October 22 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
South Africa plans a R4-trillion infrastructure roll-out over the next 15 years.
Regional African Leaders meet on the Mali crisis but little progress is made.
And, media law expert Dario Milo says apartheid-era laws are being used for media coverage on Nkandla.
President Jacob Zuma said at a Presidential Infrastructure Investment Conference that South Africa would spend as much as R4-trillion on infrastructure development projects over the next 15 years.
He said some of these projects would have to be paid for by the private sector, such as industrial projects connected to infrastructure. The State would invest about R844-billion on infrastructure developments over the next three years.
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said that the 20-year National Infrastructure Development Plan was radically different than previous initiatives. It is geared towards attracting and facilitating investment, while reaching across all provinces.
The plan is aimed at constructing new projects and expediting existing ones to enable economic and social development.
Regional leaders and international organisations met in Mali's capital Bamako to seek a response to the occupation of the north of the country by al Qaeda-linked Islamists. However, they failed to resolve differences on how to tackle the growing security threat.
Regional and international efforts to deal with the situation, which has created a safe haven for Islamists and international criminal gangs, have been hampered by divisions over how to help.
The African Union's new chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said that the main challenge at present was how to deal with the dangerous situation in the north of the country expeditiously.
In a document adopted during the talks involving Mali's west and north African neighbours, the African Union, the United Nations and the European Union, delegates called for sanctions against terrorist networks and Malian rebels who refuse to break ties to them and join talks. The African Union and United Nations also announced plans to open permanent offices in Bamako.
Media law expert Dario Milo said that the media coverage of the upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's Nkandla home required government to "dust off" apartheid-era legislation.
Milo said that Public Works Minister's Thulas Nxesi’s response to the Nkadla exposé was twofold. He noted the call for the City Press –which first broke the story –to be investigated for the crime of unlawfully processing a 'top secret' document, and the Minister’s refusal to answer questions about the Nkandla funding because it had been declared a 'national key point'
He said both these propositions required Nxesi to use apartheid-era security legislation such as the Protection of Information Act of 1982 and the National Key Points Act of 1980.
Milo said those in power had to try to refrain from readily turning to defamation or dignity law to stifle criticism of their official conduct, as the use of these laws was a current threat to media freedom and was being used to stifle transparency and accountability.
However, he averred that, despite this, South African courts do have the final say in matters of media freedom.
Also making headlines:
Pressure mounts on US Presidential rival Mitt Romney following the Libya foreign policy misfire.
The South African Local Government Association targets clean audits for 97 underperforming municipalities by 2014.
And, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies says the Brics group of countries should contribute towards Africa’s development.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.