Zuma’s bad judgement

via Marikana and the African National Congress: Bad judgment day | The Economist

PERHAPS it was petulance. Perhaps it was the desire to avoid a hostile crowd. Either way it was an awful misreading of the mood in South Africa. Just hours before an event on August 16th to mark the first anniversary of the fatal shooting by police of 34 striking miners at Marikana, in the country’s platinum region, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) decided it would not attend. It said the organisers of the commemoration were “illegitimate” (ie, they were not political allies of the ANC). So the dozen or so chairs on the platform reserved for government bigwigs remained empty.

Thus South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, failed once again to rise to an important occasion. He had a more pressing engagement in Malawi. There he joined leaders of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) in endorsing the re-election of 89-year-old Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president, in a victory that is hotly disputed. Mr Zuma’s rush to congratulate Mr Mugabe was another misreading of public opinion. Two-thirds of South Africans think he was wrong do so, according to a recent poll. Just 7% of his countrymen believe the election result was a true one.

It fell to a Zimbabwean to personally offer an apology to the bereaved at Marikana. Ben Magara was only recently appointed as chief executive of Lonmin, the London-listed company which had employed the striking miners. But he had the courage to turn up and tell the thousands who had assembled at the site of the shooting: “We will never replace your loved ones and I say we are truly sorry for that.” He also said he was prepared to discuss demands heard from previous speakers for higher wages and for jobs for relatives of those killed last year.

Joseph Mathunjwa, the boss of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (ACMU), praised the mining boss for turning up and doing what no government official had done. Mr Magara might have received a more hostile reception had Lonmin not recently concluded a union-recognition deal with ACMU at the expense of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). The NUM is an affiliate of the ANC and its snub of the commemoration was in part a churlish response to AMCU’s victory. Yet NUM officials had been criticised at Marikana for being cosy with politicians and mine bosses and remote from the concerns of its members. It was now the ANC’s turn to be accused of being hopelessly out of touch.



  • comment-avatar
    nesbert majon 11 years ago

    These African politicians are at times even worse than our colonial masters. They are a gangster who enjoy seeing the suffering of fellow Africans. They are racists to their on race.

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    Rudadiso 11 years ago

    Nesbert you are so right. Look at how in Zimbabwe poor people’s kids sit under trees with no text books to be taught in schools with inadequate classrooms while Mugabe and his cronies send their children to private schools and foreign universities paid for by the tax payer.

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    Murairwa 11 years ago

    Zimbabweans please read the following article.
    R. G. Mugabe is not wrong after all.

    The other side of the coin
    August 20, 2013 Wenceslaus Murape Opinion & Analysis
    Udo Froese The global north is unable to feed itself. This explains the “land acquisition” (sounds better than land grab) for food crops in Africa. The UN body, the ‘Food and Agricultural Organisation’ (FAO) published a report on this trend in December 2009.The writer/researcher, Thembi Mutch from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, documented in the London…

    Udo Froese
    The global north is unable to feed itself. This explains the “land acquisition” (sounds better than land grab) for food crops in Africa. The UN body, the ‘Food and Agricultural Organisation’ (FAO) published a report on this trend in December 2009.The writer/researcher, Thembi Mutch from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, documented in the London based news magazine, NewAfrican, “Rural land grabs in sub-Saharan Africa force peasant farmers into ghettos in cities where jobs are scarce — which will only contribute to further food shortages and crisis in the future.”

    Such ruthless foreign land grabs cause imminent abject poverty and starvation of continental proportions.
    Mutch observes further, “In many African countries there are no mechanisms to monitor land appropriation. Although there are public protectors, an auditor general, anti-corruption units and other controlling mechanisms in place, it is easy to bypass them: they monitor only government and donor money, not private investment.”

    It means, the purchase of land in sub-Saharan Africa will not end. This will lead to further disenfranchisement of already disadvantaged indigenous Africans in their own land on their own continent. They remain hopeless, starving third-class citizens.

