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Statement on Cabinet meeting of 26 April 2017

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 26 April 2017, at the Union Buildings, on the eve of the 23rd national Freedom Day celebrations. President Jacob Zuma chaired the Cabinet meeting, which welcomed the new Members of the Executive who further complement the existing leadership in government in spear heading implementation of government’s Programme of Action for radical economic transformation and inclusive socio-economic growth.

1. Cabinet decisions

1.1 Cabinet approved for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to co-host the World Aquaculture Society conference in Cape Town from 26 to 30 June 2017.

This contributes to Operation Phakisa Aquaculture Lab which aims to increase aquaculture growth by five-fold in the next five years from 4 000 tons to 20 000 tons, to create 15 000 jobs and increase the contribution of aquaculture towards GDP.

Aquaculture presents a good opportunity to diversify fish production to satisfy local demand, food security, export opportunities and create jobs. Hosting the conference will promote the sector, enhance investment by private sector and donors, and assist in fast-tracking aquaculture development locally through insights from aquaculture strategies from other nations.

1.2 Cabinet approved the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to oversee and provide strategic direction during the preparations for and hosting of the 37th Ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in August 2017.

The SADC Summit will take place under the theme “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”, emphasising the need to address critical factors to implement and achieve SADC’s Industrial Strategy and Action Plan.

South Africa will utilise its position as Chair of SADC to strategically advance the country’s national interests as outlined in the National Development Plan and strengthen regional economic opportunities and security-related matters.

1.3 The Department of Arts and Culture will host a third edition of Africa Month in May 2017. This forms part of South Africa’s contribution to the continents’ celebration on the transition from the Organisation of African Unity, which was established on 25 May 1963, to the current African Union, and its related institutions and programmes.

The celebration of Africa Month contributes to the decolonisation of the African continent through a variety of government and civil society projects under the theme: “A Year of OR Tambo: Building a Better Africa and a Better World”.

Africa Month contributes to the Pan African call for African unity and co-operation, and is used as a platform by all African Union Member States to take stock of progress made towards realising Agenda 2063.

The government-wide month long programme, which will be available on www.gov.za, goes beyond the arts and culture sector to embrace the contributions of the South African Government through economic, political and social factors impacting on the development of the continent. Activities and dialogues are celebratory and educational, all have political and socio-economic benefits for the people of South Africa and the rest of the continent to celebrate their Africaness and recommit to building communities grounded on positive shared African values and principles.

1.4 Cabinet was briefed on the successful hosting of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and Institutions Annual World Library and Information Congress held in South Africa, Cape Town from 15 to 21 August 2015.

The IFLA Cape Town Declaration will be submitted to the African Union Ministers of Culture for concurrence, support and implementation. The Department of Arts and Culture will strengthen efforts to promote a reading culture in South Africa.

2. Implementation of Government Programmes

2.1 Government’s commitment to bolster the economy was reaffirmed during the successful engagement between the Minister of Finance, Malusi Gigaba with investors and the global finance community during the visit to the United States of America for the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Spring Meetings. Minister Gigaba also interacted with domestic investors and the NEDLAC Special Executive Committee chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The engagements underscored that government’s policy orientation towards prudent fiscal discipline and stringent fiscal consolidation as highlighted in the 2017 National Budget will remain unchanged.

Cabinet calls on all sectors to partner with government to boost confidence and propel the economy towards sustained inclusive growth.

2.2 President Jacob Zuma’s launch of the Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (MAP-SEZ) in Tshiame, Harrismith, in the Eastern Free State, on 25 April 2017 demonstrates governments’ promotion of industrial development which is key to the nation’s long-term economic success and prosperity. The priority sectors for the MAP-SEZ are automotive, agro-processing, logistics, ICT, pharmaceuticals and general processing. This creates opportunities for manufacturing as well as a regional and international trade environment with an added value chain within the Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality.

The launch of the SEZ brought the tally of Special Economic Zones in the country to eight. To date the SEZ Programme has collectively attracted over R9.5 billion worth of investments. They have also created over 10 000 direct jobs and 65 000 indirect jobs. The Special Economic Zones also continue to play a role in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

This 1038-hectare MAP-SEZ launch forms a key part of the implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan which designates Special Economic Zones to accelerate local economic growth and development in specific regions of the country.

