John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "South Africa"

Helen Zille’s Colonialism Controversy

by John Campbell
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille arrives for President Jacob Zuma's Sate of the Nation address at the opening session of Parliament in Cape Town, February 12, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Helen Zille is the premier of the Western Cape and a former leader of South Africa’s official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). A former journalist and anti-apartheid activist of German descent, she is famous for being one of those who exposed the murder of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko at the hands of the apartheid security services. Zille has actively sought the transformation of the DA into an opposition party that could win significant support from South Africa’s majority black population. In addition, she was one of those who engineered the selection of Mmusi Maimane, a black politician from Johannesburg, as party leader. She is well known for her outspoken criticism of the dominant African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

South African High Court Blocks Pretoria’s Departure from the ICC

by John Campbell
Judge Willem van der Merwe delivers his verdict in the rape trial of sacked former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma in the Johannesburg, High Court May 8, 2006. (Reuters/John Hrusa/Pool)

Nelson Mandela’s South Africa was one of the founders of the International Criminal Court (ICC). As an early signer of the Treaty of Rome the widespread view within the ruling African National Congress (ANC) was that the ICC was a means of holding accountable dictators and other heads of state for criminal behavior. The ANC government even incorporated the Treaty of Rome into South African law. Hence, violation of the Treaty of Rome is also a violation of South African law. Read more »

Does Free Wi-Fi Improve Internet Accessibility in South Africa?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela holds up a mobile phone as he addresses a conference on AIDS in London, October 21, 2003. (Reuters/Hugo Philpott)

This post originally appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations Net Politics Blog and is written by Chenai Chair and Broc Rademan, researchers at Research ICT Africa, a public-interest research organization that examines information and communication technology policy in Africa. You can find them @RIAnetwork. Read more »

Podcast: Update on Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Volunteers set up eight thousand candles in the shape of the African continent as part of a demonstration entitled "Africa needs medicine now" at the parliament square in Berne, Switzerland December 1, 2005. (Reuters/Pascal Lauener)

In the second episode of the Africa in Transition Podcast series John Campbell and Allen Grane discuss developments across the continent. The topics discussed include: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s extended leave of absence, South Africa’s recent parliamentary brawl, and U.S. arms sales to Kenya. Read more »

South Africa, Refugees, and Populism

by John Campbell
Foreign men from Malawi queue to board buses from a camp for those affected by anti-immigrant violence in Chatsworth north of Durban, April 18, 2015. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Rosettenville, a suburb of Johannesburg, was the site of the February 11-12 burning of buildings alleged to have been used by “prostitutes and drug dealers.” These “prostitutes and drug dealers” have been  popularly identified as “Nigerians.” In the aftermath of the fires, the mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, bitterly criticized the South African government for failing to secure South Africa’s borders. (Mashaba is a prominent leader of the Democratic Alliance, the official opposition to the African National Congress government of Jacob Zuma.) Read more »

What is the African Growth and Opportunity Act?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Representatives from various African nations gather at the opening session at the AGOA Forum during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

This article was originally published on SSA Frontiers

On May 18, 2000, Congress signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act, commonly known as AGOA, into law. AGOA is a trade program meant to establish stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The act establishes a preferential trade agreement between the U.S. and selected countries in the sub-Saharan region. Initially approved for fifteen years, AGOA was reauthorized for ten years on June 25, 2015, by the Obama administration. In its current form AGOA will last until September 30, 2025. Read more »

Parliamentary Brawls Threaten South African Governance

by John Campbell
Security officials remove members of the Economic Freedom Fighters during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, South Africa, February 9, 2017. (Reuters/Sumaya Hisham)

Since 1994, South Africa’s constitutional institutions have strengthened, as has the independence of the judiciary, which now regularly rules against an increasingly discredited Zuma administration. The political parties are becoming more competitive, even as the country regularly holds credible elections. Corruption, especially in the inner circle of President Jacob Zuma and among his allies in the African National Congress (ANC), has probably increased, but it is challenged by the country’s free press and vociferous civil society. However, the parliamentary escapades of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) threatens the strength of South Africa’s parliament, one of the country’s most important institutions. Read more »

Africa’s Presidential Phone Calls

by John Campbell
U.S. President Donald Trump (C) arrives with Steve Mnuchin to swear him in as Treasury Secretary in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, February 13, 2017. (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

Africa featured not at all in the U.S. presidential campaign, and the Trump administration has been silent about the continent since the inauguration. Hence, for American friends of Africa it was encouraging that President Trump spoke with the presidents of Africa’s two largest economies on February 13. However, there has been no White House explanation as to why the president chose the chiefs of state of those two particular countries: arguably, the United States has a closer security relationship with Kenya. As of February 14, the White House has released few details about the conversations, while there have been only brief reports from Nigerian and South African sources. This is not unusual: details of communications among heads of state are rarely made public. Read more »

Jacob Zuma and the State of the South African Nation

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma before speaking to members of the Twelve Apostles' Church in Christ at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, December 4, 2016. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

On February 9, President Jacob Zuma will deliver South Africa’s annual State of the Nation speech in parliament. The substance of the speech is likely to be a mixture of policy stability with calls for “radical” transformation of ownership of the economy. Few expect that the speech will really break new ground or that it will presage “radical” change. Rather, his remarks will be shaped by concern for his legacy and the leadership succession fight within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

South Africa’s ANC Horserace

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (L), who is also the president of the ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), gestures next to his Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, January 9, 2016. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Everybody loves a horserace among political personalities. South Africa is no different. The December 2017 African National Congress (ANC) leadership contest is commonly seen as a race between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the a reformer with an urban constituency, and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, President Zuma’s ex-wife and potential protector of his patronage networks. A possible dark horse is Zweli Mkhize, ANC party treasurer, who has been identified as a likely compromise candidate. There are also suggestions of compromise arrangements, such as Ramaphosa accepting Dlamini-Zuma as deputy president of the party or vice versa. Read more »