Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 9 July 2014
1. Cabinet’s position on current issues
1.1. Cabinet reminds all South Africans to honour and remember our beloved former President Nelson Mandela during this Mandela Month by actively participating in the “Clean South Africa” Campaign.
During Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July and more broadly during this month South Africans should dedicate at least 67 minutes to clean South Africa as per the call by President Jacob Zuma during the State of the Nation Address.
Former President Nelson Mandela taught us that any individual can have a positive impact on their community. We all have a responsibility to honour his life by cleaning, improving and beautifying our communities.
1.2. Cabinet welcomes the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) massive rail revitalisation programme. As part of this programme, the Minister of Transport unveiled the final design of PRASA’s brand-new, modern and safe commuter train which boasts the latest technology the rail industry has to offer throughout the world. This is another special milestone in government’s commitment to build infrastructure that will stimulate the economy and support local procurement. The first PRASA train is expected to hit the track in 2015.
The modernisation of the train system will overhaul metro rail services - ‘a major catalyst for the transformation of public transport in South Africa. PRASA will spend R51 billion over the next 10 years to procure 600 top class trains for the people of South Africa. A total of 580 of these trains will be manufactured in South Africa at a new factory to be established in Dunnotar outside Nigel in Ekurhuleni at a cost of R1 billion. The 600 000 m2 manufacturing facility is designed to house the manufacturing plant, a training facility and fully fledged industrial park. The project will create 8 088 direct jobs, part of over 33 000 direct and indirect jobs over the 10-year period, achieving a local content level of over 65%. PRASA will train a total of 19 527 individuals (engineers, artisans, technicians, train drivers and, among others, technologists) during the life of the project.
The Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme is much more than the procurement of trains, it is about three pillars which will bring this industry to its former glory, revive our rail engineering sector and contribute to economic development and localisation.
1.3 Cabinet welcomes the launch today by President Jacob Zuma of the First Automotive Works (FAW) South Africa assembly plant and operations in the COEGA Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape.
The R600 million truck assembly plant, located in Zone 2 of the COEGA IDZ is funded jointly by China FAW Group Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund. It is one of the largest investments made by a Chinese company.
This plant will contribute significantly to national goals for socio-economic development as enshrined in the National Development Plan, New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plans.
Benefits to The Nelson Mandela Bay and the greater Eastern Cape region include generation of foreign direct investment that will in turn create sustainable jobs and provide opportunities for skills development and training.
1.4 Cabinet again condemns the theft of cables from rail, electrical and municipal public infrastructures. Such thefts hamper the smooth running of the economy of the country and in some instances jeopardise the lives of people. The law enforcement agencies will ensure those arrested face the full might of the law. Cabinet further re-iterates its commitment to clamp down on scrap metal companies that feed off and fuel this crime.
Communities are urged to work together with government by reporting to the South African Police Service.
1.5 Cabinet encourages taxpayers to submit their individual tax returns for the 2014 tax season, which opened on 1 July 2014. Taxes enable government to fund the country’s development plans. Every taxpayer who submits an accurate return on time plays their part in moving South Africa forward.
1.6 Cabinet welcomes President Jacob Zuma’s signing of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act, which signals the reopening of the lodgement of land claims for those who missed the previous deadline and provides claimants with another five years to lodge land claims.
Whilst approximately 80 000 land restitution claims were lodged by the 1998 deadline, it is estimated that there are up to five times as many valid cases that can be brought by victims of apartheid-era forced removals.
Cabinet calls on all South Africans to spread the message of this legislation to ensure that victims of land dispossession, who initially missed the 1998 deadline, come forward to lodge their land claims from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2019.
1.7 Cabinet congratulates the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) SA-funded researchers who discovered a triple supermassive black hole system. This is positive confirmation of the dynamic and significant radio astronomy which has developed rapidly in South Africa. The discovery further demonstrates that South Africa has the scientific and technical expertise to be a world leader in radio astronomy.
This internationally recognised research is a reminder of the unique opportunities presented to South Africa as a result of our successful bid, to build our skills set by stimulating interest in science and engineering among our youth. It also provides the country with a basis to start producing scientists who will contribute to achieving Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan (NDP).
This discovery is the beginning of many more that will be made possible with the Square Kilometre Array. Our successful bid has also opened many opportunities in the country, in particular thousands of jobs in construction, operations and maintenance in the Northern Cape where the core of the SKA is being built.
1.8 Cabinet calls on young people to apply now for tertiary institutions in line with the Department of Higher Education and Training’s Apply Now! campaign.
Through this campaign learners are equipped with the necessary information to make informed career choices and apply on time. It will also contribute to averting the pressure that students face at the beginning of the academic year.
