16 May 2007
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday morning, 16 May 2007.
Cabinet congratulated the Bulls and the Sharks for qualifying for the first ever all-South African finals of the Super 14 Rugby tournament. This final will put the spot light on our country and we have no doubt that both teams will give the rugby-loving world one of the best displays of rugby ever seen in this tournament. We are pleased that whatever happens at the finals, the trophy will remain in South Africa for the next twelve months and serve as an inspiration for our young and aspiring rugby players.
The meeting approved the proposal for the merging of Shosholoza Meyl with the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC) by April 2008 and noted that the process was on track to ensure that this deadline is met.
The meeting noted that Africa Day will be celebrated on 25 May 2007. The Department of Foreign Affairs will co-ordinate activities to celebrate this day.
Cabinet noted that the Social Sector cluster is finalising a Anti-Poverty Strategic Framework, which will usher in a new approach to ensuring that the objective of achieving better life for all is realised sooner rather later. This report will take into account experiences of other countries that have successfully implemented poverty alleviation programmes. The framework will be presented at the July Cabinet Lekgotla.
The meeting was briefed on the successful implementation of government’s Imbizo programme which is aimed at bringing citizens and Members of the Executive together. The next phase of the programme will see a stronger link between Izimbizo and other programmes of government e.g. Local Economic Development (LED), Integrated Development Plans (IDPs), Local Government Strategic Agenda, the National Spatial Development Perspectives (NSDP), as well as other programmes. A monitoring and evaluation system will be put in place to monitor action to address issues raised by communities during Izimbizo. In this regard, the Deputy President has already begun a process of visiting Provincial Executive Committees to ensure speedy implementation of issues raised in Izimbizo and the implementation of government programmes.
Cabinet reiterated the unqualified rejection, conveyed in a statement by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, of inaccurate and misleading media reports suggesting that government has rejected the APRM report. As required by the APRM process, the South African government is responding to the report, commenting on and correcting facts before it is considered by the African Union Heads of States, who alone have the power to accept or reject it.
Cabinet noted the widespread humanitarian crisis facing the people of Palestine, particularly women and children. The meeting noted that the World Health Organisation has warned that basic services and essential public healthcare might be severely disrupted as a result of the freeze on funding to the Palestinian Authority. The meeting decided that the South African Government will contribute R1 000 000 to Palestine for the purchase of urgently required medicines and other medical supplies. We will be considering other forms of assistance with a view to reducing the burden on the Palestinian people.
The meeting noted that once again there will be international focus on South Africa as we host significant global conferences on our shores, soon after hosting the Tourism Indaba and the World Congress of Rural Women. This confirms that South Africa is on track to become the host of choice for global events.
The World Association of Newspapers’ (WAN) 60th World Newspaper Congress and its 14th World Editors Forum will be held at the ICC in Cape Town from 3 to 6 June 2007. This Congress will involve more than 1500 which will include publishers, editors and other senior executives of newspapers. We are pleased to note that this is the first time that such a gathering takes place on African soil. The congress will be opened by the President and several Ministers will participate.
The meeting noted progress made operationalising the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), which was established to administer and pay social security grants to beneficiaries. Progress noted included; taking over the function from provinces and the roll-out of atleast 90 mobile units. Reforms on the cards will include smart cards to eradicate fraud; payment of grants on any day of the month to reduce the inconvenience experienced by beneficiaries caused by long queus; and reducing the time it takes to process applications from 90 days to a maximum of three days.
Cabinet approved the Protocol of Amendments to the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) Convention. The IHO is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1921 to support safety in navigation and the protection of the marine environment. Its activities include development of uniform nautical charts and the adoption of efficient methods for carrying out hydrographic surveys. The Protocol will be tabled in Parliament for consideration and ratification in terms of section 231 of the Constitution.
The meeting supported the recommendation to cancel of 80% of the debt of the Iraqi government to the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) and the rescheduling of the balance of 20 % in accordance with the terms of the Bilateral Agreement between the ECIC and Iraq. This decision is in line with Paris Club commitment to ease the debt burden of the Iraqi government.
Cabinet approved the recommendation to create the third Constituency for Southern Africa in the African Development Bank. There are currently two constituencies representing Southern Africa in the Bank. This constituency will include South Africa and a maximum of three other countries from the SADC region. This will increase the voice of the Southern region in the Bank and bring the region in line with other regions of the African Development Bank.
The meeting approved the payment of Southern African Customs Union (SACU) excess revenue shares, totaling R7.1 billion, to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. The meeting noted that the SACU formular and payment to member states was under review and a report in this regard will be tabled before Cabinet in the near future.
The following appointments were approved:
- A Deputy Director-General (DDG)(Urban and Rural Development) in the Department of Provincial and Local Government
- A DDG (Chief Financial Officer) in the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
- The following were appointed as new members of the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) on Company Law: Ms T Dingaan; Professor M Larkin; Professor F Cassim; Mr I Sehoole; Mr K Manamela; Ms J Kunst; Mr R Connellan (ex officio) and Mr R Barrow (ex Officio)
The following Bills were approved for public comment and submission to Parliament during 2007 session:
- The Education laws Amendment Bill;
- Defence Amendment Bill;
- Cross-Boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Bill and
- the Constitutional Thirteen Amendment Bill;
The Minister of Provincial Local Government will make a statement on the latter Bills.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)