12 October 2005
Cabinet today received a report of the Task Team headed by the Deputy President dealing with the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGI-SA).
The Initiative deals with challenges of ensuring that we raise the trajectory of growth to average at least 4,5% in the next five years and about 6% between 2010 and 2014. Combined with focus on improving labour absorption, such rates of growth would ensure that we are able to meet the mandate of government to halve unemployment and poverty in the Second Decade of Freedom.
Cabinet welcomed the progress that has been made in this work, and it agreed with the methodology to identify binding constraints to higher rates of growth and job-creation and select a set of projects that would deal with these issues. Proceeding from the premise that the current macroeconomic environment affords us the opportunity to pursue higher and shared growth, the main issues under consideration include: infrastructure development, sector investment strategies, education and skills development, Second Economy interventions and improving the capacity of the state to provide economic services.
In the coming weeks, further detailed work will be conducted, and consultations will be held with social partners to ensure that the final product unites all South Africans in pursuit of common objectives.
The meeting approved the Codes of Good Practice on Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment. The development of this first phase of the Codes has included wide consultations and the initial draft was amended after over 300 public submissions were received. The Codes will be published and gazetted within a month, after further processing; and the draft of the second phase of the Codes will be released soon for public comment.
A report on work pertaining to Import Parity Pricing was considered, including proposals to phase this out in some sectors and introduce Non-Discriminatory Pricing. It was agreed that the objective of government in this regard would not be to set prices, but to consider a multiplicity of levers to influence especially prices of inputs, in the interest of accelerated growth and development. Further work will be done on the details, including more intensive consultations with the aim of reaching consensus among relevant role-players.
Cabinet also reviewed experiences over the past ten years in the implementation of the strategy for SMME development. Among issues that will receive focussed attention in the coming period are: ensuring that government as major procurer of goods and services encourages the emergence of small-scale manufacturers, a programme to address financing of women-owned enterprises and rural development, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
The meeting approved the following appointments:
- Members of the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) with J Naidoo reappointed as the Chairperson;
- Trustees to the Board of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) Trust;
- Board of Khula Enterprises Finance Limited, chaired by Ms N Mapetla;
- Board of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), with Ms W Luhabe reappointed as Chairperson;
- Board of the Land and Agricultural Development Bank with Mr L Mazwai as Chairperson;
- Ms Mirriam Nosaziso Mbombo as Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for the Northern Cape Province ; and
- One Deputy Director-General (DDG) each in the departments of Housing and Education.
Cabinet received a presentation on a programme to fast track housing delivery in areas of stress using the Emergency Housing Programme. The programme will address areas with unacceptably unhealthy conditions, congested backyard accommodation, evicted farm-workers, and land below flood-lines, along railway lines and under electricity pylons.
The meeting approved, for submission to Parliament, the Road Traffic Amendment Bill, and the Health Professions Amendment Bill.
Cabinet noted the work being done in partnership with civil society to prepare for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Peer Review of our country. Critical in this process is co-operation among South Africans in reviewing progress made in our First Decade of Freedom, identifying areas for further improvement and agreeing on a national vision and programme to take our democracy to new heights.
The meeting noted the unfolding work of the Khampepe Commission dealing with the issue of the mandate and location of the Directorate of Special Operations (Scorpions). Acknowledging that it is precisely the complexity of matters that need to be addressed which necessitated this process in the first instance, government will await the findings of the Commission to pronounce on these issues. Cabinet however wishes to distance government from statements, particularly leaks to the media of documents or information with no official standing within government, which seek to question the integrity of officials employed in the DSO and to cast aspersions on co-operation that our institutions have with their international counterparts.
An initial review of the National Imbizo Focus Week shows that these events and other municipal visits before them have now covered 118 of the 136 municipalities under Project Consolidate. An important element of the izimbizo is the concrete programme in each area to address weaknesses that have been identified.
Cabinet noted recent demonstrations in some of the provinces on issues pertaining to economic growth and job creation, investigation of some serious crimes especially against children and some judicial processes. Government recognises the right of South Africans to express their views and to ensure that their grievances are attended to. We, however, wish to caution against actions that have the effect of breaking our country's laws, undermining the work of security agencies, and denigrating the offices of institutions of our democracy, including The Presidency.
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Issued by: Government Communication (GCIS)