Old Nats nodded wisely when Van der Mugabe banned the
toyi-toyi October 27, 2004
By John Scott
Robert Mugabe's government banned toyi-toying this week, old die-hard Nats
in South Africa nodded wisely and remarked: "He may be a swarte, but he's
not stupid. He realises that if you let people jump up and down one day, the
next day they want to run the country."
The opposition MDC had
applied in writing to hold a meeting in Bulawayo. The police said yes, so
long as there was no toyi-toying and the the meeting was held
That's just like the old days in South Africa. Many of the
meetings were banned outright, even if you weren't already a banned
organisation. But if permission was granted, the meeting had to be held
inside a hall. The government knew for a fact that the moment demonstrators
were let out, they would march and toyi-toyi, and destroy civilisation as we
"Any fool knows that toyi-toying is subversive," a police
captain once told me. Now Van der Mugabe (an honorary title conferred by a
friend from England) has decided it is even too dangerous to be allowed
indoors, let alone outside on public streets.
I asked Max
Solinga, my usual informant on official Zimbabwean policy, why toyi-toying
was so feared.
He explained: "Raising your feet high in an
aggressive manner is a threat to the state. You may be clasping all sorts of
missiles in your toes, ready to unleash them at the right moment. We could
have allowed them to toyi-toyi so long as they kept their shoes on, but not
many Zimbabweans can afford to buy shoes these days."
about the singing?" I asked.
"We don't mind them singing hymns,"
said Max, "but when they toyi-toyi they sing other inflammatory words such
as 'freedom to the people' when the people are already free, and get
confused when the MDC tells them they aren't."
I told Max that
toyi-toying really wasn't all that bad. I remembered how, in the early
1990s, once toyi-toying was officially allowed in the streets of Cape Town,
everybody was doing it. One lot of toyi-toyiers would come dancing up
Adderley Street in protest against council rent increases, only to be met by
another group in Wale Street jumping from one foot to another because of
poor pay in the provincial hospitals.
The city was alive with the
sound of "Hou jou sossie", a sort of general all-purpose chant that meant
A middle-class suburban association, Ratepayers in
Rebellion, even took lessons in toyi-toying to demonstrate their anger when
the rates went up. A man called Abdul "Baby" Babalanga showed little old
ladies, retired colonels and yuppies in cravats how to bob rhythmically up
and down, punch the air with their fists and sing "down with the council,
They said it was better than going to the gym.
One of these days, when Zimbabwe, too, is democratised, its citizens may
again have the right to dance down the streets, if only in
JOHANNESBURG - The
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has warned the South African
government to stop protecting President Mugabe and act to end the crisis in
ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chibhebhe told
journalists that while his organisation could not commandeer the South
African government, it wants it to "deal with its friends and not to protect
He said his organisation was appalled that some members
of the government had uttered statements in support of decision by the
government to deport the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions
Speaking at the COSATU headquarters in
Johannesburg, following yesterday's deportation of the South African labour
body's fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, Chibhebhe said it was time the
South African government realised that South Africa's liberation was
achieved through the assistance of people and organisations in the region
and the world.
"When people are crying for assistance, we must
assist. I don't know whether people want another Rwanda in Zimbabwe before
they can admit that we have a problem in Zimbabwe," said Chibhebhe in
apparent reference to President Thabo Mbeki and his government who have
promoted a policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Mugabe.
Zimbabweans and the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change have appealed to Mbeki to "deal" with Mugabe and make him create an
environment that is conducive to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in line
with SADC's principles and guidelines on polls.
said the ZCTU has been telling the world that there is no rule of law in
Zimbabwe and the deportation of the COSATU delegation vindicated the union's
A 13-member COSATU delegation flew into Zimbabwe on
Monday evening despite the declaration by Mugabe's government that the
mission was not welcome.
Their objective was to get first
hand information on the situation on Zimbabwe particularly the welfare of
Zimbabwe government authorities interrogated the
delegation at the airport for two hours before letting them in only to
deport them before they had even finished their first meeting their
They were bundled into a bus and
endured the long trip by road, only to be dumped at Beitbridge border post,
some 600 kilometres away.
Chibhebhe said the SADC region was
mourning the "way in which a rogue state had treated the COSATU
He condemned the deportation and said it was
barbaric and unAfrican for the Zimbabwe government to act in the manner it
He apologised to COSATU over the mishap in Zimbabwe saying
"it is an embarrassment to the people and workers that a government could
stoop so low."
