Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ANC Statement on the US' Recognition of Jerusalem As the Capital of the State of Israel
8 December 2017

The African National Congress (ANC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by the US Administration to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This blatantly provocative move severely undermines the spirit of multilateralism and is a significant setback to a fragile and already stalled peace process.

The announcement that the US will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been roundly condemned by nearly every world leader except the Prime Minister of Israel.

The ANC concurs with sentiment expressed by many world leaders that the US' position is a violation of a number of UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem in any final settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The US President Donald Trump made the announcement on social media - a further indication of the recklessness with which the Trump administration has chosen to both pursue and communicate its foreign policy objectives in a highly volatile region.

The ANC notes that a number of protests against the move have broken out in Jerusalem itself, as well as in Ramallah and Bethlehem following the announcement; and several armed groups in the region have labelled Trump's announcement as 'a declaration of war'.

A very real possibility exists that this announcement could reignite the tinderbox of violence and cause the region to once again descend into bloodshed.

The ANC wholly agrees with the position of the South African government, that reinforces the supremacy of multilateralism as the only way to secure a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as a rules-based international order.

The ANC remains committed to the two state solution: and this unilateral pronouncement by the US does harm to Palestinian aspirations for an independent, peaceful state coexisting side by side with Israel, based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The ANC is concerned that instead of positioning itself as a credible advocate for a just and lasting solution to the Israel/Palestine issue, the US is showing itself to be wholly partisan and favouring Israel.

The ANC calls on both Israelis and Palestinians to take steps to urgently resume talks to restart the peace process. The organization further calls on the US Administration to reconsider its decision in the light of the negative ramifications for the cause of a just and lasting peace.

Issued by:

Jessie Duarte
Deputy Secretary General
African National Congress

Enquiries:
Zizi Kodwa -
082 330 4910
Khusela Sangoni -
072 854 5707
SACP Statement on USA President Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of Apartheid Israel
11 December 2017

THE SACP VEHEMENTLY CONDEMNS THE US PRESIDENT DECISION ATTEMPTING A UNILATERAL CHANGE ON THE STATUS OF JERUSALEM

The SACP condemns the decision by the President of the United States of America Donald Trump, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of apartheid Israel. President Trump also ordered the US embassy to be moved to Jerusalem.

This irresponsible decision goes against international law and UN Security Council resolutions. The holy city of Jerusalem is under the protection of the United Nations and therefore no single country can unilaterally impose on the Palestinians, a new status for Jerusalem. The decision is a sign of Trump`s crypto-Zionism and his impervious attitude against resolutions of the UN. His decision is a continuation of American policy on the Palestinian issue, on a worse trajectory than his predecessors. It signals that Trump suffers serious dementia on the Palestinian reality and that decisions of such a nature will inevitably reignite with impunity, the atrociously criminal killings of Palestinian women and children by Israel.

Trump decision also unmasks the fallacy and shows that in earnest this is not about Judaism as a religion and that not only is Zionism not equal to Judaism but that the two are poles apart. Zionism is apartheid and is a certain pseudo-religious variant of colonialism and imperialism of the big bourgeoisie.

The decision only serves to appease Israel, a junior partner of Western imperialism, but is in reality a continuation of the "New Middle East" project, the imperialist grand plan to pursue total control of the riches of Middle Eastern resources.

The SACP denounces this decision, which equals provocation and aggression and will only create inflame further tensions leading to loss of lives.

The USA, EU and Israel, must shoulder the burden of responsibility for the disaster that this decision will manifest.

We reiterate our position of a two-state solution, with an independent sovereign Palestine on the contiguous borders of 1969, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

We call on the South African government to cut diplomatic ties with Israel and upon millions of peace and justice loving South Africans, both Jewish and non-Jews to massively protest against this decision.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON SACP STATEMENTS CONTACT:

Mhlekwa Nxumalo
Acting National Spokesperson
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM

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Hlengiwe Nkonyane
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Office: +2711 339 3621/2
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COSATU Strongly Condemns US President Donald Trump for Formally Recognizing the City of Jerusalem as Israel's Capital
7 December 2017

The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the reckless and provocative decision by USA President Donald Trump to formally recognise the city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This outrageous decision is further proof of the level of deterioration of the Trump Administration and the American political system as a whole.

Donald Trump’s decision also violates International Law and should be opposed by all peace loving people. In 1980 Israel passed the “Jerusalem Law” stating that Jerusalem complete and united , is the capital of Israel, thereby formalising its annexation of East Jerusalem. The same year the UN agreed that the annexation of territory by force is inadmissible. In terms of Resolution 478 (1980) the UN ordered that all Member States accept this decision ; and that those states that have established diplomatic missions in Jerusalem withdraw such missions from the Holy City as they constituted a threat to peace and security.

This decision represents a nail in the coffin to any prospects of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli –Palestine situation and will also act to inflame religious tensions because Jerusalem is a sacred place for Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The Americans have lost the little that was left of its moral standing because this decision will embolden the apartheid state of Israel to continue with its backward and barbaric policies against Palestinians. Palestinians are still subjected to merciless blockades by the Israeli army and still suffer from widespread land and property dispossessions.

We offer our unwavering solidarity and support to the people of Palestine, who were first betrayed by the British colonisers hundreds years ago, when they signed over their land to the Zionists to create the apartheid state of Israel, through the so called Balfour Declaration.

COSATU calls on all right thinking people, countries and organizations to denounce this reckless decision and support the struggle for the people of Palestine. It is also troubling to note that this decision by the Americans happens at a time when there are question marks about the South African government’s commitment to the struggle for Free Palestine. The recent questionable and regrettable decisions by the ANC in relation to the Israel government should be clarified and rectified by the 54th Conference of the ANC.

They are not in line with bold and unequivocal statement in support of the Palestinians adopted by the 53rd National Conference. In its last conference, the ANC reiterated its commitment to its founding values of a struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world. It resolved to support the Palestinians in their quest for freedom and self-determination.

This is also a betrayal of the commitment made by the Minister of International Relations, Cde Maite Nkoana-Mashabne when addressing the International Relations Committee (IRC) meeting of COSATU, where she said that: "Ministers of South Africa do not visit Israel currently...our Palestinian friends have asked us in formal meetings to not engage with the [Israeli] regime. We have agreed to slow down and curtail senior leadership contact with that regime until things begin to look better".

COSATU reaffirms its solidarity with the people of Palestine and we are calling for an end to the evictions of the Palestinians. We are fully behind the call for all political prisoners and detainees to be released immediately. We support the formation of an independent Palestinian state with East-Jerusalem as its capital and also the Israelis must affirm the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

People of all stripes or political affiliation have a moral responsibility to condemn the apartheid practices and policies of the Israeli government and join efforts to force it to uphold the international law that condemns racial oppression.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
LIMUSA Strikes in Agni Steel
11 December 2017

Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (LIMUSA) enters a fourth day of a protected industrial action at Agni Steel South Africa in Port Elizabeth. The strike is due to protracted wage negotiations that stated in 2016 with the company. The union was demanding R48 per hour at the time and the company was paying workers R24 per hour. Several attempts were made by the employer to delay engagements or negotiations on the demands by raising frivolous jurisdiction points but all those attempts failed.

In 2017 company attempted to address the demands while we were engaging on the offer and making counter proposals the company went on to sign an agreement with a minority trade union (NUMSA) which never submiited any demands or part of the dispute. The action by the company led to a deadlock and LIMUSA issued a strike notice to the company on 27 September 2017.

The company approached the Labour Court to for an interim interdict on the 01 October 2017and the interim order was granted. On the 7th December the matter was heard by the Labour Court and LIMUSA won the case and the interim order was discharged meaning the Labour Court confirmed that LIMUSA strike was protected.

On the 8th December 2017 the company and the union met in an attempt to resolve the dispute but the company failed to address the demand of R40.37 and backpay. That has resulted in collapse of negotiations and commencement of strike action on the 8th December 2017.

The strike is set proceed indefinitely as workers are firm behind their demand of R40.37. If addressed by the employer the demand is set to bring workers at par with their colleagues in the Metal and Engineering Industry.

We calling on our members to be united behind their demands and conduct themselves peaceful manner. We note the acts provocation on part of management and we are calling on our members to remain discipline throughout the strike.

