Wednesday, July 26, 2017

U.S. Calls for Humanitarian Truce and New UNAMID Base in Sudan's Darfur Jebel Marra
U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Steven Koutsis, USAID and UNAMID officials in Central Darfur Golo town on 19 June 2017. (Photo US Embassy)

July 25, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum Tuesday said alarmed by the "deteriorating humanitarian situation" in Jebel Marra. Further, it called on the warring parties to commit themselves to a cessation of hostilities and to authorise a UNAMID base in the mountainous area.

In line with the five-track framework over the lift of US sanctions on Sudan, aid groups are now allowed aid workers to work in the whole Darfur including Jebel Marra where the government forces fight the Sudan Liberation Movement- Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) which refuses to declare a humanitarian truce or to negotiate with Khartoum.

"Recent nutrition screenings and surveys show critical levels of severe acute malnutrition indicating a complex humanitarian crisis that demands an urgent, multi-sector response," said the embassy in a statement about the humanitarian situation in the area.

The embassy stressed that the situation remains dire and need to be urgently addressed without hindrance despite the humanitarian improvements achieved by the UN agencies and aid groups.

It called on the warring parties to facilitate access to affected areas, emphasising that "The situation is exacerbated by the inability of both sides - the Government of Sudan and the Sudanese Liberation Army – to agree to a cessation of hostilities".

Further "We call on the Government of Sudan to allow the UN-AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to open a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo," said the statement.

The UN Security Council on 28 June, renewed the UNAMID mandate for another year and decided to reduce its armed personnel as result of the improvement of the security situation in the region.

However, it requested the Sudanese government to be flexible enough and to cooperate with the UNAMID by allowing the peacekeepers to open and close operating bases as necessary, particularly in Golo where there is a need for a temporary operating site to protect civilians.

The Embassy reminded that the U.S. will continue to provide strong support for UNAMID and the ongoing humanitarian operations in Darfur, and will continue to engage the Government of Sudan to improve humanitarian access and cease hostilities to bring an end to conflicts in Sudan.

On 12 July, the President Donald Trump delayed for three months the lift of economic embargo on Sudan, saying there is a need to more time to assess the implementation of the five-track agreement.

The State Department added that Washington has also three additional matters they want to discuss with Khartoum: human rights, religious freedom and sanctions on North Korea.

(ST)
Khartoum University Students Mobilise Ahead of Court Sentence
Asim Omer (SCoP photo)

July 25, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Students at the University of Khartoum demonstrated Tuesday in solidarity with their colleague Asim Omer charged with the murder of a police officer in April 2016, as the court is scheduled to announce its verdict on Wednesday.

Omer, 21 years, is a member of the Conference of Independent Students (CIS), the student arm of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP). The police officer was hit by a Molotov cocktail, a charge that he denied.

The students took to the street from the complex of faculties in Khartoum on Tuesday, in solidarity with Omer, after a public meeting they organised inside the campus, where they reaffirmed their support to their colleague detained since May last year.

The opposition SCoP released a call for solidarity in support of Omer’s liberation. The statement which, was circulated in the social media, called on the human rights advocacy groups and activists to attend the session of Khartoum North Criminal Court on Wednesday as the judge is expected to announce the verdict.

The statement further said that Omer had been subjected to harsh and inhumane conditions of detention during three days before to charge him with the murder of the policeman, although he was not present at the alleged scene.

Omer was arrested by the security service on 2 May 2016, following a series of protests over unconfirmed reports about the sale of the university historical premises in central Khartoum.

(ST)
Troika and EU Threaten to Stop Support for South Sudan Peace Bodies
July 26, 2017 (NAIROBI) - The Troika countries (USA, UK and Norway) and the European Union have threatened to stop their support for the activities and institutions tasked with the implementation of the IGAD brokered peace agreement and called to update the deal its instruments.

Following a meeting held in Juba on 24 July, the IGAD foreign ministers welcomed the support of the Troika and EU to their revitalization plan for the South Sudan peace process and called on the government to ensure the implementation of the ceasefire and urged the armed opposition to reciprocate.

The ministers also welcomed the commitment of President Salva Kiir to fully collaborate and implement the IGAD revitalization forum for the Implementation of the peace agreement.

However, in a confidential note to the IGAD countries seen by Sudan Tribune, the Troika and EU expressed their frustration with the implementation of the peace agreement and called for concrete steps to amend the deal and to consolidate the bodies entrusted with the monitoring process.

"We cannot continue to indefinitely support ARCSS implementation activities and institutions if they are unable to contribute to peace due to the lack of meaningful inclusion of parties to the conflict," said the Troika and EU who fund the IGAD activities and mechanisms tasked with the peace implementation.

"We look forward to a prompt and inclusive revitalization process that would allow us to consider the commitment of further resources. The JMEC has a vital role to play in the delivery of the urgent goals we have set out above. However, JMEC and other ARCSS institutions must be strengthened and adapted to deliver results in the new context," stressed the note.

The Troika and EU on 20 July issued a statement condemning the attacks by government army on the positions of the SPLM-IO in Pagak near the Ethiopian border. They said the "Pagak offensive is a clear violation of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir on May 22", and casts doubts on the government’s commitment to reach peace through the National Dialogue.

In their note, they went to demand an update for the security arrangements embodied in the peace agreement saying they have been "made obsolete by the evolution of the conflict and are no longer sufficient".

The IGAD peace partners also said they do not support holding elections in 2018 as it is provided in the peace agreement pointing to the ongoing fighting, the humanitarian crisis stressing that under such conditions "elections are likely to cement divisions and increase violence".

"The Revitalisation Forum should deliver a new timetable which allows those conditions to be put in place. We do not support holding elections in 2018 as indicated in the original ARCSS," the Troika and EU said.

They requested the IGAD to closely coordinate with the African Union and the United Nations.

Following their meeting in Juba on 24 July, the IGAD foreign ministers urged the South Sudanese stakeholders to embrace the objectives of the High-Level Revitalization Forum for the Implementation of the ARCSS.

The East African block decided to task the IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan with the coordination of the revitalization process involving all stakeholders and institutions charged with the responsibility of the implementation of the ARCSS.

(ST)
IGAD Summit Roots for Accountability in War-torn South Sudan
July 24, 2017 (JUBA) – Leaders attending the 58 extra-ordinary summit in the South Sudan capital, Juba have vowed to prioritize accountability in attempts to the long civil war in the young nation.

While opening the summit on Monday, the chairman of the IGAD Council of Ministers, Workneh Gebeyehu said that the summit would discuss the implementation of the transitional justice, the truth and reconciliation process and the reparation of victims in the conflict.

“Everyone that has committed atrocities and human rights abuses must be held accountable, this is not going to be a business as usual, we regional leaders must prioritize accountability so that it can achieve lasting peace and avoid another cycle of destabilizing violence,” he told the summit.

In December last year, the United Nations urged the African Union to quickly establish the hybrid court for South Sudan to investigate and prosecute those bearing criminal responsibility for the atrocities.

“The knowledge that accountability structures exist and will be deployed against the perpetrators of mass atrocities can have real preventive impact,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, told the Human Rights Council at a special session.

The proposed hybrid court, which will combine elements of both domestic and international law and be composed of personnel from South Sudan and abroad, is envisaged in the peace agreement signed by the South Sudanese warring parties in August 2015.

The Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS), the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO) and other stakeholders formally committed to the establishment of the HCSS “by the AUC to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing criminal responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable South Sudanese law committed from 15 December 2013 through the end of the transitional period.”

The IGAD special envoy to South Sudan, Ismail Wais said establishing a hybrid court was the best option for ending South Sudan’s conflict.

“Without peace in South Sudan, there can be no peace in the region, so this continued fighting worries regional leaders,” he said.

