Hansard: Resumption of Debate on President's State of the Nation Address
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 04 Jun 2009
No summary available.
Friday, 5 June 2009 Take: 41
START OF DAY
FRIDAY, 5 JUNE 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 09:01.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or mediation.
BOOK OF CONDOLENCE FOR FORMER DEPUTY MINISTER DIRK DU TOIT
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, I wish to announce that a book of condolences for the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Prof Dirk Du Toit, has been placed outside the entrance of the National Assembly Chamber for members to record their condolences, and that the book will be sent to the family.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION (Motions w/out notice)
VICTORIES OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN RUGBY TEAMS
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House-
(1) notes that on Saturday, 30 May 2009, the Blue Bulls won the Vodacom Super 14 when they beat the Chiefs 61-17;
(2) further notes the Springbok Sevens team were crowned the 2008/
2009 IRB World Sevens Series Champions on the same day;
(3)recognises that these victories highlight the depth of amazing rugby talent we have in our country that has resulted in another golden year for South African rugby;
(4) acknowledges that both these sports teams are great ambassadors for our country and that every game these rugby teams play, unites all South Africans across the country irrespective of their race, gender, language or culture;
(5) further recognises that both these victories inspire all young South African sportsmen to work hard and to develop themselves in order to excel in the field of rugby in the future; and
(6) wishes both rugby teams well in their future rugby matches and
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN'S NETBALL TEAM WINS TRI-NATIONS NETBALL CHALLENGE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House-
(1) notes that the South African women's netball team won the Tri-Nations Netball Challenge on Saturday, 30 May 2009, when they beat Fiji and Botswana;
(2) recognises that South African goal shooter Chrisna Botha was named player of the tournament for her outstanding efforts;
(3) further recognises that this victory takes them one step closer towards their goal of qualifying to play in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and has also resulted in the team improving their world ranking;
(4) acknowledges that sport in South Africa has largely been dominated by men in the past and that the victory enjoyed by our South African netball team strengthens the position of women in sport and helps mobilise and increase the number of women and girls participating across a range of different sports in South Africa;
(5) further acknowledges that all young sportswomen's talents, including netball players, need be nurtured and honed so that the next generation of South African sportswomen who will be able to compete at the highest levels is produced; and
(6)wishes the South African women's netball team well during the run-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
The MINISTER OF FINANCE / MS
END OF TAKE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
RESUMPTION OF DEBATE ON PRESIDENT'S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Hon Speaker, Mr President, Mr Deputy President, hon members: Sanbonani! Mr President, your administration takes office during one of the toughest economic times in living memory. South Africa is facing its first recession in 17 years and we are witnessing global economic conditions last seen during the great crash of the stock market in 1929 and the depression that followed. This is a reality we must accept. Thanks in part to the health of our public finances, however, this is not a paralytic reality. We remain committed to the goal of a better life, inclusive economic growth, decent jobs, and dignity and social justice for all our people.
Adversity and challenge have always inspired South Africans to reach greater heights. Ours is a long-standing culture of resilience, creativity, and a passion to deliver and to overcome the odds.
The new challenge you put to us is to focus on better delivery, and to work together in the spirit of co-operative governance and partnership with all sections of our society. We remain mindful that the collective sum of a well-directed programme of action is far greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Mr President, you have inspired us to ask tough questions of ourselves, to be humble and reflective about our shortcomings. The current challenges require us to find new ways of doing things and not just stick to old accustomed ways. We must be willing to shift or transform our paradigms, as difficult as that might seem, so that we can be more focused and effective in delivering the priorities that you have outlined in your speech.
According to the IMF, and I quote:
The global economy is in a severe recession inflicted by a massive financial crisis and an acute loss of confidence. While the rate of contraction should moderate from the second quarter onward, world output is projected to decline by 1,3 per cent in 2009 and to recover only gradually in 2010, growing by 1,9 per cent. Achieving this turnaround will depend on stepping up efforts to heal the financial sector, while continuing to support demand with monetary and fiscal easing.
That is the world context in which we live and to which we are umbilically tied. The global crisis is not of our own making as South Africans. However, the virus of this crisis affects the whole globe. The damage has spread from the financial sector in developed countries to the real economy all over the world. It is now accepted that the crisis we are facing today can be traced back to the early 80s when the deregulation of many financial institutions took place. Some institutions became "too big to fail". Today in particular the American government is pouring trillions of dollars into saving these institutions. Unconstrained greed and the failure of risk management and corporate governance are hallmarks of this crisis.
The impact of the financial crisis on the real economy and the depth of uncertainty have evoked questions and debates about existing economic models. There are now calls for a fundamental change to the relationship between governments, citizens, capital markets and the rest of the economy. The crisis is challenging conventional wisdom amongst economists and many others about ratings agencies and their role, and the financial sector itself. Deputy President Motlanthe and Minister Manuel have engaged with the G20 and other institutions to develop a global response, and have raised the South African voice in that context.
Like the rest of the world, South Africa has not escaped the effects of the global recession. Since the last quarter of 2008, our economy has been in decline, export earnings have fallen and jobs have been lost. Nonetheless, we should remember that we are better off than many countries in the world.
The immediate implication for fiscal policy in South Africa is that, despite the best efforts of our Revenue Service, tax revenues, after adjusting for inflation, are expected to decline. Needless to say, there will be limitations to what we can spend. Our ability to borrow from the capital markets is now limited by higher borrowing costs. We are compelled therefore to separate in the programme of action those things that need to be done urgently, from those that will have to await a more favourable economic outlook. We must also ensure that every rand that the government spends achieves the set goals and has the desired impact.
In February this year, taking account of this global economic slowdown, my predecessor Minister Manuel tabled South Africa's most expansionary budget in our short history. As a result our economy is weathering some of the devastating storms only because of the decisions that as government we took earlier.
As we weather the storm, we must also address more fundamental issues impacting on job creation. We must "never waste a good crisis". The current global contagion presents us with an opportunity to transform and restructure our economy so that we can take full advantage when the good times return.
The Budget provided for a deficit of 3,8% of GDP, and together with the borrowing requirements of state-owned enterprises, the public sector borrowing requirement is set to reach R186 billion. Foremost amongst our responses to the economic crisis is our infrastructure investment programme, valued at R787 billion. In general, the major projects are on track. The National Treasury is working with Eskom, Transnet, the National Roads Agency and our water authorities to ensure that these enterprises can borrow the required funds in the capital markets with state support, where necessary.
The Budget also announced a significant step-up in the spending on public works programmes. I want to reaffirm a commitment made by my predecessor in this regard. If the programmes under Phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme spend its allocations, we will ask Cabinet to review the allocations made to these programmes.
Our approach will continue to ensure fiscal sustainability. We will find creative ways of funding government's programmes. We are determined to root out, in that process, corruption and inefficiencies. We will ensure that government gets value for the money it spends and we will create better synergies and effective partnerships, both within government and with other stakeholders.
In addition to these measures, National Treasury is working with sister departments to implement recommendations made by the Joint Presidential Economic Working Group in response to the global economic crisis. Job creation is the joint outcome of many things: industrial and trade promotion, labour market arrangements, skills development, macroeconomic management, investment in technology, rural development, land use planning, housing and urban development. So job creation is our collective responsibility.
Parliament has revived the Appropriation Bill, allowing for the 2009 budget proposals to take effect. Other legislative procedures include the revision of the list of department names – in terms of section 14 of the relevant Act – which Minister Baloyi is finalising. Government's spending programmes for the present year are all under way.
At the same time we have also identified the need for strategic alignment between state-owned enterprises and development finance institutions in order to maximise capital investment in the domestic economy. The capital resources and delivery mandates of development finance institutions will be better co-ordinated to facilitate and give impetus to the development programmes in our economy. Better alignment of these institutions is crucial to ensure that government's strategic priorities will be strengthened and that our developmental agenda will be delivered. In the course of this year, I will table proposals to a committee of Ministers overseeing our development finance institutions to use them to draw private sector financial institutions into appropriate co-financing and risk-sharing arrangements, in support of infrastructure investment and broader access to credit.
Over the past decade considerable progress has been made, hon Speaker, in improving our tax system and broadening the tax base. You can see I cannot get away from talking about tax! Government is still required to raise revenue, even in these difficult times. This will require of all of us, both within this House and outside, that we pay our fair share of taxes, and stop the abuse of our tax system. I am happy to report to this House that as at 31 May 2009 we have seen a 10% increase in the number of tax-compliant employers who have to participate in the employer tax season in order to make the tax season for 2009 effective. The SA Revenue Service will intensify its efforts to detect and contest noncompliance. This is in accordance with international best practice. For example, the president of the United States has granted permission for the internal revenue service to hire 10 000 more auditors to raise more taxes and, in particular, to combat off-shore tax schemes!
It is imperative that we deal with all forms of leakage from the state, not only talk about where money has to be spent, especially at a time when every cent needs to be properly used for its intended purpose. Accordingly, the National Treasury will establish a unit to monitor and investigate corruption in public procurement processes. It will focus on both government employees and private sector involvement in these crimes. This will be one way of ensuring, Mr President, that we get value for money and that the leakage in the tender system within the state is stopped.
Let me turn briefly to some of the areas of public expenditure and service delivery that will enjoy priority in the period ahead.
One of the strengths of our current fiscal structure is the social assistance system that brings relief to households that would otherwise be without income support. Considerable work has been done by an interdepartmental task team on options for improving both savings and contributory social security in partnership with the financial services sector. I look forward to working with my Cabinet colleagues and this House on a more integrated social security system that encourages savings and broadens the coverage of risk benefits.
Of particular importance is the approach we take to financing health services. We face immense challenges in this area, not just because of the burden of diseases associated with HIV and tuberculosis, but also because modern comprehensive health services are expensive and highly complex. We have to find cost-effective solutions to the challenge of providing and managing health services, and we have to find better ways of working together with the private sector in building the infrastructure required, managing services and training professional staff. Following the State of the Nation Address, and in consultation with my colleague Minister Motsoaledi, I have set up a task team at the National Treasury to work with health officials to explore models for broadening public-private partnerships in the health sector.
We are fortunate, hon Speaker, that our fiscal position is strong, public debt is moderate and the foreign reserve position of the SA Reserve Bank is in good health. [Applause.] I think you need to give an additional applause to Minister Manuel, who made all this possible. [Applause.] These are considerable blessings, due in large measure to the foresight and wisdom of my predecessor. These strengths mean that we are able to continue with the expanding infrastructure investment programme announced in recent budgets and overseen by the boards of Eskom, Transnet, the National Roads Agency and other public entities. And we are able to continue with the broad-based social assistance programmes that are provided for in the national Budget.
These are fiscal strengths, to which we should add the technological and financial capability of the South African business sector, and the collective vision and mobilising power of organised labour and civil society. To these formidable strengths, Mr Speaker, we can surely add the great disciplines of modernising societies – hard work, a culture of savings, respect for social institutions and shared family values, nurture of the land and the natural environment and – of course, you would expect me to say this - payment of taxes when they are due.
Our development path is about building state capacity, and about strategic alliances with partners – with business, labour and civil society. We hope to build strategic partnerships that will more effectively enable the state to deliver. Our development path is about restoring economic growth, decent jobs and livelihoods, and about a clear understanding of the respective roles of government and the private sector that support the dynamic of an enterprise-based economy while continuing to invest in the institutions and enabling arrangements of a just and inclusive society.
Mr Speaker, we confirm our commitment to finding lasting solutions, wiping away the hunger and fear on our children's faces and eliminating the hopelessness and despair of being jobless. This is our commitment to South Africa. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr R COETZEE
JE / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF FINANCE
Mr R COETZEE: Mr Speaker, Mr President, fellow members, after the President's first state of the nation address on Wednesday, it is clear that the government and the DA have some different ideas about how best to approach economic policy in the years ahead. And I trust we will find it within ourselves to debate this subject with open minds.
The state is at the centre of the government's approach. The President promised more social spending, a state-directed approach to industrial policy – focused on industries chosen by government – and an extension of the preferential use of government procurement policies, the effect of which are to drive up costs to the taxpayer.
And, of course, it is tempting in the depths of a recession to spend money on those most vulnerable to the downturn, and indeed we must, which is why the DA has always advocated a welfare safety net for those who can't provide for themselves. But we must also have the courage and the discipline to ensure that the steps we take now do not undermine our ability to take full advantage of the upturn which will follow the recession, hopefully next year.
The actual extent of our budget deficit is not known right now, but it's likely to far exceed expectations. We must remember that borrowed money has to be paid back, and every rand spent on servicing or repaying debt is a rand that could have been put to more productive use in our economy.
President Zuma promised to spend and spend on Wednesday, but we simply cannot run up a deficit that undermines our ability to remain competitive and which, in the medium term, reduces the capacity of the state to deliver services, especially to those who most need them.
We must, however, despite the recession, continue to spend on infrastructure – I'm pleased to hear Minister Gordhan saying that we will do that – because these investments will generate growth when demand increases to the domestic and global economies. But we should even now start looking for private partners who can help to fund that infrastructure spending. We know that credit is hard to come by right now, but, in the long run, there is no need for the taxpayer to fund single-handedly all the projects currently planned or under way.
And rather than focus all our spending on consumption, we should urgently introduce a wage subsidy scheme that makes it cheaper and easier for employers to bring first-time job seekers into the labour market.
The Expanded Public Works Programme is a kind of welfare, with precious little skills transfer taking place. A wage subsidy is much more than that: it has the potential to bring unemployed people into the labour market permanently through a transfer of skills while, in the short term, also helping to stimulate domestic demand.
Of course, those who advocate a more interfering state are emboldened by the current global recession, and have long argued, with some justification, that the economic policies pursued under President Mbeki's leadership failed to provide enough jobs.
Now the truth is that our economic performance during the boom years preceding this recession was no better than okay. Our growth was driven by high commodity prices and cheap credit, underpinned - it must fairly and correctly be said - by judicious monetary and fiscal policies.
But the truth is that macro economics is actually the easy part. What we failed to do when we had the chance was to focus and follow through enough on a restructuring of our economy to support sustainable growth.
The solution now is not to fantasise about a so-called developmental state. The conditions do not exist in South Africa today to emulate what took place in Europe or Japan after the Second World War or in parts of Asia more recently. Our state lacks critical management capacity; we live in a globalised economy that is more open and more competitive than ever; and we can't use trade barriers to protect our industries.
The solution lies in unleashing the creative and productive power of the South African people. We must make economic growth the single most important objective of economic policy, especially the kind that absorbs large numbers of unskilled people into the labour market, because that is the nature of our workforce.
We must accept that the private sector is the engine of economic growth. Yes, regulation to ensure competition and to mitigate against excess is required, but we must not talk or act in a way that suggests that the private sector is a necessary evil that needs to be tolerated begrudgingly and constrained as much as possible.
We must implement a counter-cyclical fiscal policy that remembers to be counter cyclical once the recession is behind us and revenues increase once more. We must stand fast behind a monetary policy that counters the real threat of inflation, because inflation makes everyone poorer, with the biggest impact being on the poor. And that is why inflation targeting remains an important and essential instrument of monetary policy.
Our industrial policy must not seek to pick winners, even at industry level. Rather, it should focus on creating the conditions in which those companies that can compete successfully are given the space to grow and create jobs. The market – that is to say, ordinary human beings – must decide which industries fly and which fail.
The DA has long advocated export processing zones in which business, both local and foreign, make use of infrastructure, a much freer labour market, low taxes and a minimum of red tape to create opportunities for growth and jobs.
In the face of a global recession, we must avoid turning to protectionism. Our future lies in embracing free trade and exporting goods and services abroad. We can't do that in an environment in which we make it difficult to export to us.
We must up-skill our workforce by allowing the people who have proven their ability to run successful enterprises to set the training agenda, not bureaucrats and Setas which have proved merely that they can't manage the money the taxpayer gives them. Companies should be able to claim back the costs of their own legitimate training through the tax system, and Setas should be abolished.
We must – we absolutely have to – make excellence the overriding objective and value of the education system. We need to identify every obstacle to excellence in education and then systematically eradicate them all. The government must seek to unite parents, principals and teachers behind the excellence agenda and not let up until our children are getting the world-class education they deserve. And we need to accept the need for environmentally sustainable policies that acknowledge the reality of climate change and respond to it creatively.
The ANC has always claimed to be people-centred. Well, why not empower South Africans to participate freely in the economy? Why not make it possible for entrepreneurs, for managers, for workers and for the unemployed to make the choices they believe best suit them and their needs. We do not need to fear our own citizens and we should not patronise them either.
Politicians, almost by definition, have an excess of faith in their views and abilities and a terrible fear of losing control. [Interjections.] We must overcome these deficiencies to embrace the idea that free people, adequately supported by a government that knows its place, will build South Africa with greater success that the people sitting here today can by controlling and interfering in their lives.
We face a choice. We can choose to empower the state, stuffed as it is with politicians and bureaucrats, or we can choose to empower the people and provide our citizens with a less interfering, more efficient, empowering state.
Let's put people, not the state, at the centre of economic policy. That is the path to growth, to opportunity and to dignity. [Applause.]
Ms C M P KOTSI / END OF TAKE
Mr R COETZEE
Ms C M P KOTSI: Hon Speaker, hon President and colleagues, Cope agrees with the hon President that creating decent jobs, supporting African development, fostering South-South partnerships and placing Mandela Day on the calendar are very important objectives to be attained.
