Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 8 June 2016

9 Jun 2016

1.1. We have noted the reviews by international rating agencies Fitch, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, which reaffirmed South Africa’s investment grade credit rating and maintained its stable outlook. The rating reviews affirm the continuing work by government to turn the economy around and give the country the necessary space to continue implementing its intervention plans.

1.2. The dedicated work of Team South Africa constituted by government, business and labour is ensuring that South Africa avoids a junk status rating. South Africa is implementing programmes from the National Development Plan (NDP) which will ensure that the country remains an investment destination. This demonstrates that working together we can reignite our economy, attract investment and create much-needed jobs for South Africans.

1.3. Even though South Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.2% in the first quarter of 2016, according to figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), government is already implementing key interventions in those sectors most impacted on such as agriculture, transport, electricity and mining, which are being addressed through Operation Phakisa, to unblock the constraints to growth.

1.4. The centralisation of estimates for GDP is now located in Stats SA. Historically, the responsibilities for the compilation and dissemination of South Africa’s system of national accounts were that Stats SA was responsible for the annual and quarterly production-based estimates of GDP while the South African Reserve Bank published the quarterly expenditure-based estimates of GDP.

1.5. As government we address the needs of citizens and working together we are changing the lives of South Africans. The R116-million water treatment plant in Steytlerville, outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, will combat water shortages. This was launched by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), through its Critical Infrastructure Programme, the Department of Water and Sanitation, and the Baviaans Local Municipality.

In a water-scarce country, this new water treatment plant will create the capacity for the community and businesses to access about 24 litres per second from eight to 10 litres, which is sufficient to meet the water demand of Steytlerville for the next 15 years.

The new plant also forms part of the overall economic development of the town as it brings stability for farmers, small-scale businesses and investors. The funding from the dti to the Baviaans Local Municipality for the infrastructure resulted in the project creating an estimated 238 construction jobs in the area. The project is key to boosting economic growth and creating much-needed jobs.

1.6. As part of government’s rail revitalisation programme, Cabinet welcomed the testing of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s new X’Trapolis Mega commuter trains. The new state-of-the-art trains scheduled for operation in October this year have automatic doors, open passageways throughout the train, air conditioning and closed-circuit television for enhanced commuter safety.
These trains connect South Africans and play a key role in supporting public transport and igniting growth.

1.7. In better enabling small businesses National Treasury and the Black Business Council established a centre which will assist small businesses with registration on the Central Supplier Database (CSD), e-tender queries and other client services of National Treasury. This goes a long way in reducing red tape and making it easier for businesses, especially small businesses, to take advantage of economic opportunities and contribute to the development of our economy and country.

1.8. We encourage prospective and current service providers to register on the CSD, which is the source of all supplier information for all spheres of government. The purpose of centralising government’s supplier database is to reduce duplication of effort and cost for both supplier and government while enabling electronic procurement processes.

1.9. A further contribution to the creation of decent employment through inclusive economic growth was the recently held National Jobs Fair under the theme: “Jobs Summit and Jobs Fair – my job my future” empowers the unemployed with soft skills, information and face-to-face search for placement opportunities, especially around further learning, self-employment, cooperatives and community works programmes.

1.10. Parliament’s passing of the Expropriation Bill provides legal certainty to the State to continue with the implementation of our country’s programme of radical socio-economic transformation to resolve the land question firmly at the centre of its agenda. It defines the “administratively just process” that any expropriating authority must follow.

This Expropriation Bill and envisaged Act provide for procedural efficiency, certainty and more quicker expropriations in the public interest, including land restitution. A person or community dispossessed of property over centuries are entitled to the extent provided by this Bill to restitution of that property or to equitable redress.

It also sets out the rules by which the government can lay claim to land “in the public interest” and “for public purposes”. The Bill follows the Bill of Rights and Property Clause criteria to be considered in the case of compensation for expropriation. It will also allow for property owners to be fairly and equitably compensated.

Once signed into law, the Bill repeals the Expropriation Act, 1975 (Act 63 of 1975).

1.11. Inclusive growth is the focus of the Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Advisory Council which met recently. The B-BBEE Advisory Council will be working closely with the Presidential Professional Working Group, established by President Jacob Zuma, to ensure that issues affecting black professionals are attended to.

