Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 15 May 2013
1. Cabinet’s position on prominent issues in the current environment
1.1. Cabinet expressed concern at recent labour unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana Mine which has led to the downing of tools and a disruption of productivity. The dispute is reported as centering around issues of majority representation involving the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association for Mining and Construction Union.
Cabinet appeals to the leadership of both unions (NUM and AMCU) to resolve their dispute amicably and put the interests of the country and workers above everything else. Workers must be aware that the unprotected strike could have serious consequences not only for themselves, but for the future of the mine and that of their jobs.
Cabinet also appeals to Lonmin management to do everything possible to make sure that the problems are resolved as soon as possible without further damage. It is in the best interest of the country for both unions and management at Lonmin to demonstrate required levels of leadership and industrial relations management.
1.2. Cabinet fully supports the preliminary findings from the investigation into the unauthorised landing of a civilian aircraft at Waterkloof Air Force Base.
Cabinet stressed that the safety and sovereignty of South Africa is of paramount importance. Violation of laws and rules relevant to the ports of entry and facilities of strategic national importance must be dealt with firmly and without fear or favour. Those who are found to infringe and compromise regulations must face the full might of the law.
1.3. Cabinet welcomes the work by Government Departments which has been reported on by various Ministers during the departmental Budget Votes. Cabinet notes that the coverage afforded to the Budget Votes assists in empowering citizens with information and holding government accountable.
1.4. Cabinet welcomes the discussions between the Department of Basic Education and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) which led to the suspension of protest action.
Cabinet calls on all stakeholders in the education sector to resolve their disputes so that education of our young people is not compromised.
1.5. Cabinet noted the Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS) which shows an increase in the unemployment rate from 24,9 per cent to 25,2 per cent.
Government is accelerating measures, such as the state-led infrastructure drive, to increase employment through Public Sector interventions.
Government together with labour and business launched the Social Accord on Youth Employment in April 2013. This further demonstrates a collective commitment towards addressing the issue of unemployment. It maps out individual sector pledges to contribute in fighting youth unemployment with concrete targets and time frames for successful execution, monitoring and collective evaluation of the identified interventions.
Cabinet remains confident that measures already underway will assist the country to create new jobs and realise its target of five-million new jobs by 2020.
1.6. Cabinet welcomes the signing of an action plan to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Biodiversity Conservation and Protection between South Africa and Vietnam.
The Implementation Plan will run until 2017 and will assist efforts to combat crime involving wildlife, particularly rhino poaching. Cabinet reiterates that Government is committed to addressing the scourge of rhino poaching and reaffirms that perpetrators will be prosecuted.
1.7. Cabinet welcomes the announcement by the Department of Home Affairs to pilot the Smart ID card system, which further consolidates our national identity and enhances national security.
This key milestone holds the potential to speed up government services, while cutting down on crime and corruption involving identity documents.
Cabinet calls on South Africans to support this process so that by 2020 we are all in receipt of a Smart ID Card as a form of national identification.
1.8. Cabinet condemns the attack on a United Nations convoy in Abyei, Sudan, which resulted in the deaths of a tribal chief and an Ethiopian peacekeeper. This regrettable incident threatens the stability of Abyei as well as the progress recently achieved by Sudan and South Sudan.
1.9. Cabinet denounces the attack on Syria by the Israeli security forces. Cabinet calls on the United Nations to prevail on external forces to respect the sovereignty of Syria and to allow Syrians to work together in resolving their disputes.
1.10. Cabinet welcomed the inauguration of Advocate Lawrence Mushwana as the new Chairperson of the International Co-ordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. This is the first time that Africa heads the office of the Chairperson of the ICC. The position of ICC Chairperson secures increased focus on the country’s human rights track record and its compliance with international human rights obligations.
1.11. Cabinet welcomed that the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity which will be celebrated on Africa Day, 25 May 2013.
Cabinet highlighted that the solidarity of the OAU in excluding the apartheid government from its organs uplifted our struggle for freedom and attainment of democracy.
South Africa will join the continent in commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the African Union. The activities include a month-long exhibition of contemporary visual arts in the SADC region from 24 May to 28 June 2013. The Africa Institute of South Africa will also convene the academic community and diaspora as part of the commemorations on 19-21 May 2013. Furthermore, there will be an exhibition at the Ditsong Museum (City of Tshwane) to commemorate Africa Day on 21 May 2013 under the theme “50 Years after forming the Organisation of African Union – Africa must unite or Perish”. This will be followed by a Africa Day music concert at the Union Buildings on 25 May 2013.
1.12. Cabinet welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s speedy response to the invitation by a community member to visit the people of Eldorado Park and neighbouring Kliptown, on Tuesday, 14 May 2013. The community’s request was to discuss the escalating illegal drug trafficking and abuse problem in the area.
Government, together with the community, has committed to accelerate the intervention programme to stop the scourge that is destroying young people.
