Tag Archives: South Africa

South Africa – two found guilty of killing Mozambican during anti-immigrant violence


Two South Africa men captured in local media images beating and stabbing a Mozambican man to death during the anti-foreigner violence in April were found guilty of murder on Friday, state broadcaster SABC said.

The two accused were found guilty of killing the Mozambican national n the Johannesburg shanty town of Alexandra. The two, who had denied the charges, would be sentenced in December, the television station said.

Authorities we not available to confirm the convictions.

The wave of anti-immigrant attacks first surfaced in parts of coastal city Durban in the eastern Kwa-Zulu Natal province before quickly spreading to the commercial capital of Johannesburg. At least seven people were killed, while hundreds of foreigners fled to safety camps.

(Reporting by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)

How long will South Africa survive? It depends on who you ask.

City Press/News24

Author, RW Johnson, widely known for his 1977 best-selling book How Long Will SA Survive – the Looming Crisis, says with the current debt crisis the country has about five years to survive before the slippery slope sets in and we head to a possible International Monetary Fund bailout.

Addressing a Gordon Institute of Business Science forum in Johannesburg recently, Johnson said certain structural reforms recommended by the IMF, World Bank and other ratings agencies must be carried out to ensure stability. These include liberalising the labour market, reducing public sector pay, turning around falling state institutions and fundamentally reforming the education system. Johnson pointed out that these reforms could very well mean an end to the labour movement Cosatu as we know it, leaving us with a “deadly combination of powerful unions and drift”.

South Africa’s history, since the days of deep-level mining, has relied heavily on foreign capital. As a result we have become reliant on foreign direct investment to provide that capital. Johnson told the audience that the country was running a budget and a payment deficit of 5% each and foreign investment continues to dwindle significantly and more South African companies are investing offshore because of slow growth in the economy.

He added that the country was sitting with a debt burden of 48% of the GDP which above the acceptable 40% rate stipulated by the IMF. The figure however excludes debt created by state-owned enterprises and municipalities otherwise it could be as high as 60% according to Johnson. He added that rating agencies have now placed South Africa only two grades above investment level and internationally it is forbidden to buy junk bonds. If this was to happen to South Africa it would result in an IMF bailout.

It could also go the other way. Up until now Johnson says the treasury has been careful not to borrow much in foreign currency which has been smart. However the problem still remains that if we were ever to reach junk bond status there would be huge capital movement offshore, stringent exchange controls and negative knock-on economic effects. All this in turn would lead to crisis.

Ferial Haffajee, editor-in-chief of City Press, counter-argued that South Africa did not show many of the characteristics of a failed state. She believed that having recently climbed the global competitiveness ranking of the World Economic Forum (by more than five places) and statistics from a recent McKinsey report showing productivity levels similar to Brazil’s and China’s, along with other indicators, the economy was not in “rude health” and must be at least a decade away from a bailout.

Haffajee also argued that the social welfare net, which had been increased, was an essential poverty relief mechanism.

Although Haffajee believed that South Africa had a vibrant and healthy democracy with four presidents post democratic South Africa, unlike other African States and a strong Constitution which will see the Nkandla spending taken to court on the eve of the state of the nation address, other factors were more prevalent and worrying.

One such factor was electoral reform. Haffajee was of the belief that it was easier for people with money to sway who became premier or president.

“We have a situation where we have the ‘premier league’ which consist of the premiers of Mpumalanga, Free State and the North West who all have large business portfolios and have managed to swing conferences in their favour.”

Unless we had some measure of directly electing our government representatives, a mixed representation model, politics would become fundamentally corrupted, she said.

Haffajee added low employment rates and lack of good leadership, both in business and government, as other areas of concern to the country’s stability.

Both Johnson and Haffajee expressed their commitment to the country and hoped that the resilience shown in the past continued. Both agreed that the best examples of leadership today came from civil society.

Johnson concluded: “Our entire political system works like a patronage machine and that may well be the point of the exercise but it doesn’t mean that the correct decisions are being taken but despite all this I still wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

» City Press is the sponsor of the Gordon Institute of Business Science’s forum sessions.

South Africa – Zuma third term comments and idd ANC reaction


ANC clarifies Zuma third term reports

President Jacob Zuma says delegates at the ANC NGC are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue. 

