Saturday, August 27, 2016

Turkey Ratchets Up Syria Offensive, Says Warplanes Hit Kurdish Militia
By Umit Bektas

Rebels supported by Turkey fought Kurdish-backed forces in north Syria on Saturday, as Ankara ratcheted up its cross-border offensive by saying it had launched air strikes on Kurdish forces and Islamic State.

Turkey's government, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said the Syrian campaign launched this week is as much about targeting Islamic State as it is about preventing Kurdish forces filling the vacuum left when Islamists withdraw.

Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which Ankara fears could be used to support the Kurdish militant group PKK as it wages its three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.

Turkish security sources said two F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of the broader U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition. The sources also said the jets hit six Islamic State targets.

Ankara's opponents said Turkish forces had targeted YPG-allied forces but that no Kurdish forces were involved.

On the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels fought forces aligned to the SDF near the frontier town of Jarablus. Forces opposed to Ankara said Turkish tanks were deployed, a charge denied by Turkey's rebel allies.

Turkey launched its offensive into Syria on Wednesday, supporting its rebel allies with Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes. It seized control of Jarablus from Islamic State seeking to stop any Kurdish forces moving in first.

Saturday's use of warplanes against what Turkey said was a Kurdish YPG militia target highlights its determination to prevent any Kurdish territorial expansion in north Syria.

Any action against Kurdish forces in Syria puts Turkey at odds with its NATO ally the United States, which backs the SDF and YPG, seeing them as the most reliable and effective ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

It adds complexity to the Syrian conflict that erupted five years ago with an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has since drawn in regional states and world powers.


The Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, had said earlier on Saturday that Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action "a dangerous escalation".

The Kurdish-led administration that controls parts of northern Syria said Turkish tanks advanced on al-Amarna and clashed with forces of the Jarablus Military Council. But the Kurdish administration said no Kurdish forces were involved.

However, the leader of one Turkey-backed rebel group gave a rival account. He told Reuters the rebels battled the Kurdish YPG around al-Amarna and denied any Turkish tanks took part.

Turkish security forces simply said Turkish-backed forces had extended their control to five villages beyond Jarablus.

A video released by Turkey's military showed the Turkish Red Crescent distributing food and aid to people in Jarablus, with the help of Turkish troops. It also showed what appeared to be Turkish-backed rebels flicking v-for-victory signs in the town.

The newly formed Jarablus Military Council has said it was made up of people from the area with the aim of capturing the town and the surrounding region from Islamic State militants. However, the Turkish-backed rebels seized Jarablus first.

Several militias under the SDF banner pledged support to Jarablus Military Council after it reported the Turkish bombing.

The Northern Sun Battalion, an SDF faction, said in a statement it was heading to "Jarablus fronts" to help the council against "threats made by factions belonging to Turkey".

Tension has mounted in Syria's Aleppo region in the past year between the U.S-backed Kurdish YPG force and its allies on one hand and Turkish-backed rebel groups on the other. The two sides have clashed on several occasions.

(Additional reporting by Ece Toksabay and Orhan Coskun in Ankara and Tom Perry in Beirut; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Ros Russell)
How Turkey’s Offensive Into Syria is Opening Up a Hornet’s Nest
Turkish military move inside Syria near the Turkish border town of Karkamis, on Aug. 26. (Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Erin Cunningham
August 27 at 10:58 AM

KARKAMIS, Turkey — Turkey’s incursion into Syria is deepening tensions between two major U.S.-backed groups, potentially setting up a conflict that could undermine Washington’s efforts to eradicate the Islamic State’s presence in Syria.

The current focal point of those animosities is the strategic Syrian town of Manbij, nestled on the western side of the Euphrates River. The Kurds wrested it from the Islamic State earlier this month. Turkey and the Syrian rebels it supports fear the takeover is a prelude to the Kurds expanding their reach further in Syria. On Thursday, under U.S. pressure, the Kurdish forces, known by the acronym YPG, declared that they had pulled out of the predominantly Arab town.

The announcement came hours after Turkish tanks and special forces units, backed by U.S. and Turkish fighter jets, crossed the border and helped Syrian rebels to seize the city of Jarabulus from the Islamic State.

But in interviews Friday, Syrian Arab and ethnic Turkmen rebels backed by the United States and Turkey said the Kurds were still in control of Manbij, and they vowed to liberate it. The Turkish military has bombed targets around the town, located 25 miles south of Jarabulus, apparently convinced that the Kurds have not followed through on their promise to leave or that they seek to return.

“Our concern has been the fact that the YPG has a proven track record of forcibly displacing non-Kurds,” a senior Turkish official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity as per protocol.

The animosities threaten to pit two groups of U.S.-aided forces — the CIA- and Pentagon-backed Syrian Arab and Turkmen rebels and the Pentagon-backed Kurdish forces — against each other, potentially taking their attention away from fighting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. It also illustrates the challenges the United States faces in coordinating this array of armed groups, beset by ethnic and territorial rivalries as well as different agendas, on an increasingly complex, multi-sided battlefield.

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To be sure, Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces have regularly fought each other elsewhere in Syria. But they have both been battling the Islamic State, albeit on separate fronts. Now their conflict could expand into new areas, as Turkey’s incursion transforms Syria’s military landscape.

Already, fresh clashes have reportedly taken place in recent days. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a well-known activist group, said Kurdish forces and Syrian rebels engaged in skirmishes Wednesday night around several villages between Jarabulus and Manbij. A U.S.-backed Syrian rebel faction, Faylak al-Sham, tweeted a statement saying it had “liberated” the village of Al-Amarina, five miles south of Jarabulus, from the “terrorist” Kurdish forces.

“We are still waiting to see if they are going to retreat back to east of the Euphrates,” said Ahmed Othman, the commander of an ethnic Turkmen force within the U.S.-supported Free Syrian Army, referring to the Kurds. “If not, we will have to push them back by force.”

The Kurds say they handed over their positions to a local military council in Manbij made up largely of Arabs. But the body is perceived by the Syrian rebels to be controlled by the Kurdish forces. On Friday, the Kurdish spokesman for the council said it would confront any Turkish-backed rebels entering their town.

“We will defend ourselves,” said Shervan Derwish, who has also served as the spokesman for Kurdish forces who fought off Islamic State combatants in a famous battle in the Syrian town of Kobane last year. “Those guys are here to serve Turkey’s agenda, not the Syrian revolution’s goals.”

Nizar Mehdi, a journalist and activist from Manbij, said relatives and friends in the town told him that Kurdish forces were still in the area and operating from bases.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the record, said that while Kurdish commanders and most of their fighters had withdrawn to the east of the Euphrates, a smaller number of Kurdish forces remain within Manbij. They are combing the city, he said, for explosives left by the Islamic State and seeking to ensure that militants do not return.

“They fought very long and hard to take the city, and we want to make sure there’s a ‘hold force’ in place to make sure that ISIL doesn’t reinfiltrate,” the official said.

The official acknowledged that there had been tension between Kurdish and Arab fighters in the area but played down its significance. “This is a pretty standard feature of coalition warfare,” he said. He said the United States was working to defuse friction in part by “reminding everyone of who the real problem is here, which is ISIL.”

U.S. involvement

Earlier this year the Pentagon added about 250 Special Operations forces to bolster a smaller force already in northeastern Syria. U.S. officials said their principal mission was to oversee the recruitment and training of more Arabs for the fight against the Islamic State, apparently to help make the Kurds not appear as an invading force. But U.S. Special Forces have also been accompanying Kurdish fighters on some of the front lines, including during the battle for Manbij.

The Pentagon’s backing of these forces — collectively called the Syrian Democratic Forces and dominated by the YPG, which in Kurdish stands for People’s Protection Units — has irritated Turkey. Tensions have increased as Kurdish forces expanded their areas of control in Syria in recent months, moving closer to zones controlled by rebels backed by the United States and Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

Many observers say one of Turkey’s main objectives in the offensive, code-named “Euphrates Shield,” is to stop the Kurds from gaining territory in Syria. The Turkish government has long confronted a restive Kurdish minority within its borders, and it sees any efforts by Kurds in nearby countries to increase their reach as a security threat. The Syrian Kurdish rebels have ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which fought a bloody war against the Turkish military for decades.

In the past, Turkey has considered creating a buffer zone that would allow the Syrian opposition to better fight Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime as well as the Islamic State. Such a zone would also lead to the creation of a safe area that could allow more than 2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home. Whether this is a goal of the current offensive remains unknown.

What is clear, though, is that Ankara seeks to block Kurdish aspirations to unify two Kurdish-controlled enclaves along Turkey’s border in northern Syria, which Turkey fears could also embolden the PKK inside its soil.

‘Other terrorist elements’

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Istanbul that Turkey “will continue operations [in Syria] until we fully guarantee security of life and property of our citizens and the security of our border.”

“We will continue until the Islamic State and other terrorist elements are taken out,” he said.

