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Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 29 March 2017

Cabinet met on Wednesday, 29 March 2017 at the Union Buildings. President Jacob Zuma chaired the Cabinet meeting, which was postponed to later in the afternoon, to enable members to attend the funeral of struggle stalwart Mr Ahmed Kathrada.

The meeting took place as the country moves from Human Rights Month and commemorating sacrifices in our struggle for democracy towards celebrating Freedom Month which saw the first democratic elections in 1994 give birth to freedom and constitutional democracy in South Africa.

1. Cabinet decisions

1.1. Cabinet approved the ninth annual iteration of the Industrial Policy Action (IPAP) 2017/18 to 2019/20 which addresses the key challenges of economic and industrial growth and race based poverty, inequality and unemployment. This is a key component of President Jacob Zuma’s Nine Point Plan and is aligned to the policy perspective of Radical Economic Transformation.

IPAP has scored significant successes in a number of key areas: saving many firms and jobs, supporting sectors which are indispensable to South Africa’s’ prospects for longer term industrialisation and opening new areas of economic growth to build on our comparative advantage and create globally competitive industrial capabilities.

Drivers of IPAP 2017-2020 include: a redoubled commitment to Radical Economic Transformation; ongoing efforts to secure shared and inclusive growth; rapid acceleration of the Black Industrialist Programme, and a much stronger and ongoing focus on labour intensity across the value chains that link the primary sectors of the economy to the manufacturing and services sectors coupled with a stepped-up export effort.

1.2. Cabinet was briefed on the findings of the 2014/15 National Survey of Research and Experimental Development (R&D Survey).

South Africa’s Gross Expenditure of R&D (GERD) was R29, 345 billion in 2014/15. This is a nominal increase of 14.4% from R25, 661 billion in 2013/14. This is the fourth consecutive year that GERD has increased after the contraction in 2009/10 and 2010/11. GERD as a percentage of GDP, a key indicator of R&D intensity in the economy, increased to 0, 77% in 2014/15.

Adequate and appropriate investment in R&D is required to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan.

1.3. Cabinet supports the first biennial report on The State of Climate Change Science and Technology in South Africa.

The Report, which will be made widely available, provides a critical assessment and comparative overview of climate change scientific research and related technological innovations. It makes eight recommendations to improve the state of climate change science and technology in South Africa and position the country as a continental and global player in climate change science and technology. This will be used to strengthen, mitigation and adaptation strategies against climate change.

1.4. Cabinet approved the publication of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMME) Support Strategy for public comment. The Strategy aims to develop strategic interventions to accelerate the development and growth of small enterprises in the ICT sector, and to facilitate increase in the levels of uptake and usage of ICTs by the general small business sector.

1.5. Cabinet approved publication of the National E-Strategy for public comment.

The e-Strategy articulates the vision for the development of an inclusive information society and knowledge economy for the country that is based on the needs of the citizens, business and public sector. This provides a platform for South Africans to integrate technology in their lives in a manner that is beneficial to society as a whole.

The aim is to develop a people centric caring knowledge based society, transforming the South African society and the economy based on access and utilisation of modern information communication technologies.

1.6. Cabinet approved publication of the National e-Government Strategy and Roadmap for public comment.
This Strategy guides the digital transformation of the public service into an inclusive digital society, so as to better enable citizens to benefit from the opportunities offered by digital technologies to improve their quality of life.

This will contribute towards the realisation of the objectives of the National Development Plan as well as leverage Government plans and programmes to provide Government services in an effective manner.

1.7. Cabinet approved the National Road Safety Strategy 2016-2030. This addresses the challenges and gaps identified by the Department of Transport on the implementation of the previous strategies, including the 2006 National Road Safety Strategy.

This contributes to the attainment of the National Development Plan goal to “reduce injuries, accidents, and violence by 50% from 2010 levels”. It also responds to the need to create an efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network to ensure safe and secure road infrastructure.

Road crashes have a dire consequence on families and communities as they result in a loss of life and place an increased burden on the social security and welfare system.

1.8. Cabinet approved publication of the Draft National Tourism Sector Strategy for public comment. This is South Africa’s tourism growth and development framework.

The Strategy aims to increase direct contribution of tourism to the economy from R118 billion to R302 billion by 2026 through collaborative planning, and the implementation of agreed priority actions.

Implementation of the current National Tourism Sector Strategy has contributed to significant growth in terms of tourist volumes, contribution to Gross Domestic Product, and a significant positive trade balance and job creation. The next growth phase focusses on inclusive growth and transformation in the sector.

