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Archive for the ‘Cape Land of South Africa’ Category

Nigeria’s leader in South Africa after attacks on foreigners

October 03, 2019

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — South Africa’s president on Thursday said “early warning mechanisms” will be put in place to avoid the kind of deadly attacks on foreigners that angered many African countries and led to an extraordinary airlift of Nigerians, while Nigeria’s visiting leader again condemned such violence as “unacceptable.”

What originally was planned as a business meeting between Africa’s two largest economies turned into talks by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on how to calm the unrest that has erupted regularly in South Africa in recent years.

South Africa has been making efforts to mend ties with Nigeria and others after its government faced criticism for not explicitly speaking out against xenophobia at first but instead framing the violence as crime. Ramaphosa on Thursday again stressed the need for immigrants to obey local laws but called the xenophobia “regrettable.”

More than 12 people were killed and more than 700 arrested after bands of South Africans in Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, launched attacks against foreign-owned shops and stalls, looting and burning the small businesses and attacking some shopkeepers.

Nigeria’s foreign minister called the attacks “sickening” and the government recalled its high commissioner to South Africa. South Africa temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria, citing concerns over staff safety. In Nigeria’s megacity Lagos, operations of South African telecommunications giant MTN were targeted in retaliatory attacks.

South Africa’s president now says his government is “totally committed” against attacks on foreign nationals. He acknowledges frustration about the country’s high unemployment and sluggish economy but has told countrymen not to take it out on foreigners.

It was not immediately clear how the “early warning mechanisms” to avoid further unrest would work between South Africa and Nigeria. Buhari said police and intelligence forces in both countries should be alert to avoid further violence.

The periodic attacks against Nigerians and citizens of other African nations include accusations by South Africans that foreigners are peddling illegal drugs or taking jobs. The attacks on Nigerians led some in Nigeria to call for the closure of South African companies doing business in the West African powerhouse _ a move that would create instant pain for a bilateral relationship that saw more than $3.3 billion in trade in 2018.

“Relations between our two countries are very strong and we want to welcome more businesses from Nigeria to come here,” Ramaphosa said. He noted that Africa’s population should double to 2.5 billion people by 2050, calling the continent “the next great growth market.”

The violence against foreigners in South Africa is in sharp contrast to the hospitality that other African nations showed to black South Africans during their long fight against the harsh system of white minority rule known as apartheid, which ended in 1994.

“We will not forget how Nigeria spearheaded the call for political and economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa following the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960, which left many unarmed demonstrators dead,” Ramaphosa said Thursday evening. “Without Nigerian support, our freedom would have come at a much greater cost.”

South Africa leader in national speech looks toward election

February 07, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address said Thursday the country had begun to recover from “a period of uncertainty and a loss of confidence and trust” under his scandal-ridden successor.

His speech to parliament comes three months before national elections that are seen by many as a referendum on his ruling African National Congress party. Ramaphosa, who came to power a year ago after former President Jacob Zuma was ousted by the ANC, has promised to revive South Africa’s flagging economy and tackle deep-seated corruption.

He said that in 2019 his government would focus on five key tasks: speeding up inclusive growth, improving the education system, improving the lives of poor South Africans, stepping up the fight against corruption and strengthening the state.

This year, the 25th year since the end of white minority rule, South Africa should reflect on “whether we have built a society in which all South Africans, equally and without exception, enjoy their inalienable rights to life, liberty and dignity,” he told lawmakers.

After he took office, South Africans experienced a rare wave of optimism, sometimes referred to as “Ramaphoria,” following an era of bruising national politics but many have once again grown weary of the nation’s rampant unemployment, crime and corruption.

The party has faced pressure over land reform as one way to right deep inequities that still exist a quarter-century after the end of apartheid. Ramaphosa in his speech said his government supported the constitutional review process now underway to “unambiguously set out provisions for expropriation of land without compensation” in order to quicken the pace of reform.

He said the state has already identified state-owned land that will be released to create housing in urban and semi-urban areas. The disillusionment among many South Africans with the ANC may be a crucial factor in the elections in May.

“We need to recognize that things are getting progressively worse for us, and we have to acknowledge that the reason they’re getting worse is the ANC,” Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, said in his “alternate” State of the Nation address.

