Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 25 October 2006

26 October 2006

26 October 2006

Cabinet met in Cape Town yesterday.

We are pleased to announce that Cabinet has approved the settlement reached with the Richtersveld community regarding a land dispute between that community and Alexkor Limited. This community, like many others, had suffered an injustice when they were forcefully removed from their land to make way for diamond mining. In terms of this settlement, the state will facilitate an extraordinary reparation payment of R190 million to the community. The Minister of Public Enterprises will sign the agreement with the community shortly, which will include safeguards to ensure that the money is used in a way that meets the long term needs of the community.

The meeting was briefed about South Africa's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. The government feels greatly privileged and honoured by this election, accepts this great responsibility with humility and gratitude, and commits itself to serving the peoples of Africa, the South and the World at large.

In doing so, we will be guided by our commitment to multilateralism as the best way to meeting the challenges of peace, security, global stability and development. South Africa will work with the African Union and other regional organisations in an effort to achieve peace and stability in the continent and in all regions of the world. We will also continue to work with all members of the United Nations General Assembly for the reform of the United Nations system, including the expansion of the Security Council.

Cabinet approved the proposal to create six Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs) which will be established as public entities under the auspices of the Electricity Distribution Industry (EDI) Holdings (Ltd). These entities will be accountable to the Ministry of Minerals and Energy. The next steps will include the drafting of legislation and business plan for the establishment of the REDs.

Cabinet received a report on preparations for the Presidential elections due to take place in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, 29 October 2006. South Africans are advised that your observers will again be part of an international observer mission to help see that the elections are free and fair. Our government would like to express its full support for the people of the DRC and hope that they will, once again, turn out in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to elect a leader of their choice.

The meeting was briefed about the Extraordinary SADC Heads of State Summit which took place in Johannesburg at the beginning of the week. All the member states committed themselves to doing all that is necessary to achieve the noble goal of integrating our economies for the benefit of current and future generations. The IRPS cluster will develop a communication campaign to inform South Africans about the implications and benefits of this all important initiative.

Cabinet approved a Road Infrastructure Strategic Framework for South Africa. This framework provides a basis for the upgrade of our road infrastructure, including the identification of priority corridors, and articulates the roles and responsibilities of the different spheres of government in the construction and maintenance of our roads.

The meeting received a report on the FIFA Kick-off Workshop which took place in Cape Town over the past couple of days, which was attended by the President, Deputy President and by several Cabinet Ministers.

Cabinet would like to reassure all South Africans that preparations are not only on track but are also at an advanced stage, and that South Africa will be ready to host the first African FIFA World Cup, come rain or shine.

The budget allocation of R15 Billion for the 2010 FIFA World Cup effort, as announced by the Minister Finance yesterday, must inspire all of us to focus our attention on implementation, implementation, implementation. When the final whistle is blown at the end of the 2010 World Cup Finals, South Africa will never be the same again. We will have better roads, better sports fields, better public transport, better security for all citizens, better soccer players, and most importantly, a proud and united South Africa, because we would have done it, together. A South Africa, in which all the soccer fans who would have attended the World Cup, would want to come back as tourists to experience our fauna and flora.

All South Africans must do their very best to make sure that we make every African in the world and every citizen of the world, proud of this nation and continent, for hosting what must and will be one of the most successful World Cup finals ever. This is possible.

The meeting noted and supported the proposed Dispensing Fee structure for Pharmacies as proposed by the Medicine Pricing Committee. The Ministry of Health will communicate the relevant details in the next week.

Cabinet received a progress report on the initiative led by the Deputy President to revive and strengthen the Partnership Against HIV/AIDS. A series of meetings were held with a number of organisations, including NAPWA and TAC, to discuss the challenges that the country faces in the fight against the pandemic and other opportunistic diseases such TB. Cabinet welcomed the fact that significant progress was made in this regard as parties agreed that the only way we can defeat the pandemic is through co-operation.

Further, Cabinet resolved that in addition to dealing with the HIV/ AIDS pandemic, we must not lose sight of the other health challenges facing the country such as TB and other opportunistic diseases. In this regard, the Department of Health will engage with role-players to coordinate other efforts to deal with the latest strain of drug-resistant TB and other opportunistic diseases.

A SANAC workshop will be held on the 31st October 2006 to discuss ways to make the body stronger, effective and more representative of all stakeholders.