1.9. Cabinet approved the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculosis (TB) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) 2017-2022.

South Africa’s response to the HIV and TB epidemics means that the average South African now lives nearly a decade longer than they did in 2004. The rate of HIV infections have declined as have deaths from TB.

This fourth NSP seeks to scale up successes while introducing new strategies to prevent new infections, identify infected people sooner and successfully treat and care for them. It outlines the strategic framework for a multi-sectoral partnership to accelerate progress in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with HIV, TB and STIs. This is aligned to the National Development Plan which acknowledges the profound effect that HIV and TB have in slowing national development.

1.10. Cabinet was briefed on the Ministerial Committee Report on the draft Policy Framework for Disability in the Post-School Education and Training System, which made recommendations towards the development of a Strategic Disability Policy Framework.

This gives expression to the Constitution on the removal of barriers to integrating vulnerable groups in mainstream society as participating members of society.

1.11. Cabinet approved the submission of the Revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States to Parliament for ratification. The Minister of Higher Education and Training will deposit the ratified instrument with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

This Revised Convention aims to provide an enabling environment across African States for the recognition of higher education qualifications such as certificates, diplomas, degrees and other academic qualifications herby allowing for the mobility of learners, academics and workers across the continent.

1.12. Cabinet approved the publication of the National Policy for an Integrated Career Development System for South Africa, for public comment.

The Policy provides for an enabling environment for Career Development Services provision through policies, guidelines, protocols, mechanisms, structures, shared responsibilities and collaboration. This will go further in ensuring that all citizens of all ages, have access to quality career information and career development services throughout their lives, so that they are able to make better and more informed career and life decisions that deliver high levels of employment and help to increase sustainable economic growth in the country and enhance their full participation in the overall development of South Africa.

This is aligned to the National Development Plan which recommends the promotion of economic growth and employment, matching of unemployed workers to jobs, increasing skills development and the numbers of university graduates.

1.13. Cabinet was briefed on progress made on the Review of the Criminal Justice System and on the modernisation of the Criminal Justice System through the Integrated Justice System Programme.

Cabinet approved the broad framework for the development of an Integrated Criminal Justice System which will address challenges and shortcomings across the criminal justice value chain.

The Integrated Criminal Justice System is geared towards strengthening the cooperation and integration of law enforcement agencies in realising the strategic objective of the National Development Plan – of building safer communities and creating a resilient anti-corruption Criminal Justice System. This contributes to the Outcome that All People in South Africa are and Feel Safe.

1.14. Cabinet approved for the release of a Discussion Document for public consultation purposes which will result in the development of “a whole of government and societal approach” National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

The Strategy is intended to address corruption, both in the public and private sectors as identified in the National Development Plan. The measures introduced aim to create a resilient anti-corruption system that promotes multi-sectoral collaboration across all sectors.

1.15. Cabinet approved the new White Paper on International Migration. This is a policy framework that will guide the comprehensive review of immigration and other related legislation.

The White Paper affirms South Africa’s sovereign right to determine the admission and residence conditions for foreign nationals in line with its national interest. It provides a progressive vision for South Africa to maximise the benefits of well-managed international migration while minimising the associated risks. International migration should be embraced while guarding sovereignty, peace and security.

1.16. Cabinet supports the Naturalisation Ceremony to be conducted by the Department of Home Affairs and approves that it be compulsory for persons who are granted citizenship by naturalisation to attend the ceremony. Cabinet also approved that magistrate courts, amongst others, be utilised for conducting Naturalisation ceremonies.

The Ceremony provides an opportunity to induct new citizens on their rights and responsibilities and to take an oath of allegiance in front of the Minister. This will contribute to social cohesion by highlighting the need for South Africans to welcome foreign nationals who have acquired South African citizenship.

1.17. Cabinet was briefed on the work done by the Presidential Creative Industries Task Team of Deputy Ministers. The Task Team chaired by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency provides a strategic platform for decision-makers in government, civil society and the private sector to discuss collective action that will accelerate transformation in the creative industry. Issues that are dealt with include: piracy, copyright protection and infringement, local content and airplay, social security including income smoothing, organisation the industry in particular performers, transformation of the sector and skills development.

The work of the Task Team supports government’s Mzansi Golden Economy, which facilities employment creation, enhances both social equity and competitiveness and mobilises domestic investment around activities that could create sustainable employment. Working with many industry players and across government departments, the Task Team initiated a number of interventions to unlock and optimize the performance industry throughout the value chain some of which include the introduction of the Copyright Amendment Bill and the Performers Protection Bill to Parliament; improvement of frequency of anti-piracy raids etc.  