The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters, a small but influential opposition party that has disrupted the speech in past years, threatened to interrupt the address again unless Ramaphosa addressed a political donation he received from a company embroiled in a corruption scandal.

South Africa rejects Saudi, UAE pressure to boycott Qatar

July 21, 2018

South Africa has rejected Saudi and UAE pressure to severe relations with Qatar, Al-Khaleej Online reported Pretoria’s envoy to Doha saying.

During a celebration to remember South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela in Doha on Wednesday, Faizel Moosa said that his country rejected such pressure “because it was against the values that Mandela fought for – not to interfere in the others’ internal affairs.”

“Qatari-South African relations are developing continuously,” Moosa said at the event. Commercial exchange between the two countries rose to 70 per cent after the siege imposed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt in June last year, and there would be more mutual investments, he added.

A new station is being built in South Africa to allow for the delivery of Qatar gas, and businessmen from the small Gulf state are investing in South Africa.

He went on to hail Qatar’s role in Africa which has increased following the Emir of Qatar’s recent tour of the region.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180721-south-africa-rejects-saudi-uae-pressure-to-boycott-qatar/.

South African police kill man after fatal mosque attack

June 14, 2018

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A man fatally stabbed two people on Thursday and wounded several others at a mosque near Cape Town before police shot and killed the attacker, authorities said. The assailant, believed to be in his thirties, charged police who had tried to persuade him to surrender after the attack in Malmesbury in Western Cape province, police said.

“He ignored the calls and tried to attack police. He was shot and killed in the process,” said a statement from police, who did not immediately comment on a possible motive for the attack. A man said his father had been sleeping in the Malmesbury mosque when he was killed just ahead of the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Suad Bassa, son of Ismail Bassa, said in an interview with the News24 outlet that the attacker also injured his brother when they confronted him. “It’s sad, but Allah has taken him away in the place that he loved the most,” Suad Bassa said.

News24 video footage showed the body of the attacker lying in an open area cordoned off by police tape. On May 10, assailants killed one person and injured two others in a similar attack on a mosque in the eastern town of Verulam, near Durban. No arrests have been made.

South Africa’s Muslim Judicial Council said it was “shocked to its core” by the attack in Malmesbury and that its president and his deputies were heading to the mosque. “We do not have any further details as yet but we urge the community not to jump to any conclusions until clarity can be given,” the council said.

The Democratic Alliance, an opposition party that runs Western Cape province, condemned the attack and said South Africans have the right to religious freedom. “An attack on people while they worship is a direct attack on the constitution and the freedoms we enjoy in this country,” the party said.

Ex-South Africa leader’s corruption case adjourns until June

April 06, 2018

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) — Former South African president Jacob Zuma sat in the dock of a packed courtroom on Friday to face corruption charges in a long-running case that fueled the public anger that finally forced him from power.

Zuma, 75, appeared relaxed during the brief hearing during which the case was adjourned until June 8. He later emerged from the courthouse in the coastal city of Durban to address a large crowd of supporters, many sporting regalia of the ruling African National Congress party.

The charges are politically motivated, Zuma said. The ruling party leadership had instructed Zuma to resign in February after a leadership crisis that destabilized the ANC, which was already weakened by other scandals during Zuma’s presidency.

At the hearing, Judge Themba Sishi said Zuma was free “on warning.” Zuma supporters gathered near the courthouse to declare that the former leader is not guilty of fraud, racketeering and money laundering. Durban is in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“Hands off Zuma,” they chanted. The corruption charges were recently reinstated after being thrown out nearly a decade ago and relate to an arms deal in the 1990s, when Zuma was deputy president. Zuma, who resigned Feb. 14, says he has not done anything wrong.

He was replaced as president by his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who has promised a robust campaign against corruption and also seeks to rebuild a ruling party whose moral stature has diminished since it took power at the end of white minority rule in 1994.

S Africa to give state burial to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

April 02, 2018

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, an anti-apartheid activist in her own right whose reputation was sullied by scandal, has died. She was 81. Madikizela-Mandela will be honored by a state funeral on April 14, preceded by an official memorial service on April 11, said President Cyril Ramaphosa after visiting her home in Johannesburg’s Soweto township Monday evening.

