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Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Cabinet met at Tuynhuys in Cape Town.  

A. Issues in the environment

1. Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) 2017

1.1. Cabinet welcomes the MTBPS delivered by the Minister of Finance, Mr Malusi Gigaba, in Parliament, Cape Town, last week.

1.2. The adjustment budget continues to drive inclusive growth and fiscal consolidation whilst protecting and promoting social expenditure in education, health, basic infrastructure and social security, which many fellow South Africans rely on to enjoy a better life.

1.3. In a constrained fiscal space, government’s commitment to meet challenges in South Africa is demonstrated by interventions to grow township and rural economies, strengthen good governance at state-owned companies, as well as the additional significant allocation of funding higher education.

1.4. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to join increased efforts to grow the economy.

2. Labour Force Survey

2.1. Cabinet appreciates the recently released Quarterly Labour Force Survey for the third quarter of 2017, which showed that unemployment remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 27.7%. The employment gains recorded in the formal sector of 187 000 over the quarter, the informal sector and agriculture sector recorded employment losses of 71 000 and 25 000 respectively. Government remains committed to doing everything possible to deal with the unemployment challenges and calls on the private sector to do their part.

3. Centenary of Oliver Reginald Tambo

3.1. Cabinet thanks all South Africans for celebrating the centenary of Struggle stalwart OR Tambo, which culminated in celebration on the Friday, 27 October 2017 at Nkantolo Village in the Eastern Cape.

3.2. As part of the centenary celebrations, President Jacob Zuma officiated over improvement projects, including:

The hand-over of the Ludeke Dam in Mbizana, which was built as part of the Greater Mbizana Regional Bulk Water Supply Scheme by the Department of Water and Sanitation;
A visit to the Nyameni family in Ludeke Village where the President switched on electricity, as part of the broader government rural electrification programme in Mbizana and surrounding areas;
Bicycles distributed to learners at OR Tambo Technical High School, as part of the Department of Transport’s Shova Kalula programme, which supports learners who walk more than three kilometres to school;
The donation of computers to learners in the Vukuzenzele Special School for children with disabilities, led by the Minister of Communications, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
 
4. Crime Statistics

4.1. Cabinet appeals to all South Africans and communities to partner with law-enforcement agencies to combat crime. The crime statistics released recently by the Minister of Police, Mr Fikile Mbalula, have indicated some areas where we made progress in combating crime and some areas where crime levels remain high.

4.2. Cabinet is convinced that it is only through working together that we can all benefit from creating safer communities that are able to develop. 

4.3. The crime statistics assist government and the South African Police Service to monitor key targets and serve as an early-warning mechanism to strengthen the crime-prevention operations and strategies. It is part of the crime-prevention strategy to ensure that all people in the country are and feel safe.

5. Gender-based violence (GBV)

5.1. Cabinet reiterates its condemnation of the sexual abuse of women and children, irrespective of the alleged perpetrators’ societal positions.

5.2. Cabinet encourages victims to report these heinous crimes to law-enforcement authorities, who must investigate allegations of GBV and act firmly within the ambit of the law to ensure that justice is served.

5.3. The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign is approaching and Cabinet has approved this year’s theme: “Count me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”.

5.4. Cabinet also calls on citizens to educate one another on the rights of women and children, and on the various recourse mechanisms that exist to help victims of violence.

5.5. The 16 Days of Activism Campaign is a United Nations (UN) campaign, which takes place annually from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to 10 December (International Human Rights Day). 

5.6. South Africans are encouraged to actively join advocacy and awareness-raising programmes in their respective communities and sectors.

6. Tourism Transformation Summit

6.1. Cabinet calls on all stakeholders to support the tourism sector’s transformation initiatives as it potentially benefits the economy by empowering disadvantaged communities and driving employment growth.

6.2. The Department of Tourism hosted the National Tourism Transformation Summit on 30 and 31 October 2017 under the theme: “Tourism for All: Transform, Grow and Sustain”, which saw the release of the State of Sector Transformation Report and the launch of the Tourism Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Portal and Tourism Transformation Fund.

