Statement on Cabinet meeting of 2 March 2016

3 Mar 2016

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet welcomed the 2016 Budget Speech delivered by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on 24 February 2016. This budget demonstrates our resilience, commitment and resourcefulness as we navigate through this worst economic period in recent history.

The budget responds to what the country needs and creates confidence in the economy by placing the country on a credible, sustainable and viable inclusive economic growth path.

Cabinet further welcomes the decisive cost-containment measures and commits to working together with all sectors in contributing towards a collective national effort to implement the course set by the budget.

1.2. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the Presidential Press Corps (PPC) by President Jacob Zuma. The PPC will comprise political editors, political correspondents, political reporters and economics journalists who have been accredited to cover The Presidency on a full-time and ongoing basis.

The purpose of the PPC is to provide improved access to information by the media. It will also improve access by the media to the President and The Presidency, in order to ensure that journalists also obtain background information and processes to enhance their understanding and reporting. The press core members will also receive briefings from the Deputy President and any Minister that the President invites to share programmes of national importance.

1.3. Cabinet has expressed appreciation of the contribution that South Africa has made towards restoring peace in Burundi, in line with our foreign policy commitments to ensure a peaceful and stable continent.

It further welcomed the outcomes of the inclusive Inter-Burundian Dialogue held during the visit by the African Union (AU) high-level delegation of Heads of State and Government to Bujumbura in Burundi, which was led by President Zuma.

 1.4. Cabinet welcomes the appointment of President Zuma by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, to co-chair a High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth with President François Hollande of the Republic of France. This is not the first time that President Zuma has been appointed by a world body to undertake work at a global stage. This appointment is in recognition of the sterling leadership displayed by our President in the international arena.

The commission will stimulate the creation of new employment opportunities in the health sector across all countries, especially in least developed ones. This also strengthens the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will go a long way to addressing the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

1.5. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the 2016 National Community Survey in Mamelodi, Pretoria by the Minister in The Presidency Jeff Radebe and the Statistician-General Pali Lehohla. This year’s survey is being undertaken under the theme: “The South African I know, the home I understand” and is targeting more than 1,5 million households – the biggest so far compared to the one held five years ago that sampled only 300 000 households. The survey will be undertaken in April and the results made available by the end of June 2016.

1.6. Cabinet notes with concern the report presented by the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to the Health Market Enquiry headed by Justice Sandile Ngcobo. The reports indicate that South Africa provides the most expensive medical services when compared with other countries. Cabinet will await the conclusion of the enquiry before pronouncing on this matter

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the Draft Strategy for Addressing Air Pollution in Dense Low-Income Communities of South Africa for public comment. The strategy seeks to provide a dedicated focused approach to deal with high levels of pollution in some of the densely populated low-income communities.  It provides a coordinated approach to the implementation of efforts to reduce domestic fuel burning. The intervention is to ensure these areas comply with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This focused strategy will support the existing national strategy to address air pollution in the country.

2.2. Cabinet approved the co-hosting of the 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016) between government and the International AIDS Society at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban from 18 to 22 July 2016. Hosting the conference will advance our country’s HIV and tuberculosis response whilst impacting on one of the most important challenges in South Africa, the region and the world.

This conference will provide a platform for researchers from across the world to share the latest scientific advances in the field, to learn from one another’s expertise and to develop strategies for advancing all facets of our collective efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

3. Bill

3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the National Land Transport Amendment Bill of 2015 to Parliament, which amends the National Land Transport Act, 2009 (Act 5 of 2009). The amendments to the National Land Transport Act of 2009 will further the process of transforming and restructuring the national land transport system. This will contribute towards a safer, accessible, efficient and effective public transport service.

The Bill provides for new developments in the public transport sector. The Bill provides guidance in, amongst others, non-motorised transport; e-hailing transport services and branding of public transport. It further provides administrative clarity on the delegated powers and regulations in respect of the issuing of public transport operating licenses.

