WikiLeaks: US worried over bling-spending

2010-12-09 23:21

Johannesburg - The United States Consulate in Cape Town was concerned about the excessive spending by South African government ministers and senior officials on luxury cars, a cable released by WikiLeaks said.
"In August 2009, President Jacob Zuma stated that newly sworn-in ministers were thinking about the recession and no longer spending large amounts of public money on luxury cars.

"However, the spending spree continued throughout August and September leading to opposition parties raising the issue in Parliament and trade unions weighing in on the matter," it said.

The cable released by WikiLeaks was created in September 2009 but was only released on Wednesday, December 8 2010.

It said the global economic recession had unleashed a reappraisal of the role of state spending in the South African economy and the Zuma administration should be on the cutting edge of defining this role for South Africa.

Credibility problem

The WikiLeaks cable said Zuma's government had failed to cut down on expenditure and was facing a "credibility problem".

"On the one hand it advocates serving the needs of the poor and encouraging all South Africans to tighten their belts during the current economic crisis, while on the other it is allowing excessive spending of public money on personal luxuries," it said.

Former communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda and Higher Education Minister and SA Communist party leader Blade Nzimande were singled out by the Consulate as the two government officials with the most extravagant spending habits.

Nyanda, who purchased vehicles totalling several thousand rands, spent the most of anyone in the Cabinet, the WikiLeaks cables said.
However, Nzimande's vehicle purchase had evoked the most criticism as it highlighted the double standards at play in government.

The WikiLeaks cable said politically, the "car-gate" scandal had the ability to weaken the Zuma government and increase protests, as a loss of credibility had the potential to create a climate for instability, unrest and general lawlessness.

Smart power

However, in another WikiLeaks cable also released on Wednesday the US Embassy in Pretoria said Zuma had "weathered numerous storms" during recent years and he used several tactics of political survival that gave clues to his personality and leadership style.

"Throughout the most difficult times of the past few years, Zuma came across as reluctant to draw first blood, only displaying subtle determination to take the fight to his aggressors. This is consistent with a leader that is aware of his own strengths - smart power."

Recent cables released by WikiLeaks also focused on ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

A WikiLeaks cable focusing specifically on Malema said it was becoming clearer that Zuma respected Malema and his place within the ANC movement despite his comments.

It said Malema was one of the most outspoken figures of the ruling party and had received more publicity from the news media in recent months than anyone else.

However, it had never been adequately answered whether Malema spoke on his own or with backing from senior leaders of the party.

A WikiLeaks cable titled "Thin-skinned Mbeki will require deft handling" released on Wednesday said US officials "raised caution flags" about statements made by Mbeki and about his ability to accept criticism and manage "collegially".

A message sent to the US administration from the embassy in Pretoria said: "He (Mbeki) has made it known to us that he would like to be invited to Washington before Nelson Mandela, whose global stature has something to do with Mbeki's occasional manifestations of a fragile ego.

"We support his request and hope Washington will be able to accommodate this brilliant, prickly leader of Africa's most important state," it said.


  • Shistirrer - 2010-12-09 23:42

    Wikileaks reminds me of a consultant: Making a big hoo-hah telling us something we already know. This is not news, nor was it a secret.

      Stollie - 2010-12-10 03:54

      @Shistirrer That is not the point. The point is that now we know the US is ALSO concerned. Yes they haven't told us we didn't already know, but I for one sometimes feel that the big international powers do not give a hoot about SA. Perhaps they don't care all that much, but this shows that at least they care a little.

      cervezab - 2010-12-10 05:57

      @Stollie - this information shows that US ambassadors or aware what is going on, but I don't think they care, they just describe what is going on and then they leave it be

      Zion - 2010-12-10 06:29

      These latest leaked cables are a boon for publicity to South Africa. What is also a bonus is the international community is becoming more and more aware of the corruption and incompetencies in government circles. After 16 yrs of graft and theft from the poor it is good to see that Someone out there cares even if we don't like them. So Shistirrer, it is good to know that others care where our own don't give a damn. These consultants are very welcome.

