Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 17 February 2016
1. Implementation of key government programmes
1.1. Cabinet welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address delivered on Thursday, 11 February. The speech set the strategic path for the implementation of government’s Programme of Action. The President has called on government, labour and business to work together to find solutions for a sustainable economic growth. Cabinet supports the cost-cutting measures announced by the President, which will be elaborated by the Minister of Finance on 24 February.
The 2016/17 Budget Speech will further map out the allocation of resources to the various government programmes as emphasised by the President.
1.2. Cabinet welcomed the successful Mining Indaba, which was held in Cape Town from 8 to 11 February. Leading representatives from the mining sector and several governments from Africa shared their insights into how the sector can drive investments and capitalise on the opportunities available in Africa. Cabinet appreciated the commitment made by the Japanese government to increase its investment in South Africa.
Cabinet reaffirmed its commitment to a stable and flourishing mining sector. The Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry supports the mining industry in this current difficult environment. Government continues to provide a regulatory certainty and will ensure the finalisation of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill, which is before Parliament.
2. Key Cabinet decisions
2.1. Cabinet approved the final National Gambling Policy, which addresses challenges hampering the effectiveness of the National Gambling Act, 2004 (Act 7 of 2004). This policy has already gone through a public consultation process. The policy proposes amendments to the regulatory structural framework of the gambling boards and strengthens the control mechanisms to minimize the abuse of gambling. It is applicable to casinos, bingo, limited payout machines and betting on horseracing. The policy will replace the National Gambling Board with a National Gambling Regulator that will directly report to the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).
2.2. Cabinet approved the submission of the Report on the Review of the Minimum Age of Criminal Capacity to Parliament, which is required in terms of the Child Justice Act, 2008 (Act 75 of 2008). The report recommends that the country adopts the international and regional obligations regarding the minimum age of criminal capacity of children who are in conflict with the law.
2.3. Cabinet approved the gazetting of Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZ). These will streamline the regulatory process, identify geographical areas where wind and solar Photovoltaic technologies can be incentivised and where ‘deep’ grid expansion can be directed.
These REDZ will ensure a transition to a low carbon economy, accelerate infrastructure development, and contribute to a more coherent and predictable regulatory framework that reduces bureaucracy related to the cost of compliance.
2.4. Cabinet was briefed on the findings of the 2014 South African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators Report of the National Advisory Council on Innovation. The report provides the trends in the performance of the National System of Innovation (NSI). It assesses the performance and contribution of the NSI to key national priorities articulated in the National Development Plan (NDP).
2.5. Cabinet approved the use of retired and in-serving public servants as lecturers in the National School of Government (NSG).
The NSG was launched in 2013, replacing the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA), and is mandated to promote the progressive realisation of the values and principles governing public administration and enhance the quality, extend and impact of the development of human resource capacity in institutions.
This initiative will be piloted with the implementation of the Compulsory Induction Programme for public servants.
This approach enables public servants to add value to the public service. They will impart their experience, expertise, skills and knowledge to mentor and coach the public servants. This initiative will further improve in an efficient and cost effective manner the quality of the services we give to the public.
2.6. Cabinet approved South Africa’s Final Phase 3 Country Report on the Implementation of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (Anti-Bribery Convention). The report is to be submitted to the OECD Working Group on Bribery.
The report outlines the progress made by government in its interventions to curb foreign bribery by detecting, investigating and prosecuting it. The report further highlights the initiative undertaken to raise awareness of this crime.
2.7. Cabinet approved that Department of Home Affairs (DHA) be reclassified under the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster.
The mandate of the DHA is to maintain a secure, accurate register of the identity and status of all within the borders of our country, which is a critical enabler of all other functions of the state. It is also mandated to manage the immigration system, which impacts directly on national security, social cohesion and achievement of development goals.
Previously DHA was classified as a general administration support services under the Governance and Administration Cluster.
3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Protection, Promotion, Development and Management of Indigenous Knowledge Bill to Parliament.
This Bill seeks to protect and promote the development and management of Indigenous Knowledge systems.
It provides for the establishment and functions of the National Indigenous Knowledge systems office, management of the rights of indigenous knowledge holders, establishment and functions of the advisory panel on indigenous knowledge systems.
