12 October 2012

South Africa: African Press Review 12 October 2012

A book launch in Johannesburg becomes a political rally. Are apartheid-era undercover dirty tricks still going on in SA? And how much will Goodluck Jonathan spend on food, refreshment and interior design next year?

We begin in South Africa where the Mail and Guardian reports that the launch of Vice-President Kgalema Motlanthe's biography in Johannesburg Thursday turned into a rowdy pro-change rally favouring the enigmatic leader, despite his attempts to avoid such an eventuality.

According to the paper, supporters of Motlanthe danced in the aisles of the Great Hall at Wits University where the event was held, singing pro-change songs relating to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung in December and making the notorious "shower sign" in reference to President Jacob Zuma's alleged sexual escapades.

The book is the first glimpse into the man who was briefly the country's president after the damaging Polokwane Conference in 2007 which saw Thabo Mbeki unseated. In the book, Motlanthe speaks about that period for the first time, saying he was unhappy with how Mbeki was treated and would have preferred to let him finish his term in office.

The Mail and Guardian notes that Motlanthe's attempt to tell an anecdote about literacy and change in a sentence about children" ran into a hurdle" as the audience roared in applause and approval.

The hecklers in the audience had a field day with that comment. Zuma was illiterate and was taught to read and write during his time on Robben Island, according to the Johannesburg newspaper.

The Sowetan highlights a column posted in Business Day by Pallo Jordan a member of the ANC's national executive council holding that Zuma's actions have stripped the office he holds of dignity. The paper quotes the ANC official as saying that the party needs to elect a president that will repair the movement's credibility and dignity when it holds its elective conference in Mangaung in December.

Business Day looks at the Browse Mole report, which has been leaked by the South Africa's investigative unit, the Scorpions. It contains allegations that Angolan and Libyan governments funded Zuma in his succesful bid to replace Thabo Mbeki. The paper recalls that the ANC government later revealed that the report was the work of former apartheid agents who were "information peddlers" trying to stoke conflict.

Business Day says the Browse Mole fiasco came to mind this month because of another episode, which has the fingerprints of the same old apartheid undercover duplicity. It is a document, which has been bouncing around the web, claiming that South Africa is going to hell in a handbasket.

The report written by a purportedly acclaimed analyst holds that the Marikana massacre was somehow contrived to protect mining bosses, particularly Lonmin's black economic empowerment (BEE) partner, Shanduka. Business Day calls the claim ridiculous.

In Nigeria The Nation reports that the presidency plans to spend close to 1.3 billion euros, to "rehabilitate" residential buildings for the president, the vice-president and their entourages next year. Besides, the presidency has set aside 3.6 million euros on refreshments and meals, foodstuff and catering material supplies for both the president and the vice-president, according to a document stating the ABC of the budget.

The Nation also reports that President Goodluck Jonathan's office intends to spend 14 millions euros on local and international travel next year.

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