Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 24 August 2011

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town on 24 August 2011.

1.  CURRENT AFFAIRS

1.1  Labour Law amendments and various pronouncements

Cabinet wants to place on record that the Department of Labour is the lead department on all labour matters and as far as Cabinet is concerned, the only labour law amendments being considered at present are those being processed by the Minister of Labour through the NEDLAC processes. Cabinet reiterates that South Africa’s labour laws are in compliance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

1.2  Settlement agreement between Government and the public sector Unions

Cabinet welcomes the settlement agreement between government and unions represented at the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC). The agreement endorsed by an overwhelming majority of 81,8 % of   participating unions was reached on Tuesday, 16 August 2011 following six months of negotiations between parties.

The 2011/12 public service wage negotiations have been characterised by a level of leadership quality and maturity which has seen both parties reach an amicable settlement. Government’s engagement with the leadership of the unions throughout this process has been characterised by commitment, transparency and accountability. We have over the past six months witnessed parties prepared to fight and safeguard the interests of the sectors they represent; but  parties who equally displayed a broad-mindedness in addressing competing interests and a willingness to find a common position beneficial to both government and labour.

  The settlement binds the employer and the unions to the implementation of the   following:

  • A 6,8% salary increase with effect from 1 May 2011;
  • The equalisation of pre and post-retirement medical assistance benefits;
  • Further investigation on subsidy equalisation for members of GEMS and those of other medical aid schemes;
  • A process to finalise the introduction of an alternative housing scheme; 
  • The elevation of the debate on conditions governing essential services workers to the principals of parties participating at the PSCBC;
  • Subjecting work-in-progress issues as per Resolution 1 of 2007 and Resolution 5 of 2009 to the second round of negotiations which will commence immediately; and
  • Further negotiating new matters urgently including negotiations on the proposed multi-term agreement.

Cabinet applauds the conduct by all parties in adhering to the joint decision by government and labour that engagements be contained within the bargaining council. 

1.3  Sport and Nation Building

The Sports Awards at Sun City last weekend demonstrated the capacity of sport to unite South Africans and build a strong sense of cohesion.  On this note, Cabinet calls on all South Africans to “Play Your Part” by uniting behind the finally selected national rugby team (Springboks) ahead of next month’s Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand, and Team SA in the 2011 All Africa Games by supporting the Magnificent Fridays campaign.

1.4  Census 2011

It is less than 50 days to the start of Census 2011. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to heed the President’s call and participate in the Census which is a tool used to improve the lives of all South Africans.  Cabinet assures the people of South Africa that the information obtained from the Census is protected and thus people must participate freely.

1.5  Climate Change and Environment

Cabinet has noted that as the country prepares for the COP17 conference to be held in South Africa at the end of the year, government will take the opportunity of the upcoming events to strengthen our greenhouse agenda.  There are two important communication platforms on the matter of Climate and Environment.  The first is Arbor Week (1 to 7 September 2011) under the theme: “Forest for people”. The second is the “Women in Media and Environment” Conference from 4 to 5 September 2011.  This is hosted by the Minister of Women, Children & Persons with Disabilities and the Deputy Minister for Performance Monitoring & Evaluation, working with the Ministers of International Relations & Cooperation and Water & Environmental Affairs.

1.6  Chief Justice

Cabinet wishes to reiterate that the criteria and process outlined by the Constitution are being followed meticulously.  Cabinet calls on all parties to respect the supremacy of the Constitution.

1.7  Tourism Month

September is Tourism Month and is being celebrated under the World Tourism Day 2011 international theme: “Tourism linking cultures” which celebrates tourism’s role in breaking down barriers between cultures and fostering tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.  Cabinet calls on captains of the tourism industry to pursue cultural tourism in promoting intercultural dialogue and ensuring that local communities fully participate in, and benefit from the development opportunities presented by tourism.

1.8  Heritage Day 

September 24 is Heritage Day; and the month of September will also be used to amplify communication on our heritage under the theme: “Celebrating the Heroes and Heroines of the Liberation Struggle in South Africa”.  Cabinet calls on all sectors to “Play Your Part” in using our liberation heritage as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, nation building, economic development and inclusive citizenship.

1.9  Post-Lekgotla Ministerial Cluster Briefings

Government remains committed to ensuring that it provides feedback to South Africans on implementation of the Programme of Action.  The post Lekgotla Ministerial cluster briefings have commenced.

2. KEY STRATEGIC DECISIONS INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING:

2.1  Local Government Budgets and Expenditure

Cabinet noted the findings of the Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review: 2006/07 to 2012/13 and the trends in Local Government finances, particularly the rapid increase in national transfers to local government.  Cabinet agreed that the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) considers   discussing the Local Government Budgets and Expenditure Review, 2011 at its   conference scheduled for 29 August to1 September 2011.  Cabinet further noted that National Treasury would initiate an audit of the figures presented in the review.

The review measures progress in local government; shows where municipalities have allocated and spent money; explores developmental role of municipalities and shows a link between policies, budgets, expenditures and outputs. 

2.2  Participation of Public Service Employees as candidates in elections and remaining in employment after elections

Cabinet noted that amendments to the Public Service Act will be proposed to compel public sector employees to choose between their public sector jobs or being Councillors.  The decision was taken to improve the focus of public sector employees for an efficient public service.

2.3  International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff report for the 2011 article IV consultation on South Africa

Cabinet noted the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Report and the related documents such as the Public Information Note (PIN) for the 2011 Article IV   Consultation with South Africa.

