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Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 27 February 2019

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 27 February 2019 at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.

A. Issues In The Environment

1. 2019 Budget Speech


1.1. Cabinet welcomes the 2019 Budget Speech delivered by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in Parliament, Cape Town on Wednesday, 20 February 2019, as a framework that has set South Africa on a path where together we are enabled to renew and rebuild our economy into an inclusive and thriving one.

1.2. The Budget Speech brings into effect the commitments outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation Address in Parliament, Cape Town on 7 February 2019. 

1.3. Cabinet supports various initiatives, including cutting the public sector wage bill, in order to generate additional savings to strengthen government’s finances. Imposing strict conditions of financial support to Eskom to help the utility restructure into a viable organisation is also welcomed.

1.4. We all have a part to play in growing the economy and creating jobs for our people. Overcoming the toughest challenges stemming from the legacy of apartheid means working together  with government to implement its programmes, grow the economy and attract more foreign investment.

2. Eskom

2.1. Cabinet received a report from Deputy President David Mabuza on the work of the joint Special Cabinet Committee on Eskom that was established in response to recent electricity supply disruptions and the negative impact on the economy.  Government’s coordinated efforts to bring financial, operational and structural sustainability to Eskom are proceeding in earnest.

2.2. The Special Cabinet Committee is convened by Deputy President Mabuza and includes the Ministers of Public Enterprises, Energy, Transport, Finance, Police and State Security. It will be required to monitor energy supply on a daily basis.

2.3. In line with President Ramaphosa’s commitment that government’s response to the electricity crisis must be inclusive and consultative, the Minister of Public Enterprises and the Eskom board Chairperson had their first preliminary engagements with the leadership of the three labour unions recognized by Eskom, the coal mining industry and the engineering fraternity.

2.4. The meeting with labour reported on the problems with Eskom’s operations and generation system, maintenance and unplanned outages. The meeting sought to establish a basis for formal future consultations. The restructuring of Eskom was also discussed, and all parties agreed that there would be more interactions to better understand the roadmap and the implications of separating Eskom’s business divisions into three separate operating entities.

2.5. The coal mining industry was convened under the auspices of the Minerals Council of South Africa (MINCOSA), and the meeting raised problems related to coal supply, costs and pricing, and the quality of coal provided to Eskom.

2.6. Further engagements were convened with the engineering fraternity, under the auspices of the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). All engineering specialist disciplines were represented by their respective voluntary associations, including the National Association of Black Engineers.

2.7. The ECSA gave its analysis of the problems facing Eskom and provided a set of recommendations about how to involve the broader South African academic and technical professional fraternity in the urgent interventions required to stabilize electricity supply.

2.8. MINCOSA and the ECSA will assist government to establish a Technical Operations and Maintenance Review Team for Eskom that will be announced shortly.

3. Renewable energy

3.1. Cabinet supports the announcements by Energy Minister Jeff Radebe, which reaffirms the basic rationale behind renewable energy in arresting the high negative impact of fossil fuel sources of energy such as oil and coal.

3.2. Energy is a key enabler in South Africa’s trajectory towards socio- economic growth and development. The National Development Plan (NDP) states that South Africa needs at least 20 000 megawatts of  renewable energy by 2030. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme has made a significant impact on the economy, job creation, community upliftment, economic transformation and climate change.

3.3. While South Africa continues to make a significant contribution to the global effort for a low-carbon and climate resilient developments, government remains committed to ensuring a responsible and just  transition to a cleaner future.

3.4. The World Bank Group recently hosted the South African Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems in Cape Town from 25 to 26 February 2019 under the theme: “Batteries, Energy Storage and the Renewable Future – Towards a 100% Dispatchable Renewable Energy System”. Delegates from industry, finance, utilities, regulators, government and academia discussed advancements in the renewable-energy sector including policy, regulatory, financial, business, technological, applications, innovation, codes and standards issues that are required for the expansion of renewable energy.

3.5. Renewable energy and energy storage technologies enable us to convert electrical power into an energy form and store it for later use when needed. Energy storage systems reduce the need for back-up capacity from coal or gas-fired electrical generation plants, thereby reducing power sector emissions and help us mitigate against climate change.

4. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Programme

4.1. Cabinet welcomes local and international investor confidence displayed through investments in the Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone (SBIDZ), which is developing into a world-class offshore and martime hub. This is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s SEZ Programme.

