Statement on the virtual Cabinet Meeting of 9 September 2020
A. Issues in the environment
1. Update on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
1.1. Cabinet welcomes the drop in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks and the improved recovery rate that has increased to 87 percent. The number of people requiring admission in our hospitals and the demand for COVID-19 tests have also dropped.
1.2. Cabinet thanks all South Africans for playing their part in adhering to restrictions to flatten the curve. We commend the dedication and sacrifice of all health professionals who have been our frontline defence against the virus.
1.3. Let us build on the momentum of this encouraging news and continue to work together to consistently do the right things, such as practising social distancing, wearing a mask when in public, and washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
1.4.. Cabinet encourages all people in South Africa to download the free COVID Alert SA Application from the Apple App Store or Google Play. The Department of Health introduced the app as another tool to alert South Africans if they have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. The app strengthens our nation’s fight against the spread of the virus.
1.5. Cabinet also approved the extension of the national state of disaster to 15 October 2020 in terms of Section 27(5)(c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (57 of 2002). This is to continue giving effect to the regulations that remain relevant to manage the spread of COVID-19 infections.
2. Gender-based violence (GBV)
2.1. The scourge of GBV continues to plague our nation with the senseless violent assault and murder of women. The recent victims of this heinous crime include actress Thandeka Mdeliswa (34) who was shot at her family home in Evander, Mpumalanga and the 28-year-old woman who was killed by her husband while reporting a domestic violence at the Madeira Police Station in the Eastern Cape. Cabinet calls for justice to be served on these crimes and others that are reported.
2.2. Cabinet recently approved three laws to intensify the fight against GBV. They are the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill; Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill of 2020; and the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Bill of 2020. These laws contribute towards ensuring effective and efficient protection for victims of domestic violence and GBV.
3. Clicks advertisement
3.1. Cabinet has noted with great concern an extremely disturbing advertisement published on the Clicks website, which justifiably triggered widespread public outrage. Cabinet considers the advertisement profoundly offensive and racist.
3.2. Black hair has been the subject of intense politicisation and a source of unjust discrimination in our recent history. Our nation’s history is littered with laws and societal norms that equated ‘blackness’ and the associated physical traits – for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair – to a badge of inferiority.
3.3. We therefore welcome the immediate corrective actions taken by Clicks. These include their commitment to work with government to promote local products in all their stores and to collaborate with all their suppliers to promote the constitutional values as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. They will also put in place a diversity and inclusion training programme for all their managers and staff.
3.4. Cabinet calls on the advertising agencies of Clicks and other stores to also adopt tangible programmes which promote and protect human rights, and raise awareness about despicable issues of racism, inequality and discrimination.
3.5. All sectors of our society must endorse partnerships between government departments and Chapter Nine institutions in implementing anti-racism and anti-discrimination educational campaigns.
3.6. Equally, government reminds all South Africans that the right to speak out against any injustice without fear of reprisal is enshrined in our Constitution. However, the right to protest comes with the inherent responsibility to do so peacefully and without infringing on the rights of others. Government condemns the acts of vandalism at Clicks stores. Such unlawful acts undermine the spirit of human rights that has shaped this country since the dawn of democracy.
3.7. South Africa is working towards growing the economy and cannot afford to risk the loss of jobs due to business closures. Lawlessness and vandalism of private and public property should not be condoned as they are not a responsible and progressive option to resolve a conflict.
4.1. The steep contraction of our Quarter 2 Gross Domestic Product to record levels of 16,4% annualised to 51,2% as a result of COVID-19, raises the risk of reaching the Supplementary Budget forecast of -7.2% growth in 2020.
4.2. This affirms the correctness of government’s decision to urgently embark on an economic recovery plan, working together with all our social partners to get the economy on a better growth trajectory.
4.3. The plan, which will be infrastructure led, will also include implementation of much-needed structural reforms.
5. Death of Nathaniel Julius
5.1. Cabinet expressed its condolences to the family of Nathaniel Julius, a 16-year-old boy who was allegedly shot and killed by police officers in Eldorado Park.
5.2. The arrest of the three police officers by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice affirms the fundamental principle that no person is above the law.
5.3. Cabinet calls on the community of Eldorado Park to assist the IPID and continue to work within the criminal justice system to ensure that justice prevails.
6. Auditor-General Report (AG) on COVID-19 procurements
6.1. The recent AG Report also highlighted some irregularities and illegal transactions on the COVID-19 relief package introduced by government to ease economic distress and prevent the spread of the virus.
6.2. The findings will be handed over to the multi-agency Fusion Centre that is tasked with investigating COVID-19-related fraud and corruption. Findings include overpricing, government employees applying for relief they were not entitled to, potential fraud and the sidestepping of supply chain management rules and regulations.
6.3. Cabinet reiterates its resolve to continue to decisively pursue all those found to have abused these funds irrespective of who they are. The discrepancies that are exposed by the public through the information published on the National Treasury website (http://www.treasury.gov.za/) will be followed up with the relevant departments.
