Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote 1 – The Presidency
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 23 Jun 2009
No summary available.
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
WEDNESDAY, 24 JUNE 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:04.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms C DUDLEY: Speaker, on behalf of the ACDP, I give notice that I shall move:
That the House –
(1) debates South Africa's disaster preparedness in the light of the number of fatal diseases, natural disasters and terrorist acts prevalent globally. Thank you.
Ms C DUDLEY/ END OF TAKE
Ms C DUDLEY
CONGRATULATIONS TO AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Ms C DUDLEY: I move without notice:
That the House
(1) noting the significant success of the Agricultural Research Council in completing the sequencing of 48 South African types of virus isolates of foot-and-mouth disease from different regions and countries within Southern Africa;
(2) further notes that the genetic sequences of these isolates will enable researchers to develop and select effective vaccine strains and greater specificity;
(3) acknowledges that the availability of such a vaccine within South Africa and the continent will contribute vastly to disease management and increased livestock productivity;
(4) congratulates the Agricultural Research Council on their significant success, which exceeds performance expectations. Thank you.
The PRESIDENT OF RSA
Ms C DUDLEY
Debate on Vote 1 – The Presidency:
The PRESIDENT OF RSA: Honourable Speaker, Deputy Speaker,
Honourable President of the Republic, Ministers and Deputy Ministers... [Laughter.]
The SPEAKER: Hon President, you are the President! [Laughter.]
The PRESIDENT OF RSA: I said deputy! [Laughter.] Hon Deputy President of the Republic, hon members, esteemed guests, fellow South Africans, thank you for the opportunity afforded the Presidency to share its programmes and plans.
The Deputy President, hon Kgalema Motlanthe and the Ministers in the Presidency will join me in outlining the focus areas of the work of the Presidency.
We will need the support of the hon members of Parliament, as we strive to achieve our mission of building a Presidency and government that are responsive, interactive and effective.
This Budget Vote debate complements the discussion we had on the state of the nation address some two weeks ago.
In that address we outlined 10 priorities for government over the next five years. We made a commitment that working together will speed up economic growth and transform the economy to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods.
We said we would introduce a massive programme to build economic and social infrastructure.
We undertook to develop and implement a comprehensive rural development strategy, linked to land and agrarian reform, and food security. We also said we would strengthen the skills and human resource base, and improve the health profile of all South Africans.
We said that, working together with all South Africans, we would intensify the fight against crime and corruption. We added that we would build cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
We also pointed out that, working with Africa and the rest of the world, we would pursue African advancement and enhanced international co-operation. We would also ensure sustainable resource management and use.
This, we said, would require that we work with the people and our public servants, in particular, to build a developmental state, improve public services and strengthen democratic institutions. We have to work harder and smarter to achieve all these objectives, and we believe that the leadership of government is equal to the task.
The Presidency, as the nerve centre of government, will strive to provide efficient oversight and support to enable national departments and all spheres of government, to perform their work.
As you are aware, we announced a reconfigured Cabinet structure last month. The restructuring took place after intense reflection on what had and hadn't worked over the past 15 years. The changes were also a product of a very extensive public engagement process.
We are fortunate in South Africa to have a highly active and very vocal population. We interacted with thousands of South Africans last year and early this year in various forums. They told us that they wanted to see an urgent improvement in service delivery. Their views added to what our internal reviews had indicated.
They made it clear that we have very good policies, but that these will only improve people's lives more effectively if the Public Service becomes more responsive, interactive and effective.
The complaints raised included, amongst other things, the weaknesses in local government, the poor quality of some of the public services rendered by national and provincial spheres, and the failure to respond to inquiries and complaints and to provide information.
Other complaints pointed to poor strategic planning across the three spheres of government and weak monitoring and evaluation.
It became clear to us that we had to improve the capacity of the State, and also change the culture and ethos of government in order to improve service delivery.
We have, since the inauguration, invested time and resources on setting up systems and to establish new government structures, based on our priorities.
The technical restructuring is very important, but a key factor is also to deal with the human angle, as the services are provided by human beings for human beings.
We must therefore improve the performance of the Public Service, and bring to life our People First, or Batho Pele, principles. We have to introduce, without delay, a culture of hard work, courtesy and accountability amongst staff in the Public Service.
This we will do to achieve our goal of building a government that is responsive, interactive and effective. We will come back to this issue later.
I would like to share with the House, hon Speaker, some of the reasons why we changed certain government departments or created new ones. I will cite just a few:
We had to improve the ability of the Presidency to give leadership to, and exercise oversight on government. We had to introduce a system of integrated strategic planning and the alignment of plans and programmes across all the spheres of government.
These plans will take into account the socioeconomic potential of each district and metro and assist them to exploit their comparative advantages to the full.
The Ministry in the Presidency responsible for the National Planning Commission was introduced to lead this process.
We also deemed it necessary to improve the capacity for effective monitoring and evaluation, hence the creation of the Ministry responsible for that task in the Presidency.
As we said during the state of the nation address, housing is not just about building houses. It is also about transforming our residential areas and building communities with greater access to work and social amenities, including sports and recreation facilities. This has informed the creation of the Ministry for Human Settlements.
The mining sector provides a strategic link to the global economy. It is also a major labour-intensive sector and has various other advantages for our economy, which is why it was made a stand-alone Ministry.
Given our energy needs and the role of this sector in a developing economy, it is a crucial area of work for the country, which is why it also needed special attention as a fully fledged Ministry.
We made education a key priority over the next five years, which necessitated a renewed emphasis on this portfolio. The Basic Education Ministry will focus on adult basic education and training, as well as primary and secondary education.
The Higher Education Ministry focuses on tertiary, technical and vocational training as well as skills development, which includes the Setas.
The International Relations and Co-operation designation refines the mandate of the former Department of Foreign Affairs to include a focus on development co-operation, in which we want to continue investing for the good of the continent and our own region.
We divided Agriculture and Land Affairs into two Ministries and created a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The special focus on agriculture is important to better expand agricultural production including the regulation of and support for the commercial sector – big and small. The fisheries sector is a critical part of the limited natural resources base of the country and is critical for food security, and will require our utmost attention.
By establishing a Ministry of Rural Development and Land Affairs, we seek to ensure optimal focus on putting into action our goal of changing the face of rural areas through meaningful socioeconomic development initiatives. We are convinced that this new Ministry will contribute immensely to our drive to ensure food security and, broadly, the improvement of the quality of life of rural communities.
Combining Water and Environmental Affairs provides a consolidated approach to the environment and matters of sustainability. Besides the implementation of our strategies on the management of water resources, its functions will also include a regulatory task encompassing all environmental management matters.
We also want to focus more on improving intergovernmental relations, hence the recognition and reconfiguration of the former Department of Provincial and Local Government to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Given the central role of traditional leadership matters, specially in rural areas, we felt it important to give this function an intensive focus.
The Deputy President will assist the President by leading efforts in engaging with traditional, religious and linguistic communities.
The functions of the Department of Public Service and Administration are being refined to include the management of personnel and related matters in the local government sphere, in line with proposed legislation for a single Public Service.
Meanwhile, most indicators show that there is growth in the tourism sector, and we rely on it to create many more jobs, hence the decision to create a Ministry solely for this function.
Some people are wondering why we have both the Department of Trade and Industry and that of Economic Development. Trade matters will require a strong focus to have a direct impact on industrial organisation and output.
The Economic Development portfolio will have a strong domestic focus and will address, amongst other thingss, matters of macro- and microeconomic development planning. We say this, very much aware that, in terms of legislation, the National Treasury co-ordinates macroeconomic policy.
The affected Ministries are working together to align work and detailed responsibilities.
Hon Speaker, already, the new cluster system, made up of seven as distinct from the previous five clusters, is functional. Ministers and directors-general are currently finalising cluster programmes of action to ensure that government meets its objectives. These programmes set out concrete activities to meet each of our strategic priorities. Attached to each activity is a time frame for the achievement of specific concrete objectives.
Hon members, the last fifteen years have exposed serious gaps in intergovernmental co-ordination. Too often we have observed different spheres of government acting in a manner that is sometimes contradictory. The reshaping of government cannot therefore exclude the provincial and local spheres. The three spheres have to co-operate with one another in mutual trust, as the supreme law of our land enjoins them to do.
We are in the process of reviewing the President's Co-ordinating Council in which the President meets with the Premiers to make intersphere co-ordination more effective. A number of ideas are being put forward, including that of possibly including executive mayors of the metropolitan municipalities in the PCC in order to improve planning and monitoring and evaluation.
There is a dedicated team of people who are overseeing the re-organisation of government. The experience of the last few weeks demonstrates that all these changes are being handled with care and dedication.
Where legislation is required, Parliament will be requested to assist us. We are on track and are pleased with the progress made.
Hon Speaker, the establishment of the Ministry and corresponding department that will focus solely on issues affecting women, children and persons with disabilities, means that this will be the last time that this function reports to the NA as part of the Budget Vote of The Presidency.
We are confident that this change will result in better – and not less – focus on these vulnerable groups.
As the Presidency, we will continue to lend this Ministry all our support. We will do so because we know that a society, in which women, children and persons with disabilities remain marginalised, cannot claim to be truly free. Minister Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya will outline the plans of the new Ministry.
Hon members will recall our statement that the eradication of poverty would be the cornerstone of this government's programme of action. The Deputy President of the Republic will, amongst other responsibilities, lead us in championing the fight against poverty.
This will include the integration of government plans and the mobilisation of social partners. Government cannot wage this war alone.
Hon Speaker, as part of building a responsive, interactive and effective government, we must strengthen our partnerships with society. We are in the process of reviewing our public and stakeholder forums such as the current Presidential Working Groups, advisory councils and izimbizo. We also want to improve and strengthen the functioning and capacity of institutions such as Nedlac. Our objective is to build an enduring partnership informed by the shared interests of all social partners and society at large.
This principle applies equally, if not more so, to our fight against HIV and Aids. The South African National Aids Council, Sanac, has been exemplary in this regard. The Deputy President leads our efforts in this partnership, and he will outline the progress made and the challenges we face.
As Leader of Government Business in Parliament, our Deputy President will be responsible for building stronger relations between the executive and the legislature,, as well as with political parties represented in Parliament.
The President will also prioritise the need to maintain positive and co-operative relations with the Opposition, in the spirit outlined during both the inauguration and state of the nation addresses. [Applause.] Our aim is to build a more cohesive society, where all of us, irrespective of race, class or political persuasion, contribute to making South Africa succeed.
Hon Speaker, we said in the state of the nation address that the global recession is one of the challenges that we will need to work together on as political parties and other sectors. We are now being hit by the full force of the recession.
Many jobs have been lost. The Quarterly Employment Survey of formal sector businesses reported that the first quarter of 2009 saw the loss of 179 000 jobs. The most affected sectors are retail and wholesale, financial, manufacturing, mining and construction.
While we know that our efforts cannot fully compensate for the impact of the crisis, we have intervened in various ways, as agreed in our framework agreement on the response to the crisis.
The IDC, the DTI, the Department of Labour and the Department of Public Works and others are working hard in response to the challenge of job losses.
Government will be making a further intervention, a final draft proposal for a training lay-off scheme, to our social partners early next week. The point of this scheme is to keep at least some workers in their jobs and train them during this slow period. They will receive relevant training, benefits and an allowance in place of their wage, for a period of time.
Compatriots, we are meeting during national Youth Month, and accordingly, last week, on June 16, we celebrated the 33rd anniversary of the Soweto uprisings and National Youth Day.
On this day we launched the National Youth Development Agency, which demonstrates our determination and commitment to deal with issues of youth development in an integrated and effective manner.
On June 16 we also underlined the critical importance of youth themselves playing an active role in addressing the challenges that they face. We said so, believing that the youth are the primary agents of their own development. The Minister in the Presidency now responsible for youth development, Collins Chabane, will further elaborate on the various youth development interventions.
Hon members, we have committed ourselves to promote effective two-way communication between citizens and the Presidency. I must stress that the primary purpose of the pending President's hotline and the public liaison directorate is to improve service delivery.
Angigcizele Somlomo ukuthi sifuna ukwakha uhulumeni olalela maqede aphendule, oxhumanayo nabantu nowenza into ebonakalayo.
Sizokhuthaza yonke iminyango kahulumeni, izifundazwe nomasipala ukuba bavule iminyango baxhumane kangcono nabantu baxazulule izinkinga kusenesikhathi.
Abantu bathi ukuxhumana akukho kahle. Uma beshayela uhulumeni badluliselwa kubantu abaningi baze badikibale bengalutholanga usizo. Lokhu kufanele kuphele.
Sisebenzela bona abantu baseNingizimu Afrika kufanele sibaphathise okwezikhali zamaNtungwa.
The efficiency of the Presidency's public liaison mechanism rests on the co-operation of the national departments and the nine Premiers' offices, as most enquiries and complaints relate to their work.
In this regard, the Presidency is working with the Government Communications and Information System, GCIS, to establish a national liaison forum. This forum, to comprise officials representing all government departments and Premier's offices, will enable Presidency public liaison personnel to obtain quick responses to enquiries and complaints from counterparts in all government offices across these spheres.
A skeleton staff complement has already begun working on the correspondence and enquiries being received. We are already experiencing an increase in correspondence volumes, from an average of about 300 letters around April, to about 700 as we speak, for the month of June alone.
Hon Speaker, for most South Africans, government is the administrative clerk they see when they go to apply for a government document or any other service. We wish to reiterate, therefore, that government must improve its performance in frontline services and substantially reduce waiting periods in order to enhance service delivery.
Government departments that provide services directly to the public should also clearly specify the standard of service citizens should expect, including the appropriate behaviour of officials. They must outline the waiting periods and the quality of service, and the mechanisms of redress should those standards not be met.
We must also implement and monitor the decision that staff dealing directly with the public should wear name tags to ensure a more personal connection with the public. [Applause.] This will enable members of the public to provide the names of officials in the event of compliments or complaints.
These are just some of the improvements we can implement in order to make the lives of South Africans less stressful and costly.
We must emphasise that we are also aware of the difficulties under which some public servants work, especially health care workers, the police and others who work long hours under difficult conditions. We are committed to improving their working environment.
Hon members, we outlined most of our international plans in the state of the nation address, and others were outlined by the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation in that department's Budget Vote debate. We will touch on just a few of these.
South Africa will continue to participate in international forums and to deepen our relations with regions and nations of the world.
Our intention is to advance the implementation of the Nepad, improve the regional climate for growth and development, as well as place the developmental requirements of the continent on the global agenda.
We will continue to promote developmental partnerships with other countries of the continent. We will also prioritise regional integration.
We will play our role in strengthening the AU and its structures and promote the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
We will continue to assist in peacekeeping operations and in the reconstruction and development of the African continent. We will promote the entrenchment of democratic forms of government and respect for human rights on the African continent and other parts of the world.
Within southern Africa, we plan to play an active role in efforts aimed at strengthening SADC. As the current chair of SADC, we will continue to support the inclusive government in Zimbabwe and render whatever assistance our capacity allows.
We urge countries of the developed North to join the continent in assisting the people of Zimbabwe to lift themselves out of the socioeconomic difficulties they face.
We will also play our role in supporting the SADC-appointed facilitator in Madagascar, former President Joaquim Chissano, and his team. A sustainable solution needs to be found to resolve the impasse in that country.
Further a field, it is in South Africa's interest to ensure that the current momentum within the G20 is maintained and that it does not only focus on efforts to mitigate the current global crisis.
All of us know that the undemocratic and inequitable nature of the institutions and systems of global economic governance forms part of the real underlying causes of this crisis.
We will continue to work with countries and organisations of the developing South to deal with these and other global matters. For us, the strategic partnership with India, Brazil and China constitutes a critical pillar of our international relations.
As such, we see it as very important that the Ibsa agreements and action plans are implemented.
Hon members, the past few days have demonstrated our passion for football as well as our track record as good hosts. We gave our word, as a people, that the 2009 Fifa Confederations Cup would be a huge success. [Applause.]
Working together as a nation and as a continent, we have delivered. The tournament is going exceptionally well. As in all dress rehearsals, we have learnt valuable lessons, and we are certain that the 2010 Soccer World Cup will be even more successful.
The Deputy President, as Chairperson of the 2010 Interministerial Committee, will lead our efforts towards making this initiative one that the world will not forget for many years to come.
May I take this opportunity to wish Bafana Bafana well in the game with Brazil tomorrow night. [Applause.] The nation will be behind them. We can be surprised by the Brazilians, did you know that? [Laughter.]
As good hosts, let us also support all other games and all other teams until the end of the tournament.
Hon Speaker, let me emphasise that we want to work with all political parties and all sectors of society to successfully fight poverty and to build a prosperous South Africa whose people, black and white, live in harmony.
We also want to work with all political parties, all sectors and all our public servants to build a government that is responsive, interactive and effective.
Masibambisane sakhe uhulumeni olalela maqede aphendule, oxhumanayo nabantu, nowenza into ebonakalayo.
Working together we shall do more to meet our mandate.
Let me use this opportunity to thank the Deputy President and the Ministers in the Presidency, the Director-General, advisors, senior management as well as all the staff members for their support.
We have made a good start and we are looking forward to excellent teamwork in the Presidency as we perform our tasks at the apex of our system of government.
It is my honour to commend the Budget of the Presidency for 2009-10 to this august House. I thank you. [Applause.]
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY/ END OF TAKE
THE PRESIDENT OF RSA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Thank you hon President, Deputy President, Speaker, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. The President's vision and comprehensive plan set out in this address and endorsement of Nepad has amplified Seme's idea of the regeneration of Africa.
Whilst addressing the Oratory Contest at the University of Columbia in 1905, Dr Pixley Isaka Ka Seme spoke on the regeneration of Africa. In this address, Seme called for a unique civilisation for Africa and Africans.
Like his contemporaries such as W E Du Bois and Marcus Garvey, Seme was inspired by the glories of ancient Ethiopia and Egypt. In this regard, Seme exclaimed that –
All the glory of Egypt belongs to Africa and her people. These monuments are the indestructible memories of their great and original genius.
Marcus Garvey also made the regeneration of Africa a rallying point for Africa and her Diaspora. In 1914, Marcus Garvey established the Universal Negro Improvement Association in Harlem, New York, for the advancement of the regeneration of Africa. Seme and Garvey's ideas for the regeneration of Africa found practical expression in the Harlem Renaissance.
The literary and cultural awakening, called the Harlem Renaissance, brought more attention to the African Diaspora. In its own way, the Harlem Renaissance was an African consciousness movement, which started with the Prince Hall Masonic Movement and the Ethiopian Church Movement.
