Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 13 April 2016

21 Apr 2016

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet welcomes the achievements highlighted by President Jacob Zuma during his site visit to the Port of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, to assess progress made on the implementation of the Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy initiative. Government has unlocked investments amounting to about R17 billion in the Oceans Economy. Since its inception, over 4 500 jobs have been created in various sectors.

Two of the nine tugboats being built by the Southern African Shipyards for Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) in the Port of Durban are destined for the Port of Port Elizabeth. President Zuma launched the first tugboat in Port Elizabeth, named the Mvezo, after the birthplace of former President Nelson Mandela.

The TNPA has allocated over R7 billion to improve our ports. The President viewed the refurbished and reconstructed slipway and lead-in jetties within the Port of Port Elizabeth that will be able to accommodate 12 more vessels as compared to the current two.

1.2. Cabinet thanks all taxpayers who have partnered with government in the 2015/16 financial year to take our revenue collection to R1 trillion for the first time. This is a clear demonstration of the strength of our thriving economy even under difficult circumstances.

It is through the tax contributions of compliant South Africans and the effective collection by the South African Revenue Service that government is better able to provide much-needed services that contribute to improving the lives of South Africans.

1.3. Cabinet welcomes President Zuma’s announcement of 3 August 2016 as the date for the 2016 Local Government Elections. Government is pleased that the two registration weekends on 5 – 6 March and 9 – 10 April saw large numbers of potential voters visiting the voting stations, especially first-time voters and the youth.

Cabinet thanks all those who responded to the call to register and check their details on the voters’ roll. It is through our collective participation that our democracy moves from strength to strength.

Cabinet urges all citizens who have not yet registered or checked their details to visit offices of the Independent Electoral Commission in their local municipalities and update their details on the voters’ roll (provide addresses) and register to vote during the 3 August polls. Voters can also SMS their ID number to 32810 or call the contact centre on 0800 11 8000 to verify their status.

Registration secures your name on the voters’ roll so that you can be able to vote. Cabinet calls on citizens to exercise our hard won democratic right to vote in the 2016 Local Government Elections on 3 August 2016.

1.4. Cabinet welcomes the official launch of the eChannel Pilot Project of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) by President Zuma. This new innovative system allows citizens to apply for their Smart ID cards online and avoid long queues.

This collaboration with four major banks  – ABSA, FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank

– to introduce an online application platform for Smart ID cards and passports will enable customers to visit DHA kiosks to submit their fingerprints and pictures after having made appointments and payments online.

eChannel is part of the department’s overall modernisation strategy to move services from paper to digital, a process which will include the cleaning of the population register.

1.5. Cabinet welcomes the success of the recently held Imbizo Focus Week under the theme ‘Together we move South Africa forward’, which saw government officials interacting with communities throughout the country.

Cabinet commends those South Africans who participated in over 36 programmes across the country, which ensured that government responded to identified community needs. The Imbizo Focus Week has empowered communities with information on government programmes.

1.6. The Department of Human Settlements hosted a very successful United Nations (UN) conference dealing with informal settlements, emphasising the phenomenal rate of urbanisation and the growth of slums. Now one billion people in the world live in slums. South Africa has since 1994 built millions of houses as part of ensuring a better life for all.

2. Bills

Cabinet approved the following draft Bills:

2.1. Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill of 2016 to be published in the Government Gazette for public comment.

The Bill repeals the National Key Points Act, 1980 (Act 102 of 1980), and seeks to align the process of identifying and declaring critical infrastructures in a transparent and accountable manner. It will also further ensure that all critical infrastructures for the national security of the country are identified and adequately protected.

The Bill provides for the setting up of an institutional framework to monitor and administer the protection of the critical infrastructures. It further defines the functions of the body that will advise the Minister of Police in the declaration of critical infrastructures.

2.2. The Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill of 2016 to be published for public comment. The Bill amends the current Communal Property Associations Act, 1996 (Act 28 of 1996).

The Bill will strengthen the democratic governance process of the existing Communal Property Associations or existing Trust entities that oversee communal land. The amended Bill provides for the setting up of the Registrar in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and defines the functions of this office. Once this Bill is passed into law, it will strengthen the regulation of governance institutions and enhance State support to them.

