Pretoria's once powerful armed forces need fast reform and
a new strategy if they are to help regional security
One of the country's sharpest and most popular politicians Defence Minister Mosiuoa (Patrick) Lekota has a daunting task ahead of him if he is to reform the military and give it a credible role in promoting security in the region, let alone the continent. His job is the third most important in the cabinet, after President Thabo Mbeki
and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel
, if one accepts that foreign policy is still largely run from the presidency. Six years after the country's first non-racial elections, military reform and restructuring have been sluggish and little of the corruption that thrived in the services and in arms buying during the apartheid years has been rooted out. The main difference now, thanks to a freer press, is that we hear more about it. The picture isn't all gloom. Lekota is justifiably proud of the South African National Defence Force's heroic assistance to flood-stricken neighbours in Mozambique. It showed what good the South African military could do - all the more poignantly when rich Western governments were arguing over which of their ministries' budgets would be allocated to rescue drowning people.
Ambitious plans for a competitive oil industry still have to
beat graft and political infighting
Near the top of the list for President Bill Clinton's trip to Nigeria in June are the Abuja government's plans for a huge expansion of the oil industry, which could make the countr...
The old leader has gone and the new ones have not yet arrived
So strong was the personality cult around the Independence leader and Father of the Nation, former President Kenneth Kaunda, that his United National Independence Party has been th...