Saturday, June 30, 2012

(MnG) ANC introduces new policy on land restitution

ANC introduces new policy on land restitution
30 Jun 2012 13:33 - Niren Tolsi

The ANC announced at its policy conference that the party plans to do away with its "willing seller, willing buyer" policy for land restitution. Delegates celebrate at the ANC national policy conference in Midrand, Gauteng. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Its new policy will be based directly on section 25 of the Constitution which states that expropriation of land must be accompanied by compensation that is "just and equitable". Expropriation is also only allowed by the Constitution if it is in "the public interest" or for a "public purpose".

Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersen told a press briefing after the close of conference on Friday night that the Valuer General would decide on the price of land that would be expropriated and that if there would be "recourse to the courts" if deals were not concluded.

Joemat-Pettersen added that there would also be a "use-it or lose-it" policy in relation to agricultural land that was not in production and that land that had already been restituted to communities "could also be lost".

Balance of evidence

The conference had also decided "expropriation without compensation will only happen when land is acquired illegally" and that courts would have to decide on which land was acquired illegally and in a "nefarious manner".

According to the agriculture minister, the determination of illegally acquired land would "depend on the balance of evidence".

"We are impatient and we want section 25 [of the constitution] implemented," said Joemat-Pettersen, adding that, accordingly, the "Expropriation Act must be amended, fast-tracked and must be passed" by parliament.

This is, however, only likely to happen after the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December this year. Currently, the policy conference's decision is only a recommendation which will become official party policy that can feed government policy if it is confirmed as a resolution at Mangaung.

South Africa established a land reform and restitution programme in 1998 to address the forced removal of people from land through the 1913 Land Act and during apartheid, but it has suffered from severe backlogs.


An extra R2.3-billion was pumped into the programme last year to partially deal with the backlogs.

Joemat-Pettersen also announced that a land audit was to be completed by December this year.

The conference also recommended that small-scale farmers be aided with government-sponsored agricultural equipment and seeds.

While no restitution targets had been set, the minister said the "main focus is the utilisation of land."

It was also announced that there would be a re-opening of land claims "specifically for the Khoi San people" who had until 2013 to lodge land claims.

The decision will be considered a significant victory for the Khoi San communities that have been gaining socio-political momentum since a 2009 United Nations declaration that they were the aboriginal inhabitants of southern Africa.

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(MnG) DA takes on Lamola over land reform comments

DA takes on Lamola over land reform comments
22 Jun 2012 15:31 - Sapa

DA MPL Anthony Benadie says criminal charges will be laid against ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola over his comments on land reform. He said he would lay charges of incitement to violence against Lamola on Sunday at 9.30am, at the Joubert Street police station in Middelburg.

“The recklessness of this statement at a time when a high number of violent crimes are taking place on Mpumalanga farms cannot be tolerated,” Benadie said in a statement.

“Mr Lamola obviously wants to carry on where Julius Malema left off. It would do him good to learn his lesson sooner rather than later,” said Benadie.

Lamola called for the expropriation of land without compensation at the Durban University of Technology on Tuesday.

“We need an act as forceful as war to bring it [the land] back to the Africans,” he said.

The Freedom Front Plus also condemned the remarks, saying they were creating conflict and polarisation in South Africa.

“The silence of the senior ANC leadership, especially President [Jacob] Zuma, about this is very disconcerting and makes the ANC an accomplice to this incitement to violence,” spokesperson Pieter Groenewald said in a statement.

“The farmers have no reason to apologise for possessing their land and have always fed the people of this country.”

[Actually, they stole the land under apartheid and colonialism, and made 'the people of this country' work for free for well over a century. The notion that 'they fed the nation' with stolen land, and that this would by implication be 'enough compensation' of course is as arrogant as it is desperate. - MrK]

Groenewald said some communities had resorted to taking the law into their own hands by executing criminals and government should not be surprised if the same happened as a result of farm murders.

The youth league is taking its views on land appropriation to the ANC’s national policy conference in Midrand next week.

Earlier this week, civil rights lobby group AfriForum bemoaned Lamola’s remarks.

Deputy CEO Ernst Roets said Lamola had blood on his hands.

“For as long as the ANC watches on while farmers are being killed and hate speech is rampant in its ranks, the ANC, too, has blood on its hands,” said Roets.

In a statement on Friday the youth league said it was meeting with AfriForum to discuss its stance on land reform.

“The meeting is expected to speak to a future platform for co-existence and sharing of land, underpinned by urgent, decisive, and radical economic transformation, to benefit South Africa’s black majority,” the league said.

According to a report, Henry Geldenhuys, deputy president of the Transvaal Agricultural Union, said Lamola was inciting violence.

“There’s no option left for the farmers but to prepare for a war.”

Hanno van Rensburg, son of murdered farmer Johan van Rensburg (77) blamed the youth league for Wednesday’s crime in which his mother Gloudien (65) was also critically wounded, according to a Beeld newspaper report.

“The ANC Youth League say they want to take our land by violent means and declare war.

If they want war, they must come. I’ll fucking shoot them. My family’s blood has been spilt on this land,” van Rensburg was quoted as saying.
- Sapa

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(MnG) ANCYL warns of Zim-style land invasions in South Africa

ANCYL warns of Zim-style land invasions in South Africa
06 Jun 2012 06:07 - Nickolaus Bauer

Farm invasions are "inevitable" should white South Africans not voluntarily hand over land to the government, says the ANC Youth League. “If they don’t want to see angry black youths flooding their farms they must come to the party. Whites must volunteer some of the land and mines they own. They can’t only be compelled to do so through legislation,” deputy youth league president Ronald Lamola said on Tuesday, calling for changes to the Constitution to allow the state to appropriate land.

Lamola was speaking at the end of a youth league policy workshop held in preparation for the ANC policy conference later this month.

He drew comparisons with Zimbabwe, referring to the occupation of land there at the turn of the century, when predominantly white-owned farms were forcibly taken by ruling party-backed militias.

[They were taken back by the people. Read prof. Ian Scoones' book on the Zimbabwe landreform process. The claim that it were only party cadres or militias who took the land, is an attempt to delegitimize the landreform process, by insituating that it was merely a party political action, and not the redistribution of the land stolen under colonialism and UDI, to the people of the country. Mainly, it were people from neighboring areas who moved onto the land. In total, over 350,000 families have received land. - MrK]

The largely ungoverned process descended into violence and saw farm owners aggressively removed from their land.

[Not really. Only between 6 and 11 white farmers were killed out of 6,000. That means fewer white farmers were killed in Zimbabwe than have been killed in South Africa without landreform. - MrK]

While the league is not explicitly calling for the occupation of privately owned land, Lamola said if changes to the current state of land reform were not made soon, it would be out of the league’s hands if property were to be forcibly taken.

Society is angry

“It looks like it’s becoming inevitable. Society is angry. If it happens, it will be their [white South Africans] fault. They are not coming to the party,” he said.

As part of its calls to change government’s approach to land reform, the league is calling on wholesale changes to the sections of the Constitution governing land reform.

“We must be unapologetic about this. We need to change sections of the Constitution to bring about the change we need,” Lamola said.

Lamola said current land owners should be involved in a skills transfer process so that emerging farmers are mentored by those surrendering land.

He said this will be for the “greater good” of South Africa as their current status can’t be “safely guaranteed”.

“We are not talking about a partnership; the state must be the dominant player in terms of how land is used. But white South Africans must continue to participate, they remain relevant to this process and will continue to do so,” Lamola added.

We want decisive leadership

With drastic land reform in mind, Lamola said the league would be seeking to elect leaders at the ANC’s upcoming elective conference in December, who won’t be “scared to implement unpopular policies”.

“We want decisive leadership, ones that will give us direction and think behind the tribes they come from and beyond their regions, who realise they lead a nation,” he said.

However, Lamola said the league would only be announcing its preferred candidate once the leadership debate is formally opened by the ANC in October.

Section 25 of the Constitution says property may be expropriated subject to compensation as “agreed to by those affected or decided or approved by a court”.

The compensation should be “equitable, reflecting an equitable balance between the public interest and the interests of those affected”.

Redistribution targets

The department of land reform and rural development says it is in the process of producing a green paper on land redistribution to tackle the matter of further land expropriation.

There is, however, no indication yet about what the green paper will propose.

In his 2012 budget vote speech, Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti indicated government had only achieved just over a quarter of its target to redistribute 30% of South Africa’s agricultural land by 2014.

Nkwinti’s department has also set up a joint task team with the department of public works to work on apparent distortions in prices that government pays for land.

He said farmers are charging government above market value rates, and proposed the establishment of a land-valuer general to deal with the value of land.

As of yet, the ANC has not produced a document that will solely deal with land reform, but said one will be released at the upcoming policy conference.

‘Deep trouble’

However, both ANC and government have agreed that the willing buyer, willing seller principle as enshrined in the Constitution has not worked.

Professor Ben Cousins, the chairperson of poverty, land and agrarian studies at the National Research Foundation, said the land reform process is in “deep trouble” in South Africa.

“We had rather unrealistic ambitions in the early years of our democracy. Quick resolutions to these issues were never going to happen, so we have to be a bit more sensitive to the challenges we face when it comes to land reform,” Cousins told the Mail & Guardian.

Cousins said there is no “quick fix” for the current issues surrounding land reform, be it a change to the Constitution or otherwise.