The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s witnessed a remarkable flowering of creative energies by African writers seeking inspiration from and celebrating their African heritage. Among black writers such as Du Bois, the period of the Harlem Renaissance was a time of African rediscovery.
Two founding fathers of African democracy, Kwame Nkrumah and Mnandi Azikiwe were profoundly influenced by the Harlem Renaissance. Nkrumah attended Universal Negro Improvement Association,Unia meetings in Harlem during his student days in the US. In his autobiography, Azikiwe testifies to the influence that Garvey had on his political development. Azikiwe, like Seme, also validated Africa's regeneration, drawing attention to its remarkable past.
In 1937, Azikiwe published a book, titled Renascent Africa, which was another important landmark in this gradual rediscovery of a history that had been forcibly denied, and therefore forgotten during the colonial period when massive exploitation of the country's human and natural resources went hand in hand with a refusal to honour and respect its cultural movements.
Azikiwe refused to accept that Africa's culture had been blighted forever by the impact of European imperialism and remained focused on achieving moral and social regeneration through the triumph of democracy, ensuring mental emancipation through a rejection of racism and striving for economic prosperity through
During the 1940s and 1950s, many African leaders, including our leaders, Nelson Mandela, O R Tambo, John Nkadimeng and Walter Sisulu, also developed African regeneration ideas. The African Renaissance, just like the European Renaissance, was underpinned by humanist principles that the hon President called upon us to rediscover and make the cornerstone of our desired cohesive, caring and sustainable communities.
The ANC elevated humanist principles to its national vision by setting the strategic objective of creating a nonracial, nonsexist, united, democratic and prosperous South Africa in which the value of every citizen is measured by our shared humanity. In 1997, our icon, Nelson Mandela observed that African religion has enriched humanity's spiritual heritage through the spirit of Ubuntu, that profound maxim "I am through others", or "I am because we are".
The principles of equality, freedom and justice for all that are enshrined in our Constitution are inherent in this spiritual philosophy of Ubuntu. Thus, the human rights culture that the hon President referred to is not a foreign concept but an important part of our cultural heritage and tradition. The African regeneration of Seme is firmly rooted in his assertion "I am an African", which was later adopted by former President Thabo Mbeki.
Accordingly, African regeneration is founded on the idea of a cultural and economic rebirth and renewal, based on Africa's extraordinary history of past achievements especially with reference to Africa's cultural heritage. The beginning of our rebirth and renewal as a country and as a continent must not only be centred on the rediscovery of our humanity, but also on our past glories.
In his speech in Tunisia in the early 1990s, our icon for liberation, Nelson Mandela, lamented the destruction of the African city of Carthage by the Romans and placed in the foreground other African achievements symbolised by the monuments, such as Axum in Ethiopia and Great Zimbabwe. Here at home, we have heritage sites such as Mapungubwe, Lwandali, also known as Tshiendeulu, Thulamela, Nahakwe, Ga-Raditshwene, Ntsoanatsatsi, rock paintings of the San and others, which share the same cosmology, history and heritage with all indigenous cultures of Southern Africa and North East Africa.
We have diminished heritages and languages such as Isipondo, Khelobedu, Isintwana and Northern Ndebele, which could throw light on and deepen African cultural unity and diversity. Viewer support for cultural, religious and linguistic communities, in particular, will ensure that these traditional communities may become part of the mainstream and contribute to the development of a new African mission on the southern tip of this continent.
Historically, our human values have been derived from our national identity and heritage. Our quest for service delivery must be informed by our values for human development underpinned by an aspect of who we are as a people. This calls for the promotion of the use of indigenous knowledge systems and languages to achieve our rural development objectives.
For example, indigenous spiritual and agricultural calendars are very important, hon Nkwinti, because even if people have not been to school, they know that September is the time to prepare to go ...
... babuyele emasimini bayolima. [They should go back to the fields to plough.]
...so that they can have guaranteed food security. Instead of taking people to universities just to understand the calendar, I think from our indigenous cultures, we can educate the people without spending time at school. [Applause.]
In September, last year, the hon President reminded us that we should go back to ploughing. The President also congratulated various religious bodies, like the Hindus, Muslims and practitioners of African religions who were celebrating their new year in September, which means that the overwhelming majority of the people in this country who are believers, believe that the new year is in September, and they celebrate it and it reminds them that it is the time to plough. So if we want to speed up rural development, hon Minister Nkwinti, I think using these traditional cultures can help us.
In April, many religious formations hold their spiritual celebrations whilst indigenous communities also celebrate their spiritual wellbeing during this time.
Initiation schools for indigenous communities usually begin in May, which is the same time as when most religious formations perform their spiritual practices.
We have sacred spaces such as Motoulong in the Free State, which are used by Sotho-, Zulu- and Xhosa-speaking people subscribing to Apostolic, Zionist and African religions for worship and initiation. This is a classic example of the convergence of different cultural and religious groups united in diversity.
South Africans and African people, in particular, have a common history and heritage, which provides us with the means to create an overarching South African national identity and cultural unity in diversity.
In our quest to build a nonracial, nonsexist, united and democratic South Africa, we should not forget that Africa is the cradle of all humanity that was fragmented and dispersed to different parts of the globe and later returned as Afrikaners, Indians, Africans and Khoisan, to mention but a few.
The Mapungubwe and Zimbabwe cosmology, history and heritage, which have been rediscovered, show substantive identity with their ancient Ethiopian, Egyptian and Roman counterparts from which Europe derived its civilisation. Working together, both black and white, we can rediscover our cultural unity in diversity and forge an overarching national identity and common vision.
We recently adopted the Unesco Convention on the Revitalization of Intangible Heritage, which provides a global platform for the regeneration of Africa as well as the rediscovery, preservation and development of diminished heritages and languages.
It is therefore the prerogative of the ANC government and all members of our society to harness commonalities between various cultures in order to build an overarching culture that unifies and gives us a common identity without compromising our diversity. This justifies the need for a Presidential programme on moral and social education, which could accelerate the infusion of progressive values in our children. On many occasions, the hon President has called for social education to deal with the deepening moral regeneration in our society. Now is the time for your administration to consider implementing this.
The implementation of our infrastructural development program should also include the rehabilitation of facilities in rural areas, townships and missionary schools so that these could be used as centres for social education and moral regeneration.
The endorsement of the ANC Manifesto by a decisive majority of our people signifies confidence in the ANC's vision of promoting humanistic principles in its approach to meeting its key priorities on education, fighting crime, health, job creation and rural development. For instance, when we talk about crime, we must not focus solely on the police and courts, but we should also emphasise social education during childhood, which would assist young people to be responsible citizens of good moral standing.
It is in this context that Seme and Garvey's ideas on the regeneration of Africa and Africans, remain relevant in guiding the partnership for reconstruction, development and progressthat the hon President announced in his inauguration. The partnership provides for all of us, both black and white, with an opportunity to work together not only for the rediscovery of our humanity, but also for holistic development including spiritual and material human development.
The National Interfaith Leaders' Movement born out of the hon President's inclusive approach to social cohesion and nation building, has endorsed the idea of holistic human development and is ready to be part of this important partnership.
In this Budget Vote, the hon President very ably demonstrated that his quest and that of the ANC to create decent jobs, provide quality and affordable health and education, develop rural areas and create cohesive, caring and sustainable communities is part of an integrated and comprehensive plan to improve the quality of life of all South Africans, both black and white.
All of us in this house are acutely aware that the hon President criss-crossed the length and breadth of our country to seek a common mandate and invited all South Africans to participate in the development of the ANC manifesto. The President's plan is therefore a product of wide consultation and working together with people from different sectors of our society.
Last but not least: the decisive victory that the people of South Africa gave to the hon President and our glorious organisation, the ANC, to lead and build a government, which is interactive and responsive and will promote the common good of the nation as a whole, is understandable; a nation rooted in the spiritual, moral and social values of the founders of our democracy.
It is for this reason that we remain forever indebted to the Congress of the People that met in Kliptown on 26 June 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter - the cornerstone of our democratic culture and values. [Applause.]
We shall forever celebrate this day to deepen and entrench our democracy because the progressive values and principles embodied in the Freedom Charter became the building blocks of the 1996 Constitution, which is now hailed as one of the best constitutions in the world.
In conclusion, let me acknowledge that ANC MPs are reaping the benefits of the hon President's inclusive approach and co-operation with other political parties. We have cordial relations and have begun to work together for the common good of the nation, as the hon President urged us to do so.
The ANC is fully supportive of the Budget Vote for the Presidency because it is crafted for a good national cause, which will serve the interest of all of us without discrimination. I thank you very much. [Applause.]
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION / END OF TAKE
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, honoured guests, and my predecessor, Tony Leon, much water has flowed under the proverbial bridge since this budget was conceived and allocated to your office, Mr President. During a recession the adage of cutting one's cloth according to what one can afford is the most prudent thing to do, as you yourself said.
In this case, however, you have done the opposite. To a certain extent, though, it is to be expected when a new President comes into office that he or she will have different priorities, strategies and implementation plans; but your plans are beyond your current budget.
Not only have you chosen an enormous Cabinet that appears to owe its existence to a not-too-unapparent appeasement strategy, you have also created two surrogate departments within your own office. The planning and monitoring commissions are not headed by lightweight or junior Ministers. They will therefore develop an appetite for already scarce financial management resources in your office. The funding proposals and actual mandates of these two departments need to be very clearly explained and understood by all.
The cost of service delivery in this country is already excessively high due to the fact that cadre deployment and the expunging of the public service of the previous regime have left us with a corps of public officials that are not adequately skilled and equipped to perform their functions effectively. [Interjections.] This has led to us having to employ and fund, effectively, a dual public service which is made up of consultants.
These people are effectively the expunged former public servants corps that now advises government on how to do things. This is not very clever because, firstly, they don't come cheap, and they don't transfer skills because it is highly unlikely that consultants will consult themselves out of a job! [Interjections.] Secondly, they don't trust government because government put them out on the street.
My question today is: Who, actually, is governing South Africa? I know, hon President, that you are the president of the ANC and the President of this country; undisputed. But one must ask why it appears that the tail is wagging the dog. Why do new Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers, affiliate union organisations, political parties and your own youth league seem to feel that they have the right to pull the purse strings and manipulate the agenda of your government?
The secretary-general of the ANC is not the director-general of the government, and unless there is a clear separation of powers between the ANC and your government, you will become a marionette controlled by those who believe that you are a dispensable tool.
Your one- or two-term tenure debate is instructive in this regard. I caution, Mr President, that you not be fooled - because we are not fooled by people like Minister Shiceka, who say one thing and mean something else. He says, for example, "South Africa is one country with one leader, and no one is expected to be out of tune." Not only is this patently unconstitutional, it smacks of double-speak and the worst kind of obfuscation.
This obfuscation was exposed for what it is by the Minister's acknowledgement this week that the ANC government intends to scrap provinces and that it is forging ahead with the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Bill.
The DA unequivocally opposes both these measures that threaten to undermine our constitutional democracy and we will not allow the ANC to stop us governing in a province that we won in a free and fair election. [Applause.]
If you allow your party and its interests to trump the interests of the people, if corruption and incompetence are tolerated and overlooked, and if the Constitution is considered secondary to the political purposes of the ruling party, this will threaten our constitutional democracy.
When one views the current basket of proposed legislation in its entirety, it is clear that there is a systematic assault on our constitutional democracy.
Allow me to raise some concerns about some of the proposed pieces of legislation; but my concerns are not limited to these examples. There is a series of Bills on the judiciary which, collectively, undermine its independence, increase the executive's ability to define its nature and impose the political agenda of the ANC upon this institution.
The proposed Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment Bill that I referred to earlier, seeks to centralise power in the hands of the executive, which is now apparently held to account by Gwede Mantashe in Luthuli House and the monitoring commission under Collins Chabane – Minister Chabane.
The single Public Service legislation threatens the ability of municipal councils and provincial governments to determine and implement their own policies and practices when it comes to their employees; instead it centralises this power at the national level, thereby empowering the ANC government to force its own policies on these spheres of government.
The Bill proposing a national health insurance scheme, which will destroy what is actually working by bringing all health services to the lowest level instead of addressing the core problems in the health sector, will compromise access to proper health care even further for the poor. Then there is the Expropriation Bill, which seeks to empower the relevant Minister to intervene directly in land reform by doing away with the constitutional pillar of willing buyer, willing seller.
In most fields of government, the ANC seems hell-bent on diminishing the independence of civil society and those institutions designed to support the state. In education, the state now seeks to deploy teachers as it does doctors, nurses and the police. Then you wonder why there is an outflow of people from these critical posts!
The National Health Amendment Bill proposes that the Minister
may determine where a doctor may practice and how much he may charge. The Built Environment Amendment Bill will prevent the engineering industry from being self-regulating. [Interjections.] They are coming, because where there is smoke there is fire. Even when you deny that they are not coming, they're coming, Minister Manuel.
Elsewhere, independent boards such as nursing councils and school-governing bodies are having their right to decide on their own course of action curtailed or even stopped. And, incidentally, as to the question of Minister Manuel about where are these Bills: Let me tell you, every single time we hear of a Bill that is coming -"Iyafika."
As this power becomes more and more centralised with an ever-growing administration, the Cabinet grows and expands its bureaucracy with the following consequences. Firstly, the lives of ordinary South Africans become increasingly dependent upon and influenced by the state. Secondly, the ability of state entities to provide proper services declines due to a bloated bureaucracy, and these are renowned for being inefficient. The collapse of the SABC is a classic case in point.
These two consequences will ultimately result in a passive citizenry that becomes more and more frustrated by poor service delivery. This is a recipe for unrest that we cannot afford in South Africa.
Mr President, you must rein in the ANC's tripartite alliance partners' insatiable desire for centralised control. This is not a "gogga maak vir baba bang" story of "rooi gevaar" story. It is a fact if you look at all the pieces of this impending and existing legislation.
This is essentially why we have a Parliament, so that the representatives of the people can convene to consider all legislation proposed by government, so that we can provide oversight of the executive and hold the government to account. That is our responsibility. No one voted on 22 April 2009 to have a one-party state that controls all aspects of civil society with a rigor mortis hand that controls everything in a deathly grip.
Mr President, our nation and its people need to be led and governed with respect. Their independence is sacred, and our Constitution sacrosanct. Your early undertaking to uphold the Constitution, respect our Parliament and treat the opposition with due consideration are not compatible with these issues that I have raised today.
What is clear from these issues, though, is that President Zuma's administration is being dictated to by the ghost of President Thabo Mbeki's administration. Firstly, this is evident in your recent reappointments of some underperforming Cabinet Ministers as well as the appointments of two failed former Cabinet Ministers as your advisers.
Secondly, it is evident by the pieces of legislation that I have mentioned today. And it is clear that this legislative agenda and its budget before Parliament do not yet belong to the ANC of President Jacob Zuma.
Mr President, it is imperative that you distance yourself from the failures of your predecessor. You must become unambiguous about how you intend to govern and lead this country out of the morass of that era and out of the trough of recession.
Mr President, the euphoria of an electoral victory has vanished like the morning mist. Your government must address the issues that affect our citizens on a daily basis. You must put the citizens first now. And, once again, Mr President, can I recognise your undertaking and commitment to working with the opposition. Nathi sithi phezu komkhono. Enkosi. [Applause.]
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT / END OF TAKE
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The President of the Republic, Speaker of the NA, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen and fellow South Africans, I am honoured to have the opportunity to address the members of the NA on the occasion of the annual debate of the Budget Vote of the Presidency.
This year's debate is taking place against the background of the Fifa Confederations Cup tournament, a prelude to the Fifa 2010 Soccer World Cup, which our nation will deservedly host. Nevertheless, this event is a striking expression of confidence in our country's ability to hold its own internationally.
In this regard, I wish to take this moment to congratulate Bafana Bafana, our national soccer team, on reaching the crucial semifinal stage and hope that they will proceed to win the Confederations Cup tournament, which will redound to our nation's credit. [Applause.]
I also wish to congratulate the Bokke on their win against the British and Irish Lions. [Applause.] I hope that, like Bafana Bafana, they too will triumph over their opponents. Even though our cricket team choked in the semifinals of the ICC T20 tournament, everyone agrees that they remain the team to beat and I am sure our support for them remains as strong as ever. [Applause.]
In his address, the President of the Republic has clearly restated the refrain that this fourth democratic government is a caring government. Inspired by this vision, government seeks to build strong and durable social partnerships, confident that only through dialogue and consultation can we advance towards our goals of growth and development as a nation. To this end the Presidency seeks to lead by example, given its place at the head of our system of governance, so that working together we can do more to achieve our goals.
A key area of work of the Presidency is to give leadership to the implementation of the soon-to-be-launched Human Resource Development Strategy. The strategy was canvassed very widely amongst practitioners and stakeholders and has been welcomed by social partners as a critical mechanism to address our skills shortages. The Human Resource Development Strategy will be managed in the Department of Higher Education and Training.
However, I, as Deputy President, will soon appoint the stakeholder- based Human Resource Development Council whose purpose is sector mobilisation and to provide advice on scarce and priority skills in the context of the priorities set out in the Human Resource Development Strategy.
Poverty continues to be an unsightly stain on the face of our social landscape. In addition to its dehumanising effect on people, it also restricts individuals from realising their full potential, and thus robs society of the immeasurable contribution that these individuals could otherwise make.
Intensifying efforts against this challenge, the Presidency, working with the social and economic clusters of government and in consultation with social partners across the nation, has developed a comprehensive antipoverty strategy designed to integrate and improve our current efforts to deal with the unacceptable levels of poverty in our society. At the core of this strategy is the creation of economic opportunities and empowering communities and individuals to access these opportunities.
While interventions such as social grants remain a critical element of our antipoverty efforts, we seek more effectively to bring marginalised communities into sustainable economic activities. We are in the process of finalising a concrete action plan which will ensure that the objectives in the strategy are brought to life in action across the country.
As honourable members may be aware, we also decided that whilst developing this new approach, we should initiate a war on poverty campaign which puts into practice an integrated effort directed at the individual households. The war on poverty brings together a range of national, provincial and local actors.
Already, the leadership that has been assembled after the elections has started to intensify this campaign. In particular, the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Affairs has started work in various parts of the country, including Giyani in Limpopo, to widen the net of localities where this campaign will be undertaken, the better to help communities and draw lessons critical to the actualisation of the comprehensive antipoverty strategy.
Our Antipoverty Strategy Campaign targets particularly vulnerable sections in our society, including children, women, youth, people living in rural areas and urban informal settlements, people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, as well as the elderly.
