Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 16 March 2016
1. Key Cabinet decisions
1.1. Cabinet assessed the Third Quarter Outcomes Progress Reports for the period October to December 2015. The reports show significant progress in the implementation of government programmes that have a direct impact on improving the lives of South Africans.
The Outcomes Progress Reports provide evidence that government has made progress in achieving the targets set out in the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014-2019. They also take us closer to realising Vision 2030, as articulated in the National Development Plan, which aims to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Cabinet noted the reasonable progress that was made to achieve the key targets and outputs. Cabinet has noted that while significant progress was made in respect of most of the indicators, there are still areas that require coordinated interventions by government.
2. Implementation of key government programmes
2.1. Cabinet has expressed its gratitude to all South Africans who responded to the call by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for people to register, check their registration status and update their details on the voters’ roll on the weekend of 5 and 6 March 2016. About three million people visited polling stations countrywide and 544 552 of the new registrations (78.6%) were under the age of 30, which demonstrates the willingness by South Africans to participate in building our democracy.
Cabinet calls on South Africans to exercise their democratic right by registering and urges those who have registered previously to verify their voter registration details as a number of factors have led to changes in the voters’ roll.
2.2. The final registration weekend will take place on 9 and 10 April 2016 when all voting stations will again be open from 8:00 to 17:00. This will be the last opportunity for voters to register and update their registration details at their voting stations. However, registration is ongoing at local IEC offices during office hours from Monday to Friday, until the voters’ roll for the 2016 Municipal Elections closes on the day the elections are promulgated.
Cabinet condemns the violence in some areas that marred the recent registration weekend and reiterates that no person may prevent any South African from exercising their democratic right to register to vote. Cabinet further calls on all those responsible to desist from such criminal activities and for those affected to report them to law-enforcement agencies. Cabinet calls on all law-enforcement agencies to take strong action against law-breakers.
2.3. President Jacob Zuma will visit Port Elizabeth on 8 April 2016 to inspect progress made in developing marine transport infrastructure as part of the country’s Oceans Economy initiative. The Oceans Economy is one of the three streams of Operation Phakisa and takes the country closer to unlocking the potential of South Africa’s oceans, which has the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the gross domestic product and create over one million new jobs.
2.4. Cabinet welcomes the successful conclusion of the State Visit by President Zuma to the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 8 to 9 March 2016, which enhanced existing bilateral political, economic and social ties. One of the milestones of the visit was the elevation of the Binational Commission to a Head of State level, which prioritises economic development between the two countries.
Cabinet welcomes the opening of Nigeria’s economy to South African companies in various sectors such as engineering, telecommunications, construction, aviation, media, hospitality, banking, entertainment, property, retail, and oil and gas exploration services. Cabinet looks forward to the increase in the number of Nigerian investments in South Africa that will promote two-way trade between the two nations.
The outcomes from this engagement between two of the largest economies on the continent will integrate regional economies, thereby increasing the common market and elevating existing initiatives of economic growth and employment in Africa. This demonstrates that South Africa remains a competitive investment destination despite a troubled global economy, and will result in job opportunities and skills development for South Africans.
2.5. Cabinet noted that South Africa will be participating at the 60th Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) taking place in New York, USA from 14 to 24 March 2016 under the theme: “Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development”. The session is taking place in an important year for South Africa as it marks three important milestones, namely the 20th Anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, 40th Anniversary of the Soweto Youth Uprising and the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 women’s march.
South Africa has presented a report to the UN CSW60 and this gives us an opportunity to benchmark the progress we have made since the dawn of democracy. It is important to note that since the democratic dispensation South Africa, among other things, participated in the 4th World Conference of Women in 1995, and signed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in the same year.
In line with resolution E/RES/2013/18 of the UN Economic and Social Council, South Africa is committed to continue implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is a blueprint for women’s empowerment and advancement.
3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Amendment Bill of 2016 to Parliament. Amendments are being made to the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, 1998 (Act 117 of 1998), which was enacted prior to the first democratic local government elections which took place on 5 December 2000.
The amendments will improve the administration of local government elections and among other changes, seek to:
a) amend criteria for Category A municipalities;
b) remove all references to district management areas;
c) clarify the date of assumption of office by a councilor;
d) determine the President must set and call the date for the municipal elections;
e) allow for extension in the declaration of results of an election;
f) require a municipal manager to inform the IEC of ward vacancies;
g) determine that a Member of the Executive Council calls and sets the date for by-elections;
h) clarify the quorum requirements for a council meeting;
i) clarify the circumstances for the casting vote of a councilor presiding during a council meeting;
j) increase variance of the number of voters in each ward during a council meeting; and
k) increase variance of the number of voters in each ward during a demarcation to clarify the allocation of excessive seats in local municipalities.
4. Upcoming events
4.1. President Zuma – as co-chair with French President François Hollande of the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth – will attend its formal launch in Lyon, France on Wednesday, 23 March 2016. The commission focuses on the need for health professionals in middle and low-income countries. This UN initiative is expected to increase health security worldwide and promote inclusive economic growth, which contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
4.2. President Zuma will undertake a State Visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 27 to 28 March 2016, which will strengthen existing relations between the two countries.
4.3. The President will attend the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, USA from 31 March to 1 April 2016. The summit will discuss the evolving threat of nuclear terrorism and highlight steps that can be taken by the international community to minimise the use of highly enriched uranium, secure vulnerable materials, counter nuclear smuggling and deter, detect and disrupt attempts at nuclear terrorism.
4.4. President Zuma will lead Human Rights Day celebrations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, 21 March 2016 under the theme: “South Africa united against racism.” As announced in the 2016 State of the Nation Address, this year’s Human Rights Day will lay the foundation for a long-term programme of building a non-racial society. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to unite against and denounce racism – be it in our homes, communities, social gatherings, workplaces or on social media. We must all work together to achieve a united, non-racial and non-sexist democracy.
