15 March 2000
Cabinet today finalised the Code of Ethics for Members of Cabinet and Executive Councils -provided for in the Executive Members Ethics Act passed in 1998 -for submission to Parliament. The Code applies to both national and provincial spheres of government, and provides for general standards of behaviour, potential and real conflict of interests, gifts and disclosure of financial interests.
Cabinet also approved a framework to regulate the disclosure of financial interests by Accounting Officers and Deputy Directors-General. This wiII come into effect from 1 April 2000.
These codes constitute part of the policy of government to ensure the highest standards of integrity among public officials and help to strengthen transparency and accountability in government.
Cabinet approved the following Bills for submission to Parliament:
- South African Council for Educators Bill which provides for the setting up of the Council and professional matters such as registration of educators, minimum standards and a code of ethics;
- General Intelligence Law Amendment Bill which aligns Intelligence Services legislation with the constitution and regulates conditions of service as well as activities of former members of Intelligence services.
The meeting reviewed progress on the investigation into an integrated and comprehensive social security system and appointed a Ministerial Committee of Inquiry reporting to the Ministers of Welfare, Labour, Finance, Health and Transport. It is envisaged that this work will take about a year.
Cabinet considered the issue of expenditure of poverty relief funds, and it resolved that an evaluation of expenditure of these funds among all departments should be done by the Minister's Committee on the Budget, which should report to Cabinet as a matter of urgency. The Committee will be assisted by he Cluster of Directors-General, which is already investigating the matter.
Cabinet approved the setting up of an African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund to replace the Economic Co-operation Promotion Loan Fund. The Fund will serve as a mechanism for South Africa to assist especially African countries where possible, and to channel donor funds to recipients or joint tripartite projects.
In pursuit of the National Action Plan on Human Rights submitted to the United Nations, Cabinet has approved the establishment of a National Consultative Forum on Human Rights, which will be launched on 21 March 2000. It also established an Inter-Ministerial Committee to prepare for the UN World Conference on Racism, which will be hosted by South Africa in the second half of 2001.
The meeting welcomed the progress that is being made to intensify relief operations and integrate the work of SADC in the areas affected by the recent floods. It approved the setting up of a Ministerial Reconstruction Committee whose functions will include the formulation of a National Reconstruction Strategy for the affected areas in South Africa, examining the possibility of a grant system to assist affected businesses with re-capitalising, and assistance to the farming community to ensure the stabilisation of agricultural production
The following appointments were approved:
- Three Deputy Directors-General in the Department of Public Service and Administration; and one Deputy Director-General in the Department of Land Affairs;
- Wilson Toba as Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Services in the Eastern Cape; and
- Nelson Mandela as the Patron of the Trust for the Freedom Park Legacy Project.
Cabinet noted the recent attacks on judicial officers, including in particular, a Deputy Director in the Office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions. Emphasising the Government's responsibility to protect the integrity of judicial institutions, and taking into account programmes to improve security of the courts, Cabinet instructed the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions and SAPS to examine the scale of these incidents, the adequacy of legislation on this matter and proposals on how to combat the situation.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)