South Sudan’s government say hybrid court will undermine peace, insisting that it needed time to achieve peace at the expense of justice for victims of atrocities committed during the nation’s conflict.

South Sudan became an independent country on 9 July 2011 after decades of war, lengthy negotiations and a referendum to secede from Sudan. Two and a half years later, in December 2013 armed conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those allied to his deputy Riek Machar.

In August 2015, the two parties agreed a peace deal and later formed a transitional unity government with President Kiir at the helm and Machar as one of his two deputies.

Renewed fighting broke out in July 2016 with heavy clashes in the capital Juba and other parts of the country. Machar has since been replaced as first Vice President and fled the country.

About 2.6 million South Sudanese have fled their homes since the outbreak of fighting in 2013, with some 1.6 million internally displaced and another one million living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

(ST)
South Sudanese Youth Calls for AU Peace-mediation Process
July 24, 2017 (JUBA)- A group of South Sudanese youth on Monday rejected the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) involvement in the revitalization of South Sudan’s 2015 peace deal and called for a process that is mediated by the African Union (AU).

The group, in a statement, said four countries that directly border South Sudan have vested interest to take neutral stands and make impartial decisions on how South Sudan’s crisis can be resolved.

“Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia each have their vested interests in South Sudan. A particular example is quickest intervention of the Uganda army in South Sudan conflict in mid-December 2013 to fight alongside the government and on the other hand, Sudan government continue sponsoring allied militias to destabilize the government have negatively impacted the stability in South Sudan”, partly reads the statement Sudan Tribune obtained.

The group called on the AU to take over the role of mediating the new peace process, but warned that it could go IGAD’s way should the continental body fail to stop war and bring peace in the country.

“The answer is that IGAD is not a credible lead convener to lead the mediation. We call upon the African Union to take over the revitalization process by assisting the South Sudanese to dialogue and resolve their problems”, the group’s statement further reads.

Early this month, the South Sudanese government rejected proposals to renegotiate the 2015 peace agreement, but expressed readiness to fast track implementation of provisions that have not been implemented in accordance with the implementation matrix.

The deputy minister of information Akol Paul Kordit said the coalition government was not ready to open doors for any form of negotiations.

“The Transitional Government of National Unity has reiterated its commitment to continue to implement the peace agreement however it has also to be mentioned that the government is not ready for renegotiation of the peace agreement,” said Kordit.

He added, “We are not ready to reopen a peace agreement that has been implemented and if there are chapters or provision of the agreement that have not been implemented then as a government we are ready to fast track their implementation”.

Last month, regional leaders, at a summit meeting held in Ethiopia, called for revitalization of the August 2015 peace accord, saying the peace agreement is the only political solution for the young nation.

The South Sudanese civil war is a conflict between forces of the government and opposition force, which started in December 2013, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions.

(ST)
South Sudan Says Western Powers Resumed Regime Change Agenda
July 24, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudanese government said on Monday that recent statements condemning the actions of the military were a return of western powers to the regime change agenda campaign.

Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Daniel Awet Akot said there was nothing the government and the president, in particular, has not done to stop the war and end the humanitarian crisis in the country.

“What has the government not done, you tell me? The cabinet as stipulated in the agreement has been formed and the Transitional Legislative Assembly has been reconstituted.The army has been restructured and the members of the SPLM-IO are in the army now and in the government at senior levels. And many more things are still being done. The peace agreement is being implemented”, Akot told Sudan Tribune on Monday.

The presidential adviser said what was happening in the country was an attempt of some western powers that had failed to fund the implementation of the agreement because they want to use it as a strategy to resume regime change agenda.

“In the agreement, the roles of the stakeholders and guarantors were defined and divided. There were things which the government would do and things which the region and the international community would do. As the government, we have done what we were required to do in the agreement but what did they do, you ask them. You are the media and you people in the media instead of asking them (international community) come to us and ask questions you should have asked them to answer. How can we answer questions which are not ours?"

The senior member of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) under President Salva Kiir, claimed unnamed western powers were continuing to advocate for regime change

“What I am seeing is a clear resumption of the regime change agenda rhetoric by some western powers, which we know. This is why they have refused to fund the implementation of the peace agreement which was what they made themselves but the government accepted because it wanted peace,” he added.

The Troika countries (Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and the European Union on 20 July condemned the attacks carried by the government army on the positions of the SPLM-IO forces near the Ethiopian border in Pagak, as well as ongoing road ambushes and attacks by the SPLM-IO.

"The Pagak offensive is a clear violation of the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Salva Kiir on May 22, and calls into question the government’s commitment to reach peace through the National Dialogue, notwithstanding the sincere efforts undertaken by the leaders of the Steering Committee," said the joint statement.

United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nation Matthew Rycroft recently said that President Salva Kiir’s government has deliberately ignored calls to implement the peace deal and has not honoured its own ceasefire declared in May.

“What the government of South Sudan says has no relation with what it does, “said Rycroft.

“In June, we saw humanitarian access being blocked, a hundred times, the highest month in 2017 so far. In addition, ceasefire monitors have been blocked on multiple occasions by government troops from investigating incidents of reported violence,” he said.

(ST)
Dinka Elder Hails Kiir for Championing SPLM Reunification Initiative
July 23, 2017 (JUBA)- A prominent member of the Dinka Council of Elders has welcomed the initiative of President Salva Kiir to reconcile all the members and heads of factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) into one party, saying it was the only way the war in the country could be ended.

Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey said on Sunday that The SPLM, SPLM-IO and SPLM leaders/Former Detainees, are the true warring parties.

The elderly politician also commended Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for responding to the request of President Kiir to identify and bring together the factions for reconciliation.

“President Museveni should, without hesitation, get our full backing and support,” said Akuey. “One must also express his gratitude to President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his team: Kuol Manyang Juk, Nhial Deng Nhial, Madam Gema Nunu, for having shared this meeting. I must also appreciate Mama (Man baai) Rebecca Nyandeen Mabior, General Oyai Deng Ajak and their colleagues for attending this meeting,” he added.

The legislator said the initiative has sent a very strong frail to South Sudanese that peace is in the pipeline.

He called the leader of the main armed opposition, Riek Machar to reconsider his position and denounce violence and join the ongoing efforts to end the conflict so that elections are conducted.

“On the other hand, Dr Riek Machar should reconsider and denounce violence and embrace freedoms, liberties, democracy and rule of law instead. Democracy is the proven means in which a government can change hands,” said Akuey.

He urged for placing the past behind and start with the new chapter in the history, saying what people lost cannot be reclaimed. But also it is time for other political parties to not think that reunification simply means a return to the status quo and dictatorship of the SPLM before 2013.

“What has happened has happened. We cannot wind it back and reclaim the people we have lost. But peace can compensate. There is enough space in peace and democracy to share power in one way or the other. There are other parties, who are also involved in the fighting. These groups should not assume that SPLM is coming together in order to continue their historical dictatorship. No, this cannot work anymore. The new constitution shall not sustain or condone dictatorship. Let’s unite for peace, people and country,” he argued.

The SPLM reunification process was brokered by Tanzania and South Africa and now by Uganda.

The region’s leaders say, the conflict started over the way forward for the historical movement after the independence, so gathering them on a platform can help to address the crisis and ending the armed conflict.

(ST)
South Sudan Rebels Accuse Uganda of Carrying Out Airstrikes in Upper Nile
July 22, 2017 (KAMPALA) – South Sudan’s armed opposition faction loyal to ex-First Vice President, Riek Machar claimed Ugandan warplanes carried out airstrikes on their base in Upper Nile state on Friday.

The armed opposition spokesperson, Brig. General William Gatjiath Deng, said two heavily armed Ugandan gunships bombed a rebel outpost in Thochdeng in an alleged attempt to rescue pro-government forces.

