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Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 18 October 2017

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 18 October 2017, at Tuynhuys, Cape Town.

A. Issues on the environment

1. Media Freedom Day

1.1. Cabinet joins South Africans in commemorating Media Freedom Day on Thursday, 19 October 2017.

1.2. Media played a critical role in the fight against apartheid, exposing atrocities and brutality committed by the apartheid regime. This year marks 40 years since the apartheid regime banned progressive newspapers such as the World, the Weekend World and the Voice.

1.3. Today, media freedom is firmly entrenched in South Africa’s Constitution and remains a fundamental feature of our developing nation.

1.4.  Cabinet further encourages South Africans to continue to promote access to information and use the right of media freedom responsibly to help build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa for all.

2. Oceans Economy

2.1. Cabinet commends President Jacob Zuma in delivering a progress report to stakeholders on the implementation of Operation Phakisa for the Oceans Economy and calls on all stakeholders to continue partnering with government to unlock the economic potential of our oceans.

2.2. The Oceans Economy has already contributed about 4.4% to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product and the President’s report to stakeholders strongly demonstrates the concerted effort and support of all government partners tapping into the vast potential.

2.3. Oceans Economy projects have so far unlocked a combined R24.6 billion in investment from government and the private sector, and have created more than 6 500 jobs.

2.4. The largest investment in the Oceans Economy, facilitated through government incentives, was directed to infrastructure development, mainly ports, manufacturing, boatbuilding, aquaculture and scientific surveys in the oil and gas sector.

2.5. Government plans to establish the single largest boatbuilding facility in southern Africa. The KwaZulu-Natal Boatbuilding Park in the Port of Durban will harvest potential from new investment, exports and job creation.

3. State visit to Zambia

3.1.Cabinet welcomes the outcomes from President Zuma’s State Visit to the Republic of Zambia from 12 to 13 October 2017.

3.2. Interactions between President Zuma and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu strengthened existing good political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries, underpinned by strong historical ties dating back from the years of the liberation struggle.

3.3. The two Heads of State officially opened the OR Tambo National Heritage site in Chelstone, Lusaka, in honour of OR Tambo’s contribution to the liberation struggle of southern Africa.

3.4. Zambia remains one of South Africa’s top trading partners in the region and the continent. Economic cooperation between South Africa and Zambia continues to grow, with South African exports to Zambia amounting to approximately R30 billion in 2016. The two countries cooperate in a variety of areas, including trade and investment, science and technology, defence, agriculture, environment, energy and health.

4. Working visit to Nigeria

4.1. Cabinet congratulates President Zuma on being honoured with a statue and a street being named after him in Nigeria, during a working visit to strengthen socio-economic relations and other cooperations.

4.2. The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, conferred on President Zuma the Imo Merit Award, the highest award in the State conferred on those who have made a difference in the development of their communities.

5. 17th Indian Ocean Rim Association Council of Ministers  (IORA) Meeting

5.1. South Africa assumed Chair of the IORA during the 17th meeting held in Durban from 14 to 18 October 2017.

5.2. South Africa’s theme for its tenure is “Uniting the Peoples of Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Middle East through Enhanced Cooperation for Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development”.

5.3. Cabinet has reiterated its commitment through this chairpersonship to further regional cooperation in areas such as the blue economy; women economic empowerment; small, medium and micro enterprise promotion; youth empowerment, and cooperation in academics, science and technology.

6. Annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank

6.1. Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba, following South Africa’s participation at the 2017 IMF and World Bank annual meetings, which took place from 13 to 15 October 2017.

6.2. The meetings provided an opportunity to assess international progress on development issues and inform South Africa’s own initiatives for socio-economic development, inclusive growth, employment creation and poverty alleviation.

6.3. Cabinet was further briefed on the meeting Minister Gigaba held with sovereign credit rating agencies and investors to reaffirm South Africa’s current policies and approach to fiscal discipline.

6.4. Cabinet is satisfied with the reassurance given to investors on government’s plans to grow the economy and government’s commitment to address governance issues in our state-owned entities.

6.5. The Medium Term Budget Policy Statement will be tabled in Parliament, Cape Town, on 25 October and will outline government’s spending plans over the next three years.

