Friday, May 31, 2013

HIS-story We Have had, Time for HER-story

HIS-story we have had, time for HER-story

Friday, 31 May 2013 00:00
Gender Forum Ruth Butaumocho
Zimbabwe Herald

LAST week Africa celebrated 50 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity. But the grand affair was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African Union headquarters, where more than 50 Heads

of State and Government and 41 former presidents joined other world leaders to celebrate the AU’s 50 years of existence.

The delegates wined and dined while congratulating African leaders for keeping their heads afloat in light of insurmountable challenges that have been hogging the continent for some time.

Unlike previous celebrations, this year’s event was rather unique and special because the AU was holding its Golden Jubilee celebrations, under the theme “Pan Africanism and African Renaissance”.

Notably the celebrations are coupled with the honouring of a galaxy of African leaders for the role they played in ushering independence in different countries across the African continent.

Several women — among them renowned author, Doris Lessing — got the accolades for their brevity, integrity and unwavering resolution to ensure that mother Africa could not continue to be devoured by the colonialists, who were bent on stripping it off its humanity, resource base, while denying its people of their birthright.

In her speech to mark the occasion, AU chairwoman, Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini-Zuma, saluted the role both men and women played, but singled out the unparalleled dedication that women showed, despite operating in a patriarchal system that heavily weighed on their back.

As she was calling out the names, I couldn’t help but wonder on the number of female liberators who should have been honoured, but their names were not on the list.

I was really convinced that there were many female liberators whose names should have been there, but strangely enough, did not make it to the final listing.

After sometime it dawned to me why there were such discrepancies, which really had nothing to do with gender but was a result of some historical imbalances that needed to be corrected.

I later realised that there were many female liberators that were not honoured, not because their contributions were insignificant, but their heroic contributions went largely ignored, because much of the past was recorded and presented as “his-story.”

In most communities, countries and some parts of the globe, the male voice and perspective have been dominating the interpretations of the past, which would then focus on the deeds of “great men” and “few outstanding women”, who are believed to have defied the odds, boasting of unmatched heroic records. After all its HIS-story.

In the case of the African continent, women were regarded as helpers, weak on menial chores, and could only fare better in the home and in the fields.

And since most historians were males operating in a patriarchal society, they rarely mentioned African women except in cases were polygamy was at centre stage. As a result of that there were only few cases of women whose contribution to the liberation struggle was considered noteworthy and worth mentioning.

For a long time, gendered historical interpretations of Africa’s story have over and over been highlighting the central position of women as spiritual mediums and herbalist of note.

It is within the same historical construct that narratives of liberation struggles that took place in Africa don’t say much about the role the majority of women played but merely acknowledge their presence except in exceptional cases.

When I try to I imagine the role that females across Africa played in the liberation struggles, I am reminded of the many narratives that my late grandfather, Asiriro, would share with us, of his great exploits during his hunting days in the neighbouring Chamakunguwo and Chipukutu mountains in Chiweshe.

There was, however, one narrative which struck me as rather odd and only fit for an American stuntman, where my grandfather claimed he was followed by a wounded warthog for a good three kilometres, forcing him to seek refuge in my grandma’s kitchen, while the whole village watched in awe at such at an unusual happening.

According to my grandfather, who is now late — May his soul rest in peace — he got in the kitchen and like an experience hunter he was, took a spear behind the door, aimed at the warthog and beheaded the vicious animal in the process, to thunderous applause from the villagers, who were watching from afar.

Later it, however, emerged that it was not my grandfather who killed the warthog, but my grandma, who came to the rescue upon realising that her husband had been paralysed by fear and could not even lift a finger.

It is said that on realising the impending danger of being gored together with her six-month baby — having seen her husband scurrying for cover right behind the door — she took an axe and aimed right at the warthog’s head, killing it instantly.

Without bothering to find out what had happened to her target, she immediately went to the crying child, while my grandfather, who on noticing that she had killed the animal, emerged from the house with the smile of a victor, to thunderous applause from fellow villagers.

Strangely enough my grandmother never bothered to correct the misconception, though she would smile sheepishly whenever my grandfather would go about his heroic exploits of how he beheaded a warthog in front of the whole village.

Women, who by nature, are not a boisterous lot, often take a back seat and let men, take the lead in discussing matters that concern their welfare and survival, and rarely bait an eyelid even if facts are misrepresented.

It is high time that women should learn to tell their narratives, so that they would be documented for future generations and for the good of woman-kind

From Cape to Cairo, African women share a common history, a common vision and face same stumbling blocks regardless of the political boundaries.

That historical disadvantage should be their uniting force, and an energiser to strengthen their cause, for recognitions across the social, political and economic strata.

Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru Hails Mission Hospitals

VP Mujuru hails mission hospitals

Friday, 31 May 2013 00:00
Herald Reporter

Howard and Karanda Mission Hospitals in Mashonaland Central province for playing a critical role in providing treatment to Zimbabweans across the country.

The two hospitals in Chiweshe and Mt Darwin are run by The Salvation Army and Evangelical Church respectively.

Acting President Mujuru made the remarks at the handover of comforters and shoes from a local manufacturing company, Waverley Blankets for distribution to people in her constituency. “I have a long request that I have been given by two hospitals that have done us wonders in this country,” said Acting President Mujuru.

“These are Howard Hospital which is under the Salvation Army church. Howard treats people from all over the country like Bikita, Masvingo and Bulawayo. We also have Karanda Hospital in Mt Darwin, they also treat people from all over. Again from Masvingo, from Gwanda, from everywhere.

“I am going to take them there because I want them to benefit not only people from my constituency, I want them to benefit Zimbabwe because every sick person who visits those hospitals benefits from their warmth.”

Acting President Mujuru hailed Waverley Blanket director, Mr Victor Cohen for his continued support in uplifting the lives of Zimbabweans.

The same company recently donated water purifiers, oral rehydration salts and blankets for distribution to the needy across the country’s provinces through Acting President Mujuru’s office.

A representative from Waverly Blankets, Mr Patrick Chiremba said the consignment worth about US$35 000 was meant to complement Acting President Mujuru’s efforts in uplifting lives of all communities.

SACP Statement on the Rise In Unsecured Loans

SACP statement on the rise in unsecured loans

29 May 2013

The SACP is quite affronted by the dismissive attitude that has been adopted by the Reserve Bank in relation to the crisis of reckless and unsecured lending confronting the country. The SACP was one of the first organisations already last year to raise this matter and we where confronted by a know it all attitude of the Deputy Governor, Lesetja Kganyago.

As the SACP we are strongly of the view that it is irresponsible of the Reserve Bank to adopt such a careless approach towards the ballooning of unsecured loans. Already some of the banks, like the African Bank, are admitting that they are facings problem in this regard. It is dangerous for the Reserve Bank to try and protect the image of our banking system through denialism. The SACP calls for an urgent and full-scale investigation into the causes and extent of unsecured lending, and for appropriate action to be taken to deal with the problem.

To our surprise in his budget speech this year the Minister of Finance echoed our sentiment and outlined measures to be undertaken to deal with garnishee orders abused by those who lure the poor with unsecured loans. This time around the Deputy Governor and his equally dismissive friends at the Banking Association of South Africa met the announcement with less arrogance. But they continued digging their heads in the sand and not providing much needed solutions to the poor.

The SACP is of the view that there remains a need for a major and much more comprehensive strategy to address ballooning unsecured credit, particularly where this involves preying on the vulnerabilities of working people and the poor.

The denials by the banks and the reserve bank are nothing else but making excuses in an effort to continue to deeply financialise our economy and allow the banks and lenders a license to freely ruin our economy. Reckless lending by the banks and micro lenders constitute a crisis that has to be tackled before our economy is plunged into a crisis.

Issued by the SACP.