On the other hand, the hon President's speech was an inadequate response to the recession our country is experiencing at present. The recession has been a reality for more than nine months now and the hon President has not given the country a clear and detailed response of how a turnaround in the economy will be effected. The plans which are mooted by government with its social partners look as though they are aimed at simply avoiding retrenchment, rather than at lifting the economy to a healthy plane. In the words of the President, and I quote:
We take as our starting point the framework for South Africa's response to the international economic crisis, concluded by government, labour and business in February this year. We must act now to minimise the impact of this downturn on those most vulnerable.
We reiterate that this is inadequate. The most glaring omission in the President's speech, however, related to what exactly the new planning commission, under the leadership of Minister Trevor Manuel, was going to be doing. In our view, this will become a missed opportunity unless the hon President remedies this omission in his closing reply.
Are we going to have a top-heavy bureaucracy in our country in which paper shuffling will be the order of the day? Will government's plan of getting Ministries to work in a cohesive manner unfold into a gigantic battle for turf? Will this new mountain bring forth a mole? This country needs an assurance that more government is going to mean efficiency, cost-effectiveness and delivery. We shall be watching with great interest. [Interjections.]
The President also indicated that the Industrial Development Corporation had developed a programme to fund companies in distress.
The SPEAKER: Hon members, order! Order please! Allow the speaker to be heard. Continue, hon member.
Ms C M P KOTSI: The President has also indicated that the IDC has developed a programme to fund companies in distress. Had we been separately furnished with details, we would have been able to judge the merits of the plan. On the face of it, we believe that the industries that were identified for support are reactive and will not provide innovation and sustainable jobs, let alone decent work.
According to the President, the lead sectors already identified were automobiles, chemicals, metal fabrication, tourism, clothing and other sectors. In addition, attention will also be paid to services, light manufacturing and construction, amongst other things, in the quest to create decent jobs. It seems that the IDC has already developed a programme to fund companies in distress.
The notion that our factories should produce items from start to finish in one operation, in one factory needs to be reviewed. In this case, one factory could be outmoded and another could be counterproductive. We are now living at the end of the industrial economy, as we have known it. Factories must now participate in a collaborative value chain in which they produce one, two or three parts or items on a massive scale to meet world demand. In this way, our factories will look for competitive advantages and then exploit those to the optimum level. As this country is rich in resources and minerals, we indeed need to encourage many of our factories to become genuine global players and therefore competitive producers of parts or items rather than the whole.
As an example, with our abundance of iron ore resources we could try to be the world leader in the production of chassis for motor vehicles, buses and trucks, and then supply these to other manufacturers in other countries on a competitive basis.
For me, this how Cosatu can play an effective and positive role in the growth of the economy of this country, rather than toyi-toying for the Reserve Bank's Tito Mboweni to be dismissed. [Applause.]
Remember the statement: "I'm afraid; very afraid." This is actually the time to be very afraid: They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up. They came for others, I was quiet. This is going to haunt us as South Africans for many, many years.
Turning to the government's declaration to buy goods and services locally without our global competitiveness and pushing up costs beyond acceptable levels, Cope endorses that. [Interjections.] In this regard, manufacturers need a lead time. and therefore the planning commission should be charged with the responsibility to synthesise all government orders so that small businesses can come in at a competitive price and deliver on time.
Hon President, how are you going to deal with those provinces that, since the new government came into power, froze all payments to SMMEs? Most of those SMMEs are going under as a result of that. This does not go hand in hand with what you said at the state of the nation address, and I quote you: "We will reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses."
This is standing in the way of service delivery. If we talk service delivery, we must make sure that as government we are the first to ensure that we do not actually freeze service delivery and cause our communities to suffer, especially those we want to uplift.
As Cope, we welcome the creation of the new Ministry of Women, Youth Children and People with Disabilities and hope that this department will not be used as a dumping place for those marginalised sectors of our country.
We agree that the Expanded Public Works Programme must be used to alleviate poverty, especially in these sectors. But as it stands, it seriously needs to be reviewed. The planning commission should pay attention to these issues.
The Gundulashe Pilot Project, which was launched in 2004, proved to be a disaster even before it saw the light of day. This is because the local council concerned neglected this road. Actually, this very road has gone back to the condition it was in before repairs. This does not look good in terms of the Public Works Programme, because it should actually filter down to council to do what they are supposed to be doing.
Another project is the tunnel farming project in Qwa-Qwa, which had huge capital funding, but is now a white elephant as we speak. These are some of the examples of why a review of the Expanded Public Works Programme is necessary.
No nation, in terms of the last state of the nation address, has been fed as many promises as South Africa has. This is probably the most ambitious statement ever made in this Chamber in view of the problem our country is facing of a 6,4% decrease in GDP.
In this case, when we deliver, we need to start at home. How are we going to talk to the private sector, when government is actually not paying those small businesses? Who are going to champion them, if we are not champions ourselves? We are supposed to be leaders in that. I think the President needs to take that into consideration. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr T A MUFAMADI / ES/JE / END OF TAKE
Ms C M P KOTSI
Mr T A MUFAMADI: Thank you, hon Speaker. Hon President, Deputy President, colleagues and hon members ...
Tsha u thoma ndi tama u tanganedza mulaedza wavhudivhudi we ra u newa maduvha mavhili o fhiraho nga Phuresidennde wa Afurika Tshipembe, Vho Jacob Zuma. Ndo imela dzangano lashu la ANC Ndi khou tanganedza mulaedza wavho. Arali ndi vhe ndi khoroni, ndo vha ndi tshi do amba zwauri "livhuya a li fhindulwi", nda di dzulela fhasi, mushumo wa vha wo fhela.
Hone, zwo vha zwi tshi do tou vhilingana kana ra tou zwi nanisa arali rine vhamutivhili ro vha ri tshi do toda u swika zwifhoni zwa vhamusanda ngeno ri si vhakololo. Sa musi ri tshi zwi divha zwauri a huna mupengo a si na thama, nga fhasi ha demokirasi, vhafuwi vhane vha vha Phuresidennde washu, vha a tenda uri vhapengo na vhone vha kone u diambela na u vha sema. [U vhanda zwanda.] Vhapengo vha a kona uri khavho: Muhulisei, naa vhone vha fa lini, rine ra sala ri tshi wana vhasadzi vhavho.
Hune nda vha hone, vhathu vha nga di vhudzisa uri fhungo lihulwane le la ambiwa musi Phuresidennde vha tshi vula Phalamennde ndi lifhiyo. Rine vha dzangano la ANC musi ri tshi fhindula, ri do ri: Zwe ra zwi pfa kha vhafuwi, ndi zwauri "muimawoga shaka ndi nnyi, muthu ha shumi e ethe". Zwine zwa amba uri munwe muthihi a u tusi mathuthu. [U vhanda zwanda.] [Together we can do more.]
Haya ndi one maambele ane a elana na nyambo khulwane dza Phuresidennde. Rothe ro rambiwa uri ri dzhenele dzunde la vhukuma la u shumisana na muvhuso wavho. Tsha vhuvhili, vho ri kha rine, a huna nwana ane a do pala luvhondo. Sa vhadzulisani, kha ri shumisane nahone ri nwatelane thoho ya nzie musi ndala yo dzhena mudini. Ri songo tenda ndala i tshi dzhena mutani wa zwishai ngauri nwana wa munwe ndi wau, nahone mubebi wa munwe na endi ndi mubebi wau.
In our language, culture, tradition, practice, in our villages there is no such thing as a street kid. It is a phenomenon that is only associated with urbanisation. Therefore, to us it says un-African. Indeed, we agree with our hon President that no child should walk about, wonder about, or sleep on an empty belly.
In 1994, just before the democratic elections were held, the ANC and its alliance partners, together with other mass democratic organisations in wider civil society, asked not for the first time the question, "What kind of a society do we envisage as we assume the reigns of power in government?"
In responding to this question, this is what we said in the words of our icon, Ntate Madiba:
From 26 to 28 April, each one of us has a right to exercise a choice, without doubt one of the most important choices any of us will ever make. That choice will determine our socioeconomic future and that of our children. Join us in the patriotic endeavour to ensure that all of our people share in that future.
These were the words in the preface to our Reconstruction and Development Programme document, a document that laid the foundation and the programmes of the first democratic government. It is evident that right from the beginning, the ANC always believed in an activist Parliament and an active society. It always believed in partnerships and patriotism. Fifteen years into democracy, the people of this country, once again, exercised that most important choice, and for the fourth time, elected their democratic Parliament.
Once more, their organisation and government of choice placed before them a coherent, viable and sustainable programme to meet their aspirations, and they said to us, "Together we can do more." The President has placed before the nation a programme that seeks to mobilise all our people and country's resources towards the final eradication of the apartheid legacy. Our President and his government say to the people and the nation as a whole, "Join us in partnership to create decent and sustainable livelihoods. Join us in restoring the dignity of working people."
The question we asked and answered during our election campaign was and still is: What are the socioeconomic conditions of the people of South Africa today, especially the poor, the vulnerable and the working people in general? It is evidently clear that despite the many successes we have registered in the areas of provision of basic services, much more still needs to be done. We need a strong activist Parliament, we need a strong developmental state that can push the frontiers of poverty to the periphery, and we need a developmental economic agenda driven by the state that will place the five key commitments at the centre of our government programmes.
We are pleased that the economic ministries have already begun to interrogate what kind of policy mix we need to respond to the real challenges of the global economic downturn. We urge that such intervention should not only be based on short-term responses of cyclical swings in the economy. What we need is coherent and sustainable economic policies aligned to putting South Africa on a path that would see sustainable growth. Therefore, we call upon the speedy alignment of our macroeconomic policies, fiscal and monetary policies, to advance the developmental agenda of the state and the people.
In the meantime, the dialogue between business, labour, civil society and government should be encouraged in order to save jobs, and to create new ones under these difficult conditions. Together we can restore the dignity of workers by creating quality jobs and sustainable livelihoods.
The integration of rural economics into the mainstream economy, or first economy, is not a choice but an imperative for the upliftment of the people of South Africa. Through our priority social and economic infrastructure programmes and spending, co-operatives must be formed to strengthen local economic development and to ensure that training and retraining programmes do take place at a local level.
In conclusion, a developmental state must have the capacity to plan, monitor and evaluate the impact of all government programmes in all three spheres of government. It is therefore more than necessary that the planning and monitoring commission co-ordinate all government programmes, not just at the level of the executive.
The coming into operation of a single public sector will enhance our ability to have a common database of what skills we need, what skills we have and the kind of training programmes we need to put together. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH .../TM /
END OF TAKE
Mr T A MUFAMADI
Mr N SINGH: Hon Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, firstly, I would like to congratulate our new President, the hon J G Zuma, on his ascension to the highest office in our land, and to congratulate the new Leader of the Opposition and all other members. I had a privilege of working closely with the hon President for many years when we both served as MECs in the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government. I see, Mr President, that you have left boys like me behind and steamed ahead. I wish you well, Msholozi. I know that you have a very difficult and challenging road ahead.
Before I turn to the state of the nation address I would like to just touch on a few current issues, one being the fact that today is World Environment Day. I think it is important for all of us in this House and for the President and the executive to reflect on what we have done as legislators to ensure that our natural resources are protected and preserved for future generations.
Whilst I do understand that we have progressive environmental legislation in place, the area of enforcement is still something that we all have to address. To this end, Mr President, and hon members, one of the areas, I think, that has to be given careful attention is the Durban South Basin. I remember very clearly when the then hon President Mandela and Deputy Minister Holomisa went to the Durban South Basin to address the issues of the people in that area. There is a high incidence of leukaemia and cancer, the incidence of which has been proven. I think we have to make sure that industries in those areas are made to comply with environmental regulations. If they can do so in other countries around the world, they must also do the same here in South Africa.
The second issue is the doctors that have been on strike and that have grievances. I think, Mr President, you have your work cut out for you in ensuring that your government give serious attention to the concerns of these medical officers. As it is, we have a much-fractured health sector and we need to ensure that it doesn't fracture even more.
The third current issue is about what is going on in the SABC. The shenanigansin the SABC are not something that we as legislatures can be proud of. We call, therefore, Mr President, for an urgent commission of inquiry into what is happening in the SABC, so that we can restore some faith in the public broadcaster and in the citizens of South Africa.
Turning to the recession, when I stood here in February I said in the past when the USA sneezed the rest of the world would catch a cold. But, unfortunately, they caught the cold first. We were sneezing four months ago, but now we have caught the cold and we have to find creative ways to of dealing with this recession which is now impacting very, very seriously on all of us South Africans as well.
Concerning the state of the nation address, the aims of the new leadership as communicated are welcome. I think that we all, as servants of the people, aspire, amongst other things, to helping create an environment that is conducive to eradicating poverty, providing the masses with affordable good-quality housing and providing enough jobs to meet the demands of our growing population.
However, the difficulty lies in the ability to turn these and other noble objectives into reality. The hon President and his executive have the task of ensuring that the almost R657 billion per annum collected in taxes from South African taxpayers, through direct and indirect taxation, is used effectively. Taxpayers want value for money, and we trust that this executive will rise to the challenge for we, as parliamentarians, will certainly be the watchdogs – the emphasis being on "watch" and not "dogs".
I think it is also important for us not to run the risk of number crunching – of throwing out numbers of 500 000 jobs, a million houses, etc, etc. Let us look at land reform. It is quite easy for us to be tempted to say that millions of hectares of land have been restored to people who were previously dispossessed of their land, but what we have to answer is: When that land was restored to those people, was sufficient support given to them by government to ensure that they have sustainable livelihoods; were poverty traps set for those people? That is the question.
When we look at the number of houses that are being built and that will be built, we shouldn't say that we have built a million houses. We should be looking carefully at the quality of the houses. Do people feel safe in those houses, when there is wind, when there is rain, when there are storms, do they feel safe? [Applause.]
When we talk about the number of jobs, I hope, Mr President, that your hon Ministers have already created some 8 000 jobs between the day of your speech and today, because if we look at the number of working days to the end of December, it is about 4 000 jobs a day that they need to create. [Applause.]
When we look at policing, it is good enough to say that we will have extra policemen and men on the beach, but is the quality of service acceptable to us as South Africans? We have to focus on quality. We have heard numbers before. "One settler, one bullet!" Well, we are glad that that is a thing of the past. But there has also been "One food parcel, one vote." [Applause.] And that must be a thing of the past. We need to ensure that we instil pride and self-worth in South Africans. We must not have a culture of dependency. People need to be given the tools and instruments to allow them to develop themselves. This is going to the responsibility of this government.
I want to say to the former premier of KwaZulu-Natal now the Minister of Transport that I think, Minister, you have been given a poisoned chalice in trying to deal with the bus rapid transit system. But we wish your well and hope that you can deal with that sooner rather than later.
In conclusion, as I said on behalf of the IFP, we support the aims as espoused by the hon President, but we will be watching very carefully, monitoring and evaluating the performance of this executive. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr N SINGH
Ms S V KALYAN: Madam Deputy Speaker, in the President's opening remarks of the state of the nation address he made reference to the recent challenging times our country experienced and how we overcame them with dignity. Sir, there is another challenge which is threatening our country which we need to also overcome. I refer to HIV and Aids.
It is estimated that for every one Aids death, there are two new infections. HIV and Aids count among one of the big five killer diseases in the world and South Africa has the highest rate of infection in the world. With an estimated 5,7 million people infected with HIV in South Africa, many of whom don't know their status, this pandemic presents all of us with a tremendous challenge.
The ANC government has only recently emerged from the coma of denial and finally agreed with the rest of the world that HIV indeed causes Aids. Now while it is a medical fact that recovery from a coma can be relatively slow, given the seriousness of the pandemic and its impact on all our lives, we need to inject a sense of urgency and put in place prevention and treatment programmes which can substantially reduce infections.
In view of this then, Mr President, I was rather disappointed with the meagre two lines in the state of the nation address on the topic of HIV and Aids. It is quite unfortunate that you chose to merely read out a few lines from the 2007 national strategic plan in respect of the Millennium Development Goals and ARV roll-out. You offered no solution or hope whatsoever to the thousands of people who are HIV-positive or living with full-blown Aids. That, Sir, is irresponsible.
Within six days of exposure to HIV, the virus overcomes the body's initial defences and spreads rapidly through the blood, turning HIV into the biological equivalent of a runaway train. These six days are a window of vulnerability, but they can also be a window of opportunity, if there is strong political leadership. It is my considered opinion that you missed that opportunity in your address, and I want to just give a few examples to qualify my statement.
You missed that opportunity when you did not categorically end the hostility towards antiretrovirals, when you did not stamp out quackery and the promotion of false cures of HIV, when you did not address the fact that R80 million from the Global Fund remains inaccessible because government does not have the proper structures in place to administer it, and when you did not take responsibility or acknowledge the dire consequences of the shortage of formula milk for babies of HIV-positive women, resulting in these women having to breastfeed their babies and increase the risk of transmission of HIV to innocent children.
The shortage of milk formula stems from a default in payments to Nestlé to the tune of R15 million. So, as a result babies are doomed to die because your government can't pay its bills. That is a shocking state of affairs, Mr President, and the buck stops with you. [Applause.]
The consequence of this situation, Sir, is no different from the moratorium on ARV initiation in the Free State in November last year. At least 30 people per day died as a result of this moratorium. And, yet, you didn't allude to any of this in your state of the nation address.
