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Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 13 September 2017

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 13 September 2017, at Tuynhuys, Cape Town.

1. Issues in the environment

1.1. Economy

1.1.1. Cabinet welcomes the positive growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.5% in the second quarter of 2017, which has moved the country out of a technical recession. Last week, Statistics South Africa released the figures, which represent a year-on-year growth of 1.1%.

1.1.2. Although cautiously optimistic, Cabinet is convinced the country is seeing the first positive signs of what is hopefully the start of the country’s economic recovery firmly built on the implementation of the Nine-Point Plan, which aims to grow the South African economy and create much-needed jobs.

This has resulted in the launch of four industrial parks and the rise in net exports of agricultural raw products on average by 14.6% a year since 2012.

1.1.3. The Black Industrialist Programme has supported 62 projects that have attracted R26 billion in private-sector investment and created 19 859 jobs to date. To support localisation, 21 products and sectors have been designated for local production.

Operation Phakisa has so far unlocked an estimated R24.6 billion in investment in the oceans economy, with Government contributing R15 billion of this amount. Although the investments are mainly in infrastructure development in ports, marine manufacturing in particular boatbuilding, aquaculture and scientific surveys in the oil and gas sector, several Government departments have made substantial contributions to ensure the growth of this sector. A total of 6517 jobs had been created in the various sectors.  

1.1.4. Cabinet reiterates calls to all sectors of society, particularly government, business and civil society, to build on the positive momentum gained during the second quarter to sustain higher rates of economic growth and development, and to help save jobs.

1.1.5. The Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba, continues to engage with various sectors on the inclusive economic growth action plan, which is set to inspire confidence in the country. The Minister will further unpack this when he delivers the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament, Cape Town, on 25 October 2017.

1.2. InvestSA One Stop Shop – Western Cape

1.2.1. Cabinet commended the launch of the first provincial InvestSA One Stop Shop.

President Jacob Zuma officially launched the InvestSA One Stop Shop in the Western Cape and affirmed government’s commitment to improving the investment climate in South Africa, which is an attractive destination for potential investors.

1.2.2. The InvestSA One Stop Shop lowers the cost of doing business and eases doing business in the country by providing strategic guidance, reducing regulatory inefficiencies and cutting red tape for investors.

1.2.3. Government’s National InvestSA One Stop Shop was launched in March this year and through the dti, InvestSA One Stop shops will be established in all nine provinces – first in the Western Cape and followed by KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng respectively.

1.3. 5th Anniversary of the National Development Plan (NDP)

1.3.1. Cabinet joins South Africans in celebrating the 5th Anniversary of the NDP, which was adopted by Parliament on 12 September 2012 as the country’s socio-economic development blueprint to tackle the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality by 2030.

1.3.2. As the country’s roadmap towards prosperity, the NDP belongs to all South Africans and represents the hopes and aspirations from all sectors of society, for a better South Africa.

1.3.3. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to rally behind the NDP Vision 2030.

1.4. BRICS Summit

1.4.1. Cabinet noted a successful 9th Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Summit, held in Xiamen in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 3 to 5 September 2017 under the theme: “BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future”.

1.4.2. The summit sets an important milestone towards building stronger solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

1.4.3. South Africa’s partnership in BRICS is premised on advancing the country’s national interests, promoting regional integration and advocating a more inclusive global governance system.

1.4.4. Total bilateral trade between South Africa and other BRICS countries amounted to US$29 billion last year. South Africa’s biggest export destination within BRICS remains China, followed by India, Brazil and Russia. The same pattern is also evident in imports, with China remaining the biggest source of South African imports. Even though South Africa has abundant natural resources, it is critical to implement beneficiation programmes to support our industrialisation policy.

1.4.5. The adoption of the BRICS Xiamen Declaration and Action Plan highlighted the strong foundation that BRICS has made in terms of establishing institutional mechanisms for tangible cooperation.

1.4.6. Cabinet is honoured that South Africa is the incoming Chair of BRICS and entrenches its aim at the forefront to build on the BRICS programme of development and prosperity for partner countries, as it prepares to host the 10th BRICS Summit in 2018.

1.5. South Africa and Russia sign agreement

1.5.1. Cabinet further welcomes the agreement signed between South Africa and Russia at the 9th BRICS Summit, which will yield an amount of US$400 million being invested in the development of South Africa’s oil and gas sector.

1.5.2. South Africa’s national oil company, PetroSA, and the Russian Federation geological exploration company, Rosgeo, have agreed to develop the exploration areas of blocks 9 and 11a off the South Coast of South Africa.

1.5.3. The search for oil and gas resources in South Africa is highly strategic for the country’s energy security.

1.5.4. Russia’s Rosgeo will conduct geological exploration work as well as drilling exploratory wells. The project could lead to four million cubic metres of gas being extracted daily and subsequently delivered to PetroSA’s Gas-To-Liquids refinery in Mossel Bay, on the South Coast.