    In her article on “land grabbing” in Africa in NewAfrican, Mutch writes, “A whole new industry has sprung up, including commodities and futures trading on African land and water rights, and with it, there has been a concomitant rise in investment firms, many based in the UK, who actively promote partnerships between private companies and brokers based in sub-Saharan Africa.”

    “The British firm, Silverstreet Capital, boasts about its ability to buy up African farms and ‘boost productivity’ by, among other things, abandoning ‘till’ farming — i.e., farming by hand. Smallholding African farmers are at the bottom of the pile. Land acquisition is attracting new players. For example, the Rockefeller/Gates Foundation/USAID partnership is working with Monsanto — US$150 million will be invested by them into an ‘Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa’ (AGRA) project,” Mutch explains.

    Global land grabbers of huge tracts of African soil include the likes of US, British and European billionaires, the Saudi Arabian government and the Sultan of Brunei for their private use only and without access for the local population. They do not carry Africa’s interests. Those well-heeled foreigners arrange themselves through their elites on the ground.

    They receive tax breaks and exemptions, repatriations of profits, additional free land and water concessions.
    As Mutch documents in her research, “The issue is not necessarily the purchasing. It is the levels of secrecy, the lack of templates or agencies monitoring how the (indigenous) people who already live on the land, will be dealt with.”

    It gets worse. “Numerous ‘pioneering’ Dutch and Swedish farmers are keen to use areas in Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda for biofuels experimentation. The needs of smallholders are sidelined. They are viewed only as potential cultivators for an industry that is still trying out seeds, growing methods and approaches,” as observed by Thembi Mutch.

    The above documented research should be one of the priorities of the African Union (AU), Ecowas and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in order to stem the resultant high unemployment, abject poverty, starvation and the destabilisation of a whole continent.

    Farayi Nziramasanga in Harare, Zimbabwe, summed up the actions of the new breed of African leadership writing in NewAfrican, “Over the past couple of decades, nationalist leadership with a pan-African, perspective has been replaced by ‘new democrats’ supported by the (international) West.

    These donor-funded client-leaders have a local focus and dare not annoy their funders. They owe their elevation and sustenance to foreign interests, who in turn dictate policy.”

    Addressing the role of the AU, Nziramasanga, writes, “Our power as a continent lies in us being able to speak with one voice and act in unison on issues of (African) continental interest. And, Nigeria and South Africa have to shed the illusion of continental giants — they are not and never will be.”

    It is important for Africa to understand its position and the foreign interests, the real role, for example, of the US’s continental Africa Command (Africom) and its proxies. This should also mean, the role of South Africa’s former cabinet minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma occupying the chair of the African Union, is to understand and accept it as her primary task “to pull the Africa-wide power into a continental force for the advancement of Africa-wide interests.”

    Leaders, who secretly sell the birthright of their supporters for a bowl of soup, commit the serious crime of high treason and should be held accountable by the structures of their countries, their regions and finally, the AU. Africa should view the outsourcing of its land as a criminal offense.

    “Western capitalism arose through strong government for the economy and for accessing the resources in the global South (which continuous to this day),” are the final words of Mutch.

    Forget the European ICC in the Netherlands. Cut ties with it. Africa has no option, but to re-establish itself, its land, its wealth and its own souvereign courts.

    Udo W. Froese is an independent political and socio-economic analyst and columnist based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

    • comment-avatar
      Kevin Watson 11 years ago

      Murairwa, Why then is it that the USA has for the last 70 years produced substantial food surpluses that are currently used feed the 40% of Zimbaweans who need food aid. The land grab in Zimbabwe caused agricultural production to collapse. I guess that Udo Froese is simply ignoring the facts.

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    emman 11 years ago

    Thanks Murairwa it seems as if Rudadiso isn’t seeing it.Wake up ruda,remove those blinkers that shuts ur mind to reality,believe you me Zimbabwe is gng to rise from its current quagmire status to one of africa’s leading force if not the world.

