August 24, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
The Lonmin Marikana mine violence is to be probed into by judicial commission of inquiry.
The International Monetary Fund welcomes South Africa’s infrastructure push and calls for greater private sector participation.
And, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges Egypt and Israel to talk on Sinai.
The International Monetary Fund (or IMF) has welcomed South Africa’s renewed drive to invest in public infrastructure. However, it says a “rigorous but prompt” assessment of key projects is needed to ensure they are properly prioritised to maximise long-term benefits.
South Africa is pursuing an R845-billion programme to upgrade and expand power, transport, telecoms and water networks between 2012 and 2015.
In its latest Staff Report for the 2012 Article IV (four) consultation with South Africa, the IMF also argued that, to help to contain fiscal risks, options needed to be explored to involve the private sector in network industries dominated by State-owned enterprises. Tariffs and user fees should also reflect service and investment costs.
Emphasis should be given to building implementation capacity, a scarcity of which had led to lower-than-expected capital spending by the public sector in previous years.
President Jacob Zuma has announced a three-member judicial commission of inquiry to probe the mine violence in which 44 people died in Marikana, North West.
He said the commission's mandate, among other things, is to probe the conduct of the mining company Lonmin and consider whether it responded appropriately to the threat of an outbreak of violence on its premises.
The commission would also examine the conduct of the South African Police Service. It would focus on the facts and circumstances which gave rise to the use of force, and whether it was reasonable and justifiable.
Zuma said the commission would also probe the conduct of the National Union of Mineworkers and its rival, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.
The commission is expected to complete its work within four months, and to submit its final report within a month of completing its work.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Egypt's foreign minister to keep lines of communication open with Israel amid tensions over an Egyptian push against militants in the neighboring Sinai desert.
Clinton spoke with Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and stressed the importance of acting transparently as Cairo deploys aircraft and tanks in Sinai, for the first time since a 1973 war with Israel.
Israeli officials have expressed concern over the Egyptian deployment, saying the vehicles' entry into the Sinai was not coordinated and was in violation of a 1979 peace treaty.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has not lodged a formal protest. It prefers trying to resolve the issue in quiet contacts including US mediation to avoid worsening ties with Cairo. These ties have been strained since Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular revolt last year.
Also making headlines:
A study says the threat of drought and food supply boosts small-scale irrigation schemes.
The Intelligent Transport Society of South Africa welcomes Gauteng’s transport project after a 'planning vacuum'.
And, the UN green fund holds its first talks after months of delays.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.