Statement on Cabinet meeting of 22 June 2016

23 Jun 2016

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet deliberated on the fourth quarter progress reports of the implementation of the government Programme of Action (PoA) and the outcomes. Government is making progress by addressing challenges and intervening to close the gaps in the implementation of the PoA.

Government is confident that it is making headway in the execution of the Medium Term Strategic Framework, Nine-Point Plan and ultimately achieve Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Government Communications (GCIS) is in the process of coordinating the PoA report-back media briefings to keep the nation informed.

1.2. Cabinet welcomes the outcomes from the Presidential Labour Working Group, which met on 21 June 2016 to discuss the economy and other socio-economic issues.

The meeting agreed to reaffirm its commitment to work together to overcome challenges facing South Africa as we have done so previously. We need to build on the partnerships and solidarity forged in 2008 when social partners crafted a pact that protected workers from the global economic crisis. The meeting resolved that priority must be to protect jobs, create more decent jobs – especially for young people – and improve working conditions of all workers in order to create a better life for all.

The planned Jobs Summit by government and labour will allow South Africans to discuss how we can create jobs and grow our economy in the tough current economic climate.

1.3. Cabinet expresses its sincere gratitude and thanks to all South Africans who paid tribute and took time to honour the 40th Anniversary of the Soweto uprisings, which represents the heroic struggles of young people of 1976. The National Youth Day was commemorated under the theme “Youth Moving South Africa Forward”.

The national commemoration, which was led by President Jacob Zuma at Orlando Stadium on 16 June, was one of the events which were held across the country to honour the legacy of the 1976 generation. Government reassures the young people of our country that the struggle for access to education for all remains a government priority. Government will not rest until it has achieved this objective as reflected in the Freedom Charter and enshrined in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, which this year marks 20 years of its adoption.

The continuing month-long programme has various initiatives by government, business and civil society elevating issues of youth through various activities.

1.4. South Africa successfully hosted the 60th Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Annual Global Summit, which was addressed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. This reinforces the continent’s emergence as a consumer market which presents new opportunities.

In South Africa, the consumer goods industry remains a major driver of economic growth. The country’s business environment is stable, vibrant and conducive to increased trade and investment. Local and foreign investments are protected by relevant legal prescripts.

Various South African companies and international conglomerates that are members of the CGF are trading and investing in South Africa, contributing to the growth of our economy and job creation.

1.5. The new trade deal that was signed by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies with the European Union (EU) was welcomed. This will see more South African agricultural products being exported to Europe. South Africa together with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was negotiated with the EU.

The EPA provides improved market access opportunities for South African products, including a significant improvement in quota for wine and new market access for sugar and ethanol. Under the new agreement, South Africa’s duty-free wine exports to the EU are expected to double. The Rules of Origin on clothing have also been simplified and will encourage South African clothing exports to the EU.

The EPA replaces the trade chapter in the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement, signed in 2000, between the EU and South Africa. The agreement also provides for the protection of South African geographic indications which include mainly South African wine names, Rooibos, Honeybush and Karoo lamb.

1.6. The investment of a R500-million innovation centre in Johannesburg by the United States multinational, General Electric (GE), was welcomed and is a demonstration that South Africa and the continent are viable investment destinations. This is the group’s 10th such centre globally and its first in Africa. The building is also the new headquarters for GE Healthcare, which showcases various healthcare technologies. This demonstrates GE’s long-term commitment to both the continent and to finding innovative solutions to Africa’s infrastructure and healthcare problems.

The centre aims to enhance the career aspirations of over 100 engineers from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. Space has also been allocated for collaborative projects and solution prototyping with Transnet partnering with GE on various rail localisation projects. The centre also aspires to support the development of small businesses capable of supplying the local market and potentially GE’s global supply chains. Cabinet calls on all other multinationals to emulate the example set by GE.

