28 April 2005
Cabinet today received the first of the two-monthly reports from all the Clusters on the implementation of government's Programme of Action for 2005. The meeting expressed appreciation for the work done, and agreed on various measures to improve government's work. Based on these reports, the programme on the government website (www.gov.za) will be updated, and co-ordinating Ministers will brief the media, during the course of next week.
The meeting was briefed on, and welcomed, the outcome of Bandung Conference which marked the 50th anniversary of the gathering which set the stage for the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement and consolidation of Afro-Asian solidarity. The Conference resolved on many practical actions to further strengthen South-South co-operation in improving the lives of billions of the world's poor. SA and Indonesia, which co-hosted the Conference, have been tasked with following up on the decisions taken, and government will put in place various mechanisms to ensure that this work is done.
Cabinet noted the successful celebration of the anniversary of Freedom Day, as we enter the 12th year of democracy in our country. The enthusiasm shown throughout the country reflects South Africans' determination to deepen our freedom and advance the cause of building a better life in a SA that truly belongs to all. It was agreed that further work would be done to ensure even greater impact of these celebrations, including those of other national days.
Government has approved the extension of SANDF deployment in Burundi as part of its role in providing VIP security and assisting in the process towards democratic elections and lasting peace. It was agreed that the SANDF contingent will remain in that country until at least March 2006, and that the work of facilitating the peace process, including interactions during the course of next week in SA, will be intensified. The meeting also agreed to respond positively to a request from the AU for additional South African personnel in the African Mission in the Sudan.
Cabinet was briefed on the work being done by the City of Tshwane to host the Founding Congress of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa during the course of next month. The meeting also approved the recommendation to raise SA's contribution to the African Development Fund by R8-million to R38-m with effect from 2005.
The meeting noted and welcomed the presence in SA of a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is to have discussions with our government on taking the process of reconciliation and reconstruction in that country forward, and on strengthening relations between SA and the DRC. In the same vein, a delegation of leaders of various military groups in the Ivory Coast is in our country to discuss matters pertaining to integration of military forces.
The meeting was briefed on investigations into allegations by Earthlife Africa, widely reported in the media, that they had discovered a dumping site for radioactive material outside Pelindaba. Government wishes to state unequivocally that there is no such radioactive waste dumping site in this area. The site in question was used by geologists to calibrate instruments used in uranium exploration activities, and has concrete slabs containing uranium or thorium or potassium ore concentrates, none of which is dangerously radio-active.
The lesson from this experience, given undue panic that had been generated, is that South Africans - including the media - will need to exercise caution when handling information from organisations such as these, with their own narrow agendas.
The following appointments were approved:
- Ms Bulelwa Yako as DG: Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, currently Chief Operating Officer in the same department;
- Mr MS Landu as Provincial Commissioner: Free State, currently Deputy Provincial Commissioner in the Eastern Cape;
- Non-executive members of Board of the SA Forestry Corporation Limited (SAFCOL);
- Members of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Council, with Mr Josiah Jele as Chairperson;
- Board of Directors of the SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) with Mr ML Ndlovu as Chairperson;
- Board of Directors of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company (ATNS);
- Board of the SA Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) with Mr MD Moorosi as Chairperson; and
- Mr G Mokate as CEO of the National Development Agency (NDA).
With regard to the NDA in particular, Cabinet noted with concern the fact that a candidate, Ms R Phiyega, who in February 2005 had been recommended to the post of CEO of the organisation had been unfairly and publicly accused of 'violating policies by "double dipping"' as she was benefiting from a settlement with her former employer (Transnet). Subsequent investigations established that there was no such violation and that her appointment was in order. However, due to these negative reports, Ms Phiyega subsequently declined the offer of appointment.
This experience once more raises the critical question of care that needs to be exercised in handling matters that impact on individuals' integrity. Cabinet expressed its regret at the wrong public perceptions created around Ms Phiyega, and government wishes to assure her of its utmost respect for her integrity. Further, Cabinet has welcomed work that is being done in the NDA to entrench good governance and ensure that the organisation meets its developmental mandate.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)