Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 31 August 2016

2 Sep 2016

1. Implementation of Key Government Programmes

1.1. President Jacob Zuma led a South African Government delegation to the 36th Ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State which took place from 30 to 31 August 2016 under the theme: “Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive SADC Industrialisation and for the Prosperity of the Region”.

The Summit focused on the need to improve both industrial and infrastructure development to enhance integration and foster intra-regional trade in addressing SADC’s sustainable development agenda.

On the political and security situation in the region, the focus was on constitutional, public and security sector reforms in the Kingdom of Lesotho, national reconciliation, implementation of the SADC Roadmap on Madagascar and the national dialogue towards preparations for national elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma is extending gratitude to SADC Member States for the trust and confidence in electing South Africa as the incoming Chair of SADC in August 2017.

1.2. Cabinet welcomed the historic R11 billion investment by the Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BAIC) to establish an automotive manufacturing plant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone.

The deal is the biggest automotive investment in Africa in the last 40 years and reaffirms the country as a top investment destination for global automotive producers.

This was made possible through South Africa’s supportive policy environment, in particular the Automotive Production and Development Programme which has attracted automotive producers from across the world.

The BAIC investment is an outcome of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that was held in Johannesburg in December 2015, where President Jacob Zuma and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed no less than 26 bilateral agreements valued at approximately R100 billion.

The project positions the Eastern Cape as an automotive hub and has the potential of deepening the component supply chain, job creation and economic development. It is expected to create 2 500 jobs directly and more than 10 600 jobs indirectly.

Earlier this year Toyota announced that it would manufacture the new Toyota Hilux and Fortuner models as part of a R6.1 billion investment while BMW is to construct a R6 billion a state-of-the-art body shop.

These investments help advance our national priorities of reigniting economic growth, preserving existing and creating more jobs in the economy.

1.3. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the first Co-operative Financial Institution for Rural Women in Arts and Craft by the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti. The Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft Financial Institution Cooperative, which was registered earlier this year, will serve as a banking platform for rural crafters who are members of cooperatives that have been established in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The Institution allows these women access to the National Payment System, automated operations, accurate prudential reporting and will enable members to transact at point of sale, ATM and with other co-operative financial institutions across South Africa. Some of the key outcomes of the support provided include the acquisition of valid registration certificates, bank accounts, tax clearance certificates and linkages to new markets local and international markets. The initiative is part of a holistic effort to empower women in rural areas with skills and knowledge to create successful enterprises.

1.4. The launch of the 50/50 policy by Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, has seen the first farm entering the pilot phase of the Policy Framework on Strengthening the Relative Rights of People Working the Land, in KwaZulu-Natal.

The 514 hectares Westcliffe farm comprises of 270 hectares of sugar cane, 140 hectares of timber and 10 hectares of irrigated cabbage operation. The agreement will see workers and farm owners become co-owners of the farming enterprise in uMshwathi local municipality, near Greytown.

Among other things, the policy aims to secure tenure for farm workers while seeking to transform land ownership patterns in the country and empowering workers to acquire shares in farming enterprises. The 50/50 policy framework also aims to improve economic transformation of the agricultural sector.

1.5. The 2016 Colloquium on Print Media Transformation which was hosted by the Department of Communications to discuss transformation and diversity in the country’s media provided a platform to a range of stakeholders active in the media environment to discuss the country’s media transformation, accountability and diversity priorities.

The colloquium, which focused on the entire value chain in the print media space, from ownership through to printing, distribution, research and advertising, will inform a concept paper related to the transformation and reform of traditional and new media in South Africa.

1.6. South Africa marks Tourism Month in September under the theme: “Tourism for All” to promote the country’s rich tourism offerings to all South Africans.

Cabinet encourages everyone to work together to ensure that barriers that prevent access are removed and all South Africans are afforded the opportunity, and cultivate the interest to explore our fascinating and beautiful country.

1.7. We call on all South Africans to celebrate our nations diverse cultures as the country marks Heritage Month in September under the theme: “Human Treasures and Legends: our Living Heritage”.

South Africans are encouraged to take pride in our living heritage and play an active role in affirming, promoting and preserving it. It is important that as a nation we celebrate our Living Human Treasures in all areas of our society.

