Tuesday, October 27, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Bradley Dubbelman.
South Africa's Minister in the Presidency for National Planning Trevor Manuel said yesterday that he is not all-powerful in setting economic policy. Speaking at a public lecture at the University of Witwatersrand Business School, Manuel said that for once in his deployment, he is not holding the "big stick".
Manuel is loathed by powerful trade unions, which see him as a champion of business-friendly economic policies and fear that he still wields undue influence over policy.
Manuel said that it is the responsibility of all government departments and agencies to advise on the Planning Commission's long-term plan and vision, to detail the policies to attain the vision and to intermediate between the long term and the immediate.
All African economies except South Africa will grow this year because of China's demand for raw materials, said Stellenbosch University's Centre for Chinese Studies executive director Martyn Davies.
Chinese demand is underpinning African growth, he told a conference organised by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development yesterday.
These links are based on strong support by African leaders for Chinese investment in extractive industries - in contrast to objections raised to Chinese investment in sensitive sectors in developed countries.
China's export prowess has so far failed to provoke much protectionism in Africa, except in South Africa, where sensitive labour-intensive sectors such as textiles and light industry compete with Chinese firms. Conversely, China faces considerable protectionist sentiment outside Africa.
While the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is the only continental institution that broadly represents the people of Africa, it is generally "voiceless", said South African President Jacob Zuma at the opening of the PAP in Midrand yesterday.
Zuma said that discussion on peace, stability, human rights and democracy could no longer be delayed, adding that specific resolutions need to be made to the organ's parent body, the African Union. Zuma said that it is essential for the institution to transform itself from being an advisory body to a legislative one.
Speaking after the opening ceremony, South Africa's Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane added that the PAP has to establish itself in order to build capacity for legislative powers. The PAP should be able to legislate in order to guide other organisations, she said.
Also making headlines:
Opposition party the Congress of the People condemns a suspected policy shift to the left by the South African government.
A United Nations rapporteur warns that human rights are often violated under the guise of counterterrorism measures.
The African National Congress says that it has no intention to remove Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa, while the municipality remains in financial crisis.
And, Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party says that Zimbabwe's political deadlock is worsening.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.