Tuesday, February 2, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
The African National Congress (ANC) says that the media and commentators are making "a mountain out of nothing" over reports about President Jacob Zuma's lovechild. ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu called media reports describing Zuma's relationship with Sonono Khoza as a "shame to the nation", "unjustified" and "disingenuous" attacks on Zuma. Mthembu added that Zuma's relationships are a "personal matter". ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said that it would be "disrespectful" to even discuss it. Zuma was criticised by opposition parties, with the Democratic Alliance accusing him of damaging the struggle against HIV/Aids by having unprotected sex. However, the ANC said that it did not see a correlation between Zuma's personal relationships and the party's policies on HIV/ Aids. Congress of the People president Mosiuoa Lekota says that Zuma has long been a "poor role model". "Polygamy is not promiscuity and his behaviour is not justifiable under any circumstances," he said. Analysts think that the public has a right to an answer. University of the Witwatersrand media ethics professor Franz Kruger says that Zuma's private life is "sufficiently of public interest to warrant media attention".
US President Barack Obama urged Sudan yesterday to cooperate in efforts to stabilise the country or warned that Washington would conclude that engagement is not working and seek "additional pressure" on Khartoum. Obama said that the US and the United Nations were working to broker a series of agreements to stabilise the country and allow refugees back to their homes. US strategy toward Sudan calls for renewed economic sanctions, but also offers Khartoum incentives to end violence. Obama said that the situation in Sudan "has been heartbreaking but also extremely difficult." The US hopes to broker a lasting peace agreement between Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government.
A much-awaited report on the leaking of spy tapes to President Jacob Zuma's lawyer will not be seen by Parliament's oversight intelligence committee for weeks to come, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said yesterday. DA Member of Parliament Theo Coetzee, part of Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI), said media reports that the document compiled by former inspector general of intelligence Zolile Ngcakani would be discussed at a sitting in Pretoria this week, were incorrect. He added that JSCI chairperson Cecil Burgess received the report on December 30, but said that the committee needed to be briefed on it by Ngcakani. The report is expected to examine how secret recordings of phone conversations between former Scorpions boss Leonard McCarthy and former national prosecutions chief Bulelani Ngcuka came into the hands of Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley.
Also making headlines:
South African opposition parties will hold talks next month on closer cooperation for the 2011 local government elections.
Ghana's Vice-President John Dramani expects 5,7% growth following the advent of an oil economy.
And, the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa says that companies should have conflict of interest policies in place, following the furore over the African National Congress's involvement in a tender granted to Hitachi by Eskom.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.