South Africa – battle for a post-Zuma ANC begins

Mail and Guardian

17 Apr 2014 00:00

Approaching the end of his tenure if elected, Jacob Zuma’s real test will come after the polls when his alliances unravel and the infighting begins.

Friends for now: Jacob Zuma and his comrades celebrate in Mangaung. (Delwyn Verasamy)

ANC president Jacob Zuma will find his second term at the Union Buildings far more difficult than the first. He is expected to face rebellious factions soon after appointing his Cabinet and deputy ministers.

Some of the rebellious factions, excluded from the Cabinet, are likely to coalesce around senior ANC officials.

This means Zuma’s attempt to fix the country and leave a legacy will be derailed by party infighting and factional battles. Zuma, like the middle of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki’s second term, will find it difficult to govern and his presidency will be closely scrutinised and questioned by his own party.

A veteran ANC MP aptly summed up the internal dynamics within the ruling party after the elections: “Stop living in the past and the present, starting thinking of the future.”

For now, there is a strong push to save Zuma and the ANC the embarrassment of mustering less than 60% of the vote for the first time, with party leaders criss-crossing the country to shore up support ahead of the May 7 polls.

A lot of energy and effort are being spent on traditional Zuma’s KwaZulu-Natal stronghold, which in the 2009 election brought in large numbers for the ANC, even though the party’s support dipped in other provinces.

None of the factions in KwaZulu-Natal are prepared to raise their heads above the parapet, at least not now. Friend and foe alike are publicly supporting the president, knowing they should not alienate the ANC rank and file, if their ambition is to lead the party in the future.

Lame-duck president
Although Nkandlagate, the divisions within Cosatu, calls for a “No Vote” by ANC stalwarts and the rise of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are likely to make inroads into the governing party’s majority, it is highly unlikely that the ANC will not be returned to power after May 7.

There is also a belief that the opposition’s attempts to make mileage out of the Nkandla scandal have merely served to harden positions in the ANC, with unity and the strength of the party at the polls now paramount and more important than infighting.

In terms of the Constitution, Zuma can only serve as head of state for two terms, meaning that he is essentially a lame-duck president after May 7 when he returns as president for a second time, as was the case with Mbeki.

Even Zuma’s attempts to use “Project Veritas”, with which MP candidates were vetted by former spies for being “on message”, and his intelligence network to solidify his position, are unlikely to work in the long term. Ambitions will take priority over a president who is generally accepted to be problematical and dispensable after this election.

The real battle in the ANC will start after Zuma announces his Cabinet, senior ANC leaders said. He will not be able to appoint all his allies in the ANC national executive committee (NEC) to the Cabinet, even if he enlarges his national executive beyond the current 67 ministers and deputy ministers.

Seventy-three percent of current NEC members are not in the Cabinet. What will make it even more difficult for Zuma is that the ANC wants to retain 60% of its current MPs for continuity. There is also a debate proposing that other Cabinet portfolios be merged, such as sports with arts and culture, the planning commission with monitoring and evaluation, and women, children and people with disabilities with social development.

Those who are overlooked will look for new alliances with an eye on securing their own future.

One minister said that Zuma’s incessant criticism of the security cluster’s handling of Nkandla report means ministers such as Nathi Mthethwa, who ironically saved Zuma in 2005 in the party’s national general council from being sidelined over his corruption charges, are most likely to be excluded.

The ANC’s secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, whose relationship with Zuma has deteriorated since the ANC’s 2012 Mangaung conference, is one of the party officials who may attract the disgruntled.

“The problems with Gwede started about six months before Mangaung because he was not being clear about whose side he was on,” a senior ANC source said. “He played both sides.”

Mantashe said this week that “there has been an attempt to drive a wedge between me and President Zuma. I am not expecting it to stop.”

After the elections and the Cabinet appointments, the current ANC NEC, which has been solidly behind Zuma, is likely to become divided, with no need to protect Number One any longer. The focus will turn to who will lead the ANC in 2017, with new alliances formed and jockeying for position, although Zuma is still eligible to run for a third term as party leader.

