20 August 2003
At its meeting today, Cabinet approved a number of Bills for submission to Parliament:
- Films and Publication Amendment Bill which introduces provisions to prohibit child pornography;
- SA Citizenship Second Amendment Bill which brings the relevant Act in line with the Constitution, on the issue of dual citizenship; and
- Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Bill which provides norms and standards to inform provincial legislation on traditional leadership and governance.
It also approved the release, for public comment, of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill which regularises the rights and responsibilities of landlords and landowners as well as those of tenants and mortgagors.
The meeting approved the setting up of a Satellite Communication Network (SCN) which will facilitate connectivity among all community radio stations and their access to Parliament and government generally. The SCN will also afford community radio stations the opportunity to share programming material.
Cabinet affirmed the principled agreement by government to a United Nations request to contribute to the peacekeeping effort in Liberia. A final determination on any troop deployment and/or any other kind of contribution would be made once details have been furnished by the relevant Departments.
The meeting noted recent media discourse on the issue of high-profile investigations by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions. It reaffirmed the approach taken by President Thabo Mbeki on this matter (refer transcript of briefing to the media by the President on 29 July 2003, on www.gov.za under "Key Issues/Government's Programme of Action/Briefings following Cabinet lekgotla").
In essence, government wishes to reiterate its recognition of the principle of equality of all before the law, and that it has not in the past interfered, and will not interfere, in investigations by security agencies. Government is also of the firm view that all investigations should be handled in a professional manner, and that conduct that may result in "trial-by-media" should be avoided.
The recent pronouncements of the NDPP and the responsible Minister in this regard were welcomed by Cabinet. This however does not mean that anyone has been "gagged" from legitimate communication on matters of public interest, nor has there been any instruction in this regard from any quarter in government.
Cabinet reiterated government's condemnation of the attack on the Headquarters of the United Nations in Baghdad which took place yesterday. South Africa holds dear the principle that the UN represents the collective will of the international community, and that the safety of its personnel should be respected even in conflict situations. Government extends its condolences to the families of the victims of this attack, including the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Sergio Vieira de Mello. We join peoples of the world in calling for renewed efforts in search of lasting peace in Iraq.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)