Friday, June 30, 2017

Divisions Among Gulf Arab States Increases Instability in the Horn of Africa
Gulf Cooperation Council isolation of Qatar impacts Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia and Sudan

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Thursday June 29, 2017

A dispute over territory involving the Horn of Africa states of Djibouti and Eritrea was reignited in the aftermath of the withdrawal of Qatari military forces stationed on the border of the countries on June 13.

Doha had served as a mediator in competing claims over Ras Doumeira Mountain and Island on the Red Sea coast near Bab al-Mandab Strait, a strategic shipping lane. Qatari troops were stationed in the area to prevent the potential of a resumption of armed clashes which erupted between Djibouti and Eritrea during June 10-13, 2008.

Qatari military forces serving as peacekeepers pulled out their personnel without any stated reasons. Speculation surrounding the Qatari moves suggests that the burgeoning split among the Gulf monarchies with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain making demands on Doha amid the imposition of an economic embargo, prompted the withdrawal from Ras Doumeira.

Djibouti and the self-declared independent Somaliland are supporting the position of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain against Qatar. Somalia, Sudan and Ethiopia which are also supporting the claims against Qatar have as well called for talks to resolve the differences within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Eritrea, which allows the UAE and Saudi Arabia to utilize its port at Assab for military purposes partly related to the ongoing war in Yemen, has taken a cautious line diplomatically on the confrontation despite being affected by the split in the GCC. Nevertheless, most media accounts indicate that Asmara is siding with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain in their differences with Doha.

Seaport facilities and airports in Eritrea have been upgraded to accommodate the continuous bombardments of Yemen by Saudi and UAE warplanes aimed at defeating the Ansurallah movement which the GCC says is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yemen has been subjected to daily airstrikes and ground operations since March 2015 aimed at driving the Ansurallah (Houthis) from large swaths of territory inside the most impoverished nation in the Middle East.

Qatar has been accused by other GCC states of funding international terrorism, maintaining a Turkish military base on its territory and assisting the foreign policy aims of Tehran. Doha has categorically rejected the allegations and refuses to agree to the conditions called for by Riyadh, the UAE and Bahrain.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain with the support of Egypt on June 23 presented thirteen demands for Qatar to adhere to within ten days. These issues include the closing of Al Jazeera television network, the downgrading of relations with Iran, halting the funding of 59 targeted individuals and 12 entities labelled as terrorists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and ISIS, and the removal of the Turkish military base in Doha.

Origins of the Present Territorial Dispute and its International Implications

The disagreements involving Eritrea and Djibouti over Ras Doumeira are directly a by-product of the demarcation of African colonized territories during the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries where the European imperialist states of Italy and France carved up the area. Later in 1935, Rome and Paris decided to apportion significant areas in Djibouti (then French Somaliland) to Eritrea then under Italian control.

After the defeat of Italian imperialism led at the time by Benito Mussolini during World War II, Eritrea became a British Protectorate and was eventually federated to Ethiopia in 1952. Later in 1962, Eritrea was incorporated into Ethiopia over the objection of the people in the former Italian controlled outpost.

Djibouti did not win its independence from France until 1977 which was relatively late in comparison to other previously colonized East African states. Eritrea proclaimed independence in 1991 after the three decades-long armed struggle and the collapse of the Ethiopian government of Mengistu Haile Mariam that same year. Two years later, in 1993, an internationally-supervised election in Eritrea garnered the state recognition by the-then Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations.

In April 1996, just five years after Eritrea had gained independence, the new government nearly went to war with Djibouti after Asmara was accused of shelling the disputed territory of Ras Doumeira. The crisis deepened by April 16, 2008 when Djibouti reported that Eritrean troops had established military fortifications digging trenches on the border near Ras Doumeira.

The Djibouti government sent a letter to the United Nations requesting intervention saying a revised map published by Asmara claimed Ras Doumeira as Eritrean land. Conversely, Eritrea claimed it had no territorial problems with Djibouti denying that troops had been deployed to the border areas.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi responding to the escalating tensions on May 15, 2008 asserted that the disagreement was a "threat to the peace and security of the whole Horn of Africa" noting Addis Ababa had no choice other than securing its trading route through Djibouti if war erupted. Ethiopia, a landlocked state, has been dependent upon Djibouti for access to the Red Sea since Eritrea declared independence in 1991.

On June 10 of the same year, the Djibouti government reported that 21 Eritrean troops in the area defected to their side of the border. Eritrea demanded the repatriation of the soldiers opening fire on the Djibouti forces.

Clashes continued for three days claiming the lives of an estimated 140 soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Djibouti called up retired military and police units to engage in the battle.

France, which has a large military base along with the United States at Camp Lemonnier, provided logistical and technical support to Djibouti. The fighting ended after three days. Later in 2010, Qatar agreed to station 450 troops in the Ras Doumeira border area to prevent further fighting. The UN said in 2009, that Eritrea had failed to withdraw its forces from the Ras Doumeira areas under dispute.

The withdrawal of Qatari soldiers has raised the specter of renewed clashes between the two nations. Djibouti’s UN Ambassador Mohammed Idriss Farah claims that Eritrea has moved into the areas previously held by Qatari troops.

Djibouti has filed a formal complaint with the African Union (AU) over the alleged activity of Eritrean troops. Farah stated that: "Eritrean troops occupied the Dumeira Mountain immediately after Qatar's peacekeepers left. Sometimes the Eritrean troops go to the top of the mountain and return on the other side. What makes this one different is that they moved in right after the peacekeepers left."

Eritrean envoy to the AU, Araya Desta, said of the current situation:“We don’t want to take any of Djibouti’s land. The last time we had some skirmishes. It was unnecessary.”

AU Must Take Decisive Action to Avoid Border War

The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) issued a statement after the complaint filed by Djibouti over differences with Eritrea. The continental organization convenes its bi-annual summit in Ethiopia on July 3-4.

According to the PSC: “The Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, is following the recent developments between the Republic of Djibouti and the State of Eritrea in the aftermath of Qatar’s decision to withdraw its peacekeeping troops at the Djibouti- Eritrea border. The Chairperson of the Commission appeals for calm, restraint and stresses that the AU is fully seized with the matter. He highlighted that the AU Commission, in close consultations with the authorities in Djibouti and Eritrea, is in the process of deploying a fact-finding mission to the Djibouti-Eritrea border. The Chairperson of the Commission stands ready to assist Djibouti and Eritrea to normalize their relations and promote good neighborliness within the framework of relevant AU instruments.” (

These developments in the Horn of Africa are a continuation of the conflicts emanating from unresolved European colonial-era border demarcations. Also the current split within the western-allied Gulf Arab governments and the dependence of these African states for economic revenue generated through usage of their territory and waterways, which has compelled AU member-states such as Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Egypt to side with the anti-Qatari forces does not bode well for continental security in the long term.

Moreover, the political and security interests of various states in the Middle East which routinely work in conjunction with U.S. foreign policy interests are inevitability the concern of the AU. Consequently, Africa has to pay close attention to events unfolding within the GCC countries and their allies and seek the resolution of these conflicts in a manner which curtails the potential for a destabilizing impact on continental states. 
Macron Faces Opposition Despite Absolute Majority in French National Assembly
Policies to focus on transforming labor law and strengthening finance capital

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Monday June 26, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to have been in an advantageous position to govern Europe’s second most significant state in the aftermath of a resounding victory in the parliamentary elections  on June 18 where La Republiqueen March (LaRem) won an overwhelming majority.

