Hansard: Repeal of Black Adminstration Act & Amendment of Certain Laws Amendment Bill / Minister 's Responses / Member 's Statements / Recommendations of Candidates for Appointment of SABC Board
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 14 Oct 2009
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:03.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
NOTICES OF MOTION
START OF DAYNOTICES OF MOTION
Mr D M GUMEDE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House discusses the need to develop tourism as a key component of economic growth in South Africa.
Mrs S P KOPANE
Mr D M GUMEDE
Ms S P KOPANE: Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates, in light of it being World Food Day tomorrow, South Africa's progress towards reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of South Africans experiencing extreme hunger and poverty by 2015, and possible solutions to create an enabling environment for sustainable development.
Ms B N DAMBUZA
Mrs S P KOPANE
Ms B N DAMBUZA: Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That House debates the progress made by South Africa in realising children's socioeconomic rights, especially in the provision of human settlements.
Mr L W GREYLING
Ms B N DAMBUZA
Mr L W GREYLING: Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the urgent need for the regulation of political party funding, so as to enhance transparency and entrench our multiparty democracy.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Mr L W GREYLING
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Hon Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House -
(1) notes with sadness, that Winston Monwabisi Mankunku Ngozi, passed away on Monday night;
(2) notes that the acclaimed tenor and soprano saxophonist was 66 years old;
(3) offers its heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ngozi;
(4) further notes that Ngozi's debut album, Yakhal' inkomo, literally translated from Xhosa meaning "The Bellowing Bull", was released in 1968, the same year he was awarded the Castle Lager Jazz Musician of the Year Award in South Africa;
(5) expresses its appreciation for Ngozi's life-long commitment to the fight against apartheid;
(6) notes that his album Jika received acclaim for its musicality and its political consciousness as it featured exiled musicians Bheki Mseleku and Russell Herman;
(7) recognises the immense contribution that Ngozi made to South African music and pay tribute to him for bridging the gap between South African and American jazz music; and
(8) acknowledges that we have lost a great South African and legend, who, through his music, was deeply connected to South Africa and its people.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before the next hon member speaks, can I make a request? I take it that all of us are not Sub A kids. But our level of noise is much higher. I don't think we need to be reminded that people need to hear whoever is speaking. Please, keep the noise level down.
Mr P J RABIE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the possibility of opening the labour market by introducing a two-tier labour market in which smaller companies in the informal sector are allowed more flexibility regarding the temporary employment of staff services, provided that they apply fair labour practices. Our present rigid labour regime inhibits economic growth and job creation.
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr P J RABIE
Mrs C DUDLEY: Madam Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the ACDP:
That the House debates the financial constraints facing provinces as they roll out highly active antiretroviral and prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission-treatment programmes, and whether or not treatment targets in the HIV and Aids and STI – sexually transmitted infections - strategic plan for South Africa 2007 to 2011 are being met.
Dr A LOTRIET
Mrs C DUDLEY
Dr A LOTRIET: Madam Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the introduction of a South African languages Act.
Mr M M SWATHE
Dr A LOTRIET
Mr M M SWATHE: Deputy Speaker, I give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates current problems surrounding the collapse of farms given to beneficiaries of the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programme, and comes up with possible solutions.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE / GG .../TM / END OF TAKE
Mr M M SWATHE
DEATH OF JAZZ LEGEND
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes with a deep sense of loss the passing away of the legendary South African jazz saxophonist and musical genius, Winston Monwabisi Mankunku Ngozi;
(2) further notes that Mankunku, saxophonist extraordinaire, began to play piano and trumpet at a tender age and progressed to the saxophone in his mid-teens;
(3) acknowledges that for many years thereafter, Winston thrilled and entertained audiences locally and worldwide with his extreme musical skill, artistry and creativity, and his talent and experience made him a sought-after commodity for many of South Africa's and the world's top musicians including Barney Rachabane, Victor Ntoni, Chris Schilder, Monty Weber, Dollar Brand, Pat Matshikiza, Darius Brubeck, Chick Corea, Jack van Poll, Joe Henderson, Toots Thielemans and Manu Dibango, to mention but a few;
(4) further acknowledges that Mankunku's family was uprooted from their home and relocated to Guguletu under the notorious Group Areas Act in the early 1960s, but this did not deter him from playing music and excelling and using his talent to inspire social, economic, cultural and political change in the country;
(5) recalls the many accolades bestowed upon this South African musical icon, including a South African Music Award in the category "Best Traditional Jazz" in 1999;
(6) recognises the enormous contribution Mankunku made to the development of jazz in South Africa, so much so that he has been acknowledged by many of his peers as a beacon for trends and styles in the genre and one of the most respected composers in jazz; and
(7) conveys its heartfelt condolences to his family and the musical fraternity on the loss of one of the truly great musicians of our time.
I thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
INTERESTS OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES OF THE SOUTH
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that South Africans are deeply conscious of the importance of developing and sustaining multilateral forums which address the interests of the developing countries of the South;
(2) further notes that a key foreign policy objective of our government is to build strategic partnerships with developing nations of the South to strengthen our participation and influence within international institutions which govern trade and financial relations;
(3) acknowledges that the interests and needs of the South have had only a marginal influence on decisions taken by these institutions and that the formation of strategic partnerships between these countries will work to strengthen their voice in multilateral organisations;
(4) welcomes President Zuma's recent state visit to Brazil and the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the promotion of trade and investment that will be beneficial to both countries; and
(5) believes that President Zuma's state visit has succeeded in consolidating the strategic partnership between our two countries and has affirmed the active and leading role of both South Africa and Brazil in empowering the nations of the South.
I thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mrs M N MATLADI
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
DEATH OF OLGA KEKANA
Ms M N MATLADI: Hon Deputy Speaker, the UCDP moves without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes the unfortunate and regrettable death of Olga Kekana on Sunday in Mabopane, Pretoria, where she was tragically killed, and that Andrew Tshingo and Sophie Kgagare were also shot during the same incident; and
(2) conveys its condolences to the family and loved ones of the lady who was killed and also wishes those who were injured a speedy recovery.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Mrs M N MATLADI
AFRICAN UNION MARITIME CONFERENCE IN DURBAN
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House –
(1) notes that from 12 to 16 October 2009, the African Union Ministers of Transport responsible for maritime transport will gather in Durban for a conference under the theme "Creating a Safe, Secure and Clean Maritime Transport Industry in Africa";
(2) further notes that the main objective of the conference is to adopt a continental policy and strategic framework in the form of an updated African Maritime Transport Charter and review the implementation of the 2007 Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action on Maritime Transport in Africa;
(3) acknowledges that the African maritime transport industry in particular is exposed to numerous challenges, including the escalation of piracy activity, dumping of toxic waste and illegal fishing in its costal waters;
(4) believes that the conference provides an opportunity for African countries to review the performance of the maritime transport industry in Africa and reflect on strategies to deal with the challenges facing our maritime transport industry; and
(5) wishes all the participants well during their deliberations.
I thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
MEMBERS' STATEMENTS: Ms H F MATLANYANE (ANC) / keh checked /
END OF TAKE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Ms H F MATLANYANE (ANC): Deputy Speaker, the ANC is committed to a comprehensive and clear rural development strategy, linked to land and agrarian reform and the improvement in the conditions of farmworkers and farm dwellers, and one that builds the potential for rural sustainable livelihoods.
Small businesses in rural areas, in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing and farming, are expected to get an added boost from government's Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has finalised the framework for the programme and has begun developing a Green Paper on Rural Development and Land Reform, which should be ready by the end of the year.
The ultimate goal of the programme is the creation of vibrant rural communities. The direction of the Green Paper will be strongly informed by the pilot projects the department has established in various provinces. Following the national launch of the programme by President Jacob Zuma, in August, at Muyexe, Limpopo, the department identified over 21 projects in Muyeze alone covering a wide range of interventions.
The ANC appreciates the significant progress that is being made by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in ensuring acceleration in fight against poverty in the rural areas. Ke a leboga. [Applause.]
