Cabinet welcomes outcomes of SADC Ordinary Summit

Friday, September 1, 2017

Cabinet has welcomed the outcomes of the 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held in South Africa from 9 to 20 August 2017.

The summit, which was held under the theme: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”, focused on the implementation of the SADC Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap to accelerate economic growth and development in the region.

Cabinet said the strategy seeks to change the structure of the economies of the region and promotes value-addition with focus on agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and pharmaceuticals.

“The summit emphasised the need to have concrete outcomes that leverage on our national endowments,” Cabinet said in statement on Friday. 

Cabinet also joined President Jacob Zuma in thanking the outgoing Chairperson of the SADC King Mswati III for his valuable contribution and leadership.

South Africa assumes the role of chair of the SADC from August 2017 to August 2018.

Salute to all women

"Cabinet salutes all women, and extends heartfelt thanks to those who participated in celebrating and commemorating the National Women’s Month," the statement said.

The 2017 Women’s Month, which ended on Thursday, was celebrated under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Women United in Moving South Arica Forward”.

Cabinet said although women have made important gains in South Africa, more needs to be done and government programmes will continue to prioritise their involvement in developing communities, the economy and country.

“Women still continue to face unacceptable levels of abuse and violence, poverty, unemployment,” Cabinet said.

Pro-poor programmes

Cabinet also reiterated its commitment to its pro-poor programmes, particularly as it relates to children coming from poor households.

Over the last 23 years, government has increased the social grants programme to poor and vulnerable communities from 2,7 million to 17 million people.

This programme covers over 91% of eligible children and 95,5% of the eligible old age people. Over 20 000 schools have also been declared no-fee schools, with over nine million learners benefiting from school nutrition programmes.  

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has since 1999 disbursed more than R72 billion in loans and bursaries to students from poor households.

This has resulted in more than two million students from poor communities accessing tertiary education. A total of 1,7 million children are accessing registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) services, which is a critical foundation for education.

In 2012, government also introduced a school health programme, which is an intervention to some of the barriers that hinder progress in some of the learners.

Additionally, government has a number of anti-poverty measures which provide free access to basic services to millions of indigent families such as free piped water, sanitation, free electricity and refuse removal.

Government has also implemented public employment programmes and housing schemes to enable poor families to have houses.

“Government will continue to find ways to strengthen some of the social security programmes that are designed to cushion the poor and vulnerable communities,” Cabinet said.

Cabinet noted the Poverty Trends Report released recently by Statistics South Africa and said it will engage with it. – SAnews.gov.za

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