Media release

Statement on Cabinet meeting of 20 November

21 November 2013

21 November 2013

1. Cabinet’s position on prominent issues in the current environment

1.1  Cabinet welcomes the high number of eligible voters who heeded the call to register during the initial registration period of 9 and 10 November 2013. Eligible voters who have not yet registered are reminded that the period of registration continues up until the announcement of the date for the next national elections.

Cabinet commends the work of the Independent Electoral Commission, and calls on all South Africans to exercise their democratic right to vote, which came about as a result of our struggle for freedom and democracy.

1.2 The 16 Days Activism Campaign of No Violence against Women and Children will take place from 25 November to 10 December 2013 under the theme: VIKELA MZANSIKwanele: Communities united in preventing violence against women and children.”

Cabinet calls on all South Africans to use this period to renew our commitment, to end brutal and dehumanising behaviour by some in our society and to recommit our country to the inalienable rights of women and children.

1.3 Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will lead the World AIDS Day commemoration in Mkhondo, Gert Sibande District, Mpumalanga, on 1 December 2013 under the theme: “Get wise. Get tested. Get circumcised.”

The platform will be used to apprise the nation on government efforts to fight the epidemic, to increase awareness, and to intensify efforts to scale up interventions to curtail the epidemic. This is aligned to the National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS 2012-2016.

This World AIDS Day will also be used to revitalise the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign and to launch the Medical Male Circumcision campaign.

Cabinet calls on all South Africans to practise safe sex; to get tested for HIV at least once per year in order to make informed decisions on preventative measures, treatment, care and support; and for men and boys to take up medical male circumcision services.

South Africans must play their part and integrate the ABC (Abstinence, be faithful, use a condom) strategy as a way of life.

1.4  Cabinet highlighted the strict enforcement of traffic offences as part of the Festive Season Campaign - Arrive Alive - under the theme ‘Together We Can Save Millions of Lives’, and calls on all road users to adopt a more responsible attitude that fully understands that vehicle crashes destroy lives.

1.5 Cabinet commends the progress made through the multi-agency approach which was adopted in response to the Presidential intervention in May 2013 at Eldorado Park, to tackle drug and gang violence and related socio-economic challenges.

This has since seen the arrest of 1 431 people, of which 1 098 are awaiting trial; 1 095 received bail, three are still in custody and 289 were convicted on criminal charges.

Cabinet appeals to communities to refrain from the practice of punishing crimes or seeking justice outside of the legal system, as this is illegal and contributes to criminal behaviour. Cabinet encourages communities to work with the police to root out drug lords and dealers who exacerbate criminal activities.

1.6 Cabinet expressed condolences to the family and friends of those who died as a result of the collapsed construction site in Tongaat, KwaZulu-Natal; and wishes a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

Cabinet emphasised that there are labour laws which protect the rights of workers and condemned those responsible for the disaster. Cabinet insisted that the matter be followed up rigorously.

1.7 Cabinet welcomed the opening of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory. The centre houses some of the most important heritage resources that chronicle the life and times of Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

These resources are an integral part of our nation’s heritage, in particular our liberation heritage. They are our nation’s treasures and need to be preserved.

Government will continue to honour Nelson Mandela and his generation of leaders for the massive contribution they made to our liberation.

1.8 Cabinet applauds the continued rollout of the multitrillion-rand public infrastructure programme by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission led by President Jacob Zuma.

The opening of Spring Grove Dam by the President is designed to contribute to expanding water supply to six municipalities, namely eThekwini Metropolitan, uMgungundlovu District, Msunduzi Local, Ugu Local, and Sisonke and iLembe Local Municipalities.

Government has invested more than R1 billion in the project, which is also designed to create jobs. During construction of the dam a total of 960 people were employed.

1.9 President Jacob Zuma will visit King Sabatha Dalindyebo Municipality, Eastern Cape Province, on 22 November 2013 as part of the Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Programme.

This will include a visit to Mthatha to assess the airport improvements and other presidential infrastructure projects in the area. Mthatha was declared a Rapid High Impact Presidential Intervention Node in 2009 and the interventions are intended to address infrastructure backlogs and service delivery challenges, in order to fully revitalise Mthatha.

The President will also assess first-hand the progress made on government’s infrastructure projects with regard to the provision of water, electricity and roads in the area.

The switch-on by President Jacob Zuma at the Thornhill substation will provide the network capacity to address the backlog of about 25 000 households.

1.10 President Jacob Zuma will undertake a State Visit to Accra, Ghana, from 26 to 27 November 2013. The visit will deepen our existing strong bilateral relationship with Ghana and advance intra-trade on the continent.

1.11 President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to chair the South Africa-Botswana Bi-National Commission (BNC) on 21 November 2013. This will enhance bilateral relations and co-operation between the two neighbouring countries. This annual BNC at the level of Heads of State was established last year to elevate the status of the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation and the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation on Defence and Security.

