28 May 2003
Cabinet today noted the progress that was being made in the intensive negotiations leading up to the Growth and Development Summit which will be held on 7 June 2003. As the discussions among the NEDLAC partners show, the Summit has the potential to initiate the forging of a People's Contract for Growth and Development, and to identify concrete immediate projects that will speed up the rate of investment and job-creation.
The meeting also noted the programme of the National Youth Commission (NYC) for Youth Development Month (June), which will focus on expanding economic opportunities and skills development for young people, in line with government's National Youth Development Policy Framework and the National Youth Economic Participation Strategy developed by the NYC.
The meeting received an update on the implementation of the decision to extend the Child Support Grant to children of up to 14 years of age in the next three years. It approved the project plan and agreed on milestones which will be used by Cabinet regularly to assess progress. The R11-billion that has been allocated to the project will be disbursed to Provinces in the form of a conditional grant.
Cabinet was also briefed on the implementation of the National Sanitation Programme, with the objective of eradicating the sanitation backlog by 2010. It noted improvements in the execution of the plans, with sanitation provided to over two million people in the past financial year, and with better community involvement and job creation particularly in rural areas. It was agreed that more funds would be allocated to these projects, from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
It examined a number of international initiatives to promote trade facilitation and cargo security. The meeting agreed that, in order to maintain and improve the country's export opportunities, it was necessary to develop a strategic response to these international initiatives. The South African Revenue Service has been tasked to lead an inter-departmental team that includes South African Police Service, to develop such a strategy. Further, South Africa will soon commence negotiations with the United States on its Container Security Initiative, to ensure minimal disruptions to our exports to that country.
Cabinet approved for submission to Parliament the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Bill, which provides for regularisation of the status of individuals who undergo sex change operations.
The following appointments were approved:
- Eugene M Mokeyane as DG of the Department of Public Enterprises;
- A DDG dealing with Technology for Development in the Department of Science and Technology;
- Board members of the Railway Safety Regulator, with Mr SE Madonsela as Chairperson; and
- Mr TT Gwanya as Chief Land Claims Commissioner.
Cabinet was informed of processes to set up infrastructure and appoint personnel who will process amnesty applications with regard to assets illegally held abroad by South Africans. Details in this regard will be announced by the Minister of Finance by the end of this week. The amnesty process starts on the 1st of June, and government calls on all affected South Africans to take advantage of this window of opportunity and normalise their tax status.
The meeting was briefed on the re-organisation of the international operations of the Department of Trade and Industry. It agreed that the dti should maintain a total of 45 foreign economic offices in 39 countries, which will entail closing 11 missions and opening 4 new ones in Algiers, Dakar, Lusaka and Shanghai. These offices will be staffed by Foreign Economic Representatives and Marketing Officers.
Cabinet expressed the appreciation of government for the successful celebration of Africa Day on 25 May. In this regard, it congratulated the people of our country and the Gauteng Province in particular, including the media, for the support that they demonstrated for the cause of Africa's renewal.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)