Hansard: Consideration of Correctional Services Amendment Bill / Second Reading Debate: National Management Bills; Housing Development Agency Bill

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 08 May 2008


No summary available.




Thursday, 8 May 2008













The House met at 14:00.

House Chairperson Mr G Q M Doidge took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.


Dr S M VAN DYK: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that I intend moving the following motion:

That the House debates the high amount of electricity lost by Eskom due to illegal connections and other forms of theft, and possible solutions to the problem.

Thank you.









(Draft Resolution)

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Chairperson, I move without notice that the House:

That the House –

(1) notes that South African swimmer Natalie du Toit has qualified for the Beijing Olympics after coming fourth in the 10 km race at the World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville on Saturday, 3 May 2008;

(2) further notes that she has made Olympic history by being the first amputee to qualify for the Games;

(3) recognises her outstanding achievements at events for athletes with disabilities and that she is the owner of numerous disability world records, including the record for the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley;

(4) acknowledges that her bravery and determination has served to bridge the gap between able-bodied and disabled athletes, thereby inspiring other disabled athletes to believe in themselves and to realise that anything is possible;

(5) congratulates her on her remarkable achievements and wishes her well for the upcoming Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Agreed to.






There was no debate.


That the Bill, as amended, be passed.

Motion agreed to.

Bill accordingly passed.










(Second Reading debate)

Mr L ZITA: Chairperson, hon members, coastal management in South Africa has historically been fragmented and unco-ordinated, resulting in environmental degradation and lost economic opportunities.

The National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill sets out a new and integrated approach to managing the nation's coastal resources. It provides for a legal and an administrative framework that would promote co-operative, co-ordinated and integrated coastal management; preserve, protect and enhance the status of the coastal environment as the heritage of all; ensure that coastal resources are managed in the interests of the whole community; create equitable access to the opportunities and benefits derived from the coast; and give effect to South Africa's international law obligations.

The Bill addresses 12 issues. It defines the legal status of the coastal zone and different areas therein, as well as coastal public property, as the property of all South Africans that is held in trust by the state on their behalf, and provides for improved protection of and access to these public assets.

The coastal zone is an area of land and water defined as coastal public property, which is the common property of the people. Effective regulation implies controls and restrictions of certain areas adjacent to coastal public property that form part of coastal ecosystems. This is necessitated by the need to take account of the dynamic nature of the coast and to protect people and property from harm due to national causes such a coastal erosion and flooding, or new threats such as sea-level rise as a consequence of global warming.

In order to secure public access to coastal public property, the Bill requires municipalities to designate coastal access land and implores municipalities to include consideration of environmental factors.

Special management areas may be declared to give effect to the recognition in the White Paper that the diversity of the coast requires different management approaches in different areas. MECs can establish coastal setback lines to compel people to seek permission for erecting or altering a structure situated seaward of the line.

The Bill defines boundaries of coastal areas by providing procedures for demarcating and adjusting the boundaries of coastal public property, the coastal protection zone, special management areas and coastal access land. Interested and affected parties have an opportunity to contribute to the process of demarcating or adjusting coastal boundaries. Provision is made for marking boundaries on zoning maps and endorsements by the Registrar of Deeds.

Reference is made to "coastal boundaries" to make a distinction between these boundaries and zoning municipal or other official territorial boundaries governed by other legislation and processes.

It also addresses the efficient and co-ordinated management of all estuaries by providing that they must be managed in accordance with a National Estuarine Management Protocol and estuarine management plans for individual estuaries.

The Bill establishes a statutory framework for new institutional arrangements to ensure integrated and co-ordinated coastal management. A national coastal committee may be appointed by the Minister whilst MECs can establish provincial coastal committees which will be responsible for co-ordinating coastal management in each coastal province. Municipal coastal committees for the local sphere are also envisaged.

The Bill also seeks to enhance coastal management within each sphere of government and provides for zoning schemes to ensure that the coastal zone is subject to effective planning and management procedures.

The current land-use planning system in South Africa is a land- based system that essentially stops at the high-water mark. The Bill is designed to extend that system across the land-sea interface in order to allow for integrated coastal planning and the proactive control of the use of coastal resources.

The Bill establishes a hierarchy of coastal management programmes. At the top of the hierarchy is the national coastal management programme, which the Minister must prepare and adopt within four years of the commencement of the National Coastal Management Act. Such a framework extends to the provincial and local level and has to be related to the Integrated Development Planning processes.

This Bill provides for measures for protecting the coastal environment from activities that may detrimentally affect it and creates procedures for assessing and regulating such activities. It requires users of coastal public property, owners and occupiers of land, coastal managers and other responsible persons to take reasonable measures to avoid causing adverse effects to the coastal environment.

The Bill further provides for the Minister or MEC to issue written notices requiring measures to be taken to protect the coastal environment. It also prohibits potentially harmful activities from taking place within the coastal zone, unless they have been specifically authorised, requiring an integrated environmental authorisation before undertaking specified or listed activities within this zone. The Bill does not seek to introduce new environmental impact assessment procedures and relies on the existing environmental impact assessment regime.

The Bill also addresses the letting of coastal public property by way of coastal leases and the granting of limited use rights over coastal public property by way of coastal concessions. In this regard, it contains general provisions relating to the temporary occupation of land within the coastal zone for specified purposes and the amendment, suspension and cancellation of authorisations.

Importantly, the Bill also addresses the regulation of the disposal of effluent and waste into estuaries and the sea, including prohibiting incineration at sea and restricting dumping at sea in accordance with South Africa's obligations under international law. It establishes integrated procedures for regulating the disposal of effluent and waste into estuaries and the sea.

Currently, the disposal of effluent through pipelines and the dumping of waste from vessels into estuaries or the sea are controlled under different pieces of legislation by different departments.

The Bill intends to regulate the discharge of effluent into coastal waters from any source on land by requiring permits to authorise

such discharges.

The Bill also prohibits incineration or dumping at sea of waste or other material. It authorises the Minister to dispense with prescribed procedures in respect of dumping in emergencies. For example, vessels in distress due to mechanical failure may need urgently to dump cargo overboard. The Bill also requires the Minister to develop a national action list to screen waste and other material on the basis of their potential effect on human health and the marine environment.

In case of refused applications, it addresses the procedures for appeals as well as the capacity of the law to be exercised in the context of offenders.

One of the important provisions of the Bill relates to the exercise of power across the various spheres of government and allows, amongst other things, for the Minister, where possible, to override MECs and for MECs to issue instructions to municipalities.

Whilst the Bill will strengthen the effective management of our coast, we felt, as the ANC, that it did not address the issue of residential access by black people to the sea. As a result we inserted that with regard to "municipal management programmes" in clause 49 of the Bill, each municipality should prioritise and strategise:

to address the high percentage of vacant plots and the low occupancy levels of residential dwellings; and

to equitably designate zones … for the purposes of mixed cost housing and taking into account the needs of previously disadvantaged individuals …

This could lay the foundation for the majority of the people of this country to begin to enjoy the beauty of the sea and of our coastlines. The ANC supports this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]




Mr G R MORGAN: Chairperson, hon members, our coast is an extraordinarily difficult area to manage. As legislators we are responsible for formulating an appropriate response to protecting coastal ecosystem processes upon which we all depend. Before us today is the Integrated Coastal Management Bill, a piece of legislation that has been on the cards for more than seven years.

It is worth noting that over half of the planet's population resides in the coastal zone, an increasing number of whom are vulnerable to flooding, sea-level rise, destruction of wetlands and freshwater systems, and the collapse of nearshore fisheries. South Africa's own zone is very vulnerable and it has unique tensions and special interest groups who believe either that they have a monopoly on ideas on how to manage the zone or believe that they have an exclusive use to coastal public property.

This Bill is designed to manage tensions that emerge in the coastal zone, including the techno-orientated means of coastal defence, usually crisis-driven and demanded by some coastal landowners and the tourist industry, as well as problems surrounding developments that proceed with incomplete consideration of flooding, sea-level rise, vulnerable people and ecosystems.

The coastal zone has for too long been managed by various spheres of governments, driven by different interests. While respecting the role of the different spheres of government, this Bill should provide some standardization. Further, it brings in line all three levels of sustainable development, those being social, economic and environmental factors.

