3 September 2003
At its meeting today, Cabinet noted the difficulty which surfaced recently with regard to private shareholding in the South African Reserve Bank. Consultations will be held with the leadership of the Bank to find ways of ensuring that the statutes governing the Bank are updated taking into account its constitutional status as a public entity with a public mandate and public accountability.
The meeting adopted proposals for the establishment of a designated national authority to deal with Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in line with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The authority will reside in the Department of Minerals and Energy, and will include other government departments.
Cabinet was briefed on preparations for South Africa’s participation at the 58th Session of the United Nations General Assembly which will take place from 23 September to 3 October. Our country’s participation in this session will be focussed on promoting NEPAD, strengthening the global multilateral system, supporting the international campaign against terrorism and promoting other positions of developing countries.
Cabinet approved the following statutes:
- Patents Amendment Bill which incorporates disclosure of origin of any genetic and biological resource, for submission to Parliament; and
- Draft e-Education White Paper to guide implementation of ICT in education, to be released for public comment.
The meeting noted the appointment of a Ministerial Task Team to advise on the development of indigenous African languages as mediums of instruction in Higher Education. It also approved the declaration of the National Curriculum Statement for Grades 10 - 12 as national education policy, which will be phased in during 2006 - 2008.
Cabinet noted preparations for the World Parks Congress that will be hosted by our country from 8 to 17 September 2003. This will be the largest international conference hosted by South Africa since the WSSD, bringing together about 25 000 delegates from 170 countries. The Congress will not only help enhance efforts to promote sustainable development which benefits communities, but it will also provide an opportunity for our country to make lasting impressions on the international community as an active player in global affairs.
The meeting approved the ratification of the Madrid Protocol, the Hague Agreement and the 1999 Geneva Act concerning the international registration of trademarks and industrial designs. It also approved the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment, development and management of the Limpopo/Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Park. The Park straddles South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and includes the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape which was recently awarded World Heritage Site status by the World Heritage Committee.
Cabinet examined preparations for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Cancun on 10 - 14 September. It reaffirmed the commitment of South Africa to ensuring that development issues take centre stage on the WTO agenda, including addressing imbalances in current WTO agreements and promoting a rules-based multilateral trade system not dictated to by imperatives of economic might.
While some progress has been made with regard to a few issues such as production and trade in generic medicines, there is concern that the self-interest of the most developed countries may undermine any possibility of consensus. This applies in particular to such issues as agricultural subsidies, issues of intellectual property and trade in services.
The following appointments were approved:
- Members of the Board of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, chaired by Mr Roger Jardine;
- Members of the Board of the National Nuclear Regulator, chaired by Prof K Bharuth-Ram; and
- Members of the Board of the Airports Company (ACSA), chaired by Mr Tommy Oliphant.
Cabinet noted a briefing on the engagement, in line with the National Framework Agreement (NFA), between government and relevant unions on the restructuring of port operations. Agreement has been reached on issues pertaining to job security, and further discussions were envisaged on investment requirements and economic viability during transfer to private sector operators. It was agreed that government would examine the need to set up a Collective Bargaining Council for the sector.
The meeting noted the partnership between government and the private sector with regard to the transformation of the advertising industry. Government commits itself to contribute to this process, as agreed with the industry, in such areas as patterns of expenditure, ownership, employment, local content and consumer awareness.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)