Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in Cape Town on 8 June 2011.
1. Current affairs
1.1. Cabinet joins the nation, family, comrades and friends as we mourn the passing away of the struggle icon, Mrs Albertina Sisulu. Cabinet calls upon all of us to walk in her footsteps and celebrate her exemplary citizenship. Indeed Cabinet conveys its sincere condolences.
1.2. Cabinet noted that preparations for June 16 Youth Day at Orlando Stadium in Soweto are at an advanced stage under the theme of “Youth Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime”. Young people in particular are called upon to celebrate the monumental achievements of their fore bearers whose struggles have helped to secure the opportunities presented to young people in the country today.
1.3. The President’s visit to the Eastern Cape confirmed the correctness of the Cabinet decision to implement section 100(1) (b) of the Constitution on National intervention in provincial administration. Working together with the Eastern Cape provincial leadership would indeed provide the urgent turnaround required in education in that province. The project team under the leadership of the Ministry for Basic Education will in due course report on this matter.
1.4. On the public sector wage negotiations, Cabinet endorses the discipline by government to respect the Pubic Service Coordinated Bargaining Council (PSCBC) decision to refrain from negotiating in the media. Government is confident that a settlement will soon be reached despite the challenging nature of the negotiations.
1.5. Cabinet takes note of the ruling by the Competition Tribunal on the Walmart matter and is in full support of the stewardship provided by the three ministers (Economic Development; Trade and Industry; Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries) as they assess the ruling. Furthermore Cabinet wants to make it very clear that this specific matter is being dealt with on its own merits.
The position government is pursuing on this matter is issue-specific and does not constitute a general government posture on foreign investments. Government will continue to act in the public interest and will always conduct itself within the parameters provided by the law and the Constitution of this country.
2. Key strategic decisions included the following:
2.1. Cabinet has approved the Government Communication Strategy. This strategy will ensure a step change in communication underpinned by the support from Government Communication and Information System (GCIS). Amongst a range of platforms, the Vukuzenzele magazine will be transformed into a monthly tabloid.
Social media platforms will also form part of the communication channels. Approval of the strategy will also see a return to government’s centralised approach to media buying. GCIS will procure media space/airtime for national departments in order to realise economies of scale. Government, through the GCIS, will monitor and enforce adherence to the government brand.
Non-Cabinet weeks will, amongst others, be used for media briefings to communicate progress on the implementation of government’s Programme of Action. The implementation of the strategy will result in a much more informed and empowered public.
2.2. Cabinet noted that the National Planning Commission (NPC) will be releasing a diagnostic overview and elements of the vision 2025 statement later today. Cabinet will study the document and engage with the commission in the appropriate channels. The Minister in the Presidency, Mr Trevor Manuel, will provide context and more details during the media briefing of the NPC which takes place later in the day.
2.3. Cabinet noted progress made with the review of the Handbook for Members of the Executive and Presiding Officers (Ministerial Handbook). The draft amendments will be submitted to the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers. The Commission will carry out its work and report back to the President.
2.4. Cabinet approved mineral beneficiation as the country’s policy. This strategy provides a framework that seeks to translate the country’s sheer comparative advantage inherited from significant mineral resource reservoir to a national competitive advantage. As a vital input to the industrialisation programme, this new policy of Government presents exciting opportunities for long term investment, for both local and foreign, into beneficiation/manufacturing sector of our economy. This will leverage optimal benefit from enhanced value of exports, increasing sources for consumption of local content and contribute towards the creation of sustainable jobs.
2.5. Cabinet approved the design of the commemorative crown-size silver coins in celebration of the 90th Anniversary of the South African Reserve Bank. The new coin design will be published in the Government Gazette.
2.6. Cabinet noted the state of readiness for South Africa to host the COP 17 world conference on climate change later this year and was satisfied with the arrangements thus far.
2.7. Cabinet approved the mandate for the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP5) to the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in International Trade to be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 20 to 24 June 2011.