Ms L D MAZIBUKO
Ms H F MATLANYANE (ANC)
COSTS OF MOTOR VEHICLES BY GOVERNMENT
Ms L D MAZIBUKO (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, eight months ago, a senior executive member of the Finance Ministry summed up the responsibilities of the government as follows:
Budgeting is not only about expanding expenditure, it is also about rooting out waste. A greater sense of responsibility needs to permeate the ethos of government all the way through the accountability chain. Our resolve will be tested to the limits. We have to put self-interest aside.
I have a tip for the author of these words, a Tip for Trevor", as he likes to call it. That tip is as follows: when you say, "act responsibly", "don't waste", "put self-interest aside", you can't then go and buy R1,2 million worth of luxury vehicle with taxpayers' money. [Interjections.] You can't then go and spend R100 000 on luxury accessories.
One would have thought that the hon member would be familiar with the notion of an opportunity cost. This administration has now spent more than R42 million on motor vehicles, which is R42 million less than can be spent on basic services and infrastructure that the people of this country so desperately need.
And of this R42 million, nearly R1 million has been spent solely on accessories. We are told that these are essential in helping Ministers perform their jobs. They include such essential items as electric rear-screen roller sun blinds, rear-seat entertainment centres and DVD players, media interfaces and navigation systems, high-gloss setting chrome finishes. Hon members responsible for these indulgences should explain to the House how they advance their service delivery mandates. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms S P RWEXANA (Cope)
Ms L D MAZIBUKO (DA)
Ms S P RWEXANA (Cope): Madam Deputy Speaker, the shoot-to-kill sentiment expressed by several ANC leaders was ill advised. Mahatma Gandhi made the following very insightful remark: "I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent."
Yesterday again, another police officer while killed while on duty. Advocacy of violence serves to beget violence.
We are not saying that what happened yesterday was linked to the statements about shooting to kill, but we are saying that it just frees the criminal to greater acts of criminality.
As Cope, we are outraged that the protectors of our citizens continue to find themselves so unprotected and so vulnerable. Our hearts go out to the next of kin of the slain officer of the Gauteng Traffic Police's antihijack unit. He was so cruelly taken away from his family by the two merciless men who killed him on the R558 in Klip River. They must be hunted and brought to justice.
As the deaths of police officers continue to mount week after week, each death serves as a bitter indictment against the ANC-led government. The government is unable to provide democratic, activist and strategic leadership. Clearly, this government is unable to cope; it is not coping very well at all. We in Cope who can cope call on all communities to become regular activists on their own accord in order to curb the rampant crime and violence in our country. [Time expired.]
Mr S J NJIKELANA (ANC)
Ms S P RWEXANA (Cope)
INVESTMENT IN BMW SA PLANT
Mr S J NJIKELANA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC welcomes the announcement by BMW SA that it will invest an additional R2,2 billion in its Rosslyn plant, outside the City of Tswane. The investment will enable maximum plant capacity to increase from 60 000 to 87 000 units while securing production in South Africa for the future.
The ANC views this initiative as creating an environment for more labour-intensive production methods that support local job creation and build public-private partnerships. The investment shows confidence by big business in the future of South Africa's economy and will not only guarantee jobs, but also develop skills in the Gauteng province, which will serve as a major boost for the South African economy.
This initiative will enable us to defend our economy in the present global and domestic economic climate and help advance our own developmental agenda. I thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI (IFP) / GC / END OF TAKE
Mr S J NJIKELANA (ANC)
ESKOM TARIFF INCREASE AND PUBLIC HEARINGS
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, Parliament and South African people have been duped. The National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Nersa, granted Eskom a tariff increase of 45% each year for three years after a tariff increase of 27% last year and 31% this year. This means an overall increase of 509% in four years. The people of South Africa cannot afford this.
South Africans had no say in this indirect form of taxation without representation. When it appeared before the Public Enterprises portfolio committee, Eskom was allowed to refuse to tell Parliament how large a tariff increase it was requesting and to withhold the copy of its application to Nersa, even though the same application had been given to Salga and other stakeholders.
Parliament could not debate this fundamental matter, and it was labouring under the false impression created by press reports of a once-off 40% increase. This is nothing short of contempt of Parliament, the sovereignty of the people and the basic tenets of our democracy. The people must now pay and shut up, with no recourse. It is almost grounds for a tax revolt.
