Monday, March 14, 2022

Russia, Security and SAPO Highlight SA Cabinet Discussions

 

Photo via Freddy Mavunda/Times Live

Thursday, the South African Cabinet, which consists of the ministers of the departments in Parliament, met to deliberate an array of topics facing the nation. The discussion ranged from the Russia-Ukraine conflict to issues of domestic security.

Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, briefed the media about the meeting on Friday. He told reporters about social concerns, decisions made by the cabinet, approved bills and upcoming events.

He began the briefing by discussing the Russia-Ukraine conflict. South Africa has been notably divided on this issue with many members of the ANC denouncing sanctions on Russia by Western powers, meanwhile many members of the public have demonstrated in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

The Cabinet said it advocated for an equitable international system that allows their voices to be heard on this matter.

Cabinet calls for a negotiated diplomatic solution and urged all parties to uphold and protect human rights, and abide by their obligations in terms of international law and international humanitarian law,” Gungubele said.

Gungubele said the South African government is working with the Ukrainian government to get all remaining South Africans out of the war torn state. The minister said this was especially urgent to do so because of the reported mistreatment of Africans attempting to cross international borders during the conflict.

The cabinet also discussed South Africa’s ongoing struggles with the pandemic. They said the battle against the disease is not yet over and urged all people in South Africa to remain vigilant and continue protecting themselves to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

“Unvaccinated people still remain unprotected against COVID-19 and pose a health risk to themselves and those around them. Vaccination remains the best way to fight COVID-19, and Cabinet calls on everyone aged 12 years and above to vaccinate without further delay,” Gungubele said. 

Gungubele said the cabinet was pleased more than 32 million vaccine doses had been administered and 42 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Economic statistics also indicate optimism for South Africa on the other side of the pandemic with GDP growth of 1.2 percent in the last quarter and annual growth of close to five percent.

While the country has made progress in its fight against the virus, the cabinet said one area it had to improve was in national safety and security. The cabinet appointed five new officials to various roles throughout the National Prosecuting Authority and State Security Agency.

This included the appointment of Nicolette Bell as the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape. These appointments were made in an attempt to strengthen the country’s capacity to investigate crimes and corruption.

“Our security forces remain on high alert and are in constant liaison with foreign intelligence services, both within South Africa and abroad," Gungubele said. "Their work includes information exchange on threats presented by violent extremism and terrorism.”

The cabinet said it was disappointed by the ongoing acts of violence in the country. They called out recent incidents in Alexandra, where Gungubele said there was blatant violations of human rights and inexcusable violence.

The violent clashes between street vendors and the Alexandra Dudula movement, which is attempting to kick out illegal immigrants from the country, has already resulted in injuries with some claiming the movement is xenophobic.

Gungubele said members of the Alexandra and neighboring Sandton community are urged to report all illegal activity to the police.

The cabinet meeting also led to some short and long term legislative changes. Long term the cabinet is working on the National Infrastructure Plan 2050 and liquefied petroleum gas rollout strategy.

In the short-term the South African Post Office will see some changes too. Including taking advantage of technological developments and separating Postbank from the postal services.

“The proposed amendments seek to enable SAPO to take advantage of the technological developments in its environment," Gungubele said. "It will be able to revise its duties and expand its mandate. It will be a service provider of a universal postal and courier; an integrated logistics; e-commerce, and will be a digital hub for business and communities.”

Once these bills are adopted into law, the Postbank will be able to operate as a separate entity with outside of the South African Post Office.

For more details about the cabinet of the south African government visit www.gov.za


By Ben Rappaport

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