|Africa News Digest
South Africa Rejects Cheney's Nuclear Apartheid
Sept. 20 (EIRNS)South Africa is holding off joining the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, which restricts participants from reprocessing uranium, supposedly as a means of preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons technology, according to the Sept. 19 Mail & Guardian in South Africa.
South Africa does not want to join the United States-led initiative, according to Minerals and Energy Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, because it does not want to give up its right to enrich uranium.
Exporting uranium only to get it back refined, instead of enriching it in South Africa, would be "in conflict with our national policy" said Ms. Sonjica in Vienna. South Africa is looking for international partners to develop uranium enrichment. It abandoned its nuclear weapons program in the 1990s and is now set to expand its civilian atomic program.
Earthlife Africa, South Africa's main anti-nuclear lobby group, is now claiming that it is worried about how the government will deal with nuclear waste. Earthlife has for years conducted a national campaign against the pebble-bed modular reactor, South Africa's high-temperature reactor project.
Solly Phetla, spokesperson for the Department of Minerals and Energy, says that used nuclear fuel is not waste, because it can be reprocessed and 95% of the material can be recycled, with only 5% high-level waste remaining to be disposed.
Now, used fuel from South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power plant is stored in authorized used-fuel pools on site, as well as in casks designed and constructed for storage of used fuel. There is enough storage capacity for the current operational lifetime of Koeberg.
Eskom, the state-owned electricity utility company, has announced that it would increase South Africa's nuclear share of power generation from 6% to 30% by 2030. This would add 20,000 MW of generating capacity to South Africa's overloaded power grid.
Brits Move To Sabotage EU-Africa Summit
Sept. 21 (EIRNS)In the wake of the progress of South African President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe (see below), British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is scrambling to put his government's efforts to destabilize Zimbabwe back on the top of the agenda, by threatening to boycott the summit of European Union and African leaders, if Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is allowed to attend.
Announcing his decision in an article in the Independent Sept. 20, Brown says he is not prepared to be at the same conference as a leader responsible for the "abuse" of his own people, widespread torture, and the mass intimidation of political opponents.
Portugal, which has called the first EU-AU summit in seven years, invited Mugabe because other African leaders want him to attend. If the invitation were withdrawn, the meeting could collapse, as other African nations would most certainly pull out.
Brown wants the EU to extend the sanctions which already apply to 131 members of the Zimbabwe ruling Zanu-PF party who cannot travel to Europe, and have their assets there frozen, to other members of the Zanu-PF.
Brown attempted to gather support for his attack on the Zimbabwe government, by saying that the best hope for a solution is from within Africa, and pledging support for the efforts being led by South Africa and Tanzania. He promised a huge financial package from Britain and other Western and African nations to rebuild Zimbabwe if Mugabe is removed from power. This would amount to a blatant attempt by outside interests to overthrow the Zimbabwe government,
Only two days before Brown initiated his attempt to sabotage the summit, the South African cabinet welcomed a recent breakthrough between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on draft constitutional amendments that could resolve the principal differences, and allow for new elections to go forward. A bill is already going through the parliament to adopt the agreed-upon amendments.
African Leaders Reject Brown's Sabotage of Summit
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)African leaders are speaking out against British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's attempt to sabotage the European-African summit. Brown has said he will refuse to attend if Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is allowed to attend.
Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United Nations, Boniface Chidyausiku, told BBC's Newsnight program that Mugabe "has a sovereign right" to attend the summit. "He is part of Africa," he said. "Gordon Brown has no right to dictate who should come to Lisbon.... The quarrel is between Britain and Zimbabwe. The United Kingdom Government [is] trying to put this quarrel into a multilateral forum. Really, the meeting between Europe and Africa should go ahead. There are bigger issues to discuss than the differences between the U.K. and Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe's position was backed by the Tanzanian President of the Pan-African Parliament, Gertrude Mongella, who said: "We do know there are some problems, but if somebody wants to arm-twist Zimbabwe, that's not the best way to solve the problems. I think this is again another way of manipulating Africa. Zimbabwe is a nation which got independence. I think in the developed world there are so many countries doing things which not all of us subscribe to: we have seen the Iraq warnot everyone accepts what is being done in Iraq."
Dr. Mongella said that the conflict should be resolved by Africa, and indicated that Brown should approach the Zimbabwe situation in this way.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa also confronted Brown's effort to whip up a conflict in Africa, saying: "I will not go to Portugal if Mugabe is not allowed."
Mbeki's Mediation in Zimbabwe Deals Blow to Brits
Sept. 22 (EIRNS)Mediation efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki in Zimbabwe have dealt a blow to the British-fomented economic warfare and chaos efforts against that nation. Mbeki organized a compromise agreement accepted by President Robert Mugabe and the British-funded opposition, which takes the wind out of the sails of the British plan for protracted destabilization of Zimbabwe. The British gameplan is predicated on setting up and manipulating an internal fight in Zimbabwe over who would succeed Mugabe.
The deal mediated by Mbeki involves the agreement by the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Sept. 18, to back a bill allowing the Zimbabwe Parliament to appoint the President's successor, if he does not finish his term. This will ensure that the succession of the 83-year-old Mugabe will not lead to a chaotic situation, as the British intend. Two days later, on Sept. 20, Zimbabwean lawmakers unanimously supported a compromise constitutional amendment that will affect next year's elections, with both sides making concessions.
The South African cabinet welcomed the agreement. On Sept. 20, after their regular fortnightly meeting, a statement was issued: "South Africa wishes to congratulate the Zimbabwean political leadership for this major step forward in addressing the challenges facing that country.... We will continue to assist where we can, in line with the mandate of SADC [Southern African Development Community], to ensure that these processes result in a lasting settlement."