The meeting is another demonstration of the spirit of unity and partnership to reignite inclusive economic growth, bearing in mind the goal of BEE so that we can move forward in transforming and deracialising the economy.

1.12. South Africa is for the first time participating in a two-day VIII International Information Technology (IT) Forum in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, represented by Minister Faith Muthambi. The forum is taking place from 8 to 9 June 2016, and leverages science and technology to solve some of the biggest challenges in our education and health systems. Delegates at the forum include representatives of business, professional associations, research, educational and IT experts from BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) member states.

1.13. The 5th Annual Waste Management Khoro, led by the Minister of Environmental Affairs under the theme “Promoting Innovation and Upscaling Enterprise Development” aims to improve service delivery, ensure the fast turnaround of waste-management programmes to promote the recycling economy, while bringing more of our communities into the mainstream economy, by accelerating access to job opportunities in the waste sector.

1.14. The release of the local government audit outcomes for 2014/15 shows an improvement of audit results by municipalities from 2010/11 to 2014/15.

The number of municipalities that received financially unqualified audit opinions with no findings increased from 13 to 54. Furthermore, 18 additional municipal entities also achieved a clean audit status, taking the total number of clean audits to 72 in the current period. There was a significant reduction in adverse and disclaimed opinions, which decreased from over 30% in 2010/11 to about 11% of municipalities in the current period.

This improvement in the audit outcomes of municipalities has been the result of the Back to Basics Programme, Operation Clean Audit, decisive leadership, improved financial and performance management and record keeping.

1.15. Cabinet noted the judgement by the Supreme Court of Appeal declaring the Digital Broadcasting Migration Policy in 2015 unlawful, invalid and setting it aside. The Presidency, departments of Communications, Telecommunications and Postal Services, and Justice and Constitutional Development will advise government on the full implications of the judgement.

1.16. With Local Government Elections scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 3 August 2016, all political parties have to abide by the electoral code of conduct, which all parties have signed. This binds all parties contesting in the elections to play their part in securing a free and fair election. Political parties and supporters must abide by the Constitution and those guilty of criminal activity will face the full might of law.

In light of the recent political intolerance, the Minister of Police has established a multi-disciplinary task team that comprises South African Police Service (SAPS) Crime Intelligence, Detective Services, Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) and Forensics to underpin the vision of Medium Term Strategic Framework Outcome Three, which states that “All people in South Africa are and feel safe”.

1.17. On the matter of the terror alert issued by the United States (US) Embassy in Pretoria. Cabinet reiterates the statement issued by The Presidency that the Security Cluster met yesterday to discuss the matter further, with a view to ensuring the continued safety of all in the country.

In addition, the South African Government will continue to discuss the matter with the US Government as part of ongoing cooperation on security issues between the two countries. South Africa and the US continue to enjoy strong and cordial relations in various areas of cooperation including political, economic, social and security matters.

1.18. This year marks the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the 16 June 1976 uprising, which profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. President Zuma will officiate at the National Youth Day proceedings at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on 16 June 2016 under the theme: “Youth Taking South Africa Forward”.

Highlights will include the Keynote Address by the President and the wreath-laying ceremony at the Hector Pieterson Memorial.

A special media conference will be held on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 to provide further details, on the programme for Youth Day. Ministers and Deputy Ministers have been engaging with our people, especially youth through this month to encourage them to take up opportunities across various sectors so as to better their lives and enable them to effectively contribute to the development of the economy and the country.

The programmes of Ministers involved in the Youth Month Programme will be published on government websites and social media platforms.

1.19. With the onset of the initiation period, many young males are preparing to enter the rite of passage to adulthood.

Government, led by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), is working with the Institutions of Traditional Leadership and all stakeholders to ensure that the 2016 initiation season pursues “Zero Deaths” which is driven through a theme – “We Love Our Tradition, We Value Life of Our Youth”.

Families, parents and legal guardians must ensure that the young men only choose legally operating initiation schools, where pre-screening is done, and surgeons are well trained and well known by parents. 
Communities are requested to report any illegal activities on 0800 111 166 or #zero tolerance on initiation deaths.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. The President of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Zuma, was selected to the Heads of State High Level Panel on Water; and the Director-General of the Department of Water and Sanitation was appointed as Sherpa (a civil servant or diplomat who undertakes preparatory work prior to a summit conference) to the President of South Africa as a Panel Member to the High Level Panel on Water.

