Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 7 March 2012

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town on 7 March 2012.

1. Current Affairs

1.1 Natural Disaster Management

Cabinet expresses its heartfelt sympathies to the families of KwaZulu-Natal victims of the recent devastation caused by tropical storm Irina, as well as to survivors of this unfortunate natural event. In the aftermath, Cabinet also commends the dedicated personnel and volunteers who are saving lives and preventing further damage, and assures South Africans that government is making all efforts to respond promptly to the needs of the affected families and individuals.

1.2 Human Rights Day 21 March 2012

Human Rights Day 2012 will be celebrated under the theme “Working Together to Promote Unity in Diversity and Human Dignity for All”. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to align to this theme in their commemorations and celebrations.

1.3 Water Week

Cabinet calls on all South Africans to join in celebrating Water Week from 5 to 11 March 2012 by assuming greater responsibility for more efficient use of this scarce resource that contributes towards ensuring a better life for all.

The theme for National Water Week is “Water is life. Respect it. Conserve it. Enjoy it.”

Government remains committed to its constitutional duty to provide water services and other basic services to South Africans for sustainable livelihoods. In support of Human Rights Day and Human Rights Month, the current Water Week campaign focuses on the human rights aspect of water which emphasises that this right is accompanied by a responsibility to conserve and respect water.

1.4 E-tolling reassurance

Government has over a long period, consulted various stakeholders in business and civil society on the issue of e-tolling on Gauteng’s upgraded freeways.

Following these consultations, government considered various ways to secure progress on the issue of e-tolling.

In response to public concerns, government went back to the drawing board and made available R6 billion to support the e-tolling project and minimise the impact on the consumers.

As a result of this considerable support from the national fiscus, toll fees were significantly reduced, as announced in the 2012/13 Budget and the last Cabinet statement.

Government wishes to emphasise that in keeping with being sensitive to the needs of poor citizens poor, passengers in taxis and buses will not be affected by the e-tolling project.

These transport modes will pass through the gantries free of charge. Government will continue to hold discussions with stakeholders to explain in even greater details its position on the matter.

1.5 Labour broking

Further to the position articulated by President Jacob Zuma in the State of the Nation Address, Cabinet wishes to reiterate its conviction that abusive labour practices should be prohibited.
The matter of labour brokers is being discussed at National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) by all the social partners. Government is confident that the NEDLAC processes will yield a lasting solution. Cabinet calls on all social partners to prioritise the finalisation of this matter in NEDLAC.

1.6 Education

Cabinet calls on all South Africans to “Play Your Part” in partnering with government to improve learning outcomes and reach our goal of quality education in all schools, by actively participating in School Governing Bodies. Cabinet pays tribute to the winners of the National Teaching Awards whose dedication, commitment and professionalism have developed learners as citizens of a democratic South Africa.

1.7 President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting

Cabinet noted highlights of the President’s Coordinating Council meeting that took place on 6 March 2012:

  • Report and proposals regarding precautionary suspensions, on full pay in the Public Service
  • Progress report on the submission of exception reports regarding payment of invoices within 30 days
  • FOSAD plan for improving service delivery
  • Update on the implementation framework of the Infrastructure Roll-out plan
  • Challenges and recommendations relating to South African delegations abroad
  • A report on non-viable municipalities
  • Desired interaction between government and Office of the Auditor-General to ensure enhanced credibility of clean audits.

 2 Key strategic decisions included the following:

2.1 Second report from the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee (PICC) on the Infrastructure Implementation Plan

Cabinet approved the framework contained in the implementation plan that sets out an integrated management and delivery system across the three spheres of government.

The plan comprises:

  • 17 strategic infrastructure projects (SIPs)
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping
  • 153 project components
  • Five enablers such as rolling stock, port charges, etc.
  • Five key supply-side challenges such as skills and bitumen, among others
  • Job-creation projections and
  • Project planning and oversight

 2.2 Operational agreement between the government South Africa and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB)

Cabinet approved the signing of the Operational Agreement between government and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB).

The ICGEB is an international organisation that was established by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in 1987 and is governed by United Nations and “specialised agencies” financial regulations.

It operates as an international centre of excellence for research and training in genetic engineering and biotechnology, with special attention to the needs of the developing world.

The signing of the agreement will accelerate the activities of the ICGEB Cape Town component in support of South Africa’s national biotechnology competence regionally and continentally, especially in cooperation with other regional biosciences flagships.

2.3 National Cyber security Policy Framework for South Africa

Cabinet approved the National Cyber Security Policy Framework for South Africa. In summary, this framework outlines policy positions that are intended to:

a) Address national security threats in cyberspace;

b) Combat cyber warfare, cybercrime and other cyber ills;

c) Develop, review and update existing substantive and procedural laws to ensure alignment, and

d) Build confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies.

2.4 Proposed model to hive off the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC) from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) group of companies

Cabinet approved a proposed model to hive off the African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (AEMFC) from the Central Energy Fund (CEF) group of companies, in order for it to operate as a nucleus for the State-Owned Mining Company as per the Cabinet mandate.

The State-Owned Mining Company will contribute to key national objectives such as beneficiation of strategic minerals for industrial development and employment creation, as well as the imperative of ensuring long term energy security.

2.5 Development Indicators 2011

Cabinet approved the publication of Development Indicators for 2011. This annual publication reflects the government’s assessment of the country’s performance in quantitative measures.

