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Saudi Arabia to lift ban on women drivers; South Africans strike and protests over corruption scandal; Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive. Aired at 11-12p ET

Aired September 27, 2017 - 11:00   ET


[11:01:08] BECKY ANDERSON, CONNECT THE WORLD, CNN: All eyes on the road ahead for Saudi women, after a historic royal decree set get them in a

driving seat legally. We are live in the kingdom that many feel is on the cusp of change, but at what price and facing what resistance. A special

show from Saudi Arabia for you this hour.

A very warm welcome to Jeddah to what is an electric show for you this extraordinary hour. We were jolted away in the middle of the night to get

to Saudi Arabia to bring you a "Connect the World" that is covering history in the making. Welcome aboard. Before we talk about what is going on

here, very quickly some breaking news for you of history in the making right next door here in Iraq. It is now official, 9 out of every 10 Kurds

there voted yes to backing independence and breaking away from Iraq itself. Baghdad wants to vote crash, what will happen? We will get you live to

Iraq to find out in just a few minutes.

First of that is why we are here, because almost 30 years it has been almost unthinkable not to mention totally against the law for half of the

people. They call this place home to do one very simple thing. Grab their own set of car keys. Now that is all changing. This place from right here

all across this massive kingdom as being the only country on the face of the earth until now to ban women from driving and that has to happen now by

next summer, women have been off these roads for a long time. In back when they were last allowed this (inaudible) was just hitting the streets.

People were still well sporting some very questionable hairstyle, to the Berlin wall had only just pull down, that is all important. And this

change a long time coming is part of a much bigger arc of history, though politically and quite literally there is a fight for the driving seat here.

Take a look.


ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia's crown prince is making history in the kingdom. Letting women hit the roads here meaning simple scenes like this allowed

everywhere else in the world would be allowed here too. Although that is come down from the palaces, it's really come up from the streets. Here

right after the ban, the first protest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love driving. I wish I could drive in our country.

ANDERSON: From then till now, time and again, year after year, women and thousands of them taking on the often punishing fight to get Saudi back to

the future to where it was in 1989, a year before the ban came in. Countless protests and just as many arrests. A constant cat and mouse game

between protester and oppressor. The battle is being fought on social media. Widely popular in the kingdom and that is where the celebrations

are. Like this by prominent activists (inaudible), jailed for driving for nine days back in 2011 force into exile.

[11:05:00] Now sharing a photo of a self behind the wheel. Smiling, happy, proud, the caption, the rain begins with the single drop. And the music

and memes celebrating. A single note. There is a real arc of history here in a country celebrating 87th birthday, this in a kingdom where just on

Saturday, the first time ever, women were allowed into a sports stadium. Saudi women are often seen as under the thumb hidden away, but now they are

slowly emerging as soon to be drivers and much needed workers. Women start to turn the wheel, so the country is starting to steer in a new direction.

The drops of change may not yet be rain, but this small step will have big consequences.


ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia is of course ruled without question by its king, but there are some who work to catch the ear of the throne. Council member

like my next guest, Rasha Hetzi she is a business woman, member of the municipality council for Jeddah and proud women's rights advocate. We

welcome you to this show. I wanted to ask you before we talk about the significance and the consequences of this. To take your government,

municipality hat off, how does this feel as a woman today?

RASHA HETZI, ELECTED MEMBER OF JEDDAH'S MUNICIPAL COUNCIL: It feels great actually, because we had been waiting for this for years. Witnessing that

decision, we knew it would happen, but it happened so fast. Just feels great that I can take my car and go to my company and go to the council and

daily life activities normally.

ANDERSON: Why now?

HETZI: I think, you know many times we have been asking this question, when are women going to drive in Saudi. What is the reason behind, banning

won from driving? And I think society reached a level of readiness, when they are ready. I know it's a right and still when society is ready, Saudi

Arabia is not like any other country in the world. It's diversified society with mixed ideology and culture and social stigma. So I think when

the people are ready. It just came.

ANDERSON: Let's be clear. There are many people who say this is a decision as much about optics and image in the international stage, because

the driving issue is one that resonated again and again and again. It's about the economy as much as it is about human rights. Correct?

HETZI: Yes, but you see you answer the question before. Why now? It's the problem we're witnessing now. And any liberated society, it is not only

for woman issues, woman, youth, economical issues, woman now have leadership position in the government, we are talking here about sports,

guardianships, council members and every aspect of life.