The Ministers of Water and Environmental Affairs, Human Settlements and Public Works will submit a combined report on what the current prohibitions on asbestos products entails and on the status of existing asbestos applications in general, with specific reference to health implications.
2.8. Cabinet noted the Gambling Review Commission report and approved its submission to Parliament. The undertaking seeks to assess the proliferation of gambling in the country, its impact on the poor and proposes measures to mitigate the negative effects.
2.9. Cabinet approved the plant-breeders’ rights policy. A plant breeder’s right is a form of an intellectual property right afforded to breeders of new plant varieties to protect their intellectual “creation” against unlawful exploitation. These new plant varieties may have improvements such as higher yields, improved resistance to disease pressures and tolerance to environmental stresses such as drought. An effective plant variety protection system is thus important for a competitive agricultural sector specifically its food security policies.
2.10. Minister Jeff Radebe advised Cabinet of the President’s decision to extend the term of office of Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo. Cabinet welcomed this report.
3. International agenda
3.1. The International Investment Conference, under the leadership of the Department of Transport, provides a critical platform to position South Africa as a key investment destination for major transport projects. The conference will be in Cape Town on 13 to 14 June 2011, under the theme “Creating winning partnerships through investment”. This initiative forms part of the World Cup Legacy.
3.2 The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), was commended for its sustained communication on developments in Libya and their efforts around working together with the late Anton Hammerl’s family to bring closure to this sad chapter.
3.3. Cabinet also commended the tireless efforts of President Jacob Zuma in his role as a member of the African Union [AU] High-Level Committee, in asserting South Africa’s position as part of the collective.
3.4. Further to South Africa’s Youth Month programme under the theme ‘Youth Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime’, the 17th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union (23 June – 1 July 2011) will take place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. However, this conference will adopt the theme “Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development”.
3.5. Government, under the leadership of the Minister of Public Service and Administration, and all AU member states, will showcase innovations in service delivery and strides made towards implementing the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Administration, during Africa Public Service Day (23 June). This will be combined with the UN Public Service Day (UNPSD) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
3.6. In commemorating World Refugee Day (20 June), Cabinet calls on South Africans to contribute to the social and economic security of Africa citizens and reiterates that our Constitution provides for the rights of all people living in our country and affirms democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom for all.
Cabinet approved the following appointments:
4.1. Ms Pumla Ncapayi was appointed Deputy Director-General: Trade and Investment at the Department of Trade and Industry.
4.2. Advocate Lothian George Basson was appointed Chief Master (Deputy Director-General) at the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
4.3. Non Executive Directors to the Eskom Board for a term of three years: Mr Z Tsotsi (Chairperson); Ms N Lesela; Ms Y Masithela; Ms C Mabude; Mr A Sharma; Mr M Mkhwanazi; Mr C Matjila; Mr P Sedibe; Mr B Fanaroff and Ms B Mehlomakhulu.
4.4. Non Executive Directors to the Denel Board for a term of three years: Mr Z Kunene (Chairperson); Mr BF Ngwenya; Mr G Badela; Mr NJ Motseki; Ms M Ntshikila; Ms S Sebotsa; Professor S Nkomo; Ms Z Mathenjwa; Mr M Msimang; Mr M Ratshimbilani; Ms B Paledi; Professor T Marwala; Ms M Janse van Rensburg and Mr G Cruywagen.
Cabinet noted the following appointment
4.5 Members to the National Arts Council (NAC) for a term of three years: Prof GM Nkondo; Mr MS Mphomela; Ms P Klotz; Mr S Bokaba; Ms N Mavuso; Ms E Elk; Ms SB Dichabe; Ms N Ribane; Dr MN Lidovho; Ms MA Makwetla; Mr B Mabena; Mr D Thorburn; Adv TH Malakoane; Mr DA Nhlangwini; Mr MS Thebe; Mr NB Ntshangase; Mr CER Phiri; Mr CO van der Rheede; Mr M Mavuso; Mr Z Bhengu; Mr B Tembe and Mr J Masilela.
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Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
9 Jun 2011