Malesela Maleka
SACP Spokesperson – 082 226 1802

Our World, the African Continent and Our Country

Our World, the African Continent and Our Country

As we celebrate the Africa and International Solidarity Month and the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU, the many of our writers and scholars will focus on the historic perspective and others on the analysis of the successes and challenges still faced by our continent.

As South African's we need to continue to redefine ourselves. We need to continue to define our continental identity, reconnect ourselves as nation to fully embrace the fact that we are Africans first. Our country, South Africa is on the continent of Africa and what happens in our continent is bound and will continue to affect us.

In 2014 we will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our freedom and democracy from colonialism of a special type, apartheid and oppression. From being isolated for so long it will take as longer to rid ourselves of certain attitudes, and this has an impact on our outlook and our view on Africa and the world. We still remain a very Eurocentric society.

This reminds me of a poem by the late Ingoapele Madingoane; "Africa my beginning, Africa my ending", … "I was born there and will die there, in Africa my beginning and Africa my ending. Let us do something".

The poem was like a prophecy for us, indeed we must do something to change our attitudes. Former President, Comrade Thabo Mbeki in his famous speech in Parliament at the occasion of the adoption of the constitution said; "On an occasion, such as this, we should, perhaps, start from the beginning. So let me start, let me begin. I am an African".

He continued and said; "This thing that we have done today, in this small corner of a great continent that has contributed so decisively to the evolution of humanity. And that Africa reaffirms that she is continuing her rise from ashes, whatever setbacks, of the moment, nothing can stop us now! Whatever the difficulties, Africa shall be at peace!

However improbable it may sound to the skeptics, Africa will prosper! Whoever we may be, whatever our immediate interest, however much we carry as our baggage from the past, however much we have been caught by fashion of cynicism and loss of faith in the capacity of the people; let us err/or make mistakes and say - Nothing can stop us".

The passage from the speech of by former President Mbeki reminds the country and our people, how we all became Africans.

Everyone for weeks on end, black and white, went about proclaiming; that we are all Africans. But it soon evaporated. We soon retreated into our own cocoons, continued downplaying Africa, undermined ourselves as Africans, and looked down upon other African nationalities as sub-human. Why?

Africa needs South Africa and South Africa needs Africa and in fact we are part of the continent and we have no choice. We cannot choose otherwise geography and nature has determined our fate. But colonization has damaged our minds, not only as South Africans but it has also divided us into Franco, Luso-phone, the Anglophone and each think is superior to another. It is time that we transcend the imaginary divisions and unite as a people of the continent.

We are in Africa and we are Africans. I know I sound like a poet, but I must make this call to all South Africans to redefine and continue to redefine themselves, until the mind is decolonized, and in words and deeds we must become true Africans in our new journey to 2063 when we will celebrating the 100th anniversary of the decolonization of our continent, as a strong and prosperous people.

The point in case here was to demonstrate how as South Africans we forget who we are, to the detriment of our being Africans. We are first and foremost Africans of the South African origin. That is how we must continue to define ourselves. We are too much Eurocentric and to some extend tend to look or view Africa as another continent, hence the unfortunate the xenophobic tendencies which resulted with Africans foreign nationals being the victims. Our perspective outlook and view on Africa must change for the better. This is Our Africa, Our Continent and Our Pride.

The theme of the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU is; "2013: The Year of Pan Africanism and African Renaissance", and let us use this yearlong celebrations to know, understand and connect to Africa. Read about its history, know about the current developments and challenges, and seek for information. Contribute to its successes. Visit Africa, explore it, meet its people know languages spoken and understand our cultures, music, dance, traditions and customs in their diversities.

The ANC remains shocked at some of the criticism, the condemnations and discouraging sentiments expressed loudly after the killings of our gallant soldiers in the Central Africa Republic. Many only woke up that day, to the reality and knowledge that our soldiers were there since 2007. Without flinching we heard noises and screams that said; "What do you want there! We have no business to be in the Central Africa Republic.

"Our soldiers must come back home, let us only focus on our domestic problems" as many asked.

Some of the arguments were as a result of ignorance or lack of understanding our policies as South Africa, but some were legitimate and useful for which we welcomed their proposals. Our policy remains relevant, which that of; - Building a Better Africa and a Better World, to end conflicts, and for creation of peace, development and prosperity for our continent and the world as a whole.

We have resolved in every conference as the ANC that the role of South Africa will contribute to the ending of conflicts in the continent to bring about peace. That we will ensure Africa's development and prosperity.

Should we retreat from this noble goal of peace missions? We should not, but continue with the visionary ideals of our founding fathers of the ANC of those of the continent who had worked hard for the unity.

We also want remind our people that it is not the first time South Africa engaged in a bilateral mission in additions to other multilateral mission in peacekeeping, peace enforcing or conflict resolutions in the continent. We have succeeded in helping Burundi, to get peace. And today the people of that country have achieved the peace that evaded them for many years. Should South Africa have looked the other way - we would still be having Burundi in conflict.

We inhabit a world in which the balance of power and the global structures that give effect to it are undemocratic, inequitable and in many cases inimical to the interests of the developing world. However there are clear indications of movement away from a western-dominated, unipolar and hegemonic exercise of power towards an interest-driven world, with new centers of development and development and alternative growth models around emerging powers such as China, Russia, India and Brazil.

We also inhibit a world in which resource issues are gaining prominence as economic growth and population pressure impact on energy, food and water. Patterns of conflict are also changing, becoming increasingly asymmetrical and driven by issues of access to resources. And shifting demographic dynamics, migration and impact of particularly youth unemployment present our country with challenges. At the same time we inhabit a world in which the interest underpinning military-industry complexes retain their ability to shape the global agenda and wage war to further these interests.

The changing world in which we live presents opportunities for South Africa to become part of a realignment of international political and economic interests to better reflect the balance of needs and less the balance of military power. The canons of Pan-Africanism and South-South solidarity that inform our international posture and work position us to engage in this process. We therefore strive to democratize international institutions and strengthen a rules-oppressed, promote the African agenda in the global arena, and work towards peace, stability and development. In essence, what we wish for the citizens of our country is what we wish for the citizens of the world.

Our country is simultaneously an integral part of the African continent, a continent that is asserting itself increasingly on the global stage with a clear self-understanding of the African agenda. The agenda is based on the need for. Economic growth and development on the continent, economic integration at the regional and sub-regional levels, investment and trade, and democratization and good governance. To this end continental structures and mechanisms have been set up, including the including the African Union, structures of regional integration such as the South African Development Community (SADC), and the New Partnership development on the continent, and support conflict prevention, peace keeping and peace making, conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction.

We simultaneous oppose and seek to counter any colonialist and Neo-colonialist agendas from abroad, as well as exploitative and rapacious agenda that strip the continent of its resources or seek to control them to the detriment of our people. South Africa is a sovereign, democratic, constitutional and developmental state seeking to ensure a better life for its people, bridge and heal the divides in our society, address a historical legacy of oppression and injustice, and build a national democratic society. In the short period since the advent of democracy in our country we have made strides.

Creating a constitutional democracy and embedding the structures of the state. Government programs focusing on reconstruction and development have borne fruit, and our democracy is maturing. The state strives to mobiles and marshal our resources as a country to ensure economic growth, develop and uplift our people, ensure freedom from want and fear, strengthen social cohesion, and create a shed national identity and sense of patriotism.

We have a two-fold approach to defining the National Interest. Firstly, we take as a departure point that the development and upliftment of our citizens forms the bases of the National Interest. We see the interests of our people at the core of our Constitution and a people-centred approach therefore informs our work as a state. We emphasize human development and human security within and beyond our borders. Therefore our National Interest are informed by a people-driven perspective that prioritize and promoting the human rights of our citizens, enabling them to leave free from fear and want, and eradicating poverty, in other word building a society in which every citizen has access to adequate shelter, healthcare, education, security, work and opportunities to generate an income.