4.5. Members of the Executive will interact with South Africans across the country during the National Imbizo Focus Week between 4 and 10 April 2016, under the theme: “Together we move South Africa forward: Grow South Africa.” The week coincides with the Parliamentary Constituency Week and the commemoration of Freedom Month.
Cabinet encourages South Africans to actively participate in these events and to engage with political principals. The Imbizo Focus Week will highlight the implementation of the Nine-Point Plan that aims to boost economic growth and create much-needed jobs. It will also profile local government successes, including achievements yielded through the local government revitalisation plan – the Back-to-Basics approach.
The week will also coincide with the final registration weekend ahead of the 2016 Municipal Elections, further providing an opportunity for principals to galvanise and mobilise South Africans through voter education outreaches to register and verify their voting details.
4.6. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will open the 2nd Human Resource Development Council Summit taking place at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on 29 and 30 March 2016 under the theme: “Partnership for skills – A Call to Action”. The summit brings together stakeholders from across the higher education sector to assist in its development and forge partnerships that create stronger industry-ready higher education institutions.
4.7. National Water Week 2016 will take place from 14 to 22 March under the theme: “Water for people, water by people”. The week will profile water as a human right by raising awareness of the plight of people who do not have access to clean drinkable water.
The Department of Water and Sanitation is still in the process of eradicating the bucket system and has thus far eradicated 78.8% of the bucket system in formal settlements in South Africa. Seven provinces have performed excellently with an average 90% eradication. Those that have achieved total eradication in formal settlements are KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Mpumalanga and Gauteng. The Western Cape has reached 99.8% clearance. From a target of 26 120 for the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, North West and Free State, some 11 650 systems have been completed to date.
While the recent rainfall brought some relief, the impact of the drought continues to be felt in some parts of the country. South Africans must continue to use water sparingly and implement water-saving initiatives. Government has since provided R1 billion to deal with the drought crisis.
Cabinet welcomes the progress being made by the five-year War on Leaks programme under the theme: “Every drop counts”. The programme aims to recruit, train and deploy 15 000 young people with the minimum qualification of Grade 12 or N3 as plumbers, artisans and water agents.
5. Cabinet’s position on key issues in the environment
5.1. Cabinet appeals to protesters to act with the utmost restraint and express their grievances within the confines of the law and the Constitution. Vandalism and damage of property goes beyond the limits of the right to protest and is the work of misguided criminal elements. Law-enforcement agencies will uphold the law by apprehending and charging those who destroy property at universities, other institutions of higher learning, in communities and during protest action.
5.2. The Minister of Finance briefed Cabinet on the recent roadshows that he undertook to the US and United Kingdom with various stakeholders, including business leaders. Cabinet is committed to ensuring that the country works together to ensure that we are not downgraded.
The visit offers government the opportunity to share a number of initiatives implemented to deal with challenges. These include collaborative actions to accelerate inclusive growth, measures to fast-track fiscal consolidation, speed up implementation of our R870 billion Infrastructure Investment Programme and progress made in resolving the energy constraints, including through renewable energy.
Cabinet calls on all sectors to communicate all the positive programmes and interventions undertaken to safeguard our economy. It is important for all sectors to ensure that the country’s economy is resilient. In this regard, Cabinet has also instructed the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment to fast track all key economic-related decisions. Cabinet reiterates that the resilience of the South African economy is built on sound economic fundamentals and practical policies.
5.3. Cabinet noted a court case brought by the Chamber of Mines for the Mining Charter to be declared unconstitutional and void. Cabinet reiterates that the principles of the Mining Charter are aimed at transforming the mining industry to redress historical imbalances engendered by apartheid so that the industry is consistent with the changes in South Africa’s overall transformation of its social, political and economic landscape. Community upliftment is also a key focus area to ensure that mining development does not exclude relevant communities.
5.4. Cabinet calls on all road users, especially those travelling over the upcoming holiday period, to play their part by taking responsibility for their own safety and that of other road users. Ending the road carnage remains a national priority. Drivers must be alert, obey the rules of the road, not drink and drive, keep to the speed limit and ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy.
5.5. Cabinet congratulates all the winners of the National Disability Rights Awards held on 11 March 2016. These awards recognised persons with disabilities and disability rights activists who have excelled during 2015.
5.6. Cabinet salutes all the winners of the 3rd South African Police Service (SAPS) Annual National Excellence Awards, which pay tribute to excellence by SAPS members, reservists and members of community police forums.
5.7. Cabinet applauds co-writers Mandla Dube and Leon Otto of Pambili Media for the film Kalushi: The Story of Solomon Mahlangu. South Africans are encouraged to watch this political thriller about the transformation of a 19-year-old young man from Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, into a Struggle icon. Cabinet reiterated that government will, through the departments of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture, continue to support the growth of the arts industry in celebrating and telling the South African story.
5.8. Cabinet congratulates social justice activist Father Michael Lapsley for receiving the international 2016 Public Peace Prize in the category ‘Global Peace and Reconciliation – Internationally-Reputed Peacemaker’.
5.9. Cabinet applauds Pieter du Preez for being nominated for the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award, following his outstanding performances in 2015.
5.10. Cabinet congratulates Wayde van Niekerk who made sprinting history by becoming the first man in history to run all three races: the 100m in under 10 seconds‚ the 200m in under 20 seconds and the 400m in under 44 seconds‚ as confirmed by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
6.1. No appointments announced in this Cabinet meeting.
Ms Phumla Williams (Acting Cabinet Spokesperson)
Cell: 083 501 0139
17 March 2016