"The world now knows what type of a person
Mugabe is. The ZCTU will not leave the issue lying low," he
Chibhebhe said although Zimbabwe attained independence in
1980, it was not yet free and the ZCTU would continue to engage COSATU
"until we free ourselves."
Zimbabwe's Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo described the COSATU delegation as working with Tony Blair and
well-known anti-Zimbabwe, pro-Western interests to effect regime change in
Zimbabwe. Chibhebhe dismissed Moyo's statement saying: "Dreaming is allowed
although not all dreams come true."
ROY Bennet, the Chimanimani
Member of Parliament (MP) was yesterday slapped with a 15-month jail term
for allegedly assaulting two Cabinet ministers during a parliamentary debate
in May this year.
Three months of his 15-month sentence were
unconditionally suspended. That means the MP would serve an effective 12
months in jail if Parliament approves the committees'
After the ruling, Bennet was given a day to
prepare his response which would be heard today by the Parliamentary
Allegations against Bennet, a member of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are that while
Parliament was debating an adverse report on the Stocktheft Amendment Bill
in May, Bennet attacked Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs and Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of
Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies.
Bennet on Tuesday
submitted for consideration documents on his Charleswood Estate in
Chimanimani and Delport Farm in Ruwa which were seized from the MDC MP by
the government under its controversial land reform
Bennet would have no recourse to appeal to the
country's courts because Parliament has independent judicial
Paul Mangwana, the Minister of Public Service, Labour
and Social Welfare, who chairs the committee had earlier said that during
his submissions, Bennett, who is one of only three white MPs in the House,
said he was being racially discriminated against.
said Bennet felt Mutasa and Chinamasa should also have been summoned to
defend their action, which he deemed contemptuous, before the Committee. But
the committee ruled that there was no breach of Bennet's constitutional
Other members of the committee are Joyce Mujuru, the
Minister of Water Resources and Rural Development, Chief Jonathan Mangwende,
Tendai Biti, the MDC MP for Harare East and Bulawayo North-East MP Professor
Welshman Ncube, who is the opposition party's secretary general.
Union members tell of 'ordeal' in Harare October 27 2004
Members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions'
delegation to Zimbabwe, who were thrown out of the country on Tuesday night,
have talked of their seven-hour ordeal at Harare's airport.
13-strong delegation, which went to Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission,
arrived back in South Africa on Wednesday after being deported.
Simon Boshielo, Cosatu's international affairs secretary and a member of the
delegation, said the Zimbabwean government kept them at the airport for
seven hours without food while they expected to be taken to their hotel in
"They (Zimbabwean police) attempted to beat us when we
asked for food and they told us that this is not South Africa. They told us
that we are not going to get food. They said in fact they want to take us
back to our country," Boshielo said.
He added that when they
arrived at Harare airport on Monday they were shown a letter from the
Zimbabwean government warning them not to talk to "organisations like
Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, the Crisis Coalition and churches" if
they wanted to remain in the country.
"The problem started when we
defied their rules and organised to talk to those organisations. Then we
were told that we will be taken back to our country by force. And we refused
to leave the country instead we demanded that they better arrest
"We demanded to meet with the government to explain to them but
it was fruitless. Later we were told that the cabinet has decided to take us
back to our country," Boshielo said.
He said that when they
were meeting the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that a large
contingent of police arrived and escorted them out of the building to a
"While were on the bus we were under the impression that we
were being taken to our hotel, only to find that we are being taken back to
South Africa. And we were dumped at the Beit Bridge border at 5am and it was
then that we took taxis to Pietersburg (Polokwane) Airport," Boshielo said.
England tour of Zimbabwe given green light by ECB Wed 27
October, 2004 17:31
LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) - The England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB) has given the green light to England's tour of Zimbabwe
next month after expressing satisfaction with safety and security measures
in the troubled African country.
ECB chairman David Morgan said in a
statement the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and also the British Embassy
in the Zimbabwe capital Harare, would help monitor the on-going situation
until the end of the tour.
"We have satisfied ourselves that appropriate
safety and security measures will be in place to protect the England touring
party and officials," Morgan said on Wednesday.
"We are also
concerned about the safety and security of travelling supporters and the
media, and we concluded that Zimbabwe will provide a safe environment
provided that they adhere to the Government's specific travel
England are scheduled to play five one-day internationals
against Zimbabwe in November.
The ECB had been briefed on the
security situation in Zimbabwe by ECB director of operations John Carr and
Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the Professional Cricketers'
Association, who have just returned from the country.
forfeited their 2003 World Cup match against Zimbabwe in Harare because of
concerns over player safety, had come under pressure to withdraw from the
tour on moral grounds.
