Monday, December 10, 2007

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela Offers to Intervene in ANC Factional Dispute

Winnie 'deeply hurt’, will try to broker truce

Sapa and M&G Online reporter
Johannesburg, South Africa
09 December 2007 07:51

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said she will this week launch a last-minute bid to broker a truce between African National Congress president Thabo Mbeki and his deputy, Jacob Zuma, said the Sunday Times.

Madikizela-Mandela wants to convince both leaders that the only way to stem the bloodletting in the party is for them to remain in their respective positions and then both to quit the party leadership within five years, said the paper.

Madikizela-Mandela told the Sunday Times on Saturday that she was “deeply hurt” by the divisions in the ANC "where sister is attacking sister and comrades are at each others’ throats".

“I have been a member of the ANC for more than 50 years and there have been many contestations in the past, but never has it been characterised by such a high level of acrimony, personal attacks, accusations and counter-accusations and a total disregard for the ANC and what it stands for by both sides,” she was quoted by the paper as saying.

She said she would seek meetings with Mbeki and Zuma this week.

“I am confident that both Mbeki and Zuma will accept my invitation to meet with them as a matter of urgency in the coming few days ahead of Limpopo,” she told the Sunday Times.

The Limpopo conference, which gets under way in Polokwane on December 16, has exposed the deep divisions with the party.

South African Communist Party's Blade Nzimande said on Saturday that countering revenge would triumph over unity as the key challenge after the conference.

"The best kind of revenge is to intensify the struggle for a better life," said the general secretary.

He was speaking at the unveiling of the tombstone for Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) martyr Barney Molokoane at the Merafe Primary School in Tlali, Soweto. Molokoane died in 1985.

Although the event was intended to honour Molokoane's accomplishments in the struggle to free the country from apartheid, speaker after speaker used the opportunity to talk about the ANC leadership struggle.

It is important those elected in Limpopo not be "tempted to vanquish their perceived opponents", said Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. "Such an approach will not heal the movement, but only serve to widen the gulf of divisions," he said.

"In Polokwane, we will elect a quality leadership who can hold each other accountable," said Tokyo Sexwale, who has denied accusations of bank-rolling Zuma in the leadership race. "If they fail to perform, we will use our power to recall them," he said. - Sapa


Winnie to intervene in ANC race

Sun, 09 Dec 2007

Winnie Madikezela-Mandela will this week launch a last minute bid to broker a truce between ANC President Thabo Mbeki and his deputy Jacob Zuma, Sunday Times reported.

Madikizela-Mandela, who had been silent on the succession race, wants to convince both leaders that the only way to stem the bloodletting in the party is for them to remain in their respective position and then both quit the party's leadership within five years.

Madikizela-Mandela told Sunday Times that she was 'deeply hurt' by the divisions in the ANC "where a sister is attacking a sister and comrades are at each others throats".

"I have been a member of the ANC for more than 50 years and there have been many contestations in the past, but never has it been characterised by such high level of acrimony, personal attacks, accusations and counter-accusations and a total disregard for the ANC and what it stands for by both sides."

She said she would seek meetings with Mbeki and Zuma this week.

"I am confident that both Mbeki and Zuma will accept my invitation to meet with them as a matter of urgency in the coming few days ahead of Limpopo," she said.

She said she had been asked by ANC elders, veterans, former guerrillas, youth and women to intervene.

She said a special National General Council should be called in mid 2008 to focus on rebuilding the party.

"Any leader ignores this yearning for unity at their own perils and will be judged harshly by delegates, our people and history," she said.

She vowed to campaign against anyone who rejected her intervention.

The paper also ran an interview in which President Thabo Mbeki spoke to editor Mondli Makhanya and political editor Wally Mbhele about a meeting he had with Zuma in 2005 regarding Zuma's allegations of a conspiracy against him (Zuma).



Pan-African News Wire said...

