Statement on Cabinet Meeting of 21 October 2015
1. Implementation of Key Government Programmes
1.1. Cabinet supports the initiatives announced by Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. These initiatives will guide the economy through times of slower global economic growth and volatility.
South Africa has made progress in social and economic transformation and in addressing barriers to economic growth. Minister Nene presented the country’s expenditure framework for the next three years. The expenditure framework will ensure government remains on cause in implementing its programmes as spelt out in the National Development Plan. The key priorities remain at the centre of the medium-term expenditure plans.
Cabinet further supports the cost containment measures of government which will ensure the priorities of government are not compromised in any way.
Cabinet welcomes the outcomes of the working visit by President Jacob Zuma to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 16 to 17 October 2015. Over the next decade the Bi-National Commission will intensify the implementation of joint economic projects, in particular the Grand Inga Hydropower Project. The project will result in additional source of energy to the county’s energy grid and to the Southern African Region.
1.2. Cabinet welcomes the successful conclusion of the working visit by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to Stockholm, Sweden from 18 to 20 October 2015, where he co-chaired the 9th session of the South Africa-Sweden Bi-National Commission, which saw the launch of the environment, energy and water sub-committee.
2. Key Cabinet decisions
2.1. Cabinet has approved the endorsement of the G20 countries’ High Level Principles on Beneficial Ownership Transparency. The Principles sets out measures which each member country will have to take to prevent the misuse of legal persons and legal arrangements on ownership.
Cabinet further approved the setting up of the inter-departmental Committee that will oversee the implementation and reporting of the Country’s Action Plan. The Committee will be convened by the Department of Public Service and Administration.
High level principles will improve the transparency of legal persons and arrangements is important to protect the integrity and transparency of the global financial system.
Preventing the misuse of these entities for illicit purposes such as corruption, tax evasion and money laundering supports the G20 objectives of increasing growth through private sector investment.
2.2. Cabinet approved South Africa’s taking up of the Chairpersonship Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee in 2015-2016. Cabinet also endorsed South Africa’s draft 3rd OGP National Action Plan.
The OGP is a global initiative comprised of a coalition of leading governments and civil society organizations working to advance transparency and accountability in government – with the goals of increasing the responsiveness of government to citizens, countering corruption, promoting economic efficiencies, harnessing innovation, and improving the delivery of services. Since the inception of the OGP, South Africa has been an active member of the Steering Committee, which is the highest decision-making body.
2.3. Cabinet approved that the International Convention on the Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 be submitted to Parliament for ratification.
The Bunkers Oil Convention ensures all the participants benefit on the reparation on damages that occur as a result of accident on its shores. This convention will only be applicable to ship oil accidents that are not covered by other international conventions.
South Africa will not be liable for economic loss or cleaning-up costs arising from a release of bunker oil in its internal, territorial and exclusive economic zone waters but liability will be on the ship–owner or the insurer.
The Convention also ensures that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers.
2.4. Cabinet approved the South African Mint Company’s coin designs for the 2015 and 2016 numismatic commemorative and circulation coins. The themes reflect South Africa’s heritage (both past and present), its fauna and flora and its social achievements and they also fall-in with worldwide numismatic trends.
a) The 2015 Commemorative Coin Series – 200 Year Anniversary of the Coinage of Griqua Town
b) The 2015 Celebrating South Africa Coin – The Secretary Bird
c) The 2016 Protea Series – Life of a Legend: NR Mandela
d) The 2016 Natura Series – Nocturnal Hunters (The Spotted Hyena)
e) The 2016 South African Reptiles Series (The Cape Dwarf Chameleon)
f) The 2016 Biosphere Reserve Series (Cape West Coast Biosphere)
g) The 2016 Silver Series – South Africa’s Marine Protected Areas.
3.1. Cabinet approved the New Development Bank Special Appropriation Bill for introduction in Parliament. This will enable South Africa to pay its, first capital instalment of R2 billion to the BRICS led New Development Bank in the 2015/2016 financial year.
