NATIONAL NEWS - At its virtual meeting on Wednesday, the Cabinet approved the setting up of a council chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa and made up of, among others, ministers from the economic cluster, which will monitor the implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
Briefing the media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the plan delivered by Ramaphosa last week will require all sectors of the country’s society “to roll up their sleeves and work together to stabilise the economy”.
Mthembu said the plan contains four priority areas, which are the massive rollout of infrastructure, expanding energy generation and capacity, an employment stimulus to create jobs, and industrial growth.
Mthembu said the council would meet on a monthly basis to oversee the implementation of the plan and to “interface with our social partners at” the National Economic Development and Labour Council.
One of the matters the Cabinet discussed on Wednesday was rural safety, Mthembu said, adding the Cabinet supported the arrests made by the police for various heinous crimes committed, including the murder and maiming of farmers and farmworkers.
Mthembu said crimes against farmers and farm workers also posed a threat to the country’s food security.
The minister said the Cabinet called on the country’s citizenry to assist in the fight against crime by either joining community policing forums or reporting crime.
The Cabinet also welcomed the arrests of people alleged to be involved in corruption, fraud, money laundering and theft.
Mthembu said these arrests include persons alleged to have looted Covid-19 social relief funds, or alleged to be involved in the fraudulent procurement of personal protective equipment, high profile arrests in connection with the Free State asbestos saga and people arrested for under-reporting to the South African Revenue Service.
The Cabinet fully appreciated and supported the recovery of public funds lost through corrupt activities, Mthembu said.
“The recent arrests are a testament that no one is above the law,” he said, adding this is evidence that the government is committed to dealing with corruption.
The Cabinet called on the public to play a part in eradicating corruption by reporting such activities to law enforcement agencies or the national anti-corruption hotline on 0800 701 701.
Mthembu said the Cabinet noted with concern that gender-based violence and femicide remain a plague in the country’s communities which must be eradicated and it called on people to work with law enforcement authorities to ensure vulnerable groups in society, the elderly, women and children, are protected.
Mthembu said the alleged rape of eight-year-old twins from Mpumalanga by their father – an ANC provincial executive council member – “is deeply disturbing and concerning”.
Mthembu said one of the victims reported the alleged abuse to her teacher, adding that the school’s response which resulted in the arrest of the accused was commendable.