Mail&Guardian Online
  make this your homepage
= denotes premium content | sign in 
31 March 2006 04:39 AM Africa's first online newspaper. First with the news.

SEARCH: M&G Online | The Web [ Advanced Search Options ] | enhanced by
Breaking News
Front Page
National
> Courts
> Crime
> Education
> Environment
> Government
> Health
> Media
> Politics
> General
> Transport
> Land & housing
> Foreign affairs
Africa
International
Business
Sport
And in other news
Special reports
Zuma special report
The good news
Week in pictures
News Insight
National
Africa
International
Comment & Analysis
Business
Columnists
Ten Questions
Editorials
Monitor
Krisjan Lemmer
Body Language
FRASER'S RAZOR
Obituaries
Leisure
ARTS
M&G Money
Wheels & Deals
Tech
Escape
Regulars
Zapiro
Madam & Eve
NewsLetters
Blogmark
Forums
Notes & Queries
Letters
Corrections
HIV/AIDS BAROMETER
Partner Sites
The Teacher
The Media Online
Business in Africa
Find your match now!
I am a:
Looking for:
Age Range: to

Career search
Search South Africa's #1 job listings and career advice site.
Find me a job!

FIND

- A job
- A date
- An insurance quote
- Accommodation
- International flights
- Map search
- Business search

MOBILE SERVICES

- Mobile games
- News & Lotto SMS alerts
- Sport SMS alerts
- Weather SMS alerts

QUICK LINKS

- Get your free blog
- Notes & Queries
- Online casino

SERVICES

- Subscribe to M&G
- Subscription queries
- Free news for your site
- Place an advert
National
Mbeki quashes third-term whispers
Cape Town, South Africa
06 February 2006 07:12
The ruling party would not use its majority to alter the two-term limitation on serving presidents, or make any other fundamental constitutional changes, President Thabo Mbeki said on Sunday.

In an interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, he denied having aspirations of standing for a third term as the country's leader.

"By the end of 2009, I will have been in a senior position in government for 15 years. I think that's too long," he said.

"I think that after 15 years, I should step aside in any case."

Formerly deputy president, Mbeki succeeded Nelson Mandela as leader in 1999, and entered a second five-year term following the elections in 2004.

The South African National Civics Organisation has called for a debate on
changing the Constitution to allow Mbeki to stand for another term. But this has been rejected by the ruling African National Congress's youth league and alliance partners.

"The ANC has taken the position that we don't want to change the Constitution," Mbeki said on Sunday.

"Even when we got that more than two-thirds majority, we said this, that we are not going to use this two-thirds majority fundamentally to alter the Constitution. And that remains our position."

A succession debate recently came to the fore when Mbeki axed his corruption-accused deputy, Jacob Zuma. Zuma is to stand trial on corruption charges this year, and faces a separate charge of rape.

He had been favoured as presidential candidate by some sections in the ANC and its alliance partners.

People, not money
A lack of skills, not money, would be a major obstacle in boosting infrastructure as part of the government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (Asgi), said Mbeki.

"One of the biggest constraints will not be money to carry out that work, but it will be people," Mbeki said in the interview.

He cited a shortage of project managers for infrastructural projects, and capacity in the government.

There was broad support for Asgi, the president said, and there was continued engagement on the matter with organised labour, business, and other interest groups.

Asgi aims to achieve an average six percent economic growth rate between 2010 and 2014.

On criticism that a large percentage of jobs said to have been created under his government were in the informal retail sector, Mbeki said that was an important part of any economy in the world.

"It would be incorrect to discount that sector," he said.

Asked about government corruption, Mbeki said much of the current service delivery backlogs had more to do with a lack of capacity. There were, for example, not enough engineers for municipal water and sewerage systems.

"But it does worry me a great deal. It seems to me there are many people who enter government for self enrichment."

The matter was receiving serious attention, Mbeki added.

He questioned assertions that much of the current lack of capacity was caused by the loss of skilled and experienced whites under affirmative action.

"I don't think it is so much a matter of attrition as it is an extension of the system of local government."

But moves were afoot to bring retired experts on board by employing them in key posts and using them as mentors.

