Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 10 July 2019

11 Jul 2019

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 10 July 2019 at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

A. Issues in the environment

1. Outcomes from the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit

1.1 Cabinet welcomes the outcomes of the G20 Summit held in Osaka, Japan from 28 to 29 June 2019. President Cyril Ramaphosa held a number of engagements on the sidelines of the summit to strengthen relations with a number of countries.

1.2 He held trilateral meetings with the African Union (AU) Chairperson, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, Chairperson of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, President Macky Sall of Senegal, and also bilateral meetings with Russia, China, Japan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the President of the World Bank, Mr David Malpass.

1.3 President Ramaphosa concluded his Osaka programme by meeting with business during the Japan-South Africa CEO Business Roundtable to further advance the country as an investment destination.

1.4 World leaders at the summit affirmed their commitment to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

2. Working visit to Lesotho

2.1. President Ramaphosa’s recent working visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho continues to build on the strong and cordial relations between our two nations. He was also there as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator to Lesotho.

2.2. During this visit, the President received an update on the progress of the reform process in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The update will inform his report to the SADC Heads of State and Government taking place in the United Republic of Tanzania in August 2019.

2.3. Cabinet welcomes the signing of an agreement by political parties in Lesotho to establish a statutory National Legislative Reform Authority. The agreement stipulates that a reform authority will be constituted in terms of an Act of Parliament and that the authority will guide the country in effecting constitutional, governance, security and media reforms.

2.4. Cabinet appeals to all the parties to support the resumption of the Parliament that will ensure the adoption of the agreement.

3. Destruction of public property

3.1. Cabinet condemns the recent burning of a primary school in Katlehong, Gauteng by protesters. No measure of grievance justifies the destruction of a public property such as a school, which serves as a critical stepping stone towards building the future of our children.

3.2. Over the past 25 years, government has invested billions of rands in the construction of new schools and upgrading of existing school infrastructure. This year, government has allocated around R30 billion to build new schools and maintain existing infrastructure.

3.3. Cabinet urges communities to take care of their infrastructure, which benefits them. It also calls on community members to work with police to ensure that people who destroy public property are arrested.

4. Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) Report

4.1. Cabinet is concerned about the audit outcomes of municipalities released by the AGSA recently. The unacceptably high levels of poor governance, particularly the management of public funds in a number of municipalities, suggest ineffective and poor execution of service-delivery programmes.

4.2. The Public Audit Amendment Act, 2018 (Act 5 of 2018), gives the AGSA the authority to hold those found responsible for poor financial management accountable and to curb the abuse of state resources, especially in municipalities which have consistently shown no improvement in their respective outcomes.

4.3. Additionally, working through the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, and National Treasury, Cabinet endorses the Back to Basics implementation plan which drives capacity-building in municipalities. The plan, amongst others, seeks to build the competency of personnel through training and skills transfer, and the enforcement of minimum compliance standards for municipal managers and senior officials.

4.4. Working with the provincial leadership, Minister Dlamini Zuma will continue to provide the necessary support to municipalities.

5. Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)

5.1. Cabinet is pleased that South Africa has successfully hosted its first Digital Economy Summit, held in Johannesburg on 5 July 2019, as a critical milestone in shaping a coherent 4IR plan for the country. President Ramaphosa, future forecaster George Friedman, labour, academia and civil society attended the summit, which stimulated dialogue, understanding and action plans that will position South Africa as a competitive global player.

5.2. Cabinet also welcomes the plans by Google to build a new undersea cable from Portugal to South Africa that will deliver 20 times more network capacity, ensuring faster Internet service. The cable is expected to be completed in 2021. Such interventions will contribute towards making South Africa conducive to potential domestic and international investors.

6. Energy

6.1. Cabinet welcomes Eskom’s announcement that Unit 3 of the Medupi Power Station near Lephalale in Limpopo has reached commercial operation and has been synchronised into the national grid.

6.2. This will provide an additional capacity of 796 megawatts. The World Bank has also expressed confidence in government’s efforts to support Eskom.