It also allows access and conditions of access to the knowledge of indigenous and local communities, establishment of a national recordal system of indigenous knowledge systems, registration, accreditation and certification of indigenous practitioners, facilitation and co-ordination of indigenous knowledge based innovation. The Bill will complement the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Act, 2013 (Act 28 of 2013).
Cabinet approved the publication of the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill of 2015 for public comments. The Bill amends the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act 47 of 1937). The Bill aims to amend the Deeds Registries Act, 1937 (Act 47 of 1937) in order to migrate from paper to electronic methods deeds office. It address security issues by providing of registration of conveyances as authorised users of the electronic deeds registration system.
3.2. Cabinet approved the submission of the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill of 2015 to Parliament. The Bill aligns South Africa’s legislation with relevant obligations and standards to facilitate safe and fair international trade to secure the country’s domestic and international trade in plants and plant products. Once the Bill is passed, South Africa will be able to prevent the introduction of foreign quarantine pests and diseases that may spread harmful pests and diseases of plants in the country.
3.3. Cabinet approved the submission of the Courts of Law Amendment Bill of 2015 to Parliament.
The Bill amends the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944 (Act 32 of 1944) and the Superior Courts Amendment Act, 2013 (Act 10 of 2013).
The amendments seek to alleviate the plight of debtors who find themselves on the receiving end of abuses in the debt-collecting system in the magistrates’ courts and to accommodate the dti’s project to remove adverse consumer credit information. The Bill seeks to amend sections of the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1994 (Act 32 of 1994), to address abuses in the Emoluments Amendments Order (EAO).
The Bill seeks to address and bring to an end judgments that are granted irregularly, mostly by clerks of courts without any judicial oversight, many times due to inexperience or collusion with the creditors, their attorneys or debt collectors. The Bill would ensure debtors are granted judgement that comply with an instalment order or EAO that is within the legal set out instalment threshold.
4. Upcoming events
4.1. The first voter registration weekend for the 2016 Local Government Elections will take place from 5 to 6 March 2016. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to take advantage of and honour this hard-won democracy by going out to exercise their democratic right to register and vote in the forthcoming elections.
4.2. President Zuma will undertake a State Visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 28 to 29 February 2016.
The visit will strengthen our ongoing political and economic engagements with Iran and boost South-South relations.
As the Commander-in-Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), President Zuma will officiate at the fifth segment of the Armed Forces Day celebrations in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, on 21 February 2016. This annual celebration demonstrates the support and gratitude to the men and women of the SANDF.
4.3. President Zuma will address the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Parliament, Cape Town on 26 February 2016. The relationship between government and traditional leaders is critical as they work towards improving the lives of people.
4.4. On Saturday, 20 February 2016, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a delegation of Ministers to the Presidential Youth Development Expo at the Grace Bible Church in Pimville, Soweto. The expo is supported by the departments of Home Affairs, Labour, Social Development and Defence.
Cabinet calls on young people in the area to attend the expo, which will provide information on how they can further their studies, start their own business or benefit from government’s support initiatives.
4.5. Cabinet approved the hosting of the Africa Regional Seminar on the Protection of Persons based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, by the South African Human Rights Commission, from 3 to 5 March 2016.
The seminar will facilitate a dialogue to establish greater understanding of the root causes and manifestation of these challenges so as to find practical solutions and options available to States to address these violations.
4.6. Cabinet wishes all learners who are writing their Supplementary Senior Certificate examination the best. Learners are encouraged to access the newly launched second chance matric support Programme which is available in all provinces and assists learners with their studies through various resources. The objective of the Second Chance Matric Programme is to offer young people who have failed to meet the requirements of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) a second chance to obtain a matric thereby improving quality of life.
Supplementary examinations form part of the department’s Second Chance Matric Support Programme and afford candidates that have not met the minimum promotion and certification requirements‚ but who require a maximum of two subjects to obtain a NSC an opportunity to do so.
Cabinet welcomes the announcement by the President of the names of the members of the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education. It calls upon all the interested stakeholders in Higher education to contribute to the commission’s work in order to find a lasting solution to the challenges faced by the Higher Education.