LIMUSA remains committed to engage the employer to resolve the dispute.

Issued by Secretariats

For further information contact :-

Mawonga Madolo - 083 613 8610
Declaration of the SACP Moses Kotane 08th Provincial Congress Held on17-19 November 2017 at Ngwenya Hotel, Stilfontein (Matlosana)
It is not the consciousness of humankind that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness - Karl Marx

We, the 598 revolutionary and militant communist delegates drawn from our four SACP Districts, the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA), the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), the Revolutionary Alliance and our international fraternal allies wish to declare that we have convened under the theme: Defend, Advance, Deepen the National Democratic Revolution; The Vanguard Role of the SACP.

Our Provincial Congress takes place in the context of the global commemoration of the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution which gave birth to the first ever Workers` State. We remain inspired by this Socialist Revolution and the continued relevance of the clarion call by Karl Marx - Workers of the World Unite!

Our Provincial Congress takes place just over three months after the historic 14th National Congress of our Party and we are cognisant of our huge responsibility to take forward the key tasks emanating from our national congress. Our Congress was also attended by the SACP Central Committee. We received the keynote address from our General Secretary on behalf of the Central Committee, an address which coincided squarely with the theme of the congress.

We are deeply encouraged by tremendous growth in SACP membership in the province, from 16 000 to 21 965. In line with our programme, the South African Road to Socialism, we seek to build a large, but vanguard Party. A large party is not necessarily a mass party, as the size of the Party is not a fixed number of members, but is determined by the tasks at hand. This clearly imposes obligations to step up our ideological development program to ensure the readiness of SACP membership to increasingly propel state and popular power.

International balance of forces

We are proud of the revolutionary role played by the icons of our revolutionary movement namely, Chris Hani, Moses Kotane, J.B Marks, O.R Tambo, Joe Slovo, Dora Tamana, to mention but a few, who waged relentless struggles to emancipate our people from national oppression and class exploitation.

The congress was graced by the delegation from the Palestinian Embassy, Communist Party of Swaziland, Botswana National Front (BNF) and other progressive formations.

We note the current spate of activities taking place in neighbouring Zimbabwe where the soldiers have embarked on a politico-military intervention. In seeking to resolve the current impasse, we strongly believe that the interests of the toiling masses should never be compromised. We fully support the initiative by our Central Committee to broadly engage progressive forces in pursuit of finding an amicable solution to the political quagmire in Zimbabwe.

We note the situation confronting the people of Swaziland under the viciously oppressive Mswati regime. The congress further notes and condemns the ongoing blatant abuse of young women by the Swazi king as demonstrated by amongst others the recent forced- marriage of a young school girl. We further recommit to strengthen our Revolutionary relations with progressive forces in that country in particular the Communist Party of Swaziland.

We have noted with utter dismay, and condemn, the acts of brutality perpetrated by the Zionist state of Israel against the people of Palestine and the material support they are receiving from the United States and its allies. The congress remains opposed to the sanctions imposed on Palestine and its people.

We resolved to further intensify our historical ties and solidarity with the People of Cuba, Venezuela, China as well as other progressive organisations notably the Botswana National Front and the Communist Party of Lesotho amongst others.

Organised workers

Congress is inspired by progress made in solidifying our strategic and working relations with organised workers in the province in particular Cosatu, its affiliates as well as other trade unions outside Cosatu.

We, however, note the current challenges facing unions, in particular the retrenchments in the various sectors of our economy. Such retrenchments when carried through will not only affect the workers but also many of their dependents.

Congress calls on State Institutions and communities to work together to find a lasting solution to the incessant attacks on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) by rival reactionary unions. We reaffirm our commitment to defend the NUM as well as other progressive unions that are victims of similar attacks.

Unity of the Alliance

Congress noted the appalling state of the Alliance in the province and expressed discontent with this state of affairs. We reaffirm the centrality of the Alliance in pursuing the National Democratic Revolution. Attempts to undermine the Alliance are in fact efforts to disregard the Revolution. We condemn attempts by the leader of the Alliance to treat the rest of the members of the Alliance as junior partners. This was demonstrated by the manner in which the Provincial Secretary of the SACP was released from the Provincial Executive, an act which was mainly aimed at embarrassing and undermining the Party. We will not tolerate any further unilateral taking of decisions. In most cases these decisions are being made by an individual or a faction whilst reducing other partners to side-line political observers.

We remain committed to build the Revolutionary Alliance. However, it is evident that the Alliance in its current form has been reduced to electoral machinery of the ANC. The significantly marginalised consensus-seeking consultation on major policy and deployment decisions further impacts on the Alliance. Congress reaffirms the 14th National Congress decision on an urgent reconfiguration of the Alliance.

State and popular power

We noted with great appreciation our 14th National Congress resolutions to actively contest elections and an organisational commitment to a process to develop a Road Map in this regard. We note with concern and condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate efforts by some within our movement in the province to distort and misrepresent our national congress resolution on this matter. We regard such efforts as uninvited pure meddling in the internal affairs of the SACP as an independent organisation. We call upon all those who have an interest in understanding our resolutions to read the resolutions as they are already available on the website of the SACP and also engage the Party`s leadership rather than engage in a counter-revolutionary misinformation campaign.

Our Congress has resolved that the current arrangement of contesting elections through the ANC-led Alliance electoral platform is outdated and needs to be reviewed urgently. We have therefore resolved that in preparation for the SACP Special National Congress in 2018, we will submit that the only practical way of engaging in the elections is through a reconfigured Alliance. The Alliance must be a strategic political centre. In the absence of an Alliance agreement on this matter, we will be left with no option but to contest the elections independent of the ANC - this the SACP should engage directly and through building a strong and properly co-ordinated popular left front. We call upon the SACP Central Committee to study the Botswana Opposition Parties` electoral Alliance through the Umbrella for Democratic Change.

We shall also intensify our work to build both a broad patriotic front to protect our country and democratic sovereignty, as well as a popular left front to defend, deepen and advance the National Democratic Revolution towards Socialism.

Congress draws inspiration from the decision of the Central Committee to give approval for the SACP to contest the 29 November 2017 by-elections in Metsimaholo, Free State Province. We will be making our own contribution as a province to ensure successful contest in Metsimaholo.

Fight against gender-based violence

The delegates to Congress noted the glaring violence against women and children across all levels of society.

We will initiate formidable campaigns to name and shame perpetrators of such shameful acts. In our endeavour to invigorate our campaigns, we will empower women to fight side-by-side with progressive revolutionary forces in order to find programmatic solutions to this scourge. We re-affirm our commitment to take forward this work in the coming months within the context of our 2017-18 Red October Campaign.

Our Campaign to confront the scourge of violence against women and children coincides with Comrade Julius Nyerere`s assertion that "when the people stand-up, imperialism trembles". Indeed there will be no successful revolution without the masses.

We will further continue to lobby government support for our campaign through amongst others the Ministry for Women based in the Presidency.

Provision of equitable health care

Congress is emboldened by the progress made at the pilot site for the rollout of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI) to ensure people gain access to affordable health care. Whilst we appreciate the intentions and benefits of the NHI, we are aware of the neo-liberal offensive that stands opposed to NHI and wants to continue with the further privatisation of health services. We will defend the comprehensive implementation of NHI by our democratic government.

Congress remains resolute in defending and advancing the interests of the working class. We have generated resolutions to inform programs on the SACP and the workplace, the economy, the battle of ideas, gender & social transformation as well as Party Building and Organisational Renewal. We will further intensify ideological development through regular Party classes and other political education programmes.

We emerge from our 8th Provincial Congress much stronger, united and focussed on building a powerful Vanguard Party geared towards tackling the challenges facing the working class and poor across the length and breadth of our province. Congress has positioned the Party in the Province to be at the forefront of major class battles in the current conjuncture.

We therefore declare that we will: Defend, Advance and Deepen the National Democratic Revolution!

Socialism is the Future; Build it Now!

