11 October 2007
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria yesterday, 10 October 2007.
Cabinet took the view that much has already been said regarding the suspension of the National Director of Public Prosecutions and calls for patience to be exercised to ensure that the work of the enquiry by Dr. Ginwala is not compromised. The meeting also resolved that there was no need for the President to make any pronouncements on the matter as such a step could pre-empt the outcome of the commission. Suggestions that the suspension had created a constitutional crisis are baseless. Government, under the leadership of President Mbeki, remains committed to the doctrine of separation of powers and finds the intimation that suspending the National Director of Public Prosecutions undermines this doctrine unjustified, misleading and amounts to an extreme exaggeration .
The meeting reflected on the scare stories and rumours that were distributed via email and SMS's about an alleged tornado that was about to hit parts of Gauteng on Monday afternoon. These rumours persisted for most of Monday afternoon despite assurances from the SA Weather Services that, although a severe storm was on its way, there was no tornado or anything of that sort that was about to happen. Some employers responded by sending their staff home early out of a genuine concern for safety. This resulted in panic and led to huge traffic congestions in many parts of the Johannesburg and Pretoria. Government would like to appeal to all members of the public to be more vigilant and not react to rumours that may lead to mayhem, damage to property and an unnecessary loss of life.
Employers and the media are advised to check with the relevant authorities before sending out messages that could cause unnecessary panic. It would be prudent for employers and the media to check with the relevant authorities before broadcasting or publishing information of this nature. Even if there was some truth in the rumours, sending everyone home at the same time could itself constitute a disaster. The SA Weather Service is the most reliable and primary source of information on the weather and we advise everyone to check with them before sending out messages that could lead to chaos and destruction. The SA Weather Service can be found at 082 162 and at www.weathersa.co.za
In the light of these developments, Cabinet decided that the National Disaster Management Centre will be asked to look at ways in which such situations could be managed better in future with a view to making sure that clear communication guidelines and procedures are developed and communicated to the public. The only structures that have the authority to issue warnings to the public are the SA Weather Services and the National Disaster Management Center.
The meeting noted the progress in accelerating the acquisition of scarce and priority skills and approved that the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) be extended to the end of 2009. A dedicated unit will be established in the Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Labour, to coordinate this effort and ensure that JIPSA work is incorporated into the National Human Resources Development Strategy.
South Africa will be hosting the second India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Heads of State summit on 17 October 2007 in Pretoria. The summit comes after the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly where developing countries reaffirmed the need for collaboration and multilateral approaches in addressing the challenges of development. The summit will be preceded by trilateral fora made up of Ministers and senior officials and a business forum involving atleast 200 business people from the three countries.
Trade among the three countries has reached between US$6 and US$7 billion and the objective is to reach the trilateral target of US$ 10 billion over the next three years. At this second summit, the Heads of State will sign agreements for cooperation in strategic areas such as trade and investment; international poverty alleviation and social development; trilateral exchange of information; international best practices; technologies and skills; tourism and transport.
Cabinet noted that the department of Transport will host the 1st African Union Conference of Ministers responsible for road and rail from 15-19 October 2007 and 19-21 November 2007 respectively.
During the month of October, a number of activities will take place around the country to intensify direct interaction between the Executive and the public. This programme kicked off this past weekend with the Presidential Imbizo which took place in the Uthukela district in KwaZulu-Natal province. This month will experience heightened communication between the Executive and the public on a variety of issues, including Transport and Social Development events, the national Imbizo week on 22-28 October, and the National Correctional Services Week from 15-19 October..
The meeting noted and welcomed the successful rescue of over 3 200 mineworkers who were trapped underground at Elandsrand Gold Mine. The successful rescue operation brought much relief to families and the entire population and all those involved are congratulated for their efforts. However, the incident and the frequent deaths in the mines, has raised public concerns about mine safety and has highlighted the need for urgent steps to be taken by the industry to improve safety in the mines. The audit of safety in the mines, as ordered by President Mbeki, will go a long way to ensure that all mines comply with the safety and health standards as prescribed by the laws of the country. Government calls on the industry to work with the Department of Minerals and Energy and other stakeholders to ensure that concrete steps are taken to prevent the unnecessary loss of life.
Cabinet wishes the best of luck to the more than 599 000 candidates who will be sitting for the grade 12 examinations around the country. It is hoped that all the many hours of hard work and sacrifice will pay off. Parents and teachers are encouraged to continue to support the learners during this stressful period for our young stars.
The meeting expressed disquiet about the cold-blooded killing and discovery of 10 decomposing bodies of women in the sugar cane fields in Umzinto, KwaZulu-Natal, on the eve of the beginning of the campaign against violence on women and children. These gruesome murders must be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all South Africans and the security services must and will do everything possible to ensure that the perpetrators face the full might of the law.
Cabinet welcomed the progress the Springboks are making in their march to capture the IRB Rugby World Cup in France and expressed best wishes to the team on behalf of all South Africans. The Deputy President will meet the team on Saturday when she visits France and she will convey the country's support.
The following appointments were approved:
- Dr. Frank Chikane's contract as the Director General in the Presidency was extended for another year
- Ms. M Williams was appointed as the Deputy Director General: Office of the Chief Information Officer in the Department of Public Service and Administration
- Ms R Sekese and Ms M Williams were appointed to the Board of the State IT Agency
- Advocate T Mqobi was appointed to the post of Chief Deputy Commissioner for Gauteng in the Department of Correctional Services
- Mr Lucky Montana's appointment as CEO of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC) was approved
- Concurred with the appointment of the following as members of the Agrément Board of South Africa: Mr L Moshe; Ms MKE Choma; Dr MS Tayob; Mr EJ Kruger; Mr M Marler; Mr NC Noyana; Ms NP Ngcobo; Ms ND Shabalala; Mr S Malebye; Mr SM Seane; and Mr M Silinga
Further, Cabinet noted the retirement of the Coordinator of Intelligence, Mr Barry Gilder. His replacement will be announced in due course.
Themba Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)