Let’s be real, not romantic

2012-03-10 19:04

From the document it seems the ANC is becoming irritated with the African Union (AU)?
We take it from our own example: how important it is to put institutions in place in order to function. We understand the AU is a huge body of different countries and regions. But is the institution quick enough to act when people’s lives are in danger? Can it operate in structures that are effective? Does it have leadership that is bold and does not have to be told by somebody else “you must go this way”?

That is a frustration?– look at Libya. We tried to intervene, but as an institution we were slow. It is fine for us to say by the time we got there Nato had started bombing and the team couldn’t go there but the bottom line is, the institution moves too slowly.

Why is it so slow?
The minute something like Libya happens people look at their interests. Why must people look at their interests and somebody else’s interests? Why must Africa continue to be pulled on a lead? Leadership must have confidence in itself to make quick decisions.
 
From the document it seems the ANC wants to reopen negotiations about the Ezulweni consensus, which proposes two permanent seats with veto rights on the UN Security Council? What does the ANC want?
It wouldn’t be correct for me to say this is what we want. It is also about a broader discussion on who is with us, who is supporting us. Who will be the best partners for South Africa in the next 20 to 30 years?

Obviously we have to start here in Africa, because you can’t run around out there if the ones here are the ones who can either put out the fire or put more fuel on it.

We have an African agenda and sometimes they say, what African agenda? They tell us: “You, South Africa, are the bullies around here, imposing on us where you think Africa should go.” But we are a living example of how you can come out of the conflict environment and compromise.

One of the biggest challenges we have when we deal with negotiations are people just digging in their heels. And we are not perfect, but we are getting there.

There is also a sense of unease about China in the document?
The ANC wants to be realistic: we don’t want to romanticise our relationship with whatever country supported us in the past. We will forever be indebted to many countries but we want to be realistic about where those relations take us.

You know you have the capacity to build a road in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but our companies go there and they find they are in competition with the Chinese.

You say elections in Zimbabwe will not solve problems there. What will?
There are other older issues in Zimbabwe like building strong sustainable institutions – you don’t just build institutions for elections.

At party-to-party level we have to engage. That is the party we know. We were out in the bush together, but we don’t undermine other parties.

There is nothing wrong with the ANC helping Zanu-PF with elections.

Because we are former liberation movements there are certain values we agreed upon. It is possible others in Zimbabwe have shifted on these values. Our role is to ask, “Why are you shifting? Do you recall when we were out there and what we agreed upon? Are we still going along the same route or not?”

Even though they sometimes say, you in South Africa allowed these white people to run your country, you are nowhere as black people. We know that. We are very conscious of that.
We said South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

What is the ANC’s view on Swaziland?

There is a need for us to open up the discussions in the ANC because in the ANC itself there are people who are church people and traditionalists and who look at Swaziland and say, “ah, we still like what we see there. The people of Swaziland love their king and you can’t come now and give them guns.”

Does the ANC still see Africom (Africa Command, the military unit that polices the US foreign policy) as a threat?
We think it is abusive, because some people find it very difficult to refuse if the US comes and says it wants to do something. Why must the US have military bases? They say Africa is the next big thing when you want to come and open bases all over.

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