Statement on Cabinet meeting of 5 November 2008


6 November 2008

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria yesterday, 5 November 2008.

Cabinet congratulates Mr Barack Obama on his election as the first black president of the United States of America. Mr Obama’s election is an indication that the American society is undergoing transformation. The South African government believes that Mr Obama’s election will lay a solid foundation for the redefinition of America’s relations with the rest of the world. South Africa is looking forward to a fruitful working relationship with the US, at bilateral and multilateral level under his leadership.

The meeting noted that President Kgalema Motlanthe had received the Commission Report from Dr Frene Ginwala which looked into Advocate Vusi Pikoli’s fitness to hold office as the National Director of Public Prosecutions. The President is studying the report and he will release its contents as soon as all the due processes have been concluded. The President will also announce his decision on the future of Advocate Pikoli in due course.

Cabinet is extremely concerned about the recent outbreak of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the lack of progress in the power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe. The meeting noted that SADC will be convening an extra-ordinary summit of heads of state and government at the Sandton Convention Centre, on 9 November 2008, to discuss the political situation in the DRC and in Zimbabwe.

The meeting expressed grave concern about the recent spate of light aircraft accidents over the past few months, which have claimed up to 34 lives. Whilst we regret the loss of lives, government is satisfied that our aviation industry, especially the commercial airlines, has one of the best safety records in the world. Government calls on the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) to urgently implement stricter control measures to ensure that accidents are prevented. The Department of Transport is already interacting with the aviation authorities to address the causes of these accidents.

Cabinet approved the proposal on alternative approaches to the funding of concurrent functions (education, housing, social development and health), in South Africa’s intergovernmental system. In summary, the proposed approach seeks to:
 

  • achieve greater alignment between policy making, priority setting, and the vertical division of revenue between the different spheres; and
  • address challenges such as non-implementation of national priorities by the different spheres, as funds are sometimes diverted to other priorities.

In terms of this new approach, policy and budget priorities in concurrent functions will be determined by national government in consultation with the different spheres.
In allocating budgets, National Treasury will ensure that national priorities are included in provincial plans.
It is further proposed that housing be assigned to municipalities.
The proposed approach will be discussed with the provinces and SALGA at the Presidential Co-ordinating Council in December.

The meeting noted that President Kgalema Motlanthe held a successful meeting with the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) on 1 November 2008. This meeting provided an opportunity for the President and members of SANEF to discuss a number of issues that have an impact on the relationship between government and the media. The outcome of the meeting included the following:
 

  • The President made a commitment to consider all the concerns raised by SANEF regarding the Films and Publication Bill.
  • A colloquium will be convened by GCIS, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, and SANEF, to address the concerns raised by SANEF regarding legislation that has the potential to impact negatively on media freedom.
  • The parties agreed to move with speed to establish the Presidential Press Corps. The Chairperson of SANEF and the CEO of GCIS were specifically mandated to expedite the establishment of the press corps.

Three new vaccines - Pnuemococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), rotavirus [vaccine] and a pentavalant [vaccine] - will be introduced into the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI), at a cost of R1.1 billion. These vaccines are expected to significantly reduce childhood mortality, morbidity and human suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases. These vaccines will form part of Government efforts to improve the health and life expectancy of South Africans by improving access to life-saving vaccines, and will bring us closer to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing child mortality by two thirds by 2015. The new vaccines will be introduced nationally in January 2009.

A progress report on the implementation of the Airlift Strategy (2006), was noted. The report highlighted the following successes:
 

  • 34% capacity increase on bilateral air services;
  • implementation of the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision on the liberalisation of intra-Africa Air Transport services; and
  • the conclusion of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between South Africa Airways and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Airlines, FIFA’s official carrier for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The MOU entitles UAE Airlines to operate up to twenty-eight passenger flights into Johannesburg and fourteen flights to Cape Town, by 2010.

The strategy is making real progress in opening our skies to facilitate trade and tourism between South Africa, the continent and the world.

Cabinet congratulates Ms Monhla Hlahla, Chief Executive Officer of the Airports Company (ACSA), and her team, for the professional manner in which the construction and development of the various airports is being implemented. Government is pleased that ACSA is succeeding in implementing the mandate to ensure that we have world-class airport infrastructure in preparation to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup and beyond. South Africans should be proud of the fact that South African airports have been transformed into world-class airports.

Cabinet is pleased to announce that Reverend Frank Chikane, Director-General in The Presidency, has agreed to continue serving government until the general elections in 2009. In performing his duties, the Reverend will work closely with Mr Trevor Fowler, the Chief Operations Officer in the Presidency. Cabinet thanked Reverend Chikane for agreeing to stay on, and expressed appreciation to him for his excellent service to the government and the people of South Africa over the past 13 years.

The progress report on the development of a new high-security passport was noted. The meeting welcomed and supported the initiative, which is aimed at ensuring that the South African passport meets and exceeds global security requirements. The progress on the implementation of the Neighbourhood Development Partnership Grant (NDPG), was noted. This grant is meant to support projects that provide community infrastructure, to attract private sector development and to improve the quality of life of residents in targeted disadvantaged areas. The NDPG has a portfolio of 86 awards in 135 townships, in 51 municipalities, at a cost of R 8.7 billion over 10 years.

The 7.5% cost-of-living salary adjustment for office bearers of the South African Human Rights Commission and other state institutions was approved. This adjustment will be equal to the adjustment offered in the Public Service. These adjustments will take effect on 01 April 2008.

The alienation of the infrastructure of the Vaal-gamagara Government Water Scheme to the Sedibeng Water Board, was approved. The infrastructure to be transferred encompasses the bulk services supplying water to the mines, which are the economic development engines to the affected areas. Parliament will be approached to approve the transaction, as the value of the scheme exceeds the prescribed R100 million mark. A framework agreement was reached with the unions to ensure the smooth transfer of staff to the new authority.

Cabinet noted that South Africa won the bid to host the prestigious 35th International Geological Congress in 2016.

The meeting noted and supported South Africa’s bid to host the 6th World Water Forum in March 2012, in Durban.

The Interactive Gambling Tax Bill was approved for submission to Parliament.

The following appointments were approved:
 

  • Concurred with the appointment of Mr PK Dlamini as the Chief Executive Officer of the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), for a five-year period;
  • The contract renewal of Mr G Davel as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Credit Regulator (NCR), for a two-year period;
  • The term of office for the current members of the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions (SACNASP), was extended for six months.

Enquiries
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)

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Year: 
2008
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, November 6, 2008