20 August 2008
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town today, 20 August 2008.
Cabinet congratulates Khotso Mokoena for winning the silver medal at the Beijing Olympics. His achievement came at a time when South Africans had given up hope of getting a medal at these Olympics. Natalie du Toit was also congratulated for being the first disabled athlete to compete with able-bodied athletes at the Olympics. Although she did not win a medal, her courage and participation at these Olympics will go down in history as one of the highlights of the Beijing Olympics, and will go a long way towards motivating youth in South Africa and the world to never give up their dreams. Cabinet calls on South Africans to continue to support our athletes to the end. Although they have not yet met the expectations of many South Africans with regard to winning medals, it is worth noting that many of them improved their own personal performances. An assessment will be conducted at the end of these Olympics to determine which steps should be taken to support and develop our athletes for future games.
The meeting noted that the hosting of the Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government, was a success. The launch of the Free Trade Area (FTA) and the adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development were noted as some of the key highlights of the Summit. The launch of the FTA will lay a firm foundation for regional economic integration. Other agreements signed at the Summit include a Protocol on Science and Technology, Agreement Amending Article 20 of the Protocol on Trade. The Seychelles was welcomed back as a member of SADC. The 2009 Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government will be held in 2009 in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Cabinet welcomed the signing of the Protocol on Gender and Development at a time when South Africa was celebrating August as Women’s Month. This Protocol calls for far-reaching changes in the SADC countries, including the repeal of all discriminatory laws, the inclusion of gender equality and equity in national constitutions, and the adoption the goal of 50 % representation of women in political and decision-making structures in SADC countries by 2015. The implementation of the Protocol will be monitored by the Executive Secretary of SADC who will table progress reports to the Summit of Heads of State and Government every two years. The next step is for all SADC countries to develop national plans of action to implement the Protocol.
Cabinet noted that during the course of the SADC Summit, an Extraordinary Summit of the Organ of Heads of State and Government was also convened to discuss the developments in Zimbabwe. The extraordinary summit resolved to call upon all the parties in Zimbabwe to form an inclusive government and urged them to also commit to the dialogue aimed at implementing the SADC and African Union resolutions. President Thabo Mbeki was commended by this summit for his role as a facilitator and he was called upon to continue with the mediation efforts. The meeting noted that the facilitation process is continuing as per the SADC mandate.
The Leader of Government Business reported on the successful launch of the War on Poverty campaign which was launched by the Deputy President. This campaign is part of the heightened offensive to break the cycle of poverty in the most-afflicted parts of the country. The next phase of the campaign involves the provincial launches, which will also include visits to impoverished households in the respective provinces.
The progress reports on the implementation of the 2008 Government Programme of Action were noted and approved.
The meeting noted that South Africa will host the Southern African Women Investors and Innovators Symposium (SAWIIS) from 27 to 29 August in Johannesburg.
National Heritage Day will be celebrated on 24th September under the theme ‘celebrating our dance, our heritage'. The month will provide the country an opportunity to showcase South Africa’s rich cultural and historical heritage, and create a context for fostering national pride and unity. The activities to celebrate the day will be co-ordinated by the Department of Arts and Culture.
The following appointments were approved:
- The following were re-appointed as Non-Executive Directors to the Board of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA):
- Mr J Naidoo (Chairperson);
- Mrs W Lucas-Bull;
- Dr C Manning; and
- Mr A Borraine.
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)