1.7. Cabinet welcomes the completion of the first phase of the revitalised Botshabelo Industrial Park in the Free State, which was launched by Minister Davies. The first phase of the revitalisation includes the security infrastructure upgrade, fencing, street lighting and critical electricity requirements at a cost of R24 million. This is part of the R189 million invested in covering six prioritised parks linked to the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). The Botshabelo Industrial Park will create employment for the people of Botshabelo and surrounding areas, promote industrialisation and the growth of small businesses and cooperatives, attract investments and encourage manufacturing.

1.8. In responding to the water needs of the Moqhaka Local Municipality, Cabinet welcomes the launch of the Kroonstad Waste Water Treatment Works by the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane.

The area has been plagued by the recent drought and has seen water levels reaching critical status. Water tankers have been handed over and short and medium-term efforts include drilling and refurbishing boreholes in Kroonstad to augment the supply of water.

1.9. President Zuma attended the 6th Ordinary Summit of International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) themed: “Accelerating the effective implementation of the Pact and its Protocols for a more democratic and stable Great Lakes Region”. The summit discussed, amongst other issues, the political and security situation in the Great Lakes Region including South Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic, and a full report of the ICGLR Summit will be presented at the next African Union (AU) Summit. President Zuma said there was now an increasing glimmer of hope that the previously intractable issues of conflict and instability in the Great Lakes Region would be resolved.

1.10. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has funded over 1.7 million tertiary education students since its inception. The scheme provides financial aid to students from poor and working class families. To ensure that this is done in a sustainable manner, NSFAS collects student loan repayments.

The repayments ensure that the scheme has funds available for future generations of students. This promotes access to, and success in, higher and further education and training, in pursuit of South Africa’s national and human resource development goals.

Cabinet encourages all NSFAS beneficiaries who are employed to contact NSFAS offices and start repaying their NSFAS loans. It is your responsibility to play your part in helping other students who are now in need of financial aid.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet was briefed on the alternative Internet initiative to improve information management, called the Digital Object Architecture (DOA). Cabinet approved further investment in the development and uptake of the DOA initiative and for South Africa to be a Multi-Primary Administrator of the global DOA network. This technology contributes towards achieving the goals of the NDP by enhancing the capacity of the State to find innovative solutions to complex challenges. It also enhances service delivery through programmes such as e-government and cybersecurity.

The benefits of using DOA to manage information will grow and build new local capabilities in Internet technology and develop tailor-made software solutions based on Open-Source Software. This will contribute to developing both the local software industry and improving information management systems and export earnings. A further benefit is that the DOA is compatible and interoperable with most existing architectures within the Internet. This will enable government to cut on the recurring costs of proprietary software systems.

2.2. Following a request from the AU Commission, Cabinet approved for South Africa to host the African Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in October 2016. Internet Governance covers a wide range of social and political issues. These include participation in the online economy, intellectual property, cyber-security and privacy and access to key technical resources, such as domain names and Internet Protocol addresses that make Internet services possible.

Hosting the African IGF provides a platform for Africa to develop strategies for participation in the global Internet economy which is critical for the development of economies in Africa. Currently the Internet economy is worth around R59 billion in South Africa.

The forum also provides a platform for African governments to set the agenda to adopt a common position on Internet Governance. This follows the outcomes from the United Nations General Assembly World Summit on the Information Society High Level Review in December 2015.

This reaffirms the Tunis Declaration, that Internet Governance is a global resource that should be managed in a multilateral, transparent and democratic process, with the full involvement of all stakeholders. African governments will also have an opportunity to engage on critical components of the Internet value chain with a view to promote the equitable distribution and use of Internet resources.

3. Upcoming events

3.1. Today, 23 June 2016 President Zuma is visiting Vulindlela Rural Enhanced People’s Housing Process (EPHP) in Umsunduzi Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to celebrate the delivery of more than four million government houses and subsidies since the dawn of our democracy in 1994.

In KwaZulu-Natal, government has delivered over 700 000 houses and subsidies including 12 000 units in the Vulindlela Rural Housing Project which were built through the EPHP. The EPHP is a process where beneficiaries are actively involved in the decision-making over the housing process and product, and play a role in the building of their houses.

