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Polity - News this week

22nd April 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa inherited a "corrupt and a wrong value system" which it is currently managing, African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says. ". . . what we inherited actually corrupted us and, therefore, we are actually managing a corrupt system and a wrong value system . . . the new order [after 1994] . . . inherited a well-entrenched value system that placed individual acquisition of wealth at the very centre of the value system of our society as a whole," he says, delivering the inaugural Violet Seboni memorial lecture at the Johannesburg City Hall. Quoting former President Thabo Mbeki, Mantashe says: "Within the context of the development of capitalism in our country, individual acquisition and material wealth produced through oppression and exploitation of the black majority became the defining social value in the organisation of white society. Now, because the white minority was the dominant social force in our country, it entrenched in our society, as a whole, including among the oppressed, the deep-seated understanding that personal wealth constituted the only true measure of individual and social success." Societal values have shifted from "revolutionary morality to material ownership". The country needs reminding that life is not about "being in business", he says. His stance against materialism is similar to that of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who says that "crass materialism" is endangering the ANC.



CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma continues to "benefit from corrupt relationships" to this day, Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille says. Zille writes in her weekly newsletter that Zuma is "paralysed as a President" and that the African National Congress (ANC), which "needs corruption to survive", is turning South Africa into "a criminal State". "If we dig deep enough, I believe we will discover that Jacob Zuma continues to benefit from corrupt relationships to this day," Zille says. "The lifestyle of his family is too lavish to be affordable on his Presidential income. "We wonder how he can spend R65-million, which he has insisted is his own money - renovating his residence at Nkandla. And we marvel at how he can support his wives, his fiancée and 20 children on a single salary." Zuma's family members, including his wives, are involved in over 100 companies, "some of which benefit from State contracts", Zille says. "It is therefore not surprising that Zuma missed the deadline to declare his financial interests by ten months, and only disclosed his assets when public pressure forced him to," she says. "The irresistible inference is that his advisers are sanitising his business interests for public consumption." Zille says that it is impossible for Zuma to get tough on corruption, "even if he wanted to" as ANC leaders in the party, the State and in business have become an interlocked network of patronage and corruption.


Africa & the world

WASHINGTON - Commercial ships traversing the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean should be armed to defend themselves against marauding Somali pirates because international warships cannot do the whole job and will not be there forever, a top US Navy admiral says. Seaborne gangs of pirates have stepped up hijack attacks on vessels in recent months, making tens of millions of dollars in ransoms by seizing ships, including tankers, despite the presence of dozens of foreign naval vessels. "We could put a World War Two fleet of ships out there and we still wouldn't be able to cover the whole ocean," says Admiral Mark Fitzgerald, commander of US Naval Forces, Europe and Africa, citing attacks from the Gulf of Aden and the Mozambique Channel to off the coast of India. Overwhelmed by the scope of the maritime problem, the US has called for a greater internationally led focus on going after the pirate money trail. Underscoring the financial impact of piracy, Fitzgerald says that he was told by Kenyan officials that prime real estate in Mombasa and Nairobi is being "bought up by rich Somalis" who lead clans that control piracy syndicates. He cites a similar investment trend in Ethiopian property. "The US can't go this alone," he says. Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Fitzgerald says that it is "incumbent upon the vessels that are sailing the high seas to either protect themselves or accept the dangers." Asked if he would recommend that commercial ships arm themselves, Fitzgerald says: "I think they should."




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