1.18. Cabinet approved South Africa’s revised offer in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade in Services Negotiation relating to the construction and transport sectors.

This promotes domestic growth of priority sectors including by expanding the market access opportunities for South African service exports.

Service liberalisation represents a key step in the deeper integration of SADC and contributes to the establishment of a regional market that will support the emergence and development of regional firms to provide services to a larger regional market. This contributes to the National Development Plan’s objectives of promoting regional economic integration and the development of the African continent.

1.19. Cabinet approved the tabling of the accession to the Amended Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean, in Parliament.

This provides a mechanism for regional cooperation, coordination and collaborative actions in the Eastern and Southern African region. This will enable Contracting Parties to harness resources and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups towards solving interlinked problems of the coastal and marine environment including critical national and transboundary issues.

Accession will combat pollution and ensure sound environmental management of coastal and marine resources which affects food security, health and potential for economic growth.

1.20. Cabinet was briefed on the outcomes of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the 12th Session of the Conference of Parties serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), which was held from 7 to 18 November 2016, Marrakech Morocco.

Marrakesh COP 22 was an important transitional moment from years of negotiations that produced the Paris Agreement to implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions. COP 22 objectives were largely achieved in line with the South African mandate.

1.21. Cabinet approved the South African negotiating mandate to serve as a basis for engagement at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention (COPs), to be held from 24 April to 5 May 2017 in Geneva.

The aim is to work towards environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste in order to embrace sustainability of human health and the environment.

1.22. Cabinet approved the submission of the Initial Country Report on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The attainment of socioeconomic rights forms a vital part of the Constitution and the National Development Plan. Since the advent of democracy South Africa has made important strides in progressively realising the socio-economic rights of her people. In the past 18 years we have built democratic institutions, transformed the public service, extended basic service, stabilised the economy and taken our rightful place in the family of nations. Despite these successes poverty, inequality and unemployment remain our key challenges.

2. Bills

2.1. Cabinet approved the introduction of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill, 2017 into Parliament. The Bill provides for a social security scheme for victims of road accidents by making provision for a new motor vehicle accident benefit scheme called the Road Accident Benefit Scheme, replacing the current Road Accident Fund.

2.2. Cabinet approved publication of the Repeal of the Overvaal Resorts Limited Bill, 2017 for public comment. This repeals the Overvaal Resorts Limited Act 123 of 1997, which is the founding legislation of Aventura. This complete the disposal/ winding down of Aventura.

Cabinet took a decision on 22 August 2001 to dispose of Aventura resorts which were considered non-core assets of Government.

2.3. Cabinet approved the introduction of the Defence Amendment Bill, 2017 into Parliament. The Bill aligns the Defence Act, 2002 (Act No 42 of 2002) with current Departmental organisational requirements that will enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence. The amendments are organisational in nature and apply internally to the Department of Defence.

2.4. Cabinet approved the introduction of the Legal Practice Amendment Bill, 2017 into Parliament.

The Bill amends the Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act 28 of 2014) in order to address practical and technical issues of a non-contentious nature.

The Bill also seeks to regulate the prescription of the areas of jurisdiction of the Provincial Councils, to provide that only practicing legal practitioners may perform certain acts or render certain services, to further regulate the duties of banks in respect of trust accounts, to regulate the duration of the National Forum on the Legal Profession and to provide for the dissolution date of the law societies.

3. Community Engagement

3.1. Members of the Executive across the three spheres of government will interact with South Africans countrywide during the National Imbizo Focus Week from 17 to 23 April 2017 under the theme “Together we move South Africa forward”.

Cabinet encourages all South Africans to be active and responsible citizens, engage government leaders on programmes that are being implemented to improve people’s lives and hold them to account. GCIS will coordinate the programme, details of which will be available on www.gov.za.

4. Implementation of Government Programmes

4.1. President Jacob Zuma will convene the third Presidential Local Government Summit from 6 to 7 April 2017 under the theme ”Transforming Municipal Spaces for Radical Social and Economic Development”.

The Summit will focus on strengthening the local government system as part of the second phase of the Back to Basics programme. In addition, it will address spatial injustice and spatial dislocation which continue to impact on the lives of our people.

Other areas include: building resilient communities to avoid and reduce the impact of disasters; and forging whole-of government agreements to advance radical social and economic transformation at a local level.

Local government is everybody's business – Cabinet calls on public and private stakeholders, civil society and the business community at large to rally behind the programmes aimed at supporting municipalities.

