Return to Transcripts main page

CNN'S AMANPOUR

South Africa's Zuma Faces No-Confidence Vote; North & South Korean Diplomats Speak Briefly in Manila; Playing with Fire. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired August 7, 2017 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:00] CLARISSA WARD, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Clarissa Ward in London sitting in for Christiane.

Jacob Zuma is now fighting for his political survival. South Africa's president faces yet another vote of no confidence on Tuesday. We know now

that it will be held by secret ballot that could provide cover for members of his own ruling ANC party to vote against him.

Anti-Zuma protestors took to the street again today for months. There had been growing calls for the president to step down. In Tuesday's motion

passes, he and his entire cabinet will be forced to resign.

David McKenzie reports from Johannesburg on the scandals that have led to this motion of no confidence.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) lives and breath the ANC like his father before him.

(On-camera) Your whole life, you've been an ANC supporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I am.

MCKENZIE: And you will remain an ANC supporter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): But these are strange times for the party of Nelson Mandela.

(On-camera) Should President Jacob Zuma stepped down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I think a president must stepped down for the good of the country.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): South Africa's president seems out of step with many in his own party. A politician in survival mode facing anger and

sustained protest from the people.

(On-camera) President Zuma faces more than 700 counts of alleged corruption. He used public money to fund his private home state and the

highest court in the land says that he didn't uphold his oath of office. The list of scandals is long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've really managed to infiltrate and capture, sort of almost every part of the state.

MCKENZIE: And the list is getting longer. A new throve of more than 200,000 leaked emails suggesting alleged corruption with tens of millions

of dollars between the Gupta family, wealthy Indian ex-pats with vast business interest in South Africa and cabinet members, state-owned industry

bosses even members of Zuma's immediate family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He hasn't answered those allegations.

MCKENZIE: The Guptas called the leaks fake news and Zuma has long denied any corruption.

But the South-African journalists uncovering the emails are now facing sustained harassment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they start digging and they start investigating, you don't really know where it is going to end.

MMUSI MAIMANE, LEADER, DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE: We need a new beginning.

MCKENZIE: The official opposition seized an opening, calling for another vote of no confidence against Zuma in Parliament.

MAIMANE: Jacob Zuma is a corrupt individual. He's lost the interest of South Africa. And anywhere, he is acting in a treasonous manner by selling

off the republic for private use.

MCKENZIE: And can you do it? Can you get him out.

MAIMANE: Absolutely.

MCKENZIE: Many here say they want a new beginning for the liberation party of South Africa to focus on the people's problems, not the politics of

patronage.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WARD: Well, you heard in David's piece there from Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance.

He is urging members of Jacob Zuma's ANC party to defect and oust the president on Tuesday.

He joins me now from Cape Town, where protests have been taking place throughout the day.

Thank you so much for joining us.

I guess the first question I want to start out by asking you is how significant the impact of this being a secret ballot is expected to be? I

presume that you are happy to hear that this will be a vote held in secret.

[14:05:00] MAIMANE: Thank you very much.

And it is a significant part, because a vote upon which members who have already come out publicly makes statements to say they want Jacob Zuma gone

faced intimidation, faced threats as Jacob Zuma has already sold off the country to this private family called the Guptas.

We fear that some of the members could have used for bribery. And therefore, within this unique context where president has violated the

constitution, South Africa faces difficult days and that we are in a recession, junk status.

We do need that new beginning and the best way to start is to vote out Jacob Zuma. And the secret ballot gives courage to members in the ANC and

across political platforms to say they can come out tomorrow and exercise their vote without the fear of all the things that have already settled.

WARD: And do you have a sense of how many ANC voters -- sorry, how many ANC members would need to sort of defect against Zuma in order for the vote

to pass?

MAIMANE: At this point in time the South African parliament makes it clear that it must be by simple majority. It will be a majority of the members

who are there tomorrow. And we believe at this point they could be up to 50 members who could come out and vote, which will be very significant.

I think what shouldn't be less track is the fact that the opposition in South Africa is united. It is united behind this call along with civil

society, along with academia and various platforms.

The simple call is that Jacob Zuma must step down as president. And we believe this will be in the interest of South Africa. A country that I

believe has the potential to become prosperous to create work for our people. And so the choice is simple tomorrow. It's where you vote for

South Africa, or you vote for Jacob Zuma.

