Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 19 March 2014
1. Cabinet’s decisions on current issues and upcoming events
1.1. Cabinet welcomed the release of the Twenty Year Review South Africa Report 1994–2014, by President Jacob Zuma, which is testimony to the progress government has made to ensure a better life for all.
In the spirit of the Review being dedicated to former President Nelson Mandela, the Executive calls on all sectors of society to engage with the report, join in the 20 Years of Freedom celebrations and help shape the national discussion on our achievements and challenges.
The Review confirms the progress we have made in building a non-racial, non-sexist, thriving and vibrant constitutional democracy, making South Africa a better country to live in.
1.2. Cabinet reminds all sectors of society that 2014 has been dedicated to the 20 Years of Freedom campaign.
April marks Freedom Month. All South Africans and international partners and stakeholders are invited to join the Freedom Month celebrations by relating their stories on how, through working together, we have changed the lives of South Africans for the better.
As we make our way to polling stations on 7 May 2014, let us once again demonstrate that we are a vibrant, enthusiastic and peaceful democracy.
Cabinet calls on all South Africans to be active participants in electioneering but to do so peacefully and with tolerance for the right of all voters to express their opinions publicly and make their choice privately in the voting booth.
Law enforcement agencies will be active to protect this right, to ensure that all areas of the country participate in the democratic process, which is a product of our Struggle for freedom.
1.3. As part of the national infrastructure roll-out plan of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, Cabinet draws the nation’s attention to the following positive developments:
1.3.1. De Hoop Dam in Limpopo will be commissioned towards the end of March 2014. This is the fourth biggest dam built since our post democratic dispensation. The Dam will help drive economic activity, create jobs and aid service delivery in the province and beyond.
More than 800 000 people in the Sekhukhune area will benefit from secure and improved domestic water supply while new mining and agricultural activities will also benefit from the supply of water.
Municipalities in the area, supported by national and provincial government, have invested an additional R3 billion in infrastructure to treat and distribute water to rural domestic and urban users.
1.3.2. Cabinet expressed satisfaction at the planned launch of the Lesotho Highlands Project Phase II on 27 March 2014. The Project is a prime example of what can be achieved when neighbouring countries cooperate and work towards a common goal. The development of mutual water resources is significantly contributing to the peace and prosperity of the Southern African region and the welfare of its people.
1.3.3. Cabinet is pleased with the move to revitalise South Africa’s rail system, with the awarding of a R50 billion contract by Transnet for the building of 1 064 modern and technologically advanced locomotives.
Transnet Engineering’s role in the agreement is to ensure that the division is transformed into a global original equipment manufacturer over time. This transaction is intended to transform the South African rail industry by growing existing small businesses and creating new ones.
1.4. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the first MeerKAT antenna by the Department of Science and Technology at the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) core site near Carnarvon, in the Northern Cape on 27 March 2014.
The MeerKAT, which is predominantly a locally designed and built instrument, again demonstrates that South Africa can compete with the best when it comes to research, engineering, science and technology. It will constitute 25 per cent of the SKA Phase 1.
1.5 Cabinet expresses condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the recent heavy rains. Cabinet reassures South Africans that the National Disaster Management Centre – through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence (NATJOINT) structure - will continue with search and rescue efforts and humanitarian relief. Cabinet commends the intervention by security forces to aid rescue efforts.
All South Africans, especially communities living in flood prone areas, are urged to take extra precautions during periods of extreme weather conditions. Parents and guardians must take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of children. Additionally, motorists and pedestrians need to remain vigilant when using roads in wet conditions.
1.6 Cabinet expresses its gratitude to the public for the part they played in relieving the pressure on the national power grid over the last month.
Individual consumers and corporates are encouraged to continue using electricity wisely and conserve power whenever possible, especially during the current weather conditions.
1.7 South Africa will be attending the Fourth European Union (EU)-Africa Summit taking place in Brussels, Belgium on 2 and 3 April 2014. The theme of the summit is "Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace".
The summit will focus on education and training, women and youth, as well as legal and illegal migrant flows between the two continents.
1.8 On the 24 March 2014, it will be the annual commemoration of the World TB Day. Cabinet wishes to encourage South Africans to work together with Government to combat this scourge.
