Éditoriaux de l'Ifri L'Afrique en questions

Thabo Mbeki's Fall and Succession: Interview with Thierry Vircoulon L'Afrique en questions, No. 4, November 2008

L'Afrique en questions 4. : La chute et la succession de Thabo Mbeki

Summary: South Africa's president since 1999, Thabo Mbeki was forced to resign before the end of his mandate after he lost the trust of ANC, his own party. This dismissal happens at a time when South Africa's economical and social context becomes confused. (The Text in English is going to be available soon)


Sylvain Touati: Can you explain in detail ousting of President Mbeki and his replacement by Kgalema Motlanthe? What led to this sacking and how have events unfolded in the last few months?

Thierry Vircoulon [1]: In fact, the sacking is the consequence of a power struggle between Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma. At first, this struggle favored Mbeki but finally swung in Zuma's favor due to the ANC's internal dynamics.

It is the result of a long judicial saga which first started in 2005 when Jacob Zuma was dismissed of his vice-presidential functions by President Thabo Mbeki [2]. Following that Zuma was accused, respectively, of rape and corruption. He was acquitted of rape in 2006. Although the corruption case [3] preceded the rape accusation, it only ended this September when it was dismissed.

Plans to dismiss Thabo Mbeki gained momentum when Judge Chris Nicholson mentioned during a verdict in September, that the Magistracy had been pressured by the Executive power. Seizing on this public statement from a magistrate, the National Executive Committee, which is ANC's executive branch, called for Thabo Mbeki's dismissal, making it clear that ANC no longer trusted the President. Thabo Mbeki accepted leave of the Presidency on the grounds that the constitution would be respected.

ST: Why was there a need to dismiss Mbeki? Couldn't they agree on a Gentleman's Agreement and allow him to finish his mandate?

TV: Even after Zuma's corruption charge was dismissed in September, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) announced it was planning an appeal. This angered the Zuma Camp who felt it was the last straw. It was felt that the Presidency's continued manipulation of the NPA had gone too far. Judge Nicholson's sentence and his declaration that the executive had pressured him was the ideal platform for Zuma's camp to act on their grievances. According to the statement, Judges had been put under pressure by authorities from the beginning of the case. Acting alone, the judge felt he had to point it out.

ST: Can you explain the events leading up the December 2007 Conference where Mbeki officially lost the party's support?

TV: In fact, ever since he was elected President in 1999 Mbeki has been shrouded in political controversy. Not only regarding his economic strategy, but also his personality. He has always been a controversial political figure. You must first remember that he came to power in 1999 after a closely fought party leadership battle with Cyril Ramaphosa during the ANC's national conference in Mafikeng. Ramaphosa had been favored by Nelson Mandela [4]. But Thabo Mbeki gained an advantage thanks to his knowledge of how the party functions internally and the influence of his supporters [5].

After he took up the post, Mbeki made political decisions that were not supported by everyone within the ANC. He adopted an authoritarian and, in some instances, paranoid leadership style which, at the beginning surprised many people. It later alienated a significant number of ANC members.

At that time, Jacob Zuma was his ally. He recruited Zuma when he was a popular provincial minister of the Kwazulu-Natal. Thabo Mbeki made him his Deputy President [6] from 1999 to 2005 before sacking him following corruption charges. Zuma was a popular Deputy President and did not commit the political mistake of craving Mbeki's succession. But gradually Mbeki became more hostile towards Zuma and brutally ousted him because he did not want anyone else to steal the limelight. That was Mbeki's governing style.

Instead of being modest about his 1997 victory against Ramaphosa and his 1999 Presidential election win, Mbeki wanted to gloat at the expense of his opponents, such as Winnie Mandela. (He had been vindictive towards his former enemies who were powerless anyway) But, he also wanted to persecute them. For example, in 2001, without any real proof, he made mention of a plot against him allegedly devised by three important members of ANC. The accused were also businessmen: Cyril Ramaphosa, Matthew Phosa and Tokyo Sekwale.

Another example of his authoritarian style can be seen in the way he used security services for his own political battles. He used the police, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and Intelligence service. This practice was so widespread that Billy Masethla, head of the secret service had to resign and then launched judicial proceedings [7]; two NPA executive directors were also forced to quit their jobs; and Jackie Selebi, Chief of the police with close links to Mbeki, should have resigned over his supposed links to organized crime but he had support from the president until the pressure was overwhelming [8].

