Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 17 April 2013
1. Cabinet’s position on prominent issues in the current environment
1.1. Following President Jacob Zuma’s launch of Freedom Month under the theme “Mobilising society towards consolidating our democracy and freedom”, Cabinet calls on all South Africans to celebrate Freedom Month by building a united and prosperous South Africa.
1.2. President Zuma will lead Freedom Day celebrations at Freedom Park and the Union Buildings on 27 April 2013 at Freedom Park and the Union Buildings. In addition, the President will bestow National Orders on outstanding South African citizens and foreign nationals at Sefako Mapogo Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria.
1.3. President Jacob Zuma’s recent message to public servants and the successful Government Leadership Summit on 3 April 2013 - the first summit involving the senior public servants - served to drive a key element of the National Development Plan (NDP), that of building a capable state.
Cabinet called on all public servants to use the start of the new financial year to renew their commitment to serving and empowering citizens. Public servants need to be the drivers of change that will place the country on a higher trajectory of realising Vision 2030.
1.4. Cabinet lauded the ground-breaking intervention by the Department of Health to introduce the Fixed-Dose Combination of antiretroviral treatment to improve the health profile of all people living with HIV.
Cabinet again calls on all South Africans to get tested regularly and to know their status. South Africans living with HIV and AIDS are encouraged to discuss the new ARV treatment regime with their health care provider.
1.5. Cabinet reaffirms South Africa’s commitment towards a peaceful, prosperous and stable Africa through various interventions and programmes including peacekeeping missions. The peaceful resolution of Africa’s conflicts is one of the cornerstones of South Africa’s foreign policy. It is intended to create a better South Africa, Africa, and world.
Cabinet extends its sympathy to the families of the 13 South African National Defence (SANDF) soldiers who lost their lives in Central African Republic (CAR), and sends well wishes for a speedy recovery to the soldiers who were wounded. All of these sacrifices were in pursuit of peace and stability on the continent.
Cabinet also expresses its condolences to the families of the five South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in the Kruger National Park.
1.6. Cabinet strongly condemned the “act of terror” at the Boston Marathon in the United States. Such acts have no place in our world community, and must be rooted out. Cabinet extends its condolences and sympathy to victims of the bomb, including affected South African citizens.
1.7. Cabinet also took the opportunity to commend volunteers who formed part of the humanitarian mission led by the non-governmental organisation, Gift of the Givers, in Syria.
1.8. Cabinet extended its sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of distinguished historian and academic Professor Ben Magubane.
1.9. Cabinet welcomes the launch of a Small Claims Court in Soweto, 18 April 2013. The Court will be used to settle minor civil disputes and claims between parties in an informal manner without representation by an attorney. It is also a significant milestone in our quest to ensure access to justice for all South Africans.
1.10. Cabinet praised South Africa’s hosting of one of the most prestigious events on the international legal calendar, the biennial 18th Commonwealth Law Conference, from 14 to 18 April 2013. Judges, legal academics and practising lawyers from across the Commonwealth debated current issues on the rule of law, commercial law, legal practice and the profession.
1.11. Cabinet also noted the forthcoming launch during May 2013 of a 10km road in the Eastern Cape to commemorate the inauguration of South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela.
2. Key Cabinet discussions and decisions
2.1. Cabinet approved that South Africa’s Periodic Report on the United Nations (UN) International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) for the period 2002 to 2011 be submitted to the United Nations.
The report outlines achievements and challenges in eliminating all forms of racial discrimination. This remains high on the agenda of the South African government. After presentation to the CERD this report will be published and be made public.
2.2. Cabinet approved the hosting of the third Africa-India Ministers of Trade Meeting in 2013.
This Meeting provides a platform to enhance Africa’s partnership in support of continental development and regional integration objectives. This also provides South Africa with the opportunity to collaborate with the Indian government on specific continental and regional projects of interest.
The India-Africa partnership rests on three pillars, namely i) capacity building and skills transfer, ii) trade and
iii) infrastructure development, which are aligned to South Africa’s national, regional and continental priorities. The meeting is endorsed by the African Union Commission.
2.3. Cabinet received an overall summary of the key results achieved and the challenges experienced regarding implementation of the 12 Outcomes that frame the priority programme of government.
Government remains committed to tracking progress against indicators and targets, identifying challenges and blockages and resolving them. This is critical to successful achievement of the aspirations contained in the delivery agreements for the outcomes. The cluster schedule of media briefings, coordinated by GCIS, will provide a platform for Ministers to share some of the key findings.
2.4. Cabinet received a report on compliance with Treasury Regulation 8.2.3 that requires suppliers to be paid within 30 days from receipt of a legitimate invoice.
Government has prioritised timeous payment of services by government departments, as part of supporting small businesses which are important for job creation and broad-based black economic empowerment.
