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Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 10 May 2017

1. World Economic Forum on Africa

1.1 Cabinet welcomes the successful hosting of the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) which saw President Jacob Zuma lead Team South Africa, Heads of State and Governments from the African continent, global captains of industry and commerce and civil society leadership. The conference was held under the theme: “Achieving inclusive growth: responsive and responsible leadership”.

1.2 This 27th session of the World Economic Forum on Africa reaffirmed to the world that South Africa remains part of the potential investment destination in the African continent. The organisers confirmed that more than 1 000 delegated attend the event, a number that is unprecedented when compared with previous WEFA.

1.3 The strong spirit of partnership between government and the business community during WEFA was extremely positive. The rich discussion afforded South Africa an opportunity to showcase progress it was making toward an inclusive economic growth and to demonstrate that South Africa is open to business.

South African remains committed to stay on course in implementing its National Development Plan to reduce levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The programmes of government in building our economy to also support our economic empowerment programmes particularly in small to medium businesses.

2. Transport

2.1 The launch of the new PRASA trains and train service, by President Jacob Zuma on 9 May 2017 at the Pretoria Station is part of government’s ongoing commitment to ensure affordable and reliable public transport, and boost the country’s economic infrastructure.  

2.2  The new Metrorail (Peoples’) trains are part of the new fleet that will be rolled out by government over the next 10 to 15 years as part of PRASA’s Modernisation Programme.

This initiative will create thousands of sustainable jobs and job opportunities, with the manufacturing plant for the new trains underway in Nigel, Ekurhuleni. It the beginning of the operationalisation of the French Agreement and Brazil signed between PRASA and Alstom.

2.3 The new state-of-the-art Metrorail (Peoples’) trains offers unparalleled levels of comfort and service, and will transform commuters’ travelling experience. It is part of government’s economic development through massive infrastructure development and it is disability friendly.

2.4 Cabinet made a call to all South Africans to be proud of and protect the new trains against acts of vandalism

3. Vuwani protest

3.1 Cabinet welcomes the successful intervention by President Zuma in Vuwani, Limpopo.The President met with His Majesty King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of Vha-Venda, and other community stakeholders to find amicable solutions to issues raised.

3.2 The meeting accepted His Majesty's proposal that the Vhembe District Municipality should provide services to the people of Vuwani while a lasting solution on the demarcation issue is being sought. The proposed resolution is in line with applicable legislation governing municipalities.

3.3  It was further decided that relevant national and provincial government departments should provide support to the district municipality to carry out this new mandate. The meeting however, emphasised that the decision does not mean that the new municipality (LIM 345) is being disestablished. This decision is part of government’s commitment to finding an inclusive solution.

3.4  The engagement of the President and all the stakeholders resulted in the schools, business returning back to normalcy. Cabinet commends the stakeholders for enforcing the implementation of the agreements brokered by the King. The President has committed to return back to the community of Vuwani to interact with the community on a date still to be finalised with his Majesty King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana and all the relevant stakeholders in the area.

3.5 Cabinet appeals to parents and the community to support  the departmental interventions to ensure that learners are back in class  and focus on learning and catching up through interventions being rolled out at all schools.

4. Violent protests

4.1 Cabinet urges communities to refrain from violence, intimidation and looting when they raise their concerns. The violence and acts of looting and the destruction of business properties that took place recently in Coligny, Eldorado Park, and Ennerdale is strongly condemned by Cabinet.

4.2 Cabinet calls on communities to raise their concerns in a manner that seeks solutions without necessarily destroy public property or infringing on the rights of other members of society.

4.3 The President made a call in 2015 during State of the Nation, calling on the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster to deal decisively with violent and destructive protest Cabinet reiterates this call that those who break the law will face the full might of the law.

4.4 Cabinet urges all stakeholders to engage with the view to speedily resolving the disputes in Ennerdale, Eldorado Park and Coligny.

5. Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act

5.1 Cabinet welcomes the signing of the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) Bill into law by President Zuma. South Africa as part of the global community that is aligned with fighting illegal financial activities, will be aligned to the international intervention that seek to fight money laundering and financing of terrorism.

5.2 This Bill will also contribute in strengthening the transparency and integrity of the South African financial system and make harder for criminals involved in tax evasion, money laundering and illicit financial flows to hide using the South African financial systems. It forms one of the number of instruments we have as a country to fight white collar crime in both private and public sector.

5.3 Cabinet was appraised by the Minister of Finance that consultations are ongoing and will be finalised soon so as to ensure the process of promulgation of the regulations that will effect the FICA Act.