In addition, Thabo Mbeki continued patterns used in apartheid era. He used the ANC's dedicated security services to manage his political affairs. Another classic move was to denounce opponents as apartheid double agents (Bulelani Ngucka, NPA's first head, bore the brunt of this accusation). It was a tactic used to destroy personal enemies within the ANC. Firstly it was very unpleasant, because it was undemocratic and because people within the party, even if they had not been victim to it, criticized this behaviour. This weighed heavily in Mbeki's defeat. In addition to his economic policy which provoked the ire of the ANC's left wing, many of his decisions did not seem rational and surprised political commentators. For example, his position on white people. While Nelson Mandela made reconciliation speeches between the two communities, Thabo Mbeki adopted a confrontational position; In South Africa but also worldwide. He was convinced a global apartheid was being perpetuated. This position was important to him and sometimes appeared on the ANC's website. Thabo Mbeki's afrocentrism sometimes flirted with racism [9]. On one occasion, he attacked Desmond Tutu as the "icon of the white elite". It can even be argued that Mbeki contributed to putting race issues back at the forefront of South Africa's political arena while Nelson Mandela had done everything he could to go the other way.

You also need to add the fact that a clan had progressively been developing around Mbeki. This clan consolidated, fortified and then inevitably retreated into itself. It would not accept contradiction anymore; it was not in the dialogue with others and was almost on non-speaking terms with the party's left wing.

It was not Mbeki's style to hold talks in general. And this went against the ANC party culture. That is why there was a very strong backlash: Cyril Ramaphosa expressed a point of view held by many when he referred to the Polokwane conference [10] as a "democratic watershed [11]". Externally, the ANC appears to have authoritarian attitudes but internally it maintains a strong democratic system including holding debates and issuing polls.

The combination of all this opposition provoked his defeat during ANC's National Conference, at Polokwane, which ran from December 16th to 20th 2007. In the ANC's political system, the Head of the party is the candidate for the presidential election. So, the fact that Mbeki lost the ANC leadership but still remained the Republic's president, left South Africa with two centers of power. It was a precedent for the ANC. Some partisans had even discussed ways to change the system and tried to find a way to distinguish the ANC's president from the Republic's president. Events since September, even if they do not seem to have been planned, have reestablished a unique center of power.

ST: In general, what are the political divides within the ANC? Does the Left/Right divide (Zuma = Left; Mbeki = Right) really make sense? Will the rift survive Mbeki's fall?

TV: The ANC is an alliance. There are different ideological camps within the party. On the left side, there is COSATU [12], South Africa's main union, and the South African Communist Party (SACP). They are linked to the ANC. Members of COSATU and SACP have their seats within ANC's leading authorities [13]. The SACP has an even more complex relationship with ANC. It is a very old party, founded in 1921, which has had a close history with the ANC. The SACP and the ANC decided to combine their structures during the armed conflict at the beginning of the 1960s.

On the other side, there is a right wing which brings ANC members from different backgrounds (traditionalists, African bourgeoisie, etc) around Mbeki and his political line. This struggle between these two sides already appeared in 1997 and 1999 when ANC changed its economic rhetoric, rebranding the Reconstruction and Development Program ("RDP") favored by COSATU to the Growth, Employment And Redistribution ("GEAR") program predominantly inspired by Thabo Mbeki. The Left/Right separation within the ANC is most notable in economic policies where the Left puts emphasis on an interventionist State towards Market and the Right on promoting black people in the Market. With Thabo Mbeki in power, it was the second policy which took precedent.

Above all, these distinctions mirror South African society. Far from being uniform, the African population, which constitutes most of ANC's electorate, has diversified since 1994. A black bourgeoisie has established itself as a new force - a result of Mbeki's political strategy -, "young professional" Africans have enjoyed a strong social mobility. However the "Black Economic Empowerment" policy benefited some but left many others on the sidelines. A sign of this social diversification is the recent opening of a commercial mall in Soweto. Soweto has become a township where the spectrum of the African population (from doctors to homeless people) is now represented. However, some of the township's young residents do not participate to this social progress and have recently voiced their demands through the ANC's Youth League. This group is strongly anti-Mbeki and unanimously backs Jacob Zuma.

