Statement on Cabinet Meeting, 14 September 2005
was today briefed on the work being done by the Task Team led by the Deputy President
with regard to issues of speeding up economic growth and job creation. A broad
framework on the approach to this issue has been prepared, and detailed submissions
from relevant departments and provinces are being processed with the aim of tabling
a report at the next Cabinet meeting.
It was also noted that consultations
were taking place with various economic role-players so as to ensure that their
broad views on this challenge are taken into account when the document is finalised.
The meeting noted queries that have arisen in a number of departments with
regard to some recent questions that have been received from Parliament. Cabinet
wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Executive to uphold the status of Parliament,
including the obligation of the Executive to account to this body as provided
for in the Constitution, and in pursuit of good governance.
In order to
ensure that this principle continues to be realised in actual practice, Cabinet
has asked the Deputy President, as Leader of Government Business, to interact
with the leadership of Parliament and seek advice on how to resolve issues pertaining
to questions that may be vexatious and repetitive, require detailed personal information
about employees, and demand such detailed research that they could bog down personnel
and prevent them from fulfilling their other core functions, particularly to service
citizens. Cabinet is confident that this issue will be resolved to the satisfaction
of all, within the context of Parliament's own rules.
The Prohibition of
Mercenary Activity and Prohibition and Regulation of Certain Activities in an
Area of Armed Conflict Bill, was approved for submission to Parliament. The Bill
elaborates on and clarifies issues relating to foreign military assistance as
contained in 1998 legislation.
Cabinet was briefed on a plan to accelerate
the implementation of Regional Electricity Distributors (REDs), including the
introduction of a Bill on Electricity Distribution Industry Restructuring. In
this regard, it was agreed that six metro REDS needed to be set up as soon as
possible after the local government elections, and that other areas would be covered
under separate local REDS or a National RED. Eskom would continue to play a critical
role particularly in the National RED.
The following appointments were
- Assistant Commissioner Oupa S Khumalo as Provincial Commissioner
(DDG) for the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga; and
- One Deputy
Director-General (DDG) each in the departments of Water Affairs and Forestry,
and Public Works - the latter as Programme Manager for the Tshwane Inner City
Cabinet was briefed on the implementation of the decision
to set up the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS). It was noted that training
and technical assistance had been provided to the Steering Committee, and that
the Registrar of Medical Schemes had confirmed the capacity of this Committee
to run the business. Work is currently under way to ensure that member enrolment
commences in the first quarter of 2006. The Scheme will result in the addition
of hundreds of thousands of new beneficiaries to medical aid, create new employment
opportunities, and reduce patient load on the public health sector while creating
new revenue streams for this sector.
The meeting approved the employment
70 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel and associated equipment
to assist with integration and training of the armed forces of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo (DRC). This mission is informed by a joint Letter of Intent
signed last June by the DRC, South Africa and the Netherlands detailing conditions
and practical modalities in line with the mandate of the United Nations (UN) to
assist in bringing peace to the DRC.
Cabinet was briefed on the cases of
typhoid that had broken out in Delmas in Mpumalanga Province. Government wishes
to express its condolences to the family of one person who has died, and wishes
others affected a speedy recovery. A Task Team of the departments of Health and
Water and Forestry, the SANDF, Provincial Government and the municipality has
intervened to contain the impact of the outbreak and institute short- and medium-term
measures to deal with the causes.
The meeting was briefed on preparations
for the celebration of Heritage Day as part of activities during September, Heritage
Month. The main event on 24 September will take place in Taung, Northern Cape,
within the theme of acknowledging the place of South Africa and Africa in the
origins of humanity.
The meeting noted preparations for Imbizo Focus Week,
which will take place from 1 to 9 October, focussing on the implementation of
Project Consolidate. In each of the events, which will be attended by members
of Cabinet, Deputy Ministers as well as provincial and local leaders, attention
will be paid to practical work in assisting the 136 municipalities identified,
to improve their capacity and urgently implement projects aimed at reducing poverty
and improving services to the people.
Government welcomes the progress
that has been made at the United Nations in affirming the UN Millennium Declaration
and Goals and identifying practical steps to address problems of poverty and underdevelopment,
promote human rights and the rule of law, establish a just and lasting peace across
the globe, and deal with the challenge of terrorism.
may have been experienced with regard to achieving consensus on some of the issues
critical to developing countries, South Africa is confident that these matters
will continue to receive the attention of humanity, and that agreement on the
restructuring the UN will be reached in due course. On its part, South Africa
will continue to implement programmes aimed at meeting the 2015 targets it has
not already achieved, and to work with other UN member-states to realise the objective
of a better world.
Cabinet passed on its condolences to Ministers Manto
Tshabalala-Msimang who has lost a sister and Ngconde Balfour whose brother has
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