ANDERSON: Saudi Arabia says it will now then allow women to drive. There will be those who say what about the other rights and you have just alluded

to some of those. Saudi Arabia has a guardianship system, which means women cannot legally be responsible for their own affairs on paper at

least, that means they cannot travel abroad or work without permission from a male relative. Unrelated men and women cannot interact in public. There

are even totally separate lines in (inaudible). If this is the beginning of change as it were, when might we expect more?

HETZI: I don't think this is the beginning. The thing is the process has been faster. We talk more than before, I mean about the guardianship.

It's becoming easier than before. They issued more rules at the beginning of the year. Guardianship is not a mandatory law in so many other

governments. They can work without legal authorization from their guardianship, so, I think its coming. We are taking it one step at a time.

ANDERSON: It' been a pleasure having you on.

HETZI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Those women I have spoken to in Jeddah today, let's say applaud what is an historic moment. This is huge. This is our time. And we're on

the up.

HETZI: Thank you. Definitely to celebrate.

ANDERSON: Thank you. A live changing mood for women in Saudi Arabia, but still a long road ahead. The ban itself seated in deep gratitude towards

women, it can take longer to change than rules, right now the country says women can't work, travel or go to school without permission from a man, but

as you heard in my earlier report, the rain begins with a single drop. The Saudi businesswoman Khaloud Attar to get a sense of how to change will

impact women's lives. Have a listen.


[11:10:19] ANDERSON: Great to meet you, Khaloud.


ANDERSON: Let's take a ride.

Khaloud, we are on the back of your car.

ATTAR: Can't wait.

ATTAR: I haven't slept from excitement and I think, I am sure that most of Saudi woman have not slept last night from the news.

ANDERSON: What does it mean to you as a woman?

ATTAR: This is like a cherry on top. Like the final biggest statement that women are going to be treated equally.

ANDERSON: I have spoken to people here who say they appreciate the change is necessary. They buy into the idea, the principle of vision 2030. They

say things are going so quickly it's too fast. To which you say what?

ATTAR: In which I agree it is going fast. I appreciate, I don't think, it is like a Band-Aid, I think if you take it slow, it's going to hurt much

more longer. The fact that they realize that there's a realization that it's necessary to move fast really helps to development, because the whole

world is going fast. And the people who don't take this fast steps are really left behind.

ANDERSON: So a driver cost an average, what, a month?

ATTAR: We'll say 2,000.

ANDERSON: In dollar terms is 600. What would you be paying on average one of your staff?

ATTAR: 6,000.

ANDERSON: We're talking about 30 percent of your take home pay as a woman in your business will be spent on a driver and they are in lies the

argument, if you need one on economics. To have women drive.

ATTAR: Exactly and a lot of people think that you're privileged to even have a driver. Sometimes I could be getting my brother or my father to

drive me. So I wouldn't have that, but that alone also is an economical issue because you are getting someone who has to double their efforts in

driving and their gas usage and people might think these are minor.


ANDERSON: Khaloud Attar with me now out of the car, up here with us, you talked to me earlier on today about speed and how some people here feel

this is too much change too quickly. You said sometimes that Band-Aid needs to come off quickly. And otherwise there's too much pain. Just

explain to me what you mean by that.

ATTAR: I think any change needs to take a quick strides. Especially now in our times. Change is happening so fast everywhere in all aspects.

Especial with change in government and as a society, such big decisions need to go so fast and big strides like they are taken now. So people can

accept it as quicker and faster it used to take. I don't think the world is going to wait for people to accept that.

ANDERSON: We talked about how lifting the ban on women driving very much feeds into the pledges that were made in the crown prince's 2030 vision a

huge and ambitious vison looking to modernize what many people had said, has been today a slow relatively (inaudible). This is about the future and

women will play, he says a big part in that. We discuss this in the car. But personally how will the change, how getting women in cars, getting them

out to the streets make a difference to you as a businesswoman?

ATTAR: We need more women in the work force, employing women who are hardworking, determined and ambitious, is much easier, when we kind of

negotiate better contracts with them. We cannot do that if half of their salary or a big chunk of their salary goes to getting driver or driving

transportation method.

ANDERSON: This is a controversial issue. It's perhaps come quicker than many people had thought. She thought perhaps it would take until 2020 for

this driving ban to be lifted.

[11:15:00] People support this, you and your friends, people in the world of business, there are many detractors, many people who say this simply

shouldn't happen here. And you had heard those arguments at home, wherever you be, what do you say to those detractors?

