Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 20 March 2012

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria on 20 March 2012

1. CURRENT AFFAIRS

1.1 Human Rights Day

Cabinet noted the Human Rights Day commemoration on 21 March under the theme Working Together to Promote Unity in Diversity and Human Dignity for All”. President Jacob Zuma in his keynote address yesterday reminded South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the 100 years of struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa.  Cabinet wishes to remind all citizens that the massacres in Sharpeville and Langa (in the Western Cape) in 1960 were the culmination of various instances of brutal human rights violations of the apartheid regime.  March 21 is a national commemoration where the nation sits, reflects and thinks about all the sacrifices that the people of this country had made in order for us to achieve the democracy that we have. Celebrating Human Rights day in Kliptown is on its own very significant because Kliptown is a venue where the mother of all Charters-the Freedom Charter was adopted. 

1.2 Infrastructure Service Delivery

Cabinet noted President Zuma’s imminent Infrastructure monitoring visit to the North West on 17 April 2012.  This visit will uplift the visibility of government’s infrastructure plan which is driven and overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.

On the13th of April, the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) will convene an intergovernmental forum on infrastructure bringing together the three spheres of government to    discuss the implementation plan across the three spheres.  President Jacob Zuma will open this event.

Cabinet calls on all sectors, from business and civil society to individual South Africans to “Play Your Part” in partnering with government as investors and social partners, to enhance the infrastructure legacy highlighted at the 2012 State of the Nation Address. 

The office of President Zuma will soon announce a date and venue where The President will meet various stakeholders and business in particular to further engage on how working together can make the infrastructure roll out a success.

1.3 Education

Cabinet noted that President Zuma will meet all Further Education and Training (FET) authorities on 4 April 2012 to re-emphasise the centrality of FET institutions to South Africa’s skills development agenda and economic drive.  Cabinet further noted with appreciation that the enrollment in FET colleges has grown considerably.

Cabinet reinforced Minister Nzimande’s call for public comments on the Green Paper for Post School Education and Training, which closes on 30 April 2012.

Still on education, the department of Social Development, together with other Social Sector departments and civil society, will host the Early Childhood Development Conference under the theme: “Tshwaragano Ka Bana” (working together for Children) from 27 to 30 March 2012.  Cabinet calls on all stakeholders to work together to secure agreement and commitment towards an integrated and collective action plan that will improve access to and the quality of early childhood development services.

1.4 Tuberculosis and HIV & AIDS

Deputy President Motlanthe is scheduled to officiate World TB Day 2012 on 24 March 2012 which will also serve as the official launch of South Africa’s Operational Plans under the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV & Aids and TB.

Cabinet reiterates its call to all South Africans to be responsible and get tested.

1.5 Road Safety over the Easter Weekend

Cabinet wishes all South Africans well over the forthcoming spiritual period (Easter Weekend) and calls on all citizens to stop the road carnage and “Play Your Part” in behaving responsibly.

1.6 International Agenda: President Zuma to travel to South Korea and India

President Jacob Zuma will travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea to participate in the Nuclear Security Summit (26-27 March 2012) and Delhi, India for the BRICS Summit (28-29 March 2012).

The main purpose of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit is to review the progress made since the first Summit and to focus on facilitating national measures and international co-operation on nuclear security. The Summit takes place within the context of the commitment to achieve a world free from all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

On conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, President Zuma will travel to Delhi, India, for the 4th BRICS Summit.  This will be the second time that South Africa attends the Summit after its admission to the bloc. South Africa’s debut was at the BRICS Summit held in Sanya, Hainan Island, China, in 2011.

The BRICS Summit will focus on global governance matters, which include the global economy and global peace and security. The Summit will also focus on sustainable development matters, which include climate change. South Africa will take advantage of the BRICS Summit to advance the African Agenda, seek support from BRICS partners for NEPAD infrastructure development and industrialisation initiatives on the African continent and advocate for reform of global governance institutions.

1.7 Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

Cabinet noted that the 4th April 2012 is a significant day on the national calendar as this is the day on which an announcement will be made on which country will host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA). Cabinet is confident that Africa is ready to host the SKA in Southern Africa.  Cabinet calls on Africa’s development partners and the global scientific community to support Africa’s bid to host the SKA led by South Africa, and further urges all to accept the results.  This science drive partnership is representative of Africa’s commitment to establishing the continent as a significant player in the world of scientific discovery and innovation.