“It was the late evening yesterday at around 3:30 PM, when the two Ugandan gunships accompanied by a white (MI) Helicopter that was not identified which company it comes from but later landed within two minutes near the enemy trenches while the two military gunships started bombardment on the SPLA-IO position at Thocdeng,” he said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune.

He, however, explained that a response to the airstrikes from their forces on the ground forced the gunships to lose focus and disappear.

“The SPLA-IO artillery unit had excessively retaliated the air attack with (Zuu -23) until the two gunships went and bombarded randomly on the surrounding villages at Thocdeng,” said Gatjiath.

The airstrikes left no casualties, the armed opposition spokesperson stressed, adding that a least 37 pro-government soldiers were killed.

Sudan Tribune could not independently verify claims from the rebel spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese armed opposition spokesman also accused Kampala and Juba of orchestrating the plan to attack Maiwut and Pagak and warned that any attempt to capture Maiwut or Pagak would be a fatal mistake on the government side.

The rebel official called on the United Nations, African Union, and Troika countries to condemn Juba and Uganda over such attacks, which violates the unilateral ceasefire President Salva Kiir declared.

“We repeatedly keep informing the UN, AU, Troika and indeed international community to witness the ongoing belligerent triggered by the two notorious presidents against resuscitation of 2015 peace process in the war torn nation,” further said Gatjiath.

The airstrikes, if confirmed, come days after President Kiir met his Ugandan counterpart in an attempt to re-unite the various factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party.

In May this year, three factions of South Sudan’s ruling party agreed in Kampala to set aside their differences and work out a roadmap to reunify the historical party.

The meeting was, however, boycotted by the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by South Sudan’s former First-Vice President, Riek Machar.

South Sudan was plunged into conflict in December 2013 as the rivalry between Kiir and his then-Vice President, Riek Machar, turned into a civil war. The fighting, which has often been along ethnic lines, triggered Africa’s worst refugee crisis, with over three million people fleeing their home

(ST)
South Sudan President Pushes for SPLM Re-unification
July 22, 2017 (JUBA) - South Sudan president Salva Kiir ended his two-day visit to Uganda during which he held talks with politicians led by Rebecca Nyandeng, widow of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) founder, late John Garang de Mabior.

Kiir left the South Sudan capital, Juba on Thursday under what was initially reported as going for bilateral talks with President Yoweri Museveni.

However, the objective of the Kiir’s visit later turned out to be a consultation with Museveni and some members of the former political detainees on how the latter could convince some of his colleagues with whom he fell out to return to the party.

South Sudan’s Defence Minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk, senior presidential adviser and special envoy, Nhial Deng Nhial, acting SPLM secretary Jemma Nunu Kumba and the minister in the president’s office, Mayiik Ayii Deng accompanied President Kiir.

The delegation that met President Yoweri Museveni comprised of Nyandeng, foreign affairs minister, Deng Alor Kuol, Transport minister John Luk Jok. Other opposition figures who took part in the meeting on the former detainees side were former finance minister Kosti Manibe and former national security minister, Oyay Deng Ajak.

The acting SPLM Secretary General said that the meeting in Uganda was based on the initiative by the President on his capacity as the chairman of SPLM in order to bring the country’s ruling party together and reunite, as well as to reconcile and work as one party.

The official described the meeting as “successful”, where SPLM leaders reportedly re-affirmed their commitment to reunite the party.

The unity of the ruling party is paramount and this will bring a lasting peace to the people of South Sudan, said Kumba, adding that the meeting also agreed on developing a roadmap between the SPLM factions and they will meet on 27 July 2017 in Uganda.

The date for the next round of the meeting was adjusted to the first week of next month to give Museveni ample time to carry out consultations with other factions said to have historical connections and association to the SPLM.

In May this year, three factions of South Sudan’s ruling party agreed in Kampala to set aside their differences and work out a roadmap to reunify the historical party.

The meeting was, however, boycotted by the armed opposition faction (SPLM-IO) led by South Sudan’s former First-Vice President, Riek Machar.

South Sudan was plunged into conflict in December 2013 as the rivalry between Kiir and his then-Vice President, Riek Machar, turned into a civil war. The fighting, which has often been along ethnic lines, triggered Africa’s worst refugee crisis, with over three million people fleeing their home

(ST)
Feds Rule Quicken Loans Influenced Home Appraisals to Their Benefit, Putting Buyers Underwater
by Alysa Zavala-Offman
Metro Times
July 26, 2017 at 6:11 AM

After seeing an online pop-up add for Quicken Loans, Lourie Brown of Ohio County, West Virginia contacted the Detroit-based mortgage company hoping to refinance. At closing, she received a whopping $41,000, and by consolidating other debt, she was able to save herself $300 a month.

But what she didn't know was that after making 360 mortgage payments, she'd owe the company a balloon payment of over $100,000. Furthermore, her new mortgage was based on a fraudulent appraisal that valued her home at almost $145,000. In reality, the residence was worth closer to $46,000 — which put Brown underwater for more than four times its actual value.

Brown sued Quicken Loans and in 2011 a judge ruled in her favor, awarding her over $2 million in punitive damages and demanding the company pay her lawyer fees in excess of half a million dollars.

But Brown's experience is more common than homebuyers might like to think.

Earlier this month, a federal court ruled that Quicken Loans worked with supposedly independent home appraisers in order to jack up the value of homes during a period between October 2004 to March 2009.

In a class action lawsuit filed in 2012 in the Northern District of West Virginia, plaintiffs alleged the Quicken Loans officers worked intentionally to broker illegal loans in excess of fair market value, which directly violates West Virginia's Residential Mortgage Lender, Broker, and Service Act.

According to co-lead attorney Jason Causey, this type of conduct was ubiquitous at Quicken Loans during the time period.

"The practice was consistent with Quicken Loans' national practice as far as we know," Causey told MT.

According to court filings, Quicken Loans' loan officers schemed to inflate property values by providing appraisers with an "owner's estimated" value in advance in order to communicate the amount the company needed to fund the loan.

On average, homes involved in the class action lawsuit were appraised within 5 percent of the Quicken Loans supplied "owner's estimate," Causey says.

The overstated values immediately put homeowners underwater on their loans, which could make their homes nearly impossible to sell in the future, according to the plaintiffs.

On July 11, after five years in court, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and slapped Quicken Loans with a nearly $11 million fine — but not before calling the company's conduct "unconscionable" and "truly egregious."

In a statement to the Miami Herald, Quicken Loans continued to deny their loan officers participated in such predatory behavior and promised to appeal the case.

Causey says following the July 11 ruling, individual plaintiffs will now have an opportunity to seek personal damages. He believes litigation will likely continue for at least another 18 months.

A Quicken Loans representative said there is "no evidence" the estimates loan officers provided to home appraisers had any impact on their final valuation. Furthermore, they told the Herald there's no evidence the appraisals caused damage to any of the plaintiffs.

"The facts of this case are clear and we are confident that both the judge’s ruling and the damages assessed will be overturned on appeal," they told Miami Herald. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Zimbabwe Mobile Industry Generates $200m in Revenue
By Taurai Mangudhla
Herald

Zimbabwe's mobile network industry has grown to become a significant sector of the economy, generating close to $200 million in quarterly revenues and a sizable profits for the three network operators.

The recent acquisition of Telecel Zimbabwe by the Government and successful completion of a $220 million network expansion exercise by state-owned NetOne has changed the industry's landscape.

The two Government owned players are battling against listed Econet Wireless which accounts for close to 50 percent of the 12,7 million active subscribers as of March 2017. The new turf has been around data and other additional products such as mobile money and other initiatives.

Telecel, the smallest mobile network provider, has increased its share of postpaid subscribers, defying the odds in a market reeling from dwindling disposable income among subscribers. It reported a 13,1 percent growth in post-paid customers to 18 326 active subscribers in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period prior year due to its ability to renew interest, through product innovation, among corporate clients.