The SACP Moses Kotane 08th Provincial Congress unanimously elected the following members to serve as the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC);

PEC Officials:

Provincial Secretary: Madoda Sambatha
Provincial Chairperson: Smuts Matshe
Provincial Treasurer: Washington Ntozini
Deputy Provincial Chairperson: Tebogo Modise
01st Deputy Provincial Secretary: Nick Maphelle
02nd Deputy Provincial Secretary: Thabo Mashomo

Members of the PEC:

Seitebaleng Dikole
Francis Ratlhaga
Khaya Ndincede
Masello Senne
Shadrak Mvula
Motlalepula Lekoma
Deliwe Zethi
Mpho Motlhabane
Pabatso Ntsoti
Lesego Lejaka
Louis Diremelo
Letticia Basson
Puleng Mohoase
Mmoloki Cwaile
Magome Masike
ANCYL Notes the Unfortunate Comments of an ANC Deputy President
08 December 2017

The ANCYL notes the unfortunate comments of an ANC Deputy President, Cde. Cyril Ramaphosa on Radio 702 where he directly attacks a seating President of the ANC.

The direct attack in our view stems from his response where he said "Yes I believe Khwezi", in reference to the rape trial where President Jacob Zuma wa acquitted.

The ANC Youth League strongly feels of a need to respond categorically to this bile spewed by Cde Cyril Ramaphosa.

This is bile because this is an act of a desperation at a full demonstration and prove that his conscious has long left him and not under any circumstance does he show that he can lead the ANC.

The ANCYL is shocked that a dead person would be used to advance a selfish personal agenda despite the fact that an independent judicial organ of the state have made a judgement on the matter. Thus, we feel strongly that this is not only a direct attack on the President of the ANC and his integrity but a reckless and unfortunate remark to be made by this American puppet.

We call upon this fellow to publicly respond for this recklessness or face the full might of the ANC rule book.

We wish to caution Cde Cyril Ramaphosa to refrain from this inanity and behave and get it clear in his mind that it will not change the fact that he will never be a President of the ANC in this lifetime and attacking an outgoing ANC President will never increase his chances to even come close to his self serving ambitions.

ISSUED BY

Mlondi Mkhize
National Spokesperson
African National Congress Youth
Statement of ANC NEC Subcommittee on Legislature and Governance Ahead of 54th Conference
12 December 2017

The ANC goes to conference having reviewed its policies and to determine a new path that will ensure we live up to the hopes and aspirations of our people. The 5th National Policy Conference of the ANC was held from the 30thJune to 5th July 2017, at which detailed policy proposals relating to legislatures, governance and the macro-configuration of the state were discussed.

The South African State and its institutions over the past five years under review have been confronted with numerous challenges and competing interests. Of major significance has been persistent high unemployment, rising poverty, widening income in-equalities and unresolved land redistribution. These challenges have applied pressure on state institutions and called for a review of the manner in which we govern our state.

The mandate and scope of the Legislature & Governance Sub-committee is transformation of the State and the overall governance arrangements. This includes issues relating to cooperative governance, provinces and local government, public service & administration, institutions supporting democracy, basic service delivery, traditional leadership, legislatures, employment and economic development within the Public Sector; governance of state owned enterprises and the electoral systems and related matters. The work of the Sub-committee is informed by National Conference resolutions, the National General Council resolutions, Policy Conference proposals and the Annual NEC Makgotla.

The L&G Sub-committee is crucially concerned with the implementation of ANC policy and decisions, and notes that whilst many past conferences have adopted extremely progressive policies, some of these have not been fully implemented. We are determined to ensure that ANC has the requisite capacity to oversee and monitor implementation by our deployed cadres within the state.

Policy issues and proposals

1. Macro-configuration of the state: The ANC government established a constitutional framework within the architecture and configuration of a unitary state within a decentralized form of governance arrangement in three spheres of government. The constitution provides for principles of cooperative governance across the spheres of government that are distinctive, interrelated and interdependent, which binds and defines their interface.

2. Previous ANC policy conferences, NEC Makgotla, NGC's, National Conferences, and the NDP have emphasized the need for strengthening alignment in intergovernmental coordination and collaboration. We need a more predictable and coordinated system of how macro policies and priorities are set, and translated into integrated planning instruments and how budgets are developed, deployed and implemented, within and across spheres of government.

3. The overall configuration of the executive should be dictated by policy outcomes and the principles of good governance and efficiency in the configuration of departments.

4. Strategic center of governance: The Conference will give momentum to the strategic centre of governance deliberation. The President is the head of state and the strategic centre of government, and has the requisite powers and functions, including coordinating functions of state departments and administrations. The intention is to re-configure and build capacity to drive strategic coordination, resource planning and prioritization in line with the objectives of the developmental state and the National Development Plan. This will include alignment of the public service, administration, IGR, provinces, municipalities and state owned enterprises.

5. State planning: The centrality of integrated macro policy planning and coordinated implementation is affirmed and supported. Meeting these challenges requires a developmental state with modelling capability, planning and an ability to anticipate the future and thus plan for it.

The macro analysis of the state suggests that there is an uneasy intersection and confluence of socio-economic, demographic, biological and economic forces which portend a country at the crossroads. This calls for endeavours to shed light and assist in providing a line of sight into the future for those who are preoccupied with planning.

The planning and enforcement capability of the state needs to be streamlined. A strategic center in this regard has become urgent.

6. Provincial review: The Presidential Commission to review the powers, functions and number of provinces must be urgently established.

7. State Implementation capability: The ANC has observed and raised serious concerns about the implementation and enforcement of government policies and laws. There is growing evidence of weaknesses on the part of government to execute policy and legislation.

This challenge is due to numerous factors, among others, the absence of accountability and consequences for non-delivery, lack of political will, weak or poor administration capacity, rather than lack of financial resources.

Unfortunately this compromises the ability of the ANC government to deliver and denies our people better and quality services.

The 54th National Conference will examine the effectiveness of governance and accountability mechanisms, including the role of Parliament in providing oversight.

8. Cadre development policy: The several challenges of weak execution, accountability and effective governance points to the lack of and in-adequacies in our cadre development policy.

The ANC must review its policy on cadre development, and ensure that our deployed cadres have the requisite capacity to fulfill their mandates. This policy will apply to all ANC elected public representatives including members of cabinet, members of parliaments, and local government councilors.

The thrust of the policy will be to emphasize accountability, effectiveness, support and development. ANC elected representatives and deployees must be appointed with a clear mandate to execute specific ANC policies and tasks, and as such must be held accountable. This policy must be coupled with a clear accountability framework, which applies to all cadres deployed to lead the state at its various levels.

The overall resolution on supporting the development of an Accountability Framework, with effective monitoring and consequence management was supported. Through this we must reaffirm and where needed restore our values.

9. Relationship between party and the state: The conference will also examine the relationship between the party and the state. This examination should be able to mitigate and minimize the impacts of party challenges spilling into government and thus comprising the capacity of the state.

10. Oversight role of Parliament: The oversight role of parliament will be re-examined so as to ensure an ANC progressive consistent agenda is implemented in parliament. We want to ensure consistency and robustness of parliament's oversight role. In addition to exercising oversight over the Executive, Parliament must also turn its attention to matters affecting broader society.

11. The state of SOEs: The state of some of the SOEs calls for serious intervention to restore governance and prudential management. The conference will emphasize the governance and oversight protocols for SOEs. This will include how we empower the public to hold SOEs accountable, how legislatures play their role in tightening oversight and the executive taking full control in managing their portfolio of SOEs.

12. Traditional leadership system: Issues regarding the traditional leadership system in South Africa have not been fully resolved since the 1994 democratic dispensation. Various engagements and consultations have ensued with Traditional leaders represented by CONTRALESA in an effort to address this gap. The National Conference will make a specific concrete policy determination on the traditional leadership system, and the role of traditional leaders in land governance and administration.

13. Local economic development and unemployment: Unemployment levels in South Africa have remained chronically and exceedingly high, especially amongst the youth. South Africa's Multidimensional Poverty Index (SAMPI) Report has pointed to the contribution of unemployment as a driver of poverty. This has an impact on delivery and affordability of services. Public sector employment programmes must be improved to ameliorate these conditions.

The Local Economic development initiatives of municipalities become key in mitigating this challenge. Cities can play a vital role in building the local economy. Key to this is the provision of utility services for growing business needs. Reliability and supply of electricity remains a constraint. All cities have mechanisms to ensure municipal spending results in maximum economic impact.