2 KEY STRATEGIC DECISIONS INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING: 

2.1 South Africa’s Economic Assistance Package to Cuba

Cabinet approved that the agreement between the Government of South Africa and the Government of the Republic of Cuba on economic assistance be submitted to Parliament for ratification. The agreement ties the grants and credit lines to procurement of goods and associated services from South Africa.  It contains three parts:

a) Parties to the agreement, their implementing agents, the value of the package, the scope of application and other general terms of conditions

b) Specifications required for acquisition of South African seeds

c) Operationalises Cuba’s use of the package and these include terms and conditions for utilizing the grants and the credit lines.

The agreement is the first of its kind that South Africa signed with any of its partners.  It will stimulate trade between South Africa and Cuba in a manner that will assist Cuba in the development of its agriculture section and in rebuilding the infrastructure that was damaged in the hurricanes in 2008.

Cabinet noted that this reciprocation effort is a modest contribution by South Africa given the massive assistance that Cuba has been providing to South Africa.

This agreement was signed by the Minister of Trade and Industry on behalf of Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Cuba on 3 February 2012.  The next step in this process is ratification by Parliament in line with section 231 (2) of the Constitution.

2.2 The national position in relation to the 2011 climate change negotiation outcome

Cabinet approved the South African position and priorities to the 2011 climate change negotiation outcome with a view to concretize the Durban outcome.

The foundational view of the country position was to balance climate and development imperatives through a multilateral rule-based legal regime that ensures global emission reductions to avert dangerous climate change. The country position also called on the international community to respect, the over-riding developmental priorities of developing countries, and to prioritise adaptation as unavoidable climate change impacts are already being felt, particularly in Africa.

Cabinet further approved that South Africa submits a nomination and lobbies for a position on the Board of the Green Climate Fund and to hold the Chair of the Adhoc Working Group: Durban Platform for 2014 and 2015 in order to reinforce the Durban outcome when the   negotiations mature and are concluded.  South Africa will not, however, bid to host the Green Climate Fund and its Secretariat.

2.3 Ownership support for poor household-digital set-top-boxes (STBs)

Cabinet approved the Ownership Support Rollout Framework for Set-Top-Boxes (STB’s) to poor households that own television sets and the full subsidisation of outdoor and indoor antennae and the installation costs associated with rolling out digital signals. It further approved the full subsidization of television owning households in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project area in the Northern Cape.

The set- top-box has been identified as an important tool for public access to government information and services. Government is therefore playing a critical role in bridging the digital divide in the country.

Cabinet expressed sensitivity to poor households who may have already invested in analogue television sets and particularly those in the Northern Cape whose television signal would otherwise be scrambled by the SKA project.

2.4 Set-top-box Manufacturing Sector Development Strategy

Cabinet approved the Set-Top-Box (STB) Manufacturing Sector Development Strategy and agreed that the Minister of Communications, Trade and Industry and Economic Development further consult on measures to ensure localisation.

A Government-STB Manufacturing Industry Partnership approach to develop this sector will form a good platform for the creation of a strong and globally competitive electronics manufacturing industry in South Africa, which is an objective of the Industrial Policy Action Plan.  It will also spur job creation along the total digital migration value chain.

2.5 South Africa’s hosting of the Annual International Information Communication Technology (ICT) Indaba 2012

Cabinet approved South Africa’s hosting of the International Information Communication Technology (ICT) Indaba from 4-7 June 2012 in Cape Town.  The hosting of the ICT Indaba will require government’s collective effort across various Departments, and industry stakeholders with an over-arching vision to position South Africa as a leader in harnessing ICTs and technology diffusion for socio-economic development. This will also secure South Africa's emergence as a critical player in the global knowledge economy.

3 FOUR BILLS WERE APPROVED BY CABINET FOR SUBMISSION TO PARLIAMENT

3.1 Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill, 2012

 Cabinet approved the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Bill 2012 for submission to Parliament.

The Bill seeks to:

a) Provide a framework for spatial planning and land use management in the Republic;

b) Specify the relationship between the spatial planning and the land use management system and other kinds of planning

c) Provide for the inclusive, developmental, equitable and efficient spatial planning at the different spheres of government;

d) Provide a framework for the monitoring, coordination and review of the spatial planning and land use management system;

e) Authorize policies, principles, norms & standards for spatial development planning and land use management;

f) Address past spatial and regulatory imbalances;

g) Promote greater consistency and uniformity in the application procedures and decision making by authorities responsible for land use decisions and development applications; and

h) Provide for the establishment, functions and operations of Municipal Planning Tribunals in order to provide for the facilitation and enforcement of land use and development measures

3.2 Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, 2012

Cabinet approved the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill, 2012 for submission to Parliament.

