Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 14 March 2018

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 14 March 2018, at Tuynhuys, Cape Town.

A. Issues in the environment

1. Economic growth

1.1. Cabinet welcomes the 1.3% growth in the economy in 2017. This is an increase from 0.3% in 2016. The performance of the economy under difficult conditions bodes well for the country’s future economic prospects.

1.2. The growth figures signal that the economy is on an upward trajectory, with National Treasury expecting the economy to expand by 1.5% this year and accelerate to 2.1% in 2020.

1.3. Cabinet calls on all sectors of society to build on the positive momentum of 2017, and work with government to translate its plans into concrete action to sustain economic growth and create jobs.

2. Land reform

2.1. Cabinet welcomes the adopted motion to amend the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996 so as to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.

2.2. Government has since 1994 worked hard to reverse the legacy of land dispossession under colonialism and apartheid. Working within the law, government has done much to ensure the continued productivity of the land, while speeding up the process of redress for those affected by land dispossessions.

2.3. The matter has been referred to the Constitutional Review Committee, which must report back to Parliament by 30 August 2018. The recommendations to the National Assembly will be informed by a series of public hearings followed by committee meetings.

2.4. Cabinet calls on all stakeholders to make their input during this process of engagement, which will guide the solutions to take our country forward. As a caring and people-centred government, all stakeholders will be engaged during this process.

2.5. Cabinet further urges communities to desist from illegal land invasions. We are a law-abiding and peace-loving country with adequate mechanisms of dealing with issues, including the land issue.

2.6. South Africa remains open for business, and investments in agriculture and farming are welcomed. It is in South Africa's interests to have commercial farmers and this process can ensure we have even greater numbers of successful commercial farmers.

3. Nofingxana community’s Double Drift Wildlife Economy Project

3.1. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the Nofingxana community’s Double Drift Wildlife Economy Project, at Double Drift Nature Reserve in the Eastern Cape by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa. This included the handing over of the title deed to the Likhaya Lethu Communal Property Association (CPA) on behalf of the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

3.2. The Double Drift community was dispossessed of the residential and grazing rights by the 1913 Land Act. In 1994, this community lodged a land claim that was settled in 2012, resulting in Likhaya Lethu CPA being established.

3.3. The Likhaya Lethu CPA consists of 1 500 Double Drift Community members and received R6 million from the Department of Environmental Affairs to develop a wildlife economic business venture in the farm Naudeshoek (1 400 hectares). The transaction was processed through the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

4. VBS Mutual Bank

4.1. Cabinet has noted the South African Reserve Bank announcement with regard to the VBS Mutual Bank. The appointed curatorship will support the VBS Mutual Bank to restore its liquidity challenges and serve the interests of the public and VBS depositors. Cabinet remains committed to the diversification and transformation of the financial sector without jeopardising the interest of the depositors.

5. Investment campaign

5.1. Cabinet welcomes the ‘CEOs Know’ campaign by Brand South Africa, in collaboration with Business Leadership South Africa, to promote South Africa as an investment destination.

5.2. This builds on our world-class infrastructure through InvestSA One-Stop Shop, research and development capabilities, innovation and an established manufacturing base to support investors. New growth areas have also been opened in the oceans economy, renewable energy, the green economy and shale-gas exploration.

5.3. The campaign features CEOs from multinational corporations based in South Africa sharing their insights on continued investment in South Africa.

5.4. Cabinet encourages all South Africans in the spirit of “Thuma Mina” (Send Me) sweeping across our nation to play their part by sharing their positive stories to build our country’s reputation and grow its investment appeal.

6. Independent Power Producers (IPPs) Procurement Programme

6.1. Cabinet has noted the High Court case filed by two non-governmental organisations regarding government’s decision to sign the power purchase agreements with 27 IPPs. The matter will be concluded by the High Court on 27 March 2018. In the spirit of constitutionalism and the rule of law, the signing has been postponed.

6.2. Cabinet affirms the commitment to resolve the matters around these programmes. The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme will ensure that consumers in our country have access to cost-efficient and clean energy, and will bring much-needed investment in South Africa. These projects will provide 61 600 full-time jobs, 95% of which are for South African citizens, specifically targeting the youth.