1.12 Cabinet welcomes South Africa’s election to the United Nations Human Rights Council (on 12 November 2013). Our term starts on 1 January 2014 which coincides with the country’s celebration of 20 Years of Freedom. This reaffirms our commitment to the achievement of human rights for all our citizens, the citizens of the African continent and the citizens of the world.

1.13 Cabinet joins the international community in expressing heartfelt appreciation to those Non-Governmental Organisations who have contributed to the international emergency aid relief for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

The spirit of Ubuntu will contribute to easing the grief of the Philippine people during this difficult time.

1.14 Cabinet welcomes the announcement of yet another milestone in the life of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, with tolling on the designated sections of Gauteng Highways commencing on 3 December 2013.

Motorists who have not registered for e-tolling are encouraged to do so, to ensure that they qualify for the discounted rates.

1.15 Cabinet commends the Departments of Science and Technology and Higher Education and Training as well as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for making history with the launch of the country’s first CubeSat, today, 21 November 2013, in Russia.

The satellite, which will provide valuable space weather data, demonstrates South Africa’s capability in the field of space science and technology.

1.16 Cabinet welcomed the election of Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga as Chairperson of the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) during the 37th UNESCO General Conference; this bolsters confidence in our education system and institutions.

The objective of SACMEQ is to undertake integrated research and training activities that will expand opportunities for educational planners and researchers to receive training in the technical skills required to monitor, evaluate, and compare the general conditions of schooling and the quality of basic education.

1.17 Cabinet recognised the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande for leading a BRICS Education Ministers’ meeting which made ground breaking decisions. The meeting was organised on the margins of the 37th Session of UNESCO's General Conference. Issues discussed included: strengthening collaboration between BRICS universities, partnerships and knowledge exchanges.

The Ministers agreed on the need to establish a mechanism at the highest political and technical level in order to coordinate and implement the identified areas of cooperation which will be coordinated by South Africa as the current Chair of BRICS. There was also consensus among all five member countries on the importance of scaling up cooperation between BRICS and UNESCO in education.

1.18 Cabinet noted South Africa’s country report to Unesco that 3,3 million adult South Africans have graduated from the Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign. This takes South Africa closer to achieving its United Nations: Education for All commitment of halving the country’s illiteracy rate by 2015. The campaign was launched in February 2008, with the intention to help 4,7 million adults above the age of 15 years to become literate and numerate in one of the 11 official languages.

1.19 Cabinet congratulates the winners of the Inaugural National Batho Pele Excellence Awards which serve to entrench professionalism, recognise, reward, acknowledge and encourage excellence in the Public Service and ensure it reaches greater heights.

1.20 Cabinet praised the recent sterling performances by Bafana Bafana, the Proteas and the Springboks and also congratulated Itumeleng Khune, who was named the 2013 South African Sport Star. Emphasising that we are a winning nation, Cabinet noted that South Africa woke up in high spirits on Wednesday morning after Bafana Bafana’s 1-0 victory over Spain. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to play their part in rallying behind our national teams.

1.21 Cabinet was briefed by the Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster on the Public Protector`s report on security measures at President Jacob Zuma’s home in Nkandla. Cabinet was briefed that government’s engagement with the Public Protector on this matter has been premised on the security of the Head of State. Cabinet was also briefed that a government task team report on security upgrades at Nkandla had been referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence which subsequently published its own Special Report on this matter. The government task team reported to the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence that there was no evidence that the Department of Public Works had paid for the construction of houses for the President. Ministers from the JCPS Cluster have been invited to this Cabinet briefing and are available to answer questions on this matter.

2. Key Cabinet discussions and decisions

2.1 Cabinet approved the draft White Paper on Post School Education and Training: “Building an Expanded, Effective and Integrated Post-School Education and Training System”.

The draft White Paper sets out strategies to expand on the current provision of education and training in South Africa. It sets out to improve quality, integrate the various strands of the post-school system, and to set out modalities for ways in which employers in both private and public sectors can play an important role in the creation of a skilled labour force.

The Paper emphasises inclusive growth and employment which is essential for the National Development Plan.

The Department of Higher Education and Training will brief further.

2.2 Cabinet was apprised on the Ministerial Committee report on the Review of the Funding of Universities and approved that the report be released for public comment by universities.

The funding of universities is no different from the broader challenges facing the country, and includes addressing the plight of disadvantaged institutions while ensuring that changes made in resource allocations do not impede the ability of the advantaged institutions to remain internationally recognised and competitive.

2.3 Cabinet approved the Bio-economy Strategy for South Africa.

The Bio-economy Strategy is a science-based strategy to position bio-innovation as an essential arm of various line departments. It also calls for a close relationship with industry to ensure that biotechnology and bio-innovations are more market relevant and that they find easier application in South Africa.