President Jacob Zuma says delegates at the ANC NGC are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue. (SABC)


GautengMidrandANC NGCJacob Zuma. Mail and GuardianZizi KodwaANCNkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

The African National Congress (ANC) has clarified the “no third term” comment attributed to President Jacob Zuma. The Mail and Guardian earlier quoted the president as saying he would not stand for a third term as ANC leader, even if members begged him to do so. The newspaper approached him on the sidelines of the ANC’s National General Council (NGC) in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.
However, ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says the report is mischievous, “ The president was right, nobody can raise that question here. Nobody can confirm or deny his availability at the NGC. That is not a matter of the NGC. The president was saying if anybody was to ask the question here, he will give the answer that he gave. So it is not breaking news. The president was answering in a context that no issues of leadership and succession are dealt with at the NGC.”  
Delegates are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue

Earlier, whilst talking to journalists Zuma said was not worried about the ANC’s succession plans.
In what was intended to be a meet-and-greet, Zuma took a few questions from local and international journalists. And when probed, the president said South Africa is a democratic country where anyone can be elected to become President.
He says there is nothing to worry about as “democracy is all about competition.” 
Zuma also says there is no succession discussion at the conference. In the build-up to this gathering, some party structures including the Women’s League was vocal in its call for a woman president with the MK Military Veterans Association having Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as its preferred candidate for president in 2017.
President Zuma says delegates are only preoccupied with policy review and who becomes president is not really an issue.  
“There is no worrying debate of succession. We are a democratic party in a democratic country. Democracy means there is competition, it means people have got free choice, they can point at anyone to say this we think is better and the other one might have a different view it is allowed. I don’t know why people get scared when people say we think so and so is better than so and so that’s part of our democratic culture and that’s not an issue in this conference this conference is evaluating how have we fared in terms of implementing our policies and everything. I don’t think that we have heard any delegate talking about succession but we are a democratic country we can debate anything under the sun,” says Zuma.
Zuma is serving his second term as head of the ANC and as President.

South Africa – Gumede says political rent-seeking is impeding talent and thew economy

Mail and Guardian

When the politically connected keep gorging at the trough, bona fide black talent is kept back, writes William Gumede.

Incompetent, rent-seeking public sector deployees often cause waste, mismanagement and inefficiencies. Service delivery gets stunted and a negative cycle of corruption ensues. (David Harrison, M&G)


South Africa is increasingly becoming a “rent-seeking” society in which the politically connected make easy money without having to work for it: they get government and private sector contracts, mining rights and favourable policies just because of their closeness to the ANC leadership.

Although rent-seeking may, for many, appear not to be corruption, it is a pervasive form of it. The entrenchment of a rent-seeking culture undermines the productive capacity of the economy, as well as innovation and new investment. It discourages job creation and efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. It ultimately stymies economic growth.

An obvious form of rent-seeking is narrow black economic empowerment (BEE), whereby shares in established white companies are allocated to a few politically connected blacks, their families and their associates. They become fabulously rich overnight just because of their political connections.

Such rent-seeking does not add value, but rather diminishes it. It is no wonder that many first-generation BEE deals have unravelled.

Rent-seeking includes appointing politically connected cadres in both the public and private sectors, or giving them government or private contracts, when they do not have the competence. Rent-seeking also involves lobbying for policies that enrich one group, company or political faction rather than the whole society.

Such activities generate more of the same, until there is a widespread culture of rent-seeking. If no action is taken against this, more people are attracted to such actions. Rent-seeking can generate a network of institutions that profit handsomely, such as lawyers advising on narrow BEE. It drives pork-barrel policies.

In the rent-seeking economy, there is no long-term investment. The rent-seekers try to “eat” as much as quickly as possible to amass wealth, before being pushed from the trough by the next dominant group.

Because it is so easy for the politically connected to live off “rents”, they are unlikely to have the incentive to build brick-and-mortar companies. Yet if South Africa is to industrialise, we need new, competitive productive sectors. Rent-seeking induces deindustrialisation.

The economy does not expand its productive capacity when rent-seekers milk existing capacity, choking less connected innovators and entrepreneurs who fail to get start-up finance, mining rights or trading licences. Narrow BEE means that black South Africans who are real entrepreneurs and innovators, people who could establish genuinely productive enterprises, creating new businesses and jobs, are elbowed out.

Worryingly, BEE deals increasingly use intermediary contractors who form superficially black shell companies, with little productive capacity, to secure public sector contracts. In many cases, established white companies will only appoint such politically connected black “businesses”.

