Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 14 September 2016

15 Sep 2016

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet is encouraged by the growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) of 3.3% in the second quarter of 2016; released by Statistics South Africa. The 8.1% increase in manufacturing and 11.8% in mining and quarrying demonstrates the resilience of the economy in this tough economic environment. The GDP grew by R25 billion more than the first quarter of 2016 to an estimated R1 068 billion.

We reiterate the call for government, business and civil society to consolidate the social compact in the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), through the Nine-Point Plan so as to further counteract the current economic conditions and stimulate growth to support the economy and help save jobs.

This a clear demonstration that when all partners – government, business and labour – work together we can achieve economic growth and ultimately create much-needed jobs.

1.2. Cabinet welcomed the announcement that the second 800 megawatts (MW) unit at the Medupi Power Station project in Limpopo had been synchronised to the grid. Unit 5 of the power station, which is one of six being built as part of the 4 800 MW project, will become commercially operational by March 2018.

This is the second of the power station’s six units to come on stream. The first unit, or Unit 6, began feeding power into the grid in March 2015 and has entered commercial operation. The entire six-unit Medupi project is expected to be completed in 2020.

This contributes to the stabilisation of the grid which strengthens reliable electricity supply for South Africa. Cabinet congratulated Eskom for the synchronisation milestone, which is part of a broader build-programme acceleration, being driven by the new leadership. This contributes to operational and financial sustainability for Eskom.

1.3. Cabinet reiterates its commitment to the Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, which will develop and produce a significant share of the new electricity capacity as a critical component that underpins economic activity and growth.

This will contribute to the diversification of both the supply and nature of energy production. In addition to introducing new skills and securing new investment in the industry, it will also benchmark performance and pricing.

This supports the NDP, which identifies the need for South Africa to invest in a strong network of economic infrastructure designed to support the country’s medium- and long-term economic and social objectives.\

1.4. Cabinet also noted the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and China Communications Construction Company Limited to explore various infrastructure development initiatives, including the Moloto Rail Development Corridor which links Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

The MoU was signed at the 2nd Investment Africa Investment Forum attended by President Jacob Zuma in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, in China.

The project will serve as a catalyst for economic development initiatives within and around the corridor to resolve challenges of safety, efficiency, reliability, affordability and overall integration with other public transport services. It would also improve the quality of life for people in the area by cutting the long commuting distances.

1.5. Cabinet was apprised on the progress reports for quarter one, for the period April to June 2016, on the implementation of Outcomes. Government recorded progress which is making an impact on the lives of people while also addressing problems affecting service delivery.

Implementation of the Outcome Programme of Action implements the objectives of the NDP, which is South Africa’s blueprint to take us closer to realising Vision 2030. This translates into the targets set out in the Medium Term Strategic Framework, which is government’s first five-year implementation plan of the NDP 2030, covering the period from 2014 to 2019.

There have been improvements in health status reflected in key population health indicators such as enhanced life expectancy, reduced under-five mortality and reduced maternal mortality. There has been improved provision of basic services, including grid and non-grid electricity connections, potable water in dwellings, sanitation and solid waste management. However, there are still backlogs in some places. Since 1994 there has been sustained and improved provision of social assistance to over 16 million beneficiaries, and evidence that this is having a significant impact on the lives of the poor.

The GCIS is coordinating with departments to secure Cluster Media briefings to unpack highlights from the quarterly reports.

1.6. Cabinet welcomes the Imbizo hosted by the Minister in The Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and Chairperson of the National Planning Commission, Jeff Radebe, on interventions implemented to fast-track the payment of suppliers (or service providers) by government within the stipulated 30-day period.

Since the establishment of the Special Unit in the Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) to tackle the problem of non-payment of suppliers within the required 30 days, the number of legitimate invoices paid as at June 2016 was 17 668 to the value of R340 million.

The DPME and National Treasury have also devoted more resources to the effort of addressing the challenges of payment of suppliers. To this end, a walk-in centre has been established at National Treasury’s offices to attend to suppliers’ queries.

Additionally, the DPME special unit and its partners are rolling out a targeted support programme to identified struggling departments to understand and address the challenges that lead to non-payment or late payments of suppliers.

During these visits, the entire value chain of payment of invoices is assessed, blockages are identified and departments are assisted with implementation of improvement measures.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. South Africa will host the 17th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at the Sandton Convention Centre from 24 September to 5 October 2016. With 181 Parties, CITES remains one of the world's most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora. CITES Parties and observers are expected to engage in robust discussions and come up with resolutions that take forward the work already underway around the trade in flora and fauna.

