Statement on Cabinet meeting of 14 May 2008


15 May 2008

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday, 14 May 2008.

The meeting discussed the recent violent attacks on foreign nationals in Alexandra and other parts of the country. Cabinet condemns these acts of violence in the strongest possible terms and calls on our communities to be vigilant and to avoid being manipulated by provocateurs who seek to exploit people’s fears and concerns.

These attacks represent a dangerous tendency that is foreign to South African history and consciousness. For many decades, South Africans in Alexandra and many parts of the country have lived side by side with foreign nationals with no acts of violence.

South Africa is a signatory to the Geneva Protocol on Refugees and we will fulfil our obligations as outlined in this protocol. South African laws protect all foreign nationals, whether they are here legally or otherwise and any violent behaviour towards foreign nationals must be rejected by all.

The majority of South Africans are peace-loving people who always seek peaceful means of resolving their problems. South Africa’s transition to democracy was one of the world’s best testimonies of tolerance and peaceful co-existence and we cannot allow a few individuals to reverse and undermine our historical achievements. It is too soon to forget the hospitality that was given to South Africans who were in exile in the neighbouring countries and the rest of the continent during the days of apartheid. The support of the Frontline States in Southern Africa was critical to the achievement of the democracy we are enjoying today.

These attacks appear to be instigated by elements bent on taking advantage of the genuine fears of communities for narrow political ends. However, no amount of economic hardship and discontent can ever justify criminal activity and bigotry that these attacks represent, and any suggestion that poor service delivery and rising cost of living is to blame for these attacks must be rejected with the contempt it deserves. Equally, any suggestion that foreigners alone are responsible for the high crime levels is totally misplaced and detracts from the fact that many South Africans are involved in criminal activity.

Government calls on all community organisations, church leaders, political organisations, business and youth organisations to stand up and be counted among those who will actively discourage such tendencies, and to use every available opportunity to educate South Africans about the need to co-exist with all foreign nationals.

An inter-departmental task team will be set up on an urgent basis to investigate all the causes of these attacks, and to make recommendations about action that needs to be taken to prevent the recurrence of this negative tendency. This task team will be convened by the Department of Home Affairs and will include departments of Safety and Security, Social Development, Health, Education and The Presidency.

In the meantime, law enforcement agencies will use the full force of the law to ensure that no further violence takes place, and those who engage in, actively encourage and incite communities to attack foreign nationals, must and will be brought to justice as soon as possible.

The Minister of Home Affairs will lead a government delegation today, to visit Alexandra Township, where they will be meeting the residents and the affected foreign nationals, with a view to addressing the causes of the recent tensions.

With regard to the electricity emergency, Cabinet approved the proposal to set up a national electricity emergency Programme Management Office (PMO), with immediate effect. This office will be responsible for co-ordinating all efforts to deal with the emergency; tracking and reporting on initiatives; providing technical support, and ensuring that the decisions of the National Electricity Response Team (NERT) on the electricity emergency, are implemented. The PMO will be set up under the auspices of the Department of Minerals and Energy, and will include industry experts as well as officials seconded from government departments.

The electricity pricing policy was approved. The policy seeks to ensure the following:
 

  • the electricity value chain contributes to economic growth;
  • universal access to electricity;
  • creates an investor-friendly pricing structure, that promotes efficient cost-recovery measures and a reasonable return on investment;
  • environmentally-friendly usage of resources;
  • open and non-discriminatory access to the transmission system; and
  • greater levels of transparency on electricity prices, to the users.

The details of the policy will be announced and discussed tomorrow with stakeholders at the NEDLAC-convened National Stakeholder Summit on Electricity.

The meeting noted that preparations for the National Stakeholder Summit on Electricity, to be held on the 16 May 2008 at the Sandton Convention Centre, were at an advanced stage. Preliminary discussions between government and all the key stakeholders were taking place to ensure that consensus is reached at the summit. Government is confident that the summit will be an important milestone in the process of building a strong partnership, to manage the electricity emergency.

The report on the work of the Joint Presidential Working Group on the National Electricity Emergency was tabled and noted.

Cabinet approved the Policy and Procedures on the Revolving Door Enablers for the Public Service. The primary objective of the policy is to create knowledge and development opportunities for members of the Senior Management Service, by allowing movement between the public service and other sectors. Reciprocal relationships will be established between the public and private sectors, higher education institutions and other sectors in society, to give effect to the open door policy. The essence of this innovation is to allow and encourage secondments of senior managers between the different sectors, and provide for the granting of sabbatical leave.