6.3. While we continue to support Eskom, Cabinet calls on South Africans to continue to use electricity efficiently, particularly between 17:00 and 21:00, when energy demand from households is at its highest in the country.

7. Crime

7.1. Cabinet expressed shock and dismay following the murder of at least  13 people in Phillippi, in Cape Town, at the weekend. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the victims, who included six women between the ages of 18 and 26.

7.2. Cabinet has been made aware of action being taken to strengthen safety and security in that area, and strongly appeals to members of the public with information that could lead to the arrest of these perpetrators, to contact their nearest police station.

8. Outbreak of African swine fever

8.1. Cabinet applauds the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for responding swiftly to the outbreak of swine fever reported in North West, Gauteng, Free State and Mpumalanga. This has helped to contain the spread of the disease. Whilst the African swine fever does not affect humans, any meat and products from affected pigs can be a source of infection to other pigs. 

8.2. Cabinet urges all farmers in the affected areas to remain vigilant and report any symptoms of the disease amongst their animals.

9. Safety in healthcare institutions

9.1. Cabinet has expressed the importance of the safety of healthcare workers and patients. This follows the recent reported incidences of attacks of medical emergency service workers when they responded to an emergency call. From January 2019, a total of 10 incidences of such attacks have been reported, the most recent being from Cosmo City Extension 2 in Johannesburg. Cabinet calls on law-enforcement agencies working with the public health institutions to strengthen safety and security at these facilities and also in the transportation of patients. 

9.2. Cabinet also urges all healthcare workers to always uphold their professional standards towards patients in their care.

10. Gauteng freeway electronic tolling (e-tolling)

10.1. President Ramaphosa has mandated Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Gauteng Premier David Makhura to find a solution to the e-tolling on Gauteng freeways.

10.2. The consultations within government over the coming weeks are expected to produce workable outcomes, which will be submitted to Cabinet by the end of August 2019.

10.3. A united response across government is required on issues such as e-tolling to ensure South Africans have confidence in the work of government.

11. Budget votes

11.1. During July 2019, departments are tabling their budget votes, which provide concrete financial plans on the commitments highlighted by President Ramaphosa in his first State of the Nation Address of the sixth democratic administration.

11.2. The budget votes provide a detailed account of departments’ respective plans for the year, which give effect to the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework.

11.3. Cabinet encourages citizens to engage with the budget votes and hold departments to account. Budget votes ensure that public funds are spent according to government’s priorities and in ways that will most benefit South Africans.

B. Cabinet decisions

1.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the country’s Voluntary National Review Report to the United Nations (UN). South Africa is amongst the hundred and ninety-three  (193) UN member states that officially adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2017, South Africa became one of the 51 countries that volunteered to submit their progress report to the UN.

1.2. South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP), AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s SDGs all mutually reinforce the developmental agenda of South Africa and the African continent.

1.3. The progress report was compiled in consultation with a number of stakeholders, including civil-society organisations, private sector and the academia. The report further highlights areas that remain a challenge. Once it has been submitted, it will be accessible through the UN website (https://www.un.org/en/).

C. Bills

1.1. Cabinet approved the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill of 2018 for tabling in Parliament. In 2018, Cabinet approved that the Bill be released for public consultation over a three-month period, from June to September 2018. The inputs received from this process have been incorporated into this latest version, which will be subjected to another rigorous parliamentary process.

1.2. The Bill will give effect to the NDP that seeks to provide for universal quality healthcare services to all South Africans, irrespective of their socio-economic background. It will be based on values of justice, fairness and social solidarity. It will address the current health system that serves only 16% of South Africans whilst excluding the overwhelming majority.

1.3. The NHI Bill provides for the establishment of the NHI Fund as a public entity reporting to the Minister of Health. It will be established as an autonomous schedule 3A under the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 (Act 1 of 1999).

1.4. Once the Bill has been passed, the existing draft implementation plan will be amended accordingly to give effect to the transitional arrangement of rolling out the NHI in phases. The transition period will also allow for the repeal of certain pieces of legislation to enable alignment and coherence.