It will enable communities to acquire, hold and manage properties through effective statutorily established administration entities supported by government.

2.3. The introduction of the International Arbitration Bill of 2016 to Parliament. The international arbitration process is an essential tool for doing business across the borders of the country. It will improve access to justice services for companies doing business outside the country and foreign companies in South Africa. The Bill repeals the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act, 1977 (Act 40 of 1977) and also amends the current Protection of Business Act, 1978 (Act 99 of 1978). The proposed Bill aligns with the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration, which has been adopted by the UN Commission on International Trade Law.

2.4. The publication of the draft National Research Foundation Amendment Bill of 2016 in the Government Gazette for public comment. The Bill amends the National Research Foundation Act, 1998 (Act 23 of 1998).

The Bill will improve South Africa’s competitiveness in research development and innovation through effective, adequate and coordinated management of public engagement with science, and improved research infrastructure provision and access. It will also improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of research development and innovation provision, to improve the quality of life of South Africans through better alignment with government priorities.

3. Key Cabinet decisions

3.1. Cabinet adopted the White Paper on Policing. The draft White Paper was first published for public comment in March 2015. The paper provides for a police service that is biased towards active citizenry and responds to the existing policing environment. It also provides for a South African Police Service and metro police that is accountable and professional. The White Paper also calls for the establishment of a National Police Board which, amongst other tasks, will be responsible for setting up the objective criteria for the recruitment, selection and appointment of new recruits in the police services.

3.2. Cabinet adopted the White Paper on Safety and Security. The White Paper, which has already been out for public consultation in February 2015, focuses on an integrated and developmental approach to safety beyond policing. It seeks to guide on preventative safety measures for communities. The White Paper identifies all the relevant departments and community-based organisations that contribute to the safety of communities. 

3.3. Cabinet approved the draft Policy on the Customary Practice of Initiation in South Africa and approved for the Department of Traditional Affairs to commence drafting national legislation on initiation. The policy has already gone through an extensive public consultation process with relevant stakeholders.

The policy provides guidelines that ensure the protection of the traditional custom of the annual initiation of young boys without compromising their safety. This forms part of the steps that government is taking to reinforce appropriate and acceptable customs. It restores an acceptable level of accountability to those that run initiation schools and parents that send their children to these schools.

3.4. Cabinet approved the recommendations made by the Committee of Inquiry on the feasibility of trading in rhino horns as one of the options to preserve the country’s rhino population. The recommendations were endorsed by the Interdepartmental Technical Advisory Committee and the Inter-Ministerial Committee appointed to investigate the possibility of legalising commercial international trade in rhino horn.

The recommendations endorse South Africa’s integrated strategic management approach to resolving the poaching of rhino and illegal trade in rhino. The committee recommends that the current mode of keeping the country’s stock levels be kept as opposed to the trading in rhino horns. The country’s strategic approach entails security; community empowerment; biological management; responsive legislative provisions that are effectively implemented and enforced; and demand management.

3.5. Cabinet approved the following 2016 commemorative coin designs:

a) The National Geographic Coin Series – Big Cats Initiative: ‘The Cheetah’.

b) The Sterling-silver crown and tickey coin series ‘South African inventions – ‘Dolosse’.

The coin designs, together with their proclamations, will be printed in the Government Gazette, and will then be manufactured and sold through the normal channels.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. President Zuma will between the 18 and 22 April 2016 undertake working visits to member states of the Southern Africa Custom Union (SACU) which include Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The visits will enhance the important role that SACU plays in promoting regional integration and economic development of all its members.

4.2. The President will undertake a State Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran on 23 and 24 April 2016 to strengthen political and economic engagements between the two countries.

4.3. The President will lead the National Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2016 in Limpopo, Giyani Stadium under the theme: “Together building better communities – Local Government is everyone’s business”.

Cabinet calls on all South Africans and sectors to demonstrate their patriotism by participating in the various events commemorating Freedom Month.

