Government mulls measures to reduce theft of scrap metal, copper cable

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Cabinet has considered a report on progress made on measures to reduce the theft of scrap metal and copper cable.

“Cabinet reiterated its determination to ensure that all actions are taken to address this problem that causes damage of billions of rands to the economy and results in energy outages and service interruptions,” Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, said on Thursday.

Ntshavheni said the regulations were published for public comment and a statement will be issued as soon as the matter has been considered.

The Minister made these remarks in Pretoria during a media briefing on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday.

Bi-Annual Performance Progress Reports

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the bi-annual performance progress reports for the period October 2022 to March 2023, which form part of the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2019-2024.

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Development will, in the course of the coming week or two, brief the nation on the details of these progress reports.

“The period under review coincided with disruptive load shedding, which has slowed down economic activity and affected service delivery in the country.

“However, Cabinet is pleased with the progress that has been made in implementing the key expected deliverables. Cabinet also noted the envisaged recovery programmes that have been outlined by the respective clusters,” the Minister said.

In October 2019, Cabinet approved the MTSF, as government’s five-year programme for the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 and of the electoral mandate of the sixth administration.

Cluster departmental reports focus on the seven priorities adopted by government for the sixth administration, namely:

  • Priority 1: Building a capable, ethical and developmental State.
  • Priority 2: Economic transformation and job creation.
  • Priority 3: Education, skills and health.
  • Priority 4: Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services.
  • Priority 5: Spatial integration, human settlements and local government.
  • Priority 6: Social cohesion and safe communities.
  • Priority 7: A Better Africa and World.

“One of the areas of progress is that of social protection, which is critical for income security and protecting vulnerable South Africans. In this regard and to give effect to Priority 4, the 2023 budget for social wage increased to R1 165 billion and this has improved the living conditions of more than 18 million poor South Africans.

“In keeping with the commitment to address the impact of COVID, more than 27 344 grants were paid to qualifying South Africans by March 2023,” Ntshavheni said.

She said in the period under review, law enforcement has intensified the fight against organised crime.

“There was an 86.7% increase in the conviction rate of persons arrested for cable theft. This is significant, considering the electricity challenges the country is experiencing,” the Minister said.

Draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill

Cabinet also approved the introduction of the draft National Small Enterprise Amendment Bill to Parliament.

“The draft bill aims to amend the National Small Enterprise Act (Act 102 of 1996) and provides for the establishment and registration of the Office of Small Enterprise Ombud Service.

“It broadens fair processes for small enterprises through the Ombud Service, which will be tasked with considering and disposing of complaints by small enterprises.

“Implementation of the amendments will realise greater stability to the sector and advance economic opportunity through the creation of job opportunities by small, medium and micro enterprises,” the Minister said.

In addition to the setting up of the office, the amendments also include the appointment of an Ombud and Deputy Ombud; allocation of powers and functions of Ombud; receipt of complaints, prescription, jurisdiction and investigation; determinations by the Ombud; staff of office, and delegation by the Ombud, Deputy Ombud and Director. –