The United Nation’s Secretary-General’s (UNSG) Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation recommended the establishment of a select Heads of State High Level Panel on Water to lead the advocacy initiative on water and adaptation, following the adoption of the 2030 Development Agenda by the UNSG in September 2015.

The panel will accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), which has renewed focus on the profound impact of climate change on the water cycle. It is in this light and given the persistent drought that is experienced across the country, that Team South Africa is encouraged to participate in the cleaning up of rivers, streams and wetlands on 18 July, as part of South Africa’s annual Mandela Day activities.

2.2. The Communication Strategy on the NDP Vision 2030 highlights the implementation of the NDP and will communicate the impact of the NDP on South Africans. A special media briefing will be held to unpack the communication strategy, use of the logo, branding guidelines and applications to ensure a uniformed communication approach across all government departments and implementing agencies. 

2.3. The Report on the Extent of Desertification in South Africa and its impact on the rural economy and related strategies being implemented to address these challenges.

The effects of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought impede efforts aimed at poverty eradication, safeguarding food security, enhancing water quality and quantity, resilience and adaptation to climate change as well as achieving sustainable development.

In this regard, South Africa has introduced a number of legislative tools, policies, strategies and practical programmes aimed at addressing desertification and land degradation at all levels. These interventions contribute to conservation and socio-economic upliftment while creating job opportunities, skills development and enhancing livelihoods.

2.4. The release of this report contributes to recognition of June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. This year’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought advocates for the importance of inclusive cooperation to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and contribute towards achieving the overall Sustainable Development Goals. In doing so, South Africa fulfils its obligations under the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

2.5. The response report to issues received from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, was approved. This relates to the second report on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

These will be considered at the 73rd Session to be held in Geneva from 13 to 30 September 2016. Cabinet also noted the commencement of the data collection process for the next treaty periodic reports on the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to be submitted by 7 January 2017 and 15 July 2017, respectively.

2.6. The recommendations and proposals from the Comprehensive Report on the Review of the implementation of the White Paper for Social Welfare of 1997 were approved. This will fast track the revised White Paper for Social Welfare, which is aligned to the government priority of building cohesive, caring, sustainable and safe communities.

The recommendations focus on the priorities in the NDP, which identify social protection and developmental social welfare as pathways to progressively achieve social development. Implementation of these will have a positive impact on the lives of people who are at risk, who are vulnerable and who are living in extreme poverty, particularly women, children and people with disabilities. It will ensure that such groups have access to a specified core basket of social development services required to improve their standard of living and enhance their social welfare.

2.7. South Africa will enter into an Amended Treaty on Extradition with the Republic of Botswana, in terms of article 231(1) of the Constitution.
The aim is for more effective cooperation between South Africa and Botswana so as to facilitate the extradition requests received from Botswana where the death penalty is a possible sentence.

This underscores that South Africa will not be a safe haven for criminals by providing for the extradition of fugitives and to facilitate the effectiveness of law-enforcement authorities in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime.

2.8. The SAPS will in the near future be publishing one annual comprehensive report and crime statistics on a quarterly basis. The annual comprehensive report will accommodate the changes in crime statistics that may result from quality assurance and changes related to the status of the cases that may take place during the year under consideration.

The need for frequent statistics will better enable government decision-making to address issues from crime trends. This contributes to the NDP pillar, which states that people in South Africa need to contribute to building safer communities.

3. Bills

3.1. The Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill will be introduced into Parliament. The Copyright Act, 1978 (Act 98 of 1978) and the Performers Protection Act, 1967 (Act 11 of 1967) are outdated and do not consider developments at multilateral level nor deal with digital issues.

This is aligned to the NDP’s objectives of promoting innovation, improved productivity, more intensive pursuit of a knowledge economy and better exploitation of comparative and competitive advantage.

The current policy revision is based on the need to align the Intellectual Property legislation with the digital era and developments at a multilateral level. This also secures a one-policy approach at national and international level from government. This revision also includes the incorporation of key flexibilities in the area of copyright and performers’ protection.