With no clear successor as a future ANC president, several ANC leaders are waiting in the wings. Usually, the deputy party president is elected to succeed the incumbent.

But ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s perceived closeness to Zuma and involvement with the Marikana massacre could count against him if the other factions dominate the party’s conference.

Former KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, who is the current ANC treasurer general, is known to harbour presidential ambitions. Mantashe is also understood to see a role for himself in the country’s executive.

Moreover, those in the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal who have decided to bide their time will come out of the woodwork.

They include Bheki Cele and others, who are privately viewed as being part of the anti-Zuma camp in the province, but who have played a strategic game to ensure that, for now at least, they are not seen to be working against Zuma.

They hope, therefore, to be able to count on the support of the masses in the future and not be seen as having betrayed a president, who despite all his faults and controversies, remains popular among a significant majority in the province.

Some within the ANC are pinning their hopes on Zuma’s possible recall before his term ends. A pro-Zuma NEC member told the Mail & Guardian that the president would not leave the Union Buildings until after the ANC’s 2017 national elective congress.

“Anybody who thinks that [Zuma would leave earlier] is mad,” the leader said.

“If he wants a smooth transition, he would wait for 2017, get an NEC that favours him, then say the ANC constitution discourages two centres of power and that he voluntarily resigns.”  M&G

Botswana to boycott SADC election teams over flawed Zimbabwe vote

South West Radio Africa

Ian Khama was the only African leader to raise concerns about the Zimbabwean elections

 

Botswana’s President Ian Khama has reiterated that his country will no longer take part in regional election observer teams, because of the flawed polls in Zimbabwe last year.

Khama, the only African leader to raise any concerns about the disputed elections in Zimbabwe, has called for an audit of the Zim polls that saw Mugabe re-elected as President.

The Botswana leader earlier this year told the national television station BTV that the Zim elections were neither free nor fair and that SADC had let Zimbabwe “off the hook” for the flawed process. Khama also said the rules that govern democratic elections in Southern African were not followed in Zimbabwe’s case, and announced that his country would no longer participate in any SADC election observer missions.

Khama reiterated this position this week, through a statement by his spokesperson Jeff Ramsay.

“In the interest of public understanding and in light of recent media speculation over Botswana’s participation in SADC election observer missions, the Government of Botswana wishes to re-affirm its position to not send official observers to participate in such missions,” Ramsay said.
Ramsay added that the move by Khama’s government was based on principle.
“Further to the above, Botswana’s position is based on a matter of principle and thus not targeted at any institution or state,” he said.
Khama’s comments about the lack of fairness in Zimbabwe’s polls fly in the face of SADC’s endorsement of the elections, which have also been disputed by the opposition MDCs in Zimbabwe, civil society groups and regional observer teams present during the polls.

Elias Bila, who was part of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) observer team, said on Wednesday that a sense of “comradeship” in Southern Africa’s political leadership was the reason for the endorsement of Zimbabwe’s polls. He told SW Radio Africa that the elections there “could not be said to be either free or fair.”

“SADC is represented by my members of countries and the challenge we have as observers is that the leaders are comrades (from liberation movements) who won’t stand against each other. So I think Khama is sending a message to African leaders to say ‘we need to change and to the right thing’,” Bila said.

To contact this reporter email alex@swradioafrica.com or follow on Twitter

We want to hear your thoughts and opinions, so leave us your comments on news@swradioafrica.com or Facebook. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting us using #Zim2013SW Radio

Nigerian military says it frees 107 kidnapped female students, 8 still missing

Premium Times

 

“With this development, the Principal of the School confirmed that only 8 of the students are still missing.”

The Nigerian military has confirmed that it has freed majority of the 129 female students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

The students were kidnapped on Monday night by suspected Boko Haram members.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the spokesperson of the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, Chris Olukolade, confirmed that only 8 of the girls were still held captive by the insurgents.

