Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
4 February 2007

Arms deal: now Chippie Shaik implicated

Chippy Shaik, former head of government acquisition in the arms deal and brother of convicted fraudster, Schabir Shaik, was paid a $3m (about R21 million) bribe by one of the arms deal bidding companies, Germany’s on-line newspaper Spiegel reported on Sunday.

According to the newspaper internal documents of Thyssen Krupp – a German company that supplied South Africa with war corvette ships – has revealed that Shaik had requested the bribe in 1998.

Questions about the arms deal just does not seem to want to go away. When the history of the rise and fall of the ANC is written, the arms deal will warrant more than a footnote….

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