4.2. The establishment of SEZs countrywide is reversing the concentration of economic activity to certain areas of the country as a result of apartheid spatial planning.

4.3. Since their establishment, SEZs have contributed to attracting foreign direct investment such as the recently signed a R3-billion investment at the SBIDZ.

4.4. The SBIDZ’s investment pipeline includes at least five more investments that will add another R2.4 billion of investment to the short and medium-term outlook of the zone, once completed.

5. Water supply

5.1. Cabinet welcomes the  Mzimvubu Water Project’s advanced infrastructure at Esiqhungqwini village in Tsolo, situated in Mhlontlo Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, as an example of how government continues to meet the needs of communities despite South Africa being a water-stressed country.
 
5.2. The realisation of such water projects create job opportunities and ensure potable water supply for domestic and industrial use.   

5.3. Since the advent of democracy much work has been done to ensure that communities have access to basic services like clean water. Nearly 90% of households currently have access to piped water.  

6. School safety

6.1. Cabinet condemns reported incidents of bullying, robberies and violence in some of the country’s schools. Our children need safe environments of learning and we call on learners, educators, parents and guardians to work together to protect our children socially, physically and emotionally.

6.2. Cabinet also commends the South African Police Service for their swift apprehension of suspects involved in an attempted hijacking at an Edenvale school in Gauteng.

6.3. Cabinet makes a special appeal to school governing bodies to assess the existing infrastructure of their schools to ensure that school buildings are safe, regularly maintained and conducive to learning.

7. Unacceptable practices by some religious leaders

7.1. Cabinet noted with concern recent media reports about certain unacceptable practices by some religious leaders. The recent purported resurrection of a deceased person is a case in point. More of such incidences have happened in the recent past, ranging from spraying of congregants with poisonous insecticides to encouraging them to consume vehicle fuel, rats and grass, among others.

7.2. People approach religious institutions to gain spiritual fulfilment and psychological strength, especially when they are at their lowest and most vulnerable state. Cabinet calls on all people to work together to stop these practices which abuse people’s vulnerability and endanger their lives. The law-enforcement agencies should intervene where acts of criminality have been committed under the guise of religion. Cabinet has also noted that the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities is investigating these practices, which will provide a more comprehensive intervention that will stop them.

8. 2019 national and provincial elections

8.1. Cabinet calls on all eligible South Africans, especially young first time voters who have registered in their thousands, to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming National and Provincial Elections on Wednesday, 8 May 2019, and have a say in the future of the country.

8.2. President Ramaphosa has officially proclaimed and gazetted the 8 May 2019 as the date for the national and provincial elections. This means the voters’ roll is now officially closed and people will no longer be able to register to vote  in the May elections. The President has also in terms of Section 2A of the Public Holidays Act, 1994 (Act 36 of 1994), as amended, declared 8 May 2019 as a public holiday throughout the country.

8.3. In South Africa, the right to vote is a culmination of years of struggle for our freedom. It came at a huge cost with countless of our country men and women sacrificing their lives.

9. Caster Semenya

9.1. Cabinet joins the rest of South Africa in standing united behind our golden girl Caster Semenya. Her case, which is being heard before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, is more than just a sporting matter. It is about fundamental human rights and the inherent dignity of all people.

9.2. We call on people to show their support at #HandsOffCaster. Let us show the world that we are a nation which values fairness, equality and respect for human dignity.

10. Creative industry

10.1. Cabinet is pleased with the positive outcomes of the Creative Industry interaction led by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, held under the Theme: “Leveraging on Digital Platforms for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) Creatives”. The purpose was to engage the industry to assess the impact of the 4IR on the creative sector, and within  the broadcasting and audio-visual sector, and to develop formal stakeholder platforms towards its transformation.

10.2. Participants agreed that government should engage stakeholders and Parliament on the Copyright Amendment Bill, development of the Media Transformation Charter, engage broadcasters in an endeavour to curb exploitation of small and independent producers, and ensure that content owners duly benefit from their content being used on online platforms.

11. Fake social media accounts

11.1. Cabinet notes with concern fake LinkedIn and Facebook accounts which claim to be that of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

11.2. We wish to warn members of the public not to be misled and drawn in by these fake accounts, some of which promise fake business opportunities, and which requests people to pay money to be part of these business opportunities. No member of the Executive solicits payments for any official transactions via social media. In cases of doubt, please contact the various ministries or departments at www.gov.za.

