Statement on the Cabinet Meeting held on 18 March 2009
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria this morning, 18 March 2009.
Cabinet took exception to the reported financial settlement reached between the Board of the South African Airways (SAA) and the former Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Mr Khaya Nqula. The reported settlement was reached at a time when serious allegations of misconduct were being investigated by the Board. Government’s preference was that the CEO should have remained on leave whilst the allegations were being investigated.
Cabinet, as shareholder, has asked the Minister of Public Enterprises to seek an urgent audience with the Board to establish the reasons for and the details of the settlement. Government was not prepared to accept impunity with regard to any instances of misconduct at State Owned Enterprises. Government wants to take steps to ensure that state enterprises, especially those that are under-performing and continue to receive cash injection from the state, do not utilise those resources to pay large bonuses to non-performing managers. The state will also seek legal advice on the processes that were followed by the Board in reaching the settlement with the CEO without the express approval of the state as the shareholder.
The meeting also decided that the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) should submit a report on the state of affairs at the national airline to Cabinet at its next sitting. This report must look at issues of governance, management and the reasons for the reported under-performance of the airline.
Further, the DPE was instructed to prepare a report on all state owned enterprises with a view to address all the problems that are being experienced by these entities. Cabinet believes that these enterprises are valuable assets to the South African taxpayer and play a key role in the economy. It is therefore important that urgent steps are taken to ensure that they perform effectively. A report on all these matters will be tabled at the next Cabinet meeting.
Cabinet approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that will evaluate the options of government investing in the commercialisation of the South African designed battery electric vehicle. This vehicle will be the early adopter of the technology and will be called the Joule. The IMC will be made up of the following ministries: Science and Technology; National Treasury; Transport; Environmental Affairs and Tourism; Minerals and Energy; and Trade and Industry.
The meeting noted developments regarding displaced Zimbabweans around the country and agreed that the possibility of setting up transit camps for those Zimbabweans who are still waiting for the processing of their documents should be explored. The Department of Home Affairs will make a proposal in this regard to enable the government to respond. In the meantime, government will continue to work with the non-governmental organisations to address the plight of the Zimbabwean nationals.
Cabinet noted the Constitutional Court ruling to allow all registered voters living abroad to vote in this year’s general elections. Government will support the Independent Electoral Commission to ensure that this decision is implemented.
With regard to the sale of tickets for the Confederations Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Cabinet noted some media reports which implied that the previous Cabinet statement had berated the FIFA Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the slow sale of tickets. The Cabinet statement stated categorically that ‘extra measures will have to be put in place jointly with the Local Organising Committee to ensure that the Confederations Cup and the World Cup are marketed to South Africans’. Cabinet regrets the distortions and takes this opportunity to enjoin all South Africans to mobilise resources and to buy tickets for these important tournaments that will be held in South Africa. We will continue to work with the LOC to promote these tournaments to all South Africans.
The Declaration of the National Youth Indaba which was held on 17 to 19 December was noted. The meeting approved that the declaration be published and distributed to all the relevant stakeholders and that similar events be held in provinces.
The meeting approved the extension of deployment of South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel to the Central African Republic, the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (MONUC), the South African Detachment Assisting with Integration and Training in the DRC (SADAIT), United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), United Nations /African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), African Union Mission in Northern Uganda, and the Specialist and Advisory Team in the DRC.. The deployment is in line with government strategy to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict in the African continent and the fulfilment of our international obligations,
The meeting noted that South Africa will no longer participate in the United Nations and African Union Missions in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE/OLMEE) as its mission has been completed.
The Human Resources Development Strategy for SA for the period 2010-2030 was approved.
A progress report on the framework on the conflict of interest in the public service was noted. The framework will be brought back to Cabinet as soon as it is finalised.
The alienation of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s bulk water services infrastructure to the Thembisile Local Municipality was approved. Parliament will be approached to ratify this decision.
Ms MN Manjezi was appointed as Deputy Director-General in the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (Palama).
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
18 March 2009