Statement on Cabinet meeting of 21 November 2007


22 November 2007

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday morning, the 21st November 2007.

Cabinet decided that the Ministries of Minerals and Energy, Water Affairs and Forestry, Public Enterprises and of Trade and Industry must collaborate to develop a comprehensive Electricity Master Plan for the country. This decision followed the presentation of a draft Electricity Master Plan which showed, inter alia, the rise in demand for energy caused by the high rate of growth and South Africa’s continued reliance on coal as an energy source (88.23%). The pillars of the comprehensive Electricity Master Plan will include increasing capacity and improving the reliability of the electricity infrastructure; providing reasonably-priced electricity; ensuring security of supply as set out in the security of supply standards; diversifying energy sources and meeting the renewable energy targets. The investment in maintenance and rehabilitation of infrastructure, and the quality of supply of electricity, will be regulated in future.

This plan will enable the state to make the correct investment decisions to meet South Africa’s extensive energy requirements owing to the strengthening and growth of the economy. Some of the strategic considerations will include:
 

  • skills development and management
  • the need for investment in research and technology
  • meeting demands that are a result of the rise in fixed-capital formation by both the associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

In the meantime, Eskom’s investment strategy to increase generation capacity, and local government investment in maintenance of existing infrastructure will continue, and will form part of the comprehensive Electricity Master plan. The final plan will be finalised and approved in the New Year.

The meeting was also briefed on the progress in developing the Biofuels Industrial Strategy, and resolved that the strategy will be approved by the end of the year, when all the finer details are finalised.

Cabinet also approved that South Africa ratify the African Energy Convention (AFREC) which regulates and sets standards on energy policy matters in the continent.

The Interim Textile and Clothing Development Programme (ITCDP) was extended for a further two years until 31 March 2009. The Ministers of Trade and Industry and Finance were directed to consult further on the measures that need to be put in place to strengthen the administration, and monitor the implementation of the programme to curb abuse of the system.

The meeting endorsed the Historical Schools Restoration Project which seeks to restore the rich heritage of schools that were established for Africans in the late 19th century and early 20th century. These schools remain the principal bearers of modern education among Africans and became incubators for the African intelligentsia. This project will form part of the bicentennial celebrations of Ntsikana who promoted the vision that Africans should learn to read and write. This vision led to the establishment of schools such as Ohlange High School and Adams College in KwaZulu-Natal, Healdtown and St Mathews. The latter two schools are in the Eastern Cape.

The project will be piloted in the above-mentioned schools and will form part of the national movement to revive the culture of teaching and learning in our schools, and is expected to expand as more historic schools are added to the list. The pilot project in the four schools will be implemented at a cost of R11.3 million over three years and will be funded jointly by the Departments of Arts and Culture, and Education. Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane has been appointed as the Project Champion.

The meeting noted that preparations for the hosting of the 2010 FIFA preliminary draw, which is the key milestone event prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, were proceeding according to plan and that this event will demonstrate our ability to host successful international events. This occasion is the first major FIFA event on African soil and will give the world a taste of the outstanding World Cup that Africans will deliver in 2010. The event will be addressed by President Thabo Mbeki and a host of other dignitaries.

The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children will be launched on Sunday 25 November 2007. Notable events on that day will include men’s marches in all provinces with the national event taking place in Bloemfontein. Cabinet calls on men to participate in the marches to show their support for the campaign against women and child abuse. This year’s campaign coincides with other international events that will take place during December, including the International AIDS day on 1st December and the International Day of Disabled Persons on 2nd December 2007.

The Africa agenda will receive further momentum when the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) holds its session in Kampala, Uganda from 23-25 November 2007 under the theme “Transforming Commonwealth Societies to achieve political, economic and human development”. South Africa will be providing security and logistical support to the Ugandan authorities during the duration of this meeting.

The meeting also noted that South Africa successfully hosted the Diaspora conference which took place in Johannesburg over the past weekend. This conference recognized that the Diaspora discourse cannot just be about an emotional and spiritual journey but must also focus on concrete, actionable and measurable results in the political, social and economic spheres. It also identified the need to pay attention to areas such as tourism, culture, communication and development of sustainable partnerships. The conference resolved that the Diaspora must become the 6th region of the African Union in order to facilitate the establishment of the necessary institutions to make the concept operational.

Cabinet decided that the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) should be strengthened as an anchor for regional economic integration in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The meeting agreed to adopt a development-centered approach, which seeks to harmonise policy within government and in the region. Work will be done to enhance sectoral cooperation within SADC as part of the strategy towards regional integration within the context of the broader African integration agenda.

Progress regarding South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope was noted. Government is indeed confident that the well-prepared bid could see the SKA being awarded to South Africa. The final decision is expected in 2011.

The report of the meeting between President Mbeki and CEO’s and heads of state entities, was noted. The meeting concurred with the need for greater coordination and alignment between government and the various state entities, and among the various entities themselves. This initiative will help to identify and address overlapping mandates as well as the role of state entities in development programmes, and will ensure that the state system can contribute meaningfully to the achievement of a better life for all South Africans.

The continued deployment of South African National Defence Force members in different parts of the continent in countries such as Uganda and Sudan was noted. Furthermore, the meeting approved that the Departments of Defence, and Arts and Culture, should formulate social programmes aimed at motivating the deployed forces during the festive season.

The Guidelines on the design, implementation and maintenance of organisational structures in the public service was approved. This guide provides a common framework for the public service and will serve as a practical tool to support practitioners in designing, implementing and maintaining organisational structures.

Cabinet approved that the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs of South Africa hosts the 16th Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau’s International Review Conference in June 2008.

The meeting noted South Africa’s successful hosting of the Group of 20 (G20) Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors, in Kleinmond in the Western Cape last week. This meeting marked the culmination of the work done during South Africa’s first tenure as the Chair of the group. Cabinet noted that the G20 meeting discussed four major themes viz:
 

  • the global economy;
  • fiscal elements of growth and development;
  • commodity cycles; and
  • the Bretton Woods reform.

Climate change was also discussed.

With regard to appointments, Cabinet rejected the false reports which suggested that President Mbeki had blocked the appointment of Mr Reuben September as the CEO of Telkom. These reports are nothing but an embarrassing fabrication that only serves to mislead the public and present the President in a bad light. We once again call upon members of the media to refrain from publishing unsubstantiated stories as this will discredit the media houses that allow themselves to be used by anonymous and so-called ‘unnamed’ sources.

The following appointments were approved:
 

  • The employment contract of Mr Thami Mseleku, Director-General in the Department of Health was extended for a two years with effect from 1st January 2008
  • Mr LM Makhubela was appointed as Deputy Director-General in the Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. J Morris was appointed to the post of Deputy Director-General in the Department of Public Enterprises
  • The following were appointed to the Board of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI):
    • Mr T Sokutu (Chairperson)
    • Dr T Hanekom
    • Ms T Dingaan
    • Ms K Montgomery
    • Mr S Somyo
    • Professor P Omara-Ojungu
    • Mr T Frost
    • CFO (vacant)
    • Ms N Jezile
    • Dr T Abrahamse (CEO).

The following Bills were approved:
 

  • Reform of Customary Law of Succession Bill for introduction to Parliament
  • Child Justice Bill for submission to Parliament.

Enquiries
Themba Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2007
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, November 22, 2007