This year’s commemoration marks 20 years since Heritage Day was proclaimed in 1996 and we must use the day to embrace our shared heritage to build on our progress since 1994 in creating a united South Africa.

1.8. Cabinet was briefed on the 2016 Public Service Month during September under the theme “Public Services for the Inclusive Growth Matter: Taking Batho Pele to the next level in moving the Public Service Forward”.

This year’s Public Service Month also takes place mid-way through the fifth administration and a month after the local government elections. The month-long programme is an integral part of the Batho Pele Revitalisation Strategy which aims to rebuild good ethics, morale, pride and professionalism of government employees in the provision of public goods and services.

Public Service employees across government will use this month to engage and interact with citizens and other public stakeholders about the need for efficient delivery of services. This forms part of strengthening the implementation of the National Development Plan by contributing towards building a capable state that plays a developmental and transformative role.

1.9. Thusong Service Centre Annual Week from 19 to 23 September 2016 will be held under the theme “Thusong Service Centres – Moving the Public Service forward: We Belong, We Care, We Serve”. The week highlights government information, services and opportunities that are available in Thusong Service Centres across the country. Events have been planned to commemorate the week and profile the achievements of the centres since their establishment in 1999.

1.10. Government launched the National Development Plan (NDP) brand and communication strategy. The NDP visual identity will unify and profile government communication efforts on progress in the implementation of the NDP through a recognisable brand identity.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet approved South Africa’s overarching approach for its participation in this year’s G20 which under the Chinese Presidency, adopted an overarching theme of working “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”.

The primary focus of the G20 is to increase multilateral cooperation for the recovery of the global economy, to bring stability to the global financial system, to promote long-term sustainable growth and to strengthen global economic governance.

President Jacob Zuma will attend the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China on 4 and 5 September 2016 hosted. South Africa’s participation in the G20 is to provide strategic foresight in establishing an economic and international policy platform that will drive and negotiate the best possible outcomes for South Africa, Africa and the developing world. The G20 Summit will, for the first time in history, have a record number of developing countries in attendance.

2.2. The release of the 2015/16 National Annual Crime Statistics, which are generated from crime data that are reported at station level was also approved and will be published on 2 September 2016.

The release of the statistics contribute towards the strategic outcome of ‘All people in South Africa are and feel safe’.

The crime statistics are in important indicator of governments fight against crime in partnership with communities, labour and business. The statistics should be viewed within the context of population growth and economic circumstance.

2.3. Cabinet received a report on the Outcomes of the Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP12) which was held in Ankara, Turkey from 12 to 23 October 2015.

South Africa was identified as one of the beneficiaries of the UNCCD target setting support programme, which will assist countries to formulate it national voluntary targets in line with national circumstances and development priorities.

South Africa embraces the universality of the Convention and the need to serve all countries affected by desertification, land degradation and drought which will in turn ensure that such issues are taken care of wherever they happen both at national and global levels. This will ensure inclusivity and improve North-South relations and cooperation.

2.4. Cabinet approved the co-hosting of the 2nd World Breastfeeding Conference by the Department of Health and the International Baby Food Action Network, from 11 to 14 December 2016, under the theme “Let’s invest in creating an enabling environment for mothers and babies”.

This signals South Africa’s commitment to strengthen the call to protect, promote and support breastfeeding and further enhance the infant and young child nutrition agenda.

This contributes to achieving one of the nine long term health goals set out in the National Development Plan; reducing maternal, infant and child mortality. The Sustainable Development Goals also place emphasis on improving nutrition. The Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition, has one of six global targets for nutrition to increase the rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months to at least 50% by 2025.

Breastfeeding is one of the best value investments in child survival. Sub-optimal breastfeeding practices contribute annually to 800 000 deaths (13% of all deaths) among under-five children in the developing world as well as to the high prevalence of malnutrition, which is a major public health challenge in Africa.

2.5. Cabinet approved for the Department of Health to host the 17th International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities, from 27 November to 2 December 2016, in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO). This reflects government’s commitment in addressing global health challenges on harmonisation of regulations and improve the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines and medical devices.

