Daily podcast - July 28, 2009

28th July 2009 By: Amy Witherden

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Sheila Barradas.
Making headlines:
The Congress of the People (Cope) has condemned the rise of violent service delivery protests witnessed countrywide in recent weeks and calls for urgent public debate on the matter.
Cope Parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala also condemned the government's response to the protests with "increased police brutality and suggestions that a third force is at play".
Cope sees government's failure to communicate effectively with its citizens as the cause of the protests. The opposition party proposes an urgent and genuine public debate to save local government from collapse.

Although Africa has been hit by the current global recession, the continent is coping with this crisis much better than previous downturns.
Antoinette Batumubwira of the African Development Bank (AfDB) says that the continent would have been much harder hit had it not undergone economic reform in the years before the crisis. These reforms included: a greater focus on the private sector; capacity building in economic management areas; and governance reforms. African banks have also been more conservative in their policies than those in the US and Europe, says Batumubwira.
Still, the continent has been affected by the crisis. AfDB economists predict a 2,8% growth rate for 2009. The 'African Economic Outlook 2009' report, jointly published by the AfDB and the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, also predicts a regional budget deficit of about 5,5%.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported yesterday that the population of South Africa is estimated to be sitting at 49,32-million.
Black people constitute the majority at 29,14-million, while the white population is estimated at 4,47-million. The coloured population is estimated at 4,43-million and the Indian/Asian population at 1,28-million.
The rate of growth for the country's population declined between 2001 and 2009, from 1,38% to 1,07%.
Stats SA reports that, an estimated 10,6% of the total population is HIV positive in 2009.

Also making headlines:
Fitch Ratings says that South Africa is weathering the economic recession ‘quite well'.
Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change reports that Finance Minister Tendai Biti has received a death threat.
And, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to meet Somalia's President, before heading to South Africa on her upcoming Africa trip.

That's a roundup of news making headlines today