Nonetheless, in a matter of days Macron’s cabinet was marred by several resignations of ministers from the centrist Democratic Movement (MoDem) which has supported the ruling party. The announcement that these officials were the focus of a corruption investigation assured their departure since one key aspect of the president’s campaign pledges was the promise to maintain a transparent government.

Amid the scandal Macron reshuffled his cabinet replacing the departing ministers with individuals who are far less known in French national politics.  Justice Minister Francois Bayrou along with European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez,both of whom are MoDem party leading members, submitted their resignations from the cabinet on June 21.The news of their departures came just one day after Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard's unexpected resignation on June 20. Goulard is also with the MoDem party.

Allegations have surfaced that the MoDem misused European parliamentary funds to hire aidsthat were stationed in France.Even with these resignations of MoDem officials, LaRem still maintains an absolute majority.

Former Socialist government functionary Florence Parly, who has been employed at major French transport companies, was appointed as defense minister. Nicole Belloubet, considered an expert in the legal field, was designated to take over the justice ministry. Switching from the Ministry of Agriculture, Jacques Mezard, is being assigned to territorial planning.  Stephane Travert, a Macron loyalist, will serve as agricultural minister.

On June 25, Macron’s former Socialist Party decided to cast its vote against a motion of confidence in the new government. Therefore, the Socialists will become key players in the opposition although they have been decimated by the ascendancy of the centrist LaRem which was founded only a year ago.

Socialists hold less than 40 seats in the National Assembly posing no threat to the ability of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to win approval of the cabinet and the policy initiatives which will be delivered in a speech on July 4. In addition to opposition from the Socialist Party, Macron will face ideologues in the conservative Les Républicains (LR) party, the putative far-left MPs from Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed party and Marine Le Pen’s neo-fascist National Front. One faction within the LR party, known as “the Constructives,” appears to be harboring a more moderate line on the new government.

Philippe, who is 47, is a member of the LRs, the center-right party. He was appointed by Macron as prime minister on May 15.

Macron, who has a background as an investment banker, and Philippe, a lawyer and member of the moderate right-wing, have made claims of bridging the traditional left-right political polarization in France. This notion of a third way, must be examined closely in regard to the actual policies that will be implemented inside the country and abroad.

Challenges to the French Labor Movement

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the LaRem majority government will be its efforts to institute reforms in labor law. These proposals will ostensibly make it much easier for employers to hire and terminate workers.

However, with high unemployment, miniscule growth rates and the decline in career jobs with unionized protection, the question remains whether the neo-liberal reforms will actually provide incentives for the creation of broader opportunities among working class people. In many ways developments in France are a reflection of the character of the labor markets in most western capitalist states since the mid-to-late 1970s.

Foreign Policy magazine noted in a recent article written by George Ross who speculated on the potential for labor unrest in response to the Macron reforms, saying: “well-protected jobs have declined and less secure service jobs have expanded, the labor market has become segmented between a diminishing number of workers with stable contracts and an expanding group in more precarious situations, a trend accentuated by lower growth and higher unemployment. Union membership has declined from nearly 30 percent of the workforce in the 1970s to 11 percent today — and much of that is concentrated in the public sector. Strikes, for which France was once notorious, have declined in parallel.” (June 20)

In the United States which has the largest capitalist economy in the world where a series of recessions have occurred over the last 45 years, a similar situation for workers prevails. Unionization has gone down to 6.4 percent in the private sector and 34.4 percent in the public sector, totally 14.6 million workers.

This represents a dramatic downturn for representation of employees. In 1983, the first year that such statistics were compiled, 20.1 percent of workers were unionized constituting 17.7 million people. Consequently, the precipitous decline in union membership overall has weakened the capacity of the working class to challenge the imposition of draconian restructuring mandates that have resulted in the lowering of real wages in the U.S.

Since the public sector now has more than a 500 percent greater rate of unionization than private industry it is not surprising that large-scale attacks by the capitalist class have been leveled against civil servants and educational employees. Notions that privatization of municipal services and schools are inherently more efficient serves as a propagandistic cover for weakening and dismantling unions. This offensive against unionized employees coincides with the worsening of standards and social conditions within the large metropolitan areas related to educational quality and the maintenance of urban infrastructure.

In France, the trade unions could possibly wage the strongest resistance to the labor reforms proposed by the LaRem government. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) has gone on record opposing the proposed efforts by Macron to further stifle the working class.

Although the CGT severed its links with the French Communist Party in 1995, the general strike of that year remains within the collective consciousness of the ruling elites. Protracted labor unrest in France would have a major impact on the European Union (EU) as a whole, potentially prompting public sector unions in other states to oppose further reforms and therefore dampening the efforts by both Paris and Berlin to forge closer ties in the absence of Britain’s departure (Brexit) from the continental economic project.

As Ross noted in the above-mentioned report in Foreign Policy, “should the CGT decide to pull the trigger, it could push for public sector strikes, particularly in transportation, to try to bring France to a halt. It can anticipate at least some public support for this. France remains France: The country’s militant, left-leaning, and protest-prone subculture still exists, ready to be stimulated by labor action. La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), a coalition of radical left-wing groups led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who won just under 20 percent in the first round of the presidential election — about the same number that the now-eclipsed French Communist Party won in the 1970s — did reasonably well in the parliamentary vote and has talked of new resistance.”

“Centrist” Foreign Policy Merges with U.S. Imperatives on Russia

One significant indication of the international posture of the Macron-Philippe regime was the announcement that France will not recognize Crimea as being a part of the Russian Federation stemming from a 2014 referendum during the period of the aftermath of a right-wing coup in Ukraine which led to a civil war between Kiev and regions in the West of the country.

The new French president held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Paris after the June 24 visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Crimea. Poroshenko condemned Putin’s visit as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. EU member-states recently agreed to extend their sanctions against Moscow accusing the Putin government of not honoring the Minsk Accords ostensibly aimed at ending the fighting between anti-Kiev forces and the western-backed regime of Poroshenko.

With the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in November partly based upon his pseudo-protectionist “America First” rhetoric and the vote by the British people to withdraw from the EU in June of last year, France and Germany are attempting to close ranks in order to salvage the more conventional brand of 21st century globalization. Nevertheless, with the fracturing of the western capitalist leaders involving differences over how to proceed in the current period may pose serious obstacles to a much-desired economic recovery in France. 
PANW Editor, Abayomi Azikiwe, Featured on Press TV Top Five News Segment on United Nations Peacekeeping Forces Being Reduced in Darfur Region of Sudan
Watch this Press TV Top Five news segment featuring Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To view the interview which was aired live on June 29, 2017 just click on the website below:

Azikiwe discusses the slashing of United States contributions to United Nations peacekeeping operations which will reduce the number of soldiers and police in the Darfur region of Sudan.

President Donald Trump on the one hand makes cuts to UN contributions yet he is escalating the deployment of Pentagon forces in Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

According to Press TV: "The United Nations Security Council has voted to sharply reduce the international peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region.

"The decision will cut the number of peacekeepers in Darfur by nearly 50 percent.

"It will also reduce the number of international police by nearly 30 percent. The Darfur mission currently costs more than one billion dollars a year.

"The move, which was pressed by the United States, follows Washington’s decision to slash financial contributions to the world body.

"The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against the government. The U-N and African Union put together a force in 2007 to protect civilians in the region."
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sun. June 25, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Sun. June 25, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this episode just click on the following URL:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government which stated that Qatar must comply with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) demands or a permanent severing of relations will occur; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says he has ratified the transfer of two islands to Saudi Arabia; Kenyan military forces have detained several United States soldiers for attempting to enter South Sudan illegally; and the Republic of Namibia has been assessed as a success on the African continent.