We need a people's unifier

09 December 2007 11:59

In the early 1970s, when the ANC underground machinery was exposed and threatened with decimation and outstanding leaders such as Harry Gwala and others were sentenced to Robben Island, the ANC instructed Jacob Zuma to go into exile and lead a team to revive structures in KwaZulu-Natal.

In the 1980s, with intensified struggles, the apartheid regime was forced to talk. When the first official contact was made between the ANC and the regime, Zuma was dispatched to assess Pretoria’s readiness for serious talks and to design an appropriate engagement strategy.

He became part of the first delegation to discuss the future of South Africa, often working behind the scenes to ensure that progress did not stall.

When South Africa entered its transition, continuing political violence in KwaZulu-Natal threatened national stability. The ANC relied heavily on Zuma to negotiate and navigate the intricate political dynamics of traditional leaders and ethnic sensitivities, and between the ANC national government and the provincial opposition.

His skills of persuasion prevailed over the emotions of younger leaders who were impatient with negotiations and balked at Madiba’s call to “throw your weapons into the sea”.

This he did while managing the complex relationship between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party. He did this at the risk of losing popularity and facing harsh criticism from all sides, while working to stem the cyclical faction fights in the heart of KwaZulu-Natal.

So much for Zuma as a populist! In recognition, the ANC national conference in Bloemfontein adopted what was colloquially known as the “Zuma clause” constitutionally allowing him to hold both national and provincial office-bearer positions.

This happened once with Zuma, and never again, to make effective use of his skills, benefiting the whole ANC.

His political experience has enabled him to engage with all constituencies, from peasants to militant youth, traditional leaders and conservative rural communities, church leaders, business, NGOs and opposition parties.

Of course, Zuma never did this alone, but as part of many ANC collectives. This is Jacob Zuma, with the ability to recognise the importance of collective work rather than individualism and temptation to work for one’s own personal “legacy”.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the growth of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, and the ability to resolve conflicts in many other ANC provinces, was in great measure the result of his skills.

This has shaped Zuma’s image as the leader who is trusted by most members of the ANC and who is always there to lead them through difficult challenges. But, most crucially, Zuma is trusted because he also trusts the wisdom of others.

He is a caring person whose love for the people will contribute to strengthening the faith people have in the ANC, something that is seriously under threat as articulated by the ANC national general council in 2005, the policy conference and now the ANC nominations process.

Zuma has been instrumental in calming the tensions that have developed in the tripartite alliance since 2000. Contrary to detractors, he was not quiet on alliance problems, but always insisted on internal open, frank but comradely debate. Hence our allies developed such respect for him.

Similarly, he has engaged various other social and political forces, including the opposition, Afrikaner communities and other minorities, and genuinely listened to their concerns. He has developed strong relations between the ANC and stakeholders.

This he has done without sacrificing the priority that must be given to the African majority to attend to poverty and unemployment. The level of respect accorded to him by leaders on the continent for his contributions is public knowledge.

Thirteen years into our new democracy, the country has seen a widening gap between the government and the masses.

Frankly, the kind of president the ANC requires currently is one who will (re)unite the organisation and address the many problems it faces, not aloof or self-righteous leadership. We need a people’s unifier. This is what not only the ANC needs, but the country as a whole.

It is important to invest in a leader who will carry the confidence of the poor, rural and marginalised sections of our community and address the concerns of minority groups, while being pragmatic about the solutions required for our economy.

As ANC deputy president, Zuma has engaged investors and the business community, assuring them that ANC policies will remain as adopted by party conferences.

As a graduate of the school of hard knocks, Zuma is acutely aware of the delicate interface that South Africa and Africa have with the rest of the world, and how this must be managed for the good of the country and all its people.

Zweli Mkhize is a member of the ANC national executive committee and KwaZulu-Natal finance MEC. He writes in his personal capacity.

Pan-African News Wire said...
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Pan-African News Wire said...

Democracy it's not

South African Financial Mail

Six years ago, at the behest of President Thabo Mbeki and his acolytes in the presidency, then safety & security minister Steve Tshwete dropped a political bombshell, accusing three senior party members on national television of plotting to overthrow Mbeki.