Our second departure point is the fact that our democratic state has inherited a society shaped by the legacy of apartheid, a legacy that will remain with us for a long time to come. This legacy presents a set of challenges that shaped the present and future of our country. South Africa's transformation into a democratic state was informed by the liberation struggles of the latter half of the 20th century, and this collective experience informs how we understand and define our National Interest.

We can say therefore that the National Interest:

Reflect the long-term goals, values and aspirations of our people.

Provides the ongoing purpose we see ourselves serving.

Provides strategic direction to policy makers.

Provides consistency to policy.

In order to ensure a development of our people, protect our planet and ensure prosperity, we strive to eradicate poverty, because it is a source of instability, resolve conflicts through dialogue and negation, rather than through war, defend our freedom, the hard-won rights we have gained, and the institutions we have created we have created globalize these rights and freedoms wherever and whenever possible, and promote the belief that the future of the world is based on the shared destiny of all peoples.

Against this background, we define the core of South Africa's National Interest as consisting of firstly the unity and integrity of our people, secondly the sovereignty and integrity of our state, and thirdly the growth and development of our economy.

The following are the six principles defines the South Africa's National Interest:

The development and upliftment of the South African people.

The stability of the Republic, it's constitutional order and it's institutions.
The sustainable growth and development of the South African economy.

The development of the South African region. (SADC).

A stable African continent enabling peace and development.

Creation of a just and equitable world order.
These six principles of our National Interest requires that we do the following:

The development and upliftment of the South African People.

Protecting and promoting the human rights of South Africans.

Strengthening the fight against poverty and inequality to ensure basic human dignity and opportunities for a life free from fear and want.

Strengthening efforts to combat crime and corruption to ensure the safety of the South African people.

Building human capital and capabilities to improve the country's human resource and skill base.

Improving public services to address the legacy of the past, meet basic needs, development human resources and build the economy.

Any debate on the national interests should be guided therefore by this principle. Pixley Ka Seme, predicted in his famous article called the Regeneration of Africa on 5th April 1906 and said; "Ladies and Gentlemen, the day of great exploring expeditions in Africa is over".

From being known as a dark continent as pronounced by world leading economist and today, they now pronounce differently, and say; "Africa is Rising"; as was predicted by Ka Seme in 1906. He said; "The African already recognizes his/her anomalous position and desires change. The brighter today is rising upon Africa".

Ka Seme, continues, and praises Africa as follows:

Oh Africa!

Like great century plant that shall bloom.

In ages hence we watch thee in our dream.
See in thy swamps the prosperous of our strength.

Thy doors unlocked, where knowledge lies in her tomb.

Hath lain innumerable years in gloom.

Then shall thou walking with that morning gleam.

Shine as thy sister lands with equal being.
In a recent interview at the World Economic World - Africa held in Cape Town the President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa said; "In 50 years we would like to see an Africa that is connected totally, an Africa that is economically viable. An Africa that would be at peace with itself, where there will not be a single area of conflict. We want to be an Africa that is able to use its own resources to develop itself and trade with the world as an equal level.

That is My Africa, Your Africa. That is Pixely Ka Seme's Africa that is Kwame Nkrumah's, Julius Nyerere's, Thabo Mbeki's, Jacob Zuma's Africa. It is Ingoapele Madingoane's Africa as penned in his poem. Africa my beginning, Africa my ending.

Rise! Africa - Rise!

--Obed Bapela is an ANC NEC member and Chairperson of the ANC NEC International Relations Subcommittee.

Statement From the ANC Women's League in South Africa

Press Statements
Post NEC media statement

27 May 2013

The African National Congress Women`s League (ANCWL) held a successful and productive NEC meeting over this past weekend.

On social ills

Arising from the Political overview delivered by the ANCWL President, Angie Motshekga, the NEC noted with concern the ongoing scourge of drug abuse prevalent in our communities, in many instances transforming our children into monsters who at times harm their own families to get hold of money for drugs.

We would like to commend the mothers of Eldorado Park for their bold stand and calling for an intervention by the President in this regard. As we have mothers within the Women`s League who understand their suffering and know this pain we can sympathize with them.

We would like to commend the ANC-led government under at the helm of President Jacob Zuma, for the timely visit to Eldorado Park and the quick and continued intervention by the SAPS and the Gauteng Provincial Government.

It is clear that this intervention is having an impact in this community and we are confident that this will be a long-term and impactful campaign to totally eradicate drugs. However it must be noted that Eldorado Park is not the only community with this scourge. There are many others where we are losing a generation of our children to drug abuse. As the ANCWL we are calling on these communities to also rise and work with our government, so that Government can make similar interventions in all areas of concern in a bid to completely rid our country of this scourge. The ANCWL is committed to supporting this initiative by our government to stop drug abuse in our communities and save our children. The ANCWL commits itself to be social monitors at the level of our branches and assist communities by keeping an eye on children when they are on their way to school and back given that this is mainly when they are targeted by drug dealers. Every member of the ANCWL and society in general has a responsibility to ensure that children are in school and that they get there safely.

The ANCWL believes that the brutal rapes taking place across the country happen in many instances as a result of drug abuse. No sane-minded human could perform the atrocities we are seeing committed against our women and girls. While we are aware there are many contributing factors to why men rape, we are of the view that eradicating drugs will make a dent in the violent acts we have seen in the media over recent months.

The NEC would like to commend our provinces for the on-going stop rape campaign. We launched this campaign on Human Rights day with the handing over of a memorandum to the Justice Cluster of Ministers and it was received by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and has reached the President of the Republic himself. (The memorandum is available on the ANCWL website).

The campaign was then carried to provinces where we have seen women in their green blouses picketing at the court cases of alleged rapists. We maintain that rape accused, more especially repeat offenders should not get bail. Our reasons for this were made apparent with two incidents one in Limpopo where a man who was out on bail for raping an elderly women, then went out and raped a two year old, who later succumbed to her injuries and died.

There was another incident in KZN where a man out on bail raped a girl and her mother. These must stop. And accused rapists must remain behind bars!

In the Free State counseling sessions were held for victims of rape, while in KZN, Western Cape, North West, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Mpumalanga anti-rape awareness events and marches were held. We have seen women come out in their numbers to support victims of rape at numerous court cases, not only the high profile ones covered by the media. In some provinces there have been meetings with provincial prosecutors and we have developed a good mutually beneficial relationship in a bid to ensure (that) rapists are behind bars.

We can report that other organisations, NGO`s and government departments have been extremely supportive of our efforts and have spear-headed joint campaigns with the ANCWL.

We believe awareness and outrage regarding rape is at an all time high and every South African can do his or her bit by condemning and acting against rape in every sphere of society.

In dealing with the social crimes we have been discussing, the ANC Women`s League believes that there is a dire need for more forensic social workers to work hand in hand with investigators. These professionals can make a huge impact in the success rate in fighting these social ills. We call on our young people going into University to consider a meaningful career in Forensic Social Work for the benefit of society and to make a real difference in the country.

On the Charlotte Maxeke/ 100 years of women`s struggles Campaign.

The ANC Women`s League launched the 100 years of women in struggle campaign at the University of Wits, with a memorial lecture on Charlotte Maxeke. We are pleased to report this campaign has been taken up by all our provinces who now have a clear programme to engage young women and share with them the rich history of our women in the struggle.

The Progressive Women`s Movement of South Africa have also embraced this initiative of educating our young women about our stalwart, Mme Charlotte Maxeke (his year and have invited women to commemorate the historic march against land ownership denial, which took place on 28th May 1913. They PWMSA is working with the Provincial Government in the Free State to reenact this historic march roughly along its original route from Waaihoek to Mangaung. The ANCWL acknowledges this event and we have agreed to fully support it. It also reminds us that historically and to date, issues around land ownership by women is still a contentious topic that needs to be addressed 100 years on.