South Africa is a world leader in the field of wildlife conservation through its active participation in multilateral environmental agreements such as CITES, the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Our country’s unique system of protected areas comprises roughly 5,5% of the country's surface area, six World Heritage Sites and four biosphere reserves.

2.2. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, will lead the South African delegation at the 26th World Postal Congress of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to be held in Istanbul, Turkey from 20 September to 7 October 2016. The UPU is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) that focusses on modernising the postal sector and diversifying postal products to sustain a universal postal territory that meets the needs of the 21st century.

This congress is critical for South Africa, as the South African Post Office is key a player of government service delivery and is aligned to the NDP, through the national address and roll-out of financial and government services to rural and underserved communities.

2.3. Cabinet was briefed on progress regarding preparations for the Commonwealth Games 2022 to be staged in the City of Durban.

Investment in infrastructure for the Games is expected to contribute to the lasting benefits of the host city, which will also make use of the infrastructure legacy of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This added exposure to global markets will also provide opportunities to attract and enhance tourism and foreign direct investment. The 2022 Commonwealth Games is expected to deliver up to R20 billion in output to the economy, translating into an additional R11 billion GDP growth.

This further positions the country as a sport tourism destination and also provides opportunities for Team South Africa.

2.4. Cabinet noted the subpoena served on the Secretary of Cabinet by the Public Protector. The subpoena requests the Secretary of Cabinet to provide the declarations of Cabinet members and the minutes of Cabinet, in the period November 2015 to April 2016, that record the appointment of acting Ministers while the incumbent Ministers were abroad.

Cabinet agreed to provide the Public Protector with the declarations. However, since the President of South Africa appoints Ministers and Deputy Ministers under sections 91 and 98 of the Constitution, such matters have not come before Cabinet and therefore these records have not been minuted as Cabinet decisions.

3. Bills

3.1. Publication of the National Liquor Amendment Bill of 2016 was approved for wider public consultation. This amends the National Liquor Act, 2003 (Act 59 of 2003). This was approved together with the final National Liquor Policy, which addresses challenges hampering the effectiveness of the Act and facilitated the drafting of the Bill.

The Bill addresses the socio-economic impact of liquor, the slow pace of transformation, standardisation of key aspects of regulation and improved regulatory collaboration, eradicating the manufacturing and trading in illegal and illicit alcohol as well as challenges regarding regulatory capacity within the National Liquor Authority.

This intervention also focuses on reducing socio-economic harms and other costs of liquor abuse, restructuring the liquor industry and enhancing cooperation between all spheres of government.

It is aligned to the NDP priorities of ensuring effective governance, social protection and employment creation. It will amongst others, prevent illegal trading, enhance education and awareness programmes, and assist in enhanced programmes on rehabilitating those who are addicted.

3.2. Cabinet also approved the draft National Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 for wider public comment. The Bill addresses challenges hampering effectiveness of the National Gambling Act, 2004 (Act 7 of 2004).

The Bill aims to ensure that cooperative governance and oversight functions are improved and that regulatory certainty and negative effects of gambling are drastically reduced. It will focus on enhancing existing gambling activities and no new gambling activities will be introduced. The Bill will ensure that vulnerable groups such as minors and problem gamblers are protected and will be able to access assistance from organisations such as the National Gambling Regulator.

It is strategically aligned with the priorities outlined in the NDP with a view to ensure effective governance, social protection, employment creation, recreation and leisure.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, will lead a delegation to the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit under the theme “Peace, Sovereignty and Solidarity for Development” to be held in Venezuela from 17 to 18 September 2016.

NAM is the largest grouping outside the UN and it allows developing nations to influence global affairs and ensure that their interests are taken into consideration.

4.2. President Zuma will lead a delegation to the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 18 to 22 September 2016.
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in September 2015 officially came into force. Over the next 15 years, countries will mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

4.3. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the national Heritage Day celebration on 24 September 2016 at Galeshewe Stadium, Kimberley, Northern Cape. This is celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating Human Treasures by Asserting our African Identity”.

4.4. The International Conference on Sustainable Development takes place in New York from 21 to 22 September 2016 under the theme: “Moving Forward: The SDGs in Practice.”
The aim of the conference is to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that can support the SDGs. The conference brings together stakeholders from government, academia, the UN, international agencies, non-governmetal organisations and grassroots organisations.