The effective privatisation of beaches along the South African coast, mainly due to wall-to-wall developments that prevent access to beaches, denies the opportunity of many South Africans to access this resource, either for leisure or economic opportunities.

The Bill provides a means of promoting access to beaches which needs to be viewed in the context of a public interest argument. No doubt, and let me make this quite clear, private property and the rights of property owners must be protected, but where necessary and in limited circumstances the right of access to beaches needs to included.

I am very happy to report to this House that the committee made an important amendment to the draft Bill that has important implications. Recognising the extremely sensitive nature of the coastal zone, it can be argued that certain activities should be prohibited. For this reason the Minister may prescribe specified activities which are prohibited in special management areas, taking into account the purpose for which the special management area was declared.

Many of us on this committee, including myself, are particularly concerned about the damage that dune mining can do to the coastal zone. The unique attributes of this zone present numerous opportunities for ecotourism as a job creator, and these jobs are sustainable.

This Bill will arguably not be promulgated by the President in time for the Minister to use its provisions to stop dune mining in an area such as the Wild Coast. But it is hoped that this empowerment of the Minister will be used responsibly and for the good of the environment. We know that the Minister is on record as supporting ecotourism in the Wild Coast and hope that, where possible, this Bill could be used to direct appropriate developments in that region that will live up to real sustainable development.

Another amendment that allows the Minister to exclude areas from coastal public property for various purposes was added to the Bill by the committee. While it was my own view that these decisions should come back to the National Assembly for ratification, there will be associated consultation processes with relevant stakeholders.

I trust that the Minister will engage with this provision in good faith. There are certain stakeholders, particularly organs of state, that will seek relief under this amendment due to commercial contracts that were entered into prior to this Bill. I suspect in many cases there is a good case that the relevant land be excluded.

But I want to point to the broader principle of coastal public property when acknowledging the fact that the Minister has significant powers and needs to use them wisely, and that is that the ownership of coastal public property vests in the citizens of the Republic and that coastal public property must be held in trust by the state on behalf of the citizens of the Republic.

Further, let me note in this House that the state, as public trustee of all coastal public property, must ensure that coastal public property is used, managed, protected, conserved and enhanced in the interests of the whole community. Coastal public property belongs to all of us, and the government and the responsible Minister must act in the collective interest of all the citizens.

This Bill has good intentions, but it is going to demand a significant amount of resources to be implemented. Like the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill, which I will talk to later this afternoon, it places new burdens on municipalities, which in many cases are already overstretched when it comes to finances and skilled staff.

Indeed, the same can be said for the Marine and Coastal Management Branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, which fails in many respects, most particularly in enforcing compliance in our fisheries, on a continual basis. This is mostly a question of available resources and not a lack of will, though. The coastal Bill is therefore going to demand a significant lead time for implementation and for capacity-building of staff at all three spheres of government.

The DA will certainly support this Bill. We trust that in implementing this Bill there will be a truly integrated approach, making use of all available science, valuation, policy and administration, never forgetting the important component of genuine and meaningful consultation with all affected stakeholders. I thank you. [Applause.]




Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Chairperson, the unique beauty and charm of our coast has no doubt played an important part in the increasing popularity of South Africa as a tourist destination. We experience increasing numbers of visitors to our shores each year. It has also been estimated that the coast contributes 35% of the country's GDP. Our coast, which gives us so much, must be protected and its beauty must be maintained and enjoyed by all South Africans.

There are many challenges that areas along our coast face and, if not dealt with adequately, they will increase the vulnerability of these precious and sensitive areas. Rising sea levels, climate change, as well as pollution and natural processes such as winds and currents are just a few of the many challenges that need to be considered in the planning and development of our coastal areas.

There are many examples of the destruction that has resulted to property along our coast as a result of inadequate planning. For example, the violent storms in Durban and surrounding areas in KwaZulu-Natal caused much loss and damage. There are also examples of sewage and waste being dumped into the ocean and the harm that this causes. This unco-ordinated and fragmented management of our coastal areas has also resulted in lost economic opportunities which could have made a positive impact to many communities, especially those in rural areas that are so desperate for economic opportunities and upliftment.

Coastal management in our country has in the past been unco-ordinated and therefore resulted in the degradation and mistreatment of coastal areas. The object of the Bill before us today is stated as setting out a new and integrated approach to managing the nation's coastal resources in order to promote social equity, and to make the best economic use of coastal resources whilst protecting the natural environment.

These objects are not only admirable but also necessary if we are to maintain our coastline and also enjoy the economic and other benefits in a sustainable and responsible way for many generations. The IFP supports this Bill ... [Time expired.]




Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the concept behind the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill is the adoption of a new approach in managing the state's coastal resources, which the ACDP clearly supports. The Bill addresses a number of high-priority concerns of recent years, such as the effects of global warming and the invasion of coastal areas; the need to define coastal protection zones; estuarine management protection protocols; new boundaries in view of the dissolution of apartheid land definitions; greater access to coastal areas for all; and the setting up of control committees across all tiers of government.

The ACDP appreciates the importance of an effective coastal management system. We believe it can permanently enhance the capacity of coastal societies to sustain or improve their quality of life. We also recognise the fact that, currently, the long-term capacity of ecosystems to provide people with adequate quality of life and sustainable wealth is being reduced and threatened, and needs urgent attention. Hence, we believe that a proactive risk management and strict regulatory enforcement of legislation, regulations, norms and standards to facilitate better management of the environment is of the utmost importance. We also believe that the challenge is not only to apply technical solutions to technical problems, but rather to sustain coastal ecosystems as healthy life support systems and to develop government systems that foster the necessary changes in societal values and behaviour to achieve the sustainable forms of development.

The ACDP will support this Bill. I thank you.




Mrs J CHALMERS: Chairperson, hon Minister, colleagues and comrades, it is truly exciting today to be able to take part in this debate finalising the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill, a Bill that is crucial to the sustainable management of South Africa's unique and extraordinary coastline.

The Bill has taken a long time to get to this House, the reason being that it has had to incorporate a multiplicity of complex and critically important issues, from ecosystems of estuaries and wetlands to burgeoning coastal development, pollution and ensuring access for all citizens of this country to the coastline. It has been a long and interesting process, with full participation of all stakeholders, in order for the final result to be a reflection of both people's and environmental needs.

South Africa's coast extends for approximately 3000km, from the Namibian border in the west to the border of Mozambique in the east. Nearly one third of our population lives at the coast. Indeed, six out of ten people live within 60km of coastal waters. It is a national asset belonging to all the people of South Africa and its products account for around 35% of our national Gross Domestic Product.

Our precious coastline is indeed a national asset, but it is one that is under ongoing and inevitable barrage from shoreline developers, industrialists, holidaymakers and just folk who want to have a sea view. It is a distinctive, complex and interconnected natural system with resources that are finite and vulnerable to overuse and degradation.

Historically, long stretches of our coastline have suffered as a result of decades of uncontrolled development that has given little thought to the future. Often, short-term profit has been the name of the game. Only now are we seeing the devastating environmental impact of such developments. This is visible where sand dunes have been stabilised for housing with devastating consequences to the beaches further down the coast; when pollution causes deterioration in marine water quality; when resources shrink due to overexploitation of target organisms for food and bait; and where there are reduced fresh-water inflows into estuaries. All these result in a loss of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity and a disruption of the balance of natural forces that are so critical to maintaining a healthy coastal environment. Let us never forget that the health and continued existence of our human race is dependent not only on the biodiversity of terrestrial species, but also on the health status of our oceans and the narrow strip of land we call our coastline.

One of the most exciting aspects of this new Bill is the inclusion of a much-needed section on estuarine management. I grew up on the banks of the Swartkops River estuary outside Port Elizabeth. But for those without this experience, an estuary is neither a river nor a sea, but something in between – a protected arm of the sea into which rivers continuously pour fresh water creating a blend of tide, current and changing salinity, unlike that of any other environment in the world. It is a battleground where the salt sea and the fresh-water river fight for supremacy, with final victory denied to both. It is actually a bit like politics. For us human beings, estuaries are an incredibly rich resource and now, for the first time in this piece of legislation, we are taking concrete steps to protect them for future generations.

