3 May 2006
At its meeting today, Cabinet noted preparations for the celebration of the 10 th anniversary of the country's Constitution. Events in this regard include a Thanksgiving Ceremony in Khayelitsha ( Cape Town ) on Sunday and a special Joint Sitting of Parliament on Monday, 8 May which will be addressed by the President.
Cabinet received reports from the various Clusters and the AsgiSA Task Team on the implementation of the government's Programme of Action for 2006. The meeting welcomed the progress made in most areas and identified interventions required to speed up implementation where required. Detailed briefings on these matters will be conducted by the Cluster Co-ordinating Ministers during the course of next week, and the Programme will then be updated on the government website.
In line with commitments included in the AsgiSA programme:
- Cabinet received a report on work done to simplify and streamline the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) System in our country. This process is informed by relevant legislation, but also critically, by the need to ensure that the EIA system does not act as a constraint to higher rates of investment and job-creation. In this respect, it was agreed to improve capacity in provincial environmental authorities.
Cabinet agreed that a detailed presentation would be made at its next meeting by the Department of Home Affairs on matters pertaining to the implementation of Immigration Regulations. This would include such issues as time lags in dealing with applications and any blockages that may undermine the country's effort to attract scarce skills.
The meeting was briefed on preparations for the National General Consultative Conference on the Peer Review Process for South Africa . The Conference, which will take place on 4 and 5 May, will bring together representatives of government and other sectors of society to consider work done thus far on the Country Self-Assessment Report, including public inputs.
Cabinet expressed appreciation at the consultative processes to ensure broad consensus among South Africans on a review of our First Decade of Freedom, identifying areas for further improvement and agreeing on a national vision and programme to take our democracy to new heights.
The following Bills were approved for submission to parliament:
- Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Amendment Bill which regulates lawful interception of certain communication and defines obligations of sellers of cellular phones and SIM-cards; and
- Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill which provides greater protection to vulnerable persons who are victims of sexual offences.
Cabinet also welcomed the launch this week of the 365 Days of Activism against Gender- and Child-directed Violence. The workshop to launch this campaign will examine ways of ensuring that it is sustained throughout the year, without subtracting from the intense focus during the 16 days in November and December.
The meeting noted developments with regard to negotiations aimed at resolving the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan . The South African government wishes to urge all parties in these negotiations to reach agreement as soon as possible, so as to restore peace and allow the people of that region to lead normal lives. The meeting also noted the status of South African participation in the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS); and it approved the deployment of 98 SANDF members to AMIS, in addition to the 339 already located in that country.
Having considered decisions taken at the January Assembly and the Sessions of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU), Cabinet confirmed that South Africa would work with Libya in a Joint Committee to consider issues such as the restructuring of continental financial institutions and their location. The meeting also approved the increased assessed contribution of SA to the AU, from 8,25% of the AU budget in 2005 to 15 % in 2006.
The following appointments were approved:
- Mr Itumeleng W Kotsoane as DG: Department of Housing for a period of 5 years;
- Extension of the term of office of Mr Vusi Madonsela as DG: Department of Social Development for a period of 3 years;
- Ms P Bongiwe Kunene as DDG and Head of the Office of the Deputy President in The Presidency;
- One DDG in the Department of Provincial and Local Government and 4 DDGs in the Department of Public Service and Administration;
- Ms J Ngubane as Regional Land Claims Commissioner for KwaZulu-Natal Province ;
- Board of Directors of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) to be chaired by Dr A Mokgokong; and
- Members of the Board of the SA National Energy Research Institute (SANERI).
Cabinet noted various incidents in recent weeks involving civic violence in pursuit of political and socio-economic objectives. This has included violent attacks on municipal councillors in Khutsong and on workers in the current strike of employees in the security industry. Cabinet wishes to emphasise that such behaviour is despicable and unacceptable in a democracy. The Cabinet has issued an instruction to the security agencies to deal with such incidents firmly and without equivocation. Where this has not yet happened, those who have been identified for their involvement in these incidents should feel the full might of the law.
Further, government urges employers and SATAWU to resume negotiations as a matter of urgency, and to ensure that their discussions are informed by the interests of the country in a spirit of compromise and mutual accommodation.
The meeting also noted preparations for a Donor Conference and launch of the African World Heritage Fund which will take place on 4 and 5 May at Maropeng, Cradle of Humankind.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)