Ramaphosa described Madikizela-Mandela in a televised tribute as a “champion of justice and equality” and a “voice for the voiceless.” The woman many South Africans have described as the “Mother of the Nation” and a champion of the black majority, died “surrounded by her family and loved ones,” according to a statement released by Madikizela-Mandela’s family.

Madikizela-Mandela was the second of Mandela’s three wives, married to him from 1958 to 1996. Mandela, who died in 2013, was imprisoned throughout most of their marriage, and Madikizela-Mandela’s own activism against white minority rule led to her being jailed for months and placed under house arrest for years.

“She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one of its most recognizable faces,” the family said.

However, Madikizela-Mandela’s political activism was marred by her conviction in 1991 for kidnapping and assault, for which she was fined. She faced these allegations again during the 1997 hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a panel that investigated apartheid-era crimes.

As a parliamentarian after South Africa’s first all-race elections, she was convicted of fraud. Still, Madikizela-Mandela remained a venerated figure in the ruling African National Congress, which has led South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994.

She continued to tell the party “exactly what is wrong and what is right at any time,” said senior ANC leader Gwede Mantashe. The ANC, which was the main movement against apartheid, had lost popularity in recent years in part because of scandals linked to former President Jacob Zuma, who resigned in February.

Nobel laureate and former archbishop Desmond Tutu, a periodic critic of the ruling party, noted her passing by describing Madikizela-Mandela as “a defining symbol” of the fight against apartheid. “She refused to be bowed by the imprisonment of her husband, the perpetual harassment of her family by security forces, detentions, bannings and banishment,” Tutu said. “Her courageous defiance was deeply inspirational to me, and to generations of activists.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Madikizela-Mandela “a leading figure at the forefront of the fight against apartheid in South Africa,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. Guterres said “she was a strong and fearless voice in the struggle for equal rights and will be remembered as a symbol of resistance,” Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.

Madikizela-Mandela had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year, according to her family. She had back surgery a year ago. After hearing of her death, some people gathered Monday evening outside Madikizela-Mandela’s home in the Soweto area of Johannesburg to sing tributes. She had attended Easter services in Soweto over the long weekend.

The family said it will release details of her memorial and funeral services when they are finalized. Madikizela-Mandela’s story was told in biographies and novels as well the Hollywood movie “Winnie,” starring Oscar-winning actress and singer Jennifer Hudson.

The young Winnie grew up in what is now Eastern Cape province and came to Johannesburg as the city’s first black female social worker. Her research into the high infant mortality rate in a black township, which she linked to poverty caused by racism, first sparked her interest in politics.

In 1957, she met Nelson Mandela, an up-and-coming lawyer and anti-apartheid activist 18 years her senior, and they married a year later. The first five turbulent years of their marriage saw Mandela going underground to build the armed struggle against apartheid, and finally to prison in 1963, while his wife gave birth to two daughters.

Madikizela-Mandela always was aware of the danger of being in the shadow of her husband’s all-encompassing personality. Even before they were separated by Nelson Mandela’s long stay in prison, she had become politicized, being jailed for two weeks while pregnant for participating in a women’s protest of apartheid restrictions on blacks.

The apartheid police later harassed her, sometimes dragging her from bed at night without giving her a chance to make arrangements for her daughters. In 1977, she was banished to a remote town, Brandfort, where neighbors were forbidden to speak to her. She was banned from meeting with more than one person at a time.

The woman who returned to Johannesburg in 1985 was much harder, more ruthless and bellicose, branded by the cruelty of apartheid and determined vengeance. In her book “100 Years of Struggle: Mandela’s ANC,” Heidi Holland suggested that Madikizela-Mandela was “perhaps driven half-mad by security police harassment.” In an infamous 1986 speech she threatened “no more peaceful protests.”

Instead, she endorsed the “necklacing” method of killing suspected informers and police with fuel-doused tires put around the neck and set alight. “Together hand-in-hand, with our boxes of matches and our necklaces, we shall liberate this country,” she said.

Madikizela-Mandela complained bitterly on a North American tour after she was forced to testify to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1997 that the commission never asked her about the treatment she suffered over 18 months in solitary confinement.