2.3 Cabinet welcomes the A.T. Kearney’s 2017 Foreign Direct Investment Confidence report, which indicates that South Africa is the 25th most attractive destination for foreign direct investment globally, the first from the African Continent.

South Africa made a comeback into the index, which publishes the 25 most attractive investment destinations, for the first time since 2014. It ranks with other developing countries such as China (3rd), India (8th); Brazil (16th) and Mexico (17).

This ranking shows that South Africa’s strategic partnership with foreign investors is gaining momentum and further demonstrates that our country’s blueprint on development is yielding results. Improvements in short-term economic prospects and the long-term investment in the country’s manufacturing sector have been cited as some of the key drivers of South Africa’s improved rating on the Index.

2.4 In a separate report, the latest Africa Investment Index 2016 by Quantum Global’s independent research arm ranks South Africa fourth most attractive investment destination in Africa after Botswana, Morocco and Egypt. South Africa scored well on the growth factor of GDP, ease of doing business in the country and significant population.

The country’s attractiveness as an investment destination of choice was further highlighted in the African Economic Outlook 2016 report, which places South Africa fourth among the leading African investment destinations in 2015 after Egypt ($10.2 billion), Mozambique ($4.7 billion) and Morocco ($4.2 billion) with $3.6 billion in foreign investment. South Africa continues to build on its strong financial and business base, ranking 47th out of 138 countries in the World Economic Forum Global Competitive Index 2016/17.

2.5 The 27th World Economic Forum on Africa will take place at the Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban from 3 to 5 May 2017 under the theme: “Achieving Inclusive Growth: Responsive and Responsible Leadership.”

Cabinet welcomes this opportunity for South Africans to engage in dialogue on potential investment opportunities, deeper regional integration and a renewed commitment towards sustainable growth and development in Africa.

Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies which have attracted increasing interest from global investors. South Africa is the most diversified economy on the continent and plays an integral role in Africa’s advancement.

2.6 The commitment by South Africa and Oman to enhance trade relations, at a business forum on 27 March 2017 between Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and his Omani counterpart, Dr Ali Bin Masoud Al-Sunaidy, enables South African businesspeople to take advantage of the opportunities that Oman presents, particularly for agricultural and agro-processing industries.

Further, the Department of Trade and Industry’s investment mission to Ghana and Nigeria between the 20 and 25 March 2017 contributed to identifying and creating export markets for South African value-added products and services. It also promotes South African products, service offerings and creates business partnerships between business communities of the respective countries.

Increasing trade on the continent and fostering partnerships with African partners can lead to poverty alleviation, increased trade flows, industrial development and subsequent creation of more jobs, which is key to the economic development of Africa.

2.7 The Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu led the South African delegation at the Estonia business forum which was hosted by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry. With Estonia’s economy consisting of 90 per cent SMMEs, South Africa’s partnership bolsters government’s commitment to job creation and the promotion of small, medium-sized and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

2.8 The resilience of our farming sector supported by early warning systems and research, notwithstanding the Fall Army Worm infestation and the drought, was demonstrated by the 2017 estimated commercial maize crop size, which is 84% bigger than the 2016 crop, which was the smallest crop since 2007. The three main maize producing areas, namely the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West provinces are expected to produce 82% of the 2017 crop.

The size of the expected commercial maize crop has been set at 14,324 mill. tons, this is 2,91% (405 050 tons) more than the previous forecast of 13,918 mill. tons.  The area estimate for maize remains at 2,629 mill. ha, while the expected yield is 5,45 t/ha.

2.9 Governments’ commitment to strengthening, developing, and broadening access to universities, is demonstrated in the doubling of student numbers over the past 20 years. This was bolstered by the Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande’s announcement of government spending to the tune of R 7-billion over the next two years on new student housing, laboratories, communications technology, and other essential facilities, as well as essential maintenance and the further expansion of the new universities. A further R 2, 5-billion over the next five years will target historically disadvantaged universities so as to better enable them to realise their full academic potential.

Investment in infrastructure, including teaching and research spaces, equipment, and conducive student living environments is key to ensuring that the universities can deliver on their empowerment mandate

2.10 The Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant will lead the national 2017 Workers Month awareness campaign under the theme “Know your rights and responsibilities as a means to promote greater compliance”.

The campaign will raise awareness levels amongst workers in South Africa about their rights and responsibilities. It will also highlight the achievements of workers in South Africa and assess compliance with labour laws. The Month will include surprise inspections in sectors that are considered perpetual offenders. 

