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Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of Wednesday, 12 May 2021

A. Issues in the environment

1. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine roll-out  

1.1. Cabinet has reconfirmed the commencement of Phase 2 of Vaccine Roll-Out programme on Monday, 17 May 2021.  This phase will commence with the vaccination of persons 60 years of age and older and the national and provincial departments of Health will communicate the information about the location of more than three thousand (3000) the vaccination centres.  The commencement of Phase 2 will run simultaneously with the continuing vaccination of health care workers (HCWs)whose vaccination was affected by the regulatory issues that beset the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the USA and Europe.  The Sisonke vaccination plan which was expanded to 95 sites across the country has vaccinated to date 434,980 healthcare workers (HCWs) and will end on the 14 May 2021. Cabinet is pleased that the remainder  of the  HCWs will be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine until further notice.

1.2. Cabinet called on people who are 60 years and older to register on the COVID-19 Electronic Vaccination Data System https://vaccine.enroll.health.gov.za. Those without online access or a smartphone can register through SMS by dialling *134*832*your ID number#. If you do not have an ID number, dial *134*832#. Registration can also be done through the COVID-19 WhatsApp number by sending “REGISTER” to 0600 123 456. Citizens must ensure they enter their correct cellphone number and residential address to be able to receive information on the vaccination programme, when necessary. Those with no access to technology, can also register at their nearest vaccination site or with the community health workers who will visit various communities.

1.3. The registration is essential for people to participate in the vaccination programme and allow traceability for purposes of medical follow-up should such be required in the future. 

1.4.  You do not need data or airtime to access the zero-rated SMS and WhatsApp registration services. Those who encounter challenges whilst registering can call the COVID-19 hotline: 0800 029 999.

1.5. Cabinet was briefed on the prevailing situation relating to Covid-19 infections in India and supported the decision to donate ventilators to India as part of South Africa’s commitment that the fight against Covid-19 across the globe requires collective effort.

1.6. Cabinet is also aware of the concerns amongst South Africans about the Covid-19 situation in India, and wish to assure South Africans that the Department of Health and our scientist continue to monitor developments in that country and that necessary and appropriate precautions and protocols are implemented to protect South Africans. 

1.7. In addition, Cabinet was briefed about the slight increase in COVID-19 infections in the country and the application of necessary response measures to curb the spread. 

1.8. Cabinet  reminds all South Africans to continue adhering to non-pharmaceuticals health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 of continuing to wear masks when in public; maintaining social distance of at least 1.5 metres; always wash hands with water and soap or use a 70% alcohol-based hand sanitiser; and avoiding unnecessary travel and stay home.

2.  Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights (TRIPS) waiver on COVID-19 vaccines

2.1. Cabinet welcomed the support of the United States for the WTO to  waive TRIPS on COVID-19 vaccines. 

2.2. South Africa and India have been leading the initiative at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the waiver of TRIPS. The waiver of TRIPS will enable access to technologies that will give impetus to the wider manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. The move has seen more than 100 countries, including China, supporting the effort to apply waivers to parts of the WTO’s TRIPS.

2.3. Poor access to COVID-19 have prevented majority of developing countries in particular within the African continent to make significant progress in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet’s view is that preventing nations from developing their own vaccines in the face of high mortality rate as a result of the coronavirus is morally indefensible. 

2.4. In this regard, Cabinet welcomes the R3 billion commitment to transfer the latest technology for producing vaaccines and biological therapies to South Africa announced by Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, The South African – American biotechnology entrepreneur.

2.5. Cabinet applauds the active support of Dr Soon-Shiong and other philanthropists to equitable distribution of COVID 19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

2.6.  Cabinet also appreciate the acknowledgement by Dr Soon-Shiong of South Africa’s advancement in the science, the human capital, the capacity and the desire to produce second generation vaccines to address variants of the coronavirus that might make current vaccines less effective.

3. Covie community land handover  

3.1. Cabinet welcomed the handover of title deeds by Deputy President David Mabuza – in his capacity as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform – to the Covie community in the Western Cape on Friday, 30 April 2021.  

3.2. The land handover to the Covie community is part of the ongoing work of the IMC on Land Reform to accelerate access to land as part of redressing the injustices of the Apartheid past. 

4. Workers’ Day  (1 May)

4.1. Cabinet affirmed that workers remain the economic backbone of society and are key to building a better tomorrow for all.