3.2. President Zuma will undertake a State Visit to France between 10 and 12 July 2016, as part of further strengthening relations between the two countries. During the visit the President will attend the Centenary Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood of World War I, on 12 July 2016, where many South African soldiers lost their lives.

While the Delville Wood Memorial is dedicated to South African soldiers, the apartheid government’s policies at the time excluded black South Africans who died during the war while their white counterparts were buried at the Delville Wood Memorial.

The memorial is undergoing a significant transformation to reflect the historical role played by black South Africans in the First and Second World Wars and to accord them the necessary recognition. In this regard, the President will also pay tribute to black soldiers at Arques-la-Bataille.

3.3. President Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the 27th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, scheduled to take place from 13 to 17 July 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda. The summit will take place under the theme: “2016, African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on Women’s Rights.” The year 2016 marks important milestones in the continental and global women’s agenda for gender equality and women empowerment.

Continentally, it is the 30th anniversary of the coming into force of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights in 1986 and the beginning of the second phase of the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020. Globally, 2016 commemorates 36 years since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the 21st anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is the key global policy on gender equality.

The Heads of State and Government will consider the report of the AU Peace and Security Council on the state of peace in Africa. Furthermore, the summit will consider and approve the AU’s 2017 proposed budget.

3.4. President Zuma will also lead a South African government delegation to the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Double Troika, to be held in Gaborone, Republic of Botswana on 28 June 2016. The summit is expected to consider the political and security situation in the SADC region, paying particular attention to the situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

3.5. The country is ready to host the 21st International World Aids Conference from 18 to 22 July 2016 at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban. The beginning of the conference coincides with Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July. South Africans are encouraged to share our story and showcase the positive turnaround in South Africa since the International AIDS Conference was last hosted in Durban in 2000.

South Africa has invested heavily in its AIDS response in the last six years, resulting in the largest HIV-treatment programme in the world, which has saved millions of lives and increased life expectancy. Other achievements include the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign that tested 18 million South Africans for HIV and AIDS within a period of 18 months, with 10 million South Africans testing annually. AIDS-related deaths in South Africa declined from 320 000 in 2010 to 140 000 in 2014, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV was reduced from 70 000 babies in 2004 to less than 7 000 in 2015.

TB is a key link and although TB deaths have declined from 70 000 in 2009 to less than 40 000 in 2014. TB remains the biggest killer of all infectious diseases in our country and globally. Government has successfully screened thousands of people in the vulnerable sectors of correctional services, mining and peri-mining communities.

The prevention programme also prioritises girls and young women in the age group 15-24 years and aims to reduce infections; reduce teenage pregnancy; reduce sexual and gender-based violence; keep girls in school until matric; and increase economic opportunities for young women to try and wean them away from predatory older men.

3.6. Government is currently observing the Public Service Week from the 22 and 26 June 2016, which is part of government’s Batho Pele (People First) programme. The promotion of good ethics, high morale and pride in public servants encourages the culture of providing quality services. Government also notes that today, 23 June 2016 is Africa Public Service Day, which encourages different spheres of government to work together and make more efficient use of limited government resources for improved results.

Cabinet encourages public servants to be at the forefront of the country’s service delivery and to use the week to explore innovative ways to provide services to South Africans.

3.7. Cabinet welcomes the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to host a conference on Demarcation and Spatial Transformation on 23 and 24 June 2016. The conference will include delegates from government departments, municipalities, as well as other countries. The conference provides a platform for a holistic discussion on demarcations, especially the issue of boundary changes and public participation. The voice of communities is essential in this process and all efforts to ensure greater and more inclusive public participation are welcomed.

3.8. From Friday, 1 July 2016, taxpayers can officially commence completing and submitting their 2016 income tax returns. Tax Season has grown into an important partnership between government and taxpayers who make a vital contribution to our country’s revenue base.

It represents the single biggest annual engagement between the South African Revenue Service and taxpayers, when more than four million taxpayers submit their income tax returns. Cabinet encourages all taxpayers to submit their annual income tax returns from 1 July 2016. It is through the efforts of compliant taxpayers that South Africa recorded a historic revenue collection of R1 trillion for the 2014/15 financial year.