Other top officials have openly noted that Turkey’s objectives include curbing Kurdish territorial expansion in Syria.

Turkey’s defense minister, Fikri Isik, said the operation has two main goals, including securing the border and preventing Kurdish forces from reaching the area west of the Euphrates. “Our strategic priority is preventing [the Kurds] from joining their east and west cantons in Syria,” Isik said in an interview Thursday with Turkey’s NTV network.

Syrian rebels are continuing to secure Jarabulus as more Turkish tanks have rumbled over the border to assist them. Teams have been scouring neighborhoods for land mines and improvised explosive devices left behind by the Islamic State.

Others have been digging trenches, fortifying the city for any future attacks.

“We want to prevent any enemy advances, and by enemies we mean ISIS and the YPG,” said Abu Ibrahim, another Free Syrian Army commander, referring to the Kurds. “Everyone knows what ISIS is, but the YPG is trying to divide Syria, and that is also not acceptable.”

Missy Ryan in Washington, Zakaria Zakaria in Gaziantep and Liz Sly in Beirut contributed to this report.
SACP Gauteng Launches "Enemy Camp Monitor"
24 August 2016

Emperor Julius is naked. Barely 5 years after its foundation, has the EFF's fake mask of a working class aligned party been unveiled. The EFF cosying up to the rightwing DA has vindicated the party's long held view of EFF's neo-fascist ideological outlook, and that the two are but merely different sides of the same coin. Both parties objectively serve the interest of monopoly capital and are accountable to the same London masters.

Whilst the DA is a party that uses parliamentary democracy to serve the interests of monopoly capital, the EFF use its highly organised petty bourgeois social base, to render parliamentary democracy dysfunctional. This is to serve the same reactionary interests of the Imperialist and colonial masters. Strangely, this comes from the same political party that currently appears to espouse a radical leftwing political project.

As long as the threat of the ANC alliance radical socio-economic project remains, in order to subvert a national democratic revolution, the EFF will prefer a subordinate position to the imperialist party the DA. This is to subvert such an outcome and always be ready with debauchery, to deliver the working class to a DA-led monopoly slaughter by finance capital.

The SACP Gauteng province commits to defending the working class against this ragtag coalition regime of counter-revolution installed in several municipalities across the province of Gauteng.

We are preparing to mobilize our structures to defend working class gains and to advance the course of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR).

In our effort to defend the working class against this regime of counter-revolution, we are launching an electronic monitor for regular updates, to be published as the enemy's.

The launch of this monitor follows the installation of the regime of counter-revolution in parts of our province led by the enemy's camp. With the EFF having committed a political and ideological suicide, the line is now drawn between the people's camp led by the ANC and its Alliance partners on the one hand and the enemy's camp led by the DA-EFF coalition on the other.

We are confident that the installation of the regime of counter-revolution in parts of our province paves the path towards the ANC's 2019 national and provincial decisive elections victory. This will certainly inaugurate a new epoch that will see the DA relegates the EFF deep into the dustbin of history.

The monitor will be released on a regular basis and will reflect negative impact on the working class arising from DA-EFF counter-revolutionary activities in our communities.

We invite youth, women, communists, workers, communities and members of the public to report and alert us of the DA and EFF anti-people, anti-worker and rightwing attacks of their interests in local governance and other affairs.

Kindly email your brief alert to for anything that runs counter to peoples interests led by DA-EFF regime of counter-revolution.

Issued by the SACP Gauteng province


Jacob Mamabolo - SACP Gauteng Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 884 1868

Lucian Segami - SACP Gauteng Provincial Spokesperson
Mobile: +2779 5220 098
Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: GPSACP
Facebook Page: SACP Gauteng Province
Statement on the Assassination of the SACP Stalwart in Intshanga and the Killing of a Former ANC Youth League Member
23 August 2016

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province of Moses Mabhida is deeply saddened by the assassination of its leader in Intshanga, Comrade Nontsikelelo Blose and the 38-year old former member of the ANC Youth League, Mr Xolani Ngcobo. The SACP expresses its message of deepest condolences to the family, friends, comrades of Blose and Ngcobo. The party pledges its oneness with the two families at this moment of grief.

It is regrettable that the current outbreak of violence in Intshanga and elsewhere occurred in the backdrop of a repeated appeal by the SACP to address hotspots in the province.

The case of Intshanga is a political case that requires a political solution.

We must all shoulder responsibility for what has recently happened in Intshanga.

The life of a woman should not have been sacrificed, in particular in the middle of the Women's Month. We must confront the man-made situation and violence in the area. The big question that needs to be answered is why we, to be specific politicians, allowed the stand-off to happen in Intshanga.

People of Intshanga have been known and are still known to be loyal members of the ANC with a very strong presence of the SACP. They have always been inseparable. Again what happened, and why are we allowing this to happen?

The SACP would like to make an impassioned plea to the law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of the murderers of the two comrades.

Blose, deeply embedded in community structures, was a leading light of the SACP and the ANC in the Intshanga area.

It is a measure of her courage and the depth of her conviction that the persecution she endured, ever since she witnessed, together with other comrades, the killing of another SACP member, Comrade Phillip Dlamini in January, did not deter her from securing justice for Dlamini and his family.

Cde Blose was due to testify in the trial of the alleged killers of Dlamini when she was murdered!

She was also in the forefront of challenging the violation of ANC processes in the selection of councilor candidates ahead of the local government elections.

Realising that they could not intimidate her, and that the example of militant struggle and self-sacrifice that she set was inspiring our people to intensify the struggle against factionalism, the enemies of the communists decided to liquidate Cde Blose hoping that this heartless, inhumane and criminal act will dissuade the people from the struggle.

These acts of brutality can only serve to strengthen the people's determination to defeat factionalism. Through her martyrdom, Cde Blose and many other revolutionary democrats who have fallen in this factional battle have set us the task to destroy factional politics that is devouring our glorious movement.

As we lower our banners in memory of a great daughter of our people, an outstanding revolutionary, we renew our vows that we shall give no quarter in the noble struggle to rid our movement of the murderers factionalists who are illegally trying to rule our people.

Farewell dear sister and Comrade. Your sacrifice is not in vain.

Issued by the SACP Moses Mabhida Province


Themba Mthembu, Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 0833036988


Msizi Nhlapo at 060 7886211

Arrest the hostilities‚ ANC and SACP urged after KZN political killings

TMG Digital | 23 August, 2016 07:49

The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) wants the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) to “intensify efforts to arrest hostilities” which led to at least two killings in Inchanga.

But‚ Sanco also attempted to suggest that a “third force might be exploiting the differences” between the two‚ but did not provide evidence of this.

Sanco said it made the call following “the killing of an SACP leader‚ Nonsikelelo Blose‚ who was shot three times on Sunday night” in the KwaZulu-Natal town.

“It is alleged that a man that fired shots at marchers that were protesting Blose's killing on Monday was shot dead in an exchange of fire‚” Sanco added.

Spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu said “everything must be done to restore political stability necessary for accelerated service delivery and community development”.

“Progressive forces must denounce the senseless violence‚ commit themselves to restore peace in the area and isolate warmongers‚” he said.

Mahlangu appealed to the ANC and SACP “to follow through an earlier agreement to intensify efforts to arrest hostilities in the area in order to bring an end to political thuggery and barbaric acts of violence which undermine safety of communities and the unity of the revolutionary alliance”. 
SACP Northern Cape Provincial Executive Committee
22 August 2016

The South African Communist Party in the Northern Cape Province met in its regular session of the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) Meeting in Kimberley, over the weekend of 19 to 21 August 2016. The meeting received a political input of the Central Committee, presented by Comrade Chris Matlhako, Central Committee and Political Bureau member and Secretary for International Affairs as well as the provincial secretariat political report.

Alliance and international solidarity with the people of Cuba

The PEC was joined by the ANC-led alliance partners, the Friends of Cuba Society (FOCUS), Cuban Professionals and the Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Companero Carlos Fernandez de Cossio who delivered the keynote address. The meeting commemorated the 63rd Anniversary of the 26 July 1953 attack on the Moncada Garrison led by our friend, close ally and most trusted revolutionary Companero Fidel Castro who just celebrated his 90th Birthday.

The PEC reiterated the SACP's call to the imperialist United States to end its inhumane, illegal economic blockade of Cuba and to return the Guantanamo Bay unconditionally to the Cuban nation.

Local government elections outcomes and immediate tasks

The PEC thanked the thousands of volunteers and supporters of the ANC-led alliance and Party activists for their hard work and revolutionary commitment displayed throughout the elections. All this was done to ensure that our people defend and consolidate the gains made as we continue to advance and deepen the National Democratic Revolution.
We congratulate the ANC for the victories secured. We are however concerned by the decline of 5% in the ANC's electoral support.

