng of Botswana, could be elected as the Court’s president in 2015. If an African is elected as president of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) in December 2014, this would give Africans their best opportunity yet to change the perception of the ICC as ‘anti-Africa’.

Most individuals at the ICC serve in their personal capacity and do not represent their states. However, African leadership in ICC institutions could go a long way in fighting the perception that Africa is a victim of ICC imperialism. The presidency of the ASP is an overtly political office, and the president is directly accountable to his or her state and his or her regional grouping. It is thus no surprise that all presidents of the ASP have at the same time held ambassadorial positions of their respective countries in New York, and that the presidency rotates between different regional groups.

It is important that Africa gets its selection right

The presidency has previously been held by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan in the Middle East (who will soon assume the position of High Commissioner for Human Rights), Bruno Stagne Urgato of Costa Rica in Latin America, Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein, a member of the Western states group, and currently by Tiina Intelmann of Estonia.

Since the presidency rotates, the next president will now have to come from Africa. Politically, the only circumstance under which the president will not come from Africa is if all three candidates withdrew, and no other African candidate made him or herself available.

Given the political significance of the leadership position, it is important that Africa gets its selection right. There are currently three African candidates for the position, namely Athalia Molokomme of Botswana, Sidiki Kaba of Senegal and Vandi Chidi Minah of Sierra Leone. The normal practice is for the regional group to present a consensus candidate for the election, by acclamation, to the ASP.

Although the ASP elects the president, other regional groups are unlikely to oppose a candidate that enjoys consensus support of African states. Consensus within the African group is not likely to happen before the end of September. If consensus fails, this increases the likelihood of a potentially divisive vote at the ASP and the possibility for other regional groups to determine, based on their own political interests, the next (African) president of the ASP.

One striking feature is that all the candidates are high ranking
Likewise, a controversial candidate – for instance, someone who has previously made disparaging remarks against the ICC – could compel other groups to challenge a consensus candidate presented by Africa.

The qualities required for an ASP president are not listed in the Rome Statute. However, a few desired skills can be surmised from the functions of the presidency, as provided in the Rome Statute, and as performed by previous presidents over the past 12 years.

The president should have sound knowledge of the Rome Statute system and all its constituent documents, and must be able to provide diplomatic support for the Court, including in relation to non-cooperation. Should the AU adopt further non-cooperation decisions, or if an African state engages in acts of non-cooperation, the ASP president would have the responsibility of intervening on behalf of the ICC.

The president should also have the ability to lead the ASP and its bureau by providing guidance and facilitating consensus on complex issues. Very often, strong diplomatic skills are required. Lastly, the president must be aware of the various role players, their interests and policy positions.

Molokomme, who holds a doctorate from Leiden and master’s degree from Yale, is currently Botswana’s Attorney General. She has worked closely on ICC issues since 2009 and, together with the other candidate, Vandi Chidi Minah, has played a key leadership role in Africa’s participation during the ICC Review Conference in Kampala.

She has also participated in AU processes leading up to recent decisions on the ICC. Those who challenge her candidacy may base this on the perception that her views, and those of her government, are anti-African when it comes to the ICC. It will be recalled that Botswana has been the single most vocal supporter of the ICC within the AU; and the loudest critic of the AU decisions.

Vandi Chidi Minah, who holds a master’s degree from London School of Economics, is currently the permanent representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations. He was previously the minister of transport in the government of Sierra Leone, and before that the deputy minister of foreign affairs.

Sierra Leone is currently the chair of the Committee of Ten (C10) of the AU states charged with leading Africa’s bid for the reform of the UN Security Council. This is a particularly burdensome task for the permanent representative of Sierra Leone in New York. Whether Minah would be able to lead the C10 and the ASP at the same time is an important question.

Sidiki Kaba, who holds an LLM degree from Dakar, is currently Minister of Justice and Attorney General in Senegal. Kaba also headed the Senegalese delegation to the Rome Conference in 1998, and he served as the chairman of the International Federation of Human Rights. If elected, Kaba would be the first francophone president of the ASP. An important consideration in Kaba’s candidature is whether he would relinquish his position as Minister of Justice in favour of the ASP presidency. Whether an individual could effectively manage the functions of both offices is a significant consideration.

Although Kaba was endorsed by the AU Summit in July, experience shows that AU endorsement is never decisive. It appears that notwithstanding the endorsement, consultations in New York are ongoing.

One striking feature of all candidates is that they are all high ranking. This shows the importance that African states parties attach to the ICC. It could also suggest a desire by African states to exercise greater political control over the ICC.

The individual candidates, however, have over the years showed leadership and independence – and this should certainly make the outcome consultations more palatable. There is a responsibility on African states parties to ensure that their participation in the facilitation process (and election, if necessary) is directed at securing a successful presidency, taking into account the competencies, skills and circumstances of the candidates.