The report covers six main areas dealing with, for example, (i) the economic recovery (ii) economic outlook and risks (iii) fiscal and monetary policy approaches to managing the upswing and dealing with capital flows (iv) the reform of product and labour markets (v) approaches to maintaining financial stability, and (vi) regional issues. The report is a key reference on policy development for both internal and external stakeholders and as such plays a vital role as an independent evaluation of government policy position. As is practice, Cabinet agreed for the report to be released for publication.

2.4  Green paper on land reform, 2011

Cabinet approved the green paper on land reform, 2011 for public comment.

The thrust of the green paper is based on the view that:

(a) While separate, rural development and land reform are aligned at policy programme and institutional levels to ensure coordinated service delivery; and

(b) In pursuit of agrarian transformation acknowledge the link between the land question and agriculture as the basis for the search for an economic rationale and a vision of a post-reform agrarian structure.  Yet, the demand for land may be for other productive but non-agricultural uses as well.

2.5  Report on the National Land Reform Consultative Workshop

Cabinet noted the report and resolutions emanating from the National Land Reform Consultative Workshop hosted by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

The main purpose of these national workshops was to provide an opportunity for a representative sample of land reform beneficiaries to share their experiences, challenges and perceptions about land reform. 

2.6   Agreement between South Africa the Republic of Mozambique on combined border control posts on the Mozambique-South Africa Border (“the Agreement”)

Cabinet noted progress on the development of the bilateral legal framework for the establishment of a combined border post at the Lebombo-Ressano Garcia border crossing and approved the tabling of the Agreement already signed on 18 September 2007 and the newly developed Annexures (“bilateral legal framework”) before Parliament for ratification.

The Agreement provides for Annexes to be developed to establish a bilateral legal framework for combined border crossing environments (also known as “One-Stop   Border Posts”). To ensure effective and coordinated border controls, the bilateral legal framework provides for extra-territorial application of border controls in designated areas, by officers deployed in each other’s territory.  Combining border control operations will reduce border processing times along the Maputo Corridor, reducing logistics costs, while eliminating operational and enforcement gaps associated with conventional border crossings.

2.7  Solar Water Geyser (SWG) Rollout Programme

Cabinet approved the implementation of key tasks for the acceleration of the implementation of the Solar Water Geyser rollout programme.

The key tasks include:

(a) To develop guidelines for the SWG rollout programme

(b) Engagement with potential funders

(c) Establishment of a programme steering committee

Eskom was granted R1.15 billion by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) through the second Multi-Year Price Determination (MYPD2) process for the installation of 259 000 systems.  To date, the number of installed units are 144 141 at a cost of over R750 million.  Additional funding is needed to enable the installation of 1 million units by the end of the 2014/15 financial year over and above Eskom’s MYPD allocations, including that to be applied for in MYPD3.

3. INTERNATIONAL AGENDA

3.1 Cabinet endorses the manner in which Department of International Relation and Cooperation (DIRCO) has been dealing with the Libya matter. The South African Government will always approach this matter in concert with the AU and in the spirit of multilateralism.  The Government of South Africa condemns any form of violence and the doctrine of imposed regime change.

3.2  President Jacob Zuma will undertake a State visit to the Kingdom of Norway from 31 August to 1 September 2011 with the aim of strengthening the dialogue. Discussions between President Zuma and His Majesty King Harald V will focus on maintaining existing strong relations.

3.3 Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa departs together with the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane for 8th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change to be held at   Inhotim, Brazil from the 26th to the 27th of August 2011. The BASIC countries   (Brazil, China, India, South Africa) have been increasingly playing a significant   role in the climate change negotiations since 2009 in Copenhagen. Amongst   issues to be considered by the group will be an exchange of views on what they envisage as a fair global regime for emission reduction and finance for a global climate change response, and how to deal with unresolved political issues facing the climate change negotiations going to Durban.

As South Africa prepares to host CoP17/CMP7, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in her capacity as an Incoming CoP President, will engage with the group to further understand expectations of this grouping in the negotiations, and solicit support from the group towards a successful CoP17/CMP7 to be held in Durban from the 28 November to 09 December 2011. The consultation by the Incoming CoP President is but one of a number of consultation with various groups in the negotiations. The last meeting of the BASIC countries prior to CoP17/CMP7 will be held in China in October 2011 for a final coordination and negotiation strategy for the Durban Conference. Cabinet calls on all sectors to intensify their communication of programmes and activities as we are left with less than 100 days before COP17.  Cabinet has called for unified messaging, where all communication must be aligned to the theme: Working Together; Saving Tomorrow Today.”

4. BILLS

4.1   Dangerous Weapons Bill, 2011

Cabinet approved the publication of the Dangerous Weapon Bill, 2011 in the Gazette for public comment.

Amongst others the Bill proposes to repeal in whole, all the Dangerous Weapons Acts in the former homeland areas and provides for a transitional measure which keeps in force the existing notices issued under the Dangerous Weapons Act (South Africa) until amended, repealed for substituted.

5. APPOINTMENTS

Cabinet approved the following appointments:

5.1  Ms Bajabulile Luthuli, Ms Queendy Gungubele and Ms Diatile Elizabeth Zondo were appointed Non-Executive Directors to the Eskom Board for a period of   three (3) years.

Enquiries:

Jimmy Manyi (Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
25 August 2011

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