The PEC believes that in order to address these challenges we need a strong and united ANC-led alliance to restore confidence from the masses of our people. In this regard we must go back to the drawing board. The PEC calls on the newly elected councillors to implement the Manifesto of the ANC and convene regular meetings with our communities.

Presently there is a political deficit to resolve the challenges that contributed to the sharp decline in ANC support across the province and the country. The PEC also noted the many external threats facing our revolution which are simply being reinforced by the "arrogance" and total "irresponsibility" by some leaders within the movement.

The SACP has committed itself to defend the people's movement against foreign tendencies including factionalism, corporate capture, patronage, corruption, marginalisation of the masses, etc. All alliance components, led by the ANC, need to reaffirm the founding principles of the movement - collective leadership, hard work, organisational principles and proper political and ideological clarity.

The SACP has opened a process of constructive self-criticism with all alliance structures in the Province. This will deal with political and organisational issues and ensure that we become more coherent in advancing and defending our national democratic revolution. This must result in a more unified alliance.

All SACP structures must intensify their activism and Party campaigns across all communities and strengthen party organisation to lead working class and community struggles.
The PEC called on all our Party structures and ANC-led alliance as a whole not to demobilise election structures but shift their attention on leading community struggles and on ensuring quality service delivery.

Issued by the SACP Northern Cape

For enquiries please contact;
Patrick Bosiame - Provincial Spokesperson
Cell: 081 374 8233
NUM and JB Marks Awards to Honor 92 Graduates at Emperors Palace Tonight
26 August 2016

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the JB Marks Awards will set a new standard in the education and corporate sectors by honouring 92 graduates this year at its prestigious Annual Education Awards Ceremony, which will be held tonight at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park.

Among the 92 graduates, who have graduated in various fields of study, are one medical doctors-a collective achievement, which shows the efficacy of the JB Marks bursary programme; a programme initiated under the auspices of Mineworkers Investment Trust (MIT) whose interest in the needs of the community led to the formation of Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC) to provide funds for the JB Marks Education Trust Fund and Awards Programmes.

The JB Marks Education Trust Fund was founded in 1997 by the NUM and named after the first president of the African Miners Union. Over the past 18 years, JB Marks has provided bursaries for members of the NUM and their families. The fund has enabled 1016 bursars to graduate with mainstream qualifications (including 19 medical doctors).

What makes the JB Marks Education Trust Fund particularly important to the general upliftment of the community is its interest in the dependants of the relevant workers, of whom many have received educational bursaries.

NUM founding General Secretary and the deputy president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa and founding President James Motlatsi will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Awards. NUM General Secretary David Sipunzi will give an opening address while Kgalema Motlanthe will deliver a keynote address.

Educating and empowering young Southern Africans is the centrepiece of the NUM strategy meant to break the yoke of the triple evils of poverty, joblessness, and inequality.

As the NUM, we have deliberately and consciously placed ourselves at the forefront of championing the national effort of educating and empowering the dependents of our members. Education of an individual is by definition education of a society.

The NUM through the JB Marks Education Trust Fund will continue to educate its members and their dependants.

The NUM is inviting the media to attend and report about this prestigious event tonight at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. The event is starting at 6 pm.

For more information, please contact:

Jako Mokgosi: Principal Officer of the JB Marks Education Trust Fund: 082 380 8630
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257

The National Union of Mineworkers
7 Rissik Street
Cnr Frederick

Tel: 011 377 2111
Cell: 083 809 3257
Twitter: @Num_Media
COSATU Central Executive Committee Statement -22-24 August 2016
The Congress of South African Trade Unions held a scheduled meeting of its Central Executive Committee from 22-24 August 2016, which was attended by the national office bearers, the representatives of its affiliated unions and provincial structures. The meeting discussed and resolved on a number of organisational, political, international and socio-economic issues affecting the workers and the working class in the country and around the world.

The CEC took time to commemorate and remember the tragic events that took place in Marikana four years ago. We reiterate our earnest commiserations and sympathy to the families and fellow workers, who perished in those tragic events in Marikana. This tragedy represents the dark and heartbreaking episode for the workers and the South African people in general. All the 44 lives that were lost in Marikana are important including the 78 workers, who were injured.

We find it unfortunate and regrettable that in the midst of the pain, grief and despair that is still felt by the affected families, this tragedy is being used by some political opportunists to score cheap political points. We call on government to expedite the process of implementing all the recommendations of the Farlam Commission and also push for the transformation of the mining sector. We call on mine-owners to respect the peace accord that was signed by workers in the mining sector and refrain from sowing conflict amongst the workers.

The federation continue to register its disappointment with the Department of Mineral Resources and the Lily mine management for not expediting the process of rescuing workers, who have been trapped underground for over six months. There are also no visible plans from DMR and government to help the effected family members. We offer our solidarity with the workers and the affected families and call on the national government to intervene on this matter.

The CEC also paid its respects to the former SACCAWU President, Cde Amos Mothapo, who passed away after a bout of illness and a SAMWU member, who was tragically shot dead in the unions head office. We also salute the recently departed Cde Makhenkesi Stofile, who served the movement and the people of South Africa with dedication and discipline until the end.

We also remember and acknowledge that this year, 2016; represents some historical milestones like the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Students' Uprising, fiftieth 50th anniversary of the founding of the people's army, Umkhonto we Sizwe, as well as the sixtieth 60th anniversary of the historic Women's March to the Union Buildings. This is a reminder that our people have a proud history to inspire us today, and indeed to also emulate. We congratulate the South African Olympic team for representing the country with dignity and pride in Brazil.

The CEC noted that during this heightened global economic crisis; capital has been successful not only to shift the burden of their self made crisis to the working class; but it has also been successful to shift the blame of the ideological and economic failures of capitalism to nation states. Many national governments are left high and dry, in particular those in developing countries. It is now their responsibility to explain these failures to the despondent and angry masses.

This coupled with mistakes by democratic governments, which include departing from aggressive implementation of working class policies , has created a platform for the rise of the right wing around the world. This means that workers are conducting their struggles under conditions, which are not of their own choosing. The entire world is also afflicted by imperialist aggression and terrorist atrocities ;and the working class are its most highly affected victims, especially in the developing countries.

Despite all of this, the CEC concluded that this crisis presents an opportunity for the unity and the strengthening of the left-wing resistance to this scourge of Neoliberalism. What is also clear is that this global capitalist crisis requires a progressive ideological response to offset its impact in the developing economies, and also to protect the interests of the working class and the poor.

Socio-economic outcomes

The federation engaged on many socio-economic issues that are currently affecting the workers and the working class in general and came out with many resolutions and decisions, some of them captured below.


COSATU reiterates its call for all social partners to speed up the convening of the NEDLAC Jobs Summit that will seek solutions to the scourge of unemployment and ongoing job losses taking place in the country. There is already a consensus on the need for this summit by all stakeholders and many also agree that we need it before the end of the year ; but what we want to see is a sense of urgency. Labour as a whole has already constituted its team and forwarded it to government and other social partners.

The last job figures by Statistics South Africa were very depressing and showed that our economy has already shed over 500 000 jobs during the first half of this year. All the sectors of the economy are not immune from these retrenchments and even the sectors such as the services industry, public administration, health and social work, as well as recreational, cultural and sporting activities have lost their resilience. We expect the summit to address the ongoing investment strike by big business and also the inappropriate macro-economic policies that have resulted in economic stagnation and the ongoing job losses.

The government's pedestrian response to this economic crisis will not work. The CEC wants to remind government and big business that behind the job statistics are families and communities whose lives are being ravaged by these massive retrenchments. These are the same people and voters, who have demonstrated their anger and frustrations in the ballot box during the past elections.

COSATU will also be exploring the strengthening of the labour legislation that deals with retrenchments like Section 189 , because so far the workers are getting the wrong end of the stick and the laws are not helping.

On company Mergers and their impact on retrenchments.

The CEC expressed its deep concern that company mergers in the country are wreaking havoc on jobs. This has been happening all across the sectors of the economy. Recently , we have noted with unease the latest reports and speculation that the Steinhoff Group is planning to buy Shoprite and also the retail company is thinking about offshore expansion. This is deeply troubling because Steinhoff is the same company that acquired the JD Group and subsequently slashed thousands of jobs and reduced its size and operations to increase profits and better returns for investors. They did this without thinking about the workers. They delisted the J D Group from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, privatising their financial affairs and operations of the company.

This has resulted in them offering workers below inflation salary adjustments to the poorly paid workers at the bottom of the salary scale, without presenting workers with financial statements to justify their offer. This is also the same company that spent over R11 billion buying a UK company Poundland, while it is retrenching workers in the country and also refusing to pay its workers a decent salary increase.

COSATU will monitor the developments on this front and will fight to oppose this planned merger of both Shoprite and Steinhoff.