Eskom's capital and infrastructure expansion programme could have been funded through Treasury, giving the people a say in the budgetary process in this Parliament. Instead, this hidden form of taxation is unfair. It is inherently regressive, forcing the poor to pay more than the rich. This increase will deepen the economic crisis. It increases the cost of all goods and services and boosts inflation. If the government was trying to give a crutch to the stumbling economy, this act of folly kicks the crutch away. Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker.
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM)
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI (IFP)
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM): Madam Deputy Speaker, crime figures in this country are a matter of great concern. Tension and conflict in working situations arise in the best of environments. In many communities, murder and rape are no longer infrequent or isolated crimes. Newspaper headlines, radio and TV coverage very regularly attest to the seriousness and extent of these criminal activities.
The Daily News reported the death of a police officer who was shot in cold blood when he tried to stop a suspicious vehicle with no registration numbers. It was reported that Mr Sebe had been married for only eight months and was expecting to be a father of a new baby in the new year. It is time we stop pointing figures when these things happen.
The UDM urges all of us to unite in the fight against crime. As Martin Luther King put it:
We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.
As long as there is crime in the world, no one can be totally safe. I thank you. [Applause.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: We are having statements to the House. Ministers are expected to respond to these statements to the House. When I look across the isle, I see Ministers laughing, joking and talking to each other and not listening to the statements. I think that is contempt of Parliament. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! No, that is not a point of order. [Interjections.] Hon member, that is not a point of order.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: It may not have been a point of order, Ma'am. But the point is made nonetheless. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Hon member, I didn't say you must speak, please. When Ministers are laughing or talking, it doesn't necessarily mean they are not listening.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Deputy Speaker, I know some people can multitask, but I'm not sure if the Ministers can. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I didn't say you must speak.
Mrs M T KUBAYI (ANC)
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM)
DRUGS IN WESTERN CAPE SCHOOLS
Mrs M T KUBAYI (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC-led government wishes to unequivocally reject the notion by some sections of the media that the Minister of Basic Education purposefully misled Parliament in a reply to a question about drugs in Western Cape schools. It is common knowledge that the Minister of Basic Education has to obtain information relating to provincial schools from the province in question. The Minister's office could not get the necessary information from the Western Cape education department within the time constraints which apply in respect of replies to questions - the prescribed period of time. The Minister's reply therefore clearly indicated that no data from the Western Cape was available.
However, it is a matter of serious concern that the Western Cape department was much quicker in supplying the necessary information about drug use in schools to the media than to the Minister. The ANC condemns in the strongest possible terms attempts by parties like the DA to try to sensationalise and distort information in order to try to embarrass the ANC government and to score cheap political points. The education of our children is too serious to play games with. We call on the DA in particular to use questions in Parliament for their proper purpose in order to put out correct and responsible information to the general public. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs M N MATLADI (UCDP)
Mrs M T KUBAYI (ANC)
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN AFRICA
Ms M N MATLADI (UCDP): Hon Deputy Speaker, on 5 October 2009 and 6 October 2009, the Pan-African Parliament held its women's conference in Midrand, South Africa, which discussed the eradication of all forms of violence against women, especially female genital mutilation – FGM.
Ten action points for parliamentarians in Africa to support efforts on FGM abandonment were drawn up. The West African countries were reported to be more highly affected by the FGM practice than others. A CD or audiovisual of this practice in Ethiopia was shown to both the women's conference and speaker's conference participants. It was horrible. It was torture to witness what happens to some African girls and women all in the name of culture.
The conclusions and proposals endorsed at this conference were noted by the conference of speakers of national assemblies and presidents of senates held on 8 October 2009 and 9 October 2009 under the topic "Linking the Pan-African Parliament with National Parliaments and Regional Parliamentary Unions".
The UCDP supports the efforts to abandon this barbaric and torturous act and believes that girls and women have to be free and safe in Africa. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP)/ keh / END OF TAKE
Mrs M N MATLADI (UCDP)
PRESIDENTIAL HELP LINE
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Madam Deputy Speaker, President Zuma announced some time ago that any person who has a complaint can phone his office or submit a complaint. It appears, unfortunately, that this initiative has failed dismally and has in fact become an embarrassment for the President because his office cannot cope. [Interjections.]