The New Development Bank is a multilateral development bank operated by the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to foster greater financial and development cooperation among the five emerging markets.
3.2. Cabinet approved publication of the National Health Laboratory Service Amendment Bill, 2015 in the Government Gazette, for public comments. The amendments strengthen the governance and funding mechanism of the National Health Laboratory Service so as to enhance access to health care.
The Bill further ensures that the National Health Laboratory’s core mandate is to provide diagnostic health laboratory services to the public.
3.3. Cabinet approved submission of the Finance Bill, 2015 to Parliament.
The Bill provides for the authorization of national government unauthorized expenditure as a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund. It follows section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 and gives effect to the recommendations of the National Assembly’s Committee on Public Accounts. The Bill ensures sound and sustainable management of the financial affairs of national government and that all expenditure is authorized in accordance with the prevailing legislative framework.
4. Upcoming events
4.1. President Jacob Zuma will attend the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit between 26 and 29 October 2015 in New Delhi, India. The 2015 Summit has been expanded to include all 54 African nations and will boost trade as well as address common challenges.
4.2. President Jacob Zuma hosted Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi at the Union Buildings in Tshwane yesterday. Both countries share strong economic ties demonstrated by the over 60 bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding covering various sectors.
4.3. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa’s working visit to Havana, Cuba from 22 to 26 October 2015, will further strengthen political and economic relations between the two countries.
4.4. The African Union is conducting the AMANI AFRICA (Peace in Africa) II Field Training Exercise at the South African Army Combat Training Centre at Lohatla in the Northern Cape from 19 October to 7 November 2015. Approximately 5 400 members from the military, police and civilian components representing five of the Regional Economic Communities of the AU will participate in the exercise.
The aim is to evaluate the state of readiness of the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability to undertake peacekeeping missions towards the achievement of Full Operational Capability by December 2015.
4.5. Cabinet wishes all students and particularly the Class of 2015 well with their 2015 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations, which begins on 26 October 2015 and continues until 27 November 2015. This year 801 688 candidates are registered to sit for the examination of which 674 232 are full-time and 127 456 are part-time. Another success in an increased number of learners who have completed their schooling years.
All parents and guardians are encouraged to support their children in their preparations.
4.6. The Department of Social Development will mark National Disability Rights Awareness Month from 3 November to 3 December 2015, which also marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This month provides a platform for government, civil society, business and labour to take stock of progress made in promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. Cabinet urges South Africans to continue breaking down the barriers, which prevent persons with disabilities from fully participating in society and the economy.
4.7. The State Information Technology Agency (SITA) will this year host the Tenth Government Technology Conference, which focuses on public sector ICT service delivery. GovTech 2015 takes place from 25 to 28 October 2015 under the theme: “Partnering for Service Delivery”, with a sub-theme of ‘Connecting Communities for Development and Growth’.
It will also see the launch the ICT Public Service Delivery Awards. It supports ‘South Africa Connect’, as announced by President Jacob Zuma in his 2014 State of the Nation Address, by providing a platform to find practical and progressive solutions to a developing nation using ICT tools.
4.8. Cabinet approved the hosting of a National Imbizo Focus Week from 30 November to 6 December 2015 under the theme: “Together We Move South Africa Forward”. This period of direct communication will demonstrate progress in delivering on initiatives of the Nine Point Plan to grow the South African economy.
It also provides a platform for public participation and meaningful dialogue to revive the economy. Members of the Executive are urged to dedicate time to contribute towards extending the reach of this campaign to areas across the country. Emphasis should be placed on amplifying partnerships and stories from beneficiaries. GCIS is responsible for the coordination of the campaign and will be disseminating a comprehensive toolkit, including key messages and a media plan.
5. Cabinet’s position on key issues in the environment
5.1. Persistently high temperatures over large parts of the country underscores responsible water use by all. Cabinet encourages all South Africans to use water sparingly and conserve this precious resource.