ATTAR: I think our country is huge and there are many cultural differences and backgrounds. The quicker we start accepting those differences and

those different culture traditions are not let one method or way overlap the other message.

ANDERSON: Do you worry about the backlash, that day when women start driving, I've been told, there is s fear.

ATTAR: I have faith in our government and the security of the government provides, I think the way, one take the decision, they usually take it at

the time where you see it. So I thought of, I would step all the efforts that were made by all this women to actually voice out the need for woman


ANDERSON: The center of optimism.

ATTAR: Exactly, but again I don't think our government is the one that is pressured in telling the decision and they did it at the exact time and

ready enough to do it.

ANDERSON: Khaloud Attar, a pleasure spending time with you today.

ATTAR: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Very best of luck at the business.

ATTAR: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Publishing business. W CNN has been on this story go we're on the ground as the ban melts away now and we were here when it first came

in. My colleague Christiane Amanpour reporting on that for us. She will join us very soon, let's get real about a lot of this. Is that the Real

cash? We ask how this move could be worth trillions of dollars around here. Just a moment we'll bring you the latest on some of the other

stories that we are following. Humanitarian crisis brewing in Puerto Rico. One week after hurricane Maria hitting people are becoming increasingly,

desperate to get off the island that after this.


ANDERSON: Live for you this hour from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia with special show for you tonight from what is a special day for many people here

especially the kingdom's 15 million women. You're watching CNN. This is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson. If you are just joining us you

are very welcome. More with breaking news this hour, before we get back to what is going on here. More than 92 percent of Kurds in Iraq's, semi-

autonomous Kurdish region have voted for independence. An overwhelming majority and it concerns Kurdish leaders have said since yesterday. Had

been closely following the story all week for you, Connect the World the vote is drawn into national criticism and most everybody opposes it.

[11:20:00] Iraq has denounced the referendum and called it unconstitutional and the word is watching. Afraid now that it's got a brewing crisis on its

hands across the region. Let's get straight to the heart of the Kurdish region. Nima Elbagir is waiting.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Becky, it was just a formality, the formality that sends a very loud message after the

President said he had been given the mandate for independence from the Kurdish people. Today the electoral commission came out and said that it

was a resounding mandate. Over 92 percent and went ahead of this announcement, in spite of Baghdad's exhortation to step back from what they

called the brink. To the so-called contested areas. Of Iraq's oil-rich region is also at the heart of the Kurdish region and the federal

government. Turkey is now also stepping very much into the play. Threatening not just to turn the tap on Kurdistan oil exports, but also to

shut much-needed food imports off. It's really an escalation in terms of the war on words here that is going on here, Becky. And the worries of

many of those were speaking to vote from the international committee and within the Kurdish regional government itself. Very unclear what the way

out of brinkmanship could be, Becky.

ANDERSON: It is a question at this point. Thank you for that. Excellent reporting. We want to turn you to the desperate situation on the island of

Puerto Rico. Millions of Americans citizens are facing a humanitarian crisis. Hurricane Maria you have been well are, slammed into Puerto Rico a

week ago killing 16. The storm has destroyed the power grid and about half the population there's no water, no precious diesel fuel is in short

supply. Needed to power backup generators across the island. Without power, they can't run air-conditioners to keep patients comfortable. All

this machine, of course are need to keep critical patients alive. Boris Sanchez joining us from the San Juan airport where many Puerto Ricans are

now trying to get off the island, explain.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Becky, many of them are actually having trouble doing just that. Not only because the number of flights that this

airport normally operates has been drastically reduced from about 120 to 18 today, but also because there aren't enough resources barely enough to keep

this airport open. The CEO of the airport is using more than 5,000 gallons of fuel per day to keep emergency generators running here. They are having

trouble printing out boarding ticket and TSA screening equipment. It really is a bare operation here. Despite that, many people don't have

anywhere else to go. You have thousands of people have been coming to the airport since the hurricane last week, desperate to get off the island you

have people that don't have homes to go back to. People on vacation were kicked out of their hotels, because there's not enough gasoline to keep the

generators open. I spoke to a gentleman who said he had gone to a shelter and was staying there and having to sleep out in the open air. And he

fears for his life because even though the few resources, he was given a little food was being stolen. He saw someone get robbed with his own eyes.