4.2. The 3rd Local Government Tourism Conference will take place from 3 to 4 April 2017 at Emperors Palace, Gauteng under the theme: '"Tourism planning is everybody’s business.” The conference will focus on growing tourism in the country by integrating it into all provincial and municipal growth and development strategies.

4.3. The South African National Parks (SANParks) will host a Tourism Investment Summit on 4 April 2017, focusing on 55 new investment opportunities. Over the past 15 years, SANParks has progressively increased the number of Public Private Partnership’s transactions, covering a wide range of projects, including accommodation, restaurants, retail, activities, Skukuza airport and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

4.4. President Jacob Zuma, as the Chairperson of the Heads of State Committee on the United Nations (UN) High Level Panel on Water, officially opened the United Nations World Water Day Summit and Expo and also launched the 17th edition of UN’s World Water Development Report, which focuses on the critical role of wastewater management for vibrant economies, resilient societies and the maintenance of healthy environments across the globe.

Cabinet welcomes the pledge by the High Level Panel on Water to work closely with all water stakeholders to ensure water related targets of 2030 Agenda and beyond are achieved.

The Sustainable Development Goals include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. Water and sanitation is at the core of sustainable development, critical to human survival and the environment.

4.5. Government's National One Stop which was launched by President Zuma on 17 March 2017, is now operational and open for business to all investors. It serves as a focal point and an interdepartmental clearing house to providing a streamlined and professional service to those wanting to set up a business or invest in South Africa. All these services are now available under one roof.

4.6. President Jacob Zuma has expanded the reach of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Migration by including all Provincial Premiers and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) as members.

This will ensure a coordinated focus on all aspects of migration including South Africa’s migration policy, ways in which various sectors can work with government to promote orderly migration and the fostering of good relations between citizens and foreign nationals.

4.7. As we conclude Human Rights Month Cabinet thanks South Africans who joined the nation’s celebration on Human Rights Day, which honoured our struggle heroes who fought for the many rights we enjoy today. This included commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the death of Bantu Steve Biko.

Celebration of our national heroes ensures that our youth and future generations know and understand their contribution and what they stood for.

4.8. We have witnessed an alarming increase in the number of racist incidents, which detracts from the gains that we have made as a democracy.

We must cherish that we live in a country that enshrines human rights and dignity. These gains came at a great price. People lost their lives. We should never forget the sacrifices that were made for our freedom and democracy. We must continue to build a South Africa that will enshrine the human rights of all, regardless of their class, gender or geographical location.

4.9. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to join in National Freedom Day and Freedom Month celebrations. Freedom Month and National Freedom Day marks the dawn of freedom and democracy in our country, and our journey from a country which was marred by hatred and divisions to a society where we build a common future.

Freedom Month celebrations promote the National Development Plan as our long-term vision for partnerships to attain the South Africa as articulated in the Constitution, our Bill of Rights and the historic Freedom Charter of 1955.

4.10. Cabinet invites all high school learners to participate in the 2017 SADC secondary schools essay competition, which is open to all secondary schools students in the SADC region.

The topic for the SADC Secondary School Essay Competition for 2017 is "Harnessing Sustainable Energy for Regional Economic Development"

The Department of Basic Education will assist learners who wish to enter the essay competition. Three selected essays from each province will be forwarded to the Department of Basic Education by 5 May 2017. The three national winning essays will be submitted to the SADC Secretariat on 31 May 2017.

5. Issues in the Environment

5.1. Government has welcomed the Constitutional Court’s judgement on the payment of grants. The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Comprehensive Social Security, chaired by President Jacob Zuma has been hard at work to ensure that Government continues to pay more than 17 million social grants to qualifying beneficiaries from 1 April 2017.

Beneficiaries receiving social grants from merchants and banks will be paid on 1 April 2017 while those using SASSA pay points will be paid from 3 April 2017. Social grant beneficiaries must take note of their respective pay days, which appears on the slips received on their previous pay date, in March 2017. The SASSA call centre, toll free: 0800 60 10 11 will be open to assist beneficiaries with all their enquiries. Arrangements have been made to ensure that the SOCPEN system is available for investigation and verification of the status of grant applications.

Government’s social assistance programme remains an important safety net for millions of South Africans. It is at the heart of government’s poverty alleviation programme, and has helped to restore the dignity of our people. We are a caring Government continually striving to improve the living conditions of poor, vulnerable and underprivileged South Africans.

