7 December 2006
Cabinet held its final meeting of the year in Pretoria yesterday, 6th December 2006.
Cabinet was briefed on plans for a campaign to address challenges of safety during the holiday period. Increased risky behaviour during this time regularly causes unnecessary fatalities and injuries from road accidents, violent crime, substance abuse, suicide and drowning. The aim of this campaign is to promote more responsible and caring behaviour during this period and throughout the year.
As part of the campaign, 7 500 Traffic Officers will be deployed throughout the country to enforce traffic laws and to ensure that our roads are safe. Government wishes to convey its gratitude to these officers for their sacrifices and hopes that they will enjoy public support in reducing the carnage on our roads. We are pleased to announce that Cabinet Ministers will be visiting road blocks to lend their support to the law enforcement officers who will be sacrificing their holidays and family time to ensure our safety. We all have the responsibility to reduce the carnage on our roads and we call on South Africans to obey the laws and to drive safely.
In previous years the festive season has been marred by increased family and personal violence, taking a particular toll on women and children. The public can help make this festive season safer for everyone by taking to heart the message of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.
The meeting received a briefing on developments in the DRC, where President Mbeki attended the inauguration of the first democratically elected President in over forty years. The successful election and acceptance of its outcome by all parties is a development of great significance for the consolidation of democracy in Africa. It is a powerful demonstration of the possibility of peaceful resolution of apparently intractable conflicts. These elections will open the way to reconstruction and development on a scale that will impact across the continent.
The meeting noted media reports which alleged that there was conflict of interest when Cabinet discussed the Gautrain project because certain members of Cabinet had financial interests in one of the consortia that was awarded the concession. Cabinet would like to make it categorically clear that its discussions and decision were of general scope and only pertained to the principle of the funding request from the Gauteng Government. At no stage did Cabinet discuss either the bid or any of the bidders. The adjudication of the tenders was dealt with by the Gauteng provincial government and Cabinet could not have influenced that decision in any way whatsoever.
We are concerned that all attempts by Ministers to clarify their positions in this regard seem to have fallen on deaf ears.. We reject these unjustified and unfounded insinuations in the strongest possible terms. This government is committed to clean governance and no amount of rumour will deflect us from this commitment.
Cabinet further reaffirms the right of all citizens, including members of Government, to participate in the economy, including through acquisition of shares in private companies as long this is done in an open and transparent manner. Our legal framework does not prohibit this, but requires government employees and members of the executive to declare such interests. The Ministerial Handbook, Parliamentary Code of Ethics and the Public Service Commission provide for the declaration of interests. These prescripts demand transparency and Cabinet is committed to ensuring that they are observed by all.
The meeting noted the unruly behavior of sections of the crowd which attempted to disrupt the President's address at the reburial of Moses Mabhida, and the similar disruption at the commemoration of Satyagraha which was attended by the Prime Minister of India. Cabinet condemns such behaviour in the strongest possible terms. This unbecoming behaviour is unacceptable and is an embarrassment to all clear thinking South Africans. Although this government will protect everyone's right to differ with the President or any member of his government, decency and common sense requires everyone to do so in a respectful and decent manner.
The purposeful and premeditated disruption of public gatherings shows contempt for the democratic rights and values for which so many South Africans and our international supporters made great sacrifices. Such conduct is all the more offensive when staged in the presence of democratically elected heads of state and government. No amount of feeling or strong opinion can ever justify it. We trust that those who instigated and participated in this abhorrent behavior will resist the temptation to behave this way in future. We are convinced that such conduct does not in any way represent the views of the people of KwaZulu-Natal and that the majority of South Africans will condemn and discourage such conduct now and in the future.
The meeting reviewed progress in implementing the recommendations of the Khampepe Commission regarding the location of the Directorate of Special Operations (DSO), otherwise known as the Scorpions. The tensions between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the DSO were noted and the meeting decided that legal instruments must be put in place to ensure greater coordination between these two agencies. These legal instruments will also outline the roles and responsibilities of the Ministers of Safety and Security and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development regarding the political oversight over the DSO. Amendments to the legislation in this regard will be tabled before Cabinet in the new year in order to institutionalize the Khampepe Commission recommendations.