It is interesting to note that roughly half of South Africa's total of 279 estuaries are situated in the Eastern Cape - that very special province - and they are important sources of food and powerful magnets for tourism and development. So, it is critically important that they are sustainably managed. In a recent study coming out of the University of Cape Town, an ecologist, Dr Jane Turpie, has estimated that: the recreational value of the Swartkops River estuary is between R50 million and R100 million annually; the value of fish harvested by subsistence fisherfolk there is worth between R500 000 and R1 million annually; and, most importantly, the nursery value - that is the estuaries' role of sheltering young fish until they are big enough to exit into the sea - she pegs at R20 million to R50 million annually. This wealth applies to just one of our 279 estuaries.

Chapter 4 of the Bill before us states that the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, together with the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, must, within four years of the commencement of this Act, prescribe the national estuarine management protocol. This will set standards; establish procedures, responsibilities and minimum requirements; identify who must prepare the plans; and specify the process to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the Act.

This is good news indeed. It is to be hoped that the aforementioned protocol will be in place and ready to be implemented well within the prescribed four-year period. Indeed, this is a very timely piece of legislation. For years now, alarm bells have been ringing as huge housing developments and water-greedy golf estates burgeoned around our coastline. Very often these mansions belong to the mega rich, used perhaps for a few weeks of the year. And there is growing concern around the possibility of mining taking place along our precious coast. Surely that should never be allowed to happen.

I welcome this Bill, as does the ANC. I look forward to it becoming an integral and important part of the management of our country's coastline, ensuring its safety for future generations of South Africans. I thank you. [Applause.]




The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Chairperson, I would like to thank members from all parties for their support. As hon members have said, our coastline is currently not being managed and developed in a way that optimises its resources and its opportunities. Economic and social opportunities for wealth creation and equity are being missed while coastal ecosystems are being systematically degraded. This Bill sets out to correct that.

The National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill which I am introducing today will replace the existing Sea-Shore Act of 1935 as well as the Dumping at Sea Control Act of 1980, and it introduces for the first time ever a comprehensive national system for planning and managing our spectacular and valuable coastal areas. I am therefore pleased that the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs and Tourism has approved this Bill for tabling here in Parliament. It should therefore be enacted speedily to safeguard both people and property while at the same time promoting access to the coast and facilitating integrated development.

Fundamentally, the purpose of this Bill is: to provide a legal and administrative framework that will promote co-operative, co-ordinated and integrated coastal development; to preserve, protect and enhance the status of the coastal environment as the heritage that belongs to us all; to ensure that coastal resources are managed in the interests of the whole community; to ensure that there is equitable access to opportunities and benefits derived from our coast; and also to give effect to certain of our country's international legal obligations.

This Bill declares the seashore, the coastal waters, including the estuaries, and South Africa's territorial seas to be coastal public property. It therefore also requires the state to act as the trustee of coastal public property. This Bill will also require that appropriate public access servitudes be established along the coast to ensure that access for our people to our natural heritage remains unhindered. The hon member Morgan raised this issue of access to the sea and called on us not unnecessarily to damage or make inroads into rights to private property. As government and the governing party, we agree to that. But this Bill empowers us for the first time ever to ensure that communities which are cut off from our coast would now not have to walk five, six, seven, eight or ten kilometres around certain developments to get access to the coast. We will certainly use our power in government to ensure better access to our coastline.

The Bill also gives our government the power to prevent development too close to the sea by establishing set-back lines. These measures are important not only to preserve the beauty of coastal landscapes, but also to respond to threats posed by, for example, rising sea levels associated with climate change or dynamic coastal processes.

Excellent coastal water quality is not only essential to our burgeoning tourism sector, but also to ensure the maintenance and expansion of the aquaculture industry. There have been a number of recent reports in the media about spills and substandard effluent from fish factories being discharged into harbours and the coastal zone with devastating effects. This Bill makes provision for coastal waters discharge permits and dumping permits, and stipulates that all existing effluent discharges into the sea and estuaries should be critically reviewed.

I would also like to draw the attention of hon members and the House to an important amendment that was introduced following the consultative public participation process. A subtext has been added to section 49 that now places an obligation on municipalities with regard to their municipal coastal management programmes. What this means in practice is that their strategies and priorities will make provision for the equitable designation of zones for the purpose of mixed-cost housing. This will not only take into account the needs of previously disadvantaged individuals, but will also ensure that people across all income groups are able to own property along the coast in future. I think this is vitally important.

The new National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Bill is both far-reaching and progressive. We are now on an accelerated path to decisive action that will provide clear parameters for the planning of future coastal developments and create economic and recreational opportunities by increasing access to our coastal public property.

I am sure that I can provide hon members with numerous examples where indiscriminate decisions have adversely affected not only our coast, but also coastal communities. We can, as a country, no longer afford to take decisions without taking all relevant factors and stakeholders into account. This includes considering the inputs of all coastal shareholders. This Bill requires the Premiers of coastal provinces to appoint lead agents for coastal management in their provinces. It further provides for co-ordinating structures in the form of a national and four provincial coastal committees which will be mandatory. The Bill will also empower municipalities to establish municipal coastal committees. While the latter will not be mandatory, we hope that municipalities will see the benefits of establishing these structures.

In conclusion, this Bill promotes a holistic way of thinking by promoting co-ordinated and integrated coastal management which views the coast as a system and emphasizes the importance of managing it as such.

I cannot adequately express my appreciation and thanks to the chairperson, the hon member Zita, and also to the members of the portfolio committee from all parties for their thorough deliberations, guidance and support for this Bill. Thank you. [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

Bill read a second time.





(Second Reading debate)

The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Chairperson, hon members, there are currently well over 6 billion people on the planet. We are likely to have 9 billion by mid-century. Yet, each person has the right to clean water, food, shelter and energy. For us to be able to achieve this, we will have to be careful with regard to the ecological impact we cause. As consumption levels increase, we will face more waste management challenges. We need to think ahead and be innovative to overcome our waste management challenges.

To give effect to our constitutional rights, our department reviewed environmental legislation in 1996. The review resulted in the development and promulgation of the National Environmental Management Act in 1998 as overarching framework legislation for environmental management. There are various pieces of subsidiary legislation that have been promulgated under the National Environmental Management Act, such as the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act and the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act.

In order to deal with waste management challenges, our department started to develop the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill in 2005 as a subsidiary framework legislation which seeks to give legal effect to the White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management that was developed in the year 2000. The Bill has therefore been in the making for many years. We are faced with a complex problem pertaining to waste management because waste and its consequent pollution have never been dealt with in a more focused way. There are still some people who do not consider what happens to what they throw away.

The fragmentation of the waste management legislation has resulted in a lack of effective waste management, which presents huge challenges in our country. Improper waste management has a negative impact on health and the environment, and unfortunately the most vulnerable are our poor communities out there, especially women and children. The Bill provides a framework that drives waste minimisation and will dramatically change the way we manage waste in this country.

The Bill has gone through an extensive public participation process. It was gazetted for comment from 12 January 2007 to 12 April 2007. During the drafting process in 2006, there was extensive consultation with other government departments and stakeholders before it was presented to Cabinet. We also held a consultative waste conference in March 2007 in addition to consultations with NGOs, business and industry sectors. The Chief State Law Adviser certified the Bill in terms of its constitutionality and it was tabled in Parliament in June 2007. The public hearings on the Bill yielded very good and desirable comments on the Bill.

The Bill is largely a framework legislation which provides the basis for the regulation of waste management. The application of the Bill is limited only to waste streams that are not dealt with by other pieces of legislation in order to avoid duplication, as well as to complement existing legislation. Our department was extremely careful to ensure that it did not infringe on the mandate of local government and that it did not go beyond its constitutional mandate with regard to setting norms and standards.

Since waste management has very real and major implications for the economy, our department has considered what needed to be done nationally in order to maintain a socioeconomic balance. Furthermore, whilst our department had to ensure that it would deal even-handedly with waste as a commodity and ensure that there was one set of rules, the legislation has been drafted in such a way that it does not contravene South Africa's obligations in terms of international trade.

The legislation provides for a range of waste management measures, including the declaration of priority wastes and the preparation of waste management plans by industries or organs of state. Priority wastes would not necessarily be large quantities but rather waste streams that had become a serious problem or toxic and therefore require specific and focused attention in the way they are managed. In order not to overregulate, only industries that are identified as large waste generators will be required to develop and implement waste management plans. Other industries will be encouraged to develop plans on a voluntary basis.

