Statement on Cabinet meeting of 3 December 2008


4 December 2008

Cabinet held its last ordinary meeting of the year in Pretoria yesterday, 3 December 2008.

Cabinet expressed condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Dr Nthato Motlana who passed away on Monday morning. Dr Motlana will be remembered as a true veteran who was among those leaders who carried the torch of freedom when many other leaders were either incarcerated or in exile. The meeting called on all South Africans to observe the days of mourning as declared by President Motlanthe.

Government is extremely concerned about the recent developments in Zimbabwe, particularly, the reported food shortages. In this regard, President Motlanthe will convene a meeting of key Ministers to consider ways in which South Africa could work with other countries in the region, donor organisations and non-government organisations (NGOs) to address the urgent need for food and other humanitarian needs. Our primary objective is to save innocent lives in that country. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and we will keep South Africans informed about what we are doing to reduce the burden that many South Africans, especially in cities bordering Zimbabwe, are already experiencing.

Cabinet received a report on the extensive interventions that were implemented by the Interdepartmental Task Team to address the cholera outbreak. These interventions included provision of clean water and medical supplies. The task team is working very closely with Southern African Development Community (SADC), Ministries of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to prevent the spread of cholera and other communicable diseases to the rest of the region. Government will continue to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe very closely and to make all the necessary interventions.

The meeting noted that the Zimbabwean negotiators had reached agreement on the draft constitutional amendment that will pave the way for the establishment of a representative government. The leaders of the political parties are expected to approve and sign the draft constitutional amendment as soon as possible. The South African government reiterates its call to the Zimbabwean leaders to put the interest of their people and country first by finalising the constitutional amendment and reaching agreement on the outstanding Cabinet posts as a matter of urgency.

The Constitution Nineteenth Amendment Bill and the Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bills were approved. These Bills give effect to the decision to re-incorporate Merafong City Local Municipality into the Gauteng province. This decision follows extensive consultations between the affected community and the Minister of Provincial and Local Government. The Bills will be published for public comment and will be submitted to Provincial legislatures of Gauteng and the North West. The Bills will then be submitted to Parliament for consideration.

Cabinet received a progress report on the review of the Criminal Justice System and the following decisions were taken to address some of the urgent weaknesses in the system.

Firstly, Cabinet gave special approval for the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill, to be submitted to Parliament for consideration during the final session of this Parliament. This Bill provides the South African Police Services (SAPS) with essential crime fighting tools which include access to finger-printing databases of other government departments for criminal investigation purposes and gives them powers to take and retain finger-print and biometric materials. The Bill also provides for the establishment, administration and use of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as a tool to assist with suspect-to-crime-scene matches.

Secondly, The Bail Protocol on the Procedure to be followed in applying section 63A of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 was approved for speedy and immediate implementation. This protocol allows the court, on application by a Head of a Prison and if not opposed by the Director of Public Prosecutions concerned, to order the release of a certain accused persons on warning in lieu of bail or to order the amendment of bail conditions.

Thirdly, Cabinet approved the proposal to implement an integrated, seamless and national criminal justice business information system. All departments and agencies in the criminal justice system will implement the system with immediate effect. This work will be coordinated by the Office for Criminal Justice System Reform (OCJSR) which reports to the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The progress report on the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations was approved and will be submitted to Parliament. The meeting noted that the following TRC related initiatives were still under way: development of regulations on medical assistance; investigation of possible assistance relating to housing and skills development and the development of a community rehabilitation model.

The Exhumation Policy that was developed in accordance with the TRC recommendations was approved and will be published in the Government Gazette for public comments.

New regulations on exhumations, reburials and symbolic burials of deceased victims were approved and will be published in the Government Gazette for public comment.

The proposed plan for the management of the transition between now and the election of a new government in 2009 was noted and approved. The plan seeks to ensure that the transition after the elections is smooth and does not disrupt service delivery. The plan includes, inter alia, matters such as: all departments should ensure that policies and procedures are institutionalised; that the contracts of Directors Generals (DGs) that expire immediately after elections be addressed in consultation with the President or the President-elect after the elections with a view to achieving continuity; preparation of hand-over reports by all departments for the incoming ministers and ensuring that a critical mass of staff are retained in the offices of the Ministers to ensure continuity. The Director’s General forum (FOSAD) will ensure that there is proper planning in all departments in this regard.

Cabinet received a report on water security in South Africa. Ms Lindiwe Hendricks, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, will brief the media on the country’s strategy to address water security immediately after this briefing. A comprehensive and coordinated strategy on water supply and usage will be also tabled and discussed at the 2009 January Cabinet Lekgotla.

The meeting approved the commencement of preparations for the implementation of Phase two (2) of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) following the signing of the agreement with the government of Lesotho.

Measures to improve the outcomes associated with the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) were approved. These measures are firstly, to split MIG into two funding windows from 1 April 2009. One window for large urban municipalities and another for the rest of the municipalities. Secondly, Grant rules and conditions for large urban municipalities will be re-oriented from detailed individual project approvals to nationally monitored, medium term infrastructure outputs and outcomes. This new model will, inter alia, minimise, consolidate and streamline reporting requirements for large cities and remove constraints that hamper efficient delivery of infrastructure.

