Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 23 November 2006

23 November 2006

23 November 2006

At the invitation of the President, the leadership of the National House of Traditional Leaders attended part of the meeting and briefed Cabinet on progress in building the relationship between Government and traditional leaders. Cabinet noted that the House is working closely with the Department of Provincial and Local Government to strengthen ties between traditional leaders and the three spheres of government to improve the quality of life of our people, especially in the rural areas.

The meeting noted the active involvement of these leaders in activities such as the fight against HIV/AIDS and the moral regeneration movement. The meeting expressed its appreciation of the role traditional leaders are playing in the creation of a better life for all our people. Cabinet approved a Five Year Strategic Agenda outlining the support government will provide to the National House of Traditional Leaders. A proposal to set up regional and continental houses of traditional leaders was noted for further consideration.

Cabinet noted preparations for World Aids Day. The national event will be held in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, with similar events in all other provinces. This year's international theme "Stop AIDS. Keep the promise" will promote implementation of prevention, treatment and care at all levels. The day will be an opportunity to communicate a message of hope from all South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) stakeholders, affirming the partnership for united action, including government, global institutions, labour, business, People Living with HIV and AIDS, affected communities and civil society at large.

With regard to the matter of Commissioner Selebi, the government position has not changed. In the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing or involvement in illegal activities, no action will be taken against the National Commissioner. We would like to reiterate, once again, what the Minister of Safety and Security has said, namely, that unless and until evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the National Commissioner is presented, no action will be taken. The Minister has called on anyone with evidence to come forward and he has given the assurance that all allegations will be tested before any action is taken. Government will not hesitate to act if evidence of wrongdoing is found.

The inevitable tension between the South African Police Service and the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO) (Scorpions) has once again reared its head following the breakthrough in the Kebble murder investigation. South Africans and the media must be alerted to the fact that such tensions will always be there as long as there are two investigating agencies which have the mandate to investigate acts of criminality. What is important is to realise that the nature and extent of crime in this country justifies the need for extra-ordinary measures, including the existence of two investigating agencies. Further, the existence of such tensions is not a unique phenomenon. For example, In the United States of America, the tensions between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the police departments is a matter of public record. What is important is for us to find a South African model to co-ordinate the activities of these agencies. The Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster is revisiting this matter with a view to finding a more effective model to improve communication and co-ordination between the police and the DSO in order to turn this tension into positive energy in the fight against crime. The cluster will come back to Cabinet with proposals about how this could be achieved.

What we find totally unacceptable is the continued leakage of details about the investigations which serves to sow confusion and strengthen the misconception that the agencies are actively working against each other. We condemn this conduct in the strongest possible terms and those involved will be prosecuted if found.

The holiday season presents challenges of safety and risky behaviour among citizens of our country. In addition to promoting safer behaviour on the roads through the Arrive Alive campaign, a multi-faceted campaign will be launched to reduce deaths from other causes, which tend to increase during this period. This campaign will focus on decreasing deaths from violent behaviour, suicide as well as from drowning. Issues such as excessive alcohol consumption, substance abuse and safer sex practices during the holiday season will be highlighted. Government calls on all members of the public to heed the messages of the campaign. This campaign will have linkages with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children which begins on 25 November.

Cabinet received a report on preparations for the staging of the International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships in Durban, at the beginning of December. South Africans takes pride in being entrusted with hosting of this international event and government urges the public to show its full support for the championships by attending the games in large numbers.

Cabinet was briefed on developments in the tourism sector, including rapid growth in the number of visitors to South Africa exceeding even our positive expectations. In the first seven months of this year 4 673 856 tourists visited South Africa, 15,8 per cent more than the same period in 2005 and the highest ever for the first seven months of the year. The fastest growth was in visitors from Africa and the Middle East (20,3%), followed by the Americas (11%), Asia and Australia (8,0%) and Europe (3,1%).

The World Trade Organisation has noted that amongst continents, Africa is the world's fastest growing tourist destination.

The meeting noted progress in implementing the Taxi Recapitalisation project. Agencies have been appointed to start scrapping old taxis and new vehicles are already moving people around the country. We take this opportunity to thank the industry for working closely with government to implement this project.

In this regard, Government condemns the conduct of taxi drivers during the recent taxi demonstrations which led to disruption of traffic, damage to property and injuries to innocent civilians. Whilst we respect the right of every citizen, including taxi drivers, to peaceful protest, breaking the law can never be justified. The public deserves clean, safe and reliable modes of transport and no amount of violence will prevent this country from attaining that goal. Law enforcement agencies will take strong action to prevent lawlessness in future.

We call on these taxi bodies to conduct themselves in a manner befitting responsible organisations that care for the safety of all. The Minister of Transport will continue to interact with all stakeholders to address genuine concerns and ensure that this lawlessness is not repeated.

Cabinet approved a proposal to establish a public service academy to replace the South African Management Development Institute (SAMDI). The academy will play a key role in the over-all transformation of the public service and enhance government's capacity to deliver services to the public. The academy will also address issues such as values, ethos, skills and knowledge required for a developmental state. Its programmes will be delivered in collaboration with higher and further education institutions in the public and private sectors. An inter-departmental task team will be set up to develop the concept of an academy and report back to Cabinet in the new year.

The meeting approved a strategy to implement a national literacy campaign. Illiteracy is hampering our people's ability to enjoy the full benefits of the country's democracy and economic successes. This campaign will target 4,7 million South Africans who were denied access to education and training under apartheid. It will target youth, women and adults with special learning needs. Measures will be taken to align its objectives with those of other government programmes such as Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA), Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the National Skills Development Plan.

The Minister of Education will submit a detailed implementation plan to Cabinet in the new year. The plan will address issues such as the scarcity of literature in African languages, mobilisation of society, the use of electronic media, the role of civil society and the contribution that could be made by retired professionals such as principals, teachers, nurses, and magistrates. An Inter-Ministerial Committee will be established consisting of the following Ministers: Education, Defence, Correctional Services, Safety and Security, Arts and Culture, Trade and Industry, Science and Technology, and The Presidency. The campaign will kick off in 2008 with 1,2 million learners at an estimated total cost of R6,1 billion over a five-year period.

Cabinet approved a proposal to establish the Mbizana Heritage Project to honour Oliver Reginald Tambo. It will include the construction of a statue and an open-air exhibition space. Municipalities in the Eastern Cape will also initiate projects in his honour. These will include the construction of six huts in the Garden of Remembrance which were part of the original OR Tambo homestead, development of a conference centre, an Ngele Mountain Lodge and an OR Tambo Museum. These measures will go a long way towards honouring a man who gave every minute of his life for the liberation of our country.

The meeting passed a motion of condolence on the passing away of lieutenant-General Binda, the Chief of Joint Operations of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), who died in a car accident in the past week.

The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament in the new year:

  • the South African Astronomy and Geographic Advantage Bill
  • the Judicial Service Commission Amendment Bill
  • the South African Judicial Education Institute Bill
  • the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill

The Judicial Services Commission Amendment Bill will introduce a mechanism for dealing with complaints against members of the judiciary and will require judges and magistrates to declare their financial interests to avoid conflicts of interest.

The Board of Directors of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) was approved with Mr EM Dipico as the Chairperson.

Cabinet noted that South Africa will be Chair of the Group of Twenty (G-20) Finance Ministers and Central Governors in 2007. The G-20 forum brings together finance Ministers and Central Bankers to discuss key issues in the global economy.

Themba J Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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