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Anti-apartheid heroes slam Jacob Zuma as ANC prepares to elects new chief

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The African National Congress was lauded for its moral authority in the fight against apartheid in South Africa, but many veterans of that era are deeply disillusioned by the party’s actions today.

As delegates prepare to elect a new leader to succeed Jacob Zuma, the ANC faces falling public support, a reputation for corruption and the threat of a damaging split between rival factions.

The celebrated activists who stood alongside ANC leader Nelson Mandela in the struggle against white-minority rule say the party bears little semblance to its storied glory days, given its current reputation for putting personal interests above national needs.

“I am not proud of being an ANC member that is led by this lot. I am proud of the history of the ANC,” Frank Chikane, a prominent figure in the anti-apartheid fight, said.

Chikane, a priest who grew up in Soweto, led protests through the 1970s and 1980s, and was regularly detained by the state — as well as being targeted in an assassination attempt when police poisoned his clothes.

“What is happening out there now is not the ANC,” he said. “In the past we thought the enemy was outside, now the enemy is inside.”

He urged party members to “stop the rot” when they gather to elect a leader and other senior officials at a five-day conference starting Saturday.

Much of the criticism of the current ANC focuses on Zuma, who is seen as backing his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him as party chief.

Her main rival is deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, with the vote result expected on Sunday or early next week.

Zuma, who has ruled South Africa since 2009, will remain as the country’s president ahead of the 2019 general election.

He has been engulfed by multiple graft scandals, including being found guilty in 2016 of violating the constitution after he resisted paying back public money used to lavishly upgrade his private residence.

The ANC has consistently shrugged off calls to act against Zuma and its lawmakers have voted down several motions of no confidence against him.

“The leadership of the last decade has ridden roughshod over the ANC constitution,” Trevor Manuel, another ANC stalwart, said in a stinging speech last month.

“We need an ANC that will recognise that it has lost its way,” added Manuel, who campaigned against apartheid governments before becoming Mandela’s respected finance minister.

“Right now, it appears too self-serving to be interested in the future of South Africa and the needs of its people,” he said.

Some analysts say the party risks a formal split between the Zuma and anti-Zuma camps before the 2019 election.

In local polls last year, its vote fell to 54 percent, its lowest ever, while it lost control of three key cities to the opposition Democratic Alliance, including the capital Pretoria and Johannesburg.

In 2016, some veterans — including Denis Goldberg, one of Mandela’s closest allies dating back to the 1960s — founded the “For the sake of our future” group to try to influence their party.

In an open letter ahead of the conference it said the “leadership of the ANC is paralysed and unable to deal with ill-discipline, incompetence and corruption that point directly to the highest office in the land”.

Zuma himself is a so-called “stalwart” — he was imprisoned with Mandela on Robben Island for 10 years.

But Sipho Pityana, a former activist who became a wealthy mining businessman, said it was a “disgrace” that the ANC had failed to remove the president from power.

“The image of Zuma has become the image of the ANC,” Pityana said.

“The ANC needs to accept that it is morally bankrupt and corrupt to the core, and reversing the damage is going to take years.”

Dlamini-Zuma’s critics say she would be a proxy for her husband and would protect him from prosecution over graft charges, as well as deepen the corruption that has marred his rule.

The great anti-apartheid hero archbishop Desmond Tutu was never a member of the ANC — but in 2011 he launched an emotional attack on the party which helped to end white-minority rule.

“Our government is worse than the apartheid government because at least you would expect it with the apartheid government,” he said.

“You, President Zuma and your government, do not represent me. I am warning you… one day we will pray for the defeat of the ANC.”

Crime

Mother, Son arrainged for killing alleged housebreaker.

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A 45-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son have been arraigned for beating an alleged housebreaker to death in Butterworth, Eastern Cape.

Police confirmed they were investigating a murder after a 23-year-old housebreaker, identified as Solomzi Gcanca, was killed on Wednesday, June 19.

SAPS spokesperson, Capt Jackson Manatha said members of the community witnessed the [mother and son] beating the young man”

The man was found dead in the street by community members on Wednesday evening at Ext 14B, Mcubakazi township, Butterworth.

“The community was so angry that they wanted the woman and her son to be evicted from where they live. But we could not do that. Our job was to arrest them,” 

The community was angry about what happened to Gcanca.

“The alleged killers took matters into their own hands by beating the man for breaking into their house. What they were supposed to do was come to the police,” he added.

Both suspects were expected to appear in court on Tuesday

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Nato warn Russia to refrain New Missle plan

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Source: Reuters – NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region.

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NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

“We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “We will need to respond,” Stoltenberg said.

He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles.

The United States and its NATO allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Washington of seeking an arms race.

Without a deal, the United States has said it will withdraw from the INF treaty on Aug. 2, removing constraints on its own ability to develop nuclear-capable, medium-range missile.

The dispute has deepened a fissure in East-West ties that severely deteriorated after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its involvement in Syria.


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