The scourge of TB was worsened not only for South Africa but for the whole of Sub-Saharan Region. Government’s actions in implementing the biggest HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention programme in the World have stemmed the tide of TB.
Government programmes to combat TB also included active case finding and contact tracing, the use of GeneXpert technology to expedite TB diagnosis. We pride ourselves on the fact that South Africa is the World leader in the coverage of health facilities with GeneXpert technology.
Cabinet welcomes the upcoming Ministerial Symposium on Harmonisation of Regional Response to TB in the Mining Sector in Southern Africa. The Symposium which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 25 March 2014 will bring together role players in governments of the Region, the Mining Sector in South Africa, organised Labour, Development Partners and Civil Society.
1.9 Cabinet congratulated all finalists and recipients of the Second Annual South African Premier Business Awards.
The Awards recognise performance by businesses in various categories and were bestowed at an event attended by President Jacob Zuma.
Among the recipients congratulated by Cabinet is Mr Sam Motsuenyane who deservedly received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
1.10 Cabinet noted the forensic report that was commissioned by National Treasury on the Independent Electorate Commission (IEC). This follows the recommendation made in the Public Protector’s report. It has tasked the Minister of Home Affairs to follow up on the matter and advise Cabinet.
1.11 Cabinet condemns the persistent gangsterism in the Western Cape, which is characterised by vicious and brutal attacks on communities and especially children. This cannot be tolerated as it threatens the gains we have made in our democracy. Cabinet acknowledges the work by the South African Police Service in combating gangsterism and calls on the affected communities to work with police to safeguard our society from this scourge.
1.12 Cabinet conveys its sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of Mrs Martha Mahlangu who was the mother of former MK cadre Solomon Mahlangu. Mrs Mahlangu will be buried on Saturday 22 March 2014. The City of Tshwane is affording Ms Mahlangu a civic funeral and flags will be flown at halfmast to pay homage to her.
2. Key Cabinet discussions and decisions
2.1. Cabinet received a report on the Presidential Hotline for the four years it has been functional. Case resolution, performance improved year on year as follows; 64.03% year one; 77.79% in year 2; 87.46% in year 3 and is now at 94.7%. Over the four years, the cumulative number of complaints and queries logged increased from 75 873 in the first year to 183 445 in the fourth year.
Cabinet calls on departments and provinces to continue to improve on the quality and speed of the investigation of complaints as the satisfaction of citizens is critical for the reputation of the Presidential Hotline.
2.2. Cabinet approved the 6th Annual Iterative Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) 2014/15 - 2016/17 for implementation.
The overriding goal of the IPAP is to prevent industrial decline and support the growth and diversification of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. The Minister of Trade and Industry will address the media when IPAP is launched next month.
2.3. Cabinet approved the approach on the expiry of permits issued under the Special Dispensation for Zimbabweans project (DZP). The permit holders will be expected to re-apply for their permits in their country of origin. The Minister of Home Affairs will in due course provide more clarity on the process to be followed and the date of commencement.
2.4. Cabinet approved that Section 100 (1) (b) interventions in Limpopo be maintained, in order to allow for a review in June 2014 after the new administration is in place. This will ensure continuity of interventions to address outstanding challenges. This will ensure that improvements in the provinces financial position and service delivery in social services and other sectors are maintained.
2.5. Cabinet approved the South African Defence Review 2014, and directed that it be tabled in Parliament. The Review provides a long term defense policy and Defense strategic trajectory to be pursued by the country over the next four Medium Term Strategic Framework periods. The document will be shared with the public, as they participated in the public consultations that were held across the country in the past year
2.6 Cabinet approved that the Report of the Ministerial Committee on Articulation Policy be published in the Government Gazette for public comment.
The report analyses the post-school education and training system in its socio-economic context. It provides recommendations to the Minister of Higher Education and Training on how to remove unnecessary obstacles and bottlenecks that prevent or inhibit students’ progression.
The articulation policy refers to the systematic coordination of educational institutions, programmes and qualifications so that students are able to pursue their chosen learning pathways in an efficient manner.
