Jean-Jacques Cornish

Morocco’s silent fury at official visit to South Africa by Saharawi President Brahim Ghali

Illegally occupying Western Sahara in defiance of the United Nations, Morocco is understandably furious about South Africa receiving the President of that country with all the bells and whistles of a Statevisit.

President Brahim Ghali is meeting the MPs in Cape Town tonight and tomorrow having been received in Pretoria by President Cyril Ramaphosa who pledged South Africa’s “firm and unwavering support” for the Saharawis right to self determination.

Ramaphosa added his concern at the international silence about Morocco being the last colonial oppressor in Africa and its failure to keep its promise to have a self-determination referendum in Western Sahara..

When Ghali was received by Morocco’s neighbour Tunisia in August, Morocco withdrew its ambassador and began a trade and sporting boycott  against the little country.

Morocco would not dare take such drastic action against a continental power.

The Moroccan embassy in Pretoria was firmly put in its place when it officially complained about a noisy demonstration outside its embassy in Pretoria on the eve of Ghali’s arrival calling for South Africa to sever diplomatic relations with the occupier.

The terse response from the host government was that the demonstration was peaceful with police in full attendance.

Furthermore the embassy was told that demonstrators were merely exercising the same right Morocco does when it makes public statements in South Africa.

Suitably chastised, the Moroccan government has turned to its state controlled media to make its feeling known.

The Moroccan World News website accuses the South African Government of renewing its hostile position against Morocco’s territorial integrity.

The Saharawi President told South African supporters, mostly from the ruling African National Congress, that Morocco was corruptly using resources stolen from Western Sahara to buy friends in the African Union.

Morocco quit the continental body when it received  the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic as a member in 1984.

It sought without a smidgeon of success to become a member of the European Union.

More than 30 year later it sought membership of the transformed African Union.

The African countries who voted to allow this have been paid with phosphates stolen from Western Sahara.

They are still waiting impatiently for the economic bonanza promised them by Rabat.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.