7. State Visit by President Macky Sall of Senegal

7.1. Cabinet welcomes the State Visit by the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Macky Sall on 20 October 2017. South Africa and Senegal exchanged views on critical regional and global issues and signed agreements in several areas.

7.2. The two countries enjoy cordial bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back to the years of the liberation struggle.

7.3. The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on the twinning of Robben Island (used by the racist apartheid regime to incarcerate freedom fighters) and Gorée Islands (the route through which African people were shipped out for a life of slavery) further cements our countries’ cultural and historic ties as the  1987 Dakar Talks is commemorated.

8. Visit to South Africa by Indonesian delegation

8.1. Cabinet welcomes the visit to South Africa by Sultan Husain Abubakar Syah of Tidore in Indonesia. The Tidore delegation included Muhammad Amin Farouk, a descendant of Tuan Guru, a freedom fighter who was captured by the Dutch and sent to Robben Island in 1780. Tuan Guru (Imam Abdullah ibn Qadi Abdussalam) and three of his companions were imprisoned for about 12 years and thereafter kept in exile in the Cape, where he contributed greatly to the development of the local community and the building of the first mosque. A number of South Africans trace their family history to him.

8.2. The delegation visited the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces where they were welcomed by the presiding officers, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel.

8.3. The visit highlighted the common history of colonial rule and the centuries-old fight for national liberation by the people of Indonesia and South Africa. Today we celebrate trade, tourism and other economic links between the two countries.

9. End-of-year examinations

9.1. Cabinet is satisfied that the end-of-year examinations currently taking place at schools and other learning institutions are going ahead unhindered.

9.2. Education is one of the key drivers towards a better future for all in the country. Parents and guardians are urged to continue to give the necessary support to learners during this period.

9.3. The Department of Basic Education’s catch-up programmes and other initiatives have assisted learners affected by protests during the year and a positive outcome is expected.

10. Social cohesion

10.1. Cabinet commends the law-enforcement agencies and the collaboration from the communities who helped secure the conviction of Willem Oosthuizen and Theo Jackson. The two forced Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatened to pour petrol on him.

10.2. The judgement demonstrates that South African laws are firm in protecting the rights of all citizens. 

10.3. Cabinet further affirms the right of all South Africans to engage in peaceful protest as part of our constitutional democracy. However, rights prescribed in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 are not absolute and must not infringe on the democratic rights of others.

10.4. Cabinet condemns the blocking of public roads, displaying of symbols of past oppression and destruction of national symbols which are a reflection of our hard-earned democracy.

10.5. Cabinet is committed to its role to build a cohesive society for all and calls on all citizens to play their part responsibly and in the spirit of working together to build a united, non-racist, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

B. Cabinet Decisions

11.1. Cabinet approved the 2015/16 Report on State of Local Government in South Africa. The report outlines progress made in implementing the Back to Basics (B2B) Programme, a plan of action to ensure delivery of basic services, good governance and sound financial management.

The report highlights areas of challenges and provides a base for the implementation of the second phase of the B2B Programme.

The report will be tabled to Parliament.

11.2. Cabinet supported the proposed amendments of the three B-BBEE Sector Codes. The amendments address sector challenges and peculiarities on transformation that would otherwise not be addressed fully by the generic codes. The three sectors are in Agriculture, Finance and Construction. The proposed amendments have been canvassed with the relevant stakeholders. All the amended sector codes will be gazetted.

11.3. Cabinet approved the National e-Strategy and its publication in the Government Gazette. It was published in April 2017 for public comments. The e-strategy articulates a shared vision and paradigm shift from information society to a knowledge economy and society.

It addresses challenges, including a digital divide between the rich and poor, between racial groups, different geographical locations and gender issues.

It provides a platform for South Africans to integrate technology, which is relevant and related towards advancing development and economic prosperity for the benefit of society as a whole. The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services will provide more information on this strategy.