14. Urbanization and spatial planning: Various studies estimate that nearly 80% of the total population will be living in urban areas by 2050. One of the biggest challenges of urbanization is the 'urbanisation of poverty', which is increasing, especially in townships, informal settlements and inner cities.

There is a large part of the population that lives in dispersed and impoverished rural settlements, many in the former apartheid homelands. In these areas poverty and unemployment are high and millions of people effectively rely on the state to meet their basic needs.

15. Governance in Cities: In cities we will focus on energizing our base and ANC strongholds. This is particularly the case in Joburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay which are under coalition governments.

The National Conference will examine strategies to respond to the reversal of transformation and racist delivery strategies implemented by the coalitions.

16. Outcomes of High Level Panel: The ANC has noted and appreciate the report of the High Level Panel, which the ANC mandated the 4th Parliament to establish. The challenges raised by the report and their implications on our society are taken very seriously. The High Level Panel has confirmed the core issues that confront our country, namely Poverty, Land, In-Equalities, Implementation and Governance. These issues will be discussed in detail at National Conference, and strategies to resolve the problems identified in the report must be articulated.

Conclusion

The main challenges of poverty, in-equality and land dispossession persist. The capacity and capability of the state is the most critical factor to the solution of this challenge.

The central focus of our commission will be on our ability to plan, implement, enforce, monitor and achieve the desired objectives. The core issues are governance, configuration of the state, the public service, efficiency and effectiveness of the administration, the framework for state owned entities and the cadre development policy, supported by a clear accountability framework.

ISSUED BY

Ayanda Dlodlo
Chairperson: ANC NEC SUBCOMMITTEE ON LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNANCE

Enquiries

Zizi Kodwa
0823304910

Khusela Sangoni
0728545707
Zimbabwe: Does Chinamasa’s Budget Pass the Test?
December 12, 2017
Clive Mphambela
Zimbabwe Herald

Well, it has come and gone. Finance and Economic Development Minister Chinamasa delivered an interesting budget which, as was expected, had its own fair share of highs and lows.

The much anticipated budget dealt some good measure as it highlighted issues needing attention in order to put Zimbabwe’s economic train back on the rails. However, his efforts still missed some critical elements, required to actually power the economy forward.

To his credit, Minister Chinamasa’s delivery was brilliantly honest in terms of its underlying assumptions. He demonstrated Government’s acute understanding of the critical state of the economy. He acknowledged at length the failure of government over recent years to adhere to fiscal order and discipline. He agreed with the common view that excessive indiscipline by the Government right across its breadth and depth has bled the economy and led us to where we are. This level of candour inspires some confidence. In order to start resolving a problem, the very first step is to first identify the problem and then honestly accept the realities engendered by the problem. Hats off to him!

Secondly, Minister Chinamasa did a good job in aligning the Budget statement to the new vision outlined by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The constant reference to the President’s speech right through his statement showed that there is already a high level of buy-in, not just by his own ministry, but right across the entire Government. Minister Chinamasa touched on critical elements of the New Economic Order’, articulating how various sectors of the economy will be impacted. He clearly understands that the Ministry of Finance and Economic development will play a key coordinative function in this new dispensation. That is the reason his budget touched on the need to review the indigenisation act through amendments to be pushed through as soon as possible. This will be quite reassuring to foreign investors.

Minister Chinamsasa cemented the need to tell the world that “Zimbabwe is now open for business” highlighting strongly that Government is seized with putting in place supportive measures that seek to rebuild confidence and compete for investment. Hence, re-engagement with the global community takes centre stage in his address, as does the need to establish new relationships and strengthen existing relationships with international funders. Minister Chinamasa also recognizes the critical role of the Zimbabwean diaspora in the economic recovery agenda of the country, stating that “the diaspora plays an active role in the broader economy, particularly through investments in the domestic economy, as well as knowledge and technology transfer”, further calling for the creation of conditions for an investment-led economic recovery that is underpinned by the active participation of the diaspora in the “broad economic calculus”. This position of the government is certain to enthuse the diaspora and rekindle strong feelings of loyalty to their country. Fortunately, Hon Chinamasa is the custodian of the diaspora policy, and pledges that Government will, therefore, be strengthening platforms for engaging the Zimbabwean diaspora with a view to coming up with a policy framework that provides incentives and guaranteed security for diaspora investments. In view of the mega deals such as the NRZ-DIDG-Transnet transaction, Government must urgently follow through on this commitment.

To his further credit, Minister Chinamasa dealt at length with measures meant to address the problems in Agriculture, outlined plausible solutions to the problems.

The lengths to which he went to address Issues to do with tenure security for farmers, unlocking the capital value of agricultural land, working on weaknesses in the current financing mechanisms under the special agriculture programmes, marketing challenges and the need to improve the sustainability of small holder farming through special schemes such as the strategic partnerships with Anchor Farmers.

The Anchor Farmer concept integrates commercial farming and smallholder farmer outreach, providing farmers with access to inputs, agronomic advice, and markets. He proposed a massive 150 percent allowable deduction on expenditure related to technical and support services availed to smallholder farmers by anchor farmers which in my view is a substantial incentive for established farmers to want to work with and assist in integrating upcoming farmers into mainstream agriculture.

The budget was also very solid on civil service reform proposals; the need to revamp and revitalise state owned enterprises; transform the public finance management system; addressing inefficiencies caused by rent seeking by government officials and accelerating the ease and cost of doing business reforms.

There are indeed many other positives in the budget but this column notes some glaring shortcomings.

On employment creation, the budget seems to make only sweeping references to the need for jobs but lacks comprehensive strategies specifically aimed at creating new jobs.

Whilst the minister acknowledges the negative consequences of excessive money supply growth caused by excessive government borrowing, which has caused dislocations in the monetary system, he does not seem to provide any solutions to the problem. Indeed he spoke of the need to curb the fiscal deficits, reduce the need for government to rely on inflationary Treasury bills and RBZ overdraft financing, improve foreign currency inflows, but he did not attend to the need to re-look at the additional instability and damage that has been inflicted on the economy by Bond Notes. It is as clear as daylight that this monetary based export incentive is inflationary and is inflaming key variables such as the exchange rate.

This is impacting the cost structures in the economy. Minister Chinamasa only proposes cosmetic solutions to the problem, namely prioritising foreign currency allocations to producers of essential goods and services; exercising flexibility in the issuance of import licences to those with “free funds”, in order to avert shortages of essential goods not produced locally. These solutions ignore an obvious critical fact, that the “free funds” that the Minister refers to are being sourced from the informal market, and this is what is making the problems worse. Minister Chimasasa in this respect completely misses the point that we need to remove bond notes from the system so that the foreign exchange starts to return to the banking system, otherwise we remain doomed. The parallel market will continue to thrive unless we return to the system where some 30 percent or so of transactions in the economy were in US Dollar notes, which were in continuous circulation. There are no concrete proposals aimed at restoring and maintaining the integrity of the multicurrency system by revising the export incentive scheme. This I identify as a major weakness.

The Minister of Finance was however, quite correct to observe that his policy prescriptions merely address the symptoms, and require to be buttressed by additional efforts aimed at fundamental issues related to fiscal imbalances and low production.

As things stand the economy is facing unprecedented challenges from many fronts, with inflation and monetary instability posing as major risk factors. I saw very little by way concrete proposals to deal with these risks. The economy is facing acute foreign currency position, despite significant projected growth in export receipts. The import bill is still projected to rise further from $6,4 billion last year to $6,8 billion this year. The country’s external position will therefore remain precarious and the dislocations in the financial system, the foreign exchange markets and the real goods market (multiple tier pricing ) are likely to continue.

Did Minister Chinamasa deliver a JOBS BUDGET?

Finally perhaps more importantly I need to state that Ministers Chinamasa budget was only going to be relevant to the ordinary man if all his policy measures were keenly focused on CREATING NEW AND SUSTAINABLE JOBS IN THE ECONOMY. If truth be told, he did not do too well on this front. Perhaps he assumed that employment creation is an implicit objective. My view however, is that the citizens are desperate for JOBS and therefore employment creation must necessarily have been an explicit objective in the budget. Minister Chinamasa’s effort therefore falls short of heeding the loud calls by His Excellency that “we need JOBS!, JOBS!, JOBS!!!!” Let us now wait and see how he follows through on this ambitious but very interesting plan.

