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Daily podcast - February 3, 2010

podpol_03022010

3rd February 2010

By: Amy Witherden

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Schalk Burger.
Making headlines:
February 2 marked the twentieth anniversary of former President FW de Klerk's historic speech to the South African Parliament in 1990, which resulted in the release of African National Congress (ANC) leader and struggle hero Nelson Mandela, the unbanning of African political parties and the beginning of the move towards democracy. Speaking at a conference marking the occasion, De Klerk said that the nine days between his speech and the release of Mandela on February 11 changed South Africa forever. He added that the next twenty years should see South Africans rededicating themselves to the Constitution and its vision of equality, human dignity and justice. Speaking at the same conference, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said that the ANC had left behind Mandela's vision of a country in which the Constitution gives everybody the right to dignity, adding that the "group in the ascendancy [in the ANC] believes that liberation means unfettered power to impose its will."
African Union (AU) leaders said yesterday that they intended to strengthen the group's powers to fight a rising tide of coups and electoral fraud on the continent. Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika, who was voted the new AU chairperson at the summit in Addis Ababa, said that Africa "must say 'never again' to conflict and war" on the continent. There were four coups last year, in Madagascar, Mauritania, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. The AU is expected to reveal new measures to combat unconstitutional changes of government by next week, which will "improve its ability to protect democracy," said AU peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra. The new measures will include the ability to sanction leaders who refuse to hold elections or who engage in electoral fraud. The summit was dominated by discussion of the coups and the festering conflicts in Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite the official theme of developing the continent's information technology infrastructure.
The World Bank is working with China, including jointly funded projects, to develop a manufacturing sector in Africa and potentially transform the economies of the poorest continent. Speaking at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, World Bank president Robert Zoellick explained that East Asia's growth involved the "model of basic manufacturing to slowly move up the value-added chain". The legacy of colonial rule means that many sub-Saharan African countries - South Africa excluded - have economies structured around the export of raw materials, with the consequent need to import basic manufactured goods at higher prices. Developing a domestic factory sector would go a long way towards cutting these costs, as well as creating jobs and accelerating industrialisation. Chinese officials often talk of the potential for Chinese investment to bring about an African industrial revolution. Zoellick's desire to see World Bank expertise and cash tied up with Chinese business and manufacturing know-how, supports that view.
Also making headlines:
Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu says that the nationalisation of South Africa's mines is not government policy and is unlikely to be adopted any time soon. Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos reshuffles government after a new Constitution is passed, giving him greater powers. And, the African Union Summit endorses South Africa's candidature for a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.

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