5 December 2002
Cabinet held its last meeting of the year yesterday, 4 December and appreciation was expressed at the work done during the course of 2002. A comprehensive review of the year, and consideration of plans for the coming period will take place at the Cabinet lekgotla in mid-January.
Government wishes to take this opportunity to wish all South Africans a happy holiday period and a productive New Year, and all of the best during Eid and Christmas.
The meeting noted recent reports regarding litigation against international companies that operated in SA during apartheid. Cabinet reiterated its recognition of the right of all citizens to undertake legal action on any matter. Government however is not party to this litigation; and it neither supports nor opposes it.
Government’s approach to the issue of reparations will be finalised when the TRC submits the codicil to its final report. Immediately after the court ruling on this matter, government will interact with various role-players to ensure a common national approach. The appeal made some four years ago for all sectors of society to make a contribution to the TRC reparations process stands.
As an interim measure, and in line with the TRC’s recommendations, government has made payments to 18 000 of the 18 800 cases for urgent reparations, amounting to a total of R50m. And in broad terms, government has consistently encouraged a perspective on reparations that emphasises (but is not exclusively) a collective approach to communities and society as a whole.
Cabinet confirmed the commissioning of the Rooivalk Combat Support Helicopter into the SANDF. The Helicopter programme represents significant levels of South African industrial and innovation expertise commensurate with world-class technology, with SA being one of five countries in the world that produces a dedicated combat helicopter. This capability will stand the SANDF in good stead both in securing the country and in peacekeeping missions.
The meeting noted with appreciation the progress that has been made in the negotiations to secure lasting peace in Burundi, and it congratulated the Deputy President for the active role he has played in this engagement. The meeting approved the extension of SANDF participation in the Burundi peace process by six months to June 2003; and that of the 12 military personnel in the UN/AU Missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea by 16 months to March 2004.
Cabinet was briefed on preparations for the deployment of a multi-sectoral Interim Management Team (IMT) to assist the Eastern Cape Provincial Administration with governance and provision of services. The meeting approved the mandate of the team, which has been discussed with the Premier of the Province. It will focus particularly on matters of health, education, roads and public works as well as social development.
Among other tasks, the IMT which will start operating during January, will:
- develop turn-around plans urgently to address service delivery backlogs for implementation by the administration;
- establish and maintain systems to ensure sustainable management structures and operations going forward; and
- monitor utilisation of conditional grants and, where possible, donor funding, and take actions to address possible blockages in the service delivery chain.
The IMT will include one national manager from each of the affected departments as well as The Presidency and National Treasury. The leadership will include the Directors-General of the DPSA and the Office of the PSC, the Provincial Director-General and the Superintendent-General of the Provincial Treasury. Full-time project and programme managers will be appointed for one year and support teams provided on a short-term basis. The Team will be accountable to the Premier and, through the Minister of Public Service and Administration, the President.
In addition to these tasks, the IMT will be supported by the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions in the prosecution of any cases of corruption.
The following appointments were approved:
- Directors-General (GCIS and Minerals and Energy) whose contracts have been renewed for 3 years;
- Mr P Makgathe as CEO of the National Home Builders Registration Council;
- Three DDG’s in the Department of Foreign Affairs;
- Management Team and Reference Group for the Advanced Institute for ICT;
- Members of the Council for Natural Scientific Professions;
- Mr E Lekota as CEO of the SA Rail Commuter Corporation;
- Members of the Board of Khula Enterprise Finance Ltd;
- Members of the Board on Tariffs and Trade;
- Trustees of the National Empowerment Fund; and
- Board of the SA National Parks.
The meeting approved national policy guidelines on the provision of free basic electricity to poor households. The implementation of the policy will be phased, and will include the provision of up to 50kW of free basic grid electricity per household per month. In non-grid areas, poor households will be provided with a subsidy of up to 80% of the market cost to access non-grid electricity systems. The programme will be funded from a conditional grant.
The following Bills were approved for submission to Parliament:
- Armscor Bill which establishes the corporation as a public entity dealing with acquisition for the SANDF and improves corporate governance arrangements in the corporation;
- Road Traffic Management Corporation Amendment Bill which improves the structure and systems of the Board;
- National Small Business Amendment Act to streamline the structures dealing with this matter;
- Liquor Bill which brings the original draft in line with a judgement of the Constitutional Court; and
- National Ports Authority Bill which improves regulatory and monitoring systems.
The National Environment Management Protected Areas Bill, which deals with management of the country’s biological diversity was approved for public comment. Cabinet also approved the ratification of the Protocol relating to the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU.
The meeting received a report on public comments on Cabinet’s earlier decisions on the restructuring of higher education institutions. A final determination on all these matters has been reached, and this will be announced by the Minister of Education early next week.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)