Statement on the Cabinet Meeting of 8 October
09 Oct 2008
Presenter: Mr Themba Maseko (ANC) [Government spokesperson]
Mr Themba Maseko, the Government Spokesperson, stated that Cabinet had held a meeting the previous day, 8 October 2008. Cabinet had received a report on the limited outbreak of the suspected hemorrhagic fever in Gauteng. Cabinet was satisfied that health authorities and professionals had responded quickly, appropriately and professionally and that the Department of Health together with public and private sectors were doing everything necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
The National Outbreak Response Team (NORT) was working with and supporting the Provincial Outbreak Response Team. A Rapid Response Team (RRT) had been established and consisted of public and private health sector representatives. Government was also working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Centre for Disease Control in order to access their global expertise in dealing with outbreak response. An Emergency Medical Service had established a hotline to deal with enquiries. The Government wanted the public to know that they should not panic, as they were dealing with the situation.
Cabinet also decided that the government should participate in the global humanitarian assistance effort to support the people of Cuba in their hour of need following the devastation caused by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The meeting noted that the third India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Summit of Heads of State is to take place on 15 October 2008. The framework for the division of revenue for the 2009 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was approved. Cabinet expressed its condolences to the family and friends of those who died in the bus accident in Piet Retief. Appointments were made to the Council of the Kwazulu-Natal Museum and to the Council of the National Museum. The draft Finance Bill was approved and would be tabled in Parliament.
Q: A journalist noted that even though Cabinet held a lengthy meeting the previous day, the statement that was issued was very short. He asked what Cabinet had discussed in the meeting.
A: Mr Maseko answered that the Cabinet had dealt with all the issues mentioned in the statement as well as some other issues that were not mentioned. The meeting also looked at economic management and the effects of the global economic crisis. The Minister of Finance would deal with these issues on 21 October 2008. Meetings were already being held with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) to discuss economic crisis matters.
Q: A journalist was concerned that the economic crisis would only be dealt with on the 21st October. He suggested that the 21st was too late to deal with these matters.
A: Mr Maseko stated that the global economic crisis was a matter that was being dealt with in the SARB discussion that was taking place that day. The matter would be dealt with by the Ministry of Finance and SARB. He added that as the global economy went through turmoil, the impact would be felt by many developing nations.
Q: A journalist asked if Cabinet had discussed the proposed split in the ANC alliance.
A: Mr Maseko replied that party political matters should not have any effect on the government’s operations and therefore, the issue was not discussed.
Q: A journalist noted that the Cabinet meeting was the first one held with the new President Kgalema Motlanthe. He wondered how the new Cabinet meetings compared with the old ones.
A: Mr Maseko stated that it was actually the second meeting that was held with President Motlanthe and the discussions were as robust and extensive as previous Cabinet meetings.
Q: A journalist asked if Mr Thabo Mbeki’s role in the Zimbabwe issue was discussed.
A: Mr Maseko replied that the matter was not discussed, but added that President Motlanthe supported Mr Mbeki’s role as mediator.
Q: A journalist asked what the public health system’s role was in dealing with viral hemorrhagic fever and what would happen if there were an outbreak of the virus.
A: Mr Maseko answered that if there were an outbreak of the virus, it would become a national priority. Individual roles for public and private health care systems would become irrelevant because all the country’s resources would be pulled together to deal with the virus. There would be a partnership between the public and private health care systems.
Q: A journalist asked if it was true that the the viral hemorrhagic fever cases were reported to private hospitals because public hospitals did not have the capacity to deal with this.
A: Mr Maseko stated that he did not know. It was not important whether it was a public or private health care matter. All resources would be pulled together to deal with it.
Q: A journalist asked if Deputy President, Ms Baleka Mbete, was the head of government business and if she was going to be the driving force behind the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (ASGISA) programme.
A: Mr Maseko stated that Deputy President Mbete was the leader of government business and would be involved in ASGISA programmes. However, ASGISA was not discussed at the meeting.
Q: A journalist noted that the Finance Minister had said that the global melt down would have an effect on the South African economy. He asked Mr Maseko to elaborate on these effects.
A: Mr Maseko stated that he was trying to steer away from making too many comments about the economy, as the Minister of Finance was better equipped to deal with the matter. He added however, that there could be an effect on the mining industry and the amount of foreign currency coming in to the country.
