Wednesday, December 24, 2008

South Africa Sends R300m of Aid to Zimbabwe; COSATU Vows to Fight Unemployment

SA sends aid to Zim

South Africa has done a U-turn and provided a R300 million aid package to Zimbabwe.

In a statement issued on Wednesday Presidency spokesperson Thabo Masebe confirmed that South Africa was providing the aid to Zimbabwe in contravention of the conditions it had set when the plan was announced in September.

According to the conditions, the R300m in aid was conditional upon the successful formation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the two factions of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Masebe had said this was to ensure, "that the assistance reached the intended beneficiaries".

But Masebe said that as the situation in Zimbabwe had worsened the need for food aid had become urgent.

"The aim is to provide urgent humanitarian assistance to circumvent a dire food security situation," said Masebe.

He said the aid would be released through new South African Development Community mechanisms that were announced last week.

"We are satisfied that the aid will reach the intended recipients in a non-partisan manner."

Masebe added that South Africa "remains committed to the establishment of an inclusive government" in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe has been accused of using food aid as a political tool by limiting its distribution in areas that voted for the MDC in the March elections. - Sapa

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Times on December 24, 2008

Cosatu vows to fight layoffs in 2009

Dec 22 2008 13:57

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has vowed to fight an anticipated flurry of retrenchments in the new year as companies come to blows with the global economic recession.

In a briefing at its headquarters on Monday, Cosatu, which is part of the ruling tripartite alliance, said it will never abandon its primary role as an independent defender of workers' rights ahead of what is expected to be the toughest elections for the African National Congress.

"In the aftermath of the world recession, it will be more vital than ever to have a strong, militant workers' movement to defend our class from the threat of even higher unemployment and falling living standards," the federation said.

Locally, companies are already being pinched by the global economic crisis with companies from the mining, auto and steel sectors offloading workers as demand for products slump, raising fears that the local unemployment rate could rise.

South Africa's exact unemployment rate is in contention, with unions pegging it at about 40% and government putting it at 23%. -- I-Net Bridge

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
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