Hansard: Member’s Statements

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 27 May 2008

Summary

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Minutes

UNREVISED HANSARD

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

TUESDAY, 27 MAY 2008

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

___________

The House met at 14:01.

The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.

NOTICE OF MOTION

Mr C M LOWE: Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that I intend moving, on behalf of the DA, the following motion:

That the House debates the migration of people on the African continent, the role and responsibilities of the government in managing their movement and specifically the role of the Department of Home Affairs in responding to migration patterns in Southern Africa.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION

END OF TAKE

Mr C M LOWE

CHILD PROTECTION WEEK

(Draft Resolution)

THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House -

(1) notes that Monday, 26 May 2008, marked the beginning of Child rotection Week which will culminate in the commemoration of International Children's Day on 1 June;

(2) further notes that the theme for the week is: "Getting South Africa ready to implement the Children's Act";

(3) recognizes that a large number of our children, one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, are still victims of neglect, abuse and violence on a daily basis;

(4) acknowledges the selfless role stakeholders in civil society and in local communities have played in campaigning for the protection and development of our children; and

(5) calls on all South Africans to stand together to ensure that our children are protected from all forms of abuse so that they can enjoy the benefits of freedom and democracy which they so rightly deserve.

Agreed to.

Ms S RAJBALLY

END OF TAKE

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION

MUNICIPAL BY-ELECTIONS IN WARD 73 IN CHATSWORTH, KWAZULU-NATAL

(Draft Resolution)

Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice:

That the House –

(1) notes that the by-elections in Ward 73 in Chatsworth, KwaZulu-

Natal, have been victoriously won by an MF candidate, Anandan

Naidoo, in all nine voting district stations;

(2) further notes that this by-election has been a great success in numbers, and we would like to thank all supporters who led us to this victory …

Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: I don't believe the hon member has shared this motion out with the rest of the parties. She is talking very much on a party-political matter which is absolutely taboo in terms of motions without notice. I would suggest that you rule this out of order. We certainly won't be supporting it.

The SPEAKER: Hon Rajbally, these motions without notice are ordinarily preceded by ensuring that all other parties have been brought on board about them. It doesn't seem like this happened. So, maybe you want to just process that.

Ms S RAJBALLY: Yes, Ma'am, it has been processed. Thank you.

Ms A VAN WYK

END OF TAKE

Ms S RAJBALLY

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

(Member's Statement)

Ms A VAN WYK (ANC): Madam Speaker, the recent criminal attacks on foreign nationals and South Africans have resulted in death, injury and the displacement of many people in our country.

The ANC commends the stand taken by the great majority of our people to condemn the criminal violence. As political organisations, government and security agencies, workers, community organisations, business and sectoral organisations, let us co-ordinate our efforts to stop these attacks once and for all. Let us also work together to mobilise support for those displaced by the violence, ensuring that they are treated in a humane manner, and by attending to their most immediate needs, including that of food and ablution facilities. We commend the leaders of the various political organisations and communities who continue to work hard to end these attacks.

The ANC reiterates its strong condemnation of the attacks on foreign nationals and South Africans alike, whatever the motivation. This violence does not merely affect those who have fallen victim to it, but is an attack on our country's just, humane and democratic values. [Applause.]

Mr C M LOWE

END OF TAKE

Ms A VAN WYK

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

(Member's Statement)

Mr C M LOWE (DA): Madam Speaker, on Thursday last week, here in this House, the hon Trevor Manuel accused the DA leader, Helen Zille, of "fanning the flames of xenophobia-related violence", following her address earlier that week to residents of New Woodlands in Cape Town, in which she called on government to honestly reflect on the perceptions which give rise to xenophobia.

The hon Manuel should be wary of throwing stones from glass houses. While Helen Zille and the DA-led coalition have worked tirelessly in the City of Cape Town to bring this crisis under control since its inception, with virtually no assistance from the ANC government at provincial or national level, it would be fair to argue that the flames that Zille is now forced to put out were in fact sparked by the ANC's own Lumka Yengeni. Yengeni's planned meeting with foreigners and locals in Du Noon, ostensibly "to promote peace and community cohesion" following the attacks across Gauteng, was nothing short of a shambles.