Deriving from this experience, proper institutions will be set up reflecting an integrated service delivery model to ensure that the antipoverty programme becomes a critical focus of activities among all national departments and across all the spheres of government.
As part of the implementation of the antipoverty strategy, government will develop a single central database of affected households and ensure that interventions are systematic, that individuals with the potential to lift their families out of poverty are identified and supported accordingly, and to ensure that there is a follow-up on each household so that practical, positive results come out of each interaction.
As part of fighting poverty, we need to maximise efficiency levels in our work so as to enhance chances of achieving our goals. To this end the recession we are experiencing makes efficiency by government departments even more urgent so that scarce resources are used optimally. Necessarily, we will strengthen strategic management and leadership capability across government to position ourselves better for the challenge of effective governance. This is all the more important since many ordinary South Africans are already affected by the pervasive effects of this current recession.
So far many have lost jobs, houses, vehicles and property or are still losing these. This state of affairs, if not addressed, will further cause more lives to sink into poverty. It does not make economic or ethical sense for government to be spendthrift with its financial management in the face of this financial menace to the populace.
Part of this prudence we are envisioning in government is to avoid the trap of overruns in our departmental expenditures. For our antipoverty efforts to succeed government needs to ensure at all times that it manages public resources in a sustainable, effective and competent manner.
Conscious that the current global recession is likely to compound our struggle against poverty, government has set its sights on the public investment programme as a key countervailing measure against the negative effects of this global crisis. Already R787 billion over the three financial years to March 2012 will be used in expanding and improving infrastructure and related facilities. Activities will include maintenance of current infrastructure, using labour intensive methods wherever possible.
As Deputy President, working with other Cabinet colleagues, I will continue to oversee these efforts. Hon members, as you would know, the Leader of Government Business fulfils a function of aligning and co-ordinating the programmes of the executive and Parliament, especially around the processing of legislation.
We recognise the crucial role that Parliament has to play in holding the executive to account and performing oversight over the workings of government. We are encouraged that this Parliament is intending to play a more activist role in this regard. We will ensure that members of the executive fulfil their constitutional responsibilities towards Parliament and encourage Ministers to respond promptly to matters raised in reports adopted by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. This applies equally to parliamentary questions and the provision of regular reports to Parliament or the parliamentary committees on the activities of their departments.
We recognise the need for Parliament to be provided with an accurate programme of the Bills that Ministers intend introducing. We are developing mechanisms to improve the quality of this programme and ensure that deadlines for introduction are met.
We are acutely aware of the importance of Parliament having sufficient time to consider Bills and to engage with stakeholders and the public at large in the legislative process.
In order to ensure improved relations between the executive and Parliament, I will be interacting on a regular basis with the main role-players in Parliament, in particular the Presiding Officers, the Whips, the committee chairs and opposition parties.
Over the years the world has been ravaged by HIV/Aids, a deadly pandemic that threatens to cut a swathe through developing nations, especially in Southern Africa. Government remains determined to tackle this mortal threat head-on. In this regard, the partnership between government, business and civil society in the fight against HIV/Aids, as well as tuberculosis, needs to be strengthened.
Through the SA National Aids Council we are expanding the national response to the HIV/Aids pandemic. We are pleased that all our social partners are accelerating the implementation of their plans deriving from the National Strategic Plan of 2007-2011 on HIV/Aids and sexually transmitted infections. An independent mid-term review of this work is being commissioned by the Department of Health on behalf of Sanac. We are also introducing a Sanac sector leaders forum to strengthen feedback mechanisms and sectoral accountability.
Lest we forget, the message on this pandemic remains the three simple letters, ABC: abstain, be faithful and condomise. At the same time we continue to encourage a variety of initiatives to stem the tide of the pandemic. This includes the provision of antiretroviral treatment, research on medicines and other measures. As part of this work Sanac has agreed that we should embark on national consultations on male circumcision, given the scientific work that has been presented on this issue.
Another challenge in this respect is the lack of capacity of nongovernmental organisations to obtain funding. Both government and the private sector within and outside Sanac have to reach out to the nonprofit sector to arrest funding challenges. We also expect positive funding flows from the Global Fund application that we have successfully submitted.
Working together we can and will ensure that these initiatives contribute to our ultimate goal of creating an HIV/Aids free generation.
Government recognises the important role of traditional leadership as a salient repository of our customs, history and cultural heritage. By all accounts the Presidency has been effective in exercising political oversight over selected affairs of traditional leaders, and this we have been able to do working in collaboration with the erstwhile Department of Provincial and Local Government, now known as Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the National House of Traditional Leaders.
The work of the National House is readily acknowledged for contributing to the agenda of national unity, development and social cohesion within our nation. In this regard, let me express government's appreciation of the invaluable leadership demonstrated by this august institution.
The Presidency also took an active part in the implementation of the National Programme of Support for Traditional Leaders, which is meant to standardise support in all provinces and ensure that clear guidelines are issued at national level for provinces regarding all matters of support to the institution of traditional leadership.
We wish to reiterate the President's commitment that as the Chair of SADC, South Africa will continue to support the inclusive government in Zimbabwe and render whatever assistance is requested by the collective Zimbabwean leadership in order to deal with unresolved matters.
In this context, we note and welcome the pledge by the various governments across the world to increase their assistance to Zimbabwe.
In concert with the leadership of Zimbabwe, we are convinced that more can be done to strengthen this support. We also hope that the visit of the IMF fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe will result in positive engagement in the future. We have long maintained that for the region to thrive, we need to push for political and economic cohesion. For this reason, we have committed ourselves to ensure the implementation of SADC protocols aimed at improving security and stability; infrastructure, including transport; public administration and other sectors; and in harmonising industrial policies.
Moreover, we fully endorse the efforts towards addressing sources of disagreement among members of the Southern Africa Customs Union on issues such as trade policy and revenue sharing.
This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of our diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Through the Binational Commission led by the deputy heads of state of both countries, we are finalising a comprehensive programme that will also ensure a people-to-people engagement through our respective parliaments, as well as academic and business organisations.
Working with other stakeholders such as the 2010 Local Organising Committee, we are glad to announce that we have made significant progress in pursuit of our goal to host a successful 2010 Fifa World Cup. [Applause.] The oversight visits conducted by members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee have helped us ensure that we meet our deadlines, not least to speed up the infrastructure programme.
However, we need to take into account the difficulties identified with a view to resolving them as soon as possible. This includes arresting budget overruns by host cities, especially in the current economic environment so as to ensure that our expenditure is within budget. We are, however, confident that the economic benefits flowing from the 2010 Fifa World Cup competition will soften some of the cutting effects of this economic crisis.
We have noted concerns regarding delays experienced in Mpumalanga over the construction of the Mbombela Stadium. We continue to interact with the affected parties in an urgent bid to resolve all outstanding matters.
We have also started to pay focused attention to all the 2010 legacy projects so that the facilities are used for the maximum benefit of our people and our country beyond 2010. For instance, it is part of our role to ascertain the processing of the post-2010 stadium maintenance programme which will assist us in sustaining the quality and standards of our stadiums.
If anything was needed to confirm our country's readiness to host the Fifa 2010 World Cup, the Confederations Cup now underway has demonstrated that we are on course to meet our objectives and surpass the expectations of the global football fraternity. Indeed, the Confederations Cup has also helped us identify areas that require improvement, the better to deliver the best World Cup ever.
We are also convinced that our national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, building on recent successes, will continue improving with time so that, come 2010, they can make a handsome return on the nation's material and emotional investment in them.
As South Africans we share not only a common territory but also a historical identity that defines our nationhood. Spurred on by our fourth democratic elections as a nascent democracy, we are determined to pull out all the stops to expedite the process to build a united, nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
Working together, we are confident of realising this long cherished goal. I thank you for your attention. [Applause.]
Rev H M DANDALA / END OF TAKE
THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT
Rev H M DANDALA: Deputy Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and hon members, we congratulate you, Mr President, that your government has rapidly started working with many of your Ministers getting their heads around their various departments.
While the most pressing issues facing our people are unemployment and poverty in the face of a recession, we believe that amongst the most crucial tasks facing your particular office are nation building, turning the many promises made into practical reality for our people and the building of a value system that will guide our national life to realise the South African dream.
Mr President, we note the honourable goals behind the restructuring of your government, but we would wish to caution that the increased size of government is a source of great concern, especially given the recession. We would need an indication of how much more state resources will be deployed to make the new Ministries and departments that you have established function.
In the face of calls by government to citizens to tighten their belts to deal with recession we believe that in spite of the increased size, the government should lead by example.
On more programmatic matters, your presidency is substantially different and the current budget will need very tight management. Cope supports the Budget Vote with a firm understanding that this will be adjusted to meet the changes envisaged by the new structure of the current Presidency.
Cope notes the President's emphasis that the socioeconomic assistance of each district or metro will seek to assist those areas to exploit their potential. This is noble, yet as our Constitution reflects, South Africa is an incredibly diverse society. Integrated planning has the potential to facilitate and encourage the resourcefulness of a country's citizens. On the other hand, it can respond to its own logic, centralise itself to command and regiment without regard to any active, unfolding realities.
South Africans need to be constantly assured that government's new planning approach will not amount to that. Cope will thus assist to observe that central planning does not stifle innovation and does not slow down service delivery; as it is, the wheels of government are already known for turning notoriously slowly. What the country needs is something that will change this reality.
In the same vein, care should be taken that integrated planning does not negatively affect the economy. One already feels that different players wish to exert undue pressure on certain prices, interest rates and exchange rates. We have noted the intention to ensure that the relationship between the planning commission, the Ministries of Finance, Economic Development and Trade and Industry is carefully co-ordinated. We support this to avert a situation where dangerous duplications may be engendered and considerable confusion caused in the minds of the investors.
Cope envisages a distributed planning instrument in which facilitation and co-ordination channel energies towards desired ends, and in which initiative is vested in individual ministries with internalised monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. Such an arrangement would be more sensitive to the needs of different regions, provincially and locally. The planning Ministry would then concern itself with high level co-ordination and reporting. This is what is desired in the spirit of our Constitution and we will await the tabling of the Green Paper so as to assist in shaping the content of your plans.
Regarding nation-building, we welcome the commitment of the President to strengthen partnership with society and political parties represented in Parliament. In this regard, we are concerned at the continuing blurring of lines between the state and party, as we sadly witnessed on June 16. We believe this has to stop. South African people want to acknowledge the important historical days of their nationhood without feeling bulldozed into partisan events.
The President is a President for all South Africans and not the President of some and not others. Our Constitution is very clear about the duties and responsibilities of the national executive. We need assurance that we will not have a situation of the blurring of the lines between party and state. We wish to be assured that you will be committed in this task and we, as Cope, will support you in seeking to achieve this goal.
We will support the Presidency in seeking to ensure that the hard- won civil liberties and the country's well-developed human rights culture will not be eroded in the name of national security.
We need the President's assurance that state resources are not used for party political purposes such as the surveillance of opposition parties and private individuals. [Applause.] We will be taking up the harassment of our members by state organs through the police and we hope that these will be investigated and brought to a halt.
The nation needs to be assured that institutions such as the judiciary and the media are safe under your watch and will stay independent.
Finally, we have noted your commitment to fighting corruption in the Public Service and we wish to encourage you. We strongly affirm your determination in this regard especially as it affects ordinary citizens, as you have indicated.
We would like to believe that the action of the Premier of Gauteng who has let an MEC resign over of the misuse of public resources is the first sign of the fulfilment of this commitment by the Presidency. This is necessary for the introduction of a new culture of accountability in our politics.
On the other hand, the ongoing saga of the arms deal continues to eat at theheart of our body politic. Hasn't the time come for the President to bite the bullet and appoint an independent judicial commission of inquiry to deal with this matter decisively and transparently?It does not help the morale of the nation to keep hearing allegations of new evidence and denials if this whole process is not reopened and dealt with openly. We believe that this will put the saga to bed, once and for all.
Cope will indeed continue to call for a value-centred society across all facets of our national life and we will support you in doing this. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Prince M G BUTHELEZI / END OF TAKE
Rev H M DANDALA
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Madam Deputy Speaker, the Excellency our President, the Excellency Deputy President, hon Ministers, hon colleagues, I wish to congratulate the President on delivering his first Budget Vote.
The Presidency is, as it has been memorably put by President Roosevelt, the bully pulpit of the nation. The success of our common endeavours depends upon the success of the Presidency in discharging its sacred duties. The Presidency, I believe, enjoys the understanding and warm support of the people, which is essential to victory.
By virtue of being Head of State, you are our President across the political divides. And this was the reason, Your Excellency, and the House will recall, why I tried to defend the dignity of your predecessor, President Thabo Mbeki, when he was being denigrated in this House while he was the face of South Africa and undergoing his shameful, unceremonious defenestration.
Whilst it is important to travel in hope, as RL Stevenson memorably puts it, I think it is tantamount to political suicide to give people false hope merely because we consider the truth a too-difficult pill for them to swallow.
While we should not abandon our optimism in the midst of these challenges, we dare not lure our people into a fool's paradise, for they will turn against us once the sober reality dawns. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment. So on this day we should not shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. We welcome the noble aspirations contained in the 12 policy priority areas, Mr President, but we do question how they will be achieved. The maxim "less is more" could apply to the present hour.
The government will battle to deliver on its promises because South Africa has gone into recession, as it has been emphasised this afternoon, for the first time since 1992, following a sharp decline in the manufacturing and mining sectors. The Economist magazine recently designated South Africa as the most risky emerging market.
I therefore contend that the Presidency must practise economic growth and bat for South Africa at every opportunity. Our President, I believe, has all the attributes to make a fine batsman for South Africa, so we would like to ask how the Presidency and, in particular, the newly-created National Planning Commission, will bolster the government's efforts to promote South African goods and services.
As a traditional leader I must applaud this government's creation of the Ministry of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, and I further wish to congratulate the President for appointing Mr Shiceka in this portfolio. Many of us who knew him were very delighted that that was your choice, but I noted yesterday that the Co-operative Minister, the hon Shiceka, was quoted as saying that South Africa is one country with one President and "no one is expected to be out of tune" when briefing journalists about the possibilities of provinces being scrapped.
Whilst one would normally be discomfited by such a Stalinesque sentiment and hope that the Presidency will staunchly defend our hard-won constitutional settlement, one perhaps would not mind if it was applied to the government's economic strategy. But one must remember that the first custodian of our Constitution is the President. We are all custodians of our Constitution, but the very first one who must protect it is the President.
With the creation of the National Planning Commission and reconfiguration of a number of key Ministries with overlapping competencies, the IFP believes it is vital that the economic policy is seen to be shaped and led by the President and that the Presidency speaks with a unified voice. There are, alas, too many voices off stage, and off key, at the moment.
I must however hasten to say that this is not peculiar to your Presidency. I am sure that you will recall that when both of us were in President Mbeki's Cabinet and the government unveiled its macroeconomic strategy of Gear, that the members of the tripartite alliance were shouting all over the country "Asifune Gear!" [Laughter.]
So, the point, Your Excellency, that I am making is that the multiplicity of voices in the ranks of the ruling party today is creating a Tower of Babel situation, which is leading to unnecessary uncertainty in the country. It creates doubts. The recession can be likened to a time of war where the patriotism of all colleagues across the political divides is being sorely tested. One naturally does not expect all political parties to sing from the same hymn sheet, but we can at least sing certain bars of our song of survival in unison.
Time only allows me to touch upon one aspect of this issue. Whilst I realise that mining is not a direct line function of the Presidency, it should be a matter of grave concern to the government that the South African mining production contracted a staggering 32,8% in the first quarter of 2009, which led to a 6,4% decline in GDP.
Again, we would be interested to know if the National Planning Commission will work with the Department of Mining to review urgently, if I may emphasise, the recently published, misnamed Codes of Good Practice for the mining industry.
These codes, we contend, not only run contrary to international best practice, but also impose a straitjacket on the industry in the midst of the global financial crisis and place South Africa, I think, at a distinct disadvantage to other important African mining destinations, such as Ghana and Botswana.
On the sunnier side, the construction sector is thriving because of the upcoming World Cup, as it has been said this afternoon, but this, of course, will end with the completion of the new stadiums. One of the Presidency's priority areas is to ensure the effective oversight of the implementation of the government's 2010 World Cup commitments. And we congratulate the government on the progress they have made so far. We were delighted to learn that there is a possibility that President Barak Obama may attend the opening ceremony.
However, we would like to know what the Presidency's long-term strategic plans are to take advantage of this event to market the country as a destination of choice, and to use the stadiums long after the tournament.
I was very pleased by the remarks that were made by the Deputy President that the Presidency is looking beyond 2010 as far as that is concerned. After all, the Catalonia region of Spain enjoyed a cultural and economic renaissance after the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Could there be a boost for South Africa? Only, we say, if we can act quickly now.
There is no unsolvable problem if you face it wisely and courageously, and we look to the President to lead us with discipline and vision. We wish him well.
The IFP supports the Presidency's Budget Vote. Nxamalala. Siyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY / END OF TAKE
Prince M G BUTHELEZI
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Madam Deputy Speaker, His Excellency the President and Deputy President, members of the executive, hon members of the House, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I was nearly tempted to begin to respond to some of the issues that have been raised by members of the opposition, but, hopefully, over the next five years we will have time to deal with those issues.
Today I am once again privileged to address hon members during the tabling the budget of yet another critical component of our government, the new Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation.
It is important to highlight that the birth of this Ministry was a deliberate response to the needs and aspirations of millions of South Africans who, through their ballots, gave us an opportunity to govern the country.
In the 2009 general elections, our people reaffirmed their confidence in the policies of this government and renewed our mandate in the hope that these policies will help to improve their lives for the better.
Given the responsibilities placed on our shoulders by the electorate, it can no longer be business as usual. Our priority will be to strengthen and stimulate the performance of government in a relentless effort to ensure that government programmes yield the desired outcomes.
This will necessitate that we change our approach by consistently assessing the performance of our initiatives in all spheres of government. Accordingly, this will help government continuously improve its service delivery capacity, while promoting accountability on the part of those charged with the responsibility to deliver.
While we have performed reasonably well in rolling out government's programmes and initiatives since 1994, we are the first to acknowledge that the state has not performed as optimally as we desired. As a result, we are more determined than ever before to improve the quality and standards of the services we deliver to our people.
This can only be successful if we have efficient monitoring and evaluation machinery within government to assess the impact we make in key priority areas.
In rolling out our duties in terms of monitoring and evaluation, we will develop a set of 30 to 40 main outcome indicators, which will be determined by The Presidency and the cabinet on the basis of the government's priorities.
