Statement on the virtual Cabinet Meeting of 26 August 2020
A. Issues in the Environment
1. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Alert Level 2
1.1. The move from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 of the national lockdown with effect from 18 August 2020 has resulted in the welcome relaxation of restrictions on some of the socio-economic activities. This significant transition will inevitably revive our economy and contribute to the creation of much-needed jobs, particularly in the tourism and hospitality industry.
1.2. Alert Level 2 will make it possible for Ministers to present themselves before the two houses of Parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces, to amongst others, answer questions from members of Parliament.
1.3. While the ‘second wave’ of infections experienced by several other countries is an ever-present possibility, our collective actions over the next few weeks and months can prevent that from happening, and will determine how quickly we move further forward. Cabinet calls on everyone to take extra precautions, practise responsible behaviour and do the right things so that we avoid a second peak.
1.4. Government is working with social partners and communities to ensure that districts are adequately resourced and organised to contain the spread of the virus.
1.5. Our nation has made great strides in fighting the pandemic. Our good work, unfortunately, is being undermined by the reckless actions of some people who refuse to take personal responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus. Those who drive under the influence of alcohol and behave recklessly are endangering the lives of innocent people.
1.6. As a result of such reckless behaviour, this week we mourn the untimely death of three Tshwane Metro Police Department officers who lost their lives in a tragic crash with a drunk driver this past weekend. This fatal accident is a wake-up call to all of us, individually and collectively, to reflect on what we can do to begin acting responsibly and playing our part in curbing alcohol abuse.
1.7. Cabinet urges all people in South Africa to continue observing the health protocols even during Alert Level 2. We must all maintain social distancing, wear a mask when in public and regularly wash hands with water and soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
2. Return to school and tertiary institutions
2.1. Cabinet welcomed the reopening of primary and secondary schools under the Department of Basic Education this past Monday. Grades 6 and 11 learners returned to classes on Monday while Grades 7 and 12 learners returned last month following the temporary closure of schools to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
2.2. Cabinet also welcomed the announcement that under Alert Level 2 lockdown, all universities will be allowing the controlled return of students to campus-based tuition in line with the criteria published in the Government Gazette (Vol 660, No 43414 on 8 June 2020). According to the criteria developed, under Level 2 of the lockdown, a maximum of 66% of students will be allowed to return to university campuses.
2.3. It also welcomed the staggered return of Technical and Vocational Education and Training college students, the reopening of Community Education and Training centres and the return of staff to their workplace. This will be done in terms of the detailed COVID-19 management plans in place across the sector, and to ensure the continued safety of students and staff, while allowing for greater access to campus teaching and learning for more students.
3.1. Cabinet reiterated its commitment to ensure that allegations of corruption relating to COVID-19 procurement are swiftly investigated by law-enforcement agencies such as the Special Investigating Unit. Those implicated will be severely punished, and money stolen from the State by unscrupulous companies and individuals by inflating the prices of personal protective equipment will be recovered.
3.2. Cabinet is also pleased with the progress made by the Committee of Ministers chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola. The team of Ministers was expected to coordinate the compilation of all the COVID-19 procurements and make it accessible to the public. In the interest of transparency, National Treasury’s website (www.treasury.gov.za) has since published the information of most of the departments and entities that have fully complied.
3.3. National Treasury will continue with additional work to refine the submitted information for further processing. Cabinet reaffirms that law-enforcement agencies will continue to be responsible for the investigative work.
3.4. The Fusion Centre, which coordinates the work of all law-enforcement agencies, remains on track to present its first six weekly report in the first week of September 2020 to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
3.5. Cabinet will give the necessary support to all law-enforcement agencies. This will include giving them the resources they need to function optimally, independently without fear, favour and prejudice in facilitating the investigation and prosecution of corruption-related cases without any further delay.
3.6. The scourge of corruption, which manifests itself in the blatant theft and looting of state resources, is the biggest societal cancer that has the potential to erode public trust in government’s concerted efforts to improve the lives of the people. Cabinet condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of corruption and is confident that all wrongdoers will eventually be prosecuted, without fear or favour.
3.7. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to report corruption to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701.
B. Cabinet Decisions
1. Training programmes for members of the Executive and senior managers in the Public Service
1.1. Cabinet approved two training programmes that will give effect to the commitment of building the capacity of the state. The first one is the Economic Governance Spring School training, for members of the Executive from all spheres of government. It is designed to broaden learning perspectives through analysis and critical reflection on the nature of challenges of government. It will be conducted by the National School of Government (NSG), in partnership with the Wits School of Governance and the OR Tambo School of Leadership.
1.2. The second programme is designed for heads of departments. It consists of three components, namely an Executive Induction Programme, Executive Education Programme and a new programme to be called Etella. These programmes will be conducted by the NSG, in partnership with the University College London.
2. Postponement of the hosting of the 2020 International Maritime Organisation (IMO)
2.1. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cabinet has approved the postponement of hosting the IMO and its parallel event of World Maritime Day, from October 2020 to October 2021. Cabinet had approved the hosting of this event in November 2015.
1. Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill of 2018
1.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Agricultural Produce Agents Amendment Bill of 2018 to Parliament. The amendments seek to protect the rights of the producers from unregulated aspects of the fresh produce agents. Once passed into law, the agents will amongst others be compelled to take out fidelity insurance and keep trust accounts.
1.2. The amendments proposed in the Bill were fully canvased with all relevant stakeholders. The changes will also improve market access opportunities for smallholder producers as well as previously disadvantaged market agents, traders and hawkers.
2. Sectional Titles Amendment Bill
2.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Bill to Parliament. The Bill amends the Sectional Titles Act, 1986 (Act 95 of 1986), which provides for the establishment of sectional title schemes. The proposed amendments provide clarity and protect the lessees in the properties under the sectional-arrangement buildings.
3. Electoral Law Amendment Bill of 2020
3.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the Electoral Law Amendment Bill of 2020 to Parliament. The Bill amends three pieces of legislation, namely the Electoral Commission Act, 1996 (Act 51 of 1996); Electoral Act, 1998 (Act 73 of 1998) and Local Government Municipal Electoral Act, 2000 (Act 27 of 2000).
3.2. The proposed changes will enhance the existing legislative mechanism. The amendments will amongst others introduce innovations in electoral practices in keeping with best practices to improve the Independent Electoral Commission’s efficiency in managing elections.
All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
1. Extension of the contract of Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli as the Director-General at the Department of Basic Education for a period of five years.
2. South African Post Office Board:
a. Mr Emmanuel Lekgau;
b. Ms Nolitha Pieters;
c. Mr Sandile Phillip;
d. Mr Sipho Majombozi; and
e. Ms Yvette Lillian Mavivi Myakayaka-Manzini.
3. Non-executive directors of the Postbank SOC Limited:
a. Mr Gcobani Mancotywa;
b. Mr Darwin Zinzile Nkonki;
c. Mr Thabile Wonci; and
d. Adv Leigh Hefer-Hendrikse.
Enquiries: Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson
Mobile: 083 501 0139
27 August 2020