Statement on the virtual Cabinet Meeting of 31 August 2022

A. Issues in the environment

1. Economy

1.1. Cabinet welcomed the slight decline in the country’s unemployment rate, which dropped by 0.6 percent, from 34.5% in the first quarter to 33.9 percent in the second quarter of 2022. The figures published in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey by Statistics South Africa show that the biggest job gains were recorded in Community and Social Services (276 000), Trade (169 000), Finance (128 000) and Construction (104 000).

1.2. The total number of employed persons stood at 15, 6 million in the second quarter of 2022, and the number of unemployed persons increased by 132 000 to 8, 0 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the previous quarter.

1.3. These modest yet impressive gains show that the concerted efforts by government and its social partners to grow the economy and create much-needed jobs are beginning to bear fruit.

1.4. This is a testament to the fact that if we all work together by harnessing our collective strengths, we can overcome the challenges facing our economy.

1.5. Cabinet understands the frustrations of South Africans as they struggle to go about their daily lives owing to the cost of living and high unemployment rate. As a caring government, we remain determined and committed to working together with our social partners to build a better tomorrow for everyone. Government remains committed to supporting local businesses by buying local goods and services.

2. Public infrastructure

2.1. Cabinet condemned the destruction of infrastructure by Tongaat residents in KwaZulu-Natal during a protest over access to water. Cabinet called for calm and patience as work is underway to restore the Tongaat Water Treatment Works.

2.2. Cabinet understands the frustrations of residents who have had to use water tankers for an extended period since the flooding earlier this year. However, violence and anarchy are not a solution, and the destruction of public infrastructure only hurts local communities.

3. Local Government Municipal Systems Amendment Act of 2022

3.1. Cabinet welcomed the signed into law the Local Government Municipal Systems Amendment Act, 2022 (Act 3 of 2022) by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Act aims to improve the capacity and ethical standards of local government. The law forms part of government’s efforts to professionalise the Public Service and ensure the sustainable provision of services to the people, as a basic right enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.

3.2. The Act specifies the processes to be followed for senior position appointments. It now prevents senior public officials from holding political office in political parties. Also, with this Act in place, vacant municipal manager posts are expected to be advertised nationally to attract a wide pool of suitable candidates.

3.3. Cabinet is confident that these changes will ensure that those who are appointed or elected into these positions will be able to deliver on their promises so that we can achieve a better life for all.

4. Crime

4.1. Cabinet commended the South African Revenue Service’s customs officials for seizing 785 kg of crystal meth with a street value of R236 million at the OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday, 28 August 2022. The drug bust will send a clear warning to criminal syndicates that our ports of entry and exit are well protected and our officers are working hard to stamp out any criminality.

B. Cabinet decisions

1. Report of the Council on Higher Education (CHE) Enquiry into the Remuneration of University Vice Chancellors and Senior Executive Managers in South Africa

1.1. Cabinet was briefed on the outcomes of the CHE enquiry that was commissioned in 2020 by the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, to examine the remuneration levels and trends of the university executives over the 15-year period from 2005 to 2019.

1.2. The investigation was to establish the sustainability, viability and development of the universities or higher education sector in the country. This report outlines the key findings together with proposed remedial recommendations.

1.3. The recommendations propose, amongst others, a strengthened and more transparent remuneration process. The setting up of an external and independent oversight structure to oversee the decision-making process of remunerations.  It also proposes the strengthening of the performance evaluation systems in the institutions. The study has also taken into account the various sizes of these institutions and it also did international benchmarking.

1.4. The Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation is expected to discuss this report with the university leadership as a measure to strengthen these academic institutions. The report will thereafter be published in the Department of Higher Education and Training’s website: www.dhet.gov.za.

2. Accelerated Transformation of the Research and Teaching Capacity in the Higher Education Sector

2.1. Cabinet supported the recommendations of the two studies that were commissioned to advise on the measures to be put in place so as to accelerate the transformation of research and teaching capacity in the institutions of higher learning.

2.2. The first report was done by the Ministerial Task Team which investigated the blockages that prevent the recruitment, retention and progression of black South African academics. The second report – commissioned by the Department of Science and Innovation and the National Research Foundation – was done by Universities South Africa, the umbrella body representative of the 26 public universities in the country.

2.3. Both these reports propose intervention strategies to accelerate transformation in five broad areas, namely in postgraduate pipeline; staff participation; institutional culture and practice; policy and the strategy, and limited resources.

3. International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Treaty)

3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Treaty to Parliament for accession. This will enable South Africa to form part of the parties to this Treaty, which guides the member countries in conserving and ensuring the sustainable usage of the plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

3.2. Acceding to this Treaty will also strengthen the country’s commitment towards conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, and provide support to rural communities.

4. Just Transition Framework for South Africa

4.1. Cabinet approved the Just Transition Framework for implementation. The framework presents a shared vision for an equitable, climate-resilient South Africa. It defines the principles and policy areas to achieve this. The transition framework will impact everyone in South Africa and provides an opportunity to address historical inequities and creates an economy that benefits all.

4.2. The Presidential Climate Commission conducted an extensive consultation process with social partners and received broad support for the framework. Cabinet affirmed that the shift to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050 must support national development aspirations, including decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty.

4.3. Cabinet has called on all social partners to rally behind and embrace this framework. A detailed implementation plan for the framework will be developed, and it will be integrated into the government planning and budgeting system.