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Oct 2004 (IRIN) - Children receiving food aid are often stigmatised and
maltreated by guardians, according to the findings of a pilot project in
Zimbabwe to assess the impact of food interventions on children.
project was prompted by a lack of "humanitarian accountability to
beneficiaries" and the fact that feedback from children had never been
considered in the significant number of interventions taking place in
Zimbabwe, said Chris McIvor of the UK-Based NGO, Save the Children, which
conducted the study.
"One of the recommendations of the Inter-Agency
Standing Committee (IASC) Task Force on Protection from Sexual Exploitation
and Abuse in Humanitarian Crises, established in March 2002, was that
agencies must be more accountable to beneficiary population, including
children," he explained. The IASC Task Force was created after allegations
of sexual exploitation and abuse of refugees in West Africa.
Children set up seven children's feedback committees earlier this year in
Mutorashanga in the Zvimba district of Mashonaland West province, where the
NGO has been working for the last four years.
Fifty children were trained
in information gathering to provide feedback, complaints and suggestions
from other children to an independent ombudsperson, who provided the core
point of contact between the committees and the programme.
ombudsperson in turn reported to a board comprising a representative each
from government, the organisation's principal donor, Save the Children and
another humanitarian agency, which responded to the feedback. The board also
had the mandate to redirect food aid operations in response to the
The project provided information of a "nature and
quality that may not have been possible through normal post-distribution
monitoring visits conducted by international NGOs," McIvor
The board learnt that children often had to miss school to
access food aid, which led to food aid agencies visiting areas on public
holidays or at times convenient to the children, he
"Marginalisation of orphans by caregivers prioritising their own
children at mealtimes," has now prompted "organisations to monitor more
closely what happens to food after it is collected from distribution
points," McIvor noted.
Zimbabwe has a large number of child-headed
households as a result of the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS; such families are
marginalised in community structures, often leading to their exclusion as
beneficiaries from programmes, Save the Children learnt.
child-headed households were included in programmes, they often did not have
access to information on their entitlements, roles and responsibilities.
"Children indicated that they were unwilling to make complaints either
within the community or to agency staff, for fear that food aid might be
terminated," McIvor said.
Cases of abuse, including sexual exploitation,
physical punishment, refusal to support orphans' attendance at school and
excessive child labour were also reported to the board. "These generally
relate to the vulnerability of children under the care of step-parents or
other guardians," he added.
Following the success of the pilot project,
Save the Children intends to promote the formation of children feedback
committees to cover a variety of interventions, including water and
sanitation programmes, health delivery projects, and orphan care and support
Zimbabwe exiles find little joy in
Australia October 28, 2004
Zimbabwean exiles Sean Ervine and Andy
Blignaut have quickly discovered that international reputations count for
little in Australian cricket. They were considered the sport's future in the
troubled African nation before an ugly dispute this year with the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union (ZCU) resulted in them taking their cricketing careers
Now they can't make a state team in Australia.
months ago Ervine claimed the scalps of Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting, Darren
Lehmann and Steve Waugh and made a half century in a Test match at the WACA
This week he is playing for the WA second XI at Perth's Fletcher
Park and is in a four-way battle with fellow WA all-rounders Peter
Worthington, Darren Wates and Kade Harvey for one spot.
"A lot of
people are expecting a lot out of me, but I have to get used to the
conditions and competing against players I don't know," Ervine said.
have had to take a few steps back and start all over again and have gone
from playing international cricket to grade cricket but that is a step I
have to take.
"At least I will value my spot." Part of the reason
Ervine shifted to Perth was to live with partner Melissa Marsh, daughter of
former Australian vice-captain Geoff Marsh.
But WA coach Wayne Clark was
blunt about his prospects.
"There are people in front of him," said
"He needs to make a statement, because he is not going to walk
into the team."
Clark said matches in the domestic competition were
stronger than some Test cricket being played in the world.
"He is not
going to come in and just dominate and Andy Flower found that out last
summer," Clark said.
The highly-rated Flower barely blossomed for South
Australia last summer scoring 342 runs at just 24.43 in seven Pura Cup
It was a meagre return for the 2002 Wisden Cricketer of the Year
who averaged 51.54 during his 63-Test career. He left the Redbacks after one
Ervine, who last weekend signed a two-year deal with English
county side Hampshire, rated Zimbabwean first class cricket minus its
international players as the equivalent of second or third grade in
Paceman Andy Blignaut is also finding himself on the outer in
Tasmania after figures of 0-79 off 12 overs in his Pura Cup debut against WA
in Perth earlier this month.
