3 May 2007
At its ordinary meeting in Pretoria yesterday, 2 May 2007, Cabinet received and finalised progress reports from clusters on the implementation of the Programme of Action (POA) for 2007. Cabinet noted that Ministerial media briefings on the POA will be held during the week beginning 7 May 2007 in Pretoria.
The meeting noted that South Africa was successful in its bid to host the third Component Centre of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology which is being established at the University of Cape Town. This centre, the first of its kind in the African continent, will focus on developing solutions to meet key challenges facing the developing world, including HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, as well as sustainable agriculture. The centre will be launched in September this year.
Cabinet received a briefing on the launch of the newly constituted and restructured South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) which will co-ordinate all country efforts in the renewed national partnership against HIV and AIDS. Government is pleased to note that the SANAC stakeholders unanimously endorsed the comprehensive National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV and AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections for 2007 to 2011. Cabinet approved the NSP as a strategic framework that will guide the national response to HIV and AIDS over the next five years. Government would like to express its unreserved appreciation to all the stakeholders for their role and efforts in making sure that we have an inclusive and comprehensive plan to accelerate progress in dealing with the pandemic and its impact on our society.
The primary goal of the NSP is to reduce the rate of new HIV infections and mitigate the impact of AIDS on individuals, families and communities. It aims to achieve a 50% reduction of new infections by 2011 and provide an appropriate package of treatment, care and support services.
The package of care includes:
- counselling and testing services as an entry point
- healthy lifestyle interventions including nutritional support
- treatment of opportunistic infections
- antiretroviral therapy
- monitoring and evaluation to assess progress and share research.
Cabinet noted developments in the KwaZulu-Natal province regarding tensions related to name changes. The Ministers of Provincial and Local Government, and Arts and Culture were mandated to interact with all key players in order to find a speedy resolution. Cabinet was disturbed by reports of utterances by some local leaders which appeared to advocate violent protest action. We trust that common sense will prevail and that leaders will resist the temptation to incite their supporters to resort to violence.
The meeting noted that African Union Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be holding a brainstorming session from 8 to 9 May in Durban to initiate the discourse on the concept of the 'Africa Union Government' in preparation for the Heads of State Summit which will be held in Ghana in July 2007.
Cabinet approved the African Union Non-Aggression and Common Defence Pact. Parties to the pact will undertake: firstly, to resolve differences through peaceful means in order to avoid endangering peace and security; and secondly, to encourage mutual assistance and co-operation among armed forces in order to achieve common peace and security. The Pact will be tabled in Parliament for ratification in terms of Section 231 of the Constitution.
The meeting noted and approved that South Africa should host the 12th Regional International Labour Organisation (ILO) seminar for Labour Intensive Construction. The seminar will be organised by the Department of Public Works and will be held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban in October 2007.
Cabinet approved that South Africa hosts the joint conference of Parties to the Nairobi and Abidjan Conventions during 2007. These conventions deal with the protection, management and development of the marine and coastal environment. The conference, which brings together parties to the two conventions, will help to strengthen regional co-operation and co-ordination between the various regional organisations, and the Regional Seas Programme of the United Nations Environmental Programme.
The meeting was briefed on developments regarding the Nigerian elections. These elections represent a milestone of great significance in the historic mission of entrenching democracy in the continent. Cabinet reaffirmed its concurrence with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Observer Mission in calling on all Nigerians - the government, the electorate, political parties and candidates - to contribute to a speedy resolution of any electoral grievances and disputes through constitutional means and through the electoral tribunals.
The meeting was briefed about preparations for the annual Tourism Indaba in May, which will showcase what makes SA a destination of choice for an increasing number of travellers. This year's Indaba takes place three years before the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will benefit from the increased attention generated by that event. As one of the key growth sectors identified in the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA), tourism has great potential within a framework of sustainable growth and development to create jobs, enhance skills and contribute to poverty alleviation. This is underlined by the 13,6 percent growth in visitors to SA to 8,4 million in 2006: and the expectation that this sector, which now contributes 7% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), will contribute 12% by 2014.
Cabinet noted media coverage which misreported comments on South Africa's hosting of 2010 by the President of FIFA in a media interview. In the interview Sepp Blatter made the observation; "we definitely must have a possibility to go somewhere else, but it must be a natural catastrophe." In the same interview, he went on to express his unqualified and full confidence in SA's ability to host the FIFA World Cup: "They will do an excellent World Cup," he said.
It is regrettable, and in the case of South African media inexplicable, that Sepp Blatter's unambiguous comments, which were available to the media on the internet and in the broadcast interview, were misrepresented as Sepp Blatter expressing doubt in our country's capacity to stage the World Cup. Once again our media have ignored facts to cast doubt where others have shown confidence in us as a country. Some of the reports indicate a failure or an inability to interrogate and check the facts before rushing to print sensationalist headlines; thereby, behaving in a manner that potentially undermines the interests of all South Africans that will be served by hosting a successful World Cup tournament.
Cabinet expressed its full confidence in the Organising Committee, government departments, host cities and provinces, and other stakeholders to work with FIFA to deliver a most successful World Cup tournament on African soil, which will also contribute to the development of our country and continent.
Cabinet received a briefing on the introduction of the electronic national traffic information system (eNATIS). The Minister of Transport assured the meeting that the department is working around the clock with specialists to identify and address all the hiccups in order to achieve acceptable performance levels. This process will continue until 99% plus availability is achieved. The meeting noted that some gains are already being registered: e.g. the new system has been performing 55 000 transactions per hour as opposed to 35 000 in the old system. Government is satisfied that everything is being done to address all the challenges experienced. Cabinet noted the frustration experienced and calls on the public to exercise patience during this period as the new system will bring great benefits both to the public and the authorities in the long term.
Cabinet expressed concerns about the rising food and transport prices and the impact this is having on all South Africans, particularly the poor. The Minister of Agriculture will engage with the Food Pricing Monitoring Committee on this matter and to report back to Cabinet as a matter of urgency.
The following appointments were approved:
- Vivian Petersen as National Commissioner in the Department of Correctional Services
- Mavuso Msimang as Director General in the Department of Home Affairs
- The employment contract of the Director General in the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA), Mr Richard Levin was extended for a further three years.
Cabinet received a briefing on progress with respect to the process of awarding the licence for the operation of the national lottery. The Minister of Trade and Industry will be making a statement in this regard.
Themba Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)