Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the Presidency Budget Vote 2013 & Responses by ANC and IFP
12 Jun 2013
President Jacob Zuma, gave his Budget Vote Speech on the 12 June 2013
Honourable Deputy President, Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Honourable Members, Esteemed special guests,
Thank you for the opportunity to present the Budget Vote of the Presidency to this august House.
Today, the 12th of June, marks the 49th anniversary of the sentencing of President Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment in 1964.
On this crucial historical anniversary, our thoughts are with President Mandela and his family.
I am happy to report that Madiba is responding better to treatment from this morning. We are very happy with the progress that he is now making, following a difficult last few days.
We appreciate the messages of support from all over the world. It is an honour for us as South Africans to share Madiba with the international community.
We fully understand and appreciate the global interest in this world icon. We are so proud to call him our own.
We urge South Africans and the international community to continue to keep President Mandela and the medical team in their thoughts and prayers.
During this month of June, we celebrate the contribution of young people who sacrificed immensely so that this country could be free, and so that those coming after them can live a better life.
They emulated the youth leaders of the 1940s – Anton Lembede, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu and others who knew what was best for this country and its people.
Because of their sacrifices and the foundation that was laid for a free and democratic South Africa, our country is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994, even though we still have so much work to do.
There are generations of young people who acquitted themselves well in the struggle for our liberation.
In this context, we remember in particular Ashley Kriel, the courageous umkhonto Wesizwe cadre who operated here in Cape Town. He was tragically murdered by a security policeman in July 1987.
We extend a warm welcome to our special guests, his sisters Michelle Assure and Melanie Adams. May his fighting spirit live forever.
As we move towards 20 years of freedom, we also fondly remember a remarkable woman and fearless freedom fighter and human rights lawyer, Ms Phyllis Naidoo, who sadly passed on, on the 13th of February this year.
We are joined today by her daughter, Ms Sukthi Naidoo.
The year 2013 is the 20th anniversary of the tragic and brutal assassination of Chris Thembisile Hani. We shall never forget the role he played and the sacrifices he made for our freedom.
His dear wife, Mrs Limpho Hani is our special guest today.
During the difficult years in exile, the ANC ran a highly successful international campaign to isolate the apartheid regime.
Among President Oliver Tambo’s key lieutenants in executing this campaign, was none other than the late Johnny Mfanafuthi Makatini.
We extend a warm welcome to his dear wife, Mrs Valerie O’ Connor-Makatini, who is in Parliament for the very first time today.
Honourable Members, we all fondly remember the former Minister of Public Service and Administration, Mr Roy Padayachie, who passed on so suddenly last year.
We thank his wife Mrs Sally Padayachie for accepting the invitation to join us today.
As the Departmental Budget Votes over the past few weeks indicated, South Africa is a much better place today than it was before 1994.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
We are building a society in which every household will have access to decent housing, water, sanitation, electricity, quality health care and quality education. It must be a society where all feel safe and where no child goes to bed hungry.
We shall not rest until that type of society is achieved, no matter how long it takes.
I would like to share with the house our priorities in the economic and social transformation areas this financial year.
The Presidency will this year take a hands-on approach, working closely with relevant departments and social partners to boost confidence in the economy.
We will do this against the background of achievements on the economic front since 1994, which must be borne in mind especially when we face the current economic turbulence.
These achievements remind us what our economy is capable of.
The South African economy expanded by 83 percent over the past 19 years.
The national income per capita increased from R27 500 in 1993 to R38 500 in 2012, which is an increase of 40 percent.
Disposable income per capita of households has increased by 43 percent.
Total employment has increased by more than 3.5 million since 1994, and we have extended social grants from 2,5 million people in 1994 to about 16 million to date, to alleviate poverty for the unemployed and the vulnerable.
One of the key strengths of our economy is our financial sector which remains robust and healthy and is well-regulated.
That is why we were able to weather the 2009 financial crisis.
Currently, the economy continues to grow but at a much slower pace than previously expected. This presents challenges for job creation and poverty reduction.
Data released last month showed that real GDP growth slowed to 0.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2013.
The Eurozone which is still our largest trading partner, is still steeped in recession.
Growth in some major emerging markets has weakened somewhat, affecting the demand and price of our major commodity exports.
The Rand has become increasingly vulnerable to the global financial situation, including a strong US Dollar environment.
There is very little we can do about the global economic crisis, but there are things we can do domestically which can assist to improve the resilience of our economy.
We welcome the fact that all stakeholders agree on the need to stabilise the labour relations environment, especially in the mining sector.
It is not in the interest of the country to have a tense labour relations environment which is characterised by a weakening of collective bargaining mechanisms, illegal wildcat strikes, violent protests and loss of life.
What we require from social partners is the commitment to resolve labour disputes peacefully and within the framework of the law, and in the interests of workers, employers and the country as a whole.
I recently requested the Deputy President to lead a Ministerial team to work with social partners to assist the mining sector to normalise the situation.
Work is continuing in this regard and we remain optimistic that a solution will be found.
Let me take this opportunity Honourable Speaker, to emphasise that Government does not take sides and does not favour any labour union over others in the mining industry. Our interest is in finding solutions.
Now that we have entered the bargaining season in other sectors as well, we urge business and labour to ensure a speedier resolution of wage negotiations.
These must take place within the framework of the law and the Constitution. Government cannot act outside of the Constitution and the law. Equally, business and the labour movements cannot act outside the law and the Constitution as well.
We cannot introduce violence to labour relations and the killing of people. Most importantly, we must not move away from the collective bargaining system and the framework of labour relations that was introduced at the dawn of democracy.
Failure to act within the Constitution and the law gives a wrong impression of such a critical economic sector in our country, mining.
Our law enforcement agencies have been instructed not to tolerate those who commit crime in the name of labour relations. They will face the full might of the law.
We cannot be the ones who undermine our own economy, as various stakeholders.
As we solve these problems, we must bear in mind that we are dealing with an inherited problem.
As Honourable Members would be aware, the apartheid system was designed to provide the mines and farms with cheap labour, thereby laying the foundation of the current problems.
In the 1960s, when the growth of the mines slowed down and employment on farms began to fall, the apartheid system was too rigid to adjust.
The modernisation of the economy only began in 1994, and we then had to deal with the apartheid legacy of Bantu education, with inadequate skills to take the economy forward.
Given the high rate of unemployment, we have a keen interest to save jobs. We have had to act against the background of structural unemployment which dates back to the 1970s.
You will recall that employment continued to deteriorate during the 90s and also during the last 10 years due to slow growth and declining employment in gold mining and agriculture.
Though jobs grew rapidly during the boom of 2003 to 2008, unemployment did not fall below 20%. Employment received another setback due to the recession of 2009.
To address this problem, the country needed higher growth and a focus on supporting job creation in a range of ways. We had to do things differently, and we needed to plan better.
We now have a plan to tackle our socio-economic development challenge, the National Development Plan. The Plan has been one of the foremost achievements of the country since 1994, and it has been adopted by both Cabinet and Parliament and many sectors of civil society.
While there may be differences of opinion on specific details, there is general acceptance of the broad thrust of the National Development Plan.
It is normal for to have differences of opinion in a democratic society like ours. That is what brings vibrancy to public discourse. That cannot in any way, constitute a crisis.
What we are suggesting though, is that people must offer constructive inputs on the Plan and not just debate for the sake of it.
We have moved to the implementation phase of the Plan, incorporating the economic strategies, the New Growth Path, the Industrial Policy Action Plan and the infrastructure development plan which now fall under the NDP umbrella.
To this end, the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and the National Planning Commission Secretariat in the Presidency, are converting the National Development Plan proposals into a Medium Term Strategic Framework.
This framework will inform the work of government for the next five years, and will be aligned with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, which informs the budget process.
Going forward all delivery agreements, sector plans, departmental strategic plans as well as provincial and municipal plans will be aligned to the National Development Plan.
Given that the National Development Plan is a crucial guiding document for all South Africans, it has to be well-communicated to all. The GCIS and Brand SA will work together to ensure effective communication and marketing of the Plan.
As you are aware, the Presidency leads the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, which is geared to remove bottlenecks in infrastructure delivery.
Much of the infrastructure expenditure of 827 billion rand over the medium term expenditure framework, will be on projects that are already in progress, for which tenders have already been issued.
The Ministers responsible for infrastructure shared information on the infrastructure programme during their budget votes.
Weaknesses in planning and capacity, however, continue to delay implementation of some projects, a matter that the Commission is looking into. It was designed for that purpose.
As part of promoting national reconciliation and economic transformation, the implementation of black economic empowerment policies will continue.
A foundation has been laid for black economic empowerment, and over R600 billion in Black Economic Empowerment transactions have been recorded since 1995.
We are seriously concerned about the reach, the impact and the quantity of the empowerment deals and also the level of control and ownership of the economy.
The direct black ownership of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange still stands at less than five percent.
In addition, annual Employment Equity reports indicate that white males still own, control and manage the economy.
Government is amending the black economic empowerment law to address some of these challenges.
We appreciate the contribution of the Presidential Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Council to the law reform process.
Census 2011 revealed that we are essentially a young nation, and that just over a third of the population is under the age of 15.
We are thus concerned about youth unemployment.
Across the world, governments recognise that young people are left out of labour markets in growing numbers and that decisive steps must be taken to reverse this trend.
As we approach the 20th anniversary of our democracy, young people born in and after 1994 will have completed their education.
We must act with speed and determination to ensure that they find good jobs and other income generating opportunities.
Last year I requested that discussions at NEDLAC on youth employment should be speeded up.
