Statement on Cabinet meeting of 11 October 2006


11 October 2006

Cabinet noted that at least 748 000 grade 12 learners began sitting for their matriculation examinations on the 10th October around the country. Cabinet was pleased to note that the exams were proceeding well with no incidents of any kind reported. We would like to take the opportunity to wish all our learners the best of luck and hope that their hard work will be rewarded with good results.

The meeting noted that the 19th October will be the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Samora Machel and that our government and the government of Mozambique will be paying tribute to this visionary African leader, and to the people of Mozambique , at a commemoration service to be held in Mpumalanga on that day. The anniversary will also be a time to recommit ourselves, as a nation, to working with our neighbours for the development of our region and to join hands in a national effort to eradicate the legacy of racism and xenophobia.

Cabinet noted the steps taken by the Western Cape Provincial Government to introduce a change in the form of government in the City of Cape Town . Cabinet took the view that the matter was a matter of provincial competence and should be dealt with the context of existing legislative framework.

The meeting noted that the preparations for the 16 days Campaign of No Violence Against Women and Children were proceeding well and will kick off with an event in Limpopo on the 25th November 2006 and end with an event in the Northern Cape . Members of the public are invited to support all the activities that will ensure that we all stand together in defence of our women and children.

Following extensive consultations between government and various industry stakeholders, including representatives of electronic and print media, Cabinet decided to extend the period for the finalisation of the Films and Publications Bill to the next session of Parliament in 2007. This extension will give stakeholders the opportunity to discuss all the policy issues that have arisen which have created the perception that government intended to muzzle the media. This decision demonstrates our commitment to the principle of media freedom as enshrined in our constitution.

Cabinet approved the National Road Safety Strategy which seeks to reduce road accidents and fatalities on our roads. The strategy addresses a number of challenges which include poor road behavior by motorists e.g. speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, non-wearing of safety belts, unlicensed and insufficiently trained drivers, lower levels of enforcement as well as inadequate follow-up of fines and punishment. The strategy includes a number of measures aimed at changing behavior patterns on our roads. These measures include intensifying enforcement through roadblocks, regular vehicle checking, introduction of the demerit points system by 2008, and periodic vehicle testing. A three-year probationary period for newly qualified drivers will be introduced. During this three year period, the newly qualified drivers may lose their licenses if they commit certain offences e.g. driving under the influence of alcohol. The Department of Transport will announce details at a later date.

Cabinet noted the Draft Public Transport Strategy and approved its release for public consultation before finalisation. This strategy proposes a shift away from the current operator-controlled, route based system to public controlled, user-friendly and integrated rapid transit networks which will include high quality feed, distribution and truck line networks. The draft strategy will be published shortly by the Department of Transport for public consultation. A Public Transport Indaba will be convened during October 2006 to consult with stakeholders.

The meeting noted and approved the 2010 Transport Action Plan for public information. The release of the plan will ensure that the public is informed about preparations for 2010 regarding public transport. The Department of Transport will release the details of the plan at a later date.

Cabinet discussed and approved the second draft of the Mineral and Petroleum Resource Royalty Bill for a second round of consultation prior to its tabling in Parliament in 2007.

The National Treasury first released the draft Bill in March 2003 for public comment. After extensive consultations, revisions were made to the Bill. One of the key revisions made to this revised Bill is the significant reduction of royalty rates compared to the proposals in the first draft.

A number of traditional communities currently receive royalty payments from mining operators who mine on their land. Item 11 of Schedule II of the Mineral Resources Development Act (Act No. 28 of 2002) (the "MPRDA") provides that communities will continue to receive such royalties regardless of whether these royalties are paid with respect to "old order" or "new order" mining rights.

The period for comment on the revised Royalty Bill will close on 31 January 2007. A final version of the Royalty Bill will then be submitted to Parliament for its consideration in 2007. The Bill can be accessed on the Treasury website: www.treasury.gov.za

The meeting approved the Diamond Export Levy Bill for public comment and subsequent tabling in Parliament. In this regard, the Departments of Minerals and Energy and National Treasury were mandated to develop and publish guidelines on all exemptions, relief and the exercise of other discretionary powers before the enactment of the Bill. These guidelines will provide certainty for the industry and potential investors.

Cabinet approved the National Drug Master Plan (2006/11) for implementation. The Plan outlines Government's strategy and programme to fight the scourge of drug abuse in the country. The plan is in line with the Treatment of Drug Dependency Act 20 of 1992, which requires Government to review and implement such a plan every five years.

The following Board and Council appointments were made:
 

  • Appointment of Directors of the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) with Mr. P. Baloyi as the Executive and Managing Director
  • A non-executive director to the Board of Eskom
  • Additional five members to the Board of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)
  • Members of the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)

The meeting welcomed the opportunity afforded to South Africa to host the 4th World Congress on Rural Women. This Congress will go a long way towards advancing the cause of rural women, particularly in the developing world. This is yet another indication that the world has confidence in the country's ability to be the host of choice for major international events. We are confident that South Africans will welcome rural women from around the world with warm and open arms.

Enquiries
Themba J Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2006
Media Statement date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2006