The structure of the report is standardised and the indicators are clustered according to the following themes: Economic Growth & transformation, Employment, Poverty & Inequality, Household & Community Assets, Health, Education, Social Cohesion, Safety & Security, International Relations, and Good Governance.

The report will be released by the Minister in The Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) at the same time as the Mid-Term Review will be released. A date for this simultaneous release will be announced soon.

2.6 Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme

Cabinet noted the initial findings of the Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme. Officials from the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency and Offices of Premiers have been carrying out unannounced visits to service-delivery institutions which interact directly with the public. These visits are intended to:

a) stimulate service delivery improvements;

b) facilitate or put in place interventions to address identified weaknesses;

c) identify and give recognition to good front line service delivery practice; and

d) to inform assessments of government performance and the performance of departments.

The identified weaknesses will be addressed by the line function departments at national and provincial level with the support of the Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and the Offices of Premiers.

2.7 Brand repositioning and new country marketing slogan

After extensive stakeholder consultation by Brand SA Cabinet approved South Africa: Inspiring New Ways as a new slogan for marketing South Africa. This replaces a version previously approved by Cabinet on 8 December 2011. Brand SA, an organisation charged with marketing South Africa both locally and internationally will champion the popularisation of this new slogan.

2.8 The Presidential Hotline

Cabinet noted progress with the Presidential Hotline case resolution per province and national departments and urged provinces and departments with low case resolution rates to urgently improve their performance.

The Department of Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation will carry out an audit of government complaint systems and hotlines with the aim of ensuring improved coordination, and will report back to Cabinet.

From the inception of the Presidential Hotline to 31 January 2012, 683 371 calls have reached call centre agents.

To address the challenge of not being able to answer all the calls, an increased budget has been allocated to the Presidential Hotline to enable the number of call centre agents to be increased from 10 to 15 per shift.

The majority of calls are from citizens calling multiple times to enquire about progress with the 122 589 cases/queries that have been logged collectively.

As at 31 January 2012, the case resolution rate for this total number of calls stood at 80%.

This is a major improvement from November 2009 when the resolution rate was 39%, just less than half the current rate. The resolution rates for the national departments which receive the most cases and for the provinces (including municipalities) are provided in tables below.

Top Ten Departments with most cases allocated to them.

NATIONAL DEPARTMENTS

Department

% Resolved

Home Affairs

95.49%

Human Settlements

97.34%

Labour

97.87%

SAPS

47.25%

Justice & Constitutional Development

87.13%

SASSA

81.94%

Rural Development & Land Reform

56.92%

Basic Education

77.58%

Correctional Services

41.25%

Transport

30.42%

Social Development

94.86%

Public Enterprises

65.02%



PROVINCES

Province

Percentage Resolved

KwaZulu-Natal

39.58%

Gauteng

43.09%

Eastern Cape

24.84%

Limpopo

70.49%

Mpumalanga

38.71%

North West

26.08%

Free State

91.03%

Western Cape

98.48%

Northern Cape

44.17%

Province

44.90%

3. Appointments

Cabinet approved the following appointments:

3.1 Board of the South African Post Office (SAPO): The following persons were appointed as non-executive directors of the South African Post Office (SAPO) Board for a period of three years: Ms Nobuhle Mthethwa, Ms Nomathemba Kela, Dr Hlamani Nelly Manzini, Ms Getty Simelane and Mr Richard Sishuba. The chairperson has also been approved by Cabinet but will be announced by the Minister.

3.2 Board of Sentech: The following were appointed as non-executive directors of the Sentech Board for a period of three years: Mr Sipho Johannes Mjwara, Mr Stephen Molala, Mr Thabo Mongake and Ms Sharoda Rapeti.

3.3 Cabinet approved the interdepartmental task team to negotiate modalities and incentives necessary to ensure financial viability of the Ketlaphela Project for local manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for antiretroviral medicines: Dr Val Munsami (Department of Science and Technology, or DST), Ms Glaudina Loots (DST) (Chairperson), Mr Andre Kudlinski (DST), Mr Francois Truter (Department of Trade and Industry), Mr Nelis Geyer (Industrial Development Corporation), a representative from the Department of Energy, a representative from the Department of Health, a representative from National Treasury, a representative from the Economic Development Department; Dr Petro Terblanche (Pelchem), Mr Stephan Haits (Lonza) and Mr Rajen Naidoo (Pelchem) (as Secretariat).

4. Announcements

4.1 Treatment of foreign nationals at OR Tambo particularly Nigerians

Cabinet expressed shock and regret at reports regarding how African foreign nationals particularly Nigerians and other nationals from other parts of the world, have been treated at OR Tambo International Airport. The genesis of the issue seems to be about yellow fever certificates. A high-level Ministerial Task Team comprised of the various affected ministries has been set up to get to the bottom of the issue.

A joint media briefing between the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Nigerian High Commission will be conducted today at 12h00 at the DIRCO offices (the details of what exactly happened and further remedial measures will be discussed at that briefing).

4.2 Tragedy in Brazzaville

Cabinet expressed its sincerest condolences following the tragedy that led to the loss of scores of human lives in Brazzaville.

4.3 Russian presidential elections

Cabinet congratulates President elect Vladimir Putin of Russia following the recent elections. President Zuma enjoyed good relations with President Dmitry Medvedev. South Africa is looking forward to a further strengthening of ties between the two countries.

Enquiries:

Jimmy Manyi (Cabinet Spokesperson)
Contact: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
8 March 2012

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