19 March 2003
Cabinet today conveyed a message of condolences and support to President Thabo Mbeki and his family on the passing away of the President's sister.
The meeting discussed a comprehensive presentation on the Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Strategy. The strategy contains such matters as definitions, policy objectives and framework of BEE as well as policy instruments relating to legislation, regulation, restructuring of state-owned enterprises, procurement as well as partnerships and Charters. These details have been finalised in extensive consultations with the role-players, particularly various sections of the business community.
A Broad Based BEE Bill was also considered, and it will be finalised taking into account the Cabinet discussion.
Cabinet also approved the release for public comment of the Mineral Resources and Petroleum Royalty Bill, which gives effect to the provisions of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002. Four weeks will be allowed for comments from stakeholders, before the Bill is finalised by Cabinet for submission to Parliament.
The meeting also reflected on the situation pertaining to the prospect of war in the Gulf Region. South Africa wishes to reiterate that war is not a solution to world problems. In this particular instance of Iraq, we believe that this imminent unilateral resort to force is compounded by the fact that progress was being made in dealing with the matter of the disarmament of Iraq with regard to any weapons of mass destruction.
The pending action in Iraq sets a regrettable precedent which undermines the authority of the United Nations in dealing with global affairs. More than at any other time, the current age of integrated global economies and relations requires integrated global governance. It is unfortunate that the pending actions would result in the loss of life of ordinary Iraqis and all others involved in the conflict - a tragic consequence of the failure of negotiations and diplomacy.
In this regard, South Africa calls on the United Nations to assert its authority to ensure that whatever action is undertaken is within the rules of international humanitarian law.
The government has also examined contingency measures to deal with any adverse consequences of the possible actions in Iraq on our country, and it will ensure that, where possible, their impact is minimised. An inter-departmental team has been set up to address evacuation of our missions as and when this becomes necessary. We also wish to advise South Africans not to visit the Gulf Region in this period.
Cabinet reviewed the implementation of the comprehensive strategic plan to fight HIV/AIDS, based on the premise that HIV causes AIDS. Given the positive impact of prevention measures, the allocation of resources (the budget is to increase ten-fold from R342-m in 2001/02 to R3,6-bn in 2005/06), progress in the PMTCT programme, expansion of the home-based care initiative, and the work of the joint Task Team of the Department of Health and National Treasury on an expanded treatment response, to quote but a few examples, government is convinced that these efforts bring a message of hope.
Government calls on all South Africans to lend a hand in Partnership against AIDS. Our energies should be spent fighting AIDS, not one another. There is a plan; and let us strengthen the people's contract to implement it. (Attached is a copy of the update, in summary and detailed format).
Cabinet approved the following other statutes for submission to Parliament:
- SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement;
- International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons; and the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages;
- National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Bill and National Environmental Management Amendment Bill;
- Special Adjustment Appropriation Bill: Expenditure for Emergency Food Relief; and
- Gold and Foreign Exchange Contingency Account Defrayal Bill to facilitate defrayal of costs incurred by the SA Reserve Bank in managing the Contingency Reserve Account of the government.
The meeting approved, in principle, the prohibition of the use of asbestos products and substances, which are extremely hazardous to human health. Regulations in this regard will be drafted after consultation within government and in NEDLAC.
Cabinet approved a broad architecture and approach regarding the National Youth Service. The National Youth Commission has been asked to submit an implementation strategy for the NYS by June this year.
The following appointments were approved:
- PB Soobrayan as Director-General of the SA Management Development Institution (SAMDI); and
- Two DDG's in the Department of Science and Technology and one in the Department of Trade and Industry.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)