The DA is in total agreement that the debate on HIV and Aids should be depoliticised. We ask you to consider allowing the SA National Aids Council to take a more direct role in the state's responses to HIV and Aids. However, Sanac continues to be top heavy with ANC politicians, and you would do well to include members of the opposition on Sanac as we have a valuable input to make and to give credibility to your statement of "Working together, we can do more."
There is currently no Aids vaccine on the horizon so an efficient and comprehensive ARV programme is key to treatment. Roll-out and unblocking of funding has to take serious priority if we are serious about tackling the pandemic head-on. We also should start treatment earlier when the CD4 count is 350, as advocated by the World Health Organisation.
Mr President, all lives have equal value under our Constitution, including HIV-positive persons and people living with Aids. Thousands in South Africa are not getting the chance to live a healthy productive life because of this disease and government's slow reaction.
Now is your opportunity to provide a detailed road map to engage with this potentially nation-destroying virus. I hope you grab it with both hands and give validity to your inauguration speech in which you said, "For as long as there are South Africans who die from preventable disease, we shall not rest and dare not falter." [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
END OF TAKE
Ms S V KALYAN
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, I rise to support and thank you, President, for the leadership you gave in the state of the nation address. I must confess that I'm heartened by the way in which you demonstrated your firm commitment to bettering our education system. I think you referred to education many times - more than any other sector - and for that we are very grateful.
I agree with you, President, that education is the single most important tool for our people to develop our young children, and also for the future of our country. It is a tool that will help us as a country to confront the many challenges facing our beautiful and beloved country, which include, and not limited to, poverty; unemployment; the burden of disease; class and gender imbalances; underdevelopment; the list goes on. We are confident, President, that if we get it right in education, most of our problems will be addressed.
First and foremost, again, I want to thank the President for establishing the Ministry of Basic Education, not only because this gave me a job, but also because I think it's a very useful Ministry that will help us focus and dedicate our attention to schooling. This kind of attention is required, given the size and the complexity of our education system, which is still recovering in many areas from the historic years of deliberate neglect. We will not shy away from the task and won't disappoint the nation. We will handle the task with the commitment and dedication it requires.
In the state of the nation address, the President charged us to ensure that we plan, implement and monitor our work and evaluate all our different activities. More importantly, he charged us to ensure that teachers teach, learners learn and parents parent their children, and that we go back to basics.
We were also challenged in that our most valuable resource in education, that is teachers, must conduct their business in the most ethical and exemplary manner and desist from any behaviour that harms their learners and the profession itself. Any form of ill discipline must be dealt with decisively.
We were also charged with making sure that our schools are made to be running schools. Again, we are committed to making sure that that happens. You charged us with doing our business with the utmost dedication and produce quality outcomes which ensure that our schools are nothing less than thriving centres of excellence.
The other challenge was around breaking the back of illiteracy. Again, we are committed to making sure that we do that. One of the most important points that the President has raised, even in other forums, is to ensure that all South African children from rural areas, farming areas and poor communities are provided access to quality education and are given an opportunity to really grow and develop their potential to the full.
I think what is more important, President, is to make sure that we – and I think the new Ministry enables us to do just that - redefine what we mean by "basic" in the country. "Basic" would be anything between Grade R and Grade 12, unlike in the past where "basic" would be interpreted as Grade 9 being an exit point. In that respect, we will make sure that all our learners who are dropouts, that is, children who have not reached Grade 12, are assisted to complete matric, to make sure that indeed they have basic education, as required.
Hon member Wilmot James, I couldn't agree with you more; you are right, the bottom line in education is about getting the curriculum right. That is the core business. We must be able to transport our learners to school. We can keep them in safe structures, we can feed them and we can protect them, but, if there are still outstanding matters around the curriculum, then, I think, we are wasting our time and our resources. [Applause.]
Education is about pedagogy in the classroom. It is about the interaction between the learner and the teacher. It is about what they learn.
Our curriculum needs to be streamlined even further, and all other frills that tend to distract teachers from the core business of teaching and learning must be removed. We must go back to basics. The minimum requirement, which has been evading us in many of our schools, is to make sure that our learners can read, write and count, as the bottom line.
Yes, the noble principles of the outcomes-based curriculum cannot be wished away and thus remain great and noble. Our children, as future citizens, need to be equipped with skills which will enable them to be well-rounded adults that can solve problems, that can think laterally and that can work as teams. However, the bottom line is that they have to be able to read and write in that context, and that we are committed to.
Mr President, when I was first appointed as an MEC of education in Gauteng, I undertook road shows to familiarise myself with the work that I was meant to do. I met a number of principals and some of your best educators, and all of them, without fail, raised issues about the curriculum. When I became a Minister, the first thing that I did in office was to say: Now I'm here; let's talk about the curriculum.
I was very excited to find that my predecessor had already set up processes and systems to make sure that indeed, Mr Wilmot James, we address the curriculum. We can assure the nation that I have told the committee the previous Minister set up that the urgency of the matter would start in July. Come 2010, we will be working on a streamlined curriculum that will make sure we have clear outcomes without any frills. [Applause.]
These initiatives are all intended to achieve one goal: an improvement in the quality of learning outcomes. We are now testing, as a department, Grades 3 and 6. Only Gauteng and the Western Cape ran these tests. Following the state of the nation address, I have given the instruction that all schools in the country run these tests – that we test our Grade 3s as an exit point, and Grades 6 and 9 to make sure that throughout the system we can assess our outcomes on an ongoing basis, and this will take place.
I can assure the member from the UCDP that the tasks that have been beating up as South Africans, come 2011, we will be ready for. We will have improved our outputs. [Applause.]
Again, President, we were instructed to make sure that by 2010 our children are tested for hearing and visual defects, and also have their teeth tested. When you see newspaper people running around, President, you must know that we are doing our work with Dr Motsoaledi. We have agreed to put a task team in place, which will make sure that by 2010 - A ke re ntate, Motsoaledi - we will be able to test all our Grade 1s before they start schooling. Mr Motsoaledi is looking at me - Re dumellane a ke re.
The other issue, Mr President, was around making sure that we remove all the mud schools and dangerous structures. Again, regarding that task, President, we are in discussion with Minister Doidge. We will be putting together a team which will make sure that we work with our provincial structures and that indeed we give you a full plan by 30 June, to really give you a sense of how we are going to confront that.
Unlike many other departments that do not have counter departments, Education is one department which is blessed with many people to do the same work. So, we are confident that together, with the different MECs, we will be able to pull it off.
During all our meetings, the Deputy President keeps on reminding us, especially as ANC cadres, that since Polokwane, the ANC has prioritised education as priorities one, two and three. We are quite confident that together with all the able MECs that the ANC has deployed in different provinces, we will be able to pull it off.
We are also already involved with the Western Cape, which is one of the best-run education provincial departments. It was run by the ANC in the past. [Applause.] It was run by the DA before. But it is definitely the best-run provincial departments. So, we are in discussions with them. [Interjections.] We will be visiting them to ask them not to reverse the good things we have left for them in that province. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
So, I will be visiting the Western Cape next week - we will also be visiting the different provinces - to make sure that indeed we align our forces in the province. We think that as the education sector, we have the necessary muscle and force to pull it off. With the MECs deployed throughout the country, as I said, without exception, we are confident that we will pull it off.
You challenged us to expand our early-childhood education, and I agree with you, hon President, that the benefits of a structured pre-school year are enormous to both the child and the system. Again, we will make sure that we meet the deadlines.
We are putting in place an instrument to ensure that we can track our learners or track every child from the day they begin school to when they finish. This will enable us to manage the transfer between schools, identify slow progress and intervene where necessary.
At the same time, we have initiated a review of adult basic education. We are working very closely with the Minister of Higher Education and Training to streamline and, again, make sure that we are in line with the instruction to break the back of illiteracy.
Our schools do indeed need a lot of attention, especially those that continue to fail our communities. These are not limited to the urban or rural setting and often have little to do with the wealth of the school or its community.
A recent report by the Ministry of Education, of schools at work, showed conclusively that the issues were not complex and did not depend so much and solely on resources. A singular focus on teaching and learning is a prime ingredient of a successful school, with learners, teachers and parents recognising that this is very central to education. This recognition has brought about the Quality Learning and Teaching campaign of the department, which has brought all stakeholders under the umbrella of non-negotiables. This means, as you said, President, teachers being in class on time, teaching; learners being in class on time, learning; and parents doing their part.
Teachers are required to be in school for at least seven hours a day, as well as one extra day for preparation. In support of this, we will be strengthening the accountability and performance management system throughout the sector.
Apart from the Integrated Quality Management System which is now being externally moderated, we intend, this year, to begin with the establishment of the national education evaluation and development unit. It is a unit that our masses called for in the conference of the ruling party in Limpopo.
Qualified and committed teachers remain the mainstay of our system of education. In 2009, for the first time, we will be phasing in the allocation of grants to teacher unions to undertake developmental programmes for their members – Tat' Thulas Nxesi – to make sure that there is also professional development and professional engagement amongst our teachers.
The President has instructed us to convene a meeting of principals. I can assure you, President, that we have already made contact with them and there is great excitement about it. We are just waiting for the date. But, I can tell you that yesterday already, after the state of the nation address on Wednesday, we made contact with the national structure of principals and they are ready and they feel ...
... bawelwa yintoni lento befunwa ukubonwa ngumntu omdala kangaka.
They are very excited about it. So, we will be doing that. And I can assure you, principal – uh, President ... [Laughter.] ... that schools stand and fall on principals. When I used to visit schools, I could see them coming and would say, "Ae, Nna ha ho kwae komeng".
... just by the way they walked. But sometimes just a good principal can turn things around and make a school work. So, I think, it is a brilliant start, President, and we are looking forward to that meeting between you and the principals.
Let me conclude by indicating that we are deliberately called public schools and not state schools. This is a signal that we belong to the people and not to the government. The instrument the public has been given the right to run these schools is the school governing body, which has extensive powers and functions, including the recommendation of staff appointment, the development of the code of conduct, the raising of school fees, the determination of language policy. I don't think there is any other system that concedes so many powers to the public as we do.
It is essential that all patriotic South Africans participate in these governing bodies. The opportunity is now; we are currently running school governing body elections. This the second biggest elections outside national and provincial elections. During this period, we are looking for nearly more than 200 000 governors to run our schools. The elections are on, and we are calling our communities to participate in these elections.
Again, the President has tasked us to ensure that schools become centres of excellence. Our research shows that there are three elements to a successful school: Good and committed teachers; spending the proper amount of time on tasks; the support of decent textbooks - and that is why, again, when we meet with the provincial MECs, we'll be working with them and with finance to make sure that indeed, come 2010, we resource our schools adequately. It doesn't help to say that teachers have to be in class, if there is nothing that they can use as their teaching support material.
So, we'll be resourcing all poor schools in 2010 to make sure that, indeed, there are basic resources for every child to be able to read. Again, we commit ourselves to working on this. If we can make these three things happen, we can claim that basic education will be on the road to success.
The next big task facing the education sector is ensuring that we build a post-school sector that will not only develop the technical skills needed for the economy, but also the social and other skills and attitudes required for a developmental state. Our FET colleges may well be the core of such a system, but we would want to expand these to ensure a diverse range of programmes offered in a variety of institutional settings across the country.
The linking of the skills development structure with education should ensure a much greater alignment of effort and provide a solid basis for the implementation of the national human resource development strategy.
The President asks us to ensure that poorer students are not denied access to higher education. Our primary instrument for this is the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which allocates over R2 billion every year to poor and deserving students. Added to this is the amount that is now being recovered from students. We are paying back these loans, and that money is recycled into the system. Last year only, the NSFAS was able to recover almost R300 million from learners who were paying back the loans that were given to them.
We know that there are still problems of access, and I can report on behalf of the Minister of Higher Education and Training that already he has initiated a review of the scheme and has committed himself to reporting back to Parliament as soon as this is concluded. Again, the linkage is between NSFAS funds and the National Skills Fund, which will in future be under one roof, will be explored to ensure maximum benefit.
Let me finish with a good news story, following the President's wish for us to revive school sport. In the first half of this year, over 80 000 children participated in the Schools Confederation Cup. Each of the provinces participated as one of the countries in the Confederation Cup, including being able to render the national anthem of that country. The finals were held last week, with the Western Cape, representing Iraq, as the eventual winner.
The same competition will be held for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, and I must encourage everyone to support their schools, where some very exciting sport is being played. Ke a leboga. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L M MPHAHLELE / nb/MC / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
Mr L M MPHAHLELE: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, let me commence by congratulating the President on his maiden state of the nation address. Let me also congratulate you, Mr President, on your rain-making magic. [Applause.]
Sonke lesikhathi bengicabanga ukuthi usuka eNkandla, awusitsheli ngani ukuthi uvela KwaMhlabuyalingana. [Uhleko.]
This is my maiden speech and I am advised to avoid being controversial. This is like avoiding politics in parliament, when controversy is essentially part and parcel of politics.
The PAC thinks the President's speech was totally silent on the continued control by a minority of the means of production, including land, financial institutions and technology to the exclusion of indigenous Africans.
The President's focus seemed to be on the consumption and distribution of wealth. Eskom is a classic example of consumption unaccompanied by the creation of wealth. In the frenzy of distribution of electrical power to the far corners of Azania, we forgot to generate more capacity by building additional power stations. The PAC has observed with grave concern that the capacity to create wealth is not effectively extended to indigenous African people.
While we praise the President's attitude of zero tolerance of the neglect of work at our schools, there is no hint of admission that some teacher unions use their power recklessly to protect lazy and corrupt officials.
The President overemphasises a reliance on government handouts, despite a diminishing tax base and the woefully corrupt Public Service. Teaching people how to fish is the essence of freedom and liberation. Teaching people how to fish will come in the form of the provision of high-quality education, skills training and financial support.
The President continues to trumpet black economic empowerment. In principle, this is a good thing to do. However, experience has taught us that this is only an enrichment scheme for the politically well-connected elite.
A unified, single Public Service is a good idea and the PAC welcomes it. We also applaud the President's promise of transformation of the judiciary. Our Constitution, too, should not escape change. We cannot afford a clause in the Constitution that glorifies land theft. The property clause must go. Thank you. If I still had time, Madam Deputy Speaker, I could go on and on. [Laughter.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mr L M MPHAHLELE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Deputy Speaker, His Excellency the President and fellow colleagues, the hon President has gotten a more favourable reaction than a negative one for his historic state of the nation address. The MF joins the accolades, but will make certain constructive suggestions.
We are very glad that the hon President has adopted a no-nonsense approach - let us make South Africa a country of hard-working people. We are glad that the government wants excellent competence in Ministers even in the provinces and that there must be a high measure of economy.
The MF proposes that the monitoring and evaluating of politicians take place very strongly, both at provincial and local government level, and that any Minister or councillor be removed if they are not worthy of their responsibilities.
The MF proposes that at every level a special force be created, either in the SA Receiver of Revenue or in the SA Police Service to deal with unaccounted-for enrichment, like the Central Bureau of Investigation of India where there is a no-nonsense approach. There should be zero tolerance in respect of corruption amongst political office bearers. Mr President, India has been hit hard by recessions, but has a growth rate of 6%. At one stage, agriculture contributed 20% to the GDP; now it is a dismal 3%.
At a time of recession, the government's highest priority must be expenditure on a very, very thrifty scale, and infrastructure development is going to be the key. We suggest that the President have a very watchful eye on infrastructure development. One of the finest decisions was to establish a planning commission, but, in our considered view, there is one important weakness: planning commissions have succeeded when they are supervised only by a politician but not headed by a politician.
We submit this suggestion to you, Mr President, to review the situation. I suggest that you invite to South Africa the chairman of the planning commission of India, Professor Montek Ahluwalia, who turned around the economy of India.
Mr President, you have achieved what no president has achieved: you received very high praise from the Leader of the Opposition in the House. We are glad that you are adopting a multiparty approach.
To the SACP I say that you must learn from communist China. Communist China has a White Paper on multiparty democracy, a copy of which I have with me, Mr President, and will hand to you at the end of my speech. [Interjections.] China is controlled by the Communist Party, but a multiparty system exists and there is strong multiparty co-operation and co-ordination.
Mr Wan Gang is the minister of science and technology and belongs to one of China's minority-interest parties. Mr Chen Chu is the health minister and is an independent. From 1998 to 2003, Mr Rong Yiren was vice president and belonged to the China Democratic National Construction Association. Two of these ministers were appointed from minority parties. [Interjections.] I see no reason why this cannot be done at provincial level. [Interjections.]
Mr President, the MF will support you, but will also disagree with you in a very, very constructive way. [Interjections.] What you have done is outline the points contained in the election manifesto. We are going to judge the country by the budget and the performances of each Ministry and its department. The country is watching you when you say that you are not going to tolerate incompetence.
May I suggest to the new Minister of Finance to note that former members of the tricameral parliament, former Bantustan leaders, have been appointed Ministers at the national level and that he should not live in the past.
At a time of recession, government's expenditure is of the outmost importance, but you must make sure you concentrate on rural development also. The release of government money is very vital. Therefore the President's monitoring mechanism must play a crucial role.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Deputy Speaker, may I please ask the hon member a question, namely: What job are you trying to get this time? [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That is not a point of order, hon member.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Mr President, there are a number of fundamental areas relating to addressing poverty and job creation which have not really been addressed. You seem to be silent about the magnitude of the high failure rate in the country. This increases unemployment and poverty, yet there is no mention of how government is going to take this process forward.