Going forward, the company's fight for growth hinges on initiatives such as a focus on contract customers.

"The increase in our post-paid base is attributed to the flexibility of our product range and strategic targeting of corporate and SME clients using tailor made products like Telecel Business and Telecel Red," Telecel told the Herald Business.

"Apart from the user friendly business and high value products on offer our High Value team and customer care centres attend for the needs of our customers quickly and efficiently ensuring an improved overall customer experience. We have also seen many corporate customers coming back to Telecel as market confidence in the organisation increases," Telecel added.

In the period under review, Telecel reported a 1,1 percent decline in active subscribers to 1 785 321.

The decline in the subscriber base numbers was largely a result of a routine number range clean up exercise through a rationalsation of the subscriber base by removing inactive numbers, Telecel said.

The company was not spared by from an average 9,7 percent decline in revenues by mobile operators to $179,8 million from $199,2 million recorded in the previous quarter. The revenue decline, Telecel said, was driven by a fall in the usage of voice and SMS.

Although data revenues have been growing across the industry, the loses in voice and SMS revenues outweighed the positive performance. Voice declined by 4,7 percent at Telecel as the penetration mobile data usage and Over The Top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp over traditional voice and SMS grew.

"This trend is universal across all mobile network operators and as Telecel our approach is to embrace the emergence of OTTs and monetise the growing demand for them by customers through affordable products and service plans," Telecel said.

"Voice will continue to be a key component of Telecel's revenue base and as we move towards stabilising this key driver along with other revenue streams we are looking at ensuring that we continue to run a dynamic business model that focuses on network optimisation, service quality, tariff innovation, and creative offerings," Telecel added.
Zimbabwe: 'I Miss My Husband,' Says Joice Mujuru
Zimbabwean politician Joice Mujuru with her late husband Gen. Solomon Mujuru.

INTERVIEW
Zimbabwe Standard

Former vice president Joice Mujuru is slowly building her profile as an opposition leader after she was unceremoniously kicked out of Zanu PF over allegations that she was involved in a plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Mujuru (JM), now the leader of the National People's Party (NPP) is involved in delicate talks with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in an effort to stitch up a coalition to challenge her former mentor in next year's elections.

The NPP leader last week spoke to our reporter Blessed Mhlanga (BM) about the talks and life outside Zanu PF.

She also told him why she would never remarry and how she misses her late husband retired General Solomon Mujuru who died in a mysterious fire in 2011. Below are excerpts of the interview.

Has there been any progress in the negotiations to form an opposition coalition since the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai some weeks ago?

Progress has been made. What is left is for negotiators to do the finishing touches so that the principals can then receive the report after they have dealt with the grey areas.

So to say the coalition is failing, or not properly managed, is wrong.

We have our own approach to the coalition. Mind you, these are people coming from different backgrounds.

We are coming from the war background and they are trade unionists, so there are certain things that we have to be clear about, just like them.

It's not something that you can meet about today and in the next week you are agreed. It also involves building trust among ourselves and that takes time.

Are you still confident that the coalition will be in place in time for you to mount a meaningful challenge against Mugabe in next year's elections?

Yes, we are already campaigning. we are not relaxing. We are killing several birds with one stone. we are not waiting for the coalition agreement and grandstanding.

You said there are issues that you are ironing out in the coalition talks. What are some of the challenges that you are facing?

One of them is an agreement on the number of seats each party should have and also, the issue of how representatives, MPs and councillors should be chosen. Should we appoint them or leave that to people to make choices?

Something like that can't be solved by negotiators alone. We have to do this as a team, sitting together to discuss some of these things.

You have publicly stated your desire to lead the coalition. Was the announcement not premature considering the sensitive nature of the talks?

I am not the only one who has said that. Tsvangirai has also said it in public. Who doesn't like [to lead]?

Yes, I can say I want [to lead] but some of these things have to come from the people.

Yes, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride, but this one, if people say Mai Mujuru lead, why should I say no?

Would you accept to be in a coalition that does not have you as the leader?

Let's not concentrate on those [issues]; those are very simple things. Let's concentrate on the wishes of the people because a coalition is there and it's for real.

We want it for the people of Zimbabwe. [We should] consider what this country has gone through in our choice of the best person [to lead the coalition].

That question has to be answered, eventually.

But can we spend time asking who will lead the coalition when we know there are other issues that might also then lead us to getting that person who will lead the coalition?

These are the things that we are working on.

There were reports that you don't like Welshman Ncube. What differences do you have with Ncube?

That's not true. I have never shouted at or said anything bad about Mr Ncube and to me, he is a human being, he has been a minister in a government where I was vice-president and I was working together with him very well.

Besides, when we discussed this Mou, it wasn't a tripartite, it was bilateral.

You know one thing that people would want to hear is that people are fighting; people hate each other. I am not that character and I don't waste my time attacking others.

What have you learnt in your short stint as an opposition politician, something that you were not able to grasp as a Zanu PF member?

Even when I was in that party, I was open-minded. I am a free person, conversing with a lot of people, traversing the length and breadth of this country. I have not seen any difference except that I am no longer Zanu PF.

What is your reaction to assertions that the women electoral platform that you are spearheading with the likes of Thokozani Khupe is meant to undermine Tsvangirai?

In fact, it is actually meant to promote opposition political parties to educate women in the country to be serious voters, to understand what it is we stand to gain from elections.

We are saying let's talk to them, let's show them the importance of voting, let's remove fear which is being instilled in them. This is why we chose to do it.

How is your relationship with Tsvangirai?

Morgan Tsvangirai is head of MDC-T and I am head of NPP, so we are two presidents of opposition parties that are trying to work together in order to win elections in 2018.

You say you were not aware of some of Mugabe's excesses during your time in government. How is that possible?

Why would I want to spy on you and why would you want to be spied on?

Did the excesses not bother you?

Mugabe was an executive president, that's the difference between an executive and non-executive person and I could not poke my nose into everything he did.

It is not every time that I was with Mugabe. There were just a few times when I was with Mugabe and I didn't know everything he did as an executive president.

And sometimes [I couldn't] question because he has executive powers. You have an editor at your workplace, do you question his every decision?

Are you saying the executive powers are wrong?

I am not saying they are not necessary, but when they are abused it's not right because one takes the country for a ride.

Would you consider marrying again?

I loved my husband. He was the father of my children. I miss him a lot, that's why I said I would want to remain with the picture of a man I loved.

I will not marry again. I don't need a boyfriend. I enjoy working for the people of Zimbabwe.

Do you think Zimbabweans have forgiven you now for the role you played in Mugabe's government where you served for over 30 years?

Why wouldn't they if they forgave [Ian] Smith? Why wouldn't they? I never commandeered a helicopter. I never commandeered a plane to go and kill people, so why wouldn't they forgive me?

 The chaos in Zanu PF factions; do you think Mugabe is worried?

No, he is not worried. That's him, he thrives on that kind of situation. He is happy. That is him. That is how he lives and he is not worried at all.
Drug-Resistant HIV Strain Hits Zimbabwe
By Paidamoyo Chipunza
Senior Health
Herald

Two out of 30 HIV-positive people on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in Zimbabwe have shown signs of resistance to commonly used and most affordable drugs Efavirenz and Nevirapine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

According to the WHO 2017 HIV drug resistance report, Zimbabwe is among six countries out of 11 from Africa, Asia and Latin America surveyed between 2014 and 2016 whose data showed an increasing trend of this new HIV strain.

The other five countries are Namibia, Uganda, Nicaragua, Argentina and Guatemala.

Data from the six countries, the report said, showed that they had over 10 percent of people on ART resistant to the two drugs.

This data was compiled from adults initiating treatment, children under 18 months newly diagnosed of HIV and adults on treatment.

No immediate comment on the trend could be obtained from local HIV and Aids programming officials.