The hard-hitting lower order batsman and
former model is not yet at full fitness and Tasmanian coach Brian McFadyen
said Blignaut was a "project player".
McFadyen said it was unfair to
pass judgment until he has at least had another month of fitness work under
Blignaut, whose full christian names are Arnoldus Mauritius,
picked up 51 wickets at 32.62 and scored 638 runs at 24.53 in 15 Tests for
But he is best known by Australian fans for his 54 off 28 balls
against Australia in the 2003 World Cup.
He can bowl at speeds in
excess of 140kph and according to McFadyen "can hit the ball as hard as
anyone I have seen".
Blignaut said his new life in Hobart was pretty low
"It is a nice quiet place and I seem to be getting on with my new
teammates. It is always going to take time getting settled in a new place
but so far it has been pretty good."
Ervine, 21, and Blignaut, 26,
were among the rebel players involved in a row over racial selection quotas
with the ZCU which resulted in a mass exodus of the team.
teammate Travis Friend, 23, who played 13 Tests is the other Zimbabwean
player in exile in Australia. He is currently playing grade cricket in
Ervine said: "It was always going to be tough leaving Zimbabwe
"It is a big difference but I am enjoying the
Blignaut had no regrets about the players' stand that ended
in them being sacked by the ZCU.
"It was very difficult but at the
end of the day we stood up for what we believed in and still believe in," he
"We all get fired for that and then you have to look at the next
best option. We had to move on.
"If you look back in life then you
are going to be a sad man.
OPINION October 27, 2004 Posted to the web October
Kuseni Dlamini Johannesburg
PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki's
meeting with the leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change ,
Morgan Tsvangirai, on Monday was a significant milestone in Pretoria's
efforts to facilitate a democratic and lasting solution to Zimbabwe's
problems. It follows a meeting held with President Robert Mugabe on the
sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York
The meeting was preceded by Tsvangirai's acquittal on
treason charges, a move welcomed widely as a sign that there is commitment
to the rule of law and an independent judiciary in Zimbabwe. It also
followed the releases on humanitarian grounds of apartheid-era spy Reon
Schutte, convicted 12 years ago, and two prisoners, convicted recently for
violating Zimbabwean immigration laws while allegedly en route to Equatorial
Guinea to stage a coup.
These events indicate Pretoria's continued
strategy of constructive engagement to normalise the situation north of the
Limpopo. This is vital. Zimbabwe needs peace and prosperity. Pretoria and
southern Africa as a whole need a peaceful and prosperous
The geostrategic imperative of restoring Zimbabwe to its former
economic and social health is key to the region's future growth and
development. This, as we are beginning to see, can best be achieved by the
softly-softly approach, driven by the long-term interests of Zimbabwe and
its people. The holier-thanthou approach, usually preached by populist,
headline-seeking do-gooders, might seem attractive but is yet to prove as
effective when the stakes are high.
British Prime Minister Tony
Blair's approach to Washington on the big strategic and controversial issues
is based on "quiet diplomacy". The west's approach to China on human-rights
issues is based on quiet diplomacy.
There are no direct and simplistic
comparisons between all these cases. What is clear is that careful thought
is given to the manner in which they are dealt with. That is exactly what is
required of us if we are to find a lasting and constructive solution to the
problems of our region.
These events also tell us that Pretoria still
enjoys the respect of the main players in Zimbabwe's political theatre. This
will accord SA the leverage to play a role as an honest broker. To be
trusted by both the opposition and ruling party in a country with heightened
political tension like Zimbabwe is not easy. Washington and London lost
their influence because their policy approaches were misguided at best,
arrogant at worst, as they sought to impose preconceived solutions to
Zimbabwe's political problems.
Prescribed solutions to complex political
problems do not work as the war on Iraq illustrates in a very cruel
What is required is a rules-based multilateral approach to global
problems based on shared norms and values.
democratising multilateral institutions of global and regional governance,
such as the United Nations, African Union (AU) and the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), is the best insurance policy for peace and
stability in an increasingly unstable world and region.
The AU and the
SADC are best positioned to insist that all the parties in Zimbabwe play
according to the new rules of the game that the region has embraced as part
of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).
So it is a
positive sign that Tsvangirai is touring the region and meeting with
regional leaders. He should tell them how they can play a constructive role
to bring about lasting peace in Zimbabwe.