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    zimbo 11 years ago

    “Mugabe is right.”What a load of bull.Mugabe and his kind do not give a damn about Africa”s welfare,all they care about is their own selfish interests.African leaders are a disgrace.Sadc is a disgrace.The AU is a disgrace.Fair enough the western world has ulterior motives,but what are our African so called leaders doing about it?Nothing.They all love the western world.In Mugabe”s case,if he had a choice his children would be in a western country.They steal,kill and rape their own people under the guise of nationalism.In Zimbabwe all we asked for was our right to vote.Was that too much to ask for?How are Africans going to be taken seriously when our “dear leaders” show no respect to their own people?
    Udo,you completely miss the point.The rest of the world will always take advantage of Africa and you know why?Because there are many takers amongst our so called leaders.They are corrupt to the core,period.Mugabe is the perfect example of what is wrong with Africa.The man has no morals,absolutely nothing.
    I implore the young people of Zimbabwe to say no to this injustice and stand up for your rights.As they say, the rest will take care of itself.

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    Simon 11 years ago

    Well said zimbo and i second that. For me its worse than apartheid in that you dont posture and brag that you are a freedom fighter then oppress murder and rape your own people. We have had independence now 33 years no excuses to blame others especially when zimbabee has been given millions upon millions of aid since 1980 to a small population 13 million and look what poverty and low life expectancy there is. Even under full sanctions against arrogant Rhodesia standards were better for everyone now thats says alot!!!

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    Mike Patterson 11 years ago

    With regard to the land issue the problems here lie fair and square with the governments in power in southern/central Africa. I fly over vast tracts of unused land in this region where governments could initiate responsible sustainable land use and Africa then could take its rightful place as the breadbasket for the world.
    Drop the quarrels with the West. Forget about the mistakes of the past. Reduce spending on military. Educate your people. Reduce corruption (it will never be eliminated). Stop illegal killing of essential wildlife. Treat everyone as equals.

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    Monique Kamba 11 years ago

    Why are you people cracking your heads over SADC’s endorsement of bobhojani especially SA.Starting with Mbeki, SA rejoiced at the fall of Zimbabwe because it meant boom for their economy. I believe even Zuma was just pretending to side with Zim people for democracy just to buy time. He too is trying to keep the Zim situation bad so that SA benefits from this situation through cheap labour, increased tourism etc. All that polygamist Zuma is good at is womanizing period

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    Inini 11 years ago

    Please take note that Udo has been singing Mugabe’s praises for a long time!

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      Kevin Watson 11 years ago

      He is simply ignoring the fact that the USA is the producer of the largest agricultural surpluses on the planet and this has been the case since the 2nd World War. He is ignoring the fact that where Zimbawe could feed it self before the land grab it now has 40% of its population relying on British and US food aid to feed themselves.

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    The global north includes CHINA…. Our beloved friends

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    clahwe 11 years ago

    hey Ru dnt think tht wen u’re in SA u’re nw an Southerfrcn , wher dd u saw it ? Ofcz poor pple are al over the globe even in America so dnt b stupid

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    eztechplc 11 years ago

    Leaders also take audits of their own situations and it is naturally wise to scrap the back of the neighbour country leader because he will be vital in scrapping yours when chickens come home for roasting

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    Limelight 11 years ago

    I am voting DA and will campaign for them. And help to get rid of this idiot.

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    tapera nkomo 11 years ago

    Did you expect anything from an IGNORAMUS like ZUMA? All he is thing about is women and which one to attack next. He is a consultant when it comes to taking off nickers.

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    Phunyukabemphethe 11 years ago

    There is nothing wrong with Zuma. The Marikana issue has been deliberately politicised to get at Msholozi, yet it is a purely labour issue – private sector employer and employees.

    Its the ANC government that put into place all these labour laws that protect employees and gave them their rights to strike and demonstrate peacefully. The employees are on the wrong in that they have a perchant for violence and love carrying traditional weapons – what for when the law allows them to toyi toyi peacefully? Zuma is the president of the whole country, not just for the Marikana workers.