4.2. Cabinet noted that the negative impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on workers, with majority of workers experiencing job losses, reduction on incomes as employers reprioritised resources to initiatives to save lives.

4.3.  Despite the economic hardships, government remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure that South Africa continues to uphold and protect workers’ rights.   

5.  International Nurses Day (12 May)

5.1. Cabinet noted that its meeting was taking place on the day the world marked International Nurses Day and reiterated its message of gratitude to the nurses in South Africa, the continent of Africa and the world for their selflessness and dedication in the face of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

5.2. Nurses, together with other health workers, continue to be at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 at personal risk to their own lives and risk of exposure to their families. Government remain indebted to the resilience, sacrifice and tenacity of South Africa’s nurses in the fight against COVID-19. 

6. Blood donations

6.1. Cabinet called on healthy South Africans to donate blood to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), which is currently facing a severe shortage of blood. 

6.2. The SANBS has adopted extensive precautionary measures to ensure the safety of donors by thoroughly screening all persons accessing donor clinics. 

6.3. To obtain more information, potential donors can contact the SANBS at the toll-free number: 0800 11 9031 from Monday to Friday (07:00 – 17:00).

7.  Palestine

7.1. Cabinet strongly condemned the attacks on Palestinian protesters at Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome on the Rock and the unlawful evictions of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh al Jarrah in the annexed East Jerusalem to make way for Israeli settlements. Israel's actions are in stark violation of international law, and a total disregard of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, (UNSC) including Resolutions 446 (1979) and 2334 (2016) which explicitly call for an end to Israeli occupation and the fulfilment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence.

7.2. Cabinet calls on Israel to  stop the barbaric attacks on Palestinians and commit itself to international efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital Palestine. 

8. Measures taken by the United Kingdom (UK) to support efforts of South Africa’s law enforcement agencies

8.1. Cabinet welcomed measures taken by the UK in assisting South Africa in the fight against corruption by acting against individuals who are accused of having committed fraud and corruption in our country.

8.2. In this regard, Cabinet welcomed the arrest of Mr Michael Lomas in the UK in connection with the case in South Africa on the Kusile fraud and corruption matter and welcomed the imposition of very strict bail conditions by the courts in the UK. 

8.3. In addition, Cabinet welcomed the imposition of sanctions by the United Kingdom on brothers  Mr Ajay, Mr Atul and Mr  Rajesh Gupta, and their associate  Mr Salim Essa for their roles in “a persistent pattern of corruption in South Africa which caused significant damage” to the South African economy and its people.

9.  Conflict in Mozambique 

9.1. Cabinet remains concerned about the situation in Mozambique and continues to monitor developments. Accordingly, Cabinet expressed its full support to efforts of the Southern African Development Community  to bring about lasting peace and security, as well as reconciliation and development in Mozambique.

10.  ACWA Power securing funding for the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Plant 

10.1. Cabinet welcomed the announcement that ACWA Power has secured the R11.6 billion funding for the Redstone Concentrated Solar Power Plant in Northern Cape. This plant is part of South Africa’s major infrastructure projects and the largest renewable energy investment in our country. 

10.2. Redstone plant is set to produce 100 Megawatts W of renewal energy that is expected to be delivered at the end of 2023 and it will reliably deliver a stable electricity supply to more than 200 000 households.


B. Cabinet decisions 

1. National Commemorative Programme for the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996


1.1. This year marks exactly 25 years since South Africa adopted its Constitution on 8 May 1996, a Constitution that is still hailed amongst the best in the world. 

1.2. In this regard, Cabinet approved the year-long National Commemorative Programme for the 25th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 which implementation will be led by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. 

2. The 5th Ministerial Global Conference on the Eradication of Child Labour

2.1. Cabinet approved that South Africa hosts the 5th International Conference on the Eradication of Child Labour from 2 to 4 May 2022. The conference is convened every three years under the leadership of the International Labour Organisation. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed from 2021 to 2022.

2.2. The conference will deliberate on the global efforts to eradicate the problem of child labour. Member states will get an opportunity to reflect on their respective interventions to stop child labour in their countries. South Africa has a Child Labour Programme of Action, which provides the country’s roadmap towards eliminating child labour. 