There are a few new concepts in the Bill: firstly, the general duty for waste holders stating that every person is responsible for how they deal with their waste; secondly, for the first time, legislation has been used to drive a waste minimisation approach which is based on the waste hierarchy and will ensure that the "cradle-to-grave" approach is used in managing waste - of course that is very important because we want to turn waste into wealth; and thirdly, this legislation has a section dedicated to contaminated land. Historically in South Africa, it has been relatively easy to contaminate land without any serious consequences because there were no ways of holding polluters accountable.

The "contaminated land" section of the Bill provides for the remediation of contaminated land. Now our department can identify land as contaminated and conduct investigations to determine the extent of contamination as well as the form of remediation required. There will be a database or register of all contaminated land. Our department is of the view that the cost of reducing pollution must be shared between people who are responsible for the waste.

While the Bill is largely framework legislation, the licensing of waste management has been drafted at a much more detailed level. The licensing of waste management activities is not new legislation, as the function was provided for in the old days by the 1989 Act, and was performed by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. The function has since been transferred to our own department and we have made good progress on that.

Furthermore, the Bill caters for micro industries to be regulated if necessary. Our department will be the competent authority to license hazardous waste facilities because of associated environmental risks, and provinces will license general waste facilities.

The Bill also provides for compliance and enforcement. What is different about these provisions is that, unlike in the other pieces of legislation, the Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry has been given powers to enforce compliance in respect of waste-related issues that can impact on water resources. The exercise of these powers should however be done after consultation with the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism or the relevant MEC for environmental affairs.

The legislation provides for the drawing up of a national waste management strategy within two years of promulgation. It is acknowledged that implementation of the legislation will not happen overnight. The national waste management strategy will be the master plan that will guide the implementation of the legislation. Our department is of the view that the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill begins to introduce a revolutionary way of managing waste in South Africa.

I would like to conclude by quoting the 2005 Noble Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, when she said, and I quote:

Activities that devastate the environment and societies continue unabated. Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support systems. We are called to assist the earth to heal her wounds, and in the process heal our own – indeed, to embrace the whole creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. This will happen if we see the need to revive our sense of belonging to a larger family of life, with which we have shared our evolutionary process.

So, each and every one of us, in whatever we use, must ask ourselves: Where will this container end up? And contribute to it ending up in the right place. Let us change our mindset and know that we can turn waste into wealth, and we will all be rich. Thank you. [Applause.]




Mr L P KHOARAI: Chairperson, Members of Parliament, the ANC in Polokwane recognised the evidence of climate change as indisputable and resolved that immediate action by all governments and the community as a whole was needed. The ANC continued to say that a target must be set for the reduction of greenhouse gases and emissions as part of our responsibility to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, as well as to participate in sharing of the burden with the global community under a common framework of action.

It is for this reason that the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, Act 108 of 1996, states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing, and to have an environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and economic degradation. In order to honour this constitutional mandate, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has the obligation to put in place measures that address environmental protection.

Incineration is commonly known as the process that deals with the destruction of waste by converting organic material to carbon dioxide. This process will be addressed by the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill, which seeks to reform the law regulating waste management in order to protect health and the environment by providing reasonable measures for the prevention of pollution and ensuring compliance and enforcement. Previously, South Africa did not have legislation that addressed the issue of incineration. Now the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill will have to address problems associated with incineration.

Over the past 12 months, the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has been working on a policy on the incineration of hazardous waste as a treatment solution for hazardous waste management. It further examined the usage of selected general and hazardous waste as a substitute for fuel in cement kilns. It was also mentioned that cement-making is an energy- and resource-intensive process which consumes 200 to 300 million tons of coal per annum, which makes the cement industry a large contributor to global warming.

It is crucial to recognise that the evidence of climate change is irrefutable and that immediate action by all governments and the public as a whole is needed. Our vision for the future includes a sustainable economy where South Africa's present and future generations realise their right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing.

Incineration has its own challenges. The cement manufacturing companies are of the view that converting energy from waste can have a negative impact on people's lives. Water sources around those areas where incineration is conducted might fall victim to pollution. [Time expired.] [Applause.]




Mr G R MORGAN: Chairperson, hon members, Madam Deputy Minister, South Africa is a wasteful country. Blessed with significant resources, we have over several decades become accustomed to using far more than we need to. On many production lines across South Africa, a finished product emerges off one conveyor belt – we tend to focus on that and feel very proud of ourselves – while off another conveyor belt tumble numerous other products, which we all too readily classify as waste and send it off to a landfill. It is this behaviour that we as legislators seek to change here today.

The National Environmental Management: Waste Bill is framework legislation that has been in development for more than five years. An extensive consultancy process with relevant stakeholders was undertaken by the department before bringing it to Parliament. It thus appears that the Bill presented to the House today enjoys considerable support. Allow me to say, though, that it is a pity that the executive introduced this Bill so late in the parliamentary programme. While our deliberations certainly fulfil minimum requirements, we could have done with more time.

It may be the case that many producers and the manufacturing industry look at the implications of this Bill and see only more costs for their businesses – an unnerving thought in this period of particularly high price inflation. However, a more thorough analysis of the cradle-to-grave concept in waste management can and should in fact add new efficiencies to production. A little investment in waste reduction could see increased profits in the future.

The Bill itself does not set targets for waste minimisation, although it should be our goal ultimately to move South Africa to a zero-waste society. It does allow the Minister or relevant MEC to engage within individual sectors about the creation of industry waste management plans. Such plans will create certainty and uniformity across sectors, thus levelling the playing fields and should, in theory, be aligned to the capacities and the potential of individual sectors. So, for example, the glass sector may have specific requirements with regard to recycling, re-use and recovery which are very different from the plastic sector.

As exciting as this piece of legislation may appear, it is not going to change South Africa overnight. I suspect that the full implementation of all parts of the Bill will only be achieved in more than five years' time. Engaging individual sectors will take a long time but getting municipalities, who under this legislation also have obligations, may take an eternity. It is true to say that the vast majority of municipalities, many of which cannot even satisfy their minimum core functions, are not in a position to implement their responsibilities in terms of this Bill.

The skills crisis and unfunded mandates are two defences that many municipal managers may put in the way of this Bill. It is worth noting, though, that the department has budgeted for significant funding in the years of implementation, in order to help build capacity and infrastructure. It simply has to be the case that there is eventually uniformity of implementation across the provinces and municipalities. If this is not the case, producers will flock to municipal districts where more wasteful activities are tacitly condoned.

This Bill recognises the unique competencies that local government has in the field of waste management. For some commentators, the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill may even be controversial, as the national department is intended to introduce a certain degree of standardisation. However, this is a necessary evil and is perfectly acceptable under section 44 of the Constitution, which provides national government with somewhat of an override function.

The issue of incineration took much of the committee's time during the deliberations. I'd like to acknowledge the work of the NGOs that are tireless campaigners in this filed. It is true that there are many undesirable aspects of incineration but then it must be said that many other treatment options, including land filling, also have significant negatives. The committee was of the view that a whole range of treatment options needed to remain on the table and the banning of one option – in this case incineration – could have numerous unforeseen consequences.

Incineration remains, for example, the dominant treatment option for certain categories of medical waste, and it plays a role in the cement production process. Nevertheless, there are health aspects which need to be taken into consideration and, thus, an important amendment to the draft Bill was that all regulations surrounding incineration need to be brought back to the National Assembly. The portfolio committee will need to ensure that the management of incinerators is significantly improved and that more stringent air quality permits are issued. It is unacceptable that some incinerators still operate illegally in South Africa. Further, it is necessary to improve the monitoring capacity of the implementing agencies.

The DA supports the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill here today. Becoming a society that consumes less is the more sustainable option, it is better for the health of the environment and it is better for human health as well. I thank you. [Applause.]




Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Chairperson, we in South Africa have high growth targets and ambitions for our economy. The increase in industrial and other activities that would no doubt occur as we pursue and try to achieve these targets will undoubtedly result in increased levels of pollution and waste, and therefore put extra strain on our environment. If not managed in a responsible manner, this pollution and waste will have a detrimental effect on our environment and health, as well as on our economy, in the long term. It is therefore imperative that issues of waste and pollution are dealt with in a focused, co-ordinated and responsible manner.