The writer is an economist. The views expressed in this article are his personal opinions and should in no way be interpreted to represent the views of any organizations that the he is associated or connected with.
TIGHT RACE AS ANC PREPARES TO ELECT ZUMA SUCCESSOR
In a race seen as too close to call, seven candidates are seeking to succeed President Zuma, who has been at the helm of the party for a decade.

Reuters

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s ruling African National Congress holds an election this weekend to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader in a closely fought contest whose winner is likely to emerge as the nation’s next president.

The front-runners are Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former trade union leader and one of South Africa’s richest people, and Zuma’s preferred candidate, his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a former minister and chairwoman of the African Union Commission.

In a race seen as too close to call, seven candidates are seeking to succeed Zuma, who has been at the helm of the party for a decade.

The stakes are high because the ANC’s electoral dominance means whoever wins the party’s top job is likely to become the next president of South Africa after a national election in 2019.

The party holds its conference in Johannesburg between 16-20 December.

All seven ANC leadership hopefuls pledged to Zuma at a meeting last month that they would accept the outcome of the leadership vote in the interests of keeping the 105-year-old organisation intact and avoid splits that could weaken its strength at the national elections in 2019.

Ramaphosa edged Dlamini-Zuma by getting the majority of nominations to become a leader of the party, but the complexity of the leadership race means it is far from certain he will become the next party leader and therefore the likely next president.

Adding another level of complexity, delegates are not bound to vote for the candidate their ANC branch nominated.

Zuma said last week he was “very happy” to be stepping down as ANC president. He can remain as head of state until 2019.

Political uncertainty over the ANC race is a major threat to the country’s credit rating. S&P Global Ratings and Fitch rate South Africa’s debt as “junk”.

Analysts have said South Africa’s business and consumer confidence has been dented in recent years by allegations of corruption in Zuma’s government and influence-peddling by the Gupta family - businessmen who are close friends of the president. Zuma and the Guptas have denied the allegations.

Ramaphosa is viewed as more investor-friendly and has pledged to fight the corruption that has plagued Zuma’s tenure.

Dlamini-Zuma has said she is not tainted by graft and it is fine if the country’s white business community will not endorse her. She has said her priority is to improve the prospects for the black majority.
GWEDE MANTASHE: ANC TACKLING ISSUES FACED BY PROVINCES
The ANC secretary-general says there are plans in place to deal with issues currently faced by various provinces.

Sifiso  Zulu
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe says there are plans in place to deal with issues currently faced by various provinces as the organisation heads to its national elective conference.

About Mpumalanga, Mantashe says the so-called vote for unity in that province will not make it to the conference.

“There will be no unity on the ballot paper… those are nominations. Now, we’re heading to the conference, we’ll have elections. On the ballot paper, there will be names of the nominated candidates.”

Mantashe says there’s an internal party process tackling the issues in the Eastern Cape, where there was violence during the provincial elective conference earlier this year.

“We told them it’s urgent and urged that they don’t do a half-cooked job. They must gather evidence that will be presented at the NEC.”

He says members of the Free State should do political work and desist from being emotional about the removal of Ace Magashule who was re-elected as provincial chair on Monday night.

“If people were contesting the election in the Free State, they become emotional and not do solid political work… they’ll not remove Magashule from that position (sic).”

Monday, December 11, 2017

'WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO MAKE SURE ANC CONFERENCE SUCCEEDS’
Energy Minister David Mahlobo was giving an update on Monday afternoon on behalf of the ANC's peace and security sub-committee at Luthuli House.

Gaye Davis
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Energy Minister David Mahlobo says the African National Congress (ANC) is ready for its national conference at the weekend and will do everything necessary to ensure it's a success.

He was giving an update on Monday afternoon on behalf of the ANC's peace and security sub-committee at Luthuli House.

“We are ready for a conference. We will do whatever it takes that that conference succeeds. Because the success of that conference is not only for the ANC, but it’s for the people of this country.”

Thousands of delegates are expected to descend on Nasrec, south of Johannesburg, for the election of a new president and party leadership.

Mahlobo says the ANC will be under close scrutiny this weekend.

“Even our neighbours and the continent are watching us as the ANC. And the ANC has never failed to respond when we are actually being put under a microscope. We are confident men and women of the secret services will be able to make us proud.”

Mahlobo’s warned that those who misbehave won’t be permitted into the conference precinct.

“Members of the ANC who are coming to that conference they must come and show that there is maximum unity and discipline because if people are not disciplined they will never be allowed to be actually closer to the precinct of our conference.”
ANC LEADERS SAY FREE STATE CONFERENCE WITHIN SPIRIT OF THE PARTY
Ace Magashule was re-elected on Monday night with Paseka Nompondo as his deputy.

The newly elected ANC Free State top five leadership. Picture: @ANCFS /Twitter

Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

PARYS - The African National Congress (ANC)'s national leaders have endorsed the Free State ANC elective conference which re-elected Ace Magashule unopposed, saying that the gathering was held "within the spirit of the ANC".

This while disgruntled party members are preparing to head to court, to try and nullify the conference and interdict all provincial delegates from attending the national elective conference this weekend.

Magashule was re-elected on Monday night with Paseka Nompondo as his deputy after the now-former deputy chairperson Thabo Manyoni rejected nomination in his absence from the gathering.

William Bulwane was re-elected as secretary, Mamiki Qabathe as his deputy and Mosebenzi Zwane as treasurer-general.

Magashule continued his run as the longest-serving provincial chairperson.

But what will his election mean if Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma emerges as ANC president this weekend, making Magashule the national secretary-general?

Re-elected provincial secretary William Bulwana says they will make a plan.

David Mahlobo, Lindiwe Zulu and Malusi Gigaba were national executive committee (NEC) deployments at the conference and despite some branches boycotting the gathering, the NEC leaders have described it as an ambience of unity.
BURUNDI WILL RAISE FUNDS FROM CITIZENS TO PAY FOR 2020 ELECTION
Until 2015, Burundi used external aid to pay for elections, but donors have suspended their assistance since a political crisis erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza sought and won a third term.

FILE: Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza stands at the Presidential office in Bujumbura on 17 May 2015. Picture: AFP.

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Reuters | about 2 hours ago
NAIROBI - Burundi plans to raise money for an election in 2020 by deducting part of civil servants’ salaries and taking contributions directly from citizens, a government minister said on Monday, as it seeks to replace dwindling external funding.

Until 2015, Burundi used external aid to pay for elections, but donors have suspended their assistance since a political crisis erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza sought and won a third term.

Pascal Barandagiye, the minister for interior, said the government will also be seek contributions from every household, which will pay up to 2000 francs a year. Gross national income per capita stood at $280 in 2016, and close to 65% of the population live below the poverty line, according to World Bank data.

“The total amount of the election cost is not yet known ... But as soon as the needed fund is got the fundraising campaign will be halted,” Barandagiye told a news conference. “That contribution should be given voluntarily, it shouldn’t be seen as a head tax.”

Students of voting age will contribute 1000 francs annually. Civil servants will contribute at least a tenth of their monthly salaries, Barandagiye said. Foreign help would also be accepted, he said.

Burundi has been gripped by a political crisis since April 2015, when Nkurunziza announced he would stand for a third term, which the opposition said violated the constitution as well as a 2005 peace deal that ended a 12-year civil war.

He won a vote largely boycotted by the opposition, but protests sparked a government crackdown. More than 700 people have been killed and 400,000 displaced to neighbouring countries. The economy has stagnated.

The aid-dependent nation now has to rely on domestic tax collection and modest revenue from coffee and tea exports. Key donors, such as the European Union, cut direct financial support to the government over accusations of human rights violations and the crackdown on opponents, which Burundi rejects.

At the end of October, Burundi’s cabinet adopted draft legislation seeking to change the current constitution to allow Nkurunziza to run for a fourth term in the 2020 election.

