Statement on virtual Cabinet Meeting of 4 November 2020

Statement on virtual Cabinet Meeting of 4 November 2020

1. Issues in the environment

1. Economy

1.1. The 2020 Medium Term Budget Policy Statement presented by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, sets out a course that limits the operational spending of government. It also supports economic growth to boost the creation of much-needed jobs. The allocations support our drive to revive the economy from the devastation of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and attract investments.

1.2. Cabinet welcomes Operation Vulindlela, which will support the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan by accelerating priority structural reforms.

1.3. Cabinet is resolute in its commitment to get the economy growing again and therefore our current tough actions will accelerate our efforts to build a more resilient economy.

2. COVID-19

2.1. Cabinet is concerned that some people are behaving recklessly and irresponsibly as if COVID-19 no longer exists. Cabinet calls on all people in South Africa to continue adhering to the health protocols of practicing social distancing, wearing masks in public and washing our hands with water and soap or an alcohol-based sanitiser, and avoiding large gatherings.

2.2. Such consistent considerate behaviour remains the greatest defence in protecting ourselves and others against the virus. Our responsible actions will ensure we minimise the rates of infections whilst we continue to rebuild our economy.

2.3. Cabinet continues to encourage all of us to download the free COVID-19 Alert SA mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app – which has been zero-rated by mobile networks and can be downloaded without any data costs – will improve contact tracing by alerting users if they have been in close contact with other users who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days. The app does not gather any personal information or track a user’s location.

2.4. Cabinet will deliberate the outcomes of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) to be held next week. President Ramaphosa will thereafter brief the nation on the developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.

3. Infrastructure development

3.1. The Infrastructure South Africa Project Preparation Roundtable and Marketplace held in Midrand, Gauteng from 3 to 4 November 2020 takes forward the infrastructure roll out programme.

3.2. The event showcased 27 large-scale infrastructure projects with a combined value of R210 billion to South African and international investors, including delegates of development finance institutions and multilateral development banks.

3.3. The project preparation roundtable ensures that projects undergo intensive feasibility assessments and transaction advisory support that will make them investment-ready.

3.4. Among the projects presented to investors are the Ngqura-Coega liquefied natural gas terminal in the Eastern Cape; the Social Housing Regulatory Authority’s Social Housing Programme; a jet fuel pipeline at the Cape Town International Airport; a space infrastructure hub to be established by the South African National Space Agency, and a science and technology park in Limpopo.

3.5. These projects have the potential to employ a significant number of South Africans and form a vital component of the job-creation impetus of the South African National Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan recently unveiled by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

3.6. Cabinet appreciated the contribution that has been made by the private sector, which has contributed the necessary expertise at their own cost.

3.7. Cabinet welcomes the secondment by the private sector of 25 experts who will assist Infrastructure South Africa in bringing the planned projects to fruition.

3.8. Furthermore, Cabinet welcomes the announcement by Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille that an infrastructure-focused anti-corruption structure will ensure the ethical management of infrastructure contracts.

3.9. The Infrastructure and Investment Office in The Presidency will in the coming days provide details of the commitments made by investors during this week’s roundtable and marketplace.

4. South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC)

4.1 South Africa will host its third South African investment conference on 17 and 18 November 2020 focusing on investment in the wake of COVID-19, consolidation and construction.

4.2 This year’s conference focuses on the delivery of existing commitments to realise job creation and economic development. In addition, government will highlight actions taken to foster a conducive investment environment, with a focus on economic reconstruction and recovery.

4.3 The conference builds on the successes of the last two conferences which raised R664billion, laying a foundation for investment and accelerated economic growth.

5. Energy

5.1. Cabinet welcomed the commissioning of the final wind turbine at 140 megawatts (MW) at the Nxuba Wind Farm, Eastern Cape, which is part of the fourth round of the country’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme. Once all the wind turbines are commissioned, they will produce 460 Gigawatt hours per year to the grid and advance our climate change commitments significantly.

5.2. The full commercial operation of Eskom’s Unit 2 at the Kusile Power Station in Mpumalanga contributes 800 MW to the power grid. Kusile is the first power station in Africa to install flue-gas desulphurisation technology – a state-of-the-art technology used to remove oxides of sulphur, such as sulphur dioxide, from exhaust flue gases in power plants that burn coal or oil – which is in line with current international air quality standards.

5.3. Cabinet also welcomed the announcement by Total SA that it had found a significant amount of gas off the southern coast of Mossel Bay in the Western Cape. This will contribute towards the country’s efforts to expand power generation so as to allow the economy to grow and attract more investments.

6. National Taxi Lekgotla

6.1. The declaration adopted at last week’s National Taxi Lekgotla is pivotal in building a more efficient and safe public transport sector. The outcomes take the country closer to formalising an empowerment model for the taxi industry and will place it on a sustainable growth path.

6.2. Cabinet welcomes the commitment to sectorial determination for the taxi industry, which ensures compliance with the country’s labour laws and strengthens the industry’s regulatory model.