Cabinet approved the composition of the InterMinisterial Committee (IMC) on HIV/AIDS. It's members will be the Deputy President (Chairperson) and the following Ministers: Health, Social Development, Agriculture and Land Affairs, Education; Provincial and Local Government; The Presidency; Public Service and Administration, Labour, Arts and Culture, Transport, Correctional Services; Minerals and Energy, Foreign Affairs, and Public Works, and GCIS. The IMC will be supported by a technical committee of Directors-General of the respective departments.

Cabinet noted with deep concern, the incidents of violence in our schools which have led to injury and death of learners. These incidents, coupled with the violent crimes that are being committed by bloodthirsty criminals in our streets, are totally unacceptable and highlight the need for a collective effort by all South Africans to declare war on crime. The tragic killing of an infant during an armed robbery in Johannesburg is a clear indication that these criminals do not value life. The meeting expressed its condolences with families who have lost their loved ones at the hands of these criminals. However, the best tribute we can pay to those who have lost their lives, and their loved ones, is to intensify the fight against crime. Our police services are working with communities and schools to ensure that our schools become safer.

Government is and will continue to take the fight to the criminals who must be made to feel that crime does not pay.

Government accepts that fighting crime is the primary responsibility of the Police Services and that all the ordinary citizens can do is to support the police. Measures continue to be put in place to increase the capacity of the police to fight crime. These measures include the strengthening our crime intelligence capabilities, increasing the number of police officers and transforming the justice system. However, no police services or efforts will succeed without the involvement of our communities and all sectors of our society. The police cannot win this war alone. Participation in and strengthening of Community Police Forum (CPF's) must become second nature to all of us. We take this opportunity to pay tribute to all those South Africans who have participated in the CPF's for many years and continue to do so.

The meeting expressed its full support for the steps announced by the Council of Education Ministers to address violence in our schools. These measures include the encouragement of schools to set up Safety Committees, increased security in schools, the convening of a National Consultative Forum on school safety, and the formulation of guidelines on random drug testing within constitutional parameters. Once again, school violence cannot be left to the educators and the police alone. Parents and communities in general, must work with our educators and school governing bodies to ensure that we attend not just to the incidents of violence, but to the causes and circumstances that lead our learners to resort to violence as a solution to resolve conflict.

Government welcomes the recent call by church leaders for social mobilisation in the fight against violent crime.

Cabinet noted the reported attacks and killing of Somalis in some provinces. These attacks have fuelled perceptions of xenophobia by our citizens. Government condemns any attack on any person, including foreigners, on South African soil, irrespective of reason or motive. Our freedom was built, among other things, on the back of many South Africans living in exile in many countries around the world where we were welcomed with open arms. This government will not tolerate attacks on any citizens of the world. The meeting noted that investigations were still on-going to establish other factors, other than xenophobia, that could be contributing to these senseless attacks.

Cabinet was briefed on the accident at Tautona Mine. The meeting expressed its concern at the increasing number of accidents in the industry, particularly in the gold mining sector. Cabinet wishes to convey its condolences to the families and friends who lost their loved ones in this latest incident. The Minister of Minerals and Energy will engage with the industry to see what further steps that need to be taken to prevent the loss of life.

A report was given on the occupation of farmland in KwaZulu-Natal, by a group of individuals who are demanding integration into the SANDF. Cabinet expressed serious concern about this development and noted that the Minister of Defence will be meeting relevant parties to attend to this matter on an urgent basis.

A report was given on preparations for the 16 days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. Women leaders from the SADC region and beyond will be participating in the launch in Limpopo on 25 November 2006. Government calls on all members of the public to take part in the campaign and to help build the partnership to "Act Against Abuse". The long term goal of this campaign is to change mindsets and attitudes towards women and children, and to ensure that we treat all our women and all our children with dignity, love and respect, every single day of the year.

The following Bills were approved:

  • Medical Schemes Amendment Bill approved for public comment
  • The Municipal Fiscal Powers and Functions Bill for public comment and submission to Parliament on 2007
  • The South African Airways Bill for submission to Parliament. In 2004, Cabinet approved the separation of SAA from Transnet to become a separate state owned enterprise. This bill will create the legal instrument for the transfer of the entire shareholding of the Shareholding of Transnet to Government.

Themba J Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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