This Bill will also enable the roll-out of the Integrated Public Transport Networks and it forms part of the National Infrastructure Plan and the Strategic Integrated Project 7, which focus on using coordinated development of urban and integrated transport networks to establish cities as engines of growth.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. President Zuma will undertake a State Visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 8 to 9 March 2016. The State Visit will enhance existing bilateral relations and further advance intra-regional trade.

4.2. Human Rights Month in March 2016 will be celebrated under the theme: “South Africa united against racism.” The Department of Arts and Culture has put in place a month-long programme which includes a series of dialogues on working together to build a non-racial, non-sexist, equal and democratic society.   

Cabinet invites South Africans to comment on the National Action Plan to combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2016-2021) before 30 June 2016. The plan provides the basis for a public policy against racial discrimination that will assist in giving effect to our international human rights obligations.

4.3. The Russia-Africa Anti-Drug Dialogue at the ICC in Durban from 8 to 9 March 2016 provides a platform to enhance the National Drug Master Plan (2013-2017).

The fight against illicit drugs is in line with the National Development Plan and the dialogue is under the auspices of the AU in pursuit of the obligations in terms of the relevant UN Drug and Transnational Organised Crime Conventions, AU Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) resolutions.

The conference is a follow-up session of the Russia-Africa Anti-Drug Dialogue, which aims to present a consolidated position in how world leaders intend to tackle the international drug problem. This will be tabled at the UN General Assembly Special Session in April 2016.

4.4. Government – in partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat, University of South Africa (UNISA) and the National Youth Development Agency – is hosting the 2nd Commonwealth Conference on Youth Work at the UNISA campus in Pretoria from 8 to 10 March 2016. The conference takes place under the theme: “Engaging Young People in Nation Building: The Youth Worker’s Role” and will re-examine the role of youth work practitioners and academics in engaging young people on the development of their countries.

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

5.1. Cabinet reiterates the message by President Zuma on the need to respect the institutions and processes created in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 and the law. President Zuma is dealing with the matter of the South African Revenue Service Commissioner and the Minister of Finance through the correct channels using correct legal prescripts.

The President is putting measures in place to address the issues responsibly and amicably for the benefit of all. Cabinet calls on all interested parties to exercise calm and restraint, and allow space for the matters to be resolved using correct channels.

5.2. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to register for the 2016 Local Government Elections on 5 and 6 March 2016. Unlike with national elections, the local government elections require that you register in the ward that you reside in.

It is important to have an Identity Document (ID) – both the green bar-coded ID and Smart ID card will be accepted – and to check your registration status, ward number and voting-station location. All Home Affairs offices will be open from 08:00 to 17:00 on 5 and 6 March 2016, which is in line with the operating hours of the Independent Electoral Commission for the two days.

Cabinet calls on all young and first-time voters to register to vote. By casting your vote you have taken a step towards making your voice heard in the decisions that affect you and your community. Local government is in your hands!

5.3. Cabinet condemns the violent student protests, which have disrupted studies at some universities and led to the destruction of property. These protests deprive deserving students the opportunity to further their studies and impacts upon their right to higher education. Government has opened channels of communication with all higher-education stakeholders for discussions and dialogues. This has resulted in the restoration of normality and the promotion of social cohesion in our universities that seeks to find solutions to the medium- to long-term challenges linked to the transformation of the sector as described in the resolutions of the 2015 Higher Education Transformation Summit.

Cabinet supports the efforts by law-enforcement agencies to ensure that the culture of learning is restored, and that property and the rights of individuals are protected. The rule of law is paramount and should be upheld at all times. Normality and calm must return in our universities so that the academic programmes can continue while the medium- to long-term challenges are addressed.    

Cabinet applauded the students who stood united against racism and anti-white chauvinism, which serves as an example that we can all work together to build on the progress and gains made in the tertiary education sector in preparation for this academic year. We must protect that progress and allow order to be restored and preserved at all our universities.

Cabinet also calls upon all stakeholders to work together so that our universities become leaders of inclusive engagement and transformation.

