February 08, 2016.
For Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Sane Dhlamini.
Government looking to resolve tax law stalemate.
The US plays catch-up in Africa as the US–Africa business summit wraps up.
And, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says government and Cosatu will reach agreement on divisive issues.
Government is looking at ways to resolve the stalemate on the controversial new pension fund legislation, the Presidency said yesterday.
The Presidency said Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Jeff Radebe met the leadership of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (or Cosatu) on Saturday, “in line with his mandate from President Jacob Zuma to find an urgent solution to the Taxation Laws Amendment Act stalemate”.
Both government and Cosatu have agreed that a solution should be expedited to resolve the impasse.
Cosatu is planning a general strike to protest against the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, which stipulates that people who retire or resign withdraw only a third of their retirement savings and compels them to invest the balance in an annuity.
The US intends to do business in Africa, beyond the usual export-import trade of the extractive industries such as oil and gas.
That was the signal sent out by a visiting high-level United States delegation – led by US Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas Greenfield – set to attend the tenth biannual US–Africa business summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from February 2 to 4.
Steven Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa, which claimed to have been the US business association most active on the continent since 1993, said the World Bank had predicted the vast continent was on the verge of an economic take-off, just as China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago.
However, the business summit was also about diversifying US investments in the continent, moving from the extractive sector to the productive sector.
While the US-Africa business summit focused on creating opportunities, not on signing economic deals, the shadow of China was still hard to miss, with the souvenirs given to delegates being made in China, showing the clout of the Asian giant even when it is not at the table.
Government is certain it will reach agreement with the Cosatu on the minimum wage and other issues, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said yesterday.
He was addressing hundreds of African National Congress (or ANC) supporters at the old Peter Mokaba stadium in Polokwane, Limpopo, as part of the ANC’s 104th anniversary celebrations.
Ramaphosa said Cosatu should continue to be “militant and a true champion of workers”.
Ramaphosa said Cosatu would remain the biggest trade union federation in the country and plans to establish another federation would not affect the ANC’s relationship with Cosatu.
Cosatu had been riven with internal strife, which eventually saw its former general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa expelled from the federation, followed by threats from other unions to leave Cosatu as well.
Also making headlines:
Nafcoc said it was “deeply concerned” by rising food costs and had moved to save its members from the negative impact, which had seen poor communities restrict their purchases.
The EFF said that it aimed to win the upcoming local elections as a first step to taking over national government by 2019.
And, Economist Dawie Roodt suspects that ex-Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene will land a cushy directorship within the private sector instead of heading up the Africa regional centre of the Brics nations' New Development Bank.
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That’s a roundup of news making headlines today