2.6. Cabinet approved the Report from the Ministerial Task Team on Mathematics and Science Foundation Programmes, be published in the Government Gazette for public comment.
The Ministerial Task Team was mandated to develop a Technical Vocational Education and Training College-based Mathematics and Science Foundation Programme.
This will help to increase the number of university Science and Mathematics entrants and enhance the innovative capacity as highlighted in the National Development Plan.
The programme targets those who aspire to enter the Technical Vocational Education and Training sub-sector, those already in technical vocational education and training colleges aspiring to progress and enrol in universities, as well as Grade 12 learners who wish to enrol in universities but do not meet the Mathematics and Physical Science requirements.
2.7. Cabinet approved the findings of the 2012/13 survey on public funding for scientific and technological activities are published.
National Departments invested an estimated R29, 4 billion in scientific and technological activities in 2012/13, which represents 3% of the total national government budget appropriation. This is an improvement from the four year average of 2.9% between 2008/09 to 2011/12.
It is also evident that government funds most of the scientific research that takes place in South Africa, and that the bulk of the implementation is located outside national departments, i.e. in science councils and higher education institutions.
2.8. Cabinet was apprised on the evaluation by the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation of ‘The Impact of the Introduction of Grade R on Learning Outcomes’.
Early investment in the growth and development of young children is likely to reduce inequality and raise productivity, especially in disadvantaged young children.
Cabinet welcomes the significant achievement in the massive expansion of Grade R which needs to maximise its potential in order to have a more substantial impact on subsequent educational performance.
2.9. Cabinet was briefed on the findings from the Frontline Service Delivery Monitoring Programme for 2013.
Cabinet commends and is encouraged by the improvement from responsible national departments, of their strategic management and oversight of facility-level performance.
Findings for the 186 facilities (monitored for the first time) across all provinces during 2013 revealed that the average ratings for dignified treatment, location and accessibility and opening and closing times were positively rated by citizens and monitors.
Performance areas which require intervention are; complaints management, visibility and signage, queue management and waiting times and safety.
Findings from the 77 facilities which were re-monitored to assess improvements also signalled improved average ratings, signalling positive signs towards managing facility-level performance as a strategic priority.
2.10. Cabinet approved the hosting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers responsible for ICT, Communications and Postal Services from 23 to 25 March 2014, in Johannesburg.
Cabinet approved the following appointments:
3.1. Ms Elaine Alexander to the post of Deputy Director-General: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
3.2. Ms Nkidi Dinah Mohoboko to the post of Deputy Director-General: Learning Academy at the Department of Home Affairs.
3.3. Ms Sam Themba Mtshisa to the post of Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services at the Department of Public Works.
3.4. Ms Malijeng Theresa Ngqaleni to the post of Deputy Director-General: Intergovernmental Relations at the National Treasury.
3.5. Mr. Michael Sass to the post Accountant-General at the National Treasury.
3.6. Mr Mlungisi Justice Mathonsi as Chief Operating Officer of the South African Post Office.
3.7. Non-Executive Members to the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency:
a) Ms Pam Edith Pokane (Chairperson);
b) Mr. Reuben Abel Dlamini;
c) Mr Gordon Noah;
d) Mr Moses Cyril Tiel Scott;
e) Mr Wayne Smith;
f) Ms Maleho Margaret Nkomo (re-appointment as Deputy Chairperson); and
g) Ms Nala Mhlongo (re-appointment).
3.8. Mr Mahesh Fakir as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ports Regulator.
3.9. Non-executive members to the Board of Directors of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, Limited (ARMSCOR):
a) Admiral (ret) Refiloe Johannes Mudimu (Chairperson);
b) Ms Thuthukile Skweyiya (Deputy Chairperson);
c) Dr Moses Khanyile;
d) Mr Bethuel Motshwariseng Fantas Mobu;
e) Adv Sesi Baloyi;
f) Ms Mpumi Zikalala;
g) Mr Ndumiso M Tyibilika;
h) Mr Raymond Mlungwana Vokwana; and
i) Adv Virginia Lee Anne De La Hunt.
Phumla Williams, Acting Cabinet Spokesperson
Contact: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)