31 August 2005
Cabinet today received reports from various Clusters on progress in the implementation of government's Programme of Action. This is in line with the two-monthly reporting cycle to Cabinet, which will be followed during the course of next week by media briefings conducted by relevant Ministers.
The meeting approved a National Freight Logistics Strategy (NFLS) which seeks to address areas of deficit with regard to South Africa's freight system. Developed over a period of 18 months with consultations within government and with stakeholders, the main objective of the Strategy is to put in place system architecture and a regulatory framework which will ensure that freight logistics in our country responds to the imperative of higher rates of economic growth.
The Strategy sets out a framework that will help address such issues as high pricing, capitalisation, skills base, unregulated monopolies and operational efficiency. It also proposes migration from modal regulators (based on mode of transport) to functional regulators (in respect of economic, security as well as safety and environmental functions) which will pay attention to the entire lifecycle of a consignment.
The meeting noted objectives and plans for the month of October, which will be marked as Transport Month.
Cabinet concurred with the decision to provide a three-month' grace period to all businesses with regard to the application of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. It also concurred with the exemptions that will apply to small businesses going forward. While appreciating the positive intent of the Act, it was agreed that any requirement that imposed an onerous burden on small business would have the effect of constraining economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.
The meeting further noted the positive GDP growth figures released recently which show that our economy may have entered a new higher growth range. Work on how to further speed up economic growth and inclusion is continuing; and the Task Team headed by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will present a comprehensive report to Cabinet during the course of next month.
Government wishes to join the Independent Electoral Commission in its call for all South Africans, who are eligible, to register in order for them to be able to vote during the local government elections. The implementation of programmes to improve citizens' quality of life depends in large measure on their participation in elections and in the process of governance. We call on all institutions in society, including the media, to join in the effort to encourage potential voters to take advantage of special registration day on Saturday, 3 September 2005.
The meeting was also informed that the formal process to eliminate the system of cross-boundary municipalities had been set in motion. Residents in the affected areas are therefore called upon to use the platform provided for in national and relevant provincial legislatures to make their input on this matter.
The South African government wishes to take this opportunity once more to congratulate the people of Burundi for the remarkable progress that they have made in bringing peace and democracy to their country. The inauguration of their democratically-elected President, Pierre Nkurunziza, marks an important nodal point not only for the people of Burundi, but also in Africa's efforts to create conditions that are conducive to economic growth and development.
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Issued by: Government Communication (GCIS)