Here’s the interview with Jacob Zuma that we carried in the Sunday Times today:
President Jacob Zuma’s presidency is facing major challenges, including the public sector strike and growing dissatisfaction among some of those who helped place him in power. Ray Hartley and S’thembiso Msomi spoke to him at his office in Tuynhuys
RAY HARTLEY: The climate around the strike has been one of heightened rhetoric and there have been some exceptionally strong statements. Are you aware of the statements that Zwelinzima Vavi made about the “predator government” – that we are being run by “corrupt and demagogic political hyenas”?
JACOB ZUMA: The right for workers to strike is very important and we respect that.
The problem is then in the conduct of the striking people. I think that is where the problem arises of strong statements.
In old democracies, there are frequent strikes and it is not a big deal because they are purely industrial strikes. I think it important to accept that ours tend to be political and that is why the statements become very aggressive, very political.
It is an issue that the unions themselves have got to look at because of the changed circumstances from the struggle to now. How do you conduct a strike from that point of view – lest you are looked at as part of the opposition one way or the other?
The other element which I think is very important is: how do the striking workers respect the rights of other sectors or other citizens of the country? Do I as a citizen have no right to go to the hospital and get treatment – because the workers are striking?
Do we, when we strike, have to allow a strike to become violent – not just violent but actually have the lives of people being taken away? Read More…
POLICE GUILTY OF DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL
The prosecuting authorities in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, have confirmed that they will not prosecute our journalist, Mzilikazi wa Afrika, due to lack of evidence for his so-called crime of “fraud”. Yet the police are refusing to release him from custody in flagrant violation of the spirit of the law. This is nothing less than the detention without trial of a journalist.
This confirms our suspicion that the heavy-handed operation against Mzilikazi was, from the outset, designed to intimidate him and the Sunday Times and had no serious legal purpose.
Mzilikazi’s legal representatives will tonight seek an urgent interdict in the High Court in Nelspruit to have him released from jail.
We are extremely concerned about the well-being of a second “suspect” in this case who was arrested more than 48 hours ago, but has not been brought to trial.
We call on President Jacob Zuma to instruct the Commissioner of Police, Bheki Cele, to call a halt to this campaign of intimidation and to release Mzilikazi as this abuse of justice is causing deep embarrassment to this country.
He must reassure the nation that never again will the law enforcement agencies of this democratic nation be used to intimidate journalists.
Editor: Sunday Times
This weekend the Sunday Times reported how supporters of the ANC Youth League’s Julius Malema had begun a campaign against the promiscuity of President Jacob Zuma under the guise of an anti-Aids slogan “one girlfriend, one boyfriend”. More than one youth league leader spoke of the need for leaders who lived this message.
There can be no doubting that the league has decided it wants Zuma to be replaced as ANC leader at the 2012 conference, if not before.
But the decision to open up a new front against Zuma while still fighting in the trenches with the left, might be a mistake. Whoever they choose as a candidate to stand against Zuma will not have the backing of Cosatu, the SACP or those loyal to Zuma. That doesn’t leave very many standing.
And, you can be sure, Zuma will smile on the outside and be the reconciler, but the knife work will begin to diminish Malema’s influence, perhaps even remove him entirely from the organisation.
Malema may be the only one making the running in the party, but he does not yet have enough momentum to stand alone against the many enemies he is generating.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON SAPA-PR-WIRE
OUTCOME OF THE ANC NATIONAL DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE ON THE HEARING OF COMRADE JULIUS MALEMA
On the 3 and 11 May 2010 the National Disciplinary Committee (NDC) of the ANC convened to consider charges against comrade Julius Malema (the Respondent). The charges had been brought by the National Officials of the African National Congress (the Complainant).
On 3 May 2010, the NDC heard and ruled on procedural matters presented on behalf of the Respondent.
The final NDC panel that heard the case consisted of cdes Derek Hanekom (chairperson), Ayanda Dlodlo and FÈbÈ Potgieter-Gqubule. Read More…
THE murder of South Africa’s king of sleaze, Lolly Jackson, has not so much been mourned as observed with bemusement by all but his closest friends and relatives.
But we should not shrug off this killing, which has once more opened a window onto the deadly underworld with which we are forced to share our country.
Brett Kebble and the diamond-dealer, Hazel Crane, were earlier victims of the underworld.
The man sought in connection with shooting Jackson is one “George Smith” who may in fact be Cypriot Georgianos Louka.
He was apparently issued with a South African identity document which says he was born in this country.
There are other shady figures who inhabit this underworld, including one Radovan Krejcir, described as a “Czech fugitive”.