On 2014 General Elections

The ANCWL focused in-depth on the upcoming 2014 general elections and we would like to let South Africans know we are always and consistently ready to serve. We are ready to release our immense election machinery to ensure the ANC maintains its overwhelming majority. As ANC Women`s League members, we are members of the ANC first and therefore these elections will be a priority of the ANCWL going forward. As Women, we have proven time and again how capable we are. The recent ANCWL provincial conference in the North West is an example of what can be achieved when we are untied. It was seamless, and the province put on a mighty display of absolute unity, despite perceived challenges in the province. As women that is where our strength lies - to unite behind a common cause. We will ensure that the opposition does not make any gains in the upcoming elections.

As the ANCWL we are mothers and we are well aware of the concerns of mothers and that concerns of mothers are our concerns and they are the concerns of the nation. This makes us suitably placed to know the needs of the people and address them.

We have made immense gains during our almost 20 year tenure of leadership, and as the ANCWL we are looking forward to the 20 year consolidated report from government on the gains made since the dawn on democracy.

Media are forever quick to report on the negatives to the point that a perception exists that the ANC has not delivered. To dispel this myth, we would like to quote Race Relations Institute research. The institute`s deputy CEO, Frans Cronje, released a statement saying that there is a "myth (has taken hold) in South Africa that service delivery was a failure. However, research we have published over the past several years suggests that this is not the case."

Data published by the institute - an independent think-tank producing research, policy critiques and risk analysis on South Africa - shows that between 1996 and 2010:

The number of South African households living in formal houses increased from 5.8-million to 11-million or by 89.9%. Over the same period the proportion of all households living in a formal house increased from 64% to 76%.

The number of South African households with access to electricity increased from 5.2-million to 11.9-million or by 127.9%, while the proportion of all households with access to electricity increased from 58% to 83%.
The number of South African households with access to piped water increased from 7.2-million to 12.7-million or by 76.6%. The proportion with access to piped water increased from 80% to 89%.

He went on to say "Increases of a similar magnitude are true for all 15 service delivery indicators tracked by the institute".

We believe this is but a snippet of what is to come out of the 20-year report, and talks to facts that the ANC does deliver.

On other issues discussed

The ANCWL reflected on the current instability at the labour front in our country and expressed serious concerns. The Marikana situation remains a course for concern. We call on the Farlam Commission to speed up and complete its task and report the findings/ recommendations to President Zuma. This we believe will shed some light on what led to Marikana and on ensuring that "A Marikana" never reoccur in our country.

The ANCWL would like to see Commissioner Phiega being allowed space to focus on her other important tasks of leading our SAPS against crime, lest we later accuse her of inability to lead.

We are equally concerned of the Mining Houses` plans to retrench some of the mining workers. A speedy and amicable resolution is needed. In this regard, we welcome the interventions by our ANC government, including the call made by President Zuma for calm and dedication to stability as well as non-violent mechanism to resolving disputes currently prevalent in the sector. Our country needs jobs and stability. We therefore can`t afford to have instability and more job losses.

The ANCWL has therefore resolved to engage the Women Alliance structures to address these matters as well as the need to strengthen our Federation, COSATU. We are also pleased that issues between the Education department and Cosatu have been resolved after the disgusting display of sexism at their protest march.

The NEC discussed the "perceived or real corruption" in our society. We congratulate our ANC Government for acting against corruption, with government action leading to some people being found guilty and sentenced for corruption. We however call for more firmer and tougher actions so that we can eradicate this scourge. We must truly demonstrate that the ANC policies have always advocated for anti-corruption.

The ANCWL respect our culture and traditions as encapsulated in our RSA constitution and in our laws. The recent death of Initiates experienced in Mpumalanga and Limpopo are not to be tolerated. Death of those children and any future death must be avoided at all cost. These initiation schools have existed for many years with no registration of loss of lives. We urge those who are responsible to ensure that this is not repeated. Our Traditional Leaders must therefore take keen interest in this regard, in ensuring that our cultures and traditions are administered in a manner that leads to no loss of even a single live.

The ANCWL joins the rest of Africa in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the OAU/AU this being the decade of the African Woman, we celebrate all our achievements and recognize that we need to do more for our continent so richly endowed with both natural and human resources but that is still so poor in many respects. We recommit ourselves to continue working hard for the advancement of women on our continent and proudly continue to congratulate Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of her achievements in her role thus far.

On ANCWL National Conference

The ANCWL is due for a National Conference later this year. The Organization is processing conference preparations and getting regions ready for the National Audit of our membership. We have been visiting our three remaining provinces which are getting ready to hold their conferences, namely, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

The NEC of the ANCWL have agreed that it will meet with the ANC leadership so that we collectively work out a national conference date that does not interfere with our election campaign of the ANC.

TROY MARTENS on behalf of the ANCWL
ANC Women`s League Head of Communications
079 899 3070
011 376 1055

ANC Statement on Violence & Xenophobia In South Africa

Author : Jackson Mthembu

Violence & Xenophobia

30 May 2013

The African National Congress condemns in the harshest possible terms the recent spates of violence in Port Elizabeth, Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These incidents have seen, amongst others, the looting of shops, the displacement of foreign nationals and other incidents of public violence in these communities.

The xenophobic violence incidents of 2008 are a lesson all of us must constantly draw from to foster unity and cohesion amongst our communities. Regardless of what the cause of these violent protests may be, the African National Congress condemns any attacks on members of society, irrespective of nationality. We further expect the South African Police Services to act decisively and with sternness on people involved in acts of vandalism, intimidation or any other type of public disorder. All stakeholders in society must be part of the solution and exercise restraint when dealing with these matters in order to ensure that none amongst us exacerbates the situation by escalating tensions in an already sensitive situation.

The ANC remains committed to unity and cohesion within our country and continent as a whole. We recommit ourselves the efforts of the ANC-led government at all levels to build a better Africa and a better world, giving concrete expression to the Freedom Charter demand that there shall be peace and friendship. Where criminal elements are at play, the police must take stern action to ensure that peace and order is restored.

Issued by:
Jackson Mthembu
National Spokesperson
African National Congress
Chief Albert Luthuli House
54 Sauer Street

Keith Khoza 0828239672
Khusela Sangoni-Khawe 0795105408

Warring COSATU Leaders Head for Showdown Over Vavi

Warring Cosatu leaders head for showdown over Vavi

An investigation into Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has brought tensions to a boil between leaders in the trade union federation.

24 May 2013 00:00Charles Molele, Matuma Letsoalo
South African Mail & Guardian

Unions affiliated to Cosatu are not ready to wave the white flag just yet despite the increase in splinter organisations.
Cosatu leaders almost came to blows recently during a meeting of affiliate union presidents and general secretaries.

They were debating whether a proposed inquiry into the embattled federation general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi should continue.

"The meeting got so ugly," a senior Cosatu leader who was present at the meeting told the Mail & Guardian. "There were rocky meetings before, including the [former Cosatu president Willie] Madisha saga, but we've never seen something like this."

The events at the stormy meeting were confirmed by a second source.

The union leader also said Vavi was so livid that he said that "this was the end of the organisation of [Cosatu founding leader] Elijah Barayi". "He was anticipating that something nasty was going to happen at the CEC [central executive committee] next week."

The committee is expected to deal with several contentious issues, including the Vavi investigation.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven confirmed that the meeting took place but refused to comment about what transpired, including the claims that union leaders almost came to blows. "I don't comment on private meetings of Cosatu," he said.

Individual affiliates

The proposed investigation of Vavi has stalled because the union leaders failed to give the inquiry and its facilitators a clear mandate on how to conduct it.

The tensions in the trade union federation have also caused alarm in the ruling ANC, which this week announced that it would meet individual affiliates to help resolve any problems.

