Cablegate: A Royal Rumpus, a New Province, a Stowaway, and an Unwanted

Published: Tue 27 Oct 2009 09:34 AM
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Zulu Kingship Dispute
1. (U) Prince Melizwe Dlamini of Nhlangwini formally asked the
Pretoria High Court on September 30 to decide on his claim that
he be declared a king with the same status as a Zulu monarch.
Dlamini submitted his claim in 2005 to the commission set up by
former President Thabo Mbeki to investigate kingship disputes.
Dlamini states that he only wants to be recognized officially as
Dlamini III, the head of the Dlamini clan, but many see
Dlamini's claim as a direct challenge to the rule of Zulu King
Goodwill Zwelithini. Three chiefs from the Dlamini clan have
since publicly rebuked Dlamini and said that the only Dlamini
III they recognize is King Mswati III of Swaziland.
2. (SBU) If Prince Dlamini is granted the status of king, he
will qualify for the same government resources as King Goodwill,
including support staff, bodyguards, and a personal budget of
R34 million ($4.5 million), reported KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on the Royal Household
Mike Tarr to Pol/Econ Assistant on October 22. Given that the
KZN Royal Household Department announced on October 19 that over
the next three fiscal years King Goodwill must pay back R8
million ($1.1 million) that his court overspent, KZN may not
find the notion of a second king appetizing. A second Zulu king
would also require an amendment to the Traditional Leadership
and Governance Act of KZN which currently only recognizes one
Zulu monarch.
3. (U) KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize told a gathering in
Pietermaritzburg on October 1 that the KZN Provincial Government
only recognizes one Zulu monarch, King Goodwill Zwelithini.
Mkhize vowed to never recognize any other king and instructed
MEC (minister of executive committee, a provincial minister) for
Local Government and Traditional Affairs Nomsa Dube to record
the official lineage of the Dlamini clan. The Nhlangwini
Traditional Leadership Alliance, however, supports Prince
Melizwe Dlamini's claim and has vowed to sue `whoever tries to
distort the history of Nhlangwini.' The Pretoria High Court has
ordered President Zuma to give reasons why the commission is
unable to rule on Prince Melizwe Dlamini's claim or
alternatively to extend the term of the commission by three
months. The Portfolio Committee on the Royal Household will
deliberate on the matter once the court has ruled on Prince
Dlamini's status, said Tarr.
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) Wins By-Elections
4. (U) On September 3, the Independent Electoral Commission
(IEC) announced that the IFP had won the hotly contested
by-election in Ward 11 in uMvoti Local Municipality. The ward
was left vacant after the murder of an IFP councilor in the area
and was contested by both the IFP and the African National
Congress (ANC). The area was affected by political intolerance
and violence in the run-up to the by-election. IFP Provincial
Secretary Bonginkosi Buthelezi issued a press statement saying
the party is proud to have won four out of five by-elections in
the province, including uMvoti. ANC Provincial Secretary Sihle
Zikalala called on ANC members in uMvoti to accept the election
result and `remain calm.'
5. (U) On September 14, the IFP won three of six by-elections
contested by the ANC and the IFP, including the legally disputed
Ward 3 in Imbabazane. The IFP took ward 3 in Imbabazane from
the ANC in the April General Election by a narrow margin. The
ANC subsequently disputed the results in court and forced the
community to hold elections again. `The Imbabazane result is
particularly gratifying given the legal consequences of the
IFP's previous win in that ward,' said Buthelezi in a press
release. The ANC did make inroads into IFP territory, however,
as two of the three wards it won were IFP strongholds.
Durban Not to Follow Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Route
6. (U) eThekwini City Manager Michael Sutcliffe reported to
local media on September 16 that Durban has opted out of the BRT
system because it wants an integrated transport system that is
`slicker and more efficient for commuters.' Durban will instead
introduce an integrated system that will allow commuters to use
a single ticket on buses, trains and mini bus taxis. The plan
will cost an estimated R1.5 billion ($206.9 million) and will be
phased in over the next five years.
