8 February 2006
Cabinet today received a briefing on preparations for the March 1 local government elections, in particular on matters relating to securing the election process. Basing themselves on previous experience in contributing to citizens' right freely to cast their votes, the security agencies have formed relevant structures to co-ordinate their work, to conduct law-enforcement operations, to ensure that parties are able to canvass for votes in an atmosphere of free political activity and to provide the Independent Electoral Commission with logistical support.
The meeting was briefed on legislative and other preparations for the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance which will be presented to Parliament next week. This includes the Division of Revenue Bill on the allocation of national revenue equitably among the three spheres of government.
The following appointments were approved:
- Dr Philemon Mphathi Mjwara as DG of the Department of Science and Technology, currently employed by the CSIR;
- CEO of the Civil Aviation Authority;
- Mr Peter G Mhangwani as Land Claims Commissioner for Mpumalanga Province ;
- Adv. Ngoako Ramatlhodi as Chairperson of the Council of the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority; and
- Two Deputy Directors-General each in Statistics SA and the Department of Communications.
Cabinet noted the report of the Auditor-General on the 2004/05 financial year with regard to submission of Annual Reports and the Audit Outcomes on National and Provincial Government entities. While noting that there had been improvements in compliance, the meeting expressed concern that a number of Departments had not met the deadlines.
It was agreed that Accounting Officers should submit to their principals corrective steps to address concerns raised in their Audit Reports, and that the implementation of such steps needed to be monitored. Performance Agreements of relevant Accounting Officers will be updated to take these issues into account. Further, comprehensive guidelines will be developed on aligning Departmental service delivery indicators with estimates of National Expenditure and strategic plans, and on risk management.
Cabinet noted preparations for the Progressive Governance Network Summit, which will bring together leaders of governments who share common progressive views on domestic and global matters. South Africa is proud to host this interaction, which will not only strengthen joint action in pursuit of democracy, peace and development; but also position our country as a leading partner in these global efforts.
The meeting agreed on a proposal to finalise matters pertaining to the transfer of title deeds and trade names of resorts disposed by Aventura Limited to Forever Resorts. The settlement, which is in the interest of both parties, takes into account issues such as land claims, flood-line restrictions and right of way servitude; and will entail some discount agreed with Forever Resorts.
The SA Institute for Drug-Free Sport Amendment Bill was approved for submission to Parliament.
The meeting noted developments - within South Africa and abroad - with regard to the controversy surrounding the cartoon portrayal of Prophet Mohammed. Government acknowledges the hurt that this act has caused among Muslims in our country and across the globe; and we appreciate the fact that, on the whole, South Africans affected by this development have sought to find one another in a spirit of mutual respect.
South Africa upholds the principle of freedom of speech. However, we do appreciate that our Constitution enjoins us, in exercising this right, to respect the sensitivities of individuals and communities, and to eschew actions that may be interpreted as hate speech. With regard to the Court judgement on this matter, Cabinet is of the view that all of us should respect decisions of our courts and, where necessary, use the mechanisms of recourse available in our judicial system.
The meeting noted that consultations were continuing between Transnet management and the leadership of the unions to resolve matters pertaining to the necessary restructuring of this entity, in the interest of higher rates of growth and employment-creation.
Cell: 082 900 0083
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)