The three - Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Mathews Phosa - had obviously been identified by some bright spark, if not by Mbeki himself, as a threat. The allegation was meant to snuff out their political careers. It was classic Mbeki: paranoid and conspiratorial. It backfired badly.

Radio talk shows sizzled with angry denunciations of Mbeki from party members. Even Nelson Mandela weighed in, attesting to the integrity of the alleged coup plotters. Mbeki, the master weaver of conspiracies, had gone too far. He had lost the plot.

Historians will probably look back at this episode as the moment when the tide turned against him. Mbeki was never a popular choice as Mandela's successor. It was more by wile and guile than popular acclaim that he upended Ramaphosa, Mandela's choice.

Jacob Zuma was to play a cameo role in this drama. In the midst of the hubbub, Zuma suddenly issued a statement denying any ambition to unseat Mbeki. It was the first inkling that Mbeki may just have bitten off more than he could chew; that the masses were casting around for an alternative. They were taking a shine to Zuma's benevolent face.

Maybe Mbeki was right about the plot. He was wrong about the identity of the plotters. He should have looked closer to home.

Zuma is about to pull off a most daring coup d'├ętat, bloodless and silent. While others dithered, Zuma took his chances. He had nothing to lose. Otherwise, prison beckons. Mbeki will be shovelled out of power against his will.

To call this a democratic process is to insult our intelligence. The threat by some anonymous Zuma sycophants to force Mbeki out of office, should their man win, confirms that this process has little to do with the will of the people, or some such high-minded notions. It's a power grab. The coup should run its course. It's a settling of scores.

That the great SA public has entered into a covenant with Mbeki, its president, and that, in a democracy, such a compact can be undone or stitched together only through the process of elections, is obviously foreign to the congregation of the aggrieved now gathered around Zuma and baying for Mbeki's blood. They're getting ahead of themselves.

Power is tantalisingly close. It's getting into their heads before they even get hold of it. They should be careful not to lose their hold on reality. Zuma is inexorably approaching a fork i n the road: one path leads to the presidency, the other to prison. That's the reality. It can go all pear-shaped.

Not that Mbeki deserves any sympathy. Scorn should be his reward. He's the author of this sorry shambles. A Zuma presidency in all its lyrical glory - should it come to pass - will be Mbeki's enduring legacy.

Believe it or not, our salvation - and to prevent this mess happening again - lies in true democracy. A de facto one-party state such as we have is a fertile breeding ground for arrogance and demagoguery. There's no leash for such characters, no accountability.

At the core of our dilemma is one-party dominance. There's perhaps nothing we can do about the will of the people. But we can at least ameliorate the vagaries of the party's decisions. This country is crying out for electoral reform.

Neither Mbeki nor Zuma can deliver that tonic for us. They don't have a reformist cell in their bodies. They're purveyors of old certainties, which is why we're in this mess.

We need a system that allows for direct election of the president - and MP s. That way we'll blame nobody but ourselves for whatever meathead ends up running our lives.

Pan-African News Wire said...


Off with old heads

By Carol Paton
South African Financial Mail

Will Jacob Zuma and his allies have a winner-takes-all approach to the election of the all-powerful ANC national executive committee at this month's national conference?

If so, some of the most respected figures in the ANC could be in danger of being excluded. These include ANC strategist and head of policy in the presidency Joel Netshitenzhe and long-standing and respected ANC leaders Pallo Jordan and Zola Skweyiya.

Most serving cabinet ministers are excluded from the current version of the "Youth League list", as Zuma's list is known. Others have been placed low on the list, raising fears that they might not get enough votes to make it into one of the 60 additional places on the executive.

Two new developments will make it even harder for experienced leadership to get elected this time around: first is the proposal to raise the quota of female members from 33% to 50%, which will have the effect of
"sacrificing" men who come in near the bottom of the list; and second Cosatu has asked for changes to the "Youth League list" to accommodate more trade unionists and communists.

This will make competition for places on the executive even tighter.