“To see these matters resolved will take a lot of work. The government has to become a more effective player in the land reform process by buying, negotiating prices and managing the process,” Cousins said.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Austerity: Latvia’s Fake Economic Model

Austerity: Latvia’s Fake Economic Model
by Prof. Jeffrey Sommers and Prof. Michael Hudson
Global Research, June 29, 2012

Austerity’s advocates are declaring victory with Latvia’s battle against the European economic crisis and advocating it as the model for Greece & Spain to emulate. Curiously, Latvians have been declaring this “win” by exiting their country.

The “austerians” are celebrating Latvia as the plucky country that through hard work and discipline showed the way out of the financial crisis plaguing so many countries. For austerians, Latvia represents a veritable Protestant morality play demonstrating that austerity works. Indeed, they hope the Latvian example will retread Margaret Thatcher’s “there is no alternative” tire for a European-wide scale austerity tour.

Few writing on the subject unfortunately have the time on the ground to evaluate the economic and social costs of the Latvian model. While the Latvian government chose austerity, most of its people have not. Feeling there is no acceptable political alternative available, many elect to emigrate.

The European Commission and the IMF declared this victory with a public event in Riga on June 5th celebrating the Latvian model. The IMF head, Christine Lagarde, proclaimed Latvia “could serve as an inspiration for European leaders grappling with the euro crisis .”

The IMF’s chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, followed with a mea culpa admitting initially he thought the Latvian peg and internal devaluation program a “disaster,” but now sees success. To better appreciate Blanchard’s remarks one must bear in mind Latvia is one of the few countries following the 2008 crisis that actually attacked the IMF from the right on economic and social policy. In effect, Blanchard and the IMF are declaring, “our policies were too cautious on austerity, long live austerity!” For the IMF it reprises a familiar chorus harkening back to their greatest hits of the 1980’s and 1990’s glory days of structural adjustment.

A seat at the table of power routinely flatters pundits invited to these affairs. They dutifully report, rather than investigate, what they are told. On Latvia, The Economist, to paraphrase Paul Krugman’s characterization of US Congressman Paul Ryan, increasingly “looks like stupid person’s idea of what a smart magazine looks like.” It provides its customary breezy reporting that gets anything of importance wrong. Meanwhile, big names (one is reluctant to say heavyweights) on the circuit, such as Chrystia Freeland of Reuters, embarrassingly, for anyone that might have bothered to query the hotel bartender or taxi driver of their views on Latvia, allege, “the harsh Latvian plan worked because the whole country was committed to it.” This reminds one of the Red Cross inspections of the Theresienstadt showcase concentration camp, who shown orchestras and clean conditions announced, “everything in order here!” Of course, Latvia is no concentration camp and its people not fascists.

Indeed, Riga, its capital, is among Europe’s most beautiful, and if you have a bit of money, livable, cities. Meanwhile, others report the country feels like a prison. The reality is that there are several realities depending on one’s social class a6nd income. To declare the “whole country” is “committed” to anything in this society deeply divided by class and ethnicity is lazy reporting at best.

In short, Latvia is not a model for austerity in Greece or anywhere else. The impression that neoliberal policy has been a success is debatable, and the claim that Latvians have voted to support it, false. Latvia’s solid economic growth since its economy plunged by 25 per cent in 2008-10 is billed as a success. Its unemployment during the crisis soared above 20 per cent as the shutdown of foreign capital inflows (mainly Swedish mortgage loans to inflate its real estate bubble) left Latvia with deep current-account deficits. It had to choose between devaluation and maintaining the euro peg. There are inherent problems with either choice, but the theological manner in which the choices have been made has been disturbing.

Latvia’s government chose internal devaluation in order to proceed towards euro accession; and indeed this goal is more popular with Latvians given the people have lost their savings multiple times to devaluations and banking crises since the collapse of the USSR. To meet the eurozone criteria on inflation and deficits it cut public sector wages by 30 per cent, driving down consumption to match its low labor productivity.

What enabled Latvia to survive the crisis were EU and IMF bailouts (a “credit card” which for whom the Latvians did not utilize the full credit line extended) – whose payments will soon fall due. Relatively low public sector debt (9 per cent of gross domestic product at the start of the crisis) also provided some protection from bond traders.

Latvia’s problem was mostly private sector debt; especially mortgage debt, which is often secured not only by property but also by the personal liability of entire families as joint signatories. The banks insisted on this measure as it saw unaffordable housing prices being inflated by reckless bank lending. For this, the Swedes, have thanked Latvia for taking on a Stockholm Syndrome view of the crisis, thus having Latvia fall on the sword of austerity to protect Swedish Banks and the Swedish economy. To be fair, the Latvians expect this gratitude to be returned by both euro accession in 2014 and continued Swedish liquidity supplied to the Latvian economy. Whether either of these is good for Latvia is contestable.

Yet, what of the contention that Latvia’s people supported austerity as distasteful, yet necessary? Latvia’s parliament often polls approval ratings in the single and low double-digits. Yet the government has survived two elections. How is one to read this? Chiefly by ethnic politics. Harmony Center was the biggest party opposing the austerity model—albeit often without consistently voicing any program. Moreover, the party (as with most in Latvia) contains its quota of grabbers and neoliberals as most of Latvia’s parties do. They largely represent ethnic Russians and had no chance of winning given its focus on rights for Russian speakers. Other previously powerful parties were run by post-Soviet oligarchs. They were rightly seen as being in league with Russian interests and are widely resented for fiscal imprudence during the boom years, when they were part of the governing coalition. So the only political force left was the austerians. While most voters dislike their economic policy, a majority is convinced that they are best able to resist Russia’s embrace. All other issues come a distant second for Latvian voters.

That said, Latvians strongly protested austerity. On January 13, 2009, in the dead of winter, 10,000 in Riga protested against austerity and corruption. Teachers, nurses and farmers held demonstrations in the months following. The national police were called to suppress protests over the closure of a hospital in Bauska; fearing local police might not do what was “required.” Police detained one economist for two days for his remarks on the economy, meanwhile there is evidence a foreign economist in Riga critical of Latvian economic policy had his phone tapped. Latvia is by no means a police state, but neither is it innocent in matters of controlling public opinion either.

Latvia’s policymakers in the main are neither saints nor sadists. Indeed, some genuinely care about the country’s future. Their Prime Minister leading the austerity charge is by all accounts a paragon of integrity. Unfortunately, he has come under the policy counsel of Anders Aslund, now seeking to salvage his place in history given he was one of the chief proponents of the failed shock therapy in 1990’s Russia.

Too many in Latvia, however, take a view of the poor and of the country’s speculators that would comfortably fit in the pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. This is especially true of Central Bank, which has dominated economic policy since Latvia’s independence in 1991. For Latvia’s elite, the internal devaluation and austerity program have become something of a vanity project. Coming of age during the 1980s when the USSR was crumbling and the US neoliberal model ascendant, they fully internalized market fundamentalism as a rigid dogma to advance liberation from the Soviet occupation. The chief criterion for its selection seems to be it was the model that looked most different from Soviet policy. To see their austerity model heralded by the IMF and ECB today is seen as vindication of their worldview, and repudiation of the putdowns heaped on them by chauvinistic occupiers in the past.

Elites aside, many emigrated. After these protests subsided, Latvians resigned themselves to the situation and left. Demographers estimate that 200,000 have departed the past decade – roughly 10 per cent of the population – at an accelerating rate that reflects the austerity being inflicted. Latvian demographers estimate that at least 200,000 have left Latvia the past decade, Moreover, birth rates declined from already low numbers. If a similar percent left the US, some 30 million would exit. Where would they go? Mexico? Surely, this model cannot be reproduced in any sizeable country.

Why have so many left Latvia if it is such an economic success as the advocates claim? Latvia experienced the full effects of austerity and neoliberalism. Birth rates fell during the crisis – as is the case almost everywhere austerity programs are imposed. It continues having among Europe’s highest rates of suicide and of road deaths caused by drunk driving. Violent crime is high, arguably, because of prolonged unemployment and police budget cuts. Moreover, a soaring brain drain moves in tandem with blue-collar emigration.

The moral for Europeans is that a Latvian economic and political model can work only temporarily, and only in a country with a population small enough (a few million) for other nations to absorb émigrés seeking employment abroad. Such a country should be willing to have its population decline, especially its prime working-age cohort. In Greece, this could only worsen an already serious demographic challenge.

Politically, it helps to be a post-Soviet economy with a fully flexible, poorly unionized labor force. Above all, its cultural and policy elite needs to put an almost blind faith in “free market” central planners. Ethnic divisions can distract voters from complaints against austerity. Only under these political conditions can austerity be considered a “success.”

On balance, the Latvian model has done much harm. Demographically, in terms of its future, one can even argue that the country is being euthanized. The fact that the point is even debatable hints at the huge costs and risks the country has undertaken with its neoliberal program since 1991 and austerity following 2008. To be fair, one must also give the Latvian government their due. After the calamitous crash following 2008, their economy is now growing again. While much Latvian growth is linked to unsustainable clear-cutting of timber to satisfy West European demand (though Latvia has plenty of forest for managed logging), other sectors are growing too, such as food exports, along with some rebound of its small manufacturing sector. Transit and the emergence of a new Silk Road is yet another growth area.

One must also note that Latvia’s options are circumscribed by the limitations imposed by Article 123 of the EU treaty. This removes currency autonomy and domestic credit creation for national development. The treaty locks countries like Latvia into an embrace of private credit markets that forces governments to pay rents to bankers rather than financing their own development where possible. What additionally holds production back more than anything are regressive tax policies that place Latvia’s tax burden on labor. Thus, this makes labor expensive, preventing advantages that could accrue from lower labor costs. Meanwhile, speculators get a free ride on taxes.