Government has passed legislation to deal with the gross inequalities and unfair discrimination which we inherited.  At the centre of our labour laws is the quest to advance economic development, social justice, labour peace and the democratisation of the work place. Cabinet calls on all sectors and to do their part in addressing the inequalities of the past by addressing the slow pace of transformation in the workplace.

2.11 Government embarked on the 6th National Imbizo Focus Week of the current administration from 17 to 23 April 2017. The week was marked by a heightened period of engagements between members of the executive and citizens and contributes to government’s broader plan of improving the lives of all citizens.

Cabinet commends those communities who participated in the izimbizo with government officials across the country, with a view to addressing public service challenges and providing a better life for all.

Other izimbo included: the launch of the Centre for Entrepreneurship at Goldfields TVET College in Welkom, Free State by the Minister of Small Business Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu. The Centre contributes to addressing the challenge of youth unemployment by providing appropriate support to young people at the early stage of the entrepreneurial journey. 34 engagements were held across the country.

3. Issues in the Environment

3.1 President Jacob Zuma led the 23rd national Freedom Day celebrations on 27 April 2017 under the theme “The year of OR Tambo: Together deepening democracy and building safer and crime-free communities”.

The President’s engagement in Manguzi, Umhlabuyalingana forms part of a national anti-crime campaign, which is also a follow-up to the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme in March 2017. It highlights the need for urgent action to address cross-border crime especially car hijackings. Government is hard at work in the area to eradicate crime and to address issues from the Umhlabuyalingana community, including challenges around the Isimangaliso Wetland Park.

The celebrations reflect on the country’s achievements since 1994 while mindful of the work that still needs to be done in building a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa. In Freedom month we celebrate the contribution to our freedom and democracy, of former ANC President and national hero, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who would have turned 100 years old this year had he lived.

3.2 As part of the Freedom Month programme the Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, initiated a youth dialogue as part of on-going discussions with youth on what it means to them to “OWN YOUR FREEDOM”, the tag used to follow the discussion on social media.

Cabinet calls on youth to exercise their rights and responsibilities prudently and to respect those who fought for our freedom, that it being enjoyed by all in our democratic country.

3.3 Cabinet welcomes the first meeting of the South Africa-China high level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) which took place from 24 to 27 April. This was the realisation of an agreement from the 2015 State Visit to South Africa between President Jacob Zuma and President Xi Jinping. The IMC on the People-to-People Exchange Mechanism, led by Minister Nathi Mthethwa hosted Vice Premier Lui Yandong and delegates from the People’s Republic of China.

A range of cooperation agreements were signed falling within the two broad themes –Human Capital Development, and Research and Development. The growth of an inclusive economy characterised by radical socio-economic transformation goes hand in hand with building the capacities of our people, especially our youth at various levels.

Cabinet welcomes the donation of medical equipment (made in SA) from the Chinese government, as part of a cooperation agreement in health between Africa and China, this will contribute to improving the quality of services delivered in public hospitals.

Through the co-operation agreements both nations are committed to forge close mutual technical co-operation, teacher training and expertise exchanges in the field of education, particularly in Mathematics, Science and Technology as building blocks for the growth of knowledge economies. Other areas for enhanced cooperation include: culture; communications; health; science and technology; sports; tourism; women affairs and youth.

3.4 Cabinet conveys its condolences to the families and friends of the 235 people who lost their lives due to road accidents over the Easter holiday. The statistics for the period indicate that 50 per cent of the people who died were pedestrians, followed by passengers at 24 per cent and drivers at 19 per cent.

3.5 Cabinet also joins President Jacob Zuma in expressing deep sadness and shock at the passing of 18 school pupils, and two adults during a horrific minibus taxi accident in Bronkhorstspruit, outside Pretoria. We echo the call by President Zuma for law enforcement agencies to swiftly investigate the cause of the accident. 

Cabinet thanks all government departments, NGOs, professionals and businesses who are supporting the affected families as well as learners and staff members from Mahlenga High School and Refano Primary School during this difficult period.

The road carnage, particularly during holidays in South Africa, remains a pressing national concern. In many cases these fatalities could have been prevented through responsible behaviour and use of the country’s roads. Reckless and negligent driving are unacceptable and all South Africans are urged to take personal responsibility for their safety on our roads.

