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British company accused of complicity
with Gupta family in South Africa

CAPE TOWN (Xinhua) -- British public relations company Bell Pottinger must be held accountable for its complicity with the Indian Gupta family for fuelling racial tensions in South Africa, the South African Communist Party (SACP) said on Monday.

Bell Pottinger “must account for the harm it has caused to our country and our movement from its dubious activities in association with, and at the service of the Guptas,” the SACP said.

The party issued the statement in response to an apology by Bell Pottinger which has come under the spotlight recently for its alleged links with the Guptas to accumulate wealth from South African state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

London-based Bell Pottinger said last week it was sorry for work it did with the Gupta family and the Gupta-linked Oakbay Investments company.

Bell Pottinger is accused of helping the Guptas run the “whites stole the land” campaign and of exploiting racial tensions in the name of diverting public focus on the Gupta family that has been under fire for meddling in South Africa’s politics through its close ties with President Jacob Zuma and a number of cabinet ministers, known as state capture.

Major political parties have rejected Bell Pottinger’s apology, with the SACP being the latest to add its voice to the chorus of rejection.

The company is now claiming to be apologizing, but has not said anything about the capital it acquired from its association with the Guptas, SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said.

Bell Pottinger’s agenda “has weakened the capacity of our state-owned enterprises to serve the people as a whole”, Mashilo said.

There has been massive looting through questionable tenders and other dubious activities ruining strategic discipline in the South African SOEs and right in the government, according to Mashilo.

“The SACP rejects Bell Pottinger’s so-called apology as insincere and trivial,” he said.

Mashilo reiterated the SACP’s call for immediate criminal investigation of prosecutable offences and for a robustly independent judicial commission of inquiry into corporate state capture.

“The shenanigans associated with the Guptas must constitute the basis of the inquiry into the wider phenomenon of corporate state capture!” Mashilo stressed.



South Africa’s ruling ANC wants radical changes to improve service delivery

JOHANNESBURG (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has concluded its policy conference with recommendations to refine policy in education, health, science and technology and governance to improve performance, said an ANC official on Monday.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg, Naledi Pandor, Chairperson of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) Subcommittee on Education said, “The conference recommended that the ANC should increase its policy, monitoring and evaluation capacities.

“The ANC must ensure coordination between departments and harmonization of policies and incentives to encourage and support innovation and ensure the take up of locally produced goods and technologies,” said the official.

The ruling party also recommended intensifying public engagement on and promotion of science, technology and innovation, ensuring that public educational institutions training professions in science and technology are better resourced and those from poor backgrounds are helped to enrol in them.

“The ANC must lead society to think more positively about ourselves and our innovation capabilities. We want to create free Wi-Fi spots and greater attention should be given to rural areas and townships,” said Pandor.

The ANC would like to see provision of quality of teaching and learning outcomes, enhancing the skills and competencies of educators, especially the school management team.

“The ANC takes full responsibility of leading society in protecting public facilities such as schools, libraries, colleges, universities, hospitals and clinics. The ANC and its alliance partners maintain and sustain labour relations within the basic education sector in order to minimize conflicts which may lead to labour unrest, loss of teaching and learning time, and potential damage to property and educational resources,” she added.

The Member of the ANC NEC Subcommittee on Legislature and Governance, Obed Bapela, said the party want to be a modern one while maintaining its historical tag as a former liberation movement.

The party recommended that a Presidential Commission be established to review the provinces, their functions and see if there could be any changes. The Commission should finish its work before the ANC elective congress in December 2017, he said.

“We agreed that ANC should lead in moral regeneration of society. We should mobilize communities on issue of corruption and develop a culture of exposing corruption and reward the whistleblowers. The party is concerned about corruption and would like to fight it head on,” said Bapela.

Some of the recommendations include the strengthening of the policies of the State Owned Enterprises and their monitoring. The recommendations would be discussed at branch levels in the country and decided at the 54th ANC National Conference in December 2017.

The 4th ANC National Policy Conference took place from June 30 to July 5, 2017.


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