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Polity – News this week

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Polity – News this week

27th May 2010

By: Bradley Dubbelman

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South Africa

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng wants all party leaders in the province to declare their business interests, secretary David Makhura says. "It's possible that your own leaders . . . can abuse their positions," he says. The ANC in Gauteng will establish an Integrity Committee. All leaders will declare their own interests, and those of their immediate families. A registry of all the interests declared will then be kept by the committee. The committee is the first of its kind and will extend from local level to provincial party leaders. "There should be no chance . . . for public representatives to siphon State resources to enrich themselves." The committee will be open to receiving information on the business interests of party leaders from ANC members and the general public. It might also hand over information to relevant State authorities, Makhura says. The composition of the committee has not yet been finalised but will be "made up of men and women of integrity". The establishment of the committee was mooted at the province's eleventh conference last month.

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CAPE TOWN - Parliament's Chief Whips Forum has appointed a multiparty task team to investigate the establishment of a Presidential portfolio committee. The Democratic Alliance (DA) proposed on April 14 that such a committee be established to oversee the work of the Presidency. DA Parliamentary leader Athol Trollip welcomes the task team's appointment. "The serious consideration afforded to the DA's proposal . . . is an important victory in strengthening legislative oversight of [President Jacob] Zuma's administration," he says. Following the investigation by the multiparty team, its findings will be referred to the Chief Whips Forum, which will make recommendations to the Joint Rules Committee on the establishment of a Presidential portfolio committee. "In the DA's original document, we suggested that, with the creation of two new Ministries, the expansion of the Presidency's budget to almost three-quarters of a billion rand (between 2006/7 and 2009/10, the budget of the Presidency increased at an average annual rate of 46%) and the concentration of power vested in this organ of State, this shortcoming has now become a substantial and serious blind spot." The Presidency and its function form a significant part of the work of the national government as a whole. For it to exercise the vast power vested in it in an open and transparent manner, it should account to the legislature in the same way that every other national department is required to.


Africa & the world

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TUNIS - African States should consider renegotiating unfavourable contracts with multinationals to ensure they get a fair return on their natural resources, a joint Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/African Development Bank (OECD/AfDB) study urges. The growing presence of companies from China and other emerging countries on the continent also gives governments the chance to reap higher rewards from mineral, energy and other resources by putting them to competitive bidding, it says. "Where multinational firms fail to abide by minimal corporate governance standards in terms of tax contributions, governments should consider renegotiating concessions," the report to the AfDB's annual meeting argues. "African States are entitled to receive a fair deal for the exploitation of their natural resources," it concludes. The proposal is one of several made in a joint paper by the bank and the Paris-based OECD, aimed at gradually weaning the continent off foreign aid by boosting tax and other domestic revenues. The lack of transparency surrounding many resource contracts in Africa and the fact that many of its governments have little experience in negotiating production agreements and tax regimes mean their terms vary wildly.


TUNIS - Africa is slowly emerging from the global recession and should grow 4,5% this year and just over 5% in 2011, a report by the African Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forecasts. The rate of growth is an improvement on the average 2,5% experienced by the continent's 53 States in 2009 but is still short of the 6% annual rise achieved before the global financial crisis exploded in 2008.

 

 

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