Statement on the virtual Cabinet Meeting of Wednesday, 18 August 2021
A. Issues In The Environment
1. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant
1.1. Cabinet is conscious of the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent public violence in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. In this regard, it reminded South Africans that applications for the country’s COVID-19 SRD Grant to support people who have no income opened on Friday, 6 August 2021.
1.2. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) has opened new channels where applications can be submitted via the govchat.app and Facebook Messenger, in addition to its website: https://srd.sassa.gov.za or through WhatsApp on 082 046 8553.
1.3. People between the ages of 18 and 60 who have no financial support of any kind should apply. The R350 per month grant is an important safety net for families who would otherwise be devastated by the scourge of poverty and unemployment.
2.1. Cabinet welcomed the gazetting this week of the regulations that increase the threshold for embedded generation from the current one megawatt (MW) to 100 MW. In June 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the amendment of Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act, 2006 (Act 4 of 2006) to increase the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s licensing threshold for embedded generation projects to allow for more private generation of electricity.
2.2. Companies in energy-intensive sectors will now be able to generate their own electricity without the need for a licence. The new generation capacity will increase energy security by reducing reliance on the power grid and unlocking significant private sector investment.
3. Economic Recovery Support Package
3.1. Cabinet called on all eligible businesses affected by the recent civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to apply for industrial loan support at zero-percent interest, under the R3.75-billion Economic Recovery Support Package offered by government.
3.2. The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) and its development finance institutions – the Industrial Development Corporation and National Empowerment Fund, have put together a funding package to support various business recovery interventions. This includes the rebuilding of infrastructure, equipment, fittings for premises, stock and working capital. The funding will help to alleviate the socio-economic challenges facing businesses affected by the unrest.
3.3. Cabinet also welcomed and endorse the announcement by JP Morgan to provide financial and non-financial support to the tune of R340 million through the Abadali Equity Equivalent Investment Programme (EEIP). The programme consist of Abadali Fund – a Black Business Growth Fund and Abadali Grant (R40 million).
3.4. These initiatives will support inclusive economic growth and job creation within the small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in the manufacturing and green economy sectors.
4. Name change
4.1. Cabinet welcomed the renaming of Brandfort in the Free State to Winnie Mandela, in honour of the Struggle and liberation icon who was banished to the town during the height of apartheid.
5. Marikana commemoration
5.1. Cabinet joined the rest of the country in remembering the tragedy that took place at Marikana in North West in August 2012, and recognises the anguish of workers, their families and the nation at large. As a nation we remain resolute that such a tragedy must never happen again.
5.2. Great progress has been made by the South African Police Service (SAPS) to implement the recommendations of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry. Some of which will be fully implemented once the relevant SAPS legislations have been amended in Parliament.
5.3. Work to improve the lives of miners continues. The building of human settlements and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the area continues, in partnership with the private sector.
5.4. Cabinet was also pleased with great progress that has been made regarding the reparation of the victims of the tragedy and their relatives. The Office of the Solicitor-General has processed a majority of the claims, with the last payment done in June 2021. The outstanding claims await the submission of all the relevant documentations.
5.5. Cabinet urges the legal teams of the victims to work expeditiously to finalise the remaining claims. The Office of the State Attorney is the central structure that is processing these claims.
6. Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit
6.1 President Ramaphosa led South Africa’s participation at the 41st Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held on 17 and 18 August 2021 in Lilongwe, Malawi under the theme: “Bolstering Productive Capacities in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation”.
6.2 The summit took stock of progress made in promoting and deepening regional integration in line with the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030.
6.3 Cabinet affirmed South Africa’s commitment to the region’s integration and industrialisation, particularly to aid SADC’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Working together, the southern African region will emerge stronger as we mobilise our industrial sectors towards rebuilding our economies.
B. Cabinet Decision
1. National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC)
1.1. Cabinet received the report from the NCCC indicating that over nine million vaccines have been administered in South Africa to date, with over seven million people partially vaccinated and over four million fully vaccinated.
1.2. Cabinet welcomed the vaccination roll-out plan to increase the uptake of vaccines, particularly in provinces that had shown a reduction in the uptake of vaccines. As part of increasing the vaccination roll-out programme, Cabinet approved the vaccination of persons aged between 18 years and 35 years from 20 August 2021.
1.3. Scientific evidence confirms that vaccinated people stand a better chance of surviving from COVID-19 than unvaccinated people. Therefore, we must all dispel the unfounded and misleading conspiracy theories about the vaccines and choose life by vaccinating.
1.4. Cabinet further approved the keeping of the country under the Risk-Adjusted Alert Level 3 of the national lockdown, as advised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee. Cabinet encourages all unvaccinated people in South Africa to get vaccinated because vaccines protect us from getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and they save lives.
1.5. Getting vaccinated is easy; simply visit your nearest vaccination site with your identity document to be registered and vaccinated. You can find your closest site from the more than 3 000 vaccination sites across the country at: www.sacoronavirus.co.za/active-vaccination-sites (link is external).
C. Upcoming Event
1. World Expo 2020
1.1. South Africa will participate at the upcoming World Expo 2020. Cabinet approved the participation in December 2019. The event was subsequently postponed due to COVID-19. It will be held as a hybrid of virtual and on-site exhibitions in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 1 October to 31 March 2022.
1.2. The multinational event, which is held every five years in different countries, provides a large and attractive market to showcase South African goods and services to a global audience. The dtic will next week hold a full media briefing to unpack South Africa’s participation at the World Expo 2020.
Cabinet extended its congratulations and well-wishes to:
- the 109 firefighters and management officials deployed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Working on Fire Programme to assist with firefighting efforts in the province of Manitoba in Canada.
- Ms Tatjana Schoenmaker, for winning silver and gold medals in swimming and Ms Bianca Buitendag, for winning a silver medal in surfing, at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. They flew the South African flag high.
- Mr Brad Binder, the motorcycle racer, for flying the South African flag high by winning the 2021 MotoGP Austrian Grand Prix.
Cabinet expressed condolences to the family and friends of:
- Mr Dan Sechaba Montsitsi (67), one of the leaders in the 16 June 1976 Soweto Uprising, who tirelessly fought for freedom and democracy, and also served as a Member of Parliament.
- Dr Johan van Zyl (63), the Executive Chairperson of Toyota South Africa Motors, remembered for his leadership and success of the company and Toyota Motor Europe.
Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson
Mobile: 083 501 0139
19 August 2021