They want to create a crisis of profit that will cost workers their jobs and their livelihoods. This is deplorable because these same companies are refusing to invest in this country but are only want to take their profits out of this country and invest them there. The Competition Commission needs more powers to intervene, it has to be assisted to stop these mergers. Its power should allow it to ensure that they do not allow companies to engage in mergers that compromise workers livelihoods.

Comprehensive Social security and Retirement fund reform

We have resolved to reject the deadline of 1st of March 2018, that was previously set up by Parliament for the finalisation of the New Tax Amendment Act. The implementation of this Act was postponed for two years, earlier this year, following our demand for the scrapping of the aspects of the law that involved annuitisation and preservation. This decision was taken after government failed to present the Comprehensive Social Security paper at NEDLAC for discussions.

This failure means that we have lost time to engage on the agreed matters. The workers no longer recognise that agreement and we demand that a new arrangement be made that will be conditional on government's presentation of the Comprehensive Social Security paper and also satisfying other conditions on this issue. While government is vacillating, there are more people, who are falling into through the cracks of the system because of the absence of the Comprehensive Social Security system.

National Minimum Wage

COSATU acknowledges the appointment of the National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel of experts by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cde Cyril Ramaphosa. We also appreciate that the ANC NEC has made a call for the NEDLAC processes to be expedited and for the National Minimum Wage to be introduced. While we will constructively work with the panel and give them the necessary support to do their work, we want to caution government, big business and the panel itself that any delaying tactics will be rejected by labour, as well as any attempts to entrench the current ultra low wage structure.

Workers have run out of patience and the panel needs to accelerate its work. COSATU is not arguing that the time for the introduction of the minimum wage has just arrived; but we are arguing that it is long overdue. Raising the minimum wage isn't just good for workers; but it is good for economic growth.

The CEC denounced the ludicrous arguments by the opponents of the minimum wage. We reject their arguments that a policy that will make a real impact on the wages of 5, 5 million full time workers, who are currently earning below the working poor line, is not good for the economy. What they all need to understand is that well paid workers are also the best customers that South
African businesses can hope for.

Cartel Behaviour - Arcelor Mittal

The CEC noted that Arcelor Mittal SA was fined R1.5bn by the Competition Commission for price fixing. While this sends a strong message of deterrence to cartels, we are unhappy that the company executives were not held liable. COSATU has consistently called for the prosecution of all directors, whose companies are implicated in cartel behaviour. What is infuriating is that Arcelor Mittal has been retrenching workers at the same time that it has been engaging in cartel behaviour. COSATU reiterates its 2010 CEC decision, calling for the nationalisation of Arcelor Mittal because steel is one of the key strategic industries, upon which the country's growth and development is dependent. This sector also remains very key for industrial development and job creation.

Free Education

The CEC has endorsed and offered its full support to the universities student's call for a no fee increment in the 2017 academic year ,until the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into Higher Education { Fees Commission} tables its final report as expected.

In the absence of such a report, COSATU believes that there should be no discussions about any fee increments by Universities.

The federation also supports the student's argument that this country has enough resources hidden in the pockets of white monopoly capital that can be harnessed and utilised to provide free education for the vulnerable students. Attempts to reform an education system that was never meant to accommodate poor students is a futile endeavour, so we are calling on government to take a lead in overhauling the funding model of our education system and stop vacillation and indecisiveness. COSATU shall continue to work with students until free education is a reality in this country ;and we will be part of the planned activities that will culminate with a march in early October this year. We support government's efforts to resolve this issue but we demand they do more because, there will be no radical economic transformation when people are denied education.

Building the Organisation

What came out very clear in this meeting is that our federation and its affiliates are now regrouping and steadily regaining their focus and strength. The CEC resolved that all COSATU unions should build on this by continuing with their intensive recruitment drive and a listening campaign that will help unions deliver better service to their respective members. We shall work hard on building strong united unions in all sectors, as well as strong and functional bargaining forums. We shall also intensify our listening campaign and workplace visits as a way of talking to our members and take up their issues raised during election campaign.

All COSATU affiliates are expected to establish or resuscitate their war-rooms that will be used to deal and resolve all issues that concern and afflict workers on a daily basis. The will also help them wage broader struggles and campaigns like the campaign against attempts to eliminate our right to strike; to defend collective Bargaining and also demand the expansion of centralised bargaining across all sectors.

The federation shall work to strengthen the workers capacity to take up work place struggles like exposing corruption, acting against racism, including paying a special focus on women's struggles in the workplace. The CEC appreciated the strides that have been made by the National Leadership of COSATU to intervene in some of the affiliates that are experiencing internal challenges.

The CEC also resolved to take up a mass action in responding to the challenges faced by workers as a build up towards an international decent work day on the 7th October 2016. The federation will be fighting for these following issues.

Banning of the labour brokers
Scraping of the e tolling system including the expensive toll gate
Fight to protect our jobs
Fight for National Minimum Wage
Fight to protect our collective agreement
Fight for proper Office Health Standards in all workplaces
Fight for NHI
Fight for the scrapping of the taxation amendment law
The federation shall also expedite the formulation of its medium-term strategic vision and plan that will help provide us with a cohesive framework on what needs to be done on all fronts.

Solidarity work

We will ceaselessly continue to rebuild and strengthen COSATU and all those affiliates particularly the industrial unions that continue to face varying challenges at the moment. Unions will heighten their solidarity work and support each other's struggles. They will deploy all resources, time and energy towards strengthening their sister affiliates by helping them recruit and service members and also wage workplace struggles during this time of the economic crisis and employer offensive.

We will continue to implement all of our resolutions adopted by the 12th session of the workers parliament. These resolutions shall remain the compass and a guide to action for every affiliate, every shop steward, every organiser and every member in every workplace.

We are also calling on all workers, especially municipal workers to prepare themselves for serious battles after the election outcomes have resulted in the DA taking over some of the metropolitan municipalities. The DA's anti-worker and anti union policies automatically means that we can expect them to unleash a war against the workers and purge many of them from the municipalities that they have won. We view this as an opportunity to rebuild and ensure that we organised the unorganised workers, who will surely become victims of the DA. COSATU will be leading from the front in these battles.

FAWU Congress

The CEC noted that the leadership of FAWU has succeeded to push for the union's disaffiliation from COSATU and join a non-existent federation. We are not surprised by the decision ,but we are currently planning to meet with many FAWU members; including provincial structures that have made it clear to the federation that they are not leaving the federation. The reality is that FAWU is a victim of a polarising leadership that has worked hard to split an already weakened union for their narrow political reasons.

COSATU has been very patient with FAWU because we are concerned about the plight of farm workers. We tolerated the decision by their leadership to boycott COSATU meetings since 2014, and also we did not disaffiliate them despite the fact that they have not paid subscription fees for more than nine months. We did this for the workers because more than one million farm workers are vulnerable and are crying for a united and stronger union in the sector that will focus its energies on defending them from exploitation.

This leadership purged members, defied court orders and bankrupted the organisation to a shell of its formers self. Many of their structures who did not agree with leaving COSATU were purged and their right to participate at the congress was taken away.

Since COSATU remains a home to all workers, we will not abandon the workers and we will continue focus on trying to unite them, especially the vulnerable ones, who are under siege from exploitative employers. The farmers should not be emboldened to think that workers are without a home, COSATU will intensify its campaign in the sector that started in January in Mpumalanga and has since spread to other provinces. Our doors are open for all those workers who see COSATU as their home !

On the political situation and the NDR

The CEC expressed its appreciation to the more than 53% of the voters, who still entrusted the ANC with their votes and ensured that it comes out an overall winner in these elections. The ANC won these elections despite attempts to downplay that fact and magnify its losses by the chattering classes. We acknowledge and thank all the workers and volunteers, who campaigned and voted for the ANC. We believe that the elections were free and fair and therefore salute the Independent Electoral Commission for a job well done; indeed our democracy is in good hands.

Election Assessment

In assessing these election outcomes, the CEC is calling on all alliance partners to do away with self adulation, self delusion, conspiratorial thinking or any speculative hypothesis about the invisible enemies and focus on internal introspections. In its own reflections, the CEC acknowledged and concluded that it is now clear that the outcomes of this electoral contest, to a great extent signify a shift in the balance of social and political forces in the country.

The internal factional battles, the corruption scandals and the growing distance from the people have gradually eroded the enduring overwhelming support enjoyed by the ANC-led Alliance amongst the masses of our people. We all have to acknowledge that our political necks are in the hangman's noose, and we will not survive if we continue with the business as usual mentality.

The figures of these election results show that the discontent and this growing sense of alienation, frustration and sometimes despair is being felt deeply across a broad spectrum of the waged and unwaged popular strata.

It is undeniable that the voters are unhappy with the way the leadership of our movement handled the Inkandla matter, including the constitutional judgement on the report by the Public Protector. They are unhappy with the economic corporatism, corruption, political and bureaucratic arrogance, including factionalism that has left the ANC paralysed. While there is a need for deep soul searching by all in the movement, the elected leadership at all levels needs to acknowledge that the buck stops with them.