In the second hour we look back at the 57th anniversary of the independence of the former Belgian Congo which resulted a coup against Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba and his subsequent assassination. Finally we continue our monthlong tribute to Black Music Month with a focus on the life, times and contributions of Etta James.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. June 24, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Sat. June 24, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear the podcast of this program just click on the website below:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on a response by the Movement for Black Lives to an article questioning their presence in recent protest actions; the Syrian government has celebrated the Day of Al-Quds amid an escalation of fighting inside the country; there has been a sharp response in Ghana to statements by a former conservative president on the role of the nation's founder Dr. Kwame Nkrumah; and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has spoken to young people inside the country emphasizing the need for national unity.

In the second hour we continue our monthlong focus on Black Music Month with a segment on Duke Ellington.

Finally we look at the situation in Yemen through a rebroadcast of a Global Research News Hour program on Yemen.
Ex-CIA Agent Convicted Over Egyptian Imam Kidnapping to Face Sentencing
Friday 30 Jun 2017

A former CIA agent who was found guilty of kidnapping an Egyptian imam by an Italian court more than a decade ago said Thursday she intended to return to Italy to face her sentence, but hopes to avoid prison.

Sabrina de Sousa, who holds dual American and Portuguese nationality, said she would leave Portugal to face the Italian courts over the abduction of radical preacher Abu Omar from a Milan street in 2003 in an operation allegedly led jointly by the CIA and the Italian intelligence services.

She has already gone on trial in absentia along with 22 others in what were the first legal convictions in the world against people involved in the CIA's extraordinary renditions programme that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"I'm going back to Italy next week to serve a sentence that will be determined by the Italian courts," 60-year-old de Sousa told AFP, saying she hoped to be released on parole and carry out community service.

At the end of February, Italian President Sergio Mattarella granted her "a partial pardon of one year's imprisonment", reducing her jail time to three years of a lenient form of sentence that does not necessarily need to be served behind bars and allows the convict to work.

Italy then withdrew the European arrest warrant issued after her arrest in October 2015 at Lisbon airport.

In an email sent from the US where she was preparing to have surgery, de Sousa said she would like to do her community service in Portugal but added that "even if I could... I would have reason to be very concerned about what would happen to me".

"Portugal after all threw me in prison for 10 days with no plausible reason for doing so".

Omar was kidnapped on February 17, 2003, before being transferred to Egypt where his lawyers say he was tortured, in a case that highlighted the controversial secret renditions of suspected radicals by the United States and its allies.

"This operation was approved by the highest levels of the US government," said de Sousa.

"What US officials in Washington and some in the Italian Government were told was that Abu Omar was a dangerous terrorist; and with that justification the CIA chief in Rome obtained the necessary approvals," she added.

"This obviously turned out not to be the case and Abu Omar was released from an Egyptian prison. As with most cover-ups lower level officers like myself end up paying the price for decisions for which we had no input."
Egypt Foreign Minister Meets With African Counterparts on Sidelines of AU Preparatory Meetings
Ahram Online
Friday 30 Jun 2017

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry met on Friday with his counterparts from Morocco, Nigeria, and Algeriaon the sidelines of the preparatory meetings for the annual African Union summit set to be held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 3-4 July.

Shoukry congratulated Moroccan FM Nasser Bourita for his country's renewed membership in the African Union, stressing that Egypt is keen on coordinating with Morocco on regional issues of common interest, according to Egyptian foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abo Zeid.

Bourita expressed his country's interest in consolidating bilateral relations with Egypt on all levels, as well as arranging a visit by the Moroccan king to Egypt to discuss cooperation in fields including agriculture and renewable energy, as well as cooperation in accordance with the Aghadir agreement.

The Aghadir agreement, a free trade deal between Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, was signed in the Moroccan city of Rabat in 2004 andwent into force in 2007.

Shoukry and Bourita also discussed the Libyan civil conflict as well as ways to develop multilateral African relations.

Shoukry also met with Algerian foreign minister Adel-Kader Mesahel, where they discussed the outcomes of the latest Nile Basin summit held earlier this month in Uganda.

The Algerian and the Egyptian ministers also discussed cooperation within the framework of the African Union, such as the initiative for the structural reform of the AU, as well as the Libyan civil conflict and the cutting of ties between Qatar and several Arab countries.

Shoukry also met with Nigerian foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama, saying he looks forward to his visit to Nigeria in August to develop bilateral relations, especially in combating terrorism.

The Egyptian and Nigerian ministers also discussed the topics on the African Union's meeting agenda, such as supporting peacekeeping forces on the African continent, with Oneama stressing the importance of having mechanisms of consultation among African countries.

The 29th African Union Heads of State Summit will be held under the slogan “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth,” with member nations sharing their experiences in empowering young people and preparing them for the future, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry.

The headquarters of the African Union is located in Addis Ababa.
DRC, Migration, Jihadis - Flashpoints at African Union Addis Summit
By Matthew Kay
30-06-2017 to 11:41

Photo: Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the African Union Commission

Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and mass migration are likely to dominate discussions as foreign ministers from the 55 African nations gather in Addis Ababa on Friday for two days of talks, ahead of the 29th summit of African leaders next week.

The official theme of this African Union (AU) summit is ‘investment in youth’, but other pressing matters on the continent from the DRC to mass migration are also likely to dominate discussions.

When commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahmat from Chad opens discussions on Friday morning, he was expected to congratulate members of the Union who are sticking to commitments of Agenda 2063, a continental development plan set out by the AU four years ago.

On paper the trends are encouraging – more children in full time education, fewer deaths from preventable diseases and accelerating economic growth.

Conflict in several countries

But flashpoints that often dog discussions at AU summits are likely to do so once again.

They include the ongoing fight against the jihadist group Boko Haram in the lake Chad region, an uptick in violence in South Sudan, Libya, Mali and Darfur.

The alarming numbers of Africans making the perilous trip across the Mediterranean is also of immediate concern.

On top of that, major reforms of the Union itself are on the table – including changes to how the AU is funded that are being pushed by several leaders, including current chairman and Guinean president Alpha Condé.

He wants all nations to implement a 0.2 percent levy on imports to fund the club that has for years been overly reliant on Western handouts.
Ethiopia Ready to Host 29th African Union Heads of States Summit
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban   26/06 - 06:00

The Ethiopian government says it is ready to host the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

Leaders from across the presidents are expected to fly into the country for the two-day summit as Addis Ababa hosts the highest decision making organ of the AU.

A joint press conference by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Addis Ababa city authorities disclosed that all the necessary facilities needed for the summit and also security preparations have been completed.

Under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth,” the Summit is expected to take place between 3rd – 4th July 2017 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.

It will be the first Summit to be chaired by new AU president, Alpha Conde, the Guinean leader was elected earlier this year to replace Idriss Deby Itno of Chad.

At the 28th AU Summit held in January this year, A new Chairperson for the African Union Commission (AUC) in the person of Chadian, Moussa Faki Mahamat was elected, the other major highlight was the readmission of Morocco to the continental bloc after over three decades out.
US Pressure: UN Agrees on Deep Cuts to Peacekeeping
AFP, United Nations

A deal on cutting nearly $600 million from the UN peacekeeping budget was reached Wednesday following weeks of negotiations over US demands for sharp cost reductions, UN diplomats said.

Under the deal reached by a General Assembly budget committee, the United Nations will spend $7.3 billion on peacekeeping in the coming year, down from the current $7.87 billion -- roughly a seven percent cut -- according to diplomats familiar with the negotiations.

The United States, the biggest financial contributor to peacekeeping, had sought a nearly $1 billion cut to the bill and the European Union had also pushed for savings to bring costs down to $7.3 billion.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley claimed victory in a statement, saying "just five months into our time here, we've already been able to cut over half a billion dollars from the UN peacekeeping budget and we're only getting started."

