17 August 2005
At its meeting today, Cabinet agreed in principle to a strategy for the recapitalisation of public schools, particularly in those serving the poorest communities. The focus of this programme will also be on targeted development of teachers to ensure provision of better quality. Details of this programme, including possible funding mechanisms, are still to be finalised and the budgetary implications will be handled through the normal budgeting process.
The meeting also approved a Government-wide Immovable Asset Management Policy to ensure uniform, efficient, effective and accountable management of these public assets. Minimum standards will be introduced to ensure that all organs of state manage these assets in a manner that promotes government's objectives, including reform, economic empowerment, poverty alleviation and job creation. There is also a need to protect the environment and the country's cultural and historical heritage, and to improve health and safety in the working environment.
It was also noted that, while a Government Asset Register exists at national level, this still has to be finalised in the provincial and local government spheres. A Bill on Government-wide Immovable Asset Management will be introduced, applying to national and provincial departments; with similar legislation introduced in the medium-term for municipalities and other public entities.
Further, the following other Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill, which deals mainly with administrative issues to improve implementation of the Act;
- National Road Traffic Amendment Act - subject to further inter-Ministerial consultation - giving effect to principal strategies contained in the Road to Safety Strategy; and
- Also subject to some inter-Ministerial consultation, the National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill to deal with issues identified during stakeholder consultations as inhibiting the implementation of the current Act.
Cabinet agreed on processes urgently to be undertaken to deal with the issue of municipal demarcations as it applies to cross-boundary municipalities (which straddle more than one province). The principle guiding this process is that each municipality in the country should be located within one province, to ensure more effective integrated provision of services. It was noted that the Demarcation Board would in the next few days publish its proposed maps on the possible new boundaries. A consultative process will then be set in motion, including public hearings through national parliament and provincial legislatures.
The following appointments were approved:
- Jabulani Isaac Sindane as Director-General (DG): Water Affairs and Forestry, currently Deputy Director-General (DDG) in the same Department responsible for Regions;
- Portia Molefe as DG: Public Enterprises, currently Acting DG in the same Department;
- two DDGs in the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and one DDG in the Department of Public Works
- three new members of the Board of the South African Rail Commuter Corporation.
The meeting was briefed on the approach to be adopted by South Africa in preparation for the assessment of our country through the African Peer Review Mechanism. It was agreed that South Africa should use this opportunity to build a broad national vision, facilitate social participation especially by civil society and build partnership across all sectors of society.
The period leading up to the end of this year will be used to develop position papers on a variety of issues and to consult through a series of national conferences and parliament. The draft self-assessment report arising from these processes will be finalised in early 2006 for submission to the African Peer Review (APR) Secretariat. This will be followed by a visit by an APR Team to our country.
Cabinet agreed on a detailed programme for Ministers and Deputy Ministers to partner with provincial and local leaders in an intensive imbizo campaign directed at municipalities being assisted through Project Consolidate. This programme, which will complement the work already being done by the President and Deputy President, will ensure that concrete steps identified to improve service delivery in these municipalities are implemented as a matter of urgency.
The meeting noted media reports on government issues relating to the former Deputy President of the country, arising from the Central Committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). Government will await any formal submission on these matters. It will be guided in its response by the supreme law of our land, the Constitution, which provides, amongst others, for separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, and directs the President to "uphold, defend and respect the Constitution". On the issue of the composition of the Executive, this is a prerogative of the President and he pronounced extensively on this matter in Parliament a few weeks ago.
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Issued by: Government Communication (GCIS)