Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 5 March 2014
1. Cabinet’s decisions on current issues and upcoming events
1.1 Cabinet reiterates President Jacob Zuma’s call on government, business and labour to work together to grow our economy at a rate that is able to create more jobs.
The State of the Nation Address and the Budget Speech laid the foundation for intensified implementation of the National Development Plan over the next term of the new administration.
The 21st National Budget of this democratic dispensation indeed tells a good story of how we are transforming the country and advancing against the key challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment – and, importantly, doing so within our finite resources.
1.2 Cabinet expressed its abhorrence at the recent murders of two teenage girls in the alleged furtherance of cult-related rituals. Such practices have no place in our country. Given that the Constitution enshrines the right to life, any person found to have committed crime will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.
1.3 Cabinet thanks all South Africans and corporates for their energy-saving initiatives, particularly when the national grid has been under pressure. While the country has the capacity to meet its current demand, all electricity consumers are urged to adopt energy- saving as a way of life.
1.4 Cabinet congratulates all schools and teachers who have been nominated for the National Teaching Awards 2013: Via Afrika People's Choice Awards which will be held on 6 March 2014 at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Gauteng. These awards are but one of the ways in which the Department of Basic Education acknowledges and encourages dedicated and caring teachers in their efforts to develop learners as responsible citizens of a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa. Cabinet also reiterates the rights of children to learn in a safe and conducive environment.
1.5 Cabinet welcomes the Department of Science and Technology’s continued support of the National Science Festival, known as Scifest Africa, to be held from 12 to 18 March 2014 in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape under the theme “Into the Space”. This annual event promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics as career opportunities to our youth and forges a better understanding of these fields among South Africans. Government continues to prioritise and promote the uptake of Mathematics and Physical Sciences as part of developing the critical skills needed by our developing economy.
1.6 Cabinet welcomes the announcement made by the CAPRISA Consortium on the discovery of potent new HIV antibodies. The research centres on how a KwaZulu-Natal woman’s body responded to her HIV infection by making potent antibodies. The study, published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature, describes how the research team found and identified these antibodies in the woman’s blood and then cloned the antibodies in the laboratory. The cloned antibodies were then used in a series of experiments in the laboratory to elucidate the pathway followed by the woman’s immune system to make these potent antibodies. The new insights gained from this KwaZulu-Natal woman into immune responses against HIV bring hope for future HIV prevention and treatment strategies. This discovery is no means a cure for HIV/AIDS and government therefore calls on South Africans to continue to have themselves tested for HIV or to stick to the antiretroviral treatment that is being offered to people who test positive.
1.7 President Jacob Zuma will address this year’s Human Rights Day celebrations on 21 March 2014 under the theme “Celebrating 20 Years of changing lives through human rights!” at the Sharpeville Cricket Grounds in Gauteng. Cabinet calls on South Africans to celebrate living in a country that guarantees that never again will our humanity be taken from any South African, irrespective of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation. We all have a responsibility to ensure that our human rights record and history are preserved and strengthened for future generations.
1.8 National Water Week will be launched at Bushbuckridge on 14 March and will continue with a number of events up until 23 March 2014. The launch event will take place around the lowering of pumps at the South Vertical Shaft of the old ERPM mine to deal with the issue of Acid Mine Drainage in the Central Witwatersrand Basin. The remainder of the week will also see the handover of waste water treatment works and bulk water supply projects in a number of provinces. This year’s theme is “Water is Life - 20 Years of Water Delivery for Social and Economic Development”. Cabinet calls on South Africans to conserve water and reiterates the need for sustainable management of this scarce resource, in order to widen access to even more South Africans.
1.9 Cabinet was apprised of the successful inaugural Presidential Youth Indaba that was held in Ekurhuleni from 28 February to 03 March 2014. The Indaba was hosted by the Presidency, the Economic Development Department (EDD) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). The Indaba gave effect to the Youth Employment Accord that was signed in April 2013 by government, business and labour. President Jacob Zuma delivered the keynote address at the Indaba, which was attended by at least 500 young people from all provinces. Various Ministers participated in panel discussions to brief young people on government programmes for youth employment. In addition, concrete strategies were adopted which will see the President and various Ministers constantly collaborating with the youth to make job creation a reality.