South Africa’s Bio-economy Strategy provides an economic engine for the new economy that will in turn provide a basis for future growth.

2.4 Cabinet approved the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) High Level Proposal for Phase 3 (2014-2019) for implementation. The overall target of 7.5 million work opportunities over the five-year period (2014/2015 – 2018/2019) is based on the Public Employment Programmes target articulated in the National Development Plan.

Cabinet approved the establishment of the Presidential Public Employment Coordinating Commission to coordinate and report on public employment programmes. This will be aligned to the work of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.

The EPWP aims to increase its contribution to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The current economic down-turn has negatively impacted on employment in the country and has increased the importance of the EPWP as a major government initiative for contributing to development and reducing unemployment.

2.5 Cabinet approved the tabling of the Instrument for the Amendment of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation, 1986, in Parliament for ratification.

The principle aim of the proposed Amendment is to make membership of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation more representative by providing a means of appointment that takes into account the various geographic, economic and social interests of its constituent groups.

In terms of furthering the African agenda and should the 1986 Constitutional Amendment come into force, South Africa stands to benefit in terms of the special characteristics as outlined in the instrument, to be elected to a permanent seat.

2.6 Cabinet noted the adoption of the Recommendations on the Social Protection Floor by the International Labour Organisation and approved the tabling of the Recommendation in Parliament for ratification.

The Social Protection Floor approach is an integrated set of social policies designed to guarantee income security and access to essential social services for all, paying particular attention to vulnerable groups and protecting and empowering people across the life cycle.

2.7 Cabinet approved for South Africa to host the 4th BRICS International Competition Conference in 2015.

The Conference provides a forum for the exchange of views among competition agencies and non-governmental advisors from BRICS countries. This strengthens the institutional links that lead to better international cooperation between these members. It takes place every two years and is hosted by BRICS member states’ Competition Authorities.

2.8 Cabinet approved the tabling of the Policy on the Appointment of Insolvency Practitioners by the Master of the High Court to Parliament and publication in the Government Gazette.

The focus of the Policy is to promote consistency, fairness, transparency and the achievement of equality for persons previously disadvantaged by unfair discrimination.

The Masters of the High Court in the different Masters’ offices previously had autonomy to decide in accordance with their interpretation of the law on the practice and procedure to be followed in their offices.

2.9 Cabinet approved the formalisation of 3 November to 3 December as the National Disability Rights Awareness Month and officially declared 3 December as the National Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The National Disability Rights Awareness Month, culminating in the national Day of Persons with Disabilities, provides a focused period for the country to showcase and celebrate progress made in providing persons with disabilities with equal access to education, decent work, health, rural development and a safe and secure environment, amongst others.

2.10 Cabinet approved the South African Mint Company’s coin design for the 2013 numismatic commemorative and R2 circulation coin.

a) R2 Circulation Coin: “100 Year Anniversary of the Union Buildings”
b) R2 Commemorative Crown Silver Coin: “100 Year Anniversary of the Union Buildings”
c) The 2013 Protea Coin Series: “the Life of a Legend: NR Mandela” (childhood)

2.11 Cabinet also approved the designs for the 2014 numismatic commemorative and circulation coin designs:

a) The Protea Coin Series: “the Life of a Legend: NR Mandela” (education)
b) The Natura Coin Series: “Nocturnal Hunters”
c) R1 Gold Coin Series: “South African Pollinators”
d) R2 Gold Coin Series: “Discovery of Gold in South Africa”
e) Crown and Tickey Silver Coin Series: “Trains of South Africa”
f) The Sterling Silver Coin Series: “Marine Protected Areas of South Africa”
g) R200 Gold Commemorative Coin: “20 Years of Democracy”
h) R2 Sterling Silver Commemorative Crown Coin: “20 Years of Democracy”
i) R5 Circulation Coin: “20 Years of Democracy”

The coin designs together with their Proclamations will be printed in the Government Gazette. Thereafter the coins will be manufactured and sold through the normal channels.

3. Appointments

3.1 Cabinet approved the appointment of Ms Gugulethu Brightness Nokukhanya Khoza as Director of the South African Civil Aviation Authority.

3.2 Cabinet approved the following appointments to the Board of the Public Investment Corporation (PIC):

a)    Mr Roshan Morar (re-appointment)
b)    Mr Sebenzile Patrick Mngconkola (re-appointment)
c)    Ms Dudu Hlatshwayo
d)    Ms Sibusisiwe Nkosinomusa Ngubane
e)    Mr Trueman Tandabantu Goba

3.3 Cabinet noted the following appointments to the Board of Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited:

a) Mr Motshoanedi Johannes Lesejane (Chairperson and re-appointment)
b) Ms Vuyelwa Viola Matsiliza (Non-Executive Directors)
c) Ms Fagmeedah Petersen (Non-Executive Directors)
d) Ms Siobhain O’Mahony (Non-Executive Directors)

Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139

Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

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