Statement on the Cabinet Meeting held on 24 February 2010
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town on 24 February 2010.
Cabinet welcomed the release of data this week, which indicated that the economy had exceeded expectations by growing at 3.2 % compared to the expected figure of 2.6 %. This is an indication that government, with its partners in business, labour and the community sector had responded and handled the recession appropriately and that the worst of the recession might be behind us. We are particularly pleased that important sectors in the economy such as manufacturing, mining and financial services recovered well and had made significant contribution to the GDP figures.
The national budget that was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance will serve to strengthen the economy even further by focussing on that which will sustain and grow the economy in the short and long term. Government is committed to channeling our efforts towards developing a new growth path that will ensure that the economy grows at a higher level and creates jobs. The suggestions that this budget is not pro poor are not true. Evidence that this budget, like previous budgets, is pro-poor can be found in the fact that significant resources have been directed to the poorest of the poor, for example social grants, health, education, human settlements, and basic services.
Government would like to invite South Africans to participate in the process of crafting a new growth path that would boost productivity and competitiveness in key sectors of the economy. Let us work together to grow the economy, to create large numbers of jobs and tackle the roots of poverty.
Cabinet discussed the NERSA decision and announcement on the ESKOM tariff application. The Minister of Energy is here with us to give the government initial response on the decision.
The protest action taking place in some parts of the country were discussed and Cabinet wishes to re-assure communities throughout the country that we have heard your concerns. Government has already declared 2010 as the year of action to deal with the most urgent needs of our communities. We have a plan to increase the capacity of local government to enable them to expedite service delivery to all our communities. At the meeting President Jacob Zuma urged Ministers to prioritise all areas that still lack basic services as it is very difficult for government to justify the tough conditions communities are experiencing. However, violent protests and general lawlessness cannot and will not be tolerated. Communities are urged to protest peacefully and within the framework of the law.
Cabinet received a progress report on the preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup which indicated that its 'all systems go'. The highlights of the report include the following: all stadia are ready for the World Cup Finals; upgrades at OR Tambo airport, Cape Town international and Mangaung have been completed to world class standards. The new Durban airport will be completed just before the start of the finals; 570 additional busses are being procured and driver training is underway; discussions are taking place with the taxi industry to look at how they will be part of the transport system; sites have been selected for fan parks with public viewing areas. There will be a total of 46 public viewing areas around the country; additional power substations and generators have already been installed at the stadia to ensure adequate power supply; six stadiums have already been fitted with 'last mile' fibre optic broadcasting infrastructure and the remaining four stadia will be completed in March.
All of these milestones will be part of the lasting legacy that will be enjoyed by generations of South Africans for many decades, long after the World Cup has come and gone.
Cabinet condemns the coup d'etat that toppled Niger's President Momadou Tandja's government on the 18th February 2010. This coup, which also condemned by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), undermines the progress already made in promoting democracy and political stability in the continent.
The meeting discussed President Jacob Zuma's state visit to the United Kingdom on 2 March 2010. President Zuma will be accompanied by a delegation of Cabinet Ministers and 170 business leaders. This visit will go a long way to strengthen the historic bilateral and economic ties between the two countries.
Cabinet noted that South Africa will participate in the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) which will take place from 01-12 March 2010 at the UN Head Quarters in New York. The Ministry for Women, Children, and Persons with Disabilities is in the process of finalising the national country report that will be tabled at the meeting. This report is being compiled in consultation with the all the stakeholders. The South African Delegation to the session will consist of government and representatives of civil society.
The introduction of The Seventh National Orders was approved. The new Orders will be bestowed on a Foreign Head of State by The President of the Republic. This Order will be called the Order of South Africa.
The meeting discussed and noted the progress report on the South African Law Reform Commission's (SALRC's) project on Statutory Law Revision. The project will include a review of statutes relating to the Traditional Leaders Governance Framework Act, amongst others, dealing with issues relating to the Khoi-San and other indigenous groups of South Africa. The SALRC envisages that the statutory law revision project will ultimately result in the amendment of legislation.
Cabinet supported the African Union Conference of the Ministers of Health who proposed that South Africa to host the official launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) lifestyles Day on 26th February. The healthy lifestyle day will also provide an excellent platform for the youth to draw a link between physical activity, fitness and high performance and achievement in sports as well as educate the adult population on the benefits of physical fitness for their well being. The event will take place on 26 and 27 February 2010 in the Western Cape Province. The launch of the Lifestyle Day will include a 5-kilometre walk, which will include Ministers and other dignitaries from the other countries in the continent.
Cabinet noted South Africa's participation at the fifteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (COP 15 CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora to be held from 13 to 25 March 2010 in Doha, Qatar.
South Africa's participation in the International Conference on Rural Territorial Development was approved. This conference, under the theme sharing lessons between middle income countries, will be held in New Delhi, India from 14 to 16 April 2010.
The African Union's endorsement of South Africa's candidacy was for the non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for 2011-2012 was welcomed.
The Minister of Higher Education tabled a report on the Review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The fund was established to facilitate access to institutions of higher learning. The report was noted and Cabinet approved that the report be released to the public for public comment in Mid March 2010. The matter will be brought back to Cabinet before the end August 2010.
The Black Authorities Act Repeal Bill was approved for introduction to Parliament in due course. This Bill proposes to repeal and remove the Black Authorities Act of 1951, which created 'tribal', regional and territorial authorities to administer the affairs of Black people.
The following appointments were approved:
- Mr Mangisi George Mahlalela was appointed to the post of Director General in the Department of Transport.
- Mr Tshepe E Motumi was appointed to the post of Director General in the newly created Department of Military Veterans in the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans.
- Ms Sizakele Mzimela's appointment to the post of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the South African Airways (SAA) was noted.
- Mr Jabulani Ndhovu and Professor David Lewis were appointed to the Board of South African Airways (SAA).
- The following were appointed to the Council of Robben Island Museum: Ms T Modise (Chairperson); Mr B Martins (Deputy Chairperson); Ms L Callinicos; Mr L Mpahlwa; Ms R Abdullah; Dr MS Mogoba; Mr OB Nqubelani; Dr N Motete; Mr M Dada; Ms MO Morata; Mr MS Gwavu; Mr MM Gasela; Ms GM Masuku and Mr Pandelani Nefolovhodwe.
- The following were reappointed to the Board of Khula Enterprise Finance Limited for a period of 3 years: Mr I Tayob; Ms N Matyumza and Mr N Greenhill.
- The following were appointed to the Board of Khula Enterprises for a period of three years commencing from the next Annual General Meeting: Mr M Ferreira; Mr V Twala; Mr D Jackson; Dr Z Lees; Mr N Swana; Mr M Kekana (Chairperson); Ms S Rensburg (Deputy Chairperson); Ms D Thabede; Mr M Mohoto (representative of DTI) and Mr S Molepo.
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Issued by Government Communications (GCIS)
25 February 2010