By Tony | April 4, 2017
4 April 2017
COSATU calls on President Zuma to resign
The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU) the largest trade union federation in South Africa and part of tripartite alliance with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP) has post the cabinet reshuffle which was announced on 30 March and on which it was not consulted called on President Zuma to step down.
“COSATU no longer believes that the president is the right person to unite and lead the movement, the Alliance and the country. We think that after all his undeniable contribution to both the movement and government, the time has arrived for him to step down and allow the country to be led forward by a new collective at a government level…
“We are currently experiencing a period of deep divisions within the ANC and we believe that the president’s lack of constructive engagement has added to such divisions, which impacts negatively to governance. He has also failed to deal with some of the most incompetent ministers in his cabinet, proving that this cabinet reshuffle was not based on merit but on political loyalty.”
For the full statement go to http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?ID=12610
The South African Communist Party (SACP) issued a strongly worded statement on 31 March on the cabinet reshuffle describing the President actions as reckless and the firing of competent Cabinet Ministers and the retention of incompetent ones as outrageous.
“The Political Bureau of the SACP met in Gauteng today in the context of the deep crisis into which the reckless actions of President Zuma have once more plunged our ANC-led movement, our hard-won democratic institutions, and our country in general.
The recall from an overseas trip of comrades Pravin Gordhan and Mcebisi Jonas while on a promotional tour in South Africa’s interests, and now the firing of these comrades and other well-performing ministers is more than regrettable. It is frankly outrageous, particularly while the worst performers in cabinet continue to enjoy presidential protection and even, in some cases, promotion.”
For the full statement go to http://www.sacp.org.za
By Tony | March 31, 2017
South Africa: President Zuma reshuffles cabinet, sacks Minister of Finance and his deputy.
31 March 2017
President Zuma has made many changes to his cabinet. It is a controversial reshuffle and the main focus is that he has dismissed the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan and his Deputy Mcebisi Jonas. The new Finance Minister is Malusi Gigaba who was the Home Affairs minister and prior to that Minister for Public Enterprise. Those supportive of President Zuma support the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan arguing he was a block on speeding up transformation of the economy so it delivered more and more quickly to the poor and disadvantaged in South Africa. However many others say Pravin Gordhan has been dismissed as he challenged waste and corruption and in particularly refused the treasury providing guarantees on loans in connection with a proposed $100 billion nuclear power programme and $624million leasing facility for South African Airways. They believe these are deals that those with strong connections to the President want to happen as they stand to benefit financially. Pravin Gordhan was known to be critical of the role and influence of the Gupta family on leading members of the government and ANC and some see his removal as strengthening their influence. The Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concern at the dismissal of Pravin Gordhan but confirmed he would not resign from the cabinet. The General Secretary of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe said they were informed but not consulted on the changes and it felt as if the list of the changes had been drawn up elsewhere. He expressed concern that Ministers who were performing well had been dismissed and some who had not been kept in the cabinet.
The cabinet reshuffle included many other changes with some ministers moving from one ministry to another.
The reshuffle exposes widening rifts in the government and the ANC. A number of prominent veterans of the ANC including Rivonia trialist and close friend of Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, who served more than 26 years in prison and died on 28 March have called on President Zuma to resign. A number of civil society groups including Save South Africa are planning marches and symbolic acts also calling on the President to step down.
The immediate impact of the cabinet reshuffle was to reduce the value of the rand on world markets and increase the cost of South Africa borrowing.
By Tony | March 28, 2017
28 March 2017
The death of Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, known to many as Kathy, has been announced. He was one of the group along with Nelson Mandela known as the Rivonia trialists who were put on trial in 1963/1964 with charges that if found guilty they could face the death penalty. They were found guilty but sentenced to life imprisonment. Their lawyers believed that “Kathy” had strong grounds to appeal and that he would be acquitted. However the accused had decided whatever the sentence they would not appeal and also the lawyers did say if “Kathy” appealed the state may be able to reopen the cases of others and seek the death penalty. Ahmed Kathrada spent over 26 years in prison, 18 of these years on Robben Island.
Ahmed Kathrada was last in London in January 2016 and he received the freedom of the City of London. He was a man of principle, integrity, courage with an unswerving commitment to democracy and overcoming racism. He served as Nelson Mandela’s parliamentary counsellor in the first democratic elected government and chaired the Robben Island Museum Council until 2006. He established the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation with the objective of deepening non-racialism, promoting the values, rights and principles enshrined in the Freedom Charter and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; and a non–racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa.
At Nelson Mandela’s funeral he said in a moving way tribute to his comrades who had died,” when Walter died (Walter Sisulu one his co-accused and the mentor of the group including Mandela) I lost a father with Nelson going I have lost a brother, I don’t know what to do.” In the last few years of his life he became increasingly critical of what was happening in the government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and was the first signature to a letter from ANC veterans to the leadership of the ANC calling for change.
There are now two surviving Rivonia trialists Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg.
Ahmed Kathrada born 21 August 1929 died 28 March 2017
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