Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 20 March 2007

20 March 2007

20 March 2007

Cabinet held its fifth meeting of the year this morning, 20 March 2007, in Cape Town.

The meeting considered and ratified the agreement to establish the Basel Convention Training Centres for English-Speaking African Countries. The Basel Convention is a global agreement which seeks to address challenges posed by the trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste. Its objectives are to minimise hazardous waste, promote disposal of these wastes as close to source of generation as possible and the reduction of movement of these wastes particularly across international boundaries. These regional centres will assist developing countries to implement and fulfill their obligations in terms of the convention.

Cabinet noted plans to release the reports on the first year of implementation of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA) and Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) initiatives. The Deputy President will release the AsgiSA report on Thursday, 22 March 2007, and the JIPSA report will be published next week. These reports will give the public and the social partners, an indication of the progress towards meeting the targets for faster and shared growth, skill development and will highlight the challenges that need to be addressed in the coming year.

The meeting noted plans to celebrate Human Rights Day in different provinces tomorrow, 21 March 2007. Government urges the public to participate in these events to commemorate those who lost their lives as victims of violent repression; celebrate progress in realising human rights and dignity; and reaffirm our commitment to ensure that these rights are enjoyed by all.

Cabinet was briefed on the successful two-day South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) National Consultative Conference to finalise the draft National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS and STI for 2007-11. The outcomes of the conference make it a major milestone in our efforts, as South Africans, to respond to the challenge of HIV/AIDS. Government wishes to convey its appreciation to all stakeholders for their role in the preparation for what became a very successful consultative conference and the spirit of partnership that prevailed before, during and after the conference. We are satisfied that together, in a partnership of hope, we can overcome the challenges that face us in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Government wishes to stress the centrality of behavioural change by individuals, particularly among the youth, that will put us on course to defeat the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Cabinet noted that the Minister of Communications had received the report on the investigations into the affairs of the Board of the South African Post Office. The Minister will release the findings of the investigation and announce the steps she will be taking to address the problems raised in the report at a later date.

As part of our commitment to contribute to peace and stability on the continent, and to fulfil our international obligations to the United Nations and the African Union, Cabinet approved a request to extend the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel in Sudan (750, AMIS), Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] (1264, MONUC), Ethiopia and Eritrea (10, UNMEE/OLMEE). The deployment of 22 SANDF personnel assisting with integration and training in the DRC will be extended by a year. The meeting further approved the deployment of five SANDF personnel to be part of the United Nations Political Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) as military observers and staff officers. South Africa will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations to regulate our role in UNMIN.

The meeting approved the proposal for South Africa to sign and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional Protocol. Cabinet noted that South Africa, along with Mexico, were instrumental in negotiating this UN Convention. The Convention will be an important instrument for developing, and where necessary, adjusting existing policies to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy and exercise the same rights, obligations and responsibilities as anyone else. In signing and ratifying the Convention, we will be deepening our commitment to take further steps in the equalisation of opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Convention will be signed at a special ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on the 30th March 2007.

Cabinet, once again, expressed its concerns about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and reaffirmed the government position, as recently stated by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, that only dialogue among the main political protagonists can help bring about a lasting solution to the current political and economic challenges facing Zimbabwe. As stated previously, South Africa is ready to provide whatever assistance is required in bringing about a peaceful and lasting solution to the situation in Zimbabwe.

The meeting approved the Public Transport Strategy and action plan. This strategy maps out a framework to accelerate the urgently needed transformation of South Africa’s public transport. It aims to implement high quality public transport networks that integrate rail, bus and minibuses to form a single public transport system for the benefit of the public and the economy. The Minister will unveil the details of the strategy and the implementation plan next week.

Cabinet noted that preparations for South Africa’s hosting of the Global Forum V on Corruption and Safeguarding Integrity were proceeding according to plan. The meeting approved the proposal for a high level delegation of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and senior government officials to attend and represent South Africa at the forum. The key Ministries in the delegation will include Finance; Safety and Security; Home Affairs; Justice as well as Public Service and Administration. The Forum will be held from 2 to 5 April 2007 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The following Bills were approved.

  • Criminal Law (Sentencing) Amendment Bill was approved for submission to Parliament for consideration during 2007 session (Dept of Justice and Constitutional Affairs)
  • Co-operative Banks Bill for submission to Parliament in the 2007 session of Parliament (Department of Finance)

The following appointments were approved:

  • Mr Alan Hirsch as the Deputy Director-General (DDG) in The Presidency
  • One DDG in the Department of Trade and Industry
  • The following were appointed as non-Executive Directors to the Board of the South African Post Office (SAPO) for a three year period: Mr P Canca; Ms N Msimang; Ms T Mokgosi-Mwantebe; Mr S Mokoetle and Mr V Mahlathi as Board Chairperson.
  • The meeting concurred with the appointment of the of the following nominees to the Board of Mintek: Mr H Motaung (Chairperson); Ms GFN Mthethwa; Mr. R Havenstein; Mr S Sikhosana; Mr MA Ntilane; Ms L Mhlambeni; Dr J Bredell; Mr M Mphomela; Dr B Sehlapelo and Dr P Jourdan (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Cabinet concurred with the appointment of the following as new Directors of the Board of the Central Energy Fund (CEF) (Pty) Ltd: Ms B Mabuza; Mr M Damane (CEO); Mr TZ Feketha
  • The recommendation to appoint Ms B Ngwenya as the Chief Operations Officer of Sentech for a five year period was endorsed.

Themba Maseko
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by" Government Communications (GCIS)


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