We often hear of or are exposed to incidents of irresponsible disposal and dumping of waste, which not only cause harm to the environment, but also constitute a hazard to the health of people in the surrounding communities. This type of irresponsible waste management must be stopped.

The Bill before us today is part of the department's law reform process which aims to consolidate and streamline legislation governing the environment. The Bill aims to reform the laws regulating waste management by providing measures for integrated pollution and waste management, providing for compliance with those measures and giving effect to section 24 of the Constitution in order to achieve an environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of people.

With issues such as global warming and climate change coming to the fore, it is imperative that we in South Africa also play our part and do our bit to provide some form of protection and minimise the damage to our environment. As South Africans, both business and individual households, we must be more aware and consider the impact that our actions have on the environment. We must learn to recycle and reuse so as to lessen the amount of waste that is generated.

Hopefully this Bill will go a long in dealing with our waste problems and promote economic and social development that is not only sustainable, but also ecologically friendly. The IFP supports the Bill.




Mr S N SWART: Chairperson, the ACDP shares the view that the lack of proper waste management, planning and bad habits in dealing with waste has become a major challenge in South Africa. We have waste disposal on river banks, the creation of open-dump disposal areas which threaten surrounding residents, the general burning of waste causing air pollution and unauthorised waste processing involving hazardous substances.

The National Environmental Management: Waste Bill aims to entrench waste management best practices into the law, which the ACDP clearly supports. The Bill will provide national norms, standards and measures for regulating the management of waste by all spheres of government. The aim is to give effect to section 24 of the Constitution, to achieve an environment that is not harmful to the health and wellbeing of people.

For example, this Bill will replace the obsolete and weak end-of-pipe approach with a new, more environmentally accountable and sustainable approach. End-of-pipe management refers to the way in which rubbish is typically collected by municipal waste companies, disposed of at landfills and covered with soil. These landfills eventually exceed their capacity, necessitating new landfill sites, and this, clearly, is not sustainable.

South Africa also, regrettably, has a sad legacy when it comes to the incineration of waste. We need only to think of the Thor Chemicals saga. In the mid-1980s Thor Chemicals, after being pressurised by the British government for excessive mercury emissions at their plant in Margate, UK, closed the plant and shifted it to Cato Ridge in KwaZulu-Natal, where they imported mercurial hazardous waste and incinerated it at that plant here in South Africa.

The result was three worker deaths and more than 40 worker injuries, all due to exposure to mercury. The workers filed a law suit in London and the case was successfully settled out of court.

However, 20 years later we understand that the waste has not been removed from the premises, and the soil and buildings remain contaminated with mercury, and clearly this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

We trust that the Green Scorpions and other law enforcement agencies will be able to make full use of the increased teeth provided by this Bill, such as penalties of up to R10 million, to prosecute unscrupulous industries and persons ...

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time has expired.

Mr S N SWART: ... and to ensure a safe and pollution-free environment for all. The ACDP will support this Bill. I thank you.




Mr L ZITA: Chairperson, in Polokwane in December, the ANC took a very critical and important resolution ... [Interjections.] You can pose a question if you want to! In that resolution the ANC raised the issue of zero-waste principles. We should seek to develop and to have a society in which we manage waste in a very effective way, where we allow waste and what we see as waste to be an input in the production of something else. Everything should be recycled. Everything has a purpose. There is no such thing as complete waste. That is a very important principle.

This particular Bill lays the foundation for the realisation of this vision that the ANC adopted in Polokwane.

I would like to be brief, and take this opportunity to thank the parties. All members of the portfolio committee from the different parties agreed on the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill; there was not even a single dissenting voice.

I think this is a very important development because it begins to signal that there is an embryo of what one calls a common national interest in South Africa where all of us can come together and approach a problem as South Africans, and not just reduce everything to petty politicking. That was the major development in the discussion of the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill.

I would also like to express a particular appreciation to all those who were involved with this legislation. We had an open-ended process of public participation. Even though we had public hearings on the Bill we continued to consult, we continued to allow the participation of social actors such as NGOs and businesspeople throughout the process of the legislation. It was indeed a very participative process, and therefore a very difficult process, particularly for those who are more bureaucratic as some of the officials sometimes can be. But they were all patient and allowed us to be more participative in addressing this legislation.

I would like to express appreciation for the work of groundWork, one of the NGOs that worked with us, and particularly its leader, Bobby Peak from Durban, who was very influential in shaping and engaging with us around the challenge of incineration. As a result, we had a very rigorous debate on incineration, and the legislation seeks to address this challenge of incineration.

We have therefore made it more difficult for the industry to solve the problem of waste by just burning everything. That is a problem because it reinforces pollution. As a result we have come to an agreement that incineration should be an option of last resort; it should not be resorted to willy-nilly.

I think the result is a piece of legislation which, though tough, does not undermine the survival of the industry. It is tough legislation, it is rigorous, but it does not undermine development.

The ANC supports the National Environmental Management: Waste Bill. Thank you very much.




The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM: Chairperson, I would like to thank very much all parties that have supported this Bill, especially the chairperson, hon Zita, who has been very instrumental in steering this ship to the right direction. We really thank you for the commitment you have shown today by supporting this Bill.

With this kind of commitment we will clean our country and also offer jobs, especially to unemployed youth and women. That is why I said that everyone will be rich, because we will be creating employment and making sure that we are part of eradicating poverty while cleaning our country. We really thank you for everything, but we should all take responsibility so that we see our dream come true. It is no longer a dream, and we must now drive this process as it unfolds. Thank you. [Applause.]

Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, your microphone is not on and we cannot hear you, Sir.

Debate concluded.

Bill read a second time.





(Second Reading debate)

The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Deputy Chairperson and hon members, after several comprehensive reviews of our housing delivery value chain, it became very clear to us that access to well-located land is one of the biggest and hugely debilitating blockages in the housing delivery chain. The acquisition, the holding and the release of land as well as the slowness in processing land development poses a serious threat to our resolve to fast-track delivery of sustainable human settlements.

Our initial response to this problem was to ask municipalities to restrain from wholesale sale of municipal-owned land. The idea was to target state land in our quest to find well-located land. In October 2005, we convened a national municipality indaba, together with ourselves, and we urged municipalities who were then led by the SA Local Government Association to adopt a moratorium on the sale of land. Because of the very nature of the association, Salga, the moratorium remained of a voluntary nature.

We welcome the gesture of co-operation underlying the voluntary moratorium, and I take this opportunity now to express my appreciation to those municipalities that adopted the freeze on the sale of land. Unfortunately, the moratorium yielded little results in that, by the time it was introduced, much of municipal-owned land had already been sold off. Sadly, there were some municipalities that had ignored the call for a moratorium on the sale of land in their myopic drive to gain revenue from the sale of land. This points to some of the intergovernmental relation weaknesses that often undermine our efforts in responding to national development challenges.

Our second response was, through Cabinet, a resolution to impose on all state enterprises the requirement to prioritise housing as they dispose of their non-core land assets. This initiative immediately demanded, as it became very clear to us at that point, that there be a special-purpose vehicle for harvesting these land assets for housing development, for holding them and preparing them for development. In our search for solutions, we looked further afield than ourselves and noted that other countries had done much better than we had, and we learned from these, such as Namibia, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, China, Malaysia, and the list goes on. These have, within their stable, housing development agencies which play the very specific role that we would like our own Housing Development Agency to play.

The size of the housing backlog that we are faced with demands that we find channels to ensure that we can deliver very speedily. Displacement of construction capacity specifically away from the low-cost housing sector and as a result of the mega infrastructure developments as well as increasing global mobility of skills impose on us a responsibility to seek to adopt alternative delivery models and instruments. The constraints to the rapid provision of housing for the poor, and the willingness of the NGO sector and private sector to join government in providing sustainable human settlements led us to a number of workshops ultimately, in Cape Town 2005, to find partners to help us go through this minefield. One of the conferences that we held named the Social Housing Contract had, as one of its outcomes, a requirement from the state to provide the nongovernmental organisations, the banking associations, Slum Dwellers International and other stakeholders with the necessary assistance in the form of land to ensure that our partnership can develop.

The Housing Development Agency is a product of what happens when government and the private sector accept joint responsibility for the eradication of slums and agree to work together to provide a better life for all.