WHO has since issued new treatment guidelines for HIV and urged countries to monitor their HIV and Aids treatment programmes to mitigate possibility of another epidemic.

WHO director for HIV department and global hepatitis programme Dr Gottfried Hirnschall said governments should ensure treatment adherence to prevent drug resistant HIV.

Dr Hirnschall said countries must therefore monitor the quality of their treatment programmes and take action as soon as treatment failure is detected.

"We need to ensure that people who start treatment can stay on effective treatment, to prevent the emergence of HIV drug resistance.

"When levels of HIV drug resistance become high, we recommend that countries shift to an alternative first-line therapy for those who are starting treatment," said Dr Hirnschall.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said once a threshold of 10 percent of people showing signs of drug resistant HIV is reached, countries must urgently review their HIV treatment programmes.

"Antimicrobial drug resistance is a growing challenge to global health and sustainable development," he said.

"We need to proactively address the rising levels of resistance to HIV drugs if we are to achieve the global target of ending AIDS by 2030."

Interim executive director for the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria Dr Marijke Wijnroks said this growing threat could undermine global progress in treating and preventing HIV transmission.

Dr Wijnroks urged countries to conduct HIV drug resistant surveys to establish the magnitude of the burden at each country level and consider reprogramming to accommodate this looming epidemic.

"We strongly recommend implementing WHO recommendations for early warning indicators and HIV drug resistance surveys in every national plan for antiretroviral therapy, and to consider funding them through Global Fund grants or reprogramming," said Dr Wijnroks.

According to WHO, HIV drug resistance develops when people do not adhere to a prescribed treatment plan, often because they do not have consistent access to quality HIV treatment and care. Individuals with HIV drug resistance will start to fail therapy and may also transmit drug-resistant viruses to others. The level of HIV in their blood will increase, unless they change to a different treatment regimen, which could be more expensive.

Statistics from the National Aids Council (NAC) shows that an estimated 1,2 million people were living with HIV in Zimbabwe from which 86 percent were on ART.

HIV is one of the diseases that are fast becoming resistant to common and known treatments- a process medically known as anti-microbial resistance.

Other diseases include tuberculosis, sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea, malaria and influenza.
Zimbabwe: 'Total Economic Revival Can't Be Achieved Overnight'
By Leonard Ncube
Herald

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has called for patience among Zimbabweans, saying total economic revival cannot be achieved overnight.

Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) Winter School, which ended at the weekend, Minister Chinamasa said Zimbabweans should not expect miracles in economic turnaround.

While the future looks bright for the country's economy, he said Zimbabwe still has to contend with the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera), which the United States wants maintained thereby delaying the country's return to the global economy.

Minister Chinamasa, who told chartered accountants that the country expects a 7 percent economic growth in the coming years, was responding to questions from members who wanted him to give timeframes.

"Where we are going is prosperity for Zimbabwe and we are targeting 7 to 10 percent growth in 15-20 years. I can't give timeframes but already we have lost time, the problem is we need to sort out deficit and resolving it is not a walk in the park. Things are beginning to happen but there are no miracles," he said.

"We have to achieve milestones and let's have a brick by brick approach than to think we can have miracles. We have to build this country step by step and whoever promises you a miracle is misleading you."

Minister Chinamasa said the country was driving towards a new economy or new normal, which meant structural change was taking place.

"While we have managed to pay IMF, Zidera still remains in place and we can't put milestones on when will US lift it (Zidera). We need to sort out this political relationship so we get back to the global economy," said Minister Chinamasa who challenged ICAZ to come up with strategies to help Government.

He said economic recovery was being triggered by agriculture, tourism and mining sectors. Central Bank Governor, Dr John Mangudya, concurred saying the country needs a mindset change to correct a deficit of confidence.

Meanwhile, BDO Chattered Accountants Zimbabwe partner, Mr Martin Makaya, was elected the new ICAZ president for 2017-2018, taking over from Nicoz Diamond general manager, Mrs Gloria Zvaravanhu. Mrs Zvaravanhu was the second female president in the history of the institute after Mrs Emilia Chisango who was president in 2006. Mrs Zvaravanhu challenged members to strive for self-sustenance of the institute while also calling on continuation of gender equality. Her successor Mr Makaya vowed to promote the ICAZ brand, uphold and defend the body's by-laws as well as make sure the institute participates in sectorial events. ICAZ has a membership of about 5 000.
Zimbabwe: Gunfire At Chiadzwa...One Person Killed, Three Seriously Injured
By Abel Zhakata
Herald

One person was killed, while three others were seriously injured when Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) Private Limited security guards fired at over 200 armed illegal diamond panners who broke into the firm's premises in Chiadzwa last week.

The panners intended to pounce on the plant's main diamond sorting room. Manicaland provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa confirmed the incident which occurred on July 18 at around 3am.

"I cannot say much as our officers are still investigating the case," he said. ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the company's security department was working with the police over the case.

"The case is under investigation and our security guys are working with the police. There is no security threat at the mine and the situation is under control," he said.

It is alleged that illegal panners cut the security fence around the Red Zone of Portal A diamond mining area at the plant.

They were armed with wrenches and machetes, while singing threatening songs.

As the panners marched towards the main sorting room, they were intercepted by security guards who were manning the area.

"The security guards ordered them to leave the mining site, but they resisted and threw stones at them. One of the guards fired three warning shots in the air in a bid to disperse the illegal panners but they kept on marching towards the sorting room."

"Upon realising that they were now under fierce attack, the eight security guards started firing towards the advancing illegal panners," said a source.

"Three of the panners were shot and injured. The other group members ran away in different directions.

"Of those injured, one was shot on the right hip and fell to the ground crying for help. He bled profusely. The security guards had to use a company vehicle to take him to Mutare Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival."

The case which was reported at ZRP Marange has since been referred to CID Mutare's homicide section.

Detectives were still to interview the security guards who were on duty as they were said to be off for two weeks.

Police were also still to establish the identity of the deceased.
Mandela Family Welcomes Withdrawal of Controversial Book Written by Madiba’s Doctor
By Staff Writer
The Sowetan
Jul 25, 2017

The Mandela family has welcomed the withdrawal of the book Mandela’s Last Years by the publishers – but wants to know who the family member was who allegedly gave the author permission to write it.

“We are told that some member of the Mandela family was consulted by the author but remain entirely unaware of this. We would like to appeal in the interest of transparency that the name of the family member be disclosed so that we may verify and deal with this matter‚” Mandla Mandela‚ grandson of former president Nelson Mandela‚ said in a statement issued on behalf of the Mandela family.

Publishers Penguin Random House South Africa (PRHSA) announced in a statement on Monday that the book would be immediately withdrawn “from the trade“. This followed objections by the family and the executors of the Nelson Mandela’s estate who distanced themselves from the book after former First Lady‚ Graca Machel‚ on Friday threatened to sue the author‚ Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan‚ arguing it breached patient-doctor confidentiality.

Ramlakan was Madiba’s doctor for nearly a decade.

Penguin‚ which had stated that it had accepted Mandela’s Last Years for publication after the author advised it that he had been requested by Mandela’s family to publish the book‚ said it was withdrawing the book out of respect for the late struggle icon’s family.

Responding to the news on Monday evening‚ Mandla Mandela said the family were “delighted”.

“We believe this is the correct choice as it upholds the dignity of our world icon and respects the wishes of his family to guard the sanctity of his last moments.

“We applaud Penguin for acting decisively and wish to express our sincere appreciation to them for taking heed and being sensitive to the feelings of the family and those entrusted with the protection of Madiba’s legacy‚” Mandla said.

He added: “We want to thank Aunty Graca Machel for acting so swiftly. Penguin’s decision vindicates our position and we trust that it sends out a loud and clear message that some things are worth more than money and that the man whom we call Father of our Nation can rest in peace. We believe that abuse of the Mandela name and legacy is an act of bad faith and unbecoming of the type of treatment meted out to so brave and noble a legacy.