    Last year he cut his trip to Mozambique short to attend to Marikana. Once again, are you now saying everything has to stop because of Marikana? The ANC and NUM are right not to have attended the AMCU organised Marikana Anniversary because a government organised one had been sidestepped by those who seek political limelight.

    Government is for the whole country, AMCU is just for those workers who support it – therein lies the problem. Why should government be partisan? I will tell you something – all this is hot air, the ANC is winning next year’s elections.

    If AMCU now thinks it can use their Julius Malema to cause trouble – they are in for a rude awakening. You cannot now hate Zuma simply because he has condoned Zim elections – what was he supposed to do? South Africa operates within the structures of SADC, they are not a lone ranger.

    Its much much easier for Botswana to go it alone on this one because they are a none entity of no identity as an economy and have no apartheid past of raiding and bombing fellow neighbouring African nations.But South Africa has to be much more careful lest they be accused of colonialism, hegemony and King Shaka tribal raids, etc, etc. This is the only way they as a nation can play an influential and positive role politically and economically on the continent.

    They could easily chose the old apartheid role of isolating themselves from the continent, but that will not help their economy in the long run because the population is very small – only some 53 million people. This is a small market and would not withstand the bigboys of India, China and Brazil – the Bricks!!

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    Phunyukabemphethe 11 years ago

    Zimbabweans, you have to stop blaming others for your own failures; your own problems. It is not Zuma who made you “lose” elections. It is your hatred of each other, disunity, tribalism and primitiveness.

    Where in this modern world have you come across a country where it is openly accepted by the majority that people of a certain tribe or race should not seek to be the president of their own country? Zimbabweans even brag about this, they are not even embarrassed. Shiyanani no Zuma – you are all fools. Sort out your problems and stop expecting miracles.

    South Africa will soon have its fifth president come 2019 – a minority Venda in the name of Cyril Ramaphosa for that matter. Imagine such a thing in Zimbabwe? All you can do is blame other people – look within yourselves, liyayangisa. Tribal, racial and regional divisions have ensured Mugabe thrives!!

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    adam jones 11 years ago

    I’ve said to my South African friends that Mbeki and now,Zuma, are being blackmailed/trained/groamed by Mugabe at his ‘university of police violence and mis-rule’. Yes, South Africans can gloat now about ‘Zimbabweans hating each other’ because they don’t yet fully appreciate the evil of dictatorship. I am seeing a lot of signs in South Africa of how Mugabe and Zanu PF progressively became the devil that they now are and continue to be and to become. There is now more and more talk/violence/victimisation of those that are not comrades in SA. Transgrations of comrades are covered up while non-comrades have all manner of concocted accusations being brought against them even where non exist. Most of what is happening in SA today appears to be from the Zanu uni if you ask me. It maybe coincidence but I see ‘Zanu’ written all over the arms deal for an example. We had one in Zim (remember Thatcher and them?) and the alledged go between in the SA arena is one Briton who happens to own properties in Zim and has himself never been far from arms deals – yet Zanu like him soooo!! much. Could he be the one feeding Mugabe with details of Mbeki/Zuma’s complicity in the arms deal(s) in return for continued ownership of properties in Zim and other goodies? Is Mugabe in turn ‘softerning’ Zuma with threats of exposure should he not ‘congratulate’ him on his recent ‘victory’? Shutting Zulu up? – and many other ‘favours’? Having said all this – welcome to Africa and the so called African “DEMOCRACY” that all Africans are subjected to by our black oppressors. It doesn’t matter whether one is South African or Zimbabwean, this ‘club’ of evil doers that masquarade as our ‘leaders’ is a cancer that is spreading across all conors of Africa – and SA is part of Africa.

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    To Adam Jones, you are right..sadly this is exactly what I have been thinking all along!!

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    Phunyukabemphethe 11 years ago

    Zuma is right. Zims are tribalists fools – suffer the consequences, suffer!!