This benchmarking initiative will strengthen the interface between theory and practice whilst infusing fresh, current, inspirational learning and innovative ideas, towards improved public service performance. The secondment policy will be for a maximum period of 12 months, and a member of the Senior Management Service will qualify for secondment after 6 years of continuous service, whilst a head of department will qualify after 3 years of continuous service in the public service.

The report on the signing of Performance Agreements by senior managers in the public service and the filling of vacant positions of Directors-General, Deputy Directors-General and Chief Financial Officers, was tabled and approved. The meeting decided, inter alia, that all performance agreements for senior managers must be signed by the 31st March each year; that vacant posts must be filled as soon as they become vacant and that performance assessments of these senior managers should be completed by June of each year.

The meeting welcomed the decision of the Board of Directors of the FIFA Local Organising Committee, to the effect that all the five stadia that were originally designated to host the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2009 will be retained, including the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium. This decision is to be welcomed as it amounts to further testimony that South Africa is indeed on course to host one of the most successful soccer World Cup tournaments ever. Government remains confident that the LOC, our soccer authorities and all our host cities will be ready to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and exceed expectations of the of the soccer-loving community in 2010.

The successful launch of the Schools World Cup by the Department of Education, was noted as a programme that will excite our youth about South Africa’s hosting of some of the World’s best soccer stars on our shores during the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The report on climate change entitled ‘Climate Change Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios’ was tabled and noted. The meeting noted the challenges that developing nations are facing regarding climate change, including the need to find a balance between economic growth and emissions reduction. However, the meeting agreed that climate change challenges must be incorporated into all future planning and policy decisions. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will elaborate further on the report during when he delivers his budget vote in Parliament shortly. A detailed climate change strategy will be tabled at the July Cabinet Lekgotla for further discussion and finalisation.

The Africa Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance was endorsed and will be submitted to Parliament for ratification.

The extension of the deployment of 15 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members to provide close protection to the Central African Republic President was approved. The deployment of 11 members of the SANDF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to assist with the capacity building of the DRC Defence Force for a one year period, was also approved.

Cabinet noted that a number of high profile events will be taking place over the next few months, which will give us an opportunity to promote and showcase South Africa and the continent to the world. The fist major event will be the 13th meeting of the Presidential International Investment Council which will take place at San Lameer in KwaZulu-Natal on 16-18 May 2008. Africa Day will be celebrated on 25 May, which will also be the 45th Anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU).

Cabinet noted that SA Tourism had just hosted another successful Tourism Indaba in Durban, where the “Boundless Southern Africa” brand was launched. The Indaba succeeded in showcasing South Africa as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. The city [Durban], SA Tourism and the people of KwaZulu-Natal have once again demonstrated, ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, through the Indaba, that we are more than capable of hosting a world-class event.

The World Economic Forum on Africa will be held on 4-6 June 2008, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and the International Media Forum will take place on 22-23 May 2008 at the Forum in Sandton.

The meeting noted that the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will be hosting the 12th Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (ACMEN) from 7-12 June 2008, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

The following appointments were approved:
 

  • Mr CP Letsoalo was appointed Deputy Director-General in the Department of Transport
  • Mr S Vukela and Mr MP Mabuza were appointed Deputy Directors-General in the Department of Public Works
  • Mr AM Hawes was appointed Deputy Director-General in the Department of Agriculture
  • The following were appointed as non-executive Directors of the Board of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA), for a three-year period:
    • Dr S Badat
    • Mr M Luthuli
    • Ms M Makhekhe-Mokhuane
    • Ms C Clark
    • Ms N Malope
    • Ms M Williams (Deputy Chair).
  • The following were appointed to the board of the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA):
    • Dr AP Nevhutalu (Chairperson)
    • Mr T Bukula
    • Dr T Demana
    • Prof M Harting
    • Mr P Hendricks
    • Ms LS Masuku van Damme
    • Dr NB Mgudlwa
    • Ms MS Molala
    • Dr R Nemutudu
    • Mr T Nong
    • Dr CW Louw.

The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
 

  • The Criminal Procedures Amendment Bill
  • The Companies Bill
  • The National Conventional Arms Control Amendment Bill
  • The Promulgation of the Cultural Laws Third Amendment Bill
  • Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly-Financed Research Bill.

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

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2008
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, May 15, 2008