7. Disability Rights Awareness Month

7.1. Government is working with various sectors of society to ensure the full empowerment of people with disabilities. Disability Rights Awareness Month, which started on 3 November and will end on 3 December 2020, is marked under the theme: “Together Building Communities Inclusive of Disabilities.”

7.2. This period provides an opportunity to raise an awareness on the rights of people with disabilities. This awareness advocacy month focuses on calling on both the public and private sectors to upscale the recruitment, retention and accommodation of persons with disabilities in the workplace.

8. Crime Prevention

8.1. Cabinet condemns the senseless and callous killing of police officers who have dedicated their lives to serve and protect. The killing and attack of police officers is a direct attack on the rule of law and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996.

8.2. Cabinet extends its condolences to the families and friends of all officers who have died in the line of duty such as Sergeant Mzoxolo Gxotani from the East London Tactical Response Team in the Eastern Cape, Groblersdal Station Commander Colonel Jeffrey Seroka in Mpumalanga, Crime Intelligence Officer Ofentse Mokgadinyane and Detective Sergeant Billy Mahooe in the Free State; and Sergeant Sibongile Teka and Constable Kganyisa Sitofile in the Western Cape.

8.3. Cabinet further condemned the shooting and killing of eight people aged between 30 and 40 by unknown gunmen in Gugulethu in the Western Cape on Monday, 2 November 2020.

8.4. Cabinet assures the nation that police working with communities will ensure those involved in these criminal acts are arrested and face the full might of the law.

9. Southern African Development Community (SADC) Media Awards

9.1. Cabinet calls on all South African media to submit their entries for the 2021 SADC Media Awards competition. Journalists from the SADC member states are invited to enter or submit nominations for the awards.

9.2. The SADC Media Awards promotes SADC’s objectives in achieving economic development, peace and security, and growth, alleviating poverty, as well as enhancing the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa.

9.3. The SADC Media Awards is a powerful tool to drive the narrative of a new Africa, one of unlimited potential and a renewed hope for a better future.

10. 2020 National Senior Certificate (NSC) examinations

10.1. Cabinet has joined President Ramaphosa in wishing the matric class of 2020 good luck with their NSC examinations which commenced today, 5 November and will finish on 15 December 2020. We urge all parents, guardians and the entire society to support and encourage the candidates as they complete their 12 years of learning.

10.2. The COVID-19 pandemic impacted on schooling and preparation for this year’s Grade 12 examinations. However, the Department of Basic Education and schools introduced a catch-up programme to prepare learners. Cabinet is confident these learners have the potential to produce the best results.

B. Cabinet decisions

1. Government Programme of Action (PoA)

1.1. Cabinet approved the first biannual Government PoA Report for the period January to June 2020. The work that happened during this period gives effect to the 2019-2024 Medium Term Strategic Framework.

1.2. The period reviewed coincided with the disruptive effect of the COVID-19 global pandemic, which saw government resources and operations being diverted to protect lives and livelihoods.

1.3. Cabinet is however pleased with the progress that has been made in implementing the key expected deliverables. Although some of the deliverables were disrupted, Cabinet is satisfied with the envisaged recovery programmes of the respective clusters. The details of these reports will be unpacked during the planned cluster media briefings.

C. Upcoming event

1. South Africa accedes to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) With South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

1.1. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, will represent the South African Government on the occasion of South Africa’s accession to the TAV with ASEAN.

1.2. The virtual signing ceremony will be held on Tuesday, 10 November 2020. Minister Pandor will participate in the event from Cape Town, where she will be joined by the Heads of Mission of the ASEAN Pretoria Committee.

1.3. South Africa has diplomatic and economic relations with individual ASEAN members. The country’s accession to the TAC will formalise its relationship with ASEAN as a bloc.

1.4. South Africa’s accession to the TAC is also an opportunity to boost political and economic collaboration with this important and growing international organisation.

D. Messages

1. Congratulations

1.1. Cabinet joins President Ramaphosa in congratulating Dr John Pombe Magufuli on his election as the President-elect of the United Republic of Tanzania. We look forward to working with Dr Magufuli to strengthen strong bilateral relations, as well as in matters of mutual interest in the Southern African Development Community region, as well as the African continent and the world.

1.2. Cabinet congratulates Ms Shudufhadzo Musida for being crowned Miss South Africa 2020 and wishes her well in her role as a Brand South Africa representative. She joins   part of a collective of South Africans who are raising the South African flag to position the country globally.

1.3. Cabinet congratulates Banyana Banyana, who started their COSAFA Cup title defence with a 2-0 win over Angola in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday, 3 November 2020.

2. Condolences

Cabinet sent condolences to the family and friends of:

2.1. Mr Enuga Sreenivasulu Reddy, who passed on at the age of 96. He was born to a politically active family in South India. He led the United Nations campaign against apartheid and actively supported the South African freedom movement for more than half a century, and also played a central role in promoting international sanctions against the country.

Enquiries: Ms Phumla Williams
Cabinet Spokesperson
Cell: 083 501 0139

Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)

5 November 2020