The Mandela marriage that survived decades of prison bars dissolved with a formal separation in 1992, two years after Nelson Mandela was released. “Their personal relationship broke down,” said George Bizos, a human rights lawyer who represented Nelson Mandela at the 1960s Rivonia trial that led to his long imprisonment.

“Nelson Mandela called two other senior members of the ANC after his release and he actually said, ‘I love her, we have differences, I don’t want to discuss them, please respect her,'” Bizos said. “And he shed tears to say that we have decided to separate. He loved her to the end.”

The couple divorced in 1996, two years after Mandela became president in South Africa’s first all-race elections, with Mandela accusing his wife of infidelity. As the mother of two of Mandela’s children, Madikizela-Mandela and her ex-husband appeared to rebuild a friendship in his final years.

After Mandela’s death, however, she became involved in disputes over his inheritance.

AP writer Edith M. Lederer contributed from the United Nations in New York.

South Africa’s ruling party finally turns against Zuma

February 14, 2018

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s ruling party on Tuesday disowned President Jacob Zuma after sticking with him through years of scandals, ordering him to resign in an attempt to resolve a leadership crisis that has disrupted government business in one of Africa’s biggest economies.

The announcement by the African National Congress did not immediately end the protracted turmoil in a party that was the main movement against white minority rule and has led South Africa since apartheid ended in 1994. If the politically isolated president defies the party’s order, the matter could go to parliament for a motion of no confidence that would further embarrass the party once led by Nelson Mandela.

Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary-general, said he expected Zuma to reply to the directive on Wednesday. Another senior party official suggested that Zuma would be unwise to flout the edict of the party, which is eager to recover from internal disarray ahead of 2019 elections.

“A disciplined cadre of the ANC, you are given a chance to resign on your own, but if you lack discipline you will resist,” party chairman Gwede Mantashe said at a provincial rally, according to South African media.

“Once you resist, we are going to let you be thrown out through the vote of no confidence because you disrespect the organization and you disobey it, therefore we are going to let you be devoured by the vultures,” Mantashe said.

Business leaders welcomed the ANC’s decision to recall Zuma, saying the country needs to focus on economic growth and address social problems such as unemployment. ANC leaders must act “swiftly, but constitutionally” to remove Zuma so the “work of recovering our future, which was imperiled by his ruinous regime — characterized by incompetence, corruption, state capture and low economic growth — can begin in earnest,” said Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa, a group that promotes development.

“State capture” is a term used in South Africa to describe the alleged looting of state enterprises by associates of Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing. A judicial commission is about to start a probe of those allegations. Separately, Zuma could face corruption charges tied to an arms deal two decades ago.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said Tuesday that it had been informed by the chief prosecutor that his team will provide its recommendation on Feb. 23 about whether to prosecute Zuma on the old charges. The charges had been thrown out but the opposition fought successfully to get them reinstated.

In another scandal, South Africa’s top court ruled in 2016 that Zuma violated the constitution following an investigation of multi-million-dollar upgrades to his private home using state money. “We are determined to restore the integrity of the public institutions, create political stability and urgent economic recovery,” said Magashule, once a staunch supporter of Zuma.

The ANC secretary-general spoke respectfully of Zuma, saying he had “not been found guilty by any court of law” and that the decision to recall him was not taken because he had done “anything wrong.” Zuma had agreed to resign and wanted to stay in office for several more months, but the national executive committee decided at a 13-hour meeting that he had to leave at once, Magashule said.

The ANC said it wants Zuma to be replaced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was elected party leader in December and has vowed to fight corruption. Zuma, who took office in 2009 and is in his second five-year term, has not made any public appearances in recent days.

Government leaders hope the standoff can be resolved ahead of the unveiling of the national budget in parliament on Feb. 21, which would go some way toward reassuring investors that the country is getting back on track. Zuma did not give the state of the nation address last week because of the political crisis, and a regular Cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed.

A motion of no confidence sponsored by an opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, has been scheduled for Feb. 22 in parliament. Opposition parties want the vote moved up to this week and then want parliament to be dissolved so that early elections can be held.

Zuma has survived similar motions in the past, but ruling party members now see him as a political liability ahead of next year’s elections and likely would vote against him on the orders of the party leadership.

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