Daily podcast - March 13, 2009

13th March 2009 By: Amy Witherden

Friday, March 13, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Making headlines:
South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel hopes that advanced economies will not act with arrogance when Finance Ministers from the Group of 20 developed and developing nations meet this weekend to discuss the world economic crisis.
Speaking after an International Monetary Fund conference in Dar es Salaam this week, Manuel said that emerging market countries are fuming over the economic failure by developed countries, which have long preached about sound economic practices.
Finance Ministers and Central Bankers from the world's 20 biggest economic powers meet in Britain today to pave the way for a leaders' summit next month. South Africa is the only African country represented in the G20.
Manuel said that there is a sense of despair across the region as countries watch traditional export markets disappear, access to credit and investment financing dry up, and nearly a decade of strong growth rates drop to a weak 3% this year.

In world news, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon says that Sudan still has time to seek a deferral of the international war crimes indictment of its President, but that the country should first act against human rights abuses in Darfur.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant on March 4 for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the region of Darfur in western Sudan.
However, according to the Court's statute, the UN Security Council can delay any proceedings for a renewable period of one year. African and Arab States, as well as Security Council members China and Russia, are pressing for such a deferral, saying that peace prospects in Sudan will otherwise be damaged.

Back home, University of Johannesburg deputy vice-chancellor and political commentator, Adam Habib, says that the upheavals in South Africa's political arena in the past 18 months could see the country moving into a more positive social and political landscape.
This upheaval includes the ousting of former President Thabo Mbeki and the associated emergence of the new political party, the Congress of the People.
Habib said that Cope has the potential, should it garner a substantial portion of the votes in the upcoming elections, to begin to hold the African National Congress accountable for its actions. Cope could also force the ANC to be responsive to the demands of South Africa's citizens, as its ongoing position as the ruling party would no longer be guaranteed.

Also making headlines:
South Africa's Education Department says that tertiary institutions will get more funding.
Political parties welcome the Constitutional Court ruling allowing South Africans living abroad to vote.
The United Nations says that major action is needed to avoid a world water crisis.
And, Gauteng local government says that the United Nations High Commission on Refugees has created a crisis by encouraging refugees to shelter in central Johannesburg.

That's roundup of news making headlines today.