Ministerial team to examine new immigration rules – Cabinet Phumla Williams | 11 June 2015

Also issues raised by Fitch Ratings are receiving govt’s attention at the highest level

Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 10 June 2015

1. Implementation of key government programmes

1.1. Cabinet was appraised on the outcomes reports for the fourth quarter(January-March 2015). It was satisfied on the progress that has been made in the implementation. Members of the Executive will undertake media and stakeholder-engagement activities to unpack the progress made in the implementation of the fourth quarter outcomes. Details will be communicated as soon as this schedule is finalised.

1.2. Cabinet welcomed the selection of 13 renewable energy producers during the fourth window of government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. These renewable energy producers (solar and wind power energy) will supply an additional 1 084 megawatts in support of the national grid and thus help the country to move closer towards a long-term sustainable energy supply.

1.3. Cabinet welcomes the 2013-2014 Local Government Audit Outcomes and applauds the performance of municipalities that showed a consistent improvement in almost all aspects of municipal-audit outcomes. An overwhelming 96% of auditees (municipalities and municipal entities) submitted their financial statements on time, which is a major improvement from 93% in 2012/13 and 78% in 2007/08.

The report recognises that a concerted effort was made to address irregular expenditure. Notable is the significant increase in the number of municipalities and municipal entities with unqualified audits from 30 in 2012/13 to 58 in 2013/14, with only seven in 2007/08 pointing to a steady trend towards good governance and sound financial management.

Auditees with financially unqualified opinions now account for 76% of the total local government expenditure budget of R315 billion. This means that almost eight out of every 10 rand spent by local government is spent by entities with financially unqualified statements.

Of the 335 municipalities and entities audited, 102 improved, 194 remained constant, 27 regressed while two were new and 10 were still outstanding. This reinforces more efficient and accountable basic service delivery in line with the ‘Back to Basics’ approach. Cabinet welcomes that as part of the Back to Basics Strategy, special attention will be given to the 50 municipalities that received disclaimed audit opinions, particularly the 25 that received disclaimed opinions for the past five years.

Cabinet also expresses its concern over those municipalities that continue to employ unqualified people and thereby undermine good governance practices. The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, working with the municipalities, will expedite the process of resolving these issues.

2. Key Cabinet decisions

2.1. Cabinet approved the Strategic Turnaround Plan of the South African Post Office (SAPO). This plan has assisted in diagnosing the root causes of problems and also identified key strategic interventions to turn the entity around. A new business model is being developed to reduce over reliance on mail business and move towards a balanced revenue mix. Cabinet is confident the strategy will move the SAPO forward. The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, together with the management of the SAPO, will hold a special media briefing to unpack the plan.

2.2. Cabinet approved that the feedback received on South Africa’s initial report on the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2000-2013), be tabled in Parliament. This report was received from the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Cabinet endorsed the governance mechanisms to ensure an integrated, coherent and participatory approach to the implementation of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child in compliance to the constitutional rights of children.

Submission of South Africa’s report is in line with international treaty laws and obligations. This report also serves as a barometer on how the nation is progressing on upholding children’s rights and well-being.

3. Cabinet’s position on current issues

3.1. Cabinet commends the successful hosting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in Cape Town last week, which reaffirms that the country is a world-class international destination for high profile events. WEF Africa provided a platform for government to showcase South Africa as an investment and business destination, which is critical to meeting the objective of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Cabinet also welcomes the significant role played by the media sector in ensuring that information from this critical event was carried across various platforms to allow issues to resonate with South Africans.

South Africa’s credit rating at BBB by Fitch Ratings reaffirms that the country remains open to foreign investment and further demonstrates government’s commitment to prudent fiscal management. Meanwhile, the issues raised by Fitch are receiving government’s attention at the highest level.

3.2. Cabinet welcomes the launch of the Media Landscape 2014 – Celebrating 20 Years of South Africa’s Media, which captures various aspects of the inspiring past 21 years in which media have played a critical role. Each chapter considers the media landscape from 1994 and reflects on how far we have come, while considering future challenges. Most of the stakeholders agree that much has been achieved in this discipline.

Cabinet urges those in the media, academia, civil society and government to read Media Landscape 2014, which provokes informed debate and discussion on the 20 years of the media in a democratic South Africa. The publication offers an objective and honest account of the country’s media sector. In the drafting process it fostered strong collaboration between government and the media industry, through leaders and civil society organisations.

3.3. Cabinet affirms its confidence in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to effectively execute its duties as mandated by our Constitution despite the recent change in its leadership.