Beyond that there are folks that have camped out here at the airport for several days with small children. Many families bringing patio equipment

to try to find some kind of comfort here. It is especially difficult for families that have special needs. I spoke with one mother who has child

that has a developmental disorder. Her son needs very special machines and very special medication to stay alive. She was turned away at a hospital

because they couldn't help her. She came here to the airport desperate for help. Listen to what that child's mother and father had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is insane. This is completely unacceptable. We're human beings. We are not animals. We are being treated here as




SANCHEZ: Last I heard from that family they were able to get a flight leaving here at 2:00 p.m. The difficult part about that is that so many

others have been able to get tickets, but they haven't been confirmed for the flight. We have seen several flights get delayed by several hours. So

it's uncertain that she will be able to get her family on that flight. Beyond that he is looking forward to next Tuesday when President Donald

Trump is set to arrive here in Puerto Rico.

[11:05:10] He says he wants the President to see the damage firsthand and that might stir the federal government providing the kind of aid that they

really need here in Puerto Rico. He says he does not feel that the Puerto Ricans government was prepared for this storm. The CEO of the airport says

this is no way that the government of Puerto Rico could have been prepared for this kind of devastation. He is asking for people to keep calm. But

as you can imagine, Becky after several days of desperation with a few resources with little water, almost no food, that kind of thing were thin

after some time.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. All right Boris, thank you for that.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeated his warning to North Korea. If necessary it faces devastating military force. It is the latest salvo and

an escalating war of words. North Korea Foreign Minister recently threated to shoot down U.S. Military aircraft, even if they are in international air

space. The U.S. Commander-in-chief responded saying negotiations are preferable. It's not the only possibility.


TRUMP: We are totally prepared for the second option. Not a preferred option, but if we take that option it will devastating, I can tell you

that. Devastating for North Korea. That is called the military option. If we have to take it, we will.


ANDERSON: Donald Trump while the United States and North Korea heading towards an accidental war. At least one analyst thinks it's a possibility

to find out how that could happen. You can go to

The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus as we come to you live tonight from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, we get more on what is this

landmark ruling to allow women to drive, but they still live on the strict guardianship laws. Full analysis in a moment.


ANDERSON: A very warm welcome if you're just joining. For those who have been watching, welcome back for an historic day for millions of women in

their families here in Saudi Arabia. Live from Jeddah, you're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson.

Allowing women here to drive, there is a much needed step in the right direction many people says. But that step is part of a long and often

turbulent journey.

On CNN had documented the decades in 1990, Christiane Amanpour came to this country follow a hugely controversial protest on the issue of female

drivers. Here's a clip of what she found.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So a recent demonstration by a group of women has provoked a backlash that caused some of them to be

suspended from their jobs.

News of the affair has been kept out of the Saudi press, but is making headlines in the West. What the women did was drive around the city to

demand a right that's taken for granted around the world. But it is banned here not by the law, not by Quran, rather by this conservative Islamic


So here, women are driven around by male family members or chauffeurs, even those who may drive in other Islamic societies such as Kuwait for instance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love driving. I wish I can drive in our country.

AMANPOUR: You'll hear the same thing from almost all educated and professional Saudi women. But even the most liberal say the protestors

used the wrong tactics. The change should come through dialogue, not demonstration.


ANDERSON: Christiane joining us now from London with more on how things have not put own interesting over the past 24 hours to see social media

sort of a wash with both positive and negative comments about women driving here going forward.

Many of those positive comments coming from activist who spent a quarter of a century protesting this ban, some of whom you will have met in the past,

they're out pouring of emotion was really quite remarkable they certainly themselves do see this as a huge step in the right direction.

AMANPOUR: You know, Becky, it is a giant leap today. I spoke to Manal al- Sharif who wrote the book, Daring to Drive and I've driven around with but guess what, not in Saudi Arabia, in New York and elsewhere, and she has

said that this is a necessary step going to stop -- start somewhere.

And she said it's for many reasons. The new young leadership in Saudi Arabia, the fact that they actually do need women in the economy because

you can't have a fully flourishing economy if half of your population is kept out and in order to be able to get to work, well, you actually need to


So those are the big picture -- some of the big picture societal and cultural, and economic reasons but I'm smiling because you know that piece

that you just showed, that was in November as you said of 1990.

All of us less western reporters were in Saudi Arabia at the time watching and reporting on the gearing up of the fight to push Saddam Hussein out of

Kuwait. He had invaded it a few months earlier and the Saudi authorities had allowed all of us in, and of course the women there took a lot of hope

from that.