The presidency of the ASP provides an opportunity for African leadership within the ICC. This responsibility begins with the process leading up to the election of the new president. It is hoped that the election of the new ASP president would further enhance the space for dialogue, not only between the ICC and the AU, but also globally. In addition, the ASP president could help to promote further cooperation towards resolving various challenges in international criminal justice.

Dire Tladi, Consultant, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria


South Africa – COSATU laments rising unemployment

I’m sure Vavi truly laments this but the freeloaders and ANC yes-men will just be crying crocodile tears, KS

Mail and Guardian

COSATU shocked by unemployment increase30 July 2014The Congress of South African Trade Unions is shocked and angry that unemployment is still on the rise. 87 000 more people joined the ranks of the jobless and poor in the second quarter of 2014, bringing the total number out of work to an appalling 5.2 million. The official unemployment rate — which takes into account only people actively looking for work — has risen to 25.5%, up by 0.3% from 25.2% in the first quarter, Statistics South Africa reported in its quarterly labour force survey which was released on 29 July 2014. This is the highest level since the first labour force survey in 2008, when the rate was four points lower, at 21.5%. The more realistic expanded rate of unemployment — taking into account people who have given up looking for jobs — rose to 35.6% in the second quarter, up from 35.1%. The number of discouraged jobseekers increased by 64 000. The biggest job losses were in manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and finance and business services. This did not mean, however, that no jobs were created during the second quarter. In fact more people are being employed than before, but the unemployment rate has risen because the available labour force has grown more rapidly than the rate at which people have found employment. Employment rose by 39,000 in the three months to June, but there was a much larger increase – of 126 000 – in the overall labour force. And, very worryingly, most of these 39 000 new jobs were for domestic workers and jobs in the informal sector, where wages and conditions are generally low and job security more precarious. These terrible statistics confirm just how disastrous South Africa’s unemployment rate remains. Despite the repeated commitments by government to make job creation their top priority, and many good policies in place, like the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the National Infrastructure Plan and parts of the New Growth path, the economy is growing at a slower and slower rate. The SA Reserve Bank has now reduced its estimate for growth in 2014 down to a pathetic 1.7%. One of the biggest reasons for this are the conservative macroeconomic policies of the SARB itself, and its masters in the Treasury, which are constantly putting the brakes on the expansionist, developmental policies promised in the ANC Manifesto and the State of the Nation Speech. These policies include high interest rates, tariff reductions and a refusal to tackle the strike of capital by compelling the wealthiest South Africans to release the R1.2 trillion in social surplus which they are refusing to invest in the economy. COSATU must again repeat its view as expressed by our Collective Bargaining, Organising and Campaigns Conference in 2013, that “the core of the second radical phase of the transition of our NDR must be a fundamental economic shift, to transform the structure of our economy, and address the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality… We reaffirm the Congress decision to embark on a programme of action to drive the radical economic shift in line with the demands of the Freedom Charter. Key demands include: 1. Decisive state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy, including through strategic nationalisation and the use of various macro-economic and other levers at the states disposal 2. An overhaul of our macro-economic policy, with the Treasury urgently realigned and a new mandate to be given to the Reserve Bank, which must be nationalised 3. The National Planning Commission to be given a new mandate, and to realign the national plan, in line with the proposed radical economic shift. The National Development Plan’s anti-worker economic and labour market chapters of the must be completely redrafted to bring them into line with government and the ANC’s policy for a radical economic transformation 4. Aspects of the New Growth Path to be realigned, in line with the macro-economic policy for radical economic transformation 5. All state owned enterprises and state development finance institutions to be given a new mandate 6. Urgent steps must be taken to reverse the current investment strike and export of South African capital – including capital controls and measures aimed at prescribed investment, and penalising speculation. 7. The urgent introduction of comprehensive social security. Government also needs to urgently implement the measures embodied in the Youth Employment Accord, signed in July 2013, which will create thousands of jobs for the young people in such areas as: 1. Service delivery to poor communities, 2. Environmental improvement projects such as installing solar heaters, 3. Expanding home-based care and wellness education as part of the NHI, 4. Expanding adult literacy training. Nothing must stand in the way of the urgent implementation of these policies. We must not be diverted by false explanations of the crisis by business – that the reason they cannot employ more workers is high wages and inflexible labour laws – or by false solutions like the Employment Tax Incentive scheme, which is simply pouring money into the pockets of mainly labour brokers who make huge profits by exploiting young workers in brief spells of low-paid and insecure work. Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson) Congress of South African Trade Unions 110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Streets Braamfontein 2017 – See more at: