Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 10 August 2011

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria on 10 August 2011.

1. Current Affairs 

1.1 Cabinet noted the president’s key engagement with media owners on the theme of Working Together to Build a Strong and Reputable South Africa. In this meeting the Economic Growth Path together with the job drivers were shared. The President appreciated the openness and cordial climate of the meeting. 

1.2 Cabinet noted that preparations are underway with GCIS as the secretariat to convene the annual Cabinet/South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) meeting for a date later in the year. 

1.3 Cabinet has noted the 11th Commission of Employment Equity (CEE) Annual Reportwith disappointment with regards to the slow pace of change, and called on all key stakeholders for speedy transformation in order to sustain the anticipated economic growth. Cabinet has also called on the NEDLAC social partners to expedite the amendments to the Employment Equity Act to enable its effective implementation. A call for more focus especially on African and Coloured women and People with Disabilities was made. 

1.4 Government calls on all sectors of society and all South Africans to continue their tributes to and programmes in support of women as we continue in our celebrations of Women’s Month. The theme for Women’s Month is “Working together to enhance women’s opportunities to economic empowerment”.  

1.5 Cabinet would like to reassure South Africans on our financial austerity measures, especially in light of the plunge by global markets in the recent week. Cabinet calls on citizens and businesses to exercise caution and responsibility in the management of finances.  

Even before the 2008 financial crisis, South Africa had taken the necessary measures to ensure the stability and soundness of its financial system and fiscal accounts. This enabled the country to weather the crisis when it hit. As a result South Africa was one of the first countries in the world to register positive growth post the recession. Economic growth accelerated to over three per cent and the growth forecast for this year is 3.4%.

South Africa is monitoring the current global situation together with other G20 countries, and stands ready to take action should the need arise. While acknowledging that recent developments pose downside risks to global and domestic growth, it is too early to predict the depth of the current events on confidence and growth. The National Treasury will publish growth forecasts in October when it releases the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

2 Key areas following strategic decisions included the following:

2.1 National Health Insurance (NHI) Green Paper

Cabinet approved that the NHI green paper be released for public comments. Cabinet believes that this is a major step towards improving the access and quality of healthcare for all the citizens of South Africa. Cabinet stressed that it should be borne in mind that the success of this policy will largely depend on a whole range of other important variables such as clean water, nutrition, general physical exercise, etc.

2.2 Implementation of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP)

Cabinet approved the toll tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project phase A1 and agreed that the Minister of Transport gives effect to the approval in terms of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act, 1998 (Act No.7 of 1998), as set out as follows:

  • Motorcycles (Class A1) 24c/km from 29 c/km
  • Light (Class A2) 40c/km from 49,5 c/km
  • Medium vehicles (Class B) 100c/km from 149 c/km
  • Longer vehicles (Class C) 200c/km from 297 c/km
  • Qualifying commuter taxi (Class A2) and commuter buses (Class B) are exempted.

In addition to the e-tag discount (31% tag tariff), other discounts applicable are the time of day discount (available to all vehicles classes), and a frequent user discount light vehicles (class A1 and A2), fitted with an e-tag.

2.3 Progress report on the preparations for the Conference of Parties (COP17) and the seventh session of the meeting of parties (CMP7) Durban, December 2011

Cabinet noted the progress report on the various 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) related activities and events.The contributions made by government departments were also noted.

This is a standing item on the Cabinet agenda. The overall theme for COP17/CMP7 messaging is “Working Together; Saving Tomorrow Today” In essence, this means that by working together as families, communities and nations, we can take action now that can:

i) Stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system; and

ii) Safeguard people and planet against the climate change impacts that are already underway.

Cabinet calls on all sectors of society to link all initiatives to the COP17 in creating better awareness and understanding of our collective efforts towards remedying the effects of climate change. COP17 activities are also afoot in various provinces.

2.4 Establishment of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) category 2 centre

Cabinet approved the establishment of the UNESCO category 2 centre under the UNESCO-IHP banner at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Cabinet approved that the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs monitors any subsequent financial implications related to the centre with the view to ensuring that there is no unplanned financial burden on the fiscus and on the departments of water affairs and environmental affairs. This centre will serve the needs of the entire Continent with regard to climate change and water research. The specialisation areas of this centre will be ground water training, research and capacity building.

2.5 Briefing on the national position for climate change negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol
Cabinet noted the national position for the climate change negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol. Cabinet noted the document entitled “Key Messaging on Substantive Content Issues on the South African position and National Interest” should be used as a position to articulate the national position and interest.

2.6 2011 Partners in Population and Development (PPD) Board meeting and annual international conference

Cabinet noted that the Department of Social Development in collaboration with Partners in Population and Development (PPD) will be hosting the 2011 PPD Annual International Conference and Board Meeting in Pretoria from 1 – 3 November 2011.

The PPD is an intergovernmental alliance of developing countries on population and development, created for the specific purpose of promoting and improving the transfer of knowledge, expertise and skills in the population and reproductive health fields through South-South collaboration. It is the PPD’s mission to assist member countries and other developing countries to successfully address the sexual and reproductive health & rights, including family planning & HIV and AIDS, and population and development challenges by raising a common voice and sharing sustainable, effective, efficient and accessible solutions.

2.7 White paper on South Africa’s International Relations Policy

Cabinet approved the White Paper on South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Policy for submission to Parliament, with emphasis on reference to South African human rights’ posture and strengthening the conceptual framework to articulate the advancement of South Africa’s economic interests and development.

2.8 The 2009/10 report on publicly-funded scientific and technological activities

Cabinet noted the 2009/10 report on publicly-funded scientific and technological activities.

Regular funding of the public investment into the science system was recommended in both the 1996 White Paper on Science and Technology as well as in the 2002 National Research and Development Strategy. The findings of the report point to the need to evaluate the levels of public investment in the science system, the effectiveness of the current model of public funding for science and technology and its impact on the socio-economic outcomes.

Cabinet approved the process to begin to review the current model of the public funding for science and technology and noted the need to increase South Africa’s focus on research and development with the view to being globally competitive.

2.9 Hosting of the 62nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2011) in Cape Town

Cabinet approved that South Africa will host the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2011 and noted the process that commenced between the departments of Trade and Industry (the dti) and Science and Technology (DST) to rationalise their functions, the outcome of which will be brought to Cabinet in due course. This forms part of the build-up to the decision on hosting of the Square Kilometre Array, where an African country like Ghana is a participant.

3 International Agenda

3.1 South Africa remains committed to peace building efforts in Burundi with a view that sustainable development must be premised on negotiation and a peaceful resolve where all parties take peaceful responsibility. President Jacob Zuma is leading a strong delegation in his State visit on 11-12 August 2011, to identify areas where South Africa can offer further assistance as a successful post conflict reconstruction and development programme is fundamental for Burundi’s sustainable development.

3.2 South Africa’s advance to Swaziland is not a loan from our fiscus but a guarantee backed by their own South African Customs Union (SACU) payments. The tranches to Swaziland will be paid based on their successful performance on the four pillars below:

(i) Confidence building measures to be undertaken by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland;

(ii) Fiscal and related technical reforms required by the IMF and to be implemented by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland;

(iii) Capacity building support to be provided by South Africa; and

(iv) Cooperation in multilateral engagements.

3.3 Cabinet welcomes the return of the Gift of the Givers envoy that assisted our fellow Africans in Somalia and commends them and all other civil society organisations that have made the country proud.

3.4 The signing of the agreement on the Lesotho Highlands Water Project as per the last Cabinet briefing will be signed today in Lesotho.

4 Appointments

Cabinet approved the following appointments:

4.1 Dr Batandwa Siswana was appointed Chief Operations Officer (COO) in the Presidency.

4.2 Ms Hillaren Lerato Molebatsi was appointed to the post Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services in the Department of Labour.

4.3 Dr Lesiba Alex Mahapa was appointed to the post Deputy Director-General: Governance and International Relations in the department of Public Service and Administration

4.4 Cabinet concurred with the extension of term of office of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority, Mr Mfanveli James Twana Ndlovu.

4.5 Mr Dhesigen Pydiah Naidoo was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Water Research Commission.

4.6 Cabinet approved the reappointment of Ms Thembisa Dingaan, Ms Thembekile Thelma Ngcobo and Mr Charl Higgo du Toit (National Treasury representative) as non-executive Directors to the Export Credit Insurance Corporation of South Africa Limited (ECIC) Board.

Enquiries:

Jimmy Manyi (Cabinet Spokesperson)
Contact: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
11 August 2011


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