They saw women reports, they -- you know, they felt that this with the eyes of the world on them, they could maybe push this desire to drive and all

they did was drive in the car park of one of those supermarkets that you know so well there in Saudi Arabia.

They didn't go out on the street, they just dismiss their drivers for about five minutes and drove around the car park for which they were roundly

chastised, sanctioned, lost jobs, so did their male mail relatives, so how far we've come is quite incredible.

ANDERSON: And how far we go of course is the next question, vision 2013 or some 18 months to two years ago a very, very ambitious projects for sort of

post oil modernizing of the system here.

And women playing an integral role in that a pledge to increase the workforce of women by some 25 percent up from 22 percent to some 30

percent, and we have to be absolutely clear with our viewers.

I mean when you come to Saudi and you know this well -- when you come to Saudi, there are women all over industry, across industry in insignificant

positions. The question is, how far and how fast do things go from how on it?

AMANPOUR: Well, exactly and that's what everybody's looking to see. The Crown Prince, Prince Mohammad bin Salman has been very clear about his

vision for the future. And he actually did something quite significant in a cultural way regarding women and women's rights.

He basically removed the morals police, the (Inaudible), whatever they called off the street and those are the people who we saw when we were

there and who, you know, walk around with these little flip switches of branches like smack your ankles.

[11:35:00] Or your curves, or you know, hold your clothes over your head to make sure that you're property coverage. He remove them and remove that

very, very tense atmosphere for women on the street.

But as you say, you know one of the trending hashtags in Saudi Arabia today was against the lifting of this driving ban, so there is still a huge

amount of work to be done. And let's not forget, there are plenty of people who say yes, this is a huge step and it is.

It actually is. By June 2018, when women can get behind the driving wheel and drive for themselves, it's going to be massive. However, this is still

a huge amount that they can't do as you know, yes they work but for almost every profession, they officially have to get the permission of their

husband's father or who whoever is the dominant male in their family.

They can't have surgery without the permission, they can't leave the country, you know divorce and custody and inheritance, and all of those

legal rights is still very much as one of my guests said in the middle ages and of course no human rights activists were allowed, no political

pluralism yet and no full electoral rights for men or women.

So let's call a spade a spade while also saying that this is a very big step forward because in most of these societies, women are use as the

bludgeons for keeping people back, so the driving ban was something the whole world was aware of when it came to human rights and women's rights in

Saudi Arabia.

ANDERSON: Christiane in London for you today here with me now, thank you, Christiane. I'm joined by Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi, she is campaigner for

women's rights and the head of Health Empowerment, Health Rights Unit at the King Abdulaziz University.

Christiane's reporting back in 1990 reminding us of just how far things have come and why today for those women that I have spoken to across Jeddah

and beyond say this is a huge deal, and the response from the national community has been the optics of good on this.

This is good for the image of Saudi Arabia and we're well aware that the driving ban was terrible for image of Saudi Arabia. They say this is a

step in the right direction. That was one of the comments I think from the State Department in the U.S. Is that's really common to you, Saudi


DR. SAMIA AL-AMOUDI, SAUDI WOMEN'S ADVOCATE: I mean, through our generations, the 80's, I continue the big whole difference between the life

we use to live and what's going on now. When I compare when I was in the 80's have still went on.

And my daughter, they are lucky, the whole generation because of all these tremendous changes. It's has stir in the right direction. It seems we're

slow but they are getting now the empowerment is going very fast.

And we can see that in many aspects, usually, the vast (Inaudible), like the guardianship system, for me as a doctor, as a physician, as when we

face problems with that but it's not because of the law, because in the law and that the law of the ministry of tangent, things are clear.

Women, they have rights, the problem is in the empowerment of the people, the empowerment of the community, so that they become aware of these

rights. So we can implement it direct way.

ANDERSON: So you've made the point that the younger generation needs -- is so much better off. I mean this wonderful sort of opportunity that quite

frankly vision 2030 has been laid out for a new generation here and for a new Saudi Arabia. There are people of your generation and older who will

say this is too much, too fast, to which you say what?

AL-AMOUDI: I don't think it's too much because with globalization and the education, women now are totally different. Their generations, they have -

- they have ambitions, do you know what's going on in whole world.

So we cannot continue like we were before and now we have a government who's looking to work forward. They have a vision. They have now a plan

for 2030, we cannot -- we cannot go ahead without the two path which are the (Inaudible), and this will work and this will empower women, we will

not succeed in out plan.

