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Daily podcast - July 27, 2009

podpol_27072009

27th July 2009

By: Amy Witherden

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Monday, July 27, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Beth Shirley.
Making headlines:
The South African government hopes to produce a draft Bill on a proposed scheme to combine the public and private health sectors by December this year. Deputy Health Minister Molefi Sefularo says that the legislation establishing a National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will hopefully be approved by Parliament next year.
According to an African National Congress (ANC) document released on Friday, those who could afford to pay for healthcare will subsidise those who cannot, in what the ANC calls "social solidarity".
Among the proposals contained in the report are: that anyone will be able to attend a private or public hospital without having to pay; public health funding and medical aid contributions will go into a pool from which the government will allocate money to doctors, clinics and hospitals; tax rebates for medical aid contributions will be abolished; workers earning more than a set amount and employers will have to make contributions to an NHI fund; and there will be a cap on what doctors or hospitals can claim from the fund for services rendered.

Frustration at the gap between calls by political leaders for a new trade deal and a lack of concrete progress in negotiations has boiled over at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
India's WTO ambassador, Ujal Singh Bhatia says that the gulf between pledges and action is now so marked that it threatens the credibility of both world leaders and the WTO.
Leaders have called at a series of international forums for a conclusion next year of the WTO's Doha round to open up trade. But major economies such as the US and India have questioned whether the 2010 deadline can be met.
Negotiators at the WTO in Geneva say they are still awaiting orders from their governments to move on the remaining sticking points, with no one ready to be the first to show their hand.
WTO director-general Pascal Lamy acknowledges the mismatch between promises and energy, saying there is an urgent need to "translate this change in atmospherics into a clear path for engagement across the board in the negotiations in Geneva so that we can get to the arrival point on time."

Violent riots and threats of a fresh wave of crippling labour strikes may force South African President Jacob Zuma to deliver quickly on election promises.
So far, the rage is focused on local authorities and township residents say it is too early to judge Zuma. But the long-term credibility of the man who portrays himself as the champion of the poor may rest on whether he takes decisive action against local government officials.
The President says that government is paying serious attention to the serious delivery protests and is sympathetic to the concerns of people with genuine grievances, but they will lose government support if the protests are accompanied by violence.

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Also making headlines:
The Democratic Alliance proposes cost-cutting measures for executive, adding that government should lead the way in demonstrating frugality.
President Jacob Zuma affirms that government is committed to creating 500 000 job opportunities by the end of the year, despite stating last week that South Africans will have to wait for an increase in job creation owing to the financial crisis.
And, the United Nations fears that the people of Darfur may be left out of Sudan's first democratic election in decades.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.

 

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