Thursday, March 12, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
African National Congress President Jacob Zuma assured foreign diplomats yesterday that the April elections will take place as peacefully as previous polls since the advent of democracy in South Africa.
Zuma explained that political tensions in some provinces are manageable, and that political parties will be able to find solutions to these issues by working with the Independent Electoral Commission.
Zuma added that the country is going through "a very robust election period".
The Presidential frontrunner told diplomats that the international community can rest assured that South Africa has matured since 1994. He added that the country's democratic institutions are growing stronger, while the Constitution continues to guide the country on the way forward.
In economic news, African nations and the International Monetary Fund have agreed to a new partnership. At a conference held in Dar es Salaam on the role of the IMF in Africa, the parties called on industrial countries to keep their promises of increased aid to Africa despite the global financial crisis.
IMF MD, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, says that developed countries can no longer tell others how to run their economies. It is unfair that African and other low-income countries that had nothing to do with the causes of the global economic crisis, are now hardest-hit.
Strauss-Kahn added that it is high time for advanced economies to be less arrogant.
In a joint declaration, African finance leaders and the IMF called for action to safeguard more than a decade of economic progress in Africa. Growth on the continent is expected to halve to 3% this year, as revenues are slashed by falling exports and lower commodity prices.
Strauss-Kahn said, however, that there is no risk of a strong recession in Africa.
In South African news, the Constitutional Court has ruled that registered voters living abroad can vote for the National Assembly in the April 22 elections.
Overseas voters must notify the chief electoral officer of their intention to vote by March 27, the court ordered. Justice Kate O'Regan said that the right to vote has a symbolic and democratic value.
The judgement follows an application by the Freedom Front Plus on behalf of a teacher working in the UK, as well as representation by the Inkatha Freedom Party, the Democratic Alliance, the A-Party, a lobby group, and an independent group of South Africans living overseas.
These parties argued that it is their Constitutional right to vote and that limitations in the Electoral Act which meant that they did not fall into the certain categories allowed to vote, were unfair.
Following this judgement, the Independent Electoral Commission must amend the Election Regulations accordingly.
Also making headlines:
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court has ordered the release on bail of Movement for Democratic Change official, Roy Bennett.
The Congress of the People denies rumours of coalition plans with the African National Congress.
The African Union is to extend its peacekeeping mandate in Somalia for another three months.
And, after the ballot draw yesterday, the relatively unknown Movement Democratic Party is to top the ballot list for the upcoming elections.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.