1.6. South African export markets

1.6.1. Cabinet congratulates the dti in leading a group of 20 South African companies to the World Food Moscow 2017 exhibition, which is underway until 15 September 2017.

1.6.2. While promoting South Africa’s agro-processing industry, the participation of these local companies from the agro-processing sector, consolidates and establishes market presence of South Africa in Russia.

1.6.3. Their participation is made possible through the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance Scheme of the dti, which is instrumental in developing export markets for South African products and services, as well as recruiting new foreign direct investment into the country.

1.6.4. Trade between South Africa and Russia increased significantly from R5 billion in 2012 to almost R8 billion in 2016. Major South African exports include fruits and nuts, manganese ores, beverages, spirits and vinegar, wine, electrical machinery and equipment.

1.7. Child labour

1.7.1. Cabinet is concerned about recent incidents of child labour in which children were found working on farms in the North West and Free State. Cabinet condemns this unacceptable abuse and exploitation of vulnerable children.

1.7.2. Cabinet commends members of the public who alerted the Department of Labour which, together with the Department of Social Development, acted swiftly to deal accordingly with this heinous form of child abuse.

1.7.3. Cabinet is pleased that the affected children have been relocated to places of safety and that the Department of Labour will intensify inspections and work together with law-enforcement agencies to bring perpetrators to book.

1.7.4. Our children are the future of the country. Cabinet condemns all forms of child labour and calls on all South Africans to remain vigilant at all times and report those violating the principles of our Constitution.

1.7.5. The South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), together with the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005), clearly directs that all children between the ages of seven and 15 are compelled to attend school. According to the law, parents and guardians should ensure that learners of this age group are registered and attend school regularly or face implications of not abiding.

1.8. Drought

1.8.1. Cabinet is grateful to those in South Africa who have heeded the call to save water.

1.8.2. South Africa is a water-stressed country and the persistent drought conditions in parts of the country are a reminder to all people to save every drop by using water wisely and sparingly.

1.8.3. Although efforts to save water help ease the pressure on water source the lower than normal seasonal rain reported in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal is evidence that more needs to be done to conserve water.

1.8.4. The Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Drought, led by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, continues to monitor the drought conditions and offer the required support through relevant sector departments to mitigate the situation.

1.8.5. Government has allocated R74 million in relief funding to respond to the persistent drought in the Western Cape.

1.8.6. The Department of Water and Sanitation is also making progress with preparations for the implementation of the Berg River to Voelvlei Augmentation Scheme. The record of decision for the Environmental Impact Assessment should be granted by the end of September. The Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane, has since directed the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority to raise the finance and implement the project. They have already started engaging with major users and will shortly be approaching the Minister for concurrence with the Minister of Finance for borrowing limits for the project.

1.8.7. Cabinet reiterates calls to all in South Africa to ensure water conservation is exercised as part of their daily lives.

1.9. Lesotho

1.9.1. Cabinet joins President Zuma in condemning the senseless killing of Lesotho Defence Force Commander, General Khoantle Motšomotšo.

1.9.2. This latest incident of violence is unacceptable. It is now incumbent on the people and leadership of Lesotho to ensure that calm and normality returns to the Kingdom as a matter of urgency.  

1.9.3. We remain hopeful that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Fact-Finding Mission will be able to assist Lesotho in determining appropriate interventions. The SADC remains resolute in its objective to consolidate, defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region working with the leadership of Lesotho.

1.10. Libya

1.10.1. Cabinet welcomes the outcomes from the African Union (AU) High Level Committee on Libya at the Level of Heads of State and Government, which was held in Brazzaville, in the Republic of Congo.

1.10.2. President Zuma participated in the High Level Committee, which discussed and reviewed efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the prevailing conflict in Libya.

1.10.3. As a member of the High Level Committee on Libya, South Africa supports all efforts of the AU aimed at bringing about a peaceful resolution to the Libyan crisis.

1.10.4. Cabinet reiterates President Zuma’s assertion that South Africa is ready to assist Libya in Post-Reconstruction and Development efforts and to share our country’s experiences in reconciliation, constitution-building and the democratic transformation of the State.

1.10.5. Cabinet also reiterates the importance of coordinated and harmonised international engagement in Libya.

1.11. Conference of the Parties (CoP13)

1.11.1. Cabinet acknowledges that South Africa, as a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Convention to Combat Desertification, is participating in the 13th Session of the COP13 currently taking place in Ordos, PRC from 6 to 16 September 2017.

1.11.2. It is envisaged that the conference will finalise and adopt a new strategic framework for 2018-2030 organised under the theme “Towards a Healthy Land for Present and Future Generations”. South Africa will work to ensure that policies are turned into concrete actions.

