The three week long spate of attacks against foreign nationals in the country took centre stage at the cabinet meeting briefing this morning, with Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe condemning the attacks, while careful not to label them xenophobic or afrophobic.
Echoing the sentiments expressed by President Jacob Zuma in Parliament yesterday and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster last Friday, Radebe said the attacks went against the very ideals and foundations of South Africa’s democracy.
The minister said the perpetrators of the violence needed to be aware of the far reaching implications of their actions on the country’s economic and social relations with the rest of the world. Citing the cancellation of concerts of South African artists outside South Africa as one of the consequences of the attacks, he said the country should be the last to be involved in such acts when “we have been the beneficiary of support not only of Africa but of the whole world”.
“The struggle against the system of Apartheid could not have been won if it had not been for the respect and support had from the anti-Apartheid movements across the world. The message we want to convey to the people of South Africa is we are a democratic country. Let us respect our African brothers and sisters, who hosted us under very difficult circumstances,” said Radebe.
“I was happy yesterday that the deputy secretary general of the [African National Congress] ANC Jessie Duarte told me that there was a special meeting convened by the alliance where there are calling on all structures of the ANC, Cosatu, SACP to convene meetings at local levels so we can begin to deal with this issue because it is everyone’s responsibility to support and give information to local enforcement agencies,” he said.
He said Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba and the ministerial team appointed by the president had already engaged with all the heads of state of those affected by the attacks. “Today as we speak the minister of international relations is also engaging with diplomatic corps in order to deal with the situation and also communicate to those affected.”
Discussions with the king
Asked if the cabinet had discussed the utterances by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, which are seen by many as the basis of the current violence spreading through the country, he merely said Gigaba had met with the king on Monday and they had discussed the issue with all stakeholders.
Radebe said they believed that the challenge was being handled because all hands were on deck.
The decision by the University of Cape Town to remove the Rhodes statue, the recent Zimbabwe state visit, the Imbizo focus week and the launch of the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University were some of the issues that were discussed at the cabinet meeting. Radebe said cabinet received an update report on the analysis of the payment of suppliers within 30 days from receipt of a legitimate invoice.
“Cabinet has noted the progress made, but raised concerns on some of the departments that still face challenges. A comparative analysis of the National Departments between 2013 January to October and 2014 January to October 2014 showed an improvement of 39% on the average number of invoices paid within 30 days and a 32% improvement on the average number of invoices that were paid after the 30 days.
“National departments reported 155 572 invoices worth R3.8-billion which were paid after 30 days at the same time, 62 887 invoices worth R2.1-billion invoices older than 30 days had not been paid,” he said.
He said to assist the struggling departments, cabinet approved the establishment of a special unit within the Department for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to follow up with persistently struggling departments, which will work with National Treasury and the Department of Public Service and Administration. Radebe said cabinet had approved the release of the Insurance Bill 2015 for public consultation, as well as the publication of the draft Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Bill, 2014 for public comment.