I am pleased that the talks led to a comprehensive Youth Employment Accord that was finalised in February this year and was signed at the Hector Petersen Memorial in Soweto on 18 April this year.
The Accord sets out six commitments by the public and private sectors.
These commitments address three cross-cutting issues: improving skills, facilitating exposure to the workplace, and increasing the number of jobs for young people.
On skills, the Accord supports second chance matric programmes as well as other interventions at Further Education and Training level to improve the capacity and capabilities of young people.
Already, a number of public entities have adopted FET colleges.
In government, exposure to workplaces is being facilitated through internship programmes for young people.
New job opportunities will be identified for youth in areas such as the green economy and infrastructure projects as well as in business process services.
Our Expanded Public Works Programme as well as related public sector job initiatives must now target youth in increasing numbers.
We also reiterate our call to the private sector to take young people on as employees and interns.
We have provided for appropriately structured employment incentives in the Accord.
This Youth Employment Accord has been endorsed by the main business organisations, namely Business Unity South Africa and the Black Business Council, as well as the three major trade union federations, FEDUSA, Cosatu and NACTU.
It has the support of youth organisations across the political spectrum. It is the framework for a united effort to tackle youth unemployment.
The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment, of whom I am patron-in-chief, having taken over from President Mandela in 2009, marks its 30th anniversary this year.
The Award was introduced in South Africa in 1983 and over 130,000 young South Africans have taken part in this programme.
It is an important partnership with the United Kingdom.
Honourable Members, to ensure ongoing dialogue with the youth on development issues, the Presidency is to establish a Presidential Youth Working Group.
Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, will speak further on the Presidency’s youth development focus including the repositioning of the National Youth Development Agency.
We see a crucial role of State Owned Entities in economic development.
In the 2010 Presidency Budget Vote, I announced the establishment of the Presidential Review Committee on State Owned Enterprises. Cabinet accepted the Final Report of the committee in April and the implementation detail is being worked out.
Making South Africa an even better place than it is currently, will require a continuing investment in social transformation and nation building.
We must promote unity and social cohesion. We must also enhance positive values and build stronger families and communities to strengthen the social fabric of society.
It is for this reason, that we have accelerated the fight against social ills such as drugs and substance abuse. We must save our children and the youth from the trap of crime and criminality, drugs, gangs, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy and conflict with the law.
The 2012 annual report of the Central Drug Authority shows that the abuse of hard drugs such as heroine, cocaine and the drugs known as tik, whoonga or nyaope has reached alarming levels.
Increasingly worrying is the reality that these drugs are becoming easily available to children as young as eight years old.
During my visit to Eldorado Park in Johannesburg last month, I witnessed first-hand, the devastating impact of substance abuse on the lives of young people and their families.
I have directed various government departments to ensure that we address the challenges identified in Eldorado Park, Westbury, Mitchells Plain, and many other communities around the country.
In Eldorado Park, with the assistance of law enforcement agencies, a total of 20 drug dens, also known as “lolly lounges”, have been closed down and four addicted children, including an 8-year-old have been taken to a place of safety. This indicates that we can succeed in this battle.
There are 215 Local Drug Action Committees around the country, so we dare not fail.
They must do their work diligently assisted by relevant departments.
As part of nation building, we also need to ensure that communities are safe for women and children.
We have heard of shocking incidents in recent times, including young people who attack women old enough to be their grandmothers.
Some grandmothers in the town of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape shared in the media, their horrific tales of sexual molestation which is a disgrace to society as a whole.
The Departments of Social Development, Police as well as Women, children and Persons with Disability are to prioritise Lusikisiki and other areas, given the ongoing reports of serious abuse.
Domestic violence or any form of gender violence is unacceptable and has no place in our country.
Law enforcement agencies have been instructed to treat gender violence cases with the utmost
urgency and importance.
We have reintroduced the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units and are re-establishing sexual offences courts.
The community must assist us by coming forward with information. Those who are victims of this crime should also not suffer in silence.
We welcome the work done by non-governmental organisations that support women and children. Government working alone will not be able to defeat this scourge.
South Africa is indeed a much better place to live in than it was before 1994. Each year we move a step further towards achieving our ideal society.
The extension of basic services will continue and so will the monitoring thereof. Of importance is to obtain feedback directly from citizens.
From its inception in October 2009 to 31 March 2013, the Presidential Hotline has received a total of 160 914 cases, of which 90% had been resolved.
We also encourage hands-on monitoring by visiting communities as that is the best way of assessing delivery. As part of the Presidential Siyahlola monitoring programme, we have visited a number of communities in the past financial year.
For example, In Gauteng, we had visited the community of Sweetwaters to address concerns about poor living conditions in 2010. We returned to the community in August last year to check on progress made since the last visit.
Following our intervention, a total of 760 housing units have been allocated to the residents from Sweetwaters and Thulamntwana.
A total of 177 housing units have been fenced and the remainder will be fenced as and when the budget in the City becomes available.
Water and sewer construction and the electrification projects are also underway.
In December 2012, in commemoration of the International Day of People with Disabilities, we visited Mpumalanga to monitor government’s progress in mainstreaming issues of disability, also under the Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Programme.
We are committed to ensuring that the human rights of people with disability are respected and that government meets the 2% target of employing people with disabilities.
We are aware of the concerns about poor service delivery in some areas, leading to protests by communities.
We see in the National Development Plan a relevant blueprint with regards to improving the capacity of the State and turning around the performance of the public service, to improve the way government works.
Part of this intervention includes our ongoing fight against corruption.
The Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster has outlined the work that is being down to rid our country of corruption. Cluster chairperson Minister Jeff Radebe released the names of 42 persons against whom action has been taken by the JCPS Anti-Corruption Task Team and indicated that more will be named in the near future.
This surely demonstrates that government is not paying lip service to the fight against corruption.
South Africa continues to play a role in the continent especially with regards to promoting good governance, economic development as well as peace and stability.
We will continue to promote the effectiveness of the African Union, especially its financial independence.
South Africa also continues to play a role in peacekeeping on the continent.
The deployment of SANDF members on the continent under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union directly contributes to the restoration of peace. It also provides an opportunity for SANDF members to improve their skills in this important responsibility.
During the course of the past financial year, the following external operations continued;
• The SANDF Contingent in Support of the United Nations Organisation for Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
• The SANDF Contingent in support of the United Nations – African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur, Sudan.
• Assistance to the Mozambican Defence Force with Counter Piracy Operations in the Mozambique Channel.
• Provision of disaster aid and relief during floods in Mozambique, and
• The provision of military advice in the area of military strategy and plans to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Our soldiers have acquitted themselves well in these missions and have represented their country with pride and dedication. We salute them and wish them well.
Honourable members, we commend the Government and the people of Zimbabwe for finalizing the Constitution-making process.
In this regard, South Africa urges the political leadership in that country to work on the necessary reforms required to create a conducive environment for credible, peaceful, acceptable free and fair elections.
South Africa and the entire SADC region remain ready to continue to assist the Government and the people of Zimbabwe in their efforts to implement the Global Political Agreement.
On global matters, South Africa will continue playing its part in reconfiguring global economic arrangements, through participation in the IMF and the World Bank, the G20, the Financial Stability Forum, the World Trade Organisation and more recently in partnership with the BRICS countries.
We were honoured to host the BRICS summit in March this year and the World Economic Forum in Cape Town last month.
During this difficult economic climate, I would like to once again implore all of us to put our country first in everything we do.
We have achieved a lot in a short space of time. South Africa is a much better place to live in today than it was before 1994.
Government is determined to continue working hard with all sectors, to build a prosperous South Africa.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Deputy President, the two Ministers in the Presidency and the Deputy Minister for their support. I also appreciate the contribution and hard work of the Director-General, advisors, senior management and all staff in the Presidency.
It is my privilege, Honourable Speaker, to commend Budget Vote 1 to the House.
I thank you.
Speech by Hon Buti Manamela during the debate on Presidency Budget Vote in the National Assembly
Previous ANC speakers have underlined many of the highlights of what this 4th ANC-led democratic administration has achieved under your leadership, Mr President Building on earlier advances by previous ANC-led administrations, the 4th administration has:
Driven a major improvement in life expectancy and a major reduction in mother-to-child HIV transmission;
Introduced for the first time a 20-year approach to planning and tabled a 2030 Vision that places at the centre a vision for addressing the triple crisis of our society unemployment, poverty and inequality. The NDP affirms the need for a capable, developmental state.
Injected new momentum and dynamism into addressing the critical challenge of skills development ;
Driven the massification of our Public Employment Schemes the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme. There are many other important qualitative shifts driven by the post-2009 administration, I want to dwell on one that I consider to be perhaps the most important the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
The underlying statistics speak for themselves.
It was the 3rd ANC-led administration that really kick-started the massive government-led infrastructure build programme. This was stimulated in no small part by preparations for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But all the indications are that THIS 2009-2014 administration will DOUBLE the government spend on infrastructure.
No wonder public-sector led construction is providing the key stimulus to growth in a very difficult global situation. The Financial Mails June 7th cover story notes, in passing and without giving credit, that construction is the run-away leader in terms of the Relative Performance of GDP growth by sector. While not all of this performance is due to the government-led infrastructure spend, the majority of it is undoubtedly attributable to the more than 600 infrastructure projects, integrated into 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPs) of the PICC;
The labour market statistics for the New Growth Path period - 3rd quarter 2010 to 3rd quarter 2012 present a similar story. In terms of percentage change in employment over this two-year period, Limpopo is way ahead with a remarkable 20% increase in employment numbers (the Western Cape trails in at 7th place at 3%.) The Limpopo performance is heartening, because it is precisely this Strategic Integrated Project, SIP 1 unlocking the northern mineral belt that is the most advanced of the PICCs major integrated infrastructure programmes.