      knorpantoffel - 2010-12-10 06:32

      @cervezab - I agree with you! so next time our govenment goes running for financial help - do you think the US will help? seeing as this is how they spend their money? It is sad that the people that vote these guys into power suffer in poverty, jet they live like milionaires!

      lean - 2010-12-10 09:00

      This is consistent with a leader that is aware of his own strengths - smart power.- very funny... and sounds like US want ppl to belie in this bolsheet.I doubt that this was ever ment to be a secret...

      lean - 2010-12-10 09:13

      We support his request and hope Washington will be able to accommodate this brilliant, prickly leader of Africa's most important state - What is so important about our "state" and about our dumb-dumbs leaders? More Murder, Rape, Major Theft... It seems to me US do not give a cr*p about SA... Just a lots of high words, like "we are concerned" ....oh pls ppl do you really think they are "concerned"... If they would give a damn - we would be like Kosovo & Yugoslavia, but they don't...

      Snoopy88 - 2010-12-10 12:05

      Well its interesting to note that the rest of the world actually knows what's going on in South Africa...

      motsokwane - 2011-08-25 13:00

      The west are not interested in their leaks anymore and have moved on since the leaks started, now they are trying their fame on the developing world, I wonder how much they are charging per leak.

  • Balstrome - 2010-12-10 00:53

    It may not be news or secret, but at least we now know what other governments actually think of our government. And our government now knows that we know this.

      genet - 2010-12-10 10:37

      Hear, hear. Well said.

  • Kevin - 2010-12-10 01:50

    Now haven't we heard all THIS before? Oh yes, only EVERY DAY by any South African not blindly bleating to the ANC masters. Whoever wrote those reports must be a racist and a blood y AGENT! Eeish, jou jakkallas!

  • Joe - 2010-12-10 01:56

    Just as I knew all along: african leaders are mere puppets to the whim of the global community. I do wonder, however, what the cables had to say about white farmers being murdered in a cold blooded race-crime genocide. Chances are: nothing.

      Zion - 2010-12-10 06:33

      Yes but African leaders are the architects of their own future and country and that is why the world has to look after some of them like children.

  • Wolf - 2010-12-10 01:56

    Does anybody really think that this government gives a damn....?????

      April - 2010-12-10 05:39

      Perfectly put! The big powers like to know whats happening, but do they really care? I think not, unless they are affected and I don't think our government gives a rats tail about things that were said in the past.

      PB - 2010-12-10 09:04

      As with everything negative that happens in S.A., the ANC knows that "this too shall pass" with absolutely NO repercussions to them. @Balstrome, I agree, at least we don't feel like no one out there takes note.

  • Kevin Rack - 2010-12-10 05:34

    This is the Party for the Poor. Bwahaha the Hyena Clan are only in for themselves. They have spent Billions on junk, like the billion rand submarines still after 2 years not been moved, bought houses and cars as well as stealing more money that all poor could have got a million bucks cash. Come on Cadres explain this theft without your racist blame the whitey story. Apartheid is long gone. You are like ZANU_PF but worse stealing and starving those who voted for you. Shame the once mighty ANC hijacked by milatant cadres. Blade is right you are dirty thieves of the Heyena clan.

      cervezab - 2010-12-10 06:03

      "Blade is right you are dirty thieves of the Heyena clan." Blade only said that to try to divert attention away from himself as he likes materialistic things more than people. If he was really a communist he would not drive a fancy BMW but instead a nice reliable Trabi if you don't know what a trabi is follow this link

      Zion - 2010-12-10 06:44

      Yes Cervezab, A Trabi or trabant was a small motor vehicle made in the soviet union and Eastern Germany in the cold war years. They were surprisingly reliable given that some of the body panels were made of compressed cardboard. If I recall correctly it was driven by a small 2 stroke motor and huge backlog of potential customers. It was a state funded project.

