14 March 2001
Cabinet today adopted a telecommunications sector policy, the purpose of which is to ensure increased access, lower input costs and bridge the digital divide. The policy will also create a stable telecommunications market environment, a predictable regulatory regime, and optimum conditions for the Initial Public Offering of Telkom.
The meeting also approved processes leading up to the restructuring of Rhino Recording Studios (formerly attached to the erstwhile Bophuthatswana Broadcasting Corporations). Various stakeholders and the public at large will be kept informed of developments in this regard.
The following Bills were approved for submission to parliament:
- Alexkor Limited Amendment Bill, which will help facilitate the restructuring of Alexkor Limited;
- Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill, which confers additional powers and/or functions to the Fund in line with the road safety projects initiated by government;
- Financial Institutions (Protection of Funds) Bill, which provides for further mechanisms relating to investment, safe custody and administration of funds and trust property by financial institutions.
Cabinet reaffirmed its decision on the importance of government departments remaining within the Pretoria CBD. Requests for relocation will therefore not be entertained. Further, investigations will be gone into, on creating a boulevard effect along an axis associated with Struben Street and Union Buildings. This process will include discussion with property owners to ensure proper maintenance of properties leased by government, as well as consideration of new capital projects to house government departments.
The meeting noted the decision by Minister of Home Affairs to set up a commission to monitor each stage of the development of the Home Affairs National Identification System (HANIS) project and related procurement. This commission, acting on behalf of the Minister, will ensure transparency and accountability in the procurement and implementation of the HANIS project.
Cabinet rejected insinuations in recent media reports that certain matters pertaining to immigration policy had been taken over from the Minister of Home Affairs. There is no substance to these reports; and therefore, the question of tensions between parties in national government in this regard does not arise.
Discussions on the finalisation of the Immigration Bill, led by the Minister and Department of Home Affairs continue. Government intends to complete this process as soon as possible and, led by Home Affairs, collegial consultations will take place at various levels to ensure that the final product satisfies the requirements of the full range of governmental functions, such as trade and industry, foreign affairs, human resource development, finance and so on.
Cabinet approved the setting up of a Task Team charged with the responsibility to draft new electoral legislation as required by the Constitution. The Team, chaired by Dr F van Zyl Slabbert will consult various departments and role-players; and modalities will be found to involve political parties in the drafting of such legislation.
The meeting approved a Road Safety Strategy, "Road to Safety, 2001-2005", which proposes a set of integrated actions to lay the foundation for law compliance, responsibility and mutual respect on South Africa’s roads.
Further, the Minister of Transport will, tomorrow launch the "Be Legal Campaign" at one of the main Johannesburg taxi ranks. This is aimed at improving compliance in the taxi industry. The launch forms part of the government’s programme of Imbizo, to take government’s programme for the year to the people and ensure two-way communication on important government projects.
Cabinet approved priorities set for the rehabilitation of prisoners, during the course of this year. This exercise is aimed at removing practices in the prisons, which impede effective rehabilitation, so that we succeed in the efforts to eliminate dehumanising treatment that produces individuals who are bitter, angry and unfit to go back to society as responsible citizens.
The meeting approved the programme to repair dilapidated prisons to deal with backlogs and address overcrowding. It also approved an automated Inmate Tracking System for awaiting trial prisoners. This includes the introduction of a device attached to the offender, containing information on the prisoner and ensuring 24-hour monitoring.
Cabinet noted that the Minister of Finance and other Ministers would, over the weekend, hold a meeting with their counterparts from Zimbabwe. This meeting will examine issues pertaining to urgent matters of common interest, and also serve to prepare for the planned meeting between the Presidents of SA and Zimbabwe.
The National Conventional Arms Control Committee presented its half-yearly report to Cabinet (for the period 1 July to 31 December 2000). The Chairperson of the NCACC, Minister Kader Asmal will present the report to the public in the next few days.
The following appointments were approved:
- Dr Tau-Mzamane as President/Chief Executive Officer for the Agricultural Research Council;
- Deputy Director-General and Chief Financial Officer in the Department of Correctional Services.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)