More importantly, his party has
threatened to boycott next year's elections if the government does not meet
certain preconditions for free and fair elections. It is thus vital that
there should be an open and robust debate and an objective assessment of the
extent to which the conditions on the ground are conducive to free and fair
The SADC has a key role to play in that process. Government
leaders should advise Tsvangirai how best to work with his opponents in Zanu
(PF) and allies in civil society to entrench a durable, democratic culture
in that country.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai must demonstrate their
full commitment to democracy and rule of law in their country. With peace
and stability in Zimbabwe, southern Africa has a huge strategic opportunity
to position itself as an attractive investment destination.
on China, India, Europe and the US, southern Africa must act in concert and
project a compelling regional value proposition as a location of choice for
foreign direct investment.
If we delay resolving the problems in
Zimbabwe, we delay our development and prosperity as a region, something
which history and future generations may judge us harshly on. Zimbabwe can
and must be stabilised and normalised.
To the extent that the emerging
momentum and goodwill is deepened and followed by other signs of progress,
Pretoria's strategy of quiet diplomacy will be vindicated.
works for AngloGold Ashanti and lectures on international relations at Wits
ZIMBABWE: ZCTU condemns deportation of COSATU
delegation 27 Oct 2004 17:26:10 GMT
HARARE, 27 October (IRIN) -
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Wednesday condemned the
deportation of a 14-member South African labour delegation that had arrived
in the country on a fact-finding mission.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo
told IRIN the labour movement's supreme decision-making body, the General
Council, had noted that the expulsion violated international trade union
"This now suggest that the workers of Zimbabwe and the general
population are quarantined in all aspects of politics and social life,"
The Zimbabwean authorities on Tuesday rounded up the
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) delegation and drove them to
the Beitbridge border post, despite a provisional High Court order allowing
them to stay in the country.
COSATU had defied a government warning
that their visit would not be welcome. On arrival in Zimbabwe on Monday, the
delegation refused to provide guarantees that they would not talk to civil
society groups deemed to be anti-government.
October 27, 2004 Posted to the web October 27,
Dumisani Muleya Johannesburg
Seizure of land violates
THE Zimbabwean government has ignored a report by
Special Affairs Minister for Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement John Nkomo,
urging the state to avoid seizing land protected by international accords,
and is now targeting a big German-linked timber company as well as sugar and
After taking away most of the farm land in the
country, the government published in the Government Gazette on Friday its
intention to expropriate larger estates, some of which are protected by
bilateral government agreements.
The Zimbabwe government will take
five plantations owned by Border Timbers, the country's largest timber
producer. The Borders Timbers' land taken by the state includes Tilbury,
Cambridge, Imbeza, Mahugara and Walmer estates more than 34-million
The company's sawmills process more than 350000m' of logs each
year, and it also runs a veneer factory.
An official land audit
compiled by a committee led by Nkomo said early this year that land
protected by bilateral agreements should not be taken.
report said there was need to regulate acquisitions of farms owned by
foreigners whose governments had bilateral investment protection in
Vice-President Joseph Msika, who is chairman of a cabinet
land-reform task force, has said that the government would not acquire land
protected by investment agreements.
The seizure of the land is in
violation of an agreement between Zimbabwe and Germany. The Germany-Zimbabwe
Investment Protection Agreement signed in 1995 by representatives of both
governments was put in place to protect Border Timbers' properties and
assets from the Zimbabwean government.
In terms of the agreement,
Zimbabwe gave assurances to Germany that Border Timbers' land would not be
targeted for seizure.
Other countries, including SA, which have citizens
who own land in Zimbabwe, have also been affected by the confiscation of
Other Zimbabwean officials, in particular Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, have been pushing to have such assets seized.
of ministers, including Moyo, have been named in official reports as new
land barons because they have more than one farm.
Zimbabweans are being
evicted from farms they had invaded, to make way for ministers and other top
Moyo clashed a few months ago with Msika over the
seizure of Kondozi farm in Manicaland province.
farm, which supplied its products to SA and European markers, has been run
down in a short time by the state-run Agricultural Rural Development
In addition to the timber plantations, the government has also
taken over Aberfoyle Estates a major tea exporter and Eastern Highlands
Plantations, one of Zimbabwe's few producers of washed Arabic
The land seized from the two tea and coffee estates measure a
combined 2,3million hectares.
More land has also been taken from the
sugar-producing Hippo Valley.
advertisementThe Pan Africanist Congress has cheered the decision
by Harare to boot out a Congress of South African Trade Unions fact-finding
mission to Zimbabwe.
