Statement on virtual Cabinet Meeting of 10 February 2021
A. ISSUES IN THE ENVIRONMENT
1. State of the Nation Address (SoNA)
1.1. President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the 2021 SoNA on Thursday, 11 February 2021 from 19:00. The SoNA comes at a time when we all have to stand together to overcome the impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, improve the lives of South Africans and grow our economy. Cabinet encourages all sectors of society to work together to ensure a new social compact that will set us on a path to make South Africa a better place for all.
1.2. All South Africans are urged to use the President’s address as a rallying point to turn around our economy, end gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) and tackle the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The Post-SoNA media briefings will unpack government’s Programme of Action for 2021/22.
2.1. Cabinet welcomed the R16-billion investment by the Ford Motor Company of South Africa in its Silverton plant. This investment will increase the country’s automotive export output and create about 1 200 direct jobs.
2.2. It forms part of the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone that was launched in 2019 to create the biggest manufacturing hub in Africa. It has attracted 12 automotive component suppliers and the construction of their factories have commenced, to the value of R4.33 billion. These investments affirm South Africa’s attractiveness as an investment destination and demonstrate the confidence that global automotive producers have in our country.
3. COVID-19 vaccine roll-out
3.1. Government has prioritised the country’s vaccination programme to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cabinet reassures South Africans that this programme remains on track. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will now be used instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
3.2. This change follows the comprehensive research conducted by medical scientists which showed that the AstraZeneca had a minimal efficacy against the COVID-19 501Y.V2 variant. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has proven effective against the 501Y.V2 variant that is predominately found in the country.
3.3. Cabinet commended the work of the scientists and researchers who made the breakthrough on the efficacy of the vaccines against the 501Y.V2 variant. This affirms the country’s well-established scientific capability that is recognised the* world over.
3.4. The procurement of the AstraZeneca vaccine was based on its proven efficacy before the discovery of the 501Y.V2 variant in the country. The consignment that was received from the Serum Institute of India on 1 February 2021 has not expired and was within the period of the roll-out of the first phase of the vaccination programme.
3.5. Cabinet expressed confidence on the planned vaccine roll-out that will commence with the more than 1.2 million frontline healthcare workers. The Department of Health, working with National Treasury, will continue to procure more vaccines to ensure the country achieves its population immunity.
3.6. To ensure the smooth vaccine roll-out, the Department of Health has launched the Electronic Vaccine Data System that can be accessed at https://sacoronavirus.co.za/evds/tscs/(link is external). Cabinet encourages those eligible for the first phase to self-register for their vaccination.
3.7. Cabinet urges all people in South Africa to continue adhering to the safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections by avoiding large gatherings, washing hands with water and soap or a 70% alcohol-based sanitiser, wearing masks in public places and maintaining the 1.5 metres social distance.
4. GBVF Response Fund
4.1. Cabinet welcomed the launch of the GBVF Response Fund set up by the private sector. The fund will strengthen the country’s response to GBVF and the implementation programme of the adopted National Strategic Plan on GBVF.
4.2. This fund gives effect to one of the resolutions from the Declaration of the GBVF Summit held in 2018, which calls on all social partners in the country – including government, civil society and other role players – to work together to find lasting interventions to end GBV.
4.3. Cabinet welcomed the two life sentences handed down to Lungile Nxelelwa at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court for the rape and murder of 27-year-old Keneilwe Pule of Sebokeng in 2019.
4.4. Cabinet also commended law-enforcement agencies for their good work after the Lebowakgomo Regional Court sentenced a 27-year-old man from Ga-Tamatis in Limpopo to life behind bars after he was found guilty of raping a 14-year-old disabled girl.
4.5. Cabinet reiterated that it would continue working tirelessly to strengthen the country’s justice system to deal harshly with perpetrators of GBVF, ensure speedy justice for victims and provide for safe communities. It also called on all sectors of society to join the fight to end the cycle of violence against women and children by reporting perpetrators to the police.
