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Polity – News this week

10th June 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman


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South Africa

POLOKWANE - People have an agenda against President Jacob Zuma to make sure that there is a ‘gap' between him and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), league president Julius Malema says. "There's an agenda, there are people who are working day and night to make sure there's a gap between you and the youth league," Malema says at the Peter Mokaba memorial rally, in the presence of Zuma. "We have seen the latest reports. They are nothing; you are the President - you must never be demoralised by petty things," he says, referring to recent reports alleging that one of Zuma's wives, Nompumelelo, has been having extramarital affairs. Returning to his nationalisation theme, Malema says: "We want the economy of South Africa to be in the hands of the people of South Africa. We want the mines of Sekhukhune to be owned by the people of Sekhukhune . . . we want the people of Waterberg to own that land."



JOHANNESBURG - Mosiuoa Lekota has won his battle in the High Court, in Johannesburg, to remain president of the Congress of the People (Cope). The decision by Judge Rami Mathopo effectively overturns a vote of no confidence against Lekota and Cope head of communications Phillip Dexter at the party's policy conference on May 28. Mathopo describes the vote of no confidence as an "ambush" and "illegal" and says that it shows a "flagrant disregard against the rules of natural justice", adding: "The way that this case has been [handled] has the hallmarks of political nudging and elbowing." Mathopo ruled that Lekota and Dexter should have been included in deliberations ahead of the vote to make representations on their own behalf. The vote of no confidence came on the heels of Dexter and Lekota successfully winning a court interdict stopping Cope deputy president Mbhazima Shilowa and general secretary Charlotte Lobe from proceeding with an election. "To ambush them with the resolution after they have been to court is unconscionable and against Cope's constitution, which says that elections are to be free and fair," says Mathopo. He also notes that the party's constitution makes no provision for a vote of no confidence. In addition to affirming Lekota and Dexter in their positions, the judgement prevents any interference in the party's Parliamentary delegation and orders Shilowa and Lobe to pay for the costs of the court proceedings. In the aftermath of the ruling, Lekota and Dexter attempt to strike a reconciliatory note.



Africa & the world


KHARTOUM - Sudan's President says that the current round of Darfur peace talks will be the final negotiations with any armed group. Leaders of the two original Darfur guerrilla groups are both refusing to join the talks. Smaller factions who have few forces on the ground are participating. Khartoum launched a counterinsurgency campaign in 2003 to quell a revolt by mostly non-Arab rebels demanding more autonomy for the arid west. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is accused of war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court - charges that he rejects. "The current Doha round will be the last for any armed group and there will be no legitimacy through the gun, only through the ballot box," Bashir says. Rebel divisions and fighting have been the two biggest obstacles to peace talks, which have been ongoing since 2003 in Chad, Nigeria and Libya, before moving to Doha. Sudan's army has been clashing with the most militarily powerful group, the Justice and Equality Movement, since government aerial bombardment forced its troops to abandon their stronghold and go on the move.

NAIROBI - A few million dollars invested by governments in restoring nature could prevent multimillion-dollar losses of the free services that ecosystems provide to people around the world, a United Nations report says. In the study released in the Kenyan capital ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) says that nations could boost their economies by replenishing dying forests, marshes, coral reefs and riverbanks. "What is the real economic value of some of these resources?" Unep natural resources expert Tim Kasten says that wetlands, of which half have been destroyed, have an economic value of $7 trillion a year.




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