Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 16 April 2008

17 April 2008

17 April 2008

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Tshwane yesterday morning, 16 April 2008.

Cabinet discussed the recent developments in Zimbabwe following the elections that took place on the 29 March 2008. The meeting acknowledged and welcomed the role played by President Thabo Mbeki in facilitating the talks between the ruling party and the opposition. These talks laid a firm foundation for Zimbabweans to elect leaders of their choice in a process that was transparent. South Africa, like the rest of the world, is concerned about the delay in the release of results and the anxiety that this is generating. We are keen to see a speedy release of the election results as soon as possible.

To that end, Cabinet endorsed Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s call for the verification and release of all the results as soon as possible. In line with the mandate accorded to President Mbeki by SADC, the South African government will do all it can to interact impartially with all the relevant players in Zimbabwe to ensure that the election process is concluded speedily and in a manner that enjoys the confidence and reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe. This will set the stage for political stability and economic recovery that Zimbabweans and, indeed, their neighbours yearn for.

Cabinet decided to deploy a national team to assist the Eastern Cape Department of Housing after receiving a report which indicated that the department was failing to fulfill its mandate to deliver houses to the people of the Eastern Cape Province. The delivery of houses in the province has declined from 37 000 units per annum in 2004/05 to 11 750 in the 2007/08 financial year. The deployment of the team will be in terms of section 3 (2) (d) of the Housing Act 107 of 1997 to ensure that housing delivery is accelerated in the province. Should the situation not improve within 12 months, consideration will be given to invoking section 100 (1) (b) of the Constitution which provides for the National Minister to take over the administration of the provincial housing department.

The meeting discussed the rising food and fuel prices and the global economic situation. The global rise in food prices was largely due to the combined impact of production shortfalls in major supply regions, rising consumption in developing economies and some diversion of feedstock to bio-fuel producers. South Africa has also been affected by the rising prices, although our food prices have not increased at the same pace as in many countries across the globe.

Higher food prices impact more severely on the poor. The budget contributes to supporting the income of poor households through the social grant system and the school feeding scheme. Food security also depends on expansion and development of the rural economy, investment in agricultural capacity and technology and broader participation of emerging farmers in commercial agriculture. Nepad’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) will also contribute towards achieving greater food security in the continent.

Collusive behavior in some sectors of the economy, particularly in the food industry, is a matter of concern to many South Africans. Government is confident that the competition authorities will continue to be vigilant and to take strong action to curb these negative practices that have also contributed to higher food prices. The economic and social cluster Ministers were mandated to develop a strategy to address this challenge and to report back to Cabinet in the near future.

Cabinet approved the design change for the 2008 Five Rand coin which will be designed to honour and celebrate President Nelson R Mandela 90th birthday.

The transfer of the current international airport status of Pilanesberg Airport to Mafikeng Airport was approved, following a request from the Northwest Provincial Government and the recommendation from the Airport Coordinating Committee (ACC). This transfer will facilitate regional market integration within the planned Industrial Development Zone which is located next to the Mafikeng Airport.

The cancellation of the R926.8 million debt owed by Cuba to South Africa was approved. This debt arose out of the insurance cover which was provided to Cuba by the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited (ECIC) for the export of diesel engines and pesticides in 1996. Given the assessment of Cuba’s debt position, government is of the view that Cuba was not in a position to meet its obligation in the foreseeable future. The Cuba’s debt position had the potential to undermine the bilateral economic relations and detracts the two countries from the pursuit of mutually beneficial relations in areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and the eradication of Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in Africa, and the strengthening of South-South relations.

The following appointments were approved:

  • Mr M Swartz was appointed to the post of Chief Operating Officer in the Department of Land Affairs
  • Ms BP Lerumo was appointed Deputy Director General in the Office of the Public Service Commission
  • Mr KH Kabagambe was appointed Deputy Director General in the Department of Housing
  • Ms VC Carelse was appointed Deputy Director General in the Department of Education
  • Mr A Visser was appointed Deputy Director General in the Department of Defence
  • Ms EM Kubushi was appointed Deputy Director General in the Department of Defence
  • Dr T Gamede was appointed Deputy Director General in the Department of Defence
  • Mr M Magugumela’s contract as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Nuclear Regulator was extended for a further three years
  • Mr MK Sizwe (Chairperson); Adv N Tshombe; Prof Y Gordhan were re-appointed to the Regulating Committee of the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). Mr U Mntosintshi and Ms N Pather were appointed as new members of the committee
  • Mr Al Bassa (Chairperson) and Ms T Njozela (Vice Chairperson) were re-appointed as Councils to the Air Services Licensing Council (ASLC). Mr LN Ramulifho; Mr SM Ramosa; and Ms ML Lephadi were appointed as new members of the Council
  • Mr AA Gany; Dr D Mullins; Ms NP Mnxasana were re-appointed to the International Air Services Council (IASC). Mr KC Marobela and Mr MP Matlou were appointed as new members of the Council
  • Prof P Kruger was re-appointed to the Legal Aid Board and Ms E Gandhi appointed as new member of the Board
  • Mr S Malefetse Radebe; Mr T Zulu; Ms E Alexandra to the SAFCOL Board as Non-Executive Directors
  • Mr D Shirt; Ms S Koyana and Ms M Mohlala were appointed to the Infraco Board as Non-Executive Directors
  • Concurred with the appointment of the following as Directors of the Board of ARMSCOR: Dr PS Molefe (Chairperson); Mr RP Meyer; Mr EL Borole; Ms N Medupe; Ms MB Molemela; Ms R Msiza; Ms V September; Mr LW Mosiako and Mr SA Msibi.

The following Bills were approved:

  • The Constitution of South Africa Seventeenth Amendment Bill, 2008 and the Eighteenth Amendment Bill, 2008 to be published for public comment and introduction to Parliament
  • Generals Matters Amendment Bill effecting consequential amendments to various laws relating to loss of membership of the National Assembly, a Provincial Legislature or a Municipal Council, 2008 be published for public comment and introduced to Parliament
  • General Financial Services Law Amendment Bill, 2008
  • National Railway Safety Regulator Amendment Bill, 2008
  • Regional Electricity Distributor Establishment Bill, 2008
  • Liquor Products Amendment Bill, 2008
  • Medicines and Related Substance Amendment Bill, 2008
  • National Health Amendment Bill, 2008
  • The National Qualifications Framework Bill, 2008
  • General and Further Education and Training Quality Assurance Amendment Bill, 2008
  • Higher Education Amendment Bill, 2008

Themba Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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