Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 19 September 2001

19 September 2001

19 September 2001

Cabinet today started with a moment of silence in honour of those who perished in the terrorist attacks in the USA, and in memory of the late Govan Mbeki.

The meeting was briefed on the programme to start implementation of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project. This project, which will create thousands of jobs and improve tourist and other infrastructure in the Eastern Cape, will be implemented on a Public/Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The meeting urged all spheres of government to carry out their tasks diligently within agreed timelines.

Cabinet examined the implications of the recent terrorist attacks in the USA and set out our principled approach as well as course of action on this issue (see Annexure to this statement).

Cabinet also examined the process towards finalising statistical data on mortality in our country. It urged the relevant Departments and Statistics SA to expedite their consultations; and SSA in particular, to explain to the public in an accessible way, their methods and assumptions as well as the process that will result in certified and credible statistics particularly on the impact of HIV/AIDS.

The meeting examined preparations for the WTO Ministerial Conference in Qatar, including consultations with other countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, to develop positions that will promote the interests of developing countries. The meeting was also briefed on preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which will be held in Johannesburg next year.

Cabinet noted and welcomed progress with regard to the transformation process in the taxi industry.

The following Bills were approved for submission to parliament:

  • Lotteries Amendment Bill, which improves regulation on promotional marketing competitions;
  • Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill regarding various areas of electronic transactions and regulations on e-commerce;
  • National Railway Safety Regulator Bill, which provides for the establishment of the Regulator;
  • SA Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Bill which provides for the establishment of a search and rescue organisation;
  • Insolvency Amendment Bill which is part of the package relating to labour legislation;
  • Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Bill, which was released earlier and now takes into account public comments;
  • Geoscience Amendment Bill, which allows for transfer of assets of the erstwhile Geoscience Council to the new body.

The meeting also accepted the recommendation of NEDLAC that Conventions 144 and 145 of the ILO dealing with labour standards be submitted to Parliament for ratification. The meeting approved the White Paper on Sanitation and a National Sanitation Strategy.

Cabinet examined progress with regard to the construction of the gas pipeline between SA and Mozambique. The meeting welcomed and approved the Agreement Concerning the Mozambican Gas Pipeline and a Regulatory Agreement among relevant Ministers from the two countries, dealing among other things with the role of SASOL. These agreements will create the necessary environment for this project to be expedited.

The following appointments were approved:

  • Ms Monhla W Hlahla as CEO of the Airports Company;
  • Mr Senti Thobejane as CEO of the SA Nuclear Energy Corporation;
  • Board of Control of the Rail Commuter Corporation including extension of the term of appointment of the Chair, Mr Eddie Lekota for two years;
  • DDG for Mineral Development in the Department of Minerals and Energy.

Cabinet noted the extent of prevalence of malaria in SA, and welcomed the achievements of the malaria control programme. It also decided that special efforts would be made to intensify the programme in the areas covered by the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative.

Joel Netshitenzhe
Cell: 082 900 0083

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

Statement of the South African Government on developments surrounding terrorist actions in the USA


  1. South Africa condemns terrorism without any equivocation. Attacks against civilians cannot be justified. This approach is integral to the humanitarian values that inspired our struggle and governed its conduct. These principles inform the core values of our constitution.
  2. South Africa will co-operate with all efforts to apprehend the culprits and bring them to book. Justice must be done and it must be seen to be done.
  3. South Africa therefore recognises the right of the US government to track down the culprits and bring them to justice. Any action taken should be informed by thorough investigations and incontrovertible evidence.
  4. Acts of vengeance or mobilisation directed against individuals, communities or nations, simply because of their faith, language or colour cannot be justified. They go against the humanitarian and civilised norms that the terrorists seek to undermine and destroy. They can in fact play into the hands of these wicked forces. Whatever the pain the world may be going through, we should avoid temptations of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and any other forms of prejudice and discrimination that the recent World Conference Against Racism so eloquently warned against.
  5. The world should unite in the fight against terrorism. In this effort, the immediate task is to ensure that the perpetrators meet their just desserts. In the medium-term, the challenge is to understand the root causes of these despicable acts and to eradicate them worldwide.
  6. In the least, the terrorists should be isolated through international co-operation to build an equitable world order. This medium-term challenge includes concerted efforts to resolve conflicts in all parts of the globe, including the search for lasting peace in the Middle East. It includes a joint commitment throughout the world to eradicate poverty and under-development.

Concrete actions

  1. South Africa has, like many other countries, offered such support and assistance as may be required and within the limits of our capacity. Morally and spiritually, we are with the victims as well as the people and government of the US and other nations that lost their citizens in these events.
  2. Government, through its Mission in the US, and working with relevant US authorities, is continuing the search for South Africans who have as yet not been traced, who may have been in the hijacked planes or in the vicinity of the affected areas.
  3. To the extent that the current investigations into these acts of terror may require concrete intelligence information that South Africa may have at its disposal, our security agencies will continue to co-operate with their US counterparts.
  4. South Africa has not considered any military involvement in the operations envisaged by the US administration. The matter has not been raised; and, within the context of our approach to both the immediate and longer-term challenges in dealing with the scourge of terrorism, the issue does not arise.
  5. South Africa will take part in discussions on the course of world action on this issue, within the context of regional and other multilateral organisations to which we belong, including the United Nations. Further, working together with other countries within the UN system, we will continue to make our contribution to the development of relevant international conventions on the fight against terrorism.

Our approach to this matter is informed by our values as a nation; and government is of the full conviction that it is in the national interest.


Notes for reference: Developing policy on days of national mourning and lowering of flags

  1. Throughout SA there has been an outpouring of emotion against the acts of terror perpetrated against the people of USA. It would therefore be insensitive to underplay the significance of this, and seek to create strains in our body politic. All of us should find a way of ensuring that those affected are empathised with.
  2. On its part, government has striven to show its sympathy:
    1. Cabinet today started with a minute’s silence in honour of those who perished in the attacks
    2. The President, various Ministers and political leaders have issued statements, signed Books of Condolences and attended various religious services
  3. The issue of whether to declare a Day of Mourning or to fly the country’s flags at half-mast with regard to incidents outside our borders has to be addressed within the context of our formal conventions.
  4. In weighing up the course of action in this regard, account has to be taken of the fact that the country has not done so in relation to other mass tragedies. Indeed, when:
  • some two weeks ago, 200 Angolans were killed in terrorist attacks
  • during the course of last year thousands of Mozambicans died in floods
  • about a million people were killed in the genocide in Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region
  • hundreds were killed in the terrorist actions in Kenya and Tanzania and
  • thousands perished in recent earthquake disasters in India and other parts of the world

we did not fly our flags at half-mast or declare Days of National Mourning.

  1. In the medium-term, government will examine these precedents and implications for the future, so we establish guidelines on how to handle such developments.


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