6.3. Cabinet reaffirms its commitment to a solid public-private partnership as we pursue our energy transition objectives of the future and a better life for all. This is needed to bring much-needed policy and regulatory certainty, and maintain South Africa’s position as an energy investment destination of choice.

7. Listeriosis

7.1. Cabinet extends its heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of those who lost their lives after contracting Listeriosis, and wishes those who are recuperating a speedy recovery. More than 180 people died and 940 cases were reported in South Africa.

7.2. Cabinet is encouraged by the intensive efforts by the Department of Health, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the World Health Organisation to stop the listeria bacteria from spreading. To further strengthen these efforts, the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, will meet with the South African Nursing Council on Thursday, 15 March 2018.

7.3. Cabinet acknowledges that the positive progress made in identifying and isolating the source of the deadly Listeriosis outbreak. The subsequent recall of food products from three Enterprise and Rainbow meat processing plants – where the bacteria was found – was a defining moment to stop the outbreak. The food-borne disease was first identified in June 2017.

7.4. Listeriosis is a serious and preventable illness that can be treated successfully with antibiotics. Those most at risk are pregnant women, very young infants, elderly persons and people with a weakened immune system. People who show symptoms of fever, muscle aches, nausea or diarrhoea should visit their medical practitioner or local clinic immediately.

7.5. Cabinet is optimistic that South Africa will defeat the current outbreak and urges all people to observe the five food safety rules during this time:

  • Wash hands with soap and water before handling food, and after using a bathroom;
  • Cook food thoroughly and do not eat half-cooked food as the Listeria bacteria will die when food is well cooked;
  • Do not handle raw and cooked food together;
  • Keep food at appropriate temperatures; and
  • Make sure that all milk products are pasteurised or at least parboiled and wash non-cooked food with clean running water before ingestion or at least with pre-boiled water.

7.6. Those with any uncertainty related to Listeriosis may contact the NICD on 011 386 6400.

8. Social grants

8.1. Cabinet was briefed on the state of readiness by the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) to provide the hybrid model in the distribution of social grants to beneficiaries on 1 April 2018. This is in line with the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) judgement that ordered the extension of the current contract with the Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) up until 31 March 2018.

8.2. The current SASSA cards remain valid until December 2018. The process of changing the beneficiary cards will be done in a seamless manner that will not disrupt the payment of grants. All beneficiaries who receive their grants through their respective paypoints which includes commercial banks, South African Post Office (SAPO) and other retailers.

The current SASSA cards remain valid until December 2018. The process of changing the beneficiary cards will be done in a seamless manner that will not disrupt the payment of grants. All beneficiaries who receive their grants through their respective paypoints which includes commercial banks, South Post Office and other retailers.

8.3. Cabinet calls on those who do not have bank accounts to visit their nearest SAPO branches to open their accounts. Cabinet has instructed the SASSA, together with the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), to do everything possible to inform all the beneficiaries of any possible changes that may take place in the process of transition from CPS to the new hybrid model. Cabinet remains committed to ensuring government adheres to the ConCourt judgement. SASSA offices will be open and ready to process the new applications.

8.4. Cabinet urges all members of the public, especially beneficiaries and their families, to contact SASSA on 0800 60 10 11 or visit their nearest SASSA office for more information.

9. Voter registration

9.1. Cabinet joins the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and President Cyril Ramaphosa in thanking all South Africans who heeded the call to register to vote or to update their address details in the past weekend’s voter registration drive. This is a milestone in preparation for the sixth national and provincial elections expected to take place in 2019.

9.2. A total of 2 767 139 citizens visited voting stations over the past weekend.

9.3. Of the 2.76 million plus voters who visited their voting stations:

  • Just over 1.3 million re-registered in their current voting district;
  • More than 800 000 changed their registration to a new voting district;
  • Almost 500 000 were voters registering for the first time;
  • Of the new votes registrations, 82% were under the age of 30 and approximately 54% were women;
  • Gauteng saw the most new registrations at 23.69%, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 18.78% and Limpopo with 17.03%.

9.4. The Eastern Cape had the highest level of registration at 87%, followed by the Free State at just over 82%, and KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Northern Cape at 79% respectively. Gauteng’s overall registration was at 67.3%.

9.5. The IEC reported that the voters’ roll now stands at 26 250 939 voters, which roughly equates to 75% of the eligible voting population, based on Statistics South Africa’s voting age population estimates.

