Statement on Cabinet meeting of 17 September 2003


18 September 2003

Cabinet yesterday (17 September) approved a set of additional National Orders, in addition to the three that were designed last year. The new orders are meant to honour individuals who have rendered distinguished service for democracy and human rights (Order of Albert Luthuli), those who have shown outstanding bravery in great danger (Order of Bravery) and for excellence in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and/or sport (Order of Creative Talent).

The design and formal names of the Orders and indications of the nomination process will be announced by The Presidency in due course.

Cabinet considered the issue of allegations of racism in rugby and the postponement of the inquiry into this matter. Government, along with most South Africans, supports the efforts aimed at transforming all sporting codes in line with the ethos of our democracy. The extended inquiry, which will be held after the Rugby World Cup will give South Africans the opportunity to make presentations and ensure that this objective is achieved within the rugby fraternity.

Given the commitment of SARFU to deal with any problems in the interest of the sport and of the country, it is the duty of all South Africans to support the Springbok Team. All of us should ensure that the Team, our collective national asset, enjoys our unwavering support, especially at the World Cup.

The meeting was informed of the request for Minister Trevor Manuel to serve another two-year term as Chairperson of the Development Committee of the World Bank and the IMF. The Committee advises the Boards of Governors of the Fund and the Bank on critical development issues and relevant financial resources. Cabinet acceded to the request, in part to ensure that issues pertaining to the implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals and NEPAD are firmly put on the agenda of these institutions.

Cabinet approved the establishment of a Public Service Anti-Corruption Hotline as part of the process of affording the public easier access to contribute to government efforts to deal with this scourge. Research conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) has indicated that many of the hotlines set up separately by government structures were not effective.

The new government-wide centre will be housed in the PSC and will include a central case management system encompassing recording, referral, tracking, monitoring and risk analysis. Cabinet was also briefed on the active role of our country in the drafting of a UN Convention against Corruption, the next formal meeting around which will be held later this month in preparation for adoption in December.

The Telecommunications Amendment Bill was approved for submission to Parliament. It clarifies the definition of "public operator" to allow the Sentech multimedia licence to be recognised as one for a public operator. The meeting also approved a Strategic Framework for Water Services dealing with matters such as service coverage and quality, role of various government spheres and the need for compassionate local government.

Cabinet examined current public discourse on the arms procurement process and expressed concern at the distortions around the work done by government with regard to its core mandate of primary contracting. The meeting once more drew attention to the findings of the three investigators, the Public Protector, the Auditor-General and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions regarding the integrity of the primary contracting process. Current investigations do not have anything to do with this process.

With regard to these investigations, Cabinet wishes to reaffirm the principled position of government that investigation agencies should be allowed to do their work without encumbrances of executive, media or any other interventions. At the same time, individuals against whom allegations have been made should be presumed innocent - including by the media - until proven otherwise.

Further, on the allegations of spying for the apartheid system, government wishes to assert that these matters should be handled in a professional manner by relevant intelligence agencies.

As such, government eschews, as a matter of principle, treating such complex and sensitive matters through the media. It also seeks to avoid witch-hunts, taking into account the intricate struggle to forge a new nation. Related to this, are the commitments government made with regard to following up the broad recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including matters pertaining to investigations into any gross human rights violations committed under apartheid, in instances where amnesty was not sought and/or not granted. We urge all South Africans who possess relevant information on these issues to pass this on to our intelligence and other relevant state agencies.

On the matter of allegations against the National Director of Public Prosecutions in particular, government has decided to appoint a judicial commission, headed by a retired Judge, urgently to process the claims that have been aired through the media. Details in this regard will be announced in the coming days. Those who claim to possess information relevant to this particular matter should forward this to the commission.

The country's interests are not served by public witch-hunts. Our own historical experience as well as that of other countries has shown that handling such matters in a disorderly and selective manner can push nations into a slippery slope of mutual recrimination and subversion of human rights.

The meeting approved the appointment of Mr BA Brey as Non-Executive Member of the SA Post Office Board of Directors.

Cabinet examined the issue of procurement reform in line with the objectives of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) as well as the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Strategy and legislation. A new broad policy proposal was adopted, which includes devolution of responsibility and accountability to accounting officers and/or authorities, uniformity of interpretation across all spheres and minimum reporting requirements. The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act will be revised accordingly.

Enquiries
Joel Netshitenzhe
Cell: 082 900 0083

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2003
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, September 18, 2003