11.4. Cabinet approved the National e-Government Strategy and Roadmap, to be published in the Government Gazette. It will bring digital transformation to the public services and enable the provision of improved quality of services whilst tapping into digital technologies. The strategy targets, amongst others, fragmentation of e-government initiatives and duplication of processes, databases, large-scale system incompatibilities and inefficiencies. It will also increase the usage of information and communications technology (ICTs), foster innovation in technologies and applications for e-Government.

11.5. Cabinet approved the ICT Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME) Development Strategy. This is a sector-specific intervention to address challenges facing SMMEs operating in the ICT sector.

The strategy proposes interventions to accelerate the development and growth of small enterprises in the ICT sector, while facilitating an increase in the levels of uptake and usage of ICTs by the general small business sector.

The strategy aims to support start-up ICT enterprises, strengthen existing enterprises and extend support to potentially viable SMMEs.

11.6. Cabinet approved the publication of the Report on the Evaluation of the National School Nutrition Programme. This a government programme with an annual budget of R5.5 billion resulting in nine million children from poor communities receiving a daily nutritious meal at school. The report provides areas of effective implementation and some areas that need improvement.

The report will be made available on the website of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (www.dpme.gov.za).

11.7. Cabinet supports South Africa’s standing for re-election to the two-year membership of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council. These elections will be held during the 30th Regular Session of the Assembly from 27 November to 6 December 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

South Africa is a maritime nation with close to 80% of international trade done by sea. South Africa’s membership in the IMO Council contributes to employment growth derived from the Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy.

11.8. Cabinet approved the introduction to Parliament the ratification of the Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The amendment seeks to phase down HFCs (the Kigali Agreement), which are some of the greenhouse gasses contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. South Africa is already a signatory to the Montreal Protocol. 

11.9. Cabinet also approved the introduction into Parliament the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. It provides opportunities for the protection of vulnerable groups, especially those staying in areas where there is mining activity, against the adverse consequences of mercury on the environment and human health.

11.10. Cabinet was briefed on the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training in the Republic of South Africa. The Presidential Fiscal Committee will sit soon to interrogate financial implications. The Department of Higher Education and Training will have to review relevant policies and legislation, where necessary. President Zuma will release the report to the public soon and the President’s spokesperson, Dr Bongani Ngqulunga, will make an announcement regarding this matter.

C. Bills

12.1. Cabinet approved the National Minimum Wage Bill effecting the minimum wage to the lowest paid workers in the South African Labour Market. The Bill  calls for every worker to be paid a wage that is no less than the national  minimum wage. Once this Bill takes effect employers will be expected to pay  their workers no less than the national minimum, which is to be adjusted  annually.

12.2. Cabinet also approved the submission to Parliament of the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill of 2017. This amends the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act 75 of 1997) to ensure it provides for the Minimum Wage Bill.

12.3. Cabinet approved the submission to Parliament of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill of 2017. The Bill is a culmination of consultation with all  the relevant stakeholders. It addresses, amongst others, picketing procedures, the protracted strikes and arbitration advisory structures. 

12.4. Cabinet approved the submission to Parliament of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill of 2017. This amends the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998).

The Bill seeks to strengthen intergovernmental and democratic governance arrangements. It also seeks to address issues around the administration and management of municipal elections, and to promote the effective and efficient implementation of the Act, as well as to strengthen oversight and governance in municipalities.

12.5. Cabinet approved for the submission to Parliament of the Electronic Deeds Registration Systems Bill of 2017. The Bill has already gone through public consultation.

It allows for the development of an electronic deeds registration system (e-DRS), for the processing of deeds, to effect the registration of large volumes of deeds as necessitated by Governments’ land reform initiatives.

12.6. As part of promoting the use of ICTs to build an inclusive economy, Cabinet approved the iKamva National e-Skills Institute Bill of 2017 (iNeSI Bill) to be gazetted for public consultation and comment.

The iNeSI Bill provides for the establishment of iNeSI as a public entity with its own enabling legislation, to address the e-skills shortage that hinders investment, socio-economic development and capacity development in the country.

This will establish ICT production hubs in each province, which will then assist iNeSI to develop and design relevant programs and training material, promote and undertake innovative research, and provide research capacity to postgraduate students.