Members of the community waited a full two hours in a packed hall for her and other members of the ANC to show up. She never did. The aborted meeting, which was due to take place on the very same day that hon Manuel launched his disingenuous attack on the leader of the DA, is said to have caused the tension which sparked the subsequent flare-up of violence in the Western Cape.

Mr Manuel should apologise for his ill-conceived attack, and concede to the irony of the fact that it was the members of his own caucus that really fanned the flames of the violence in the Western Cape. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr A M MPONTSHANE

END OF TAKE

Mr C M LOWE

SUSPENSION OF STUDENTS AT MANGOSUTHU UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

(Member's Statement)

Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Madam Speaker, the IFP is extremely concerned about the plight of 16 SA Democratic Student Movement-affiliated students, who remain suspended following protests at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in March of this year.

The protests were planned by the student representative council of the university to protest against lack of services and basic tools of learning at the university. The suspended students are now losing out on valuable class time, and they could possibly struggle to get good marks this year, which might have dire consequences for their future career paths.

The IFP calls on the Minister of Education, whose voice has not been heard on this matter, to urgently intervene. If the Minister is serious about her department's mission, which is to build a South Africa in which all our people have access to lifelong education and training opportunities, then she is obliged to intervene as a matter of urgency, so that these students can go back to class, and make the most of their educational opportunities.

As we have noted before, we as the IFP cannot allow politics and prejudice to stand in the way of the future of these young students at that university. I thank you.

Mr T G ANTHONY

END OF TAKE

Mr A M MPONTSHANE

ESTABLISHMENT OF TASK TEAM ON FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO HIGH FOOD PRICES

(Member's Statement)

Mr T G ANTHONY (ANC): Madam Speaker, the government has set up an interdepartmental task team to conduct an analysis and identify the factors contributing to high food prices.

The task team will assess, amongst other things, the low availability of grains worldwide and unfavourable climate conditions for the production of grain in major grain-producing countries, and trade. Higher food prices impact negatively on the purchasing power of the poor. The ANC believes that the democratic state should continually implement integrated anti-poverty programmes, ensuring that these programmes address not only social assistance, but also the sustainable integration of all communities into economic activity. This is critical in dealing with poverty in general, but also in addressing the conditions of the majority of women.

Hence we commend government on this initiative and ask producers of food products to continue to seek ways to keep the price of food low to help bring relief to poor people. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mrs C DUDLEY

END OF TAKE

Mr T G ANTHONY

SECURITY BREACH AT PELINDABA

(Member's Statement)

Mrs C DUDLEY (ACDP): Madam Speaker, the ACDP is deeply concerned that despite unanswered questions by Pelindaba communities and despite calls to President Mbeki for an official inquiry, there have been no credible answers about the breaches of security at the nuclear facility, at the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa's control centre at Pelindaba. This is where hundreds of kilograms of weapon-grade, highly enriched uranium are stored.

On the night of 7 November last year, two groups of armed men disabled the detection systems at the site perimeter, entered without setting off any alarm, and went to the emergency control centre where they shot a worker in the chest. They spent 45 minutes inside without ever being engaged by site security forces. After stealing a computer and other material, they disappeared the same way. No one in either group was shot or captured. Three people were arrested but released without charges.

No details of any investigation of the attack have been released to date. Government is reported to have refused offers to remove the highly enriched uranium at Pelindaba, as well as having refused an offer to help improve security at the facility.

Strangely there has been no fuss about this incident and, in fact, the affair is now becoming a vague and distant memory for most. It may not be causing ripples in South Africa, but it is around the world. The Pelindaba incident has made headlines on the websites of Terror Alert and International Counter-Terrorism. It has also been cited in the opening address of the United States Congress on Nuclear Terrorism, and South Africa is listed as a country of nuclear strategic concern.

