October 9, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Motshabi Hoaeane.
South African State workers join the strike bandwagon.
The International Monetary Fund cuts its 2012 Africa growth forecast and raises outlook for 2013.
And, rebels shell Sudan’s oil-producing capital South Kordofan.
South Africa's local government workers' union, said on Monday it would launch a strike over pay in the next few days. This is the first sign of a wave of labour unrest in Africa's biggest economy spreading from the mines into the public sector.
South African Municipal Workers Union (or SAMWU) spokesperson Tahir Sema said that the majority of SAMWU's 190 000 members are expected to join the strike for "market-related salaries" which may last for one day or drag on indefinitely.
Since August, close to 100 000 workers, including 75 000 in the mining sector, have downed tools in often illegal and violent protests. The strikes are likely to hit growth this year and undermine the government's efforts to cut its budget deficit.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has promised to reduce the deficit from the 4.6% gross domestic product forecast for this financial year. Any public sector wage increase would make that more difficult.
The International Monetary Fund (or IMF) has cut its 2012 forecast for Africa along with most other countries around the world. This is a result of the eurozone crisis dampening global demand and higher food prices weighing on food-importing countries in the region.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF shaved its 2012 growth projections for Africa to 5% from 5.4%. However, it revised its 2013 outlook to 5.7% from 5.3%.
The Fund said spillovers from the eurozone crisis into Africa have so far been modest except for South Africa, which has close financial and trading ties with Europe.
The IMF cautioned that African countries could also be hit if China's economy slowed sharply. China's economic growth is expected to be the lowest in more than a decade this year.
Neighbouring States Sudan and South Sudan said on Monday that insurgents have shelled the main city of Sudan's oil-producing South Kordofan state. This is the first assault on the government stronghold since last year.
Government radio said the shelling killed five people and wounded at least 23, without saying whether they were military or civilian casualties.
Under international pressure, Sudan and South Sudan agreed last month to secure their border after clashing along it several times in the past year. Indirect talks between Khartoum and the rebels have made little progress.
Sudan's army spokesperson Al-Sawarmi Khalid accused the insurgents of targeting a conference of political leaders scheduled to be held in the city.
Also making headlines:
South Africa’s Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan states that unqualified municipal officials will face dismissal from January 2013.
Energy features strongly in the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s 2012 disbursements.
And, a study reveals that Africa can easily grow wheat to ease hunger and price shocks.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.