1.11.3. South Africa will work with all countries in Africa in advancing the country’s positions and that of the continent. The High Level Segment of this conference will consider and provide political guidance on challenges to emerging issues in desertification, land degradation and drought.

1.11.4. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to protect and take care of the environment in order to conserve it for future generations.

1.12. Public transport operators

1.12.1. Cabinet condemns the acts of violence, torching of operators’ vehicles and acts of intimidation between the Meter Taxi Operators and the E-Hailing Partners that took place at Sandton, in Johannesburg.

1.12.2. Cabinet calls on law-enforcement agencies to deal with perpetrators of violence and intimidation within the confines of our Constitution.

1.12.3. These developments detract from the country’s concerted efforts in creating a climate of free trade and fair competition.

1.13. Councillors

1.13.1.1. Cabinet condemns the attacks and killings of councillors in some provinces and extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of those murdered. This goes against the ethos of the Constitution, and detracts from our developmental democracy and the right of people to elect their public representatives.

1.13.2. Since the beginning of the year, there have been several deaths in KwaZulu-Natal and recently, deaths have also been reported in the Eastern Cape.

1.13.3. This violence has taken the lives young activists, including the fearless former African National Congress Youth League Secretary-General Sindiso Magaqa, who still had much to contribute in building a prosperous South Africa.

1.13.4.  We call on political parties to promote tolerance amongst their members and call on communities to support the South African Police Service in their investigations.

1.14. Heritage Month

1.14.1.  Cabinet encourages all South Africans to continue to observe this year’s Heritage Month under the theme: “The Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo: Celebrating our Liberation Heritage”.

1.14.2. This month coincides with the centenary birth of OR Tambo, an African Patriot, who showed an unwavering commitment to serve the people of South Africa, the continent and the world. We have also marked the 40th anniversary of the death of Steve Bantu Biko, who was brutally murdered  by the apartheid regime.

1.14.3. The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, has released a programme of celebration for this month.

2. Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet was apprised on the 1st performance quarterly progress reports for 2017/18 on the implementation of priority outcomes for the period between April and June 2017.

2.2.Government continues to make considerable progress in implementing the 14 priority outcomes, derived from the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019, which brings us closer to realising the NDP Vision 2030.

2.3. Cabinet was also briefed on areas that experienced delays in the implementation and appraised on actions required to fast-track delivery. Cluster Ministerial media briefings will be held to brief on the outcomes of these reports during the week of 6 October until 15 October 2017. The schedule will be updated regularly and posted on www.gov.za.

2.4. Cabinet has approved the proposal for South Africa to host the  International Telecommunication Union Telecom World Exhibition in September 2018. This is an annual exhibition and forum for government and industry leaders to explore challenges, partnerships and solutions, and identify investment opportunities and best practices for socio-economic development through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

This will be the first time this event is held in Africa. During this event, the South African ICT industry will be afforded an opportunity to showcase their respective products. The country’s tourism sector will also benefit during this period.  

3. Upcoming events

3.1. President Zuma will lead a South African delegation to the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly under the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet” in New York, United States of America. South Africa will continue to work on achieving reform at the UN as it participates in the 72th Session.

3.2. President Zuma, as the Chairperson of the SADC, will convene an Extraordinary Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government on 15 September 2017 in Pretoria.

The Double Troika Summit is held as a result of the recent political and security developments in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

3.3. A high-level South African delegation will make its first bid presentation to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup in London on 25 September 2017. South Africa has a strong proven record of hosting such events. Cabinet wishes to reiterate its strong support of this Bid and calls upon South Africans to support this Bid that will contribute immensely to social cohesion and nation-building, and also serve as a catalyst for sport development.

4. Messages

4.1. Cabinet wishes the citizens of Germany every success in preparation for Federal elections on 24 September 2017 to elect members of the 19th Bundestag, which in turn will elect a Chancellor and form a new government. Germany is a prominent investor in South Africa, which looks forward to continued relations, cooperation and partnership.

4.2. Cabinet extends its sympathies to the Caribean as wells as parts of Cuba and the Unites Sates following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma. Heartfelt condolences are extended to the loved ones of those who lost their lives and their belongings in this disaster.

4.3. Cabinet joins the nation in congratulating Kevin Anderson on making the finals of the US Open. He is the first South African player to make the final of a major tennis championship since 1994. We are confident that he will continue building on his glittering achievement and inspiring other young and talented South Africans.

4.4. Cabinet congratulates Trevor Noah on winning an Emmy Award in the category Best Short Form Variety Series for his YouTube special, The Daily Show: Between the Scenes.


Enquiries:
Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Director-General (GCIS)
Cell: 083 501 0139