Durban Park Becomes Stowaway Refuge
7. (U) Albert Park in the Durban Central Business District has
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become a halfway house for stowaways and a home to hundreds of
foreign men waiting for ships that will take them to Europe,
according to local media. The Mercury Newspaper conducted an
investigation in August after two brothers suspected to be
Tanzanian stowaways were rescued and their two cousins were
found dead on a ship. South African Police Service (SAPS)
Spokesperson Director Vincent Mdunge told the media that `SAPS
are concerned about the increase number of stowaway incidents'
and called on the municipality and port to work together to
prevent more incidents. SAPS will increase patrols of the port
area, said Mdunge.
Sugar Mill Deal Saves Jobs and Farms
8. (U) The future of Gledhow Sugar Mill was settled on August
31, reported local media. Gledhow, the first black-owned cane
crushing facility, was sold by Illovo Sugar to Patrick Sokhela
in 2004, and faced closure because of an outstanding debt of R60
million ($8.3 million). A R350 million ($48.3 million) landmark
partnership was struck between Sokhela, Sappi Company, Illovo
and thousands of local farmers who supply the mill with
sugarcane. The new partnership will save the livelihoods of
about 3000 farmers on the North Coast of KZN. Sugar baron and
owner of the first Black-owned sugar mill Patrick Sokhela
reported to Pol/Econ Assistant that the Gledhow deal received
strong government support as it will benefit several emerging
Black-owned sugarcane farms.
Former KZN Town to Choose Province
9. (U) On October 12, residents of Matatiele held a referendum
to decide whether the town, which was transferred to Eastern
Cape (EC) Province in 2004, will be reincorporated into KZN.
Residents of Matatiele have been protesting since 2004 against
being transferred to EC. Many residents claim that it would be
better to be a part of KZN because service delivery has declined
under EC governance.
10. (U) In 2006, residents took the matter to court arguing
that they were not consulted before being forced to become a
part of EC. The Constitutional Court ruled against them,
however. The ruling led to a split in the ANC in the area, and
saw the emergence of a sprinter group, the Independent National
Congress that won one seat in the provincial legislature of the
EC in the April national election. After the election, new
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs
Sicelo Shiceka promised the Matatiele community that a
referendum would be held to gauge the views of the people.
Chairperson of the Matatiele Action Group and Member of EC
Provincial Legislature Mandla Galo told Pol/Econ Assistant on
October 22 that the community is optimistic that the outcome of
the referendum will result in a move back to KZN. The voting
results are expected sometime in November 2009.
New Dube Terminal Operator Named
11. (U) Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) was selected as the
exclusive operator of the cargo facility at the new R8 billion
($1.1 billion) Dube Trade Port and international airport at La
Mercy, north of Durban. WFS provides cargo handling services to
over 107 international airports. WFS also provide passenger
baggage services, ticket counter services, and mechanical
support for jet bridges, baggage conveyors, and ground
equipment. Economic Development and Tourism MEC Mike
Mabuyakhulu made the official announcement on August 26 and said
WFS had been appointed to a five-year contract to operate the
state-of-the-art airfreight cargo facility, the first of its
kind in Africa. `We are hugely excited to announce WFS as the
new Dube Trade Port cargo terminal operator to help achieve our
objectives of becoming the air cargo terminal of choice in the
South African market.'
Sobantu Residents Demand Services
12. (U) On October 18, residents of Sobantu just outside
Pietermaritzburg protested the establishment of a cemetery on
land they believe should used for new housing. Approximately
200 people took to the streets in anger and burned tires,
creating a blockade at the township's main entrance. Protesters
also disrupted schools demanding that pupils join the protest
march; burned government houses under construction; and looted
shops owned by Pakistanis and Somalis. Police eventually
restored calm to the area by firing rubber bullets into the
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13. (U) In addition to the lack of housing in the area, Sobantu
protestors claim that service delivery is poor and municipal
officials are corrupt. In explaining why they had destroyed
government houses, one protestor said, `These are being built by
a corrupt municipality, which has to go.' Msunduzi Mayor
Zanele Hlatshwayo has since met with Sobantu leaders, but
protesters vowed to march again if their grievances are not
addressed. Head of Community Services Zwe Hulane told Pol/Econ
Assistant on October 21 that discussions with protestors will
continue once Mayor Hlatshwayo returns from a nation-wide
meeting of mayors and municipal managers to address poor
municipal service delivery.
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