Divides within the party are linked to the divides in the whole society. I think they will continue, even if it is too early to see how they will evolve. This cleavage has been exacerbated with Mbeki who, on economic policy, took liberal positions but agreed to certain developments in terms of social security (free water and electricity [14], affirmation action, subsided jobs within "Public Works Programme" campaigns, social benefits and etc). He was neoliberal but had to accept some social concessions - judged insufficient by COSATU and communist party. We observed the presence of this cleavage within the party, but it was less obvious in the government practice which, by nature, needs compromise between the different political and economic lines.

ST: Precisely, let's go into details about this fusion of different political trends within the ANC. Historically the ANC has developed a speech inspired by the left? Why has it been abandoned?

TV: There are two reasons. The ANC had to accept concessions during negotiations, which lasted from 1993 to 1996 [15], for a peaceful end to Apartheid. These concessions were mainly in favor of business circles. There was also the idea within the ANC's right wing that left economic policies (nationalization, etc) did not compliment the party's new role in power and did not make sense in a post cold war context. Moreover, the right wing estimated that the African population would prefer the continuation of the liberal market system without racial segregation above a State with a big public or nationalized sector.

At one period, the ANC was a Marxist-Leninist liberation party but it arrived in power after the fall of the Berlin wall - contrary to other movements in Sub-Saharan Africa. It learned a lesson from it: Moscow was over, communism was over, and it needed to move to something else. Mbeki's faction could rally partisans by playing on the fall of communism and appearing "modern" in comparison with communist speech which, at the time, dominated the ANC due to SACP over-representation. Indeed, between 1994-1995, the party went through a major ideological change of direction which proved traumatic for some members when Mandela announced there won't be nationalization. ANC's political and economic program, initially based on nationalization, underwent a transformation. Mbeki and some others were at the root of this ideological or pragmatic change.

On this point, there is a revealing anecdote told to me. During negotiations to end apartheid (preceding the 1994 elections), due to his negotiating skills and because he was Mandela's right arm man as well as COSATU's chief, Cyril Ramaphosa met one a representative of the Oppenheimer family [16] in a private meeting. Ramaphosa started by making comments on poor working conditions for South African workers. His interlocutor nodded. Then, Ramaphosa mentioned South African workers' bad quality of life. His interlocutor nodded again. Ramaphosa started to ask himself if the Oppenheimer representative was taking him seriously. So, he began the issue of ANC's likely victory in the next elections. Mentioning that the ANC planned to nationalize the mining sector including the Oppenheimer family's mines. Oppenheimer's representative replied that Ramaphosa was probably right but added: "You know a mine is just a hole in the ground". The Innuendo being, if nationalization happened, the Oppenheimer family would withdraw its investments from the South African mining sector [17].

This type of dialogue persuaded numerous ANC senior members to readdress their communist agenda. There was a need to reassure business leaders in order to avoid a deep recession. So, the communist economic agenda was superseded by black economic empowerment and affirmative agenda within a neoliberal economic policy. Thabo Mbeki's objective was to promote black people within the South African market. He did not want to change or end the market economy in South Africa. A move that has since been contested by the party's left wing which seeks to promote state interventionism and advocates the idea of a "developmental State".

ST: After all these deflections and corruption scandals, what is the importance of the ANC in the contemporary South African political landscape? Could this political crisis affect the population's perception of the ANC? Could it have electoral consequences?

TV: The ANC is still the party which freed African populations, which led the fight against apartheid and which paved the way for a black Head of State. That is what the party still represents. Of course, this perception varies in different parts of South Africa's black population. Of course, for the new generations, this vision is not exactly the same. But the party's history is taught at school. So its legitimacy remains in the mindset of new generations. I did not look in details at the last electoral results. In general, the ANC won with between 60 to 70 % of the vote. I doubt it would be different at the next elections. The change will be in abstention which is likely to increase within the black community because there are no real challengers to the ANC (for example, Desmond Tutu announced he won't vote in 2009). The ANC still remains in a dominant position. It could lose many voters. But at this time, there is no credible alternative on the South African political landscape.

ST: In recent weeks, we have heard the creation of a new political party with former ANC members. What is this about? Could it affect Jacob Zuma's predicted election win?