“We trust that this withdrawal sends out a strong message to those who desire to do the legacy of Nkosi Dalibhunga a disservice and who put the good name of President Mandela and his family at risk for paltry gain.

“The private and personal disclosures made in the book would have been a sad day in which profit triumphed over dignity‚ honour and respect. It would indeed have been one of those moments which Madiba referred to when he said: “There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested”. We thank Penguin Publications for acting with sagacity and upholding the final wishes of one who gave so much to the world.”
Why South African Communists Need to Cut the ANC Umbilical Cord or Perish
By Ongama Mtimka
The Sowetan
Jul 25, 2017

The South African Communist Party (SACP) resolved at its recent 14th Congress to contest future elections in the country independent of the African National Congress (ANC), its dominant alliance partner.

If implemented, the resolution would fundamentally change the governing tripartite alliance that’s been in place for more than 60 years. It was formed during the struggle for liberation and has governed South Africa since 1994. The other member of the alliance is the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Between the mid 1940s and 1950s, South African communists differed with their international counterparts in their interpretation of the role of class struggle in liberation politics. Despite fears that nationalism would invariably deliver a political settlement with little change in the material living conditions of the working class, the party tactically aligned itself with the Congress Movement, led by the ANC. It regarded the South African situation as “unique” and therefore requiring “more creativity in how the party sought to advance the class struggle”.

Relations within the alliance are now at an all time low. Ahead of the latest congress, the increasingly strained relations between the SACP and President Jacob Zuma, who is also president of the ANC, and thus the leader of the alliance, had reached an unprecedented low point.

This came amid growing claims alleging that Zuma is the kingpin behind the capture of the state by private business interests. The party has called for the president’s resignation and barred him from speaking at its congress. Zuma had earlier been subjected to similar treatment by Cosatu.

Oddly, the SACP says it will remain within the alliance despite its stated aim to contest elections, effectively in opposition to the ANC. Yet, the mere act of it contesting elections may be construed as a split in practical terms.

But, the party has been here before.

A decade of indecision

Relations among the alliance partners have been strained throughout the democratic period because of the policies of the ANC in power, with Thabo Mbeki’s administration from 1999 to 2008 associated with “neoliberalism” or “the class project of 1996”. In turn, Mbeki was critical of what he called divisive “ultra-leftists” in the alliance when closing the 51st ANC conference at Stellenbosch in 2002, increasing fears of a possible split.

Consequently, the leftist SACP first resolved to contest state power independently at its 12th Congress in 2007. But then the party deferred the final decision to implement the resolution to its central committee, the highest decision making body between congresses.

The central committee was mandated to either lobby for a “reconfigured alliance” with greater leftist influence and control, or to decide on contesting elections independently. The idea of a reconfigured alliance won the day, with the SACP then pinning its hopes on an expected victory by leftists in the ANC. Zuma, its preferred supposedly leftist candidate for the position of ANC president, went on to defeat Mbeki in December 2007.

The party “reaffirmed” the decision to contest state power at its 13th congress in 2012. But, once again, it failed to empower its central committee to implement the decision. It only mandated it to table “a report” to “enable fuller discussion” in December that year.

Again at the 2017 congress, the party has resolved to contest elections but qualified the resolution by asking its central committee to conduct further analysis and engage its stakeholders on the best way to achieve this.

In essence, the SACP has been tiptoeing about the idea of contesting state power at its three conferences over the past 10 years.

The resolution from the 14th Congress, therefore, could have shown a bolder commitment by the SACP to contesting state power. But once again, decisive action has effectively been postponed by failing to instruct the central committee explicitly to implement it.

When pressed to clarify the tentative nature of the party’s resolution, SACP General Secretary, Blade Nzimande, confirmed that more discussions were to follow before a final decision could be made. This deferring of a final decision to another structure makes the resolution exactly the same as those of the past two conferences.

Clinging onto the ANC’s coattails

Despite successive disappointments, the party still appears to be hoping for an outcome that will favour it in the ANC succession race. Nzimande has denied this. This time, their key man is ANC presidential hopeful and deputy president of the country Cyril Ramaphosa.

This reliance on ANC succession politics may see the SACP fail to contest elections in 2019 once again. But the failure to stop relying on developments in the ANC and start implementing a now ten-year old resolution to contest elections will be more spectacular this time round. That’s because at the rate the governing party is losing support, there might no longer be a dominant ANC in South African electoral politics.

That the ANC is leaking votes presents the SACP with its best ever chance to strengthen its hand within the alliance. It’s a golden opportunity to end the ANC’s abusive tendency to act unilaterally, regardless of the SACP’s position on key issues.

The SACP might have more direct and observable value from real electoral support, which can be translated into seats in municipal councils, provincial legislatures and in parliament.

One more alternative to the ANC?

There has not been a practical and scientific way to determine what the SACP brings to the ANC in terms of electoral support. The picture was complicated by the fact that SACP members are also often members of the ANC. The party could not take for granted that its close to 220 000 members would vote for it if it left the alliance.

But with the ANC in its current crisis, the SACP might present a close enough alternative for supporters who are fed up with the governing party and who don’t have an alternative party to vote for.

But it will never know unless it breaks the perpetual indecisiveness.

Ongama Mtimka is a lecturer and PhD Candidate, Department of Political & Conflict Studies, Nelson Mandela University
YCLSA Message of Support to the SACP 14th Congress Delivered by YCLSA National Secretary Cde Mluleki Dlelanga
12 July 2017, Birchwood Hotel

"Let's Consolidate the Left, Strengthen the Party and Build A New Front for Socialism"

Dear Comrades

The 4th National Congress National Committee, the YCLSA delegation as well as the rank and file membership of the Young Communist League of South Africa, conveys warm comradely greetings to the 14th Congress of our mother-body the SACP. We further convey our greetings to all international delegates that have graced through their presence on this congress. As the YCLSA we are fully aware that relations you have with the SACP and your organizations is connected by strong bonds of cooperation, international solidarity, and joint commitment to Marxism - Leninism, proletarian internationalism, and the relevance and necessity of the struggle for socialism to strengthen our friendship.

Comrade's delegates, a lot has been said and a lot has been written by media about this congress in the main to fuel divisions and speculations about the outcomes of this 14th National Congress. Some comrades wrote letters to the attention of our General Secretary. Their writing shows that they have a personal grievance with the Party. As such as YCLSA we are very angry about the recent attack by media on our General Secretary. We are in the firm view that the SACP is not doing favor on General Secretary, the General Secretary has done a lot for the SACP. It is also important that people must know we don't have terms in the SACP.

As the YCLSA, we note the apology by MKMVA not to attend the 14th SACP National Congress. We welcome their non-attendance as we understand that the factional leader of MKMVA is going to Dubai.

Our message is let's Consolidate the Left, Strengthen the Party and Build a New Front for Socialism. As we consolidates the Left, the Party requires a high level of discipline. As we strengthen the Party, we require a high level of dedication and as we build a New Front for Socialism we require a high level of unity not only the unity of the Party but the unification of the working class, the middle strata and society as a whole.

As we convey this message there are areas we want to engage the 14th congress on, which they must be debate if needs be;

Firstly, we want to engage the congress about the current state of the Alliance and the future of the Alliance: currently the Alliance is experiencing moments of regress and turbulences. In the main there are some in the ANC leadership that are arrogant and do not value the unity of the Alliance. Let alone even the unity of the ANC itself. A divided ANC cannot lead and unite the Alliance. Some within the ANC has already established secret but public Alliance with the Guptas and Black First Land First.

Secondly , the left axis , SACP and COSATU leaders speaks of reconfigured Alliance, which is not the first time this has been an option as well debated in the Alliance. As the YCLSA, we don't see this option working having done a concrete analysis of concrete conditions. We want to argue that the material conditions suggest otherwise.