The public deserves an explanation and the ACDP wants answers. South Africa promised never to use the site again after the facility for making a bomb was dismantled. But, clearly something worth stealing and worth the anxiety of the international community is going on there. Why has an inquiry not been set up? It has been six months since the theft: what progress has been made on the arrests?

Mr I E JENNER

END OF TAKE

Mrs C DUDLEY

POOR GOVERNMENT AT MUNICIPAL LEVEL

(Member's Statement)

Afrikaans:

Mnr I E JENNER (ID): Mev die Speaker, ongeag die talle regeringsprogramme en hulppakkette vir munisipaliteite is dit my respekvolle submissie dat plaaslike regering nie na behore sal funksioneer alvorens die volgende aspekte daadwerklik aangespreek word nie: die institusionele probleme in munisipaliteite moet finaal aangespreek word; holistiese ondersteuning moet deur alle staatsdepartemente aan munisipaliteite verleen word; die professionele registrasie van munisipale bestuurders moet teruggebring word; munisipale bestuurders moet statutêr belet word om gesagsposisies in politieke partye te beklee; provinsiale regerings moet minder praat oor hulpverlening en die daad by die woord voeg om kundiges in sukkelende munisipaliteite te herontplooi en tesame met herstelplanne ook befondsing toe te ken; en raadslede moet opgelei word om 'n sinvolle begrip van openbare belang te ontwikkel.

Die kruks van die saak is dat daar 'n realisme by die regering moet intree oor die tekortkominge in plaaslike regering en dat die Polokwane-planne nie met groot bohaai aangekondig moet word alvorens die basiese probleme soos hierbo vermeld reggestel word nie. Ons ervaar reeds die nagevolge van swak beplande infrastruktuuruitbreidings sonder dat die kapasiteit van munisipaliteite om dit te onderhou in ag geneem word, en as ons op hierdie trant voortsnel, jaag ons nie alleen die verwagtinge onrealisties die hoogte in nie, maar skep ons ook 'n mondstuk waarmee ons nageslag sal moet handel. Ek dank u.

English:

THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: There is no translation.

The SPEAKER: Can we have translation, please, Mr Mansura?

Ms P BHENGU

END OF TAKE

Mr I E JENNER

ENCOURAGEMENT OF VEGETABLE GARDENS IN THE EASTERN CAPE

(Member's Statement)

IsiXhosa:

Ms P BHENGU (ANC): Urhulumente osezintanjeni okhokelwa ngumbutho wesizwe, iANC, uthe rhoqo ukusebenzela uveliso lwento esiwa phantsi kwempumlo ngendlela eyakuthi iqinisekise imveliso esisigxina ngamaxabiso aphantsi. Oku kwenzelwa ukuba abantu bakuthi bafumane ngokulula into eya ethunjini.

ISebe lezoLimo kwiPhondo leMpuma Koloni lisungule iphulo lokukhuthaza abantu bakuthi ukuba bazame ukulima kwizitiya zabo ukuzama ukulwa nokunyuka kwamaxabiso okutya. IPhondo leMpuma Koloni linomhlaba omkhulu ngokwaneleyo. Lo mhlaba unakho ukuvelisa ukutya okunokutyiwa liphondo lonke kunye noMzantsi Afrika ngokubanzi. Kodwa, ukuze le nto yenzeke kufuneka abantu balime izitiya zabo.

Ngentsebenziswano phakathi kwabahlali nombutho wesizwe, iAfrican National Congress, kunye namashishini abucala sinokuwalwa ngempumelelo amaxabiso aphezulu okutya. Kwaye sikhuthaza abantu bakuthi ukuba baqinise imizamo yokuvuka sizenzele. Siyabulela.

Mr P H K DITSHETELO

END OF TAKE

Ms P BHENGU

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

(Member's Statement)

Mr P H K DITSHETELO (UCDP): Speaker, we in the UCDP note with appreciation the advent of the democratic South Africa, especially the constitutionalised system of governance, which gave birth …

The SPEAKER: Can you please speak into the microphone?

Mr P H K DITSHETELO: … which gave birth to majority rule, did away with racism and created nonracial and nonsexist governance committed to human rights and human security.