These will comprise politically determined policy outcomes upon which the mandate of our government is based. As a result, we will then develop simple and straightforward measures to assess whether we are indeed achieving those outcomes.
It is our intention to ascertain that all government departments involved are alerted beforehand about the type of assessments undertaken in relation to their work. This will ensure that they work hard to meet the set delivery targets in a quest to improve the broader performance of the service delivery machinery of government.
We must bear in mind that this assessment is not only an internal measure within government. Through this process, we also want to bring our people on board to ensure that they are continuously aware of the progress we are making and the challenges we face in the implementation of government's programme of action.
In this context, we will avail members of the public of all the results of our assessments in a bid to promote transparency and accountability. As part of our work, we will also identify the type of activities per sector that are required to produce positive results needed in that particular sector.
This will help us ensure that we introduce the necessary plans and mechanisms with great potential to assist us with meeting the set targets in that particular sector. Therefore this will be a twofold process in that we will put systems in place and then expect departments to meet the deadlines.
We have already started collaborating with key public institutions with a wide range of expertise. We will also use more of the expertise in universities and other institutions.
These institutions will play a crucial role in helping us identify the measures needed to improve the performance of government programmes. Consequently, the Ministry will put in place measures to check whether all the required activities do take place in our departments – that we are indeed focusing our energies on activities that will ensure change.
This culture of performance will be inculcated within the executive and the administration. In this regard, we will design a performance contract between the President and the Ministers, all of us. This contract will primarily outline the required performance in two or three policy outcome areas and indicate, per outcome, the measurements of success.
On a quarterly basis, the executive will report back on the basis of a straightforward one-page report card. Therefore, in discussion with the Ministers, the President will provide feedback and guidance with the view to assist in removing the identified obstacles, if any, to ensure improved performance and delivery.
As political heads of respective departments, the Ministers will also sign delivery agreements with their officials with regard to activities and plans to stimulate delivery as well as the required outputs. For this reason, we are confident that this endeavour will help government reward good performance and detect bad performance as early as possible to ensure that corrective measures are implemented.
We must outline that our initial focus in monitoring and evaluation will be to develop a performance management system for the seven priorities of basic education, health, safety, rural development, housing, job creation strategies and public sector capacity.
The outcome measures and accountability matrix for these priority areas will be discussed by cabinet towards the end of July this year. This will pave the way for a concept paper and a draft Green Paper on the enhanced Monitoring and Evaluation and Performance Management system, which will be ready by the end of September.
Beyond these seven priorities, the usual monitoring through the government's programme of action will continue. In a quest to enhance the output of our work, the Presidency is in the process of establishing a service delivery unit, whose task will be to ensure that incidents on nondelivery and blockages are turned around. Consequently, the Presidency will also source outside capacity and management expertise on turnaround strategies, whose knowledge will help our strategies yield a positive impact.
In terms of the required data to inform the performance management system, this will have to be carefully chosen and verified. For this reason, The Presidency will soon launch a major project on piloting the data architecture of the government administrative systems and available datasets.
Another critically important task of this Ministry is to oversee activities relating to the development and empowerment of young people in our country. As we all know, our government has ushered in a new dawn in the trajectory of youth development through the launch of the National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, this year on National Youth Day, June 16.
Among other things, it will fast-track the implementation of government programmes that affect young people in areas of entrepreneurship, skills development, education, rural development, health, as well as the fight against crime. In all these efforts, the NYDA will lobby various stakeholders in civil society, business and government to ensure a generic and common approach to issues of youth development in South Africa.
Necessarily, this will require that additional funding be appropriated during the adjustment process in order to complete the merger of the collapsed institutions and strengthen the capacity of the NYDA to deliver.
We will introduce to Parliament amendments to the National Youth Development Agency Act, with a view to transforming it into a section 76 Act in order to incorporate the provincial component.
This agency comes into being under difficult economic conditions, which to a particular extent will have an impact on its work. This includes the challenge of job losses, which also affect the youth, thus contributing towards the unemployment rate of young people. Therefore, it is necessary that we appeal to government, the private sector, civil society and young people themselves to support this agency in discharging its mandate.
The success of the NYDA lies in the collective hands of our nation. Early this year, government adopted the National Youth Policy 2009-2014 which details a number of policy imperatives. This policy will be followed up with the Integrated Youth Development Strategy that sets out specific plans that will give effect to our policy propositions.
We are aware that many issues affecting young people are not only limited to the mandate of the NYDA, but rather speak to the work that the entirety of government must undertake to address the challenges faced by the youth.
Therefore, we hope that government departments will reflect in their plans how they intend to address the issues of youth applicable to them as per their mandate.
The NYDA is currently in discussions with the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy to implement a Public Service National Youth Service Programme aimed at providing unemployed graduates with the opportunity to fill existing government vacancies or internships in government to gain experience.
This gesture will open job opportunities for thousands of unemployed young graduates. We anticipate that government departments will place the development of young people as agents of change at the heart of their Public Service responsibilities.
The NYDA will be accountable to the Presidency. It is therefore important that we strengthen the capacity of the Youth Desk in The Presidency to monitor the performance of this agency, thus ensuring continuous service improvement and accountability.
The Youth Desk will also carry out some of the functions which were traditionally performed by the National Youth Commission, such as policy development and the co-ordination of youth development activities across government spheres. This will ensure a co-ordinated approach and provision of comprehensive services to the youth of South Africa.
At this juncture, it is fitting that we thank the staff and leadership of the collapsed National Youth Commission and the Umsobomvu Youth Fund for the foundation they have laid for the NYDA.
I am hopeful that the NYDA will have a good relationship with Parliament, which will be guided by our collective desire to serve the youth of our country. Indeed, the Ministry is looking forward to working with Members of Parliament as they execute their oversight role to ensure that we deliver on the promises made to our people.
We will, during the next two months, present our adjusted budget for this financial year to Treasury and budget estimates for the 2010–2013 MTEF period during the budget process. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms P DE LILLE / END OF TAKE
THE MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY
Ms P DE LILLE: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon President, hon Deputy President, the ID supports the creation of two Ministries in The Presidency. We have always said that monitoring, evaluation and planning have been the largest weaknesses in government over the past 15 years.
It is hoped that these Ministries will improve the pace and quality of service delivery and make a real difference in the lives of our people.
We are looking forward to engaging with you on the promised White Paper on the structure and direction of the National Planning Commission.
It is our hope that the commission will generate a long-term vision for our country, taking into account the massive, global challenges that will occur in the next 30 years. The mark of successful countries has been their ability to position themselves based on their accurate anticipation of global changes.
We have always recognised that we are in extremely difficult times and we welcome your Presidency's willingness to engage in debate with us on the challenges that we face. The best way we can deal with this crisis is through listening to all sides and we hope that this willingness to engage constructively will continue.
In this regard, Mr President, the ID believes that we need to review the speaking time allocated to opposition parties in this Parliament. We cannot make a proper contribution in one or two minutes. We have raised this issue with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, and we hope that the Chief Whips in Parliament will address this as a matter of urgency.
Mr President, debate and engagement are important, but we also need to see concrete action. I get the sense that the country is ready to move forward. We therefore hope that the Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation and the Administration in The Presidency will ensure that planning translates into implementation.
Lastly, the ID would like to call on you, Mr President, to be true to your promise of a new ethos in government that is based on performance, and an attitude of no tolerance when it comes to crime and corruption. The ID supports the budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N M KGANYAGO / END OF TAKE
Ms P DE LILLE
Mr N M KGANYAGO: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon members, the budget before us allocates a sizable amount of taxpayers' money for spending on what is not essentially a line function. One is reminded that there were many detractors of the previous executive, who said that too much power was being centralised in the Presidency. But now those same detractors are champions of an expanded Presidency and hence more taxpayers' money is required to fund this expansion.
Allow me to make a rural analogy. The policies and service delivery objectives of government are like a wagon, and Cabinet is like a team of oxen that must, together, pull the wagon to its destination. In such an analogy, the President and his Deputy have the duty of being the wagon drivers. The Presidency gives direction and, where necessary, wields the whip.
At the moment, with this expanded Presidency, we have a situation where the wagon driver is bringing in more workers to assist. In itself, this is not a problem. What might be a problem, is that they are not oxen. In other words, they are not there to help drag the wagon. Instead, they are there to assist the wagon driver. The obvious danger is that they are simply adding to the load of the wagon. [Interjections.] The even bigger danger is that there might soon be confusion about who is giving the direction and who is wielding the whip. There is huge potential for squabbles and conflict. The wagon could come to a complete standstill. One hopes that this situation has been foreseen and that the President has his hands firmly on the reins of government. The UDM supports the Budget Vote.
Ke a leboga. [Legofi.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon member. Hon members, proceedings will now be suspended for 10 minutes to allow members a comfort break. Bells will be rung to alert members to the commencement of proceedings.
Business suspended at 16:20 and resumed at 16:33. / END OF TAKE
Mr N M KGANYAGO
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: The economy shed 179 000 jobs in the first quarter. The second quarter is likely to be as bad. This is indeed not a good time to be elected as a President.
Why, in these difficult times, are there so many workers striking and threatening to bring the country economically to a stop? Surely the medical doctors and some workers have good reasons to be unhappy. But in contrast, other workers are striking, from my point of view, to abuse the Confederations Cup tournament or the 2010 Soccer World Cup for their own selfish interests.
In Beijing, there were 100 000 volunteer workers during the Beijing Olympic Games who did not receive any remuneration. They explained how privileged they felt to make a patriotic contribution as proud Chinese people. Do we have such people? I do believe so.
The South African workers on the building projects for the 2010 World Cup are striking, knowing that the strikes could result in the projects not being completed before the World Cup. They are not concerned - as long as they profit from it. During the Confederations Cup soccer game between Italy and the USA in Pretoria, tournament officials went on strike over salaries. The police had to check the tickets at the gates. What image does this create of South African workers?
Met die ekonomiese krisis en die houding van hierdie stakende werkers,aan die eenkant en die vyf miljoen Suid-Afrikaners wat wil werk en nie werk kan kry nie, aan die anderkant, regverdig dit 'n nuwe debat oor ons arbeidswetgewing. 'n Jong entrepreneur verduidelik aan my dat hy tien werksgeleenthede kan skep, maar dat die arbeidswetgewing maak dat hy eerder masjiene gaan invoer en outomatiseer, ongeag my argumente.
Is arbeidswetgewing een van die redes waarom ons sukkel om genoeg werksgeleenthede te skep of nie? Dis die debat. Kom ons eksperimenteer. Wat van belastingverligting en arbeidsregulasievrystellings in 'n deel van 'n provinsie, byvoorbeeld in 'n spesiale ekonomiese sone naby 'n hawe of in 'n landelike gebied wat baie onderontwikkel en arm is. Dan meet ons die resultate. Hoeveel werkgeleenthed is geskep? Wat het dit gekos? As dit slaag, kan dit uitgebrei word. As dit misluk dan stop ons dadelik daarmee. Dit sluit, wat my betref, ook eksperimentering met regstellende aksie in, wat tans baie jongmense landuit dryf.
Ek glo die huidige krisis regverdig dit. Die regering se openbare werkeprogram is belangrik en dit gaan beslis werk skep, maar dit is nie voltydse permanente werk met volle voordele nie. Regerings kan moeilik sulke werk skep. Uiteindelik is dit die private sektor wat sulke werk kan skep, as die regering dit vir hulle moontlik en maklik maak. Ek glo in hierdie rigting kan daar dalk oplossings vir ons wees. Ek dank u. [Applous.]
Mr M C MANANA / END OF TAKE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Mr M C MANANA: Chairperson, hon President and Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, 33 years ago during this month, a simmering bubble of anger of schoolchildren finally burst, releasing an intensity of emotion that the police controlled in the only manner they knew how - with ruthless aggression.
Thirty three years later, the youth of South Africa have made yet another historic mark by participating vigorously in the peaceful, free and fair fourth democratic general elections, dispelling the more than a decade of assertions that young people remain ignorant on issues pertaining to democracy.
We pay tribute and salute all the disciplined cadres who came before us and made many sacrifices for the cause of our liberation. Our existence as a liberation movement remains relevant in the fulfilment of our strategic objectives and ultimate goal to create a national democratic society.
Both the Ready to Govern: ANC policy guidelines for a democratic South Africa and the Reconstruction and Development Programme: A Policy Framework emphasise the need for an integrated approach to government and accountability for accelerated service delivery. This view, in essence, requires a strong and effective central government which will primarily deal with national tasks and a vibrant and effective provincial and local government to ensure active local involvement in dealing with local matters.
Local communities know better their daily experience and needs which require to be addressed in a much more integrated manner, because it is through integrated approaches that service delivery can be accelerated.
In the same vein, integrated approaches recognise that human needs are more diverse and consistently changing, thus the need to bring them together. In this view, integrated-based approaches should remain government's overarching task to ensure that the ANC government is rooted amongst the masses of our people. This is because it is in the poorest constituencies that the ANC has, over the last 16 years of our multiparty democracy, enjoyed fair electoral growth.
The ANC's strategic objective is to promote the transformation of South Africa into a united, democratic, nonracial and nonsexist country of abundance, which demands that the ANC-led government advances service delivery irrespective of race, creed or ethnicity.
The principle of integrated approaches to delivery should not be seen as though it is promoting sinister motives which seek to marginalize certain provinces and municipalities that are under the control of strategic opponents of the movement.
We have no point to prove when it comes to service delivery, and we will continue to be guided by Chapter 3 of the Constitution which speaks to a co-operative government involving national, provincial and local levels. The ANC-led government will neither hesitate, hon Trollip, to intervene as and when it is required to do so in bringing about quality service to the citizenry of the Western Cape nor delay, hon Buthelezi, any effort to capacitate and bring quality service to Zululand District Municipality and other surrounding municipalities controlled by the official opposition in KwaZulu-Natal. Ours is to advance integration in order to accelerate service delivery.
The 1996 Constitution is very clear on the separation of powers involving the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. By the way, hon Trollip, we practise the culture of continuity and inclusion in the ANC. We don't appoint Cabinet and advisors along factional lines. These three organs of state - the legislature, the executive and the judiciary - should continue ensuring the smooth running of the country.
Since 1994, the doctrine of separation of powers has been upheld in government to ensure proper independence and necessary oversight for the purposes of good governance. In his state of the nation address, the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency J G Zuma, said:
The success of the democratic system as a whole depends on good relations of mutual respect and a spirit of partnership among the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. This is very important for our constitutional democracy.
It is on the basis of such partnerships and good spirit that we will continue in our responsibility as the legislative arm of the state to oversee the executive to ensure that it acts in terms of the Constitution, thus contributing effectively towards a good and accountable government.
Over the last 15 years, government has led programmes and policies that sought to democratise the state. This task was informed by the understanding that the state is not a monolithic block but a contested terrain and a strategic battlefield. These programmes I refer to must be influenced by the needs of the people, and government should not just play a regulatory function but a leading role for a better life for all our people.
The ANC 2009 manifesto points out that the developmental state that we envisage will promote service delivery, co-ordination and planning efforts.
Over the last 15 years the ANC-led government has demonstrated commitment to the following: regular multiparty elections based on proportional representation; the Bill of Rights; an independent judiciary; participatory democracy; good governance and equality; and transparency and accountability.
One of the fundamental hindrances to quality service delivery to our people has been corruption in our systems of governance. The RDP proposed that government should combat corruption in the public sector through concerted efforts. It is as a result of such efforts that we have significantly decreased corruption in recent years as compared to 1994 to 2004.
We will, however, revisit the issue of corruption by following corruption trends and thus putting in place additional measures to ensure that politicians do not tamper with the adjudication of tenders. In essence, a need to intensify more regulatory measures in addition to the Public Finance Management Act is crucial as an essential tool to efficient service delivery. We hope that such measures will ensure transparency in the tendering system. The point here is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being rich, but there is everything wrong with acquiring wealth through stealing and at the expense of our poor people. [Applause.]
We must be able to respond to the global economic recession by ensuring that, as we bring service delivery to our people, we minimise fruitless expenditure and learn the culture of improvising for greater gain. By this, I am not implying that we compromise quality service, but that we spend less, and with caution, as we execute our mandate.
The public sector has undergone transformation for the purpose of promoting access to basic integrated services. This also involves working towards building a single public sector and an integrated rural development strategy. Similarly, the call for a single police service seeks to ensure that metro police and provincial structures are under the command of the National Police Commissioner in line with integrated approaches to service delivery.
Indeed, the proposal for an integrated criminal justice system that facilitates a co-ordination between police stations, courts and prisons is to ensure greater service delivery and justice for all. Government has reconfigured the Cabinet and state departments to facilitate an integrated approach and ensure popular governance and accountability. In this regard, it has been 15 years of nation building, gender transformation and the deepening of democracy.
The ANC is committed to the principle of bringing government close to the people to ensure popular participation in government. Izimbizo remain a vital tool and instrument of reporting back to communities to ensure government accountability. The ANC should also be strengthened enough to hold the executive, Members of Parliament, Premiers, MECs and councillors to account before the end of each five-year term in order to avoid a situation where reference is made to the lack of service delivery as grounds for a break-away. This mechanism should protect poor people from being used as voting fodder by such opportunistic elements. The ANC-led political centre should provide overall strategic direction and leadership in the interest of the national democratic revolution.
In conclusion, it appears that an integrated approach to governance and service delivery will ensure popular participation and accountability, not just by the executive or government structures, but also by the ANC as an organisation, guided by the words of Mosiuoa Lekota during his heyday in the ANC when he said: "The ANC's intentions remain undimmed". I thank you.
THE MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Mr M C MANANA
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: Chairperson, hon President and Deputy President, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon Members of this House, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour for me to participate in this budget debate this afternoon.
We measure the development of any society by its ability to respond to the needs of targeted groups. To achieve this we have to prioritise groups that need to be targeted by special programmes. This government has taken a step and has been commended for establishing a Ministry focused on addressing issues of women, children and persons with disabilities.
We must now ensure that adequate resources are allocated to promote the interests of these targeted groups. Since 1994, the ANC-led government has endeavoured to build an inclusive and socially cohesive democratic society through a process of socioeconomic and political transformation. The Ministry will be building on the progress made over the past 15 years. We will ensure that our country honours all the regional and international commitments and protocols, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The strategic thrust of this Ministry is to advance policy and achieve measurable milestones on mainstreaming gender, children's rights and disability considerations into the programmes of government and other sectors of society in line with international and regional commitments made in these areas.
