Tuesday, July 21, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
South Africa's nine provinces are a bulwark of democracy and should not be scrapped, said Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille yesterday. Speaking at the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management, Zille said that the concept of diffusion of power between different centres lies at the heart of South Africa's Constitution.
If the threat to provinces materialises, then South Africa's democracy is at risk, she said, referring to the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill that has been put forward by the ruling African National Congress. Zille says it has been argued that provinces are a relic of apartheid, as an excuse to centralise power.
She said that the scrapping of provinces would turn them into mere administrative units of central government. The diffusion of power is one of the essential aspects to providing the necessary checks and balances to prevent too much power being concentrated in too few hands, she said. It is for this reason that provincial boundaries are a deeply democratic outcome.
Patronage and factionalism in the North West and the Western Cape provinces have prompted the African National Congress (ANC) to disband the leadership committees in these provinces.
ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe detailed how factionalism goes back a decade in the North West province, speaking of "strange tendencies and ill discipline", with business interests, control of resources and patronage at the centre of the rift.
In the Western Cape, the African and coloured divide is "serious", he said. Patronage and the control of resources are also central to the division in the province, which the ANC lost to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the 2009 elections.
Provincial ANC conferences will be convened in the Western Cape and North West provinces in the next nine months, to try to resolve the party's problems in these provinces.
Newly appointed South African Reserve Bank governor Gill Marcus will implement the policies already in place, says African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe on speculation that Marcus's appointment could mean possible changes in policy.
On Sunday, President Jacob Zuma announced Marcus's appointment with effect from November 9. She replaces Tito Mboweni, whose recent unpopularity among unions arose from monetary policy.
Reacting to the new appointment, the Congress of South African Trade Unions said that it trusted Marcus would be "guided by the spirit of Polokwane".
Also making headlines:
The first South African-designed HIV/Aids vaccine trial is launched.
Cooperative Governance Minister Sicelo Shiceka says that partnerships are needed for local economic development.
And, the Southern African Development Community's Inter-State Politics Diplomacy Committee discusses defence and security in the region.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.