The proposed amendments, which are likely to go to a referendum by next year, seek to abolish the two-term limit and lengthen the presidential terms to seven years.
Mozambique: President Nyusi Wants Massive Campaign Against Malaria
Mozambique Information Agency (AIM)

President Filipe Nyusi on 8 December urged the Ministry of Health to lead a massive campaign against malaria in 2018. Speaking at the ceremony to lay the first stone for a new general hospital in the northern city of Nampula, President Nyusi expressed his concern at the large number of cases of malaria in Nampula province.

"I am worried by the persistent occurrence of malaria and cholera, two diseases that can be avoided", he said. "Malaria kills and it is the number one cause of hospitalisation. The prevalence of malaria is falling very slowly in Nampula and Zambezia".

He took the opportunity to criticise those who refuse to sleep under mosquito nets, or refuse to allow their homes to be sprayed with insecticide.

"The best way of fighting malaria is prevention", said the President. "Secure ways of doing this are using mosquito nets and spraying houses. Let the health professionals spray your houses in order to protect the entire community".

To illustrate his government's commitment to the health service, President Nyusi said the government is spending about 100 million meticais (US$1.67 million) a year in activities to prevent avoidable diseases.

He stressed the need for decent sanitation, and declared that all Mozambican municipalities should clean up the environment not merely in the wealthy parts of cities and towns, but also on the poorer, semi-rural periphery.

The new general hospital, in the Nampula neighbourhood of Natikiri will have 350 beds, and will make available maternity, paediatric, orthopaedic and surgical services.

President Nyusi also chaired the ceremony marking the start of paving the road from Nampula city to Nametil, capital of Mogovolas district, a distance of 70.6 kilometres. This is part of government plans to improve road connections between districts in the south and east of the province.

President Nyusi said that better roads will ensure the movement of agricultural and fisheries produce between Angoche, Moma, Monapo and Meconta districts and Nampula city.

Roads had already been tarred in the west of the province, he added, linking the city to Ribaue and Malema district. Work was now underway to pave the stretch from Malema to Cuamba, in Niassa province.

This was all part of the government's plans for a decent network of paved roads from Maputo, through Nampula, all the way to the Niassa provincial capital, Lichinga, and to Metangula, on the shores of Lake Niassa.

The Nampula-Nametil road is being financed by South Korea. "It was a wise decision by our friends in South Korea to bank on the vision of our government for developing these infrastructures".

The Korean ambassador, Heung Soo Kim, praised the cooperation between the two countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1993 up until now, he said, South Korea had invested US$400 million in 12 projects in Mozambique, the largest of which was the Quelimane Central Hospital, in Zambezia province.

Tarring the road will cost US$41.5 million, and will take 30 months.
Mozambique: Government Cuts Privileges to Top Officials
Mozambique Information Agency (AIM)

The Mozambican government has introduced austerity measures to cut expenditure on the perks and privileges of high ranking state officials, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adriano Malaeiane, announced on 5 December.

Speaking to reporters after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Maleiane said the cuts are expected to result in savings of 7.2 billion meticais (US$120 million) in 2018.

One of the largest savings is on rent. Because the government does not have enough houses of its own to accommodate senior officials, up until now it has put them in hotels, or private rented accommodation at enormous cost. The new government decree, Maleiane said, fixes a basic sum per square metre for rented accommodation. This cut will save the state budget 1.1 billion meticais a year.

Officials can no longer expect that their jobs will entitle them to travel in luxury cars. Maleiane said that the State will now only use cars with an engine capacity of between 1,300 and 1,500 cubic centimetres.

It will also end the long-standing scandal of buying cars with the sole purpose of selling them at a discount to officials for their personal use. Instead when an official takes office he will be granted an allowance. Maleiane did not say how much this allowance will be, but he said the measure will allow the State to buy only the vehicles that it really needs.

Officials will no longer have unlimited access to fuel and communications. A ceiling is set of 5,000 meticais a month for the fuel allowance, and 10,000 meticais for communications (essentially on mobile phones). It should be noted that 10,000 meticais is two and a half times the statutory minimum wage in the public administration (currently 3,996 meticais a month). The limits on fuel and communications allowances will save the state 245 million meticais over the year, Maleiane said.

The decree eliminates an irrational "special bonus" granted to officials merely because they have completed a mid-level or higher education courses, regardless of whether the degree they obtain is of any relevance to their work.
Mozambique, China Agree on $60m Airport Deal
BBC 

Hardly a week after BBC reported that the $200m Nacala International Airport, which was opened in 2014 and turned into an international centre for passenger distribution, was hardly being used, Mozambique has clinched yet another airport deal.

China has given the Southern African nation $60m to build an airport in the Southern port city of Xai Xai.

Mozambique’s foreign minister says the airport would improve the mobility of people and goods, and make it easier to respond to natural catastrophes in the remote Gaza province.

While the ‘ghost’ Nacala Airport reportedly serves 20,000 passengers of the projected 500,000 a year, Mozambique is not deterred in its appetite for infrastructural projects.

China’s ambassador to Mozambique also confirmed that China has also agreed to finance the purchase of 100 commuter buses at a cost of $7.5m in addition to installing a satellite television system in 500 Mozambican villages.
Michigan is Facing an Alarming Hepatitis A Outbreak
Katrease Stafford and Kristi Tanner
Detroit Free Press
8:02 a.m. ET Dec. 11, 2017

 An alarming number of hepatitis A cases have swept across southeast Michigan since August 2016 in what public health officials said is one of the largest outbreaks to occur in the United States since a vaccine was widely introduced two decades ago.

In 2017 alone, Michigan has led the nation in hepatitis cases per capita, according to a Free Press analysis. More than 500 cases have been reported this year.

The far-reaching outbreak — which has heavily impacted Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties — has created a coalition of sorts among local and state officials who are working to keep the disease from spreading among the region’s most vulnerable, at risk populations. Detroit and Macomb County have the highest rate of outbreak related cases at about 2 cases per 10,000 residents.

The cause of the outbreak is not yet known but officials say they're probing a link to the ongoing opioid and heroin crisis seen across Michigan, as well as other potential exposure routes.

"We're continuing to see new cases almost every day so it is a concern," said Macomb County Health Department Director Bill Ridella.  "I think there is a strong connection to a number of these cases with the opioid and heroin problem. About half of the cases in Macomb County has some connection with drug use and/or heroin."

But state officials said since other exposure routes have been found, it hasn't been easy to discern the exact origin.

"Typically what we would see this time of year is about 14 times lower than what we’re currently dealing with," said Angela Minicuci, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson. "I don’t know if we’ve seen a hepatitis A outbreak like this before."

To put the outbreak in perspective, Wayne County's Department of Health, Veterans & Community Wellness Medical Director Ruta Sharangpani said only two to three cases are typically seen in a given year within the county.

And a shortage of vaccinations across the country has also created an uphill battle for public health officials. The Centers for Disease Control is exploring options to increase vaccine supply, and one manufacturer has said it might be able to supply more to support the demand. Since hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable illness, officials are urging people to speak with their medical providers to determine if they should obtain it.

"The demand for adult hepatitis A vaccine(s) has increased substantially over the past six months and vaccine supply to meet this unexpected demand in the U.S. has become constrained," the CDC said in a statement to the Free Press. "While CDC and state/local public health officials are targeting vaccine to manage outbreaks and carry on routine vaccination, current supply is not sufficient to support demand for vaccine."

20 deaths reported in Michigan

Hepatitis A is a serious, highly contagious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus, according to the CDC. HAV is found in the feces of people with hepatitis A and can be spread by eating contaminated food or water or during sex. The risk also increases by living with someone who has been infected.

Illness can appear 15-50 days after exposure and an individual can be sick for several weeks. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Statewide, there have been 20 deaths associated with the current hepatitis A outbreak which began Aug. 1, 2016. 

Eight of those deaths were Detroit residents who had a case of hepatitis A when they died.

Detroit Health Department Director Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said while she can’t share specific information about the eight reported deaths due to privacy laws, she said some of the individuals may have had other underlying illnesses that ultimately led to their deaths.

“Someone who died might have had hepatitis A and it’s not necessarily the reason for their actual death,” Khaldun said. “To pick apart every single death that had an association with hepatitis A, I think that is not the real point here. The most important point is we want to make sure we’re protecting our citizens. We want to make sure we’re getting ahead of it and vaccinating. We want to make sure that our clinicians are being very vigilant and looking for people who might have symptoms so we can get ahead of this outbreak. That’s the most important thing to talk about.”