We aim to establish effective institutional mechanisms for social and economic empowerment, equalisation of opportunities and access to resources for women, children and persons with disabilities.
We are going to work with other departments, provincial and local government, the private sector, labour and civil society in mainstreaming issues relating to these three targeted groups.
We will ensure that the social security net is tighter and poverty alleviation programmes benefit primarily the many women, children and persons with disabilities who continue to live in conditions of abject poverty.
Women and children constitute the majority in rural areas. They are at the receiving end of the challenges posed by underdevelopment in these areas. They are the ones who fetch water from the streams, collect wood for cooking and till the land to support families through subsistence farming. It is therefore logical that they should be the primary beneficiaries of government programmes on rural development, agricultural support and land reform.
Our goal is to ensure that women are liberated from the constraints of many centuries of land deprivation. Our programme on women will also focus on strengthening and broadening the national machinery for women's empowerment and gender equality through the establishment of effective and efficient advisory units in all structures of government at the national, provincial and local levels.
While we continue with the process of consultation with stakeholders on finalising the strategic priorities for the new Ministry, the following issues should be at the top of our agenda: to respond to the challenge of feminisation of poverty; creation of decent jobs and economic empowerment of women; increasing the representation of women in positions of decision-making and in management levels towards 50% parity; and eradication of violence against women and children.
The immediate aim of delivery of the department is going to be the establishment of a fund for women's empowerment. This fund will enable women to start and develop their own businesses. It will also assist NGOs and civil society in undertaking women-empowerment programmes. We will consult with stakeholders on this issue within the next month and pilot the fund to reality during this financial year.
We will use research findings to identify blockages limiting progress towards attaining the 50% equity target for women in senior management positions in the public sector. We will take all the necessary measures to ensure that gender parity targets are achieved.
Regarding children, we began the week with disturbing media reports that more than 500 000 needy South Africans, mostly children, could be plunged into further desperation because charity organisations are struggling to raise funds in the current economic environment. I would like to appeal to the business sector in particular to ensure that expenditure on social responsibility does not become the first and easiest budget item to cut when adapting to the current economic difficulties.
Corporate social responsibility is no longer just a gesture of goodwill viable only during good economic times. It is a necessary investment in the socioeconomic sustainability of the country. The codes on BBBEE require that companies spend a minimum of 1% net profit after tax on corporate social investment initiatives. In addition, this expenditure comes with tax and significant public relations benefits.
While there is pressure on profit margins currently, there is a need to adopt a long-term view of where each company and its community would like to be in the next five to 10 years time. A company operating in a socially sustainable environment with a diverse workforce in terms of gender and race will have a competitive advantage when our economy recovers.
As government, we are playing our part to ensure the welfare of our children. We have completed a review that provided a situational analysis on the status of children in the country. This information should guide us in further interventions and collaborative efforts with other departments, particularly the Departments of Health and Social Development.
We will be supporting efforts to improve the quality of life of children, including stepping up the Early Childhood Development Programme, as our President committed us to do. We have to ensure universal access to Grade R and double the number of 0- to 4-year- old children attending early childhood centres by 2014.
We will strengthen relations with the Children's Advisory Council and other stakeholders. We are going to build on the progress made to increase participation of municipalities in National Children's Rights processes and conduct further training on mainstreaming and co-ordination of children's issues at this level.
Just last week, Chairperson, we convened a children's lekgotla in Limpopo to mark the Day of the African Child with the theme "Africa Fit for Children – A Call for Accelerated Action towards Child Survival". Children representing all provinces of South Africa, and some from neighbouring countries, like Swaziland, and refugee children participated; and I must say it was an educational process for me as well as instructive to listen to young minds debating these issues. [Applause.]
It was an extremely informed discussion on a number of issues arising from the AU Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They went on to provide recommendations on how some of these issues affecting children should be addressed by all of us. Most critical were issues of access to education for all, including refugees and children with disabilities; stopping all forms of discrimination; prevention and protection against abuse; and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.
Recommendations made by these children in these areas will certainly be considered in the finalisation of our programme for this term of office. Some of the recommendations, Chairperson, on children, emphasise the need for further implementation of the campaign on 16 Days and 365 Days of No Violence against Women and Children, which is one of the main campaigns and advocacy programmes that our department will be undertaking during this financial year.
On persons with disabilities, Chair, there are clear targets already available including an employment equity target of 2% and 4% for skills development. Sadly, we have not moved very far in this regard.
The challenge is to move both the public and private sectors towards meeting these targets. Our department is determined to take on this challenge and ensure that every sector moves with the necessary speed to meet the disability targets. Our activities will include co-ordination of the job access strategy where we work together with the Department of Public Service and Administration to achieve the employment target for persons with disabilities by 2010.
Failure to achieve these targets, Chairperson, is not an option if we are to remain true to our vision of an inclusive South African society. During this financial year, we will finalise the Draft National Disability Policy and develop an implementation plan as well. We will also prioritise issues of access by ensuring that public buildings and facilities are fully accessible to persons with various forms of disabilities. It is encouraging that there is progress made in the building of stadiums in readiness for the Confederation Cup of Nations but also the 2010 Soccer World Cup. I am happy that some progress has been made but more needs to be done.
Generally, we will also be responding to various practices that undermine the interests of any of the three targeted groups. We want to ensure that all cultural practices are consistent with the Constitution and legislative framework existing in our country.
Chairperson, our programme is diverse and challenging. It will require the intensive mobilisation of a multitude of stakeholders for it to succeed. It also requires a commitment of adequate resources to support the organisational structure necessary to advance the interests of women, children and persons with disabilities.
It is, therefore, important that this House should support this budget Vote as a step towards establishing, amongst other things, a fully functional institution that stands for the rights and promote the interests of women, youth, children and persons with disabilities. Thank you. [Applause.]
Rev K R J MESHOE / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF WOMEN, YOUTH, CHILDREN AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Rev K R J MESHOE: Mr President, Deputy President, hon members, the hon President has promised enhanced service delivery. With this in mind, a number of new Ministries have been created, including one in The Presidency to monitor performance and delivery.
The ACDP's concern lies with the number of new Ministries within the economic sphere. Our particular concern lies in the sphere of the economic policy, so crucial in view of the domestic recession and need to address unemployment and poverty. We pose the question as to whether such Ministries will enhance service delivery or indeed temper it.
The ACDP believes that there will be a large degree of overlap between the Trade and Industry, Finance and the Economic Development Ministries. If one adds the National Planning Minister in The Presidency, then, as pointed out by the Financial Mail, the possibility of conflicts and power struggles is huge. This would be particularly so if there is a dispute as to the direction of economic policy.
The Minister of Finance yesterday, in response to our and other members' questions in this regard, said that it was early days yet and gave the assurance that each ministry would co-operate in the spirit of co-operative governance. He added that there would be a report-back shortly, following discussions as to how it will all work.
Chairperson, the danger is that economic policy may become "deharmonised". A harmonised economic policy that provides certainty is crucial to attracting foreign investment, particularly in a climate of global economic recession. Markets need to be reassured about economic policies. South Africa cannot afford such policy uncertainty in a global economic meltdown environment.
The question, hon President, is how you see the interaction between these various Ministries taking place and what steps will be taken to avoid conflict or a "deharmonised" economic policy that will negatively impact on our reputation for investors.
Mr President, you did say in your state of the nation address that the stable microeconomic policy aims, pursued by government since 1994, were not going to change. However, what we want to know is which Ministry will ensure that that does happen?
Mr President, members of the public who have complained to your office are correct when they say that when they call government departments for assistance, they are either made to hold on for ridiculously long intervals, or are transferred from office to office until they are frustrated.
The ACDP would appreciate an immediate end to this unacceptable practice among some government officials and members of their staff. The wearing of name tags, as you mentioned, Mr President, to ensure a more personal connection with members of the public is a commendable idea.
I have two questions in this regard. Firstly, when will this practice be implemented, and, secondly, what should members of the public do if certain government personnel appear to be unwilling to wear a name tag?
The ACDP not only supports this Budget Vote, but also the President's intention to greatly improve government's service delivery to all our people. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N W MADIKIZELA-MANDELA / END OF TAKE
Rev K R J MESHOE
Ms N W MADIKIZELA-MANDELA: Mr Speaker, my President, hon Deputy President and members, we meet here today having been elected to the fourth democratic Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Every election is consolidation and proof of our people's commitment to deepening democracy in our country.
Could I just correct one of my white sons; I am privileged to call you "my son". You asked who was leading this country. This country is ruled by the ANC ... [Applause.] ... under the leadership of Nxamalala. [Applause.]
The recent elections were historic in a number of ways, not least because of the fact that our people came out in large numbers to confound those who have consistently claimed that as we move away from the historic events of 1994, our people will lose interest in the democratic project.
A staggering 77% of registered voters made their mark at the polls. They came out to defy those prophets of doom that have become a common feature before the elections. [Applause.] Indeed, if you were to rely on the media before the 2009 poll, you might have been convinced that the ruling party was set to suffer a major setback. Instead, we are back in the House with a fresh mandate from South Africa. [Applause.]
We owe it to the masses that voted for us to ensure that our democracy has sound political and ideological content. To do that, we have to look beyond the razzmatazz associated with elections and identify the real meaning of our mandate in this House. It is about giving our people real control of their lives. It is about ensuring that the electorate steer the body politic and are not reduced to mere passengers or spectators in the unfolding process. For us, every vote counts and no vote comes cheap. [Applause.]
Indeed, our movement has consistently strived to defy the political elitism in which politics becomes a matter for professionals. Our people should not be reduced to mere voting fodder and treated as though they are incompetent to shape the content and direction of our democratic project.
Both in terms of our understanding and our programmes, we have committed ourselves to participatory democracy. As hon members have heard, in this session of Parliament there has been talk of parliamentary activism, which you see right now.
President Zuma has indicated that he expects no less from us; it is our expectation of him that he will indeed go down in the annals of history as "Mr Delivery". And that is why I am back here, Mr President. This echoes the sentiments expressed by the millions of our people who continue to place their faith in us. Indeed, our position is that of privilege and responsibility – the privilege to serve and the responsibility to serve well, which is what we are going to do.
We hold the view that only an active, engaged citizen, who critically examines politics and social life, can impose the necessary restraints on bureaucracy, dogmatism, empty conformism and corruption.
We understand participatory democracy as the broadest possible involvement of, and meaningful contribution by, citizens not only in the political arena, but in all other spheres of life as well. To achieve this will involve the realisation of a fully participatory culture and society, not merely participatory politics. This is at the centre of what we loosely refer to as the people's contract. As representatives of our people, we need to inculcate and consolidate this participatory culture.
We must remind ourselves that this session, like any other, will be remembered not so much for its promises, but for what it achieves in service to our country.
As hon members will attest that -
Great figures in history are remembered not so much for their grand plans or noble intentions, but for their intellectual contributions in radically reshaping the political, scientific, artistic or cultural landscapes of their time.
We often refer with pride to the contributions of the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Sobukwe, W E B Du Bois: Pan-Africanism; Julius Nyerere: Ujamaa; and Steven Bantu Biko: black consciousness movement, not only for their razor-sharp critique of power and clear political thinking, but also for their political activism. They each sought to introduce new ideas and, as a result, a new consciousness amongst their people.
Comrade Nelson Mandela's contribution is understood equally in this context. Aside from the role he played during the struggle against apartheid and his years of suffering in prison, Mandela will be remembered for his magnanimity, for his moral authority and for initiating and championing the process of nation-building and reconciliation. [Applause.]
This is the legacy that all South Africans, and the rest of the world, came to associate with the first years of democratic rule in South Africa. Beyond the lofty ideals that we set for ourselves, this session has an opportunity to build on the framework and successes of the past 15 years. We carry with us a sense of urgency with regard to rapid transformation and the delivery of social services.
I wish to highlight some of the obvious lessons that we can learn from Bantu Biko and the black consciousness movement with regard to issues of strengthening a participatory culture and the notion of social cohesion. In doing so, I could do no better than again recalling Comrade Nelson Mandela's observation on this matter. At the 5th Steve Biko lecture at UCT, Mandela observed, and I quote:
[Biko's] death, which we remember and commemorate in these days, was in many ways as powerful in its effect on our national consciousness as was his life. From Robben Island we followed with immense interest the movement led and inspired by Steve Biko. The driving thrust of black consciousness was to forge pride and unity amongst all the oppressed, to foil the strategy of divide and rule, to engender pride amongst the masses of our people and confidence in their ability to throw off their oppression.
For its part, the ANC welcomed black consciousness as part of the genuine forces of the revolution. We understood that it was helping give organisational form to the popular upsurge of all the oppressed groups of our society.
Above all, the liberation movement asserted that in struggle – whether in mass action, underground organisation, armed actions or international mobilisation – the people would most readily develop consciousness of their proud being, of their equality with everyone else, of their capacity to make history.
The life, work, words, thoughts and example of Steve Biko assume a relevance and resonance as strong as in the time that he lived. His revolution had a simple but overwhelmingly powerful dimension in which it played itself out – that of radically changing the consciousness of our people.
I have quoted this section to highlight the importance and role of consciousness in consolidating a participatory democracy and thereby honouring the contract with the masses of our people. [Applause.]
Let me conclude by making some remarks with regard to the challenge of social cohesion and social transformation. As hon members would know, our Constitution enjoins us to spare no effort in building a nonracial, prosperous and democratic society. As I mentioned earlier in this speech, this goal can only be achieved through active, engaged participation by the electorate.
The 2009 election manifesto of the ANC serves as a reference point for formations such as street committees, trade unions, school parent bodies and other civic bodies to engage with provincial and national government on issues of concern to them. This engagement will facilitate the resolution of those tensions which continue to blight, not only our discourse, but also the intractable causes that sustain material inequalities in our nation. To this end, we should challenge those amongst us who have sought to suppress all forms of debate with regard to these issues.
Professor Sipho Seepe has observed that democracy is an experiment, and that it is sustained by continuing engagement with new issues, ideas and evolving context. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION / END OF TAKE
Ms N W MADIKIZELA-MANDELA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Mr Chairman, I wish to follow on the points made by the hon Leader of the Opposition and the hon Buthelezi, and this concerns leadership.
The editorial of Sunday's City Press was headed: "Country is crying out for your leadership, Mr President". The editorial ended with these two paragraph:
Zuma will engender confidence in his administration if he is seen to be doing his job. Delegating and consulting is important and well-meaning, but it does not mean he should not lead from the front.
Otherwise, we might start to believe that this country is indeed being run by Vavi and Mantashe.
[Interjections.] I believe the President did show leadership on one critically important issue in his reply to the state of the nation debate. Here I am referring to his statement that the stable, macroeconomic policy aims of government were not going to change. But the President needs to lead again and unpack what he means by that statement, particularly in the light of the fact that South Africa is currently being buffeted by the winds of a severe recession. We need to face these winds head-on and recognise that we – all of us - are in for a severe bout of belt-tightening.
The Minister of Finance will tell you that government revenue is plunging. It is R10 billion below estimates for the first two months; and that is before corporate tax is taken into account. Notwithstanding this, demands on the fiscus keep rising – made by Ministers, parastatals and Cosatu. The reality has not sunk in.
SA Airways, Denel, the SABC, Alexkor and the Land Bank are all queuing up to be recapitalised to the tune of many billions of rand. Eskom and Transnet have a funding requirement of billions. Yet when the Minister of Public Enterprises warned that unprofitable state-owned enterprises could be sold off if they continued to underperform, as the state could not continue to bail them out indefinitely, she was called to account, not by the President or Parliament, but by Cosatu and the ANC secretary-general. To whom are Ministers accountable in this government? Who leads?
I find it astonishing that Mr Vavi can say of the alliance that -
We are the policymakers and the government implements. The government doesn't lead anymore.
Nobody repudiates him. But it is not just the Public Enterprises – Ministers have to take a reality check.
Projects recently put on the table by departments include free higher education at a tertiary level, extending the child grant to 18-year-olds, the extension of job opportunities to 500 000 individuals this year and eventually to 5 million, the demands of land reform and restitution, the cost of retirement reform and now national health insurance – and it just goes on, and on, and on.
What is the cost of all of this? It is hundreds of billions of rand. We have to have a reality check in terms of what we can afford. Now I hear the Minister of Finance's intervention that we will need to prioritise, but who leads in determining these priorities? And with a soaring budget deficit, what are we saying? Higher taxes? Are we saying higher taxes?
If so, what has become of the promise of continued stable and prudent macroeconomic policies? And, as yet, I haven't even begun to factor in public-sector wage demands or the additional occupation-specific dispensation. Now, we may be sympathetic to some of these demands, but it does not help when Cosatu's president warns of "explosive spates of uncontrollable labour unrest across the country".
But it is not only fiscal policy which is being put under pressure by government's partners. Cosatu is now meddling in monetary policy. Yes, let's have a debate, but threatening to block the reappointment of the Reserve Bank Governor and endorsing mass action aimed at bringing interest rates down to what it considers acceptable levels, is unacceptable.
It is left to the ANC secretary-general to snap that threatening strikes over wages and interest rates was not helpful, particularly when the economy is in recession. Your leadership is required, Mr President.
Finally, there was the retreat into xenophobic protectionism by Cosatu when it attempted to scuttle the R22,5-billion sale of 15% of Vodacom to Vodafone. Leadership was silent and it was left to the courts to rescue the deal, sending all the wrong signals to foreign investors.
Minister Manuel was taken to task for trying to engage the private sector in the national debate. I may not have used the words that he did, but I identify with his motives. You see, in a globalised economy the private sector doesn't have to engage government in the way it used to have to do in a closed economy. It can simply walk away, and so we have to engage the private sector and make it part of the national debate.
Finally, the editorial continues, and I quote:
The ANC elected President Zuma as leader because it believed he was up to the task. There is no need for Mantashe or Vavi to babysit the President or usurp his authority.
[Interjections.] The country is crying out for your leadership, Mr President. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N N SIBHIDA / END OF TAKE
THE CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION
Ms N N SIBHIDA: Chairperson, Mr President and Deputy President, hon members, comrades and friends, like other democracies, South Africa requires managers with strategic capacity: those with a consciousness and an understanding of the challenges facing the country and its people, who not only understand that inequality, poverty, unemployment and crime remain major challenges facing us, but also know and understand the strategic interventions required to address these challenges.
Like other societies in transition, ours requires the strategic capacity which would offer much needed clarity and coherence for implementation of our national priorities - the creation of descent work and sustainable livelihoods, education, health, rural development and land reform, as well as the fight against crime.