4.4. During the upcoming weeks, Parliament will be holding departmental Budget Votes. The respective departmental Executives will unpack their operational plans for the 2016/17 financial year. Members of the public will be informed about service-delivery programmes of government.

5. Cabinet’s position on key issues in the environment

5.1. Cabinet welcomed the response and subsequent apology by President Zuma to the Constitutional Court judgment relating to compliance with remedial actions set out in a report of the Public Protector.

Cabinet is studying the judgment to establish if there are any other actions to be undertaken to strengthen the role of the Public Service.

The Constitutional Court judgment reinforces and asserts South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

5.2. Cabinet noted the actions by the four banks that gave notice to close the bank account of a company. Whilst Cabinet appreciate the terms and conditions of the banks, the acts may deter future potential investors who may want to do business in South Africa. Cabinet has endorsed that the Ministers of Finance, Labour and Mineral Resources should open a constructive engagement with the banks to find a lasting solution to this matter.

5.3. Cabinet congratulated the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who received the USAID-TB international award in recognition of his leadership in the global fight against tuberculosis (TB) as well as championing South Africa's and regional initiatives in the screening, treatment and prevention of TB; TB/HIV co-infection and multi-drug resistant TB.

5.4. Cabinet welcomes the nomination of South Africa as the 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Diplomatic Service Award by the World Affairs Council in Washington, DC. As the first African country to receive this award, it recognises the country’s outstanding commitment to global education, international affairs and global communications to advance our national interests.

Cabinet commends the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, for her contribution to South Africa’s international engagements, which are driven by the vision of a “united African continent that is peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous, and which contributes to a just and equitable world.”

5.5. Cabinet welcomes the appointment by President Zuma of Advocate Jan Lekhoa Mothibi, as the Head of the Special Investigating Unit, and wishes him all the best in his new responsibilities of combating corruption and maladministration.

5.6. Cabinet conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Makwetu family and the Pan Africanist Congress on the passing of Mr Clarence Makwetu. Mr Makwetu will be remembered for his immense contribution and personal sacrifices to the liberation movement and the establishment of the new democratic South Africa. The President declared a Special Provincial Official Funeral for the liberation struggle stalwart.

5.7. Cabinet conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Naidoo family on the passing of Mr Kumaran Naidoo. Mr Naidoo was the Acting Director-General of the Department of Economic Development. He previously served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Department of Trade and Industry. Mr Naidoo has contributed immensely in financial management within the Public Service.

5.8. Cabinet expressed its appreciation on the contribution made by Mr William Smith, who served as Cabinet Secretariat. Mr Smith retired at the end of March after serving the Public Service for 27 years. Cabinet wishes him well on his retirement.

6. The Cabinet was briefed about the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of Fraud, Corruption, Impropriety or Irregularity in the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (Arms Procurement Commission) which was released by the President this morning.

The Report has found no evidence of wrongdoing, bribery, fraud or corruption in the arms procurement process, As Government we welcome the findings of the Commission. We have been vindicated as we have stated over many years that there was no wrongdoing and that the procurement had been above board.

We trust that the findings will bring closure to this long drawn out matter.

We join President Zuma in thanking Justice Willie Seriti and Judge Thekiso Musi, all the witnesses, including former President Thabo Mbeki, evidence leaders, legal teams, staff and those who contributed to making the work of the Commission a success.

7. Appointments

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

7.1. Mr Siyabonga Gama as Group Executive and Mr Garry Pita as Group Chief Financial Officer of Transnet.

7.2. Mr Lufuno  Leslie  Nevhutalu  as  member  and  Chairperson  of  the  Construction Industry Development Board.

7.3. Mr Andile Nongogo as the Chief Executive Officer of the Services Sector Education Training Authority.

7.4. Non-executive members to the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency Board:

a) Mr Raymond Dennis Baloyi;

b) Ms Keitumetse Mahlangu;

c) Ms Ignatia Dikeledi Sekonyela;

d) Mr Mosoenyane Ramathe;

e) Prof Jan Havenga; and

f) Mr Lucky Lempiditse Thekisho.

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