The M&G understands that, more than four weeks after the inquiry was appointed, it has made little or no progress at all as the anti- and pro-Vavi groups cannot agree whether the process should be regarded as a forensic investigation or a "facilitation process".

It has also emerged that the anti-Vavi group has attacked the Cosatu general secretary for failing to appoint the forensic auditing firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo to investigate the allegations of financial impropriety made against him.

They have also accused him of failing to provide the inquiry with a clear scope of what they need to investigate.

Vavi is accused of selling Cosatu's old building for R10-million less than its actual value, and that he awarded a tender to a company that employs his stepdaughter.

The pro-Vavi group has proposed that all allegations made against him should be discussed and resolved by a meeting of the presidents and general secretaries of affiliate unions.

The anti-Vavi group, on the other hand, is adamant that the inquiry should do its work without any interference. They argue that this week's meeting did not have the power to overrule decisions taken by the central executive committee, which agreed that the inquiry should take place.

Administrative aspect

The inquiry, which was launched in March, was supposed to be divided into three parts: a political aspect headed by the respected labour lawyer Charles Nupen; an organisational aspect led by the former president of the South African Municipal Workers' Union, Petrus Mashishi; and an administrative aspect, overseen by Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo.

The three were expected to report back at next week's Cosatu's central executive committee.

The M&G understands that the anti-Vavi group is planning to push for his removal at the meeting, while the pro-Vavi group is expected to put up a fight in his defence by, among other things, calling for a special congress so that ordinary members can be given an opportunity to decide Vavi's future.

The Food and Allied Workers' Union is expected to table a proposal for a special congress, which is likely to be backed by the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the South African Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu), the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa and the South African State and Allied Workers' Union.

Those against the special congress include the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu).

A senior Cosatu leader who attended the meeting described the atmosphere at the meeting as tense.

"People wanted to know why Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo was not appointed," the leader said. "Even the president of Cosatu, Sdumo Dlamini, did not know why the auditing firm was not appointed.

Frustrated commission

"A clear understanding was not given to the commission. This was deliberate and has left the commission frustrated.

"We could not agree. We reached a deadlock on the matter. Some wanted the process to continue while others felt Vavi should be given a chance to answer all allegations against him.

"What was surprising was that Gobodo was not there. We believe there is interference. The high possibility is that we may recall that chap [Vavi]. That's the plan. There might be people who want to defend him but he will fly. Heads will roll."

Craven refused to comment on the accusations made by some Cosatu leaders and on why Vavi failed to appoint the auditing firm to conduct a forensic investigation.

Vavi's supporters believe that he is being targeted for publicly criticising ANC leaders, including President Jacob Zuma. But some of his union comrades have also accused him of targeting them for allegedly using Corruption Watch to investigate them.

Vavi has dismissed the allegations against him.

The call for his removal has paralysed the 1.2-million-strong federation, with some union affiliates now at each other's throats, particularly with the NUM pitched against Numsa. Both unions are having executive committee meetings this weekend to decide how to deal with various issues at next week's central executive committee meeting, including the Vavi saga and the government's hotly debated national development plan.

The ANC is said to be worried that a divided Cosatu could have a negative impact on its campaign for next year's general elections.

More critical

But some in Cosatu are convinced that the ANC is partly to blame for Cosatu's woes. Unlike in 2007, when the federation was united behind Zuma, it is now divided. In December last year at the ANC's Mangaung national conference, Dlamini threw his weight behind Zuma, while Vavi was more critical.

"The ANC is panicking," said a Cosatu leader. "They started the fight and are to blame for Cosatu's problems. But they are now asking themselves who is going to benefit if Cosatu were to collapse."

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe this week said the party would approach individual Cosatu affiliates to shore up the ailing federation, a move that political analysts say has undermined the independence of Cosatu.

But ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza rejected this. He said there was nothing wrong with dealing directly with Cosatu affiliates.

"We've met the NUM, Numsa and Sadtu to understand what is going on in these sectors in particular," Khoza said.

"For example, we've seen fights in the mining sector, the tensions in Marikana and shootings, which is of concern to us. The alliance cannot look another way. The decision to meet individual unions is meant to assist to understand the dynamics and try to bring harmony.

"We are also concerned that the crisis in the mining sector may affect the economy, negatively impact on the rand and lead to job losses.

New leadership

"Our meetings with individual unions focus on a broad range of issues, from labour brokering to the national development plan. No subject or issue is sacred. There are no holy cows."

Khoza denied allegations that the ANC was largely responsible for the deepening divisions within Cosatu.

"We have not contributed to the divisions within Cosatu. Ahead of Mangaung, there were people who were divided over the leadership at the elective conference but, once the delegates elected the new leadership, everybody put their differences behind," said Khoza.

"Cosatu is an independent organisation and has the right to differ with us. It has its own constituency and, from time to time, it would advance a particular line which suits their constituency, but that is the nature of the alliance."

Vavi could not be reached for comment this week. However, addressing the NUM's central committee meeting in Pretoria on Thursday, he said there were attempts to weaken the federation by dividing affiliate unions.

"We will, however, achieve none of our demands unless we transform our own organisations – building on our strengths and also recognising and boldly confronting our weaknesses," said Vavi.

"I have already referred to the external attacks we face – from the employers, the media, the DA [Democratic Alliance] and break­away 'unions'.

Splinter unions

"But our unity is also under internal attack, reflected in media campaigns based on lies and distortions about the federation and its leaders, spread by leaks from faceless, anonymous 'sources', with the sole aim of weakening and ultimately wrecking our proud federation. We must not allow that to happen."

ANC treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, who also addressed the same meeting, said the ANC was concerned about an unstable Cosatu and splinter unions within the federation.

He said the ANC's national executive committee recently decided it would "develop a comprehensive programme of engagement with individual Cosatu unions in order to understand their challenges and determine how we can all best respond to these.

"Cosatu unions and the formation of new rival unions are connected to the broader attack on the ANC itself. This is how we understand the formation of the so-called Workers' and Socialist Party (Wasp) which was preceded by the formation of Amcu.

"We understand these developments as part of the propaganda advanced by immature left-wing ­idealists that the ANC has become anti-workers and, therefore, should not continue to lead society. We must all work hard to regain lost ground," Mkhize said.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zuma Appoints Ministerial Team to Boost Mining Industry

Zuma appoints ministerial team to boost mining industry

President Jacob Zuma hopes to restore confidence in the mining industry with the appointment of a ministerial team to tackle problems in the sector

30 May 2013 12:51 Nickolaus Bauer

"Our country needs a stable and growing mining industry," Zuma told reporters in Pretoria on Thursday.

"Mining has been a key feature of this country's economy for more than 130 years and it remains the cornerstone of our economy."

The president's move follows continued unrest in the mining sector, which has been marked by wildcat strikes and a union standoff between the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in the platinum-rich North West.

His reaction also came two days after Statistics South Africa released the latest growth figures, revealing 0.9% annualised gross domestic product growth for the first quarter of 2013.

"We need faster growth. Without faster growth we cannot succeed in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality," said Zuma.

According to Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead the ministerial team – which also includes the following ministers and their tasks:

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan will reassure foreign and domestic investors of the country's commitment to the mining sector.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant will facilitate smooth labour relations in the mining sector to promote order and stability.

Mining Minister Susan Shabangu will support policy implementation and operations in the mining industry – including the improvement of miners' living conditions.

Job creation in mining

The president also issued a direct call for fair and expeditious settlements of wage negotiations to improve job retention and creation in the mining sector.

​Zuma said government was taking all measures possible to provide support and stimulus to South Africa's mining industry.​

"I urge business, organised labour and government to continue engaging constructively," he added.

"Everything we do must be designed to strengthen and stabilise the sector and ensure that it serves all stakeholders."

