Media release

Statement on the Cabinet meeting of Wednesday, 30 August 2017

01 September 2017

Cabinet met at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

1. Issues in the environment

1.1. Cabinet welcomed the outcomes of the 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held in South Africa from 9 to 20 August 2017 under the theme: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”.

The summit focused on the implementation of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap to accelerate economic growth and development in the region.

The strategy seeks to change the structure of the economies of the region and promotes value-addition with focus on agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and pharmaceuticals. The summit emphasized the need to have concrete outcomes that leverage on our national endowments.

Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma in thanking His Majesty King Mswati III, the outgoing Chairperson of the SADC, for his valuable contribution and leadership, as South Africa assumes the role of chair of the SADC from August 2017 to August 2018.

1.2. Cabinet salutes all women, and extends heartfelt thanks to those who participated in celebrating and commemorating women as we close Women’s Month, under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Arica Forward”.

Although women have made important gains in South Africa, more needs to be done and government programmes will continue to prioritise the involvement of women in developing our communities, the economy and country. Women still continue to face unacceptable levels of abuse and violence, poverty, unemployment.

1.3. Cabinet noted the Poverty Trends Report released by Statistics South Africa and will engage with it. Cabinet reiterated its commitment to its pro-poor programmes, particularly as it relates to children coming from poor households.

Over the last 23 years, government has increased the social grants programme to poor and vulnerable communities from 2, 7 million to 17 million people. This programme covers over 91% of eligible children and 95,5% of the eligible old age people. Over 20 000 schools have been declared no-fee schools, with over nine million learners benefiting from the school nutrition programmes.

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme has since 1999 disbursed more than R72 billion in loans and bursaries to students from poor households. This has resulted in more than two million students from poor communities accessing tertiary education. A total of 1,7 million children are accessing registered Early Childhood Development services, which is a critical foundation for education. In 2012 government also introduced a school health programme, which is an intervention to some of the barriers that hinder progress in some of the learners.

Additionally, government has a number of anti-poverty measures which provide free access to basic services to millions of indigent families such as free piped water, sanitation, free electricity and refuse removal. Government has also implemented public employment programmes and housing schemes to enable poor families to have houses.

Government will continue to find ways to strengthen some of the social security programmes that are designed to cushion the poor and vulnerable communities.

1.4. Cabinet commends the launch of the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory, by the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ms Naledi Pandor.

This is significant for Africa’s participation in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project. The observatory in Ghana is the first other than South Africa, as one of the partner countries.

As SKA Africa partners, the SKA South Africa/Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory group collaborated with Ghana to harness the radio astronomy potential of the redundant satellite communication antenna at Kuntunse.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has funded a large part of the conversion project through the African Renaissance and International Cooperation Fund, which is aimed at strengthening cooperation between South Africa and other African countries.

A vital part of the effort towards building the SKA on the African continent over the next decade is to develop the skills, regulations and institutional capacity needed in SKA partner countries to optimise African participation in the project.

1.5. Cabinet welcomes the announcement from the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa that South Africa is finalizing in the outstanding three provinces, a verification and audits of all the existing privately owned rhino horn stockpiles.

The initial audit which was conducted by the provinces is being checked and verified by the national Department of Environmental Affairs.

This will assist in preventing the potential smuggling of illegally obtained rhino horns and will ensure that the country has full and accurate information on the number of horns in South Africa at any given time, as well as the registered owner of each one of such horns.

On the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on the issuing of the permit on the selling of Rhino horns to breeder Mr John Hume, which saw South Africa’s first online auction of Rhino horn, Cabinet reiterates amongst several other operational conditions, that; the position permit holder, who must have acquired a sellers permit can only sell rhino horn to a person who has a buyers permit issued in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004), authorizing him/her to buy rhino horn from a sellers permit holder, in this case being Mr Hume.

The permit does not authorize international trade in rhino horn. International trade on horn remains banned, in terms of the provisions on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

During the entire auction the department of environment must be granted access to the online auction to do the necessary compliance monitoring.

South Africa remains committed to a regulated process that manages the trade in threatened or protected species in line with the domestic legislation, as well as the legally binding provisions of the CITES.

1.6. Cabinet welcomes the High Court guilty verdict against the perpetrators involved in a case involving racially motivated violation of an African man by being put in a coffin.

The guilty verdict will serve as a warning to those who still continue to harbor racial prejudices in the country. Cabinet reassures South Africans that any form of racism or act of hate will not be tolerated.  Social cohesion remains an imperative that all of us as a society needs to build and strengthen.

1.7. Cabinet welcomed the Constitutional Court Judgement that ruled that municipalities can no longer hold new property owners liable for previous owners’ historical municipal debt.  The ruling is a relief to property owners, some of whom have been burdened with debt dating back 20 years. Such a ruling paves way for future new property owners. Cabinet calls on municipalities to align their debt collections system to the ruling.