Latvia’s growth, however, is tenuous. It is exceptionally dependent on a rogue financial offshore industry that destroys wealth in other countries. Production is also disproportionately geared to exports, even for a small country. Yet, even if growth continues it will be years before they reach pre-crisis level of GDP. Thus, victory laps on recovery, let alone advocacy for others to follow the Latvian path, is premature at best, and reckless at worst.

Latvia has many strengths: an impressive reservoir of human talent; a highly developed aesthetic and design sense rivaling the Scandinavians; an embrace of innovation and approach to tasks with a perfectionist sensibility; and geography facilitating trade. Yet, its government’s advocacy of austerity is decidedly not among those assets.

While the Latvian model is not exportable, might it deliver economic recovery in the highly specific conditions of that country? Too early to tell. What is possible, however, is that even if it does, the price paid for it might be too few people to sustain the country into the future. Europeans should reject Latvia as a model to emulate. Instead, they should engage a wholesale reorganization of European Union rules facilitating national development to liberate its member states from usurious ties to European banks currently delivering its people into penury.

Jeffery Sommers is an associate professor of political economy & public policy in Africology and a Global Studies Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Michael Hudson’s new book summarizing his economic theories, “The Bubble and Beyond,” will be available in a few weeks on Amazon. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion , published by AK Press. He can be reached via his website,

Both have advised members of Latvia’s government on alternatives to austerity.

They are also contributors to the forthcoming book by Routledge Press: The Contradictions of Austerity: The Socio-Economic Costs of the Neoliberal Baltic Model.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Libya descending into chaos after NATO ‘success’

Libya descending into chaos after NATO ‘success’
by Scott Taylor
Global Research, June 26, 2012
Chronicle Herald - 2012-06-25

Last week, it was reported that the Canadian military is studying their options should an international intervention in war-torn Syria become a reality.

The Defence Department sources quoted claimed this preparatory planning was not being conducted at the request of the government, rather it was simply a prudent exercise given the escalating violence in Syria.

No troops or squadrons have been put on alert as of yet, but if the international community comes calling for partners in a coalition force, the Canadian military wants to have a handy list of options available to present Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The usual pro-war pundits have opined that Canada could, yet again, take a lead role in this deployment as we did with the Libya mission last year.

Canadian combat aircraft could rapidly be deployed to support a NATO-led air campaign to assist the Syrian rebels and HMCS Charlottetown, which is already on station in the Arabian Sea, could easily be enforcing an arms embargo off the Syrian coast.

What is interesting is the fact that even the most rabid of the tub-thumping Colonel Blimps, who claimed our soldiers’ sacrifice in Afghanistan proved our nation was “punching above our weight on the international stage” and earning Canada a “seat at the table” with the world powers, are now unanimous in warning against putting boots on the ground in Syria.

The rationale for using the Libyan template for intervention is based on the presumption that the Libyan conflict was a resounding success.

From a NATO perspective, it certainly would appear that way. For 10 months last year, NATO aircraft, ably led by Canada’s own highly decorated Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard, bombed the bejeezus out of Libyan targets without suffering a single casualty.

Those repeated airstrikes, in addition to the arming and training of opposition forces, the freezing of President Moammar Gadhafi’s finances and the enforcement of a one-sided arms embargo, finally led to a rebel victory.

Allied leaders, including Prime Minister Harper, cheered the demise of a tyrant when Gadhafi was captured, beaten, sodomized and executed in cold blood by a mob of rebels.

True to a Hollywood-style script, it was at this juncture that the international media began running the credits on the Libyan saga against a backdrop of NATO countries staging elaborate victory parades.

Unfortunately for the long-suffering people of Libya, whom we ostensibly intervened to protect, no one thought to tell the rebels to stop fighting.

While the Western propaganda machine labelled the anti-Gadhafi forces as pro-democracy fighters, the fact is that, from the outset, this fractious gaggle of ill-disciplined armed militias were fighting for a variety of tribal, economic and religious objectives.

Once the last vestiges of Gadhafi’s regime were removed, these armed factions refused to disarm.

Without any form of central authority, Libya has become virtually lawless. Revenge killings, detention, ethnic cleansing and torture continue unabated.

On Jan. 25, the organization Doctors Without Borders brought brief attention to the atrocities being committed when they suspended their operations in Misrata. The reason for their withdrawal was the fact that they realized they were providing medical treatment to prisoners just so they could become healthy enough to be tortured again.

Last month, one rebel faction stormed and held the Tripoli airport when they mistakenly thought their commander had been arrested.

Last week, Juma Obaidi al-Jazawi, a military prosecutor, was gunned down outside a mosque in Benghazi because it is believed that he was responsible for the arrest and execution of fellow rebel, Gen. Abdul Fatah Younes last July.

In addition to the savage infighting, the jihadists among the rebel ranks are starting to flex their muscles as well. Rather than being grateful for NATO helping drive out Gadhafi, the al-Qaida elements have begun targeting British, American and UN facilities.

To add insult to injury, mobs of Libyan Islamic fundamentalists have now, twice, stormed the desecrated Commonwealth war graves in Benghazi that date back to the Second World War.

One has to hope that the Canadian military strategists toiling away at devising a strategy for Syria take a closer look at what was actually claimed to be a victory in Libya.

Scott Taylor is editor of Esprit de Corps.

Scott Taylor is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Scott Taylor

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Tame bitterness, Lubinda urges HH

Tame bitterness, Lubinda urges HH
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Sat 30 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

FOREIGN affairs minister Given Lubinda has urged opposition UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to tame his bitterness. And gender minister Inonge Wina says there is need to instill a sense of morality and oneness in Zambian politics.

After visiting the house of mourning for a 36 year-old PF member Maybin Chilimanzi, who was killed by unknown people on Tuesday night, Lubinda said there was nothing worth killing a person and urged opposition political parties to share love and not bitterness.

"I had thought our cadres were just making up these issues of being attacked but after visiting the people who were beaten by UPND cadres, I now know that it is true, they have told me the name and they say it was UPND. HH should stop his cadres from being hooligans, he must tame his own bitterness," he said.

Lubinda said he was happy that no one in Livingstone had lodged a complaint of being attacked by the PF and urged the PF members to refrain from retaliating.

And Wina, who is gender and child development minister said there was no morality in the UPND which could send people to molest, unleash violence and instill fear in innocent women returning from burying a departed relative.

"What has happened in Livingstone is untold misery, the woman who was attacked is five months pregnant, and how do you expect her to deliver safely after the attack? We appeal for peaceful elections here in Livingstone," said Wina.

And Malota Charity Mushumba, the sister to late Maybin Chilimanzi, said the body of her brother was found in the early hours of Wednesday in Linda near some bars.

"It is suspected that my brother was at the time wearing a PF t-shirt and was involved in campaign. He was a social jovial man who was never violent. A post-mortem will be conducted today Friday as police suspect foul play," Mushumba said.

And Chilimanzi's nephew, William, said his uncle's body was found with head injuries and a broken neck.

Lubinda and Wina also visited the house of mourning for the late Morris Maduma, 37, a PF ward youth chairman who died of natural causes on Wednesday and Susan Zulu of Malota's E 21 together with Angela Nyambe of MA 229 and Charity Nguni of MA 227.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Address unemployment urgently, Masheke urges government

Address unemployment urgently, Masheke urges government
By Selina Nyirenda
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

YOUTH and sport minister Chishimba Kambwili says the protest by youths who were left out of the Zambia Army/Zambia National Service recruitment exercise is justified. And General Malimba Masheke says the government should address the issue of employment with the seriousness and urgency it deserves.

Commenting on the protest by youths who were not short listed for the joint recruitment exercise at Lusaka's Emmasdale area yesterday, Kambwili said it was unfortunate that the recruitment was done without proper planning.

"I think in my opinion, the whole problem was caused by the department of recruitment because they knew that they wanted very few people but they went out and advertised to the whole world inviting people for interviews. If you call people for an interview, you should give all of them an opportunity to be interviewed, you don't become selective. It's unfortunate what happened yesterday but they had a reason to protest," Kambwili said.

He appealed to the Zambia Army and Zambia National Service (ZNS) to get organised and conduct a safer recruitment exercise which would not trigger riotous behaviour.

Kambwili further urged youths not to panic for jobs and that they should exercise some patience because the government was putting in place a comprehensive programme that would tackle the issue of employment.

"We have only been in office for eight months. We have to plan, from there we have to do feasibility studies then we implement and that would not happen in eight months. We are going to create youth farms…where these youths will be employed then later on become shareholders, and once these are established, we will move on to districts," said Kambwili.

And commenting on the mass turn out of school leavers for the on-going joint recruitment by the Zambia Army and Zambia National Service, Gen Masheke said such was an indication of how desperate people were for jobs.

"I am not seeing an answer to the unemployment situation in the country if government still depends on the military, ZNS, ZAF as a way of solving the problem when these can only pick a handful of thousands of young applicants leaving out the rest," Gen Masheke said.

He advised the government to consider implementing certain measures such as empowering youths in agriculture development.

Gen Masheke said the government should not be shy to work with whoever has good and workable plans because the issue of employment is a national concern.