The PICCs impact is not just directed at unlocking untapped mineral resources through the coordinated development of rail-lines, water-pipelines, energy provision and human settlements. The PICC is also beginning to unlock plans that have been sitting idly on the drafting board for a half-century in some cases. Take the much needed dam on the Mzimvubu, in one of the poorest regions of the Eastern Cape.
Original plans date back to the mid-1960s. Over the past two decades, successive Eastern Cape provincial governments have put an Mzimvubu dam on their list of developmental priorities but they have lacked the resources and the capacity to drive a project of this complexity.
Using the presidential authority vested in the PICC, the commission has now given this important project major serious momentum by drawing together key parastatals, key national line departments, the province and local communities. The site has been selected, and engineering works should finally commence next year once the EIA process has been completed. But the PICC is not waiting for next year. Land rehabilitation work, using an EPWP approach, will start this year to contain soil erosion along the river course, and thus prevent premature silting up of the eventual dam.
Toilets in City of Cape Town
Residents of Kosovo informal settlement in Philippi have been told by Mayor De Lille that she has now suspended sending in the council sanitation staff to empty toilets. The residents say the toilets, which are supposed to be emptied twice a week, havent been emptied in three months in any case.
Its important to remember that the sanitation crisis in Cape Town is not new. There was the saga of open toilets. There was the disastrous City-led maintenance of communal toilets by using a completely botched EPWP project. The janitors were not supplied any training, any safety equipment or cleaning materials and left for 6 months. And now we have the latest set of events.
Lets be fair. The City of CT is not the only municipality with bucket toilets, non-flush toilets and other sanitation challenges. But what is the DAs attitude towards communities suffering terrible indignities? And what is the DAs POLICY in regard to housing and bulk infrastructure for poor communities?
Log on to their website da.org.za click on to Our policies, then click on to Housing. There it tells us: Providing adequate shelter is first and foremost an individual responsibility its a principle repeated three times. In other words Black man, youre on your own. Impoverished black women, the homeless, those crowded into unhygienic informal settlements you are basically on your own. Sink or swim as individuals on the property market, in a world in which the banks wont provide you with a mortgage, and well-located land with amenities, especially here in CT, costs a fortune.
Perhaps I am being unfair? The DA policy does allow for some government assistance, but this is essentially the rather vague role of creating an enabling environment - Government must create an environment which energises the provision of housing. That is a round-about way of saying that the market must provide the housing. And if the profit maximising market has no interest in the 2,8million impoverished households informally settled as we speak?
Not to worry, the DA assures us: Most people are quite able and willing to play their role, particularly if bureaucratic obstacles are removed.
In other words, the state must basically get out of the way, which is exactly the enlightened policy that the City of Cape Town presumably announced last week when Mayor De Lille said she would no longer be sending in council sanitation cleaning staff to empty the bucket toilets in Kosovo and three other informal settlements. Hows that for the removal of a bureaucratic obstacle, people are being invited to be quite able and willing to play their own role in emptying their bucket toilets?
Let me be quite clear. The ANC does not condone the throwing of faeces.
But if you label people aliens then perhaps they will feel alienated. And doesnt the Book of Proverbs in the Bible say:Whoever sows injustice, will reap calamity Doesnt Galatians, Chapter 6, verse 7 say for whatever one sows, that will ye also reap.
The DA boasts, in its Our Policy Housing web-page, that DA housing policies will allow people to come to their own conclusions and make their own decisions in their circumstances. Indeed!!
In Philippi, in Du Noon, in Khayelitsha people, whole communities, ARE coming to their own conclusions about your attitudes and your policies and those policies STINK.
The same leave it to the markets approach is to be found in the DAs perspective on the re-industrialisation of our economy. The DA has rejected the ANC-led governments Industrial Policy Action Plan arguing, instead, for a light touch from the state. The DA tells us that its not the job of the state to try to pick winners leave it to the market. Last week the Chinese technology manufacturer, Hisense, opened a television and refrigerator plant in Atlantis, they were encouraged to invest in Atlantis by a R28,6m incentive grant provided by the national Department of Trade and Industry, as part of its Industrial Policy Action Plan. Hisense, for its part, has injectedR350m for phase one, creating 300 new jobs.
Of course, Premier Helen Zille scrambled to be part of the photo-opportunity at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Not a peep of criticism was heard from her about the incentive that the DTI had given to Hisense as part of its IPAP programme. Nor did Premier Zille criticise the commitment of the IDC, falling under Minister Patels EDD, to provide future seed funding for the second phase of the project.
Nor did she use the occasion to lecture the Hisense vice-president, Mr Lan Lin, who had flown out from China for the event. Premier Zille didnt use the opportunity to inform Mr Lan Lin of the evils of what the DA policy document call Chinese state capitalism.
According to the DAs Plan for growth and jobs, state capitalism turns companies into organs of government, and so: concentrates power and corrupts it. Whereas in a liberal economy, privately owned entities act as a check on the power of the state, state capitalism instead channels all power to the centre. This removes an essential layer of accountability.
I would have expected the Premier to have used the wonderful opportunity to lecture Mr Lin Lan on the vast superiority of the DAs so-called liberal economy policy compared to the Chinese industrialisation model.
But perhaps Mr Lin Lan would have been able to see straight through this DA fairy-tale which assumes that privately-owned entities cant and dont themselves concentrate massive, often globalised power, in which, rather than checking and balancing the state, they literally usurp its democratic mandate.
This DA fairy-tale, this attempt to tell us that all privately owned companies are corner cafes and spaza shops and not also multi-billion dollar global giants no doubt also explains another stunning silence from the side of the opposition benches.
Collusion in construction sector
They, and their friends, have a great deal to say about corruption in government. And of course we must all support every effort to expose and root out corruption in government. It must be eliminated.
But what are we to make of the virtual total silence of the DA about the multi-billion rand fraudulent collusion on the part of at least 18 construction companies, including the 6 major South African construction companies - recently exposed by the Competition Commission?
Former Business Day editor, Peter Bruce even (and this is staggering) sought to justify it!! Writing in his regular Business Day (15 April 2013), Bruce told his readers: Surely the idea in some industries and in some circumstances would be to see the value in price collusion... The only way to get things done [to build the 2010 World Cup stadiums], and done ship-shape, was to allow the big firms basically to divide up the work among themselves. Now Patel [he complains, referring to the Minister of Economic Development] wants to police collusion in the states big infrastructure programme.
Here is the editor (at the time) of SAs leading business daily brazenly advocating criminal behaviour, and it is not petty theft, its grand larceny, the 300 projects involved in the price collusion were worth some R47-billion. R28bn of that was for public sector infrastructure projects, including 2010 stadium construction and the Gauteng Freeway build programme.
As far as I am aware there was not a peep from the DA either to condemn the 18 self-confessed construction companies, or to condemn their friend Peter Bruces outrageous defence of collusion. And I thought the DA believed in the so-called free market, in competition! Or do they make an exception when the companies are privately owned, and are assumed to be too big to fail and too big to jail? An attack on the legitimacy of majority rule, an attack on the legitimacy of government . The sustained and personalised attack from the opposition benches on the Presidency that we have heard once more today is, of course, not new. On the eve of the 2009 general elections, a prominent British columnist, Peter Hitchens, writing in the Mail on Sunday (March 29, 2009), told his readers that SA was about to have a hopelessly one-sided and rather crooked election; that we were about to become another failed state. On what did he base these claims?
Hitchens told his British readers that ANC president Jacob Zuma, the incoming president: completely lacks Westernised polish and smoothness of Mandela and Mbeki South Africas largest tribe are a proud fighting people, and Zuma will not be a mild leader, as Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were [In Zululand] young men, brought up in the warrior spirit, wander in angry and resentful groups, strikingly unlike the more peaceful Xhosas to the south.
Excuse me for quoting this utterly bilious, unreconstructed colonial trash but it is important for South Africans to remember that this kind of imperial arrogance has not disappeared, and even finds an airing in a prominent UK Sunday newspaper. Now, I dont imagine that anyone in this House would stoop to expressing views of this kind, at least not in public. Nor would any South African newspaper dare to say such things but what Hitchens was saying is ultimately an extreme version of the equally personalised and distorted prejudices we have been hearing this afternoon. I suspect the DA wants you to exhibit Westernised polish and smoothness when you are dealing with them and their constituency they want you to be a mild leader. Oh, but when it comes to the trade union movement, or the homeless, or the marginalised its a different story. Then you are expected to stamp your authority. You are supposed to tell the unions whose boss.
The attack on the presidency is not really about you, Mr President. It is not about the collective in the Presidency. It is about delegitimising majority democratic rule, it is about delegitimising this government and its democratic mandate. The long-haul transformation process that has received new impetus over these past four years, is not supposed to be happening in the oppositions calculations.
If you dont believe me, lets remind ourselves of what one of the great heroes of the DAs recently invented liberation struggle wrote on the eve of the 1994 democratic elections. I am referring to Frederik van Zyl Slabbert an honourable South African, an enlightened liberal, no doubt. In 1992, Van Zyl Slabbert wrote: one of the most daunting challenges facing [a future government] is to protect the new political space created by negotiations from being used to contest the historical imbalances that precipitated negotiation in the first place.
What does that mean?
It means that by 1992 enlightened liberals like Van Zyl Slabbert realised that an ANC-led majority government had now become inevitable.
