Thursday, October 22, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Bradley Dubbelman.
A new draft of the much-delayed Superior Courts Bill will soon be presented to Cabinet, said Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe yesterday, on the sidelines of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews of candidate judges. The Bill seeks to restructure the judiciary and integrate the Labour Court into South Africa's High Courts.
The slant of the JSC commissioners' questions to candidates for vacancies at the Labour Court and Labour Appeals Court strongly suggested that the integration of Labour Courts into High Courts is about to become a reality.
The controversial Bill was withdrawn by former President Thabo Mbeki in 2006 for further consideration and consultation with the judiciary after the opposition charged that it would give the Justice Minister the power to hand-pick judges to hear certain cases and undermine the independence of the judiciary.
However, after his appointment in May, Radebe vowed that he would not leave the Bill on the shelf much longer as he believes it is vital for the speedy transformation of the judiciary.
The United Nations (UN) estimated last year, that by mid-2009, there would be over one-billion people in Africa. This milestone will only benefit the world's poorest continent if it can unify its piecemeal markets.
While population statistics are difficult to come by, there is little doubt that Africa's population is set to grow faster than in any other part of the world in the coming decades, and to double by 2050.
To some, the statistics will invite comparisons to the Asian giants China and India, and inspire hopes of a flood of investment from Africans and outsiders to meet the needs of a continent likely to be home to one in five people globally by the middle of this century.
To others, the numbers are stark reminders of the mammoth task that Africa's leaders face in providing the food, jobs, schools, housing and healthcare that are still so sorely lacking.
The UN Population Fund says that sub-Saharan Africa faces "serious political, economic and social challenges" and points to the last two decades as evidence that more people does not mean more wealth.
South African resources and industrial groups, many of which are involved in highly carbon-intensive business activities, featured strongly in the top 15 positions of the ‘2009 Carbon Disclosure Project' report, which was topped by banking group Nedbank.
The report estimates South Africa's total emissions at about 440-million tons, with the largest direct emitters being Eskom, Sasol, ArcelorMittal South Africa, BHP Billiton and Anglo American.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica says that, as a high carbon emitter, South Africa has the responsibility to demonstrate leadership on the continent. Such leadership must be accompanied by target setting, measurement and verification of performance, she said, adding that greenhouse gas emission reporting would soon be made mandatory, with penalties for noncompliance.
Also making headlines:
A Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department report on local government shows that municipalities overspend their budgets.
A high-level panel urges changes to the top structures of the World Bank as the US and Europe are "overrepresented".
Industrial Development Corporation economist Lumkile Mondi says that South Africa's strong rand is decimating the real economy.
And, the United Nations says that only 22 out of 192 countries have paid their membership and peacekeeping fees in full.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.