11 March 2010
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday, 10 March 2010.
Cabinet welcomed and approved the implementation plan to scale up the HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment programme that was presented by the Minister of Health. This approval follows President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on World AIDS Day on 1 December 2009 that the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic would be scaled up in partnership with all stakeholders in the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC).
The objectives of the new scaled up plan are to reduce the rate of infection by 50% by 2011 and to provide ARV treatment to 80% of those who need the treatment. More emphasis will be placed on prevention through information, education, widespread distribution of condoms and mobilisation of millions of South Africans to know their status. The highlights of the new implementation plan will include voluntary and public HIV/AIDS testing which will be led by members of Cabinet and other leaders from broader society; and a move from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT), a service delivery model that offers testing to all patients at the entry points in all health institutions.
The target of the HCT campaign is to test up to 15 million people by June 2011. The campaign will also promote healthy lifestyles and increase access to treatment, care and support. All public health facilities, fixed and mobile, will be equipped to offer HIV Testing and to provide ART’s.
Retired and non-practising medical staff such as doctors, nurses, and pharmacists will be requested to make themselves available to the health system to support this initiative. The Minister of Health has already written letters to all retired and non-practicing practitioners appealing to them to support the campaign. Cabinet appeals to the professionals to respond positively to the Minister’s call in the country’s hour of need.
The new HIV and AIDS implementation plan will be launched on the 15 April 2010 in Gauteng with provincial launches taking place in all the provinces on 19 April 2010. The public testing will also take place during the launches.
Cabinet calls on South Africans to be part of this initiative by making themselves available for testing in order to know their status, live healthy lifestyles and help the nation to defeat the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
The Radio Frequency Spectrum Policy was approved. The policy seeks to, among other things, ensure the efficient use and management of the radio frequency spectrum; facilitates the achievement of key socio-economic objectives such as increasing access to information communication technologies (ICT); the creation of an information society via wireless technologies, and ensure access to broadband services and public service broadcasting content. A popular version of the policy will be issued to make the policy more accessible.
The Draft National Broadband Policy for South Africa was tabled and discussed. The Policy seeks to, among other things, address availability, accessibility and affordability of Broadband, the building of an information society as well as to promote uptake and usage of Broadband. Cabinet decided that an Inter-Ministerial Committee, convened by the Minister of Communication and consisting of the Ministers of Science and Technology, of Public Enterprises, Rural Development and Land Affairs, Economic Development and Public Service and Administration, will be established to finalise the policy.
Cabinet discussed President Jacob Zuma’s recent State visit to the United Kingdom, which took place on 3-5 March 2010. The visit was successful in cementing the strong economic and bilateral relations between the two nations. However, Cabinet expressed its displeasure about the negative attitude of some elements of the British media that sought to do everything in their power to undermine the visit. Nonetheless, the meeting welcomed the warm reception President Zuma received from the British government and business leaders. The Ministers Pravin Gordhan (Finance) and Rob Davies (Trade and Industry) will elaborate further on other aspects of the visit during this briefing.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) were approved and will be submitted to Parliament for ratification.
Cabinet noted the outcomes of the Extra-ordinary Conference of African Union Ministers in charge of Communications and Information Technologies (AY CIT) held in Ekurhuleni, on 2-5 November 2009. The outcomes of the conference include commitments to promote ICT Research and Development in the continent, regional integration, harmonisation and mainstreaming of ICT policies and the protection of African geographic and Heritage names.
The meeting expressed concern about the ill-advised move by some business establishments to increase their prices ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in anticipation of making mega profits. These moves must be discouraged at all costs as they have the potential to discourage many soccer lovers from attending the tournament and could have a negative impact on future tourism in the country. Government calls on all South African businesses to resist the temptation to unduly inflate their prizes during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Minister of Tourism has commissioned a survey to look at the pricing structure in the tourism sector ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This study will identify the extent of the problem and make recommendations about possible steps that could be taken in this regard. A report will be submitted to Cabinet shortly.
Cabinet discussed the plans for the celebration of Human Rights Day, which is scheduled for the 21 March 2010. The meeting noted that preparations were at an advanced stage for the celebration, which will take place in Sharpeville. This year’s celebrations will include the acknowledgment of the progress the country was making to restore the dignity and rights of all South Africans. These include: 2.8 million houses have been completed under the subsidy scheme; the percentage of households with access to portable water increased from 61% to 91.8 % between 1994 and March 2009. By March 2009, more than 10 million households had access to sanitation compared to 5 million in 1994 and households with access to electricity increased from 4.5 to 9.1 million during the same period.
In this context, President Zuma urged Cabinet Ministers to ensure that future celebrations of national days must assume a truly national character by making sure that these events are organised on a non-partisan basis. The modalities of implementing this approach will be worked out in due course.
The following appointments were approved:
- The following were appointed to the Board of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA): New members - Ms Solani Victoria Bvuma; Mr Peter Kgame; Ms Koekie Mdlulwa; Prof Maredi Mphahlele; Ms Nontobeko Ntsinde; Ms Jacqueline Shibambu; Ms Febe C Potgieter-Gqubule. Existing members: Ms Zodwa Manase (Chairperson); Mr AM Luthuli; Ms R Sekese; Ms M Makhekhe-Mokhuane; Mr C Kruger and Ms C Clark. The following were appointed as alternate Board members of SITA: Mr Ronnie Mabena; Ms BM Malongete; Ms Nomvuyo Memory Mhlakaza; Ms Tumelo Moloko; Mr David Niddrie; Mr Geeva Pillay and Kgomotso Mthimunye.
- Ms K Moloto was appointed as non executive Directors to the board of the South African Post Office (SAPO) for a period of three (3) years with effect from 1 April 2010
- The following members were appointed to the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS) for a period of five years with effect from 1 March 2010: Justice TC Ndita (Chairperson); Justice HJ Lacock; Justice A Ledwaba; Mr A Bekker; Adv S Mzinyathi; Mr Motseki; Ms Jolingana; Mr P Lesese; Ms C Nxumalo; Prof C Cilliers; Prof V Notshulwana; Dr KJ Kometsi; Ms LU Zisiwe; Dr M Mako; Ms B Ngobeni; Ms L Smit; Dr MF Randera; Dr H Hargovan and Mr S Nkanunu
- Dr M Guam; Ms B Rodman and Mr T Dumbutshena were appointed Task Team members to audit certain categories of inmates for a period of six months.
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