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Daily podcast - August 3, 2009

podpol_03082009

3rd August 2009

By: Amy Witherden

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Monday, August 3, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:
Unity talks between opposition parties are under way in a bid to challenge the ruling party at the polls. The Congress of the People (Cope), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and the Independent Democrats (ID) have met to discuss the "realignment" of opposition politics.
According to ID leader Patricia de Lille, there is a need for opposition parties to get together to present a "united front to the country" and "ensure proper accountability of government".
In a speech to the DA's Mpumalanga congress at the weekend, party leader Helen Zille said that for a new political "vehicle" to be successful, it will have to be driven by "more than a desire to win power from the African National Congress". A united opposition must share a vision and values, she said.
UDM leader Bantu Holomisa says that South Africans want strong alternatives, and that he is pleased political leaders are prepared to talk about the possibility of a united opposition.

Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Pascal Lamy, who is presently in South Africa, states that the $250-billion financial package to revive a global trading system crippled by the credit crisis is starting to bear fruit, especially in Asia, where China has stepped in. Despite cautious optimism, Lamy says that the WTO is maintaining its forecast of a 10% contraction in global trade this year as a result of the global recession and the freeze-up in trade credit precipitated by financial crisis. Lamy adds that WTO members have acknowledged South Africa's argument for special treatment in the current Doha Round of trade talks because of relatively deep cuts in industrial tariffs made under apartheid. During white minority rule, South Africa was treated in trade terms as a developed country, rather than the developing status it now enjoys. Lamy says that South Africa will benefit from specific flexibilities.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for South African investment in his country. Speaking at a meeting of business and government officials in Johannesburg, Tsvangirai explained that he would encourage South African over foreign companies, as South African businesses could operate in a familiar environment and understand the "politics, economics and potential of Zimbabwe". Zimbabwe requires improvements in infrastructure, but lacks the resources for such investments. Tsvangirai adds that the country's economic stability requires access to foreign markets, finance, technology, skills and ideas. Tsvangirai said that the Zimbabwean government is aware that the rule of law is critical for the country to attract foreign business investment. The new government must be given time to stop all abuses of law, he said.
Also making headlines:
Former South African politicians Tony Leon, Zola Skweyiya and Ngconde Balfour are earmarked for diplomatic posts.
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says that service delivery protests will inevitably continue as politicians make impossible promises.
And, more than 700 people have been killed in Nigeria in an uprising by a radical Islamic sect.

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