4.5. Cabinet welcomes the five year anniversary event of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) on the margins of the UNGA, in New York on 20 September 2016.

This event will see the official handover of the position of, Lead Chair of the OGP by South Africa. It will be attended by Heads of State and Government, civil society leaders and others stakeholders who have been instrumental to OGP’s success. South Africa assumed the position of Lead Chair of the Partnership at the Mexico Summit in October 2015.

Since eight Heads of State and Government partnered with nine civil society leaders to launch the Open Government Partnership on the margins of UNGA in 2011, this dynamic partnership has grown to 70 governments and thousands of civil society organisations across the world, with over 3 000 specific commitments to increase transparency and accountability of governments and to improve public participation.

4.6. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Siyabonga Cwele, will lead the South African delegation to the UN’s Broadband Commission meeting that will take place in New York on 18 September 2016.

The commission is tasked with looking into strategies of connecting the four billion people who are presently not connected to broadband or fast Internet, in a cost efficient manner. This year’s meeting will evaluate and review present strategies and decide on future course of action to enhance the use of broadband for sustainable development.

4.7. Transport Month in October 2016 will be hosted under the theme: “Together we move South Africa Forward.” The month-long programme will showcase transport infrastructure projects, promote the use of public transport and advance the country’s road safety initiatives.

Government is investing in the transport sector which is part of the country’s Nine-Point Plan to stimulate development and create jobs. Our public transport investments are part of building and operating an integrated public transport network across the country.

The country’s transport investment will help grow the economy and address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Our investments in transport are positioning the country as an attractive investment destination.

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

5.1. Cabinet welcomes the outcomes from the G20 Leaders’ Summit, attended by President Jacob Zuma, where interests of the South were advanced.

The Summit which was held under the theme: “Towards An Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy” discussed the following priority areas: i) Breaking a New Path for Growth, ii) More Effective and Efficient Global Economic and Financial Governance, iii) Robust International Trade and Investment, iv) Inclusive and Interconnected Development, and v) Other issues affecting the World such as Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR).

In bolstering innovation as a key driver of growth for individual countries and the global economy, the G20 endorsed the Blueprint on Innovative Growth as a new agenda encompassing policies and measures in and across the areas of innovation, the new industrial revolution and the digital economy.

Further, The G20 New Industrial Revolution Action Plan seizes the opportunity that the new industrial revolution presents for industry, particularly manufacturing and related services. This includes support for industrialisation in developing countries, especially those in Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Also, the launch of the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa and LDCs strengthens inclusive growth and development potential through voluntary policy options.

In contributing to the building of an open and resilient financial system to support sustainable growth and development, South Africa’s proposal that illicit financial flows from trade mispricing be studied by the World Trade Organisation, was accepted. Addressing this challenge holds the potential to unlock finances that could be used by African governments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and their development programmes.

5.2. Cabinet reiterates that it is the responsibility of all South Africans to make a concerted effort to save water and use it wisely, this includes fixing leaking taps and taking care of public infrastructure within communities.

The drop in national dam levels has necessitated the imposing of water restrictions in a number of provinces and most recently, the Gauteng Province.

We need to work together to support our communities in distress by reporting vandalism and theft of infrastructure to the relevant authorities. Government is mindful of the hardships experienced by our people in the most affected areas and the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought has outlined the intensification of relief interventions to distressed areas.

Long and short term interventions are being implemented while monitoring and evaluation of all efforts is on-going. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, through the National Disaster Management Centre, continues to coordinate the country’s drought and water scarcity situation in collaboration with all the sectors and private sector.

5.3. Cabinet joins the nation in commending the performance of Team South Africa who are at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in Brazil from 7 to 18 September. These athletes are making our nation proud and continue to build on our stellar reputation of performing well at the Paralympics. Cabinet congratulates the team for winning nine medals: three gold, three silver and three bronze. Cabinet congratulates the following athletes for winning gold medals: swimmer Kevin Paul, Hilton Langenhoven in long jump and Charl du Toit in the 100-metre track.

5.4. Cabinet welcomed the release the 2015/16 crime statistics by the South Africa Police Service that reflect an overall trend that crime in the country has decreased.

While the progress made by SAPS in bringing down the levels of certain types of crimes is applauded, there remains concern over the increase of violent crime, especially murder.
Fighting crime is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to work with SAPS to realise our common objective of safer communities, safer cities and a safer country. This will increase collaboration between the different law-enforcement arms to reduce crime levels.