6. Cabinet decisions

6.1 Minister of Finance briefed Cabinet on the recent IMF/World Bank Spring meetings, Investor Roadshow and the World Economic Forum on Africa meetings.  He further briefed on the G20 Compact with Africa proposals and the investor and Ratings agencies concerns. There was an extensive discussion on the world economic outlook, regional economic outlook and what we need to do to reverse the downgrades.

6.2 Cabinet re-iterated that it remains committed to the fiscal policy trajectory outlined in Budget 2017, the implementation of reforms to improve governance in state owned companies, maintain the expenditure ceiling and ensuring stabilisation of government debts. Government program me on fast-tracking the implementation of structural reforms aimed at boosting economic growth as contained in the 9 point plan remains relevant to address some the issued raised by the investor.

6.3 Cabinet welcomes the recently released report by EY Consultancy firm on the Foreign Direct Investment in Africa. The report names South Africa as one of the largest economic hub and that it is ranked second in 2017 Africa Attractiveness Index.

6.4 Cabinet welcomed the briefing which Minister of Finance will at a later stage brief on the outcome of these visits. Cabinet was also appraised on the upcoming visits by the Rating Agencies to interact with a number of organisations and government executives.

6.5 Cabinet approved the Draft Reviewed Rural Transport Strategy. The strategy responds to the priorities of rural district municipalities and provinces, by addressing the inadequate provision of Rural Transport Infrastructure and services which limits socio-economic development. Implementation of this strategy will contribute towards the development of the local and provincial economy by improving access to public transport. This will increase connectivity between urban and rural spaces, with a view to integrating the rural environment into the mainstream economy.

6.6 Cabinet approved the Comprehensive Maritime Transport Policy. This articulates Government’s commitment to the growth, development and transformation of South Africa’s maritime transport sector, in support of socio-economic development while contributing to international trade. This is in line with the government priorities relating to Operation Phakisa on growing the Oceans Economy. It is also aligned to broader goals of promoting economic growth and boosting job creation, as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP) and National Infrastructure Plan.

6.7 Cabinet approved the publication of the Draft Green Transport Strategy for public comments. Transport plays a key role in enabling global trade in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner. Transport systems form the backbone of South Africa’s socio-economic activities by enabling the movement of people and goods. However, emissions from the transport sector contribute to the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), with road transport being the leading contributor. 

The strategy seeks to propose interventions that will reduce GHG emissions within the sustainable development principles.

6.8 Cabinet approved that South Africa joins the Smart Africa Alliance. This is an African led collaboration focusing on developing relevant solutions and sharing resources to address the development challenges facing the continent. It places Information and Communications Technologies at the centre of the development agenda 2063 of the African countries.

South Africa will benefit both economically and politically through its participation in Smart Africa. By positioning the South African industry and expertise at the heart of Smart Africa’s development agenda, South Africa will contribute to the growth of local business in the region.

6.9 Cabinet approved the promulgation of the Department of Basic Education National Policy on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Tuberculosis (TB). The 1999 policy focused on universal precautions and biomedical aspects of prevention, and less on the structural, social and behavioural drivers of HIV.

This policy proposes a paradigm shift towards approaching HIV as a core management issue using a public health approach, as well as the inclusion of tuberculosis as a priority within schools, amongst others. The scope of application is widened to learners, educators and officials, in public as well as independent schools.

7. Bills

Cabinet approved the introduction of the Airports Company Amendment Bill, 2017 and the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Amendment Bill to Parliament.

The amends in these two Bills provide tor a permanent Regulatory Structure. Also the amendments provide for the setting up of appeal mechanism committees, which will serve in resolving on any dispute matters.

8. Upcoming events      

8.1 President Jacob Zuma will deliver the opening address at the 2017 Tourism Indaba which will be hosted at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban between 16 and 18 May 2017.

This is the international indaba that will again showcase South Africa’s products and services in the tourism and hospitality sector. Tourism Indaba 2017 will also promote and support the ongoing transformation and development of the South African tourism industry notably the role entrepreneurs and small business owners play.

In South Africa more than 10 million international tourists arrived in 2016, 13% more than 2015. This is well over the global average growth rate of 3 % for the period. During this period of Tourism indaba, South Africa will benefit from the number of delegates that will descent in our country.

8.2 The Minister of Energy Mmamoloko Kubayi will this month lead the Energy Month campaign under the theme “Promoting affordable and sustainable energy mix in support of radical socio-economic transformation’. The  campaign will educate, create awareness and engage the public on energy efficiency, energy security, alternative energy matters and how they are all central to household, commercial and industrial consumption.

