July 2, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Natalie Greve.
President Jacob Zuma says South Africa's ruling African National Congress will push for greater state involvement in mining and land ownership to address inequalities inherited from apartheid that pose a "grave threat" to Africa's biggest economy.
Speaking at the end of a week-long ANC policy meeting, Zuma said the capitalists who became rich under white-minority rule still held a disproportionate sway over the economy 18 years after its demise.
"If we continue in this way, our gains of democracy will be put at risk because those who feel the pain will say 'enough is enough,'" Zuma said.
He added that mining firms in the world's largest platinum provider had to do more to create jobs and alleviate the poverty that is fuelling almost daily unrest in sprawling black townships, posing long-term risks to South Africa's stability.
Syrian government forces pushed their way into Douma on Saturday after weeks of siege and shelling, while fleeing residents spoke of corpses in the streets of the town near the capital Damascus.
The residents said hundreds of people were fleeing the town as government forces swept the streets in search of rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
They reported many bodies buried under the rubble of houses in the town of half a million, 15 km from Damascus.
It wasn’t possible to immediately verify the reports on the same day that world powers met in Geneva to try and find a way to resolve the increasingly bloody conflict in Syria.
A 16-month uprising against Assad has morphed into a fight between rebels and the government which labels armed and unarmed dissidents as "terrorists."
Officials said at the ANC's policy conference in Midrand on Friday that the party can’t agree on whether education and health should be classified as essential services.
ANC health and education commission member Angie Motshekga, who is also the basic education minister, told reporters that che commission resolved that the process should continue to find a consensus around the matter of declaring education an essential service.
Chairperson of the commission Zweli Mkhize said the problems of essential services applied to both health and education.
He explained that essential services were about critical service in the country that should be always reliable, available and could be assured at all times, which these two sectors fit.
All parties at the ANC's four-day policy conference, including labour, agreed that the provision of education and health services should not be interrupted by strikes.
Also making headlines:
Egypt's Islamist president Mohamed Mursi is sworn in, officially being handed authority to govern the nation.
And, Sudan has agreed to allow humanitarian aid to civilians in rebel-controlled areas of two war-torn border states where aid groups have warned of an impending famine.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.