I still have not heard what the number is of the people that cannot go to university, whether or not they are going to get there and what your plan and contribution is going to be. I did not hear in your speech the extent to which you were going to subsidise basic commodities in this recession and ensure that the social grants and pensions were maintained in order for the unemployed to buy bread. I still have not heard how the poor and unemployed are going to access those 500 000 jobs. When are those jobs really going to be available, and where and how are people going to access them?
Baba Mongameli, ngikufisela impumelelo ekulweni nobumpofu. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER
GG (zul) unh (eng) / END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon member. Hon members, before the hon Ms Moloi-Moropa starts her speech, may I take this opportunity to acknowledge the presence on our gallery of students from Georgia State University. They are currently on tour in South Africa and they saw fit to visit Parliament. Thank you very much. [Applause.] You came at an appropriate time – when the Minister of Basic Education gave her speech. Thank you very much. Welcome.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, just before the next speaker speaks, could I simply ask what it was that Mr Bhoola gave the hon President – was it a CV? [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am sure, hon member, that when the President responds on Tuesday, he will be able to say if it was more than a CV; whether it's employment of Mr Bhoola. [Laughter.]
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order, I think the hon Mike Ellis has a hearing problem. In my speech I indicated that it was a White Paper on multiparty democracy. [Laughter.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, I must just say to the hon Bhoola, if you don't mind, that in fact we didn't really understand what he was saying, that's why I couldn't hear what he was saying. [Laughter.]
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Speaker, on a point of order ... [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: What is your point of order, Mr Bhoola?
Mr R B BHOOLA: I did not really know that the hon Mike Ellis has a limited knowledge level. [Laughter.]
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
The DEPUTY SPEAKER
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Hon Deputy Speaker, His Excellency the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma; Deputy President, the hon Motlanthe; Ministers and Deputy Ministers; hon members; comrades and friends; allow me to contribute to our President's state of the nation address, which is quite historical, by giving context to the nature and extent of the South African developmental state as it is currently. It is important because the need for a developmental approach arose within the historic context of a colonial apartheid state, which was based on narrow ideological separatism. As a result, such a state failed to respond to the multidimensional challenges of public life in South Africa.
As a response to the above, South Africa has, since the 1994 democratic breakthrough, ushered in new political and democratic conditions providing a unique opportunity to actively building a developmental state capable of implementing the objectives of our national democratic change.
Our hon President, Jacob Zuma, in his state of the nation address on 3 June 2009, this week on Wednesday, clearly reaffirmed and called upon us to take up the task of building a developmental state that would play a central role in the social and economic development of the country and serve as a catalyst for sustainable development and economic growth.
Such a developmental state will be instrumental in the realisation of the developmental objectives of our national goals - that of a better life for all. This we must achieve by developing a broad democratic front that will lead towards the actualisation of the institution of democratic governance to facilitate the pursuit of a prosperous country.
Our task is, clearly, to achieve broad national consensus on a developmental state, its role and how it will assist us in the broader objectives of creating the better life we talk about. This is in line with the ANC's 52nd national conference resolution, a commitment we are prepared and ready to implement.
A developmental state has the following characteristics. It strives to maintain a delicate balance between achieving higher economic growth and addressing social inequalities. This is because it has a clear poverty eradication programme that is biased towards the poor. A development state gives direction in providing a clear developmental agenda that strives to address major societal challenges. Along those lines, it does not leave the resolution of social problems solely in the hands of the market forces. It has a central planning capacity which enables it to drive integrated development. I really want to emphasise this in order for us to understand what we mean when we talk about a single Public Service. What do we mean? There is logic; it flows from the very same characteristics of a developmental state.
Therefore, I would want to emphasise this point - that it has a central planning capacity which enables it to drive integrated development. This is development we can really achieve in the rural areas and that we can also achieve in local government, because, as we all know, we haven't been able to reach local government with ease. That is very critical; that is logical and we cannot blow out of proportion the issue of a single Public Service for any political gain.
A developmental state has, as its key features, a strong democratic culture and promotes accountability and transparency; it is people-driven and involves communities in the planning and implementation of developmental projects; and it provides an enabling environment for different social actors to be able to realise their goals.
Since 1994 the South African state can be described as a developmental state, which is based on constitutional and participatory democracy. Its character and orientation differs to many colonial states that have emerged in many African countries. Notwithstanding the challenges and weaknesses that still remain to be addressed, the developmental state in South Africa has been able to achieve the delicate balance between economic progress and socioeconomic imbalances manifested by poverty, unemployment, inequalities and societal injustice.
Unlike many states in the world, the developmental state in South Africa since 1994 has made quite significant achievements. I wouldn't like to get into all the issues and areas I believe and hope we have been observing and we are aware of, but I will just pick up on a few. One of them is black economic empowerment, which we would, critically, like to see as broad-based black economic empowerment. I can also mention the education policies such as free basic education, school nutrition, early childhood development, no-fee schools and Abet. I wouldn't be doing justice if I left out the progressive health care policies. Note that these are just a few of the examples. There are many more.
Amongst other things, it is important to note that safety and security measures, such as community policing forums, have been achieved along the lines of job-creation interventions aimed at reducing unemployment. It is also important to talk about the Expanded Public Works Programmes. In short, one can confidently indicate that with this resolution, the ANC's implementation programme is on course on a developmental state that aims at addressing poverty, underdevelopment, inequality and injustice.
Although there these major advances have been made since 1994, South Africa still faces major challenges that still require concerted efforts. Our developmental state is required to deal with the following challenges: the deconstruction of inequalities between races and social classes; the adoption of economic policies that create meaningful and decent employment; and the adoption of effective and antipoverty measures.
Over the past 15 years we have managed to establish wall-to-wall government structures that provide a seamless arrangement for the Public Service.
An HON MEMBER: Did it work?
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: The creation of a single Public Service remains a critical aspect and will be implemented as a priority. [Applause.] Of course, thorough consultation with all stakeholders will be embarked upon as a requirement of democracy; that will always be done. [Interjections.]
With this call to actively building an activist state, we are equally charged ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There is a point of order, hon member.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: I rise on a point of order. It is the hon member's maiden speech and the conduct of the opposition benches is actually quite unacceptable. There is a convention that we must stick to, and I ask that you use your authority as the Chair. Thank you. [Interjections.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, may I respond to that? It is convention, yes, but then the alternative is that you should not be controversial. If you are controversial, you then invite response from our side. And, I think, the statements made by the hon member have been controversial.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! A point of order has been raised, and I seriously didn't hear anything that I think was controversial. [Interjections.] No, no, no, members!
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, may I address you on that?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I didn't say you could speak. I am saying there was nothing controversial. There are different points of view. That is not controversial. No, no ... if you have a different point of view from that of the speaker, you can't say the speaker is provocative or controversial when he or she says something that he or she believes in and that you don't believe in. I think we must stick to the rules regarding a maiden speech: that there aren't any interjections, please. Could we continue with our meeting? [Applause.]
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. With the call to actively build an activist state, we are equally charged with the task of building a unique cadre for the people-centred Public Service. In this instance, we require an all-rounder cadre – well prepared to serve his or her fellow South African citizens with distinction. These servants of a developmental state to not have to be rocket scientists, but an ordinary agent of democratic change armed with the correct theory of social transformation within the context of a single Public Service for a unitary state.
During the independence of Mozambique in 1975, President Samora Machel talked about the need for a new mindset and a new person for the democratisation of the postcolonial state and its society.
The South African state requires similar people that are ever prepared to learn more so that they can be in a better position to discharge the developmental mandate of the state within the Public Service. Hon Bhoola, as the Chinese proverb goes: Live as if you are going to die tomorrow and learn as if you are going to live forever.
In the spirit of Mandela Day, we must reaffirm the Batho Pele principles and work towards the creation of a new cadre with the ability to do more. This should be towards the advancement of the developmental agenda of the state, anchored on the following platform: dedication to human solidarity, selfless devotion to civic duty and discipline, voluntarism in pursuit of social justice, sensitivity to unethical conduct, and humanity to the most vulnerable.
Hon President and hon Deputy President, these are the fundamental, though not exhaustive, attributes in the qualification of a new cadre equipped to serve his or her people. Excellence service awards will be considered for the best-serving servants of the people as recognition of their unique contribution over and beyond the call of duty.
The introduction of the key Ministry of Economic Development, aimed at strengthening and creating an institutional centre for government-wide medium to long-term economic and developmental planning, will go a long way towards activating the state to intervene in the economy.
A developmental state, within the economy, should ensure that our national democratic resources that include land, water, minerals and marine resources, are not exploited but effectively advanced to meet the developmental challenges of economic the economic meltdown.
Expanding the opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and supporting the economic growth of underdeveloped and small business sectors of the economy in the poorly resourced centres of our country remain practical tasks.
Our participation in world trade, pursuing strategic partnerships with countries of the South and in agitating for a fairer world trade system, under conditions of economic recession, constitute an internationalist task of the developmental state, taking the imposing opportunities into account.
There is a need for South Africa to provide leadership in the economic integration of the Southern African region and the world during this opportune period of financial crisis.
To end, it is important for to indicate that the institutions of governance that have been established remain active to ensure that we achieve our objectives. We do also, in the main, have the chapter 9 institutions which deal with various sectors.
When it comes to the SA Human Rights Commission, it is important for us to particularly focus on the demon of racism that is rising up in our country. As South African citizens, black and white, I am sure we do not agree with racism as a factor. We therefore have to work very hard because that demon keeps raising its head from time to time. [Applause.] We have to confront racism head-on. Hon Deputy Speaker, I would like to thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S C MOTAU
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
Mr S C MOTAU: Madam Deputy Speaker, Mr President and hon members, let me start by stating the obvious: I am a South African, no less, no more. I am equal to anyone in this Chamber or outside this Chamber. [Applause.]
Ke setlogolo sa matswetla! Ke setlogolo sa matebele! Ke setlogolo sa bakgatla! Ke moagi wa Aforika Borwa, thwii thwii!
I am a passionate South African and I am very passionate about the South African project of building this nation. I, like my colleagues, am inspired by the vision of a South Africa that is united; one nation, one future, and an open-opportunity society in which every South African can be the best they can be. We were thus, in the DA, encouraged by the President's call that we must build a common national identity and patriotism, and that we must forge an inclusive national identity.
I believe truly that this is the greatest challenge facing this country today. I believe that to deliver on this plea of the President, we need to acknowledge certain truisms. These are self-evidence truths that we, ourselves, must acknowledge and harness these for the benefit of South Africa. Let us put South Africa first in all our social, economic and political endeavours. This will enhance our effort to cultivate and inculcate and nurture the spirit of the nation. These are some that we can do, that we need to do to give flesh to this.
We, the people of South Africa, need to recognise that we are not yet a nation. We must work very, very hard to build our nation. We must acknowledge that South Africa went to war with itself to rid the country of the abomination that was apartheid, so that all its citizens could know peace and political, social and economic freedom. We need to acknowledge that South Africa didn't go to war with itself so that political and economic power could again be colonised by a handful of people merely because they belong to a particular race, a particular tribe or a particular political formation. [Applause.]
We need to acknowledge - and I thank you, Madam - that racism is neither a colour nor a power thing. Racism is an evil human failing that must be eradicated like all maladies. [Applause.] All of us must do our best to rid ourselves of this cancer.
We need to acknowledge that Nelson Mandela – that once-in-a-lifetime gift to this country - and the millions of South Africans who gave their lives to the struggle did so to afford every one of us, black and white, to be the best that we can be. Let me read that again. We need to acknowledge that Nelson Mandela and the millions of South Africans who gave their lives to the struggle did so to afford every one of us, citizens of South Africa, black and white, male and female, the chance to become president of this country. We need to acknowledge that all these things are dependent upon significant, sustained economic growth. This is critical to a stable, prosperous and democratic South Africa.
We were thus deeply disappointed, I must say, that the President in his speech seemed to dismiss energy sufficiency in just one sentence, and in fairness let me just quote what the President said: "We will continue to improve our energy efficiency and reliance on renewable energy." This is good, but that is not enough. I want to thank the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries who added a little bit more substance. The optimist that I am, I look forward to the Minister of Energy taking this further so that we can engage, because sufficiency in energy is crucial to our economic development.
Fifty million South Africans depend on us here, collectively, to make a success of this nation-building mission. We cannot fail because we dare not fail; because "the consequences of failure are too ghastly to contemplate" to quote one of our former leaders.
I need to finish by reminding us of two gifts to this country who entertained us on Wednesday: Lebo Mashile and Don Matera, the amazing gifts to South Africa. Lebo urged us to look for the threads that bind us. One of those threads is Madiba. The other thread is our country. There are many of them and all of us can find them to help us with this nation-building mission. Let us take these threads and weave them together in the fabric of a prosperous, nonracial, nonsexist, open-opportunity society we desire for ourselves. And let us remember what Bra Don said to us. He reminded us of this land, South Africa; our land that we need to preserve. Thank you. [Applause.]
BUSINESS SUSPENDED AT 10:59 AND RESUMED AT 11:15.
Mr K B MANAMELA / END OF TAKE
Ms S C MOTAU
Mna K B MANAMELA: Modulasetulo, Mopresidente wa Afrika Borwa le Motlatša Mopresidente, Maloko a Palamente le bamemiwa ba ba hlomphegago bao ba dutšego ka madulong a makgethwa, dumelang.
On Wednesday we witnessed the announcement of a 5-year programme that government will be implementing through the state of the nation address.
Ons is baie bly.
We are happy, as Members of Parliament of the ruling party, to identify with the priorities contained in your state of the nation address. These priorities, as contained in the ANC election manifesto, are what the people of South Africa voted for on 22 April this year.
Re ikgantšha ka thlalošaboemo bja ANC le ka polelo ya seemo sa naga ya rena, ka ge di emetše mantšu a batho ba naga ya rena. Ke ka thlalošoboemo bja ANC mo batho ba tšereng karolo ka Khampeine ya ANC ya ka, Ponelopele ya ka, Bokamoso bjaka.
Re thabišitšwe kudu ka polelo ya Mopresidente, ya seemo sa bosetšhaba, ka ge e akareditše meoya le maikemišetšo a kopano ya ANC ya bosetšhaba yeo e bego e swerwe e bile e tsebja ka la Khonferense sa Polokwane.
Taking forward those resolutions through the state of the nation address means that we are speaking to the thousands of delegates who attended that conference - the majority of whom still remain members of the ANC – and the hundreds of thousands of members of the ANC who had mandated those delegates.
Ga gona temokrasi e fetišago yekhwi.
We are also happy that the majority of young people – mainly members of the Young Communist League and the ANC Youth League – came out in support of, and contributed to, that manifesto and, therefore, directly to your state of the nation address.
We hope that you will not heed calls from some quarters in this House that suggest that you should not heed those organisations and sectors of society as part of the programme of governing the country.
We also hope that, in implementing the manifesto and shaping the objectives as contained in the state of the nation address, you will include all organisations and sectors of civil society, especially the SACP, Cosatu and Sanco, so that we attain the call that "Together we can do more." [Applause.]
All of us in this House, sitting on both its sides, are fresh from an exciting election campaign which revealed both the wealth of our nation and its accompanying poverty. We have spoken to the men and women in the rural countryside, the depressed townships and opulent suburbs, mobilising them to participate in the elections and vote for our different political parties.
They have shared with us their vision for this country. They have instructed us to change the course of their history, from poverty and want, to prosperity. We have been given a mandate by that old woman who has to walk miles to fetch water, by that child who walks miles every morning to school and back, and by that young person who is unemployed or retrenched because of the economic recession. We are the protectors of those mandates.
Ons praat van die ouer wat nie kos vir haar kinders kan gee nie. Ons moet haar stem behou.
It is heartening to hear from the benches of the Opposition about their commitment to working together with the ANC government to contribute towards changing the course of history and ensuring that all South Africans weather the storms.
We are aware that we are faced with a most daunting economic recession whose victims are not its creators. This period, therefore, does not warrant "we told you so" speeches, as so many may be tempted to give. It is a period that requires men and women of courage, elected as legislators, contributing collectively towards helping our people survive through and through.
This situation also requires that, as ordinary men and women sit at home and listen to our speeches, they are inspired and have hope, as they did on Wednesday when the President spoke to them, that, together, we can survive this economic situation.
At the heart of the state of the nation address is the need for infrastructure development and its importance in building the economy. Infrastructure development is a vital part of our attempt to alter the course of history from poverty and want, into prosperity.
Through this, we should build houses that will provide shelter; build schools that will provide education; build clinics that will provide basic health care; build community facilities that will serve as recreational centres; build roads that will connect the rural to the urban; build nursery homes that will enable children to sing rhymes and learn their first alphabets and vowels, while their parents are at work; build telecommunication infrastructure so that, in the words of the President, " ... we do not leave the rural poor out of these developments".
When President Nelson Mandela took us along a new path of democracy, he took with him one of the most important policy documents that the ANC, together with its allies, had led the people into crafting. That document is called the Reconstruction and Development Programme. At the time, the RDP stated that the infrastructural development programme must ensure an integrated approach to the provision of various services, so that we upgrade our infrastructure in a manner that both meets basic needs and enhances new and effective economic activity.
