21 November 2001
Cabinet today formally confirmed its acceptance of the findings and recommendations of Joint Investigation into the Armaments Procurement Packages by the Auditor-General, the Public Protector and the National Director of Public Prosecutions. Government wishes once more to express its gratitude to the investigators for the professional manner in which they handled this matter. The Department of Defence assisted by other relevant Departments has been instructed to make proposals on how government should action these recommendations.
Cabinet received a comprehensive report on matters pertaining to the restructuring of state assets, including in the telecommunications, transport and forestry sectors. This covers such matters as the re-acquisition of the 20% stake in SAA held by Swiss Air and bidders for SAFCOL. The Minister for Public Enterprises will issue a detailed statement in this regard.
Cabinet also examined progress in preparations for the January Cabinet lekgotla, which will, among other issues, review the implementation of government’s programme for the year, as well as progress as we enter the middle of the government’s term.
Cabinet examined the matter of domestic violence, and the recent spate of incidents of abuse of children and how this relates to the challenge of moral decay within society. While expressing deep emotional dismay at these incidents, Cabinet resolved that it is the responsibility of government calmly to give leadership on how these matters should be tackled.
The challenge in this regard includes ensuring that legislation is strengthened where required; calling on the judiciary to ensure that existing laws on bail and minimum sentences are observed; as well as intensifying campaigns to spread the message that this government would not tolerate abuse of children and any other citizens.
In this regard, Cabinet was also briefed on preparations for the Summit on the Moral Regeneration of Society that is planned for early next year. Among issues that will require reflection at such a summit are: the relationship between our system of rights and community values; the need for communities to participate not only in anti-crime fora, but also in taking the initiative jointly with law-enforcement agencies to ensure proper upbringing of the young and corrective measures when they go wrong; the strength of judicial and community systems of deterrence; the effectiveness of measures to deal with such perversions as child pornography; as well as the impact of socio-economic conditions and the media.
All these are issues that require the mobilisation of state resources as well as mass involvement in a partnership to reconstruct our society in all its facets.
Cabinet received a report on the implementation of quality control measures in respect of the housing subsidy. Among the concerns noted were the need to guard against abuse of the state subsidy system, energy efficiency and continuing the integration of the programme into community development initiatives. Issues such as the principle of contribution by beneficiaries to housing opportunities, developers’ cost structure and profit margins and annual adjustment of the subsidy are also under consideration.
Cabinet approved the following statutes:
- Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and their Destruction, which will be added as a Schedule to the law against weapons of mass destruction, by means of a Presidential proclamation.
- In principle, the Regulations to Prohibit Thin Plastic Bags, in order to reduce waste discarded into the environment. Parliamentary public hearings and consultations with NEDLAC and other interested parties have resulted in a phased approach towards various layers of thickness to limit any negative economic consequences.
- Principles underpinning the regulations pertaining to the use of off-road vehicles along the coastline, which will be promulgated by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism
- Memorandum of Understanding between SA and the EU on a package settlement that resolves all the key outstanding issues that had deadlocked the conclusion of the Wines and Spirits Agreement.
- The meeting also approved the National Youth Development Policy Framework as a framework for youth development initiatives in SA between 2002 and 2007.
The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- Media Development and Diversity Agency Bill;
- The Institute for the Promotion of Sciences Bill;
- Restoration of Enrolment of Certain Legal Practitioners Bill, which provides for a mechanism to restore the status of legal practitioners who were struck from the roll of advocates or attorneys as a result of their opposition to apartheid;
- Child Justice Bill, which deals with matters of the arrest and prosecution of children, in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The following appointments were approved:
- Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu as Head of the Secretariat for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in The Presidency;
- Mr Chris Nissen as the Chairperson of the Maritime Safety Authority Board;
- Chief Magistrate David Dlamafa Ngobeni as sole member and Chairperson of a Commission of Inquiry into the fire in the Kruger National Park;
- Reconstitution of the SA Diamond Board.
Cabinet welcomed the briefing on preparations for the 2003 Cricket World Cup and expressed its support for the event.
The meeting briefly reviewed Imbizo Focus Week as part of the practice of interactive governance; and welcomed the manner in which it was conducted. Lessons from this experience will stand government in good stead both in carrying out further campaigns of this nature, and in ensuring that development and implementation of policy take into account the views of the public.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)