Mbeki said there would be better supervision of capital expenditure by provincial government in future.

This applied, among other things, to currently inadequate spending on money set aside for agricultural support programmes.

Discussions were continuing with the business sector to establish and rectify constraints to private investment in the economy.

Mbeki said the current labour regulatory framework, criticised in some quarters for inhibiting growth, was correct.

"But we need to look at the impact of the entire regulatory framework on a person who wants to start a small business. It is not only about labour laws."

He criticised the financial sector for demanding guarantees from the government before lending money to aspiring small businesses.

"Shifting the entire risk to government; I don't think that can be correct," the president said.

Problems in Zimbabwe
Turning to Zimbabwe, Mbeki said a new Constitution had been negotiated between that country's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement Democratic Change (MDC), but its implementation was halted when "new problems arose".

When he reported earlier that the parties were in talks, and an agreement was imminent, he had been asked not to reveal that a new Constitution was on the table, Mbeki said in the interview.

"They were actually involved in negotiating a new Constitution for Zimbabwe," the president said.

"They did, and they completed it."

It had been expected that the parties would then have pursued its implementation themselves, but "new problems arose", Mbeki said.

He was apparently referring to a split in the MDC.

The MDC was in a process of "sorting themselves out", the president said.

"We are watching that. Zimbabweans need to engage and find their own solutions."

'Need to meet' Hamas
On the situation in the Middle East, Mbeki said South Africa would be in discussions with the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas following its recent parliamentary election victory.

An agreement was made with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad movement, before the election, "that we need to meet," he said.

The planned meeting was also discussed with the hitherto ruling Fatah and the Palestinian Authority "and they had no problem with that".

The aim of the talks would be to establish what South Africa could contribute to the Middle East peace process, Mbeki said.

He reiterated the South African government's stance that a two-state scenario, with independent Palestinian and Israeli states living peacefully side-by-side, was the only solution.

Hamas' election victory has been met with caution by Western leaders.

The United States has reportedly refused to deal with a Hamas government unless the group abandoned its stated wish for the destruction of Israel. - Sapa
Related articles
  • Mixed reaction to State of the Nation
  • 'Yesterday was another country'
  • An eagle and a lame duck
  • Mr Third Term

  • ADVERTISING LINKS
    Get R500 off Accounting and Payroll products from Softline Pastel and OUTsurance by completing an obligation-free business insurance quote
    Private Property Listings List your property with us or search for a property. No estate agent's commission
    Your gadgets, cheaper, on Bid or Buy Do your shopping via online auction and get your goods for great prices
    Advertise your business here
    Talkback: Have your say about this article
    Blog: Blog this story in M&G Online's blogspot

    News on your desktop: Download & install M&G Online NewsFlash
    Daily cellphone alerts: Get news headlines by SMS
    Daily Newsletter: Get the news by email
    National | HOMEPAGE

    Article tools
    E-mail this story
    Print this story
    Bookmark page
    Most read stories
    RSS feed
    Javascript feed

    Online services
    FIND A JOB
    PROPERTY
    ONLINE AUCTIONS
    INT'L FLIGHTS
    FIND A DATE
    PROPERTY SEARCH
    HOLIDAY FINDER
    EASY INFO
    ONLINE CASINO
    FREE E-MAIL
    NEWS BY E-MAIL
    MAP SEARCH
    INSURANCE
    SUBSCRIBE TO M&G
    FREE NEWS FEED
    PLACE AN ADVERT

    Mobile services
    MOBILE GAMES
    DAILY NEWS
    SPORT NEWS
    LOTTO RESULTS
    WEATHER
    MARKET INDICES

    IN THIS SECTION
    Mbeki: There is no electricity crisis
    Cosatu rails against Gautrain
    Acsa appoints new airport security
    Kasrils: NIA did not spy on DA
    Many former political prisoners living in poverty

    CONTACT US  |  ABOUT US  |  M&G HISTORY  |  SUBSCRIPTIONS  |  FREE NEWS FEED  |  ADVERTISING

    All material copyright Mail&Guardian.
    Material may not be published or reproduced in any form without prior written permission.
    Read the Mail&Guardian's privacy policy
    RSS feed JavaScript feed