Of the 129 kidnapped students, the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, earlier in the day confirmed that 14 of the girls escaped from their abductors.

“More students of the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok have been freed this evening in the on-going search and rescue operations to free the abducted students,” Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, said. “With this development, the Principal of the School confirmed that only 8 of the students are still missing. One of the terrorists who carried out the attack on the school has also been captured.”

“Efforts are underway to locate the remaining 8 students.”

With 14 of the girls escaping on their own, and 8 still unaccounted for, it implies the military freed 107 of the kidnapped female students.  Premium Times

South Africa – opposition parties oppose Kasrils and Vote No campaign

Mail and Guardian

More criticism for Kasrils’s ‘vote no’ campaign

16 Apr 2014 14:59 Mmanaledi Mataboge

Opposition parties and unions have condemned the “Vote No” campaign, saying spoiling votes was not a “viable tactic”.

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils. (Gallo)

Opposition parties and workers unions reacted critically to former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils’s “Vote No” campaign on Wednesday, as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) sought a legal opinion on the campaign for voters to spoil their ballots on May 7.

Kasrils and other ANC stalwarts launched a “Vote No” campaign on Tuesday, calling for voters to spoil their votes or vote for parties other than the ANC. Kasrils and former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge are leading the campaign, known as “Sidikiwe Vukani! (We are fed up, Wake up)”.

Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota said while his party agreed that voters should take a stand against the ANC, it did not believe that spoiling votes was “a viable tactic”.

Lekota said spoiling votes “disempowers voters and does not enable them to effect the change that the country needs”.

Teacher union Sadtu said voting was a “hard-won Constitutional right”. The union described the ANC veterans’ call as “populist” and “irresponsible”.

“A call for a no vote by Kasrils and crew is a vote of no confidence on democracy and a call of no confidence on law and order,” read a Sadtu statement.

“This call is in fact against the establishment of a government and as such a call for anarchy.”

Sadtu said it expected Kasrils, a veteran of the ANC, to value democracy and the importance of a vote to set up a government.

“Many people were tortured, imprisoned and died to secure this precious right to vote and it can’t be destroyed on the altar of self interest.”

Election participation
The South African Communist Party and Cosatu in their joint statement after a bilateral meeting called on workers to participate in elections.

“Electoral boycotting, or ill-conceived campaigns and manoeuvres to spoil ballot papers play straight into the hands of anti-worker, anti-union opposition parties and cannot be said to be progressive or revolutionary.”

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe on Wednesday criticised the “vote no” campaign, saying the move undermines the sacrifices made by opponents of apartheid.

Conduct that belonged to the jungle had emerged, he said as he opened the revamped Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.

“We found it absurd that some, for whatever reason, suggest today that the democratic right to vote should be nullified en masse through the spoilt vote because some of those of our people who were in the trenches paid the ultimate price for our freedom and democracy,” he said.

Radebe cited Solomon Mahlangu and slain SACP leader Chris Hani among the people that paid dearly to end apartheid.

On Tuesday, former ministers Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge launched the “Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no!” campaign at Wits University, appealing to South Africans not to vote for the ANC.

The campaign calls on South Africans to either vote for a minority party, or spoil their ballot.

Critics
Radebe condemned ruling party critics, saying party members should protect the ANC’s image both in and outside government.

“There is a tendency which is gaining currency that anything negative can be propagated against the ANC and be attributed to the ANC government, but that the ANC government in general and the ANC in particular must not politically respond to these charges made against it.”

Radebe said government was aware of its shortcomings and took responsibility for them.

The revamped court consists of three civil courts, two maintenance courts, a children’s court, and facilities for administrative staff. Radebe said the R57-million facility underlined government’s commitment to ensure access to justice for all.

He said the court had historical significance in being the venue of former president Nelson Mandela’s appearance after his arrest in Howick in 1962.

Meanwhile, the bishop of Tshwane on Wednesday also condemned the “vote no” campaign started by some ANC veterans.