Giving government contracts to the politically connected often means that services get more expensive: they have to hire white businesses with the capacity to deliver on their behalf. The same politically connected businesspeople get “empowered” by repeatedly being part of BEE contracts and government deals, to the detriment of building other companies.

A new phenomenon increasingly reported is that politically connected BEE businesspeople, in cahoots with corrupt government tender officials, steal the business plans submitted by entrepreneurs who are not politically connected, rework them slightly and then resubmit them to the same corrupt officials with successful outcomes.

Well-connected political deployees to government who lack the necessary competence push out talented potential incumbents. We often see the same people being appointed to senior positions, such as director general, in different departments, or as executives and board members at state-owned enterprises, even when they fail. They hop from one post to another, even if there are many talented black professionals out there.

Incompetent public sector deployees often cause waste, mismanagement and inefficiencies. Service delivery gets stunted and a negative cycle of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement ensues. They demoralise those working under them, decrease their productivity and undermine the whole system.

Rent-seeking is increasingly causing black resentment – from young black people, who cannot find a job without political connections, from business and from black professionals who get frozen out.

Black workers are also rebelling because they have not been empowered by skills development, shareholding and company social development, such as the provision of housing. Residents are angry because they are excluded.

Rent-seeking stunts the productivity of the whole economy: why does one have to work hard when all one needs is to be politically connected?

This rent-seeking phenomenon has broken the economies of most African countries in the postcolonial period. The cycle of rent-seeking, it seems, can only be broken if the sitting government is unseated.

So far, no African government that has lapsed into a rent-seeking culture has been able to reform from within. If South Africa is to buck this trend, there has to be a grass-roots campaign against corruption: the masses must understand its damaging impact on service delivery, poverty alleviation and job creation.

William Gumede chairs the Democracy Works Foundation and is the author of Restless Nation: Making Sense of Troubled Times. Unite against Corruption, a consortium of civil society groups and individuals, is organising marches against corruption in Cape Town and Pretoria on September 30. For details, visit uniteagainstcorruption.co.za.

post a comment

ICC demands explanation from South Africa over Bashir

Mail and Guardian

The ICC wants an explanation, by no later than October 5, as to why the government did not arrest al-Bashir when he visited the country.

'The International Criminal Court (ICC) had warned South Africa of the repercussions of allowing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir into the country way before he controversially landed in South Africa in June this year.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has given South Africa until October 5 to explain why it did not arrest Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.

The ICC had warned South Africa of the repercussions of allowing al-Bashir into the country way before he controversially landed in South Africa in June this year.

In an order made by the court last Friday, it emerged that the registrar of the ICC met with the South African embassy and reminded it of the country’s obligation to the Rome Statute.

The order was posted on the ICC website. The full post can be read here.

On May 28 this year, in a note verbale to the South African embassy, the court reminded South Africa of its obligation to consult with it if it foresaw any difficulties in arresting al-Bashir.

Lack of clarity
On Friday June 12, the day al-Bashir landed in Johannesburg, the South African representative to the court told the court that there was lack of clarity in the law and that South Africa was “subject to competing obligations”.

On the following Saturday, even before a South African court ruled that al-Bashir be arrested, an ICC judge, Cuno Tarfusser, issued a decision noting that South Africa has to immediately arrest and surrender al-Bashir.

Despite this, al-Bashir attended the AU Summit in Sandton, Johannesburg.

On Monday, June 15, the North Gauteng High Court ruled that al-Bashir be arrested and handed over to the ICC. But by that time al-Bashir had already left Waterkloof Military Base in open defiance of the order.

Last month, a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court reserved judgment on the government’s application for leave to appeal against a June 15 order that al-Bashir be arrested.

No legal duty
The government’s lawyer in the appeal against the order, Jeremy Gauntlett, argued that there was no legal duty for the government to arrest a “serving head of state under the South African law”.

He said the order to arrest al-Bashir was contrary to the government’s statutory duties, not consistent with the Constitution and inconsistent with Constitutional Court authority.

Al-Bashir has been wanted since 2009 on charges of crimes against humanity.

The department of international relations would not comment on the order from the ICC saying the matter was sub judice. The controversial exit of al-Bashir from South Africa has become a sticky political matter.

Could SA leave Rome Statute?
Over the weekend, the ANC Youth League called once again for South Africa to relinquish its commitment to the Rome Statute.

