Daily podcast - March 18, 2009

18th March 2009 By: Amy Witherden

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Beth Shirley.
Making headlines:
The National Prosecuting Authority says that there is "no truth" to rumours that it has decided to drop charges against African National Congress President Jacob Zuma.
In response to media reports claiming that Zuma's corruption charges would be dropped because the case is "unwinnable", NPA spokesperson Tlali Tlali said that no decision has been taken, as the matter is still under consideration.
These media reports came after the brother of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik yesterday told students and ANC supporters at the University of Pretoria that the NPA had decided to drop graft charges against Zuma.
The rumoured abandonment of these charges apparently stems from a "thawing of relations" between the lawyers of the ANC President and the NPA. This change allegedly followed Zuma expanding on claims of political interference in the decision to charge him.

In other news, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, says that Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir will be held responsible for "every single death" that comes about as a result of the expulsion of foreign aid groups from Sudan.
The Khartoum government banished the aid groups earlier this month after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Bashir for war crimes committed in Darfur. The Sudanese government accused the aid groups of helping the Court.
Clinton said that Bashir's government has now assumed "an even greater sense of responsibility and infamy". She called on governments supporting Sudan, such as Arab and African countries and China, to push for the return of the aid workers, or to fill the gaps themselves.

Back home, the President of the Congress of the People, Mosiuoa Lekota, suggested yesterday that South Africa may be heading down a similar path to that which led to the deterioration of Zimbabwe.
Addressing the Rotary Club in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Lekota compared the deterioration of the Zimbabwe dollar to the weakening of the rand.
Lekota explained that the reason "parties of liberation" mostly fail their countries, is that once freedom has been achieved, the new government fails to understand the transition required to build a new State. Rather, he said, the parties are preoccupied with rewarding past loyalties instead of responding to new challenges.

Also making headlines:
The World Bank urges a tougher Group of 20 stand on protectionism.
On his visit to Cameroon, Pope Benedict reaffirms the Catholic conviction that condoms should not be used against HIV/Aids.
Madagascar risks international condemnation and isolation after its President steps down and the opposition takes over.
And, a Human Sciences Research Council survey shows that the ANC still tops the polls in terms of voter sentiment.

That's a roundup of news making headlines today.