“In the past 20 years of our hard-earned freedom, I have never felt as failed as I am today by the stance taken by former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils and former deputy minister of health Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, of mobilising people to spoil their votes rather than vote for the ANC,” the Right Reverend Abraham Thamsanqa Sibiya said in a statement.

If it wasn’t for the ANC
Both of them would be unknown had it not been for the ANC, he said.

“If the ANC were to lose three, 4% in this election they’ll still be in power, nothing will stop that,” Kasrils told reporters at the campaign’s launch at Wits University, Johannesburg, on Tuesday.

“But what that signals … is that, my God you guys [ANC] better wake up … you’re not going to last for five years, you’re losing more and more respect.”

Sibiya said former ANC leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, and Hani would turn in their graves at the mere suggestion that people should spoil their vote rather than vote for the ruling party.

“I call upon all the Christians and all the people of South Africa, to totally ignore the call of Ronnie Kasrils and his company.

“The vote we are exercising we fought for and many even paid the ultimate sacrifice,” he said.

The Catholic Church urged people to vote as responsible citizens. “You will do this by voting and supporting those parties and organisations which work for the good of all our citizens,” the Southern African Bishops’ Conference said in a statement.

“Vote for political parties whose policies truly serve all our people, especially the poor and vulnerable.” – Additional reporting by Sapa M&G

South Africa – W Cape SACP secretary says Kasrils swimming in counterrevolutionary waters

Politcsweb

Khaya Magaxa says the former minister making common cause with opponents of the NDR

Comrade Ronnie “Khumalo” Kasrils risks sinking into the murky waters of a counter- revolutionary

It is with a sense of complete shock and disappointment that one of the admired former members and leaders of our glorious Party, Comrade Ronnie “Khumalo” Kasrils has made a regressive U-turn through his extreme populist pronouncements that he will not vote ANC in the upcoming general elections (see Mail & Guardian report). Whilst the Party respects Comrade Ronnie’s democratic right and freedom of choice, the timing of his pronouncement just days before elections is, in fact, adding to the regressive nature of reactionaries in South African society against the ANC.

Comrade Ronnie is falling squarely into the agenda of the opponents of the National Democratic Revolution by posturing in the neo-liberal media space to grab headlines by attacking the movement. His criticism can be surmised as nothing but an opportunity to lash out at personal rivals serving in the current administration.

Whilst playing to the gallery, Comrade Ronnie commits two ahistorical errors; firstly, he casts doubt in the public mind about ANC’s success, “The ANC has had 20 years to prove itself. If it hasn’t proved [itself], then I’m saying: Listen to your head and your heart.” Secondly, he commits a grave error of equating the unfortunate Marikana incident to the brutal Sharpeville Massacre of the 1960s.

The ahistoricism is not an accident it is a calculated ploy to unfairly discredit the ANC government which shows a great deal of dishonestly. Firstly the ANC government has made great strides fundamentally to improve the living conditions of our people as indicated in the 20 year review which was released recently. Comrade Ronnie was coincidently a direct driver in government for 14 of those 20 years.

As a result of the programmes of the ANC led government, millions of our people have access to basic services; our education system is improving, especially in the last five years; the economy has been stable despite investment strike by greedy capitalist; respect for the rule of law; millions of South Africans specifically the poor who are living with HIV have access to ARV’s, especially in the last five years; and, life expectancy has Improved. Indeed the lives of the people have changed for the better under ANC government.

In the second instance equating Marikana and Sharpeville is not just unscientific and baseless but also flawed. The ANC president who is also the President of South Africa immediately appointed an independent commission to investigate the entire incident and the process is ongoing. To randomly throw blame on the ANC led government about an issue that is under investigation is notonly reckless and mischievous but also a desperate attempt to tarnish the image of the ANC. An honest look reveals that indeed the police have a lot to answer regarding Marikana incident. It is also factual that before the Marikana incident more than 15 workers, including security guards, were killed in the area by vigilantes of AMCU.