They need to account and respond to the direct and key message, coming from the voters, who have shown that they no longer believe that the centre is holding.

COSATU acknowledges that the federation was not at its best during these elections and that also a weakened Alliance found itself in disarray and lacked the required coherency in the application of both strategy and tactics. All of this combined with increasingly united counterrevolutionary forces comprising white-monopoly capital, and political opposition supported by western imperialism has placed our revolution at crossroads. We shall convene bilateral meetings with both the ANC and the SACP to address these glaring weaknesses of the alliance and also to chart our way-forward. We also plan to work with the SACP to facilitate the convening of a consultative conference of the left forces to shape the future.

The message

Now that the people have spoken, the ANC and the Alliance needs to decode their message and respond accordingly. The message is that most people still love the ANC but are losing trust in it and are angry. This is evidenced by the voter abstention numbers.

These election results show that South Africans are tired of persistent and radicalized poverty, mass unemployment and extreme inequalities. They have rejected the policy choices that have failed to decisively deal with the economic legacy of colonialism and apartheid. They are clearly unhappy that the redistribution of income has not occurred; the means of production and power remain concentrated in white capitalist hands; and that the strategic sectors of the economy remains highly monopolised and foreign owned.

The ANC needs to rescue its government from the stranglehold of National Treasury and the iniquitous ratings agencies by implementing its progressive policies and resolutions adopted in Polokwane and Mangaung respectively. This is the time to act decisively to stem the tide of the ongoing retrenchments, ban labour brokers, scrap e-tolls, implement the NHI, provide free education for the poor; and also implement a more radical phase of our transition based on economic transformation.

They have to expedite the implementation of the National Minimum Wage, the nationalisation of the strategic sectors of the economy, establishment of a state bank, and the clarification of the status of Ketlaphela, a state pharmaceutical company that is currently in limbo. The ANC cannot continue to allow the pillaging of the state resources through the tender system and also tolerate the wasteful expenditure of government and inefficiencies of State Owned Entities.

On the developmental state

They need to eliminate this phenomenon of the elevation of the state over the movement. The movement also needs to stop being ill disposed to dissent and must refrain from treating mass-based activism against the deficiencies of the state, as counter-revolutionary and oppositional. We cannot continue with the uncritical defence of the inherent, horrible deficiencies of the inherited colonial and capitalist state that has led the masses to gradually lose confidence in the capacity of the ANC to drive transformation.

COSATU feels that the time has arrived for the ANC to aggressively construct a developmental state. Such a state will not be decreed but will be constructed based on its developmental tasks, which are in line with the strategic objectives of the National Democratic Revolution. The overarching tasks of such a developmental state should be to effect and impose radical economic transformation through decisive state intervention in the economy. It must decisively intervene in the economy to redistribute resources in order to address the triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality. We expect the role and character of such a developmental state to be working class biased, be based on participatory democracy and also be anti-imperialist in posture.

Calls for Early ANC Conference and the ANC Succession Debate

The CEC noted the calls from some quarters for an early conference of the ANC, COSATU is not violently opposed to that call, but we will continue to listen to the reasons put forward and articulated by all those making that call. We also have to consider the fact that the last ANC NGC's organisational report told us that the ANC is riddled with factionalism, gate keeping and slate politics at all levels.

The sad reality is that the current ANC is highly factionalised and cannot claim to be still functioning as a coherent and a unitary organisation. There is also a danger that shortcut solutions will plunge the organisation into more disarray and decline. The biggest challenge for the ANC is to clean and rid itself of opportunists, looters, criminals, flatterers, patrons, factionalists and hangers-on that have infiltrated, captured and ultimately weakened it.

The CEC debated the ANC succession processes and agreed that the workers are not neutral on this matter. In our congress we said we will enter into this debate at the right time and the CEC agreed that now is the right time. In this context, it was agreed that all related discussions will be properly concluded at the Special CEC which will be convened soon.


COSATU is also calling on all alliance structures to work together and stop the political killings that are continuing to take place in places like Inchanga in KZN. We condemn this deterioration and anarchy and we urge the law enforcement agencies to stop these political assassinations by arresting the perpetrators.


On coalitions, the CEC also concluded that the recent municipal coalitions amongst opposition parties have also exposed the political bankruptcy of opposition parties in South Africa. Some have proven themselves to be ideological turncoats and class collaborators, who are just using left rhetoric to get easy applause and also harvest votes from the desperate working class. Their strategic objective is to undermine democratic advances by hollowing out the majority rule, which is being used by the democratic government to drive a transformation programme. This Neo-Liberal and Right wing axis have a common desire to use whatever means possible to seize political power from the ANC led progressive forces. We shall work to expose them for what they are, stooges of monopoly capital.

International solidarity work

The CEC has reiterated its continued commitment and support for the people of Palestine, Swaziland, Cuba, Western Sahara, Basque and Kurdistan. We support the Brazilian Workers Party and President Roussef and reject the coup and the ongoing impeachment process directed at the president. We condemn the offensive against the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, and we offer our solidarity to the people and workers of Venezuela.

The CEC expressed concern over the situation in Zimbabwe, where government is violating the human rights of the citizens and both private companies and the government are failing to pay workers their salaries. We also denounce the 14 SADC countries for appointing King Mswati to be the Chairperson of their regional body, despite the fact that he still continues with his human rights violations, and the undemocratic Tinkundla system.

COSATU is worried about the ongoing instability in Lesotho, since the coup, that has resulted in people being purged from their jobs and some assassinated. We call for SADC to deal with these purges and assassinations.

The CEC resolved to convene a Trilateral meeting between the Ghana TUC, LNC Nigeria and COSATU between the 15-16th of September in Johannesburg to discuss the state of unionism in the continent and also the plight of the working class in general.

We are also looking forward to the 17th World Trade Union Congress that will be hosted by the COSATU affiliated unions, namely the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU), the Police Prisons and Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) and the Chemical Energy Print Paper and Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) as from Wednesday, 5th October 2016 -until- Friday 07 October 2016 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban, KZN.

This congress will be attended by more than 70 trade union formations, representing the four corners of the world, namely Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. This will give a platform to all class orientated trade unions movement under the banner of WFTU to reflect and come out with responses to the challenges facing the working class all around the world and also to consolidate and strengthen the principles of working class internationalism and universalism.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street

P.O.Box 1019
South Africa

Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794
Statement of the African National Congress Following the Constitution of Governments in Municipalities Across the Country
23 August 2016

Municipalities across the country have begun constituting governments in line with the Municipal Structures Act that calls for the setting up of government within 14 days of the declaration of results following an election.

The African National Congress is humbled and appreciates the overwhelming support we received from South Africans in these Elections. We won the majority of seats nationwide, with 54,2% of the final vote. The ANC is now the government of choice in 161 municipalities out of 213 across the country. We once again thank the millions of South Africans who voted for the African National Congress to retain it as a majority party; reaffirming their confidence in our project of fundamental social and economic transformation.

We have however for the first time suffered a serious setback in a number of municipalities. This includes some metros where there has not been an outright winner. This situation represents a reversal of our democratic gains and reassertion of power by our erstwhile colonisers. Coalition governments have been established by opposition parties to govern in some areas. Many of these are not based on principle of serving the people but rather a common desire to remove the national liberation movement from power at all costs. They are characterized by inconsistent messaging that is devoid of any revolutionary commitment to defeat the real enemy of the people, monopoly capital. Oratory of rhetoric is used to project a revolutionary agenda when in reality the coalitions are a stance dictated by funders not dissimilar to the ill-fated DA/Agang merger.

Members and supporters of the ANC must not be distracted by this "sound and fury signifying nothing" from opposition parties. We have listened to the voices of the people, accepted their judgment and must now deliver on their aspirations. ANC-led municipalities must be models of a democratic and accountable government where services are delivered in a sustainable manner. Our public representatives must redouble their efforts to change the lives of our people for the better. To this end, hard work, responsiveness and accountability will be the criteria against which we judge ANC councilors. Social and economic development will be at the core of our agenda and all residents will be encouraged to participate meaningfully in matters of governance. We dare not fail the mandate the people have bestowed upon us.

In municipalities we do not govern, members of the ANC are called upon to constitute an effective and activist opposition. Ours is not to block or delay service delivery but rather to protect the gains of our revolution and rally against any actions to reverse these.

ANC councilors must continue to be the fearless voice of the people. We must be vigilant against attempts to negate the strides made by blacks in general and Africans in particular through effective instruments created by the ANC-led such as Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment. We must guard against the further entrenching of inequality in our cities through spatial planning and service delivery that favours the already priviledged as we have already witnessed in Cape Town. The myth of a corruption free Democratic Alliance must be debunked and we hold them accountable for delivery in all areas they lead. As we committed, members of the NEC will begin engagement with the people from this weekend. This will be the commencement of a comprehensive programme throughout the country; especially in areas we have witnessed a significant electoral decline. These engagements are intended to ensure that we understand and appreciate both subjective and objective factors that have led to the electoral outcomes and take decisive action against these.