It's only if the size of the NEC is expanded from 60 to 80 that the pressure for places could be eased. The ANC policy conference left this decision open and the ANC NEC has not pronounced on the issue.

Due to the extreme polarisation of the ANC, it is not known whether branch delegates will stick to the lists circulated by the two factions or whether they will vote for more rational choices.

Jordan, one of the ANC's most respected intellectuals, is low down on the Zuma list. He describes the faction-based lists as a "novelty".

"There's no evidence that in the past people's preferences were determined by lists. But it might happen that this time, because of the polarisation, people might vote for lists," he says.

Other seasoned ANC leaders are more worried. "As things stand, someone like Joel might not get in. With the 50% quota for women coming in, you could find some problematic exclusions. Both lists are quite weak with some odd people included," says an ANC MP.

Judging by events in Gauteng, a Johannesburg ANC leader says he expects "the winner will take all". He adds: "I can't see the NEC being decided in a sober manner. The battle lines are drawn."

Netshitenzhe's name was removed from the provincial nomination list in KwaZulu Natal, and former and serving premiers Manne Dipico and Dipuo Peters from that of the Northern Cape.

Mbhazima Shilowa, who has openly aligned himself with President Thabo Mbeki, also occupies a lowly position on the early iterations of the Zuma list.

He warns against a "short-sighted approach of exclusions", but adds: "If I am one of those, I won't feel disheartened. At least I took a stand and if that is treason, then so be it."

Shilowa also warns those "who think they are in the ascendency" not to take their victories for granted by refusing to engage in horse-trading over the NEC.

Even if individuals such as Netshitenzhe and Jordan make it onto the NEC, it is clear that a long list of the incumbents - many of them cabinet ministers - won't.

Mbeki has been heavily criticised for packing the NEC with ex-officio members whom he appointed. ANC secretary-general Kgalema Motlanthe has contemptuously described the serving NEC as a group of people concerned only about their own jobs.

A new version of the Zuma list is expected to be released soon. Early versions of the list punt a vastly different composition of the NEC and include a wide range of provincial politicians and members of parliament, most of whom have been active in the Zuma campaign.

Rather than placing established national leadership at the top of the list, the list was topped by ANC Youth League leader and MP Thandi Tobias; MP and Travelgate accused Nyami Booi; former director-general of intelligence Billy Masetlha and former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni. Their track records bode ill for anyone outside the Zuma camp.

Pan-African News Wire said...

Zuma slams abuse of citizens' rights

Miranda Andrew
Johannesburg, South Africa
10 December 2007 06:05

History is littered with the legacy of tyrants and leaders who abused the rights of citizens to hold on to power, African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

He was delivering the keynote address on International Human Rights Day at Wits University in Braamfontein.

Zuma said some leaders still did not understand the needs of the people or their rights, and just abused them.

"It is even more tragic when leaders pretend the abuse is not happening ... When history deals with dictators, those dictators should pay the consequences," said Zuma.

He said some human beings had the tendency to undermine the rights of others, stealing their dignity and engineering people's suffering.

"It is those who feed on the decay of society and lay the foundation for tyrants."

Society was defined by culture, where ordinary citizens were the custodians of human rights and dignity. South Africa belonged to those living in it and it could not be claimed by the government.

"There should never be a time where state policy is abused and it should never be excused," he said.

"We must continue to uphold our Constitution and ensure that organs of state do not abuse our rights."

He stressed that if South Africans continued to turn a blind eye to the abuse of state power, it would result in some people thinking they had more rights than others.

"We don't want a country where some have more rights than others. There is enough for all to share."

Zuma spoke about the history of human rights and said that HIV/Aids and crime should have been treated as national emergencies.

If people were living in fear, then the fundamental rights of safety and security were being abused, he said.

"Fear is not consistent with human rights ... fear is not a national right," Zuma said.

'The law must bite'

Attention, he said, should also be paid to free education and the daily struggle of women in rural areas who could not afford to feed and clothe their children.

These were practical issues that needed practical programmes to deal with them.