Chairperson, very specifically, the Housing Development Agency Bill establishes the Housing Development Agency as a statutory body, and its main purpose is to address, one, the shortage of well-located land; two, the facilitation of the rapid development of sustainable human settlements by proactively improving intergovernmental relations across all three spheres of government in respect of ensuring that needed inputs are delivered; and, three, the supply of much-needed project management capacity for government projects.

The rationale behind the agency is that it would assist in cutting red tape that prohibits the acquisition of suitable land, something that would be very difficult for municipal or provincial departments to do on their own. The agency will also aid in minimising red tape in the approval of development both by the government and the private sector. This, in turn, should make the housing segment attractive for increased private sector investment. After all, the private sector is a very important key player in the provision of safe, affordable housing for all South Africans.

The agency will facilitate the acquisition of land in a way that supplements the capacities of government across all spheres. Municipalities will be expected to use their housing sector plans to identify local housing land needs. The provincial housing departments will be responsible for assisting local authorities in developing their land needs, with assessments and in co-ordinating individual municipal submissions into provincial plans. The agency will also proactively facilitate collaboration with other sectors in the development of such land in order to achieve the outcome of sustainable human settlements.

The Bill provides for an agreement between the agency and municipality where a council lacks the capacity to acquire, hold and develop land. The agency's facilitation of this will ensure that we can so much more speedily achieve what we would like to do.

In summary, identifying the right parcel of land for acquisition, managing costs once land has been acquired, assisting in the packaging of projects and ensuring that the development necessary is fully integrated would require something outside of what we have had all along.

I want to pay tribute to my team in the department, our partners in the NGOs and the private sector for ensuring that this Bill serves before this House in record time. I commend the members of the portfolio committee who worked tirelessly to ensure that the Housing Development Agency Bill serves before this House in the shortest possible time.

Deputy Chairperson, I present to you and the House the Housing Development Agency Bill, 2007, for the House's approval. I thank you. [Applause.]




Mrs Z A KOTA: Chairperson, Minister, Deputy Ministers, hon members, honoured guests, I greet you this afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to have this moment of debating the Housing Development Agency Bill. It is a great achievement, indeed.

In September 2004, the national Department of Housing launched its Breaking New Ground strategy, marking a turnaround in housing delivery. The strategy re-evaluated housing delivery in South Africa and made recommendations for bold changes to the traditional ways in which housing had been delivered. It re-enforced the need to achieve a nonracial, integrated society through the development of sustainable human settlements and quality housing.

The essence of sustainable human settlements is defined within the Breaking New Ground strategy as follows: well-managed entities in which economic growth and social development are in balance with the caring capacity of natural systems on which they depend for their existence and resulting in sustainable development, that is, wealth creation, poverty alleviation and equity.

This Bill before Parliament today is indeedan intervention whose objective is significantly to accelerate affordable housing delivery in order to impact positively on the development of integrated human settlements.

In line with the objectives of the comprehensive plan, the Housing Development Agency Bill will assist provinces and municipalities with rapid land release and landed propertyfor housing, which will thus fast-track housing delivery.

One of the many challenges facing housing delivery is the availability of well-located land for building of houses. The Housing Development Agency Bill'sobjective is to address that. It will identify, acquire, hold, develop and release state and privately owned land for residential and community purposes, for the creation of sustainable human settlements. It will do so working hand in hand with all other relevant stakeholders. It will work within the ethos of integrated governmental relations.

It is envisaged that this agency will have the ability to cut bureaucratic red tape. It must have teeth in order for it to be able to do its business. We have a mandate to do "Business Unusual". This was said at this podium by President Thabo Mbeki during the State of the Nation Address.

The ANC government has good policies and the challenge is with regard to implementation. This Housing Development Agency Bill is there to assist government in its objective of improving the quality of life for all our people. We are fortunate that the Minister of Housing, Dr Lindiwe Sisulu, has worked very hard in ensuring that this piece of legislation is before Parliament today. As the Portfolio Committee on Housing, we have satisfied ourselves that consultation has been done and the concerns that were raised during the consultation process have been taken into account in putting together this legislation.

The ANC January 8 Statement speaks of the development of integrated human settlements as a critical element in our fight against poverty andin improving the quality of life of all our people. It went on to say that this Housing Development Agency legislation is meant to address the proliferation of informal settlements, and is an intervention to curb the cost of construction material and central planning approach for directing resource allocation to human settlements.

As a committee we will continue with oversight and monitoring as far as the implementation of this piece of legislation is concerned. It is very important that this Bill should yield the required results. Government must get value for money in this process of housing delivery.

We call upon all peace-loving South Africans to support the implementation of this Housing Development Agency. We hope that in this process even emerging contractors will benefit, because we don't want a situation where emerging contractors continue to emerge until doomsday. It is about time we have an approach that says we will empower emerging contractors during housing delivery. It is important, therefore, that we as this committee give an opportunity to the department to do its job. I thank you. [Applause.]




Mr A C STEYN: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members and guests, before I start my speech I wish to draw the attention of this House to two corrections in the Bill before us. In clause 12, subsection 8, the Bill before us refers to section 10 when it should refer to section 11; and clause 13, subsection 2 refers to section 8 when it should in fact refer to section 9. These corrections were pointed out to the committee secretary this morning, and I was hoping that the chairperson would make mention of them because we've got the correct Bill before us.

When the department first gave a presentation on the Bill, I questioned the necessity of such an agency and asked why the same functions envisaged for the agency could not be performed by a unit within the national Department of Housing. At the time, strangely enough, many of my colleagues from the governing party had the same reservations. We saw it as nothing more than a recreation of Thubelisha, who, as the department's developer of choice, doesn't have a sterling record as far as housing delivery is concerned. The question we all asked was this: Do we need a new structure, populated by the same people who clearly cannot do the job, without first resolving the bottlenecks that contribute to them not being able to do their jobs efficiently? Why do we not tackle the underlying reasons for the lack of delivery instead?

In one of the submissions it was even suggested that this intervention will yield limited results unless at least the physical infrastructural constraints are removed as a precursor to establishing such an agency. The idea was put forward that the agency should act as a facilitator only, focus on the macro planning and be situated in the President's Office.

However, the department portrayed the proposed agency as the "knight in shining armour" that would miraculously speed up future housing delivery and eliminate all the challenges, as they are referred to, that currently inhibit decent housing delivery. Needless to say, my colleagues in the committee has since changed their view and I, rather reluctantly, but in the interests of enhanced delivery, have done the same, and will now support the Bill before us today. In so doing, we have made many amendments, including broadening the scope of the agency.

I must hasten to add that I am still not 100% convinced that the establishment of the agency is the right way to go, but would dearly like to be proven wrong in this instance. I say this for the following reasons. The creation of another bureaucracy, besides the enormous financial and human resources to be spent on offices and other infrastructure before a single brick is planned or laid by this agency, is not necessarily going to solve the challenges that exist. The agency will still be faced with skills shortages, a certain level of red tape and dwindling supplies of building material across the country. Perhaps the correct way to go is to address the symptoms before prescribing the medication.

Having said that, it was proposed that the Bill address one major obstacle, and that is the availability of suitable land for development. But, that is certainly not the only obstacle faced by the delivery of housing, and I am not referring to the skills shortages experienced, not only in South Africa, but globally.

The objective is not just to deliver houses in the same manner that government has done since 1994 until fairly recently, but to create sustainable communities. This includes, therefore, the simultaneous construction of other physical, economic, social and environmental infrastructure, be it schools, clinics, transport infrastructure or the creation of job opportunities. In our oversight visits, more often than not, we come across housing projects without any of the other amenities I referred to in order to create a human settlement. Often, the actual housing project on its own is even incomplete. The committee therefore decided that if we are to accept the necessity of this new agency, we needed to expand the objectives to try to address some of the other challenges.

We have also added considerably to the functions of the agency. For example, the agency will now have to ensure that there is collaboration and intergovernmental alignment for housing development services, and when contracted to provinces and municipalities for assistance, to enhance the capacity of those organs of state through skills transference.

I am also very much the type of person who believes in the saying, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". While the agency will exist to assist provinces such as the Eastern Cape, where there clearly is a major problem with service delivery, provinces and municipalities that are on track can continue to manage and develop their own housing stock. The Bill recognises their function under the Housing Act of 1997 and they can continue to do so without recourse to the agency. The department has also given me the assurance that the establishment of the agency will in no way retard or prevent the accreditation of municipalities where they prove that they can, independently, deliver on their mandate of housing delivery.

