Statement on the Virtual Cabinet Meeting held on Wednesday, 27 May 2020

1.  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in South Africa

1.1.  Cabinet was briefed on the outcome of consultations undertaken by President Cyril Ramaphosa with various civil-society organisations, to ensure that the country’s progression from Level 4 to Level 3 of the national lockdown has the support and inputs of all social partners.

1.2. Accompanied by various Ministers, he met with community, labour and business sectors, South African Council of Churches; leadership of interfaith communities; Mayors; Premiers; South African Local Government Association, traditional leadership and political parties represented in Parliament.

1.3.  Cabinet welcomed the outcome of these consultations, which were broadly constructive and enriched planning for the gradual easing of restrictions to Level 3 which kicks in on the 1st June 2020. This level will entail a further broadening of economic activity and the removal of restrictions on the movement of people. It will also enable about eight million South Africans to return to work.

1.4. Special attention will be given to ‘hotspot’ areas which have increased rates of coronavirus infections. Provincial health departments will roll out dedicated health interventions in those hotspot areas in the form of intensified screening, testing, and quarantine and prevention measures. 
 
1.5. Cabinet reiterated its support for the inclusive consultations undertaken by President Ramaphosa since the start of the national state of disaster on 15 March 2020. These consultations have made it possible for all sectors of society to play a role in the fight against the Covid19 pandemic, saving of lives and protecting livelihoods.

1.6. The operational and technical management of COVID-19 interventions is driven by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) and the Department of Health. NATJOINTS is a multidisciplinary coordinating structure of government that is activated to manage large projects. 

1.7. The COVID-19 NATJOINTS is built on work streams that comprise scientists; health specialists; engineers; representatives of the National Disaster Management centres; legal advisors; leadership of the country’s security and law-enforcement agencies, and teams from departments that make up the economic and social clusters of the Forum of South African Directors-General.

1.8. NATJOINTS receives reports from different departments and submits proposals to Directors-General (DGs) to develop recommendations that are presented to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).

1.9. The NCCC deliberates DGs’ recommendations and also makes its own recommendations to Cabinet where proposals, including regulations, are approved. This process ensures that the Executive takes collective decisions that are consensual and inclusive. Therefore, Cabinet condemns in the strongest possible terms false suggestions that individual members of the Executive are responsible for recommendations that emanate from the NCCC or decisions taken by Cabinet.

1.10. Cabinet appeals for the unity in action by all sectors of society against a common and dangerous enemy, the COVID-19 pandemic.

1.11. Cabinet thanks all South Africans for their continuing sacrifice and understanding during the purposeful lockdown period. President Ramaphosa’s declaration of the national state of disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002) immensely contributed to saving lives. 

1.12. The drastic containment measures resulted in significantly slowing and reduction of the infectious trajectory. The lockdown gave South Africa the time and space to put measures in place in the public and private health sectors to deal with an inevitable increase in infections.

1.13. Cabinet continues to appeal to all South Africans to take greater personal responsibility to protect themselves and others to reduce the spread of the virus.

1.14.  Ministers across a range of portfolios will unpack the details in media briefings that will be conducted today, Thursday 28 May and tomorrow, Friday 29 May 2020.

Cabinet Decisions

2.  Hosting of Deep Space Ground Station

2.1. Cabinet approved that the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) enter into a partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to host a Deep Space Ground Station. The station, which will be based in Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape, will support human spaceflight missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.  

2.2. It will be integrated into an existing network of three sites in the United States of America, Spain and Australia. As the fourth site, it will complement the other three sites and provide improved coverage and redundancy for critical mission support. SANSA will operate, maintain and manage the station.

2.3. The station will benefit South Africa in, amongst others, the development of scarce skills and the growth of the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector. It will also provide opportunities to feed the knowledge economy, and increase the national research output in space science and technology. 

3. Draft White Paper on Fire Services

3.1. Cabinet approved the Draft White Paper on Fire Services. The White Paper outlines key policy proposals that will form the basis of the fire services legislation that will replace the current Fire Brigade Services Act, 1987 (Act 99 of 1987).  
3.2. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of both the national and provincial spheres of government in supporting municipalities. To ensure that this service is constantly aligned to the modern ways of managing fire disasters, it proposes research and data collection capacity. 
3.3. In general, it also seeks to align it with other legislations passed post 1994 and which relate to local government. A wide consultation with all the relevant stakeholders and general public has been undertaken.

4.  Executive functions during Level 3

4.1. Cabinet approved that under Level 3, which starts from Monday, 1 June 2020, it would adopt a blended approach which includes both physical and virtual Cabinet meetings.

4.2 Cabinet also approved the monitoring teams comprising Ministers and Deputy Ministers. They have been allocated to each of the 52 districts and metros to monitor the measures that have been put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Appointments

All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
1. Council for Mineral Technology (MINTEK) Board: 
Dr Vanguard Mbuyiseli Mkosana (Chairperson);
Ms Ntokozo Faith Ngcwabe – Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE);
Mr Rantsadi Andries Moatshe (Alternate);
Dr Maropeng Walter Ngobeni;
Prof Lindiwe Zungu;
Mr Philippus Rudolf Heydenrich;
Ms Pontsho Maruping;
Mr Harold Motaung;
Ms Phydelis Ntombifuthi Zikalala-Mvelase;
Ms Margaret Mosibudi Phiri;
Mr Lefadi Lucas Makibinyane; and
Dr M Motuku.

2.    Council for Geoscience Board:
Dr Humphrey Lawrence Mbendeni Mathe (Chairperson);
Mr Andries Moatshe (DMRE);
Dr Thuli Khumalo (Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries);
Mr Sanelo Malaza (alternate);
Ms Rosalind Mdubeki (Department of Rural Development and Land Reform);
Ms Pontsho Tsotetsi (alternate);
Ms Deborah Mochothli (Department of Water and Sanitation);
Mr Paul Nel (alternate);
Dr Jennifer Mirembe;
Mr Smunda Mokoena;
Mr Xolisa Mvinjelwa (mining sector);
Adv Ntika Maake;
Ms Adila Chowan (commerce sector);
Mr B Gerryts (Department of Science and Innovation);
Ms Lebogang Madiba (National Treasury); and
Mr Moses Mabuza – Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

3. Non-executive directors to the Ports Regulator of South Africa Board: 
Mr Zolani Kgosietsile Matthews (Chairperson);
Ms Siphokazi Matolengwe;
Mr Asraf Mohamed Adam;
Ms Leanda-Marsha Vilakazi;
Ms Kenosi Selane; 
Mr Zola Fihlani;
Dr Tshisikawe Victor Munyama; and
Ms Zandile Kabini.

4. Mr Abel Moffat SithoIe as CEO of the Public Investment Corporation. 
5. Ms Phumla Williams as DG of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS).

Enquiries: Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson 
Mobile: 083 501 0139

Year: 
2020
Media Statement date: 
Thursday, May 28, 2020