  • Artoo - 2010-12-10 06:25

    Bloody agents

  • Hannah - 2010-12-10 06:56

    I think this reflects the truth, all that we have been saying for so long so the world agrees with us. Well done WIKI Leaks and thank you for this free speech that we will fight for!!!!!!!!

  • ebdg3000 - 2010-12-10 07:18

    Viva, Wikileaks!

  • Jakob - 2010-12-10 07:29

    so babylons hand is over this sacred land? dont touch the candy, u will burn.!.

  • Tgif - 2010-12-10 07:55

    NNNNOOOO ! wikileaks lies all this is impossible our wonderful Government that is all for a better life for all would never do this it's all fabricated sensationalism and was all taken out of context.

      John - 2010-12-10 08:02

      And the last time I heard the pope is actualy muslim...

  • chriscat001 - 2010-12-10 08:08

    LOL! Never! All lies

  • MayMay - 2010-12-10 08:08

    US has more problems than SA, they need to concentrate on their own cost-cuttings before they end up in another RECESSION !

  • ravencl2 - 2010-12-10 08:12

    Never! Not this government - lol As for the yanks they've deployed brainiacs to Pretoria - not!

  • chriscat001 - 2010-12-10 08:14

    Just a dumb question, but what is all the fuss about Wikileaks. Besides the slight amusement factor about how some of the presidents party and references to others as cartoon characters, they seem to only be telling the world what the world already knows. I mean for true shock factor they would have to keep the world the codes to the US nukes or something like that. Just my 5c worth!

      Hendrik - 2010-12-10 08:38

      well, if you follow the news, you will know. Wiki sympathizers have shutdown mastercard just to show that if the US and whoever whants to shut them up, whey will declare digital war on them. Imagine what else they can do if they can shutdown mastercard??

      chriscat001 - 2010-12-10 08:46

      I dont think that these hackers are doing the right thing by attacking these sites. There are alot of innocent people out there that are just trying to get their Christmas shopping done and trying to pay for it or other stuff through the MC,Visa and Paypal sites. In what way does attacking these sites indeed help their cause

      Jordan - 2011-01-09 18:18

      The Mastercard site has nothing to do with its banking system. So it did not affect people shopping

  • Tyron - 2010-12-10 08:24

    Tehran believes that these cables were intentionally leaked and to me it is starting to look that way. Most of the stuff that is coming out seems to be things that needed to be said but that the US could not say without fear of being politically incorrect. Even the sites that it says are most important to state security is most likely just misinformation. What country in there right minds would compile such a list? It would be destroyed after reading in any case.

      green_goblin - 2010-12-10 08:48

      LOL.. "It would have been destroyed after reading".. watch spy movies much.. maybe mission impossible??

      Dr. Zeek - 2010-12-10 08:56

      "Tehran believes..." Sorry, Tyron that invalidates whateber you want to say. Tehran believes many things, including that young female rape victims should be stoned to death in a public forum and women without the veil should be lashed...

      Nebkad - 2010-12-10 11:50

      @Tyron I agree with you 100%. Your/Teran's point was and still is my impression from the start of all this. The US, in particular the DoD is not a bunch unwise people. I further postulate that the "insider/soldier" who is alleged to have "stolen" this information may have been used by the army to do exactly this. In his mind, he may well have thought he was not being noticed when in fact that was what they (DoD) wanted him to do. Yea..Yeah I know, it's a bunch of conspiracy on my part.

  • Tyron - 2010-12-10 08:25

    Tehran believes that these cables were intentionally leaked and to me it is starting to look that way. Most of the stuff that is coming out seems to be things that needed to be said but that the US could not say without fear of being politically incorrect. Even the sites that it says are most important to state security is most likely just misinformation. What country in there right minds would compile such a list? It would be destroyed after reading in any case.