This consultative forum for medicine regulatory authorities of the 194 WHO member countries aims to address the regulation of medicines and medical devices and harmonisation of regulatory principles.

Hosting will strengthen the national medicines regulatory authority, the Medicines Control Council, and systems for medical products. Discussions will also contribute towards informing harmonisation and uplifting regulatory standards in Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

It also gives recognition of South Africa as a global role-player in the regulatory oversight of medicines and related products. The country will have an opportunity to participate in the formulation of international drug policies that may become mandatory on WHO member countries.

2.6. Cabinet was also briefed on progress made on the implementation of the Public Administration Management Act, No 11 of 2014. This Act establishes a uniform system of public administration at all three spheres of government to promote and entrench the values and principles governing public administration as in section 195 (1) of the Constitution.

The Act provides for the establishment of two structures namely: (i) Office of Standards and Compliance and (ii) Technical Assistance Unit. A staggered implementation approach has been adopted to establish these.

The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) compiled a first set of regulations which were gazetted for public comment on 15 July 2016. Collaboration is underway with the South African Bureau of Standards and other national setting bodies to develop a legal instrument which will lead to the operationalisation and establishment of the Office of Standards and Compliance.

DPSA is also in the process of investigating and developing a framework of norms and standards, including the establishment of the governance arrangements model that will allow for the implementation of the applicable norms.

2.7. Cabinet was briefed on a report on the asylum statistics for the period January to December 2015. Cabinet supported the establishment of a multi-departmental task team to discuss the process on managing final rejected asylum seekers.

The Report contributes to informed management of immigration so as to improve the management of asylum seekers and refugees.

According to information sourced from the National Immigration Information System, 62 159 new asylum seekers were registered, against 71 914 registered in 2014 and 70 010 in 2013. 60 640 registered asylum cases were adjudicated and finalised at the Refugee Status Determination level between January and December 2015. Of these adjudicated cases: 2 499 asylum cases were approved, 4 093 asylum cases were rejected as unfounded and 44 048 asylum cases were rejected as manifestly unfounded, abusive and fraudulent.

2.8. Cabinet was briefed on progress made with the Border Management Authority (BMA) Bill, 2016 which was approved for submission to Parliament on 23 September 2015. This Bill was originally submitted to Parliament on 8 October 2015. The socio-economic implications, of the envisaged establishment of the Border Management Authority, required that it also be submitted to NEDLAC, this was done on 13 October 2015.

There was an extensive NEDLAC consultations process on the Bill between November 2015 and May 2016. On 12 May 2016 a final NEDLAC report on the BMA Bill, 2016 was approved by the NEDLAC Management Committee. The Bill was certified on 18 May 2016 by the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor for introduction into Parliament. Cabinet noted that the BMA Bill, 2016 was subsequently introduced into Parliament on 25 May 2016 and the first deliberations on this Bill took place in Parliament on 6 August 2016.

Cabinet approved that the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the South African Revenue Service (SARS) fast-track the finalisation of the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the secondment of relevant SARS staff to DHA to support current border management and coordination efforts in the border environment.

3. Bills

3.1. Cabinet approved for the introduction of the Communal Property Associations Amendment Bill, 2016 to Parliament. The Bill amends the Communal Property Associations Act, 1996 (Act No 28 of 1996), by aligning it to the broader land reform mandate of the country.

It promotes democratic governance and sustainable use of communal land administered by communal property associations on behalf of communities. It strengthens the regulation of governance institutions and enhances state support to them. The Bill seeks to establish a Communal Property Associations Office that is headed by a Registrar of Communal Property Associations.

Communities will be better enabled to acquire, hold and manage properties through effective statutorily established community resource and allocation management and administration entities, supported by government.

3.2. The introduction of the Judicial Matters Amendment Bill, 2016 into Parliament which seeks to amend numerous laws having a bearing on the administration of justice in order to address practical and technical issues, to ensure the smooth administration of justice has also been approved.

