Tuesday, May 26, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille has defended her decision, amid angry protest from the African National Congress, to hold her opening address in the Western Cape Legislature before President Jacob Zuma delivers his first State of the Nation address next week.
Zille's spokesperson Robert Macdonald says that Zille will deliver her speech on Friday because the Legislature needs to start work as soon as possible to meet an end of June deadline to adopt its budget.
The ANC's chief whip in the Western Cape Legislature, Max Ozinsky, wrote to the Speaker demanding that Zille's speech be moved to a later date. It is convention for Premiers to deliver their State of the Province addresses after the President makes his State of the Nation speech, so that they can respond to the national policy framework and direction provided by the President, he explained.
Ozinsky conceded, however, that the Democratic Alliance-controlled Legislature may be more pressed for time than those in other provinces, because it needs to review a budget drafted by the former ANC government in the Western Cape.
In other news, a report shows that African countries whose farmland is being bought by foreign investors must defend local people's rights to avoid eviction, while investors should beware of being tainted as human rights abusers or "land grabbers".
The report, co-authored by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the International Institute for Environment and Development, estimates that nearly 2,5-million hectares of farmland in five sub-Saharan African countries have been bought or leased by foreign investors since 2004.
Fears about food security in industrialised nations and rising returns in agriculture mean that the trend will continue, bringing benefits in terms of infrastructure and jobs to African countries. However, it also means risks for recipient countries, local people and investors.
These land deals could "bring benefits for all parties and be a tool for development" if carried out in the correct way, but at the moment, there is a danger of rich nations without adequate farmland to feed their own people, being labled "land grabbers".
In other news, the Presidency yesterday announced the team of advisers that will aid the new President in his executive decisions. Former Minister of Safety and Security and Defence Charles Nqakula was appointed political adviser to President Jacob Zuma, while Mandisi Mpahlwa, who has previously served as Minister of Trade and Industry and Deputy Minister of Finance, was appointed as President Zuma's new economic adviser.
Lindiwe Zulu, South Africa's ambassador to Brazil until recently, was appointed international relations adviser, while the position of legal adviser to the President was assigned to Advocate Bonisiwe Makhene. President Zuma's Parliamentary Counsellor will be Ayanda Dlodlo.
Also making headlines:
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says that corruption in the department has cost South Africa dearly.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says that Central Bank governor Gideon Gono will stay, despite pressure from the Movement for Democratic Change to remove him.
Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale calls on South Africa's financial sector to help with housing problems.
And, the World Bank says that sub Saharan Africa needs $31-billion a year to improve its electricity capacity.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.