[DEBATE] : (Fwd) JZ does Davos, Mbeki doesn't
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Wed Jan 23 05:30:54 GMT 2008
(If anyone gets SABC int'l, I'll be on tonight debating the do's and
don'ts of Davos from 8-8:30.)
Zuma takes trip to Davos
Cape Town, South Africa
22 January 2008 02:14
African National Congress (ANC) president Jacob Zuma, the ruling party's
prime candidate for president of South Africa when incumbent Thabo Mbeki
steps down next year, will be spending the rest of this week at the
World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
"He has been invited there in his capacity as president of the ANC,"
party spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said on Tuesday.
In this regard, he would not be speaking officially at the meeting, nor,
Rikhotso said, did Zuma have a specific agenda he planned to pursue
while in Davos.
"However, I am sure there are many of the world's business leaders and
politicians at the event who are going to want to discuss with him what
is happening in South Africa.
"He is the one the ANC has decided will be presidential candidate at
next year's general elections," he said.
The forum starts on Wednesday, and will end on Sunday. Among those
attending are 1 000 of the world's top business leaders, plus various
heads of state and political leaders.
A South African government delegation to the forum is expected to
include Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa and Finance Minister
Unlike in previous years, Mbeki will not be attending the global
Asked if Zuma had been mandated by his party to pursue any particular
areas of interest, Rikhotso said this was not the case. He also did not
know of any specific interviews or meetings the ANC head might have with
politicians or business leaders while in Davos.
One of the items on the WEF's 2008 programme is "aligning interests
across divides", set against this year's principal theme, "The Power of
In this regard, the forum's website refers to "countries endowed with
energy and natural resources ... [that] are demanding a greater voice in
global governance and international business".
It lists South Africa -- along with the Arab Gulf states, Iran, Nigeria,
Mexico, Brazil and Russia -- among these.
Rikhotso said this was a topic on which Zuma might have discussions, and
one of great interest to the ANC.
"We support the call for elevation of the voice of poor countries,
particularly those from Africa," he said.
Zuma is set to return home on "about" January 28, Rikhotso said. -- Sapa
The elusive president
Mandy Rossouw: COMMENT
21 January 2008
Where is Thabo Mbeki? This is the question many ANC members have been
asking since he failed to attend the important first meeting of the
party’s new national executive committee (NEC), as well as the party’s
birthday celebrations in Atteridgeville last weekend.
Speculation abounds. Despite secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s
insistence that no sleep is being lost, the rank and file is not
impressed. They see Mbeki’s stayaway as a snub.
“Certainly he could spare a little time? It looks like he is licking his
wounds and doesn’t want to face us,” a provincial ANC representative and
Zuma supporter said.
In an unusual move Mbeki, who is not in the business of hosting regular
press conferences, addressed the media on January 12 for the second time
in a month and therefore secured the front page of almost every Sunday
newpaper. It wasn’t great news; it concerned the charges against
National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi.
Is it coincidence that the press conference was on the very day the
newly elected ANC president delivered his all-important January 8
statement? His detractors think not.
“Mbeki stole Zuma’s limelight and he knows it. He was clever in making
sure that whatever came out at Atteridgeville would not be the thing
people talked about and that [Mbeki’s media address] would be the main
thing on television,” a regional ANC leader in Gauteng said.
Mbeki’s supporters make no secret of the fact that, despite the Selebi
issue, Mbeki was in no hurry to get to Atteridgeville.
Said an ANC insider: “How could he be seen sharing a stage with someone
[Jacob Zuma] who is going to court later this year for the very crimes
that he has been fighting against throughout his term in office? What
does that say about his stance on corruption? It will be seen as him
Suggestions were made that Mbeki does not, or cannot, face NEC meetings
where his ideas might be ripped to pieces.
“How would you feel sitting there knowing that all you have worked for
is now being taken apart bit by bit. You still think you were right in
what you planned and now it is all changing. It’s painful, the man is
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