The president also called on all citizens to work with government in stimulating economic growth and in assuring that South Africa is "promoted in every possible way".

Regional Competing Interests In Somalia Escalates Tensions

First Published: 2013-05-30

Regional competing interests in Somalia threaten its progress

Analysts warn effort to create Jubaland state within Somalia will test limits of federalism in that country.

Middle East Online

After decades of war, Somalia is taking small steps toward recovery, but breakaway regions, rival clans and the competing interests of neighbouring nations are threatening its fragile progress, analysts warn.

In the past two years, African Union troops have wrested town after town from Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents, hauling down their black Islamist banners and raising Somalia's flag.

But asserting the authority of the central government -- which until recently controlled just a few blocks of the capital Mogadishu -- is a far harder task.

"In Somalia today there is only one federal government that is wholly owned by the Somali people, widely represented by all Somalis, all regions," Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters this week.

But others disagree, including powerful militia forces backed by foreign armies.

The worst flashpoint is the far southern region dubbed "Jubaland" bordering Kenya and Ethiopia.

Both nations have troops there after invading in late 2011, while this month several rival warlords declared themselves "president", sparking anger in Mogadishu.

But the effective self-appointment of former Islamist chief Ahmed Madobe, one of the most powerful of the "presidents" due to Kenyan backing, risks opening a rift between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

"The effort to create a Jubaland state within Somalia will test the limits of federalism in that country, and threatens to touch off clan warfare not only within Somalia but also in its neighbours," the International Crisis Group warned in a recent report.

Jubaland, which includes the key port city of Kismayo, has a lucrative charcoal industry, fertile farmland as well as potential off-shore oil and gas deposits.

Addis Ababa, long term experts in playing off powerful factions, is wary of Madobe, who hails from the same Ogadeni clan as rebels fighting inside Ethiopia.

Infighting benefits Islamist insurgents

However, Mogadishu's government -- selected last year by clan elders in a UN-backed process and the first to be recognised internationally in more than two decades -- is full of confidence.

"Any one group within Somalia that just gets together sits there and says, we are 'XYZ', has no legitimacy and has no recognition at local level and at international level," said Mohamud.

But international recognition counts for little within Somalia, and central rule is controversial.

The last to claim control was Siad Barre, toppled in 1991 after a rule marked by repression of opposition and a bloody civil war against Somaliland.

Years of anarchy meant Somalis reverted to age-old systems of autonomy and traditional semi-nomadic camel herding.

Somalia split into regions, from fiercely independent Somaliland along the Gulf of Aden, to Puntland in the northeast, which recognises a federal government but says that has no role in its internal affairs.

Analysts warn of tough political times ahead.

While AU troops backing Mogadishu have enjoyed territorial success, Roland Marchal, an analyst with French research institute CNRS, notes the fighting force lacks a "political strategy to go with the military strategy".

Kenya's army, which invaded in 2011 alongside Madobe's allied troops, faces a particularly sticky predicament.

In 2012, its cash-strapped military joined the AU force -- funded by the UN and European Union -- leaving its soldiers backing a warlord opposing the central government it is mandated to support.

Mogadishu lawmakers have submitted a motion demanding Kenya leave Somalia, while Mohamud said Kenyan troops "misbehaved" when a top level government delegation went to Kismayo and "did not treat the committee well".

Ambitions by central government have highlighted internal divisions within regions.

Tensions in Jubaland have raised concern in Puntland, which swiftly welcomed Madobe's election by calling on other regions "to establish states in a similar consultative and open process".

Puntland has been keen to stake out power boundaries, with its oil agency chief Issa Farah warning Mogadishu it alone is the "competent authority" to manage the region's oil exploration.

Mogadishu's inability to "exercise its authority over the Kismayo process is undermining its influence in the remaining regions of Somalia and the emerging arrangements towards federalism," warned Andrews Atta-Asamoah of the Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies (ISS) in a recent paper.

At present, the only thing all appear to agree on is that the rivalry benefits the Shebab, still in control of swathes of countryside.

East African heads of state last week urged Somalia hold a "reconciliation conference", warning infighting could "threaten peace and stability".

Yet many also eye the economic, strategic and political profits of the region.

Kenya wants a security buffer zone to protect its valuable tourism industry, a proposed major port and hopes of offshore oil and gas finds.

It also hopes stability would let it send back the half a million Somali refugees it hosts.

Landlocked Ethiopia has long played a powerful role in Somalia, with Kismayo offering another possible route to the sea.

Yet Mogadishu remains upbeat, mindful its position today was unthinkable a few years ago.

"Somalia is fragmented, it's divided into regions, clans, groups," Mohamud said. "The current Somali government is busy with rebuilding and organising to have one Somalia."

Kenya Attacks Indicate Al Shabaab is Reorganizing

The Christian Science Monitor -

Kenya attacks raise worries Somalia's Al Shabab are reorganizing

Some analysts view recent Al Shabab attacks inside Kenya as a sign that the Somalia-based militant group is adapting to an African Union campaign against them.

By Fredrick Nzwili, Correspondent / May 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm EDT
Nairobi, Kenya

An Africa Union military campaign to eliminate Al Shabab, an Al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group, has gained ground.

But Al Shabab's fighters are adapting and finding space to reorganize into small attack units, some analysts say.

Last Saturday, one of these heavily armed units crossed into Kenya and launched coordinated attacks on two police camps in Liboi district. Six people including two police officers, a Red Cross official, and 15-year-old boy were killed in the night attack. Soon after, Al Shabab spokesman said the group had overrun the camps.

“A small unit of Mujahedeen raided Kenyan base, early last night taking over the base killing 8 Kaffur and injuring more than a dozen,” Al Shabab said on their Twitter account. The militants said they had also captured two Kenyans and seized guns in the attack which injured scores of others.

Since October 2011 when Kenyan troops entered Somalia to pursue the group, 30 attacks have occurred in the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Garrissa.

But the claim of responsibility, after a rare silence, has alarmed security officials. In September 2012 Al Shabab was expelled from Kismayu, its logistical and economic base, a development that disrupted its operations, says David Samba, a former military officer, but that did not end the threat.

The group also lost key cities and towns, but it continues to control many rural villages, where it implements a strict form of Islamic law.

On Sunday, Police Inspector General David Kamaiyo confirmed the attack by Al Shabab and said six people were still missing. The army rolled in chase, soon after the officer promised Kenya would pursue the attacks.


Al Shabab is finding space to reorganize says Simiyu Werunga, the executive director of the African Centre for Security and Strategic Studies, a Kenyan based think-tank for public safety and security.

The militants had escaped areas they formerly controlled after being routed out of Kismayo, but the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) – now part of the African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom) – and are developing new local relationships, according to Mr. Werunga.

“For some time now, they have been looking for strategic space to reorganize. It appears they are finding some among the communities. We need to look seriously into this issue, we need to know whether the people, the forces, are providing medicines and water [and] are affording them space,” says Mr. Werunga.

But Col. Cyrus Oguna, the KDF spokesman, says the militants still stand disrupted after losing Kismayo, their main source of income and their logistical base. “What we are witnessing are isolated cases,” he says.

Meanwhile, Human Right Watch has accused the police of committing atrocities and abuses against refugees after grenade explosions in Nairobi. In a 68-page report released Wednesday titled, "'You are All Terrorists': Kenyan Police Abuse of Refugees in Nairobi," HRW said at least 1,000 Somali refugees were abused and arbitrarily detained between mid-November 2012 and late January 2013.

The abuses included rape, robbery, and assault and had followed a government order for all urban refugees to relocate to Dabaab, the overly-crowded camp in northeastern Kenya.