7. Infrastructure development

7.1. Cabinet applauded the massive boost in government’s infrastructure development with the official handover of three bridges in Botlokwa in Limpopo by President Zuma on 17 October 2017.

7.2. The South African National Roads Agency constructed the Botlokwa bridges, which consist of one road bridge and two pedestrian bridges on the N1 between Polokwane and Makhado.

7.3. Cabinet is positive that this project will significantly improve travelling conditions and safety for all road users in the area.

8. Small and medium enterprises

8.1. Cabinet commends the Department of Small Business Development for co-hosting this year’s China International Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Fair, as it contributes to unlocking the Chinese market for South Africa’s small businesses and cooperatives. The SME Fair is taking place in Guangzhou, China from 10 to 27 October 2017.

8.2. Small businesses are the heartbeat of our economy and engine for economic growth and job creation in South Africa, and our participation in the trade fair promoted market access and opportunities to grow businesses.

8.3. Cabinet is confident that this demonstrates government’s commitment to the goal of promoting and sustaining entrepreneurship. Investing in small businesses will help the country respond to current socio-economic challenges.

9. Tourism

9.1. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the National Tourism Monitors Programme in Soweto, on Tuesday, 17 October 2017, which aims to enhance the visitor experience as well as improve the safety of tourists.

9.2. The Department of Tourism, in partnership with the Gauteng Tourism Authority, launched the programme in Vilakazi Street, which is the only street in the world boasting the residence of two Nobel Laureates – former President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. 

9.3. This programme is aligned to the National Development Plan (NDP) goals and aims to create employment for 200 youth, who will be trained to become monitors at tourism destinations for a 36-month period.

9.4. Cabinet encourages business owners and communities in Gauteng to work with the tourism monitors to improve the safety of tourists and harness the economic potential from this industry.

10. Science and technology

10.1. Cabinet welcomes and congratulates the scientists who participated in the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) telescopes exploration. This resulted in an unprecedented international collaboration to investigate the origin of the first detection of gravitational waves produced by two colliding neutron stars. The collision also resulted in a kilonova explosion of light. A kilonova is an astronomical event that occurs in a binary system when two neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole merge into each other.

10.2. The discovery marks the birth of a new era in astrophysics, the first cosmic event observed in both gravitational waves and light. SALT and other SAAO telescopes have provided some of the very first data in what is turning out to be one of the most-studied astrophysical events ever.

10.3. SALT and SAAO are among the 70 ground- and space-based observatories that observed the cataclysmic explosion of two colliding neutron stars, immediately after their gravitational shock waves were detected by the United States-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the European-based Virgo detector.

11. World Festival of Youth and Students

11.1. Russia is hosting the 2017 World Festival of Youth and Students from 14 to 22 October 2017, which is being attended by more than 20 000 young people from 150 countries.

11.2. The purpose of the festival is to bring together the youth of the world community around the idea of justice, the strengthening of international relations, and the development of inter-ethnic and intercultural relations.

12. Child protection

12.1. Cabinet has expressed concern following disturbing reports of crimes against children, the most recent one being the alleged sexual assault of more than 80 pupils at the AB Xuma Primary School in Orlando, Soweto by a scholar patrol guard. The provincial department is commended for the prompt response by removing, with immediate effect, the senior management of the school, bringing on board social workers and instituting an investigation by an independent body.

12.2. Cabinet calls on all communities in South Africa to work together to protect all children from any form of danger and abuse, and to partner with local police to keep our communities safe.

13. Examinations

13.1. Cabinet is confident that end-of-year school examinations will proceed without interruption following this week’s mass demonstration led by the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU).

13.2. SADTU handed over a memorandum to the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, who has committed to resolving issues of concern as speedily as possibly. It is important that all stakeholders work together to create a conducive environment to better enable learners to focus on learning and their examinations.

14. Storms

14.1. Cabinet expresses sincere condolences to the loved ones of those who lost their lives during the recent storms in some parts of the country.

14.2. Cabinet also extends its gratitude to all volunteers, civil-society organisations, communities, relief-aid workers and the Disaster Management teams for assisting those affected.