"The PAC would like to congratulate the
government of Zimbabwe for not allowing Cosatu to become the barking dog of
the reactionary forces that are aimed at the destabilisation of the national
sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe," the party's national organiser,
Ntsie Mohloa, said in a statement.
"The PAC is in no doubt that South
Africa has been used by reactionary forces as a springboard to destabilise
the revolutionary gains of [the] people's government of Zimbabwe. At the
same time, Cosatu has been consistent in presenting itself as an agent of
reactionary force in South Africa."
The PAC has often expressed
itself in favour of President Robert Mugabe's often-violent
land-redistribution campaign that has seen most white farms confiscated and
given to party cronies and pro-Mugabe war veterans -- many too young to have
experienced the conflict that ended in 1979.
Mosiuoa Lekota, chairperson
of the African National Congress and Minister of Defence, said his party was
"a bit" embarrassed by the deportation.
"I know why the press feels very
keen on this issue because clearly it is a bit embarrassing to us as the
ANC. We are part of the tripartite alliance," Lekota told reporters at
The Democratic Alliance said it believes Cosatu was
shockingly treated in Zimbabwe, party chairperson Joe Seremane
Seremane said the incident shows tyrants have to be condemned, not
"The propaganda that Cosatu is working with 'Tony Blair's
and well known anti-Zimbabwe, pro-Western interests' merely highlights the
fact that similar charges levelled against the MDC [Movement for Democratic
Change] are vile propaganda by Zanu-PF against legitimate oppositions,"
Seremane said in a statement.
"The incident emphasises the Mugabe
regime's long-standing preference for the use of strong-arm tactics to crush
any possible threat to its rule."
The African Christian Democratic
Party's Rudi du Plooy said free countries welcome fact-finding missions,
particularly from countries that are favourably disposed to
"Zimbabwe has chosen to show its arrogance and underline its
ignorance pertaining to matters of state. This hostile act of a regime that
has a questionable human-rights record is not only directed at Cosatu but is
an act of hostility towards the entire South Africa."
Freedom Party said it was shocked by the brutal treatment meted out to the
"If this is the way Zimbabwe treats a delegation from one
of the South African governing party's allies, one shudders to think how the
Zimbabwean trade unions are treated. It holds nothing good for next year's
elections in Zimbabwe and we call on the South African government to visibly
engage in talks with Zimbabwe, as quiet diplomacy has shown to be
ineffective," said the IFP's LK Joubert. -- Sapa
A member of
the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) delegation to Zimbabwe,
which was thrown out of the country on Tuesday night, has talked of the
group's seven-hour ordeal at Harare International airport.
delegation, which went to Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission, arrived back
in South Africa on Wednesday after being deported from
Simon Boshielo, Cosatu's international affairs secretary
and a member of the delegation, said the Zimbabwean government kept them at
the airport for seven hours without food while they expected to be taken to
their hotel in Harare.
"They [Zimbabwean police] attempted to beat us
when we asked for food and they told us that this is not South Africa. They
told us that we are not going to get food. They said in fact they want to
take us back to our country," Boshielo said.
He added that when they
arrived at the Harare airport on Monday, they were shown a letter from the
Zimbabwean government warning them not to talk to "organisations like
Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, the Crisis Coalition and churches" if
they wanted to remain in the country.
"The problem started when we defied
their rules and organised to talk to those organisations. Then we were told
that we will be taken back to our country by force. And we refused to leave
the country, instead we demanded that they'd better arrest us.
demanded to meet with the government to explain to them but it was
fruitless. Later, we were told that the Cabinet has decided to take us back
to our country," Boshielo said.
When they were meeting the Zimbabwean
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), a large contingent of police arrived and
escorted them out of the building to a bus.
"While were on the bus,
we were under the impression that we were being taken to our hotel, only to
find that we are being taken back to South Africa. And we were dumped at the
Beitbridge border at 5am and it was then that we took taxis to Pietersburg
[Polokwane] airport," Boshielo said. -- Sapa
In theory, the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the ruling African National Congress (ANC)
are allies in government. But two years ago, relations had deteriorated to
the extent that Cosatu president Willie Madisha accused officials from the
ANC of the government's National Intelligence Agency of sending anonymous
death threats to his mobile phone. Cosatu was locked in an acrimonious
struggle with the leadership of the ANC over South Africa's economic
direction. The reason was the government's misleadingly named Growth,
Employment and Redistribution (Gear) strategy, under which successive ANC
governments cut government spending and squeezed the budget deficit to rein
in inflation, part-privatised the state telecommunications company, allowed
parastatals to shed jobs in large numbers, and insisted that it had no
direct responsibility for rolling back chronic unemployment, estimated at
between 30 and 40% of the adult population. Cosatu's response to Gear was a
steadily escalating protest campaign, culminating in a one-day
"anti-privatisation strike" in late 2002.