1.5. The Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, will hold a separate media briefing to unpack the Bill.

    D. Upcoming events

      1.1. President Ramaphosa will on Tuesday, 23 July 2019 lead the government delegation to the two-day “25 Years of Democracy – The Next 25 Years” Conference at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The President will deliver an opening address to the conference, which is a partnership between the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection, the UJ and The Presidency.

      1.2. This conference will reflect on 25 Years of Democracy and offer perspectives on the next 25 years in South Africa’s development trajectory. It will be attended by leading academics, government leaders and representatives of social partners – business, labour, community and youth, including the student community.

      E. Messages

      1. Condolences

      Cabinet expressed condolences to the family and friends of:

      1.1. Multi-award winning veteran artist, Mr David Koloane. The widely acclaimed painter was a founding member of the Bag Factory (previously the Fordsburg Artists’ Studios), which made it possible for black and white artists to work together on a professional level, despite the apartheid legislation.

      1.2. Mama Vivian Magdalene Sarah Daniels. She was a great stalwart and role model who served the nation in the fight against apartheid. Her selfless activism saw her legacy live on in the communities she contributed to around Cape Town.

      1.3. Former ambassador, Dr Khorshed Ginwala, who was one of democratic South Africa’s first women ambassadors and a pioneer in the fight for freedom.

      1.4. Mr Mandla Maseko, who was set to be the first black African in space. In 2014, Mr Maseko beat one million competitors to become one of the 23 people to get a seat on a sponsored Axe Apollo Space Academy.

      1.5. Veteran actress Mama Nomhle Nkonyeni, who passed on at the age of 77. President Ramaphosa recently awarded her the National Order of Ikhamanga in recognition of her work as an artist. Aggrey Road in New Brighton in the Eastern Cape, where she grew up, was renamed in her honour. She acted in shows such as Mzansi, Tsha Tsha, Igazi and the 2007 mini-series, Society.

      1.6. Mama Susan Manana Matona – the mother of the Secretary of the National Planning Commission, Mr Tseliso Matona – who passed away at age 90.

      1.7. Former Springbok wing James Small, who died at the age of 50. He was also part of the Springbok team that won the 1995 Rugby World Cup on home soil.

      1.8. Mama Betty Philile Khumalo-Zulu, who is the mother-in-law to the Deputy Minister of Social Development, Ms Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu.

      1.9. The victims of the heavy monsoon rains in India, including the Indian Government. Cabinet also wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

      2. Congratulations

      Cabinet joined the rest of South Africa in congratulating:

      2.1. Our indomitable athlete Caster Semenya for her victory in the 800m at the Prefontaine Classic, in California, USA. Semenya, who is the two-time Olympic champion, remains unbeaten in the 800m since September 2015.

      2.2. Bafana Bafana for advancing to the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt and wished them luck against Nigeria.

      2.3. Amy Claire King, who was crowned the World Masters Singles champion at the prestigious World 8 Ball Pool Championships in Blackpool in the United Kingdom.

      2.4. Tennis star Kgothatso Montjane, the first black South African woman debutante at Wimbledon. She defeated Katharina Kruger of Germany in the quarterfinals of the ladies wheelchair singles. Montjane is ranked No 8 in the world.

      2.5. Kevin Anderson for reaching the men’s singles third round and Raven Klaasen for reaching the men’s doubles semi-finals.

      2.6. The group of 20 South African teenagers who made aviation history by building their own four-seater aircraft. The team built the aircraft in two weeks under the guidance of The Airplane Factory, U-Dream mentors and five team leaders from Denel Aviation. The four-seater Sling 4 plane landed in Namibia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Tanzania and Uganda during the 12 000km trip to Egypt, after it jetted off from Cape Town last month.

       3. Appointments

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

      3.1. Interim Board of Directors at the Public Investment Corporation with effect from 12 July 2019 to 31 July 2020. The names were released yesterday by National Treasury.

      Enquiries:
      Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Cabinet Spokesperson
      Cell: 083 501 0139