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Daily podcast - July 17, 2009


17th July 2009

By: Amy Witherden


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Friday, July 17, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:

Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and South African Communist Party (SACP) leaders do not control President Jacob Zuma, says Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.People have accused Zuma of failing in his leadership, as he has not been able to stop the recent strikes, as well as the debate about nationalisation, said Vavi. There is also speculation that Cosatu will not give the President a chance to prove himself.Vavi adds that Zuma's call for a debate on nationalising mines was a step in the right direction, and says that Cosatu has to redefine its role. The federation needs to avoid two extremes, he said, one being, the "government's lapdog", the other, a permanent opposition. Vavi further called for unity in the tripartite alliance.


Governments should play a greater role in development policies in the world's poorest countries to help them pull out of the global financial crisis, according to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).The agency reports that economic growth in most of the world's 49 least developed countries will not keep up with their population increase this year. Charles Gore, a senior UNCTAD economist, says that the economic crisis has exposed the shortcomings of the current development paradigm. Least developed countries should seize the crisis as an opportunity for a change, he said.
The UNCTAD says that developing countries need to go beyond institutional reform and focus on good "governance". Fiscal policy should be used to provide a stimulus to counter the crisis and invest in infrastructure, with foreign aid helping to fund deficits, while encouraging the private sector to mobilise resources.The UNCTAD adds that developing countries should invest in boosting agricultural productivity to address food security.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, yesterday mooted the use of unspent money from the National Skills Fund to put poor students through university.
Nzimande told an academic colloquium in Cape Town that it was unacceptable to have some R21-billion in rollover expenditure in the fund, while complaining that not enough students can "access and succeed in higher education". The Minister said that there is a strong argument to be made for the transfer of some of the money to the National Students Financial Aid Scheme, but hastened to add that he has no intention of ransacking the skills fund, though he believes that there is an urgent need to rethink funding for higher education as a whole.


Also making headlines:
African National Congress spokesperson Jesse Duarte says that ‘organisational renewal' is a priority for the party's National Executive Committee meeting this weekend.
The Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila cleans out the country's judiciary in an anticorruption campaign.
And, Botswana's Trade and Industry Minister explains that the country signed a controversial trade deal with the European Union to protect its commercial interests.

That's a roundup of news making headlines today.




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