The trick was to allow that to happen, but ensure that a new majority democratic government would be so constricted by the market and so de-legitimised by an unceasing propaganda campaign that it would be unable to contest the historical imbalances that precipitated negotiation in the first place. Change without transformation.
Low-intensity democracy. Westernised polish but no real power to address the huge social and economic imbalances that still prevail in our society.
It is the refusal of this ANC-led government to kow-tow to that neo-colonial agenda that so infuriates the opposition parties. This ANC-led administration has both the responsibility AND the mandate to accelerate a more radical, second phase of the democratic transition and not allow it to be frozen in a low-intensity democracy first phase as Van Zyl Slabbert in 1992 wanted, and as the DA in 2013 fervently wishes. Budget Vote 1, for the Presidency, is a vote to ensure that we capacitate the leadership in government to carry forward this responsibility and this mandate. Needless to say, the ANC supports Budget Vote 1 for the Presidency.
Speech by Hon Nomalungelo Gina in the National Assembly during The Presidency Budget Vote
Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma and Deputy President
Honourable Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members of Parliament
Distinguished guests in the Gallery
Ladies and Gentlemen
We will continue as the ANC to pray for our icons recovery and call on all South Africans and the world to keep uTata uMadiba and his family in their prayer. I feel honoured and deeply touched to be part of this debate. We can only make a better life for all South Africans if our young people get the skills and the training that we need to make our economy grow and make our democracy work. That is why ANC government makes education compulsory for all children. We must therefore ensure that all our children have access to decent and formal education. If our education system is to produce the capable, skilled and empowered people who can turn South Africa into the just and prosperous nation of our dreams, we must overcome the years of neglect which left most of our children without proper facilities for their education.
Mr. Hendrik Verwoerd said there is no place for the Bantu in the European community above the level of certain forms of labour, what is the use of teaching the Bantu child mathematics, when it cannot use it in practice. Education must train people in accordance with their opportunities in life and according to the spheres in which they live Honourable Speaker the year 2013 marks the 60th Anniversary of the Bantu Education Act which introduced and systematised a racist system of education aimed at severely restricting the educational opportunities of blacks in this country. Most of our governments efforts with regard to education since 1994 have been aimed at overcoming this burdensome legacy together with the entire oppressive inheritance of colonialism and apartheid.Since 1994 the ANC government has made an impressive progress in trying to undo the deep damage that has been made in the lives of black people in South Africa. Drastic measures have been taken in making sure that everybody gets equal and quality education in our country. If Verwoerd and his criminal apartheid regime of 1948 had said the black child must not study mathematics and no black worker must become a skilled artisan, President Jacob Zuma has categorically said the black child must indeed study and be competent in Mathematics and that we must increase the production of new artisans, including black artisans. President Zuma has not only said these things, but has led from the front through leading concrete interventions in education as part of inverting and destroying the Verwoedian legacy. In 2009 President Zuma decided to split the former department of education into two. This was indeed a stroke of genius that is beginning to bear fruit.
I would like to remind this house of what uTata uMadiba said about education, I quote Education is the great engine of personal development, it is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of a farm worker can become the president of a great Nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another unquote. As noted in the State of the Nation address (SONA) All successful societies have one thing in common they invested in education, descent salaries and conditions of service will play an important role in attracting, motivating and retaining skilled teachers. Honourable Speaker, the transition of education from apartheid education to education for all is long and rocky. We have come a long way, yet we still have a long way to go. We believe that within the two decades, we have made great inroads and have covered a lot of ground with regards to our vision of quality education for all. While we believe that more still needs to be done, we should not shy away from the good stories emanating from our programmes Honourable Speaker in his closing address at the conclusion of the 52nd National Conference held in Polokwane in 2007, the President of the ANC Comrade Jacob Zuma reminded us that as a collective and through our structures, we need to create a united African National Congress that recognizes the legacy left by Comrade Or Thambo, Abert Luthuli and Nelson Mandela.
Honourable Speaker the question of creating a caring and supporting learning and teaching environment for learners and educators is at the core of our efforts towards ensuring access to quality education for all. This speaks directly to our task of addressing health, social, psychological and emotional barriers that prevent learners from participating fully in the teaching and learning activities. The African National Congress, believe that every school should inspire learners and educators to want to come to school and learn, and teachers to teach to the best of their potential. South Africans have the right to a basic education, including adult basic education and further education.
According to the Bill of Rights of the country`s Constitution, the state has an obligation, through reasonable measures, to progressively make this education available and accessible. South Africa has one of the highest rates of public investment in education in the world. At about 7% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 20% of total state expenditure, the government spends more on education than on any other sector.
Education at all levels remains a top priority of the ANC government.
In 1999, Our Icon Nelson Mandela made a powerful statement in this House on the constitutional mandate of the legislature and institutions supporting constitutional democracy. He said I quote: Because the people of South Africa finally chose a profoundly legal path to their revolution, those who frame and enact the Constitution and law are in the vanguard of the fight for change. It is in the legislatures that the instruments have been fashioned to create a better life for all. It is here that oversight of government has been exercised. It is here that our society with all its formations has had an opportunity to influence policy and its implementation. Closed quote. The African National Congress decided at its national conference in Polokwane to assign top priority to education. In order to give practical expression to this decision, we felt that the then Department of Education was too big and overburdened, with a vast and comprehensive series of tasks and functions that were often beyond the management and leadership capacity of a single government department. Arising from this concern, it made more meaningful and practical sense to group together issues relating to the special focus area of basic education, while separating these from issues relating to higher education. This gave birth to a split of the Department of Education into two new ministries in the new government structure, namely the Ministry of Basic Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Training.
Honourable Speaker during 2010 the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga, declared that there would be a plan for schools in South Africa called Action Plan to 2014, and that this would form part of a larger vision called Schooling 2025. It is important that you as a South African should know about the Action Plan, and Schooling 2025, especially if you are a parent or guardian of a learner in a school, if you yourself are a learner, or if you are a teacher or a school principal. The plan is important because it tells you what the ANC government will be doing to make Grades R to 12 schooling better, but also because it explains how you yourself can contribute towards making the goals of the plan and Schooling 2025 a reality. With a new curriculum at its heart, the focus is on literacy and numeracy. Known as the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), the new curriculum provides very specific guidelines to streamline what is taught in schools with the aim to close the divide between well-resourced and poor schools.
Honourable Speaker helping people to develop their skills and enhance their capabilities is an essential part of a sustainable strategy for tackling poverty. Education, training and innovation are central to this. Highly educated and trained individuals have much better chances in the labour market and a nation with highly educated citizens, particularly in science, engineering and technology and the humanities is more competitive and will be able to participate in the knowledge driven economy of the future. The national economy benefits when there is a critical mass of highly skilled people as the current skills shortages have raised the cost of many vital skills.
Census 2011 provides a sobering reminder of the need to pay attention to Adult Education and Training. The Census indicates that there are potentially 18 million adult learners that the education system should address. 8.6% of these are the target of the KhaRi Gude literacy campaign, while the rest is the focus of the post-school system. The current Public Adult Learning Centres are woefully inadequate, reaching only 300 000 learners.
The Further Education and Training Colleges Amendment Act, No. 1 of 2013 provides for the creation of a new institutional type, to be known as Community Education and Training (CET) Colleges. The present Public Adult Learning Centres will in time be absorbed into the CET Colleges, additional facilities and staff will be provided and the offerings will be extended to provide vocational or community oriented programmes.
In 2012 ANC government provided financial assistance through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to one hundred and eighty seven thousand four hundred and ninety seven (187 497) FET College students, exceeding our projection of 180 826 students for that year. To cater for the expansion in student enrolments in FET Colleges, ANC government have set aside R6.3 billion over the 2013 MTEF period, beginning with R1.988 billion in 2013 and culminating in R2.2 billion in 2015. This will enable ANC government to ensure greater access to education and training opportunities for 702 430 poor and academically capable young people over the MTEF period. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) is an ANC government primary tool to ensure access for poor students to post-school education. Since 1991, It has assisted 1.4 million students and many NSFAS alumni now play important roles in our economy and society. The Board and staff of NSFAS continue to implement the recommendations of the Ministerial Review Committee report of 2010 and have made significant progress in the turnaround process to enable the entity to deliver on its mandate.
The Departments allocation to NSFAS for 2013/14 amounts to R5.769 billion. This includes R3.693 billion for loans and bursaries to universities and R1.988 billion for bursaries for Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges.
An amount of R575 million has been allocated to all universities for teaching development grants to assist in improving graduate outputs and
R205 million for foundation programmes to improve the success rates of students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds. R177 million for research development has been allocated to all 23 universities to develop the research capabilities of university staff, especially for those institutions with low numbers of staff with Masters and Doctorate degrees. Honourable Speaker ANC government developed an FET College Turnaround Strategy which focused on building college capacity in management, governance and leadership, financial management, human resource management, teaching and learning, as well as student support services. With the assistance of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), ANC government have appointed 48 Chartered Accountants as Chief Financial Officers at FET Colleges with the remaining two colleges to receive their appointments shortly. In partnership with SAICA, the ANC government has appointed 20 Human Resources Specialists to support clusters of colleges to set up Human Resource systems, procedures and policies to ensure smooth and effective human resource management and development in each college.
ANC government have also agreed to a partnership with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) to improve the FET curriculum, make it more relevant to the world of work and facilitate articulation into higher education, by doing so ANC is creating a service delivery environment in education. ANC government is pleased to report that there has been a 12% growth in the university enrolments from 837 779 in 2009 to 938 200 in 2011 which is in line with the aim to increase the total enrolments to 1.62 million by 2030 as envisaged by the National Development Plan. Overall the number of university graduates for this period has also increased by 11%.