3. Social facilitation process for the implementation of infrastructure projects

3.1. Cabinet approved the proposed Social Facilitation methodology, mechanism and processes for implementing infrastructure projects, as presented by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). The facilitation process will contribute to ensuring an orderly process of engaging communities in the construction of projects in communities  

3.2. The methodology provides standard operating procedures that when implemented will strengthen partnership and trust between government and communities. 

4.  Extension of the National State of Disaster 

4.1. Cabinet approved the extension of the National State of Disaster on COVID-19 until 15 June 2021. The extension is in terms of Section 27(5)(c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act 57 of 2002). The extension considers the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to mitigate against the impact of the disaster on lives and livelihoods. 

5. Lekwa Local Municipality intervention 

5.1. Cabinet received a briefing about a Court Order that instructed National Treasury to intervene in the administration of the Lekwa Local Municipality, Mpumalanga in line with the provisions of Section 139 (7) of the Constitution that provides for the joint intervention by National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to address the governance and financial system failures of the municipality.  

5.2. Cabinet further ratified the dissolution of the Municipal Council of the Lekwa municipality. The Ministers of Finance and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs will in due course announce institutional arrangements that will be implemented to stabilize the municipality and ensure the return to service delivery.

C. Bills

1. Firearms Amendment Bill of 2021

1.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the Firearms Amendment Bill of 2021 for public comment. The Bill proposes tighter controls and management of firearms and the establishment of the National Firearms Register. The changes will assist in reducing the number of firearms in private hands and consequently reduce incidents of violent crimes. The Bill also improves the processing, control of firearms and the application system. 

2. Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill

2.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Amendment Bill for public comment. The review seeks to align the South African legislative framework to international laws that seek to combat terrorism. 

2.2. The UNSC Security Council adopted numerous additional resolutions to strengthen measures to combat global terrorism. Member states have an obligation to domesticate these measures. 

2.3.  The amendments clarify some of the definitions in the Act and add additional offences, particularly on people who depart, in transit or arrive in any country for the purpose of joining or supporting terrorist groups. It prohibits publications with terrorist-related content. The amendments also respond to the gaps that where highlighted by the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate.

3. Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill 

3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill for tabling in Parliament. The Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act 119 of 1990) provides for the control of sales and exports of certain agricultural products and promotes food safety.

3.2. The interventions seek to protect consumers. The proposed amendments strengthen the regulatory framework for agricultural production, health and food safety of certain agricultural products. The Bill tightens the control systems in areas of labelling claims in products for sale, and introduces different inspections and auditing methods, amongst others. 

3.3. The Bill has gone through wide public consultations with all relevant stakeholders and it will go through another rigorous parliamentary process   before it is passed into law.

4. Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill of 2020

4.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Plant Health Bill of 2020 for submission to Parliament. The Bill seeks to promote safety regarding the movement of plant products for export and import. It amends measures that prevent the introduction of foreign quarantine pests and diseases, and regulates non-quarantine pests. These amendments are aligned to the international instruments that South Africa is a signatory to.  

4.2. South Africa is the signatory to the WTO Agreement on Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Agreement and the International Plant Protection Convention. 

4.3. This Bill will repeal the current Agricultural Pest Act, 1983 (Act 36 of 1983) which does not take into account the WTO Agreement and the International Plant Protection Convention. It will promote safe export and import agricultural trade for South Africa.  

5.  National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill

5.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the National Nuclear Regulator Amendment Bill for public comment.  The Bill seeks to address the existing gaps in the current National Nuclear Regulator Act, 1999 (Act 47 of 1999). It strengthens the enforcement provisions of the inspectors and the occupational safety exposure risks for the air crews. It also seeks to align with the International Atomic Energy Agency prescripts and its best practice. South Africa is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

6. Draft Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill

6.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Draft Upstream Petroleum Resources Development Bill to Parliament. The Bill provides the legislative and regulatory framework to create a conducive environment for investment, growth and job creation in the upstream of petroleum resources market. It also provides clarity on, amongst others, the application system; permits and rights issuing; transferability of the rights; participation by black persons; participation of the State; the transitional requirements and the strategic stock requirements for petroleum rights holders to sell a percentage of petroleum at prevailing market price to the State Petroleum Company. 

D. Upcoming Events

1. Africa Day

1.1. South Africa will join the rest of the continent to mark Africa Day on Tuesday, 25 May 2021. The day is an opportunity to promote African unity, deepen regional integration and recommit Africa to a common destiny.