WARD: A lot of people will say that President Zuma is supposed to step down in December anyway. That perhaps it's pointless in a sense to have

this vote now when he's already survived many no confidence votes in the past.

Why do you think it's important to do this now when he is going to be stepping down in a matter of months anyway?

MAIMANE: Well, it is not correct to say that Jacob Zuma is stepping down at the end of the year. He will certainly see his term of office as

president finishes in 2019.

And it's within the global context of uncertainty, emerging markets are starting to show some economic recovery. South Africa is growing at only

0.6 percent.

When you look at the levels of unemployment, they are sitting at 9 million South Africans can't find work. Already, it has become quite clear that

the list of corrupt scandals against Jacob Zuma is high.

And when rating agencies did an assessment of South Africa, they said they downgraded us to sub-investment on the back of the political economy, of

the influence of political actors.

So we don't have months and months left in reserve for us to sit around while a president simply continues in looting and undermining the interest

of South Africa. It is time now that we act and we must act decisively and have them removed.

Nobody is calling for a regime change. All we are simply is let's make this beginning. Let's remove Jacob Zuma. Let's ultimately put South

Africa in a place where the sole focus of our nation must be how do we get out of a recession. How do we build and invest the confidence rather than

in effect discussing one person.

So it is urgent that we move it now. And it is urgent that we see Jacob Zuma removed.

WARD: And you've mention some of those economic factors and they are staggering. I was just reading youth unemployment is above 50 percent.

You know, clearly there is a need for some serious reform.

What's your strategy as the opposition for the elections that will come in 2019 to try to reverse the course that South Africa appears to be heading

down?

MAIMANE: The election is 2019 is about nothing else. It's about how do we create work for the people of South Africa. And from where we sit,

clearly, we've got to govern well and govern for all the people. We already govern in four South Africa's largest metros. We have to ensure

that we focus on key sectors -- mining, agriculture, certainly in our financial services sector, which are rated amongst some of the highest in

the world.

And, certainly, our attraction of tourism. We have to ensure that we create a transparent democracy where institutions can be freed from

capture. And ensure that in fact accountability is affected for public servants and politicians the one doing their job.

So when we talk about a total change, it must mean material difference for the people of South Africa. We think South Africa suffering from

confidence at the moment and business and business confidence is at its lowest, but these are prevailing conditions for change.

[14:10:00] So as an opposition and certainly as the democratic alliance, we've shown that where we govern, things do get better, unemployment is on

the decline and there is no evidence of corruption.

And we believe that choice will be made more and more in 2019 to say if we want an economy in South Africa that can create a prosperous Africa, where

more people can find work, then you vote for D.A.-led coalition, where we are committed to those values.

But if we want to continue along the path of corruption, we must then stick with the current status quo because what has become quite clear is that

Jacob Zuma isn't just an individual who is corrupt, it goes beyond him.

So it is time now that South Africa as a nation that is specifically part of the continent that we take our role seriously. We demonstrate that the

continent of Africa can grow and be a global contributor within economic terms.

WARD: OK. Mmusi Maimane, thank you very much for your perspective. And we also of course have been inviting ANC members to appear on the program

to give their point of view on this very important story. We will be watching closely the vote of no confidence tomorrow.

Now South Africa isn't the only country that is facing an imminent vote. On Tuesday, Kenyans will head to the polls for their country's tight

presidential election. And we will also be following those results tomorrow.

But now a first for Sub-Saharan Africa. Getting off the ground in Ghana with the only satellite launched in the African region beginning its orbit

around the earth.

GHANA SAT 1 joins more than a thousand satellites looking down on us right now.

When we come back, we turn our eagle eye to North Korea, threatening revenge for U.N. sanctions. We asked where the bluster could led, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WARD: Welcome back to the program.

North Korea says it will not be deterred by hefty sanctions imposed this weekend by a surprisingly unified U.N. security council saying the U.S.

will, quote (OFF-MIKE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We affirm that we will never place our nuclear and ballistic missile programs on a negotiating table. We won't budge an inch

on strengthening nuclear armament.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: The sanctions could potentially cut North Korea's exports by a full third of millions dollars by targeting things like coal, seafood and

foreign investment as well as money sent home by North Koreans working overseas.