Honourable Speaker the numbers of post graduates increased at a higher rate than the overall graduation rate which is important because it is on post-graduates that we depend for our future academics, researchers and other leaders in knowledge-intensive professions. Research Masters graduates increased by 26% and Doctoral graduates increased by 15% from 1 373 in 2009 to 1 576 in 2011. Currently, post-school education and training institutions are unevenly distributed across the country, with rural areas being particularly poorly served. In order to correct this spatial distribution, President Jacob Zuma in 2012 announced the availability of R2.5 billion for infrastructure expansion and refurbishment. In 2012 ANC government committed to establishing 12 new campuses. In 2013 Higher Education and Training Budget Vote Debate Comrade Blade Nzimande reported that construction of these campuses will start this year and the first student intake in the new campuses will be in 2014. This represents the first phase of ANC government FET College infrastructure expansion and should cater for up to 28 000 additional students next year.
Honourable Speaker linked to the infrastructure development ANC government is establishing two new universities in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape. Much preparatory work has been done. Both universities will open their doors in 2014 in selected academic programmes using existing buildings. The Millennium Development Goal for education is to ensure that, by 2015, the majority of children all over the world are able to access and complete a full course of primary schooling. South Africa is well on track towards achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goal for education. In conclusion ANC would like to stress that great progress has been made over the past 19 years in expanding access and success in post school education and training, but much still needs to be done. We must not forget the past, not because we want to use it as an excuse for our weaknesses or failures, but because it keeps at the forefront of our thoughts the redress that is still necessary in order to overcome the legacy. Teaching and learning are at the heart of South African university system.
ANC support this budget vote
I thank you
Speech by Hon Beatrice Ngcobo during The Presidency Budget Vote in the National Assembly
Your Excellency President and Deputy President
Honourable Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members of Parliament
Distinguished guests in the Gallery
Ladies and Gentlemen
Honourable Speaker for 101 years the ANC has led the struggle to bring about a South Africa that belongs to all our people, black and white.
From the beginning we held together the unity of the African people in their struggle for freedom and dignity. We moved on to embrace the unity of all South Africans irrespective of their race, culture or religion.
It is this unity that is a source of our strength and has inspired many who sacrificed their lives so that we can attain our freedom. The Freedom Charter commits us to a preventive health scheme run by the state. Free medical care and hospitalization provided for all, with special care for mothers and young children. There have been many achievements in improving access to health care, however much more still needs to be done in terms of quality of care, making services available to all South Africans and ensuring better health outcomes. The ANC Government endeavour to reduce inequalities in our health system, improve quality of care and public facilities. In practical terms the ANC Government is working together with all key sectors in our society though a social compact to continue to transform the health care.
Honourable Speaker ANC policies have pushed back the frontiers of poverty. In 1996 only 3 million people had access to social grants.
Today more than 12.5 million receive social grants. In 1996 only 34000 children had access to social grants. Today more than 8 million children younger than 14 years, receive social grants. In 1996, 58% of population gained access to electricity, today more than 80% do. In 1996, 62% of the population has access to running water, today more than 88% do. Much needs to be done to improve the quality of health care and education as well as improving service delivery, especially at local government level.
Honourable Speaker, as a country South Africa started the early decades of HIV and AIDS on a wrong footing. But recently in a typical South African style, we have bounced back. ANC Government has shown that collaboration and solidarity against a shared threat and a common goal is desirable and can produce desired results. Through combined efforts and collaborative undertaking, we launched a huge campaign to counsel and test 15 million South Africans for HIV.
We have achieved this and even exceeded this target as today more than 20 million South Africans know their status. Through this programme, we have been able to counsel and place 1, 6 million South Africans on ARV treatment. We have achieved this by increasing ARV sites from 490 in February 2010 to 3000 in April 2012. ANC Government has increased the number of nurses certified to initiate ARV treatment from 250 in February 2010 to 10 000 in April 2012. Within the same period we have conducted 320 000 on medical male circumcisions. We have reduced transmission of HIV from mother to child transmission from 8% in 2008 to 3,5% in 2011 or even to 2,5% in the case of KZN. This is a reduction of over 50%. This success allowed us to save 30 000 babies from contracting HIV from their mothers.
The ANC Government outcome is A LONG AND HEALTHY LIFE FOR ALL SOUTH AFRICANS is one of the twelve outcomes of Government. This long and healthy life is not going to be achieved through wishes and sloganeering. It is not going to roll-in on the wheels of inevitability.
In order not to be complacent, ANC government have unveiled a new National Strategic Plan or (NSP) HIV/AIDS and TB for the period 2012 2016.
This Strategic Plan was officially launched by President Jacob Zuma on World AIDS Day in 2011. The provincial implementation programme was launched by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on World TB Day on the 24th of March last year.
Honourable Speaker for the first time in our history ANC government has integrated HIV / AIDS and TB in the same strategic plan. This new plan outlines a 20 year vision of the country in the fight against the double scourges of HIV/AIDS and TB. ANC government needs support of all South Africans to make the four (4) strategic objectives in the countrys NSP a success. The new NSP further states that every single South African must test at least once a year. ANC government believes that if all South Africans can play their role, these goals are easily achievable. We need to make sure that every pregnant woman undergoes routine HIV testing. We need to make sure every male is circumcised and hence in 2012 ANC government was targeting 600 000 men.
You will have noted Honourable Speaker that most of ANC government interventions in HIV and AIDS are directed at saving pregnant women and children. It is important to note that maternal mortality is not just the death of a women, it is death of a woman because she dared fall pregnant. She becomes vulnerable to death because she is trying to bring new life into this world. We know that even mortality brought by HIV and AIDS as well as malaria is disproportionally affecting young woman of childbearing age more than men. This disproportionate assault on woman of childbearing age is happening more on the continent of Africa than on any part of the world. Hence the African Union came up with a programme called CARMMA i.e Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Africa.
Honourable Speaker, the output on increasing life expectancy, which is ANC government first output does not only depend on fight against HIV and AIDS and reducing maternal and child mortality. It also depends largely on bringing the non-communicable disease (NCDs) under control and decreasing the scourge of violence and injuries on South African roads. Until very recently, the issue of non-communicable disease was less spoken about in the public arena. Many people didnt understand it though it preceded HIV and AIDS by several decades. This is because unlike the NCDs, HIV and AIDS arrived and brutally on to this planet and it came as a shock to the world such that many strong civil society groups were formed to deal with it. This is why there is a measure of success in the battle against HIV and AIDS. NCDs, as the name implies, are not transmitted from one person to the other by a germ or a biological agent. They are not only biomedical, but are by and large diseases of life style.
They are divided mostly into four (4) categories and have four (4) identifiable risk factors. You may then memorise them as disease of 4X4 i.e. four (4) categories of disease with four (4) risk factors.
The health of all South Africans will be secured mainly through the achievements of equitable social and economic development. The legacy of apartheid policies in South Africa has created large disparities between racial groups in terms of socio-economic status, occupation, education, housing and health. These policies have created a fragmented health system, which has resulted in inequitable access to health care. The inequities in health are reflected in the health status of the most vulnerable groups.
In fact, in recent days, whenever South Africans talk about health, they are mostly referring to the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system. ANC government has identified five activity areas or rather five programmes:
The first is the improvement of infrastructure
The second is the planning, the development and the management of human resources for health
The third is quality of care in our public health institutions
The fourth is the re-engineering of the primary healthcare
The fifth is the cost of healthcare in our country
Honourable Speaker the much talked about NHI falls largely within this last category programme. Due to lack of time, I will pick up only two (2) of the programmes. I will take the third and the fourth programmes i.e. quality of care in our public health facilities and NHI.
Honourable Speaker, you will recall that in his very first state of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma referred to this issue of quality, I quote We are seriously concerned about the deterioration of the quality of healthcare, aggravated by the steady increase in the burden of disease in the past decade and a half.
Since that time ANC government didnt rest, did not want to work on the basis of anecdotes or common sense in dealing with quality. Hence, ANC government embarked on a process of health facility audit. This entails sending teams to all the four thousand two hundred (4 200) public health facilities to audit infrastructure, human resources, cleanliness, attitude of staff, safety of staff and patients, infection control, drug stock outs and the long queues which citizens have to endure when visiting our facilities.
ANC government is at 90% towards completion of the audit, we thought we fully comprehend the nature and extent of the problems. Hence we have put up four teams of Health facility improvement teams to go into the facilities to work with the Provincial management to correct all the abnormalities and findings identified during the audits. The teams have already started working in Motheo District in the Free State, Sedibeng in Gauteng, Zululand in KZN and Pixley ka Seme in the Northern Cape.
Honourable Speaker there is no way the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare system can ever be realised without dealing with the cost of healthcare and healthcare financing. There are people who wrongly believe that the concept of healthcare financing, as envisaged in NHI, is a pipe dream concocted by ANC. I wish to advise them that NHI is not a unique South African concept. The World Health Organisation is actively promoting this concept and describes it as Universal Health Coverage. Universal Health Coverage is a system that does not discriminate against any citizen of a country.
Honourable Speaker let me quote from a presentation given by Dr Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organisation on the 2nd of April 2012 in Mexico where she was addressing a Conference on this issue. Her presentation was entitled: More countries move towards Universal Health Coverage.
She said: This was the tipping point, when the world woke-up to the dangers of assuming that market forces on by themselves, will solve social problems.