5.4. Cabinet notes the proposed merger of three bottling operations for the Coca Cola Company in South Africa. Cabinet notes the matter will be heard before the Competition Tribunal. Cabinet expresses its concern at proposed job losses and reduction in employment in merger transactions. In view of the high levels of unemployment, Cabinet calls on companies to ensure jobs are not lost and aggregate employment levels are maintained.

5.5. Cabinet congratulates the South African Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Mr Xavier Carim, who has been elected to chair the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO General Council. The General Council is the highest decision-making body of the WTO in between the Ministerial Conference. The appointment of Ambassador Carim is in part recognition of the important role South Africa plays in the WTO and in part testimony to Ambassador Carim’s qualities.

5.6. Cabinet noted Barclays PLC’s announcement of its intention to reduce its 62.3 per cent shareholding in Barclays Africa Group Limited (BAGL) over the next two to three years. Barclays PLC, in particular the CEO, has engaged both the National Treasury and the Reserve Bank in an open dialogue, and we welcome the company’s commitment to implement its new strategy in a way that will minimise the impact on the economies in which BAGL operates. The Reserve Bank will work with Barclays PLC and BAGL to ensure that any potential risks from the transaction are mitigated and appropriate measures will be taken to manage capital flows arising from the transaction.

5.7. Cabinet salutes all the finalists and winners of the National Teaching Awards which took place on 27 February 2016. These dedicated teachers move our country forward by ensuring that their classrooms produce motivated learners that will contribute towards the development of South Africa.

5.8. Cabinet congratulates the Market Theatre in Johannesburg for celebrating its 40th year of existence. During the apartheid era the theatre became a symbol of the Struggle by telling the true South African story.

5.9. Cabinet congratulates music teacher, Mr Chad Hendricks, from Retreat in the Cape Flats for winning the prestigious Len van Zyl Conductors’ Competition in Cape Town. His prize includes a three-month United States scholarship during which Mr Hendricks will study at the Philadelphia Orchestra and be trained by renowned Professor Victor Yampolsky in Chicago.

5.10. Cabinet congratulates film producer, Mr Anant Singh, for being awarded third place for the film Shepherds and Butchers in the Panorama Audience Award for Fiction Film at the Berlin International Film Festival. This is a major achievement as the film competed against 51 feature-length films from 33 countries.

6. Appointments

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

6.1. Extension of the contract for Mr Lionel October as the Director-General (DG) in the Department of Trade and Industry, for a period of five years.

6.2. Appointment of Dr Mantlhake J Maboya as the Deputy DG (DDG): Curriculum Policy and Monitoring in the Department of Basic Education.

6.3. Appointment of Ms Shamilla Chettiar as the DDG: Policy and Knowledge Services in the Department of Tourism.

6.4. Appointment of Mr Mbulelo Tshangana as the DG in the Department of Human Settlements.

6.5. Reappointment of Mr Kutoane Obed Kutoane as the Chief Executive Officer of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited.

6.6. Appointment of Mr Vuyo Mafata as the Compensation Commissioner: Compensation Fund in the Department of Labour.

6.7. Appointment to the Takeover Regulation Panel for a period of five years:

a) Ms Neo Phakama Dongwana (Chairperson);
b) Prof Stephanie Marie Luiz (Deputy Chairperson);
c) Prof Shirley Zinn (panel member);
d) Adv Rory Voller (designate member);
e) Ms Wendy Ndlovu (designate member);
f)  Ms Annalie de Bruyn (designate member); and
g) Mr Nano Abram Matlala (panel member).

6.8. Appointment to the Board of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation for a three-year term:

a) Dr Kelvin Kemm (Chairperson);
b) Mr Nqaba Ngcobo;
c) Dr Namane Magau;
d) Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi;
e) Dr Alex Smanga Tsela;
f)  Ms Rosemary Mosia;
g) Mr Zibusise Comfort Ngidi;
h) Ms Pamela Bosman; and
i)  Prince Kennedy Tshivhase.

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