October 16, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
South African President Jacob Zuma rejects the Democratic Alliance’s request for debate on the economy.
The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force says Darfur’s peace deal faces 'huge challenges'.
And, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is 'surprised' by the sovereign ratings cut.
The Presidency said on Monday that President Jacob Zuma has turned down a request by Democratic Alliance (or DA) leader Helen Zille to publicly debate with her on the state of the economy.
In response to media inquiries about the debate, Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said in a statement that the presidency sees no need to engage in any exercise that diverts attention from getting stakeholders to work together.
Zille said that Zuma had not proved himself worthy of leading the country in the wake of escalating labour protests and the downgrading of the country's credit rating.
As part of the dialogue referred to by Maharaj, meetings would be held between unions and businesses on solving the country's economic problems.
The acting head of the regional peacekeeping force said on Monday that efforts to implement a peace deal between Sudan's government and a Darfur rebel group face "huge challenges" as violence is rising in parts of the western region of the country.
Despite a massive United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force (or UNAMID) having been deployed in Darfur, rebel fighting, banditry and tribal clashes have continued to plague the territory.
In July last year the government signed a Qatar-brokered peace deal with the Liberation and Justice Movement , an umbrella group of small rebel factions. However the main insurgent groups refused to sign.
Acting UNAMID head Aichatou Mindaoudou said that implementing the deal has been slow since then. The United Nations has estimated that around 300 000 people may have died in the Darfur conflict. The government has put the toll at around 10 000.
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said that Standard & Poor's decision to cut the sovereign rating came as a "surprise", especially since strikes in the mining sector were not yet having a major impact on government revenue and spending plans.
Gordhan also said in an interview with a national radio broadcaster that he expected Fitch – the one ratings agency that has not weighed in on South Africa in the past few weeks – to revisit its outlook at around the start of the new year.
However, analysts feel Fitch might be pressured to move before the election conference, at which President Jacob Zuma is seeking re-election as party leader. This would eventuality that set him up to remain state president until 2019.
Standard and Poor’s and Moody's, which downgraded South African bonds a notch in September, both cited a lack of political leadership in the current labour crisis. This indicates that the ANC is having trouble managing an increasingly complex economy.
Also making headlines:
The Department of Energy has reissued three requests for proposals for a 5 000 MW solar park study.
Clashes erupt between Sudan's army and rebels in South Kordofan.
And, Minister of Public Enterprises Malusi Gigaba hints to yet more shareholder support for South African Airways but wants a new plan first.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.