ANDERSON: You make real sense. Can we ask you this one question, somebody once said to me, women's rights have not seen more in Saudi Arabia, what do

you say to those sorts of comments? They are an optimal, it doesn't make sense.

[11:40:00] AL-AMOUDI: No, it does make sense because the women's rights, they are rights are there in the (Inaudible) of Saudi Arabia but as I said,

it's the tradition, the culture, that had impact of this one.

ANDERSON: You know, pleasure having you on. It is a very humid time, sorry. We really appreciate you standing outside with me here in Jeddah.

It's a pleasure to be on what in a historic day and to have you on my show. Thank you. Live from Saudi, this is Connect the World.

Coming up, we have more on this decision. But women in the driver seat is a huge decision and every sense of the phrase. That's next. And South

Africans saying enough is enough. They are out to protest corruption in government with thousands time to the president there to go, that, after




ANDERSON: Let's be aware and we go first here in Saudi Arabia, just a couple of days ago, women were allowed into the National Stadium for the

first time to celebrate the country's 87th birthday, all previously prohibited on the government law.


ANDERSON: And we are live from Jeddah this hour with another historic first. A royal decree set to overturn a three decade long ban on women

drivers. This is Connect the World, I'm Becky Anderson.

If you're just joining us, you are very welcome. We're going to have more on what is this historic event in Saudi in just a moment, first so, to

something else that we are tracking closely.


ANDERSON: A major government corruption scandal sending protestors onto the streets across South Africa. The country's largest trade union calls

on its members to walk off the job and join the demonstration.

Voters are angry about allegations to President Jacob Zuma's wealthy friends use their influence to win state contract and line their pockets.


ANDERSON: David McKenzie joining us now from Johannesburg, and David, this isn't the first time people have been call -- calling for the president on

the living cool going for the president to step down. What's new and significant about today?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we were with those protesters all day on the streets of Johannesburg, thousands of them and

throughout South Africa, and every major city, you have that largest trade federation sought to out in the numbers.

What's the difference today is that this group should be naturally aligned with the president Jacob Zuma, in fact they are part of his ruling alliance

and they were explicitly calling for the president to step down, agitating and angry about the large-scale allegations of corruption taking the

president, his allies and business partners.

And really, you see this pressure building within South African society trying to push Zuma out but so far as we've reported over some years now,

President Zuma appears to not be verdict. Becky.

[11:45:00] ANDERSON: Well, companies like KPMG and McKenzie, Bell Pottinger, all been have said by corruption allegations. Are their

troubles from over and Zuma seems still survives, why?

MCKENZIE: Well, that's right. Zuma survives in many states because he has tentacles and people supporting him throughout the government and

throughout society in key positions including the prosecuting authority allegedly.

And he have those major multinational companies like KPMG, McKenzie, and Bell Pottinger, the PR firm who had face a huge amount of allegations and

reputational damage. Bell Pottinger, the U.K. PR firm has collapsed because of its linkages to allege corruption in South Africa.

You're not KPMG that auditory firm which is facing great deal of pressure here and has fired much of its leadership on South Africa. McKenzie could

be taken to the U.S. courts.

So while they deny any illegalities, certainly the repetition of damage is dead on the person who seems to be able to shrug it off as President Jacob


But so many feel that, you know, the society is turning against him and you could see it all come to a head in the ANC -- the ruling ANC conference

later this year when they will vote for a new head of the ANC, and that will be the true test. Becky.

ANDERSON: All right, well live from the Saudi Arabia, that reporting from Johannesburg for you. You're watching Connect the World.

Coming up later on this hour, I'll tell you what, we'll take a very short break. We have a big story brings out the means. We're going to show you

how the incident is adding mileage to Saudi Arabia's newest decree, that is after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible), plus a business woman that holds her own. More than then men combined to do one role.


ANDERSON: Powerful words from Saudi Arabia's first officially sanctioned hip-hop concert. Qusai Kheder performing just this Saturday, he was

serenading women and mix but separated audience. His song Eve is about female empowerment, appropriate -- how appropriate, this week, as history

is made in the country.

Live from Saudi Arabia, you're watching CNN, this is Connect the World with me, Becky Anderson. I'm here with Layan Damanhouri, she's a reporter for

the Saudi Gazette. How -- that is a silly question, how are you been reporting this story, that is probably a silly story but go on, tell me.

