John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Showing posts for "South Africa"

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma Stonewalls on Corruption Charges

by John Campbell
A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A member of the Economic Freedom Fighters stands on the roof of a house they built for an elderly woman, near the homestead of South African president Jacob Zuma (in the background), in Nkandla January 11, 2014. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

South Africa’s Public Protector stated in a recent report that taxpayer money funded improvements to Nkandla, President Jacob Zuma’s private estate. The public protector found this “unconscionable, excessive, and caused a misappropriation of public funds.” President Zuma made his first public comment on March 31, in remarks carried by a TV station. He said, “I never did anything wrong.” In effect, he is blaming his subordinates within the governing African National Congress (ANC). Read more »

Tracking South Africa’s Democracy in Real Time

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.”
Source: FACTIVA A search of FACTIVA’s database revealed preliminary evidence that reporting on service delivery protests has been increasing since the early 2000s, with a sharp downturn in 2013. However, this data is limited by internal factors such as FACTIVA’s addition of new sources and external factors like the media’s use of the term “service delivery protest.” Source: FACTIVA

This is a guest post by Le Chen, Janice Dean, Jesper Frant, and Rachana Kumar. They are Master of Public Administration students at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs. They are working with Ambassador John Campbell on a graduate practicum project, which was made possible by faculty adviser Professor Anne Nelson. A longer version of this post appeared on the World Policy Blog. Read more »

Nigeria is Officially “Africa’s Largest Economy”

by John Campbell
Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Trucks are seen parked around an automobile workshop overlooking the Lagos business district at the Orile-Iganmu in Lagos August 29, 2013. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

On April 6, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics announced that after “rebasing,” Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) almost doubled to U.S. $509.9 billion. That figure is dramatically larger than South Africa’s 2013 GDP of $370.3 billion, and bestows on Nigeria the bragging rights of being the largest economy in Africa. Read more »

HIV/AIDS in South Africa: Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

by John Campbell
Children run past a mural painting of an Aids ribbon at a school in Khutsong Township, 74 km (46 miles) west of Johannesburg, August 22, 2011. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) Children run past a mural painting of an Aids ribbon at a school in Khutsong Township, 74 km (46 miles) west of Johannesburg, August 22, 2011. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) published the “South African National HIV Prevalence, Incidence, and Behaviour Survey, 2012” on April 1, 2014. It is the definitive survey of HIV/AIDS in South Africa to date, and is part of a series, with earlier surveys published in 2002, 2005, and 2009. The Survey is funded by, among others, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Read more »

Really, Really Rich People in Africa

by John Campbell
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (back L) looks on as Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote points to the site of a new cement plant branch during a commissioning ceremony at the Dangote cement factory in Obajana, Kogi state, June 11, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan (back L) looks on as Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote points to the site of a new cement plant branch during a commissioning ceremony at the Dangote cement factory in Obajana, Kogi state, June 11, 2012. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

According to Forbes, the first African ever has entered into the “top 25” of the world’s billionaires. He is Aliko Dangote, number 23. Forbes says that his net worth is now U.S. $25 billion up from $3.3 billion in 2007. His wealth is based on cement, but he is also investing in agriculture. Read more »

South African President Jacob Zuma’s “Let Them Eat Cake” Moment?

by John Campbell
A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters) A general view of the Nkandla home of South Africa's President Jacob Zuma in Nkandla, August 2, 2012. (Rogan Ward/Courtesy Reuters)

There is an apocryphal story that in France, King Louis XVI’s queen Marie Antoinette was once told, “Madame, the people have no bread.” To which she replied, “then let them eat cake.” The reality behind the story was of a self-centered court widely perceived as isolated from the French people. The French Revolution followed shortly after. Read more »

Dust Up Between Pretoria and Kigali

by John Campbell
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres) Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (2nd L) pays his respects to former South African president Nelson Mandela on the last day of Mandela's lying in state at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, December 13, 2013. (Alexander Joe/Courtesy Reuteres)

South Africa on Monday expelled three Rwandan officials from its embassy in Pretoria. They are charged with complicity in an assassination attempt against a Rwandan dissident living in South Africa. In response, Kigali expelled six South African diplomats. Read more »

The Upcoming Elections South Africa and the Left

by John Campbell
Election officials assist Khulasande Matabese, eighteen, as he registers to cast his ballot in elections scheduled for May 7 in Cape Town's Langa township, February 8, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters) Election officials assist Khulasande Matabese, eighteen, as he registers to cast his ballot in elections scheduled for May 7 in Cape Town's Langa township, February 8, 2014. (Mike Hutchings/Courtesy Reuters)

Stephen Grootes, a political analyst writing in the Daily Maverick, observes that the “chattering classes” in South Africa seem to be fascinated by Julius Malema and his new, left-wing political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). Will the party get up to 10 percent of the vote, presumably mostly at the expense of the ruling African National Congress (ANC)? Grootes doubts it, but at present he thinks that it will get more than the 1 percent that he predicted last year. Read more »

South Africa’s Upcoming Elections

by John Campbell
ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma puts on his reading glasses during the opening of a leadership conference in Polokwane, December 16,2007. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters) ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma puts on his reading glasses during the opening of a leadership conference in Polokwane, December 16,2007. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Courtesy Reuters)

Election day will be May 7, South Africa’s first after the death of Nelson Mandela. Conventional wisdom is that they will be the most competitive elections in the country’s post-apartheid history.

Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) at present holds about two thirds (66 percent) of the seats in parliament and controls most of the provincial governments. Historically, most of South Africa’s blacks citizens, constituting about 80 percent of the population, have supported it. But, recurrent scandals, poor service deliveries in the townships, and issues with the leadership of president and party leader Jacob Zuma are eroding its once overwhelming support. Most commentators think that the ANC will loose seats in these elections. Read more »

Tracking the Traffickers: The Debate over Legalizing Trade in Rhino Horn

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Kenya Wildlife Service  wardens wait for a tranquilized male white rhinoceros to collapse to the ground, before implanting a radio transmitter, at the Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya's Rift Valley, 160 km (99 miles) west of the capital Nairobi, November 8, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters) Kenya Wildlife Service wardens wait for a tranquilized male white rhinoceros to collapse to the ground, before implanting a radio transmitter, at the Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya's Rift Valley, 160 km (99 miles) west of the capital Nairobi, November 8, 2013. (Thomas Mukoya/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

2014 has had a bad beginning with respect to the preservation of Africa’s remaining rhino populations. The South African government announced that by January 17, thirty-seven rhinos had been killed in South Africa. According to the Washington Post on January 31, over 1,600 have been killed worldwide in the past two years. There could be fewer than 25,000 rhino left worldwide. Read more »