Our understanding of Sharpeville is that the racist white apartheid police shot indiscriminately at defenceless and unarmed Africans during a peaceful demonstration of rejecting apartheid pass laws. The apartheid regime did not take any form of responsibility let alone institute state intervention in support of the victims. In the case of Marikana, the state condemns the killing and instituted a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter.

As a Party cadre who has learned a lot from Comrade Ronnie Kasrils, we admire him and appreciate the role he has played in our struggle to advance and consolidate the NDR. He joined and led our struggle when it was not fashionable to do so especially as a white South African. However we are under no illusion that all comrades who participated during our intense struggle for liberation were indeed genuine revolutionaries. Some of them were double agents that were planted by the CIA and other counter revolutionary agencies to undermine and disorganise our struggles, including the creation of confusion among our comradeship to delay our liberation. This does not necessarly suggest that comrade Kasrils was one of those elements but that there were a number of such characters among the peoples camp who tirelessly served double agendas under the guise of the revolutionary cause. Hence our conviction that duration of time spent in this movement will never be a barometer to measure ones commitment to the plight of the poor of this country.

Comrade Ronnie, as a former CC member of our Party will understand the importance of the relationship between the past and the present. He knows through the Party teachings that we cannot be stuck on his past without relating it to his current role in our struggle to advance, deepen and consolidate the NDR.

He is mobilising against the ANC on the bases of challenges emanating from his tenure in government .Centrally to these challenges was creation of the narrow BEE programme that was opposed by the SACP and COSATU on the basis that it only benefited few politically connected elite with a ppropensity for massive corruption. Privatisation of the state assets which culminated to the millions of job losses and massive casualisation by labour brokers. A decrease on social spending including health and education that culminated to closure of colleges and hospitals. It is only five years ago that ANC led government had to correct these neo-liberal programmes that reversed the gains achieved since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.

A conclusion one gathers from Comrade Ronnie’s recent stance and utterances is that of a disgruntled Comrade who has perhaps forgotten that Communism requires constant self-criticism and self-cultivation, regardless of one’s veteran status or years spent in the struggle. It is the Party’s concern that since Comrade “Khumalo” no longer serves in our ranks, perhaps he has been influenced by poisonous tendencies that might have eroded his Marxist-Leninist foundations.

We appeal to Comrade Ronnie to cease rendering himself unto counter-revolutionaries who applaud his recent and past platitudes against the ANC and Alliance. We urge Comrade Ronnie to return to our ranks and desists this isolationalist tendency yearning for the spotlight which undermines his contribution to the struggle.

Khaya Magaxa is the Provincial Secretary of the SACP Western Cape, ANC MPL and ANC PEC Member.  politicsweb

Last Chadian troops leave Central African Republic

BBC

CAR conflict: Chad says all its troops withdrawn

Chadian peacekeepers in CAR Chadian troops made up a sizeable part of the African Union’s contingent in CAR

Chad’s entire contingent of peacekeepers has withdrawn from the Central African Republic (CAR), a military official has confirmed.

The withdrawal followed accusations that Chad had aided Muslim rebels in CAR, a charge it denied.

Chad had about 850 soldiers in a 6,000-strong African Union (AU) force battling to end conflict between Christian and Muslim militias.

The UN Security Council voted last week to send 12,000 troops CAR.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has warned of “ethno-religious cleansing” in CAR, with lynchings, decapitations and sexual violence going unpunished.

France has 2,000 troops working alongside the AU force.

‘Malicious’

“The last soldier crossed the border on 13 April,” Souleyman Adam, the Chadian commander in CAR, said, AFP news agency reports.

An anti-Balaka fighter in Bangui, CAR (14 December 2013) Anti-balaka militia members say they are avenging the killing of Christians

Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno ordered the pullout after a UN investigation found that Chadian troops “opened fire on the population without any provocation” in the capital, Bangui, on 29 March.

Thirty people were killed and another 300 were injured in the shooting, according to the UN.

Chad’s foreign ministry dismissed the findings as “malicious”, and said Chadian troops were being blamed for “all the suffering in CAR”.