This demands that we do not rest until we have rooted out from the ANC all elements that act in a manner that is un-ANC and anti-ANC. This includes acting where there are allegations of criminal behavior by ANC members and any act that brings the organisation to disrepute.

We offer our most sincere condolences to the family of Comrade Nonhlanhla "Stompie" Mthembu who passed away during the Council Sitting of the City of Joburg yesterday. In her honour we have no doubt that the ANC, across the country and even from opposition benches, will work hard to represent the aspirations of the people she dedicated her life to serving.

If we have learnt any lesson from these elections is that indeed history does repeat itself.  The ANC and progressive forces will always be defeated if we are disunited. We call on members and supporters of the ANC to use 2016 as a catalyst for organizational growth and renewal. We will not rest until we have regained the confidence of our people and returned our revolution to the correct trajectory.

Issued by
Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress

Zizi Kodwa 082 330 4910
Africa is Steering Its Own Destiny, Jacob Zuma Says in Nairobi
AUGUST 27 2016, 14:58

President Jacob Zuma, right, talks to Senegalse counterpart Macky Sall during a break at the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, on August 27, 2016. Picture: REUTERS

AFRICA is increasingly taking ownership and responsibility for its socioeconomic destiny‚ President Jacob Zuma says.

Addressing the sixth Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi‚ Kenya‚ Zuma said Africa was a substantially different place from when TICAD was launched in 1993.

"It is vibrant‚ and rapidly changing‚ with some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

"Most importantly‚ Africa is increasingly taking ownership and responsibility for its socioeconomic destiny.

"We are committed to placing the continent firmly on a path to sustainable economic growth and development‚ and thus addressing the scourges of inequality‚ poverty and unemployment‚" Zuma said.

Bearing this in mind‚ collaboration and investments by both the public and private sectors in infrastructure‚ manufacturing and ICT were essential for regional and continental growth‚ he said.

"Furthermore‚ continental integration‚ boosting intra-African trade and improving the continent’s capacity to resolve its own challenges‚ as identified by Agenda 2063‚ have been woven into every discussion I have had across the globe‚ from climate change‚ to governance and industrialisation."

Zuma’s trip to Nairobi prevented him from delivering the eulogy at former Eastern Cape premier Makhenkesi Stofile’s funeral, where former foreign affairs director-general Sipho Pityana caused a stir with calls for Zuma to step down.

© BDlive 2016
Somalia: We Have A Problem We Cannot Solve

August 27, 2016: Peacekeeper and Somali military commanders agree that the biggest problem facing Somali security forces is logistics (keeping soldiers and police supplied with working vehicles, weapons and other gear) and corruption (most commonly seen in commanders or government officials stealing money and equipment meant for the security forces). That agreement is an accomplishment but as yet there is no working solution. Too many Somalis still see power as a license to steal. Changing that widely held attitude has proved difficult in many parts of the world, but particularly in Africa.

Another example of the corruption problem is the difficulties the government is having with scheduled national elections. These are supposed to take place now but many current politicians want to delay that until there is more security nationwide. That attitude is opposed by many politicians as well as nations supplying aid and peacekeepers. Some foreign donors believe this is a ploy so the interim government can stay in power longer and steal more aid money. The election for president has now been delayed to October 30th although the constitution stipulates that a president can only serve four years (which in this case ends September 10) and after that the Speaker of Parliament takes over for 30 days. Part of the problem is political with many of the clans (tribes) maintaining armed militias and refusing to abide by a “one man, one vote” system. That is, some clans demand more (foreign aid and other resources) than their numbers justify.

Angry Neighbors

The continued unrest in Somalia is a major concern to neighbors, particularly Kenya which wants to expel all Somali refugees by the end of 2016. UN and peacekeeper officials agree that this would not be practical because of security problems in Somalia that will not be solved by the end of 2016. That (and several hundred million dollars in additional foreign aid) convinced Kenya to delay the April decision to close two major refugee camps and send all the Somali refugees back home in 2016. So far this year over 20,000 refugees have returned to Somalia. The Dadaab Refugee Camp in northeast Kenya has become the largest refugee camp in the world since it was established in 1991. Containing over 330,000 Somalis it was built outside the town of Dadaab. The population in the area is largely ethnic Somali but the camp is unpopular because it disrupts more than benefits the locals and has become a base for criminal gangs and Islamic terrorists. The other camp, Kakuma, is in the northwest and has some 150,000 refugees from South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. Like Dadaab it has become unpopular with nearby Kenyans and for the same reasons. The UN also has to deal with accusations of repeated broken promises and tolerating bad behavior by refugees. For example Kenya had previously sought to expel all legal and illegal Somali refugees by the end of 2015. That expulsion threat came in response to ever more horrific al Shabaab attacks inside Kenya, including an April 2015 massacre of 148 Christian students at a university. The UN halted this expulsion by making a lot of promises it did not keep. Now the UN says it will help with refugee camp security and moving more of the refugees back to Somalia. The UN offers this as an alternative to closure of the camps and expulsion of all the Somalis back to Somalia. These assurances are not very convincing because they have been made before and the UN quietly failed to deliver every time. In Somalia politicians and al Shabaab agree that Kenya should stop mistreating Somalis in Kenya if only because this mistreatment is used by al Shabaab for recruiting. The Kenyan government recognizes this problem and talks about curbing violence against Somalis in Kenya. Yet controlling popular hatred of and hostility towards murderous Somalis is even more difficult. The local Kenyans vote while the Somali refugees don’t. Thus the continuing al Shabaab activity in Kenya reminds every one of the centuries of Somalis violence against Kenya. It’s an old problem that does not lend itself to quick or easy solutions.

August 26, 2016: In Mogadishu al Shabaab is believed responsible for a grenade thrown at a crowd gathered to watch firemen extinguish a fire in a row of shops. No one was hurt in the fire but the grenade killed two civilians.

August 25, 2016: In Mogadishu al Shabaab attacked a restaurant on the beach using a suicide car bomb to destroy the heavily guarded main entrance and allow al Shabaab gunmen to get into the restaurant compound. The attack turned into a siege as the Islamic terrorists took some people hostage. By the time it was all over the next day over twenty people were dead, including five attackers, five soldiers and police and the rest civilians. Al Shabaab made a similar attack in this Lido Beach area back in January. That one killed 17 people and was not unexpected because in late 2015 al Shabaab issued a warning to Somalis that visiting hotels, beaches and nightclubs favored by foreigners was immoral behavior that would be punished. These attacks are expensive for al Shabaab as well as they get a lot of skilled and experienced Islamic terrorists killed or captured. But al Shabaab believes it is worth it because attacks like this in the capital achieve maximum local and international publicity. What al Shabaab leadership does not pay attention to is that in the longer term these tactics create more hostility among the populations they are trying to terrorize and eventually leads to the defeat of the Islamic militants involved. Unfortunately Islam is the only major religion whose scripture encourages and praises this sort of violence and while most Moslems are not interested (if only because other Moslems are usually the victims) for over a thousand years some Moslems periodically get organized and go on a jihad (armed struggle to defend their version of Islam). This has happened several times in this region over the last two centuries and here it is again.

August 23, 2016: In the south (the Bay region) soldiers and peacekeepers clashed with al Shabaab gunmen outside Baidoa and killed at least eight of them, including a local al Shabaab leader.

August 22, 2016: In central Somalia (Beledweyne) police arrested seven suspected al Shabaab members who were pretending to be civilians.

August 21, 2016: In the far north (Puntland) al Shabaab used a suicide truck bomb and a suicide car bomb to make two attacks that killed over twenty people. This sort of attack is rare in this part of the country. Northern Somalia has been better governed since breaking away from Somalia in the 1990s to form Puntland (2.5 million people) and Somaliland (3.5 million). The north has been an example to the rest of Somalia. The economy in the north is doing much better and there is a lot less crime. There were problems with pirates in the north for a while, but these seagoing brigands were mainly preying on foreigners and the foreigners with navies responded. The pirates were largely out of business in 2012. But a growing number of al Shabaab have fled to Puntland to escape the pressure from peacekeepers, Somali soldiers and local militia in the south. Al Shabaab is trying to use attacks like this to intimidate local leaders and attract recruits in the far north. So far the al Shabaab violence just makes locals more intent on killing or driving away the Islamic terrorists.

August 19, 2016: In the south (Lower Jubba) soldiers and peacekeepers clashed with al Shabaab gunmen and killed at least four of them.

August 17, 2016: In the south (60 kilometers southwest of Kismayo) soldiers and peacekeepers ambushed a group of al Shabaab gunmen and killed at least three of them. Others in the group got away.