1.13. Cabinet welcomed the follow up visit by Deputy President Motlanthe, accompanied by leaders of the three spheres of government, to De Doorns in the Western Cape on Saturday 11 May 2013. The visit and dialogue with stakeholders including farmworkers stems from the initial visit of the Deputy President on 12 February 2013. Solid progress was noted from a number of departments in improving services in the area. The commitment demonstrated by all parties lays a solid foundation for ongoing engagement toward a sustainable agrarian sector.
2. Key Cabinet discussions and decisions
2.1. Cabinet was briefed on preparations for Child Protection Week (CPW) between 27 May and 2 June 2013, under the theme: “Working together to protect children.”
The child and youth dialogues are being conducted in all provinces as a build up to the launch of Child Protection Week and the Conference. As part of awareness-raising, Child Protection Week will be launched together with the orphans, vulnerable children and youth (OVCY) Conference on 27 May at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.
Cabinet calls on all South Africans to contribute towards the protection of our children and create a safe and secure environment. South Africans can visibly demonstrate their support by wearing a green ribbon as a symbol of life, growth, hope, care and support for our future leaders.
The focus of Child Protection Week and the Orphans, Vulnerable Children and Youth Conference is on child participation in our society and communities so that children are heard on matters affecting them.
2.2. Cabinet approved the National Aquaculture Policy Framework (NAPF). This policy provides a unified framework for the establishment and development of an industry that contributes towards sustainable job creation and increased investment.
The NAPF was developed against the backdrop of a global aquaculture sector that has seen an increased demand for fishery products. In South Africa, marine and freshwater aquaculture presents a good opportunity to diversify fish production to satisfy local demand, contribute to food security, job creation, economic development and rural development, and export opportunities.
2.3. Cabinet approved that South Africa hosts the Third Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in the fourth quarter of 2013, led by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Food security remains a major concern and the Conference will have positive implications for how we produce, manage and utilise food. Since COP17/CMP7, South Africa has been one of the leading countries in promoting climate smart agriculture, which responds to the challenges of food security and climate change. The Global Conference aims to develop forms of growth that are socially and environmentally sustainable.
2.4. Cabinet approved South Africa’s ratification of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Annex to the Southern African Development Community’s Protocol on Trade and for this to be submitted to Parliament.
The SADC Protocol on Trade to which South Africa has acceded serves to promote regional cooperation and integration amongst member states for trade in goods and services within the region, including agricultural products.
The SADC SPS Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade provides an enabling framework for SPS cooperation. It also promotes harmonisation of SPS measures based on international standards and guidelines in order to facilitate safe and fair trade of agriculture products in the region.
2.5. Cabinet was updated on progress relating to South Africa’s hosting of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) meetings in 2013, which includes the Inter-sessional meeting in Kimberley from 4 to 7 June and the KPCS Plenary in Gauteng from 26 to 29 November 2013. The hosting of the KPCS meetings will contribute to the promotion of the diamond industry and tourism.
South Africa’s position as chair of the KPCS gives recognition to the key role that South Africa plays in the international diamond sector. As the chair South Africa aims to strengthen international trade relations, with a view to consolidate and increase the African footprint within the KPCS and contribute to a safer global environment.
3.1. Cabinet approved the publication of the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill 2013 and Memorandum on the Objects of the Bill, for public comment.
This gives effect to the President’s 2013 State of Nation Address announcement on proposed amendments to the Restitution Act. This relates to extending the date for lodgment of claims for restitution, to enable those parties that did not submit claims by the closing date of 31 December 1998 or who were excluded from the process, to submit.
The re-opening of lodgment of claims is guided by the vision of the National Development Plan as well as the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme and other growth strategies intended to promote national reconciliation and social cohesion.
3.2. Cabinet approved the submission of the Electronic Communication Amendment Bill to Parliament.
The amendment was necessitated by the liberalisation of the electronic communications sector and rapid technological advancements which have rendered the continued presence of some provisions in the Act redundant. The Amendments seeks to deal with competition promotion limitation, access to electronic communications infrastructure, communication costs as well as improving turnaround time for consultative processes.
The Amendment Bill aligns the Act with broad-based black economic empowerment legislation; refines licensing issues; improves competition provisions; removes regulatory bottlenecks and provides for matters connected to this.
3.3. Cabinet approved the submission of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Amendment Bill to Parliament. The Amendment Bill responds to some of the issues in the National Development Plan (NDP).
The amendments of the Independent Communication Authority Act No. 13 of 2002 (ICASA Act) are underpinned by the need for institutional improvements to strengthen the independent Authority. This will be through the provision of clarity on aspects of its powers; to align the Act more closely to the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and to improve its efficiency. This is with a view to improve accountability and transparency which will contribute to sound governance practices within ICASA.
Government needs to play a greater role to ensure that the electronic communications sector is regulated in a manner that supports overall national goals. This should not be read to suggest any limitation on ICASA’s independence.
The importance of an independent and impartial regulator for the communications sector cannot be overemphasised.
4.1. Cabinet approved the appointment of Mr Ebrahim Mohamed as the Commissioner of the National Consumer Commission for a period of five (5) years.
Source: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), 16 May 2013