1.8. Cabinet notes that National Treasury is overseeing a forensic investigation into alleged irregularities in the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) programme. Cabinet commends National Treasury for its robust internal audit controls, which identified irregular expenditure. It trusts that the appropriate lessons will be learned with respect to the challenges experienced, and any deliberate wrongdoing or negligence will be identified and the parties held accountable.

Cabinet has full confidence in the institutional strength of National Treasury and its custodianship of public finances. Cabinet further expresses its faith in the IFMS programme’s implementing agencies – National Treasury, the Department of Public Service and Administration, and the State Information Technology Agency – to implement the project successfully.

1.9. Cabinet condemns the leak of a Cabinet Memo proposing options for recapitalizing the South African Airways. A Cabinet Memo is a classified document and leaking it contravenes the government’s information security framework, the Minimum Information Security Standards.

Cabinet has tasked the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to investigate the leak of classified information and calls for relevant punitive measures to be applied to those responsible.

1.10. Cabinet welcomes the increase in funding by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for investment in productive capacity in South Africa, as reflected in its recently released financial results to March 2017. During the National Women’s Month, the IDC approved funding of R3,2 billion for women-empowered businesses, an increase of 178% compared to the previous year.

This included funding for a transaction that places control of a large manganese mine in the hands of a black South African woman. Funding for black-empowered companies amounted to R10,1 billion, of which R4,7 billion was for investment projects led by black industrialists. These numbers underscore the progress made with transformation of economic ownership in the country. A total of 20 881 jobs were created or saved in the full IDC funding for the year, which amounted to R15,3 billion, the highest level yet.

Over the past five years from 2013, the IDC committed R68 billions of funding to investment projects. Together with private sector co-funding, this facilitated investments worth R200 billion and created or saved 99 000 jobs. Cabinet congratulates the IDC and the Economic Development Department on this performance at a time when efforts to boost investment and job creation are critical.

1.11. Cabinet welcomes the setting up of a Market Inquiry into high data costs and notes the gazetting of the terms of reference by the Competition Commission. The Market Inquiry arose out of a request by the Minister of Economic Development in terms of the Competition Act. High data costs have serious economic effects, increases the costs of doing business and can limit the ability of South Africa to successfully utilise new information technologies. Cabinet supports the call on service providers in the sector to cut data costs.

1.12. Cabinet welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Flanders on promotion of the Social Economy in South Africa. The New Growth Path economic strategy adopted in 2010 identified the social economy as one of 10 job drivers.

In terms of the MoU, the Minister of Economic Development will work in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Government of Flanders to document successful examples of social enterprises and will engage local stakeholders on the development of a policy framework to consolidate and strengthen work on the social economy.

Flanders will also partner with the Department of Environmental Affairs in a project on climate change and the green economy, which will focus on adaptation strategies.

1.13. Cabinet is saddened by the loss of life on the country’s roads caused by persistent negligent, reckless and irresponsible drivers. Recently 13 children were injured after an alleged drunken driver crashed a taxi into a tree. Two weeks ago another incidence happened in KwaZulu-Natal, which resulted in 19 deaths and nine injured after a taxi crashed into a bridge.

Cabinet appeals to all those with children in their care to be extra vigilant about drivers transporting children and commuters. Cabinet calls on the law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant on our roads to ensure the safety of the road users.

1.14. Cabinet condemns violence, vandalism, and burning of public infrastructure such as the recent Rea Vaya bus station in Gauteng.  Public transport Infrastructure is a national resource that is meant to serve the public. No amount of dissatisfaction by communities can justify the destruction of property. Cabinet calls on the law enforcement agencies to deal with such criminality.

1.15. Cabinet applauded the financial contribution by the National Disaster Management Centre to the Western Cape Provincial Government. More than R74 million was made available to address drought-related challenges, including recent ravaging fires and shortage of livestock feed.  Cabinet continues to call on South Africans to utilize water sparingly.

2. Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet welcomed an increase in the uptake of locally developed technologies and innovations in South Africa. Science and technology is a key enabler in the multipronged national effort to secure higher economic growth rates in the National Development Plan.

According to the 2015 Science, Technology and Innovation Performance Report of the National Advisory Council on Innovation (NACI) a technology expenditure nearly doubled as a percentage of GDP from 0.018% in 2005 to 0.033% in 2015. 

More departments, private sector and research institutions have invested a great deal of technology and innovation in their respective developmental programmes.

As a way of further strengthening these achievements, Cabinet approved three opportunity areas identified by Department of Science and Technology to support in the health technologies, defense and security related technologies and social infrastructure in respect of technology.

Cabinet also endorsed additional work of tracking and measuring the development of technology and innovation in social and economic development.

3. Bills

3.1. Cabinet approved for the introduction of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill of 2017 into Parliament.