The meeting approved the strategy for the Comprehensive Government Assistance and Support for Attracting Substantial Early Investments to South African Business Process Outsourcing and Off Shoring (BPO and O). The incentive scheme was formulated in partnership with the private sector and will be funded from the fiscus. This plan is part of AsgiSA and will create up to 100 000 jobs over the next five years. It includes marketing, easy entry into SA for the expansion of existing BPO operations, skills development, simplifying administrative procedures and other investment incentives.
Cabinet approved the draft Biofuels Industrial Strategy for the Republic. The country has the potential to produce biofuels which could contribute up to 75 % of our renewable energy by 2013 without negatively impacting on food security or requiring excessive support. This will be achieved by using excess crop production and expanding production on underutilised arable land, particularly that of emerging farmers. The Biofuels industry has the potential to create 55 000 agricultural jobs and will contribute to reducing greenhouse gases and promote a cleaner environment. The required capital investment will be approximately R6 Billion which will come from both public and private sectors. A task team has been set up to do further work on the strategy and to consult with the relevant stakeholders. The matter will be brought back to Cabinet in May 2007 for finalisation.
The meeting noted the outcome of the National Youth Policy Review Convention which was held in June this year. As part of its commitment to youth development, Government approved a recommendation that all departments and public institutions should intensify their efforts to integrate youth development into their programmes. A proposal to set up a Youth Development Forum, chaired by the Deputy President, was also approved.
Cabinet was briefed on a research report on the profiles of beneficiaries of social grants in the country. This research will help government to identify delivery gaps, provide concrete data for purposes of policy analysis and enable us to tailor services to meet the needs of communities.
The meeting noted a proposal for linking social grants to poverty alleviation initiatives and other economic activities. The beneficiaries of social grants, most of whom are able-bodied individuals, would be given incentives linked to exit strategies to reduce reliance on social grants for their livelihoods. These will include skills development, and participation in labour intensive programmes such as the EPWP. The proposed model was referred to the social cluster for further consideration and development.
Cabinet noted the unauthorized publication of the contents of the draft ARPM report in a number of newspapers. Government is still finalising its response to the draft report prior to its tabling before the African Union Heads of State. There will be no Government comment on the draft report until it is tabled and discussed by the Heads of States.
The following 8 Bills were approved:
- Draft Gambling Amendment Bill
- Housing Amendment Bill (for public comment)
- Rental Housing Amendment bill (for public comment)
- Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill (for public comment)
- Housing Consumers Protection Measures Amendment Bill . Waste Management Bill
- Human Sciences Research Council Amendment Bill
- Integrated Coastal Management Bill (for public comment)
With regard to the Integrated Coastal Management Bill, Cabinet expressed its concerns about the unmitigated sale of costal land which has the effect of limiting public access to South Africa's coastline. The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism will announce further details on what steps government could take to arrest this trend.
The following appointments were approved:
- The employment contract of Mr. Lesetja Kganyago, the Director General of National Treasury was extended for a further 3 years
- Board of Directors of the Road Traffic Management Corporation to be chaired by Dr. DJ Sampson
- Board of Directors of the Independent Ports Regulator Chaired by Ms. G Serobe
- The Board of Directors of The Sports and Recreation Distributing Agency of the national Lotteries Board chaired by Mr. GN Sam
- Members of the council of the African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
- Two additional members of the Board of SENTECH (Ltd)
- The employment contract of the Chief Financial Officer of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was renewed
- Dr. L Makuleni as the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Weather Services (SAWS) on a five year contract
- Two DDGs in South African Social Security Agency (SASSA)
The 'silly' season is upon us and with it comes the publication of the so-called 'score-cards' by the opposition parties. Government has a programme of action to improve the life of our people. This programme is based on the mandate this government received from the electorate. Therefore, we will disregard all these opposition play-cards because our performance must and will be judged against our implementation of programme of action and not the wish lists of opposition parties. The Programme of Action is published on the Government web site and progress reports are updated regularly in line with the two-monthly cluster reports to Cabinet so that the public can assess government's performance based on factual information. It was last updated in early November and updates on those activities whose timeframes fall in December will be shortly updated.
Cabinet meeting approved the Codes of Good Practice on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). Mr. Lionel October will now present a statement on the codes
Themba J Maseko - Government Spokesperson
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)