The ANC has also instructed the department of international relations to review South Africa’s membership of the court.

Last week the Democratic Alliance failed in its bid to have President Jacob Zuma impeached on the basis that he did not uphold the rule of law by not arresting al-Bashir.

Speculation is rife that the Sudanese president may return to the country in December. This may be seen as an open defiance of the ICC by South Africa and will likely strengthen rumours that Pretoria will soon pull out of the Rome Statute.

The Sudanese leader may well be invited to The Forum on China/Africa Co-operation, scheduled to take place in December.

Zuma met with al-Bashir in China last Thursday where the pair committed to strengthening bilateral relations.


South Africa – Ramaphosa says he didn’t know plane he flew on to Japan belonged to Guptas

Mail and Guardian

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he was not aware that the plane chartered for his official visit to Japan last month belonged to the Guptas.

Ramaphosa responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces on Wednesday. (David Harrison, M&G)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa did not know that the aeroplane he flew on to Japan last month belonged to the Gupta family.

Responding to questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday, the deputy president told Economic Freedom Fighters MP Emmanuel Mtileni that government had nothing to hide about the use of the Gupta jet.

This was after Mtileni sneaked in the question while the deputy president was talking about the prevalence of fake qualifications.

Last month, Ramaphosa flew to Japan on the Bombardier Aerospace on an official visit, which the department of defence hired through a state-managed contract with service provider ExecuJet.

Ramaphosa told MPs in the NCOP that when he travels, his office handles the details, looking at the route and cost.

“The Defence Force looked for a plane among the fleet of planes they have and found that there wasn’t one that could take us to the destination in a way that was appropriate.

“They then chartered a flight. They did not know who that flight belonged to, nor did I. I did not know who that plane belonged to. The information about the ownership of the plane only came out much later.”

He said they always sought to find the most cost-effective way of getting to destinations. “And we will continue to do, to make sure that taxpayers’ money is saved, and in this case it so happened that because of the commitments that we had and the number of other engagements, the best way to travel was to have a plane chartered. That is the reality, believe it or not.”

The deputy president faced questions on the government’s efforts to improve efficiency in state-owned enterprises, the empowerment of women, the rise in fake qualifications and the national minimum wage.

State-owned enterprises
Ramaphosa told MPs that the electricity challenge the country faces would pass and soon be forgotten, the ANC would choose the next president, female or otherwise, and all those with fake qualifications should remove them immediately from their CVs.

On state-owned enterprises, Ramaphosa said the work they were doing had nothing to do with the local elections and that the government was doing its job.

He said entities such as Eskom and the South African Post Office had their challenges but that they were working on them.

“Eskom is another utility that has faced challenges. But even Eskom is being turned around. And we all know the challenges that Eskom faces and we’ve never hidden them. In another 18 months to two years, you will forget the challenges that we had with relation to power and energy and Eskom ever happened. Be patient, this problem is going to be resolved.”

Female president
On the question of gender parity, Ramaphosa was put on the spot when an MP asked if he would support a female president. He said only that the ANC would choose.

“I am fortunate enough to belong to this glorious organisation called the ANC and it has always expressed its own ambition as to who should lead the ANC. And it has always acted on it. It has never failed to choose a person that it feels will take the agenda of the ANC forward. And when it chooses who should lead the ANC, it has a wide choice. It has 1.5-million members to choose from.”

Fake qualifications
On the prevalence of fake qualifications at private and public entities, Ramaphosa urged South Africans to stop padding their CVs with fake qualifications.

“We call on members of the public to ensure they do not jeopardise their employment prospects by misrepresenting their credentials. It’s either you have it or you don’t have it. Go and study and get your qualification. Let us not be fakes, let us not be fraudulent when it comes to our qualifications. If you are not educated, don’t claim it.”

He urged everyone with fake qualifications in their CVs to remove them, roll up their sleeves and go to school, as it was clear that by putting the “fake qualifications on their CVs, they have a deep desire to have them”.

South Africa – DA bid to impeach Zuma over Bashir fails

Mail and Guardian

he DA’s bid to impeach President Jacob Zuma over the government’s handling of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s visit to the country has failed.

Mmusi Maimane said by allowing Bashir to leave the country, “our broken president broke the law to protect another broken man”. (David Harrison, MG)

The Democratic Alliance brought a motion to impeach Zuma to Parliament because it blamed his government for allowing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to leave the country, despite the North Gauteng High Court ordering that he be stopped from leaving. The party called for the establishment of an ad-hoc committee to establish Zuma’s fitness to hold office.

