Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 3 May 2012

Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Pretoria on 3 May 2012

1. CURRENT AFFAIRS  

1.1 State Visits

Cabinet noted and welcomed that President Jacob Zuma is hosting the President of India, Pratibha Patil who is on a State Visit in South African which commenced on the 2nd of May 2012 until the 8th of May 2012.

1.2 Crime

Cabinet expressed a serious concern on the reported high level cases of crime and police officers involved in various criminal activities as this is an affront to the confidence and trust that people should have in the safety and security of the country.

Furthermore Cabinet continues to particularly condemn the sexual violence perpetrated on women, teenagers and young children.

Cabinet has set up a high level Ministerial Team comprising of the Ministers of Justice & Constitutional Development, Police, Communication, Women, Children & People with Disabilities, Home Affairs, Basic Education and Health to be convened by the Ministry of Social Development. This high level team is tasked with devising both short and long term measures to deal with the scourge of the escalation of criminality in the country.

Cabinet appeals to both local and international media to exercise greater sensitivity to the victims of violent crimes, particularly women and children, when reporting on this matter.

Cabinet condemns the ongoing public spat by senior police officers and calls on them to stop. These public spats do not enhance government efforts to fight crime in the country. Cabinet further call on the South African Police not to be distracted from fighting crime and ensure law and order in the country.

1.3 E-toll

The South African Government understands the concerns and issues raised by fellow South Africans around the e-tolling of the roads in Gauteng, which is why government has gone someway to provide relief to motorists by making R5.75 billion available to the SA National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL).

Cabinet appointed a committee to be chaired by Deputy President to coordinate all work around the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP). Other members of the committee are Ministers of Transport, Finance, Public Enterprises, Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and the DG in the Presidency.

This committee will among other things move with urgency to ensure that SANRAL’s financial stability is not affected in any way. The committee will assess the government’s response to the North Gauteng High Court ruling and other related legal matters. It will also meet with appropriate stakeholders in order to find constructive solutions and consensus on the outstanding matters.

Government would also like to reiterate that the R20 billion investment in the GFIP which started in 2007 will benefit the residents and the economy of Gauteng, which is a major driver of national economic activity. The decisions that we make and the steps that all of us as South Africans now take regarding the future of the GFIP will have serious implications for how we finance future infrastructure projects. We must also guard against decisions and actions that may impact negatively on our track record in the prudent management of government finances.

Government has to act responsibly, ensure that it and the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) honour their financial obligations timeously. Government must also ensure that nothing compromises the huge infrastructure programme which is crucial for raising the level of South Africa’s economic growth and for raising the standard of living of citizens, especially the poor and unemployed. 

1.5 Condolences

Cabinet noted that following the untimely passing away of the former Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, President Zuma on behalf of Government as a whole has conveyed sincere and heartfelt condolences to the former Minister’s family, friends and comrades.

Cabinet also noted the President’s decision to declare a Special Official Funeral for former Minister Shiceka. The funeral will take place on Saturday, 12 May 2012 in Midrand.

Cabinet also conveyed its condolences to the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti and family who has lost his mother.

1.6 Remission of sentences

Cabinet noted with appreciation the detailed briefing given by the Minister of Correctional Services following the Presidential announcement on Freedom Day regarding the remission of sentences.

Cabinet once more wishes to assure the public that all steps in line with the expectation of the Constitution have been taken to ensure that this remission of sentences do not result in unintended consequences.

2 INTERNATIONAL AGENDA

2.1 Official visit to Germany

Cabinet noted that Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, will visit Germany (8 to 9 May) and Finland (10 May), within the context of promoting North-South co-operation and strengthening existing relations.

2.2 The 22nd World Economy Forum (WEF)

Cabinet looks forward to the outcomes from the 22nd World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa which takes place in Ethiopia from 9 to 11 May 2012 under the theme “Shaping Africa's transformation”. WEF (Africa) will focus on three key issues: Strengthening leadership and governance; accelerating investment in frontier markets (including agriculture, manufacturing and telecommunications); and innovation (in health, entrepreneurship and new media).

2.3 Mandate for the eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP11) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

Cabinet approved the mandate for COP11 to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands that will take place in Bucharest, Romania, from 6-13 July 2012.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty adopted on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The convention provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. It was developed as a means to call international attention to the rate at which the wetland habitats were disappearing, in part due to lack of understanding of their important functions, values, goods and services.

2.4 South Africa’s preparations for the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Cabinet noted progress on the preparations for the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and approved South Africa’s position on:

  • The Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication;
  • The institutional framework for sustainable development; and
  • The sustainable development goals.

This conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 20-22 June 2012 to mark the following:

  • The 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), which took place in Rio de Janeiro, and
  • The 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The conference is aimed at securing renewed political commitment to sustainable development; assessing the progress and implementation gaps in meeting already agreed commitments; as well as addressing new and emerging challenges. South Africa will endeavour to influence the Rio+20 negotiations to ensure that it effectively addresses the constraints and challenges associated with implementation of Sustainable Development. South Africa aims to build on the work done during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in this country in 2002.

2.5 Global African Diaspora Summit, 25 May 2012

Cabinet noted South Africa’s commitment to host the Global African Diaspora Summit. The 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of African Union resolved to convene the Global African Diaspora Summit in South Africa on 25 May 2012(Africa Day).

The main objectives of the Summit are:

i) to create sustainable partnerships between the African Diaspora and the African Continent through a realisable Programme of Action;

ii) to create sustainable dialogue partnerships and strengthen Pan-African Solidarity, for a better Africa and its Diaspora; and

iii)  to promote South-South cooperation in the betterment of the African continent and its Diaspora.