  • Zanu - 2010-12-10 08:34

    WikiLeaks: "Zuma had "weathered numerous storms" during recent years and he used several tactics of political survival that gave clues to his personality and leadership style." Would that 'survival tactic’, by any chance, be the worst education system on the African continent... have you seen/heard our minister of education? Keep the people uneducated... and they will continue to vote for you! good on ya Zuma

  • green_goblin - 2010-12-10 08:51

    "Nyanda, who purchased vehicles totalling several thousand rands"... I want to get my luxury cars where Nyanda is getting them from if it only cost several thousand rands for multiple vehicles.

  • Mike@CapeT - 2010-12-10 09:14

    Didn't need WikiLeaks to tell us this information - a badly kept secret! Hands up all those, who think our Government gives a hoot. It's not worth becoming a government official unless they can get their dirty hands on the tax payers money for their own luxuries!

  • bill - 2010-12-10 09:18

    Some pigs are more equal........

  • Smanga - 2010-12-10 09:24

    If it's not wikileaks, it's assange, failing that it's dewani! yawwwn!

  • stefan.viljoen - 2010-12-10 09:40

    Countries have no friends, only interests. Don't kid yourself that the US gives a hoot about SA or its people. They'll deal with whomever drifts to the top.

  • Shistirrer - 2010-12-10 10:57

    Ooooh! I love this! The usual sheeple, Kolobe and Poliodonkey, are conspicuous in their silence! The best that Smanga can come up with is "yawwwn". Come on sheeple, bring on your defence of your beloved ANC! Oh - you can't?

  • Gail - 2010-12-10 14:29

    My sainted aunts! What a case of hypocrisy the leader of the Western world shows here. Who do these Americans imagine our leaders are emulating but themselves? Look at the whole stretch limo culture in America while their own people too are facing destitution in harsh Northern wintry conditions. A family of Four could live in one of the limos the wealthy American drives. While I do not condone African leaders such as those cited I think the American Govt should set an example by driving panda's and smaller sedans if only for global climate change. Porn and violence against women has its roots in America's approach to these industries. Africa is aping the Americans here not the Russians and Chinese.

  • lakhan7 - 2010-12-10 15:34 South Africans , we should keep our eyes on other governments. Many countries, such as ours where destroyed , for US/China etc gain. ( how does one destroy a country? Well, Business and Media are manipulated , rife is created by instigation. ) PS: an example on what the US incident has done here - they mentioned that the ANC is failing "Zuma's government had failed to cut down on expenditure and was facing a "credibility problem". " now, this is manipulation to our thinking and our internal problems. It allows the US to subtly dictate ( indirectly ) who should be in power. and this is dangerous. I have been to Rwanda,and heard the stories of the people first hand, their genocide was contributed to interference by a larger power. ( belguim, if im not mistaken )

  • AllHoliday - 2010-12-13 12:33

    Why the whole "pelawa" about wikileaks? We all know about it and it is a good thing that it is all out in the open, is that not what democrasy is all about? Just wonder why they not want wikileaks to talk about it??

  • Allieo - 2011-01-09 18:02

    I love the problem solving that the ANC is using to address the critical state of affairs in the education system by lowering the standards. God forbid they try to actually educate the youth. Oh I forgot the ANC relays on a uneducated voters base to keep them in power.

      Ross - 2011-08-25 12:44

      University standards will of necessity also have to be lowered to fall in line with school standards.

  • Turdy - 2011-04-09 23:45

    @ all intelligent life forms in South Africa (of any race) : The time has come for us to abandon ship. We stuck it out for 17 years of "democracy" ,and for what? I've never been a preacher of doom, but I know that if things don't change after this local election, I'll be packing my bags , first for the cape,and after that anywhere far, far away from the dark continent. Yes we have potential to make things better here, but sadly the mindset of the majority will not change, and useless governance will continue to widen the gap between rich and poor. And yes it's a fact that most of us won't be able to afford it to leave, but if you have the means, do it sooner rather than later. This ship is going down people(very slowly,but very surely)

  • Ross - 2011-08-25 12:41

    We are one of Aston Martins and Bentleys biggest markets. As the emigration brain/IQ drain continues the available money will also drain away and then the fun and games will begin.

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