Thirdly, we want to engage this congress about the obvious, that ours is a struggle for socialism. With NDR in the state of conundrum and we say NDR is the direct route to socialism. When a revolution is delayed and NDR is betrayed it is the working class that bear the brunt. Therefore, the famous question by Lenin "What is to be done "This 14th congress needs to analyze, engage and respond on this famous question?

Seize the moment SACP, YCLSA Say So! : Towards a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism

The South African Communist Party (the Party) is the vanguard party of the working class in South Africa. Since inception, the Party has always been deeply engaged and actively involved in the struggles of ordinary citizens. The Party is a product of the struggles of ordinary South African citizens fighting for an end to Capitalism and a better life for all. In his paper, South Africa - No Middle Ground, Comrade Joe Slovo argues that, "For those who live in
Apartheid's reality, not in debate but in their daily experience, the need to destroy it in all its manifestations is a self - evident truth. That is the starting point and the only remaining question is how?" The same can be said about Capitalism today. Therefore the only remaining question is how do we end Capitalism in South Africa in contributing to the end of Global Capitalism? What type of Society will replace it? What then is the Party's projection in this respect?

In the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louise Bonaparte, Karl Marx wrote, "Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by them, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past."

As communists guided by the ideology of Marxism - Leninism, we are therefore called upon to make our own history by circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.

What are these circumstances?

Our society is in crisis. Our state is in decay. The fundamental cause of the societal crisis and state decay is the untransformed semi - colonial capitalist economy and a governing party plagued with the diseases of capitalism thus incapable of leading a programme for the radical transformation of this capitalist economy.

The ANC itself is no longer capable of leading the victory of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). As a governing party in a capitalist society it continues to suffer from the life threatening diseases of capitalism such as greed, competition and accumulation. It is an organization besieged with patronage linked factionalism, gate - keeping and corruption, unable to lead the victory of the NDR. It has become a meditation committee for conflicting bourgeoisie interests where the political representatives of the dominant bourgeoisie exercise their influence, power and authority. This is precisely why very little content and direction has been provided to the second phase of the NDR. The embourgeoisiement of the ANC has led to very little or no appetite for the development and implementation of radical economic change that favors the working class. Some examples of change can be found in certain segments of the economy but none of which can be viewed as radical enough to transform the economic base and property relations in the country.

Post - 1994, we have continuously accepted and managed unholy alliances manifesting themselves in different shapes and forms within the ANC. These manifestations are bound to continue long into the future thus stifling the building of work class hegemony in society and deliberately postponing the Socialist Revolution. This is in direct violation of the principles agreed to in the South African Road to Socialism (SARS) whereby we have clearly stated that the advancement and consolidation of the national democratic revolution does not mean the suspension of the Socialist Revolution.

The struggle for the victory of the NDR post - 1994 has been abandoned to a political project of state capture by the dominant bourgeoisie as is the experience of many other liberation movements on the continent. It is a political project managed within the ANC leading to the capture of the state so as to win a share in the continued exploitation and domination of our people.

The Post - 1994 ANC is at best capable of leading the country 'out of the Capitalist crisis' but not 'out of Capitalism in crisis.' The result of which would be the continuation of the capitalist system through the exploitation and domination of our people. To advance 'out of Capitalism' towards a Socialist Developmental Path would not be acceptable or beneficial to the needs and interests of the dominant bourgeoisie that has captured the ANC. It is only the SACP with the interests of the working class that can successfully and meaningfully lead the working class and other progressive strata 'out of Capitalism in crisis' and towards a more humane and just social order.

Capitalism was founded on the exploitation of man by man. It is based on the principle of 'Survival of the Fittest' and gives rise to competition, greed and inequality. Democracy was founded on the principle of political equality implying that the majority rule. It is therefore impossible for Capitalism to be compatible with the victory of the NDR and Socialism. To achieve the victory of the NDR and Socialism requires the end of Capitalism in South Africa and the means to achieving this objective is the formation of a New Front of the working class in alliance with the rural peasants, non - comprador bourgeoisie and progressive sections of the urban petty bourgeoisie. This New Front will require a new organizational vehicle that displaces the current organizational vehicle which is led by the ANC.

A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism

The political representatives of the differentiated and competing bourgeoisie have entrenched themselves into the ANC to the extent that the working classes have gained the least and suffered the most from the legislation and policies adopted by the ANC post - 1994. The current conjuncture requires a new alliance of progressive revolutionary classes that can be mobilized in support of the victory of the NDR and Socialism. A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism requires a new organizational vehicle with a new leadership to achieve its goals.

The SACP should lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism focused on building the unity of progressive revolutionary classes and other strata in South Africa in deepening, advancing and consolidating the NDR as the most direct route to Socialism. It is only the SACP as the political vanguard of the working class that can meaningfully lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism united across racial and gender lines. We can no longer afford to be in alliance with and to be led by an ANC that has abandoned its revolutionary progressive nationalism of the past in favor of a traditional bourgeoisie nationalism that we see today. The ANC of today is a party that exercises state power in the interests of a dominant bourgeoisie and not in the interests of the working class. It is a party of the bourgeoisie who have welcomed the personality flaws of President Jacob Zuma, as they did of former President Thabo Mbeki, and have cultivated such flaws for their own ends. This tendency of the bourgeoisie in the ANC will continue long into the darkness of Capitalism.

The Party has previously argued that a rupture has occurred in the multiclass consensus post - 1994 around the national democratic revolution. This rupture requires the formation of A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism. It is only the SACP as the vanguard party of the working class that can lead a mass democratic movement, a Red Forward Movement, of the working classes in alliance with other progressive revolutionary classes. A New Front for a New Democracy and Socialism will place the working class as the primary motive force for deepening, advancing and consolidating the NDR.

There are a series of questions that we may need to address in the discussion around this New Front in relation to state power. These questions have previously been posed by the Party for discussion but have not been sufficiently addressed:

1) What constitutes a revolutionary approach to State Power?
2) What would be the consequences and impact on the Party directly contesting elections in a multi-party setting as the head of The New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism?
3) What are the immediate struggles and how do we link these struggles to the struggle for Socialism?
4) Other than political power, what are the other key sites of power to establish working class hegemony?

Peoples Power for State Power and State Power for Socio - Economic Transformation

One of the most immediate struggles should be the revitalization of the motive forces and the re-establishment of the working class as the primary motive force in the NDR. The organizational vehicle of a tripartite alliance led by the ANC is incapable of such a task given its leadership deficiencies and its new primary role as a mediator of competing bourgeoisie interests. The current epoch has also seen significant differences emerging between the Party and the ANC on the main content, strategy and tactics of the national democratic revolution. This is further compounded by the lack of joint decision making by all partners in the alliance.

The 12th Congress Programme adopted in 2007, "The South African Road to Socialism (SARS)," provided a basis for a revolutionary approach to state power. The SARS 2007 programme argued that a revolutionary approach to state power is the antithesis to a narrow, electoralist approach to the capture of state power by the working class.

Marx and Engels argued that the working class could not effect the economic and social transformation of society without state power but they also argued that achieving state power was impossible without conscientizing the masses, through struggle and through their own experience, that Socialism and ultimately Communism was possible.

Popular peoples' power is necessary for state power and state power is necessary for socio - economic transformation. For the Party to lead the victory of the NDR it will need to end the unholy alliance with the national bourgeoisie, comprador bourgeoisie and parasitic bourgeoisie. It will have to forge a new alliance of revolutionary progressive classes united behind A New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism. The revolutionary progressive classes would be the proletariat, the middle class, the non - comprador bourgeoisie and progressive sections of the urban petty bourgeoisie. A New Front would result in a New Peoples' Democracy, not in capitalism, and would lay the basis for a Socialist South Africa.

