Thursday, September 2, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Brad Dubbelman.
Striking public service unions have rejected the government's latest wage offer. National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) spokesperson Sizwe Phamla said that Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi started communicating the offer to the public before unions had even consulted their members. Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) leaders, he said, should not have gone to the media and discussed the offer as "they would have never been given enough time to explain" the proposal.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi announced last night that unions have rejected the offer. South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) spokesperson Nomusa Cembi said that the union had explained the details of the strike to its members. She said that Sadtu members still want to get their original 8,6% wage increase and R1 000 monthly housing allowance.
The government is offering a 7,5% wage increase and a R800 monthly housing allowance. The strike enters its fifteenth day on Thursday.
World trade continued to rebound strongly in the first half of this year, rising by over one-quarter from the levels of a year ago, with emerging economies showing particularly powerful export growth, World Trade Organisation (WTO) figures show.
Trade typically grows and contracts at much faster rates than the overall economy, but WTO data confirms the strength of the global recovery in the first half of this year. Global exports of merchandise goods were 25,8% higher in the second quarter than a year earlier, after a 25,7% rise in the first quarter, WTO statistics show. That means that trade in the first half of the year was about 25% higher by value than a year earlier, but still below its mid-2008 peaks.
Global exports in the second quarter were 7% higher than in the first quarter of this year, the WTO said. The WTO expects that they will grow by over 10% in volume terms this year, after shrinking by 12% in 2009.
President Jacob Zuma was again accused by the opposition of covering up the involvement of senior African National Congress (ANC) officials in a scandal that saw companies pay bribes to the regime of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to secure contracts under the United Nations Food-for-Oil Programme.
Zuma said in reply to a Parliamentary question on Wednesday, that he would not extend the investigation of the Donen Commission, which probed the role of South African companies in the so-called Oilgate scandal, nor would he release its findings. He said that local companies that allegedly paid illicit surcharges to the Iraqi regime could not be prosecuted under South African law.
Democratic Alliance Parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said that Zuma's reasons for not releasing the report were "spurious" and amounted to another cover up of "power abuse and gross misconduct by the ANC government".
Also making headlines:
Police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against rising food prices in Mozambique's capital on Wednesday, killing at least six people.
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says that the mining ministry has examined the granting of two disputed prospecting rights and found no evidence of maladministration or irregularity.
The United Nations says that the number of reported victims of a recent mass rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo has grown by nearly 100 over the last week.
And, African Development Bank private sector department director Tim Turner says that the bank expects to lend $2,2-billion to the private sector in 2011, up from the $2-billion forecast for this year.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.