1.10 Cabinet noted the well-attended and successful National Consultative Conference on the National Integrated ICT Policy Green Paper, which was held on 3 March 2014. Cabinet encourages the public to participate in the Green Paper provincial hearings that begin in Rustenburg on 7 March. The Green Paper will lead to the finalisation of the White Paper by mid-year, which will provide the framework to change legislation in ways that would take into account the sweeping changes in ICT in recent years.
1.11 Cabinet is pleased to note that since the adoption of “SA Connect”, the Broadband Policy and Strategy, on 4 December 2013, 782 schools have been connected with computers and cyberlabs; the Ikamva e-Skills Institute was launched, and the National Broadband Advisory Council established.
1.12 The Department of Environmental Affairs will host the 11th Conference of Parties (COP11) from 17 to 21 March 2014, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, under the theme: “Promoting Blue Growth in Africa: Towards Sustainable Management of Marine Resources”. The biennial COP11 brings together ministers of environment from 22 nations which are covered by the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Atlantic Coast of the West, Central and Southern Africa Region. The 2014 conference will review activities and decisions executed during the 2012/2013 period; the budget for 2014/2015, and rule on action needed to implement the Convention and its Action Plan. It will also determine how parties can embrace the “Blue Growth” concept as a way of sustainably managing marine and coastal resources.
1.13 Cabinet extended congratulations to the South African National Under-19 cricket team on their outstanding achievement in winning their maiden International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 World Cup in Dubai. The squad's inspiring performance serves to motivate all young athletes to aspire to greater heights.
1.14 Cabinet noted the upcoming International Women’s Day - 8 March 2014. The day provides an opportunity for South Africans to pay tribute to the achievements and sacrifices of South African women in our communities. South Africans need to reflect on the progress made by communities, society and the country at large in advancing the rights of women.
While the Constitution provides the bedrock of values and principles, it is the responsibility of all of us to safeguard and protect women and ensure that they are empowered to participate as equal citizens in the development of our economy and country.
2 Cabinet deliberation and approvals
2.1 Cabinet approved the initiation of a broader consultative process with the aim of producing more professional graduates. This will introduce a framework for enhanced interaction, coordination and collaboration between professional bodies, quality councils, industry, higher education institutions and government.
This will contribute towards the development of a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
2.2 Cabinet approved the Unemployment Insurance Amendment Bill 2014 for submission to Parliament. This is the second amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Act, No. 63 of 2001.
The amendments go further in alleviating the harmful economic and social effects of unemployment, by conforming to the International Labour Organisation standards, of including learners who are in learnerships and public servants who are currently not covered in terms of the Act.
Implementation of the Amendment Bill, 2014 will amongst other things extend the period of payment of benefits to the contributor, from 8 months to 12 months, thus enabling them to look for alternative employment and earn benefits over a longer period.
A contributor will also have an extended period in which to lodge a claim, from 6 months to 12 months. It will also allow for the nomination of beneficiaries in case of death benefits.
Cabinet approved the following appointments:
3.1 Mr Daan du Toit as Deputy Director-General: International Cooperation and Resources at the Department of Science and Technology
3.2 Mr Garth Strachan as Deputy Director-General: Industrial Development Policy Development at the Department of Trade and Industry
3.3 Ms Malebo Mabitje-Thompson Deputy Director-General: Industrial Development Incentive Administration at the Department of Trade and Industry
3.4 Board of the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) State- Owned Corporation (SOC) Limited
a) Re-appointment of Mr Cedrick Mnwabisi Masondo as Managing Director and as Executive Director to the Board.
b) Re-appointment of Ms Karen Pepler as Executive Director to the Board.
c) Appointment of Ms Tando Mbatsha as Non-Executive Director.
d) Appointment of Ms Tshwarelo Moutlane as Non-Executive Director.
Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Contact: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
06 March 2014