Hardest hit by the cuts will be the UN missions in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two costliest operations with budgets that run over $1 billion.

A Security Council diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said however there will be "cuts across the board" in the 13 peacekeeping missions as a result of US pressure.

Washington pays 28.5 percent of the peacekeeping budget and 22 percent of the UN's core budget of $5.4 billion.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the deal will allow UN missions to "fully implement their mandate while being more efficient."

"The savings proposed in this budget have been carefully targeted," said Delattre.

The deal falls short of the request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who had asked for $7.97 billion for the annual budget which runs from July 1 to June 30 of next year.

It also is less than what African countries had proposed: they wanted $7.7 billion for the UN missions.

The deal is expected to be approved by the UN General Assembly on Friday.

The Security Council is expected to vote as early as today on significant cuts to the 17,000-strong joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur known as UNAMID.

Britain on Wednesday circulated a draft resolution that provides for a two-stage drawdown over the next 12 months, in line with the recommendations of a joint AU-UN report released last month.

The measure would cut UNAMID force levels to reach 8,735 troops and 2,500 police by June 2018, a 44 percent cut in military personnel and nearly 30 percent in police, according to the draft text obtained by AFP.

The drawdown could be reviewed if the Sudanese government fails to ensure protection in those areas from where the peacekeepers will withdraw.

Under the proposed measure, Guterres will report to the council after six months on whether "conditions on the ground remain conducive to further reductions."

The draft resolution welcomes a "reduction in military confrontations between government forces and rebel groups," but rights groups maintain that the conflict in Darfur is far from over.

Human Rights Watch has criticized the proposed cuts as "misguided," saying civilians in Darfur still need protection.

Darfur has been engulfed in conflict since 2003, when ethnic minority insurgents mounted a rebellion against President Omar al-Bashir, complaining that his Arab-dominated government was marginalizing the region.

The United Nations has shut down its mission in Ivory Coast and is planning to pull its peacekeepers out of Haiti in the coming months.

France late Wednesday circulated a draft resolution on renewing the UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, but no cuts are planned.

The mission would continue to operate with 13,289 troops and 1,920 police, according to the draft resolution seen by AFP.

A vote on renewing the Mali mission could take place today.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe Rejects Bill
By Zvamaida Murwira

President Mugabe has rejected the ZEP-RE Bill (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) that seeks to provide some quasi-diplomatic privileges and immunities on a regional reinsurance company established by an agreement of the Preferential Trade Area member States, now referred to as Comesa.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-In-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces withheld his assent on the Bill, which sailed through Parliament two months ago.

President Mugabe rejected the Bill after he exercised Section 131 (6) of the Constitution, which confers him such right whenever he has reservations on a proposed law that would have been sent to him for assent by Parliament.

Parliament is now set to sit as a committee to consider the reservations and Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has since made the necessary amendments to accommodate President Mugabe's reservations.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, has since notified the House of the President's objection.

"His Excellency, the President, informed Parliament on June 2, 2017 that he had not assented to the ZEP-RE (Membership of Zimbabwe and Branch Office Agreement) Act No. 4 of 2017 owing to reservations pertaining to the last paragraph of the preamble on the top page of the Act," he said.

"The President noted that the sentence in question was not clear on what should be done and who was responsible for the stated enactment.

"Thus, in order to facilitate the reconsideration of the Bill, the Bill now stands recommitted to the committee of the whole House pursuant to Standing Order Number 121 (3) of the National Assembly."

The Bill has since been restored on the Order Paper of the National Assembly and would soon be reconsidered to accommodate President Mugabe's reservations.

A source close to the Bill indicated that President Mugabe rejected the Bill after noticing an error on the preamble that had the effect of creating wrong impression on the law making process.

According to the proposed amendment, a new preamble has since been made to address the concerns.

The revised Bill deleted the word "the company", which had been listed together with Parliament and President of Zimbabwe to make the Bill read as follows: "Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Parliament and President of Zimbabwe."

"The impression that had been created by the manner in which the Bill was initially drafted was that the "company" constituted the legislative machinery, yet it is Parliament and the President who are charged with that duty of lawmaking," said a source.

The Bill seeks to give legal effect to a regional reinsurance company by conferring it a quasi-diplomatic status as a creation of Comesa to enable it to open branches in the country.

In September last year President Mugabe rejected the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) after he cited section 56 of the Bill, which he said was not consistent with section 65 of the Constitution, as it sought to suspend operations of the labour laws in special economic zones.

Parliament addressed the concerns and the law was eventually operationalised by the President.
Zimbabwe: We Never Banned War Vets Meeting, Say Police
Chief National Police Spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.

By Sydney Kawadza

Police have dismissed a message that was circulated on social media yesterday claiming they had banned a public gathering by Zanu-PF supporters and war veterans.

In a statement, acting national police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi said the message was false.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police would like to dismiss a false message circulating on the social media platform to the effect that police in Harare have denied war veterans/children of war veterans the opportunity to hold a public gathering or demonstration.

"The purported message from Officer Commanding Police Harare Central District, who is the Regulating Authority in terms of the Public Order and Security Act, Chapter 11:17, is false," he said.

Chief Supt Nyathi said no notification of any meeting or gathering had been received by the police.

"The ZRP has therefore launched full- scale investigations to establish the origin and motive of the false message," he said.

Chief Supt Nyathi warned individuals or syndicates bent on causing alarm and despondency in the country through unfounded messages that the full wrath of the law would be applied without fear or favour.
Zimbabwe Government to Consolidate Zesa Operations
By Tinashe Makichi
Zimbabwe Herald

ZESA Holdings operations could soon be merged into one structure as Government is moving to contain costs and improve efficiency at the utility.

Deloitte Consultants are finalising a study expected to persuade Government to consolidate ZESA Holdings operations, as the current structure is considered costly and unsustainable.

The latest move by Government is informed by concerns over corporate governance conflict within the group in terms of mandate, delivery and decision making, according to sources

The Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) provided for the formation of five successor companies each with its own board of directors.

The companies include the Zimbabwe Power Company, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company, Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company, ZESA Enterprises and Powertel Communications.

The existence of individual boards for subsidiary companies has seen the group becoming top heavy.

Also there were cases where there was duplication of roles and parroting of the holdings board's decision by subsidiary boards.

Energy and Power Development Permanent Secretary, Patson Mbiriri confirmed to The Herald Business that a study is being carried out aimed at improving efficiency at the power utility.

"Deloitte Consultants are finalising a study on how the ZESA Group can be rendered more efficient. Government will consider their recommendations as and when they are made which should be very soon," said Mr Mbiriri.

Under the current set up, sources said that the role of subsidiary boards still remained unclear and that there was a corporate governance conflict in terms of throughput and the decision making matrix.

"It has become costly for the group that subsidiary boards have to sit over a decision already made by the holding company board and all they do is to mimic what the holding board has already resolved," said a source at the power utility.

Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge recently said Cabinet had made a decision in the past that ZESA must be unbundled and another different decision is in now in the offing.

"I think circumstances are now different and now there is a talk that ZESA is top heavy and we should look at the cost structure and that is what is happening.

"Nothing is permanent and things change. You can unbundle today perhaps 20 years to come you go back to the old situation depending on the dynamics. A report is going to be submitted to me, then I will present it to Cabinet," said Minister Undenge.
Zimbabwe: Zinara Suspends Top Brass
By Takunda Maodza
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) has suspended its top brass in finance, administration and human resources departments on charges which include violating tender and procurement procedures, The Herald has learnt.