As I have indicated, the DA supports this Bill as amended, and I wish to take this opportunity, even at this early stage, to wish the Ministry of Housing and the still to-be-established agency, good luck with its task. Hon Minister, I pray that the agency will not follow in the footsteps of the SA Housing Trust and become a financial drain on the country's scarce monetary resources. Perhaps, as has been suggested, a "trial run" should be pursued from within the department prior to establishing and resourcing the agency. I thank you. [Applause.]




Ms C N Z ZIKALALA: Chairperson, the success of the comprehensive plan for the development of sustainable integrated human settlements depends on the rapid release of well-located land, and dealing with the capacity constraints in the provincial and municipal spheres of government in the housing delivery backlog. Integration means integration of communities regardless of colour, race or class. All South Africans must be able to access housing in the well-located areas within our country.

The current developments in the housing sector, which entrench the old apartheid regime's thinking that black Africans are better when placed away from economic centres, and whites are better when placed in the economic centres of each town, is not in line with the spirit of Breaking New Ground, as approved by the Cabinet in September 2004. The IFP supports the establishment of the Housing Development Agency as an instrument to accelerate housing delivery, and to help provincial and municipal spheres of government with the capacity to deal with the constraints of lack of capacity to deliver.

We hope the Bill will live up to our expectations of complementing the capacity of all government spheres in identifying, acquiring, holding and releasing state and privately-owned land for residential and community purposes for the development of sustainable integrated human settlements. In the spirit of "Business Unusual" the IFP hopes that the Minister, in appointing the board, will deviate from "business as usual", ANC style, and not appoint politically correct but incompetent individuals to the board and compromise this noble objective of trying to unblock the blockages in housing delivery.

The IFP is satisfied that there is nothing in the Bill that detracts from the powers of municipalities or provinces to acquire and develop land in terms of the Housing Act, Act 17 of 1997. The function is to assist any organs of state in dealing with already identified provincial and municipal constraints as a barrier to housing delivery. The IFP supports the Bill. [Applause.]




Ms S N SIGCAU: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, the Bill before us is necessitated by an acknowledgement from government that the housing backlog is increasing. Despite the huge number of houses that have been built since the advent of democracy, the backlog remains. The shortage of skills and capacity at provincial and municipal levels has been a problematic factor when it comes to delivery across the board, and certainly when it comes to housing. There are additional factors that affect the housing sector, such as the prevalence of corruption in the allocation of tenders and beneficiaries.

Another factor that places pressure on government is the commitment that was made to phase out informal settlements. The functions of this agency are wide ranging and aimed at addressing the hurdle of acquiring suitable land, developing housing in a co-ordinated manner and providing skills and capacity where the relevant organ of state fails to meet the project deadlines. These are laudable goals that we support.

It is our hope that the people selected to the board and appointed to staff the agency will be of the highest calibre. It will require the efforts of a talented and dedicated team to achieve the levels of co-ordination and integration across multiple spheres of government that will be required for the agency to successfully fulfil its mandate.

The UDM supports the Bill. [Applause.]





Ms B N DAMBUZA: Sihlalo, malungu abekekileyo, kunye nendwendwe ezibekekileyo, ndiza kuqala ngokulungisa nje into encinci, nevele apha kobekekileyo uSteyn. Andazi nokuba mhlawumbi, eli qonga lelokuba umntu aveze izimvo zakhe ebenazo ngaphambili kokuba siwuhlalele phantsi uMthetho, siwuxovule na, ngoba into endiyifumanisayo kukuba uveza izimvo zakhe, ekubeni wonke umntu ebenazo athe waziveza ekomitini, kodwa saxoxa, savana, saphuma noluvo oluhambisanayo sisonke. Mandiyilungise ke lo nto ukuze ndingaphumi apha kusekho izikrokrwana ezisecaleni.

Le yona yokushicilela okanye ukuprinta ingxaki siyibonile sonke kwaye ndiqinisekile ukuba iza kulungiswa ngoonobhala.


Tabling this Housing Development Agency Bill before this august House is the result of a concerted effort, willingness and commitment by the ANC-led government to change the lives of the citizens into a better quality of life. The key objective of the national Housing Department under the leadership of Comrade Lindiwe Sisulu is the provision of integrated and sustainable human settlements. This Bill seeks to establish a special entity, known as the Housing Development Agency, to assist in acceleration of housing and human settlement development with a focus on land acquisition and release, bringing it to a state of readiness for development as well as project management capability to complement the capacity of government across all spheres.

It must also be registered that the agency will perform a special type of task, and will bring value by doing things differently. The agency receives its mandate from the Minister of Housing, concluded in a written form, whereby specific service delivery areas and targets are clearly spelt out, and also contains the operational and performance indicators to measure its performance. The Bill seeks to recognise the principle of job creation, which promotes BEE principles and also the Expanded Public Works Programme.

The agency is governed by the governing body, which consists of nine members.


Kuqukwa amalungu amabini obuzekezeke. Kula malungu asixhenxe kuqukwa namalungu onyulwe ngaba baPhathiswa abalandelayo: owemiSebenzi yoLuntu, owezemiHlaba, owoRhulumente bamaPhondo nooMasipala. Esi sigqeba umsebenzi wabo kukuphatha uMlawuli-Jikelele kwakunye noMlawuli wezimali wombutho. Nangona kunjalo isigqeba sesona sinamandla okanye igunya lokulawula. Siphinde siqhagamishelane njalo noMphathiswa, sidlulisele kuye imiba enobuzaza nephathelene nomsebenzi weziko okanye i-agency.

Nangona isigqeba sivumelekile ukugunyazisa amandla ngokubhala phantsi, kodwa amandla okuqasha aba babalwe ngasentla, ukuqulunqa isicwangciso sokuphatha okanye i-strategic plan, kwakunye negunya laso akuvumelekanga ukuba sinikezelwe komnye umntu. Imiqathango yokuba ngubani okufanele ukuba onyulwe kule bhodi ifana twatse neminye jikelele.


With regard to the agency's employees, the board determines the staff establishment, which is meant to be very lean, attracting and sourcing high-level skills to provide expertise to work across all sectors, ie public and private, and address the holistic challenges experienced in the housing delivery sector, including infrastructure inefficiencies and central planning at any given time.

When it comes to the funding of the agency, I should say that the funds to manage this strategic task include money appropriated by Parliament. The agency is expected to have the capacity to mobilise optimal resources, both from government, public and private sources, including donor resources, on approval by the Minister. The agency will be subject to the Public Finance Management Act, and therefore the accounting standards and reporting, including the powers exercised, will be conducted in accordance with this Act.

The Minister will table the annual report of the agency to Parliament as per parliamentary rules and regulations. The Minister may delegate to the director-general any of his or her powers or assign any of his or her duties as conferred or imposed on him or her by the Bill, but making regulations or appointment of a board member are functions that may not be delegated. The Minister has the authority to intervene in every circumstance whenever deemed necessary.


Siyikomiti eyongamele ezezindlu siwuthi thaca lo mthetho apha phambi kwenu, sinethemba lokuba zonke iingxaki ezambethe okanye ezibambezela ukuqhutywa kolwakhiwo lwezindlu ngokukhawuleza okukhulu ziyakusonjululwa. Kwaye nathi sikwathembisa ukubeka iliso elibukhali. uKhongolozi uyawuxhasa lo Mthetho uYilwayo. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.]




Mr H B CUPIDO: Chairperson, Minister, the policy of the ACDP on the provision of housing, the alleviation of squatting and the eradication of backyard dwelling is strongly being addressed by the implementation of an agency as provided for in this Housing Development Agency Bill.

In order to restore the dignity of our people, some of whom are living in substandard shelters and in environments not conducive to human living, the ACDP strongly supports the acceptance of this Bill.

Strong economic growth and rapid urbanisation require proactive initiatives by all spheres of government to keep ahead of the provision of much-needed and suitable land for housing. The agency will be instrumental in assisting municipalities to acquire land and landed properties in order to develop suitable human settlements.

By agreement, the agency will also assist municipalities to complete projects which are incomplete and help with the upgrade of informal settlements. The agency will assist with minimising bureaucracy in the approval of developments by both government and the private sector.