5. Cabinet’s position on key issues in the environment
5.1. The Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane, Minister of Women in The Presidency Susan Shabangu and Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini – who were appointed by President Zuma to provide support to the provincial government, mine owners and affected families following on the tragedy at the Lily Gold Mine in Barberton – briefed Cabinet on the latest developments. Cabinet joined the President in calling on the nation to keep the three mineworkers still trapped underground and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
5.2. Cabinet remains concerned on the drought still affecting some parts of the country. It has expressed its gratitude to all South Africans who are supporting drought relief efforts.
Cabinet extends its appreciation to those who have heeded the call to report any leaks in support of the War on Leaks Campaign led by Minister of Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane. Cabinet appreciates the spirit of Ubuntu shown by the initiative led by Operation Hydrate that has made a difference to communities in distress.
5.3. The Cabinet debated and considered the full implications of the commencement of the Taxation Laws Amendment Act, 2014. In terms of that Act, the annuitisation of provident fund benefits will commence on 1 March 2016. That means that from that date provident fund benefits and pension fund benefits will be treated equally in that provident fund members will on retirement be permitted to take one third of their provident fund benefits in cash as a lump sum payment and the remaining two thirds of their benefits will have to be used by them to purchase annuities. The very same provision applies to members of pension funds currently.
The changes in the legislation affect high-end earners and all other persons who belong to provident funds.
A number of organisations and individuals have expressed concern about the implementation of the new changes and have made representations to the government about the implementation. It is apparent that despite the extensive consultation processes which were embarked upon before the law was passed that those concerns still exist and that those concerns have to be addressed urgently to ensure that when the law commences the changes to the provident fund benefits will be implemented smoothly and efficiently.
For that reason, Cabinet has decided to table a legislative amendment to the Taxation Laws Amendment Act as a matter of urgency to postpone the commencement date from 1 March 2016 to 1 March 2018 to allow for further consultations with all key stakeholders. Those consultations may result in further amendment to the laws. An Amendment Bill will be tabled in Parliament within the next few days.
6.1 Cabinet conveys condolences on the recent passing away of His Grace Bishop Glayton Modise of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Bishop Modise led the congregation with over three million members across southern Africa, following the death of his father and the founder of the church, His Grace Comforter Frederick Modise in 1996.
6.2. Cabinet also conveys its deepest sympathies on the recent passing away of the former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Chief Boutros Boutros-Ghali. He took office in 1992 at the time of growing influence for the UN following its decisive role in the Gulf war, serving one five year term. He died at a Cairo hospital on Tuesday aged 93. He will be remembered for his contribution to peace and democracy.
7.1. Cabinet congratulates Mr Kevin Govender from the Cape Town-based Office of Astronomy for Development and the International Astronomical Union who will be jointly awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for 2016 for establishing the Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town. Govender is the first South African to receive this prestigious award for science and technology achievements which contribute to the understanding and well-being of humanity.
Cabinet commends 16-year-old ballet dancer Leroy Mokgatle who won an Audience Favourite award and a scholarship at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition in Switzerland. He is the first South African to win this scholarship in 28 years and the second in the country’s history.
Cabinet joins President Zuma in applauding the winners of the 2nd Annual Ubuntu Awards. These awards recognise South African industry leaders and eminent persons for their contribution to promote our national interests and values across the globe.
Cabinet congratulates flautist Wouter Kellerman, cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and gospel singer Neville D for their 2016 Grammy nominations. These artists are an inspiration and hold the South African flag high.
All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
8.1. Lepelle Northern Water Board:
a) His Majesty Thovhele Tshivhase (Chairperson);
b) Mr Matsebe Ivor Phasha (Deputy Chairperson);
c) Ms Thandeka Thembekile Celiwe Hlongwa (member);
d) Mr Boxing Phillemon Sebola (member);
e) Mr Ntale Herold Matsepe (member);
f) Ms Mankone Mabataung Ntsaba (member);
g) Ms L Malamba (member);
h) Ms Josephine Mampheri Letsoalo (member); and
i) Ms Makgetsi Annabelle Mphahlele (member).
8.2. Advocate JB Skosana has been appointed Deputy Director-General (DDG): Court Services in the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DoJ&CD).
8.3. Ms GB La Foy has been appointed DDG: Constitutional Development in the DoJ&CD.
Ms Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
18 February 2016