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January 30, 2013.

From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Natalie Greve.

Making headlines:

Zimbabwe’s draft constitution curbs presidential powers.

Mali secures recaptured towns with donors being keen to pledge funds.

And, the Centre for Development and Enterprise says State policies are aggravating unemployment and stifling clothing sector entrepreneurialism.

 

A draft constitution that paves the way for an election in Zimbabwe this year curbs presidential powers and strengthens the country’s cabinet and parliament, which were weakened under veteran President Robert Mugabe's rule.

According to a final copy of the draft charter, the president will be required to exercise power in consultation with the cabinet, with decrees requiring its majority backing. The current constitution allows the president to issue decrees alone that can have the force of law for up to six months.

The new document also limits the president to two five-year terms, starting from the next election. However, this won’t be applied retrospectively, meaning that Mugabe – who has been in power for 32 years – could technically rule for another two terms.

Last week, the country's two most powerful parties Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change of rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said they supported the draft. This would virtually ensure the draft’s passage through parliament as early as next week.

 

France says it aims to hand over longer-term security operations in Mali to an African force. Meanwhile, French-backed Malian troops searched house-to-house in Gao and Timbuktu on Tuesday, uncovering arms and explosives abandoned by Islamist fighters.

An 18-day offensive in France's former West African colony has pushed the militants out of major towns and into desert and mountain hideouts. French and Malian troops retook the two Saharan trading towns of Timbuktu and Gao over the weekend virtually unopposed. The offensive is expected to head off the risk of Mali being used as a springboard for jihadist attacks in the wider region or Europe.

However, doubts remain about just how quickly the African intervention force, known as AFISMA and now expected to exceed 8 000 troops, could be fully deployed in Mali to hunt down and eradicate retreating al Qaeda-allied insurgents in the north.

International donors meeting in Addis Ababa have pledged just over $455-million for the Mali crisis. However, it isn’t clear whether all of this will go directly to AFISMA, which African leaders have estimated would cost almost $1-billion.

 

The Centre for Development and Enterprise’s (or CDE’s) executive director Ann Bernstein said State policies were aggravating the challenge of high unemployment, by setting unsustainable wage minimums and stifling true entrepreneurialism in the country’s labour-intensive clothing manufacturing sector.

Speaking at the launch of a new CDE publication titled 'Job Destruction In The South African Clothing Industry', Bernstein asserted that the report’s findings were a stark indictment of the current approach to collective bargaining by the State.

The report alleges that government’s approach to economic growth, which focused on high wages and high-technology manufacturing, was in contrast with the reality of existing market conditions, in which the majority of the workforce is unskilled.

Bernstein said that government’s commitment to the International Labour Organisation’s decent work agenda, which espoused opportunities for work that would deliver a fair income, equal opportunity and personal freedoms, was preventing the country from dealing with the challenges of mass unemployment. She advocated that South Africa adopt a more differentiated approach to wage-setting that enforced basic standards of employment, but tolerated low-wage employment coupled with productivity-linked pay.

 

Also making headlines:

The European Union takes on the task of rebuilding Mali’s army.

Corruption Watch exposes fronting by NGO Mvula Trust for a contractor in a R30-million tender meant for job creation.

And, Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore targets July 31 for elections.

 

 

That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
 
 
 
 
 
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