The report on the implementation of the Government-wide Monitoring and Evaluation system (GWM&E) was noted as work in progress. The establishment of the monitoring and evaluation forum was approved. This forum will be convened by the Presidency and its objective will be to coordinate and align all M&E work in government, including protocols for data sharing and storage.

The Draft Port and Rail Plan was noted as work in progress and will be discussed with key stakeholders before finalisation. The final plan will be resubmitted to Cabinet following such consultations.

The Draft National Youth Policy for the period 2008-2013 was approved for publication and public comment. This policy makes recommendations on measures to advance youth development in the country. A consultative youth indaba on the policy is scheduled to take place on 17-19 December in the North West province.

The policy framework for Overseas Development Assistance by South Africa was approved. This framework will be the basis on which the South African government provides development assistance to other countries.

The proposal to establish the National Centre for Human Language Technologies (HLT’s) was approved. This centre will facilitate and promote the use of electronic translation services throughout the country.

Cabinet gave an in-principle approval for Khula to introduce a retail platform (Khula Direct) to complement its wholesale mandate to meet the needs of the lower end of the market. The Department of Trade and Industry will develop an implementation plan for consideration by government in the New Year.

The National Space Policy and the National Space Strategy were approved.

The outcome of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Country Report on the South African Education System was noted. The Department of Education will make the report available to the public shortly.

The National Policy and National Minimum Norms and Standards on School Infrastructure were approved and will be gazetted for public comment. These norms and standards are aimed at developing a framework for the delivery of school infrastructure. The Department of Education will set up a specialist unit to focus on the efficient and effective delivery of school infrastructure.

The Hague Convention and Protocol on International Recovery of Child Support and other forms of Family Maintenance was approved. The Convention will be submitted to Parliament for ratification.

The formal launch and convening of the first meeting of the General Assembly of the Association of Africa Public Service Commissions, which will be held on 16-18 February 2009, was noted.

The Constitution Eighteenth Amendment Bill was approved together with the State Liability Bill for publication and for public comment. These Bills seek to regulate legal proceedings in matters relating to state liability. The Pretoria High Court had found that certain sections of the State Liability Act of 1957 were inconsistent with the Constitution to the extent that they did not allow for execution or attachment against the state.

Cabinet wishes the South African cricket team a successful tour in Australia.

Cabinet took the opportunity to wish all South Africans a safe, peaceful and happy festive season. All of us must not abuse alcohol, must not drink and drive and must not engage in risky sexual behaviour.

Cabinet wishes all Muslims well as they prepare to celebrate Eid.

The following appointments were approved:
 

  • Ms PS Hadebe was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the Land Bank for a three year period
  • Mr J Kotane was appointed as the Acting CEO of the Electronic Communications Security (COMSEC)
  • Mr V Menzeleni was appointed as an Executive Director at COMSEC
  • Mr N Behrens; Mr A De Villiers; Mr Charles Knott-Craig; Mr DR Hall; Ms T Mokgabudi; Prof FW Petersen; Mr M Sibanda; Mr M Silinga; Ms KL Thoka and Prof MJ Wingfield were appointed to the Board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Council (CSIR), for a four year period
  • Dr CJ Augustyn, Mr N Baloyi; Prof ELJ Breet; Prof NH Casey; Prof FD Dakora; Dr F Dilika; Dr MM Dyasi; Dr JF Eloff; Mr OSD Garegea; Mr P Govender; Mr TP Govender; Dr WR Harding; Dr G Henry; Prof M Jeenah; Dr BH Koch; Ms GE Lombard; Mr BS Maloka; Ms NY Maluleke; Dr P Matutu; Ms KS Menon; Dr S Naidoo; Prof BK Reilly; Prof HJ Siweya; Prof DG Van der Merwe and Prof C Van der Westhuizen were appointed to the South African Council for National Scientific Professions (SACNASP), for a four year period
  • The extension of term for Mr R Ntuli; Mr T Mhlambiso; Mr K Seitshiro; and appointment Ms N Mesatywa; a National Treasury Representative and Public Enterprises as Trustees to the Board of the Board of the National Empowerment Fund (NEF); for a twelve month period
  • Mr C Fismer was appointed as Chairperson for a twelve month period and the following appointed to the National Gambling Board (NGB) for a five year period; Ms T Moja (Deputy Chairperson); Prof L De Vries; Mr A Keyser; Adv T Aboobaker and four designate members, namely; Ms N Maseti (Trade and Industry); Mr M Macabele (SARS); Assistant Commissioner JW Meiring (Safety and Security) and Ms V Nhlapho (Social Development)
  • Ms LB Mabaso was appointed as the Deputy Chief Commissioner: International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the part-time appointment as Commissioners for a three year period of Mr R Mkhwanazi, Mr C Viljoen De Lange and Mr M Marokolo
  • Mr P Govender (Chairperson); Ms BL Marais; Ms M Magasa; Ms N Magwaza; Dr L Makuleni; Mr JP Malatse; Mr TLJ Jafta; Ms JM Rathebe; Mr MLS Saki; Ms EJ Steyn and Mr MA Peet (ex officio) to the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) Board, for a five year period
  • The re-appointment of Ms N Sihlali as a non-executive director to the Board of Sentech, for a three year period
  • Mr N Nene as non-executive director to the Board of the Public Investment Corporation Limited (PIC).

Enquiries
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2008
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, December 4, 2008