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Polity – News this Week

25th March 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

CAPE TOWN - Unsurprisingly, President Jacob Zuma comfortably survives a motion of no confidence when an amendment motion, proposing full confidence, is adopted in the National Assembly instead. Congress of the People (Cope) Parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala, in proposing the motion of no confidence, says that Zuma "has let South Africa down" and "failed to live up to the expectations of a broad spectrum of South Africans". Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Athol Trollip supports the motion, saying that Zuma's actions have damaged the people's faith in his ability to properly lead the country. Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille also supports the motion, saying that the public will no longer be misled by Zuma's "smile and fake apologies". The motion of no confidence is also supported by the African Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Front Plus, while the Inkatha Freedom Party refuses to support the motion, saying that times are too "dire" to undermine the commander in chief.


PRETORIA - The African National Congress (ANC) criticises the South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) for voicing its support for a complaint against its Youth League tabled with the party by political journalists. In a statement issued by party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu, the ANC says that it is perturbed that, while the complaint was receiving its attention, a statement was issued by Sanef, which apparently diverted the organisation from dealing with it. The party also publicly acknowledges that it has received the journalists' letter of complaint addressed to the organisation through its secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe. Mthembu says that the letter of complaint has already been acknowledged by Mantashe's office in a letter addressed to one of the complainants. Mthembu's remarks are in response to concerns expressed by Sanef, in a statement issued earlier, that the ANC had yet to respond to the letter from the journalists that alerted it to one of the most brazen attacks on press freedom in the new South Africa. "We join the journalists in calling on President Jacob Zuma, as head of the ANC and of government, to rein in the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and take steps to establish whether State resources are not being used to gather information on journalists," Sanef says. Sanef's statement follows ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu's threat to expose "damaging information" about certain journalists.

Africa & the World


HARARE - Zimbabwe's leaders have agreed on what needs to be done to rescue a fragile unity government and parties will now work towards a deal, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma says. Regional mediator Zuma met President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare to solve problems that risk unravelling a power-sharing deal meant to rebuild Zimbabwe from economic ruin. Zimbabwe's unity pact helped stem the economy's decade-long free-fall but squabbling within the coalition over policy and the slow pace of reform has held back progress and stood in the way of fresh elections. Zuma, appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mediate in the crisis, says that he is encouraged by the spirit of cooperation displayed by the country's leaders. "The parties have agreed to a package of measures to be implemented concurrently as per the decision of the SADC troika in Maputo," he says at a briefing, flanked by bitter adversaries Mugabe and Tsvangirai. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), agreed to a unity government, formed in early 2009, to end a stalemate over disputed elections. But the pact began to unravel late last year when the MDC boycotted Cabinet meetings owing to a dispute over its implementation. The party is particularly unhappy about central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, both Mugabe loyalists, remaining in their posts. The MDC is also angry over the President's refusal to swear in MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett as Deputy Agriculture Minister. Bennett is being tried for treason.




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