9.6. About 300 000 citizens who visited voting stations are among the almost 2.8 million voters for whom the IEC did not have an address going into the weekend.

9.7. An up-to-date and accurate voters’ roll affirms the credibility of the voters’ roll and strengthens our democracy by ensuring free, fair and credible elections.

9.8. Cabinet calls on all South Africans who were not able to visit their local voting station over the past weekend to visit their local IEC office to verify and update their addresses. Alternatively, the IEC’s online facility at www.elections.org.za/MyIEC and the app remains available 24 hours a day for registered votes to check and update their address details.

10. Well wishes for triathlete Mhlengi Gwala

10.1. Cabinet joins the Minister of Sport and Recreation, Ms Thokozile Xasa, in denouncing the barbaric act of violence against a young triathlete, Mhlengi Gwala, who was attacked with a chainsaw while cycling in KwaZulu-Natal.

10.2. Cabinet wishes the athlete a speedy recovery and extends a warm thank you to the medical team of St Augustine Hospital who are caring for him.

Crime has no place in our society and Cabinet calls on communities to work together with law-enforcement agencies to bring the criminals to book.

11. Drought declared a national disaster

11.1. Under the leadership of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize, government has declared a national state of disaster to deal with the country’s drought and water crisis.

11.2. Cabinet extends its appreciation to those in South Africa who continue to save water and the relentless efforts made by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Drought, together with stakeholders in all spheres of government and society, in dealing with the persistent drought conditions that have hit several parts of the country.

11.3. Apart from the fact that South Africa is a water-scarce country, Cabinet is assured that we remain a preferred choice of destination for tourists.

B. Cabinet decisions

1. Cabinet approved that the Agreement Amending Annex 1 (Cooperation on Investment) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Finance and Investment (FIP) be tabled in Parliament for ratification.

1.1. The purpose of the FIP is to harmonise financial and investment policies of Member States, so that they are consistent with the objectives of the SADC. This will ensure that any changes to financial and investment policies in one Member State does not necessitate undesirable adjustments in other Member States.

1.2. The amendments aim to preserve the right of governments to regulate in the public interest, and to balance the rights and obligations of investors and governments.

2. Cabinet approved the tabling of the Revised and Renamed United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (“Nelson Mandela Rules”), in Parliament.

2.1. The renaming of the Standard Minimum Rules to “Nelson Mandela Rules” honours the legacy of our former President, who spent 27 years in prison.

2.2. There has also been a worldwide extension of the Nelson Mandela International Day scope, observed by UN Member States on 18 July, to promote humane conditions of imprisonment, raise awareness about prisoners being a part of society and value the work of prison staff as a social service.

2.3. The rules will assist South Africa to speed up the transformation towards a people’s developmental correctional system that is consistent with various international principles and guidelines.

C. Bills

1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill of 2018 into Parliament.

The Bill aims to create the offences of hate crimes and hate speech, and to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences. It intends to address violence against persons on the basis of prejudice. It will also give effect to South Africa’s obligations in terms of international human rights instruments.

2. Cabinet approved for the iKamva National e-Skills Institute (iNeSI) Bill of 2018 to be submitted to Parliament. The Bill provides for the establishment of iNeSI as a legal entity with its own legislation to address e-skills (digital skills) capacity challenges in the country. Capacity development of e-skills is seen as one of the priority areas of government in building an inclusive economy, and to establish a capable and developmental state.

The iNeSI will act as a national catalytic collaborator and change agent, for the development of digital skills and organisational capacity in the country.

3. Cabinet approved for the introduction of the Hydrographic Bill of 2018 into Parliament. The Bill seeks to recognise and grant legislative status to the Office of the Hydrographer, which has been in existence in the Department of Defence (South African Navy) since the inception of hydrographic services in South Africa.

It will enable the Hydrographer of the South African Navy to be recognised as the National Hydrographer. It will ensure that the provision of hydrographic services is formalised and enacted into law. This is in line with the International Maritime Organisation and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which is an international maritime treaty that sets minimum safety standards in the construction, equipment and operation of merchant ships.

D. Upcoming events

1. Human Rights Month/Day

The 2018 National Human Rights Month/Day commemorations will be held under the theme: “The year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: promoting and deepening a human rights culture across society”.