This pronouncement of the RDP, as well as the pronouncement you made on Wednesday - about your commitment to creating more than 500 000 jobs through the Expanded Public Works Programme by the end of the year, and more than 4 million jobs by 2014 - is in line with meeting basic needs and enhancing new and effective economic activity.
The creation of a Ministry and Department of Human Settlement means that a plethora of our people's basic needs, as opposed to a mere house, will be provided for. It means that town planning should take into consideration the provision of schools, sanitation, basic health care, small and macrotraders, an integrated transport system, recreational facilities, telecommunications and electricity. This means that the relevant government departments need to look into the model and designs of public schools, clinics and hospitals.
Our people in the rural and peri-urban townships deserve the same quality and standard of service as those in the well-off areas. There should be no school that is built without a science lab, computer laboratory, sports field or proper sanitation. [Applause.]
There should be no clinic that is without the necessary facilities that can take care of the immediate health needs of our people. There should be no hospital that is built on the skeleton of an apartheid design 15 years after the demon was buried. This will ensure that those who settle in these towns will become the heart of their economy and will not have to travel long distances to access services, as is the case now with some of the planning of our towns.
At the heart of infrastructure development is the need for skills. I hope that your agreement with the various social actors and training workers, before they are retrenched, will consider such skills-based professions as plumbers, electricians, welders, bricklayers, painters, woodworkers and pavers, as those artisans have the skills which are needed to construct the ideal town that we spoke about.
I also hope that the training will assist these workers in setting up cooperatives so that they are able to manage their economic activity.
The constraining situation - that you said needs to be relaxed for the success of Small and Medium Enterprises - should also be extended to include cooperatives. We must challenge the monopoly of big construction companies so that it is not only the few who enjoy the sweetness of the honey produced by the hive of democracy. This should be done by promoting small, macro and medium enterprises and cooperatives who will share in the cake that government is availing and also create work.
I am also pleased that the President has indicated his commitment to black economic empowerment and affirmative action.
I therefore implore all structures and institutions that are charged with the responsibility of supporting small businesses and cooperatives to assist them so that they are able to compete with the conglomerates in providing quality infrastructure for our economy.
At the heart of your state of the nation address you have provided the details of an industrial policy and the specified lead sectors. These details provide a clear infrastructure development programme which will connect these industries to the factories that will produce the goods that are needed to ensure that the wheels of our economy are oiled.
As part of this, we hope that the millions of workers in the rural areas, who are involved in agriculture, will be able to connect with the urban areas and ensure that their oranges, their avocados and whatever other produce they produce in those rural areas are able to reach the cities and therefore enhance their economic activity. This can only be done though an improved roads network and various other infrastructural projects which will ensure that we create jobs in the rural areas and so forth.
As you champion the development of an industrial policy, we need you to keep in mind that the National Youth Service remains at its centre. The youth of our country, irrespective of their race, have come out in their numbers to vote for this government. The main reward we can pay to them is by integrating them into your industrial policy.
Next year, our country will be hosting one of the most prestigious sports events in the world, the Fifa World Cup. If we cannot win on the field of play during the World Cup - and I hope we do - at least our people should be able to win when they are on the touchline.
Who is building the stadiums that the teams will play in? Who is building the roads leading to these stadiums? Who will be printing the tickets that provide entry into the stadiums? Who will be providing the transport to the stadiums? Who will be cooking for the guests and the players? Who will be providing their accommodation? Of course, workers will be at the centre of these services. However, we implore the powers that be to give these workers, the unemployed, and the youth of the country, a share in the profits. That is the legacy we cherish. [Applause.]
We are happy with the announcement that R787 billion has been set aside to ensure that we build stadia, improve telecommunications, introduce a Bus Rapid Transport public transport system and connect road, air and sea travel. All of these means that we need to involve our people as both the producers and consumers of these goods in order to ensure that they are back on their feet as they fight against the tide of the economic recession.
Our region is burdened with a lack of infrastructure development. Many in the region travel long distance into our country in order to break through the borders that keep them in poverty. South Africa is better placed to ensure that we connect this region, the Sadec region, through our infrastructure in roads, air, sea and telecommunications. This is the commitment we want to hear from our government.
All of the programmes that you have developed will require a cadre that is determined, committed and understands the vision of "Working together we can do more."
I must advise you that the ANC strategy of deploying cadres on the basis of their ability, commitment and astuteness has always ensured that we get the best services in the public sector to implement these programmes.
I must also say – don't worry, Chair, I can handle people disrupting my maiden speech - that all of these programmes that you have announced in your state of the nation address should also benefit the people of Orania and the Western Cape. They are South Africans. They belong within the same borders as you and I, irrespective of that which their leaders may claim. They share your vision, and know that you understand their needs, interests and aspirations.
I also hope that these programmes will also benefit the women of the
Western Cape. They are part of the jewels of our country. They may not be regarded as meritoriously deserving of serving in government, but at least, through your leadership, they should be placed at the helm of development in our country.
In conclusion, I want to guarantee the President that, with the kind of state of the nation address he presented on Wednesday, there is no need for the ANC to recall him from government and Parliament. This is because your state of the nation address represents what your party, the ANC, and the people it represents, has espoused in its election manifesto.
As the ruling party, we are committed to ensuring that democracy is implemented to the letter. In doing so, it is our responsibility to ensure that our Head of State takes forward the broad mandate that our party has been elected on, and maintains it throughout his term of office.
In that regard, we dare not fail our people. Their hopes, needs, interests and aspirations are embodied in our efforts and tireless endeavours. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L L BOSMAN / Nvs (Eng & Afr)/ARM (Sep)
END OF TAKE
Mr K B MANAMELA
Mr L L BOSMAN: Hon Chairperson, hon President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the House, I would like to start by congratulating Minister Joemat-Pettersson on her appointment as Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as well as the Deputy Minister on his appointment. Unfortunately, I see that they are not present. I would have liked to congratulate them in person.
Meneer die President, dit was met teleurstelling, maar sekerlik nie onverwags nie, dat die landbou nie deur u as van besondere belang vir die land se ekonomiese groei en stabiliteit uitgesonder was in u staatsrede nie. Die belangrikheid van die lanbousektor as voedsel- en veselverskaffer, as werkgewer en verdiener van buitelandse voluta was in die verlede nooit deur die ANC as sulks erken nie. Die gesegde lui dat enige land wat sy landbou misken uiteindelik tot mislukking gedoem is.
The DA supports a united, profitable, sustainable and thriving agricultural sector in South Africa. We believe it is critical for our food security and that South Africa needs to be the food exporter that it once was. Apart from ensuring South Africa's food security, the primary agricultural sector employs a workforce of 796 000 workers or 8,8% of the total workforce in South Africa. Unfortunately, this is down from 1,2 million workers a decade ago.
It is in this context that we fully support the Department of Agriculture when, in October last year, it unveiled its plans to increase the country's agriculture production by 10% to 15% over the next two years.
However, with the regulatory position of the previous governments, I'm afraid to say it will not be achieved. As a result of its confrontational stance to commercial agriculture, we have seen a huge disinvestment and decline in employment in this important sector. The threats from government to do away with the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle and the now shelved Expropriation Bill certainly also contributed to the decline in investor confidence. We cannot afford to repeat these mistakes.
The challenges that we now face to restore confidence and improve production are the following. Government must have a clear regulatory framework based on the free-market system to regulate and enhance investment in the sector. This will include that all land redistribution land under our land reform programmes is carried out at market-related prices and that there is an unequivocal adoption of the willing-seller principle by our government.
We must overhaul the failure of our land reform programmes by ensuring that the new land beneficiaries have adequate post-settlement financial and other support. We need to identify people with an interest in farming; we need to train them and have proper mentorship programmes with former landowners in place to ensure a smooth skills transfer.
Sadly, the department's extension services have completely collapsed. They need to be rejuvenated as a matter of urgency. New farm owners should have freehold title ownership to unlock the economic potential of their assets, especially in communal rural areas. Market access is of vital importance for small-scale producers to secure adequate and fair prices for their products. We will have to look into it to make it possible. More money will have to be put into research and development, as well as into the use of biotechnology to its fullest possible extent to increase production.
Another critical issue which will have to be addressed is the vast impact on agriculture of climate change on agriculture. We will have to focus on strategies to mitigate its adverse effect and impact on especially water availability and adapted plant biodiversity. In conjunction with other departments, resources need to be allocated to infrastructure development, such as roads, rail and communication in order for our products to reach their markets on time. Proper management of natural disasters is critical for the long-term sustainability of this sector. We need to accelerate the promulgation of a disaster management Act.
Currently, the management of disaster strikes are ad hoc and take far too long to be implemented. We need to revisit our trade and tariff policy in order to align it with agreements and the policy space allowed for in the Doha Round of the WTO agreement in order to make sure that our local production remains competitive and profitable. Lastly, the high crime rate in rural areas should, as a matter of urgency, be addressed by ensuring that effective sector policing is in place and that there proper policing in our local police stations is secured.
In conclusion, the DA looks forward to a more co-operative relationship with the Minister and her department in order to take agriculture development, food security and our country forward. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES / NP / END OF TAKE
Mr L L BOSMAN
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, hon President Jacob Zuma, hon Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, hon ministers and deputy ministers, the Chief Whips, hon members of Parliament, distinguished guests, comrades and friends, I bid all a very good day and wish to thank the Speaker for inviting me to participate in this parliamentary debate on an important issue related to women.
I am indeed honoured to have been appointed as the minister who will oversee delivery against the women's agenda. Therefore, this debate is of significant importance to the ministry, government and society as a whole.
Allow me to begin by congratulating His Excellency, President Zuma, on his address to the nation. We are truly motivated by the plans put forward by His Excellency and want to place on record the serious commitment of the Ministry for Women, Youth, Children and Persons with Disabilities towards meeting these goals, and ensuring that the targeted and vulnerable are indeed protected, promoted, empowered, advanced and developed.
I am most encouraged by the President's pronouncements that the fight against poverty together with government's aim to reduce to job losses is a cornerstone of government's focus. The President's statement that workers who would ordinarily be facing retrenchment due to economic difficulty, would be kept in employment for a period of time and be reskilled, is extremely important for women. You would know, Mr President, that, whenever there are retrenchments, women are the first to go.
I am also encouraged by the announcement of the fast-tracking of phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme, given its significance for women employment and economic development and towards improving the quality of life in all our communities. The creation of decent work will be at the centre of our economic policies, together with our efforts to promote a more inclusive economy and correcting the imbalances of the past. This transformation, the President proclaimed, will be undertaken in support of women, youth and people with disabilities.
Our historical backgrounds take us back to resolution 109 - on the establishment of a women's ministry - adopted at the fifty-second conference of the ANC in December 2007. I quote:
In considering the matter of establishing a women's ministry, the commission recommended that a thorough assessment be undertaken by the ANC to analyse current instruments and their relevance, strategies, areas of focus and programmes on the matter of women and the impact these programmes made. These assessments would then provide comprehensive recommendations on the form and content of whatever institutional mechanisms will be put in place in pursuit of women's emancipation and gender matters.
The resolution further noted that the ANC has led South Africa in ensuring that the empowerment of women is brought to the centre of development.
South Africa has addressed the issues of women empowerment through all government departments and by monitoring through the gender machinery at the national level.
Fighting poverty is a key objective of the ANC and poverty affects women disproportionately. There is a need to consider the impact of all government policies on women and for the co-ordination of the necessary redress.
The resolution further noted that the ANC's objective is to halve poverty by 2014 and work towards the eradication of poverty. Further investigation is necessary on appropriate government structures to address issues affecting women and the increasing feminisation of poverty in South Africa and globally.
The most specific key areas of the ministry are to establish the empowerment fund for women as well as the skills development fund for people with disabilities. These will be tools to alleviate poverty with much emphasis on rural areas. As I have indicated, the empowerment fund for women will be launched together with the skills development fund later in the year.
Today's debate among the members of Parliament - on strengthening the position of women as pillars of the economy and drivers of social transformation - assures me that women's issues are being prioritised by national Parliament. I therefore urge all members to fully participate and engage in this debate.
I am emphasising the practical interventions aimed at addressing and changing the patriarchal notion that only men must be at the centre of the economy. Our ability to limit the negative effects of patriarchy is key to social transformation which will positively impact on women's economic participation, development and empowerment.
We also remain cognisant that, in South Africa, racism combines with patriarchy to subvert women's economic efforts. Thus, the path to women's economic empowerment lies in the ability of men and women to agree on changing the social frameworks that subjugate women in relation to men and to address discrimination in all its forms: racial, sexist and disability. I quote Cornell who made this statement in 2005.
While we acknowledge that the economic empowerment of women has been a government priority since 1994, this inclusive approach has had a limited impact on women's lives, although broad economic measures taken over the last 15 years include the following: implementing the social safety net, reducing inequality, eliminating poverty, supporting job creation, encouraging small and medium enterprises, setting up strong competition policies, opening markets, promoting skills development and land reform.
We remain concerned with the slow pace of economic empowerment of women. In this regard, I am therefore inclined to state that the government's antipoverty strategy and measures to eradicate poverty should be at the centre of the fight. The creation of economic opportunities and enabling and empowering communities and individuals to access these opportunities, remain critical to the process of strengthening women's positions, particularly in ensuring that we move more of the second economy into the first economy.
The success of the antipoverty strategy emphasises economic growth, and must be embedded in uprooting those obstacles that constrain women's participation in economic advancements and development. This will ensure that women become the pillars of the economy, thereby exerting a positive effect on social transformation in general.
Women's role in the family and community generally tend to limit their participation in the economy, especially in big business and the private sector. What we need to concentrate on is ensuring that women are given increasing opportunities to take up positions in decision-making and managerial levels. This will most certainly contribute to the economy and that includes the Western Cape.
In order to promote women's active participation, we have to begin to look at workplace policies that will promote an environment conducive to their advancement. In this light I refer to policies that would assist in reconciling family and work life, such as crèches and child-care facilities, the introduction of flexi-times at the workplace, elimination of sexual stereotyping and sexual harassment, favourable leave policies - including maternity and paternity leave, as well as fostering equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women at the household level, including time spent on household and family tasks.
I also want to propose that we consider strengthening mechanisms of co-ordination and collaboration with business, labour and the private sector, in order to unlock the enormous resources that these sectors have to promote women's impact on improving the quality of life of their families and communities and thus acting as drivers for social transformation. Their role as mothers, wives and caregivers become vital in this process. Economically empowered women will therefore impact positively as drivers of such transformation.
The pronouncement furthers the revolution waged by the governing party for the full liberation of women in our society. The ANC has always waged war against the suppression and subjugation of women. True liberation of our country will not be complete if women are left out of economic development. In this I fully concur with late president Samora Machel in his belief that women's liberation is a fundamental necessity for the revolution.
I would like to propose the following under the leadership of the ANC-led government, so that we can reverse what we have inherited in the last decades: I propose that we encourage the participation of rural women in rural employment. This is a critical factor for labour force restructuring in our country. I propose that we facilitate and fast-track the achievement of parity in representivity in the private and public sectors.
We will process and pass the draft 50/50 Bill to ensure equal representation and participation at all levels of our society. [Applause.] We will ensure that the public service reaches its target of having women in 50% of executive and senior management positions by 2010. We will fast-track the substantive increase in the quantity of women in all these executive positions and I daresay that includes the Western Cape.
We will increase efforts to move women from unpaid work to paid work and towards greater ownership of land and control over its use and produce, including empowerment of women in rural areas through skills development initiatives.
We should continue building on existing programmes of government that have the possibility of wide impact and replicability while initiating and developing selected new programmes. Particularly with regard to low income women, we need to facilitate women's equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade. We need to provide business services, training and access to markets, and information and technology. We need to strengthen women's economic capacity and commercial networks. We need to eliminate occupational segregation and all forms of employment discrimination, promote harmonisation of work and family responsibility for women and men. We need to eliminate the differences in remuneration between women and men where they are manifested, in order to achieve equal pay for work of equal value. We need to promote the development of nondiscriminatory methods of evaluating work and women's inclusion in wage negotiations.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Unfortunately, hon Minister, your time has long since expired. I gave you extra time to allow you to deal with the issues relating to women. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI / Nvs / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Mr N T GODI: House Chair, comrades and hon members, may I join the House in congratulating the hon President on his maiden state of the nation address, and especially on the medium-term strategic framework for 2009 to 2014.
The framework touches on a wide range of critical issues whose accomplishment would give material meaning to the freedom that we have, at least to the majority of our people for whom in part the promise of freedom has remained a dream perpetually deferred.
The APC believes that education and health are critical developmental issues for our country whose neglect will condemn our people to perpetual underdevelopment. Without education our people will not only be unemployed, but also unemployable, and they will remain the "garden boys" and "kitchen girls" of others. We need, in a pointed way, to address the question of access to higher education by all. The health facilities used by the majority of people are not providing first-class services as a result of neglect and inefficient management. It is a crisis situation requiring drastic and urgent measures.
The rural areas, which were the dumping grounds under white minority rule, have been yearning for a lifeline and the APC stands ready to make positive contributions to accelerate their development.
Comrade President, did the taxi operators have to go on strike to be listened to about the bus rapid transit system? Why does the Minister not re-engage on the recapitalisation programme as well? It is a source of deep resentment, frustration and confusion. The APC would like to see this programme reviewed.