They will not she went further to say: This World will never become a fair place by itself. Fairness, especially in matters of health, comes only when equity is an explicit policy objective. Universal Coverage is a clear pursuit of equity and social justice. Universal Coverage is also a powerful equaliser.
She continued: Moving towards Universal Coverage is never easy, but every country, at any level of development, and with any level of resources, can take immediate and sustainable steps in that direction The ANC government have reached a point of no return on this issue of Universal Coverage through NHI.
On the 22nd of March 2012, ANC government announced the names of NHI pilot Districts that formed part of the 10 sites. The Districts are: Dr K. Kaunda in the North West Province, Pixley ka Seme in Northern Cape, Thabo Mofutsanyane in the Free State, Eden in Western Cape, OR Tambo in Eastern Cape, Gert Sibande in Mpumalanga, Vhembe in Limpopo, Umzinyathi and Umgungundlovu in KZN and Tshwane District in Gauteng.
As was announced by the Minister of Finance, Honourable Pravin Gordhan in Budget 2012, that R1 billion has been allocated over the MTEF for purposes of supporting the pilots. Piloting means doing all the things that are needed to meet preconditions, especially dealing with the quality of care in the public service. The success of NHI depends on certain basics in healthcare delivery being adhered to. We need to understand that the main reason for the existence of any healthcare delivery system is to take care for the sick and the vulnerable.
Healthcare delivery system does not exist to create millionaires at the expense of the health of our people.
Honourable Speaker this tendency of putting business before health, one can call it a Tender-care system because it is done in the form of tenders. It is no longer a healthcare system, but another form of uncontrolled commercialism, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned us against the manifestation of this tendency, is the disappearance of funds for the most basic tenants of healthcare.
Non- payment of pharmaceutical suppliers resulting in shortages of medicines, vaccines, dry dispensary and other consumables
Non- payment of laboratory services and blood supply services
Shortages of equipment and devices for neonatal perinatal and maternal services
Non maintenance of health infrastructure and equipment.
Honourable Speaker, the ANC is determined to fight against fraud and corruption because in pursuing its goal of building a capable developmental state efficiency of the government is of principal importance. Corruption weakens the states capacity to provide public goods to the people.
It is important to acknowledge the successes of ANC government in the area of health infrastructure delivery. However, a number of key challenges remain.
Honourable Speaker work is under way to enable provinces to plan, manage, modernise, rationalise and transform infrastructure.
Refurbishment and equipping nursing colleges to date over 70 nursing colleges and schools are being refurbished as follows:
Province Number of Nursing Colleges refurbished
Eastern Cape 11
Free State 4
Northern Cape 1
North West 8
Western Cape 11
Chairperson the ANC Government is now following up with provinces for them to respond to the issues identified in the facilities audit. This include expanding on existing facilities where there are problems with space, but where there is room for expansion. Fixing and repairing problems that were identified in the audit, such as dilapidated facilities. Building new infrastructure where long-term solutions are required and where there are acute problems of access, supplying services through mobile or prefabricated facilities.
Honourable Speaker the infrastructure upgrade is one of ANC Government`s priorities and a central pillar in the roll out of National Health Insurance. In his 2011 state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma said 105 nursing colleges were to be re-opened. The reopening of nursing colleges is urgent as they are expected to ease the burden of universities, which are battling to scale up on doctors. Health facilities infrastructure management focuses on coordinating and funding health infrastructure to enable provinces to plan, manage modernize, improve the quality of care in line with the national policy objectives and responsible for conditional grants for health infrastructure. I would like to conclude by reminding this house that in October 2011 the ANC Government appointed a task team on Nurse Education and Training to take forward the recommendations from the April 2011 Nursing Summit.
This has resulted in a National Strategic Plan being completed in February 2013. ANC Government launched e-Health strategy to harness information communication technologies to help transform the health system. This strategy aims to resolve the problems of the past, clearly articulated in the NSDA 2010-2014.
ANC Support this Budget Vote
I thank you
Speech by Minister in The Presidency : National Planning, Hon Trevor Manuel during The Presidency Budget Vote
Mr President Zuma
Deputy President Motlanthe
Ladies and Gentlemen
As I listened to the address of the Speaker of the National Assembly at this podium yesterday I was reminded of how far we have come since President Nelson Mandela delivered his first State of the Nation Address. It is important that we take time to reflect on the journey that we have travelled but at the same time to ask whether we have made sufficient progress. We must reflect on where we find ourselves now as a country but also locate that reflection within the shifts that have taken place globally over this period. Tony Judt offers this reflection in his short but powerful book Ill Fares the Land: Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: Is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.
Social transformation is not a gift from the gods and neither is it always a product of cataclysmic events. It is a product of a deep realisation that the conditions under which we live and under which we may raise families are unacceptable and unjust. It is a product of a deep probing of the kind that Judt encourages us to practice.
Social transformation is also a product of the resolve by members of society who decide that no longer will they leave the future of their children to chance. No longer will they accept living in inhumane conditions. When people decide that the health care provided to the sick among them is everyones collective problem. That the drugs and crime that rip families and communities apart is everyones problem. When education authorities, teachers, learners and parents recognise that they are on the same side, they begin to share a common goal.
Social transformation is a product of being conscious of social injustices; taking decisions to act on those injustices, of planning the course of action and of executing those plans. We have acted according to this spirit from the very founding of the African National Congress in 1912 to the gathering of people from all walks of life in Kliptown in 1955, to the negotiations that gave birth to the democratic South Africa. All of these events in our life as a nation were characterised by a deep sense of recognition that the situation we found ourselves in was untenable and we resolved to do something about it. We continued in the same vein after 1994 guided by President Nelson Mandelas words that [T]he purpose that will drive this government shall be the expansion of the frontiers of human fulfilment, the continuous extension of the frontiers of the freedom. It was this approach that guided the drafting and adoption of the Constitution, the revision and replacement of apartheid legislation and the formulation of policies. The establishment of the National Planning Commission was part of this process where as a nation we had to find a more effective approach to addressing our challenges.
Honourable members, ten months ago we presented to President Zuma, this House and the nation the National Development Plan. We presented a product of two years of research and analysis, purposeful dialogue and deliberation on the future of this country. We presented a product in which the National Planning Commission took the opportunity to listen to thousands of South Africans from all walks of life share their thoughts, fears and visions about the future. We presented the Plan which embodies the dreams of the people of this nation.
As WB Yeats writes in his 1899 poem, Cloths of Heaven:
Had I heaven`s embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths Of night and light and the half-light I would spread the cloths under your feet,
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.
What has happened since we have spread this dream for South Africa at your feet in this House? In the weeks and months after the tabling of the Plan in this house, various political parties, including the party I belong to, debated the Plan extensively in their conferences and adopted it as a programme to guide our collective efforts as a nation for the next 17 years.
The National Development Plan has galvanised society to seriously think about and debate the future of this country. In any given week, there are conferences, seminars or workshops to discuss the NDP in the different parts of our country. These events are not organised by the Commission; they are organised by people across a wide range of sectors who care about the future of this country. Newspapers carry articles, analyses and opinion pieces about the National Development Plan on a daily basis.
Not everybody agrees with all the detail in the NDP but there is no denying that it has become a central part of our national narrative. Political analysts, media commentators and, indeed, members of this House are increasingly evaluating government actions, policies and strategies on whether or not they are aligned to the NDP.
So, clearly we have the country talking about the Plan, but what about action?
Mr Speaker, Cabinet endorsed the Plan during the Extended Cabinet Lekgotla in September 2012. This paved the way for the focus to shift towards implementation. Government departments immediately began to include some of the recommendations of the NDP in their annual plans for the current financial year, while the process of disaggregating the NDP into the first of the five-year plans in the form of the Medium Term Strategic Framework also got underway. Having listened to the various members of the Executive present their budgets over the past weeks, members of this House should have a clearer sense of how implementation will be structured over the coming years.
Allow me to pay tribute to the many colleagues in the various spheres of government and many fellow citizens in all manner of organisations who have begun this process. When the Minister of Finance tabled the 2013/14 Budget earlier this year, he took the NDP as the starting point.
The Minister announced, among others, reforms to strengthen the fight against corruption in the supply-chain management system by assigning a Deputy Director-General in his department to this initiative. This was followed by the announcement of a number of reforms championed by the Minister of Public Service and Administration to address capacity weaknesses in the public service as well as strengthen the fight against corruption. Just this week, Minister Radebe announced the far-reaching decision by the Justice and Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to release publicly a list of names of people who have been convicted of fraud and corruption demonstrating the zero tolerance approach to corruption that the NDP proposes.
The Minister of Sports and Recreation recently handed over an outdoor gym to the community of Rocklands in Mitchells Plain, taking forward one of the proposals in the NDP to promote physical activity and healthy living. In collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Recreation, the Ministry of Basic Education has reintroduced schools sports and physical education in schools across the country. Towards the end of last year, the Ministry of Health also launched a pilot project on integrated school health as a critical element of our revitalised primary health care system. All of these are recommendations contained in the NDP.
The City of Johannesburg recently announced a major infrastructure investment programme. This will include the introduction of transport corridors to connect the different parts of the city through affordable and accessible mass public transit in line with the NDP and the citys own Growth and Development Strategy 2040.
These are only some of the many initiatives where government has begun implementing different aspects of the Plan. But it is important that I re-state a point made previously, that this is not a plan for government only. The NDP invited South Africans from different sectors to work together in partnerships to implement the Plan and we have been humbled by the enthusiasm shown. For example, stakeholders in the Early Childhood Development sector are currently engaged in discussions to find effective models of collaboration to take forward the proposals of the NDP. This collaboration involves different government departments, NGOs and the private sector. Earlier this month, MEC for Education in KwaZulu Natal, Mr Senzo Mchunu in his budget vote speech announced that the province would establish a partnership with different sectors, in particular the private sector, on an initiative to improve learning outcomes as proposed in the NDP. Minister Motshekga also announced a national equivalent of this initiative called the Education Collaboration Framework in her budget vote speech last month.