The amendments are of such a nature that it is not practical to promote individual Amendment Acts to effect these amendments to the laws in question. The amendments are of a diverse nature and can be linked to the following key targets of the National Development Plan, namely to ensure that all people are and feel safe based on an independent and fair criminal justice system; social cohesion; to realise a developmental, capable and ethical state that treats citizens with dignity; and economic inclusion.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. President Jacob Zuma will lead South Africa’s delegation to the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 71) between 13 and 26 September in New York under the theme: "The Sustainable Development Goals: a universal push to transform our world."

This presents an opportunity for member states to take stock of the effectiveness of the United Nations, particularly as the organisation recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. Deliberations are expected on UN reform, including on the revitalisation of the UNGA; improvement of the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to expand its membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. 

This will also be the last time that Ban Ki-moon addresses the UN General Assembly as its Secretary-General.

4.2. The South African Police Service (SAPS) will host the annual National Commemoration Day on 4 September 2016, to remember all members of the SAPS who lost their lives between the 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016, while performing their duties in an endeavour to ensure safety and security in South Africa.

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

5.1. Cabinet expressed its concern over continued public spats between various parties on the matter related to the Hawks investigation into SARS-related issues. Cabinet called on all those concerned, including members of Cabinet acting in various capacities, to exercise restraint and cease making public statements directed at any protagonist in this matter. Cabinet calls on all parties to act with dignity and decorum and to respectfully approach the relevant parties instead of taking to public platforms.

5.2. Cabinet joins President Zuma in expressing full confidence in the Minister of Finance who, together with various other members of the Executive, business, Labour and civil society, has been doing a sterling job in building confidence in our economy among domestic and foreign investors. Cabinet equally called on all parties to respect and cooperate with state organs tasked with law enforcement.

5.3. The Executive continues to do all it can to protect the economy, and the important developmental work that state-owned entities are responsible for. All state agencies have a responsibility to carry out their mandate in a manner that does not destabilise the work of government or negatively affect the economy.

5.4. President Jacob Zuma attended the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit was held in Nairobi, Kenya from 27 to 28 August 2016. This was the first time that TICAD was held in Africa since its inception in 1993.

TICAD-VI afforded the Heads of State and Governments from Africa an important opportunity to monitor the progress and implementation of previous TICAD agreements which aim to speed up the growth and development of Africa.

TICAD-VI also took place in the first year of the implementation of the global and regional development agendas, namely the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 and its First Ten-Year Implementation Plan. Being fully in line with these development agendas, TICAD-VI discussed thematic issues that Africa has been facing since the last TICAD-V in Yokohama, Japan in 2013. These include industrialisation, health, and social stability.

Cabinet welcomes Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pledge that Japan will mobilise a total of $30 billion in private- and public-sector funds to invest in Africa over next three years to boost infrastructure building in Africa.

The assembly made extensive and deep discussions on private-sector investment, the industrialisation of economies in Africa, creating sustainable economic structures, health and prevention against pandemics such as Ebola and Zika, the fight against terrorism, educating and empowering poverty-stricken youths to prevent them from being lured to extremist groups and terrorism.

The heads of state and government reiterated their commitment to continue strengthening TICAD process with the guiding principles of open and inclusive forum, engagement of multi-stakeholders, alignment with African prior agendas, emphasis on people centered development, and effective implementation with integrated follow-up mechanisms.

5.5. The incidents of racism levelled against Pretoria High School for Girls are of concern. Cabinet commends the bravery of the learners for exposing the racism and prejudice at the school. They are indeed activists of social change, who are needed in taking our country away from its divisive past and closer to realising the objectives of a more united South Africa.

We call on all South Africans to respect each other and unite against the divisiveness of racism in our society. Our democratic journey is built on tolerance and respect.

5.6. We also join millions of South Africans in congratulating Team South Africa for a sterling performance at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The team did the country proud by winning ten medals across various disciplines, including two gold medals.  The blistering performance by Wayde Van Niekerk in winning gold in the 400m and smashing the world record, and the stunning run by our golden girl Caster Semenya in the 800m will live long in our collective memories.

5.7. Cabinet congratulates South Africans and the IEC for their part in ensuring yet another successful Local Government Election. Across the country, councils have met to elect mayors, speakers and chief whips in a resounding vote for democracy in action.

Cabinet encourages citizens to continue to participate through Ward Committees and other mechanisms that include communities in local government.