In view of the present spate of xenophobic tendencies paralysing our beloved country, are we not allowing our detractors an opportunity to vilify us? I also think that we are ungrateful by forgetting too soon the hospitality we enjoyed in the foreigners' countries during the struggle for liberation.

We must recognise the fact that we live in a global world, where interdependence is the order of the day. No country can survive on its own regardless of how wealthy, civilised and militarily equipped it may be.

Our successes in meeting the basic needs of our people such as education, health care, supply of clean water, electricity and housing are a case in point of interdependency.

My humble plea to our citizens is to avoid complacency and recognise one another as the creation of God ... [Time expired.]

Mr R B BHOOLA

END OF TAKE

Mr P H K DITSHETELO

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS ON FOREIGNERS AND INVESTORS

(Member's Statement)

Mr R B BHOOLA (MF): Madam Speaker, the recent splurge of xenophobic attacks throughout the country has retarded the progress South Africa has made globally when doing away with the apartheid regime and introducing democracy in 1994. We have earned the title of a rainbow nation through our humanitarian Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

We urge the perpetrators of the xenophobic attacks to remember our South Africans in exile during the apartheid regime. We urge them to educate themselves on the value and purport of our Constitution, and to realise the value these foreigners bring to our economy, society and global relations.

We call on the House to save us from the repercussions of these attacks on investors and to bring stability to the country. We call on the Department of Safety and Security and the Department of Foreign Affairs to advise us on the seriousness of these attacks and the intentions to contain the situation. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M WATERS

END OF TAKE

Mr R B BHOOLA

DEBATE ON NATIONAL CHILD PROTECTON WEEK DENIED BY PARLIAMENT

(Member's Statement)

Mr M WATERS (DA): Madam Speaker, this week is Child Protection Week, and despite a request by the DA for a debate on this very important matter, Parliament has denied the debate. Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting a child rape, abduction or murder. In fact, every day 62 rapes of children are reported in our country, a further 62 cases of assault are reported, three children are murdered each day, and four are kidnapped every day.

These levels of violence against children are unheard of in countries not at war. With horrific statistics such as these, any ordinary South Africa would have expected the government to invest more resources in the specialised units created to combat this scourge, the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units. However, instead of beefing up these units, the government decided to close all the FCS units, against all logic and using justifications which to this day make no sense at all.

The DA believes that the Minister of Safety and Security can redeem himself by initiating a process for the reinstatement of the FCS units during National Child Protection Week. Targeting specific crimes requires bringing together particular skills, expertise and resources. This is the reason for the existence of specialised units across the globe. Specialised units allow for the cultivation of expertise and skills, and the accumulation of institutional knowledge, research and analysis.

The DA proposes that an FCS unit be established in each police cluster; that all police officers working in these units be analysed in order to establish their suitability in working with children; that FCS units be located away from police stations, in order to create a nonthreatening environment, particularly for already traumatised children; that they all FCS units have playrooms, observation rooms and child-friendly interview rooms, where the police will be able to extract as much information as possible from the child in a relaxed and comfortable environment; and that all FCS units report to their own commander and that they have their own resources allocated to them.

The President stated that it was "Business Unusual". We hope that the Minister of Safety and Security takes up this challenge. I thank you, Madam Speaker.

The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, this is not a strict point of order, but the statement was made that Parliament has denied a debate on the issue of children's rights. I am not aware of sitting in any meeting where such a decision was ever taken.

The SPEAKER: The Speaker is not aware either.

Ms C C SEPTEMBER

END OF TAKE

Mr M WATERS

SENTENCING OF ILLEGAL TREE-FELLERS UNDER THE NATIONAL FORESTS ACT

(Member's Statement)

Ms C C SEPTEMBER: (ANC): Madam Speaker, the ANC welcomes the sentence handed down where 89 yellowwood trees aged 300 or 400 years were illegally felled in late 2001 at the Gonqogonqo State Forest in eMzimkhulu, particularly the sentencing under the National Forests Act that prevents the cutting down of indigenous protected trees in natural forests.