It comes as America's national security leader reiterate that they will not tolerate Pyongyang having both nuclear weapons and missiles capable of

hitting the U.S. and as they continue to prepare military options for President Trump.

Barbara Starr is CNN's Pentagon correspondent. She joins me now.

Barbara, I just wanted to start out by ask you if you have a sense of what the military options are exactly that are being presented to the president.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the Pentagon likes to say they have options for everything, and indeed they do when it

comes to North Korea, everything from a limited strike to full out war. But this is the problem.

You can do all of these things, but what is the risk to humanity, to the cost of tens of thousands of lives and what would you really accomplished.

You know, a limited strike to hit one missile launcher. Do you hit a production facility? Can the North Koreans turn around and start

rebuilding?

[14:15:00] We saw that with Iraq and Iran in the past. And what do you really gain from all of this in terms of them really stopping their

activities.

There is no indication that the regime will ratchet back on its weapons program. And every indication that if the US were to strike, were to

launch an attack against North Korea, they would retaliate in an extraordinary fashion, lashing back attacking South Korea almost instantly.

WARD: And Secretary of Defense James Mattis almost said this. I'd like to play you some sound of his where he talks about his confidence that the

U.S. would win a war against North Korea, but adding really brutal price.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: It will involve the massive shelling of an ally's capital, which is one of the most densely packed cities on

earth. It would be a war that fundamentally we don't want.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WARD: I mean, Barbara, do you get the sense that the Pentagon is actually trying to tap down some of this agitation it seems for military action with

North Korea.

STARR: I think that Defense Secretary Mattis is doing exactly just that. Long experience, decades of active duty military service. He knows exactly

what the issues are at hand.

Because, again, he could give the president any option the president wants. But the risk, the cost of a war with North Korea is just massive. And

Secretary Mattis has really been spending a lot of time, you know, making sure that people have a realistic vision of what such a war would really be

like. And the question is, you know, diplomacy. It comes back to that.

Officially, the U.S. policy is to try and seek a diplomatic solution with North Korea by working through the Chinese. The problem is there is just

no indication that the North Korea is responding to that, Clarissa.

WARD: Indeed. All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.

Well, diplomats from North and South Korea had a rare face-to-face encounter today at the ASEAN Summit in Manila.

I'm joined now by Gary Samore, who was a top White House official on weapons of mass destruction and non-proliferation issues in the Obama and

Clinton Administration.

Thank you so much for being with us here on the program.

I wanted to start out by asking you about the sanctions. These are not insignificant. $1 billion, a third of North Korea's revenue every year.

What do you think the impact will be? And will there be a tremendous amount of suffering as a result of them.

GARY SAMORE, TOP WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL, OBAMA AND CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: Well, I think it's very significant that the Chinese have supported these

broad economic sanctions in response to missile tests, long-range missile test.

In the past, the Chinese have supported strong sanctions, but only in response to nuclear testing. Most recently in 2016.

So Beijing has move the bar now, and they are indicating to Pyongyang that if Kim Jong-un continues long-range missile test, the Chinese are prepared

to increase economic pressure.

It's hard to say how much it will affect the ordinary North Korean, because most of the revenue from North Korean exports of coal, and lead and seafood

ends up in the hands of the elite anyway.

WARD: Right.

SAMORE: And I think to the extent that sanctions might have an impact, it will be because the ruling elite around Kim Jong-un become unhappy.

Of course, they will have to be careful how they expressed that because he is known to kill people who disagree with him. But I think the strategy,

if it works, will not be because of the ordinary North Korean people putting pressure on the government. It will be because the elite around

Kim Jong-un began to get worried because this hits him directly on their own pocket also.

WARD: So I guess you hit on the question there, will it work? Is this significant? Because it does seem like a deviation from the normal cycles

that we have seen with this story before. But where does it lead to?

SAMORE: You know it's impossible to project. I mean, up to now, Kim Jong- un has proceeded despite threats from the Chinese, including as I said significant economic sanctions that were imposed in 2016.

Although it is interesting. He hasn't conducted any nuclear test since 2016. Now that maybe because they were satisfied technically after five

tests that they had a reliable design and a warhead that would work. And he shifted the focus now to the ICBMs, to the long-range missiles.