"Every citizen should have free education because it is a basic human right ... we should not have to buy it."

"I also have a problem with the law, which is user-friendly to criminals. In a country where there is no death penalty, the law must bite," said Zuma.

Members of the ANC's Women's League and Youth League, as well as provincial ministers, ambassadors and high court judges were also present.

During his address, Zuma described Sexwale as his student.

"I knew him as a student and tamed him into a soldier ... if we had to use military ranks, he would address me as his commander," said Zuma.

Earlier in the day, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said there had been a massive dissemination of propaganda intended to "demonise" Zuma as "Satan with a long tail".

He said that when South Africans listened to results of ANC presidential votes -- in particular the nominations two weeks ago -- they could not believe how people could have voted for Zuma.

"There are massive activities by those who fear change and those wanting to reverse the voice of the people," he said.

Vavi said Zuma reflected the basic values of the South African people.

"We know him as the son of a peasant from Nkandla, a rural part of KwaZulu-Natal ... he became our patron, our peacemaker and our leader," said Vavi.

"After seven years of demonising him, some don't understand that we see ourselves in Jacob Zuma; we see somebody who reflects the needs of the people."

Vavi was one of the many guests at the Wits theatre. -- Sapa

Pan-African News Wire said...

Zuma's shady friends

Lloyd Gedye
South African Mail & Guardian
07 December 2007 11:59

African National Congress (ANC) deputy president Jacob Zuma has been on an international mission, addressing investors across the world, some of whom have been worried about what would happen to the South African economy should he take over as president.

However, some of those who arranged the meetings with investors are themselves colourful and controversial characters. We profile two: George Friedman and Paul Ekon.

George Friedman

American intelligence analyst George Friedman recently hosted and facilitated ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma's visit to the United States to meet senior American businessmen.

Friedman is the CEO of Strategic Forecasting Incorporated, or Stratfor, as it is more commonly known, which he founded in 1996.

Stratfor is an American intelligence company that is said to have been influential in shaping American foreign policy post-9/11.

Stratfor, which lists the CIA as one of its clients, conducts work for multi­national corporations, government spy agencies and private investors.

Friedman studied political science at the City College of New York and then accepted a teaching post at Dickinson College in 1974, where he taught for almost 20 years.

In 1994 Friedman founded the Centre for Geopolitical Studies at Louisiana State University, which conducted integrated economic, political and military modelling and forecasting.

Friedman describes himself as a conservative Republican.

Stratfor released a statement earlier this week confirming it had facilitated Zuma's trip. "Mr Zuma spent several days in Austin, Texas, in private meetings with senior US leaders of global business, investment and education," said the statement.

Friedman said he was "tremendously impressed" with Zuma, who he described as a "very gracious man. I learned a great deal from him about South Africa and about leadership," said Friedman.

Paul Ekon

Flamboyant multi-millionaire Paul Ekon, who recently hosted Zuma during his meetings with United Kingdom business leaders, has a chequered past.

Ekon (48) is said to have developed contacts within the ANC after the organisation was unbanned in 1990, which continued until he left the country in the mid-1990s amid speculation that he was under police scrutiny for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of a R4,8-million consignment of unwrought gold.

The police had linked the consignment, which was seized at Johannesburg International Airport in June 1995, to a syndicate, which they said had smuggled more than five tons of gold to Europe and Britain.

Ekon first rose to public attention when former ANC MP Bantu Holomisa alleged that hotel magnate Sol Kerzner had paid for Thabo Mbeki's 50th birthday party in 1992.

Ekon claimed that it was he who had paid for the party, which was hosted at his Houghton home, along with co-sponsors Yusuf Surtee and Charles Priebatsch.

Ekon is also said to have provided ANC officials with cellular phones and handguns. He joined Johannesburg's fast set when he inherited a large amount of money from his mother, some time around 1986.

He ran a number of businesses, including a restaurant in Rosebank called the Hot Tin Roof, and a cosmetics outlet in Hyde Park called Accent, which he used to market Anneline Kriel's perfume range.