3 November 2004
At its meeting today, Cabinet in principle approved the process towards the restructuring of medical assistance for all public service employees, which would culminate in the setting up of a Restricted Membership Medical Scheme. This scheme is aimed at ensuring equity in terms of coverage and access to basic benefits, and efficiency in respect of costs and delivery. Cabinet decided that, in the immediate, while other work is continuing, an application should be lodged for the registration of the Scheme in terms of the Medical Schemes Act, with effect from 1 January 2005
Cabinet was briefed on a programme of action leading up to the holding of local government elections in 2005/06. The programme entails, among other steps, determination of the number of councillors, determination and publication of boundaries of municipalities and public hearings on these and voter registration. A National Task Team will be set up to oversee and monitor these preparations; and it will include Ministers of Home Affairs and Provincial and Local Government as well as the Chairpersons of the IEC and the Municipal Demarcation Board.
The meeting reviewed and welcomed steps that had been taken by government to deal with matters pertaining to the heritage and status of Khoi-San communities in our country. It agreed that further work was required in respect of according these communities first nation status; promoting heritage, language and education; attending to historical land claims and agricultural assistance; and addressing difficulties that undermine social cohesion within these communities.
The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- Intergovernmental Relations Framework Bill, which outlines the functions of the three spheres of government and procedures and structures in their relationship;
- Co-operatives Bill, which defines policy on development of co-operatives;
- Nursing Bill, which aims to improve regulation of the nursing profession to better serve the public and in this regard redefine the mandate of the Nursing Council;
- Road Accident Fund Amendment Bill, which seeks to improve equity, fairness and transparency in the operations of the fund; and
- Sectional Titles Amendment Bill, which regularises acts of registration and liability as it applies to certain members of body corporates.
The meeting decided to release the following Bills for public comment:
- Auditing Profession Bill which provides for registration and regulation of auditors and the setting up of an Independent Regulatory Board;
- Co-operatives Banks Bill which provides a framework for the Co-operative banks industry; and
- Dedicated Banks Bill which aims at the setting up of banks providing specific services to consumers to whom such services have hitherto not been available.
The meeting also approved an Indigenous Knowledge Systems Policy which defines a framework to ensure that traditional knowledge of South Africa's indigenous people is accorded its rightful place alongside other knowledge systems. The policy cuts across cultural, health, educational, commercial and scientific domains. To support this initiative, an Advisory Committee, national office and Fund will be set up; and intellectual property legislation will be reviewed.
Cabinet was briefed on progress thus far in the Taxi Recapitalisation Project, and it agreed with the principles pertaining to a revised approach in this regard. Announcements on this matter will be made during the course of this week.
Cabinet approved the appointment of a Deputy Director-General for African Multilateral Affairs in the Department of Foreign Affairs. It also noted the appointment by the President of the following senior officers in the SANDF:
- Rear Admiral M Mudimu as Chief of the SA Navy in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from March 2005;
- Major General C Gagiano as Chief of the SA Air Force in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from March 2005; and
- Major General SZ Binda as Chief of Joint Support in the rank of Lieutenant General with effect from November 2004.
The President and Cabinet wish to express their gratitude to the retiring Chiefs of the Navy and the Air Force for their loyal and dedicated service to the country.
Cabinet noted the interaction between the South African government and the main political parties in Zimbabwe, in an effort to contribute to the normalisation of the situation in that country, and the holding of free and fair elections. The meeting welcomed the appreciation on the part of these role-players of the contribution to this end being made by SA, together with other SADC countries.
Cabinet expressed the hope and confidence that matters pertaining to structures and processes relating to the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe would be resolved as soon as possible, in line with the SADC Guidelines on the conduct of elections. Government remains firmly convinced that these and other issues are best handled by Zimbabweans themselves, and that our role in SADC is to lend a hand. In this regard, our own conduct as government and civil society in SA should be informed by the desire to promote, rather than undermine, the attainment of these objectives.
The meeting noted the expressions of stronger commitment to build partnerships which have been articulated in all recent engagements in the Presidential Working Groups with various sectors of society. These include the recent Working Group meeting with religious leaders, as well as the meeting yesterday with the Jewish Board of Deputies.
With regard to the latter, Cabinet noted and welcomed the assessment of the Board that the Jewish community in SA had never in its history felt as safe, appreciated, at home and unthreatened in our diverse society. Government, working with all sectors of society, will continue to strengthen unity among all South Africans, including through the ongoing struggle against racism, gender discrimination, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)