In a chaotic sitting with shouting MPs and even louder speakers, the motion to impeach Zuma was rejected, with 211 MPs voting against it, 100 for it and 17 abstentions, mostly from the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The EFF suggested amendments to the motion, including establishing an ad-hoc committee to deal with the Marikana massacre. Their motion was defeated with 310 votes against and 17 in favour, with one abstention.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane went back to an old classic during the impeachment debate in Parliament on Tuesday, another version of “the broken man” speech, this time including al-Bashir.

Justice and Correctional Services Deputy Minister John Jeffery reiterated the sentiment by calling him a hollow man, presiding over a hollow party full of empty promises.

In February this year, following the State of the Nation address, Maimane lashed out at Zuma, labelling him a broken man who has been allowed to get away with too much, accusing him of breaking Parliament.

And on Tuesday, he piled yet another wave of criticism on the president, this time for the country’s handling of Bashir’s visit to the country in June during the African Union Summit.  Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In his speech in Parliament on Tuesday, with ANC MPs heckling him throughout, Maimane said Bashir represented everything dark about the world.

“He joins the ranks of genocidal dictators from across the globe – Hilter of Germany, Pol Pot of Cambodia, Stalin of the Soviet Union and Chairperson Mao of the People’s Republic of China. These are the big men of our times. And, like all bullies, they are broken men. Broken men presiding over broken societies.”

Maimane said by allowing Bashir to leave the country, “our broken president broke the law to protect another broken man”. He said that was why they had tabled a motion to look into the impeachment of Zuma.

Maimane told the ANC while they could not fix a broken president, they could recall it, as they had done it before.

“You know as well as do he is beyond repair. Today is your opportunity to put South Africa back on track.”

Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu said she was sure South Africans were tired of hearing “broken man this, broken that”.

She said the motion was aimed at discrediting the leadership of the ANC, under Zuma.

“It is also aimed at undermining the role and responsibility of South Africa in the peace-building processes of the African continent. Further, it is aimed at undermining the political, economic and diplomatic relations South Africa has with other AU member states. The ANC-led government has always respected and upheld the rule of law and has always acted in line with the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the Republic.”

She said the question of whether South Africa had a legal obligation to arrest a sitting foreign head of state was a complex matter concerning both international and national law and had far-reaching implications for the conduct of international relations.

“It should be noted that the indictment of President al-Bashir would have potentially destroyed efforts led by Deputy President Ramaphosa as well as the AU in bringing about peace in the region and the country. In addition, it would have affected South Africa’s standing relations in its international and diplomatic relations on the continent and beyond,” said Zulu.

Economic Freedom Fighters MP Godrich Gardee said Zuma should be thrown in the dustbin, though not for not arresting Bashir when he was in the country.

He said the president should be impeached for the slow-moving economy, the Marikana massacre and the spending of funds on his Nkandla homestead.

“Those who want al-Bashir, they should go look for him. He [Zuma] should go, not for al-Bashir, but because he is in total disregard of the Constitution. Pantsi ngoZuma,” Gardee said.

The United Democratic Movement did not support the motion. UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said if the motion had been about anything else but Bashir, they would have supported it. The African People’s Convention was also against it, while it was supported by the rest of the opposition parties.

ANC MP Jackson Mthembu listed the reasons under which a president can be removed by the house and said the Bashir matter was not a Zuma matter but a government one.  “There is no constitutional or parliamentary basis for such an ad-hoc committee to be established. President Zuma remains unbroken.”

He accused the DA of moving to the EFF’s gutter politics.  Deputy Minister Jeffery said only a court of law and not Maimane could decide whether the department was in contempt of court.

“The issue is not around whether we support genocide or not.”  He then turned to Maimane and said he did not know the Constitution.

“But all of this is probably not surprising, given that the leader of the opposition was fast-tracked into the limelight by Helen Zille and has little over a year’s experience in Parliament.”

He said Maimane was in it for the headlines.  “Honourable Maimane is a hollow man presiding over a hollow party. A party which is, as Business Day called it, all bright lights and hashtags. A hollow man, presiding over a hollow party, devoid of substance.

“This motion and the establishment of an ad hoc committee is yet another DA-pipedream, another empty promise, another empty DA headline. There is not an iota of substance to it.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,320 other followers