B. Cabinet decisions
1. National Climate Change interventions
1.1. Cabinet approved the establishment of the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Commission. This is in line with the Presidential Job Summit Framework Agreement signed during the Presidential Job Summit in 2018. The commission will coordinate the just transition of our country to a low carbon climate and resilient economy and society by 2050.
1.2. The structure will be represented by government, social partners, civil society as well as experts from academia and research institutions. South Africa is the signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
1.3. Cabinet also approved the submission of the country’s Low Emission Development (LED) Strategy to the UNFCCC Secretariat. This LED Strategy will advance the national climate change and development policy in a more coordinated, coherent and strategic manner. It provides mitigation measures focusing on four key sectors of the economy, namely Energy; Industry; Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use; and Waste.
2. National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) 2020
2.1. Cabinet approved the 2020 NWMS to replace the 2011 NWMS. The waste management strategy gives into effect the terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act 59 of 2008). It directs the environmental protection programmes. It drives a sustainable and an environmentally friendly, inclusive economic growth, with three focus pillars – waste minimisation, effective and sustainable services, and waste awareness and compliance.
3. Agricultural colleges
3.1. Cabinet approved the establishment of agricultural colleges as the competency of Higher Education Colleges in terms of the Higher Education Act, 1997 (101 of 1997), as amended.
3.2. The agricultural colleges – which are currently under the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development – provide programmes that are aligned to higher education qualifications which include skills training and vocational programmes. The relocation of these colleges to the Department of Higher Education and Training will align them to the prescribed Higher Education Act of 1997 and will improve their governance and management.
4. 2017/18 Report on Research and Development (R&D) Tax Incentive Programme
4.1. Cabinet approved the submission of the 2017/18 Report to Parliament on R&D Tax Incentive Programme. The research tracks usage of the incentive by companies to promote research and development within their respective sectors. This tax incentive programme was first introduced in November 2006. According to the report, from November 2006 to February 2018, out of 1 091 companies which applied for support, 902 were granted this tax incentive. The full report will be accessible once presented in Parliament.
5. Draft White Paper on Audio and Visual Content Services Policy Framework
5.1. Cabinet approved publication of the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio Visual Content Services Policy Framework: A New Vision for South Africa 2020, for public consultation and comment.
5.2. The White Paper, amongst others, proposes new policy and regulatory changes and recommendations intended to reposition the audio-visual media sectors for future growth and promote investments.
6. Transformation of the Heritage Landscape
6.1. Cabinet was briefed on the progress made by the consultative task team led by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture on the transformation of the heritage landscape. The team was to reflect on the current heritage landscape, and how Cabinet responds to the historical and critical values of our Constitution.
6.2. The team makes recommendations of the statues/monuments that should espouse the founding values of the new democratic South Africa. It proposes the relocation of some of the historical statues to the theme parks that will be located across the country. A full audit of all the statues, symbols and monuments will be done and the outcome thereof will guide the identification of the proposed cultural nation-building parks.
6.3 Cabinet endorses this process, which will contribute towards nation-building and ensure public spaces reflect the constitutional values of a post-colonial and post-apartheid democratic order. The cultural nation building parks will relocate all the historical details that depict colonialism and apartheid artefacts for future generations.
Cabinet extends its congratulations and well wishes to the:
1.1. former Director-General (DG) in The Presidency and Cabinet Secretary, Dr Cassius Lubisi, as he exits the Public Service to go on retirement after having served as an exemplary public servant in The Presidency and in KwaZulu-Natal. Dr Lubisi leaves behind a legacy of ethical, professional and courageous service to the people of South Africa.
1.2. former Department of Health DG, Dr Precious Matsoso, on her appointment as a panellist in the World Health Organisation Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response.
Cabinet sent condolences to the:
2.1. family and friends of acclaimed poet and political activist Mr Achmat Dangor who used his writing skills to expose the injustices of the apartheid government and give a voice to the voiceless.
2.2. family, friends and colleagues of Mrs Nyameka Goniwe, Speaker of the Inxuba Yethemba Municipality in the Eastern Cape and widow of Struggle activist, Tata Matthew Goniwe.
2.3. family and friends of retired South African National Defence Force Surgeon-General, Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan, who also contributed to the liberation of all South Africans.
2.4. family and friends of Mr Petrus Meyer, fondly known as Oom Piet, of the Western Cape, and Ambassador Kgoṧi Mohlamme Piet Mathebe and Mr David Mbulaheni Malada of Limpopo. These distinguished South Africans dedicated their lives to the struggle for freedom and democracy in South Africa.
2.5. family and friends of renowned human rights activist Advocate George Bizos, who passed on at the age of 92. He was an icon of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Adv. Bizos served as legal counsel to Nelson Mandela for many years and was among the panel of lawyers who represented defendants in the Rivonia Trial.
He was a celebrated human rights lawyer and was also a founding member of the Legal Resources Centre, a human rights organisation.
All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
1. Lieutenant General Tebello Constance Mosikili as the Deputy National Head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation.
2. Mr Trevor Rammitiwa as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa.
Enquiries: Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson
Cell: 083 501 0139
9 September 2020