If the achievement of state power is an objective of the SACP, and indeed it should be, who then has the role of conscientizing the workers if not the SACP as the vanguard party of the working class? It is only the Party through a New Front of progressive revolutionary classes and other strata that can consciously and actively lead a programme for the development of workers' class consciousness.

The Twin Task of the SACP

In its approach to unity contained its 'Strategy and Tactics' document, the ANC states:

We are revolutionaries, not narrow nationalists. Committed revolutionaries are our brothers to whatever group they belong. There can be no second class participation in our movement.

The post - 1994 character of the ANC clearly suggests a deviation from the Strategy and Tactics with the introduction of narrow nationalist tendencies within its rank and file. This deviation has subsequently led to a rupture and disunity in the revolutionary alliance with the working class. How does the ANC of today intend to lead the victory of the NDR when it has deviated from its strategy and tactics and serves only as a mediation committee for the different interests of the competing bourgeoisie?

We refer back to the argument by Marx and Engels that the working class cannot effect the economic and social transformation of society without state power but state power was not possible without conscientizing the masses that Socialism is possible. Based on this logic, the Party has the twin task of deepening and advancing class consciousness amongst the people as necessary for state power and that of pursuing state power necessary for radical economic transformation in the interests of the working class.

These two tasks do not exist in isolation or have a certain hierarchy where first comes political consciousness for state power and then follows the task of the capture of state power necessary for effecting socio - economic transformation. The task of deepening and advancing class and political consciousness necessary for state power goes hand in hand and evolves side by side with the task of seizing state power necessary for radical economic transformation while laying the basis for the construction of a Socialist economic order. The dialectical nature of this twin task constitutes the theoretical underpinnings for the Party not to go it alone in the quest for state power but rather to lead a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism.

The twin task of popular peoples' power for state power and state power for socio - economic transformation must include the struggle for working class hegemony in all other key sites of power in society. It must include the building of a popular national sovereignty around the state. Any discussion around the formation of a New Front for the Victory of the NDR and Socialism must adopt the strategic thrust of the 12th Congress programme adopted in 2007 which directs us to build working class hegemony in the state, in the workplace, in the economy, in the battles of ideas and in our communities.

The SARS 2007 programme of the Party argues that for the NDR to succeed the working class will have to assume a hegemonic role in society and in the state. The reconnection of the motive forces with the NDR should not be placed before the capture and exercise of state power by the political vanguard of the working class. Instead the capture of state power by a new revolutionary front of united revolutionary class forces must constitute a necessary and immediate task of the Party based on the realities of the current conjuncture.

The Relationship between the YCLSA and the SACP! Independence and Autonomy!

The YCLSA was formed as a result of a resolution of the SACP in a National Congress. This subject the YCLSA to the political vision and ideological articulation of the SACP. Members of the YCLSA above 18 are members of the SACP and are bound by the decisions of the SACP, but also, the YCLSA itself has a task of ensuring that the SACP, in its articulate policies and principles, represent the needs and interest of youth. The YCLSA is not, therefore, a political organization, but serves and advance the interest of the SACP.

The YCLSA has the task of ensuring that it contributes to the building of the SACP by an intensified mass mobilization of youth and focused political education. However, the YCLSA, in its founding constitution and policies, proclaim itself as an independent and autonomous organization. What does this mean? The YCLSA is independent as it relates to the political administration and execution of its duties. It has its own leadership and organizational authority. And the YCLSA should use this in order to ensure that it influences the outlook and character of the SACP. The YCLSA is no equal to the SACP. Period!

There is a growing tendency that some comrades or leaders in the YCLSA, when they lose debates in the YCLSA they use their positions and proximity to the party leadership and mislead the party so as to save their personal ambition.
This is the tendency that as the YCLSA we must expose and this is also need vigilance from the party not to quickly welcome what is said without critical analyzing it. When there are problems in the YCLSA, we don't expect the Party not to intervene and work with YCLSA to solve the matter. The Party in that process should not be seen taking side but it should be seen as unifying us.

Our call for SACP, State and popular power is a principled call. It is not an opportunistic call, it is not a call out of anger, and it is not a call based on the state of the ANC. This is the principled call based on the Party programme, conditions of the working class and society in general for the Party to lead NDR!

We further want to say the Party does not want socialism for itself , it want socialism for the workers and the poor as such if the Party contest election the notion that it will go alone is fallacious the Party won't be alone but the Party will be with the workers and the poor.

As the YCLSA , we are in the firm view that this is not just an ordinary congress of the Party, if then the Party agrees with YCLSA on this view extra-ordinary measures and radical resolutions should be taken in this congress . It is up to the delegates to engage frankly and robust and craft a way forward. We say to comrade's delegates and leadership of the party, seize the moment and lead revolution towards socialism.

As the YCLSA, we wish the SACP14th Congress a fruitful deliberations and resounding success!

Forward to socialism, forward!

Viva YCLSA, Viva!

Long live the SACP, Long Live!

Amandla!
Great to See Aguma Go - But the SABC Clean-out is Far From Complete
21 July 2017

James Aguma`s resignation this week as acting CEO of the SABC is welcome news for the corporation and for this country`s much-abused broadcasting audiences.

It is particularly welcome for the working class and poor majority, for many of whom the public broadcaster remains the only source of information and entertainment.

Aguma jumped before a conclusion was reached - in the middle of a disciplinary hearing that clearly was not going his way. It is also welcome news that Aguma will not simply walk away from the incalculable damage he has participated in driving at the SABC: the interim board still intends to pursue criminal charges against him, among them a charge for lying under oath at the disciplinary hearing of his close ally, one Hlaudi Motsoeneng. This is an act of perjury, equivalent to lying in court or before parliament.

While much of the damage Aguma formed part of driving at the SABC did to a once-healthy and publicly respected public institution appears to have been on the orders of Motsoeneng - himself recently sacked after virtually destroying the public broadcaster, but still exercising a toxic influence over the SABC through many misguided loyalists - Aguma managed to do some entirely on his own. In March this year the SACP noted Aguma`s personal responsibility (and possibly personal benefit?) for a contract for TV licence fee collections so ridiculously expensive that every cent collected was almost entirely paid out to the collectors.

The SABC is well rid of him, and none too soon. But there may still be sting in Aguma`s tail: speculation at the SABC is that he will be in court soon to attempt to get his disciplinary hearing accepted as "constructive dismissal" under labour law, entitling him to yet more of the SABC`s non-existent cash reserves.

The SACP congratulates the interim board for freeing us of the grip of Aguma, Motsoeneng and their networks.

For years our Party has demanded a complete clean-out of the SABC under successive boards, and over-paid, under-performing executives.

Firstly to reverse the unhealthy commercialisation of the public broadcaster, which shifted SABC content focus away from those who most need and rely on its radio and TV content, the working class and poor majority of South Africans.

Secondly, more recently to reverse the SABC`s parasitic agreement with media monopoly Naspers (via its broadcast subsidiary MultiChoice), and to end the years of wholesale looting under Motsoeneng - both equally destructive of the SABC`s ability to provide programming of a quality South Africans need and deserve.

Thirdly, ?to recover all the money that was looted or wasted from all those who were responsible.
The interim board has made a good start.

But the interim board`s six-month term is more than half over (and cannot legally be renewed). It simply lacks the resources to achieve even a fraction of the fix-it mandate set by Parliament. When the interim board arrived, the SABC was virtually bankrupt and its audiences in rapid decline - and Aguma was part of the propaganda of lies to the contrary.

The flat refusal by National Treasury to extend the interim board the loan facility it so desperately needed to fulfil its parliamentary mandate of fixing the SABC is a warning sign.

To suggest that the forces of state capture, of which Motsoeneng was so publicly the broadcasting wing, have not yet abandoned their plans for the SABC, will be to our nation`s peril.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

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