I wish to offer further proof of this presidential embarrassment. I have been in contact with the Ministry of Defence about a very important matter for about a year. I was faithfully promised finality by the former Minister eight months ago. Since then I have written various letters to the Minister, and made various telephone calls, but I get no reaction from the Minister of Defence and I am simply ignored. In desperation I reported the Minister of Defence to President Zuma more than a month ago. The result: I did not even get an acknowledgement of receipt from the Presidency. Nothing! So what are we saddled with? Nothing less than administrative paralysis in ministries and the Presidency.
I ask you, Deputy Speaker, if a Member of Parliament is totally ignored by a Minister for months and then also by the Presidency, what does it say to us? It says that South Africa is dangerously moving in the direction of a failed state. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Mr M L FRANSMAN (ANC)
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP)
Mr M L FRANSMAN (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC condemns the cowardly murders by Mitchells Plain gangsters of innocent community members. Recently, community policing forum street committee members on voluntary night guard duty were killed and wounded by bullets sprayed in the dark. On 11 September 2009 a defenceless wheelchair-confined father of three, Mr Vincent Naidoo, was killed in cold blood in Westridge. A few days ago, on 9 October 2009, grandfather Mervyn Jacobs, a street committee chairperson, were shot dead in Tafelsig. In speaking to Ms Jacobs, she informed me that her husband had recently sent a young man for tik rehabilitation.
We thank the national Minister of Police who visited the area yesterday, together with the MEC in the Western Cape. The Minister visited the police and the families of the deceased, and also spoke to representatives of the 40 000-strong street committee in Mitchells Plain. We congratulate the police on arresting the possible suspects.
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA)
Mr M L FRANSMAN (ANC)
ESKOM TARIFF INCREASE
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, after a long time of speculation and rumours, Eskom finally decided to make their multiyear price determination available to the ordinary tariff payer. According to this application, Eskom wants to start with a 45% increase for each of the next three years. This increase, according to Eskom, is to pay for the rising cost of generating electricity and also to pay for the ambitious built programme of R385 billion. This, at a time when the cost of coal has fallen by 59,2% in August from a year ago. We all know that South African coal is among the cheapest in the world, and we must use this national asset to the benefit of all citizens of this country. This is also in the same period during which the DA made available documents showing that Eskom is not run cost-effectively.
The National Energy Regulator of SA now has the responsibility to decide on the application. We as the DA therefore call on Nersa to relook at their mandate. We call on them to make sure that the public-participation process is used as effectively as possible and to give as many interested parties as possible an opportunity to make these submissions. We also call on Nersa to take the interests of all tariff payers into consideration and to look at what impact these proposed increases will have on the economy of the country.
We also call on the Department of Energy to release their integrated resource plan as soon as possible so that everybody can know what the future programme of the government is for the generation of electricity. How can Nersa approve a multiyear price determination for Eskom ... [Time expired.]
Mr N J J VAN R KOORNHOF (Cope)
Mr J SCHMIDT (DA)
Mr N J J Van R KOORNHOF (Cope): Madam Deputy Speaker, Cosatu's unnecessary attacks in recent weeks on the hon Minister Trevor Manuel, that is, before he bought his new BMW, smell of political undertones. It is clear that Cosatu cannot accept that their representatives in government have lost the debate on the National Planning Commission and they are now starting to play the man.
Cosatu and its allies must understand that the development of macroeconomic policy is at a very sensitive stage and if we divert from the policies that were cast by the previous government, under the leadership of President Mandela and President Mbeki, South Africa and the region will pay a high price.
We in Cope urge the government to remain consistent in the application of tested mixed-economy principles. Only then South Africa will be prepared to rebuild and grow the economy after the recession. [Applause.]
Dr A N LUTHULI (ANC)/ [NPM]
Mr N J J Van R KOORNHOF (Cope)
OUTBREAK OF MEASLES IN GAUTENG
Dr A N LUTHULI (ANC): Deputy Speaker, this ANC-led government has made health care a priority and recognises that the most effective method of health care is preventive and promotive care through the primary health care approach. Hence, this government has emphasised immunisation as a priority and even extended the immunisation schedule last year. Against this background, it is quite disturbing to learn about the measles outbreak in Gauteng.
