Statement on the Cabinet Meeting held on 21 October 2009

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town yesterday, 21 October 2009.

Cabinet is pleased to announce the approval of the extension of the Child Support Grant (CSG) to eligible children between the ages of 15-18 years.  The current (CSG) policy only catered for children up to the age of 15 years. This decision only applies to children from poor households and is part of Government’s commitment to reduce incidence of poverty amongst children. Caregivers of the beneficiaries will have the responsibility to ensure that the beneficiaries remain in school.

The Child Support Grant for 16 year-olds will start on 1 January 2010. These grants will benefit approximately 2 million children from poor households. The total cost will be R1.3 billion, R2.6 billion and R3.5 billion respectively over the three-year period.

Cabinet expressed strong displeasure with Professor Jonathan Jansen, vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State, decision to drop the internal charges that the university had instituted against the students who humiliated the workers at the institution. The process that led to the dropping of the charges was flawed in that it did not follow the established norm of getting the perpetrators to admit guilt, to apologise to the victims before any charges could be dropped and to initiate a reconciliation process.

Cabinet would be the first among those who promote reconciliation in order to take our country forward. However, reconciliation involves both parties moving towards one another and must include some indication of remorse on the part of the perpetrators. The manner in which this matter was handled suggests that the rights of the perpetrators have been given preference over the dignity and rights of the victims. The meeting supported the Minister of Higher Education and Training’s call for the university to initiate an inclusive and consultative process to deal with this matter and to address racism at the institution.

Cabinet approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to oversee the final preparations for the award of the bid for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Radio Telescope. The decision follows a discussion of the progress on South Africa’s bid to host the SKA Telescope.  South Africa has developed a partnership with eight other African countries to locate a SKA stations in each country. The countries are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. The report indicated that the only two remaining bidding countries are South Africa and Australia. The SKA initiative will benefit ICT infrastructure development and post graduate student training in engineering, ICT and astronomy in the continent. The bid will cost R1.6 billion over a three year period. 

Cabinet welcomed the initiatives by the Department of Communications and ICASA to reduce the telecommunication cost.

The Minister of Home Affairs briefed Cabinet on the progress the Department of Home Affairs was making to improve service delivery. The meeting supported the policy and strategic direction the department was taking regarding the following: the birth registration and the acquisition of identity documents will be made compulsory for all citizens; extension of late registration of births by one year to 2010; engaging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other relevant countries with a view to developing and implementing strategies to manage migrants and refugees within the respective countries in order to enhance security and development. The Department will also interact with business, labour and other stakeholders to discuss policy approaches to economic migrants.

The hosting of the Extra-ordinary African Union Conference of Ministers on Communications and Information Technologies in South Africa was approved. The conference will take place at the Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg from 2-5 November 2009.

President Jacob Zuma paid a moving tribute to Mr Joel Netshitenzhe, the Director-General of the Policy and Coordination Services (PCAS) in The Presidency, who has resigned to pursue other interests. Mr Netshitenzhe will leave The Presidency at the end of December 2009, and will during this period continue performing his functions and assisting with the handover process. He has previously served under Presidents Mandela, Mbeki and Motlanthe. President Zuma said Netshitenzhe has been a great innovator in Government.

Cabinet noted and welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s initiatives to meet with the various sectors in government to address the service delivery challenges facing government. These initiatives include the meeting with the commissioners of the South African Police Service and Tuesday’s meeting with the executive mayors and municipal managers.

The meeting noted that the Deputy President, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, will launch Football Friday initiative for government in support of the country’s hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The launch will take place on the 30 October 2009 at the Union Buildings and would coincide with the meeting of the 2010 Inter-Ministerial Committee.

Cabinet also expressed the hope that the soccer authorities will do their best to ensure that a new coach is appointed sooner rather than later to continue the process of preparing a competitive Bafana Bafana team for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals.

The 2011 stamp programme was ratified following the consideration of 62 submissions from the public to the Stamp Advisory Committee.  The possibility of including the Sumbandila satellite in the 2011 stamp programme will be explored.

The following appointments were approved:

  • Ms Jodi-Lynne Scholtz was appointed as Chief Operating Officer (DDG level) at the Department of Trade and Industry.
  • Mr Jabu Moleketi was appointed as a non-executive director to the Board of the Vodacom Group Ltd for a period of three years.
  • Mr JN Hope was appointed as non-Executive Director to the Board of Telkom for a period of three years.
  • Ms LP Nobanda and Ms Mohau Pheko were appointed to the Board of the South African Post Office for a three year period.

 

The following Bills were approved:

  • Social Assistance Amendment Bill was approved and will be submitted to Parliament for finalisation.
  • The Community Scheme Ombud Bill will be gazetted for public comment.
  • The Sectional Titles Management Bill will be gazetted for public comment.
  • The South African Postbank Bill for tabling in Parliament.
  • Protection from Harassment Bill for tabling in Parliament.

 

Enquiries:

Themba Maseko (Government Spokesperson)
Contact: 083 645 0810

Issued by Government Communications (GCIS)  
22 October 2009

 

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