2 April 2003
Cabinet today welcomed the unfolding Imbizo Focus Week programme, with a total of about 350 scheduled events for this week alone. It also noted preparations for the President's imbizo in the Northwest Province during the third week of April.
The meeting examined the management of the research programmes in physics, geology, oceanography, meteorology and biological sciences being conducted under the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP). It agreed that the research functions under SANAP would be transferred to the Department of Science and Technology. At the same time, co-operation among various departments (DEAT, DST, Defence and Public Works) will continue, to ensure the effectiveness of the operations.
Cabinet approved the designation of Kruger Mpumalanga (KM) Airport as an international airport. This would entail the transfer of the status of Nelspruit International Airport to the KM Airport, with the former downgraded to "national airport status".
The following appointments were approved:
- Mr PL Zim as a member of the Board of Armscor;
- Board of Ntsika Enterprise Promotion Agency, to be chaired by Mr B Sibiya;
- Board of the CSIR, to be chaired by Mr R Jardine;
- Board of SA Tourism, to be chaired by Mr RJ Menell; and
- Council of the Africa Institute of SA, chaired by Professor S Vil-Nkomo.
The meeting considered a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of internships and learnerships across government, in line with the commitment in the President's State of the Nation Address for government to improve its contribution in this regard. Cabinet noted that the minimal experience thus far indicated the value of investing in the youth through this programme as well as the Public Service Graduate Work Experience Programme.
It was agreed that this programme should be expanded, including through the recruitment of more young people, allocation of resources and incorporation of the programme into the core functions of both the Ministers and senior managers. The Departments of Public Service and Administration, Labour and Education as well as National Treasury would form a steering group which will report regularly to Cabinet on the implementation of these programmes.
Cabinet approved the following Bills for submission to Parliament:
- Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Bill which gives legal effect to elements of the BEE Strategy;
- National Road Traffic Amendment Bill which gives effect to some of the principal strategies contained in the Road to Safety Strategy;
- Road Traffic Amendment Bill which seeks to enhance professionalism among traffic officers and limit fraudulent and corrupt activities; and
- Firearms Control Amendment Bill which rectifies minor technical and language errors in the current Act - it is expected that the processing of the Bill and the drafting of regulations would be expedited so the Act can come into full operation during the third quarter of 2003.
The meeting also approved the release of the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill for public comment. The Bill sets out a regulatory framework for this sector.
Cabinet noted the continuing war in Iraq, and reaffirmed South Africa's preference for the resolution of international tensions by peaceful means and for a multilateral approach to global relations. Government regrets the loss of life among civilians as well as combatants on both sides, and it also wishes to reiterate its call for the UN to ensure the observance of international humanitarian law on the conduct of war.
Cabinet underlined that, while there may be differences on this particular issue among various nations, South Africa's multifaceted relations with all countries, including those involved in the war, should not and would not be negatively impacted upon by these tragic developments.
Cabinet was briefed on the request from the government of the United States of America for the closure of Iraqi Diplomatic Missions in various countries pending the outcome of the conflict. South Africa's approach on this matter is premised on the principle of multilateralism and the provisions of the Vienna Convention. As such, government will be guided by any relevant decision taken by the United Nations. A formal response to this effect will be communicated to the US Administration.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)