3.6 Cabinet commends the bus transport sector for returning to work after a violence free strike, showing the way for industrial protests. The Minister of Labour’s role must be acknowledged in facilitating the end of the strike for this very important sector of our economy.

3.7 Cabinet is concerned by the recent upswing in violence in Vuwani following the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to incorporate it into a new municipality. Cabinet strongly condemns the use of our children as a negotiation tool, the weeks of school shutdown dampens the future of these children who are placed under additional stress. Violence, intimidation, vandalism, or actions that lead to schools being destroyed or learners deprived from going to school has no place in our democracy.

Cabinet acknowledges the work done by the Inter Ministerial Committee, led by the Minister of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Mr Des Van Rooyen and the visit by Safety and Security Minister, Fikile Mbalula, and endorses the view that criminal activities including damage and destruction of property will not be tolerated. President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to meet with VhaVenda King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana and traditional leaders from Vhembe district in a bid to bring stability. Cabinet emphasises that money and resources spent on replacing damaged schools was meant for other programmes.

3.8 Cabinet also called for calm and stability following violent protests in Lichtenburg town and Blydeville Township, in Ditsobotla Local Municipality, North West. Schooling was disrupted, shops were looted and cars as well as several houses were burnt. North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, has appointed a team comprising five MECs and two mayors to investigate and address service delivery challenges in the area.

3.9 Cabinet appeals to the Coligny community, in North West to stop their violent protests and allow the South African Police Service in Coligny to complete their investigation into the death of a child, to ensure that justice is served.

Citizens are urged to raise their concerns through existing structures and within the bounds of the law.

3.10 Government commends law enforcement agencies for their response in bringing perpetrators of violence against women and children to book.

In this regard, Cabinet welcomes the swift actions taken by the Hawks’ Human Trafficking Unit and the South African Police Service’s Tactical Response Team who arrested a Durban-based pastor on a charge of human trafficking in Port Elizabeth.

It is the duty and responsibility of all South Africans to work with authorities to protect our women and children from predators and to ensure that we do our part in making our communities safer.

4. Messages

4.1 Cabinet congratulates Zolani Tete for claiming the World Boxing Organisation bantamweight title. This puts him in line for a world unification title – which means that he is now able to challenge for world titles at the four world major boxing associations: World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation.

4.2 Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma in sending condolences to the family and friends of legendary boxing mentor and trainer, Nick Durandt, who was known for his ability to produce champion boxers and for taking young boys out of the streets and making champions out of them.

5. Appointments

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

5.1 Presidential appointments of members to the National Consumer Tribunal, effective from the date of the relevant Presidential Minute:

Prof. Joseph Mandal Maseko (Executive Chairperson);
Ms Laura Best (Deputy Chairperson);
Mr Lulama Andisa Potwana (full-time member);
Ms Penelope Anne Beck (part-time member);
Adv. Hope Fiona Neo Sephoti (part-time member);
Ms Diane Reinette Terblanche (part-time member);
Ms Nomfundo Maseti (part-time member);
Ms Maleho Margaret Daisy Nkomo (part-time member);
Prof. Bonke Clayton Dumisa (part-time member);
Prof. Tanya Ann Woker (part-time member);
Prof. Kasturi Moodaliyar (part-time member);
Dr Maria Claudina du Toit (part-time member); and
Mr Xolela Christopher May (part-time member);
Mr Fungai Khumbulani Sibanda (part-time member);
Mr Lehlohonolo Lucky Rabotapi (part-time member);
Mr Trevor Albert Bailey (part-time member); and
Adv Frans Kgolela Manamela (part-time member).

5.2 Appointment of non-executive members to the Board of Armaments Corporation of South Africa, Limited (ARMSCOR):

Vice Admiral (retired) RJ Mudimu (Chairperson and re-appointment);
Ms Thuthukile Skweyiya (Deputy Chairperson and re-appointment);
Dr Moses Khanyile (re-appointment);
Mr Ndumiso M Tyibilika (re-appointment);
Mr Raymond Mlungwana Vokwana (re-appointment);
Adv Virginia Lee Anne De La Hunt (re-appointment);
Ms CE Simpson;
Ms T Mhlan; and
Ambassador TJ Ndhlovu.

5.3 Mr Kgabo Mahoai as the Director General to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
 

Enquiries: Willy Hlopheka Baloyi
Contact: 0833907147