22 March 2006
Cabinet today considered a report on the consolidation of the Commuter Rail Services, including the sale of Metrorail as a going concern to the SA Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC). An agreement in this regard has been signed between Transnet and the SARCC. The meeting agreed that the date for such transfer should be adjusted from 1 April to 1 May 2006, in order, among others, to finalise outstanding issues among all the affected parties.
The meeting agreed on the need to speed up the process to facilitate market access for SMMEs, in particular the identification of frequently-used products for procurement by government which should be set aside for this purpose. Further, it was agreed that departments would need to be more rigorous in adhering to the 30-day payment rule which is critical to the survival of many such enterprises.
The meeting was briefed on the investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence Services (IG) into the authenticity of allegedly intercepted 'e-mail communication' among public figures. The meeting noted the findings of the IG that these 'e-mails' were fabricated mock-ups that were not and could not have been communicated over the world-wide web. Overwhelming evidence, supported by independent expert testimony, points to the fact that the 'e-mails' and chat-room conversations were patently fraudulent.
Cabinet agreed that all relevant administrative, legal and policy issues deriving from the report should be followed up and, where required, Cabinet would be briefed on progress in this regard.
The meeting was also informed that the President had decided to terminate the services of the suspended head of the National Intelligence Agency, Mr Billy Lesedi Masetlha with effect from today, 22 March 2006. This decision, Cabinet was informed, derives from the President's determination that the relationship of trust between him and the head of NIA had irreparably broken down.
The IG and the Minister for Intelligence Services will brief the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, the management and personnel of the intelligence agencies and the media on the details of the findings in due course.
The meeting reflected on the report of the Auditor-General (AG) on Declarations of Interest by members of the Executive and senior public servants. With regard to members of the Executive, it emerged that:
- of the 15 interests not declared, 6 of these were in private companies, 3 in close corporations and 6 in Section 21 Companies;
- most of the members had resigned as directors/members of the companies, but the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO) database still had their names; and
- those in Section 21 companies had been uncertain about the requirement to declare these directorships, especially where they were appointed by government in relation to government work, with no accruing benefits.
The meeting expressed concern that, although the AG does acknowledge these facts including that the CIPRO database was not timeously updated, a wrong impression was being created in public discourse that these members of the Executive had misled Parliament and the public. It was agreed that, where necessary, the members concerned would clarify these issues with Parliament and the media.
With regard to the cases of senior managers, the Minister of Public Service and Administration, working with the Public Service Commission, will indicate the process to be followed in dealing with the alleged breaches.
Cabinet noted the progress that has been made in Burundi , Côte d'Ivoire , the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Sudan to bring peace and democracy. In order to continue supporting these processes, Cabinet agreed:
- that the deployment of 950 members of SANDF as part of the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) would be extended to 31 March 2007;
- to extend, until 31 March 2007, the deployment of 46 members of SANDF in support of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) and mediation process in Côte d'Ivoire ;
- to extend the existing deployment of 110 SANDF members and deploy 14 more members (bringing the total to 124) in the DRC, until 31 March 2007, in support of two projects for the integration and military training of the Armed Forces of the DRC; and
- to extend the deployment of 339 SANDF members as part of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) until 31 March 2007.
The meeting also approved the deployment of 371 SANDF members, from 15 March to 30 June 2006, as part of the AU Military Force in the Comoros to assist in ensuring a secure environment conducive to credible, free and fair Presidential elections.
The meeting noted that 10 tons of DDT had been donated to Mozambique to assist that country in the campaign to control malaria. SA will also assist with training in the safe handling, application and monitoring of the use of insecticides in keeping with guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Act were approved for submission to Parliament, taking into account the need to tighten such controls in order to discourage smoking and protect non-smoking citizens.
The meeting endorsed the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Convention and agreed that SA would submit its instrument of ratification as a matter of urgency. In this regard, the Convention instrument would be submitted to Parliament for consideration.
The following appointments were approved:
- extension of the contract of Dr I Mosala, DG: Arts and Culture for a period of one year;
- two DDG's in National Treasury; and
- Ms Cheryl Carolus (Chairperson) and other members of the Board of SA National Parks.
Cabinet noted that SA would host the African Film Summit from 3 to 6 April 2006. The Summit is an initiative of the Department of Arts and Culture and the National Film and Video Foundation in association with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), endorsed by the AU and the NEPAD Secretariat. The Summit will take forward the appeal of the AU for governments, the private sector and civil society to take appropriate steps to establish an African Commission on audiovisual and television programmes on the continent. The Summit will be followed by a General Congress of FEPACI on 6 April.
The meeting noted preparations for Imbizo Focus Week between 6 and 13 April, which will provide a platform for national and provincial leaders, with newly-elected municipal councillors, to interact with the public on the development of municipal Integrated Development Plans in line with the national Programme of Action and AsgiSA. This will also assist preparations for municipal Growth and Development Summits which are meant to be held during the coming year.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)