Honourable members, in February this year, the President convened a meeting between Government and Business to discuss how to implement the NDP together. It was agreed that the two sectors should meet on a regular basis and a follow-up meeting is expected to take place in the next few weeks. In addition, Business Leadership South Africa has put together task teams that are focussing on identifying how the business sector can contribute to the implementation of the NDP. Two weeks ago, the Commission was invited to a meeting of young people representing a number of organisations. These young people expressed enthusiastic support for the NDP. They see it as something that the youth should be actively involved in shaping and implementing. They took it upon themselves to assist in making the long NDP document more accessible to young people. They also resolved to create a dashboard to monitor implementation of youth related proposals in the plan and hold government and business accountable and to meet annually to track progress on implementation.
Mr President, it is important to reassure the nation that the NDP is indeed our roadmap and our people are striving to make it work. Rather than patting ourselves on the back we should instead be asking whether the initiatives being implemented will actually deliver change to those that need it the most. It is often easy for us to forget the realities of poverty when arguing the principles of exact positions. Many of those who are able to provide detailed analysis and criticism of proposals do it from a position of relative comfort. While it is crucial that we implement strategies and policies that are thoroughly considered and discussed, and that we debate the merits of the proposals, quite often, alternative proposals are absent. Turning to the criticism of NDP proposals on the economy, it is worth highlighting that there is not much disagreement on the goals and targets. Much of the disagreement centres on the proposed strategies to create jobs, grow the economy and ensure economic inclusion. Even if we accept that the criticisms of the proposed strategies are valid, this begs the question whether we should wait for complete consensus before starting to tackle the many challenges we face.
Are we able to face the unemployed young people and the thousands living in poverty and say we are not treading on your dreams? Will we be able to hold onto our integrity when they remain locked outside the labour market by the actions we take or fail to take? Will they believe us when our actions sometimes close rather than open opportunities; when we appear to oppose everything without providing any solutions? Will our policy positions hold true when our actions as leaders in the public sector, business and labour exacerbate the living conditions of the poor instead of improving them? How can we look them in the eye when the gap between incomes of the rich and the poor remain so high? Should we not be doing more?
The NDP takes a comprehensive approach. By emphasising the building of human, physical and institutional capabilities, the NDP offers us an opportunity to make the transition from the undesirable situation we inherited to an economy we can all be proud of. It contains proposals on how to transform the space economy the relationship between where people live and where they work, and a careful selection of where different kinds of economic activity should take place. It also includes proposals on how to improve the quality of education and develop the skills of our people; how to create sustainable human settlements; the social safety net that should be provided; it addresses weaknesses in the public service and focusses on corruption.
All of these proposals are carefully selected to enable us to move from where we are to an improved state. But that requires us to have a firm understanding of our currently circumstances. In this regard, Judt observes: ...history is not foreordained, we mere mortals must invent it as we go along and in circumstances, as old Marx rightly pointed out, not entirely of our own making. We shall have to ask the perennial questions again, but be open to different answers. We need to sort out to our own satisfaction what aspects of the past we wish to keep and what made them possible. Which circumstances were unique? And which circumstances could we, with sufficient will and effort reproduce?
Honourable members, the National Development Plan does not offer easy solutions to the challenges we face. It could never be easy to changing the path of our history. Reaching this point in our democracy has not been easy either, nor has it been by accident or without thought. In the past twenty years, the ruling ANC has adopted and implemented many policies that are sound. Just so that we are clear, policies that in most cases were adopted by consensus by all political parties represented in Parliament. Policies designed to ensure that we change the reality that we inherited. When the policies do not have the desired outcome, we should have the maturity to reflect and the flexibility of mind to change our approach or discuss changing the policy, if required.
This is precisely what the Planning Commission has done. We can only grow from learning but there cannot be any learning if we do not implement. Similarly, if our present strategies contained in the Plan do not work, we need to address it but we cannot wait for a perfect plan such a thing does not exist. Learning as we implement allows us an opportunity to get better at implementation rather than become better at planning.
The implementation of the Plan is now the responsibility of government and the nation. The National Planning Commission will play an advisory role in order to contribute its expertise and independent perspective to the implementation of the Plan. This will include advising government and others sectors on implementation; commissioning research to deal with gaps; facilitating collaboration between different actors and mobilising support for the Plan. The National Planning Commission has started working with the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation to develop the Medium Term Strategic Framework. Careful attention will be paid to how the different proposals are sequenced, in particular, identifying those that need to prioritised in the first five years. We understand that the only way to ensure that South Africans know the plan is to make it easily accessible. We have translated the executive summary into all 11 languages, which is now available on our website. More copies of the National Development Plan will be printed and distributed to all public and university libraries, FET Colleges and Thusong centres. Work will start immediately on producing a pocket size version of the NDP to ensure greater accessibility.
Good planning requires credible evidence. The NPC manages two main research programmes. The first one is the National Income Dynamics Study - a panel study aimed at providing data that allow us to answer questions such as who is moving ahead in terms of income and who is staying behind and why. The second is the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development. This programme offers grants to researchers to undertake studies in government priority areas with the aim of extending the evidence available to policymakers. For the 2013/14 financial year, the National Planning Commission is allocated a budget of R77.7 million.
Of this R49 713 million is allocated to the Ministry sub-programme; R20 127 million to the Research and Policy Advisory sub-programme and R7 817 million to the Communication and Public Participation sub-programme.
In conclusion, Mr Speaker, I want to reiterate, as a nation we must define what we want to become. This is what the National Development Plan does. To be able to do that, we must know what we are. Knowing what we are includes the recognition that as a nation we are not all that we would like to be. This is the responsibility of history, the recognition of what we are, what we want to be and the journey in between. In dealing with this, it is very important that we, as colleagues, as honourable members of this House understand, always, the burden of responsibility that rests with us. It is the burden, so beautifully articulated in those words of the poet, Yeats, when he says of the poor who have only dreams, Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams
Speech by the Deputy President of the RSA, Hon Kgalema Motlante, during the Budget Vote debate on Presidency
Honourable Speaker, Mr Max Sisulu;
His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma;
Honourable Members of the National Assembly;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Once again I am honoured for the opportunity to address this august House on the occasion of the Budget Vote of the Presidency.
Over the last few of weeks this House has been focusing on the all-important task of evaluating the work of the executive. Underlying this pivotal exercise is the Constitutional imperative to account to this House for the use of public resources.
I imagine that all of us who sit in this House have a great appreciation for the import of this budget-making process in providing us with the opportunity to reflect on our work.
Our task is to provide strategic oversight that is intended to identify, manage and minimise risks in governance, delivery systems, in institutional arrangements and in existing procedures.
Another important aspect of our work involves the co-ordination of multiple stakeholders. Here we focus on inter-governmental relations and relations with other relevant stakeholders in terms of their mandates and accountability so as to achieve alignment. We also seek to secure high-level agreements with all stakeholders as well as to clear institutional impediments.
We have had to pay special attention to facilitating accords by focusing on forming partnerships outside of government where these enhance prospects of programme success especially with labour, business and communities.
Our experience shows that when overall strategies start to open up new opportunities, those closest to such opportunities - spatially and in terms of their profiles, skills and experience - will benefit first.
Through the Inter-Ministerial Committees and Councils we focus on the marginalized by paying particular attention to strategies that enable the productive inclusion of the poor, who are otherwise likely to be excluded from such processes.
We have had to pay attention to supporting innovative approaches to improve the prospect of delivering better and faster services.
We now turn our attention to detail regarding some of the specific programmes:
As members of this House know, poverty reduction remains one of our key priorities. Responding to the needs of the most vulnerable communities by fast-tracking service delivery in an efficient manner is of utmost importance. The War on Poverty Campaign facilitates the unblocking of challenges to the implementation of programmes to deliver services.
These challenges are threefold. They relate firstly to system weaknesses across various departments. Secondly, they result from inadequate turnaround times to improve service delivery, including poor intra-departmental integration and co-ordination. Thirdly, a lack of access to information further constrains the rate of delivery in certain communities.
Governments anti-poverty programme specifically focuses on overcoming these challenges through better co-ordination of relevant departments for maximum impact in identified areas.
The intervention plans resulting from this process are regularly monitored to ensure that communities benefit from government services.
We have also identified change agents in poor households, whom we have connected to the relevant services.
A sustainable long term solution to challenges of poverty is through creation of jobs at scale. In the short term, the creation of these jobs resides in the public employment schemes, particularly in the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Works Programme.
South Africa is an energy-driven economy.
As such alongside our objectives to ensure energy security is the need to pursue an appropriate energy mix that includes clean and renewable resources to meet the demands of our economy.
More than at any point in our history, energy is assuming increasing importance as the lubricant of our countrys development. At the same time, we continue to face peculiar, fundamental development issues.
Government sees energy as central in meeting basic human needs and improving living standards.
To this end, South Africas electricity generation has to be increased significantly in the next few decades to facilitate economic growth.
Therefore the way to go for us in the long term is to become globally competitive in the use of innovative technology for the design, manufacture, and deployment of state of the art nuclear energy systems.
Nuclear power is ideal in this sense, because we can build large nuclear power plants at points around our southern coastline, and potentially elsewhere in the future. Nuclear power plant construction is a major undertaking, which will bring significant economic benefits to local industry.