LAYAN DAMANHOURI, REPORTER, SAUDI GAZETTE: Actually, when I heard the news and they made it clear and told me to report this story and I was already

out in a very busy place. And I started interviewing people, asking them - - I felt very happy to the reactions-- very sharp reactions as well.

[11:50:00] It's a very historic moment, even me, personally...

ANDERSON: Did you expect this to happen as same as it did because there's been talk of it for some time. I ask the question of the Crowned Prince in

a news conference about 18 months ago when the vision 2030, the incredibly ambitious project to reinvent the Saudi economy was being launched. At the

time, it wasn't clear this seems to happen anytime soon.

DAMANHOURI: It wasn't very clear, you know. I was a surprise last night. We knew it -- many of us were optimistic that it would happen. But we

didn't know it would happen next year, after five years.

ANDERSON: So what do I miss? As far as you understand it, what happens next and will you be driving in June next year?

DAMANHOURI: I think I will. I already have a driver's license, so I'm just -- I can't wait until June.

ANDERSON: A lot people have told me that -- that the traffic could be a little iffy here, so there are some women and viewers, you know, hasn't

said there are some women who will be given the choice, they may not want to drive and it certainly not a mandate going forward, is it?

DAMANHOURI: No, I mean, I wanted to have the option to drive. This is already empowering for so many people. It will help families and women.

ANDERSON: Listen, as a youngster and as somebody who the young Crowned Prince is appealing to support you in this project, this vision 2030, how

does it feel to be at that young Saudi today?

DAMANHOURI: After last night and after the vision 2030, and we were so many changes happening so fast, we're very optimistic about the news

economy that's going to change...


ANDERSON: Let's be absolutely clear, because time is about time.



DAMANHOURI: But if you empower women and help the in the labor force, help them first thing to work and they're very ambitious, they are just waiting

for their chance. This will drive economic growth, this will definitely keep the economy -- I mean, that vision 2030 realize and hopefully in time.

ANDERSON: I have to say, I think I will probably meet more ambitious women in Saudi. I mean you've meet anywhere else in world and I've met women in

more significant positions of power that perhaps I have met in other countries in the world, already and there is more to come.

If have one message then to the international community tonight, what would it be? I've seen -- I've seen comments, minimal comments today saying this

isn't about human rights, it's about the economy for the optic, it's about image, what do you say?

DAMANHOURI: I think the Saudi people are -- they're very misunderstood internationally. Many people don't know what is that Saudi Arabia like,

what are Saudi people like?

ANDERSON: So tell them.

DAMANHOURI: The Saudi -- the Saudi women and the Saudi young people in general, they are very ambitious people, educated, cultured, and they're

just waiting for the chance to be empowered, and they can run this country and the economy.

ANDERSON: And your hopes for the future, are what?

DAMANHOURI: Well, I hope to see an equal and just society, a vibrant community, all the opportunities to be -- to be open for us in the Kingdom.

ANDERSON: Well, I wish you that absolute best.

DAMANHOURI: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And we'll be back lots of time, so we'll meet again, thank you. Well, we'll be across this historic decree out of Saudi Arabia this hour,

the fact, the socio and political effects in the women driving this whole thing forward.

Well they're not all positive reactions but the mostly celebrity and long ways every monumental ruling, comes the mean studied social media of


Even Rihanna commending the progress here, sending this out to her most 57 million followers, how about for a social media footprint, Land Rover,

telling Saudi women that adventure awaits them.

No baby, I will drive my car, post the user with more compelling images making their way across Instagram and of course Twitter but only up with

hashtags in English and in Arabic.

Some users implying they will be deleting popular car booking services as Drake would say, started from the Bottom, now they're here. And other

funny reactions to the figurative lead being lifted off, what is this pressure cooker nation, that rule over the story.

[11:55:00] And as you would expect this to be like water in a call wash, I'm retailing wherever it goes, over twist, turns, bumps and hopefully no


So for more analysis on stories that matter to you folks, check out our Facebook page, if you're a regular viewer pf the show and I hope you are,

you'll know that's and if you're new to the show, well you are very, very welcome and get in touch with us and interacts

because your show after all.

We've been live for you from Saudi Arabia all this hour as history is made and hopes are raised. This is a story that we will continue to follow

closely for you, until the next time. I'm Becky Anderson, that was Connect the World. Thank you all for watching, we've seen here, it's a very good