TV : Splits from the ANC have a history and it is not a happy history. There were two secessions in the past. The last one was in 1959 when Robert Sobukwe founded Pan African Congress (PAC) [18] to oppose multiracial lines within the Party. The PAC was more radical [19] on racial issues banning non-Africans from the ANC's Central Committee. In the 1994 elections, PAC got 1.25% of the vote.

Another breakaway faction was led by Bantu Holomisa [20]. In 1996, and only two years after he joined the party, he left ANC and founded UDM (Union Democratic Movement) with Ralph Meyer, an Afrikaner politician who played a very important role during the 1994 negotiations ending apartheid. The UDM seemed to have a certain importance for its first three years but fell drastically in 2001 due to a lack of support and means.

I do not think the next secessionist movement will be any more successful. The group is led by former Defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota and Gauteng province governor [21], Mbhazima Shilowa. They want to establish a new party which was nicknamed "Shikota" (contraction of their both names) by the South African press and is now called COPE, Congress of the People. The faction is seen favorably by South African political commentators because it would represent an African opposition to ANC and would diversify voter choices in 2009. Mbhazima Shilowa and Mosiuoa Lekota present their movement in this light. Nevertheless, its life expectancy seems limited, even if the ANC's electorate is being eroded. On the one hand, dissidents take the risk of being completely expelled from ANC, where they have lived out their political careers. On the other hand, they are a minority - as shown during the Polokwane national conference - and each of their meetings provokes a counter-meeting from ANC partisans - as recently seen at Orange Farms [22]. Moreover, they seem to be carrying on a battle lost in December 2007 at Polokwane, while the party's internal balance of power remains unchanged. COPE wants to present itself as a "political innovation" (veiled invitation to the white electorate, "black young professionals" etc…) but it will be difficult due to its composition.

Their Johannesburg's convention looked pretty much like an anti-Polokwane. It brought together high-ranking members of Mbeki's clan who had been in power for the last decade - where they have grown rich [23] - but who have not been included in the ANC's new National Executive Committee. It is difficult to imagine what new political offer they represent. It would be even more difficult to imagine how they would be able to defend their political balance sheet which was contested during the last electoral campaign. On the other hand, the ANC worries about this dissidence because Mbeki's clan members have taken the party's "financial secrets" with them. They could use it to discredit the ANC. On this aspect, COPE is much more dangerous than an external enemy. In a revealing way, Thabo Mbeki is trying to distance himself from this new political initiative and asks that no one uses his name to promote their political agenda [24].

ST: What is Zuma's support within the ANC?

TV: Jacob Zuma is supported by a strong popular and geographical base, such as in Kwazulu-Natal. He is a traditionalist Zulu (polygamist) and also symbolizes a rag-to-riches story that ordinary people can easily identify with: a poor orphan from the Kwazulu region and the son of a Durban township maid. Without an education, he joined the ANC's armed forces when he was 17. He was not part of the ANC elite like Mbeki. He had served as a foot soldier in the ANC's armed forces. He was also jailed for 10 years at the notorious Robben Island prison [25]. When he left it, he rose up in the ANC's ranks, over time becoming one of the movement's head of secret services.

In addition, in the Kwazulu-Natal region, he negotiated peace agreements with Inkatha [26]. After 1994, in spite of Mangosuthu "Gatsha" Buthezeli being in National Union government, fighting was still taking place on the ground. Jacob Zuma was sent to clear up the issue between 1994 and 1998. He had even been provincial Kwazulu Natal state minister. Then Thabo Mbeki called on him to be his Deputy President.

Zuma clearly won ANC's internal struggle at Polokwane conference. Today, his enemy lies on the floor. Of course, "Mbekists" have tried to resist, notably when, to show their support, part of the government quit their posts when he was ousted. The New government retained some of them in the last hour, such as Finance minister Trevor Manuel, in charge since 1996, who has major support from business leaders. In addition, some disappointed Mbeki partisans are leaving the party as a mark of protest and are joining COPE.

ST: This political crisis is taking place with the backdrop of a deteriorating social and economic climate (strikes in mining sector, energy issues, Aids and criminality issues). Would the next South African president have the means to put the country back on track?

TV: I think it is going to be the real challenge of "Zuma's regime". He promised progress on social security issue and wage rises. However, budget margins would feel the pinch, especially in the context of the world financial crisis. The only way would be a sharp rise in taxes. But in South Africa taxes on business are already quite high (35%). In addition, the World crisis is going to have effects on the credit system and South African exports and subsequently reduce external revenues and domestic consumption.