Having provided strategic leadership to masses of our people under difficult circumstances during the darkest days of apartheid in South Africa and the past 15 years of democratic governance, the ANC has once again been given a mandate to lead the struggle of the masses of South African people.
With the establishment of the Ministry for Planning Commission for monitoring and evaluation, we see the seriousness of the ANC about its popular mandate to lead the people of South Africa into a better future in the short-, medium- and long-term. Without doubt, this accords with the commitment of the ANC, the people's movement, to develop monitoring and evaluation capacity in the strategic centres of the state.
We know and understand that national, provincial and municipal levels of the government require the strategic capacity which will derive content from both people's experiences gained during the liberation struggles and aspirations of the people without which the government will be badly managed, which may result in services that are inaccessible, unaffordable, disorganised and of low quality. The consequences of this would undoubtedly be severe for poor people.
Strengthening strategic management and leadership of the government remains a necessary imperative that has to be understood within the context of constructing a developmental state, a state premised on being people-centred and people-driven. I talk of a state that has as its primary mission the desire and commitment to improve the quality of life of all the people, especially the poor.
Central among the attributes of the developmental state is its capacity to lead in the definition of a common national agenda and in mobilising all of society to take part in its implementation.
We talk of technical capability and ability to translate broad policy objectives into concrete programmes and projects of the democratic government.
In transforming the South African state, of great importance is the challenge of transforming both the form and content of the administration of this state to eradicate all manifestations of apartheid in our state, especially in the administration.
However, this would require administrators with the administrative and technical capability and capacity to identify and eliminate manifestations of apartheid tendencies.
Without venturing into the debate of whether the state exists to manage class contradictions, with a strong strategic capacity the state will be able to develop strategies and strategic plans for both policy implementation and monitoring and evaluation.
To be able to provide strategic management and leadership, public managers located at the centre of government would have to be empowered to be able to devise both the clear direction for the entire government and the means of getting there.
However, this does not only require further training and realignment of the existing managers, but also the creation of competitive positions at the centre. While strategic management and leadership relates to management of the strategic decision-making process, the success of this government will be determined on the basis of the effectiveness and efficiency of its strategic bureaucrats.
Some scholars believe that poorly functioning bureaucracies impede efforts to promote economic growth and reduce poverty, which are fundamental challenges requiring decisive and effective intervention of government. However, for it to make interventions, the democratic government requires strategic capacity.
Without doubt, the strategic capacity and capability of the government requires a strong capacity for formulating and co-ordinating policy in the strategic centre of government - the Presidency.
However, this would require effective and efficient delivery systems as well as capable and motivated human resources at this centre and at the level of the provincial and local government throughout the country. As service delivery primarily occurs at the level of provincial and local government, it remains critically important for the centre of government to ensure that strong strategic capacity is also developed at these levels of government.
In conclusion, let me emphasise that people have to understand the strengthening of public administration within the context of fundamentally transforming the state and developing institutional capacity for a developmental state.
Bab'u Nxamalala, Mr Zuma, we are told that when strategic capacity at the centre is weak, the plans of government become ill-informed and unco-ordinated and budgets are based on unrealistic and unsound assumptions. Left unattended, this could result in future incoherent strategic policies and macroeconomic instability in the country. The ANC supports the budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms M N MATLADI / END OF TAKE
Ms N N SIBHIDA
Ms M N MATLADI: Hon Chairperson, the Presidency is the highest office around which the weal and woe of the country revolve. The aim of having such an office is summed up well in that it has to provide leadership in the development and management of the government strategic agenda. To this end, we in the UCDP are at ease that the office fulfils its mandate. [Applause.]
However, we would like to raise the following issues that need to be addressed by the Presidency. Firstly, we are aware that at the time when the annual reports had to be presented to the House, the Presidency failed to do so and thus made it very difficult for members to know if it had reached its strategic objectives or to know about the gaps that might be existing in fulfilling these objectives. It's a concern we believe has to be addressed.
We congratulate the Presidency for establishing the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities. We shall await the mainstreaming and co-ordination plans that the hon Minister has promised to unfold in the other spheres of government, including provinces and local government municipalities.
Mopresidente yo o tlotlegang, ga twe ntime o mphele ngwana.
And the UCDP takes note that our youth is our future and that the plethora of youth institutions overseen by the Presidency had always been confusing in addressing youth problems across all spectrums.
We nonetheless welcome the fact that in the state of the nation address the President promised his intention to launch the National Youth Development Agency formed by the merger of Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission, which happened on 16 June this year. And we applaud him because he leads by example; his promises are met.
The magnificent projects and programmes mounted by government are less well known because the GCIS is found to be wanting and the UCDP recommends that there be an improvement in the communication of this Ministry.
Finally, the UCDP joins the Presidency in applauding Bafana Bafana for work well done and also hopes that South Africa wallops Brazil tomorrow and does wonders also in the coming 2010 Fifa World Cup. The UCDP supports Vote No 1 – The Presidency. I thank you. [Applause.]
THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT / END OF TAKE
Ms M N MATLADI
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Hon Speaker, Mr President, Deputy President, hon members, it's my honour to participate in the debate today and to speak on our international economic relations. The past three decades have seen a deep integration of economies across the globe.
This integration, although not always on our own terms, has profoundly changed our world. Within this new world there have been deep challenges: challenges about the outcomes of integration, about the unequal power relations and about policy frameworks. However, there have also been opportunities for economic development and to promote international co-operation.
While the global economic crisis has raised serious and fundamental questions about the policy framework of integration, at the same time the desirability of nations working, trading and investing together is no in doubt. But on what terms do we do so?
Economic orthodoxy, as the standard model for that engagement, is now undergoing a meltdown with painful effects on the poor; and indeed, many fast-growing economies have not followed the precepts of such orthodoxy in their domestic policies.
One of the key goals of government is to reposition South Africa globally, based on our people's needs, not narrow ideological considerations. This will enable us to advance our electoral mandate.
As we engage with the powerful economies of China, India, Brazil, the EU and the US, we need to reflect how we can leverage more and better jobs from these economic relationships. Our trade and investment can be structured to maximise the local employment dividend.
But our agenda is also an African agenda. We seek to develop African economies, not as an act of solidarity only, but as fundamental to meeting our national economic goals. We are not an outpost of Europe, and we must seek more economic opportunity, reciprocal investment and trade within Africa.
The trajectory of global economic development over the past few decades has been towards larger regional economies. The economies of scale and increased consumer markets, the synergies between regional industrial producers, the secure sources of raw materials, the skills pool - all the benefits that flow from strong regional economies - are considerable.
The African continent is an opportunity awaiting innovative approaches to development. As a recent UN report noted, Africa is endowed with human and natural resources, environmental diversity and cultural richness. The continent is youthful, with over 920 million people, of whom 60% are under 25 years old. This is a huge resource; today and tomorrow's labour force that needs to get into productive and decent work.
The ending of a number of civil wars and the consolidation of democratic rule has been accompanied by robust economic growth averaging 5,9% between 2001 and 2008, though largely driven more recently by commodity price increases.
However, Africa's contribution to the global economy is disproportionate to its benefit from that global economy. Our coal and oil provides the energy needs elsewhere; our minerals are transformed on other continents into manufactured goods; and our agricultural output feeds many across the world. Global companies have found the continent a ready place for mining operations; a market for goods and services; and a solid base from where to repatriate profits to their home base.
Africa is an exporter of skills. Skilled personnel trained with the limited taxpayers' monies as doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers are snapped up by developed countries. Take the example of Ghana. According to a 2005 European Union Commission report to the European Parliament, the UK made savings of a £100 million in training costs from the recruitment of the 1 314 Ghanaian doctors and nurses practising in the UK. Ghana is neither the only nor even the largest contributor to this perverse form of development aid from the South to the North.
The continent faces other deep challenges. Africa has 12% of the world's population, but it accounts for only 1% of the world's global GDP, and only 2% of world trade. If Africa's economy was proportionally the size of its population, it would be 12 times larger than it is today. It is this gap that creates an opportunity for development and inclusive growth.
However, the opportunities are under enormous strain today as the fall-out of the crisis that emerged, not in Africa, but in the US, causes damage to the economies of our continent.
One of the most significant dangers is that of a deep de-industrialisation in which the continent continues to lose many of its key manufacturing sectors and enterprises, and sinks deeper into being simply a provider of raw materials to the rest of the world. That danger, of deepening the colonial pattern of simply exporting unprocessed agricultural and mining output and importing manufactured goods, is real.
In the current global architecture, the structure of trade is stacked against Africa. The global economic crisis may have not created, but it does seriously exacerbate, these deindustrialisation pressures.
So what does development entail? Is South Africa and the rest of Africa destined to be the modern day's hewers of wood or drawers of water? Or, can we build a different vision for South Africa and indeed the African region, as a major industrial economy with strong supply linkages across our borders, an economy based on innovation, skills, science and technology and fair labour standards, and driven by strong domestic demand in our economies?
The development agenda for South Africa contains the seeds of a new growth path for the African continent. There are connections between what we do at home and what happens in the region. Many elsewhere in Africa agree with this perspective. For example, the programme of infrastructure development needs to be linked to a continental infrastructure plan. Industrial policy at home should also be mirrored by a broader Africa-wide industrialisation strategy.
There are enormous opportunities for us in developing an integrated production and supply chain across the region. These opportunities, however, go with responsibilities. We need to ensure that the conduct of our people and South African business practices elsewhere on the continent befit our status as a proud member of the African community of nations. The economic crisis has shown that Africa is not decoupled from what happens in other industrial economies, and that it constitutes a powerful argument for co-shaping of the global financial, economic and social architecture.
One year ago, the International Labour Organisation's tripartite constituents adopted the Declaration of Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation. It provided a far-reaching vision of placing people at the centre of economic policy, affirmed that labour is not a commodity and that poverty anywhere constitutes a danger to prosperity everywhere. And it began to put in place one part of the new global social architecture that we require.
More recently, hon President, ILO member states grappled with how to respond to the global jobs crisis. Following discussions in which South Africa played a key role, and where Deputy President Motlanthe spoke at the plenary of the conference, the tripartite parties adopted a Global Jobs Pact. It contains an employment response to the economic crisis and it mirrors in many areas South Africa's framework agreement adopted locally in February this year.
The Global Jobs Pact provides for the following: measures to accelerate employment creation, job recovery and sustaining enterprises; building social protection systems and protecting people; strengthening respect for international labour standards; using social dialogue, bargaining collectively, identifying priorities and stimulating action; and shaping a fair and sustainable globalisation.
Indeed, hon President, you will be pleased to note that our domestic social dialogue inspired and shaped this international consensus. We will drive implementation of the framework with the urgency that is required. We also take this national vision into discussions in other international fora.
At the WTO, we seek an outcome of the Doha Rounds, that is, development. The emerging outcome does not adequately address South Africa's industrialisation agenda, and in its current form it will cause steep job losses in our economy. We will, therefore, seek to positively influence the outcome so that it leaves South Africa with policy space for new industrial development, support employment in vulnerable sectors and expand decent work opportunities in the local economy.
Government will enter into discussions with the EU regarding the proposed economic partnership agreements. The objective will be to highlight the dangers these agreements pose for regional economic integration, given the conflicting legal obligations they introduce among members of a single customs union.
Within the international financial institutions, principally the IMF and World Bank, South Africa has called for major reforms. Their governance structures need a revamp to increase the voice of the developing world. Their mandate needs to be reviewed to ensure that it better reflects development goals, including decent work outcomes.
In conclusion, as we reposition South Africa to take advantage of responsible and balanced economic relations in Africa, with the global South and with traditional trading partners - as you, hon President, set out in your vision – we will engage strongly with the local business community and with organised labour to seek a national consensus. We will seek consensus on maximising the impact of these opportunities for creating local jobs, development of the region and the continent. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S P KOPANE / END OF TAKE
THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Ms S P KOPANE: Hon Chairperson, hon President, it is such an honour and privilege to be standing here today as a new member of the fourth democratic Parliament of South Africa and to deliver my maiden speech.
Hon Chairperson, let me start by reminding us, as we are sitting here today, that fellow South Africans have gone out in numbers to cast their votes on 22 April, based on their wishes and dreams for a better life. More than half of the electorate are women. These women have demonstrated a distinctive approach to decision-making in advocating for change and for more equitable justice for all.
Although we are celebrating Freedom Day on 27 April annually, South African women are still facing challenges of poverty, unemployment and exclusion from education. Women are still excluded from accessing land and credit. They face high rates of sexual abuse, domestic violence and HIV/Aids.
South Africa is still considered to have one of the highest rates of male violence committed against women. Hon Chairperson, these women start to ask themselves: What is freedom; are we really benefiting from what we have fought for?
I strongly believe that true individual freedom cannot exist economic security and independence. Mr President, during your inauguration you made a commitment to our people and to the land, and I quote:
For as long as there are women who are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse, for as long as there are children who do not have means nor the opportunity to receive a decent education, we shall not rest and cannot falter in our drive to eradicate poverty.
Motsamaisi wa Dipuisano, baahi bana naha ya rona ba batla hore ba fuwe mosebetsi ba tsebe ho itshebeletsa. Mosotho a re, mphemphe e a lapisa, motho o kgonwa ke sa hae. Baahi ba rona ha ba batle ho fuwa di-food parcels, baahi ba rona ha ba batle ho fuwa di-grants, baahi ba rona ha ba batle ho ba mekopakopa.
You cannot force people to be self-reliant. People have to become self-reliant. People must have confidence in their own knowledge and skills, in their ability to identify their own problems and find solutions in order to better their lives and make independent decisions.
The DA believes that an open opportunity society gives the citizens the ability to follow their talents and dreams, and to support their families. However, while a small elite in South Africa is well protected in their comfortable jobs, millions of South African people are still facing a life-time futilely searching for productive employment.
Social grants remain the most effective form of poverty alleviation. As of 31 March 2009 more than 30 million people receive social grants, more than 8 million of whom are children, as stated by the President during his State of the Nation Address.
Motsamaisi wa Dipuisano, re ke ke ra iphapanyetsa ho hloleha ha mmuso ona ho tlatsa dikgeo tsa mosebetsi Lefapheng la Thekolohelo ka batho ba se nang boikwetliso kapa ba sa rupellwang. Mmuso o duletse ho tlatsa dikgeo tsa mosebetsi ka bomphato ba bona ba dipolitiki, mme sena se sitisa phumantsho ya ditshebeletso bathong ba borona.
Ditheo tsa mmuso tse kang NDA, National Development Agency, le Sasa, South African Sugar Association, di lokela hore di be le batho ba rupelletsweng hore setjhaba sa rona sa Afrika Borwa se tsebe ho una molemo. Re dula re utlwa ka di tlaleho tsa bobodu le manyofonyofo, bahlanka ba mmuso ba phahameng ba nkga lefotha ho ajweng ha dithendara.
Diphuputso tse ikemetseng tse hlokang leeme, tse akaretsang mekga yohle ya dipolitiki di lokela ho thakgolwa hanghang. Re ke ke ra dula re phutha matsoho ha barui ba iketsa barui ka tjhelete ya setjhaba, ha mafutsana a kolla ntsi hanong.
While an impressive social grant system exists in South Africa, it excludes many millions of South Africans who are of working age, but who have no prospect of ever finding gainful employment.
The state old age pension is a lifeline for many elderly people, but the recipients must pass the means test, which excludes many needy people who have tried to provide for their old age. The DA urges the President to provide a universal old age pension for all South Africans. [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA / END OF TAKE
Ms S P KOPANE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Hon Chairperson, Mr President, after your state of the nation address, the stand you have taken at the World Economic Conference is indeed very praiseworthy.
Mr President, since you are so very interested in clean administration, we would like you to have an anticorruption squad, like India's CBI, that can investigate, confiscate and detain politicians and public servants for unaccounted-for enrichment.
There are certain structures that fall directly under The Presidency. We are indeed glad that the Minister has elaborated in detail on the issue of the promotion and advancement of the youth, and the establishment of the NYDA. However, the MF strongly believes that it requires more structuring.
The MF proposes that what would be of more benefit to the youth would be consideration of a law, to be called the the "Youth Employment Act". However, it is very important that in equity legislation we must not only add the various racial agendas; it must be prescribed by law that a minimum percentage of those employed in the public and private sectors must be youths. The MF strongly urges you, Mr President, to create a Ministry and department for youth affairs.
As you are aware, June 16 was very highly recognised this year, after you had assumed the role of President. The very fact that a record number of youths have come out and registered, means that they are interested in the affairs of the country, and indeed they must not be left behind.
It is very important that the Presidency reflects the broad cross-section of the province's population - Madiba set a perfect example - in that the employment of your staff shows the composite of the nature of South Africa's multicultural society.
Mr President, you spoke about reaching out to other political parties. The MF proposes that you create an informal political party leadership forum so that, over a cup of tea, we can regulate and exchange views with you. [Interjections.] It is very important that we show not only in words, but in deeds, that we are working across the party-political divides. Even when you have to take staff or advisors, etc, do not ignore people who may not belong to the majority party.
Mr President, historically, the two "Ps" became historical like Madiba. You came from the prison to the Presidency. These are facts of history that are very significant. I am sure that the Presidency, under your leadership, will be very vibrant. Remember the example of President Obama. He selected an outstanding team and we also want to commend to you that we would like to see senior appointments to the Presidency coming from the youth.
The MF strongly believes that the war against poverty should be in the Presidency.
The CHAIRPERSON: Hon member, unfortunately, your time is over.
Mr R B BHOOLA: Mr President, we wish you well, and all the best. [Applause.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, may I ask you a question, sir? What was unfortunate about the fact that Mr Bhoola's time had expired? [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON: You wanted him to speak more? Unfortunately, we are regulated by time.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS / END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Chairperson, hon President, Deputy President, hon members, political revolutions are about, among other things, the capture of state power and it is used to advance the objectives of fundamental social transformation. This task must be carried out consciously and intentionally as its creation will not be an accident or what Uncle Jack Simons described as a natural, spontaneous growth arising from interaction between individuals each seeking their own interest.
Accordingly, developmental states are social constructs arising out of unique historical domestic and global contexts, as well as the struggles taking place in those given contexts.
All previous national democratic revolutions, especially in Africa, have been political revolutions. When national liberation movements hitherto achieved independence, they seldom destroyed the old state machinery. More often, they merely took over the structures, processes and systems of the old order, as well as their bureaucratic administration and went on working along the old lines.
It is for this reason that Uncle Jack Simons says that in Africa, hitherto, when national liberation was achieved, there has most often been continuity and not revolution.
Having drawn sufficient lessons from this African experience as well as our own 15 years of democracy; we have said that we have arrived at a moment of national renewal, which includes renewal at the level of the state itself as an instrument and site of transformation.