Three deaths also each occurred in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties (not including Detroit) -- for a total of 9 additional deaths associated with the outbreak. While one death associated with hepatitis A happened in Ingham, Livingston and Monroe counties.

Minicuci says there's usually about a one-year lag from the date of death to when the state compiles and releases information on the number of deaths caused by hepatitis A.

Yet, in an e-mail to the Free Press she shared that death certificates are available for 18 of the 20 deaths and "six of the 18 specifically list hepatitis A."  Three list a cause of death related to liver failure or liver disease and nine died while hospitalized with hepatitis A or within 30 days of discharge.

People who have died from the disease tend to be older with a median of 58 years old, according to an analysis by the state.

There are usually very few deaths caused solely by hepatitis A.

Between 2011 and 2016 there were four deaths determined to be caused by hepatitis A in the state, three deaths in 2013 and one in 2016, according to vital statistics data.

But Minicuci said Michigan isn’t the only state experiencing an outbreak of some nature.

 “It’s certainly something that we’re treating as a very unique situation here in Michigan but so are a lot of other states nationally,” Minicuci said.

In Michigan, in 2017 alone, the state had 527 cases, which is a rate of 5.3 per 100,000 residents. Other states being monitored by the CDC during the current outbreak include: Utah with 101 cases this year- a rate of 3.3 per 100,000 residents; California with 666 cases, or 1.7 cases per 100,000 residents; and Kentucky with 31 cases -- a rate of 0.7 cases per 100,000 residents. California has reported 21 deaths since the outbreak began.

In 2015, the latest nationwide data available, there were 1,390 hepatitis A cases - a rate of  0.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to the CDC.

The CDC stated in an e-mail that Michigan's outbreak is unrelated to the one in California but similar in terms of the affected population - mainly homeless people and people who report drug use. According to the CDC, an outbreak in San Diego led to outbreaks of hepatitis A in other California cities, Arizona and Utah.

 “The outbreak is caused by related strains of the same hepatitis A virus genotype (IB),” the CDC said in a statement to the Free Press. “These strains are not commonly seen in the United States, but are common in other parts of the world. … While what is occurring in Michigan and San Diego, a large community wide outbreak, has not happened in the last 25 years (since the widespread use of vaccine), outbreaks of this nature have occurred historically.”

Just under half, 48%, of cases in Michigan are related to drug use and a majority of cases are men -- 65%. About 12% of individuals with the disease are homeless.

Macomb County District Judge Linda Davis, president of the grassroots organization Families Against Narcotics (FAN), said she's not surprised by a potential link to the opioid and addiction crisis.

"There's going to be lots of consequences (of the crisis,)" Davis said. "It's not just hepatitis A, it's AIDS, it's hepatitis A, B and C, they are all aftermaths of addiction.  A large number of the people in drug courts and that we just deal with generally through FAN have hepatitis A and have been treated for it or awaiting treatment for it. The numbers are large."

Among hepatitis A outbreak cases, about 1 in 3 cases, 31%, have a history of hepatitis B or C.

Many in the public learn of hepatitis cases only when someone who works in the food service industry is diagnosed with having it. Since August of last year, local health departments have sent out regular releases, alerting the public to new cases at restaurants across the tri-county area.

At the end of November, the Detroit health department announced a Greektown Casino employee had been diagnosed with hepatitis A. The announcement came just two days after it announced a separate case at a McDonald's on West Grand Boulevard.

And just last week, Oakland County announced an employee at a Papa Romano's in Southfield had been diagnosed with hepatitis A. Oakland County announced last week that it plans to hold two clinics aimed at vaccinating food service workers.

As the cases continue to roll in, Dr. Katherine Reyes, medical director of Infection Prevention & Control for the Henry Ford Health System, said she's been troubled by the high number of hospitalizations in connection with the outbreak. About 83% of cases have included hospitalization, according to the latest data from the state.

Other at risk populations include people who have close contact with someone who has hepatitis A, gay men, travelers to countries with high or medium rates of hepatitis A and people with chronic liver disease.

"We have had patients admitted with hepatitis A," Reyes said. "We have seen a number who come in with symptoms and the diagnosis is made during admission. We have also had patients who were transferred to us with known diagnosis of hepatitis A and are getting transferred for escalation of care. ...This is tragic."

Response to the outbreak

Multiple counties across the region have taken similar, proactive approaches to the outbreak. According to the MDHHS, the best way to reduce the risk of getting hepatitis A is to receive two doses of the vaccine. Proper hygiene, including thorough hand-washing, is also urged.

In Detroit, Khaldun said her department has been on the ground working with not just at-risk populations but also local hospitals, clinics and individuals who work within the community such as police and emergency technicians.

In November, health officials announced a case of hepatitis A had been found in a worker at the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department but officials said it was a single instance.

"We’ve done over 20 outreach clinics in the community," Khaldun said. "We also are working internally with various city agencies. ... We’re actually vaccinating all of the city’s first responders, EMS, Detroit Water and Sewerage, and the police department. There's been no indication that those agencies are the cause of the outbreak or have spread it in anyway but we’re doing it as precautionary measure. We’re also working with our food service workers across the entire city."

Detroit Recovery Project, a multi-service agency that has provided a variety of support services to Detroit's recovery community for the past 10 years, has been working hand-in-hand with the city's health department to increase awareness of the outbreak and reach some of the at-risk population.The recovery project has two locations, one on the east side of the city and the other on the west, and averages about 400 to 500 clients a month, who are battling varying degrees of drug or alcohol addiction.

"We’re kind of boots on the ground because of the work we do," said Andre Johnson, president of Detroit Recovery Project near McNichols and I-75 .  "You see where we’re located, we’re in the belly of the beast. Hepatitis has been known to be a silent killer in urban communities for many years. Unfortunately, Detroit, we get the brunt of everything. So this (outbreak) doesn't surprise me. ... Our program is about infusing hope and providing them with the tools to sustain long-term recovery."

Contact Katrease Stafford: kstafford@freepress.com or 313-223-4759.

Contact Kristi Tanner: ktanner@freepress.com or 313-222-8877

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bodies of Tanzanian UN Peacekeepers to Be Repatriated This Week
2017-12-10 15:39

Nairobi - The bodies of 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be repatriated in the coming days, the Tanzanian army said on Sunday.

The soldiers were all members of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces participating in a UN peacekeeping operation in the conflict-torn eastern region of the country.

Their base in North Kivu province came under attack by suspected Ugandan rebels on Thursday.

"We are working with the United Nations on this. The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday December 12 and Wednesday December 13," Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, told reporters.

The UN has put the death toll from the attack at 15, with 53 wounded. But Tanzania's government continues to speak of 14 deaths, the original figure released by the UN.

Mwakibolwa said the soldiers were killed after 13 hours of clashes with fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces who attacked their positions.

The ADF is a shadowy rebel group dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims and opposed to Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years.

The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.

DR Congo's huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.

The UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a "heinous" act.
Sonangol's Former Leader Prepares New Oil Plans After Losing Post in Angola
By AHMED FETEHA, TAMIM ELYAN AND HENRIQUE ALMEIDA
12/8/2017

CAIRO and LISBON (Bloomberg) -- Less than a month after being fired as head of Angola’s state-owned oil company, Isabel dos Santos says she is studying new deals.

Dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, said two major Angolan banks she has links to are preparing to sell shares as part of plans to strengthen their operations at home and abroad. She also said Friday she remains committed to her investments in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia SGPS SA and cable operator NOS SGPS SA.

The daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the 44-year-old has an estimated wealth of $2.5 billion. Joao Lourenco, who became head of state in September, fired Dos Santos from her position as chair of Sonangol last month. He has vowed to end monopolies and tackle corruption and poverty in a country where the former leader’s family and their allies control large sectors of the economy. Dos Santos said her dismissal was “normal” in the context of the change in political control.

“I think there was a change in vision in terms of where to take the company,” Dos Santos said in an interview during a conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. On speculation about the decision, she said: “I’m not a politician and my focus is on business, on building businesses.”

