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Polity – News this week

26th August 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

PORT ELIZABETH - The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in the Eastern Cape has resolved to lobby for former league president Fikile Mbalula to replace Gwede Mantashe as ANC secretary-general. Newly elected ANCYL Eastern Cape chairperson Ayanda Matiti says that the province will drum up support for Mbalula at the league's national general council. Matiti's pronouncement echoes that of league president Julius Malema, who wants Mantashe replaced by Mbalula, currently the ANC's head of campaigns. Mbalula is also a national executive committee member and a national working committee member. ANC president Jacob Zuma recently reaffirmed a September 2009 decision taken by the ANC's national executive committee that there is "no political basis for a succession debate for 2012". He added: "We affirm that the ANC structures, at an appropriate time, will have an opportunity to discuss and express their preferences. We further affirm that, anything to the contrary is a recipe for disunity, labelling, factionalism and erosion of organisational culture and traditions."


JOHANNESBURG - The proposed media appeals tribunal is receiving "overwhelming support" from South Africans, African National Congress (ANC) spokesperson Jackson Mthembu (pictured) has said. "Not all people think the same - we have received overwhelming support from our branches, provinces and different sectors of society," he said at the University of the
Witwatersrand. Most South Africans felt the self-regulation of the media industry "left so much to be desired". "In other sectors, like business, you can be removed or stopped from practising if you breach the ethics of that profession." He says that the ANC wants to strengthen the media's current regulatory mechanism. The party is looking for an independent body to promote media freedom, not muzzle it, but discourage irresponsible reporting. He compared what the ANC is proposing to the Independent Electoral Commission, "which is not biased towards any political party". Press Ombudsman Joe Thloloe says that the media is not against an inquiry into the possibility of a statutory tribunal, but that it is against the fact that some members of the ANC have already implied it was "a done deal - we will gladly participate if there isn't this implied threat."



BEIJING - South Africa's economy should soon be able to generate 7% annual growth for years through economic plans currently being developed, President Jacob Zuma says during a State visit to China. Zuma says that current government investment in education, electricity and public transport will increase the country's growth prospects. "The plans we are now developing are in order for us to achieve a target growth rate of at least 7% a year in the near future," Zuma says in a lecture at a Beijing university. South Africa suffered its first recession since 1992 following the global financial crisis. Although the economy is recovering, data shows that South Africa's annualised, adjusted GDP growth slowed to 3,2% in the second quarter from 4,6% in the previous quarter as the mining sector, affected by stoppages, contracted sharply. Zuma, however, is confident that the economy will return to a period of strong growth in the near future. "During much of the last decade we have been able to grow income per person in South Africa by 4% or more. Our investment rate has also improved. We expect that, with our natural and human resources, we will grow stronger for many years to come," Zuma says. He has been urging China to invest more in infrastructure and manufacturing in South Africa during his visit. His comments underscore the attractiveness of China for African countries, while hinting at the frustrations of African governments and companies that want to see more Chinese investment and orders spreading beyond mines and resources.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) must examine whether the current ANC leadership is willing to use its power to change the economic conditions of South Africans, league president Julius Malema says. "As the ANCYL, we are worried about the re-emergence of the tendency to please the Queen in Britain," he says to muffled giggles from delegates at the league's first national general council (NGC) meeting, held in Midrand. President Jacob Zuma paid a State visit to Britain in March, during which he met the Queen. "This is an issue that this NGC should discuss," he says while delivering his political report. "The reason they are going to the Queen to account . . . is because they believe that such is the way, even with the power that was given to them by the people of South Africa." Malema says that "radical" changes in the country's economy are needed to improve the lives of all South Africans, including nationalising the country's mines. Economic conditions both domestically and internationally are conducive to this "radical" change of economic policy. The "strategic enemy", however, remains "white minority capital", whose interests are expressed politically through parties such as the Democratic Alliance (DA), and which are "guarded by a reactionary media", he charged. "Our battle cry is the attainment of economic freedom in our lifetime. The wealth of South Africa should benefit all who live in it."


Africa & the World


KIGALI - Investment in Rwanda doubled to $1,6-billion in 2009, a year after the country was named top global business reformer by the World Bank. Clare Akamanzi, COO at the Rwanda Development Board, says that the country's foreign direct investment (FDI) in the four years to 2009 cumulatively totalled $118-million, from $10-million in 2005 alone. Reforms that won Rwanda the award include reducing the number of stages involved in registering a business from nine to one and halving the time needed to make land transfers. "It is hard to measure the impact of these reforms, but the improved business environment is a major factor [driving the increase in FDI]. It took us five years to register 7 000 companies and it is the same number of companies we registered in one year after Rwanda was named top global reformer," Akamanzi says. She did not give a breakdown of the investments included in the figure that had doubled to $1,6-billion.


MOGADISHU - Hundreds of mainly Ugandan troops have arrived in Mogadishu to strengthen an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force helping Somalia's government battle Islamist insurgents, an AU official says. Al Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, and another Islamist militia have been fighting Somalia's government since the start of 2007. Uganda says that it is willing to send an additional 2 000 peacekeeping troops to the anarchic country after more than 70 people were killed in two coordinated blasts while watching the FIFA World Cup final, in Kampala. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks. Ugandan soldiers make up the bulk of the 6 100-strong AU Mission in Somalia (Amisom), while soldiers from Burundi protect the Presidential palace and guard the airport. "The additional troops began arriving last Friday; they were airlifted to different areas and, of course, they will continue to arrive," says Wafula Wamunyinyi, AU deputy special representative for Somalia.


NEW YORK - Growth in world trade slowed in the second quarter, as a faster expansion in advanced countries failed to outweigh slowing growth in most emerging economies, the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis economics institute says. The figures indicate that the pace of economic recovery is normalising after a rebound from the recession driven by emerging economies. The CPB institute says, in its monthly world trade monitor, that global industrial production has now surpassed the previous peak reached in March 2008. World trade in the second quarter of this year was 3,6% higher than in the first quarter, when it grew by 5,7% over the previous three months, says the institute, whose data is used by the European Commission and World Bank. Looking at the more volatile monthly figures, the institute says that world trade volumes rose by 0,7% in June over May after a 2,3% increase in May. The 0,7% increase results from a rise in imports of 1,7%, with imports rising everywhere except in Eastern Europe, and a 0,3% drop in exports, which fell in most regions in June except for strong increases in the eurozone.

ABUJA - Nigeria is committed to boosting the role of indigenous firms in its oil industry so as to derive greater benefit from anticipated investment of $150-billion in the sector over the next five years, a senior official says. President Goodluck Jonathan has, in April, signed into law a local content bill aimed at boosting the involvement of local firms in its mainstay industry and creating jobs in Nigeria, most of whose 140-million citizens have seen little tangible benefit from crude oil in the five decades since it was first pumped. Ernest Nwapa, executive secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), set up to oversee the implementation of the Bill, says that less than 20% of an average annual industry spend of $18-billion is retained in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member nation, a situation that has to change. "For decades, operators and planners have focused squarely on foreign sourcing of equipment, facilities and materials," he adds. "The unfortunate result is that, after executing thousands of major projects worth trillions of dollars, there is hardly any capacity developed within the country to manufacture equipment for new projects or support . . . existing facilities." He says Nigeria is looking to the example of Brazil, which has developed a world-class oil industry while focusing on local content, lifting local participation from $35-billion from 2003 to 2007 to a projected $190-billion for 2009 to 2013.






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