Residents in KwaZulu-Natal are urged to adhere to water restrictions as the province experiences the worst drought in years. South Africans must save water by not using a hosepipe to wash cars, watering gardens in the evening, monitoring water meters for high consumption and fixing water leaks.
5.2. Cabinet conveys its condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives when scaffolding on the Great Walk Bridge on Grayston Drive in Sandton collapsed.
Cabinet also wishes those injured a speedy recovery. Cabinet commends all emergency services, the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government for their quick response as well as transporters in Gauteng who stepped in to assist commuters.
Cabinet extends its gratitude to commuters for their patience during the clean-up operations. Cabinet urges for the investigation that is underway to be thorough and swift so as to get to the root cause of the incident and prevent a recurrence. Cabinet requests patience while the investigation is underway.
5.3. Cabinet welcomes the 2015/16 results of the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Index, which saw South Africa rise seven places from 56 to 49 of 140 countries.
South Africa’s biggest improvements are in the areas of: health and primary education (up 6 places), labour market efficiency (up 6 places), technological readiness (up 16 places), and innovation (up 5 places).
This demonstrates that working together we are doing more. Cabinet calls on business and civil society to continue partnering with government to take our economy onto a higher trajectory
5.4. Cabinet congratulates the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this month. The IDC is a national resource and over the past 21 years of democracy, it has contributed very significantly to increased investment, pursuing industrialization opportunities and transformation of the economy.
Since 1994, the IDC has invested R150 billion in South Africa and the rest of Africa. Of this R60 billion as invested in companies in which black South Africans hold at least 25% equity.
R20 billion was invested over this period in the rest of Africa, helping to strengthen African growth and development and also contributing to creating opportunities for the South African economy.
In the past five years, it has also attracted an additional R103 billion from private sector investor partners, bringing its investment impact to R163 billion.
In a period that the economy faces new challenges and headwinds, the IDC will be expected to strengthen further its contribution to the economy and to deepen its impact on transformation, focused on promoting black industrialists and youth empowerment
5.5. Cabinet congratulates the Springboks for qualifying from the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup in England and urges South Africans to support our national rugby team as they strive to bring the World Cup home for the third time.
Cabinet wishes the Amajimbos well as they compete in the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Chile from 17 October to 8 November 2015.
Cabinet congratulates Orlando Pirates for reaching the finals of the 2015 Orange CAF Confederation Cup and Banyana Banyana for qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games.
5.6 Cabinet also extends its condolences to the family and friends of former 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) and African Nations Championship (Chan) Local Organising Committee CEO and SABC Executive‚ Mvuzo Mbebe who passed away on Monday night.
5.7 Cabinet is deeply saddened by the passing of Mlungisi Sisulu, the second son of Walter and Albertina Sisulu, and conveys its condolences to his family and friends.
Mr Sisulu played an active role in ANC underground structures in the 1980s, harbouring Umkhonto weSizwe units in his small shop in Soweto‚ known as Shop 7‚ at great risk to himself.
Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma in conveying condolences to the family and friends of one of South Africa’s finest actors, Sammy Moeti who passed away on Monday, 13 October 2015, after a long illness.
5.8 Cabinet discussed extensively the recent student protests against university fee increases for 2016 academic year. Cabinet sympathizes with the concerns of the students who find the cost for higher education too expensive and inaccessible to the students coming from poor families.
Education is one of the core elements to reduce the current challenges of poverty, inequalities and unemployment the country is facing. Our Constitution provides that everyone has the right to basic education and further education, which the State through reasonable measures must make available and accessible.
The current government has since 1994, made access to education a priority focus area. The National Student Fund Aid Scheme (NSFAS) which has contributed to the needy students has increased over the years from R300m to R9, 5bn. In this academic year, government is supporting 45 000 poor and academically deserving students.
Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Higher Education and training on the current interaction he is having with all the relevant stakeholders to find a solution to the fees increases. Cabinet was also appraised on the work that is been done towards improving the management of NSFAS. The recommendations are to be tabled to Cabinet in its next cycle.
Cabinet further noted the recently established Presidential Task Team which has been mandated to look into the escalating university fees. This team comprises of representatives of students, University Councils and the Department. The team is expected to finalize its work and report as soon as it has concluded its task.
Cabinet believes that the efforts led by both the President and Minister of Higher Education have and will go a long way in addressing the concerns of students.
The seriousness with which the government looks at the grievance of the students, has led the President to call the leaderships of the students and university today so as to get to the depth of the issues with a view to finding a solution.
The President will brief the nation later as this matter is of national importance.
5.9. Cabinet was briefed on the progress on the Inter- ministerial committee on Immigration Regulations which was led by the Deputy President.
The President had set up this IMC so as to investigate the unintended consequences that were raised by the stakeholders in the tourism sector.
Having investigated and explored areas that can be adjusted to deal with both the security consideration and the unintended consequences the IMC made the following recommendations.
Application in person:
Concessions that will take effect within the next 3months.
- Countries where no South African missions exist, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will accept applications sent by post.
Thereafter, the biometrics and photos of those travelers will be captured on arrival at ports of entry. This concession will only be applicable to visitors/medical Visa.
- The DHA will implement the biometrics (including fingerprints and photos) at ports of entry starting. The pilot sites will be at OR Tambo Airport; King Shaka Airport and Cape Town International Airport.
- DHA will introduce an Accredited Tourism Company (ATC) Programme for China, India and Russia with possible extension to other visa requiring countries.
- DHA will continue to issue a long-term Multiple Entry Visa to frequent travelers. This will be valid for a period exceeding 3 months but not exceeding 3 years.
Concessions that will be effective within 3 months to 1 year.
- DHA will increase Visa Facilitation Centres (VHC) in China, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. The DHA will fast-track the opening of VFC in Zimbabwe, UAE and Botswana.
Concessions that will be effected beyond one year.
- The DHA will install systems for pre-flight checks (including operation-centres) at international airports.
- The DHA will upgrade Advance Passenger Processing (APP) systems and implement a Passenger Name Record (PNR) to enhance risk assessment.
- The DHA will finalise the automation of the visa and permitting system.
Child-travel requirements: South African children:
In respect of South African children (outbound travel) the IMC accepted the implementation of the current child-travel requirements, including the parental consent affidavits as these seek to protect children.
Concessions to be effective within the next 3 months.
- School principals will issue letters confirming the permission for children to travel on school tours. This authority will also be extended to include registered sports bodies.
- The validity of the Parental Consent Affidavit will be extended to a period no longer than 6 months.
Concessions to be effective within the next 3 months to a year.
- The term “Unabridged Birth Certificate” will be changed to “Birth Certificate containing parental details”
- Details of parents will be printed in passports, so that parents whose particulars are printed would therefore not be required to carry birth certificates.
Child-travel requirements: foreign children.
In respect of inbound travelers, the IMC took the position that where visas are required, provision of original birth certificates or certified copies of required documents should continue during the visa application process as this is in line with practice in many other countries.
In respect of children from visa-exempt countries, the IMC recommended a dispensation in terms of which:
- Travelers will be strongly advised to bring along proof of the relation and consent from the absent parent/s or guardian/s
All the other administrative issues affecting the relevant departments will be resolved through inter-departmental engagements.
Cabinet endorsed these recommendations and believes these will address the unintended consequences that were raised and also the safety of the children will not in any way be compromised.
Cabinet further endorsed that the DHA should facilitate the legal instrument to implement the recommendations. It further mandated all the relevant departments to engage with their relevant stakeholders to present these approved recommendations.
Cabinet extended the life of the IMC in order to be able to deal with any issues that may arise whilst implementing the Cabinet decision.
Ms Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
23 October 2015