Recent weeks have seen South Africa’s crime intelligence boss, Lieutenant General Richard Mdluli, suspended, reinstated, and suspended for a career third time by the Acting National Police Commissioner, Major General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi, pending an ongoing court inquiry into the 1999 murder of Mdluli’s former lover’s husband, Oupa Ramogibe.
Last week saw the deepening of divisions between South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) and its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). This comes at a time when the party’s youth league (ANCYL) has also become increasingly antagonistic towards the ANC.
Tuesday 22 November 2011 saw the controversial and much dreaded Protection of State Information Bill (POIB) tabled before the South African Parliament. Spearheaded by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), its original objective appears to have been to replace the apartheid-era Protection of Information Act of 1982, so as to bring South Africa’s state information legislation more in line with the country’s Constitution and democratic principles.
Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Joice Mujuru, recently called for a thorough probe to be conducted into a fire that killed her husband, Solomon Mujuru, at his farmhouse in Beatrice, just south of the capital, Harare, on the evening of 15 August 2011. Despite this, little – if any – independent investigation into the matter has taken place. Solomon was one of the most feared kingpins within President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU-PF and was Zimbabwe’s most decorated post-independence army general. The circumstances surrounding the fire remain suspicious, yet Mugabe has failed to order a special inquiry into Solomon’s death.
In early September, South Africa’s Judicial Services Commission (JSC) interrogated President Jacob Zuma’s nominee for the position of Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, in an effort to establish his suitability for the top judicial post in South Africa. The JSC’s interviewing of Chief Justice nominees is a procedure provided for in South Africa’s Constitution. It is a crucial element in South Africa’s exemplary system of checks and balances and is designed to preserve the independence of the judiciary. Theoretically, the President is unable to appoint his choice of Chief Justice until he has consulted with the JSC and leaders of opposition parties, receiving and considering their comments.
Mathieu Yamba, the Chairman of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, in late June announced the lifting of a ban which had formerly prevented the sale of diamonds mined in the Marange diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe. The Kimberley Process’ role is to certify the source of rough diamonds as being free from any conflict financed by the production of such diamonds and to ban diamonds that are not considered to be conflict-free. Yamba’s announcement followed a meeting of the Kimberley Process in Kinshasa, and it prompted civil society members and non-governmental participants to walk out in protest as it is still widely believed that Marange diamonds continue to be tainted by gross human rights violations and, as such, their sale should remain prohibited.