SMMEs carry the heaviest burden as a result of late payments by government and big business, which creates numerous cash flow difficulties for the SMMEs.
The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) hotline to address late payments, launched in 2009, continues to facilitate payments worth millions to small businesses. The Hotline takes up late payment queries with public sector institutions on behalf of SMMEs, after being resolved these result in payments worth millions to SMMEs.
National Treasury and the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation continue to monitor this issue and will guide Chief Financial Officers on good practice and procedures for payment of suppliers.
2.5. Cabinet received a report on the performance of the Presidential Hotline.
Significant improvement in responsiveness was noted since the last report during February 2012. The Presidential Hotline continues to serve as a mechanism for citizens to interact with government. It also provides a tool to monitor the responsiveness of government to the concerns of citizens.
The information collected is used by Departments to better inform service delivery improvements and to monitor the number of cases resolved and the quality of case resolution. For the 154 549 cases logged as of 31 January 2013, the overall case resolution rate increased from 79.89% to 88.78% between January 2012 and January 2013. This is encouraging given that the Presidential Hotline started with a case resolution rate of 39% in November 2009.
2.6. Cabinet also received a report on the findings from the frontline service delivery monitoring visits conducted during 2012.
Performance monitoring and evaluation is key to ensuring that implementation of the Programme of Action has a positive outcome on the lived realities of South Africans. These monitoring visits are intended to provide evidence of the quality of service delivery at facilities so that the responsible national and provincial departments use this information to plan and implement improvements.
2.7. Cabinet noted the report on outcomes of the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th Session of the COP serving as the meeting of parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP8) held in Doha, Qatar, from 26 November to 7 December 2012.
The Doha Conference concluded on the Durban mandate for an eight-year implementation phase for the period 2013 to 2020 and the simultaneous negotiation of a legal international climate change framework under the Convention for the period from 2020.
3.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the Electoral Amendment Bill, 2013 for public comment.
The Amendment Bill provides for special votes in elections for the National Assembly, and the registration of voters who may apply to cast special votes while they are abroad during the election.
This will improve the electoral process and enhance the reliability of the elections for the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.
The Minister of Home Affairs will conduct a media briefing on this matter to help people understand the implications of the amendments.
3.2. Cabinet approved the Gas Amendment Bill 2013. This paves the way for the Bill to be published in the Gazette for public comment.
Uninterrupted supply and development of natural gas to the economy is critical. This Amendment Bill seeks to address the loopholes, omissions and challenges experienced in the process of implementing and enforcing the Gas Act by the Department of Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA).
3.3. Cabinet approved the introduction of the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) Amendment Bill to Parliament.
This Bill paves the way to regulate and promote the use of DNA in combatting crime, taking into account constitutional requirements. The use of DNA evidence holds the potential to alleviate blockages in the criminal justice system. Maximising the use of DNA evidence promotes fairness, confidence, and certainty in the administration of our laws.
3.4. Cabinet approved the final recommendation of the Lotteries Policy and the Lotteries Amendment Bill 2013 for submission to Parliament.
The need to amend the Lotteries Act, Act No. 57 of 1997 followed the assessment of challenges that impede effectiveness and efficiencies in the distribution of funds.
4.1. Cabinet approved the appointment of the following members to the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Board, commencing 1 May 2013 to 25 August 2014.
- Mr Guy Patrick Harris and
- Ms Venete Jarlene Klein
4.2. Cabinet approved the appointment of the following members to the National Credit Regulator (NCR) Board for a period of five years, commencing on 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2018.
- Mr Vusumzi Gilchrist Mutshekwane
- Ms Philippina Aletta Opperman
- Ms Maleho Margaret Nkomo (Deputy Chairperson)
4.3. Cabinet noted the following appointments to the Board of the South African National Accreditation Services (SANAS)
Re-appointment of the following members to the SANAS Board for a second term of five years commencing on 1 December to 30 November 2018.
- Mr Prags Govender
- Mr Jacob Malatse
- Ms Anna-Marie Lotter
- Ms Nomkhosi Magwaza
- Ms Jennifer Rathebe
- Mr Terven Jaftha
- Ms Berenice Lue Marais
- Mr Mxolisi Saki
- Mr Ronald Josias
- Mr Aluwani Percy Ramabulana (Non-Executive Director)
4.4. Cabinet approved the appointment of Mr Johannes Mouton as the Chief Executive Officer to the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA) for a fixed term until 31 March 2016.
4.5. Cabinet concurred with the Board’s decision to appoint Dr Guni Goolab as the Principal Officer of the Government Employees Medical Scheme (GEMS).
4.6. Cabinet concurred with the appointment of Mr. Simphiwe Wisema Makhathini to the post Deputy Director-General: Energy and Broadband at the Department of Public Enterprises.
Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
19 April 2013