DA leader Tony Leon, who was also in Mitchell’s Plain, said that at this stage in South Africa, it was “something of a triumph” that his MPs had escaped unscathed.
I guess being able to walk through townships without getting chairs thrown at them is making some progress. Next milestone: walking through Gugulethu and only encountering mild verbal abuse.
Baby steps Tony, baby steps.
Sometimes I wonder why government continues to pass some laws that are just blatantly, obviously stupid. The newest stupid law to be put in place is the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act(RICA), which legislates that every single active cell phone SIM card must be registered, with the SIM card owner’s address details stored by the cellphone network companies. If enforced it is going to have serious consequences for millions of South Africans.
It is estimated South Africa has about 33 million cellphone users. The cell companies claim that 66% of these are prepaid customers but I wouldn’t be suprised if the number is closer to 80%.
Thanks to Telkom not covering many poor or rural areas (which by the way is in contranvention of their license terms but don’t expect it to be taken away anytime soon) cellphones are prevalent in townships and informal settlements. Large portions of South Africans (15 million according to Vodacom) have no street address (required for registration) and naturally a large chunk of these people live in these aforementioned areas. I would alo wager that close to 100% of the cellphones used in these areas are prepaid.
With the Department of Communications threatening to charge cellphone companies R100 000 a day for not being in compliance with RICA, which will be close to impossible in the one year given to do so given that close to 10 000 people need to be registere per hour, cellphone companies will have to choose between paying a minimum of R36 million in fines a year or cutting off customers or a portion of customers (perhaps those who don’t spend enough money per month making calls) who are not registered. The result of all of this is that millions of South Africans will potentially lose their only means of telecommunications, a terrible prospect for job seekers and those who work in the informal sector who depend on it.
The part which makes this worse is that the justification for RICA is to fight crime by making it easier to track down criminals. Except that because the registration process is so easy to workaround (fake ID documents, fake billing details, getting someone else to buy SIM card for you etc etc the list goes on and on) this law if enacted will bring only a handful of criminals (and the stupid ones at that who couldn’t figure out how to get around registration) to justice while the cost on millions of South Africans will be enormous.
Stop this law.
Yeah riiiiiiiiiiight. Although he says straight afterward:
Motlanthe said “succession” was never spoken of within the ANC.
In the ANC we speak of election of national leadership.
Ah I see, succesion and the election of national leadership are two totally different things. Got confused there for a minute.
It’s also interesting to note that when things were not looking to good for Zuma (after he’d been charged with rape) the SACP/COSATU were considering putting their support behind Motlanthe instead of Zuma. Wonder if they still feel that way about him.
The ANC have decided to defer the debate over succession to next year. The headline though might be more accurate if it read ‘ANC won’t debate Mbeki succession (publicly) this year’ because you know they’re still doing it in private. I can’t help but feel this is a little bit of a stall tactic by Mbeki to give himself some breathing room after the media beatdown the SACP/COSATU gave him last week, and Zuma supporters might in fact take this as an opportunity to become even more vocal about JZ taking the top spot.
That will mean the only name being punted for the presidency for the next 6 months will be Zuma drowning out any other potential challengers will have to keep quiet because it’s supposedly off limits. For another candidate to come into the debate after 6 months of non stop “Zuma For President” chanting is going to be pretty tough.And totally off topic check out this quote from the article:
The ANC will at a conference late next year elect a new leader, who may become South Africa’s next president should the party win elections scheduled for 2009.
Well I guess all this infighting will only be an issue if the ANC win in the next election. I think they have a fighting chance.
The apartheid government was not free of corruption, but it was hidden from the public eye, says a report into grand corruption under the Nationalist Party government.
You know I didn’t need a 103 page report to tell me that.
Reports from the ANC NEC meeting over the weekend have Thabo Mbeki claiming that “group of people” are trying to topple him from power.
Unfortunately from Mbeki his claims might not be taken so seriously this time, considering his previous claims of ANC members (specifically Tokyo Sexwale and Cyril Ramaphosa) trying to do the same thing. Those accusations hastened Sexwale and Ramaphosa’s exit from active politics so who knows if Mbeki is trying to do the same to Zuma.
It’s just not Thabo Mbeki’s week is it? He’s facing an uprising within the ANC at home and it seems he might be facing another embarassment, this time abroad. It has become clear that the ‘quiet diplomacy’ with Zimbabwe that the Mbeki administration has pursued has been something of a failure.
For Mbeki, who has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to resolve disputes outside SA’s borders, this has got to sting. First of all the ‘quiet diplomacy’ approach has been criticised from the beginning by many but government persisted that they were doing the right thing. Secondly it’s a failure right on our doorstop and a failure that has meant 2 million Zimbabwean refugees in the country adding to the pressure on social services especially in urban areas. Thirdly it’s a failure for Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosasana Dlamini-Zuma, who has bascially become invisible in her role and seemingly ceded most of her duties to Mbeki. Considering that she is considered by some as a contender for president (especially with Mbeki’s ‘woman president’ quote) a big foul up like this will reduce her standing.
I’m not sure what Mbeki can do now. Coming out vocally against Robert Mugabe at this point in time is too little too late. All he can hope for at the moment is for Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF to take Mugabe out of power.
With the Zuma rape acquittal the supporters of Zuma have been going on the attack against Mbeki either threatening to leave the tripartite alliance or accusing him of becoming more and more dictator like. Now COSATU are in a way correct. Mbeki is an authoritarian, and he always has been. However COSATU had no complaints when Mbeki was making legislation that they agreed with.
I have also noticed that the Zuma supporters seem to have forgotten the upcoming Zuma corruption trial. To me this was always the primary concern with Zuma. The nature of his relationship with Schabir Shaik, the fact that Shaik paid an abnormal amount of his expenses, is highly disturbing. Similarily the ongoing investigation into Brett Kebble’s empire of financial fraud must be making the ANCYL extremely nervous.
That being said in the meantime Mbeki needs to try and get some focus off Zuma. There’s a rumour that he will use the ANC NEC to do this, exactly how I don’t know. The idea that he will ‘augment his power’ is a bit wierd considering Mbeki wields plenty of power already. In terms of succession he seems to have already backtracked on this ‘woman president’ quote, now claiming that SA is ready for a female president should one be elected. Hopefully Mbeki will put his weight behind someone. It should be noted that before Mbeki came into power Mandela considered Cyril Ramaphosa to be his heir apparent but was convinced to put his endorsement on Mbeki. It might help Mbeki to do that as well.
The abuse of the right of freedom of expression should be “fearlessly resisted”, Yengeni said during debate on the communications budget in the National Assembly.
Could we send Mrs Yengeni on a quick crasher course on the Constitution? If speech is not ‘hate speech’ (which our Constituion limits, something I disagree with) then, by the very definition of what a right is, there can be no such thing as ‘abuse’ of it.
Communications Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri is expected to introduce measures to increase competition in the telecoms market in her budget speech on Thursday.
If there was any justice in this world directly after announcing LLU and access to the SAT-3 undersea cable for other telcos, Ivy will be summarily fired by President Mbeki.
Update: Okay there’s some light at the end of the tunnel. LLU is going to be discussed as well as better access to SAT-3. Here’s a thread on the speech at MyADSL. She should still be fired though and quick before she actually takes credit for any of this instead of the fact that she was basically forced to do this thanks to constant public outcry.