Banco de Fomento Angola, the oil-rich country’s second-biggest bank, may sell a stake of as much as 25% in an initial public offering in the first quarter of 2019, said Dos Santos, who is vice president of the lender. The bank is controlled by Unitel, Angola’s largest telecommunications company, of which Dos Santos owns a 25% stake.

New shareholders

There are also plans to sell a stake in Luanda-based Banco BIC through a private placement of shares, said Dos Santos. A roadshow to market Angola’s fourth-biggest lender to potential investors will take place in the first quarter of 2018, said Dos Santos, who owns a 43% stake in Banco BIC and sits on the board.

“These banks have gone from strength to strength and I think it’s time now to open their capital and receive new shareholders,” Dos Santos said. Unitel owns 51.9% in Banco de Fomento Angola, while Lisbon-based Banco BPI, controlled by Spain’s CaixaBank SA, holds the rest.

“We’re still discussing whether London or Lisbon would be a better place,” she said. “But we’ve already made our intention clear to Angola’s central bank and their view was positive.”

'Aggressive plan'

While the size of the possible sale of shares in Banco BIC hasn’t been decided, it has put together a team to study the share offering and has also picked financial advisers for the sale.

Banco BIC, which has operations in Angola, Namibia, Cape Verde and Portugal, would use funds raised from a share sale to fund expansion, and is looking for opportunities in Africa and Asia, said Dos Santos. “We’re looking at mergers, we’re looking at acquisitions. We have quite an aggressive acquisition and licensing plan.” Banco BIC is discussing an opportunity in South Africa, she said, without elaborating.

Her dismissal as chair of Sonangol shouldn’t affect her investment in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia, where she holds an indirect stake, along with Sonangol and the heirs of Portuguese investor Americo Amorim of 33.4%, Dos Santos said.

“These are two different things,” she said. “The Galp investment is a very old investment, it dates back to 2008. It’s a stable investment.”

Dos Santos said she remains happy with her investment in Portuguese cable operator NOS, which is controlled by a joint venture Dos Santos owns with Sonaecom SGPS SA.

“The position in NOS is one to maintain and to keep,” said Dos Santos. “I like to think that our investment in NOS is an investment that will allow it to generate further growth and to look at the possibility of NOS growing in other areas, both inside and outside Portugal.”
Declare DRC Rebels Terrorists: Kabila 
December 10 2017 10:54 PM
GULF TIMES
Agencies/Goma

The leaders of three African nations have called on the international community to classify as a terrorist group the Congolese rebel group responsible for one of the worst attacks on peacekeepers.

President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and heads of state from neighbouring Congo-Brazzaville and Angola want the international community to respond to attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group as terrorist attacks.

Kabila, Angola’s President Joao Lourenco and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso released a statement on Saturday while attending a summit with leaders from Africa’s central Great Lakes region, held in the city of Brazzaville over the weekend.

At least 15 UN peacekeepers were killed on Thursday by rebels in an attack on a base in Congo’s North Kivu region, the UN said. A further 53 others were wounded.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “this is the worst attack on UN peacekeepers in the organisation’s recent history”.

Most of the peacekeepers killed were Tanzanian nationals.

Tanzania’s ambassador to the Congo and UN representatives arrived in the town of Beni yesterday to assess the situation.

The three presidents also want the Lord’s Resistance Army, the rebel group led Joseph Kony, to be declared a terrorist group.

Both groups operate between the porous borders of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighbouring East African states.

The bodies of 15 UN peacekeepers from Tanzania killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo will be repatriated in the coming days, the Tanzanian army said yesterday.

The soldiers were all members of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces participating in a UN peacekeeping operation in the conflict-torn eastern region of the country.

Their base in North Kivu province came under attack by suspected Ugandan rebels on Thursday.

“We are working with the United Nations on this.

The bodies will be repatriated between Tuesday December 12 and Wednesday December 13,” Lieutenant General James Mwakibolwa, deputy head of the Tanzanian army, told reporters.

The UN has put the death toll from the attack at 15, with 53 wounded.

But Tanzania’s government continues to speak of 14 deaths, the original figure released by the UN.
Mwakibolwa said the soldiers were killed after 13 hours of clashes with fighters of the Allied Democratic Forces who attacked their positions.

The ADF is a shadowy rebel group dominated by hardline Ugandan Muslims and opposed to Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years.

The attack is the worst loss of life to a UN peacekeeping force since 1993 when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in Somalia during clashes with a local warlord.

DR Congo’s huge eastern region has long been wracked by violence, but fighting between government soldiers and militia groups, as well as inter-ethnic clashes, has increased significantly this year.

UN chief Antonio Guterres led an outpouring of outrage over the deadly ambush, calling it a “heinous” act.
SWAPO Elects New Politburo
December 4, 2017
Albertina Nakale
New Era

Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has urged the newly elected members of Swapo’s politburo, who will serve for the next five years, to carefully study and familiarise themselves with the oath they took when they were sworn into their new roles over the weekend.

Eighteen members of the Swapo politburo – the first nine from the male list and another nine from the female list as elected – were sworn in on Saturday.

“Comrades, you have been charged. You took your oath. Go and re-read that oath and what it means. Very soon we will start with our job as people have assigned us to do,” Geingob advised the elected members.

The politburo consists of 24 members: 18 are elected and two are nominees of the party president. The top four: party president Geingob, vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, secretary general Sophia Shaningwa and deputy secretary general Marco Hausiku, are automatically included.

President Hage Geingob is yet to nominate his two candidates to the new politburo.

Voting and counting in the election of the new politburo members started on Saturday morning and the result was announced after lunchtime. Commissioner of Oath Sisa Namandje, who announced the new members at a swearing-in ceremony that took place at Parliament building on Saturday afternoon, said a total of 711 votes were cast during the election process.

Founding President Sam Nujoma also graced the election and swearing-in of the new members of the politburo.

At the same event, Geingob appointed his six members to the party’s central committee. They are Calle Schlettwein, Erkki Nghimtina, Penda Ya Ndokolo, Christina Hoebes, Jennely Matundu, chief liaison officer for Opuwo Town Council, and Collien Van Wyk, a retired teacher from Rehoboth.

Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila topped the female list with 66 votes, while Nangolo Mbumba received 62 votes to top the male list.

“These lists I have signed off. Every time there is a vacancy you look who is going out. If it’s a representative of NUNW [National Union of Namibian Workers], you don’t have to look at my list. You have to ask them to provide you with a list.

“If it comes from the 57 central committee members and there is a vacancy then should you replace through the 57 voted at congress. If it’s politburo and the vacancy is among the 18 voted today, then you come back to my list. If it’s among the two presidential nominees, then the president will nominate,” he said.

Female list with number of votes obtained:
Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadilha 66
Laura McLeod-Katjirua 63
Doreen Sioka 59
Katrina Hanse-Himarwa 55
Magareth Mensah-Williams 52
Hilma Nicanor 52
Lucia Ipumbu 44
Sirka Ausiku 42
Lucia Witbooi 39
Kornelia Shilunga 36
Christina Hoebes 35
Eunice Iipinge 35
Maria Jagger 31
Eveline Nawases-Taeyele 27
Loide Kasingo 25
Anna Shiweda 19
Lempy Lucas 15
Ida Hoffman 8
Coleen van Wyk 8

Male List with number of votes obtained:
Nangolo Mbumba 62
Albert Kawana 51
John Mutorwa 47
Pohamba Shifeta 47
Peter Katjavivi 35
Alpheus !Naruseb 34
Calle Schlettwein 33
Tobie Aupindi 31
Bernard Esau 30
Veikko Nekundi 29
Utoni Nujoma 29
Penda ya Ndakolo 29
Erkki Nghimtina 26
Peya Mushelenga 23
Erastus Uutoni 21
Sacky Shangala 19
Charles Namoloh 18
Tjekero Tweya 18
Uahekua Herunga 17
Asser Kapere 17
Clemens Kashuupulwa 15
Elia Kaiyamo 13
Leon Jooste 12
Festus Ueitele 12
Erginus Endjala 10
Mukwaita Shanyengana 9
Tommy Nambahu 8
Petrus Nevonga 7
Usko Nghaamwa 7
Modestus Amutse 6
Royal /Ui/o/oo 5