17 May 2006
At its meeting today Cabinet was briefed on preparations for the June national election in the DRC. The meeting approved a request from the government of the DRC for SA to assist in the electoral process, including provision of resources to the DRC's Independent Electoral Commission. An Inter-Ministerial Committee comprising Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Provincial and Local Government, Public Service and Administration, Safety and Security and National Intelligence has been set up to co-ordinate the assistance.
The meeting noted the termination of the SANDF deployment in Burundi as part of the AU Protection Force. The time frames for the withdrawal will be handled in accordance with the AU Protection's Force's operational decisions. As requested by the leadership of Burundi and the East African region, SA will continue to assist in facilitating participation by all concerned parties in the peace process.
The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- National Sport and Recreation Amendment Bill;
- 2010 FIFA World Cup SA Special Measures Bill; and
- Firearms Control Amendment Bill.
The meeting also approved the submission for Parliament's ratification, of the AU Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Cabinet noted preparations for the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS, and it welcomed the progress that has been made in our country in implementing a comprehensive programme to combat the pandemic. While much more needs to be done in this regard, the advances in promoting awareness and behaviour change including use of condoms, expansion of accredited health facilities providing AIDS-related services, recruitment and training of health professionals, provision of nutritional supplements as well as home- and community-based care - all these are cause for hope.
Government will be scaling up communication and social mobilisation on this issue, and the budget for the campaign over a two-year period has been increased from R160m to R200m. Further, with 134 473 people initiated on ARV treatment by the end of March, and an estimated additional 80 000 initiated in the private and NGO sector, SA today has the largest ART programme in the world.
Cabinet welcomed the fact that the SA National AIDS Council (SANAC) had at its recent meeting agreed on intensified joint action in a variety of areas. SANAC also agreed on how all South African delegates to UNGASS would co-operate in ensuring that the objectives of the fight against HIV and AIDS within SA and internationally are advanced.
The meeting agreed that SA should become an official member of the Commonwealth Foundation. The Foundation was established in 1965 as a charitable Trust promoting professional co-operation among Commonwealth countries, including support for NGO's, professional associations and cultural activities.
Cabinet received a report on protest action related to the strike in the private security industry. Cabinet once more condemned in the strongest terms the acts of violence and vandalism by some demonstrators. These actions are not only inimical to the interests of the workers, but also undermine the freedoms enshrined in our Constitution. Government welcomes the firm action that has been taken by security agencies to deal with the violence, and further urges them to ensure that those responsible are brought to book. We also call on the employers and the union to co-operate with the processes that have been put in place to resolve their differences.
The meeting also noted plans for a national strike around issues of unemployment and poverty. As is common knowledge, government is working with all social partners in the implementation of AsgiSA, including in implementation structures such as JIPSA. It is therefore government's firm view that such strike action is not only unwarranted, but also counter-productive. Within government, the standard principle of "no work, no pay" will apply.
Cabinet noted efforts being made to resolve the situation with regard to the N2 housing development in Cape Town . The Minister of Housing is consulting stakeholders on mechanisms to facilitate the speeding up of this project and the management of allocation of the housing units, and will make relevant announcements in due course.
Having received a report on the implementation of Immigration Regulations, Cabinet agreed that the Minister of Home Affairs should use her discretion to extend the duration of the Intra-Company Transfer Permit; that clear policy guidelines needed to be developed as a matter of urgency on transit visas; that the drive to improve turn-around times for the processing of permits should be intensified; and that special capacity should be created in the Department of Home Affairs to deal with the issuing of Permanent Residence Permits. It was agreed that the Minister would regularly brief Cabinet on these and related issues.
Cabinet agreed with a proposal to develop the following Legacy Projects:
- Mangaung Hall where the African National Congress (ANC) was founded;
- Bram Fischer's home; and
- JR Tolkien's home.
It approved the appointment of members of the Board of Transnet.
Cabinet noted preparations for the SA-UK Bilateral Forum during the course of next week. Delegations to the Forum will be led by the President and the UK Prime Minister, and issues for consideration include the strengthening of partnership for faster and shared growth in SA, support for the African agenda including implementation of the G8 Gleneagles Commitments, and co-operation between SA and the UK in specific projects to promote peace and development in Africa.
The meeting was briefed on preparations for the launch on 29 May of Youth Month (June), which will coincide with the 30 th anniversary of the June 16 Uprising. The period will be used not only to honour those who took part in the struggle for quality education and democracy, but also to review the implementation of youth development programmes since 1994. Various activities have been planned, focussing on youth participation in the implementation of AsgiSA.
Cabinet noted the completion of the Johannesburg trial of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma and reiterated government's respect for the outcome of the court process. We also welcome the fact that the overwhelming majority of South Africans have accepted the outcome. In this regard, Cabinet rejected insinuations that any member of the Executive or employee of the state may have been involved in illegal underhand activities in the processes leading up to the trial.
The meeting also noted with concern reckless suggestions in some media that information published recently on the death of the former Deputy President's wife had originated from The Presidency. This is untrue, and enquiries have confirmed that the newspaper concerned has had access to inquest documents which are not in the possession of The Presidency. Government is of the view that the airing of such private matters in public is irresponsible, repugnant and distasteful.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)