5.2. Cabinet affirms that the rights and safety of all women in our society must be protected. The recent incidents of sexual assault on women, particularly by taxi drivers is a cause for concern.
Cabinet commends the brave women who have come forward to report these incidents and appeals to communities to assist to find the perpetrators of violence against women and children.

5.3. Cabinet reiterates the commitments made by President Jacob Zuma’s during his address at the 17th National Teachers' Awards: that Action will be taken against teachers who continue to use corporal punishment in schools, this is unlawful and action will be taken against teachers who break the law and violate the dignity and personal safety of children. The problem of teenage pregnancies and crime in some schools, such as gang violence, drugs, alcohol and bullying are also being prioritised.

5.4. Cabinet has noted with concern increasing incidents of taxi violence in some parts of the country. All role players in the taxi industry are urged to engage in dialogue and seek solutions to the underlying issues so that they don't negatively affect commuters who depend on their services. Cabinet calls on the transport sector and law enforcement agencies to work together to tackle the resurgence of taxi violence.

5.5. Cabinet is deeply concerned over the break-in at the offices of the Chief Justice where several computers were stolen. Such acts of criminality strike at the very heart of our constitutional democracy and have no place in our society.

The Justice Crime Prevention and Security cluster reiterates its commitment to fighting crime and calls on communities to report suspicious activities to relevant authorities.

5.6. Cabinet welcomes the Competition Commission’s investigation into allegations of cartel conduct in the fresh produce sector and awaits its speedy conclusion. Uncompetitive behaviour affects the most country’s most vulnerable households and undermines our national effort to increase the participation of emerging market black farmers in this market.

We applaud the work of the Commission in protecting and upholding the rights of consumers, and our communities.  

5.7. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has requested the Brazilian authority to provide official information and a list of establishments that have been identified in the issue regarding unsafe meat being exported to various countries, which could include South Africa.

The Brazilian authority has been advised to ban all exportation of meat from such establishments until the issue has been resolved to the satisfaction of the South African Veterinary Authority.

5.8. President Jacob Zuma has declared a Special Official Funeral for the late Rivonia Treason Trialist and stalwart of the liberation struggle for a free and democratic South Africa, Mr Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada.
Cabinet joins President Zuma in sending their deepest condolences to his partner, former minister of Public Enterprises Ms Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family and his political home, the African National Congress, which Uncle Kathy served selflessly throughout his adult life.

An official memorial service will be organised and the details will be announced in due course.

5.9. Cabinet conveyed condolences to the family and friends of Bloemfontein Celtic founder Dr Petrus Rantlai Molemela. His legacy of a distinguished and much-respected career in South African soccer administration contributed to sport and development of the community.

5.10. Cabinet extended its heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of legendary actor and filmmaker Mr Joe “Sdumo” Mafela popularly known as ‘Sdumo’. He will be remembered for his immense contribution to our cultural landscape.

6. Appointments

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

6.1. Board of the Technology Innovation Agency:

a) Mr Edward Christian Kieswetter (Chairperson);
b) Dr Steven Lennon;
c) Ms Joy Sebenzile Matsebula;
d) Mr Thabiso Ramasike;
e) Ms Fuzlin Levy-Hassen;
f) Ms Patience Lethabo Mlengana;
g) Mr Mzwandile Madikizela;
h) Dr Jan van de Loosdrecht;
i) Dr Judy Coates; and
j) Prof Roy Marcus.

6.2. Postbank Board of Directors:

a) Ms Boitumelo Mothelesi;
b) Mr Edward Netshivhulana;
c) Ms Leonora Noluphumzo Noxaka;
d) Mr Ashley Cavel Seymour; and
e) Mr Mark Barnes.

6.3. Re-appointment of Ms Nomsa Motshegare as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Credit Regulator.

6.4. Ms Zodwa Ntuli as the Commissioner for the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Commission.

6.5. Companies Tribunal:

a) Adv Mohammed Alli Chicktay (Chairperson);
b) Ms Bongekile Zulu;
c) Ms Ishara Kamini Bodasing;
d) Mr Lindelani Daniel Sikhitha;
e) Prof Petrus Albertus Delport (re-appointment);
f) Mr Maake Francis Kganyago (re-appointment);
g) Mr Khashane Manamela (re-appointment);
h) Ms Lucia Glass (re-appointment);
i) Ms Khatija Tootla (re-appointment); and
j) Ms Matshego Jacqueline Ramagaga.

6.6. Mr Jeremiah Lengoasa as the Chief Executive Officer of the South African Weather Service.

Enquiries:
Donald Liphoko
Contact: 082 901 0766