Director, administration and human resources Mr Precious Murove, finance manager Mr Shadreck Matengabadza and administration manager Mr Peter Bweterere were suspended on Wednesday.

The trio's suspension came a week after Zinara suspended its finance director Mr Simon Taranhike. While details on Mr Taranhike's suspension are still sketchy, it is reportedly linked to non-adherence to prescribed processes and procedures.

The Herald understands Mr Taranhike violated procedures in the repayment of a loan to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The bank is said to have lent Zinara $206 million towards the rehabilitation of the Plumtree-Mutare Highway.

Zinara spokesman Mr Augustine Moyo yesterday confirmed the suspension of Messrs Matengabadza, Murove and Bweterere.

He said Messrs Murove and Matengabadza were suspended for not following tender and procurement procedures, while Mr Bweterere shares his charges with Mr Taranhike.

"I am driving from Victoria Falls from a ZNCC conference and that is the little I have got," said Mr Moyo. Mr Murove refused to comment on the matter yesterday, referring all questions to Zinara chief executive Engineer Nancy Masiyiwa-Chamisa.

The ZINARA-DBSA deal has been shrouded in controversy.

In November last year, The Herald reported that South African businessman Mr Niko Shefer was alleged to have siphoned millions of dollars from Zinara as facilitation fees for the $206 million loan secured from DBSA.

Zinara was depositing a staggering $300 000 every month into Mr Shefer's FNB account in South Africa for his services, that is linking Zinara to DBSA.

The contract runs for 10 years.

Mr Shefer reportedly charged two percent of the loan amount extended to the road fund. At the lapse of the 10-year contract between Zinara and Mr Shefer, the road fund would have paid him $36 million.

The money Mr Shefer is receiving is over and above the interest that Zinara is paying to DBSA for the $206 million loan. Mr Shefer used four different companies to claim money from Zinara.

These are Sela, Sentinelle, Santanah and Golden Road.

Earlier this year, we also reported that GROUP Five, a South African firm contracted to upgrade the 800km Plumtree-Mutare highway in the $206 million deal, reportedly swindled Government of close to $50 million.

The Johannesburg-headquartered construction concern allegedly coerced ZINARA to pay Value Added Tax and inflated costs. ZINARA then demanded repayment within seven days and it is still not clear if the road administration got anything back.
Zimbabwe: '90pc Roads in Bad State'
By Nyemudzai Kakore
Zimbabwe Herald

Over 90 percent of the country's close to 100 000km of road network are in bad state with an estimated $5,5 billion required for maintenance and rehabilitation, a Road Conditions and Inventory Report has revealed.

The report noted the existence of 310 000 features on 97 000km of road network, which include road signs, bridges and street lights.

Addressing delegates after receiving the report yesterday, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said road authorities had an obligation to protect the initial investment in the country's road network.

"It is important to note that a credible database has a direct bearing on the future success of Government in terms of planned necessary interventions. I need not to overemphasise that success or failure in road infrastructure is measured by the impact it has on the economy and upon the lives of the ordinary people," he said.

"It is my hope that the database will provide an appropriate opportunity for road authorities and Zimbabwe National Roads Authority to interact on the basis of equality, partnership and common good to develop new strategies to steer the institutions in the cause of infrastructural development in line with Zim-Asset Infrastructure Cluster."

The survey was done by the Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) and ZINARA.

It cost an estimated $1,7 million.

The report indicates that the District Development Fund has 25 034km and the Department of Roads 18 431km.

Rural District Councils have 40 205 km, Urban Council 11 333 km while 3 046km was not owner classified.

The report also indicated that 29 100km of the road network is in very poor condition, 37 967 in fair condition, 16 557 km was good condition and 7 913km in very good condition while 6 510km of roads were not computed because of lack of information.
Address by YCLSA National Secretary Cde Mluleki Dlelanga at Youth Month Rally: Mpumalanga Province
18 June 2017

Consolidate young communists, organize young people and prepare for socialism!

Leadership of the SACP as led by Cde Madala Masuku, Leadership of the African National Congress by Cde Aron Motsoaledi, Leadership of COSATU as led by Cde Zingiswa Losi, Leadership of the Progressive Youth Alliance, Our National Chairperson Cde Yershen Pillay, Our esteemed National Committee Members, Our Provincial Secretary Cde Tinyiko Ntini, together with all Provincial Secretaries, Former Leaders of the YCLSA, Young revolutionaries who come from across the length and breadth of our country.

Receive our special profound revolutionary greetings from the 4th National Congress National Committee on this assembly of young revolutionaries during our month as youth of South Africa.

As the current generation of the YCLSA , First, we first salute the 1976 generation of young people that stood up and fought gallantly against brutal apartheid system and we also salute and thank YCLSA founding members and former leaders of the YCLSA who have established ,moulded , defended and builded this home of the young communists , the YCLSA. These comrades include the likes Mbeki, JN Sigh, Willie Kulk,Stanley Silwana,Sara Sable( the first National secretary of YCLSA), Eddie Rough, Moses Mabhida, Joe Slovo, Ruth First(the second National Secretary),Chris Hani, Moses Kotane, whom we continue to pay homage and remember as we continue with the baton that they have left to those who came before us.

Secondly our youth month 2017 message is about young people that are unemployed, about employed youth, about young people that has been abused, about young people that have been raped, about young people that have been killed, young people that are casualties, young people that have no access to education, about unemployed graduates

What is the problem, what is the nature of the problem and what must be done

South Africa's history of Colonialism, Apartheid and Segregation has led to institutionalized and systemic poverty, inequality, unemployment and underdevelopment requiring a decisive state-led response to redress the imbalances of the past. The brutal and fascist, white monopoly Apartheid regime, systemically dehumanized and underdeveloped black South Africans as part of ensuring a conveyor belt of future labour for the extraction of surplus value with the ultimate objective of ensuring the economy remains solely owned and controlled by white monopoly capital.

Youth constitute a significant, growing and distinct group in society. Much can be said about how society views youth. The way in which society views youth is critical to shaping perceptions by the adult population and how youths view themselves. There are three contending social perspectives on youth; youth as consumers in society, youth as problems to society and youth as assets to society.

The legacies of colonialism, apartheid and segregation have produced and reproduced the challenges of youth unemployment, poor quality education, lack of skills, high levels of HIV/AIDS, and low levels of entrepreneurship amongst the youth. It is no wonder that despite significant strides since the advent of democracy in 1994, the majority of young South Africans remain doubtful of a better life endowed with education, skills, jobs and opportunities for social and economic progress.

Youth must lead their own development and the state must support. Youth must be at the forefront of building schools, libraries and community centers as community builders and leaders of society. Young South Africans must never destroy or damage buildings such as schools or hospitals simply because of anger and frustration due to the lack of access to these buildings or to demand something else. Youth anger must be challenged strategically where youth build and not destroy where youth repair and not damage and where all youth are intellectually and productively militant and not destructively emotional.

Comrades, allow me to look closely on youth unemployment as it is a major problem facing young people in our country. The youth unemployment statistics in the first quarter of 2017 increased by 1.2 of a percentage point to 27.7% - the highest figure since September 2003.

The statistician-general of Statistics South Africa, released the Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the first quarter of this year recently, saying that the growth in employment was offset by the increase in the number of job seekers who entered the market in the beginning of the year.

The expanded unemployment rate - which includes those who wanted to work but did not look for work - increased by 0.8 of a percentage point to 36.4%, or 391 000 people. This amounts to 9.3 million people who were unemployed but wanted to work in the first quarter of 2017.

The statistician-general of Statistics South Africa further said the gap between the unemployment rate envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP) and the current rate is widening.