5.5. Cabinet reminds taxpayers who submit their tax return manually or by post that the 23 September 2016 deadline for filing their returns for the 2016 tax season is fast approaching.

Cabinet wishes to thank taxpayers who have already filed their returns. The revenue collected by SARS aids government in providing services to millions of South Africans who need it the most.

5.6. Cabinet recognises the struggles that young people encounter as they try to educate themselves. Government remains committed to ensuring quality and affordable education for all.  Funding made available through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme now stands at R14 582 billion, and helps to ensure that poor hard working students can access education at all 26 public universities and 50 public Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges.

According to Statistics South Africa’s 2015 General Household Survey: ‘Educational attainment outcomes continue to improve with improved access to educational facilities and services. Among individuals aged 20 years and older, the percentage who attained Grade 12 as their highest level of education increased from 21,9% in 2002 to 28,0% in 2015. The percentage of these individuals with tertiary qualifications furthermore improved from 9,3% to 14,1%’. Cabinet remains committed to a phased realisation of free education for the poor, within fiscal affordability.

Our long term vision for higher education will be informed by the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding and Training, currently sitting and is expected to complete its work by the 30th June 2017. We call on all stakeholders to give the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding and Training a chance to complete its work. By working together we can find solutions that are both practical and sustainable.

5.7. Cabinet is concerned at the resurgence of violent protests in some institutions of higher learning. The destruction of property is a crime that detracts from legitimate issues.
The resources destroyed, including a library, as witnessed at University of KwaZulu-Natal, books and infrastructure is unacceptable and destroys the knowledge capital accumulated over time. These are acts of criminality for which the law enforcement agencies must respond firmly.

These acts place a strain on already limited resources to provide education to the poor. Cabinet calls on student leadership to join the call for the protection of valuable university infrastructure and resources which is part of the common national heritage of all South Africans.

Government has heard the issues raised by students, which is receiving our full attention. We are working together with all parties concerned to find a lasting solution.

5.8. Cabinet regrets the tragic loss of lives of those illegal miners who died in the derelict Langlaagte mine. These fatalities highlight the dangers of illicit mining as these unlawful activities put the lives of the community at risk.

The Department of Mineral Resource is working with law enforcement agencies to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and in particular the main ringleaders who continue to trade in illegal minerals.

Cabinet calls on all stakeholders to work together to eradicate illegal mining in the country. The department is working together with mining companies and has closed more than 200 disused mining operations related to illegal mining.

5.9. Cabinet congratulates the Department of Basic Education on winning the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) International Literacy award for its Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign. The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes reward excellence and innovation in the field of literacy.

The Kha Ri Gude Mass Literacy Campaign was introduced to reduce the national rate of illiteracy in South Africa, and has benefitted 4.7-million people in both rural and urban areas. It is offered in the 11 official languages, including braille.

5.10. Cabinet congratulates South African soprano Pretty Yende whose rise to international stardom from humble beginnings in Piet Retief are an inspiration to all of us. Amongst other performances, she is set to headline the Italian opera Lucia di Lammermoor at the Opéra Bastille in Paris next month and in December she will play the title role in Roméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

5.11. Cabinet congratulates Ms Esther Mahlangu, the world renowned Ndebele artist and recipient of South Africa’s National Order of Ikhamanga. Mama Mahlangu and BMW mark the 25th Anniversary of their iconic collaboration at the Frieze Art Fair in London between the 5 and 9 October 2016.

5.12. Cabinet joins South Africans in celebrating the life of Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela on her 80th birthday. Popularly known as the “Mother of the Struggle”, Mama Winnie is an iconic struggle stalwart and inspiration for women’s resilience across the globe.

Cabinet sends its condolences to the:

5.13. Family and friends of South Africa-born internationally acclaimed opera singer, Mr Johan Botha. Mr Botha will be remembered for his soothing and powerful voice which was heard in various opera theatres and halls across the globe including the Vienna State Opera which made him a Kammersänger, a title that is bestowed on distinguished singers of opera and classical music in Austria and Germany.

5.14. Families, friends and colleagues of the Transnet train driver and train assistant who died when a Transnet goods train derailed at the Delvillewood train station following a landslide in Hillcrest west of Durban.

5.15. People of Tanzania following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that claimed a number of lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who died and were injured.

6. Appointments

All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
6.1. Department of Sports and Recreation: Mr Alec Moemi as the Director-General for a second five-year contract term.

Enquiries:
Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766