We remain committed to strengthening and investing in research and development of clean energy technologies from a multitude of sources, while conscious to ensure minimal environmental impact and safety of generation methods.
Beyond this South Africa has well-established regulatory health and safety standards critical to the management of nuclear systems and facilities.
These measures include regulation on licensing, nuclear construction and fabrication, health and safety monitoring, and the training of the required skilled personnel.
Nuclear safety assurance and our good record in this respect should be maintained and enhanced as a primary foundation upon which consensus on more nuclear electricity generation can emerge.
Further, government has approved the establishment of the National Nuclear Energy Executive Co-ordination Committee to make high level recommendations concerned with the nuclear energy programme.
There are many role players to bring on board in our roll-out of nuclear energy in the power sector, which include civil society, business, academia and government. Government is determined to play an instrumental role in this due to the importance of this programme for our countrys future.
Human Resource Development (HRD) is one of the five core programmes necessary to drive the implementation of our reconstruction and development agenda.
Over time a number of significant initiatives have been undertaken in the area of HRD which have had varied impact on the countrys human resource base. All these are underpinned by a set of principles, among which equity, access and redress are central.
In this connection government has established a coherent and comprehensive HRD policy framework consistent with its broader development and investment strategy. This policy framework is intended to be responsive to new economic realities.
Since 2010 the necessary structures for the implementation of the Human Resources Development Strategy have been established.
The various work streams of the HRD Council are busy identifying blockages to implementation with the aim of recommending mechanisms to take our work forward. We are aiming to finalise this work by December 2013.
The response to the dual epidemics of HIV and TB in its broadest terms encompasses prevention of new infections, provision of a comprehensive package of services to those who need them, mitigation of impact and addressing the social determinants. In this regard, it is fair to say that South Africa has made huge strides and that we continue to invest in numerous strategies to move us closer to our vision of an AIDS-free society in our life-time.
Our response is guided by a series of Strategic Plans developed and implemented since 2002. Since the implementation of the first National Strategic Plan our response has yielded notable results.
Through the South African National AIDS Council we have built a multi-stakeholder forum which has brought together the countrys collective wisdom to bear on these epidemics.
What began as a huge threat to our nation has now become one of the largest treatment programmes in the world with the latest surveys indicating that the number of new HIV infections has decreased from 650 000 a year in 2000 to 290 000 in 2012.
Using the mandate of SANAC as a basis for evaluating our work, we can demonstrate the progress we have made, identify gaps which still require our attention and most importantly, determine critical next steps in our response.
As the highest body established to oversee the national response, SANAC has been tasked with the following mandate:
To advise government on all HIV and TB related policies and programmes;
To oversee the development and implementation of National Strategic Plans; and
To expand partnerships for an effective response and ensure that sufficient resources are made available to implement and sustain all the programmes.
In order to deliver on this mandate, we have sought ways to ensure that SANAC is a structure fit-for-purpose. In this regard, following a thorough review of the monitoring and co-ordination mechanisms, a new Governance and Accountability Framework has been adopted and is now being implemented through the SANAC secretariat.
On the policy front, significant progress has been made through the introduction of numerous impactful evidence-informed policies across the prevention, treatment, care and support continuum. It is important to highlight that these policies cut across various government departments, thus ensuring that our approach is coherent and mainstreamed.
Whilst government continues to provide bold, decisive and inspirational leadership, other sectors and key stakeholders have taken the cue and are now implementing robust programmes in a significant and consistent way.
A few examples of note in this regard are:
The work currently underway to revise the National Policy for HIV and TB for the education sector;
The introduction of HIV and TB treatment in Correctional Services facilities;
Many other sectors are working jointly with government to develop and implement initiatives that target those at risk;
Collaboration with the mining industry to tackle TB and HIV in the mining sector not only in South Africa but across the region through established regional structures such as SADC and WHO;
Civil society sectors are expanding, refining and integrating their programmes at the community level, raising awareness and leading dialogue on some of the social drivers of the epidemic such as violence against women and children, substance abuse and many others.
We have responded to the resource challenge in a number of ways.
Firstly we have increased domestic allocations for addressing the epidemics. Secondly, we have commissioned research to identify how domestic and external resources are utilized to maximise efficiencies.
We have indeed made huge progress but we must not be complacent. The number of new HIV and TB infections is still high requiring extra-ordinary effort from all sectors of society with support from the development partners.
The most important tasks that lie ahead are to consolidate our successes, scale up what we know works and integrate our work across all sectors.
We need to focus on addressing the social determinants of ill- health in a more co-ordinated manner with a long-term focus. We need to invest more resources in building adequate research capacity to enable us to develop home-grown solutions that address the needs of our people.
I would like to salute all those who have contributed to our progress in the fight against these dual epidemics and urge everyone to remain focused on the vision of an AIDS-free society.
The Deputy President as the Leader of Government Business is responsible for the affairs of the National Executive in Parliament, and thus he performs a strategically important liaison function between the Executive and Parliament.
Notwithstanding an inherent tension that naturally exists between ministers and honourable members of the House, our engagement with Parliament has always been a dynamic and energetic one. Relations between the Executive and Parliament continue to be strengthened through regular interactions with the Presiding Officers in both Houses, the political leadership and Members of Parliament.
We regularly participate in and give guidance on Executive actions to regional and international fora, which seeks to strengthen the effectiveness of Parliament in executing its Constitutional mandate.
This dynamic interplay between the Executive and Parliament is maturing and has resulted in a far more coherent approach in giving effect to our collective efforts to create a better life for all.
The Executive has always taken very seriously its accountability to Parliament and has made valiant efforts to respond timeously to Parliamentary Questions. Oral and Written Parliamentary Questions remain one of the key instruments of oversight by Parliament over the Executive.
The report of the Leader of Government Business is a standing item on the agenda of Cabinet and constitutes evidence that the Executive takes its accountability to Parliament seriously.
During the period of the Fourth Parliament to date, a total of 16 464 Oral and Written Questions were asked, and the Executive responded to 15
878 Questions, which represents a response rate of over 96%. I would like to commend my Cabinet colleagues for their commitment towards enhancing and strengthening the capacity and systems within their respective departments to process and submit Parliamentary Replies timeously.
Cabinets Legislative Programme has also been executed smoothly, and during the Fourth Parliament to date, 135 Bills were introduced, of which only 4 Bills were prioritized. This bears testimony to more stringent planning and co-ordination by the Executive.
Over the last year we have had the opportunity to engage in a few but vital Bi-National Commissions. The BNCs are a framework within which our political and economic relations will be guided and shaped long into the future.
The historic signing of the Bi-National Commission agreement between South Africa and Turkey in June 2012 signifies a major achievement in our relations. This is a culmination of many years of hard work, tough negotiations and trade-offs. It covers a wide range of sectors such as trade and investment, energy and minerals, small enterprises, training and development as well the textile and clothing industry.
Our relations are on the up and up as evidenced by a steady increase of trade and investment between our countries. The principle of mutual benefit guides all deliberations and agreements. Another important milestone in the course of last year was the signing of an Implementation Agreement between our country and Nigeria, with which our relations have reached a high level.
Relations between our country and China, with which we have a BNC, continue to grow. Furthermore the BNC with Germany also held its annual meetings and assessment conference in Berlin as well as a business seminar in Munich.
The President has already highlighted the background to the developments in the mining sector.
Indeed in view of the worrisome current global and national economic conditions, it is important that challenges affecting national interests are dealt with through broad consultation with the aim of building consensus as the basis for socio-economic stability.
In consequence the Deputy President has been tasked by the President to engage with all stakeholders to heighten awareness about the volatile state of our economy in the light of the urgency of the issues emanating from the mining sector.
Accordingly, during the past two weeks government has had a series of consultations with trade unions, federations and the Chamber of Mines to discuss measures to stabilise the mining industry and to forestall potential crisis. Further, on Friday this week we will be holding a meeting with all stakeholders to find a broad consensus to consolidate future co-operation and stability.
Similarly, since the beginning of this year we have engaged in an ongoing consultation with the Western Cape farmers, provincial government and farmworkers unions, to address the challenges facing the farming sector in the province.
One thing we have observed from all these engagements, including the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project, is that we must work hard towards building trust through open dialogue, which is key to the resolution of matters that may easily appear intractable at first.
Our nation has come a long way since the democratic breakthrough of April 1994 that saw our people standing in long winding queues to cast their votes for the birth of a democratic South Africa.
Since that epochal moment the democratic state has focused its energies on cementing national unity, democracy, non-racialism and non-sexism, within the key vision of reconstruction and development.
As much as accumulated historical disabilities remain embedded in our social landscape, the democratic state has made notable strides in many key areas. Meaningful changes have been made to the lives of the masses of our people.
We will continue to work for the eradication of poverty, ignorance, homelessness, powerlessness and many other ills that scar the face of our nation. In this respect the five priorities of government represent our determination to reach the goal of a better life for all our people in a much more focused way.
We are confident that the progress our country has made so far provides the necessary stimulus for further progress as we march into the future with determination.
Let me conclude by thanking Honourable Members for their participation in this debate that reflects our determination to uphold the values of our constitution. It is an honour for me to thank the President for the support and guidance he has given to me during the execution of my duties since the beginning of this term.
Let me take this opportunity to thank my colleagues in the Cabinet for their support as well as ministers and deputy minister in The Presidency who make our work possible. I also wish to thank the Director-General in The Presidency along with senior management, my advisers, as well as the staff in my office, for their unstinting support.
I thank you
Budget Debate Vote 1 - the Presidency
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