"The NDP states unemployment should be 14% by 2020 and we have only two and a half years to that target," he said. "The gap to 2020 currently stands at 13.7 percentage points."

In the fourth quarter of 2016, unemployment stood at 26.5%.

Of the 433 000 of people who joined the ranks of the unemployed in the first quarter of 2017, approximately 58% were young people between the ages of 15 and 34 years. "Unemployment remained high among those with an education level of less than matric at 33.1%, which is 5.4 percentage points higher than the national average."

This number is even higher when the number of discouraged work seekers is taken into account. The quarterly figures show that less than 5% of the discouraged work seekers have tertiary education, while approximately 72% had an education level below matric.

The unemployment rate among graduates are 7.3%.

Employment by industry level

The employment by industry levels through the latest figures show that the manufacturing sector reflected the biggest growth in employment in the first quarter of 2017 - by 62 000.

The mining industry showed employment growth of 26 000 after a decline for four consecutive quarters.

The agricultural sector shed 44 000 jobs in the period under review, while employment in the trade sector dropped by 15 000.

Jobs in the informal sector also went down by 14 000 to 2.7 million.

Unpacking our theme: consolidate young communists, organize young people and prepare for socialism

When we say that the YCLSA is the home for Communist Youth, branches should bring this into reality as a major player in regard to being a training ground for young communist for the SACP. Therefore, all our strength and resources should focus on building strong YCLSA structures especially the branches.

The YCLSA should strive to establish branches in all wards, in townships, rural areas, villages, suburbs, towns, workplaces, campuses, and all other places were young people are based. The minimum objective is to establish branches where we currently have SACP Branches, but this should not limit our potential to grow beyond the SACP, thus, indirectly increasing the organisational form of the SACP.

In doing so, branches should be engaged in the following tasks, to satisfy their vanguard and vigilant role:

Engage into continuous Political Education programme, aimed at introducing youth and members to the basic philosophy of Marxism-Leninism.

Introducing members to the constitution of the YCLSA through branch inductions.

Engage into focused and targeted recruitment of youth, particularly young women, white and coloured youth.

Lead in international, national and local campaign that seeks to undermine the power, presence and exploitative nature of capitalism.

Take up various civil responsibilities so as to identify and deal with the problems confronting youth.

The capitalist social system is characterised by poverty, unemployment, and inequality and class exploitation. This affects the section of society we seek to represent. It also provides political space for the organisation to mobilise youth to fight against this system. As the struggle against Apartheid was one through many forms and tactics, so will the struggle against capitalism.

In order to increase our mass-base, and to be an advanced guard for youth development, youth interest and aspirations, we need to put concerted efforts towards campaigns. The purpose of our campaigns should be to expose the brutality and inhuman of capitalism, and to highlight the plight of the working class and poor youth. In as much as most of the campaigns that we will engage into will not immediately usher a socialist society, they intervene in scathing minimal but qualitative bruises to the capitalist system. This also provides a platform to draw attention to the fact that societal crises are as a result of capitalist accumulation path.

We must continue to put our focus and target the following sections in our society and target the brutalities below:

Socio-Economic Conditions of Young People, Socio-Economic Transformation and Development
Education, Training and Human Resources Development - Health, Sexuality and the HIV/AIDS pandemic
Transformation of Gender Relations and Women's Emancipation
Marginalized Youth and Minority Youth
Culture, Religion and Ideology
Criminal Justice
Sports and Recreation

Our campaigns should also be used to mobilize and organize youth behind the banner of Socialism and Communism, and to ensure that minimum but emphatic struggles are waged against capitalism. We can also use campaigns to educate youth about the social ills that are as a result of the system of capitalism, and how certain behaviour's, conducts and addictions are as a result of profit and not entertainment. However, as the YCLSA, we should not fall in the trap of making noise and not providing solutions. The YCLSA can engage into alternative seeking Projects by encouraging the formation/ establishment of co-operatives across the province and Issue-Based Campaigns. We must also use South African Road to Socialism as a guide to our programmes and we must set a progressive youth agenda that will characterize a developmental agenda. Therefore if we can succeed on this revolutionary work our organization indeed will be consolidated and young people should have been organized and the momentum, the capacity and preparations for socialism will be indeed in full swing.

Comrades, there are also current problems facing young people that are not being said?

As the YCLSA we are in a firm view that to remain silent is the betrayal of the struggle. Our revolution and the Alliance is experiencing turbulences. The sovereignty of our country is a stake. It is not business as usual, the abnormality is the normality we are not lamenting. We are telling things as they are. On this youth month of 2017 we are speaking truth to power and power to truth as part of taking responsibility for the revolution as well as fighting for the betrayal of the revolution. History teaches us that all revolutions and all revolutionaries are capable of selling out the revolution. At times we might be confused that is it him/her, we say history is on our side we are all capable of selling out the revolution. Young revolutionaries and revolutionaries must never be confused when our revolution is being sold out!

Comrades, a democracy that was won through sweat, blood and struggle has been sold out to the Guptas. Yes monopoly capital is our strategic enemy but the immediate threat to our country, to our people, to our sovereignty are the GUPTAS. Guptas are the enemy of the youth and Guptas are the enemy of the growth and development of our country.

Corruption is the enemy of our revolution and youth of our country, young people who are not connected or political connected to them growth and development is a dream.

Factionalism is the enemy of our revolution and the youth of our country, faction rotate, and a faction produce another faction. Factions are brutal and factions are cruel. Factionalism robs young revolutionaries on understanding the theory of the revolution and understanding and valuing the unity of the organization. Factionalism leads to patronage politics and blind loyalty. Patronage corrupt and make young people individual henchmen whilst blind loyalty deprive young people opportunity to objectively understand and differentiate between what is right and what is wrong.

Capitalism is the mother enemy of the young people, capitalism creates youth unemployment, poverty, in equality, youth in drugs etc.

Comrades, this what is facing our revolution, the young people and young revolutionaries is the contradiction of the contradiction. We raise this issues that people are afraid to tell the youth of our country. We say to the youth of our country judge us , criticize us , insult us but truth is on our side , we will continue to say no on anything that seeks to affects the future of our youth and our country. We raised the issue of the former security branch member Mr. Ntlemeza, we were insulted but we won. We raised the about Brian Molefe, the golden boy of the Guptas, we were insulted but we won. We are raising the issue in particular the influence of Guptas, we are being insulted, but we know we will win. Now also we have an issue with the Minister of Guptas, Mr. Malusi Gigaba, he is not the Minister of Finance is the minister of the Guptas. He has betrayed the 1976 Youth Generation mission and even betrayed the current youth generation. We say to him you are compromised, your consciousness if you have it must guide you on what you do, either you resin or not but it must guide you. We are also saying now to the President of the Guptas , Mr. Jacob Zuma , who has decided instead of being the President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa but decided to be the President of the Guptas , we say on behalf of over 105 000 members of the YCLSA, please step down . You have lost your credibility.

As the YCLSA on this youth month rally of 2017, we want to send a clear and unambiguous message both to the all senior leaders in the congress movement and the youth of our country.

Do not corrupt us!

Young people are the current and the future of both the congress movement and our motherland South Africa. If you care about the future of this country. Don't corrupt us! Instead your responsibility is to teach us about an organization, teach us about the history of our revolution, teach us about the theory of the revolution, teach us about being patriotic and teach us about love for humanity and the importance or the fundamental principle of serving the people.

YCLSA is your organization!