"In 1991 when MMD came into power, it sold all the parastatal companies, now the number of unemployed people in the country has reached its maximum.
Its uncontrollable," said Gen Masheke.

And Youth Constitutional Coordinating Committee coordinator Mulenga Fube said it was unfortunate that jobs were only being offered to school leavers, therefore neglecting the uneducated.

According to Fube, youths who were uneducated as well as unemployed were a danger to society saying they were easily lured into illicit activities such as drug abuse and other criminal activities.

"A more worrying sector is that those who have never been to school are a time bomb," said Fube.

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Explain what you are doing!

Explain what you are doing!
By The Post
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

TO govern is to communicate. It is not enough for those in government to quietly do their work. As representatives of the people, those in government need to continually explain to the people they represent, as far as possible, everything they are doing.

This is the only way our people can participate in government programmes, in governing their country. Whatever the level of their contribution, a healthy democracy depends upon the continuing, informed participation of the broad range of its citizens.

The essence of democratic action is the active, freely chosen participation of its citizens in the public life of their community and nation. Without this broad, sustaining participation, democracy will begin to wither and become the preserve of a small, select number of groups and organisations.

But with the active engagement of individuals across t spectrum of society, our democracy can weather the inevitable economic and political storms that sweep over every society, without sacrificing the freedoms and rights thehat they are sworn to uphold.

Active involvement in public life shouldn't be seen just to be about elections and the struggle for political office. Citizen participation in a democratic society is much broader than just taking part in elections. Of course, the electorate is the ultimate custodian of its own destiny. And as such it must ensure its function. At a minimum, citizens should educate themselves about the critical issues confronting their nation.

Democracy, as Abraham Lincoln once defined it, is government of the people, by the people, for the people. This means that governments should be as closely linked to the people as possible, arise from the people, have the support of the people and devote itself entirely to working and struggling for the people and the people's interest; it means a government in which all the people participate.

Our government is doing many things but it is not explaining much to the people what it is doing. It seems as if our people's participation in the governance of their country ended on the day they cast their votes. But democracy does not begin and end with elections. It means continuous participation of the people in everything that the government is doing on their behalf. This is the true meaning of democracy.

It is a growth in the confidence in the power of ordinary people to transform their country, and thus transform themselves. It is the growth in the appreciation of people organising, deciding, creating together. It is a growth in fraternal love. The greatest mistake this government is making is to think it can go on doing things without explaining to the people what it is doing.

People in Kaputa want to know what the government is doing in Sinazeze; people in Chavuma want to know what the government has done or is doing in Sindamisale. But today the great majority of our people don't seem to understand, don't seem to know what their government is doing or where it is headed, where it is going.

And no one seems to be taking the trouble to explain. Of course, some things the government is doing are not going well and probably there is fear or reluctance to explain that which seems to have been born twisted. It may be politically dangerous to explain to the people things that are not going well but which the people expected to go well. However, it is still more dangerous not to explain.

There is no need for the government to, in any way, mask problems or difficulties, mistakes, failures. They should instead hide nothing from the masses of our people. Things are not going to be easy and no one should think that there will be easy victories to claim. And as we have stated before, nobody should think that things are going to be easy.

We must all be prepared to meet difficulties. We have difficulties now, and we will have even greater ones in the future, even if we do things the right way - and we should do them the right way, even if it calls for our greatest efforts.

Those in government may think if they explain a lot of things to the people, their deficiencies, weaknesses or failures will become known by their political competitors and will be used against them politically. Yes, those in the opposition will try to make political capital out of that, but where will it take them? The economic challenges we are facing will not be solved overnight. What the government needs to do is to explain everything to our people.

Zambians are very understanding people and they will understand the challenges the government is facing and why it may not be delivering certain things as quickly as it had promised. But we should also know that in difficult times like these, it is necessary to avoid unilateral judgements, excessive zeal.

And it is also necessary to watch out for those who are too demanding, the demagogic champions who tend to crop up in such situations in order to divert attention from their own faults and weaknesses and pretend to be demanding when they are really opportunists trying to avoid being called on to account for themselves. There is need for our people to be demanding. They must demand to the utmost, but they must also watch out for those super-demanders. They must be firm but just in their demands.

Michael Sata needs to get back to the people in the way he used to do before the elections and explain to them what his government is doing and the challenges or problems it is facing. He has the capacity, the talent to do so but is not doing it.

The mobilisation of our people should not just be for elections. It must be a continuous process. The programmes the government is undertaking in many areas of human endeavour, including in the fight against corruption, need mass mobilisations.

This is so because without the support and participation of the great majority of our people in these programmes, nothing much will be achieved.
Michael shouldn't think simply because he has appointed people to head districts and provinces then his work is done and he can sit in Lusaka and do other administrative work.

Michael needs to visit as many places as possible, explain to the people what he is doing and engage them to make a contribution. And talking to the people will enable those in government to purify or refine their ideas, policies and programmes. The people will make a contribution to all that they are doing.

Those in government must be able to integrate themselves with the masses in all things. If they spend their whole lives sitting indoors and never go out to face the people and brave the storm, what good will they be to the Zambian people? None at all, and our people do not need such leaders in government.

What Zambia needs is a political leadership that listens attentively to the views of the people and lets them have their say. If what they say is right, they ought to welcome it, and they should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, they should let them finish what they are saying and then patiently explain things to them.

Our politicians in government must be like seeds and the people must be like the soil. Wherever they go, they must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them. Our leaders in government should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfil the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward.

Every politician in government must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a leader is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people. But again, this can only be known and understood if there is meaningful engagement with the people.

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Chitala urges government to explain its programmes

Chitala urges government to explain its programmes
By Henry Sinyangwe
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

MBITA Chitala says it will be very sad if the Patriotic Front government which he supported in the last general elections fails to deliver to the people's expectations.

And Dr Chitala says it is saddening that most PF officials are failing to explain the developmental programmes that government is undertaking. In an interview in Lusaka, Dr Chitala said it will be sad if the sacrifices that the people made do not yield any results.

"People in Zambia and outside Zambia would want to see that the PF succeeds as a government. Eight months down the line we have seen progressive things happening, for instance, the fight against corruption has intensified and this is good of course; major challenges being faced are that of employment creation and poverty reduction. But at least the beginning has been done. We do not want to see our sacrifices not to yield positive results," Dr Chitala said.

He said it was sad that some PF leaders left the explanations of government's programmes to a few individuals.

"It is very sad that many people within the PF leadership are not coming out strongly to explain and advise their programmes so that the people get to know what is happening and what they are doing. If there is any fear or lack of knowledge of what is to be done, we are still there to assist. We can help and ensure that explanations that are sustainable and understood come forth," Dr Chitala said.

He said it would not instil confidence if only a few individuals explained what the government was doing as this fatigued the people.

"It will not do to have only one or two people talking and it's not good. There is what we call fatigue. People will get fatigued by listening to the same people explaining the same things all the time. All of them must start talking and go around and indicate what they intend to do and what is happening," Dr Chitala said.

He said people that wanted the government to fail were now united hence if no development was made, then the government would be voted out.

"The current difficulties we are facing is a situation whereby the enemies of the government, who would want the government to fail, are now united and if they don't explain sufficiently with zeal and so on, we will see them go in no time at all and the project of beginning afresh on a good struggle for good governance will not be achieved and all our efforts will not yield any results," said Dr Chitala.

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HH is a frustrated soul - Walamba

HH is a frustrated soul - Walamba
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

UPND founder member Timothy Walamba says Hakainde Hichilema has become a disgrace to Zambian politics. In an interview in Kitwe, Walamba who was the chairperson for labour in the UPND during the time of late Anderson Mazoka, challenged senior members of the party to get rid of Hichilema if they meant well for Zambia.

Walamba said Zambia does not deserve a frustrated politician who had clearly shown his personal hatred for President Michael Sata and his government.

He said the recent utterances by the UPND leader where he likened President Sata's leadership to that of a hyena without a plan, claims that the PF government was training militias in Sudan and his recent attacks that Zambians were asking for milk from a stone by thinking that the President would develop the country were embarrassing to members of his party and the opposition as a whole.

He said petty politics and personal hatred for President Sata would not take Hichilema and the UPND to State House in 2016 as the electorate were enlightened and only interested in issue-based politics.

"Hakainde must quit politics if he cannot come to terms with the fact that Michael Sata is now President of Zambia. Hichilema is a frustrated soul and has become an embarrassment to Zambian politics. He is not adding value to the political arena," Walamba said.

He said Hichilema had injured many people in his unwarranted attacks against the President and in his quest to attract public sympathy and gain political mileage.

Walamba said the UPND leader had lost the little confidence that some Zambians had in him as he had only remained with few disgruntled and frustrated cadres in his party.

He said UPND members would have gotten rid of Hichilema if they meant well for Zambia.

"Insulting President Michael Sata, The Post, and everyone he (Hichilema) perceives to be his enemies will not help his political career. He has no integrity left and I wonder why those who are still in the UPND can't see that the young man is taking the party nowhere but making it unpopular each day that comes," Walamba said.

He said Zambians must not entertain malicious alarmists like Hichilema who recently claimed that the PF government was training militias in Sudan as such utterances had the potential to cause panic and chaos in the country.

"The time when I was in UPND I never heard of Hichilema. The man knows nothing about politics in Zambia, that's why he has destroyed the values on which the party was formed and destroyed the reputation of the opposition. The money he claims to have will not feed Zambia. We must demand better politics from the current opposition, not politics of frustration," Walamba said.

