Statement on the Cabinet Meeting held on 9 September 2009
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday, 9 September 2009.
Cabinet expressed full support for the action taken by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, against the members of the South African National Defence Union who participated in the illegal and violent march at the Union Buildings on the 26th of August 2009.
Although the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans will abide by the decision of the court, Government still believes that the soldiers who participated in the violent and illegal march must account for their action. They broke the law in a number of respects including: undermining national security by marching and attempting to invade the Union Buildings, the seat of Government, which has been declared a National Key Point; defying a High Court order which declared the protest march illegal; failure to obey legal orders from the police during the march; getting involved in vandalism and violence which led to the destruction of public and private property, and defying orders from their commanders.
As stated before, Government is not going to tolerate the violation of any of the laws of the land, and those who break the law, in whatever shape or form, will be held fully accountable for their actions. While Government acknowledges that the soldiers have genuine grievances, breaking the law in the manner in which they did remains totally unacceptable.
Cabinet approved the proposal to establish the National Defence Force Service Commission. The Commission will be an independent body established to provide expert advice to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans on all matters pertaining to the conditions of service of the members of the military. Members of the Commission will be appointed by the Minister and will comprise of experts from the civil society, academia and business. In doing its work, the Commission will conduct interviews with members of the military, conduct research and embark on international benchmarking exercises to ensure that the conditions of service are broadly in line with international best practice. This decision is a clear demonstration that the Government is committed to addressing the genuine grievances of members of the military services.
Cabinet received a progress report on the international climate change negotiations that are taking place under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). These negotiations are aimed at reaching agreement on the international climate change regime beyond 2012. The next round of negotiations will take place at the 15th Conference of Parties schedule for the 15th of December 2009 in Copenhagen.
Although the African continent has contributed minutely to the overall global emissions, it is likely to be heavily affected by global warming through droughts, floods, water stress, food shortages, among other things. While South Africa acknowledges that it is a contributor to the overall global green house gases largely due to its reliance on coal powered electricity, we are committed to taking responsible action to reduce our emissions but we are not ready to agree to any targets that would undermine our growth trajectory. Like other developing nations-, we still face the major challenge of growing our economy to enable us to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
However, Government will take responsible and measurable action to reduce our emissions over time. Cabinet has already approved the energy policy and the Long Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) that take into account the potential opportunities presented by science in pursuance of a low carbon and green future.
South Africa views adaptation efforts as a priority at the Copenhagen talks. Economies must be transformed to enable sustainable, low emissions growth and development, and at the same time, allowing communities and developing nations to adapt to climate change.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) will be established to direct the formulation of a national programme for climate change, and to develop South Africa’s final mandate for the UNFCCC. The IMC will be made up of the Ministers of Water and Environmental Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, Economic Development, Trade and Industry, Rural Development and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Government will also interact with other developing nations and the social partners to ensure that the final mandate incorporates the development agenda of alleviating poverty and economic growth.
Cabinet welcomed and endorsed the launch of the Football Friday campaign by the 2010 Communication Partnership. This campaign seeks to raise awareness about the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals and to show support for Bafana Bafana. Government joins the Partnership in calling on all South Africans to support the Football Friday campaign by buying and wearing the Bafana Bafana jerseys every Friday until the World Cup finals. The principle of buying locally produced jerseys must be observed.
The meeting welcomed the good news that preparations for the launch of SumbandilaSat, the South African made satellite, into space was proceeding smoothly. Sumbandila means ‘pathfinder’ in Tshivenda. The R26 million low-orbit satellite is the product of a three-year satellite development programme that was commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in 2005, and was implemented by the University of Stellenbosch’s Engineering Faculty.
The satellite will orbit about 500 km to 600 km above the earth. It will use high-resolution cameras that will produce images to be used for agriculture, mapping of infrastructure and land use, population measurement and the monitoring of dam levels. The images will be streamed to the Satellite Applications Centre (SAC) at Hartbeeshoek, near Pretoria.
Cabinet welcomed the decision by the Canadian authorities to challenge the decision of their Immigration and Refugee Board to grant asylum to a South African citizen on flawed and racially motivated grounds. The Board’s decision is regrettable. Government rejects any suggestions that white South Africans in this country are under attack from their black compatriots.
South Africa’s response to the International Monetary Fund’s Article IV Report was discussed and approved. The Minister of Finance will publish the Government response to the IMF report this afternoon. The release of the response will coincide with the IMF’s release of the Article IV Report.
Cabinet noted that the agreement between South Africa and the European Community amending the agreement on Trade, Development and Cooperation (TDCA) will be signed at the SA-EU Summit scheduled for 11 September 2009 at Kleinmond.
The meeting approved the request for South Africa to affiliate to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Statute of the International Renewable Agency will be submitted to Parliament to ratify the membership to IRENA as required by Section 231 of the Constitution.
Cabinet approved the request for South Africa to host the 2nd Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Maritime Transport under the auspices of the African Union to be held on 12 to 16 October 2009.
The meeting also approved the request to host the 7th Session of African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and the declaration of the Second African Water Week to be held from 9 to 13 November 2009.
Government’s outreach programme, Imbizo Week, will take place throughout the country from 30 October to 8 November 2009. The Imbizo Week will provide the Executive with the opportunity to interact with communities and stakeholders to discuss and receive feedback on the Government Programme of Action.
Mr Leseja Kganyago’s contract as Director-General in the National Treasury was extended for a two-year period.
The following appointments were approved:
- Mr P O’Flaherty was appointed as Executive Director and ex officio member to the Eskom Board.
- The following were appointed as Employer Nominee Trustees to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) Board for a period of four years: Ms M Mbina-Mthembu, Mr A Moloto, Mr K Govender, Mr S Padayachee, Dr ML Ledwaba, Ms M Moses, Ms C Khuzwayo and Ms F Peterson.
- The following were appointed as Employer Nominee Substitute Trustees to the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) Board for a period of four years: Ms R Rasikhinya, Ms V Vumendlini, Ms VM Rennie, Mrs GB Modise, Mr J Griesel, Mr Z Sithole, Mr E Masilela and Mr J Andrew.
- Mr J Molobela was appointed as Non-Executive Director for a three-year period and as Chairperson of the Telkom Board of Directors for a period of one year with effect from 1 November 2009.
- Mr Nkosinathi Bebeza and Ms Mpho Letlape were appointed as Non-Executive Directors to the Board of the South African Post Office (SAPO), for a period of three years with effect from 1 October 2009.
- The following were appointed as members of the Board of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of SA (Necsa) with effect from 1 September 2009 until 30 August 2012: Mr EM Dipico (Chairperson), Adv N Shaik-Peremanov, Dr RM Adam, Dr N Bhengu, Prof T Majozi, Ms N Noxaka, Mr P Tshelane, Mr A Minty and Mr O Aphane.
Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 645 0810
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
10 September 2009