We commend the law enforcement agencies on the conclusion of this case. We urge them to continue the good work and co-operation with the communities to assist in the preservation of the environment, as well as the observance and understanding of the objectives of the National Forests Act. The ANC calls on all South Africans to stop and bring an end to the illegal felling of protected trees. Forestry provides clean air and mitigates against the effects of climate change. Instead of felling trees, we must intensify the planting of trees, including fruit trees. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M W SIBUYANA

END OF TAKE

Ms C C SEPTEMBER

WATER SHORTAGES IN THE EASTERN CAPE

(Member's Statement)

Mr M W SIBUYANA: (IFP): Madam Speaker, the shortage of water in Mthatha and Bizana in the Eastern Cape is an issue of great concern. After 14 years in office, the department can no longer hide behind the legacy of apartheid and periodic drought. In actual fact, the department lacks foresight in terms of short-, medium- and long-term planning. The worst part of the department's shortcomings is the shortage of qualified water officers. This has been going on for many years, resulting in budgeted funds remaining unspent while our people loiter in the streets in search of jobs.

The IFP, with its values of ubuntu, deems it totally unacceptable that a hospital such as Nelson Mandela Academy should run short of water. For 14 years, the department has done nothing to increase the capacity of uMthatha dam, to conserve floods of water flowing to the sea during summer rains.

It is high time that the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry runs ahead of issues, rather than acting after the events. It could do so by firing employed officials who fail to fill vacancies in the department. I thank you.

Mr S M RASMENI

END OF TAKE

Mr M W SIBUYANA

PROTECTION OF CONSUMERS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION

(Member's Statement)

Mr S M RASMENI (ANC): Madam Speaker, the constituency offices of Lekwa Teemane and Ditsobotla, in the North West, convened community workshops, facilitated by the National Credit Regulator, on 16 April 2008 and 5 May 2008. The issues discussed included, among others, the protection of consumers against discrimination in respect of credit; the right to information in plain and understandable language; protections of consumers against overindebtedness; prevention of reckless lending by credit providers; and that credit providers must not charge consumers credit fees exceeding the amount allowed by law.

These workshops highlighted the need for other regulators such as the Financial Services Board, the Department of Social Development and others to partner with the National Credit Regulator in order to address many social ills imposed on the people, especially senior citizens and students.

The ANC commends the efforts of members of the public, the management and the staff of the National Credit Regulator in deepening public education in pursuit of implementation of the National Credit Act. Departmental district officials should participate in these workshops in order to learn and also to share information with the communities. I thank you. [Applause.]

Mr A H NEL

END OF TAKE

Mr S M RASMENI

TREATMENT OF EXPROPRIATION BILL BY PARLIAMENT

(Member's Statement)

Mr A H NEL (DA): Madam Speaker, towards the end of the first parliamentary term I submitted a question the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, asking whether the Expropriation Bill would come before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs. I believe that this question needed to be asked, as the Bill will have an especially profound effect on the agricultural sector at a time when soaring food prices have illustrated how important it is to ensure that this sector is able to survive and prosper.

The Questions Office, however, refused to publish my question, arguing that this piece of legislation did not fall within the line function of the above Minister. I subsequently submitted the exact same question to the Minister of Public Works, the Minister under whose authority this piece of legislation falls.

However, the Questions Office once again refused to publish my question, giving the same reason as before: that it did not fall within the line function of the Minister of Public Works.

The DA is gravely concerned about the fact that no Minister seems to be accountable for a question related to a Bill that threatens the very foundation of South Africa's economic wellbeing – the security of property rights.

The DA will therefore formally request that when the Bill comes before Parliament in June, the matter is dealt with jointly by the Portfolio Committee on Public Works and the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture and Land Affairs, to ensure that the ANC government is held accountable for every aspect of a Bill that will clearly have far-reaching effects on the property rights of all South Africans. [Time expired.]