Meanwhile, Given Lubinda says the 'chimbwi no plan' remark by Hichilema was an
insult to the Zambians who voted for President Sata as it implied that they were also hyenas.

Speaking on arrival at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport, Lubinda who is foreign affairs and tourism minister said he was saddened that the UPND was turning Livingstone into a battlefield.

"If President Sata is a chimbwi, then the people who elected him are chimbwis. I'm sure they people will remember that when they vote on July 5," Lubinda said.

Lubinda said Hichilema should drink down his bitterness over the loss of the Presidential elections with a glass of water and be peaceful.

"We are not hooligans and will not entertain violence. Let us work hard to send messages to the people of what we are capable of doing. I will not take kindly to violence because we have already established ourselves as a peaceful country," Lubinda said.

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Don't allow PF to have majority in Parliament - Nevers

Don't allow PF to have majority in Parliament - Nevers
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

NEVERS Mumba says Zambians should not allow the PF to get an overwhelming majority in parliament. Featuring on Zambezi FM's Boiling Point radio programme yesterday, Mumba, the MMD's president, said PF's numbers in Parliament should be limited "so that they don't wake up and fire judges".

The country is holding parliamentary by-elections in Muchinga, Chama North and Livingstone constituencies on July 5, 2012. He said Zambians will cry if the PF got absolute powers in parliament, further accusing the ruling party of being extreme.

Mumba further said the University of Zambia has started to rapture because the students know that the PF government cannot be trusted.

"We are dealing with a very extreme government, somebody earlier on said arrogant government, we said there are too many ministers from one region in the government. He continues to do the same, you tell the government to respect the Judiciary, and that if you want judicial reforms it is better to do it wholesomely instead of hand-picking a case just because it affects the President of State House is involved in it, but they continue threatening judges. It is a government of extremes and a government of extreme will get extreme reactions from the opposition and people," Mumba said.

He said he has vowed never to insult President Michael Sata but would instead viciously speak against any policies that he felt affected the Zambian people and economy.

"It appears as if the PF is allergic to criticism, I have never seen a political party that is so allergic to criticism like the PF, everyday they say 'don't criticise the government, don't criticise the PF'. If we don't criticise the actions of the government then in whose interest are we serving as leaders of opposition political parties, in whose interest are we speaking as politicians. Our role is to identify the problems of the government and highlight them in the hope that they change," said Mumba.

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No records on Barotse Native Authority treasury - Scott

No records on Barotse Native Authority treasury - Scott
By Mwala Kalaluka and Mukosha Funga
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

THE government says it has no records indicating how much money in British pounds was held in the Barotse Native Authority treasury and later transferred to the government treasury at Independence in 1964. And Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini says he will consistently deflect point of orders that are not compelling or urgent.

During questions for oral answer in the House on Wednesday, Luena ADD member of parliament Mwambwa Imenda asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning to respond to this issue. Imenda also wanted to know how much money was held in the treasuries of other native authorities province by province.

Responding to the question, Vice-President Dr Guy Scott said the government's past and present records do not contain the information requested by Imenda.

"We are making efforts to obtain information from other government institutions such as the National Archives," Vice-President Scott said.

Kalabo Central UPND member of parliament Chinga Miyutu in a follow-up question asked how possible it was that such information could not be found by the current government and wondered whether governments had not been functioning since 1964.

In response, Vice-President Scott said: "There seems to be two distinct problems. Information is not kept indefinitely or forever. A few years is all that records are kept in government institutions. I will personally check for the answer to this because I am interested in it."

And ruling on a point of order raised by Mazabuka UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo concerning a story from a newspaper whose name he did not mention, Speaker Matibini said if such point of orders were not deflected, there would be no end to the problem.

Nkombo wanted to know whether the government was in order to keep quiet in view of revelations by a newspaper that he laid on the table of the House without mentioning its name, about an oil scandal about to explode.

"Point of orders of this nature will be consistently deflected in this fashion. I will only permit them when they are compelling and urgent.

Unless the matter is extremely compelling, I will not respond to these point of orders in the fashion anticipated by those who raise them," Speaker Matibini said.

Meanwhile, Public Accounts Committee chairperson Vincent Mwale says there were clear cases of theft in the report of the Auditor General for 2009 on the accounts of parastatal bodies.

Presenting the committee's report to the House on Wednesday, Mwale, who is also Chipangali MMD member of parliament, said PAC had recommended that government investigative wings move in and probe the cited cases of theft and misappropriation.

He said there were sixteen public institutions that had been cited in the report and that out of this, there were those like the Local Authority Superannuation Fund which are experiencing declining membership.

Mwale said even the Public Service Pensions Fund was also faced with the same predicament.

He also said the State Lotteries Board was also another institution that was almost insolvent to a point that it had even failed to employ a chief executive officer.

Mwale said there was also another issue of high staff-related costs at Zesco, which were occurring at a time when the company was operating without an approved staff establishment.

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L/stone cops to probe attack on mourners

L/stone cops to probe attack on mourners
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone and Kombe Chimpinde in Lusaka
Fri 29 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

SOUTHERN Province deputy commissioner Fred Mutondo says the police are investigating the attack on a funeral procession allegedly committed by the UPND in which three women were injured.

And the PF in Lusaka has accused former MMD provincial chairman William Banda of organising and ferrying Lusaka-based cadres to Chama North and Livingstone to cause commotion ahead of the July 5 by-elections.

In an interview, Mutondo said the police had received a report on the matter although he could not confirm whether or not it was UPND cadres behind the attack.

But police sources have revealed that the people behind the attack were UPND cadres.

"We have the matter as it was reported to the central police station and it is being followed up thoroughly. I can confirm that people were attacked and three people were injured in the scuffle. We hear that there were a lot of vehicles so we can't tell who really attacked them," Mutondo said.

A police source confirmed that the reported assault was committed by UPND cadres at the junction of Kaunda Road and Maramba Road at a place known as A 1.

And in an interview at her residence in Maramba's Malota area, Susan Zulu, 41, one of the victims, said the UPND cadres who were in a convoy led by their leader Hakainde Hichilema's vehicle blocked and surrounded their vehicle and started beating the mourners.

"We pleaded with them that we were from a funeral and that we were not on a political campaign, but they would not listen. They started by beating my friend, Angela Nyambe of MA 229 with a hosepipe on her back and came for me and others. They had weapons in their pockets and pieces of hosepipe," Zulu said.

Also injured in Tuesday's attack were Samson Nguni of MC 176 and Charity Nguni of MA 227.

And PF provincial chairman Kennedy Kamba said he was dismayed that Banda who had since defected to the UPND has not abandoned his violent way of politics exhibited when he was in the MMD.

But Banda has threatened those making the accusations with litigation.

"I am aware that through the tactics of William Banda, the UPND have hired cadres who are behaving like thugs and ferried them to Chama and Livingstone. This is why these cadres are harassing innocent people who they are mistaking for PF cadres," he said.

Kamba said PF youths would not retaliate by ferrying cadres from Lusaka or Copperbelt but that they would allow the law to take its course.

But Banda said he was shocked that people still associated him with violence.

"People want to bring stupid dirty things to me. Ask MMD. They are the ones that are ferrying cadres. See, I don't like these stupid allegations and those that are making them are very foolish," Banda said. "One of these days I will take someone to court for such accusations."

Banda said that he was busy and did not want to pre-occupy himself with responding to the PF and their allegations.

He said although the UPND and MMD were working together in the Livingstone and Chama North by-elections, the two parties were not campaigning together and held separate activities.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Government embarks on tax reforms

Government embarks on tax reforms
TIME PUBLISHED - Thursday, June 28, 2012, 10:05 am

GOVERNMENT has embarked on reforming the tax regime in Zambia. Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba said yesterday that one of the important components for the Government’s growth strategy was to maintain a positive investment climate for potential investors.

Mr Yamba said the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia Revenue Authority and Zambia Development Agency started the review of the tax incentives being offered. He said this during the official opening of a workshop on review of the tax incentives regime in Zambia at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka.

He said the key areas for the review would include the tax policy reforms which would focus on designing a broader and more effective investment climate.

The review of the tax would help the Government to implement and communicate clearly a consistent set of policies related to foreign investments.

He said the Government had a desire to re-assess incentive policy to make it more cost-effective and allow it to benefit a number of people.

“While still committed to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and an incentive programme, Government has a desire to re-assess incentive policy to make it more cost-effective and allow it to benefit a broader spectrum of the Zambian people,” Mr Yamba said.

He said the Government’s desire was to design a regime that would contribute to Zambia’s wider development objectives.

Mr Yamba said the regime would incorporate the creation of employment, maximising the backward and forward linkages of new investments, and the transfer of skills and technology, especially in priority sectors while mitigating the revenue losses to the treasury.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Stephen Mwansa said there was need to diversify the economy so as to improve Zambia’s resilience and broaden the benefits of the growth to a larger section of people.

Mr Mwansa said the main objective of granting tax incentives was to make Zambia a preferred destination for investment, establish an environment for increased industrial growth, promote exports and develop the private sector.

He said tax incentives were for designated priority sectors such as mining, tourism, agriculture and energy, hence the need to broaden the spectrum.

“Zambia today faces the challenge of limited economic diversity; it relies on the mining sector which makes it remain vulnerable to external shocks.

“Diversifying the economy would contribute to improving the country’s resilience and broaden the benefits of growth to a larger proportion of Zambians,” Mr Mwansa said.

