JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress's (ANC's) national executive committee (NEC) is not reviewing ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's disciplinary case, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says. "The NEC is not a disciplinary committee and it did not pretend to be one this weekend," Mantashe adds, after an NEC meeting. "We appreciate the way that the National Disciplinary Committee handled the case to its finality." Mantashe says that, according to the party's constitution, such matters can only come before the NEC after appeal. Malema pleaded guilty in his controversial disciplinary hearing. He was found guilty of undermining President Jacob Zuma. Three other charges, which included his singing of the ‘shoot the boer' song, verbally attacking a BBC reporter in a press conference and supporting Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party, were dropped in a plea bargain. Asked if the ANC was worried about internal divisions, Mantashe adds that the ruling party is "stable" and that "there are no divisions within the ANC; when positions are highly contested before ANC or ANC Youth League conferences, that is democracy in action". However, Mantashe says that the party is worried about "anarchy" and refers to an incident at the ANC Youth League's Polokwane conference when delegates walked away from each other after failing to agree. Mantashe says that the NEC is "very proud" that on June 11 South Africa will have the honour of hosting the biggest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup.
JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of the People (Cope) has 74 631 members, according to audit figures released. The party's largest base is in the Eastern Cape with 22 959 members, while its smallest membership is in Mpumalanga with only 57 members. Party general secretary Charlotte Lobe says that Cope - which broke away from the ruling African National Congress - is ready to hold its inaugural national congress, at which its leadership will be elected. Shortly after its formation, Cope claimed to have nearly 500 000 members. However, the audited figures reveal that interest in the fledgling party has dwindled. Lobe says that, at the time of the party's inception, the interest in it was close to 500 000 people. "They showed an intention to join the Congress of the People," she says at the party's headquarters in
Braamfontein. She says that Cope is an "idea" and, irrespective of whether its leadership fails or not, that idea will last. Cope's elective congress, which is scheduled for the end of May, will go ahead despite calls from some provinces for it to be postponed, Lobe says. She says that a recent meeting of the party's congress national committee (CNC) dismissed issues raised by its Mpumalanga branch, which is the only one that has requested a postponement. She says that the Free State was represented at the CNC meeting and that it was part of the decision that the elective congress would proceed.
Africa & the world
LAGOS - Nigeria's President has pledged to develop the impoverished oil-producing Niger Delta and improve security in the region. In his first trip to the Niger Delta as President, Goodluck Jonathan promises, to hundreds of former militants in the oil hub, Port Harcourt, that his government will better coordinate efforts to educate and reintegrate former rebels into society. Thousands of former rebels surrendered their arms last year to participate in a federal amnesty programme that promised clemency, a monthly stipend and job opportunities. Although the programme has been plagued by months of delays, the amnesty has delivered relative calm to the Niger Delta, with no major militant attack for nearly a year. "The federal government, strictly aware of the need for a properly coordinated amnesty programme, has achieved the much-desired peace in the Niger Delta region," Jonathan says. "We will consolidate on the gains of the amnesty programme and do all that is humanly possible to prevent the Niger Delta from once again descending into a nightmare," he adds. Timi Alaibe, Presidential adviser on Niger Delta affairs, says government will relaunch efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate 20 192 former militants. Although large and organised militant attacks have waned in the delta, security officials say former rebels, fed up with the delays in the amnesty programme, have turned to kidnapping, robbery and crude oil theft as alternative sources of income.