At the centre of the fight against poverty is the creation of decent jobs for our people. It is a strongly held position of the APC that labour brokers should not be part of that equation. The APC wants labour brokers banned. They represent the worst form of primitive accumulation. The story of the labour brokers is a story of bitterness, frustration, heartless exploitation and naked greed.
The APC is talking here of about 400 employees of the Post Office all over Gauteng who are looking at government to end this scourge. What government values is a parastatal representing when it engages in this kind of practice? The permanent employees of the Post Office earn about R6000 00 per month, while those hired through the labour brokers get R2000 00 per month.
Comrade President, we are living in difficult economic times. Capitalism has fallen into a ditch of its own digging. These terrible times, the APC believes, do not call upon us to tighten our embrace of the system, but rather give us the opportunity and possibility to examine some of the axiomatic truths of progressive economic thought, strengthening the national character and sovereignty of the economy, local ownership, local production and local consumption. In these trying times it is by growing the local economy that we can ensure that the country survives the cyclical boom and bust of the global free-market economy.
Implementing government policies and delivering services means using money. In these times of scarce resources it means more than ever before that we must account for every cent of public money; we must get value for money beyond mere mechanical compliance by public servants. It is the hope of the APC that both the executive and Parliament will be vigilant in ensuring that public funds indeed improve the lives of our people. Yes, no roll-overs, but also no fiscal dumping!
Comrade President, the APC believes that we indeed need to work with haste to deepen the transformation of our society from its settler colonial past to the free and equal society that we fought for, to consolidate and advance our democracy so that it works for all our people, to fight the stubborn demons of racism and the inequalities that are still a definition of our past.
The APC, however, is alive to the fact that this national effort requires a front of all progressive and patriotic forces to join hands and share ideas on how best we can accelerate service delivery to our people, develop a national consensus on the strategic direction of our country and unite the people behind a popular vision to ensure that the promise of freedom does not remain a dream perpetually deferred for the majority of our people. On such a positive coming together the APC is ready and willing to engage. The decks are cleared, the battle must be joined. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr B A D MARTINS
Mr N T GODI
Mr B A D MARTINS: Honourable House Chairperson ... [Interjections.]
Hoe gaan dit daai kant?
'n AGB LID: Baie goed, dankie! [Gelag.]
Mr B A D MARTINS: Hon House Chairperson, your Excellencies President Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe, esteemed hon Members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, section 44(4) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa states as follows:
When exercising its legislative authority, Parliament is bound only by the Constitution, and must act in accordance with, and within the limits of the Constitution.
It is worth recalling that the concept of democratic governance, which confers legitimacy, has emerged as an objective principle under public international law, and that the subjective fundamental right for democratic governance has its source in the right of human dignity.
The concept of democratic governance therefore means that all acts of any public authority should be legitimised by a democratic process.
Parliament is thus founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. As the freely elected representatives of the people of South Africa, our duty as Members of Parliament is first and foremost to represent and act as a voice of the people in fulfilling our constitutional functions of passing legally sound laws and overseeing executive action.
Some of the fundamental questions that have remained current from the first, second and third democratic parliaments to the fourth democratic Parliament are: one, how Parliament can be made more effective as an institution acting in the interests of all South Africans, irrespective of race, class or creed; two, how Parliament can be made to empower ordinary citizens to participate more in portfolio committee public hearings and have a greater say over the laws that they are expected to abide by, and three, how Parliament can more effectively scrutinise executive action.
Another question we have to answer as Parliament is, how do we as public representatives ensure that Parliament truly becomes an organ of people's power in word and deed? And, furthermore, how do we as a Parliament of renewed promise ensure that the government delivers on the ten priority areas which the President highlighted, without us getting lost in the detour of empty political rhetoric.
Common sense dictates that in order to achieve progress, portfolio committees, Ministries and departments will have to develop a critical, but benign constructive relationship that has the common objective and aim of optimising service delivery to ensure a better life for all South Africans. The consequences of nondelivery are just too dire in the current recession when greater numbers of workers and self-employed people are losing their jobs daily.
For Parliament to become a true organ of people's power it will have to be, one, more responsive to the needs of South Africans and be driven by the ideal of facilitating the realisation of a better quality of life for all South Africans; two, play an active part in the transformation of society for the common good; three, continue to nurture democratic values; four, promote social justice and fundamental human rights; five, be more accessible to the people; six, find new ways of involving citizens more in its processes; seven, act as a voice of the people; eight, be a vibrant national forum for the consideration of all issues; nine, act in co-operation with other spheres of government; ten, pass legally sound laws; eleven, be a more effective and efficient institution; twelve, continue building a united, democratic non-racial South Africa, and thirteen, continue to work with international bodies as guided by South Africa's foreign policy.
In conclusion, in order to gain a higher degree of democratic and social legitimacy as a people's parliament, Parliament should keep its finger on the pulse of society.
As the Freedom Charter states, "The people shall govern!" I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana)
Mr B A D MARTINS
RULING ON POINT OF ORDER AND STATEMENT ON MAIDEN SPEECHES
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order! Before I call the next speaker, there was a point of order raised yesterday by the hon Van der Merwe regarding booing in the House, and I can only rule that it is not significant to say whether or not the conduct is unparliamentary.
What I would simply urge members to do is to respect one another's views and the right to express those views. Members should always insist and ensure that proceedings in the House are conducted with dignity. That takes care of that.
I must also say that yesterday, or this morning, I think, the hon Minister Trevor Manuel reminded us of the beautiful tradition of honouring those are making their maiden speech by listening and not to interject and heckle.
Members who were here last year will also remember that I even cited in this regard the experiences of Winston Churchill. When he was asked how he felt about his maiden speech he said it was terrible, but it was also a thrilling and wonderful experience. What happened to Sir Winston Churchill that he could say it was terrible, I do not know, because the next moment it was thrilling and afterwards it was a wonderful experience. Then you also have Sir Harold Macmillan, who, when asked about his maiden speech, he said it reminded him of his experiences in the war. A war?
Now, hon members, you don't want to turn this Chamber into a war zone for people who are making their maiden speeches! A war could be terrible.
Mr L W GREYLING / SlR / END OF TAKE
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana)
Mr L W GREYLING: Chairperson, it is not my maiden speech so you can feel free to heckle. Hon President, it is indeed an honour to be participating in this parliamentary debate on your state of the nation address. In the short time allotted to me, I would like to concentrate on not only the global economic crisis, but what I believe is a convergence of global crises which demands an integrated response.
The economic crisis should not simply be seen as another downturn in the business cycle, but rather as a product of deep structural flaws inherent in the global economy. The financial sector was allowed to grow out of all proportion and regulatory controls, thereby becoming detached from the workings and the needs of the real economy. Global inequality has also widened over the past two decades, which in turn reduced the purchasing power in the market, thereby reducing the profitability of the real economy.
In addition, the beginnings of peak oil, which saw the oil price rise to US$150 a barrel, was in some commentators' minds the trip switch for the global economy and the point at which debts suddenly became crippling.
Although the price of oil has since dropped back to lower levels, the question that remains is whether it will again act as a trip switch when the world economy begins to rebound. Finally, all of these crises are overshadowed by the even larger ecological crisis in which the natural resource base, upon which all our economies depend, is being devastated by climate change and other environmentally destructive forces.
In responding to our own immediate economic crisis, it is therefore important for us to recognise all these different global pressures, and to start to put in place the building blocks of a very different economy.
Firstly, we need to start building an economy that will reduce inequality rather than widen it. This requires a more inclusive economy in which the financial sector is used to provide opportunities for more South Africans to enter the mainstream economy. It also requires a more proactive competition policy that can break the stranglehold of monopoly capital in South Africa. We also need to build a more diverse economy which does not simply entrench the current minerals-energy complex, but rather takes advantage of the new global industries. Finally, we need a far more environmentally sustainable economy in which we are no longer destroying our natural capital in our quest for economic growth.
Given these objectives, the one sector that we really need to prioritise is that of renewable energy. The ID was disappointed not to hear you include it on your list of sectors that will be given priority in industrial policy formulation. This sector has the potential to not only provide a clean energy solution to our own energy crisis, but it can also provide hundreds of thousands of jobs and establish a new industrial base for our country.
South Africa truly has the potential to become a world leader in what is now the world's fastest growing industry, but we must act now. Instead of allowing Eskom to spend upwards of R700 billion on nuclear power stations where the majority of the money will go overseas and very few local jobs will be created, we should rather be building up our own renewable energy industries that can provide far more jobs and revolutionise our energy infrastructure.
Given that it is World Environment Day today, I believe that such a commitment will a go long way in not only putting South Africa on a sustainable growth path, but in positioning us as leaders in the global fight against climate change. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HEALTH
Mr L W GREYLING
The MINISTER OF HEALTH: Hon Speaker, hon President and Deputy President, fellow colleagues and Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members of the House, ladies and gentlemen, hon President you have spoken and those who have ears will have heard you. Those who did not want to hear, of course, we can't force them.
But, listening to the opposition parties, if you were to go along with what they claim or even demand you should have included in your speech, you would have needed a five-hour state of the nation address. This is so because, seemingly, they want you to be a minister of every department rather than the President of the country. But, as for those of us who heard you very well, we have taken the instruction.
Mr President, you have instructed that we improve the remuneration of doctors and other health workers. As you spoke, I did take a look at the Minister of Finance and I'm convinced that he has heard you because I saw him nodding his head very emphatically. I do promise, Mr President, that working together with him we are definitely going to put something decent on the table. We will put on the table something that is a good beginning for this long journey of correcting something that has gone wrong for so long a time. As a Chinese saying goes: "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step."
So, Mr President, I want to assure the health profession, through your instruction, that we will indeed take a decisive first step. We shall do so within the next few days and not weeks. [Applause.]
Long before your state of the nation address, Mr President, there were already articles about your possible announcement of the implementation of national health insurance. The articles have been by people who profess to be knowledgeable of what is good for me and you and what is good for the man on the street, as far as our health system is concerned.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with that because you will agree that in the ANC we actually encourage every single South African to engage on any policy matter that has been put on the table by government. We welcome all forms of engagement as long as they contribute towards building our country and not destroying it.
I would like to take this moment to highlight a few of these issues in regard to the engagement I have seen in the papers about national health insurance. Firstly, I want to state that we have not yet, as government, released any official policy document for public engagement on national health insurance. We are still going to do so and we will do so very soon. What there has been so far are the intentions in our election manifesto and the announcement by the President of the ANC, on the campaign trail, about the desire of the movement to implement national health insurance.
Of course the first government announcement about NHI was given by you, Mr President, just two days ago in your well-received state of the nation address. Up to now, since that day, we have never released any official document for engagement either by the profession, stakeholders or the public. We are going to do so within a few days' time.
But, since some people have already started to engage in several newspaper articles, I think it is desirable that I do not keep quiet. One of the articles states that, and I quote: "Formulation of a complex policy behind closed doors was dangerous." It goes on to say, "Lowest quality policy emerges from processes in which you insulate yourself from any critique."
Every single policy I know of on this planet starts somewhere by a few people who formulate it. They then canvass it and allow others to engage. If it is government policy, it finds its way into Parliament and to public hearings for public scrutiny. So, I don't understand this behind-closed-doors story and insulation from the critique phenomenon. I do not understand because NHI policy will be discussed in each and every corner of this country and will eventually find its way into this House for public scrutiny.
Another article said that it was vital that proposals be based on hard evidence and not on ideological assertions and beliefs. Frankly speaking, we think we know what is at play here. There are certain people who are benefiting hugely from the present inequalities in the heath care system. These people are trying to transform their own fears and personal concerns into public fears and public concerns and that cannot be done. [Applause.]
There is nothing ideological about NHI. The Constitution, under the Bill of Rights, section 27, asserts that health is a right of every citizen. NHI is going to be implemented in order to make sure that every citizen in the country, rich or poor, is able to exercise this right.
Fortunately, one of the experts engaging in this, Dr Lucas Ntyintyane, a PhD Fogarty International Clinical Research fellow, wrote in the Sunday Times this very Sunday, and I quote:
I hope that the new leadership and the introduction of the proposed health insurance will give meaning to the adage "health is a human right". Ordinary South Africans should have access to quality health care just like their members of parliament. We should encourage private-public partnerships to ease congestion in our state hospitals.
We welcome this engagement, Mr President. But, because some are asking for facts and not ideology, let me give them fact number one and not ideology number one. The World Health Organisation recommends that developing countries spend at 5% of their GDP on health. In South Africa we have already far exceeded this recommendation. We are at 5,8% of GDP but our health outcomes are very unsatisfactory and rank amongst some the worst in the world. That is why we agree with you, Mr President, when you raised your concern about the deteriorating quality of health care in our country.
We acknowledge and accept that some of the contributing factors are the following, without exhausting the list: lack of management skills; lack of induction and in-service training; failure to act on identified deficiencies; delayed responses to quality improvement requirements; unsatisfactory maintenance and repair services; poor technological management; a poor supply-chain management system; inability of individuals to take responsibility for their actions; poor disciplinary procedures and corruption; significant problems in clinical areas related to training and poor attitude of staff, as mentioned by the hon Rev Meshoe here in this House yesterday; and inadequate staffing levels in all areas.
National health insurance is going to be implemented to solve all the things I have mentioned. Having said that, I want to say that one of the most glaring and obvious reasons why the public sector is not doing well is what these people who have started engagement in the newspapers are trying to hide. This is the manner in which the 8% of GDP I mentioned is distributed amongst the population: Of the 8,5% of GDP spent on health, 5% is on 14% of the population. The remaining 3,5% applies to 86% of the population. To simplify what I am saying, in this beautiful country of ours, 7 million people enjoy 5% of the Gross Domestic Product to take care of their health. A whopping 42 million people have to do with the remaining 3,5%.
If it is ideological to resolve this state of affairs, then I fully subscribe to such an ideology. For it cannot be that humanity is allowed to go on like this. In fact, it is actually a shame that we have allowed humanity to exist in this state of affairs. All of us in this House together with our spouses and children are part of this privileged 7 million. The people we have asked to vote for us and promised that all shall be well constitute this 42 million, and we are supposed to turn our backs on them because if we dared to look at them we are supposed to be driven by ideology.
It is said that national health insurance will destroy medical aids and damage the already well-functioning privileged private health care system in our country, which is ranked among one of the best in the world. We have no qualms with that, we know that. We have no intentions of destroying anything at all. But what the NHI will obviously and unapologetically destroy is the present inhuman scenario that is unfolding in front of our eyes.
Fear of the unknown is being driven in the minds of doctors I private practice - that NHI is going to destroy private practice. I don't know about that.
But let me present the following facts that I know of. Out of every R100 you contribute to your medical aid, only R3 goes to a medical practitioner. This is only better if it is a specialist. Tell me where the rest of the R97 goes to? And don't be surprised when you see all these newspaper articles and who is writing them. [Applause.]
Hon members, I am challenging you: Go to your village now and count the number of doctors that ever opened practice in your village, and tell me how many are left. Most of these practices have folded or closed down and the doctors have gone to look for employment elsewhere, many of them in England and other countries abroad.
They were destroyed by the present distribution or maldistribution in the health system, which the NHI seeks to address. It is not the NHI that destroyed them, because the NHI is not yet in place. Many doctors have been destroyed, and I'm sure you know them and would be surprised when it comes to where all these doctors have gone. The system is eating them up because there is maldistribution within it.
Lastly, I want to say upfront that we would never impose NHI on poorly functioning and poorly managed health institutions. Our first task towards the implementation of NHI is to massively overhaul the whole system at all levels. Top of the list of priorities in this regard is the quality improvement plan for public health care facilities.
Within the next year, we shall start a plan towards the establishment of closer public-private partnerships in improving health facilities. Of course, we will first start drafting such a plan behind closed doors, before anybody is asked to comment on it. Even the response of the opposition parties to the President's state of the nation address were drafted behind closed doors before they brought them before this Parliament. [Applause.] And there is nothing wrong with us doing so.
So, Mr President, our quality improvement plan for public health care facilities will have the following objectives: One, health facility performance indicators; two, quality improvement within facilities; three, increasing access to HIV and Aids treatment to meet all the goals of our national strategic plan; four, patient safety; five, disease management and prevention, and that is curative, rehabilitative and promotive; six, monitor health-related Millennium Development Goals and strengthen indicators. Mr President, further details will follow in due course, and we believe that it was not for you to put them before this House. We are going to do that for you. People must just remain patient. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you, hon member. I now call the hon A C Steyn to address the House.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, the Table staff have been informed that we changed two of our speakers - it is now the hon Waters.
Mr M WATERS
The MINISTER OF HEALTH
Mr M WATERS: Chairperson, hon President, hon Deputy President and members, health care in our country is a constitutional right, and the Constitution states that everyone has a right to have access to health care services.
The DA believes passionately in this right - that all South Africans, no matter how poor, should have access to health care. However, having a constitution stating this right is not good enough in itself. We need to deliver on this right.
Currently, most South Africans can access free health care services through the many clinics and hospitals. What most South Africans still do not have access to, though, is quality health care. And despite the hard work of many nurses and doctors in our public health system, our public health care is in need of fundamental emergency attention if we are ever to provide quality health care.
When the previous Minister of Health was appointed less than a year ago, the DA offered a hand of co-operation to the Minister. We promised that we would work hand in hand with the Minister in order to improve health care in our country. Today, we extend the same hand to the new Minister and offer to work with him for the betterment of health care.