As the YCLSA, we are the youth-wing of the SACP however the youth of our country should know that whether you are a member of YCLSA or you are not a member YCLSA is your organization. YCLSA continues to champion the needs, interests and aspiration of all young people in our country. History is on our side, history speaks for itself for us. In our consultative conference, we resolved in the Ten Youth Demands for 2015:

Decent jobs and a living wage for all workers including young workers and learners.
Free education for all from pre-school to tertiary education
Basic services for all
The provision of good quality treatment , care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS
An end to the abuse of women and children
Lowering the pension age to 55 for all women and men in order to create work opportunities to young people
Extension of child support grants to cover young people up to the age of 16
The extension of the school feeding scheme to high schools
Nationalization of all land for productive economic use by landless communities targeting jobless young people
Public ownership of all mineral wealth
On our youth month rally in 2016, we launched a youth manifesto with the Ten Youth Fronts:

Creating jobs for youth
National youth service
Improving access and success in education
Social cohesion and nation building
Youth enterprises and cooperatives development
Health and well-being
Youth and the environment
Infrastructure and ICT for youth
Sport and recreation

As the YCLSA, we want to argue that while much progress has been achieved since 1996, a new approach that is mass-based and focused targeting unemployed youth, youth from poor households and youth in rural areas is the next phase of youth development most appropriate for a second, more radical phase of the national democratic revolution (NDR). The focus of youth development in the second, more radical phase of the NDR should be on education and skills development, youth entrepreneurship and cooperatives development as well as social mobilization - all of which are the key drivers of accelerated job creation for young South Africans. We argue that more needs to be done to foster a culture of youth entrepreneurship and cooperatives development in order to develop youth who are job-creators and not simply job seekers. As part of making education fashionable, a culture of academic excellence and increased access to education for youth from poor households and youth in rural areas must be prioritized in the new approach.

Finally, we stress the importance of social mobilization and the need to institutionalize, mainstream and massify youth service in the second, more radical phase of the NDR. The greatest challenge confronting the youth movement today is that of youth unemployment. We therefore argue that the strategic objective of a new approach to youth development should be accelerated job creation for youth in the second, more radical phase of the transition. The new approach to youth development should inform the review of the national youth policy, the review of the integrated youth development strategy and the development of a long term youth employment plan as a blueprint for accelerated job creation.

Red card to corruption, Red card to dictators and Red card to lies!

We want to say to SACP and COSATU we applaud you and admire you courage and resilient for speaking out about what is happening in the ANC. No one has a license to speak only about ANC. ANC is the project of the South African people. We all joined the ANC and paid the same subscription amount.

If the working class is the main motive force of the national democratic revolution as the ANC asserts on strategy and tactics document, then working class has every right not only to express but also to assert its views on who should lead the revolution. The ANC is not national democratic revolution and national democratic revolution is neither ANC nor was it first conceived by the ANC.

But, if the ANC expects to lead national democratic revolution organizationally, it must also expect that the character of its leadership will be discussed by the main motive force of the revolution, the working class.

The word democratic in the national democratic revolution, first and foremost means that the leadership of the revolution must itself be a result of democracy or a democratic process. It is dictorial to expect people to follow leadership they could not express their views about it in the first place.

But as the YCLSA , we note that on the ANC leadership discussion the word women has been vulgarized and has only been centered around one women, whom we are not sure about her capacity. We believe that the name proposed is supposed atleat to be the President of the ANCWL than the ANC as in the ANCWL the is a vacuum of the President.

As the YCLSA, we want to categorically say we support struggles of the working class women. We support poor women, we support women's work in the kitchens, we support women's that are being raped every day and we support all the women's both employed and unemployed, they must count us, we fully support them.

We also want to say to the women's in the congress movement, they must refuse women to be used. Any women that has allowed herself to be abused they must stand up and say not in our name.

The name proposed for ANC president does not even by inch represent the poor women, women in the kitchen and all unemployed women's. This women's candidate is totally belonging in a very different class. Therefore, as the YCLSA we can't support such name and such imitative.

We say to the youth our country the time is now to emulate the generation of 1976

We say to the youth of our country let's stand up and fight corruption

We say to the youth of our country, let's stand up and fight the Guptarization of the ANC and the State

We say to the youth of our country, lets strive to be the worthy sons and daughters of martyrs that fought for freedom

We say to the youth of our country, let's all rise up and fight for free, compulsory and quality education for the poor

We say to the youth of our country, let's all stand up and fight for nation building and development of our country

We say to the youth of our country, let's stand up and fight the corporate capture of the state by Guptas and its stooges

We say to the youth of our country, let's all in unison say capitalism is our strategic enemy

We say to the youth of our country, we are the present and the future and we are building that future and that future is socialism.

YCLSA leads, YCLSA lives, YCLSA sharpen contradictions and YCLSA provide direction

Socialism in our life time.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Address by ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South African Communist Party Gala Dinner
23 June 2017, Emperors Palace, Ekurhuleni

Leadership of the South African Communist Party,
Distinguished Guests,
Comrades and friends,

It gives me great pleasure to greet you - the leaders, supporters and friends of the SACP - on the occasion of this gala dinner.

We meet here in the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo, as we celebrate the 100thanniversary of his birth.

During this year, we have dedicated ourselves to honour his memory by restoring to our movement the values that he represented and the principles for which he stood.

During this year, we have dedicated ourselves to pursue with greater focus and determination his vision of a South Africa in which black and white shall live and work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity.

We have dedicated ourselves to strengthen the Alliance as an effective instrument of fundamental change.

It was on the occasion of the 60thanniversary of the SACP in 1981 that Oliver Tambo described our Alliance in the following terms.

He said:

"The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development…

"To be true to history, we must concede that there have been difficulties as well as triumphs along our path, as, traversing many decades, our two organisations have converged towards a shared strategy of struggle.

It is this shared strategy of struggle that binds our two organisations - the ANC and the SACP - together.

Certainly, we are bound together by a shared history of struggle.

But far more important than that, we are bound together by a shared commitment to the liberation of our people from all forms of oppression and exploitation.

We are not bound together by electoral alliances or pacts of convenience.

We are bound together by the shared vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

As the decades have passed, and as the struggle has moved onto a new terrain, the need for a united, strong and effective Alliance has never been greater.

The organisational challenges we face, the social and economic realities we must confront and the forces of reaction that we must defeat, all require that the Alliance must remain intact.

And yet, all is not well within the Alliance.

Each of the components of the Tripartite Alliance - the ANC, SACP and COSATU - are experiencing their own challenges in maintaining the cohesion of their structures and the coherence of their policies and programmes.

At the same time, relations between the components of the Alliance have in recent times been strained.

Different components of the Alliance have taken positions and made public pronouncements that are sharply at odds with each other.

We cannot allow this to continue.

If we do not address the tensions within the Alliance, we will weaken - and perhaps ultimately destroy - the greatest hope that our people have for social and economic freedom.

We must begin now, deliberately and honestly, to work through the differences between our formations.

We need to do so politically, avoiding the temptation to personalise our difficulties.

We need to hold fast to principle, act in a disciplined manner, and place the interests of the people above everything else.

Repairing, uniting and building the Alliance is among the most pressing revolutionary tasks of the moment.

I firmly believe that, as in the past, we are up to the task.

Comrades and Friends,

It is fitting that, as we celebrate the life of Oliver Tambo, we reflect on what his legacy means for the South Africa which we are seeking to build.

It is exactly 40 years since OR Tambo addressed our combatants in Angola on the challenges of seizing power.

He warned of the difficulties of meeting the expectations of the masses.

Above all, he said, avoid repeating the mistakes of the enemy.

As we gather here at this moment in the history of our revolution, 23 years after seizing power in a democratic election, we are bound to reflect on those words.

For we are in danger of repeating the mistakes of the enemy.

There are signs that we may not have learnt the lessons of history.