11.3. Members of the public are urged to exercise caution and those who fell prey to these impersonators should immediately report it to the police.

11.4. Cabinet condemns activities performed in the name of members of the Executive or any other member of society through fake social media accounts.

11.5. We distance ourselves from the comments, views and photographs purported by these fake accounts.

12. Venezuela

12.1. Cabinet is concerned about the unfolding situation in Venezuela, especially the humanitarian challenges that require urgent attention. We commend efforts by the United Nations (UN) to provide humanitarian support to locals and call on the the international community to support the people of Venezuela during this difficult time.

12.2. Cabinet further supports calls for the people of Venezuela to be afforded the opportunity to decide their own future. Drawing from our own  experience in South Africa, we believe that a permanent solution can only be achieved from internal and inclusive political dialogue involving all affected parties in that country.

B. Cabinet Decisions

13. National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

13.1. Since 1994, successive administrations have worked to unite all our people, foster national unity and ensure greater social cohesion.  Healing the divisions of the past is a continuous process that must go hand in hand with ensuring greater economic opportunities for more people. Cabinet has therefore approved the NAP to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance for tabling at the UN.

13.2. This follows extensive consultations with government departments, Chapter Nine institutions, civil-society organisations and relevant stakeholders in all provinces.

13.3. The NAP will contribute to and ensure government’s compliance with its  international, regional and national obligations, specifically the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the UN following the 3rd World Conference against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal in 2001.

14. Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

14.1. Cabinet approved submission of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to Parliament for ratification in terms of Section 231(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.

14.2. Ratification promotes constitutionalism, human rights and is in accordance with South Africa’s international obligations. The Constitution provides for the prevention of the violation of the rights of person held in places of detention through state sanction or court order.

15. Designs of the commemorative collectors coin series

15.1. Cabinet approved the designs of the commemorative collectors’ coin series to be issued in 2019-2021:

a) 2019 ‘Celebrating South Africa’ coin series: 25 Years of a Constitutional Democracy;
b) 2019-2021 pure-gold coin series: Africa’s Big Five;
c) 2019-2021 platinum coin series: Africa’s Big Five;
d) 2020 Natura coin series: the Supercontinent Gondwana;
e) 2020 Natura coin series: R25 fine-silver coin: Cradle of Humankind – Hominids;
f) 2020 2½c tickey and R2 crown series: South African Inventions – Retinal Cryoprobe;
g) 2020 R10 and R5 colour coin series: Birds and Flowers of the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve; and
h) 2021 Natura coin series: R25 fine-silver coin: the Supercontinent Gondwana.

C. Bills

16. Tourism Amendment Bill

16.1. Tourism is a sector that holds the promise of incredible opportunities and must be nurtured to grow and further develop. The NDP recognises that tourism has the potential to become one of the main drivers in the economy.
16.2 In further pursuing the country’s tourism potential as a significant generator of jobs and revenue, Cabinet approved the publication of the Tourism Amendment Bill for public comment, which amends the Tourism Act, 2014 (Act 3 of 2014).
16.3. The amendments improve the governance of South African Tourism as an entity under the authority of a board. It also empowers the Minister of Tourism to determine the thresholds regarding short-term home rental.
16.4. The Bill also provides for the competence requirements of tourist guides and for the regulation of tourist guide driving.

17. Central Application Service Bill of 2019

17.1. As a nation we are committed to opening up and ensuring wider access  to the post-school education and training system. A crucial part of this process lies in ensuring that prospective students have access to a single, affordable and easy-to-understand application system which covers multiple institutions of higher learning. To this effect, Cabinet approved publication of the Central Application Service Bill of 2019 in the Government Gazette, for public comment.

17.2. The Bill provides for the establishment of a public entity that will streamline applications into higher education and training programmes, reduce the cost of application, provide applicants with information on academic programmes and enable the Department of Higher Education and Training and institutions of higher learning to monitor equity and demographics.

18. African Public Library and Information Services Bill of 2019

18.1. In pursuit of a culture of a reading nation, Cabinet has approved the publication of South African Public Library and Information Services Bill of 2019 for public comment. The Bill seeks to address the transformational issues in providing public libraries with the communities particularly those previously disadvantaged communities.

18.2. Cognisance of the fact that the provision of public libraries in terms of the Constitution is a competence of the municipalities. This Bill, amongst others, provides the norms and standards of the ideal public library. It also promotes cooperative governance and coordination across the three spheres of government regarding public library and information services.  