"Refugees told us how hundreds of Kenyan police unleashed 10 weeks of hell on communities close to the heart of Nairobi, torturing, abusing, and stealing from some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people," said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher for Human Rights Watch. "The humiliation and fear that asylums seekers and Kenya Somalis went through was extraordinary. Having been abused there is a permanent sense of fear among them."

HRW wants Kenya to immediately open an independent public investigation, and the United Nations refugee agency – which has not spoken publicly about the abuses – to document and publicly report on any future abuses against refugees.

Americans Have Rebuilt Less Than Half of Wealth Lost to the Recession

Americans have rebuilt less than half of wealth lost to the recession, study says

By Ylan Q. Mui,
Washington Post

American households have rebuilt less than half of the wealth lost during the recession, leaving them without the spending power to fuel a robust economic recovery, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve.

From the peak of the boom to the bottom of the bust, households watched a total of $16 trillion in wealth disappear amid sinking stock prices and the rubble of the real estate market. Since then, Americans have only been able to recapture 45 percent of that amount on average, after adjusting for inflation and population growth, according to the report from the St. Louis Fed released Thursday.

In addition, the report showed most of the improvement was due to gains in the stock market, which primarily benefit wealthy families. That means the recovery for other households has been even weaker.

“A conclusion that the financial damage of the crisis and recession largely has been repaired is not justified,” the report stated.

The study is part of a growing body of research on the role of household wealth — or lack thereof — in amplifying the impact of the recession and slowing the rate of recovery. Traditionally, economists and policymakers have focused on the effects of employment and income. But the report from the St. Louis Fed argued that swings in household balance sheets — which include home values, stock prices, savings and debt — were critical in determining which families weathered the financial storm and which got swept away.

The report found that the most fragile households were not well educated, relatively young or black or Hispanic, or some combination of those characteristics.

Those families tended to have low savings combined with high debt and accrued much of their wealth through housing.

How those households respond to the changes in wealth is a critical component of the recovery. Top officials, including Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, have pointed to the rebound in real estate and the soaring stock market as evidence of the success of the central bank’s policies.

The Fed is spending $85 billion a month to lower long-term interest rates and stimulate the economy. It has also kept short-term interest rates to near zero. That has helped push stock markets to record highs, while home prices have jumped by the most in seven years. Consumer confidence is at its highest point since February 2008. Officials hope those factors will eventually result in more consumer spending power.

“I think we’re at an inflection point,” said Beth Ann Bovino, senior economist at Standard & Poor’s. “We’re seeing things turn around. And that’s where the optimism comes in among households.”

But research by noted economists Karl Case, John Quigley and Robert Shiller found the households were more powerful affected by declines in wealth than increases. An unexpected 1 percent drop in housing prices caused a permanent 0.1 percent decrease in spending, that study found. But a similar 1 percent rise in housing prices boosted consumer spending by only 0.03 percent.

“Rising wealth is gratifying, but the loss of wealth is terrifying,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at “Households spend somewhat more freely as their nest eggs grow, but they slash their spending when their nest eggs shrink.”

William Emmons, chief economist for at the St. Louis Fed’s new Center for Household Financial Stability, said that many of the most vulnerable households began to treat credit as another form of income during the boom.

After the bust, they were forced to dramatically rethink their finances, resulting in more cautious spending.

Emmons said many families have not experienced any recovery — or are even still losing wealth. Young Americans, those with few skills or are unemployed may not have been able to rebuild any wealth. He noted that though the number of foreclosures has dropped significantly, it is still more than double the pre-crisis amount.

Meanwhile, he estimated that recent gains in the stock market mean that the recovery of wealth is nearly complete for white and Asian households and older Americans.

Wealth accumulation not only impacts families’ current financial status but also their prospects for future economic success. The St. Louis Fed report points to studies that connect savings to the likelihood of attending and completing college and economic mobility.

“Balance sheets matter in ways that income alone does not,” said Ray Boshara, head of the center.

News Organizations Split Over Meeting With U.S. Attorney General

News organizations split over meeting with U.S. attorney general

5:53pm EDT
By Susan Heavey and David Ingram

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several U.S. news organizations rejected an offer by Attorney General Eric Holder to meet and discuss how the Justice Department handles investigations that involve reporters, saying it would be inappropriate to talk in secret.

However, representatives of five other media outlets went ahead with a meeting on Thursday, arriving at the Justice Department's headquarters to see Holder after recent disclosures that federal prosecutors had seized journalists' records without warning.

Justice Department officials said the meetings were "part of the review of existing Justice Department guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters."

Reuters, CNN, The New York Times and the Associated Press declined to meet with Holder, President Barack Obama's top law enforcement official, because the meetings were due to be "off the record," meaning they could not be recorded or reported.

The journalists who did attend the initial meeting were James Warren of the New York Daily News, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, John Harris of Politico, Gerald Seib of The Wall Street Journal and Martin Baron of The Washington Post. They entered the Justice Department through the main entrance.

It was unclear how many media companies were invited or would attend other meetings planned for Friday.

The talks followed the Obama administration's decision to search the email and phone records of Fox News, and the phone records of the Associated Press, as part of investigations into leaks of secret government information.

The seizure of records, and an FBI agent's description of Fox News reporter James Rosen as a potential criminal co-conspirator, led to an outcry from journalists and advocates of free speech and prompted new calls for a federal law protecting reporters' work.

That led to a debate in Washington over how the Obama administration is balancing the need for national security with privacy rights.

Along with a separate furor over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups for extra scrutiny, it also stoked fears of excessive government intrusion under Obama.

Holder personally authorized the searches of Fox News records as the Justice Department investigated a leak regarding North Korea, a department official said on Tuesday.

James Cole, the deputy attorney general, authorized the search of the Associated Press records as part of an investigation into a leak about U.S. counterterrorism operations in Yemen.

Holder has echoed Obama in saying that leaks of classified information pose security risks and must stop.


Harris, Politico's editor in chief, said he routinely has off-the-record conversations to discuss news coverage and news gathering practices, and would attend the meeting with Holder.

"I feel anyone - whether an official or ordinary reader - should be able to have an unguarded conversation with someone in a position of accountability for a news organization when there is good reason," he said in an email quoted on Politico's website.
Bloomberg News told Reuters it would also attend.

Baron, The Washington Post's executive editor, said he would prefer to meet on the record, but that "journalists routinely participate in off-the-record sessions, whether they prefer those conditions or not, and then continue to report on events."

A spokesman for ABC News said it would attend but would "press for that conversation to be put on the record."

Some other media outlets declined.

"We would welcome the opportunity to hear the attorney general's explanation for the Department of Justice's handling of subpoenas to journalists, and his thoughts about improving the protections afforded to media organizations in responding to government investigations, but believe firmly that his comments should be for publication," said Reuters spokesperson Barb Burg.


New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said in a statement on Wednesday that an off-the-record meeting with the attorney general "isn't appropriate." She said the newspaper's lawyer would likely meet later with other Justice Department officials "on how the law should be applied in leak cases."

The Associated Press also said the meetings should be open to coverage. If they were not, the AP would "offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter" and follow up with its lawyers, AP spokeswoman Erin Madigan White said in a statement.

Television networks Fox News, CBS and CNN as well as online news group The Huffington Post also said they would not attend. NBC said it had not decided.

Holder wanted a "constructive policy discussion with professional journalists," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We are hopeful that media organizations will take advantage of the opportunity to constructively contribute to the process," he told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Prompted by the Rosen search and the seizure of the Associated Press' phone records, Obama announced last week that Holder would begin a review of Justice Department procedures related to media records.

Obama and Holder both said they favored a federal "shield law" for the media that would protect journalists from being compelled to disclose their records in most cases.

(Additional reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York and Steve Holland and Laura MacInnis in Washington.; Editing by Howard Goller and Christopher Wilson)

Rekindling Pan-Africanism

Rekindling Pan-Africanism

Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00

AT the African Cup of Nations played in South Africa from January 10 to February 19 2013, Africa’s fine soccer artistry, which has evidently come of age, was on display.