8.3 The 2017 Departmental Budget Votes in May 2017 present an opportunity for the department present to the parliament and to the general public how they will be utilising the 2017 Budgets allocated to them. They will use these submissions to also share with the public what their programmes will entail for the current financial year. Cabinet calls on the public to engage with these presentations as they are presented through the Parliamentary process.

8.4 The Department of Water and Sanitation will host Sanitation Week between 16 and 22 May 2017 under the theme: “Sanitation for Health & Dignity”. Government has committed to bringing dignity to South Africans through the provision of sanitation services. The main focus during the week will be the priority Bucket Eradication Programme. This will see the handover of waterborne sanitation to communities in the Nketoana Local Municipality, Free State and Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality, Northern Cape as part of accelerating services to replace bucket toilets.

8.5 South Africa is celebrating the Africa Month under the theme: Building a better Africa and a Better World. A number of activities are taking place led by the Department of Arts and Culture which are aimed at promoting African unity. The activities will culminated on the 25 May 2017 wherein President Zuma will host a luncheon at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential guesthouse. Invited to the luncheon will be the leaders of organisations of foreign national resident in South Africa which the President had met with during 2015.

9. SANDF deployment

9.1  Cabinet welcomes the decision by President Jacob Zuma to extend the deployment of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is in an effort to contribute to peace and stability on the African continent and in particular the region in line with our international obligations and our foreign policy of contributing to a better Africa and world.

9.2 A total 1 371 members of the SANDF are deployed in the DRC in support of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission. Their deployment has been extended from 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

9.3  Our deployments on the continent are in continued support of regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, promote peace and security, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development in Africa.

10. National Orders
10.1 Cabinet congratulates all the recipients of the 2017 National Orders. In the year of OR Tambo they have shown us the power of working towards a better South Africa and better nation. We draw inspiration from their achievements, their dedication, passion and willingness to advance humanity.

The Order of Ikhamanga in Gold(1),The Order of Ikhamanga in Silver(7),The Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze(1),The Order of the Baibab in Gold(1),The Order of the Baobab in Silver(2),The Order of the Baobab in Bronze(2),The Order of Luthuli in Silver(29),The Order of Luthuli in Bronze(1),The Order of Mapungubwe in Silver(2),The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in Gold(1).

10.2 The release of the 17th Commission for Employment Equity Report by the Minster of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant shows the stubbornly slow pace of transformation at various workplaces in the South African labour market. The Report demonstrates that we are still far from achieving a workforce that is truly representative of our nation. African People, Women and Persons with Disabilities remain severely under-represented in all aspects of the Employment Equity.

10.3 The report showed that white people occupied 68% of the country’s top management positions in the public and private sectors, six times the group’s economically active population. Africans made up only 14.4% of top management.

10.4  Given the urgent need to transform the economy and ensure inclusive growth, this is simply not good enough. Cabinet welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Labour that her department is considering adopting harsher consequences for noncompliance.

11. Messages

11.1 Cabinet joins President Jacob Zuma in congratulating Mr Emmanuel Macron, President-elect of the Republic of France, following his victory on 7 May 2017 of the French presidential elections. South Africa looks forward to working with the French government under the leadership of Mr Macron to consolidate the already strong political, economic and trade ties between South Africa and France.

11.2 Cabinet congratulates the former mayor of Johannesburg, and South African Local Government Association chairperson, Parks Tau on his appointment as co-chair of the United Nations High Level Independent Panel to oversee the effectiveness of the Habitat III.

The programme was adopted by the UN to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanisation.

11.3 The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) took home the best foreign exhibitor award at the 58th Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

This acknowledges the outstanding efforts by Team South Africa towards ensuring the country’s commitment to building partnerships with Zimbabwe yielded the desired economic gains.

11.4 Cabinet extended condolences to the government and the people of the Republic of Tanzania on the tragic bus accident that resulted in death of 36 people, 33 of them children.

12. Appointments    

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

12.1 Board Member to the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors:

a) Ms Amanda L Mazibuko (re-appointment);
b) Mr Abel Dlamini (re-appointment);
c) Mr Thiru Pillay (re-appointment;
d) Ms Nkabaneng T Mashile;
e) Ms Zuziwe Ntsalaze;
f) Mr Mohamad I Motala;
g) Mr Madoda A Petros; and
h) Ms Martie J Janse van Rensburg

12.2 Reappointment of Ms Cedric Monwabisi Masondo as the Managing Director and Executive Director of Special Risk Insurance Association (SASRIA) SOC LTD.

Phumla Williams
Contact: 083 501 0139