August 16, 2016: In Mogadishu al Shabaab soldiers, police and peacekeepers carried out a series of raids in two villages outside the city that were known to be centers of local al Shabaab activity. At least 316 suspected al Shabaab members or supporters were arrested. In cases like this most of those arrested are released after questioning. But the interrogations yield hundreds or thousands of bits of information (incidents, names, dates) that, once compiled into existing databases and analyzed yields more information about al Shabaab and other criminal activity in the area.

Elsewhere in the city, after a two week trial, nine of 18 accused Ugandan soldiers were convicted of corruption (stealing weapons, equipment and supplies and selling the loot to local civilians). Those receiving the longest sentence (three years) were officers. This sort of thing is a common problem with UN peacekeeping missions and continues. In the past this sort of thing was kept quiet and often not prosecuted in Somalia but in 2013 Uganda cracked down, conducted an investigation of the many incidents that had become public. Uganda arrested 40 of its soldiers, including a brigadier, for corruption while serving as peacekeepers in Somalia. The arrested men were accused of the same crimes as the current group. Uganda supplies most of the peacekeepers in Somalia and these prosecutions do not stop the corruption but appear to have reduced it considerably. The 2016 trial was unique because for the first time peacekeepers accused of criminal activity in Somalia were tried by a military court while still in Somalia instead of being sent home for prosecution. If nothing else this makes it easier and cheaper to use local witnesses.

August 15, 2016: In the southwest (Bardhere) soldiers and peacekeepers drove al Shabaab out of four villages they were using as bases.

August 13, 2016: In the south (Middle Jubba) American and Somali commandos raided a location outside the town of Sakow where al Shabaab leaders were believed to be. There was a similar raid in the same general area on the 10th. The United States revealed that these two operations resulted in 30 al Shabaab members killed or captured, including al Shabaab leader Ahmad Umar and three of his senior associates. Ahmad Umar became al Shabaab leader in September 2014 and replaced Ahmed Abdi Godane who had been killed by an American air strike. The U.S. offered a $6 million reward for information leading to capturing or killing Ahmad Umar.

August 7, 2016: In Baidoa (250 kilometers southwest of Mogadishu) al Shabaab fired two mortar shells into a residential neighborhood, causing some casualties.

August 3, 2016: In the south (90 kilometers west of Kismayo) local police confronted and killed four Al Shabaab gunmen who had just stolen a van (used as a bus). Police returned the van to its owner.
Eight Die in Attack on Beach Restaurant in Somalia
August 26, 2016

MOGADISHU--Security forces in Somalia yesterday ended an overnight siege by Al Shabab gunmen who killed eight people at a beachside restaurant in the capital, Mogadishu.

Police captain Mohamed Hussein said six civilians and two soldiers were killed at the Benadir Beach restaurant, a popular hangout for the capital city’s youth. Two assailants also died.

One drove a carful of explosives at the restaurant and blew it up when security forces opened fire. Other terrorist gunmen returned fire and also threw hand grenades. One man with a head wound was detained on suspicion of being the bomber. By yesterday morning officials said all the attackers had been killed.

"The restaurant is now under the full command of the Somali government soldiers," said regional police commander Colonel Abshir Bishaa.

Al Shabab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack via the Telegram messaging service, claiming to have killed "scores" of people.

The militant group said the restaurant was targeted because it was frequented by "apostates" indulging in "obscenity and vice".

Al Shabab seeks to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu and impose an austere Islamic rule on Somalia.

It was the second time this year Al Shabab has attacked the Lido beach area and its restaurants, including upmarket establishments popular with businesspeople and Somalis who have returned home after living abroad.

In January, Al Shabab gunmen detonated a bomb before bursting into the Lido Sea Food Restaurant and spraying gunfire at customers, killing 20 people.

Despite abandoning the capital five years ago, Al Shabab launches regular attacks against government, military, civilian and foreign targets.

The fanatics have staged repeated attacks in neighbouring Kenya and a recent security analysis warned that the group was expanding its horizons with cells active in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as well as Somalia.

* Agence France-Presse
Zimbabwe President Mugabe Arrives in Kenya for Summit With Japanese Leaders
August 27, 2016
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe was welcomed by  Kenyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Lucy Chelimo at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday.

President Mugabe arrived here yesterday to join other African Heads of State and Government attending the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit. He was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Kenya’s permanent secretary for Defence Kanmi Kabeira, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Kenya Kelebert Nkomani, Kenya’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Lucy Chelimo and Zimbabwe Embassy staff.

Soon after his arrival, President Mugabe signed the visitors’ book before he proceeded to his hotel. Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa and Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa are also part of President Mugabe’s delegation.

President Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko (who is Acting President), Government officials and senior civil servants. More than 35 African leaders have confirmed their participation at the high level meeting which is starting today at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is the convener of the Summit arrived here on Thursday. TICAD contributes to the facilitation and promotion of high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and Africa’s development partners on issues relating to economic growth, trade and investment, sustainable development, human security, peace and stability.

The summit, which is ending tomorrow is being held in Africa for the first time since its inception in 1993. In 1993, Japan co-hosted the inaugural TICAD conference and has done so in the subsequent years on a five year interval.

By providing an opportunity for high-level policy dialogue, TICAD has become a critical global platform through which Asian and African nations, as well as international stakeholders, can collaborate to promote Africa’s development.

As a multilateral partnership, TICAD processes actively promotes South-South and triangular co-operation, in addition to traditional co-operation.

The summit which is co-organised by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme, the African Union and the World Bank, will focus on promoting structural economic transformation through diversification and industrialisation; promoting resilient health system for quality life and promoting social stability for shared prosperity.

Various side events such as seminars/symposiums, exhibitions and business forum have been scheduled to run concurrently with the TICAD VI Summit. The decision to host TICAD VI Summit in Africa was reached during the TICAD V Summit in 2013 when it was agreed that the venue of subsequent TICAD Summits be alternated between Japan and Africa.

The interval of summit meetings was also shortened from every five years to three years.
US, Canada, Australia Expose Role In Zimbabwe Unrest
August 27, 2016
Herald Reporters

Foreign countries that have been sponsoring a wave of violent demonstrations in Zimbabwe through opposition parties and their proxies in the civil society have finally come out in the open supporting their actions. Demonstrators drawn from mainly MDC-T and their appendages in the civil society, have been looting shops, blocking roads, stoning cars and destroying property as well as attacking innocent people who were going about their business in Harare.

Yesterday morning, the United States Embassy, Canada and Australia issued separate statements supporting the protests and condemning law enforcements agents for maintaining peace and order by arresting illegal protesters. The statements were meant to coincide with a demonstration that flopped in Harare yesterday.

“The United States is troubled by the economic policies and financial strains that have prompted numerous recent protests in Zimbabwe and we join many Zimbabweans in their deep concern over reports of violence during some of the protests,” reads statement released by the US Embassy in Harare yesterday.

“The United States supports freedoms of speech and assembly and we call on the Government of Zimbabwe to exhibit restraint and respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, including those basic rights.”

While the embassy said it supported non-violent demonstrations, it did not condemn the violence instigated by opposition elements over the last few months.

The US Embassy also said it was “monitoring recent threats to crackdown on activists using social media”.

On the other hand, the Canadian Embassy said: “The Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe is increasingly concerned with reports of violence and human rights violations in response to public protest.

“The Embassy of Canada calls for calm and stresses the importance of peaceful dialogue. The Embassy of Canada reiterates its call on all stakeholders to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular, the freedom to peacefully demonstrate, the right to personal liberty, the right to personal security and the rights of arrested and detained persons.

On its part, the Australian Embassy said it shared the “concerns of many Zimbabweans at the violence, which has occurred over recent weeks in Zimbabwe.

“The use of violence is not acceptable under any circumstance. The Australian Embassy wishes to emphasise that the rule of law, respect for human rights, right to free speech, freedom of assembly and other democratic freedoms are at the heart of the Zimbabwean Constitution and must be respected by all parties.

“We encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure the democratic freedoms of all Zimbabweans are fully protected.” But political analysts who spoke to The Herald said their statement vindicated Government position that some of these countries sponsored the current protests.

“Whilst we hear those embassies gleefully rubbing their hands at the chaos, we did not hear them condemning the violence being perpetrated by these elements,” said political analyst and lawyer, Mr Terrence Hussein.

“Government must only be guided by the Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe. If they feel the laws are being violated then they must act accordingly.”

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cde Kindness Paradza said the statements vindicated Government position that Western countries were behind the current wave of violent demonstrations.

“All along, we have been saying these countries and their allies are sponsoring illegal regime change in Zimbabwe over the years through all sorts of machinations with the latest one being these violent protests targeting properties.

“As the committee on Foreign Affairs, we warn these embassies and their Governments that their freedom ends where ours begin.