We may not always see eye to eye, but that in itself does not mean we both do not want the same outcomes. The first thing we all need to do, if we are to improve health care, is to admit that we are in a crisis, which, I believe, the government has done for the first time in a long time.
In the Sunday Times this week, Dr Lucas Ntyintyane wrote that health providers were fed up. I won't say what he said exactly, because I don't want to be suspended this early in the proceedings. He continues to say:
They are not appreciated and their social needs are ignored. ... Health ministers are not fired for incompetence, but for losing political favour. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is a case in point. Today the country is reaping the rewards of her incompetence and inefficiency.
As you must hold all our elected representatives accountable, we too must hold those accountable who are supposed to manage our hospitals and clinics. Management of any institution is critical if you want to provide better health care.
If we take the appointment of CEOs of hospitals as a joke and an opportunity to give jobs to our pals, then we must not be surprised when these very institutions crumble through the quality of services they provide. The Minister alluded to this. It is no wonder that doctors and nurses are pulling their hair out owing to the lack of basic equipment, such as Glaxco gloves and masks.
Take the appointment of the CEO of Frere Hospital, for example. The hospital complex is situated in East London and is responsible for the health care of tens of thousands of poor people. It is also a hospital where there is a high number of stillborn deaths each year. We appointed a person without any qualifications whatsoever in administration, and in doing so we failed the people of greater East London. We appointed – when I say "we", I mean the Health department – an ANC councillor from Buffalo City.
If we do not take the appointment of vital positions seriously, we simply do not take the quality of health care seriously for the poor. We will simply continue wasting valuable taxpayers' money through continued inefficiency and incompetence.
The hon President mentioned in his speech that the national health insurance scheme would be phased in. We're glad the Minister has alluded to this, but we're still in the dark as to when this will be phased in; we hear different dates. Many in the ANC are calling for it to be implemented before the end of the year, Minister.
But before we do implement national health insurance - if at all, because we haven't had public participation yet – we need to get the basic rights of health care fixed first, and that is in appointing good managers at all levels of our health system. Failing that, no amount of money, no matter how much you tax the rich for the additional tax, will be able to improve health care.
The DA is also concerned that there has been no formal public participation or scrutiny with regard to NHI. A policy of such significant public importance demands extensive consultation, Minister. Yes, I was listening; that's why I'm reiterating it, because all we hear is a Minister telling us how good NHI is but we haven't seen any documentation about NHI. And we need to have public participation in that. [Interjections.] An open and transparent process is a must in this regard, and no artificial deadlines must be placed on Parliament to get it fast-tracked through Parliament this year.
The current crisis with regard to the working conditions and salaries of doctors needs urgent attention, and I'm glad the Minister raised this. The fact that a junior doctor in the public sector earns the same amount as a Gauteng bus driver is indicative of the apathy with which this government has viewed doctors' concerns and the degree to which it has taken advantage of their commitment and compassion over the years.
The government has, over the years, allowed a climate to be created where doctors see no other option but to strike during their lunch hour. The DA fully supports the doctors' calls for improved working conditions and salaries. In fact, I'll be marching with the doctors today in Cape Town at 13:00, hon Minister. [Applause.]
In a situation in which the public sector is buckling under the weight of 12 000 vacant doctors' positions and 42 000 nursing positions, the government should be dealing with the doctors' strike as an emergency. Failing to do so will not only increase the number of doctors leaving the public sector, but will deter young people from becoming health professionals in the first place.
Another priority for the new government has to be the growing child mortality rate, that is, the number of children dying before they celebrate their fifth birthday in our country. South Africa is only one of a few countries in the world where the number of children dying is actually increasing. Across the country, almost one out of every 10 children born will not survive to see age five. That is unacceptable, Mr President.
Child abuse is another scourge that is ravaging our children, Mr President. In a state of the nation address a few years ago, it was said, and I quote: "Abuse of women and children continues at an unacceptable level." Earlier this year, President Motlanthe stated that, and I quote: "Crimes against women and children have not abated in any significant measure." The rhetoric has remained unchanged, but we are failing to win this battle.
We cannot build a united, prosperous nation while so many of the poorest South Africans, the most vulnerable South Africans, feel trapped in a web of terror and crime; where murder and rape have become a way of life for many South African communities.
We cannot build a united, prosperous nation while the crucial centres for victim support, such as the family violence, child protection and sexual offences units, are sidelined by this government. We need to have them re-established; we need to have them re-established now! If the government wants to combat child abuse in any form, they would make re-establishing these units a top priority.
Mr President, the DA reiterates its commitment to improving health care for all South Africans. Yes, there are many challenges, but none too difficult to conquer if we are prepared to make tough decisions and by holding those to account those who fail to deliver and by rewarding those who do so. I thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms E M COLEMAN / MC/END OF TAKE
Mr M WATERS
Ms E M COLEMAN: Hon Chairperson, His Excellencies the President of South Africa and the Deputy President, hon Speaker and Deputy Speaker inabsentia -I can't see them - members of the Cabinet, members of the National Assembly, ladies and gentlemen, I greet you all.
Hon member from the DA, I think it is important that we listen because the Minister did indicate that today was not his day for debating his Vote. Today we are debating the state of the nation address and it is important that we listen. We cannot table the plans here and now. He will get an opportunity to table his plans together with all the issues you have talked about, and you will have that opportunity when the time comes.
Hon President, let me start by congratulating and commending you on a speech well done. Indeed, to be a citizen is not only about rights but also about a responsibility to contribute in making South Africa a better country. Together we can do more, especially in these times of global economic downturn. We need a kind of spirit and attitude that can help turn these challenges, especially the global downturn, into opportunities that will make South Africa a really prosperous country.
Our country is a country of plenty, which needs men and women of integrity, stature, zeal, dedication, commitment and the right focus of mind to turn things around and protect thousands of our people, some of whom are at the verge of losing their jobs as we speak.
We don't need people on the other side of the fence, but active participants in this economy. We need to intensify the actioning of our vision of having a national democratic society – that of an ongoing spirit of fighting unemployment and creating decent jobs through building, nurturing and protecting sectors that have the potential to create labour-intensive jobs and with a high multiplier effect on eradicating poverty. This is our stance and it will remain our stance.
As South Africa, we take pride in ourselves, for having been able to ensure prudent economic policy management. As a result, we have some space to deal with the effects of the current global crisis. The South African economy has managed to grow at an average of 3% to 5% per annum between 1994 and 2004. This growth has, to a large extent, been due to the global commodity boom, but under the current crisis, the global demand for commodities has significantly decreased.
It is, however, saddening that the global economic situation has attempted to reverse some of the gains we have made. But, as you have correctly said, hon President, we have to carefully utilise our strengths in fiscal space, utilise the financial regulatory framework and utilise the resourcefulness of our people and institutions in order to protect jobs and industries which have the potential to fight poverty - and we must commit to working together in addressing the impact of the global crisis on our economy.
At the heart of our manifesto is a concerted effort to create employment and fight poverty in all its manifestations. This gives us an opportunity to focus more on rural poverty, on expanding the industrial base and on more vigorous implementation of the industrial policy. It is, therefore, important to ensure that we adequately resource our industrial policy action plan and our industrial strategy.
We have committed, through our manifesto, to implementing special sector programmes. It is therefore important to ensure adequate resourcing in this regard in order to be able to realise our desired outcomes. As such, we need to leverage resources from our development finance institutions and from the commercial financial institutions.
We welcome the intervention by the Industrial Development Corporation – that of having developed a programme to fund companies in distress. This will go a long way towards protecting and saving jobs for the most vulnerable, the poorest of the poor.
We, however, would like to encourage the IDC to prioritise those companies that have the potential to shed jobs en masse,particularly in the automobile, clothing and textiles, and food industries, and in the financial sectors. We need to see more down-streaming by industries, particularly for the purposes of beneficiation and broader participation in the economy by our people.
We welcome the spirit of the National Credit Control Act and its implementation, particularly in the area of debt counselling. This is a necessary intervention and we need to call on all people to utilise the opportunity and to make those in authority of such an important intervention to popularise the programme.
South Africa, comparatively speaking, is not that hard hit, especially when compared to other African and developing countries. We, however, are feeling the pinch in the areas of manufacturing, in the mining and financial sectors, although we have a lot of opportunities in the area of construction - hence our strategy to intensify infrastructure building and rehabilitation is welcomed as it has a greater potential of realising immediate relief for millions of our people.
Let me, in this regard, appreciate the setting up of the two important functions in the Presidency, that of planning and monitoring, and evaluation. Those two functions are, in my view, very important pillars and necessary tools in enhancing speedy recovery and broader development of our economy. They are also a central feature of a developmental state.
Somlomo lohloniphekile, ngitsandza kusho kutsi nakhona sititfola sikulesimo lesibi kangaka setemnotfo kodvwa sisatfolakala sinconywana siyiNingizimu Afrika. Loko kwentiwe yindlela lesitiphetse ngayo, ikakhulu ngendlela lesititfole sisebentisa ngayo timali nangendlela lesinakekela ngayo simo setemnotfo. Kube besingakenti njalo ngabe sititfole sesisesimeni lesimatima kakhulu.
Ngitsandza kuhalalisela lombuso wentsandvo yelinyenti ngetinhlelo nangemigomo lemihle lenguyona isisitile kutsi sibe yincenye yemave lasatfutfuke kakhulu kulesikhashana lesincane emva kwenkutfolakala kwenkhululeko.
Lokunye ngifuna kugcizelela kuloku lokuphawulwe nguMengameli kwekutsi kufanele sihambe embili ngekusebentisa letinhlelo lesinato ngaphandle kwekuphazama kuze sikwati kugucula timphilo tebantfu sitente tibe ncono.
I like the fact that the President's spirit is not dampened by the current economic circumstances and that he remains focused and optimistic about the future, especially on the implementation and the actualisation of the policy priorities.
Ngitsi: Halala Msholozi; chubekela embili!
In conclusion, I want us to remember that in life, those that are great are those that dare to follow dreams through the good times and the bad times. I therefore join you in calling upon South Africans to join hands so that together we can make it, even during these trying times. I thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr M S SHILOWA / src///tfm///
END OF TAKE
Ms E M COLEMAN
Mr M S SHILOWA: Speaker and Deputy Speaker, President and Deputy President of the Republic, hon members, let me at the outset first express our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families of those who lost their loved ones in the two human tragedies that struck, one in Welkom and the other being Flight 447. We join them all in prayer in the spirit of human solidarity and friendship.
Nkulumba Xipikara na Mutshami wa Xitulu, ndzi kombela leswaku u nga ndzi sirheleli loko va monya kumbe ku sola mbulavulo wa mina. Ni nhlamba, ndzi kombela leswaku u nga yi siveli. Ndzi tile haleno ndzi nga ehleketelanga leswaku hina va COPE hi ta fanela ku andlaleriwa masngu leswaku hi etlela eka wona. Hi amukela ntlhotlho. Tani hi vona, na hina hi bile xibakele edibini. A hi nga va nyiketi rhama lerinwana leswaku va ri makala.
Hi pfumelelana na nawu wa muxe lowu nge, "Tihlo hi tihlo". Swo biwa ti nga dyangi mavele swi nge endleki. Ku na xivuriso xa Xitsonga lexi nge, "Nhwari-mbirhi yinwe yi tshwa nkanga yinwana yi bola xifuva". Hi ta vona hi nwina Muchaviseki leswaku ya nwina Nhwari hi yihi? Hi leyi yi nga ta tshwa nkanga, kumbe leyi nga ta bola xifuva, kumbe hi vumbirhi bya tona xana?
Convention demands we grant your administration a hundred-day honeymoon period. We shall honour that convention. Consider the comments I make parked for when you come back from the honeymoon.
While listening to the President's state of the nation's address, I was reminded of the following story. While walking in the street a politician got knocked down by a car. He found himself arriving in heaven and met St Peter, who then said to him, "Look, where do you want to go?" He said, "There is no difficulty; I know where I want to go. I want to go heaven." St Peter said, "No, no, no. We really have to have a discussion first. We are going to send you to some places so that you can be in a position to decide which one you want to go to."
He sends him first to hell, down the lift and there where he was: a huge golf course, caviar, and the devil and most of his friends were there. Everyone was happy. [Interjections.] Thank you very much. Then they come to fetch him and he goes to the other side. People that side were singing in the clouds. There was a harp playing and music. But everyone was concentrating. Before he realised it, 24 hours were up, and they said to him, "What do we do?". He says, "Look, I could never have said this, but really I am going to go to hell". So they send him back to hell. As he arrived the devil was sitting there, but the land was barren now. His friends were working very hard. Everywhere garbage was falling around. He said to the devil, "But, look, I was here a few days ago." The devil said to him, "At that time we were campaigning; today you voted." [Applause.]
Mr President, during the best of times, in our view, you would be hard pressed to achieve half of what is in the manifesto. It will be even harder now that we are in a recession. You said that we should cut our clothes to fit our size. That is well and good, but it seems that having been to the tailor already you may have already have placed an order for a bigger cloth. Some words of wisdom to the choir master who was on stage last night. It will take more than just charm, Sir, rhythm and dances and songs to get our country right.
You spoke of the need to protect and respect the Constitution including institutions. We are happy to give you the benefit of the doubt. A good place to start may be to protect the Governor of the Reserve Bank, who, as you have heard, the Congress of South African Trade Unions have said they want out. What is his sin: For implementing the ANC's policy of inflation targeting.
We welcome the commitment to increase efforts to encourage all pupils to complete their secondary education and to increase the enrolment rate to 95. But that is not where the problem lies; it's about the quality of education, which encompasses teaching, learner ratios, classrooms, Internet connectivity, to name but a few. From where we sit, there is no plan to respond to these challenges. We are, however, happy to be proven wrong.
On your point about teachers having to teach, I hope you had a word with the SA Democratic Teachers' Union who, as we speak, are out on the streets of Gauteng today instead of in the classroom even before the ink on your speech is dry. [Applause.]
We agree with you on the need for all of us to work together.
Hi ta ku I timangwa loko hi vone mavala ya tona.
We will, in this instance, be guided by Mark Twain who said, "My country all the time, my government when it deserves it." We agree too with your commitment to ensure an 80% roll-out of antiretroviral treatment therapy by 2011. It is easier said that done, Sir. How will you do it when the state of the health system is as it is, with the morale being at its lowest among health workers, with many of the people being in the rural areas where the clinics have no medication, let alone antiretrovirals.
With the elections over and food parcels having dried up ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): There is a point of order. [Interjections.]
Mr O E MONARENG: Chair, no it's not a point of order. [Interjections.] May I ask the hon ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, order, please. Order! [Interjections.]
Mr O E MONARENG: Hey, keep quiet please, mama.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Is that a point of order?
Mr O E MONARENG: No, it's not a point of order; it's a question. May I kindly ask the hon member a question? [Interjections.] Will the hon Shilowa take a question from his question from his comrade?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Okay, let's ask him. Hon member, will you take a question?
Nkul M S SHILOWA: Ndzi ku hlamuserile leswaku na nhlamba u nga yi tisa. A ndzi nge hlamuli hi ta hlangana ehandle. [Phokotela.] [Va phokotela.]
Mr O E MONARENG: I don't have the benefit of ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Order, please! Hon member, did you say yes or no?
An HON MEMBER: He said no.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): He said no. Please proceed, hon member.
Mr O E MONARENG: Oh, you say no. Thank you, coward. [Interjections.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of order. It is absolutely unparliamentarily for any member to call another hon member of this House a coward. That man, Sir, should be thrown out of the House, let alone told to withdraw. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Hon member, will you please withdraw that remark?
Mr O E MONARENG: Hon Chair, I withdraw.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you. Will you proceed, sir. [Applause.]
Mr M S SHILOWA: With the elections over and food parcels having dried up, where will the food come from since therapy requires food before and after?
Speaking of health, I received the following message from Luthando Mzimba whose mother was admitted but not treated at a hospital in Eastern Cape. He said, and I quote ... [Interjections.]
Mr M S SHILOWA: Indeed. Indeed, I think once you hear this heart-wrenching story, you will realise that it is better for the President to know what is happening. You may not want him to hear, but I will say it. He says:
I drove to Butterworth; got my mother discharged. She is fighting for her life at the Johannesburg Gen as she received no medical attention for four days after rupturing a vein in the brain. They misdiagnosed her.
They said it was meningitis and gave her treatment for high blood pressure.
When I walked in, I noticed ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Shilowa): Order, please! Order!
Mr M S SHILOWA: Just for your information, this is not last year. She is lying now at the Johannesburg Gen, Mr President, as we speak. [Interjections.] Thank you. He said:
When I walked in I noticed that her mouth had shifted to the left and that meant she had suffered a stroke. No tests were run.
Mr M S SHILOWA: Today, what is your response to that?
We agree with you on the need to reduce the red tape. But how do you square this, Sir? The Premier of the Frees State – and I gave the Minister of Finance a note yesterday - has issued a circular freezing all payments to service providers in the Free State. As a result, most small, medium and micro enterprises have not been paid, are going bankrupt, their assets are being attached, section 21 schools cannot procure basic necessities, let alone learner-support materials. Unless you deal with this issue, your words on reducing red tape, creating jobs and supporting SMMEs will ring hollow. [Applause.]