5. African Union (AU)
5.1. South Africa’s term as Chair of the AU has ended following an unprecedented year for the continent and the world. South Africa’s term was severely impacted by COVID-19, which has affected all the countries on the continent. Despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic, South Africa successfully moved the AU agenda forward, particularly how the continent responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
5.2. During South Africa’s chairship, the African Continental Free Trade Area was launched, heralding a new era of intra-African trade and economic integration. South Africa actively contributed to the AU’s peacekeeping initiatives in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
5.3. Cabinet congratulated President Ramaphosa for his leadership during this tenure and his unanimous appointment as the Champion of the AU Response Fund to COVID-19. Beyond South Africa’s tenure, Cabinet will support the continued fight towards the economic empowerment of women in Africa throughout the declared Decade of African Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion to 2030.
6. Severe weather
6.1. Cabinet received an update on the implementation of a disaster management national seasonal contingency plan as well as an integrated response to Tropical Cyclone Eloise and associated rainfall conditions. Cabinet conveyed its deepest condolences to all who lost loved ones during the recent heavy storms and wished those injured a speedy recovery. Government continues to work with communities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist those who lost their homes during the heavy rains.
6.2. The heavy rainfall resulted in damage of infrastructure in various provinces. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has warned of further possible flooding in Limpopo, the Free State and North West in the coming days. Cabinet has urged people to exercise extreme caution during severe weather conditions. Members of the public are advised to rather stay indoors during heavy rain and stormy weather.
6.3. The SAWS will continue to submit daily and weekly weather forecasts, and also alert the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) of any severe weather conditions. The NDMC will disseminate this information to relevant role players to alert all communities.
6.4. Government is working with NGOs, a team of Ministers, members of the executive councils and local leaders – including the NDMC – to coordinate effective emergency services in affected provinces.
B. CABINET DECISIONS
1. National State of Disaster
1.1. Cabinet approved the extension of the National State of Disaster to 15 March 2021, in terms of Section 27(5) (c) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (57 of 2002).
1.1 Cabinet commemorated the 24th anniversary of the democratic Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996, which came into effect on 4 February 1997 after being promulgated by former President Nelson Mandela. This world-acclaimed Constitution solidified our hard-won freedom and democracy that we should all cherish.
2. Cabinet extended its congratulations and well-wishes to:
2.1. Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC on being elected as a Judge to the African Court of Human and People’s Rights.
Since this was its first sitting in 2021, Cabinet extended its belated condolences to the families and friends of:
3.1. Mr Jackson Mphikwa Mthembu, who was the Minister in The Presidency of the sixth administration. He was a dedicated activist and served in the public office with distinction.
3.2. Mr Jonas Gwangwa, the cultural icon who was a globally recognised composer, arranger, producer and jazz trombonist.
3.3. Dr Sibongile Khumalo, the multi-genre performer and music educator who contributed to the development of South African art and culture in the musical fields of jazz and opera.
3.4. Mrs Rebecca Kotane, fondly known as MmaKotane, who played a crucial role in the country’s struggle for liberation. She is remembered for her participation in the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings and she was also wife to the late leader of the South African Communist Party, Mr Moses Kotane.
3.5. Justice Khayelihle Kenneth Mthiyane, who served as the former Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.
3.6. Ms Thoko Ndlozi, the only surviving member of the female vocal group, Joy that made history with their chart-topping hit, Paradise Road.
3.7. Mr Wandi Nzimande, co-founder of the South African streetwear label Loxion Kulca, who gave us a blueprint of Mzansi streetwear.
3.8. Mr Knowledge Simelane, who was dedicated to the preservation of indigenous languages. He has left a void in the newspaper-publishing world.
3.9. Mr Welcome ‘Bhodloza’ Nzimande, who joined Ukhozi FM in 1978 and his love for Maskandi music unearthed many South African indigenous musicians.
3.10. Mr Kabelo ‘KB’ Molopyane, the renowned broadcaster whose career dates back to 1996 and he became most prominent when he joined Motsweding FM.
3.11. Dr Sam Phillips, the internationally acclaimed and award-winning screen actor, writer, music composer and director.
3.12. Mr Edwin De Lille, the husband of Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille.
3.13. His Majesty Thulare Victor Thulare III, King of Bapedi nation, who received a certificate confirming him as King from President Ramaphosa in 2020.
All appointments are subject to the verification of qualifications and the relevant clearance.
1. Advocate Doctor Mashabane – Director-General of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
Enquiries: Ms Phumla Williams – Cabinet Spokesperson
Mobile: 083 501 0139
10 February 2021