“They must not interfere in our internal affairs. What they must know is that we are different from Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. Our security forces have the capacity to deal with these hooligans,” said Cde Paradza.

Legal practitioner, Mr Tendai Toto, said it was important for the embassies to also condemn violence that was being perpetrated by protesters.

“It is right that these embassies take constructive diplomatic efforts to help address concerns identified.

“Equally weighty efforts must be attached to denouncing violence and destruction of private and public-owned property and the violation of equally valid and guaranteed freedoms of others alongside the calls for the respect and protection of the freedoms of expression and assembly that underpin the occurrences and execution of the demonstrations,” said Mr Toto.
13 Protesters in Zimbabwe Court
August 27, 2016
Tendai Rupapa
Senior Court Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

This picture collage shows Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation pick-up trucks that were torched by rowdy MDC-T youths during an illegal demonstration in Harare yesterday, the Harare Fire Brigade dousing flames on one of the trucks and an empty cash register on the pavement after being emptied of cash by the rowdy youths at a Choppies Supermarket, Nelson Mandela Avenue

Thirteen of the protesters aligned to MDC-T who allegedly ran amok in Harare Central Business District and destroyed property before setting ablaze a police van and a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) vehicle on Wednesday, yesterday appeared in court charged with public violence. It is alleged that they also looted supermarkets, including Choppies along Nelson Mandela Avenue, where they stole various goods.

The court heard that a police base at Market Square bus terminus was also destroyed. The suspects are Tinotenda Mhungu (23), Admire Mashenu (35), Washington Mavere (32), Elfigio Honzeri (38), Khosa Hlalanilathi (26), Tendai Mandimika (42), Douglas Dhorobho (54) and Munyaradzi Tafirenyika (43).

Their alleged accomplices are Jairos Munyanyi (51), Ronald Tafirenyika (40), Vincent Ndoro (38), Mayor Vhuranda (34) and Collen Makeche. The gang appeared before magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe who remanded them in custody to Monday for bail application.

They are being represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights led by Mr Jeremiah Bhamu. Mr Bhamu told the court that the arrest of his clients was a subject to dragnet arrest.

He said they were arrested while at their workplace at Roselyn House along Nelson Mandela. He is also submitted that Mandimika is an accredited journalist who was also arrested while covering the skirmishes.

The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that the gang teamed up and held a public gathering along Nelson Mandela Avenue where they had a public meeting in the Central Business District, Harare.

It is alleged that they conspired to proceed within the CBD and caused public violence, setting ablaze State-owned properties which included two motor vehicles, Ford Ranger belonging to the police and a Mazda BT50 belonging to ZBC. The court heard that the gang allegedly stoned privately-owned motor vehicles, looted from shops and disturbed the peace, security and order of the public.
Zimbabwe Fights Imperialist Regime-Change Strategy: MDC-T Violence, Human Shields and Choppies
August 26, 2016
Tichaona Zindoga : Political Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

There is a particular trend regarding violence that has been witnessed in Zimbabwe over the past couple of months that all watchers, analysts and authorities must now be seized with to fully understand the trajectory of the country’s politics. On Wednesday, police fought running battles with MDC-T youths who went on a rampage of destruction, burning a police vehicle and a van belonging to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and looting shops in the process.The melee had started off as a petition march by the MDC-T youths — coinciding with the launch of what they call #MyZimbabwe Campaign — which predictably degenerated into open warfare between the youths and police.

In historical terms, the opposition and its appendages in the civil society sector have been staging all manner of protests, marches and demonstrations to ostensibly draw attention to certain grievances — which is well within their constitutional rights as Zimbabweans.

However, these actions have largely been underpinned by a political motive ranging from a desire to show cause and force to outright showmanship meant for Western donor attention.

It is not even a secret that many organisations and individuals behind such actions have tended to smile all the way to the bank. It is the self same situation with the MDC-T party led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who by his own account has enjoyed the “fruits of torture”.

Thus the opposition and its cousins in the so-called civil society, which enjoy the mutual patronage of Western funders that seek regime change in Zimbabwe, always pull off these stunts.

Their real prayer is that one day, there will be a spark to torch off a conflagration of a civil war that will force the abdication of the Zanu-PF Government.

Hence, such incidents such as those witnessed on Wednesday, like many violent exhibitions before, should be treated as acts of terrorism and banditry.

The question of peaceful demonstration quickly falls away when it is drawn in the boardroom at the onset that every demonstration should end up in a confrontation with the authorities, failure of which equals lack of success.

The MDC-T has a violent clique within its ranks that it uses to provoke and undertake illegal acts. The so-called “Democratic Resistance Committees” were set up for the purposes of violence and urban terrorism.

As we speak, the so-called #MyZimbabwe Campaign is a purely violent campaign meant to cause anarchy in the country and information at hand indicates that the youth assembly has planned successive violent campaigns from now till 2017.

It will also be critical to know that the #MyZimbabwe Campaign is the culmination and formalisation of the activities that have been sporadically carried out by the outfit calling itself #Tajamuka.

The intention of these violent activities is not only to get the attention of funders, but also set Zimbabwe up for discussion at such forums as Sadc, the African Union and at the United Nations.

This is with a view to putting pressure on the Zimbabwe Government via international sanction.

It does not matter that the incumbent government is legitimate, having won popular mandate in the 2013 elections and has about two years still running.

Human shields, human tinder

There is a clear strategy that is being employed by the violent goons belonging or aligned to MDC-T which basically revolves around choreographed acts.

Whether illegal or have a veneer of legality through a half hearted police clearance, the violent-end script remains the same.

And if it turns nasty, as intended, the result will be something that will be so dramatically telegenic for the audience of local (as in foreign embassies) and foreign funders in the west.

It is such a pity that the Zimbabwe Republic Police always appear to swallow the bait thrown at them by these goons. There is a strong view that the police force appears ill-trained and unprepared to deal with attention-seeking and violent protesters.

There have been a number of occasions when observers have felt that the police should have left the protesters be, so that the whole thing fizzles out without incident.

Of course, things are not as simple as that. What is beyond question, though, is that police need to be a lot smarter and savvier than they are today.

It is a good case for the development of newer and technology-based policing methods that will keep such equipment as tankers, teargas and water cannons — which are being found to be eternally handy today — behind the scenes.

There is also the danger that images of these machines rolling up and down our streets not only create a siege mentality (a defensive or paranoid attitude based on the belief that others are hostile toward one) in the people.

They also perpetuate the notion that Zimbabwe is a war zone — an erroneous view that has denied the country critical investments and tourists.

It is common cause that the denial of investments and tourist revenues has been one of the reasons why Zimbabwe has faced economic challenges since 2000.

The police and authorities of this country will not be counted to like to be associated with the de-campaigning of Zimbabwe, will they? One of the key pillars in the strategy of anarchy by the opposition is to use ordinary people in Harare or urban areas as human shields — and even better — tinder.

It goes like this: the anarchists begin their march, legal and illegal and as they come into confrontation with police, which they likely provoke, they run into squares, streets, shops, buses or any other place where people will be conducting their business.

The provoked and in particular not-so-smart police, wade into the same crowd trying to fish out identified hooligans and clear the area.

Many people are caught in the crossfire. The police have two choices either to withdraw and let the instigators go or to pursue. They often choose the former option and get into hot pursuit of their targets leaving a trail of battered innocent people, which has obvious consequences on the image of the police and greater good they seek to achieve.

But that is not the worst case scenario. What the anarchists not only want the police to behave like provoked bulls, which they usually do.

The anarchists hope to turn the people against the police when they wade into public spaces trying to retrieve anarchists.

Anarchists want people to turn against the police, beat up police officers, burn police vehicles and be emboldened to burn government buildings and property, police stations, beat up soldiers, storm army barracks, grab weapons, overpower the military and seize control of the country.

That will be a “revolution” for them.

That is a script they are trying too hard to follow, a well-worn template that we have seen on TV.

Police should be a lot smarter than they are or they should be able to tell one day how they torched off a conflagration that would engulf them and the whole nation — perchance without a prospect of recovery.

Looting Choppies

There has been a worrying trend, especially this year where the #Tajamuka-style protests have targeted Choppies Supermarket stores in Harare and hoodlums looted and ransacked shops.

On Wednesday, they were at it again.

Choppies Supermarkets is partly owned by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko and it is for the precise reason that the shops have been attacked, especially by groups that once protested his stay while awaiting Government allocation of a house at a hotel in Harare, claiming that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

It has now shown that the attacks on VP Mphoko’s business is not only political, but criminal to the extent that it endangers his office and person as the country’s vice president.

One does not have to like him or even to belong to his party to see this self evident fact.

(For its own part, Choppies chain began way back in Botswana in 1986 in a small village-town called Lobatse and has now expanded across southern and eastern Africa.)

This hate has reached an endemic level that is close to a phobia that can also now be shown to exhibit an unfortunate tribalistic tincture.