The state is a vital feature in the effort to bring about the revolutionary changes that we seek, to ensure that we succeed in the effort to construct a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa that belongs to all who live in it.
The achievement of political freedom in South Africa coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, which was seen as the triumph of the neoliberal policies, also known as market fundamentalism.
Whilst this set us along a course of democratisation, it simultaneously also set limits to what we could do. What further compounded our efforts were both the facts that, first, our political settlement was an outcome of a negotiated arrangement where the politically defeated forces still retained political influence as well as their economic power and dominance.
For significant democratisation and redistribution, they needed to co-operate. And secondly, the challenge in 1994 was not only that South Africa had been an apartheid, colonial society, with severe poverty and inequality, and stagnation, but a further reality was that it was a developing nation with one of the most unequal societies in the world.
From the outset, South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy has been predicated on the rejection of the neoliberal perspective of the state and on a bias towards the poor. The state we are constructing in South Africa is one which places strong emphasis on the role of development and democracy.
In his book, How Rich Countries Got rich and Why Poor Countries Stay Poor, the Norwegian economist, Erik Reinert says:
History reveals how rich countries got rich by methods that by now had generally been outlawed by the conditionalities of the Washington Consensus.
The fact is that without a strong and activist state during their early years of development, colonising foreign countries and driving development in favour of the capitalist class, currently developed countries would not have reached their current levels of development.
Consequently, to argue for a small and inactive state today is an ideological construct aimed at entrenching the political and economic dominance of those already dominant.
Neo-liberals used the collapse of the Soviet Union to cajole the world into a tragic era of market fundamentalism; and they are now exploiting the current global recession to seek to revive this obviously failed and disastrous agenda.
Whilst not outrightly rejecting the role of the market, the new government has positioned the state such that it is able to drive economic growth and development. The debate in South Africa has not been about whether or not the state has any role to play, but has been about the content of such role.
This perspective has been greatly buttressed by the current global recession which has placed greater emphasis on the need, inter alia, to regulate the market because on its own it deepens socioeconomic disparities and leads to the impoverishment of vast masses of the people who lose their jobs, livelihoods and dignity.
The developmental state is expected to lead the process of economic and political transformation. It is underpinned by the vision of reconstruction and development as an integrated process, consistent with the vision of the Freedom Charter and the RDP. Central to this vision is developing both the planning capacity of the state as well as a monitoring and evaluation machinery.
Both these elements could better be pursued within the framework of co-operative governance and guided by the Constitution, whilst we bear in mind that South Africa is neither a unitary nor a federal state. Whilst the three spheres can be perceived as interlocking, each with a measure of autonomy to deal with matters assigned to it by the Constitution or relevant legislation, they nonetheless exist within the framework of a single, united state.
To emphasise autonomy whilst neglecting unity is dishonest. National planning does not take away the autonomy of provinces and the local sphere from them. On the contrary, it will enhance the pursuit of their own mandates by assisting them using a national instrument to set themselves clear objectives informed by a national perspective. And they will benefit from the accumulated knowledge, experience and know-how of other equivalent structures through emulation. It would assist to eliminate duplications and to exploit already existing knowledge and capacities.
National planning does not mean the same thing as the old notion of central planning and hence it cannot be dismissed simply because others have a phobia for or nightmares about the period of central planning.
Of course, one of the most important lessons of the past 15 years has been that without a strict monitoring and evaluation mechanism, you cannot effectively measure progress achieved or identify and correct mistakes made.
Monitoring and evaluation is not so much about policing individual members of the executive or public servants; it is about ensuring that in strictly pursuing set targets, we can identify where mistakes are made or targets are not being met and thus can intervene accordingly. It is to ensure that we respect our public mandate as the state and spend the public funds wisely and in terms of the agreed programmes.
Failure to implement our programmes as the state, and wisely to spend public funds amounts to total disrespect for the public.
These measures, collectively taken, assist to enhance the democratic developmental state and ensure that we shift the focus away from the size of the state to its role, capacity, objectives and programmes – to what it is doing fundamentally to transform the lives of our people.
In this regard, it is important that we support the Presidency in its efforts, as the President stated it in his address earlier, to improve its capacity to provide capable leadership to and oversight over government as a whole.
Contrary to what the opposition and some sections of the media have been saying, the current reorganisation of the government has more to do with renewal and improving the capacity of the democratic state than merely creating jobs.
Such a view disparages and makes vulgar what is a well thought-out and comprehensive vision, which the President earlier outlined with incisive eloquence and insight.
The argument about the size of the state is a tired argument and the issue the Presidency has raised today is about what role the state should play to ensure that we address the fundamental challenges of our society as a developing country.
The leadership role of the President cannot be reduced to chasing other people's soundbites and media statements. It is in how he provides a bold vision to the country and organises government to discharge its responsibilities effectively to fulfil its mandate and meet the genuine aspirations of the vast majority of our people.
Let the DA read newspaper editorials and formulate its policies based on these - anyway, they co-author these editorial opinions. Thank you.
Mr N T GODI / END OF TAKE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS
Mr N T GODI: Chair, comrades and hon members, in your state of the nation address, Mr President, the APC identified with a wide range of critical issues contained in the MTSF for 2009 to 2014, whose accomplishment we believe would give material meaning to the freedom we have. But as we pass this budget, the key issue is implementation - ensuring that the executive delivers on these commitments. The main challenge in government has been co-ordination, planning, monitoring - both politically and administratively - as well as capacity.
Yes, Mr President, we can have all the right things we want to do. But if the machinery of government is not fixed, all will come to naught. Let probity, efficiency and economy be the operational norm at all levels, buttressed by an exhortation to fight waste and embezzlement in government. Let's teach, promote and practise revolutionary morality in the service of our people.
The APC is concerned about the effective use of consultants in government. Trends show a worrying increase in this practice on a year-to-year basis. It was over two billion from 2006 to 2007 and over four billion from 2007 to 2008. Despite the passing of legislation to avoid conflict of interest, the APC notes with concern the fact that there is no 100% compliance from senior management on such declarations, and this has led to the disturbing performance audit report by the Auditor-General of entities that are connected with government employees and doing business with government departments.
The APC is concerned that this report should not only be acted upon by Scopa, but that the Presidency should have an active public interest in it and act on it.
The APC believes that the trajectory that government has set for itself while it requires the co-ordinated effort of all departments demands that the Department of Higher Education and Training should be centrally positioned. The reality and the experience of other developmental states require that there should be a sufficient pool of skills to drive it.
Currently we have a serious skills deficit. If this is not addressed, the developmental state will remain a slogan. This should speak to the need for a fundamental review of the structure, direction and access to higher education, as well as the working of the Setas. The Setas need a serious review. Generally, they have not had the kind of impact that was expected of them.
Lastly, whilst all the wrong people are making noises about the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is a conspiracy of silence on the worsening plight of the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and especially East Jerusalem.
The APC applauds the position of Russia as stipulated by President Medvedev in Cairo, Egypt, yesterday on the Palestinian question. It was in sharp contrast to President Barack Obama's wishy-washy statement a few weeks ago, also in Cairo. When the people are bombarded, besieged, humiliated, starved, their property seized and destroyed and members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers detained for years without a charge, the question arises: Where are the so-called defenders of human and people's rights? Where is the International Criminal Court? [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms S P RWEXANA / END OF TAKE
Mr N T GODI
Ms S P RWEXANA: Chairperson, hon President of the Republic, hon Deputy President, hon Cabinet Ministers and hon members, it is a well-known fact that for much of history, women have somehow been seen as less than men. Once again the issues of women are being seen as part of a pot of problems.
The establishment of a Ministry is a gesture and no more than that. The big question is: How effective will it be? It is a known fact that a women's Ministry has never worked elsewhere in the world because the issues that affect women are cross-cutting and wide-ranging.
A women's Ministry that narrows the focus will impede the struggle of women. Furthermore, Cope does not believe that adequate consultation took place prior to its establishment. It might have taken 12 months to create this Ministry, but it will now take 12 years to get it to work effectively, if at all. [Interjections.]
Ms Z A KOTA-FREDERICKS: Chairperson, on a point of order: I think the hon Rwexana was a co-author of the women's Ministry.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! That was not a point of order.
Ms S P RWEXANA: Unfortunately I am not at the moment! [Laughter.]
Cope also finds it very puzzling that the government has lumped together women, youth, children and people with disabilities into one mini-department catering for about 70% of our largely vulnerable population. What sort of measurable targets will the Ministry be setting and within what kind of timeframes is it going to operate?
More significantly, how will this Ministry impact on males and male attitudes? A quarter of men in South Africa, who were recently surveyed, acknowledge having raped a woman. As male attitudes underlie many of the most serious problems that women face, how will this Ministry deal with this problem that gets carried over from year to year without any progress? [Applause.]
Government declares that it hopes to mainstream gender, disability, children and youth issues by co-ordinating ... [Interjections.]
Ms J D KILIAN: Chair, on a point of order: I just want to request, Chair, that you ask the Chief Whip of the ruling party to keep his members controlled. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon member, I think the speaker is audible. That is why we are here to judge whether there is anything that interferes with the speech. But for now, let the speaker continue.
Ms S P RWEXANA: Government declares that it hopes to mainstream gender, disability, children and youth issues by co-ordinating focal points in the offices of Premiers, mayors and in departments. I don't believe for one moment that such mainstreaming will occur. Co-ordinating is not enough. The programme needs to be driven, and it must be seen to be driven.
The announcement by the President at his inauguration that this new Ministry, now headed by hon Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, would emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for the vulnerable groups of the society is highly commendable.
Last year, the outgoing Minister in the Presidency, hon Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, spoke about the establishment of a women's fund being part of the Ministry.
We in Cope would like to know whether such a fund has been established and what amount of money is going to be made available through such a fund. Looking at the budget line in table 1.6, I only see an amount of R12,8 million set aside for supporting programmes covering gender, disability and children. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): There is a point of order, although there isn't actually any time left for a point of order. I call Mr Mike Ellis. [Interjections.] Order! Hon members, can we respect the decorum of the House. We have guests sitting in the gallery. I hope they are looking at you as hon members.
The MINISTER OF LABOUR: Chair, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for the two hon members there to point fingers at other members, almost as if they are going to cut them. She is still doing it!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! We will come back to this point. You can continue, hon Ellis. We will make a comment later.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, it is always interesting to watch the hon Minister of Labour talking about other members of the House pointing their fingers. Says he - pointing his own finger!
Sir, you must learn that when you talk about people pointing fingers you don't point your own finger. [Interjections.] That doesn't worry me at all, I can assure you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! Hon Ellis, can you please pause a bit. You can take a seat.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon M J Ellis, could you just pause a bit. Please sit down. Hon members, I see those gestures continuing. And indeed it is not parliamentary to do so. Because they were provoked from my left, I see some responding also from the right. [Interjections.]
Yes, it happened. I will therefore call for the House really to be in order, and then let's just respect the decorum for the dignity of the House. Such gestures are not allowed. And if indeed any member continues to do so, we will then be forced to take measures. You may continue, hon Ellis.
Mr M J ELLIS / END OF TAKE
Ms S P RWEXANA
Mr M J ELLIS: Thank you very much indeed, Mr Chairperson. Mr Chairperson, the hon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela referred to the hon Trollip as her white son. And it gives me great pleasure this afternoon to announce to the House on behalf of the hon Trollip that he is indeed proud to be the white son of the mother of the nation. [Applause.]
Mr President, this really has been quiet the most extraordinary debate. I would say on a scale of one to 10, in terms of interest and excitement, it probably will get a pretty low score. One has to wonder what happened to the good, old-fashioned, robust political debate that used to take place in this House.
I think the only interesting moments in this debate so far, apart from the DA members who spoke, of course … [Laughter.] … was when the hon leader of Cope lost his place in his speech, the hon Buthelezi did a jig at the podium, and the hon Madikizela-Mandela spoke. A callback from the past! And then of course just to liven things up a little bit, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs really did make some very silly remarks about DA policy and the media.
The reason why I mention this at all is because my job in this debate is to take on the ANC, the governing party, who may have said some pretty ugly remarks about the DA during the course of this debate. But nothing has happened. It is really terribly, terribly disappointing indeed. [laughter.]
I have to admit that I stand here with very little to say, but I want to say to the hon Manuel and the hon Nzimande that they could have been given the pleasure of speaking before me because I would no doubt have had lots to say. But that's life.
Mr President, you have been on a charm offensive, as you know, not only you, personally, but also through your Ministers. The change of tone in the debates generally in this Parliament and in the Budget Vote debates has really been very noticeable indeed.
It is clear, sir, that your slogan, "Working together we can do more", is on the surface, at least, meant also to include the opposition parties and it is indeed interesting to note that every Minister now talks positively about the opposition and encourages us. This is quite amazing. They encourage us to point out government errors and to put questions to them and their Ministries. Mr President, I promise you, we will not let you down, we will put many questions to the Ministers in the months and years to come.
But quite frankly, the change is noticeable and most welcome. Because we are an opposition does not mean that we are unpatriotic, as some members of the ANC have tried to claim over the years. We are all proud South Africans. We have only the interest of this country at heart.
The fact that we may approach the problems from a different point of view and offer different solutions to the many and varying problems of this country, should never lead to our patriotism being questioned, and we appreciate the change very much indeed. But obviously it does not mean that the opposition parties, and the DA in particular, are up for sale or for co-option.
The DA has a proud history of providing an honest, hardworking opposition to the government and holding the executive to account at all times. We are now equally proud of our achievement in winning the Western Cape and being in government in this province. We are confident that we will show the ANC how to govern over the next five years. [Applause.] It will indeed be a fascinating time as JZ and HZ govern the respective governments with their different styles. In five years' time the voters will have a fascinating chose to make between two very different styles indeed.
In conclusion, Mr President, I do want to say that we do welcome the changes that you have brought to government. We appreciate very much the attitudes to the opposition parties, and we do look forward to working very closely with you. Thank you very much indeed. [Applause.]
THE MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING / END OF TAKE
Mr M J ELLIS
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Chairperson, Mr President, Deputy President, hon members and comrades, I welcome the opportunity to participate in this important budget debate. This is not my maiden speech, so I'm continuing where I left off in 1999.
I would like to address an important matter that the President has consistently and correctly raised: How to minimize the impact of the current global economic crisis on the most vulnerable.
Umyalezo wethu Sihlalo, obalulekile namhlanje ukuthi lengxaki esikuyo yezomnotho, yinkinga edalwe ngongxowa akungabi-ke abantu bakithi abahluphekayo okufanele kube yibona abakhokhayo bekhokhela inkinga engadalwanga yibona
In order also to appreciate the enormity of the challenges at hand, it is important that we must properly understand the genesis of the current economic crisis. It can be argued that its genesis is two-fold: Firstly, crises are no accidents, but are inherent in the capitalist system itself, as it is by its very nature a system sustained through the exploitation of a global impoverished majority by an increasingly globalised privileged minority; it's unsustainable levels of consumption; the enormous ecological damage it inflicts on our environment as a result of its insatiable pursuit of private profit; and the accompanying cycles of overproduction and underconsumption.
But the most immediate genesis of this crisis was the unregulated financial markets in the US and the crass capitalism that sought to extract maximum returns from those who could least afford it, starting in the subprime housing market. The burden and suffering of this has proportionately fallen on the workers and the poor, with millions of job losses across the world. This constitutes incontrovertible proof that contemporary neoliberal approaches to the global economy have failed.
In fact. It strikes me that when I left Parliament, there was an organisation here called the Democratic Party, DP; now I come back and there is an organisation here called the DA. I had thought that the poverty that faces the majority of our people constitutes the biggest threat to our country, but there is another form of poverty that is coming a close second – the poverty of ideas from the hon Trollip and the Chief Whip of the DA. Here is an opportunity provided by the President to say this is what we want to try and improve the functioning of government as well as to co-ordinate government better. There are absolutely no ideas.
It is interesting, in fact, that most of the ideas that were pushed by the DA are the very same ideas that have led to the current global economic crises that we face, but they are unable to tell us how to get out of this. [Interjections.] In any case, the less said about that, the better.
Our starting point in dealing with this crisis must be the framework agreement collectively agreed to by Nedlac. This document correctly argues that low-income workers, the unemployed and the vulnerable groups can lose much through even a relatively brief economic shock. It can destabilise their welfare, including their jobs, health and education, and increase inequality and poverty; and that our first concern must be to avoid these outcomes.
We are very proud that South Africa is just about the only country in the world that adopted a collective approach to this crisis. Therefore Parliament has a very crucial role to ensure that indeed this agreement is implemented. Parliament should play its oversight role, so that it becomes part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
The framework agreement also differs from most responses in other parts of the world in that it is anchored around a state-led, multibillion rand investment into infrastructure, including EPWPs. The significance of this strategy is threefold: Firstly, it is not a bailout-driven strategy, necessary as bailouts may be; secondly, it rests on a job-creating strategy, including skills training and retraining; and thirdly, it underlines that state-owned enterprises are vital in our economic development agenda, now and into the future.
These are all key elements of an integrated industrial strategy. The framework agreement also continues to commit to protecting and expanding decent work and that the conditions of the workers and the poor have to be addressed directly, through employment creation programmes, promoting sustainable livelihoods, public investment, and effective social relief and support.
South Africa has now entered its first postapartheid recession. The global economic situation presents for South Africa both constraints and opportunities. It is for this reason that we need both defensive and offensive strategies in response to the crisis. These require a bold vision, not dictated to by the intellectual and policy bankruptcy of the very same forces that brought about this crisis.
The best way to protect the vulnerable is to keep workers' jobs and create new ones. The framework agreement commits us to minimising retrenchments, as well as investment in public infrastructure. We want to assure you, Deputy President, that in so far as the national human resources development strategy is concerned, my department is indeed going to be working closely with your office in order to make sure that this strategy does two things at the same time: contributing to dealing with the immediate crises, but also laying a foundation for building the productive capacity of South Africa's economy.
Government is also committed to accelerating essential social transfers, including increasing access to free basic services, such as water and electricity, to the poor. Government will also, through the framework agreement, progressively and steadily, starting in 2009, extend the Child Support Grant to age 18 – to be phased in, as captured in the agreement.
An even bigger effort is called for on the part of public sector workers that all social assistance programmes by government are vigorously and timeously delivered. The progressive sections of the organised working class understand clearly what we mean when we say this, that this as a call to revolutionary duty to deepen and defend our democracy.
I am not talking about fly-by-night trade unions that are being formed through the newspapers every day. [Applause.] I am talking about a genuinely revolutionary trade union movement.
