Article published the Wednesday 09 November 2011 - Latest update : Wednesday 09 November 2011

African press review 9 November 2011

By Michael Fitzpatrick

Julius Malema and friends are summoned to hear what the ANC has in store for them. SA cops locked up for pushing confiscated drugs. The ANC prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday ... at considerable cost. Uganda's government demands proof that it was plotting to kill and opposition leader. 

South African ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema will know his fate tomorrow. According to a story on the front page of this morning's Star, Malema and five members of the Youth League executive have been summoned to Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters, in Johannesburg. The Youth League spokesperson, Floyd Shivambu has also reportedly been told to attend.

All are accused of bringing the party into disrepute for remarks allegedly made, describing Botswana's president, Ian Khama, as a puppet of the West. Malema is also accused of racism and intolerance, as well as of sowing division within the ranks of the ANC.

Malema faces suspension from the ruling party if he is found guilty.

The Star also reacts to yesterday's story in The Sowetan about the three high-ranking police officers found guilty of operating a drug syndicate. Under the headline "Rogue cops make history", we read that, in convicting and sentencing the three officers, Judge Nico Coetzee became the first South African judicial official to send local police officers to jail for racketeering.

The three were sentenced to 25, 22 and 20 years respectively for their activities in managing and maintaining syndicate operations.

They illegally intercepted drugs at OR Tambo International Airport and confiscated some from dealers under the pretext of conducting criminal investigations.

The drugs were then sold to people in Hillbrow, Pretoria and other parts of Gauteng.

The Sowetan reports that next year's ANC centenary celebrations are going to cost at least 10 million euros.

ANC national chairwoman Baleka Mbete admits that's not cheap, but insists it's worth it. She says future generations need to know where we come from. The ANC is gathering archives and information about its history from around the world to be housed in a single location.

About 120,000 people are expected to attend the main 100-year birthday celebration in Mangaung in the Free State in January next year. The main bash will start on 6 January and go on until 8 January.

ANC president Jacob Zuma will deliver the centennial address in Bloemfontein on 8 January. Many international guests are expected to attend.

The cost of that particular party has also caught the attention of news editors elsewhere. In Kenya, under the headline "ANC to spend $12m on centenary party", the Daily Nation says the cost of the celebrations has already come under scrutiny, with the party increasingly chastised for lavish spending in a country where residents of shanty towns regularly protest to demand electricity and running water.

The Monitor in Uganda reports that the government yesterday challenged the opposition to table evidence that their leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, is being targeted by the state. Parliament was split over the walk-to-work protests against corruption and the high cost of living organised by Besigye.

You'll remember that Nandala Mafabi, the leader of the opposition in parliament, recently told the house that he believed the state intended to murder Besigye by attacking him during a staged public disturbance and then administering lethal drugs while transporting the injured opposition leader to hospital.

Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek challenged the Forum for Democratic Change to produce credible information to support the claim. If it does not, said the minister, some people will be forced to believe that it is they who intend to harm Besigye and blame it on the government.

Onek went on to say that it was the government’s view that placing Besigye under preventive house arrest was prompted by intelligence information, suggesting that those planning the campaign had motives other than demonstrating against the cost of living.

tags: African press review - ANC - Julius Malema - Kizza Besigye - Press review - South Africa - Uganda
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