You spoke about assisting firms during this time of need. This is good news. But, Sir, what are the objective criteria to help? Without objective criteria, you will not be able to convince us that the intervention in companies such as Frame is not based on saving Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union investments. This may be a perception, but without a plan it will become a reality.
Let's support industries by all means, but let us do so by looking also at growth sectors such as services, energy renewal and the environment. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr A C STEYN / GC
END OF TAKE
Mr M S SHILOWA
Mr A C STEYN: Hon Chairperson, hon President, hon Deputy President, members of the Cabinet and members of the House, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate, in absentia, Minister Sexwale and Deputy Minister Zoe Kota on their appointments to this very important Ministry. As members may be aware, the Housing Ministry has never had a Deputy Minister, and I pray that the combination of these two individuals will lead to the creation of sustainable communities.
Deputy Minister Kota, as chairperson of the portfolio committee over the past 10 years, comes with political knowledge from the side that must hold Cabinet to account, and in-depth knowledge from the community and beneficiaries' perspective, whilst Minister Sexwale brings political and, I think most importantly, shrewd business savvy to the department.
It would also be remiss of me at this point if I did not acknowledge the delivery over the past five years, and indeed, since the advent of democracy. Admittedly, while there have been far too many instances of corruption and problems relating to the quality of the houses, and I still have a big question regarding the official number of houses built, Minister Sisulu's bold step to move away from the delivery of houses to the creation of sustainable communities must be applauded.
Ongelukkig, mnr die Voorsitter, is daar nog nie 'n werklike, volbare gemeenskapsprojek voltooi nie. Daar was 'n moontlikheid dat die Cosmo City-projek dalk so 'n gemeenskap kon wees, maar ongelukkig is daar nog te veel tekortkominge wat ander gemeenskaplike dienste en infrastruktuur betref.
In fact, less than a week ago, Mr Chairperson, it was reported that the department has failed to comply with a vital component in the building process. They failed to register housing projects with the National Home Builders Registration Council over the past 10 years. As a result, all 8 000 houses in Cosmo City have been rejected by the NHBRC. If this situation is true, it will require the urgent attention of hon Minister Sexwale. We cannot tolerate a situation where we pass legislation in this House, only to have it ignored by the very department that initiated it.
Minister Sisulu is also on record as having said that she, and I quote: "... is not just the Minister of Housing, but the Minister of all housing, both public and private".
I assume therefore that Minister Sexwale will also inherit this mantle, and I therefore wish to put the following suggestion to Minister Sexwale and to you, hon President: Some of the very people who fund the construction of homes for the poor are facing the real possibility of becoming homeless themselves.
It is a fact that in the current economic climate many particularly lower- and middle-income taxpayers have already lost their homes or are about to lose their homes. Our legislation does not allow for these now homeless people to benefit under the subsidised housing scheme, and there is a strong possibility that most of them will never become home-owners again.
At the media briefing at the JSE last week Minister Sexwale said that he intended using all his business contacts to ensure that the more than the more than two million South Africans on the waiting list get homes. I want to ask him that he use those same business contacts to also assist the people that are currently becoming homeless.
I therefore urge your government, hon President, to start urgent negotiations with financial institutions to avoid a looming catastrophe. Many people's homes in the category I am referring to are being repossessed due to relatively small arrear amounts and in some instances the outstanding amount on the loan is a fraction of the value of the property. These properties are then auctioned off and are mostly snapped up by unscrupulous investors, who are often in cahoots with employees from these institutions, for a fraction of their real value.
Let me not be misunderstood. I want to make it very clear: I am in no way asking for government to interfere in the free market, and unlike the SAA or the SABC, I am not suggesting a cash bale-out. What I am asking for, hon President, is for your government to interact with these financial institutions, to look at short-term measures to alleviate the burden on these home-owners during these difficult economic times. The repossession of homes should be an absolutely last resort. Just as you have acted to reduce job losses, so too should you act to avoid people losing their homes if it can be avoided.
Hon members, I accept the partnership that the hon President is calling for, and on behalf of my leader in the House I want to commit both myself as an individual and my caucus collectively to the process of reconstruction and nation-building within this country. We commit ourselves to offer whatever experience we have in as constructive a manner as possible to creation of a caring society. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
Mr A C STEYN
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. Mr President, Mr Deputy President, colleagues, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, and hon members, I think we should all agree that the State of the Nation address has launched this Fourth Parliament in a decisive and determined way. The positive and pensive contributions of the 43 members who have spoken before me have contributed in a way that bodes well for Parliament, or, I should say, most of them did. I trust that this is an expression of the hope of renewal and not merely a honeymoon for the brand-new President.
The address on Wednesday did what it set out to do – to provide a high-level overview of the strategic choices that this government has made. I know that some hon members are chomping at the bit, demanding detail of the various programmes, but I need to remind this House that the President took exactly 67 minutes, the same amount of time that we should give up on Mandela Day, to cover the state of the nation. [Applause.] Many hon members here have taken a lot more time to deal with one specific issue, but, as the hon Motsoaledi said, the detail will be spelt out, and certainly in the period ahead, when Ministers present their budget and policy to committees for discussion and debate. When these are then put together in the Extended Public Committees, there will be an opportunity for detailed discussion and debate. Wednesday was not meant to be that.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: Could I point out to the hon Minister that there are also 67 DA members of Parliament?
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: I wouldn't waste 67 minutes on that! [Laughter.]
To the hon Shilowa, in the context of the speech: I want to ask him to ask his benchmate, the hon Dandala, to remind him of the words "by your deeds we shall know you". We know who you are, we know where you come from, we know who set up systems in Gauteng … By your deeds we shall know you, not your angry words here today! [Applause.]
The essential message of Wednesday's address is that notwithstanding our best endeavours of the past 15 years, we must now redouble our efforts to ensure better outcomes. Also, that we must understand that the prevailing circumstances are now much tougher than any we have had to confront hitherto. The President confirmed that we are now in recession, and deep as it is, our policies have spared us the worst ravages of the global recession. The contraction of 6,4% of GDP seen in the first quarter is still much lower than that of almost the entire industrialised world.
The global economic downturn has been worse than any forecast a year ago. OECD economies are expected to experience no or declining growth for nearly two years. For many developed economies, the slowdown started in about the second quarter of last year and will continue at least until the third quarter of 2009, perhaps longer.
The IMF revised down its world growth forecast six times last year, and thrice more in 2009. By April of this year, the fund's forecast for world growth had turned resolutely negative, -1,3% for the global economy this year. Advanced economies are expected to contract by -3,8% in 2009, and to experience zero growth next year.
In recent weeks, indicators of activity in the developing and developed world have stabilised, and in some instances even improved, as in China where industrial output for the first quarter was up strongly after a sharp drop in the fourth quarter of last year.
Despite these "green shoots", or "brown shoots", as people call them, some major risks loom perilously large. These include still high levels of indebtedness of households and the rising interest burden of governments, the negative effects of governments having to reduce their debt burdens, and the fact that employment may continue to fall for some time even after economic output recovers.
For South Africa, the growth forecast remains subject to the vagaries of the world economy and our own domestic risks. So while inflation has made some progress in coming down from the highs of last year, and this has enabled a decline in interest rates, oil prices and nominal wage pressures present further risks.
The recently released results for the first quarter of 2009 were considerably worse than expected, but we do need to recognise that they are now water under the bridge, and we should see somewhat better figures in the latter part of this year. Sustained growth in public infrastructure, government consumption, better commodity prices, and an improved interest rate cycle, will tend to support the economy in the months ahead. A stronger recovery in the rest of the world would feed through into improvements in our domestic view as well.
But difficult as these issues are to deal with, they do not come as a surprise. In the Budget Speech tabled here on 11 February we said, and I quote:
The storm that we spoke of last year has broken, and is more severe than anyone has anticipated … Our response to the present crisis is to face the challenges before us boldly, and as a nation united. Our duty is to construct a South African approach, founded on our own vision for a shared future. This approach can only be built on an engagement between social partners, not just at the level of national dialogue, but on factory floors and in community halls. Our resolve will be tested to the limits. We have to put self-interest aside. We have to face each other honestly and openly. Our task is to see through the challenges of economic vulnerability today to the construction of the new South Africa that is our passion and our pride. We can do this all the better as a united people.
That is what we said on 11 February. So we must forge this South African response, and the State of the Nation Address speaks very directly to this. A South African response must take account of the nature of the domestic impact of the global recession, must take account of our domestic institutional arrangements and must proffer distinctly South African solutions. The State of the Nation Address dealt with this in large measure when the President said, and I quote:
We take as our starting point the framework for South Africa's response to the international economic crisis, concluded by government, labour and business in February this year. We must act now to minimise the impact of this downturn on those most vulnerable. We have begun to act to reduce job losses. There is an in-principle agreement between government and the social partners on the introduction of a training layoff. Workers who would ordinarily be facing retrenchment due to economic difficulty would be kept in employment and re-skilled for a period of time.
Discussion on the practical detail is continuing between the social partners and the institutions that would be affected by such an initiative, including the Sector Education and Training Authorities.
So there are the beginnings of firm plans and proposals on the table. These must be fully costed and tested, and widespread support generated to ensure that they are actually broadly owned by South Africans.
But, in addition, we are now committed to a significant improvement in outcomes by a focus on improved planning and performance management to ensure better outcomes. There are at least five distinct reasons for this.
Firstly, in recognising that we have a great, modern Constitution, we must acknowledge that the powers and functions in respect of service provision are highly dispersed across the three spheres of government. If we desire better outcomes, then we must improve on the co-ordination of effort.
Secondly, we will have to institutionalise the linkages between the three spheres of government to ensure appropriate initiation of programmes, and improve on the mechanisms for equalisation so that we can counteract the mass exodus from rural areas.
Thirdly, we must all agree that there is no market for many of the public services we are speaking of – issues such as employment, distribution, infrastructure, environment and human skills development demand a better co-ordinated push, because often the momentum is towards fragmentation.
Fourthly, we have to concentrate on building a more competent public administration which is both more focused and more accountable.
Fifthly, we have to deal with resources today to meet tomorrow's needs.
This will be the focus of our work over the next period. This will not be done in secret. I hope, Mr President, to place a Green Paper before Parliament in the course of the next few weeks to engage hon members on where and how planning would fit into the government system, what role we hope to play, what linkages are required and what thematic areas would be covered by the planning function. I repeat that we will forge a distinctly South African approach. Right now, we can recite chapter and verse on the operations and successes of planning commissions in countries as diverse as South Korea, India, Turkey and Brazil. To the hon Bhoola didn't stay for this discussion here today: The CV is not going to work, Mr President. But we can recite the detail. But in acknowledging their efforts, we want to avoid the risk of merely attempting to supplant their experiences – we will forge a distinct approach tailored to the needs of our own situation. [Applause.]
In order to succeed, Parliament will have to be more involved in areas of planning and oversight. There must be a shift in emphasis from a cursory discussion on the allocation of resources to an intensive discourse on the outcomes. As we traverse this path, the luxury of talking past each other will have to be a speck in our collective history.
Let me admit here, Mr President, that I have been assigned many tasks that are easier than the challenge to develop a planning framework. Let me share briefly some of what the planning process will entail.
Firstly, the longer-term vision for at least a 15-year horizon must be developed as a statement that is clear, widely supported and eminently attainable. Secondly, we will then have to develop a series of shorter-term plans for 10 and five-year periods that are more detailed, better costed and which contain more measurable development targets. Thirdly, there is the co-ordination of the development of the Medium-Term Strategic Framework and its unpacking into detailed plans for each of the strategic priority areas. Cabinet, advised by the Minister of Finance, would then align the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework with the strategic priorities of government.
Fourthly, though not quite in this sequence, we will have to ensure that the planning frames of the two other spheres of government are synchronised. Fifthly, we will continually undertake research to ensure that our choices are informed by evidence and good research on long-term plans and trends. While in many areas or sectors we have good quality long-term plans, we need to do more to encourage long-term planning throughout government and the state-owned enterprises.
Sixthly, we recognise that this approach will indelibly alter the way in which government operates, enhancing the sense of mutual accountability of Ministers, of public servants, of departments and of spheres of government to each other. Finally, whilst doing all of this, we must try to attempt to remain sane and be tolerated.
The development of good and coherent plans is only half the work. We need concerted action to avoid or prevent fragmentation in government. And so there is a co-ordination function that is essential to all of this, driving this plan through all the spheres and tentacles of government and ensuring that we are singing at least off the same hymn sheet.
The good news is that all of this will only work if Parliament is differently involved – not merely waving support to a passing 15-year vision, but actively participating in debating the options and overseeing its implementation. We will have to break through the tunnels down which we peer. The objective is what has loosely been termed "joined-up government". For us, it is about the massive construction of the developmental state that places the emphasis on those outcomes that are measured in the regular and significant improvements in the quality of life of the nation's poorest.
This is not a fantasy. This is the reality. This is an imperative that we draw directly from our Constitution.
I repeat that this is the more difficult path to pursue. It would be far easier to chirp from the sidelines, because that has defined the modus of too many for too long. Let me highlight a few examples from the debate of the past few days. The President, in his address, spoke of the challenge of education when he said, "To improve the learning environment, we have to ensure during the term of this government, that all public schools will have water, sanitation, electricity, as well as critical facilities such as libraries, sufficient classrooms, laboratories and ICT infrastructure." Yet the hon Dandala missed this. He was waiting for a few simple words: "schools under trees". And I want to invite the hon Shilowa to go with me to Limpopo province where I can show him this in action. [Applause.]
In respect of the health care issues, again, I want to invite the hon Kalyan not to count lines, but substance, and I think the hon Motsoaledi dealt with this in some detail.
The issue of jobs, of course, is uppermost on the list of ANC priorities. At the same time, there is a realism that explains that whilst the objective remains the creation of the maximum number of decent jobs, in order to get there and to ensure that there is food on the table of more households, there will have to be a short-term emphasis on sustainable livelihoods.
On this score, the President said:
As part of Phase 2 of the Expanded Public Works Programme, the Community Works Programme will be fast-tracked. It offers a minimum level of regular work to those who need it, while improving on the quality of life in communities. The economic downturn will affect the pace at which our country is able to address the social and economic challenges it faces. But it will not alter the direction of our development. The policy priorities that we have identified, and the plans that we placed before the electorate, remain at the core of the programme of this government.
He also said:
Another important element of our drive to create job opportunities is the Expanded Public Works Programme. The initial target of one million jobs has been achieved. The second phase of the programme aims to create about four million job opportunities by 2014. Between now and December 2009, we plan to create about 500 000 job opportunities.
The intention is clear. These are not permanent jobs. They are job opportunities and they serve to provide durable infrastructure or essential services, sustainable livelihoods and training opportunities. There is no promise of immediate industrial or service-sector jobs. This is the reality. You can howl. This is the reality – despite what both self-styled analysts the hon Trollip and now the hon Narend Singh raised here.
Public Works job opportunities are not the first prize, but they are important in dealing with the ravages of poverty. Virtually every country across the globe is instituting emergency measures such as this. And I want to plead with this august House, Mr President, not to pooh-pooh this initiative. On the one hand, it pays more than what most farmworkers earn, but, more importantly, it stands between poor families and absolute hunger. [Applause.]
The debate on economic policy will remain topical way beyond our lifetimes. It could not have been the intention of the state of the nation address this week to attempt to resolve it. I must admit to having had to check yesterday why the hon Dr Nzimande was sounding so distinguished. When I looked up I even thought that he was looking more distinguished than usual. It was only then that I realised that Dr Nzimande's arguments were emanating from the mouth of the hon Nkosi Buthelezi, who even invoked the name of his good friend Margaret Thatcher in support of his arguments. [Laughter.] I'm sure, Mr President, that stranger episodes may actually have occurred somewhere. Those, at least, would not be frequent sightings. [Laughter.]
So I conclude that the hon Shenge set out from Mahlabathini and the hon Nzimande from Edendale. They met somewhere at Tugela Ferry; they exchanged notes; they reached an accord; and that's what we now have in the economic debate.
It is an important issue because I do hope that this Parliament will afford itself adequate time to have the economic debate. There are certain inescapable realities, among them is the fact that we have not been as badly affected as many other countries. The President reminded us of this and pointed to a way forward in saying, "While South Africa has not been affected to the extent that a number of other countries have, its effects are now being clearly seen in our economy. We have entered a recession. It is more important now than ever that we work in partnership on a common programme to respond to this crisis." That partnership cuts across all that divides us – race, class, gender, geography and political party lines. The theme was raised on 11 February when we said, "Our resolve will be tested to its limits. We have to put self-interest aside. We have to face each other honestly and openly." This spirit is even more necessary now.
Finally, I want to admit that I marvel at the views of the hon Ryan Coetzee, if he could see. This morning, again, he pleaded for a big-type safety net for a wage subsidy for export processing zones, with substantially lower rates of taxes. He missed out this morning on the call for a general reduction in the corporate rate of 2%. All this and he arrives at the lower deficit that he chooses to lecture this government about. Can anybody in the House spare the gentleman a calculator? [Laughter.]
Now, I want to take the unusual step of expressing my appreciation to the 46 members of the DA caucus who spared us the insufferable fate of having this rabid Reaganite idealogue wear the mantle of Leader of the Opposition. [Laughter.] Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Thank you, hon Minister. That concludes the speakers' list. The President will reply on Tuesday, 9 June.
The House adjourned at 13:18.
END OF TAKE/LB/
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