4. Upcoming events
4.1. The Inter-Ministerial Committee is at an advanced stage of preparations for hosting the 21st International AIDS Conference, which will be held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from 18 to 22 July 2016, co-hosted by government and the International AIDS Society.

South Africa is ready to host the conference, which will also boost the tourism industry, small, medium and micro enterprises, and the informal trading sector.

The conference provides a momentous opportunity for the country to showcase its massive successes in addressing HIV and AIDS issues. It has global significance as it attracts between 18 000 to 20 000 participants from 180 countries. Global leaders from government, political leaders, captains of industry, civil society, development partners and academic institutions participate.

The next meeting of the IMC will be held in Durban and includes an inspection of the facilities. A special media briefing will be held on Monday, 13 June 2016.

4.2. President Zuma will undertake a Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring visit to Kwaggafontein in Mpumalanga on Friday, 10 June 2016.
This visit follows the President’s interactions with South Africans in February 2016 in Marabastad in Pretoria where commuters raised issues around service-delivery challenges in Kwaggafontein.

The Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme will allow President Zuma and government leaders to see first-hand the successes and challenges in the area. The President will also use the visit to further respond to the challenges faced by residents within the Thembisile Hani Local Municipality.

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

5.1. We congratulate and pass well wishes to the following:
a. David Gatebe and Charné Bosman for winning the men and women categories of the 2016 Comrades Marathon. Gatebe also set a new men's down run record of five hours and 18 minutes.
b. The announcement that Volkswagen Group South Africa's (VWSA) plant in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape has been recognised as the top manufacturing plant in the global VW production network in 2015. VWSA achieved the highest index score of 113.2% amongst 13 plants around the world.
c. The 301 South African firefighters from the Department of Environmental Affair’s Working on Fire Programme, who went to Canada, to assist authorities there in fighting a wildfire that has been burning out of control for a month. Cabinet wishes them well and a safe return.
d. The awarding of The Order of Merit on Minister Derek Hanekom, which is the highest tribute that Germany pays to individuals for their political, economic, social and intellectual achievements. This was awarded in recognition of Minister Hanekom’s contribution to cooperation between Germany and South Africa during his tenure as Minister of Science and Technology.
e. Wishes all practicing Muslims a blessed Ramadan.

5.2. We express our condolences to the following:
a. Saharawi people on the passing away of President Mohamed Abdelaziz.
b. Browde family on the passing of Advocate Jules Browde SC who represented thousands of people who faced eviction from their homes under the Group Areas Act at the height of political repression during apartheid. Advocate Browde represented several anti-apartheid activists, including former African National Congress Presidents Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. He was also a founding member of Lawyers for Human Rights.
c. Family, friends and religious community on the passing of Reverend Dr Simon Gqubule. He was one of the country’s leading religious leaders, academics and liberation struggle stalwarts. Dr Gqubule was awarded the Order of Luthuli in Silver on 28 April 2016 by the President, in recognition of his excellent contribution to the liberation struggle and to the field of education and religion.
d. Family and friends of veteran actor and director Nyembezi Kunene, who died after a long illness. Kunene had an illustrious career and significantly contributed to the advancement of the local film industry.
e. Family and friends of former Bafana Bafana coach, Ted Dumitru, who had a stellar career coaching Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates. He also coached Bafana Bafana at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.
f. Family, friends and people of Nigeria on the loss of Nigerian soccer legend, Stephen Keshi. He won the Africa Cup of Nations as both a player and coach, and contributed to soccer in Africa and the world.
g. We also join the global community in paying tribute to the former heavyweight boxing champion and international sports icon Muhammad Ali. Ali was an inspiration to many people around the world and used his position to champion the fight for civil rights, justice and equality.

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

6.1. National Empowerment Fund:
Ms Philisiwe Mthethwa reappointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
6.2. Small Enterprise Development Agency:
Ms Nondumiso Mandisa Tshikwatamba as the CEO.
6.3. South African Social Security Agency:
Mr Thokozani William Magwaza as the CEO.
6.4. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
Mr Michael Mlengana as the Director-General.

Enquiries: Ms Nebo Legoabe (Acting DG of GCIS)
Cell: 082 453 2874