Wednesday, October 21, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Petronel Smit.
Former Minister Kader Asmal says that he was exercising his constitutionally upheld right to freedom of expression when he stated that the African National Congress (ANC) was "militarising" the police.
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said yesterday that Asmal's remarks were "unfortunate", "shocking" and "undesirable". In a lecture to a Cape Town Press Club and National Editors Forum event to commemorate the freedom of the press, Asmal remarked that Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe is "politically illiterate", and that if Deputy Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula ever becomes the ANC secretary-general, he hopes he is not alive.
Mthembu said that Asmal should have used ANC structures to raise his concerns about these matters, instead of raising them on a public platform.
It will be difficult to reach a conclusion to the Doha Round in 2010, unless a "serious acceleration" in the pace of the process is implemented, said World Trade Organisation (WTO) DG Pascal Lamy yesterday.
Speaking at a Trade Negotiations Committee meeting, Lamy said that the world needs real exchanges among members, which are inclusive and leave no interest behind.
Lamy noted that at the WTO's upcoming Ministerial Conference, which is separate from the Doha negotiations, it is hoped that ministers will go to Geneva to address and interact on key themes regarding the WTO and the multilateral trading system. However, Lamy emphasised that while the meeting was separate from the Doha negotiations, discussion of the Doha Round is specifically foreseen in themes for the working sessions.
Zimbabwe's government of national unity will continue unless constitutional reform is derailed, said Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office Gordon Moyo, at a Wits University public lecture. Despite criticism of the government of national unity, Moyo said that it still has the support of members of Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
In the past week, the MDC has "disengaged" from government following the arrest of senior MDC official Roy Bennett. But Moyo says that it is not the MDC's intention to pull out of the government, because it won the election.
Also speaking at the lecture on unity governments in Africa, Zimbabwean political analyst Tendai Dumabutshena criticised power-sharing agreements because they ignore elections in favour of political elites and the incumbent executive. Dumabutshena said that the flaw of the government of national unity in Zimbabwe is that the length of its existence is determined by President Robert Mugabe. Nobody else knows when elections will be held.
Also making headlines:
The Democratic Alliance vows to push ahead with its challenge to the National Prosecuting Authority's decision to drop charges against President Jacob Zuma.
China tells its ships to avoid the waters off the coast of Somalia where pirates recently seized a Chinese coal ship.
Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande calls on employers to provide placement opportunities for Further Education and Training students.
And, the Economic Community of West Africa States suspends Niger and says that yesterday's election was invalid.
That's a roundup of news making headline today.