The NPA remains steadfast in its work, and has the relevant structures and systems in place to continue to promote a crime-free society. In 2014 the organisation improved its conviction rate at all court levels with 93.6 per cent (273 641 cases) at district courts, 76 per cent (27 246 cases) at regional courts and 88 per cent (911 cases) at all high courts.

3.4. Cabinet welcomes the release of the first South African Stigma Surveyfocusing on attitudes around HIV and AIDS and TB at the 7th South African AIDS Conference, which is currently underway in Durban. The Stigma Survey, which is the largest in the world, provides practical and innovative actions and programmes to counter stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and TB.

3.5. Cabinet welcomed the success of Child Protection Week (CPW) and reiterates that our children are a bedrock of our country’s future and urges communities to protect them against neglect and abuse. Furthermore, Cabinet conveys its gratitude to all government agencies, civil society and social partners who are working tirelessly even beyond CPW to sensitise communities on protecting our children.

3.6. Cabinet welcomes the strong turnaround at Telkom in which government is a major shareholder, owning a 40% stake. The company’s turnaround has led to strong growth in revenue and a dividend for the first time since 2011 of 245 cents.

3.7. Cabinet was appraised with the implementation of the recent immigration legislation amendments and the immigration regulations of 2014, including the requirements for travelling with children through South Africa’s ports of entry, which came into operation on 1 June 2015.

Cabinet has however noted the views expressed by various sectors. In order to hear these views, Cabinet has resolved to set up a team of Ministers from both the economic and security clusters.

The team is expected to discuss and engage with the concerns with the aim of finding ways to address the unintended consequences brought about by the implementation of this regulations. This team will be convened by Minister Malusi Gigaba.

In addition, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration will also continue with its work to relook at all the aspects relating to migrants that are in the country. This work will assist to provide synergy between migration and our laws.

4. Upcoming events

4.1. President Jacob Zuma will attend Youth Day celebrations on 16 June 2015 at the Tshwane Events Centre, Gauteng under the theme: “Youth moving South Africa forward”.

The President will also conduct a Siyahlola visit to the Tshwane University of Technology South Campus at Soshanguve, Gauteng on 23 June 2015. This monitoring visit will focus on initiatives and interventions implemented to improve the lives of our youth and empower them to better participate in the economy of our country.

Cabinet calls on young people to take advantage of opportunities offered by government programmes such as the Community Works Programme, which demonstrates how partnerships make a difference to community infrastructure and services, and also grows work opportunities into sustainable jobs due to the transfer and development of skills.

Through the National Youth Development Agency, more young people are also being brought into the mainstream economy through their programmes that provide support to young entrepreneurs.

4.2. South Africa will join the continental-wide celebrations on 23 June 2015 to mark Africa Public Service Day under the theme: “The Role of Public Services in Women Empowerment, Innovation and Accessible Service Delivery”. The NDP also identified enhancing the capability of the State as being critical to achieving Vision 2030. Since 1994 the country has also made great strides with the representation of women in senior management positions in the Public Service, which was at 39.8 per cent in March 2014.

4.3. Cabinet calls on all South Africans to join government on World Refugee Day, 20 June 2015, in reaffirming the country’s international commitment to treat all refugees with dignity. As a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Refugee Convention and as a country that cherishes human rights, we have an obligation to protect the basic rights of refugees within our borders. In many instances these are vulnerable men, women and children who have been forced to flee their homelands and have done so with great courage, strength and determination.

4.4. The Department of Home Affairs, together with other government departments and agencies, will launch Operation Pyramid on 19 June 2015 at Skukuza, Mpumalanga under the theme: “Working together for safe and secure borders”. Operation Pyramid will better coordinate and align government’s and its agencies’ border projects, programmes and interventions. This transitional initiative will be operational until the scheduled establishment of the Border Management Agency in 2017. The secure, effective and efficient management of the cross-border movement of people and goods will be done in a manner that is consistent with the country’s national development priorities.

4.5. The 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, which will be marked on 26 June 2015, will be used to demonstrate progress made towards realising its ideals, and to show alignment between government policies and this historic document. The Freedom Charter is a foundation on which our world acclaimed Constitution is based; today it gives effect to the country we are building through our policies and programmes.

5. Appointments

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

5.1. Mr Zacharia Isak Modise as the National Commissioner of Correctional Services.

5.2. Ms Bernedette Muthien as the Deputy Director-General of Gender Mainstreaming at the Department of Women.

Statement issued by Ms Phumla Williams, Acting Cabinet Spokesperson, June 11 2015