Wednesday, June 30, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) leaders have voted to go on strike at Eskom from next week, says spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka. The decision was taken despite the possibility that industrial action may be illegal, as work at Eskom had been declared an essential service.
Eskom human resources MD Bhabhalazi Bulungu says that the public utility is waiting for formal communication from the NUM on its decision and is still holding out hope of meeting with the union on Wednesday. Eskom will continue to seek dialogue while trying to prevent a strike. Bulungu said that the power utility still has options and will take measures to ensure the security of supply.
Eskom's most recent offer was for an 8,5% increase and a R1 000 a month housing allowance. Unions have been insisting on a 9% increase and a R2 500 a month housing allowance. Seshoka said that the NUM would have been willing to compromise on the wage increase if management had acceded to their housing allowance demand.
Doubts have emerged over the credibility of Guinea's Presidential election, billed as its first free poll since independence, after leading candidates and a US observer team cited procedural shortfalls. This was the first hint of possible wrangling over the outcome of Sunday's first-round poll, which attracted a turnout of 80% and won international praise for avoiding violence and raising hopes of an end to military rule.
A smooth election is as seen vital to boosting investment in the world's top exporter of the aluminium ore bauxite, unlocking aid to combat widespread poverty and easing the threat of ethnic strife that could set alight an unstable region.
The Carter Centre human rights group, which contributed 30 election observers, said that "confusion about several important aspects of voting and counting procedures, delay in the allocation of polling stations, and the late delivery of essential voting materials negatively affected the quality of polling." A spokesperson for United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called for calm as Guinea awaits the outcome of the election.
Preliminary results are due on Wednesday. Local media have cited results from a few individual polling stations but no reliable trend has yet emerged.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela will set a deadline for the Presidency's and the Justice Ministry's promised review of the Executive Ethics Code following President Jacob Zuma's failure to declare his interests on time.
Madonsela found in April that Zuma had breached section 5 of the Executive Ethics Code by failing to declare his interests within 60 days of taking office. He only did so in March this year after a media outcry, missing the deadline by some eight months. She found that the President was not the only culprit and that noncompliance was rife among Cabinet members. Her report pointed to shortcomings in the act and made proposals on how to address them, including introducing penalties for Cabinet members who fail to comply. She called on Parliament to impose the same penalties to those who breach the Executive Members Ethics Act that already apply to Members of Parliament who violate the Parliamentary code of conduct, as from this month.
But so far, Parliament's joint committee on ethics and members' interests has done no more than "note" her recommendations, and press reports suggest that plans to tighten the rules are being frustrated by the office of the Chief Whip of the African National Congress.
Also making headlines:
South African Human Rights Commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana says that a reaction unit has been assembled to respond to any xenophobic attacks after the 2010 FIFA World Cup, after rumours of tension circulate.
Madagascar postpones indefinitely a referendum on a new constitution that is vital for ending political strife on the island.
African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu rejects Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille's claim that feudal authoritarianism fuelled the Khayelitsha toilet saga.
And, Africa will need to reassure investors in order to secure the estimated $350-billion in funding required for energy projects over the next two decades.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.