Ms N F MATHIBELA

END OF TAKE

Mr A H NEL

GRANTING OF HOUSE TO DISABLED MAN IN LIMPOPO

(Member's Statement)

Ms N F MATHIBELA (ANC): Madam Speaker, the ANC endorses the principle that all South Africans have a right to a secure place in which to live in peace and dignity. Housing is a human right, not a privilege. In Mutale, Limpopo, a severely physically challenged young man is to take ownership of a new home as part of the provincial Department of Local Government and Housing Programme to deliver houses to indigents.

Mr Molamoledi Rampamba of Guyani village in Harambuda, who is 22 years old, is unable to speak and cannot walk due to his disability. His mother is unable to find employment. The department decided to build a house for the family after it was discovered that they were staying in a dilapidated mud house.

The ANC works tirelessly to ensure the rights of people to live where they choose, to be decently housed and to bring up their families in comfort and security. I thank you. [Applause.]

The MINISTER OF DEFENCE

END OF TAKE

Ms N F MATHIBELA

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

SECURITY BREACH AT PELINDABA

(Minister's Response)

The MINISTER OF DEFENCE: Madam Speaker, I do think it is important that such unfortunate developments as we have seen with the violence in the communities in the country, must not be allowed to be used for party-political gain. Rather, as a nation, and particularly leaders of different political parties, we must attack these kinds of developments as a collective.

In so far as the hon member has asserted that no support was given by government, provincial, national or local, to efforts that were being made by her worship the mayor of Cape Town, I do want to state quite emphatically that there is no foundation for this allegation. As a matter of fact, as we speak, more than a thousand refugees who ran away from communities where they were threatened are housed in the facilities of the SA National Defence Force at Youngsfield, at the request of the mayor personally made to me earlier on.

Of course, there are further accommodations for these people elsewhere, again where we are involved. I do know that some of the provincial government people have also been involved. Most important to be lauded is the fact that there has been communication; there has been a collective effort to deal with this, including with church bodies and so on. I think that all of us must insist on dealing with issues like these in the necessary dignified manner that shows us to be a united people against something that is clearly an aberration and in conflict with the provisions of our national Constitution.

I should concur, in this regard, with one of the members who said that we have a responsibility to educate various communities of our country on the contents of our Constitution, because if only our people understand and know and turn into practice the contents of our Constitution, they will not allow themselves to be derailed into behaviour which discredits the country and destroys its image.

In relation to the Pelindaba issue, I want to say that I think the hon member must be sensitive to the fact that where a crime has been committed, what one needs is an investigation of the crime and not an inquiry. What happened at Pelindaba was a clear criminal act by persons who went in, shot the bodyguards and then stole a computer. That calls for an investigation by policing agencies and intelligence agents to find out who committed the crime. It does not call for an inquiry. If there were credible and established reasons to say that Pelindaba poses a health hazard, a danger to communities and so on, then we would need an enquiry, in order, therefore, to have a broad purview of investigation, with recommendations that would indicate what action needs to be taken to eliminate such threats. I thank you.

The MINISTER OF EDUCATION

END OF TAKE

The MINISTER OF DEFENCE

SUSPENSION OF STUDENTS AT MANGOSUTHU UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY

POOR GOVERNMENT AT MUNICIPAL LEVEL

ESTABLISHMENT OF TASK TEAM ON FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO HIGH FOOD PRICES

ENCOURAGEMENT OF VEGETABLE GARDENS IN THE EASTERN CAPE

XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

(Minister's Response)

The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Madam Speaker, I want to reply briefly to the matter of the suspended students that the hon member of the IFP referred to. Just to point out, it is not the practice of the Ministry of Education to tell universities how to run disciplinary inquiries where students are affected. The hon member of the IFP said we shouldn't politicise matters, and yet he referred only to the suspended students of the SA Democratic Students Movement, Sadesmo, which is an IFP-aligned students' organisation. He didn't refer to the SA Students Congress students, who are suspended at the University of Limpopo, or the Sasco students who are suspended at the University of the North West, or the FF Plus students who are suspended at the University of Pretoria. Therefore, he was himself politicising the matter.

