14 September 2005
Cabinet was today briefed on the work being done by the Task Team led by the Deputy President with regard to issues of speeding up economic growth and job creation. A broad framework on the approach to this issue has been prepared, and detailed submissions from relevant departments and provinces are being processed with the aim of tabling a report at the next Cabinet meeting.
It was also noted that consultations were taking place with various economic role-players so as to ensure that their broad views on this challenge are taken into account when the document is finalised.
The meeting noted queries that have arisen in a number of Departments with regard to some recent questions that have been received from Parliament. Cabinet wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Executive to uphold the status of Parliament, including the obligation of the Executive to account to this body as provided for in the Constitution, and in pursuit of good governance.
In order to ensure that this principle continues to be realised in actual practice, Cabinet has asked the Deputy President, as Leader of Government Business to interact with the leadership of Parliament and seek advice on how to resolve issues pertaining to questions that may be vexatious and repetitive, require detailed personal information about employees, and demand such detailed research that they could bog down personnel and prevent them from fulfilling their other core functions, particularly to service citizens. Cabinet is confident that this issue will be resolved to the satisfaction of all, within the context of Parliament's own rules.
The Prohibition of Mercenary Activity and Prohibition and Regulation of Certain Activities in an Area of Armed Conflict Bill, was approved for submission to Parliament. The Bill elaborates on and clarifies issues relating to foreign military assistance as contained in 1998 legislation.
Cabinet was briefed on a plan to accelerate the implementation of Regional Electricity Distributors (REDS), including the introduction of a Bill on Electricity Distribution Industry Restructuring. In this regard, it was agreed that 6 metro REDS needed to be set up as soon as possible after the local government elections, and that other areas would be covered under separate local REDS or a National RED. Eskom would continue to play a critical role particularly in the National RED.
The following appointments were approved:
- Assistant Commissioner Oupa S Khumalo as Provincial Commissioner (DDG) for SAPS in Mpumalanga; and
- One DDG each in the Departments of Water Affairs and Forestry, and Public Works - the latter as Programme Manager for the Tshwane Inner City Project.
Cabinet was briefed on the implementation of the decision to set up the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). It was noted that training and technical assistance had been provided to the Steering Committee, and that the Registrar of Medical Schemes had confirmed the capacity of this Committee to run the business. Work is currently under way to ensure that member enrolment commences in the first quarter of 2006. The Scheme will result in the addition of hundreds of thousands of new beneficiaries to medical aid, create new employment opportunities, and reduce patient load on the public health sector while creating new revenue streams for this sector.
The meeting approved the employment 70 SANDF personnel and associated equipment to assist with integration and training of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This mission is informed by a joint Letter of Intent signed last June by the DRC, SA and the Netherlands detailing conditions and practical modalities in line with the mandate of the UN to assist in bringing peace to the DRC.
Cabinet was briefed on the cases of typhoid that had broken out in Delmas in Mpumalanga Province. Government wishes to express its condolences to the family of one person who has died, and wishes others affected a speedy recovery. A Task Team of the Departments of Health and Water and Forestry, the SANDF, Provincial Government and the municipality has intervened to contain the impact of the outbreak and institute short- and medium-term measures to deal with the causes.
The meeting was briefed on preparations for the celebration of Heritage Day as part of activities during September, Heritage Month. The main event on 24 September will take place in Taung, Northern Cape, within the theme of acknowledging the place of South Africa and Africa in the origins of humanity.
The meeting noted preparations for Imbizo Focus Week which will take place on 1 - 9 October, focussing on the implementation of Project Consolidate. In each of the events which will be attended by members of Cabinet, Deputy Ministers as well as provincial and local leaders, attention will be paid to practical work in assisting the 136 municipalities identified, to improve their capacity and urgently implement projects aimed at reducing poverty and improving services to the people.
Government welcomes the progress that has been made at the United Nations in affirming the UN Millennium Declaration and Goals and identifying practical steps to address problems of poverty and underdevelopment, promote human rights and the rule of law, establish a just and lasting peace across the globe, and deal with the challenge of terrorism.
Though difficulties may have been experienced with regard to achieving consensus on some of the issues critical to developing countries, SA is confident that these matters will continue to receive the attention of humanity, and that agreement on the restructuring the UN will be reached in due course. On its part, SA will continue to implement programmes aimed at meeting the 2015 targets it has not already achieved, and to work with other UN member-states to realise the objective of a better world.
Cabinet passed on its condolences to Ministers Manto Tshabalala-Msimang who has lost a sister and Ngconde Balfour whose brother has passed on.
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Issued by: Government Communication (GCIS)