20 October 2004
Part of the Cabinet meeting today was joined by Provincial Premiers and MECs for Finance, to discuss a macroeconomic overview and other issues pertaining to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2005/06 to 2007/08. This framework, which is informed by the Medium Term Strategic Framework also approved by Cabinet today, will form the basis of the Budget Policy Statement to be presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance on 26 October 2004.
Today all the Clusters had their progress reports on the implementation of the Government's Programme of Action considered by Cabinet. The meeting noted and welcomed progress in the implementation of the programme. The content of these reports will be presented to the media, and the programme on the government website will be updated during the course of next week.
The meeting reviewed the outcome of the SADC Summit held in Mauritius in August, and specifically dealt with matters pertaining to the strengthening of SADC organs. It was agreed in principle that South Africa as Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation would undertake various initiatives aimed at promoting peace in the DRC, strengthening the infrastructure of the Organ and promoting the realisation of the Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in the SADC region. SA will also contribute financially towards the construction of a new SADC Headquarters in Gaberone.
In response to a request from the Commission of the AU, Cabinet has approved South Africa's participation in the African Observer Mission in the Sudan. The contribution will consist of 10 military observers from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as requested, for a period of 21 months ending March 2006.
The following appointments were approved:
- Extension of the contracts of the DG: The Presidency and the Secretary of Defence for a period of three years each;
- Extension of the contract of Head: Secretariat for NEPAD for one year;
- Mr P Molefe as Chairperson of the Armscor Board and an additional member of the Board;
- Mr M Mosola as CEO of SA Tourism and one member of the SA Tourism Board;
- Extension of the term of the Board of Denel pending the appointment of a new Board in the near future;
- Extension of the term of the Board of the IDC for nine months;
- Board of Alexkor which is to be finalised at the company's AGM in a fortnight;
- Board of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) chaired by Prof. JG Gerwel;
- Ms C Carolus as member and Chairperson of the Board of SA National Parks; and
- Two Deputy DGs: one in SAPS and another in the Department of Minerals and Energy.
Cabinet noted and concurred with the appointment of members of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims. The 12-member Commission, which will be chaired by Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo, takes forward provisions of the Traditional Leadership Governance and Framework Act which seeks to restore the dignity of the institution and it will operate for a period of five years. It will take final decisions on all disputes and claims it investigates.
In pursuit of the objectives of government to improve food security and economic activity in rural areas, Cabinet approved a Mechanisation Support Programme directed at poor farmers and food producers operating on plots of a maximum of about 5 hectares. The mechanisation service, which forms part of the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, will include provision of multi-purpose small tractors, maintenance of production equipment and improvement of capacity in relevant municipalities to supervise and sustain the projects.
Cabinet approved infrastructure investment plans for state-owned enterprises, with specific focus on Eskom and Transnet. These investments will contribute to the efficiency of the national logistics system as well as provision of the country's energy needs at an affordable level into the future. R121 billion worth of investments are envisaged in the next five years within these two enterprises, with an additional R23 billion from the private sector in the energy system and an additional R21 billion within Transnet, all totalling R165 billion. Further work is to be done with SAA and Denel, and presentations on their plans will be made in due course. It was also decided that 70% of new electricity generating capacity would be commissioned by Eskom and the remaining 30% by Independent Power Producers.
The meeting received a comprehensive report on progress in the realisation of the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative (Greater St Lucia Wetland Park). Some of the highlights of the project include eight sites awarded for commercialisation: with R342m in capital investments, R500m in revenue over the life of the concessions, 900 direct jobs, and 75% average BEE equity. Government will facilitate resolution of such issues as transfer of state land and land claims in the affected areas.
Cabinet was briefed on progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management and Treatment Plan. All the nine provinces have commenced with implementation and by the end of September, 50 of the 53 health districts had at least one service point providing services in the context of the plan. Currently, over 11 253 individuals, including children had been put on treatment. At the same time, prevention-related interventions have also been strengthened, and there are indications of increased uptake of Voluntary Counselling and distribution of male and female condoms.
The meeting congratulated the Commissioner of Police on his election as President of Interpol. This development should encourage global focus on partnership with crime-combating agencies in our country and the continent at large, as well as on their needs and activities.
Cabinet approved amendments to the Marine Living Resources Act which give effect to other legislation on administrative justice and imperatives in the constitution for fair and reasonable action in this regard.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)