Cabinet noted that preparations are at an advanced stage to host this Summit. About 60 heads of States/Governments are expected to attend.

2.6 Hosting of an Africa, European Union Energy Partnership (AEEP) Forum scheduled for May 2012

Cabinet noted that South Africa will host an Africa, European Union Energy Partnership (AEEP) Forum scheduled for 8-10 May 2012.South Africa will through this conference contribute to initiatives that are being launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support the concrete action on the initiative.

3 KEY STRATEGIC DECISIONS

3.1 Draft Small Scale Fisheries Policy

Following the public consultation process, Cabinet approved the Small Scale Fisheries Policy and the implementation thereof. The policy seeks to:

  • ensure the sustainable consumptive use of marine living resources in a manner that ensures equitable access to resources to reduce and eliminate the barriers experienced by small scale fishers;
  • introduce a range of appropriate mechanisms that will promote an integrated approach in the future and address possible conflicts in the intervening period;
  • provide a dispensation that will contribute to efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security and promote equity without endangering the ecological sustainability of marine living resources;
  • accommodate traditional/subsistence fishers effectively, secure the socio-economic rights of traditional/subsistence fishers as well as provide equitable access to marine living resources; and
  • provide for the upliftment of these communities by using appropriate support mechanisms, education and training, infrastructure and participatory management practices.

 3.2 South African Carbon Capture and Storage Roadmap

Cabinet endorsed the Carbon Capture and Storage Roadmap. One of Government’s strategic objectives is mitigation against carbon emissions and adaptation to the impact of climate change. South Africa relies heavily on fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil) for energy production.

The Government’s Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios plan identified Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as one of the options to mitigate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In addition, South Africa has voluntarily committed to reduce CO2 emissions by 34% in 2020 and by 42% in 2025, on condition that the requisite technological and financial support is provided. CCS can reduce CO2 emission by 80% to 90%. The CCS technology aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change, particularly CO2 from sources such as electricity generation plants, coal-to-liquids (CTL) plants and cement manufacturing plants.

3.3 South African Sports and Recreation Plan

Cabinet approved the National Sports and Recreation Plan. This plan is a major milestone for the country as it paves the way for South Africa to have for the first time a unified sports sector with all the role players working towards the same objectives as well as sports transformation that will be addressed in a holistic way.

Cabinet also noted that the approval of the plan will result in a need to review the legal framework of the South African sports systems, improved institutional mechanism and a new funding model.

3.4 2013 African Cup of Nations and the 2014 African Nations Championship

Cabinet approved that South Africa hosts the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the 2014 African Nations Championships. An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) comprising of Ministers of Sport and Recreation (Convener), Home Affairs, Defence and Military Veterans, Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs, Finance, International Relations and Cooperation, Trade & Industry, Transport, Tourism, Public Works, Police, Health, State Security, Social Development and Communications will deal with, amongst others, the preparations for the 2013 AFCON.

Cabinet further approved the host cities of the 2013 AFCON and those of 2014 African Nations Championships. The Minister of Sports and Recreation, Fikile Mbalula will provide further details.

4 KEY ISSUES FOR NOTING

4.1 Pilot implementation of a Smart ID Card as the new National Identity Document (ID)

Cabinet commended the Minister of Home Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on the pilot implementation of a smart ID Card. The green bar coded identity book will be replaced with a Smart ID card in a phased in approach. A Smart ID Card with a contactless chip, based on international trends and standards, is the most viable solution and will meet the medium to long term vision of the Department of Home Affairs and the security needs of South Africa.  The pilot project will enable the Department to test its hardware and software capability to produce the card as well as the participation of other government departments and agencies.

5 BILLS

5.1 Mental Health Amendment Bill, 2012

Cabinet approved the publication of Mental Health Amendment Bill, 2012 for public comments.

The main objective of the Amendment Bill is to amend the Mental Health Care Act, 2002 (Act No. 17 of 2002) so as to provide for the delegation of powers by the Director-General of the National Department of Health to officials. The Director-General will be able to delegate:

a) Powers to determine the transfers of State patients from detention centres to health establishments pursuant to court orders issued in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977;

b) Powers to determine the transfers of State patients between the designated health establishments upon an order issued by the Review Board; and

c) The powers to review the mental health status of the State patients.

The Bill also seeks to repeal Chapter 8 of the Mental Health Act, 1973 (Act No. 8 of 1973) as a whole. This chapter dealt with the Hospital Boards and is currently no longer necessary since chapter 6 of the National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003) now deals with that subject.

Such delegations will improve service delivery in the area of involuntary health care users.

6 APPOINTMENTS

6.1 Cabinet approved the extension of Mr Vusi Madonsela's contract for a period of three (3) years commencing 15 May 2012.

6.2 Ms Akhtari Henning was appointed Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services in Statistics South Africa.

6.3 Dr Maboreng Mangaka Agnes Maharaswa was appointed Deputy Director-General: Vocational and Continuing Education and Training in the Department of Higher Education and Training.

6.4 Water Research Commission (WRC) Board: The following members were appointed to the Water Research Commission (WRC) Board for a period of three (3) years: Ms Barbara Schreiner, Mr Anthony Nala Mhlongo, Ms Dora Ndaba, Mr Patrick Roy Mnisi, Ms Barbara van Koppen, Prof Sheryl Hendriks and Mr Godfrey Mwiinga.

6.5 National Credit Regulator (NCR) Board: The following members were appointed to the Board of the National Credit Regulator for a period of five (5) years: Mr Abdul Kariem Hoosain, Ms Maleho Margaret Daisy Nkomo and Mr Dube Phineas Tshidi.

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

Enquiries:

Jimmy Manyi (Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 082 379 3454

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
4 May 2012

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