18.3. Once the Bill is approved, it will address the historical inequalities in respect of public libraries and provide for sufficient accommodating resources for impaired persons, youth, elderly and non-English speakers  in urban and rural areas. Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa will hold a media briefing to unpack the Bill.

D. Upcoming events

19. Declaration of gender-based violence (GBV)

19.1. The fight against the scourge of GBV will be strengthened when President Ramaphosa, together with various non-governmental organisations, signs a declaration to combat GBV. The details around the signing ceremony will be announced soon. This follows the inaugural Presidential Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Summit held in November last year.

20. 63rd Session on the UN Commission on the Status Of Women

20.1. The Minister of Women, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, will be leading a delegation to present the country report for the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York, USA on 13 March 2019.
 
20.2. The commission will consider “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”  as a priority theme. The report will highlight South Africa’s commitment to addressing gender inequity and inequality in the country, and continue to introduce programmes and actions to address these.

21. Mining Investment

21.1. Cabinet welcomes the official opening by President Ramaphosa of Vedanta Zinc International’s Gamsberg Mine in the Northern Cape on Thursday, 28 February 2019.

21.2. The investment of more than R21.8 billion builds on the commitments received during the country’s inaugural Investment Conference held last year, which triggered a new wave of industrial and economic development in the country.

21.3. The first phase of the mine will receive an investment of R5.5 billion and has an estimated lifespan of over 30 years. The mine will employ 3 000 people at the height of construction and 700 people permanently.

22. Inaugural Maritime Transport Sector Dialogue

22.1. In further exploring the potential of South Africa as a maritime country defined by its trade and geostrategic location on a major sea-trading route, the Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, will host a two-day Inaugural Maritime Transport Sector Dialogue from 28 February to 1 March 2019 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

22.2. The dialogue signifies the commitment made by the Department of Transport in 2019 to accelerate the implementation of the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy (CMTP) approve by Cabinet in 2017.  

22.3. The event will consider actions that must be undertaken to deepen transformation, attract investment into strategic maritime infrastructure projects considered as critical in the positioning South Africa as an Internation Maritime Centre.  It is also a buildup to the furture stablishment of the Maritme Transport Sector Development Council as envisaged by the CMTP.

23. Good Green Deeds

23.1. President Ramaphosa will lead the national campaign “Good Green Deeds” on 8 March 2019 in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape. The responsibility to ensure a clean and safe environment rests with all South Africans.

23.2. Keeping our communities clean starts with us, and it is important that homes and businesses implement sustainable waste management practices.

23.3. The President will also launch the Operation Phakisa: Chemical and Waste Economy, which aims to support the South African economy while reducing its environmental footprint.

24. National Reading Coalition

24.1. President Cyril Ramaphosa will lend further impetus to the National Reading Coalition at an event of which the details will be announced soon. The programme aims to improve the reading habits of South Africans by instilling the love of reading.

25. Small-scale fisheries

25.1. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), in line with the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act 18 of 1998), as amended, will allocate fishing rights to small-scale fisheries in Matigulu community, KwaZulu-Natal on 14 March 2019. This follows a launch in Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape.  

25.2. The DAFF has also conducted extensive training to benefit mainly women in these communities.  Similar launches will also be held in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape. Cabinet welcomes the mobile application developed by the DAFF called the Abalobi app, which aims to assist small-scale fisheries to link their sea harvest directly with the market such as fish retailers.

E. Messages

26. Congratulations

26.1. Cabinet congratulates:

  • underwater photographer Allen Walker of Warner Beach for winning the shark photography category at the World ShootOut 2018 awards held in Germany.
  • Chef Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster in the Western Cape, which won the Restaurant of the Year Award at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards in Paris.
  • the people of Nigeria and Senegal – and also echoes the sentiment of African Union Commission – for holding successful elections. We look forward to the deepening of bilateral political, economic and trade relations between South Africa and both countries.

27. Condolences

27.1. Cabinet joins President Ramaphosa in expressing condolences on the passing of jazz performer and recipient of the National Order of Ikhamanga, Mama Dorothy Masuka, at the age of 83. Mama Masuka will be remembered for her immense contribution to the cultural heritage of South Africa and the continent.

Enquiries:
Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Cabinet Spokesperson (GCIS)
Mobile: 083 501 0139