Friday, March 6, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance Helen Zille yesterday held that the case of convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik is one of "parole for pals". The DA has filed an application demanding insight into the medical grounds for Shaik's release.
Zille said that it is the African National Congress's "closed crony society" that explains the early release of Jacob Zuma's former financial adviser without confirmation that he is in fact terminally ill.
The opposition leader said that Shaik's release from prison is a step towards him being pardoned by Zuma if the ANC leader becomes President.
The DA made its application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. Member of Parliament James Selfe explains that the DA believes that the parole board has a duty to prove that Shaik does indeed qualify for medical parole.
In Southern African news, a high-level International Monetary Fund mission will visit Zimbabwe next week to assess the country's dire economic situation and humanitarian crisis. The IMF has not visited the troubled nation for over two years.
The visit by the IMF is not expected to lead to financial aid for Zimbabwe, but officials say that it will give lenders an idea of the direction of the government's economic policy.
The task team will work closely with a parallel World Bank mission. The World Bank's director in the region, Michael Baxter, said that this is an important mission for the Bank and the Monetary Fund, as well as for the Zimbabwean government and possible donors.
In terms of their rules, the IMF and World Bank will not be able to provide financial assistance to Zimbabwe until the country has cleared its arrears to them.
In South African election news, a survey conducted by the research firm Ipsos Markinor shows that the Congress of the People is likely to get between 8% and 12% of the vote in the upcoming elections.
Markinor executive director Mari Harris explains that there is a floating vote of 8% up for grabs in the elections. It thus depends on how Cope behaves in the time leading up to the April 22 poll that will determine how much of this available vote the new party receives.
Also making headlines:
The International Crisis Group warns that Guinea-Bissau is at risk of a counter-coup just two months after the military seized power.
The United Nations Security Council is to discuss Sudan's expulsion of aid groups following the issuing of an arrest warrant for the country's President.
And, in Zimbabwe, the Supreme Court grants prosecutors the right to appeal the ruling that granted bail for the Movement for Democratic Change's Roy Bennett.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.