The framework agreement also emphasises the importance of co-operatives. This is something that has huge potential in our country and we need to make sure that we strengthen this. I would also like to turn our attention to something that we are not talking enough about: These crises originated in the financial sector and spread to affect the rest of the economy, but we seem to have forgotten now about looking at our own financial sector. What role is it playing in the light of the call by the President to say that working together, we need to tackle this crisis.
Worryingly, we hear that the most vulnerable workers are prematurely taking retrenchment packages; banks are repossessing 6 000 cars and 4 000 houses a month, and auctioning off properties. The National Credit Regulator has received over 80 000 applications for debt counselling, and continues to receive them at a rate of 7 500 per month. Of those, 60% include debts for mortgage bonds from banks averaging R500 000.
This means that R16 billion in mortgages is affected by debt counselling, yet, unfortunately, the banks are obstructing the debt counselling process. This has forced the National Credit Regulator to go to court to seek a declaratory order to restructure these debts, as banks are refusing to co-operate. I think it is important that we call for the banks to engage in the Financial Sector Charter Council to discuss concrete ways to shield consumers from losing their homes and other possessions.
Most consumers, in any case, are in trouble because of credit extended during the wave of reckless lending by banks immediately before the National Credit Act was passed in 2007. [Applause.] The Governor of the Reserve Bank has recently and correctly expressed his frustration at the high interest rates charged by all our banks. The Competition Commission has found that bank charges in South Africa are excessively high, with no competition amongst banks.
It was the private financial institutions in the first place that got us where we are, and therefore we need to closely examine how our own banks are conducting themselves in this period of deep economic crisis. That is why we are saying we should go back to the Financial Sector Charter Council and actually discuss the role, hon Trollip, that these banks should be playing in a collective manner through structures that have been created to deal with this.
Credit bureau blacklisting is proceeding as if we do not appreciate the economic crisis. Should we not be having a national debate on the need for a moratorium on blacklisting of those directly affected by the recession?
Only if all of us collectively and positively respond to this crisis shall we minimise its impact on the workers and the poor in our country. That is why this Budget must be supported, because it is about improving and co-ordinating better government performance under the leadership of our President.
There is one plea I would like to make, maybe not to you, hon Mfundisi Dandala, but directly maybe to the gentleman sitting next to you. [Laughter.] Frankly, I think Cope must stop lecturing us on democracy. You have not gone through a single democratic process since your convention. [Applause.] You are sitting here in this Parliament on a list that was concocted at Emperor's Palace behind people's backs. I think that we need to follow what uMama Madikizela-Mandela was saying, that we do need to build people's power in order to have democracy. You can't tell me that an organisation born out fleeing from democracy in Polokwane has a right to come and tell us about democracy. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Is there a point of order? Hon Minister would you please take your seat?
Mr SHILOWA: Chairperson, on a point of order: I object and call for a point of order on the member saying we are sitting here on the basis of having run away from democracy. [Interjections.] We are sitting here on the basis of 1,3 million votes. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING: It is not a point of order, it is a different point of view that he wants to place. I think it is also important to say to the Chief Whip of the DA it is a shame when an hon Member of Parliament wakes up in the morning to come and participate in the debate on the basis of what he has read in the newspapers, because it is not true.
Let me just clarify the issue of free education for you that we are talking about. The ANC's manifesto states:
… free education up to first tertiary qualification for poor students and no student who is deserving, but poor, must be denied an opportunity to access tertiary education.
[Applause.] That is not free education for the rich.
Laba abanemali abahambe bazikhokhele izingane zabo, khona sizokwazi ukuyokhela lezi zingane eziqhamuka emakhaya la kuhlushekwa khona. Ngiyabonga kakhulu Sihlalo. [Ubuwelewele.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Thank you, hon Minister. Just to get back to the point of order, we don't think it was a point of order, because the hon speaker said "their party". He did not mention any person in particular. So it was a reflection on a particular party. In that way then, there was no point of order.
Mr M S SHILOWA: Chairperson, with due respect on the ruling, I would like for it to be checked against the Hansard. He said he was not directing this to Dr Dandala, but to the gentleman sitting next to Dr Dandala. He then said, and I want you to check the Hansard, "You are sitting here on the basis of a list concocted," and there was no such a thing. I want you to check the Hansard and then give us the ruling.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): There is another point of order.
MINISTER CORRECTIONAL SERVICES: Chairperson, on a point of order: Will you please ask the member to remove his hands from his pockets when addressing hon members? [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon members, we will have a look at the Hansard and then we will come back to it in another sitting. It does happen sometimes that members do speak with their hands in their pockets and there is no rule in Parliament on whether this is unparliamentary or not.
THE MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
The MINISTER OF HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Chairperson, Speaker, Mr President, Deputy President, hon members, it's a bit disappointing when Mike Ellis finds nothing to rile me with so late in the afternoon. President Zuma, in announcing his new Cabinet last month, established a Ministry for Planning in the Presidency. Before discussing the broad objectives, key institutions and the proposed Green Paper, I wish to briefly sketch the context and rationale that gave rise to the need for a planning ministry.
Countries that have grown rapidly over two to three generations have often had clear strategies which required difficult trade-offs and a careful sequencing of policies. Often, long-run growth and development requires long-term investments in people, in democratic institutions and in infrastructure. Countries are often reluctant to make correct trade-offs, because trade-offs sometimes imply pain in the short-term or pain for some people, with long-term uncertainty. If a country chooses to spend more on education, it must spend less on something else. If a country chooses to invest more, it must consume less.
Governments all over the world are confronted with this dilemma of how to make trade-offs that involve long-term benefits and short-term pain. Democracies instinctively deal with policies that provide benefits within a single term of office. But many of the challenges that confront us today require a much longer-term perspective.
Addressing our skills constraints requires a long-term perspective. Reducing unemployment requires a long-term strategy. Reducing CO2 emissions requires a long-term plan. Addressing our future water and food requirements require long-term plans that have opportunity costs in the short-term with payoffs in the longer term.
The creation of a planning ministry in the Presidency is about incorporating these ideas into our policy-thinking and enabling government to make long-term investments, even though the return may accrue long after we've left office. Most importantly, it is about governments learning to do better.
A government which is focused on the development imperative and on improving both the quantity and quality of services to citizens must place an emphasis on its own learning. Much of this learning arises from the rigour of analysis of the implementation of its policies. The authors, Ashraf Ghani and Clare Lockhart, in their book, Fixing Failed States, share the following observation of how things fall apart. They observe that -
Various centres of power vie for control, multiple decision-making processes confuse priorities, citizens lose trust in the government, institutions lose their legitimacy, and the populace is disenfranchised. In the most extreme cases, violence results. This negative cycle creates a sovereignty gap.
It is this fragmentation that we seek to avoid and now, against this backdrop, I would like to address myself briefly to the comments in the speech this afternoon by the hon Leader of the Opposition. I am a bit worried, mama, you've owned him as your son, I praised him the last time and he's off the rails already. [Laughter.]
You see, when we express, as you did this afternoon, hon Trollip, a resistance to ideas for change that are premised on equity, when we express a yearning for the status quo ante, then we linger back to the days of apartheid, of deep inequality and we try to block democracy.
In any government anywhere in the world – and you can look at parliaments across the world, the trend is the same – there will be ideas, embryonic; they find resonance within a government and are taken forward. Part of taking the ideas forward is to formulate legislation. That legislation is not imposed by edict or decree. They go to a democratically elected parliament where they are debated, amended and then adopted.
There is nothing wrong with it, in fact, it is kernel to the existence of democracy, but many of the Bills you spoke of this afternoon don't even exist. So we will credit you for having such a fruitful imagination, but many of the Bills that you spoke of don't even exist. [Interjections.]
If we want to deal with the issues, then wait. Don't construct the straw man and don't open the debate on the national health insurance when there aren't even ideas on the table. The Minister of Health in the debate on the state of the nation address said, "Please don't shoot it down".
Allow us to formulate the ideas - that will be done in closed rooms. Once the ideas have been clarified and tested and there is a collective responsibility of government, when we bring it to Parliament, there will be an opportunity to debate it. Don't shoot it down, because you should not be party to denying the fundamentals of democracy in this country. [Applause.]
I can tell you about the 17th amendment as well, and I would invite you to look at the Gazette of 15 June and see the preconditions set out in the 17th amendment and then, sir, you will understand how wrong you were in what you said here this afternoon, but we will leave that for when the 17th amendment is debated after there has been public comment on the issue. I do, however, invite you to read that Gazette, sir.
To sketch the context for the planning ministry, allow me to outline what the broad roles and functions of the Presidency are in relation to planning. To do this, we need to locate the functioning of the Presidency in our system of government. The seat of the executive of government is Cabinet, headed by the President. The executive arm of government has to operate collectively. This implies that key decisions are taken collectively and members of the executive share collective responsibility and accountability for the decisions of the executive.
What you need to understand is that the hon Nzimande can't say anything to criticise me in public, because we are collectively responsible for the same things.
The Presidency has many functions, three of which are key in setting out the context today. The first is the policy coherence function: It is the task of the Presidency to ensure policy coherence throughout government, that policies support the overall objectives of government, that inconsistent policies are changed, unintended consequences are recognised and managed and contradictory policy outcomes in government are minimised.
A strategic approach to planning that sets out a coherent vision backed by clear and measurable targets and programmes does not materialise out of thin air. Institutions and mechanisms are needed. The economist, James K Galbraith, sets out the argument for planning thus:
The experience of the wider world - even that of the most despised countries - provides no general case against economic planning and also none in favour of unfettered markets as a substitute for the planning system. On the contrary, it shows that in a properly designed system, planning and markets do not contradict each other. They are not mutually exclusive. Rather, the choice of one or another for any particular problem is a matter of what works best for the purpose. It's a question of a social and political division of labour, of what tools are needed for what goal.
It is this background that a number of members here, the hon Dandala, the hon Buthelezi, hon De Lille and also the hon Meshoe, refer to. It's correct; planning has to be a core part of democracy. You shouldn't want to throw it overboard, because it used to have the term "central" and that was a kind of swear word. Planning has to be part of what we do. Hence the output of the planning function is clear direction, a coherent vision for the future supported by medium and long-term plans.
These plans should encapsulate the priorities of government and articulation of the policy trade-offs it faces and its key policy choices. These plans and policy choices are to be made by the executive, collectively. The role of the Presidency is to lead the process of developing a coherent agenda and plan for government.
The second role of the Presidency is to ensure that the agreed-upon agenda is reflected in the work and priorities of all of government, to ensure policy co-ordination in government. In any system, individual ministers, government departments, provinces, municipalities, state enterprises and other agencies should shape their actions in terms of an overall agenda or plan. This policy co-ordination function is carried out through Cabinet directly by the President, through cabinet committees, through clusters of Directors-General, through Minmecs, the President's Co-ordinating Council, through the budget and numerous other institutions and processes in government.
The policy co-ordination function is critical to ensure that government's agenda is implemented with the vigour and consistency that citizens expect and hence it is located in the Presidency. In summary, it is about driving the agenda of government.
The third function is the performance management function: The Presidency must develop the capability to monitor the performance of government, evaluate the impact of programmes and to intervene where performance is suboptimal. This function is not about removing the accountability that vests in individual ministers, provinces or municipalities. It is a recognition that citizens expect more and better from their government and holds the executive collectively responsible for delivery. There are several techniques to drive better performance, the details of which will emerge in the next few weeks.
Our marching orders here are the clear focus on performance and accountability set out by President Zuma in his state of the nation address. Two elements in his tool box are the ability to set clear targets linked to government's priorities and to intervene to unblock institutional blockages to better performance.
These three functions of the Presidency are, obviously, interlinked. They cannot be separated through artificial barriers. Government's plan and priorities must drive the setting of targets. Assessments of performance must feed into the co-ordination role of government and inform what the agenda should be in various government clusters. Information gleaned in the monitoring function informs government's agenda and the agenda determines what is measured and monitored.
President Zuma, Deputy President Motlanthe, Minister Chabane and I have collective responsibility for these three roles. We are politically accountable for these roles. However, all Ministers, Parliament and each institution in government are also accountable for performance and delivery and have specific responsibilities to ensure that government indeed achieves its objectives.
Minister Chabane and I have agreed to release two Green Papers at about the same time: One dealing with planning and co-ordination and the other dealing with performance monitoring and evaluation. The purpose of these Green Papers is to provide all stakeholders with a sense of government's thinking in this regard and provide them with an opportunity to input into the process of deciding how these functions will be performed.
It is like legislation, hon Trollip. We don't come here and say, "Let's think about what we should put in the Green Paper". We take a few ideas, put them together and say let's have a discussion about it. That's how democracy works. Welcome.
The precise role and function of the Planning Ministry and the National Planning Commission, as well as the importance of a national strategic plan and vision that has the support and backing of the wider society, will be outlined in the Green Paper to be released for discussion, probably by the end of July or perhaps early August. It is intended that this Green Paper will be presented to Parliament as a discussion document. So we look forward to your engagement on these matters, because we need an active discussion about it.
Let me turn now to one or two of the specifics of the planning function. The planning function will co-ordinate the process whereby government develops its long-term vision and plan. This long-term plan must take into account the key long-term challenges facing our country and articulate the vision for the type of society that South Africans desire.
The process whereby Cabinet collectively agrees to the MTSF is the second major task of the planning function. This document sets out government's priorities, informs resource allocations and provides a framework for the sequences of programmes and reforms. The MTSF then needs to be broken down into detailed outcomes that can be used to inform the priorities of government. For example, if the MTEF says that raising the literacy rate of Grade 3 school learners is important, then this is what the Presidency will measure, and this is what will inform interactions between the Minister of Basic Education and the Presidency, certainly acting through Minister Chabane, in the instance.
The Planning Ministry has a key role to play in building the organisational and technical capability of the state to ensure government delivers on its policy commitments. We envisage the creation of a point of synthesis in the Presidency, which would develop links with organisations such as the Development Bank of South Africa, DBSA, the Human Sciences Research Council, HSRC, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, CSIR, and other science councils, universities and relevant think tanks to provide expert opinion on long-term developmental issues such as water security, climate change, food security, defence capability and migration.
The expertise exists in the country and does not have to be replicated in the Presidency. What we do need is the capacity to commission research, to synthesise the evidence and to be able to feed these into the policy processes in government.
There is also a need to encourage a more systematic approach to long-term planning in government and in state-owned enterprises. This is particularly true in sectors such as spatial planning, energy, transport and water security where long-term perspectives are vitally important. This is critical for private sector investment, too. Investment in the mining sector requires policy certainty and energy security in the energy sector. Land-use planning and agricultural investments are, obviously, intertwined.
What will the planning function not do? I would like to say to the hon Meshoe, in his absence, the planning function will not set government up for failure. We haven't come here, we haven't fought a hard battle, we haven't won the trust of the electorate of South Africa to come here and say that now we are going to set up a Tower of Babel, now we will self destruct, and we want to fail to serve the people. We will do everything but that.
There is a notion floating around in some circles that the Presidency will take over existing planning responsibilities from national departments and state-owned enterprises, SOEs, and even from provincial and local governments. I have heard the hon Ellis say that the Planning Ministry will even have to do the dental implants in hens to prepare for the day when the DA rules.
As my preceding points on the role and functions of the Planning Ministry show, nothing can be further from the truth. Microplanning and sectoral planning will not be undertaken from the centre. Rather, the Planning Ministry will seek to encourage, support and harness sectoral and subnational strategic plan-making and initiatives – I think you should prepare a sepia copy. It is going to be very, very, very old before it ever sees the light of day – and mainstream these within the national planning process.
That is giving concrete expression to sectoral priorities and priorities emanating from provinces and municipalities. I just need to bring others into play. This picture that Mike Ellis has here is of a hen with teeth. It's because I said to him that the DA is becoming the government in this country – there is a better chance of hens growing teeth. So, they've now produced a hen with teeth, but it is still not likely. [Laughter.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, as I said to hon Manuel once before, this is photographic proof of the fact that hens do grow teeth, and he will know very soon that the DA is governing the whole country, not just the Western Cape. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION (Mr T A Manuel): And pigs will fly but not give flu! [Laughter.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, I've got a photograph of a pig flying, too. [Laughter.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION (Mr T A Manuel): A further misconception that has been created is that the Presidency will play the role of gatekeeper for plans and that all government institutions would be required to get clearance from The Presidency before any plan is adopted. This would be both foolish and undesirable, let alone totally impractical, leading to massive delays in implementation. On the contrary, the task of The Presidency would be to ensure that the quality of planning by government departments, SOEs and provincial and local governments achieves a high standard, and that the quality of planning in these institutions continues to improve.
Finally, Chairperson, there are many questions that will still have to be answered. The administration has only been in place for six weeks. We request patience and space to be able to work through this very complex set of issues. We are not taking them lightly, and we aren't being silly about them. But I think that we learnt from our own experience, and there are certain issues of security that are fundamentally important to the future of this country, water being one amongst many. In several cases, Ministers have to sit down together and work out who does what. Some of these are not straight-line functions.
you want to deal with water, you need the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, but you also need the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. You need the Ministry of Mining; you need the Ministry of Energy; you need co-operative governance; you need Science and Technology.
There are a series of different things that we have to do together, and these are the solutions we must provide, drawing on the quality, expertise and research that is available in this country. It is these kinds of tasks that I think we must understand to together define our collective commitment as public representatives of the people, to democracy, not just for now, but into the future.
So, as we deal with these issues, I want to assure the House that we will be guided by a spirit of co-operation and collective accountability. Turf wars are just simply unacceptable. It will take time to resolve some of these issues and construct the proper fit, and I think we want to say to Members of Parliament, in good conscience, that we will work at this and continue to work at it because it is quite an unprecedented undertaking.
We are working tirelessly to refine the system of government to define our roles and allocate responsibilities. In some ways, this is an ongoing process, a process of perpetual improvement. In other ways, some of the institutions are new and require time to mature. I assure you that we will involve this entire House and other stakeholders in discussions on these critical issues facing our country. The Green Paper processes will contribute towards refining the way in which the centre of government works.
Our endeavours, hon members, are premised on the need to strengthen democracy, to strengthen the trust that citizens have in this democratic government and its institutions. Our efforts are for a better democracy, capable of anticipating and responding to the needs of all of our citizens. The budget of The Presidency is about providing all of this to improve on the quality of our democracy, and we ask that you support it as you have indicated this afternoon. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Thank you, hon Minister. Order! That concludes the speakers' list. The President will reply to the debate tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 19:03
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