August 3, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan quits as Syrian peace envoy.
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale says inferior housing construction costs State 50-billion-rand.
And, the US Congress renews trade measures for the African clothing sector.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is quitting as international peace envoy for Syria. This is a result of his frustration by "finger-pointing" at the United Nations while the armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad became increasingly bloody.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced in New York that Annan had said he would go at the end of the month.
Annan's mission, centered on an April ceasefire that never took hold, has looked irrelevant as fighting has intensified in Damascus, Aleppo and elsewhere. He suggested that the continued arming of both sides in the conflict and the UN Security Council deadlock has undermined his ability to pursue a diplomatic solution.
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale said on Thursday that rectification of substandard construction work on many of the low-cost housing projects throughout South Africa has left the State with a bill of about 50-billion-rand.
As a result of this, he posed the question of whether it is time to establish a State-owned construction company to undertake the many housing projects in the country.
Sexwale reported that there were about 2 000 people at national level believed to be involved in corruption and the awarding of tenders before many had a chance to bid. But it does take two to tango, he noted, adding that this was something the department was looking into.
The US Congress voted on Thursday to renew a trade measure supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in Africa's clothing sector. This agreement arrives just two months before the measure expires.
The Senate and the House of Representatives approved the legislation on a voice vote, sending it to President Barack Obama to sign into law.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act first passed by Congress in 2000, allows eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa to ship thousands of goods to the United States without paying import duties.
The congressional action comes as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton undertakes a seven-nation Africa tour, partly to promote the United States as an alternative to China's growing economic and political influence in the region.
Also making headlines:
South Africa and Swaziland have signed a memorandum of understanding reaffirming commitment to a 17-billion-rand cross-border rail link.
Kenyans see jobs and corruption as top election issues.
And, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes message of reconciliation to South Sudan.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.