14.3. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Des van Rooyen, in his capacity as the head of the National Disaster Management Centre in South Africa, visited areas affected by storms and heavy rains in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal on 13 October 2017 and Mogale City Local Municipality in Gauteng on 16 October 2017.

As a result of the heavy rains and storms that battered many parts of the country, 19 lives were lost and over 20 people injured.  Minister van Rooyen also visited the recent incidences in Philippi in the Western Cape where six family members, including three children, lost their lives due to the fire that ravaged three informal houses and a tuckshop.

15. Life Esidimeni

15.1. Cabinet acknowledges the start of the Life Esidimeni alternative dispute resolution process as what could be the beginning of closure for families of patients who died.

15.2. Cabinet expresses full confidence in retired Constitutional Court Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is presiding over the matter and sincerely wishes family members strength as they observe what must be a difficult account of this tragedy.

15.3. The investigation should not only assist in bringing closure to these affected families but also serve to provide lessons to government in general. Government is committed to providing quality services to all South Africans.

16. Avian Influenza

16.1. Cabinet has been assured that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is undertaking consistent surveillance on farms across the country in an effort to prevent the spread of the Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 outbreak.

16.2. The strain of avian influenza has been detected in birds. Cabinet urges the public to refrain from handling sick or dead birds and not attempt to feed wild birds but rather report birds suspected to be ill to local authorities.

17. Attacks on police

17.1. Cabinet condemns the attack on six South African Police Service members in Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng on 10 October 2017 by members of the community.

17.2. The law-enforcement agencies are mandated to protect society from any act of criminality. Therefore, no amount of anger can justify anyone attacking the law-enforcement agencies. 

17.3. Cabinet urges members of that community to work with the police to apprehend criminal elements and help make South Africa safer for all.

B. Cabinet decisions

18. Social Housing Programme

18.1. Cabinet was apprised on the findings and recommendations of the Impacts and Implementation Evaluation of the Social Housing Programme and the improvement plan, with a view of overcoming apartheid spatial patterns by improving spatial location and urban integration of housing projects.

18.2. The programme offers affordable rental accommodation for low and middle-income households in neighbourhoods where market conditions would otherwise exclude them or allocate inadequate housing.

18.3. This is the only programme that gears debt financing; considers long-term financial sustainability of projects; and creates a virtuous financial cycle with tenants paying rentals and social-housing institutions paying rates, taxes and service charges to municipalities.

18.4. This report assists the relevant departments in further improving their respective operational plans. The full report will be placed on the website of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (www.dpme.gov.za).

19. National Youth Service (NYS)

19.1. Cabinet approved the revised and improved NYS Programme Framework as part of developing young people as active citizens of South Africa.

19.2. The NYS is an enabler for young people in South Africa to become active citizens of the country and contribute positively to the country’s development while achieving personal and professional development. This will involve young people participating in activities that benefit local communities while developing their abilities through service and learning so that their opportunities to successfully enter labour markets and become entrepreneurs are bolstered.

20. 3rd African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services Extension Week

20.1. Cabinet approved the hosting of the 3rd African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services Extension Week, which will be held in KwaZulu-Natal from 30 October to 3 November 2017.

20.2. The event is aligned to the NDP and identifies food security as a means to address the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

20.3. The theme is: “Scaling up climate smart agriculture: integrating youth, women, and the digital revolution”, and the event will be held under the leadership of the DAFF, in collaboration with the South African Society for Agricultural Extension and the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services.

20.4. This continental network for Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (AEAS) in Africa provides a platform for mutual learning and innovation among AEAS providers across Africa and the world.

20.5. The NDP also advocates for an improvement in skills development and training in the agricultural sector, including the training of a new cadre of extension practitioners who will respond effectively to the needs of smallholder farmers.

21. World Wine Trade Group

21.1. In contributing to the removal of trade barriers, Cabinet was briefed on South Africa’s Chairship of the World Wine Trade Group from April 2017 to May 2018. As chair, South Africa will host the annual meeting of the World Wine Trade Group in Cape Town from 1 to 3 November 2017.

21.2. The group aims to facilitate international trade in wine through information sharing, discussion of regulatory issues in wine markets and joint actions for the removal of trade barriers. Emerging producers and exports of the South African wine industry benefit from South Africa’s participation.