12.7. Cabinet approved the publication of the Postal Services Amendment Bill in the Government Gazette for public comment. This amends the Postal Services Amendment Act No. 124 of 1998.

The Bill provides for the restructuring of the postal sector in general to contribute to the provisions of universal access to innovative e-services while continuing to provide quality and secure traditional postal services.

This contributes to equality and human dignity through access to information and affordable postal services, which facilitate social development and improve the quality of life for individuals and communities.

D. Upcoming events

Cabinet also acknowledged some of the upcoming events in the government calendar.

13. Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme

13.1. President Zuma is scheduled to visit the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Tshwane on Friday, 3 November 2017 to monitor the delivery of healthcare services as part of the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme.

The hospital is one of the best performing public hospitals in the country and is named after Steve Bantu Biko, the late liberation struggle hero and former medical student at the then University of Natal (now called University of KwaZulu-Natal).

President Zuma’s visit is part of the ongoing government monitoring programme that aims to address challenges facing public hospitals and to improve the healthcare system in the country, which is one of government’s key priorities.

14. National Disability Rights Awareness Month

14.1. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to support National Disability Rights Awareness Month between 3 November and 3 December 2017, which also coincides with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

South Africans are encouraged to raise awareness and protect the rights of  people with disabilities, while recognising the gains that have been made to address challenges faced by people with disabilities.

15. National Local Economic Development Conference

15.1. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Department of Small Business Development will convene the first National  Local Economic Development Conference on 9 and 10 November 2017 in Gauteng.

The conference is a strategic platform for dialogue between public and private sector on topical and critical issues relating to stimulating local economies by creating an enabling environment to achieve inclusive economic development.

E. Messages

16.1. Cabinet welcomes the announcement of over one billion US dollar to be invested over several months in the South African Economy in technology, education and agribusiness. This was announced by Ambassador Harold Doley, Jr, the Governor of the African Development Bank.

16.2. Cabinet congratulates Dr Nono Simelela on her appointment as World Health Organisation (WHO) Assistant Director-General. Dr Simelela will head the WHO Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Division from 13 November 2017. She is the first African woman to become a gynaecologist in South Africa. 

16.3. Cabinet welcomes the announcement by World Rugby that has recommended South Africa as the preferred country to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup tournament. Cabinet also commends the work of the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Thulas Nxesi, Deputy President Ramaphosa and the South African Rugby Union bid team. World Rugby will announce the final decision on 15 November 2017.

16.4. Cabinet congratulates all participants and winners of the 15th Annual Public Sector Innovation Awards. These awards recognise successful and effective service-delivery initiatives that have been achieved through the application of innovative approaches, methodologies and tools.

16.5. Cabinet congratulates SuperSport United FC for reaching the finals of the CAF Confederation Cup after beating Tunisian side Club Africa 3-1 and 4-2 on aggregate. The team generally known as Matsatsantsa will meet TP Mazembe in the second-tier continental club competition final next month.

16.6. Cabinet expressed its condolences to the family and friends of Ian McLeod, whose passing was a loss to South African football. He became the first South African to referee at a FIFA World Cup tournament, when he officiated in the 1998 global showpiece in France.

F. Appointments

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

17.1. Directors to the Board of the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa SOC Limited:

a. Ms Lerato Herriette Mothae; and
b. Ms Sisa Mayekiso.

17.2. Full-time members to the National Consumer Tribunal:

a. Ms Hazel Viloshni Devraj; and
b. Adv John Rinton Simpson.

17.3. Reappointment of two part-time members of the Competition Tribunal:

a. Prof Imraan Valodia; and
b. Mr Anton Roskan.

17.4. Board of the Human Sciences Research Council:

a. Prof Mvuyo Tom – (Chairperson);
b. Prof Lindiwe Zungu;
c. Ms Nasima Badsha;
d. Prof Relebohile Moletsane;
e. Prof Haroon Bhorat;
f. Prof Shireen Hassim;
g. Ms Precious Nompumelelo Sibiya;
h. Prof Mark Bussain;
i. Adv Roshan Dehal; and
j. Dr Abdalia Hamdok.

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