You know, I don't -- I think of all the options available. This is the best option the U.S. has. And it makes sense to continue to work because

the Chinese have demonstrated that if Kim Jong-un continues to carry out a missile testing campaign, China will eventually support stronger and

stronger economic sanctions.

WARD: And what about the sort of tough talk that we've heard from the Trump administration. You just heard my conversation there with Barbara

Starr. He's had military options presented to him.

[14:20:00] There does seem to be a kind of growing chorus from within his national security team to do more, take more robust action against North

Korea.

Is there a sensible and practical military option with dealing with North Korea?

SAMORE: I don't think so. I mean, any strike to destroy North Korea's missile and nuclear program will probably be unsuccessful because we don't

know where they are all hidden. And it runs the risk of triggering a general conflict, which has Secretary Mattis said would be incredibly

costly especially to our allies, South Korea and Japan.

Nonetheless, I think you know military maneuvers and talk about a military option may have some purpose in terms of -- or at least the attempt just to

intimidate North Korea, to make the Chinese worried so they support economic sanctions as a way to try to prevent or decrease the likelihood of

a military attack. And it's also intended to reassure U.S. allies.

WARD: Well, what about this idea that strategic patience has to be finish. That there needs to be this kind of freeze for freeze doesn't work. There

needs to be as H.R. McMaster has called for, a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Is that realistic?

SAMORE: I don't think it's realistic. I don't think we really have a good diplomatic option to force North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. And

we know regime change is not on the table because the Chinese won't support it.

So at the end of the day, the Trump administration strategy is really the same as Obama's, but by a different name. It's using economic and

political pressure and military intimidation in order try to dissuade Kim Jong-un from continuing to test and coming back to the bargaining table.

So far it hasn't been successful. Whether it succeeds or not at the end of the day, I don't see any option, but to continue to try to pursue that

strategy and hope that it works.

WARD: I just wanted to ask you one final question because so much is made of the fact that Kim Jong-un is so much more dangerous than his father, Kim

Jong-il.

Do you see a distinctive difference? More of a threat coming from the sun.

SAMORE: I think he's certainly much more rash and prepared to take risks, especially in terms of antagonizing the Chinese, but I don't think he is

suicidal.

I think the likelihood of Kim Jong-un starting a war which he knows would end in his death and the destruction of his country, I think is very

unlikely he would do that.

So the North Koreans were good at bluster, but I don't think their threats to, you know, destroy American cities is serious unless we were to attack

them.

WARD: Right.

SAMORE: Then of course he would use any means available to defend himself. But I think he is far too cautious to want to start a conflict.

WARD: Well, we will be watching very closely. And thank you so much, Gary Samore, for joining us on the program.

SAMORE: Thank you. Thank you, Clarissa.

WARD: Well, as the U.N. Secretary Council acts with unity on North Korea, it is still as fractured as ever when it comes to Syria.

This week, that division was put in focus with the resignation of Carla Del Ponte. A veteran war crimes expert, Del Ponte quit the U.N. Commission on

Syria saying the lack of backing from the UN Security Council left the commission powerless.

Well, after the break, from the lows of global politics to the sweltering heights of Europe's record temperatures. We imagine a continent floored by

heat, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:26:25] WARD: And finally tonight, imagine a world playing with fire.

In Europe, a heat wave is scorching the continent. Dramatically named Lucifer, some area is seeing temperature soaring past 40 degrees Celsius.

In hard hit, Italy, Lucifer is making droughts worse, slowing cities and just like its name say, the inferno isn't bringing out the best in people.

In Sicily, police say that firefighter have actually been starting forest fires. Yes, that's right. Starting forest fires, then they go on to

report them before finally putting them out at a price $12 an hour for firefighter.

And other times, the fireman would simply get family members to raise the alarm for blazes that didn't even exist. Police have deduce the same group

my have started triggering fires as far back as 2013.

Well, now, the head of the fire fighting squad is under house arrest. And law officers are putting the heat on 15 other members of his team.

Well, that's it for our program tonight. And remember you can listen to our podcast, see us online at Amanpour.com and follow me on Facebook and

Twitter @ClarissaWard. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from London.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END