8 March 2006
At its meeting, Cabinet noted progress in establishing the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA). A critical part of AsgiSA projects, JIPSA brings together social partners to act on immediate and medium-term skills needs in the economy, particularly high-level and artisan skills.
Cabinet approved the composition of the JIPSA Task Team: chaired by the Deputy President and made up of senior representatives of government, labour, business, youth, women, academic institutions, science councils and State-Owned Enterprises. The meeting confirmed the appointment of Mr Gwede Mantashe, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers as chairperson the JIPSA Technical Working Group. The National Business Initiative (NBI) will constitute a Secretariat for the Initiative. It was also agreed that the needs of people with disabilities needed to be integrated into JIPSA activities.
Cabinet welcomed the manner in which the third democratic local government elections were conducted, and expressed its appreciation of the fact that the elections were accepted by all participants as being substantially free and fair. Voter participation, which was higher both in terms of percentage and absolute numbers, confirmed improved civic-mindedness among South Africans on matters pertaining to governance in local communities. Also welcome is the massive improvement in the representation of women.
Government wishes to thank the IEC for its excellent management of the elections, and to congratulate voters for their participation and conduct. We call on all citizens to join the newly-elected Councillors in implementing programmes to improve communities' quality of life. Further, we do hope that, in public discourse, the media and "political analysts" will pay attention to the positive reality about these elections.
In the coming period, national and provincial governments will implement comprehensive programmes to ensure induction and training of the elected representatives. And, in order to improve interaction with communities, national and provincial leaders will focus on integrated implementation of growth and development programmes during the National Imbizo Focus Week, scheduled for 6 to 13 April.
Cabinet agreed that special efforts would be made to ensure return to normalcy in the Khutsong area of Merafong, so that this community can benefit from programmes to build a better life for all. In the same vein, government is confident that issues pertaining to "hung councils" would be resolved as urgently as possible.
The following appointments were approved:
- Board of Directors of the SA Post Office (SAPO) Limited, with Ms PRE Tshukudu as Chairperson; and
- Non-Executive Directors and the Chief Financial Officer of the SENTECH Board.
Cabinet noted the launch today, on International Women's Day, of the programme to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Women's March on Union Buildings. This anniversary which falls on 9 August honours the struggles of women and other South Africans for equal rights irrespective of gender, race or religion. Various activities will take place during the course of the year to reaffirm our country's commitment to gender equality and to ensure that this principle increasingly informs our development and implementation of policy.
Government commits itself to work with all social partners to promote the economic empowerment of women, including access to finance, skills development and affirmative procurement practices. In addition to a gender-sensitive implementation of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative (Asgi-SA) and other government programmes, a special effort will be made to ensure that society reflects, in its day-to-day handling of social issues, respect for women's rights.
In this context, Cabinet expressed its concern regarding the behaviour of certain members of society around matters pertaining to allegations of, and court hearings on, sexual violence. In particular, Cabinet calls on those who wish to express their solidarity in the Johannesburg rape trial of the former Deputy President to ensure that nothing is done which undermines the rule of law, demeans the complainant and the defendant, and suggests disrespect for the judiciary and law-enforcement agencies.
Cabinet approved for submission to Parliament the Sectional Titles Amendment Bill which provides for rights of owners of property under sectional title, for exclusive use areas and common property.
The meeting noted the work being done by relevant departments and Eskom to ensure that power outages that have affected the Western Cape Province are eliminated. It was agreed that the comprehensive plan to re-equip Koeberg and improve transmission from other parts of the country should be implemented with a sense of urgency. Though largely unforeseen, the impact of the recent power disruptions on communities and business is profoundly regretted. While investigations on the immediate causes of the disruption are continuing, the main focus at this juncture is to ensure that we minimise this.
Government calls on all South Africans, especially in the Western Cape , to co-operate with the energy authorities in implementing immediate measures aimed at preventing load shedding.
The meeting was informed that the investigation by the Inspector-General for Intelligence into alleged e-mail exchanges and chat-rooms among senior public figures had been finalised, and that a report would be presented to the Minister for Intelligence during the course of this week. The Minister will study the report and, in consultation with the President, make recommendations to Cabinet.
Government joins all South Africans in congratulating the directors and cast of Tsotsi , which this week won the US Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. We hope that this achievement will inspire the profession to greater heights, reflecting the joy and tribulations of a nation changing itself for the better.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)