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

4.1. Cabinet condemns the recent spate of violence in and around the City of Tshwane and calls on citizens to refrain from breaking the law and violent protests. No amount of grievance can justify violence and the destruction of property. Those found guilty of perpetrating such criminal acts will face the full might of the law.

South Africa is a constitutional democracy where each citizen has the opportunity to participate in democratic processes. Such criminal behaviour infringes on the rights and free movement of others. Cabinet calls on communities to work with law-enforcement agencies to root out those who disrespect others’ constitutional rights.

4.2. The Constitutional Court judgment in the matter of Mhlophe versus Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) paves the way for the local government elections to proceed on 3 August 2016 using the voter’s roll certified by the IEC following the proclamation of the election date. Cabinet calls on all registered voters to exercise their hard won democratic rights and elect the local government representatives of their choice. Government will work with the IEC and all other stakeholders to ensure that the judgment of the Constitutional Court is fully implemented.

4.3. Cabinet welcomed the announcement by Eskom that it had synchronised all four units at its new Ingula hydroelectric power plant to the national grid ahead of schedule. The R25-billion project enhances the country’s future energy security by adding 1 332 Megawatts during times of peak demand. The plant is on track for full commercial operation in 2017.

4.4. Cabinet welcomed back the firefighters who were deployed to Canada to help fight wildlands fires. The South African team was demobilised following heavy rains. Working on Fire is a government-funded, job-creation programme focusing on implementing Integrated Fire Management in South Africa.

More than 5 000 young men and women have been fully trained as wildfire firefighters and are stationed in more than 200 bases across South Africa. Firefighters are recruited from marginalised communities and trained in fire awareness and education, prevention and fire-suppression skills. Similar government programmes include ‘Working for Water’ and ‘Working for Energy’ where government invests in labour-intensive activities that create jobs and protect our natural resources. Following their return, the Department of Environmental Affairs is investigating the pay dispute by the firefighters for a fair outcome for all stakeholders.

4.5. Cabinet sends its sincere condolences to the following:

Family and friends of radio and television personality Hope Zinde who worked as a journalist at the SABC in the 90s and was also a former SABC board member.  

Government and the people of the United States of America following the shooting in Orlando, Florida, which left about 50 people dead and scores injured.

4.6. The sanction of retired estate agent Penny Sparrow by the Umzinto Equality Court in KwaZulu-Natal, who was found guilty of hate speech, is a reminder that such behaviour will not be tolerated and that our courts will steadfastly uphold the rights of all victims of racism, especially those who are voiceless and unable to defend themselves.

Cabinet is concerned that even though we are 22 years into democracy, the South African Human Rights Commission reports an increase in reported incidents of open racism and hate speech. Cabinet calls on South Africans to remember that it is our diversity that makes us strong. We should all strive to build non-racial society.

5. Appointments

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

5.1. Cross-Border Road Transport Agency:

a. Reappointment of Mr Sipho Khumalo as the Chief Executive Officer for a five-year period.

5.2. Members of the National Council for Correctional Services:

a. Justice Mokgadi Mailula (Chairperson);
b. Justice Zamani M Nhlangulela (Vice-Chairperson);
c. Justice Esther JS Steyn (Vice-Chairperson);
d. Mr Adriaan Bekker;
e. Adv Sibongile Mzinyathi;
f. Ms Shishi Sello;
g. Dr Kgamadi J Kometsi;
h. Lt-General Julius T Molefe;
i. Ms Angela Magangoe;
j. Mr Mziwoxolo M Mfeketo;
k. Ms Nondumiso Gwayi;
l. Mr Ivan de Klerk;
m. Ms Teboho S Monyamane;
n. Ms Lusanda U Z Rataemane;
o. Adv. Khavhareni A Mahumani;
p. Rev Jonathan Clayton;
q. Ms Amanda L Vilakazi;
r. Dr Vanitha R Chetty; and
s. Mr Maluleka Nkopo.

Enquiries:
Harold Maloka
Cell: 082 847 9799