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Polity – News this Week

18th March 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

PRETORIA - Disciplinary action will be taken against any African National Congress (ANC) leaders who engage in public spats, trading insults and personal attacks, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says. "The National Executive Committee (NEC) notes with astonishment the disrespect shown by some leaders and structures of our movement to the decisions of the NEC, particularly relating to the succession debate to our 2012 national conference," Mantashe says. "The NEC takes exception to the new culture of public spats, trading of insults and personalised attacks amongst its leaders. This action detracts from the historic mission of the ANC, its discipline, traditions and protocols." Mantashe adds that the practice is "alien" to the ANC and needs to be "nipped in the bud". He says it could be caused by these members' lack of "political understanding".


PRETORIA - Two political parties and a cultural organisation vow to oppose attempts by government to change the country's land ownership system. "The Democratic Alliance (DA) will vehemently oppose any attempt by the African National Congress (ANC) government to amend Section 25 of the Constitution, the provision that protects private property against expropriation. . . ," it says, reacting to an article in Afrikaans newspaper Rapport that claims that government is considering declaring agricultural land a "national asset" and instituting a quit-rent land tenure system, in a Green Paper to be published shortly. In such a system, the farmer pays rent to the State, which owns the land. Director-general of the Rural Development and Land Reform Department Thozi Gwanya is quoted as saying that problems with land reform show that the system, of land ownership has to change. He says that one of the options suggested by his department is that all agricultural land be declared a national asset. The other option is to keep the current land ownership system, but cap the amount of land owned by an individual. The
Freedom Front Plus says that declaring agricultural land a national asset will amount to nationalising it. Party leader Pieter Mulder says that such a move will be unconstitutional, chase investors away and destroy food security.

PRETORIA - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) says that its confidence in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has grown, contradicting its youth wing that says it is losing faith in the Minister. The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) says that Gordhan is not following party policy and is ignoring the plight of the young. The ANCYL has become a significant political force in the ANC after it helped Jacob Zuma become President in May last year. Its leader, Julius Malema, has unnerved investors with his calls, first made last year, for mines to be nationalised. Zuma has signalled his support for Malema in a newspaper interview, but says that the youth leader is not in charge of government policy. The ANC says that Gordhan's position is safe. "Our confidence in the Finance Minister has grown . . . there are no questions about Pravin being incompetent," says ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe. "Even if we talk of a Cabinet reshuffle, we'll be surprised if he gets reshuffled. He has taken us through a recession to a growth of 3,2% in the fourth quarter. That's good work."

Africa & the world


OSLO - The number and scope of pirate attacks are increasing worldwide and could trigger more joint military operations to keep shipping lanes safe, a top North Atlantic Treaty Organisation official says. Commodore Hans Christian Helseth says that attacks around the Horn of Africa will become more frequent in the coming months, owing to calmer weather, and likely spread further east towards India and south towards Madagascar. Pirate attacks risk maritime trade, which accounts for 90% of global trade volumes. Last year, piracy hit its highest level since 2003, with Somali gangs accounting for more than half of the 406 worldwide incidents. "We now have a three-month period between the winter and summer monsoons and, in this period, pirates are departing [more often] with fuel and supplies to
give them a considerable range into the Indian Ocean," Helseth says.





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