[Times of Zambia]

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

(NEWZIMBABWE) Malema 'regrets' Zuma campaign

Malema 'regrets' Zuma campaign
28/06/2012 00:00:00
by Sapa

EXPELLED ANC Youth League president Julius Malema regrets campaigning for President Jacob Zuma's election, according to a report on Thursday. "My only regret was to campaign for Zuma, and I apologise dearly," Malema told The Star newspaper.

He also rejected Zuma's idea of a "second transition", which several media reported had also been rejected by the ANC policy conference underway in Midrand. "To wake up in the morning and announce you are now in a second transition, like you're announcing the second birthday of a child, is politically incorrect and lacks ideological clarity," said Malema.

A document on the second transition is one of the ANC's 13 policy documents under discussion at the four-day conference.

Zuma said in opening the conference on Tuesday that the second transition would make the country a "true democratic developmental state... which has a number of instruments it can use to facilitate change".

The first transition was still important because it had ushered in an era of democracy in South Africa.

"The time has come to do something more drastic to accelerate change towards economic transformation and freedom."

Zuma asked delegates to discuss the notion of a second transition when dealing with the strategy and tactics document.

"It is time to ask questions about the present and future... the last 18 years was the first transition. We are calling for a dramatic shift... to deal with the triple challenge[s] of poverty, unemployment and inequality," said Zuma.

Malema accused Zuma of hijacking the ANC Youth League’s economic freedom campaign by dressing it up in new clothes of a “second transition”

He said the only way for Zuma to remain relevant “was to address the economic challenges confronting our people, a matter he has been denying”.
“We raised the issue of white males controlling the economy, but we were called racist. (Now) he is repeating it,” Malema said.

This was a reference to Zuma saying at the conference that ownership of the economy remained largely in white men’s hands – and counted among the obstacles to ending poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Malema said it was the league that had first raised many of the issues Zuma had referred to in his speech during its economic freedom campaign, which calls for nationalisation of the mines and other economic sectors and the expropriation of land without compensation.

Malema said Zuma was “not acknowledging (that) these views were raised by the youth league”.

“It’s as if I was expelled (so that Zuma) could shine on the issues we have raised,” Malema claimed.

Zuma this month shut the door on any chances of Malema’s expulsion being reviewed by the national executive committee of the ANC.

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(IOL ZA) Zuma moots dropping willing seller principle in land reform

Zuma moots dropping willing seller principle in land reform
June 27 2012 at 03:40pm
Comment on this story
Deon de Lange
Political Bureau

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has emphatically called for an end to willing buyer, willing seller principle in land reform. Zuma told ANC policy conference delegates in Midrand yesterday that this arrangement was “too expensive” and “taking too long” to address the landlessness – and the resultant poverty – caused by expropriation laws dating back to 1913.

This matter has been on the ANC’s agenda for some time. But Zuma’s outspoken criticism of the requirement that there should be a willing seller when the state wants to acquire land for restitution or redistribution – and that the seller be compensated – is the clearest signal yet that the ANC could ditch the policy this week.

Conference delegates are now spending three days behind closed doors debating, among other topics, how land reform may be speeded up and how to deal with the issue of compensation for expropriation.

Speaking to journalists later, Zuma set the land debate in the context of widespread poverty and the continued control of the economy by white men.

“Drive around in South Africa and (you will find) stretches and stretches of land that belongs to white farmers… Yet there are people crammed in villages. They can’t use the land. Because of the negotiated settlement, we say, constitutionally, there must be willing buyer, willing seller. (But it’s) expensive and difficult. (Existing) laws are too difficult to make those processes move quicker.”

Zuma said “people are angry” about the economy and landlessness, but the ANC would not propose anything “outside the constitution”. Hee also moved to calm fears of mass expropriations on the basis of race, saying the ANC “has not gone that route – because we can’t” and “nothing untoward will happen”.

“So how do we correct this situation so that we do something that is legal, but addresses the plight of the poor?” Zuma said.

Kwandiwe Kondlo, executive director of the Human Sciences Research Council’s land reform programme, said the willing buyer, willing seller approach “contributed to the slow land reform”, but so did “bureaucratic inefficiency”.

[How about obstructionism? - MrK]

The government was not fixing the problem, which it could by appointing people on the basis of their “skills” rather than “political loyalty”, he said.

The DA’s spokeswoman on justice, Dene Smuts, said: “It is not true that a seller can frustrate expropriation and land reform.” Agri SA president Johannes Möller also blamed bureaucratic inefficiencies for the slow pace of land reform.

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(BLOOMBERG) South Africa’s ANC Targets Mining Taxes in Policy Meeting

South Africa’s ANC Targets Mining Taxes in Policy Meeting
By Mike Cohen and Andres R. Martinez - Jun 26, 2012 5:59 PM GMT+0200

South African President Jacob Zuma called for a “dramatic” policy shift to create jobs and ensure wealth is spread more evenly in a nation where white males still dominate the economy 18 years after the end of apartheid.

“There is widespread consensus that we have been unable to reach the goals of a truly inclusive, non-racial, non-sexist society,” Zuma, 70, said in his opening speech to a gathering of ruling African National Congress officials near Johannesburg today. “The time has come to do something more drastic to accelerate change.”

The ANC will spend four days debating proposals ranging from a 50 percent mining windfall tax to wage subsidies for young people. A final decision on new policies will be taken at the 100-year-old party’s national conference in December, when a new leadership will also be elected.

Zuma, the ANC’s former head of intelligence, is seeking a second five-year term at a time when his labor union allies and jobless young people are demanding action to combat poverty and unemployment in Africa’s largest economy. Any attempt to extract more revenue from mining companies such as Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. (IMP) and Lonmin Plc (LMI) risks undermining an industry battered by rising wage costs, power shortages and a global economic slowdown.

“You’re adding more to the camel and pretty soon you’ll break the camel’s back,” Patrick Mathidi, a fund manager at Momentum Asset Management in Johannesburg, said in a telephone interview. “We’re unlikely to get any good news out of the policy conference.”
Profit Tax

In 2010, the ANC’s Youth League persuaded the party to investigate the viability of nationalizing mines to help distribute more wealth to the black majority. While an ANC- appointed panel ruled out nationalization as an economic “disaster,” it recommended a 50 percent tax on profits of mining companies that earn returns of more than 15 percent.

“We must go deeper than to nationalize or not nationalize,” Zuma told delegates. The party “must deliberate on how the state can obtain an equitable share from the mineral resources and how communities can benefit more from these natural resources.”

Gold, coal and other mining products accounted for 38 percent of export earnings last year, according to government data. Output contracted 16.8 percent in the first quarter because of mine closures and strikes. The FTSE/JSE Africa Mining Index (JMNNG) of 21 stocks has dropped 7.6 percent this year, compared with a 5.8 percent gain in the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index. (JALSH) The rand strengthened 0.4 percent to 8.4493 against the dollar by 5:55 p.m. in Johannesburg, paring the decline this year to 4.3 percent.
Security of Supply

Perth-based Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP), the world’s fourth- largest producer of the metal, shut mines in South Africa this month because of strikes and falling platinum prices. In February, Johannesburg-based Anglo American Platinum Ltd. (AMS) put a freeze on employment and cut its 2012 output target.

Other recommendations in the ANC’s draft policy documents include an export levy on coal and iron ore to ensure “security of supply” as the government tries to boost power generation and steel production. The ruling party is also considering forcing pension funds and insurers to buy the bonds of state- owned companies.

“There is clearly going to be a lot of rhetoric around the conference and people are going to position themselves around populist agendas,” Mike Davies, southern Africa analyst at risk-advisory company Maplecroft, said in a June 21 interview from London. “We see higher levels of state involvement in the mining industry.”
White Males

While the party that swept Nelson Mandela to power in the first all-race elections in 1994 commands the support of almost two-thirds of the electorate, it has struggled to racially desegregate the economy. White South Africans earn on average about eight times more than black citizens, who make up 79 percent of the population of 51 million, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations.

Under the negotiated settlement reached in 1994 “we had to make certain compromises in the national interest,” Zuma said. “We had to be cautious about restructuring the economy in order to maintain economic stability and confidence at the time. Thus economic power relations of the apartheid era have remained intact.”

While the country’s laws currently hamper the government from redistributing land, and vast tracts of farmland remained unused, any efforts to address the situation will be done within the confines of the Constitution, the president told reporters.

The government forecasts the economy will expand 2.7 percent this year, the slowest pace since the 2009 recession, as a debt crisis in Europe worsens, curbing demand from a region that buys about a third of South Africa’s manufactured exports. That’s less than half the 7 percent expansion the government says it needs to meet a pledge to cut the jobless rate to 14 percent by 2014 from 25.2 percent currently.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mike Cohen in Cape Town at; Andres R. Martinez in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at

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(MnG) Zuma's second transition rejected by ANC commissions

Zuma's second transition rejected by ANC commissions
27 Jun 2012 17:47 - Michelle Pietersen, Matuma Letsoalo

Insiders say the second transition document championed by President Jacob Zuma was rejected, dealing a blow to his re-election campaign.

The majority of the 11 commissions on the ANC's strategy and tactics policy discussion document on Tuesday rejected the second transition document.