Q: A journalist asked if there was any indication of when the new Deputy Minister of Finance would be appointed and what the new Finance Bill was about.
A: Mr Maseko replied that he did not know when the new Deputy Minister would be appointed. The appointment would be made as soon as the President made his decision. Mr Maseko stated that the Bill regularised decisions taken in the House.
Q: A journalist noted that the previous Deputy Minister of Finance played a pivotal role in government’s programme for the 2010 World Cup. He wanted to know how the government’s programme for 2010 would be affected if a Deputy Minister of Finance was not appointed.
A: Ms Maseko assured the media that the President was looking at the issue and that as soon as a decision was made, it would be communicated to the media. Because there was no Deputy Minister of Finance at present, the 2010 finance issues would be administered by the Minister of Finance for the time being.
Q: A journalist asked who the new presidential spokesperson would be.
A: Mr Maseko answered that no appointment had been made so far; however, the Presidency was looking to appoint a spokesperson as soon as possible.
The media briefing was adjourned.
Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 8 October 2008
9 October 2008
Cabinet held its ordinary meeting in
Cabinet received a detailed report on the limited outbreak of the suspected hemorrhagic fever in
Firstly, Government wishes to convey condolences to the families and friends of the deceased. Cabinet is satisfied that the health authorities and health professionals have responded quickly, appropriately and with the highest levels of professionalism to contain the suspected virus.
The meeting was satisfied that the Department of Health (DoH), together with health professionals and experts from both the public and private sectors, were doing all that is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure that there is no further loss of life. All South Africans must take comfort in the fact that our health professionals are skilled and ready to deal with any emergency.
The National Outbreak Response Team (NORT) is actively working around the clock to support the Provincial Outbreak Response Teams (PORT) with guidelines, active field surveillance and the tracing of contacts. A Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been established consisting of public and private health sector representatives to co-ordinate efforts to deal with the situation promptly. This team meets on a daily basis to co-ordinate responses and to constantly monitor the situation in all our hospitals and clinics.
Government is already working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United States (US) Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in order to access their global expertise in dealing with outbreak responses. The CDC has undertaken to expedite the processing of samples to ensure that test results are made available as quickly as possible.
The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has established a hotline to deal with all enquiries. The 24 hour hotline number is 011 564 2083. Healthcare workers are being trained on how to deal with patients who present symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fevers. Port Health Services will also be strengthened to deal with any situation. Members of the Border Control Operational Co-ordinating Committee (BCOCC) in provinces will also be trained.
Government's message to the public is 'do not to panic; we are dealing with the situation'. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and we are confident that the test results will shed more light on this virus so that appropriate measures could be put in place as soon as possible.
Cabinet decided that the South African Government, working with civil society, should participate in the global humanitarian assistance effort to support the people of
The framework for the division of revenue for the 2009 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) was approved. This part of the meeting was attended by the premiers together with their members of executive (MEC's) in charge of finance. The division of revenue will be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance when he delivers the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement on 21 October 2008.
The meeting noted that the third
The 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was approved and will be tabled in Parliament for approval.
Cabinet expresses its condolences to the families and friends of those who died in the tragic bus accident in Piet Retief which claimed 31 lives and left many others critically injured.
The 1995 International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) Convention on stolen or illegally exported cultural objects was approved and will be submitted to Parliament for ratification.
The following appointments were approved:
* Mr Baijoo; Professor DJ Brothers; Mr F Desai; Mr MC Dlamuka; Professor MI Hamer; Mr S Magaqa; Professor NV Makunga; Professor NM Mazibuko; Mr SM Mkhize; Professor MO Ndwandwe; and Dr EM Zungu, were appointed to the Council of the KwaZulu-Natal Museum.
* Professor DR Bagwandeen; Professor MS Bayat; Mr B Botma; Dr P Esterhuyse; Mrs J Lamprecht; Professor S Louw; Mrs KP Mokuena; Advocate MJ Ralefatane; Mr K Ranchod; Professor BS Rubidge and Mr MH Sabela, were appointed to the Council of the
The draft Finance Bill was approved and will be tabled in Parliament for finalisation.
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