Learners are also reminded to make use of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which provides financial aid to academically deserving but financially needy students.
1.9 Cabinet welcomes the outcomes of the recently held 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly (AU Summit) under the theme: "2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa" where President Jacob Zuma led a high level delegation.
Of note are the Summits decisions on key issues pertaining to development, peace and security, climate change and the mobilisation of resources as well as the finalisation of the Agenda 2063 Continental Framework, as part of the vision of Africa in the next 50 years and the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
1.10 Cabinet sends condolences to the family and friends of African National Congress Women's League Deputy President and former ANC Chief Whip in the National Council of Provinces, Ms Nosipho Dorothy Ntwanambi. She has left a deep void in the ongoing struggle for a just and equitable society where all its citizens enjoy equal freedoms, rights and opportunities.
2. Key Cabinet decisions
2.1. Cabinet was briefed on the Outcomes of the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), held from 16 to 27 September 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia.
The convention addresses specifically the global issues of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid in the environment. Amongst the key decisions the Conference agreed on the improvement of capacity, effectiveness and efficiency of Regional coordination mechanisms and that Regional co-ordination Units carry out their functions effectively. The conference further agreed on the relocation of the Global Mechanism from the International Fund for Agriculture Development in Rome to Bonn to be co-located with the UNCCD secretariat. The decisions will support the strengthening of capacity to deal with the challenges of desertification in the continent.
2.2. Cabinet approved that South Africa ratify the Ban Amendment under the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.
The Basel Convention is an international treaty that regulates the Trans boundary movement of hazardous wastes. While the Basel Convention Ban Amendment was adopted to protect developing countries from receiving imports of hazardous waste from developed countries.
Ratification of the Ban would ensure that human health and the environment are protected for future generations, and that socio-economic development is promoted sustainably.
This would make a significant contribution to reducing Africa’s problems with dumped hazardous wastes.
3. Upcoming events
3.1. President Jacob Zuma, will lead a South African delegation to the 6th Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Summit, to be hosted by the Federative Republic of Brazil on 15-16 July 2014 under the theme: “BRICS: Inclusive Growth, Sustainable Solutions".
During South Africa’s tenure as Chair of BRICS, substantive progress was achieved in anchoring the new BRICS mechanisms that were launched at the Fifth BRICS Summit, i.e. the BRICS Business Council as well as the BRICS Think Tanks Council, and reports will be submitted to the BRICS Leaders on the work undertaken by these structures.
The South African Government has fully implemented the eThekwini Action Plan, adopted at the last BRICS Summit hosted in Durban, South Africa, and will present a hand-over report on sectoral cooperation during its tenure as BRICS Chair, highlighting progress made by South Africa during its tenure as Chair of BRICS in relation to the decisions contained in the eThekwini Declaration and Action Plan.
3.2. On Sunday 13 July 2014 the Department of Transport will be providing feedback to the Ekangala and Dr JS Moroko communities on the Moloto Road and Rail Development Initiative. The Moloto Rail Development Corridor will be an integrated public transport system which will have rail as a backbone and other modes of transport – buses and taxis in particular – providing feeder services.
The leadership of Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo as well as district and municipal mayors will join the Minister during the visit. PRASA, a public entity under the Department of Transport, will lead this project from now going forward.
3.3. Next week departments will be presenting their Budget Votes in Parliament. Ministers will be sharing their expenditure plans through the Parliamentary process and further engaging with the respective communities on their plans.
3.4. Cabinet conveys its best wishes to our athletes who will be participating at the Commonwealth Games, taking place from 23 July to 3 August 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, and calls on all South Africans to support them.
Cabinet approved the following appointments:
4.1. Cabinet noted the appointment of members to the Council of the National Advisory Council of Innovation for a four year term:
a) Adv Louisa Zondo
b) Mr Garth Strachan (dti representative)
c) Prof Jennifer Thomson
d) Ms Clare Busetti
e) Ms Zanele Monnakgotla
f) Dr Azar Jammine
g) Prof Cheryl de la Rey (Chairperson)
h) Dr Andile Ngcaba
i) Ms Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita
j) D Sibusiso Sibisi
k) Prof Olive Shisana
l) Mr Dhesigen Naidoo
m) Dr Albert Van Jaarsveld
n) Prof Glenda Gray
o) Prof Roseanne Diab
p) Dr Shadrack Moephuli
q) Mr Kevin Nassiep
r) Mr Sim Tshabalala
s) Dr Khotso Mokhele
t) Prof Anton Eberhard
Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System
10 July 2014