The M&G was reliably told by more than eight ANC delegates – from both the Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe camps – who attended different commissions on strategy and tactics that the document championed by Zuma as the party's answer to the country's economic and social problems was flatly dismissed. Motlanthe has publicly rejected the idea of the second transition – prompting angry reactions from Zuma and his close allies, including ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

The second transition dominated debate during the first and second day of the ANC's policy conference, with Zuma telling delegates during his opening address on Tuesday that the country has completed the first transition – which was mainly about political freedom – and now needed to shift into the second transition, which focuses on economic and social transformation.

Zuma told journalists on Tuesday he was having "sleepless nights" worrying about people who were still living in squalor 18 years after the dawn of democracy.

He said the second transition was necessitated by the triple challenges – inequality, poverty and unemployment – facing South Africa.

ANC insiders told the M&G the second transition was rejected on the basis that it was "theoretically unsound" and too far a departure from the party's 2007 strategy and tactics document that guided the movement on its national democratic revolution.

Delegates also complained the language used in the document – which Motlanthe described as Marxist jargon – was incomprehensible to many ordinary delegates and it lacked concrete plans to take forward the vision as punted by Zuma.

In what appeared to be a pre-emptive strike, Zuma on Tuesday sought to distance himself from the second transition document despite the fact that he used it as a campaign ticket during the recent provincial ANC and union conferences.

During commissions at the policy conference, Zuma's home province, Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga tried hard to push for the second transition document to be adopted as policy.

ANC policy head Jeff Radebe said at a press briefing on Wednesday delegates were debating whether to adopt a new "fully-fledged" strategy and tactics document or to make amendments to the existing one.

The conference was expected to resolve on proposed resolutions on Thursday.

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(BLOOMBERG) De Beers' Overhaul of Diamond Industry Boosts Demand, Profits

COMMENT - This must be an older article, but it is always interesting to precisely nail down who owns (or owned) what. This article has no date attached to it.

De Beers' Overhaul of Diamond Industry Boosts Demand, Profits

Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- De Beers, the world's biggest diamond company, started the decade by curbing its practice of buying competitors' gems to prop up prices, seeking instead to bolster demand in the $55 billion retail market.

This year, De Beers forecasts demand will increase faster than economic growth, and analysts including Jack Jones at CIBC World Markets expect prices to rise after gaining 10 percent last year. Throughout the industry, spending on marketing rose to $420 million last year, double the figure two years earlier.

The initiative by Kimberley, South Africa-based De Beers, together with economic growth in the U.S. and Asia, is also helping competitors in the $8 billion rough diamond industry. ZAO Alrosa, which produces a fifth of the world's uncut diamonds, said sales rose 22 percent last year. Retailers such as Tiffany & Co. report rising demand for diamond jewelry.

``It's a transition from a supply-controlled market to a demand-driven market,'' said Chaim Even-Zohar of Tel Aviv-based industry consultant Tacy Ltd. ``The rough market is very hot and in the present environment there will certainly be room for significant price increases for rough diamonds.''

Anglo American plc, the world's second-largest mining company, and the Oppenheimer family each own 45 percent of De Beers, with a venture of the Botswanan government holding the remaining 10 percent. Ernest Oppenheimer, who founded Anglo in 1917, became chairman of De Beers in 1929 and set up a cartel that supported prices by buying competitors' stones.

Shares of Anglo American rose 8 pence, or 0.6 percent, to 1,249 pence Friday in London. The stock has gained 50 percent in the past 12 months, compared to a 41 percent advance for the nine- member FTSE ASX Mining Index.

De Beers Inventory

De Beers, which sells 60 percent of the world's uncut diamonds, has reduced its inventory by about $1 billion of gems annually for the past three years and should report a ``large'' decline when it releases 2003 sales on Thursday, said John Meyer, an analyst at Numis Securities Ltd. in London.

The company will report sales of about $5.4 billion, said Jones of CIBC. De Beers's sales rose 16 percent to $5.15 billion in 2002. Rio Tinto Group today reported earnings from its diamond business rose 79 percent to $113 million last year, contributing 7.5 percent to overall net income.

Coupled with the decline in inventories, De Beers has been shrinking the number of diamond cutters to whom it sells gems and prodding clients to spend more on advertising. Marketing expenditures by the industry, excluding De Beers, rose to $240 million last year, from $50 million in 2001, Tacy estimates.

The change in the industry's distribution structure has spurred cutters to seek supplies elsewhere, helping push up rough diamond prices. Alrosa, a state-owned Russian company, increased prices by 1.5 percent in January.

Rising Demand

Demand for diamonds has grown an average of about 2.9 percent annually for the past five years, said Gareth Penny, marketing director for De Beers.

Sales are increasing fastest in nations such as China, whose economy expanded 9.1 percent last year, the fastest pace in six years. Demand is also being helped by the dollar's drop against currencies such as the euro. Since diamonds are traded internationally in dollars, declines in the U.S. currency make them cheaper for people in other countries.

``It's extraordinary what the diamond industry has achieved in the last four or five years,'' Penny said in an interview. ``We have been outperforming GDP growth. There was only one year in the 1990s when that happened.''

In an effort to tap that demand companies such as Rio Tinto Group, the world's third-biggest mining company, and Aber Diamond Group have increased production.

Rio Tinto

Rio and Aber are partners in the Diavik mine in Canada, built under a lake near the Arctic Circle. Diavik will likely produce 7 million carats this year, double last year's supply, said Keith Johnson, head of Rio's diamond unit. About 120 million carats of gem, near-gem and industrial quality diamonds are produced worldwide each year.

Rio also owns Australia's Argyle mine, source of about 90 percent of the world's pink diamonds.

BHP Billiton, the world's biggest mining company, is looking to expand its diamond business because of profit margins that run at 35 percent for the Ekati mine in Canada, which it controls. The margins spur producers to mine at full capacity, said Marcus Randolph, head of BHP's diamonds and specialty products unit.

``It's one of the reasons why when demand picks up, you actually see such a strong market,'' he said. ``There's no latent production capacity.''

Synthetic Diamonds

In the future, diamond miners may face competition from synthetic gems manufactured by machines that use high temperatures and pressures up to 800,000 pounds per square-inch.

Companies such as Sarasota, Florida-based Gemesis Corp. may produce as many as 100,000 carats of diamonds larger than one carat within three years, equal to about 8 percent of the current market for large gems, said Even-Zohar of Tacy Ltd.

``This is the real reason why synthetics are such a great concern to the industry,'' he said. ``If the prices of the most expensive diamonds come under pressure, it will impact on all ranges.''

The scale of De Beers' market dominance may also be challenged by a pending European Union antitrust decision on an agreement it has to buy $800 million of stones annually from Alrosa. A decision should come in the middle of this year and it probably won't be favorable, Even-Zohar said.

Diamond Brands

Marketing initiatives diamond miners have undertaken to gain a share of the retail market and protect themselves from charges that gem sales fund civil wars in Africa may help them fend off future challenges.

BHP Billiton has joined other diamond producers in developing new marketing initiatives, introducing the AURIUS and CanadaMark brands in an effort to reassure consumers about the origin and quality of gems.

Other producers are moving into retail. De Beers is partnering with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA in a venture that includes a store in London's Bond Street. Toronto-based Aber Diamond in November said it intended to buy a majority interest in Harry Winston Inc., which has supplied jewels to celebrities including Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor and Halle Berry.

Rosy Blue, a company that buys gems from De Beers and accounts for about 7 percent of the rough diamond trade, last year started ventures with designers such as Vera Wang.

Amsterdam-based Gucci launched its first line of jewelry, including diamond jewelry, in 1998. It now has annual sales of $100 million.

That's part of a wider trend for fashion houses to offer branded jewelry. Only about 5 percent of jewelry sales are currently in the branded category, according to Sagra Maceira de Rosen, from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in London.

``One of the key initiatives in the diamond world is the branding of diamonds and one of the biggest trends in jewelry is the trend to brand diamonds,'' Rosen said. ``There's a huge opportunity. Everybody is rushing to do jewelry.'

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

(HERALD ZW) Resettled farmers delivered 43pc of auctioned tobacco

COMMENT - This is an excellent vindication of the land reform program. Not only are Zimbabwean farmers working without state support - unlike farmers in the US and EU - they are bouncing back from the destruction of their currency by ZDERA Section 4C, which has been putting a credit freeze on the Zimbabwean government since Jan 1st 2002. Also notice that it are the far more numerous smaller scale (50 ha) A1 farmers who are collectively out-producing the larger scale (250 ha) commercial A2 farmers.

Resettled farmers delivered 43pc of auctioned tobacco
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:40
Agriculture Reporter

Resettled farmers have contributed over 43 percent of the tobacco sold so far with the A1 sector leading. Tobacco growers have increased as a result of the land reform programme. The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board statistics show that as at June 15, A1 farmers constituted 31 percent of the tobacco sales, while A2 farmers constituted 12 percent.

By June 15, A1 farmers had sold 36 127 386 kilogrammes of the golden leaf and A2 farmers had sold 14, 1 million kilogrammes. The large-scale commercial sector contributed 26 percent, communal sector 21 percent and small scale commercial 10 percent.

A1 farmers are also topping on registrations. So far 32 019 farmers have registered for this season constituting 46 percent followed by large scale commercial 25 647 (43) percent and small scale commercial 72 13 (11) percent.

TIMB also revealed that Mashonaland West province was leading in tobacco sales with 34 percent of the crop sold so far from that province.

Mashonaland Central has contributed 27 percent, Mashonaland East 24 percent, Manicaland 15 percent, Matabeleland and Midlands 0,02 and 0,23 percent respectively.