The focus of the Bill is to repeal Aventura’s founding legislation, the Overvaal Resorts Limited Act, 1993 (Act 127 of 1993). This will enable the completion of the disposal of Aventura. Cabinet took the decision to dispose of Aventura after it considered it as a non-core asset in government. The Bill went out for public consultation in March 2017.

3.2. In aligning legislation with developments in the education landscape, Cabinet approved for the publication of the Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill of 2017 in the Government Gazette for public comment.

The Bill is the outcome of the review of all basic education legislation with a view to enhancing organisational efficiency so as to improve school governance, leadership and accountability, transforming education services, and protecting vulnerable groups to ensure the well-being of learners.

Amendments were proposed to the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), and the Employment of Educators Act, 1998 (Act 76 of 1998).

4. Upcoming events

4.1. In September we will mark Heritage Month, Tourism Month, Arbor Week, Public Service Month, National Development Plan (NDP) Month and Thusong Service Centre Week. Further details on these events will be communicated by the relevant departments.

4.2. As the chair of the SADC, South Africa has offered to host the SADC ICT Ministers Meeting from 4 to 7 September 2017 to discuss progress made on the implementation of the SADC Communications and ICT Programme.

Minister Ayanda Dlodlo and Minister Siyabonga Cwele will lead the South African delegation in this meeting. The meeting is to provide guidance on strategic communications and ICT issues and also track implementation of decisions made at previous meetings. South Africa will use the meeting to promote access to affordable ICT infrastructure services, thereby positioning the country as a regional infrastructure hub and promoting small, medium and micro enterprises under the overall SADC industrialisation and regional integration agendas.

4.3. The 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit will take place in Xiamen, China from 4 to 5 September 2017. The theme of China’s BRICS Chairpersonship is: “BRICS: Stronger Partnerships for a Brighter Future”.

Total bilateral trade between South Africa and other BRICS countries amounted to US$29 billion in 2016. South Africa’s biggest export destination within BRICS remains China, followed by India, Brazil and then Russia. The same pattern is also evident in imports, with China remaining the biggest source of imports.

The 2017 BRICS Summit will feature five key priorities namely, deepening cooperation, strengthening global governance, undertaking people-to-people exchanges, advancing institutional improvements and building broader partnerships.

The strategic focus for South Africa in BRICS is to promote value-added trade, attract investment into the country’s productive sectors and enhance cooperation to advance our development objectives.

4.4. Cabinet noted the participation of South African companies in the 53rd edition of the Maputo International Trade Fair, commonly known as FACIM, which is taking place in Mozambique from 28 August to 3 September 2017.

 FACIM is an international multi-sectoral trade fair held annually to showcase Mozambique as an attractive destination for trade and investment. Twenty companies were funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) while 10 were supported by the Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency. The companies represented various sectors including chemicals, agro-processing, clothing and textile, engineering, mining and capital equipment, and electro-technical and built environment sectors.

Mozambique is South Africa’s third largest trade partner in the SADC region, after Botswana and Namibia. Trade between the two countries increased from R29 billion in 2012 to R43 billion in 2016. There are currently 300 South African companies operating in Mozambique.

The participation of the South African companies in FACIM received a particular recognition during last week’s Binational Commission as one of the platforms that business communities in the two countries can use for engaging on possible cooperation and partnerships for increasing trade and investment between our countries.

4.5. The Minister of Home Affairs, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, will participate in the Ministerial Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa to be held in the Kingdom of Swaziland from 2 to 4 September 2017. The overall objective of the event is to foster dialogue among SADC member states to improve migration governance in the region. Issues to be explored include statelessness, migration, border management and labour migration.

5. Messages

5.1. Cabinet expressed its deepest and heartfelt condolences to:

  • Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and his family following the passing of his mother, Mama Emma Mbalula. May they find strength to cope with the difficulty and deep-seated pain that the passing of a mother brings to any home.
  • the loved ones of three mineworkers who have been confirmed dead following an underground collapse of the Kusasalethu Mine near Cartonville in Gauteng, due to seismic activity registering 1.8 on the Richter Scale.  Cabinet is hopeful that the two other missing miners will be rescued by search teams currently on the ground and is relieved that dozens of miners were brought safely to the surface amid the incident.
  • the Government and people of the Republic of Sierra Leone following one of the worst floods in our continent. This natural disaster devastated significant parts of the country, resulting in massive loss of life, destruction of property and leaving behind a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Through the DIRCO, South Africa pledged R8 million to assist in disaster relief.

5.2. Cabinet congratulates all Muslims who have successfully performed the Haj (pilgrimage) and wishes all Muslims a joyous ‘Eid-al-Adha.

6. Appointments

All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.

6.1. Mr Mziwonke Dlabantu as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Home Builders Registration Council.

6.2. Special Economic Zones Advisory Board:

  • Ms Lizeka Valerie Matshekga (Industrial Development Corporation designate member); and
  • Mr Sipho Reginald Zikode (Department of Trade and Industry alternate member).

Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Director-General (GCIS)
Cell: 083 501 0139

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