CAR exploded into religious conflict last year after Muslim rebel leader, Michel Djotodia, seized power in the mainly Christian country.

Mr Djotodia resigned in January under diplomatic pressure, but violence between Christian and Muslim militia groups has continued.

Thousands have been killed in the conflict and tens of thousands more have fled the country.

The UN says that about 1.3 million people – a quarter of the population – are in need of aid.

South Africa – Zuma booed during Malamulele Stadium address

City Press

Malamulele boos Zuma despite promises

Malamulele was briefly plunged into chaos during President Jacob Zuma’s visit. Picture: Lebogang Makwela/City Press

President Jacob Zuma left behind agitated residents of Malamulele, who booed and threw their hands in the air when the ANC leader said their grievances would be attended to.

Some were seen leaving the grand stand at the packed Malamulele Stadium where Zuma was addressing them this afternoon.

Yelling and signalling for officials to go away, residents surged out of the stadium and a few cars were pelted with stones on a nearby road as Malamulele was briefly plunged into chaos.

A large group of those who had attended the ANC gathering was seen heading towards the shops, which were heavily guarded by the police. Shops were previously torched and looted in last year’s violent protests.

Parts of the streets were barricaded and the smoke of burning tyres could be seen from a distance after Zuma had left, but police swiftly moved in to calm the situation down.

Residents said they had been asking for their own municipality for over a decade. They believe service delivery will improve if Malamulele gets its own municipality instead of falling under the Thulamela municipality, which is based in Thohoyandou about 35km away.

A few thousand had been filling the stadium since midday, waiting eagerly for Zuma to address them. The situation was tense even before Zuma had arrived and the majority of shops were closed for business.

One artist asked the crowd if they were going to vote and they booed him off the stage. Another artist was also booed when he chanted, “ANC will win!’.

When he finally spoke after those gathered were urged to afford the president an opportunity to address them, Zuma took to the stage and wasted no time in promising a solution to Malamulele’s municipality issue.

“I had an opportunity to meet with different sectors [that] presented the case of Malamulele, which argues for its own municipality. I listened very carefully to the presentations by the religious group, business group, traditional representatives and representatives of the task team who all presented one case and gave the history of this matter that it started a long time ago,” Zuma said.

“The people of Malamulele have made a detailed research and indeed they are convinced that all facts put together make Malamulele to qualify to be a municipality. The [ANC] task team has now completed a draft report, which is being sent to government to conclude and look at the matter.”

Zuma said the Malamulele matter had never been presented to his office and that he held a different view before coming to the area and listening to their presentations.

“This matter has never presented to the president of the country. I will find out why the matter was delayed so much because it is my view that if the facts are presented, why can’t we conclude the matter?” he said.

“It is important that we conclude the matter within a reasonable time. Since the matter is been presented to the president I am now going to take an interest to look at the matter firstly on the facts and the time it must take before it can be concluded. I don’t believe we cannot resolve this matter.”

Despite these promises, members of the community threw their hands in the air as Zuma spoke.

“Let us deal with the matter as comrades dealing with our government. Nobody must put obstacles to this matter. It must be resolved so that we are in a position to move forward,” Zuma said.

Probably realising that the people had expected more than just a promise, Zuma then told them that processes were to be followed.

“The matter is now in the hands where it is supposed to be so that it can be concluded. That is what we can say. We can’t say more than that,” he said.

“I don’t want to tell a lie. I can’t on my own come here and take a decision. I am not a dictator; only dictators do so,” he said.

“The matter is going to be considered properly within the law and the Constitution. The Constitution agrees that if an area satisfies all the conditions a decision must be taken. Indeed I am going to come back on this matter when it is resolved. There is no other way we can deal with it.”

By the time he finished talking, people had already started moving out of the stadium. Some said they were not going to vote on May 7.

The Malamulele community previously threatened not to vote in the coming elections unless they are given their own municipality.

The situation was still tense in the area this evening. City Press