21.3. This contributes to the Nine-Point Plan and the NDP, which seek to revitalise the agriculture and agro-processing value chain. In the wine sector, the aim is to increase the area under wine production, support smallholder producers and target certain markets for export growth.

22. 5th Annual Meeting of  ID4AFRICA Movement

22.1. Cabinet approved South Africa’s hosting of the 5th Annual Meeting of the ID4Africa Movement in 2019.

22.2. ID4Africa is a multi-stakeholder movement that promotes the transparent and responsible adoption of digital identity for driving socio-economic development in Africa.

22.3. Discussions will seek to improve the way civil registration and vital statistics data is collected, coordinated and analysed, making available reliable information to policymakers.

22.4. Hosting this conference will assist South Africa to realise some of the objectives of the NDP and create awareness of the strategic value for the South African identity systems such as the live capture system for passport and smart identity document (ID) cards. It will also positively mobilise other countries in the region to appreciate the benefits of the smart ID card.

23. National crime statistics

23.1. Cabinet was briefed on the national crime statistics for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

23.2. The annual crime statistics enables government to monitor key crime fighting targets, as set out in the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019. The crime statistics are used as an early-warning mechanism to strengthen the crime-prevention operations and strategies of various departments.

23.3. Cabinet has approved the release of the report by the Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula.

C. Upcoming Events

24. OR Tambo Centenary Celebration

24.1. Cabinet is pleased that preparations for the centenary celebration of the birth of OR Tambo are at an advanced stage and calls on all South Africans to continually familiarise themselves with the legacy of our Struggle icon, the role he played in our liberation, and his values which still guide us today.

24.2. President Zuma declared 2017 the Year of OR Tambo under the theme: “Life and Legacy of OR Tambo” and he will, on Thursday, 19 October 2017, unveil a life-size statue of OR Tambo at the OR Tambo International Airport in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

24.3. South Africans are encouraged to join in centenary celebrations, which will culminate on 27 of October in Mbizana, Eastern Cape, which was the birth place of this Struggle icon 100 years ago.

24.4. Government continues to build on OR Tambo’s legacy since 1994, and our many gains as South Africans must be celebrated and defended.

24.5. The Inter-Ministerial Committee tasked to prepare for the centenary celebrations, chaired by Minister Jeff Radebe, will on Friday, 20 October 2017, brief the media on the state of readiness.

D. Messages

25. Somalia attack

25.1. Cabinet strongly condemns the recent bomb attack outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia.  At least 300 people were reportedly killed and hundreds more left injured. Cabinet expresses condolences to the loved ones of those who perished in the heinous attack on innocent people.

26. Condolences to the Lubisi family

26.1. Cabinet also expresses its heartfelt condolences to the Director-General in The Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi, following the loss of his wife, Ms Lumka Lubisi, earlier this month. Cabinet wishes the family strength during this difficult time of grief.

E. Appointments

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

(a) Deputy Director-General (DDG): Training Management and Delivery, National School of Government, Mr S Manana;
(b) Chief Financial Officer, Department of Public Works (DPW), Ms R Sadiki;
(c) Divisional Head: Construction Management in the DPW, Mr B Mokhothu;
(d) DDG: Public Finance in the Department of National Treasury, Dr MP Modise;
(e) DDG: Hospital Tertiary Health Services and Human Resource Development, Department of Health, Dr WW Chitha;
(f) Executive Director of the Centre for Public Service Innovation, Ms TE Rabebe;
(g) Interim Board of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa:

Advocate Tintswalo Annah Nana Makhubele (SC) – (Chairperson);
Dr Natalie Skeepers;
Prof John Maluleke; and
Ms Magdelene Cheryl Reddy.

(h) Board of the South African Airways:
Mr JB Magwaza – (Chairperson);
Ms Nolitha Fakude – (Deputy Chairperson);
Mr Geoff Rothschild;
Ms Tinyiko Mhlari;
Mr Ahmed Bassa; and
Mr Martin Kingston.
 
Enquiries:
Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Director-General (GCIS)
Contact: 083 501 0139