21 January 2005
Cabinet held its annual January lekgotla from Wednesday 19 to Friday 21 January. The lekgotla examined various elements of government policy as well as matters pertaining to the implementation of the Programme of Action announced by the President in May 2004.
In this regard, the lekgotla focussed on the central question of speeding up economic growth and job-creation, in particular how to bring the capacities of government, business, labour and communities in general to bear on the trajectory of growth and development. Issues pertaining to the implementation of the Micro-Economic Reform Strategy (MERS) formed a critical part of the discussions.
The lekgotla also examined challenges with regard to the task of poverty-reduction, including issues relating to the social wage, education and skills development as well as land reform. It also dealt with progress in respect of combating crime and corruption, and the partnerships that need to be built within society as a whole to eliminate these scourges.
In the context of these domestic challenges, the lekgotla reviewed the global and African environment and its implications for the implementation of the Reconstruction and Development Programme in our country and the realisation of NEPAD objectives across the continent.
Given all these challenges, and the urgency of dealing with them, a significant amount of time was dedicated to examining the capacity of state institutions to implement government programmes and to mobilise all of society in a people's contract to build a better life for all.
The decisions emerging from these discussions will be communicated by the President in his State of the Nation Address in Parliament on 11 February 2005.
The Cabinet lekgotla was preceded by an ordinary Cabinet meeting on Wednesday 19 January.
The meeting welcomed recent assessments of the health of the South African economy by local and international agencies. These include the recent upgrading of SA's credit rating by Moody's and results of global research by various institutions on SA's positive standing as an investment destination. These data confirm conclusions that South Africans both in the public and private sectors have reached about our excellent macro-economic balances and prospects for higher growth in the coming period.
The meeting approved a request from the DG of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, based on personal considerations, that the termination of his contract should be brought forward by a few months to the end of February 2005.
The meeting in principle approved for submission to Parliament the Convergence Bill which deals with regulatory matters pertaining to converging telecommunications, broadcasting and IT industries.
Cabinet reviewed the implementation of the first phase of Multipurpose Community Centres (MPCC's) in which 65 such centres, providing one-stop government and other services, have been opened. It then approved a strategy for the setting up of one such centre in each of the country's municipalities by 2014. In order to achieve this objective, better co-ordination will be necessary among all spheres of government.
The meeting received a progress report on the implementation of the Wild Coast Spatial Development Initiative (SDI), which seeks to unlock the economic potential of the Wild Coast area extending development from the South Coast of KwaZulu/Natal to the Garden Route. Part of the area constitutes one of the Rural Development Nodes, and the focus has been on SMME development in the tourism sector, construction of roads, establishment of a National Park and other initiatives. Cabinet welcomed improved co-operation among the three spheres of government in the implementation of the Initiative and it approved both the vision of the Wild Coast as an eco-tourism destination and the structures required to realise this objective.
The meeting agreed that the 27th of January, the day on which the SAP Service Act was promulgated in 1995, should be declared National Police Day. On this day this year, government will celebrate the 10th anniversary of SAPS through activities that will acknowledge the critical contribution of policemen and women to the safety and security of citizens, and honour the sacrifices of members of the Service, including those who have paid the ultimate price in the service of the nation.
Cabinet also approved a request by the African Union for SA to contribute a contingent of 100 police officers to Darfur in Sudan, as part of the civilian police component of the AU Peace Mission. The advance guard of this police contingent is meant to establish the police headquarters in Darfur during January. The AU police mission will be under the command of SAPS.
In addition to all these issues decided in Cabinet, the President wishes to announce that he has appointed Advocate Vusumzi P Pikoli as the National Director of Public Prosecution with effect from 1 February 2005. The President and government are confident that Adv. Pikoli will undertake the tasks delegated to this critical component of our justice system with distinction.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)