I have said to hon members before in the House that one of the things we must do is to talk to all the student organisations, that any assault on a student or a lecturer during a demonstration or destruction of property is a criminal offence, and institutions must take action in that regard. I have made that clear. Whatever the student organisation, that is what must be done. [Applause.] I am sure the matter will be finalised by the institution in line with that perspective.

I welcome the hon member's call on the people of our country, hon members of the ANC particularly, the hon Nxumalo, that we must do more to encourage the people of South Africa to become engaged in more and more production of food. One often drives through stretches of our country where you see arable land which remains nonproductive. We have to encourage our people to grow food; we have to provide them with the facilities, the advice and the support so that we indeed have cheaper food prices in our country. I hope all hon Members of Parliament have vegetable gardens at their homes so that we set the example, to the nation, of increasing food production in South Africa.

Finally, let me just refer to this favourite practice that many of us have, of being very negative about representatives in local government. We tend to make local government representatives our board for bashing. Many of our local government representatives work in very challenging circumstances and do very difficult work at the local level. So, I think as Members of Parliament at the national level, while certainly we must be attendant to any corrupt practices or matters of ill-discipline, we also need to look at how our statutory work in the national domain either supports or detracts from local government exercising its due function. Therefore, I think, rather than merely being critical in the House about representatives of local government, let us examine how we as Parliament can assist the local government sphere to carry out its particular role. So let us not just point to shortcomings.

There is a great deal that is being done by many local governments in service provision, in ensuring that land is available for housing, and in ensuring that communities have access to water, to roads, and to electrification where there are no outages. So, let us work with local governments to make all spheres of government successful. That is the role I believe we should play at national level.

Finally, Madam Speaker, with your permission, I agree with the hon member of the UCDP that it is an important task we should undertake, that of making our Constitution a living reality in every home, every community and every institution of South Africa. We have a wonderful principle and blueprint that should guide each of us as we live our daily lives in South Africa. If we could make the Constitution a living document, I believe we would avoid the kinds of evil and violence that all of us have referred to in many statements in the House. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. [Applause.]

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

END OF TAKE

The MINISTER OF EDUCATION

POOR GOVERNMENT AT MUNICIPAL LEVEL

WATER SHORTAGES IN THE EASTERN CAPE

(Minister's Response)

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Madam Speaker, this is a response to the hon member from the IFP. I fully agree with the Minister around local government: I wonder why he chose to refer to this one particular municipality in the entire district of O R Tambo. I think he is also misleading the House by saying that there is no water and no necessary arrangements have been made to give water to the residents.

For your information and the information of members: just about three weeks ago the district municipality of O R Tambo received R6 billion to build a new dam. That district will be serving many villages in that community. Not only will it benefit the residents who fall under that district in terms of water consumption, but it will also be beneficial economically for the entire district. The hon member should actually give Parliament the correct information and stop making cheap propaganda. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

Mr N T GODI

END OF TAKE

The DEPUTY MINISTER FOR PROVINCIAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

CONSIDERATION OF FIRST REPORT OF COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ACCOUNTS – INVESTIGATION RELATING TO EXPORT AND SALE OF DIAMONDS, IN TERMS OF DIAMONDS ACT, 1986

Mr N T GODI: Madam Speaker, comrades and hon members, the first report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is a continuation of the work started on the 62nd report of 2005.

In that report, which was on the annual report of the SA Diamond Board, the committee had taken up concerns raised by the Auditor-General about the blanket exemptions given to the De Beers Company in 1992 to export diamonds without paying the 15% tax as required by the Diamonds Act, Act 56 of 1986. The Auditor-General was not certain that section 59 of that Act had been applied according to the letter and spirit of the Act. Section 59 allowed for diamond exporters to get exemptions from paying tax for diamond exports from the Diamond Board without defining how this should be done. This was compounded by the fact that the Diamond Board was dominated by diamond exporters rather than government representatives.

The 62nd report had noted that, hitherto, a number of administrative initiatives by government departments to resolve the matter had failed. The report, amongst other things, required that all relevant state institutions urgently initiate legal processes with a view to resolving the section 59 exemptions in question with the assistance of the Auditor-General. When this aspect of the resolution seemed to have stalled, Scopa called all parties concerned, including De Beers, to a hearing with a view to having this matter resolved.