5.8. The announcement of a R1, 5 billion fine payable by ArcelorMittal, the country's largest steel-maker, for price-fixing and collusion in the steel industry is the largest single fine imposed against a single company by the competition authorities.

The company also undertook, as part of the settlement with the authorities, to invest R4,6 billion in new capital spending to upgrade its plants and improve competitiveness. The settlement further provides for a pricing mechanism that will cap the company's margin on flat steel products for a period of five years.

This is part of a crackdown against abuse of market power and price-fixing that undermines the performance of the economy, imposes unnecessary costs on downstream factories and damages local jobs. Government remains committed to promoting investment-led economic growth, not collusion-induced economic stagnation.

5.9. We call on all South Africans to use water efficiently and conserve it; by working together we can ensure a steady supply of water and also protect our vital water infrastructure.

There are persistent drought conditions in several parts of the country with Gauteng now being impacted with the Integrated Vaal River System under severe pressure. 

To deal with the current situation, the Department of Water and Sanitation working with SALGA, CoGTA and municipalities will impose restrictions on water consumption in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Mogale City.

Urban supply will be reduced by 15 per cent and water for irrigation will be reduced by 20 per cent.  The restrictions are unavoidable and will remain in place to secure water supply until the situation eases. 

5.10. The findings of the Mid-Year Population Estimates by Statistics SA showed South Africa’s population grew to 55.9 million people with life expectancy at 62 years and infant mortality estimated at 33.7 per 1 000 live births.

Cabinet was concerned over the increase in the HIV prevalence rate from 11.2 per cent last year to 12.7 per cent in 2016 translating into an estimated 7.03 million people living with HIV.

Cabinet appeals to all South Africans to work with government to prevent new infections by getting tested at least once a year, practising safer sex and for men and boys to heed the call and to consider medical circumcision.

5.11. Cabinet noted the Constitutional Court ruling on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, which was enacted in 2014, to reopen the country’s land restitution process.

The Court gave Parliament two years to re-enact the law or to pass a new Act. The ruling means no new applications can be lodged until a new Act re-opening the lodgement of claims is passed.

The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights will be conducting a media briefing to guide the way forward following the ruling.

5.12. South Africa is hosting the 35th International Geological Congress at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 27 August to 4 September 2016.

The Congress aims to contribute to the advancement of fundamental and applied research in the geological sciences. The event will showcase the region’s world-famous geology and geoheritage together with its geological and scenic sites. Geological challenges in the field will also be examined.

5.13. Cabinet conveys its condolences to the family and friends of the former Cabinet Minister and Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, Reverend Arnold Makhenkesi Stofile. Reverend Stofile was a veteran political activist who participated in all pillars of the South African struggle, from the underground and mass mobilisation drives, to international solidarity and the formal constitution of government structures.

Cabinet also expresses its condolences to the families of the South African National Defence Force members who lost their lives in the bus accident at Clarens in the Free State.

Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma in sending condolences to H.E President Sergio Mattarella, the Government and the people of Italy following the earthquake that struck central Italy, which resulted in the deaths of citizens and extensive damage in several towns. We also wish the injured a speedy recovery.

6. Appointments

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

6.1. Cabinet discussed the appointment of the Board of South African Airways (SAA) and approved the following appointments:
a) Ms Duduzile Cynthia Myeni (reappointment as Chairperson);
b) Ms Mmakeaya Magoro Tryphosa Ramano (Deputy Chairperson and non-executive director);
c) Ms Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala (non-executive director);
d) Ms Thandeka Nozipho Mgoduso (non-executive director);
e) Ms Nazmeera Moola (non-executive director);
f) Mr Akhter Hoosen Moosa (non-executive director);
g) Ms Gugu Sepamla (non-executive director);
h) Mr Siphile Buthelezi (non-executive director);
i) Mr Peter Holmes Maluleka (non-executive director);
j) Mr Mzimkulu Malunga (non-executive director);
k) Dr Martha Mbatha (non-executive director); and
l) Mr Peter Tshisevhe (non-executive director).

The Minister of Finance will meet with the newly appointed Board to provide direction from a shareholder perspective.

Enquiries:
Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766