Meanwhile, the current seasonal mass of flue cured tobacco has increased to 124,9 million kilogrammes, an increase from 117,4 million kilogrammes sold the same period last year.

Deliveries at auction floors have further dropped signaling an early finish of the 2012 tobacco marketing season.

Burley tobacco sales continue with 41 368 kilogrammes sold so far, registering a decrease of 931 percent from the 426 407 kilogrammes sold same period last year. The fall in burley tobacco has been attributed to lack of markets as growers struggled to secure buyers of their crop last season. TIMB has, however, said most farmers were yet to bring their crop to the market.

Dark air cured tobacco sales have also decreased to 145 456 kilogrammes from last year’s 293 000 kilogrammes.

A total of 150 million kilogrammes of the golden leaf is expected to go under the hammer this season. Some tobacco expects say the target may not be reached considering the continuous decline in daily tobacco deliveries to the auction floors.

Zimbabwe is regaining its status as one of the major tobacco producers in the world.

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(HERALD ZW) Disband Cotton Ginners’ Association: Parliament

Disband Cotton Ginners’ Association: Parliament
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 12:33
Herald Reporters

PARLIAMENT yesterday called for the disbanding of the Cotton Ginners Association, accusing it of exploiting cotton farmers. The legislators made the remarks when members of the association appeared before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Rural Resettlement.

The CGA gave evidence on the impasse between farmers and ginners over cotton prices.
Farmers have refused to sell their crop since the marketing season commenced in April over the low prices being offered by merchants. Muzarabani South representative Cde Edward Raradza said there was collusion among the CAG members that was detrimental to the well being of farmers, most of whom are in rural areas.

Cde Raradza said it was disturbing that farmers were getting inadequate inputs at high prices.

“CGA is not controlling input prices, but becomes active during the marketing season.
“Ginners had pegged their inputs at higher prices since they anticipated an increase of prices on the global market.

Now prices are low they do not want to revise input prices downwards,” he said.
He added: “We need to have sanity in the industry and the only way that can happen is by having each company run its own affairs.

“They want Government to subsidise cotton farming for them to benefit yet they are not giving them enough inputs.”

Cde Raradza said it was important to find a solution acceptable to both parties to ensure that farmers have resources to plant the crop in the coming season.

“We are aware that international prices are low but we should find a way to move forward.

“The ginners can reduce their inputs prices or offer higher cotton prices that will allow farmers to return to the fields next season,” he said.

Bikita South representative Mr Jani Varandeni said communal farmers had lost trust in the CGA.

“The CGA has failed farmers. All cotton is being bought at grade D prices (which are the lowest). You cannot tell me that all cotton is of that grade.

“The CGA should at least offer middle grade prices (grade B or C) or let farmers sell to anyone they want and then pay back their inputs loans using cash,” he said.

Mr Varandeni said it was better to allow farmers to sell their crop to buyers offering better prices and pay back ginners in cash instead of delivering their crop at give away prices they were offering.

The chairman of the committee and Chikomba Central representative Mr Moses Jiri said it was important that the ginners and farmers share the losses this year.
“If there are losses we should share with the farmers and not pass the whole burden to farmers,” he said.

CGA chairman and Cottco managing director, Mr David Machingaidze said the association was formed to protect contractors from side marketing.

“Removing CGA will not help the situation.

“We were making a loss of 40 percent of our investment and since its formation, side marketing has declined,” he said.

He said it was important that the solution to the price crisis is found so that farmers can sell their crop early before the quality and weight deteriorates.
“The current situation is not affecting farmers.

“As ginners we are no longer sure if farmers will sell the crop, if they will produce the crop next season or if ginners will have control over the crop. We are no longer bankable,” he said.

Mr Machingaidze said instead of arguing over prices which the local industry do not have control over, people should be discussing boosting productivity so that farmers can realise profits.

He said the cotton ginners were prepared to re-engage farmers in price negotiations and would take some of the recommendations from the parliamentary committee.



'The labour movement has lost its vibrancy'

'The labour movement has lost its vibrancy'
By The Post
Wed 27 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

IT cannot be denied that the labour movement in Zambia has lost its vibrancy.What may be debatable, however, are the reasons for this. And Benson Ng'ambo, a trade unionist, says the labour movement has lost its vibrancy because trade union members are not holding union leaders accountable, the art of worker representation, workers stood alone devoid of true union leadership in the quest for decent wages, working conditions and employee welfare.

Benson urges the workers of Zambia to team up and form one strong union that will live up to their aspirations. A lot has happened since 1991 in the way labour is organised. The situation has not been favourable for workers and their unions. The new setup has not encouraged strong trade unions; it has in fact decimated them.

A new awareness, a new approach is required from our workers and their representatives. The new conditions under which we are living favour much more a better return on capital than on labour. And our successive governments have proved to be more and more inclined to support and defend capital over labour.

And our workers should know from experience that they must count on themselves and their own initiatives more than on the benevolence of capital. It would be a delusion for them to wait passively for a change of heart on the part of capital, in those who, as Abraham warns us, "We will not be convinced even if someone should rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

It is primarily up to our workers to effect their own betterment. They must regain confidence in themselves. They must work zealously to fashion their own destiny. They must open their ears to those who can awaken and shape the conscious awareness of those who labour.

Changes must be made; present conditions must be improved. Finally, the working people and the poor must get together, for only unity will enable the workers and the poor to demand and achieve real justice.

The workers and the poor are hungering for truth and justice, and those who are entrusted with the task of teaching and educating them should do so with enthusiasm. Certain erroneous viewpoints must be wiped away without delay.
If some try to monopolise for themselves what others need, then it is the duty of public authority to carry out the distribution that was not made willingly.

In like manner, we cannot allow rich foreigners to come and exploit our impoverished people under the pretext of developing commerce and industry; nor can we allow rich nationals to exploit their own nation. These things incite the exasperating strains of excessive nationalism, which is hostile to authentic collaboration among peoples.

Workers have a right and a duty to form real trade unions, so that they may press for and defend their rights. These rights include a just wage, social security and so on and so forth. It is not enough for these rights to be recognised on paper by the law. The laws must be implemented, and government must exercise its powers in this area to serve the working people and the poor.

It is high time that the workers and the poor, supported and guided by their legitimate government, defend their right to live. When God appeared to Moses, it was said to him: "I have seen the miserable state of my people in Egypt, I have heard their appeal to be free of their slave drivers…I mean to deliver them" (Exodus 3:7).

Jesus took all humanity upon himself to lead it to eternal life. And the earthly foreshadowing of this is social justice, the first form of brotherly love. When Jesus freed humankind from death through his resurrection, he brought all human liberation movements to their fullness in eternity.

Therefore, workers unions to which workers have a right should acquire sufficient strength and power. They ought to exercise their right of being represented, also, on the social, economic and political levels where decisions are made which touch upon the common good. Therefore, the unions ought to use every means at their disposal to train those who are to carry out these responsibilities in moral, economic and especially in technical matters.

Situations of grave injustice require the courage to make far-reaching reforms and to suppress unjustifiable privileges. The fight against injustice is meaningless unless it is waged with a view to establishing a new social and political order in conformity with the demands of justice.

Justice must already mark each stage of the establishment of this order. And we must always bear in mind that whatever affects the dignity of individuals and peoples cannot be reduced to a technical problem. If reduced in this way, development would be emptied of its true content, and this would be an act of betrayal of the individuals and peoples whom development is meant to serve.

There are problems, serious problems, in our labour movement - in its leadership and organisation. A new approach is required, accompanied by a new awareness. The current type of leadership and organisation of our labour movement doesn't seem to be taking our workers anywhere.

Our trade unions, in their current form and organisation, don't seem to be adequately serving the interests of the workers. They seem to be there for the benefit of those who lead them in terms of allowances, salaries, political clout and so on and so forth. In saying this, we are not in any way trying to attack any individual, although each individual labour or union leader can be made to account for themselves.

Our trade union movement needs re-thinking, re-orientation and re-alignment. Things are not simply working. Awareness has been lost and there is no vision on the part of the leadership to help our workers and their organisations navigate through this very challenging epoch.

Today, it is impossible not to take account of the realities in which our workers work and live. To ignore them would mean becoming like the "rich man" who pretended not to know the beggar Lazarus lying at his gate (Luke 16:19-31).
Our daily life as well as our decisions in the political and economic fields must be marked by these realities.

Likewise, our political leaders, while they are obliged to keep in mind the true human dimensions as a priority in their development plans, should not forget to give precedence to the plight of the workers. The motivating concern for the workers and the poor must be translated at all levels into concrete action, until it decisively attains a series of necessary reforms. We need to reform certain unjust structures.

For the health of the political community -as expressed in the free and responsible participation of all citizens in public affairs, in the rule of law, and in the respect for and promotion of human rights - is the necessary condition and sure guarantee of the development of the whole individual and of all persons.

None of what has been stated can be achieved without the collaboration of all in the framework of a solidarity which includes everyone, beginning with the most neglected. But at the same time, solidarity demands a readiness to accept the sacrifices necessary for the good of the whole nation.

This is what is demanded by the present moment and above all, by the very dignity of the human person. Let's not forget that good jobs are the dividing line in many families between decent life and a wrecked existence. Therefore, workers need an effective, efficient and strong trade union to represent them both in the economic and the political arena.

The weak and fragmented labour movement we have today, coupled with a visionless, greedy and corrupt leadership, cannot effectively and efficiently fight for the interests of workers in today's very complicated globalised world.