Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 18 February 2009

18 February 2009

18 February 2009

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town this morning, 18 February 2009.

The meeting took note of the recent reports regarding the arrest of crew members of the South African Airways (SAA) who were arrested on allegations of possession of narcotic substances. Cabinet is extremely concerned about this development which is causing untold damage to the reputation of the national airline, the country and its people. This development is totally unacceptable and must be condemned by everyone. Anyone found responsible for these criminal acts must and will face the full might of the law.

The Minister of Safety and Security Mr Nathi Mthethwa, was mandated to take urgent steps to ensure that stringent security measures are implemented at all our airports with immediate effect. In this regard, the steps already taken by the airline to set up a joint task team with the airports company and the crime intelligence services of the South African Police Services (SAPS) to address this problem were welcomed. However, this task team should ensure that additional security measures are introduced immediately to prevent any further abuse of the existing security checks for the airline crew.

We call upon the crew of the national airline not to allow themselves to be used by criminal syndicates and to cooperate with the authorities by exposing anyone, including their colleagues, who is involved in these illegal activities.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) decision to introduce visa requirements for South Africans travelling to the UK was noted. Although the decision was regrettable, the government remains confident that measures are on track to introduce stringent security measures in our passport production procedures. The Department of Home Affairs will brief the media on the progress made in the implementation of the turn-around strategy.

The South African Government will be participating in the 53rd session of the Commission on the status of women at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York (NY) from 2-13 March 2009. The Minister in the Presidency will provide further details at a media briefing tomorrow morning in Cape Town.

The meeting noted the work done by the Department of Health to manage and contain the outbreak of cholera in parts of the country. This work is coordinated by an Interdepartmental Task Team which is working very closely with the UN agencies and the non-government organisation (NGO) sector. This task team is implementing the national response plan for the control of cholera which includes education and information programmes to communities. The Department of Health will give more details at a later date.

Cabinet noted and approved that South Africa hosts the Second World Social Security Forum in November 2010.

The following appointments were approved:

  • The employment contract of Dr PM Mjarwa, the Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology was extended for three years.
  • The employment contract of Ms OR Ramsingh the Director-General of the Public Service Commission was extended for three years.
  • The following were appointed to the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) for a four year period with effect from 1 April 2009: Dr PA Jammine; Mr P Baloyi; Ms I Charnley; Mr KD Dlamini; Prof A van Zyl; Prof GJ Prinsloo; Prof H Labum; Prof N Ogude; Dr S Lennon; Mr G Rothschild; Dr N Bhengu; Prof JA Thompson; Prof FW Petersen; Prof LV Mazwai-Tanga; Ms K Njobe and Dr CM de la Rey.
  • Ms N Mgadza; Prof Y Vawda; Ms MA Naidoo and Mr V Jarana were appointed to the Legal Aid Board for a three year period.

Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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