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Polity – News this Week

15th April 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa


JOHANNESBURG - There are opportunities for businesses, other than the official sponsors, to benefit from the 2010 World Cup, a FIFA legal adviser insists. But, speaking at the Licensing Executives Society International conference, in Johannesburg, David Gill admits that these opportunities are limited. FIFA wants a broad base of South Africans to benefit from the tournament, but it will not allow the use of its intellectual property (IP) or any undue association as it has to protect the long-term value of its commercial rights. FIFA has been heavily criticised in recent months over the strict trademark and IP rules it has implemented for the event, particularly as it became apparent that there will be limited economic spin-offs from the event. Gill says that the use of generic symbols of soccer, such as balls or vuvuzelas, as well as associations with South Africa, is allowable under FIFA's guidelines, as long as they bear no direct references to the tournament. However, the combination of a number of these generic symbols or elements often "infringes on FIFA's IP rights", as it then links companies, other than the official sponsors, to the event. This is usually done through "ambush marketing", or by intrusion. In South Africa, FIFA is protected from ambush marketing by association and by intrusion through the Trade Practices Act and the Merchandise Marks Act, the infringement of which could be seen as criminal offences, Gill notes.

DURBAN - President Jacob Zuma lashes out at the conduct of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema, saying that the statements he made are alien to the culture of the ruling party. Zuma criticises the Youth League leader for defying the court ruling which banned the singing of the controversial dubul'ibhunu (shoot the boer). He also lambastes the "horrendous" manner in which Malema treated a BBC journalist and the statements he made about the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) after his visit to Zimbabwe. "We reiterate that leaders should think before they speak, as their utterances have wider implications for the country," says Zuma. He says that the ANC leadership is drawing the line, and that there will be consequences for anyone who crosses that line. Zuma says that he has spoken to Malema by telephone about what happened in Zimbabwe and how he treated the international journalist. The commotion between Malema and the journalist took place at an ANCYL media conference. Malema called journalist Jonah Fisher a "bastard" and an "agent", before booting him out of the briefing. This was after Fisher had pointed out that Malema lived in Sandton, an upmarket area in Johannesburg, while the youth leader was chastising the MDC for operating out of offices there.


Africa & the world


HARARE - Zimbabwe prosecutors say that they are withdrawing charges of illegally keeping grain against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's ally Roy Bennett, a former white farmer, who is already on trial for terrorism. Bennett, treasurer-general in Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, will know on May 10 whether a High Court will drop the terrorism, banditry and sabotage charges that carry a possible death penalty. The MDC says that the grain charges are further proof that the former legislator is being politically persecuted by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which is opposed to his being sworn in as deputy Agriculture Minister in the unity government. At his most recent court appearance last month, police detectives served Bennett with a summons to appear in court in eastern Zimbabwe on new charges of unlawfully possessing 92 t of maize at his farm, in 2001, before it was seized by Mugabe's government. "We are withdrawing those [grain] charges against Roy Bennett," Chris Mutangadura, a State prosecutor, says.


WASHINGTON - Nigeria's Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, assures the international community that Africa's most populous country will hold free and fair elections next year. Jonathan has made overhauling the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member's electoral system a top priority to avoid a repeat of the flawed 2007 polls, which brought President Umaru Yar'Adua to power.



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