Friday, October 9, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Bradley Dubbelman
Heads of parliamentary committees had sharp words for the Auditor-General (AG), Terence Nombembe, after he refused to name the government departments that had not been properly managing their finances. Thulas Nxesi, chairperson of the foreign affairs committee, was the first to question why Nombembe was "withholding information" during a briefing on the AG's analysis of financial management in government. Nxesi asked if Nombembe was bold enough to say which departments require an investigation and whether certain people had to be charged. Nombembe's report gave 16 government departments and entities "disclaimers of opinion" which meant that auditors could not obtain adequate supporting documentation for their financial statements. Another five departments and entities received adverse opinions, which meant that their financial statements were fundamentally incorrect.
South Africa's government plans to resubmit a bill to Parliament that will allow it to seize land from farmers if negotiations to buy the land from them fail, a government official says. The expropriation bill was submitted to Parliament last year as part of efforts to speed up the process of handing over 30% of agricultural land to landless blacks by 2014. But it was put on hold after opposition parties, farmers bodies and other civic groups protested, arguing that it was unconstitutional and would be similar to Zimbabwe's land grabs, which were a major factor behind the economic decline there. Much of the land that has been redistributed by the African National Congress-led government has not been used for farming and has lay idle for years.
The Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor will for two days act on behalf of President Jacob Zuma while he is out of the country attending official working visits. The Minister began acting as President of the Republic from midnight on Thursday. She was sworn in by the Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke at the Union Buildings on Monday. President Zuma is in Brazil on a two-day State visit while Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is in Sweden for an official working visit.
Also making headlines: South Africa says it has been offered 124 square kilometers of land in Angola and Uganda, as well as a land-lease agreement in Zambia. Less than one-third of the aid that international donors pledged six months ago to help Somalia's government boost security and fight piracy has been received, UN officials say. And, US President Barack Obama has won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.