The Bill seeks to:

a) To respond to the growth of informalisation of work in the South African labour market and, in particular, to align the Basic Conditions of Employment Act with the Labour Relations Act in addressing the phenomenon of labour broking.

b) To bring the provisions regulating child labour in line with international standards

c) To strengthen the mechanisms for enforcement of basic conditions of employment, including minimum wages.

 3.3 Labour Relations Amendment Bill, 2012

Cabinet approved the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, 2012 for submission to Parliament. 

The proposed amendments seek to strengthen the legal basis for ensuring decent work in the South African labour market and promoting sound labour relations.

Furthermore, the proposed amendments to the Act deal with a number of developments, in particular, they respond to the growth of informalisation in the South African labour market (Labour broking).  They also include new provisions relating to fixed term contracts and part-time employment.

3.4 Cooperatives Amendment Bills, 2012  

Cabinet approved the Co-operatives Amendment Bills, 2012 for submission to Parliament.

This Bill has been gazetted for public comment together with the Integrated Strategy on Co-operatives.  Inputs from the public comment process have been analysed and factored into the Amendment Bill.

The Bill seeks to further regulate the co-operative sector in order to encourage the growth of co-operatives, by establishing a Cooperative Development Agency which objectives are amongst others:

a) Assist government in the overall governance and management of the co-operative movement;

b) Support, promote and assist with the development of the co-operatives’ organized sector;

c) Provide financial and non-financial assistance to the co-operatives’ organized sector to promote the development of co-operatives; and

d) Provide business support services, which amongst others; include pre-registration support, business plan development, mentorship and after-care to co-operatives, as well as access o market services to the co-operatives.

The Bill further provides for the establishment of the Co-operatives Tribunal to deal with disputes and conflicts and to assist with the enforcement and full compliance of the Act.
 
4 APPOINTMENTS

Cabinet approved the following appointments:

4.1 Mr Themba Frank Phiri was appointed as Deputy Director-General: ICT Policy and Strategy at the Department of Communications.

4.2 Mr Shunmugam Govindasamy Padayachee was appointed to the post Deputy Director-General: Planning, Quality Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Department of Basic Education.

4.3 Mr Anton Gerhardus Schoeman was appointed Deputy Director-General: Finance and Administration at the Department of Basic Education.

4.4  Ms Nomfundo Signoria Gobodo was appointed Chief Land Claims Commissioner (Deputy Director-General level) at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

4.5 Mr Clifford Appel was appointed Chief Financial Officer to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

4.6 Dr Raymond Patel was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority (MERSETA) for a fixed- term until 31 March 2016.

4.7 Ms Raphaahle Ramokgopa was appointed as Executive Manager: Strategy and Business Development at the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).

4.8 Ms PS Bengu was appointed as Regional Executive Manager: KwaZulu-Natal at the South African Social SecurityAgency (SASSA).

4.9 Cabinet approved the appointment of the following members to the board of the merged entity Small Enterprises Finance Agency (SEFA) for a period of three (3) years:  Ms Sizeka Rensburg, Mr Marius Ferreira, Mr Ismail Tayob, Mr Richard  Mutshekwa, Ms Barbara Calvin, Mr Gert Gouws, Ms Katinka Schumann, Ms Lindani Dhlamini, Ms Hlonela Lupuwana, Mr Setlakalane Molepo, Mr Lawrence
Mavundla. 

4.10 Cabinet approved the appointment of the following members to the Board of the South African Weather Services (SAWS) for a period of three (3) years: Prof Lindisiwe M Magi, Mr Siyabonga Makhaye, Mr Jonty Tshipa, Mr Andile Mvinjelwa, Mr RG Nicholls, Mr Zola L Fihlani, Mr P Mnisi, Ms Nolulamo N Gwagwa, Ms PN Mngomezulu, Dr Shadrack R Moephuli,  Dr Linda  Makuleni and Mr Peter Lukey.

4.11 Cabinet approved the appointment of the Board members of the South African Tourism (SAT) for a period of three (3) years commencing on 1 June 2012.  The office of Minister Van Schalkwyk will issue a media statement in due course with full details of the respective Board members and the objectives of the SAT Board.

Cabinet congratulates the new appointees and wishes them well in their new responsibilities.

Enquiries:

Jimmy Manyi (Cabinet Spokesperson)
Contact: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
22 March 2012

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