The national event will take place on 21 March 2018 at George Thabe Cricket Pitch, Sharpeville in Vereeniging. Cabinet urges all sectors to pay homage to this national day, which celebrates South Africa’s human rights tradition and honours people such as Madiba who paid the ultimate price and sacrificed for the achievement of liberation and freedom that we enjoy today.

2. National Imbizo Focus Week

The National Imbizo Focus Week will take place from 9 to 15 April 2018 under the theme: “Together we move South Africa forward”. This year, the Mandela Centenary celebration forms a big part of the focus week, under the sub-theme: “Be the legacy”. The Executive will be engaging with communities in various parts of the country. The respective programmes of Ministers will be communicated in due course.

3. Youth employment

3.1. President Ramaphosa is expected to launch the pilot of the Youth Employment Services initiative at the Riversands Incubation Hub in Diepsloot on 27 March 2018. The initiative, in collaboration with the private sector, aims to empower one million young people over the next five years to become economically active, either as a member of the workforce or running their own businesses or finding their passion for further study.

4. Working visits to Mozambique and Zimbabwe

President Ramaphosa will undertake working visits to the Republic of Mozambique and Republic of Zimbabwe respectively on Saturday, 17 March 2018. The visits will mainly focus on strengthening bilateral relations with the abovementioned countries.

The President will also exchange views on peace and security matters in the region and the continent, and further deliberate on global issues of mutual interest.

E. Messages

1. Cabinet congratulates Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black woman winemaker who launched her own brand. With a degree in viticulture from Stellenbosch University plus 13 years’ working experience, her Aslina Wines will in 2018 sell 12 000 bottles in the United States of America, Germany, Taiwan and Ghana.

2. Cabinet congratulates Caster Semenya on breaking the South African 1 000m record that stood for 35 years at the Athletix Grand Prix meeting held at Tuks in Pretoria. Our golden girl won the race in a time of 2:35:44, beating the old record set in 1983 by Ilze Wicksell by almost two seconds. Cabinet also commends Semenya for fulfilling her long-held goal to get a university qualification when she completed her Diploma in Sports Science at the North-West University in Potchefstroom.

3. Cabinet expresses condolences to the friends and family of Honourable Member of Parliament, Ms Loliwe Fazeka, who was killed in a car crash in the Eastern Cape, last week.

4. Cabinet also sends condolences to the loved ones of South Africa’s Ambassador to Sweden, Ms Faith Radebe, who passed on Tuesday, 13 March 2018. She was previously the Inspector-General of Intelligence in South Africa.

F. Appointments

All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.

1. Dr Philemon Mjwara as Director-General of the Department of Science and Technology for an extended contract period of three years, commencing on 1 April 2018.

2. Ms Memme Sejosengwe as Secretary-General at the Office of the Chief Justice for an extended contract period of three years, effective from 1 April 2018.

3. Ms Thuli E Radebe, as Executive Director at the Centre of Public Service Innovation for an extended contract period of six months.

4. Mr Thilivhali Archibald Ramawa as the Chief Financial Officer of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa.

5. Board of Sentech SOC Limited:

a. Mr Magatho Mello (reappointment as non-executive director and Chairperson);
b. Mr Lumko Mtimde (reappointment as non-executive director);
c. Dr Sandile Malinga (non-executive director); and
d. Ms Elizabeth Malaka (non-executive director).

6. Board of Broadband Infraco:

a. Mr Mandla Ngcobo (reappointment as non-executive director and Chairperson);
b. Ms Nokuthula Selamolela (reappointment as non-executive director);
c. Mr Gift Mphefu (non-executive director);
d. Ms Zandile Matilda Kabini (non-executive director); and
e. Ms Jennifer Schreiner (non-executive director).

7. Board of the SAPO:

a. Mr Comfort Ngidi (reappointment as Chairperson);
b. Ms Nomahlubi Simamane (reappointment as Deputy Chairperson);
c. Adv Juliana Galetlane Rasethaba (non-executive director); and
d. Dr Charles Nwaila (non-executive director).

Enquiries:

Ms Phumla Williams – Acting Cabinet Spokesperson (GCIS)
Cell: 083 501 0139

Issued by:
Government Communications

15 March 2018




 

 

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