Statement on the Cabinet Meeting, 4 February 2009
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting this morning, 4 February 2009 in Cape Town.
The meeting discussed the anti-Semitic statement made by Ms Fatima Hajaig, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at a Palestinian solidarity rally which was held in Lenasia on 14 January 2009.
Cabinet expressed concern about the statement as it was contrary to the stated policies of this government regarding anti-Semitic sentiments. Subsequent to the Cabinet meeting, the President held discussions with the Deputy Minister to discuss her statement. The Deputy Minister expressed her deep regret to the President for making the statement. She accepted that the comments were contrary to stated government policy. She subsequently apologised unreservedly and unequivocally for the comments and agreed to withdraw them unconditionally.
Further, she assured the President that she does not harbour any anti-Semitic feelings or views and that in her statement issued yesterday, she had stated that 'she condemns, without equivocation, all forms of racism including anti-Semitism in all its manifestations'. The President has accepted her withdrawal of the comments and her unqualified apology and trusts that the matter has been concluded satisfactorily.
The 8th Annual Report of the Commission for Employment Equity was noted. This report reflects, inter alia, the slow progress in the implementation of the Employment Equity Act by the designated employers; the gross under-representation of the designated groups that still exist in the labour market, particularly that of African and coloured women and people with disabilities; the drop of the black group in the professionally qualified and middle management level. The meeting resolved that the commission should conduct research and formulate strategies to address these challenges in the various industries.
The following initiatives from the Department of Transport (DoT) were approved: The Taxi Subsidy Framework and Funding Strategy for the taxi recapitalisation programme (TRP); the strategy for lifting of the moratorium and turnaround strategy for operating licensing boards; the regulatory framework for the taxi industry and the taxi recapitalisation project policy. The Department of Transport will hold consultative discussions with the relevant stakeholders on these documents before they are finalised.
The establishment of the Co-operatives Banks Development Agency was approved.
The proposed design changes for various coins were approved. The new designs will be gazetted shortly.
The draft National Framework for Implementation of Ward Funding Model was approved and will be published for public comment before it is finalised.
The Division of Revenue Bill was noted and approved and will be tabled in Parliament when the Minister of Finance delivers the Budget Speech on 11 February 2009.
The updated child labour programme of action was approved
The following appointments were approved:
- Mr SIS Ntombela was appointed as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in the Department of Agriculture (DoA).
- Ms P Mabasa was appointed as the Executive Director of the Board of Directors of the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA). The appointment will be effective from 1 December 2008 to 30 November 2011.
- Ms S Naidoo was appointed as the Managing Director of the newly established Co-operative Banks Development Agency.
- Mr A Sithole and Ms H Wilton were appointed as the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson (respectively) of the Financial Services Board (FSB) for a three year period.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
4 February 2009