5. New South African Driving Licence Card

5.1. Cabinet approved the replacement of the current Driving Licence Card to a one with more secure design features.

5.2. The current system has been in operation since 1998. The technology has since evolved and it is becoming expensive to maintain the current infrastructure. The new proposed card will make the country’s driving licence compatible with the International Information Technology Personal Identification Compliant Driving Licence (ISO18013).

6. Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) Policy

6.1. Cabinet approved the gazetting of the draft EPWP Policy for public consultation. The EPWP is one of government's key programmes aimed at providing poverty and income relief by creating temporary work opportunities, particularly for youth and women.

6.2. The draft new policy will strengthen the programme and provide clarity on aspects such as wages, funding model and social protection, and also align the EPWP with modern labour practices. It will promote partnerships between government and the private sector toward ensuring the EPWP contributes massively towards the creation of decent work and alleviation of poverty. The policy will also promote innovation in the implementation of public works programmes across the country.

7. Amendments to the Fourth Decimal Coin Series of South Africa

7.1. Cabinet has approved the dimension, design and compilation of the year 2023 Fourth Decimal Coin Series of South Africa. It approved the annual rotational system of the usage of the official languages on the fourth decimal coin series.

7.2. The word “South Africa” will be inserted on the one side of the coins and printed in all the official languages. Three languages will be used in the R5 coin; two languages R2; 50c, 20c and 10c coins and the R1 will be in one language. All these languages will be used on an annual rotational basis over the next 10 years.

8. Draft Integrated Water Quality Management (IWQM) Policy of 2022

8.1 Cabinet approved the gazetting of the Draft IWQM Policy for public consultation. The proposed policy will replace the outdated WQM Policy of 1991 and its strategy that was put in place in 2006.

8.2. The policy outlines a set of principles that will form the basis for water quality management. It provides an alignment to all the relevant water-related legislation and the country’s global commitments to the provision and conservation of water as a scarce resource.

9. Draft Next Generation Radio Frequency Spectrum Policy

9.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the draft Next Generation Radio Frequency Spectrum Policy for public comment. Radio frequency spectrum is a finite natural resource that is vital to the growth of South Africa’s digital economy and communication infrastructure.

9.2. The proposed policy intends to support the spectrum allocation and licensing for fixed mobile; broadcasting; aeronautical and marine; research and development; community access, and other relevant industries. The policy also seeks to promote equity and fair allocation to contribute towards the transformation of the sector and accessibility of digital connectivity even in outlying parts of the country.

10. South Africa’s Candidature for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council and Radio Regulations Board

10.1.  Cabinet approved South Africa’s candidature of Mr Mandla Samuel Mchunu to the ITU Radio Regulations Board (Region D). Mr Mchunu is currently a serving board member. He is proposed for re-election to the ITU Council for the term 2023 to 2026.

10.2.  The elections will take place during the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in Bucharest, Romania from 26 September to 14 October 2022. South Africa remains committed to the goals and objectives of the ITU of bridging the digital divide and connecting all the people of the world.

C. Upcoming event

1. Heritage Month

1.1. Heritage Month in September will this year be commemorated under the theme: “Celebrating the Legacy of Solomon Linda and South Africa’s Indigenous Music”. Cabinet urges all South Africans to use Heritage Month to celebrate our rich cultural heritage and diversity that has the power to unite our nation. We must all be committed to working together to eradicate the divisions and injustices of the past and promote a conscious sense of being proudly South African.

D. Messages

1. Congratulations

Cabinet extended its congratulations and well-wishes to:

All winners, medallists and competitors who participated in the 95th Comrades Marathon, popularly known as the “Ultimate Human Race”, on Sunday, 28 August 2022. The men's race was won by Tete Dijana (5 hrs, 30 min, 38 sec) from Mahikeng in North West while Russian runner Alexandra Morozova (6 hrs, 17 min, 47 sec) won the women’s race.

2. Condolences

Cabinet expressed condolences to the family and friends of:

Mama Rita Alice Ndzanga (88), the Struggle veteran and pioneering trade unionist who was also the recipient of the National Order of Luthuli in 2004 for “her lifetime contribution to the struggle for workers’ rights and to the realisation of a non-racial, non-sexist, free and democratic South Africa”.

The five South African Police Service (SAPS) officers who were passengers onboard the SAPS aircraft that crashed at Rand Airport, Germiston on Tuesday, 30 August 2022. The SAPS are investigating the crash. Cabinet wished the critically injured pilot a speedy recovery.

E. Appointment

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

a. Ms Gugulethu Abigail Thimane as Deputy Director-General (DDG): Public Sector Monitoring and Capacity Development at the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.

b. Ms Kwena Komape as DDG: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

2. Cabinet concurred with the following appointments:

a. Mr Songezo Booi as Chief Executive Officer (CEO): National Home Builders Registration Council.

b. Board of African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation:

(i) Mr Zacharias Bernardus Swanepoel (Chairperson)
(ii) Mr Mzwandile Zwelinzima Themba Masondo and
(iii) Ms Phumzile Mthombeni (Executive Director).

2.3 Mr Patrick Dlamini as CEO (Extension of Employment Contract) of the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Enquiries:

Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson
Mobile: 083 501 0139

Issued by Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

1 September 2022




 

 

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