There are signs that we may have taken for granted that our revolutionary movement would never succumb to the corrosive currents of political power.

In considering the state of our country and our movement, we should acknowledge that there is much to be concerned about.

In doing so, we should not surrender to the feverish narrative of the opposition forces, which seek to deny the outstanding achievements of the last two decades.

We cannot deny that the ANC, its Alliance partners and the people of this country have made profound progress in fundamentally changing South Africa for the better.

But as a revolutionary movement, we are bound also to recognise where we have made mistakes, where we have fallen short, where we have taken a wrong turn.

And as a revolutionary movement, we must correct our mistakes and return to the path that leads to the complete liberation of our people.

The enemy that we confronted in the struggle to defeat apartheid made the mistake of thinking that power was a substitute for justice.

It thought, incorrectly, that the might of the state was more powerful and enduring than the will of the people.

We need to scrupulously avoid making a similar mistake.

We occupy positions of responsibility solely at the behest of the people and solely to serve their interests.

The resources that we have to deploy, to manage and to account for, belong to the people and may only be used to improve their lives.

They may not be used to benefit ourselves or our friends.

The policies we adopt, the laws we enact, the regulations we enforce are solely intended to serve the needs of our people.

They are not meant to secure advantage for narrow interests or unduly benefit those that are well-connected.

We cannot accept in any manner, shape or form the notion that state entities are being used to divert contracts to particular individuals and families.

We cannot accept any such practices, because they stand in fundamental opposition to the values of the movement that Oliver Tambo led for three decades.

We cannot accept any such practices because they rob the poor and the marginalised not only of the resources that are due to them, but also of the better future that has been promised them.

The apartheid enemy had a callous disregard for the rights of the people and the responsibilities of a constitutional state.

For all their talk of law and order, the apartheid leaders undermined even their own draconian legislation when it served their needs.

Beyond the law, they had a covert apparatus that was a law unto itself, with little regard even for the courts of a discredited minority regime.

We must not make a similar mistake, thinking that the constitutional covenant on which our democratic nation is built can be readily changed to serve parochial interests.

Our Constitution must not be tampered with.

The institutions of our democracy must not be undermined.

We must view with concern suggestions that the constitutional mandate of institutions like the Reserve Bank should be summarily changed.

These are matters that must be approached deliberately, supported by evidence, buttressed by solid arguments, and widely canvassed.

They need to be approached with a comprehensive understanding of the contribution that such institutions make to the stability of our economy, and, hence, the contribution that such institutions make to our ability to fulfil our mandate for fundamental transformation.

We must equally be concerned about the development of a culture in which it is possible to burn down schools, destroy libraries and set fire to city halls to draw attention to a grievance.

It cannot be correct that schools are closed for weeks because of protests over a road.

We must build a society where those in power are responsive to the cries of the people.

We must build a society where those who have grievances raise their concerns without doing damage to their own interests and those of others.

Unlike the South Africa of old, we need to have mechanisms to manage conflict, mediate differences and address the concerns of the people.

The apartheid rulers made another fundamental mistake - they thought that their economy could survive the isolation of international sanctions.

As we know, their economy couldn't survive.

Instead, the final years of apartheid were characterised by dwindling investment, rising unemployment, a growing budget deficit and spiraling debt.

The apartheid rulers also made the mistake of thinking that an economy that effectively excluded the majority of the people could be sustainable.

Even now, two decades later, we are living with the legacy of this fundamentally skewed economic approach.

We should not make the mistake of thinking that we can grow a successful economy that creates jobs and opportunities for all without investment.

We operate in a global environment where we need to compete with other countries for capital, jobs and trading opportunities.

We need to develop an environment that is conducive to productive investment that creates jobs and advances the interests of our people.

We need to significantly increase the levels of investment in the country's economic and social infrastructure.

For that we need, among other things, access to affordable finance that does not consign future generations to permanent indebtedness.

That is why we need to care about things like investor confidence, sovereign credit ratings and competitiveness rankings.

But at the same time, we need to act with purpose and speed to fundamentally change the structure of our economy.

We must undo not only the concentration of economic power in the hands of white, mostly male, South Africans, but we must also end the dominance by just a few companies of critical sectors of the economy.

We must diversify our economy both in terms of who owns, controls and benefits from it, but also in terms of what it produces, manufactures and exports.

We must, in short, undertake a process of radical economic transformation for shared and inclusive growth.

We must undertake a process of radical economic transformation that draws on all the resources and capabilities of our people.

And we must do so by bringing together all sectors of society into a social compact for growth and transformation.

Just as we fought to achieve consensus on the principles, values and progressive provisions of our Constitution, so too should we strive to build consensus on the economic path we must necessarily follow.

It is this imperative that should inform our approach to critical transformative instruments such as the Mining Charter.

If we are to succeed in transforming an industry like mining, we need to make sure that the process is inclusive and the outcomes broadly accepted.

We need to understand the economics of such an industry, its exposure to fluctuations in global demand, its dependence on capital investment and the significant delay between startup and the realisation of returns.

We also need to understand how, even now, it continues to resemble the apartheid mining model and how fundamentally it needs to change.

That is why it is critical to engage on the measures we need to take to transform the industry and ensure that it is able to grow, thrive and create jobs.

We should indeed pursue black ownership targets that are ambitious, particularly those that relate to communities and workers.

We need a mining charter that delivers real benefit to the people whose land is being mined and that those who work in those mines have a proper share in the fruits of their labour.

We know from other industries that it is possible to both pursue meaningful transformation and increase levels of investment in the industry.

Managed correctly, transformation should make industries like mining more stable, more sustainable and more attractive to investors.

We are hopeful that the engagements that are currently taking place on the issue of the Mining Charter will achieve such an outcome.

Comrades and Friends,

The SACP has been a consistent champion of real and fundamental radical economic transformation.

Not only has it provided intellectual rigour to policy debates within the Alliance and broader society, but it has also taken up popular campaigns to effect real change in people's lives.

The SACP has, for example, led the financial sector campaign to ensure that financial services are available and affordable for the poor.

Over many years, it has mobilised, organised and agitated for the transformation of one of the most vital, yet unrepresentative, sectors of our economy.

In doing so, it has made the critical point that the transformation of our economy - indeed, of our society - cannot be left to charters and codes and legislation alone.

Transformation requires the active involvement of the masses of our people.

They need to be engaged in campaigns and programmes that bring about change in the areas that most affect them.

Even in difficult times like these - where the ANC and the Alliance are facing numerous challenges - the SACP continues to provide steady and consistent leadership on important matters of principle.

Although not unaffected by the impact of incumbency on our movement, the SACP has remained steadfast in its commitment to the values of the revolutionary Alliance and vocal in condemning practices that undermine the struggle for a
national democratic society.

More than that, the SACP continues to provide us with the analytical tools that we need to understand the ideological and political currents within which we find ourselves today.

The relationship between the ANC and the SACP is not an accident of history, nor is it a natural and inevitable development. For, as we can see, similar relationships have not emerged in the course of liberation struggles in other parts of Africa.

Allow me to conclude with some more of the celebrated words of OR Tambo on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the SACP.

He went on to say:

"Ours is not merely a paper alliance, created at conference tables and formalised through the signing of documents and representing only an agreement of leaders. Our alliance is a living organism that has grown out of struggle... It has been reinforced by a common determination to destroy the enemy and by our shared belief in the certainty of victory."

Tonight, as we celebrate and salute the SACP, we can confirm that the words of Oliver Tambo still ring true.

We will have difficulties as well as triumphs along our path.

But we will always be bound together by our shared belief in the certainty of victory.

I thank you.