The ACDP would urge the hon Minister of Housing to really ensure that the members of the governing board will be people who are capable and have the knowledge and experience to perform according to the requirements set out in this Bill.

The ACDP supports the Bill.




Mr D C MABENA: Chairperson, Madam Minister, hon members, very few countries have in place clearly defined policy strategies and implementation at national level. Internationally, there is a strong move to increase the supply of land for the poor and to get land markets working better in order to create shelter and settlements for the poor.

As you all should know, South Africa's housing policies are aligned to these trends, if not leading in this regard. The ANC has, at successive national conferences, adopted resolutions that inform these policies and legislative framework.

Our policies and programmes have passed the test of meticulous scrutiny. The Housing Development Agency Bill before us today is no exception, but, naturally and unsurprisingly, we in the House have become accustomed to those in the opposition benches being centred upon one word: "why". Allow me to explain.

Since the advent of democracy, this ANC-led government has had unparalleled success in housing delivery. However, we must be measured once we claim these achievements and ask ourselves very hard questions.

As we all should know, the diabolical legacy of apartheid was never going to manifest itself in the first decade of freedom. In fact, statistics, projections and social indicators pertaining to housing were either in a shambles or were contaminated, and did not reflect the true picture of the immensity of the challenges we were facing.

Currently, any independent observer who travels this country will unfortunately be able to point to the spatial dimensions – namely race, class and economic – of this phenomenon and its most common denominator, poverty.

According to the latest data available from the national Department of Housing, more than 2,5 million of our people live in informal and inadequate settlements. This reality is compounded by the fact that the backlog is ever increasing, so much so that the national department has given a frank and sober acknowledgement that we need to do something radical to negate it.

Our government's antipoverty policy is also based on housing and therefore land becomes a critical element in this equation, hence the Housing Development Agency Bill. In South Africa, the question of land for housing needs a dedicated urgency with commensurate capacity and ability which is equal to that of the developed world. In the light of our government's constitutional imperatives and the Millennium Development Goals, it requires a special-purpose vehicle to respond to this and other challenges.

In order to deal effectively with the challenges of human settlements and in the spirit of building a caring society, the ANC has, after robust debate at its 52nd conference in Polokwane in 2007, resolved that land acquisition for human settlements be accelerated through a housing development agency.

This agency reaffirms the general strategic objectives of the Reconstruction and Development Programme and the historic vision of the Freedom Charter. Moreover, its mandate extends to giving direction to where land and infrastructure are to be located for purposes of development, and particularly socioeconomic development. Also, it establishes the linkages between construction, development and growth, and ensures optimal participation in the financial sector, which was hitherto negligible.

However, in order to make the agency fit for the purpose, we, as the Portfolio Committee on Housing, need to ensure that it is endowed with the best capacity, inter alia, human, technological, sectoral, etc capacity. In addition, we pledge to the Minister that we will certainly ensure that the financial resources allocated to the agency will be prudently disbursed and that accountability will be given new meaning, obviously with the prescripts of the Public Finance Management Act.

I have alluded to the importance of sectoral capacity. Currently land constraints constitute one of the most critical constraints in relation to the creation of human settlements. The agency will address this in a major way. The Bill provides for the appointment of officials, amongst others from the Department of Land Affairs, to the board. We believe that this is a critical provision, since the Department of Land Affairs is a custodian of land policy and concomitant expertise. Moreover, they will greatly assist with the vexing issue of expropriation, particularly in cases or scenarios where intransigence and antitransformation tendencies might hamper our constitutional imperatives.

In relation to other functions, the Housing Development Agency will provide for central co-ordination, planning, budgeting and monitoring in the provision of infrastructure and the delivery of human settlements. At this stage, I have to conscientise the House that, notwithstanding the powers and duties given to the agency, the principle of consultation between all parties mentioned in the Bill is indeed enshrined.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, your time has expired.

Mr D C MABENA: The ANC supports the Bill. [Applause.]




The MINISTER OF HOUSING: Chairperson, thank you very much for the opportunity to close this debate. I want to thank the hon Zille. In all the time I have worked in Parliament I have not had a situation where, in the shortest possible time, we have managed to have consensus around a Bill of this nature.

Thank you for managing to grab the hon Steyn by the scruff of his neck and making sure that he does agree. All my threats to him has fallen on deaf ears, so when I saw him agreeing to this I knew you had done something beyond what I could ever have done. I was laughing to myself when hon Zille was urging him and she said – I want to quote – "I call upon all peace-loving South Africans to run around to support the Bill". I quite imagine myself running behind hon Joe Seremane. I don't need to do much; just crawl behind.

The hon Butch Steyn stands up here and indicates that even though he might not be 100% in support of the way that we are going, he will support us. He raises a number of very important issues which were, fortunately for me, responded to by members of the portfolio committee. He wonders why we would put a new structure in place when, in fact, we have other problems.

We are putting a new structure in place precisely because we have studied how it can be done differently. We have studied how other countries had made a success of similar problems; we have studied too how this government has made a success of similar intractable problems. We have seen how, in the Department of Transport, the SA National Roads Agency Limited has done much better than we could ever have done with Thubelisha. Thubelisha was never intended to do what we want the agency to do.

That is why, therefore, we are going this way, hon Steyn, precisely to ensure that we can attract the few skills that we have, because we are mindful of the skills shortages that you are pointing out to us. It is not "a knight in shining armour", but we do think that it is a response to some of the problems that we have. We have looked at it very hard; we have studied it carefully and we think that this is the way to go.

I would like to thank hon Zikalala who represented the IFP. I have never seen her in the portfolio committee, but I welcome her to the portfolio committee. She wants to say to me, through the podium, that I should make sure that the choices that we make for the board are members whose choice is not politically motivated. I want to say to her both herself and Butch Steyn can be assured they will not be appointed to this board, precisely because we want to make sure that it is not politically motivated. So, Butch Steyn, please don't apply. Even if you don't make it back to Parliament, don't apply for a position on the board, because we will make sure that you don't get there.

I would like to thank the UDM for their very swift support of the Bill. I would like to thank Comrade Dambuza. Don't worry about the public relations that normally comes from the DA. The most important thing is today we are here and we are all agreed on the way to go. Thank you for explaining to all the responsibility of this Bill. I think we have come to a point where we all agree that this is the path we should follow; this is where we should be; this is the right thing to do; and this is the right thing to put on our shoulders to ensure that we are able to take on the responsibilities that lie ahead.

I would like to thank the UCDP. Please sit very close to Butch Steyn so that, from time to time, you might whisper some sense into his ears. When he has sense in his ears he does tend to say the right things.

I would like to thank hon Mabena for explaining very explicitly why it was necessary for us to go the way that we have gone.

I would like to thank the portfolio committee through the chair, Comrade Zoe Kota, for the increased powers that they have given to the agency. I myself could never have dreamt it would have had the powers that it does have now. I would like to thank you also for the commitment that you have given that the necessary funding will be channelled to the agency.

I would like to thank you also for understanding that monitoring and overseeing the agency is a common responsibility between us and you. I think we have come to a point here where we can only move forward with acceleration, as we promised our people we would do, and I am very glad that you are here to support me.

I would like to thank the members of the House who have frozen through the presentation of this Bill. Thank you for your support. [Applause.]

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): That concludes the debate. Are there any objections to the Bill being read a second time?

Mr M J ELLIS: Chairperson, there is certainly no objection to the Bill, despite all the nasty things the Minister said about Butch Steyn. We certainly don't object to the content of the Bill, but there was an issue that I did raise with the Table staff – and the hon Butch Steyn raised it himself – with regard to the fact that there are two clause numbers that are incorrect in the Bill.

Now I am led to believe by the Table staff, that because the NA is the first House and the Bill now goes to the NCOP, that the select committee, when the Bill goes to the NCOP, will be able to amend those, or the Bill will be corrected by the time it goes to them.

What I am asking you, Sir, is: is this the correct procedure and will those amendments in fact be made? If they are not made, we actually have a flawed Bill.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Just a minute. The indication is that it is on record. Those are textual amendments that can be made and the NCOP, if it doesn't amend it, we also have a record as you stood up, and also confirmed by myself here.

Mr M J ELLIS: Thank you, Chairperson.

Debate concluded.

Bill read a second time.

The House adjourned at 15:52.