But there was something else on display at that tournament, which only a few people might have noticed, that was a celebration of Africa. All the players that featured in the tournament wore a badge on the shoulder of their jerseys with the inscription, “Celebrating Africa”. Preceding the tournament, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma appeared on a DSTV programme — Supersport — to talk about the new course the continent was charting and her plans to scale up the momentum. Pan-Africanism is alive and kicking in Africa.

The January 2013 Summit of the African Union was on the theme, “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. Dr Dlamini-Zuma in her opening address to the Summit noted: “The spirit of Pan-Africanism and the ideals of the African Renaissance delivered us to where we are today, and must propel us towards an integrated, people-centred, prosperous Africa at peace with itself. It is this spirit and ideals that inspired the adoption of the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980, the Abuja Treaty in 1990, and NEPAD in 2001.

"The conditions now, and the experiences of the past 50 years, make us believe that indeed that era of the regeneration of Africa belongs to this new and powerful period.”

Dr Dlamini-Zuma was right; indeed, there is no better moment than now, in Africa’s recent history, for the Pan-African spirit to be rekindled. Africa is on a path of sustained economic growth.

Though the growth is fragile and vulnerable, averaging about 5 percent for over a decade, and driven largely by commodity products and trade diversification especially with the East, it remains something of a joy, for a continent that hitherto was an open sore in the conscience of the world for its economic and humanitarian disasters.

Added to this is that governance is improving in Africa, away from the lost previous three decades when authoritarian regimes could neither produce development nor democracy, contrary to what developmental authoritarian regimes did in Southeast Asia in the 1970s.

In addition, human rights are improving, elections are more regular, however flawed they may be; and young people are demanding political accountability all across the continent, as the North African uprisings clearly show. Evidently, the economic and political calculus has changed in Africa. This is the context for the resurgence of Pan-Africanism.

Pan-Africanism is a liberation consciousness, which hinges on social mobilisation and the organic unity and solidarity of the black race. Pan-Africanism arose as political and social movements of resistance aimed at the dignity and emancipation of the black race and the African continent. Pan-Africanism was floated in the Americas in reaction to the realities of slavery and its aftermaths in the United States and the West Indies in the early 20th century. Marcus Garvey, W.E. Dubois, George Padmore, and Paul Robeson were some of the leading advocates.

Soon, Pan-Africanism was to spread far and wide, assuming the theology for Africa’s political liberation. Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral, Sékou Touré, Leopold Senghor, Julius Nyerere, and Nnamdi Azikwe, among others, soon became the torchbearers of Pan-Africanism and African liberation struggles.

The dawn of independence in Africa heated up the Pan-African debate. The issue was, what course should Africa take? On the one hand were those who wanted a united Africa (the Casablanca Group) right from the 1960s, and on the other hand there were the incrementalists (the Monrovia Group) who would not give up their newly won sovereignty to any supranational organisation. Emperor Haile Selassie’s incredible mediating skills broke the deadlock, leading to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity.

The transition from the OAU to the African Union in 2002 and the current discourse on the formation of a continental union government indicate that the Pan-African path remains a viable course for the future of Africa.

The Pan-African struggle remains an enduring political project; it is a struggle for equality, justice, human dignity, integrity and progress in a lopsided world, in which Africa and its people loom at the periphery. The notion of collective action and a drive towards self-reliance are the guiding principles of an emancipatory Pan-African project.

But we cannot achieve Pan-Africanism without Pan-Africanists. Pan-Africanism is not about governments and states; it is about the people. Yet, our leaders keep the people apart and reify the artificial borders created for us by others. Through these artificial borders, we dehumanise and criminalise ourselves, negating the whole essence of Pan-Africanism.

It is sad, yet the reality is that it is easier for nationals of Western countries, who enjoy visa waivers, to enter African countries than fellow Africans. Regrettably, it is often a nightmare for most Africans to get visas to enter another African country.

In a country like South Africa, “xenoafrophobia” has reached heightened proportions so that every African (especially black), entering the country is perceived as a potential “economic refugee” or “migrant”, and every Western citizen, a “tourist”. The former are seen as “job snatchers” and “potential criminals” and the latter as “investors”!

This is why black-on-black violence has become a common sight in South Africa. Yet, these fellow Africans (all over the continent) sacrificed tears and blood for the liberation of South Africa. South Africa is a major beneficiary of the Pan-African project.

— New African magazine.

Mobilize Support for President Mugabe, Says ZANU-PF Chairman Moyo

Mobilise support for President: Moyo

Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter

Zanu-PF officials should mobilise support to vote for President Mugabe and ensure a resounding victory to preserve his legacy, party national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo has said.

He made the remarks while addressing party structures in Mashonaland East, which the probe team visited yesterday, as part of a provincial tour to check on the state of preparedness ahead of the harmonised elections.

“This is a do or die election,” said Cde Khaya Moyo who leads the team.

“Any mistake at the elections will endanger all of us. We must know that if we don’t cross the river together some of us will drown.

“It is the President’s legacy that is at stake in this coming election, the revolutionary party and the future. If we decide to squander that then let’s go and sleep. If we are ready to defend the legacy of the President then let’s stop sleeping.”

For the party to achieve this, Cde Khaya Moyo said, party structures were expected to avoid four things.

“These things are factionalism. If it exists here please stop it forthwith. The other thing is corruption particularly among those with money. We don’t want cadres who bribe people. If you have money bring it to the party office where it will be receipted.

“Let’s also avoid imposition of candidates. If the people have chosen the person they want to represent them, let it be. The President has made it clear that people are not clothes or goats that can be bought.”

Other members of the committee who attended yesterday’s meeting are secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa, national commissar Cde Webster Shamu and secretary for Security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi.

Speaking to the media after the closed door meeting, Cde Khaya Moyo hailed the Mashonaland East provincial leadership for strengthening party structures ahead of the polls.

“The meeting was robust indeed and the leadership in Mashonaland East showed total unity of purpose. We are impressed with the progress they have made in the province.

One significant thing we have picked in this province is that there is no factionalism.

“We are, however, aware of the challenges they are facing in voter registration. But generally we leave this place happy because of what we have experienced. We are poised for a thunderous victory in this province in the coming elections,” he said.

Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Ray Kaukonde bemoaned indiscipline by some officials ahead of the harmonised elections.

“We want discipline in the party. Some people are rushing to campaign before the rules and regulations have been made public.

“We are afraid that if those people are disqualified, they will influence our people against voting for the qualifying cadre.

“Some people here are not respecting the party rules anymore but we will deal with indiscipline as a province. Some people are rushing to campaign and we are worried by this zeal,” said Cde Kaukonde.

He hailed the team for touring all provinces to check on the state of preparedness saying Zanu-PF lost some seats in the 2008 elections because a similar exercise had not been carried out.

The team is scheduled to visit the Midlands today, Matabeleland North tomorrow before rounding up with Matabeleland South on Saturday.

Meanwhile the Zanu-PF Legal Committee and the Women’s League are expected to have finalised by next week a common position on rules and regulations to guide the party’s primary elections following a proposal that female candidates exclusively contest each other.

Party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo yesterday said a Politburo that had initially been pencilled for yesterday would probably be held next week to deal with the matters.

“The meeting (Politburo) will probably be held next week when the President has returned from his trip.

“However, the Legal Committee and Women’s League are still finalising their position papers. The manifesto that I am crafting will be finalised at the same meeting,” Cde Gumbo said.

The conclusion of the matters would lead to the pronouncement of dates for the primary elections.

Zanu-PF has since warned prospective candidates against campaigning before the rules and regulations are finalised as they could waste their resources and then realise that they do not qualify under the conditions of the guidelines.