A furious ANC leadership,
with President Thabo Mbeki leading the charge, circulated "briefing notes"
to all ANC regions calling for the "ultra-left" activists in Cosatu to be
"isolated and defeated". Hostility was scaled down by both sides after the
ANC rank and file - in many cases also Cosatu members - made it clear that
they expected the two organisations to co-operate. Black labour's close
historical relationship with the governing party has been a source of both
strength and weakness. One of the ANC's first legislative acts was to pass a
series of statutes cementing worker gains from the factory struggles of the
1980s - including the right to strike and collective bargaining. But Cosatu
mistakenly thought majority rule would usher in a socialist, or at least a
left-leaning economic regime. It expected the ANC to retain and even extend
state ownership of key sectors of the economy, and to use its power for the
benefit of black workers and the unemployed. It reckoned without Mr Mbeki's
fiscal conservatism - essentially modelled on Tony Blair's "Third Way" - and
his perspective of African nationalism, which focuses on the creation of a
black ruling class.
It would be wrong to accuse Mr Mbeki of callous
neglect of South Africa's poverty-stricken millions. National budgets have
gradually become more expansionary, welfare spending has risen and an
expanded public works programme has been launched to ease joblessness. In
part, ANC officials say, the relaxation of earlier fiscal stringencies has
flowed from Mr Mbeki's direct experience of township living conditions
during the recent election campaign. But it could be argued that the
government's focus on building the black political, professional and
business classes, and to increase their ownership of the economy, has been
far more thoroughgoing. Its policy towards the white business establishment
has been cautious, aimed at encouraging racial asset transfers under
negotiated industry charters, and the "greying" of corporate management. The
foreign investment community and multilateral bodies like the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund remain potent shapers of policy, making
themselves felt particularly through Mr Mbeki's International Investment
Increasingly alarmed that the policy has simply given birth
to a small band of black multi-millionaires, Cosatu has campaigned for
"broad-based" black economic empowerment, under which companies improve
working conditions while ceding equity to black entrepreneurs. In this
scheme of things, the influence of the labour movement has declined. Though
still important, its voice has become one among many for a ruling party that
sees itself as representative of all social classes. The view of Mr Mbeki
and his inner circle, revealed by the 2002 "briefing notes", is that the ANC
must provide political leadership, while labour's role is primarily to
defend workers' interests on the shop floor. The post-1994 period has been a
difficult one for Cosatu in other ways. Its membership has declined from a
peak of about two million to 1.7 million, but this conceals a far more
radical shift in the character of its organised base. Worker numbers in
traditional manufacturing and mining strongholds have fallen sharply as
companies, often responding to global market conditions, have slimmed down,
restructured and mechanised. Cosatu's recruiting arm has replaced them with
members from service industries and a ragbag of new affiliates representing
bank workers, musicians and sportsmen, among others.
South Africa has a highly regulated labour market. Conservative critics,
like the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance, make much of the
sweeping labour reforms of the ANC's first term in office, complaining that
they have served to scare off foreign investors. But with massive
unemployment and a relatively weak state, the reality on the ground is very
different. In line with world trends, there is a marked growth in informal
and casual labour in South Africa, which by its nature presents the unions
with an organising nightmare. Government statistics suggest that of an
economically active population of 15 million, about seven million people are
formally employed, five million are jobless and three million are in the
informal economy, barely subsisting in such trades as hawking, pavement
shoe-mending and pirate taxi-driving. Sympathetic observers say the labour
movement's survival may depend, in the first instance, on its ability to
render better services to a working population now more preoccupied with
living standards than political rights. Currently an uneasy truce, Cosatu's
alliance with the ruling party is likely to become more fraught in the years
ahead. At some point - particularly if economic conditions worsen - the
federation may decide it has more to gain by striking off alone than relying
on the ANC to fight its political battles.
Tensions are simmering in Zimbabwe's mining industry
over government plans to redistribute ownership to local players - and the
Chinese. By Thabo Masemola
Trouble is brewing in Zimbabwe's mining
industry over a proposed new bill that seeks to give 50% control of the
country's mines to indigenous players, with South African mining houses set
to suffer the most.