Jacob Zuma has been supported by COSATU and SACP which will certainly make deviating from their rhetoric difficult, while the social context is becoming more challenging. We will have a better idea of his political agenda during the government nominations. It will be interesting to count the number of ministers from COSATU and SACP and which posts they will hold.

The energy issue is not a temporary crisis at all. Regarding the electricity sector, there are two issues. Firstly, there is a production crisis. It means there is not enough electricity produced in South Africa to satisfy both households and business needs. This situation has been caused by strong economic growth during the last few years. Secondly, there is a problem with delivering electricity. Even if South Africa could produce more electricity, supply would not be optimal because the network is overloaded and partially obsolete. It is overloaded for the simple reason that investment decisions, which should have been decided almost a decade ago were never taken. South Africa suffers as result of mismanagement dating back a dozen years. So, as I just demonstrated, it is not a short-term crisis. The most memorable moment of this energy crisis appeared when some mines had to stop their activities in 2007.

Some emergency measures have been taken. For example, the South African government contacted France (Areva, a French nuclear company) to deliver elements for Koeberg nuclear power plant. It also started the appropriate steps to start the building of new nuclear power plants [27]. Some measures also target a diversification of energy sources, notably clean and renewable energy (solar energy, windpower).

Finally, there has been some investments in Eskom, the national energy company; which has seen its budget rise by few hundred million Euros in the last two years.

Moreover, South Africans had been expecting an extension of Inga [28] for the last 15 years but it had never been done. In this case, South Africans were also victims of a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has not come to fruition.

Management of another crisis is also problematic. AIDS is another emblematic example of wrong choices by South African Governments since the beginning of the 1990s, notably by deciding to turn down introduction of antiretroviral drugs. There was blindness at the beginning of the epidemic, a real denial that has consequences 15 years later and leads certain activist groups to ask for the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on AIDS. First AIDS cases appeared at the end of the 1980s. The ANC took in power in 1994 in a lyrical, enthusiastic and determined context. It was not the right moment for a party that had been awaiting ascension since 1912, to immediately announce a series of bad news. To say to South African citizens: "Be aware, there is an AIDS epidemic, it will be terrible, prepare yourself!" did not correspond with the general context at the time. It was not the right climate to announce that. The ANC's general mindset was still the one of a person who just emerged from years of frustration and wanted to celebrate its victory. When the epidemic was later recognized, governmental speech was not at the necessary level to resolve the challenge. Health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, lost all credibility in defending absurd ideas [29].

Concerning security and criminality issues, I would be surprised if Jacob Zuma reveals himself as lax. Until now, he rather proposed radical solutions, notably bring back death penalty and self defense. He represents a tough line towards security issues because it is a popular demand. Insecurity hits, at first and mainly poor townships.

ST: What role and power could intermediary president M. Kgalema Motlanthe have?

TV: He is going to deal with current affairs. He has 7 months ahead, including two months of electoral campaign. In his investiture speech, he announced he wanted to continue the reforms of his predecessor, claiming they were not Mbeki's reforms but the ANC's reforms. He is going to continue with the ANC's guidelines ahead of the election.



[1] Author of book : L'Afrique du Sud démocratique ou la réinvention d'une nation, 2004, L'Harmattan, Paris, 292 p.

[2] On June 14th 2005, Jacob Zuma was forced to resign as Deputy President.

[3] Bribery accusations concerning Jacob Zuma appeared in 2005 when his influential financial counselor, Schabir Shaik, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for bribery and fraud, notably about a South Africa navy's invitation to tender on new war frigates. The two charges Shaik was sentenced for were: -1. Bribery: to have given 1.2 million Rand (US $185, 000 to Jacob Zuma to use his influence towards foreign companies which were applying to South Africa state's invitations to tender, notably French company Thomson-CSF (South Africa navy's invitation to tender on new war frigates). - 2. Fraud: to have cleared 1 million Rand (US $154, 000) from Jacob Zuma's debts. During the whole period of Schabir Shaik's trial, which lasted from 2004 to 2005, Jacob Zuma, with another distinguished ANC figure, Tony Yengeni, were often mentioned in judges' comments. Trials were opened against these two political actors. At the end, Tony Yengeni was sentenced but Jacob Zuma, after a long judicial battle where political influence was constant, got a dismissal of charges in September 2008 due a lack of proof.