1.2. Africa Day and Africa Month help us to better understand one another as Africans, both on the continent and in the diaspora. As we commemorate Africa Day, we do so with the realisation that COVID-19 continues as a threat to all nations on the continent. We must all unite in fighting the virus and ensure the safety of all people on the continent.

2. Global Health Summit

2.1. On 21 May 2021, President Ramaphosa will participate virtually in a Global HealthSummit that will be co-hosted by the European Commission and Italy as Chair of the G20.

2.2 .The Summit is an opportunity for G20 and invited leaders, heads of international and regional organisations, and representatives of global health bodies, to share lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and develop and endorse a ‘Rome Declaration’ of principles. 

2.3. It is  anticipated that the principles will address further multilateral cooperation and joint action to prevent future global health crises, as well as a joint commitment to build a healthier, safer, fairer and more sustainable world.  

3. Presidential Working visit to France

3.1. President Cyril Ramaphosa will pay a Working Visit to Paris, France, from 17 to 19 May 2021, to participate in a Summit on Financing African Economies that will be convened by President Emmanuel Macron of France on 18 May.
 
3.2. The Summit arises from the realisation that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented health and economic crisis worldwide. However, African economies, in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa, have been deeply impacted by an historic recession in 2020 after 25 years of continuous growth, and  the projected recovery for 2021 remains weak. At the same time, the continent has several key strengths and prospects for growth.

3.3. The Summit will gather African and partner leaders, in the heads of international financial institutions, with a view to devise joint actions that will help boost a strong and inclusive recovery. This recovery will be   premised on a dynamic private sector and the fostering and expansion of entrepreneurship. The recovery plan will also seek to foster prosperity and accelerate the green and digital transition in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

E. Messages

1. Congratulations


Cabinet extended its congratulations to the: 

  • South African 4x100 metres relay team for winning the gold medal in the World Relay Championships in Silesia‚ Poland. 
  • Producers of the South African Netflix original documentary, My Octopus Teacher, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
  • Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila Football Club, for making history by beating Chippa United 1-0 in the prestigious Nedbank Cup final at the Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein on Saturday, 8 May 2021, in their first season in the DStv Premiership. The team will now represent the country in the CAF Confederation Cup next season.
     

2. Condolences 

Cabinet expressed condolences to the family and friends of: 

  • Mr Abderrahmane Benkhalfa (72), the financial expert and former Algerian Minister of Finance. During President Cyril Ramaphosa’s year-long term as Chairperson of the AU, he appointed Mr Benkhalfa as one of five AU COVID-19 Special Envoys to mobilise international financial and other support for the African continental effort against the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ms Nadia Goetham (46), a publisher who carved her career in print journalism and went on to establish a fruitful career in the publishing arena, where she created a monumental impact. She was a champion of books and storytelling, and was extremely passionate about developing others.
  • Mr Isaac Mogase (78), who was elected as the City of Johannesburg's first democratic Mayor from 1995 to 2000. He was also a Struggle veteran and a stalwart of the civic movement. 
  • Her Majesty Queen Shiyiwe Mantfombi Dlamini Zulu (65), Regent of the Zulu Nation. She was appointed Regent of the Zulu Nation following the passing of her husband, King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu (73) in March 2021. 

F.  Appointments

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

1. Council members for the National Agricultural Marketing Council 
(i) Mr Gerhard Schutte;
(ii) Mr Angelo Petersen;
(iii) Prof Mzukisi Qobo;
(iv) Mr André Jooste;
(v) Ms Thandeka Ntshangase;
(vi) Mr Sifiso Julius Mhlaba;
(vii) Ms Nonie Mokose;
(viii) Ms Shandini Naidoo;
(ix)  Ms Fezeka Mkile; and
(x)  Dr Sharon Thembi Xaba.

2. Ms Susan Clare Middleton as Deputy Director-General (DDG): Fisheries Management at the Department of Forestry and Fisheries and the Environment. 
3. Ms Thembisa Futshane as DDG: Community Education and Training at the Department of Higher Education and Training.
4. Mr Khumbula Ndaba as DDG: Corporate Support Services at the Department of Social Development. 
5. Ms Sebolelo Mercedes Zwane as DDG: Institutional Planning and Support at the Department of Science and Innovation. 
6. Dr Kgosientso David Ramokgopa as Head: Infrastructure South Africa in the DPWI. 

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