We are happy to indicate that despite years of procrastination and obfuscation that have characterized this process, at the hearing, all parties were prepared to co-operate and were awaiting the recommendations from Parliament. We are happy therefore to present this first report that seeks to assist with the way forward to resolve this matter of principle, law and national interest.

What we are talking about here is the export in 1992, without paying tax and under suspicious conditions, of 20 million carats valued then at $822 million. What this resolution seeks to do, once and for all, is to determine the legality or otherwise of the section 59 agreement. We are saying that National Treasury should seek an independent constitutional expert legal opinion from senior counsel to determine the intention of the legislature with regard to section 59 of the Diamond Act of 1986, and the legality of the 3 December 1992 section 59 agreement between the SA Diamond Board and De Beers.

We also want the Department of Minerals and Energy and the SA Reserve Bank, with the assistance of the Auditor-General, to set up a task team to interrogate the De Beers London stockpile records in London for the period 3 December 1992 to 19 March 1998. De Beers should co-operate, as promised during the hearing, and also make available its local export data. The Department of Minerals and Energy and National Treasury must each submit a progress report on the issues mentioned above to the National Assembly within 60 days of the adoption of this report.

The message that we are sending to one and all is that Parliament will never equivocate where matters of public interest are concerned, whether it relates to public institutions or private capital. It is known that De Beers was accused of taking huge shipments of diamonds out of Namibia just before independence without paying tax. In that case, a judicial commission of inquiry was set up and they were found guilty, and they were firmly dealt with. Amongst other things, they had to pay a heavy fine.

We therefore cannot fold our arms where we are not certain that our natural resources were not carted away in fear of democracy. Scopa would like to seek a speedy resolution to this matter. I thank you. [Applause.]

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY:

IsiZulu:

Somlomo bengiphakamisa ukuthi, cha asiwamukele lo mbiko. Ngiyabonga.

Motion agreed to.

Report accordingly adopted.

Mr B A D MARTINS

END OF TAKE

Mr N T GODI

CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR APPROVAL BY PARLIAMENT OF ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL ON THE TRADE, DEVELOPMENT AND CO-OPERATION AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA AND THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY AND ITS MEMBER STATES

Mr B A D MARTINS: Madam Speaker, hon members, trade between the European Union and South Africa is estimated at about €30 billion a year. The European Union remains South Africa's main trading partner, accounting for over 40% of its imports and nearly 30% of its exports. Conversely, roughly 66% of South African assets abroad are held within the European Union.

Trade and investment between South Africa and the European Union has developed positively. The government of the Republic of South Africa and the European Community and its members signed a Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement on 11 October 1999. It came into provisional application on 1 January 2000 and entered into force with effect from 1 May 2004. The additional protocol to the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement between the Republic of South Africa and the European Community and its member states takes account of the accession of the Republics of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union. In accordance with section 231 of the Constitution of South Africa, a presidential approval is required in order for the additional protocol to be signed, ratified and put into effect.

According to the Customs and Excise Act of the South African Revenue Services, the protocol needs to be ratified by Parliament first before it can be implemented retrospectively from 1 January 2007. Confirmation has been received from the SA Revenue Services that they are in a position to adjust the Customs and Excise Act retrospectively to provide for the extension of the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement tariff preferences to the two new member states of the European Community.

Legislation to implement the additional protocol has been prepared by the SA Revenue Services. As the implementing agent, the SA Revenue Services will implement the agreement retrospectively from 1 January 2007 once parliamentary approval has been obtained. All operators that had to pay normal customs duties during the period before ratification will be reimbursed.

On 10 October 2007, South Africa and the European Union signed the additional protocol to the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement at the South Africa-European Union Ministerial Troika that was held in Pretoria. I therefore request Parliament's approval for the additional protocol to the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement. I thank you. [Applause.]

Agreed to.

The House adjourned at 14:50.

END OF TAKE


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