[4] Cyril Ramaphosa made a strategic mistake refusing to accept the post of Foreign Affairs minister offered to him within Nelson Mandela's government (Cf. Marianne Séverin and Pierre Aycard, "Qui gouverne la " nouvelle " Afrique du Sud ? Elites, réseaux, méthodes de pouvoir (1985-2003)", In L'Afrique du Sud dix ans après : Transition accomplie ?, IFAS (South Africa), 2004, Khartala, p.17-52. Available online). This refusal was badly perceived by top ANC executives. Moreover, Cyril Ramaphosa stood another strong handicap facing up to Mbeki at Mafikeng conference. He was one of the executives trained in South Africa while Mbeki was trained abroad by the "external school" which played a crucial role during post-apartheid transition.

[5] Do not forget Thabo Mbeki was trained by the ANC since the beginning of 1960s to become a leader. This played in his favor when obtaining the support of important ANC members. Cyril Ramaphosa came from a younger generation.

[6] Deputy President

[7] He was Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He was suspended from his functions in October 2005 and then "dismissed" in March 2006. He tapped some high ranking ANC executives' phones. Trying to protect himself from justice, he made-up a conspiracy, based on false emails he commissioned to an IT engineer, involving ANC members being tapped. This conspiracy was supposed to target Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe. Later, Billy Masethla joined Jacob Zuma's side.

[8] Jackie Selebi is not currently suspended from the police but he is on "special leave" following accusations of personal links with organized crime.

[9] Indeed, Thabo Mbeki often described South Africa as "two nations" and developed concept of "African Renaissance" which aimed to find African solutions to African issues. However, Marianne Séverin, author of a Phd on the ANC networks ('Les réseaux ANC (1910-2004). Histoire politique de la constitution du leadership de la nouvelle Afrique du Sud', IEP Bordeaux, 2006), thinks that Thabo Mbeki was not fundamentally racist. In 1987, at Dakar, negotiating with Afrikaner regime delegates, he told them: "I'm Thabo Mbeki, I'm myself an Afrikaner. Don't worry; you won't be murdered in your bed tonight". Thus, he was surrounded by an Afrikaner parliamentary advisor who played an important role on his 1999 presidential campaign.

[10] The ANC held its 52nd National Conference at the University of Limpopo in Polokwane on 16-20 December 2007. 4 000 delegates were present to decide the t party's new direction as well as elect a new leader. Thabo Mbeki, in charge since 1997, was running. His main rival was Jacob Zuma. After a tense campaign, Jacob Zuma won with 2 329 votes against 1 505 votes for Thabo Mbeki.

[11] "Democratic watershed"

[12] Congress of South African Trade Unions

[13] For example, at the moment, the ANC's Gwede Mantashe is Secretary-General of the African National Congress. At the same time, he is National chairperson of the South African Communist Party. In the past, he was General-Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

[14] In October 2000, the ANC, running for local elections, launched the idea "its" councils will offer a certain quantity of free water and electricity to their inhabitants. A few months later, councils were entrusted with responsibility of subsiding, among essential services they are in charge of, a certain level of free benefits towards poor households. This experience met some success but also many issues in its implementation (Cf. Sylvie Jaglin, " L'équité en question ", Le courrier de la Planète, n°77: http://www.courrierdelaplanete.org/77/article4.php#1).

[15] Date the new constitution came into force.

[16] Founder of this dynasty is Ernest Oppenheimer who immigrated to South Africa at the end of the nineteenth Century. Ernest Oppenheimer founded an economic empire, valued at in the billions of dollars and which made its descendants the richest South African family. The Oppenheimer family played a crucial part in the rise of the mining sector in Southern Africa by founding AngloAmerican, and especially in the diamond industry with an important position within the world diamond sector's leading company DeBeers. Oppenheimer family also owns important land domains in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Nicky Oppenheimer is currently in charge of Oppenheimer family's activities.

[17] Being confronted with similar situations in Zambia (1971) and in Zaire during the reign of Mobutu Sese Seko (notably at the beginning of the 1980s), DeBeers succeeded in reversing nationalization processes in ruining states policies by dumping on price or by its control of diamond central purchasing agencies.

