Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 25 June 2014
1. Cabinet’s position on current issues
1.1. Cabinet appreciated the seventh State of the Nation Address (SoNA) which was delivered by President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday, 17 June 2014. The programmes which were highlighted by President and are guided by the National Development Plan will be unpacked in the coming weeks by the various Ministerial clusters. In the spirit of Together We Move South Africa Forward, Cabinet calls on all sectors of society to partner with Government in implementing the new Programme of Action, which builds on the achievements made over the past 20 Years of Freedom.
1.2 Cabinet welcomes the end of the five-month strike in the Platinum Belt. The prolonged strike had dire negative effects on workers, employers and our economy as a whole. While the right to strike is protected in our Constitution and labour laws, Cabinet appeals to both employers and the labour movement to resolve negotiations speedily and to avoid such prolonged strikes. The success of our development programmes depends on a stable and thriving economy. As South Africans, we all have a responsibility to grow the country’s economy.
1.3 Cabinet noted the downgrading of South Africa by the rating agencies, Standard and Poor’s, and Fitch in the past week. Cabinet reiterates that government is alive to the growth challenges South Africa faces. Government has prioritized the accelerated implementation of the National Development Plan, with reforms that are aimed at unlocking South Africa’s growth potential.
Government is committed to improving the regulatory environment, reducing skills shortages and accelerating its infrastructure investment programme as part of removing obstacles that are constraining growth.
1.4 Cabinet welcomes the findings of the 2013 General Household Survey which was recently released by Statistics South Africa. These findings confirm the good story that government’s solid policies and programmes are changing the lives of South Africans for the better.
The survey confirms that access to services such as water, refuse collection, housing and free education have recorded steady growth over time. South Africans with piped water increased to 89,9 per cent while the number of households connected to electricity stood at 85 per cent in 2013.
Government’s social grant programme continues to provide a safety net for families and communities who would otherwise be devastated by the scourge of poverty and unemployment.
The number of people accessing social grants increased from 13,7 per cent in 2003 to 45,5 per cent in 2013. The percentage of households where people go hungry dropped from 29,3 per cent in 2002 to 13,4 per cent in 2013.
1.5 Cabinet noted the high-level South African delegation led by President Jacob Zuma that is attending the 23rd African Union Summit under the theme: “Agriculture and Food Security in Africa”. The Summit takes place from 20 to 27 June 2014 in Malabo in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
As part of the continent, South Africa will be making a contribution to discussions of the development agenda for Africa and will leverage the Summit to enhance the development programmes for the country.
1.6 Cabinet commends the Department of Arts and Culture and the National Youth Development Agency for leading Youth Month activities under the theme “Youth Moving South Africa Forward”.
As we continue to celebrate the Youth Month, Cabinet reiterates government’s programme of working with young people to change their lives and transform the country. In the last five years alone, R2,7 billion was set aside for youth entrepreneurship finance support, student bursaries have doubled and early childhood programmes have enriched the foundation stage of children. Such interventions will remain a focus for government, as we invite young people to become our partners in moving South African forward.
2. Key Cabinet decisions
2.1. Cabinet was apprised on progress we made in developing the National Climate Change Response Policy (NCCRP): Green House Gas (GHG) Mitigation Analysis. The report analyses South Africa’s performance in effective management of the climate change impacts, and makes recommendations for South Africa’s contribution to the global effort to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere.
2.2. Cabinet further received a draft report on the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory for South Africa, for the period 2000 – 2010. This is in line with the United National Framework convention on Climate Change which South Africa ratified in 1997. According to this Convention countries are meant submit their progress reports every two years. The current draft report has been released for public comments. It will be finalised to be ready for submission later in the year.
2.3. Cabinet welcomes the approval of a new buffer zone for the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO which held its 38th Session in Doha, Qatar, from 15 to 25 June 2014. The new buffer zone is the result of a long consultation process involving land owners, community representatives, non-governmental organisations, mining companies and various government stakeholders. The approval of this new buffer zone is a welcome development for South Africa’s efforts to improve the management and protection of its world heritage sites while allowing for responsible and sustainable development.
3. Upcoming events
3.1. South Africa will be co-hosting a Partnership Forum Meeting with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health at Sandton Convention Centre, Gauteng, from 30 June to 1 July 2014. The Partnership is a global organisation hosted by the World Health Organisation.
Co-hosting the Forum provides a platform to focus on the importance of strengthening maternal, infant and child health in South Africa and to mobilise all sectors of society to contribute to this effort.
The release of the Global Countdown on how the world is doing in meeting the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 will also enable the participants from health and non-health sectors to take stock of progress and learn lessons.
It will also promote greater accountability and responsibility towards women, newborns, children and adolescents, enabling them to realise their right to the highest attainable standard of health in the years to 2015 and beyond.
3.2 South Africa will be hosting the International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO). IMO is an annual problem-solving contest for high school students, held in a different country every year. This is an opportunity to showcase our country’s ability to host world-class events and profile South Africa’s top-class mathematicians. A total of 109 countries have already registered for this IMO.
Cabinet approved the following appointments:
4.1. Mr GO Hollamby as Deputy Director-General: Finance and Supply Chain Management in the Department of Home Affairs.
4.2. Board of the Public Investment Corporation
a) Mr Mcebisi Hubert Jonas, as non-executive director and Chairperson (during his term as the Deputy Minister of Finance); and
b) Mr Roshan Morar as the Deputy Chairperson (for a period of three years).
4.3. Specialist Committee on Company Law (for a period not exceeding five years)
a) Replacement member, Dr Johannes Erasmus; and
b) One reserve, Ms Juanita Steenkamp.
Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
26 June 2014