The Union Buildings in Pretoria are the seat of South Africa’s presidency. (Image: South African Tourism) Kgalema Motlanthe (Image: Passia)Mary AlexanderThe African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling party, announced today that it is to appoint Kgalema Motlanthe as acting president of the country, following the resignation of Thabo Mbeki on Sunday, and has reassured investors that economic policies will remain unchanged..Motlanthe, the deputy president of the party, is expected to assume office on Thursday 25 September.Today, 11 Cabinet ministers and three deputy ministers resigned from their posts in the aftermath of Mbeki’s resignation, including South African Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel. The others are Mosiuoa Lekota (minister of defence), Essop Pahad (the presidency), Ronnie Kasrils (intelligence), Ngconde Balfour (correctional services), Alec Erwin (public enterprises), Mosibudi Mangena (science and technology), Thoko Didiza, Sydney Mufamadi (provincial and local government), and Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi (public service and administration).The deputy ministers who resigned are Aziz Pahad (foreign affairs) Jabu Moleketi (finance) and Loretta Jacobus (correctional services).No change in economic policiesSouth Africa has seen unprecedented economic growth under the Mbeki presidency, and was highly regarded by the business community. On Monday, Zuma reassured investors that the transition would be smooth, with no changes in economic policies.“We have to achieve sound economic growth and development, in spite of the global economic crisis,” the ANC president said. “Our economic policies will remain stable, progressive and unchanged, as decided upon in previous ANC national conferences, including Polokwane.”Investors seemed unperturbed by Mbeki’s resignation, with the JSE, South Africa’s stock exchange, rising 1.93% yesterday and Fitch Ratings retaining SA’s BBB+ credit rating.Zuma also briefed reporters about the priorities of the government under the new president.“The ANC, led by its president and the NEC, will now focus energies on preparing for the 2009 elections and the new administration next year. After the elections, the ANC will take further the fight against crime to build safer communities, as stated in our Polokwane resolutions.“We will focus more on improving the quality of health service delivery and the reduction of diseases such as HIV and Aids, tuberculosis and others.“We will prioritise education and skills development, as well as land and agrarian reform, as key tools in the fight against poverty.”Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email [email protected] articlesMbeki resigns as SA presidentGovernment in South AfricaSouth Africa’s ConstitutionSouth Africa’s political partiesUseful linksPresidency of South Africa Parliament of South AfricaSouth African Government Online
The devil is in the detail: small-scale sexual segregation despite large-scale spatial overlap in the wandering albatross
Sexual segregation in foraging habitat occurs in many marine predators and is usually attributed to competitive exclusion, different parental roles of each sex or niche specialisation associated with sexual size dimorphism. However, relatively few studies have attempted to understand the patterns and underlying drivers of local-scale sexual segregation in marine predators. We studied habitat use, diet and feeding ecology of female and male wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans, fitted with GPS and stomach-temperature loggers during the chick-rearing period (austral winter) at South Georgia in 2009. During this period, when oceanographic conditions were anomalous and prey availability was low in waters near the breeding colony, the tracked wandering albatrosses showed high consistency in their foraging areas at a large spatial scale, and both males and females targeted sub-Antarctic and subtropical waters. Despite consistency in large-scale habitat use, males and females showed different foraging behaviours in response to oceanographic conditions at a smaller scale. Males appeared to be more opportunistic, scavenging for offal or non-target fish discarded by fishing vessels in less productive, oceanic waters. They exhibited sinuous movements, feeding mostly on large prey and consuming similar amounts of food during the outbound and return parts of the foraging trip. In contrast, females targeted natural productivity hotspots, and fed on a wide variety of fish and cephalopods. They commuted directly to these areas; most prey were ingested on the outbound part of the trip, and they often started their return after ingesting large prey at the farthest point from the colony. Together, these results indicate that sexual segregation in core foraging areas of wandering albatrosses is driven by sex-specific habitat selection due to the low availability of prey in local Antarctic waters. This segregation results in different feeding behaviour at local scales which may be explained by differing breeding roles and degree of parental investment by each sex, with females investing more than males in reproduction. Further investigations are necessary to confirm the existence of this pattern through time under contrasting environmental conditions and to identify the drivers responsible for local-scale sexual segregation in wandering albatrosses.