[18] Pan African Congress (PAC). It created its own armed branch in 1968 branded Poqo, then rebranded "Azanian People's Liberation Army"-APLA). After their first acts which attracted a lot of attention, party was banned in 1960, like the ANC, after the notorious Sharpeville Massacres. Afterwards, its influence was limited and its results in the 1994, 1999 and 2005 elections were considered as failures by political commentators.

[19] Notably the slogan: "one settler, one bullet".

[20] Former general within Transkei Bantustan. He joined the ANC in 1994.

[21] Formerly, Pretoria-Witwaterstand-Vereeniging province. Rebranded "Gauteng" in December 1995. Gauteng is the most urbanized province in South Africa. Its main cities are Pretoria, South Africa's administrative capital, and Johannesburg, South Africa's economic capital.

[22] South African city in Vereeniging region, south of Johannesburg. On October 23th 2008, Mosiuoa Lekota partisans rallied there. Outside the conference Hall, ANC partisans were waiting chanting hostile slogans: "Kill Shilowa, Kill Lekota"; and threatening people participating at the conference. Police had to intervene to protect participants.

[23] Shilowa's spouse is Wende Luhabe, an influential businesswoman who is chairwoman for Industrial Development Corporation and some investment funds. In addition to his own contribution, she plays a key role in raising money to finance "Shikota".

[24] He wrote a letter to Jacob Zuma, which has just been made public (http://www.mg.co.za/uploads/mbekiletter.pdf), in which he expressed his bitterness and insists that no one can speak on his behalf.

[25] During the twentieth Century, Robben Island is an island in South Africa, off Cape Town, which served as a political jail for black opponents to the Apartheid regime. Nelson Mandela was detained there for almost 18 years, starting from 1964, before being transferred in 1988 to Victor Vester Prison, near Paarl. Many ANC and other South African liberation movements members were also detained there

[26] Inkatha Freedom Party. Inkahta was founded in 1975 by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, a former ANC Youth League member and Chief Executive Officer of the Kwazulu Territorial Authority. Inkatha's roots are founded in deep Zulu culture resistance, the fight against British imperialism and Afrikaner domination. At its beginning, Inkatha had closed links with the ANC, also barred by Apartheid regime. But Apartheid governments knew how to use personal rivalries between executives of both parties. From 1976, Buthelezi became chief minister of the quasi-independent Bantustan of KwaZulu. Due to this, Inkatha was accused of being an auxiliary army acting on the behalf of the Apartheid regime repressing people revolting in the townships. In 1980, links between Buthelezi and the ANC shattered and Inkatha became a rival to the ANC. At the end of the 1980s, a civil war raged in the East Rand and Natal provinces between Zulus within the ANC and in Inkatha (leading to more than 10 000 deaths). In the beginning of the 1990s, during constitutional negotiations, Inkatha joined the Conservative Party within the anti-election "Freedom Alliance" whose objectives were to stop negotiations and reinforce the idea of an ethnically and territorially divided South Africa. In March 1994, Inkatha accepted to participate in the 1994 electoral process after Buthelezi obtained guarantees about Zulu specificities in the KwaZulu-Natal province.

[27] An invitation to tender had been set up by Eskom. French company Areva and American company Westinghouse are competing.

[28] The Inga hydropower project is currently composed of two barrages in Bas-Congo province in Democratic Republic of Congo. These two distinct pieces are branded Inga I (325 MW) and Inga II (1 424 MW). They have been functioning only partially for the last few years due to lack of maintenance works and spare parts. South African company ESKOM, notably within Westcor Power Project, had the project to revitalize production and develop new capacities. But Inga III (3 500 MW) and the "Great Inga Final Stage" (potentially 39 000 MW) has not started yet.

[29] In 2003, she publically recommended use of an alimentary diet based on lemon, olive oil and garlic to fight AIDS. She was not the only one within South African political class to not realize the scale of AIDS issue. For a long period, President Mbeki had an indefensible position on AIDS. Thus, he publically declared HIV was not at the origin of AIDS and antiretroviral drugs were inefficient and toxic. On his side, Jacob Zuma also had inappropriate comments on this issue suggesting he was protected from AIDS by just having a shower after unprotected sex with a HIV-positive woman.