That such figures are able to assume South African identities and live normal lives without threat of arrest despite their shady activities speaks volumes about the extent to which our criminal justice system is failing to protect us.
For one thing, it suggests that there is a corruption at our Home Affairs department and that it is possible for the most nefarious of characters to launder their identities.
For another, it suggests that our police are happy to allow these sorts of thugs to co-exist with the rest of us in suburbia without raising a finger.
More than that, Smith is said to have called Gauteng’s crime intelligence boss, Joey Mabasa, to tell him he had shot Jackson.
Why a character of such obvious low morals has a hot line to a senior police commissioner is concerning.
But then again, a man accused of murdering Kebble and dealing in drugs, Glen Aglioti had a hot line to the former police commissioner, Jackie Selebi, suggesting that this is “how things work” in this country.
If there are legal loopholes which allow fugitives from justice to reside in this country with impunity, successive post-apartheid governments have, mysteriously, failed to close them.
This is why fugitive from justice, Vito Palazzolo, remains at large.
Palazzolo fled to South Africa while on 36-hour parole from a Swiss jail in 1986. The laws of the Ciskei homeland were amended to allow him residence and he has remained a free man in South Africa ever since.
He would not have managed to live on these shores without the collusion – open or otherwise – of the then National Party government and successive ANC governments.
Although there are now half-hearted attempts to return him to Italy, he appears to be laughing these off and – with rich irony – claiming that Italian prosecutors are reviving apartheid era ghosts to persecute him.
Palazzolo, Aglioti, Louka and Krejcir inhabit various rungs of the underworld ladder, but they have one thing in common: They provide evidence of how easy it is to manipulate the South African government into adopting a lenient approach to their disgusting deeds.
The rot is very deep indeed.
THE Cabinet – which serves at the pleasure of president Jacob Zuma – has (would you believe it!) decided that he will not be sanctioned for failing to declare his interests on time.
According to government spokesman Themba Maseko, Zuma was not to blame. No, it was pesky “anomalies” in the executive code of ethics which caused the delay. Apparently these “anomolies” only affected Zuma and not his predecessors who filed their interests on time.
“The presidency and the minister of justice and constitutional development will review the code to address the gaps that have been identified in the public protector’s report,” he said.
This essentially means that Zuma can do what he likes because any finding against him by the Public Protector will go to Cabinet where it will be quashed. Not good.
JACOB Zuma has finally said what his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki ought to have said a long time ago: You can’t blame the lack of services and facilities on apartheid some 16 years into democracy.
In an under-reported statement to his director generals on Friday, Zuma said: “After two decades we will not be able to make an excuse if we do not deliver faster change in the lives of our people.”
He went on to say: “We will not be able to blame apartheid if villages still have no water, no electricity, no roads. We will not be able to blame anyone else if children still study under trees, if houses and schools are falling apart.”
I happen to believe that apartheid must still shoulder the blame for creating a society so vastly unequal that even the proper use of resources over the last 16 years would not have levelled the playing field.
But that is not the point. The point is to take responsibility and that is what Zuma has done. Government must stand up and account for failures in delivery. And, he also said, strong action must be taken against those who undermine the state’s ability to deliver with inefficiency and corruption.
May 3 has been set as the date that Julius Malema will face an ANC “disciplinary hearing” chaired by deputy minister of science and technology
Deputy Agriculture Minister, Derek Hanekom. But what will happen at these proceedings is as clear as mud.
The facts which are uncertain are:
1. Whether or not Malema has been charged
Malema has apparently been presented with a letter outlining charges, but the ANC’s deputy secretary-general, Thandi Modise has outlined a different process. According to her the disciplinary committee will merely investigate whether or not charges ought to be brought against Malema.
2. Whether or not the ANC leadership backs the hearing
The meeting between the ANC leadership and the Youth League to discuss the hearing was, by all accounts an odd affair. ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, believed to be the driving force behind the initiative to charge Malema left the meeting early to attend the graduation ceremony of one of his children. Surely the secretary general was in a position to foresee this clash and plan the meeting for a different time. Was he leaving early because he couldn’t stomach the back-peddling of his fellow leaders?
3. Why Hanekom was chosen to head up the disciplinary committee
Is it because Hanekom is a “boer” and therefore a credible person to try such a case? Or is it because Hanekom is sufficiently low down the political food chain for the outcome of his hearing to be ignored?
The ANC is in real danger of turning what could have been a short, sharp and decisive moment into a lengthy political circus which will create the impression that its leadership is too weak to directly confront a major problem.