The proposed Mines and Minerals Amendment Act (2004),
dubbed the indigenisation bill, ostensibly aims to increase the
participation of local players. But the bill, first made public in April,
has raised alarm in the mining sector with its radical proposals, which
local economists say could lead to a flight of foreign
Noting that foreigners still dominate Zimbabwe's mining
sector, Chamber of Mines president Ian Saunders says propos-als for 50%
ownership are "way over the top", and is proposing 25% over a 10-year
Adding to the rumblings is the fact that South African mining
giants Impala Platinum (Implats) and Anglo Platinum are facing new
competition from China. Officials who attended a bilateral trade meeting
between Zimbabwe and China in Beijing last month said the former had made an
undertaking to ensure China gets a share of the platinum
Implats, the world's second largest platinum producer, owns 83% of
Zimplats, a company that holds around 165 million oz of platinum in the
Great Dyke. It also has a direct and indirect stake of about 80% in Makwiro
Platinum that, in turn, owns the Selous metallurgical plant, Hartley
Platinum and its infrastructure, and the Ngezi platinum mine. Implats also
has a 50% stake in Zimbabwe's Mimosa mine.
Anglo Platinum has
approved capital expenditure of $84 million for its Unki Mine project near
Shurugwi. Unki is expected to add total additional production of some 58,000
oz per year to Anglo Platinum's total output by 2008.
A minister said
the government will "find a way to accommodate the Chinese" and hinted that
the new legislation could be used to create a platform for their
participation in partnership with locals.
"It is difficult for Zimbabwe
to ignore China's needs because it has a growing motor industry and
therefore needs platinum. Zimbabwe needs the Chinese, but because earlier
loans are still outstanding, they have put forward their demands which we
will consider in due course," said the minister.
Zimplats says it
supports the government's endeavors to encourage Zimbabweans to acquire
meaningful investments in major companies operating in key sectors of the
economy and has already agreed to place 15% to Nkululeko Rusununguko Mining
Company of Zimbabwe, which was nominated by the government.
has also undertaken to offer 20% of its Unki project to local
The mining sector, like all sectors of Zimbabwe's economy,
has been in free-fall - largely through government mismanagement. The mining
sector's contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which stood at 8,8%
in 1980, has declined to an all-time low of 1.4% in 2003, but South African
capital, coupled with deliberate expansionist policies by the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe, has seen a significant recovery in the sector.
has dropped the 3% royalty on gold mining and is considering cutting the
corporate tax rate to 15% from its current 25%. In July, the gold price also
increased to Z$85 000 per gram (US$472/oz).
With the mining companies
receiving 75% of their earnings in foreign currency, Zimbabwe's mining
sector has actually prospered in the past two years while the rest of the
economy has slumped.
The Chamber of Mines' Saunders has expressed fears
that the proposed legislation will scare away foreign investors, saying
"there are a number of ongoing projects from the international community, of
which six are at an advanced stage."
Metallon Resources has proposed
to invest close to US$15 million in the acquisition and expansion of its
Zimbabwean mines. Implats, for its part, has pledged about US$700 million to
develop its platinum mines in Zimbabwe over a five-year period, according to
Chief Executive Keith Rumble.
Anglo Platinum has said it will inject
US$10 million into its Unki platinum project in Zimbabwe before year-end,
while emerging resource group, SA-based Mwana Africa Holdings, will pour
US$10 million into recently acquired Freda Rebecca Mine. Mwana's other
recently acquired mine, Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC), is evaluating a
huge but low-grade nickel deposit in Zimbabwe's Midlands province, where it
envisages injecting US$90 million in the development of an open cast mine at
its Hunters' Road deposit. BNC is already spending about US$15 million at
its mainstay Trojan mine, where it is deepening the shaft to prolong the
London-based Rio Tinto recently received an export licence
for its Murowa Diamond mine near Zvishavane, enabling fullscale mining
activities to commence. According to reports, the mine has a 14,5
million-carat reserve, equal to one year's South African
About 13% of the mine is owned by Rio Tinto's former Zimbabwe
subsidiary, now called RioZim.
Saunders has met government officials
to seek clarification and has been told that 50% ownership is not a definite
number, but the government and President Mugabe want to see the industry
moving towards that target.
Mines and Mining Development minister Amos
Midzi said the proposed new bill, which is scheduled to be enacted before
the end of the year, is going to take longer because it has "generated a lot
of interest, necessitating wider consultations with all the major
Officials said the Chinese equation was likely to delay the
bill even further. Until then, the only thing Zimbabwe's mining sector seems
assured of is further uncertainty.