While one is concerned about the outbreak, we are heartened by the response of the government to contain the disease. The government of Gauteng has embarked on a massive immunisation drive that will target children from six months to primary and high schools learners. The Minister of Health has made that clear.
Infection control officers in all hospitals have also been requested to be on high surveillance for the disease and for ongoing public education to be provided through clinics all over the country. It is hoped that the disease will be contained to Gauteng. However, we call on all health departments to be on high alert and be prepared to contain any outbreak that may go beyond Gauteng. [Applause.]
Mrs A STEYN (ANC)
Dr A N LUTHULI (ANC)
MOUTSE AND MATATIELE CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES
Mrs A STEYN (DA): Deputy Speaker, the confusion around government's position on two controversial cross-boundary municipalities continues. The announcement by Minister Shiceka indicated that referendums would be held at Moutse and Matatiele in order that the residents of those communities would be able to make their own decisions in a democratic manner whether to remain as they are or to return to their original provinces.
The referendum which was held at Moutse determined that voters want to be incorporated in Mpumalanga. The people of Moutse have had their say and hopefully peace will prevail. Yet, despite these promises, Matatiele residents are still in the dark, and although dates have been given, uncertainty still reigns as the Minister of Public Works has now added to the confusion by stating that the residents of Matatiele will not have a referendum and that a decision was taken that they would remain in the Eastern Cape province. This statement comes as a shock to the majority of the residents OF Matatiele who for years have fought their reincorporation into KwaZulu-Natal and who still intend to take the matter to the Constitutional Court in order to secure their rights as voting citizens of this country. This confusion must be cleared up immediately if government is serious about allowing the constitutional rights of its citizens to be upheld.
Mr N B FIHLA (ANC)
Mrs A STEYN (DA)
ELECTION OF MEMBERS TO LEADERSHIP POSITIONS AT ANC EASTERN CAPE CONFERENCE
Mr N B FIHLA (ANC): Deputy Speaker, on 11 September 2009, two Members of Parliament, Comrade Gugile Nkwinti and Comrade Lindelwa Dunjwa were elected to leadership positions at the ANC's Eastern Cape provincial conference. Comrade Gugile Nkwinti was elected as deputy chairperson in the province while Comrade Lindelwa Dunjwa was elected as an additional member of the provincial leadership.
This is, however, a show of confidence, trust and commitment to the cause of the struggle, led by the ANC that has led the people of the Eastern Cape to elect these two Members of Parliament to ANC provincial structures.
We believe, as the ANC, that because of their experience of service to the struggle for the attainment of a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous society, that they will discharge their responsibility to their newly elected positions with humility, courage and dedication. We congratulate Comrades Gugile Nkwinti and Lindelwa Dunjwa on their elections. I thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr N B FIHLA (ANC)
MOUTSE AND MATATIELE CROSS-BOUNDARY MUNICIPALITIES
The MINISTER FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Deputy Speaker, we are happy with what was raised by the hon member, because she said that she was confused like a molecule. [Interjections.]
In that respect, she requested that we give clarity on the matter. With regard to Matatiele and Moutse, we have gone to test the views of the people in Moutse. We will also be going through to test the views of the people of Matatiele. The process is going to take place. You must ensure that you fasten your seat belt.
We will be there to engage with people at that level. We engaged with political parties and organisations, but we didn't manage to get a solid view of where they want to be. That is why we then want to go to the people. Therefore, tell people they mustn't get confused, we will be there. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY / TN
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
INVESTMENT IN BMW SA PLANT
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY: Deputy Speaker, I want to respond to the statement by the hon Njikelana, who has understood that the announcement by BMW the other day was an extremely positive vote of confidence in the future of this country by one of the most dynamic motor manufactures in the world. Now, announcements of this sort ... [Interjections.] ... I don't drive one, unfortunately. Announcements of this sort are not accidental occurrences; they're actually the product of hard work.
In particular, the development of the Automotive Production and Development Programme and the confirmations that we were able to provide to BMW created the conditions of confidence that made this possible. Inputs from the Gauteng provincial government and the City of Tshwane were also very important in this regard.
The motor industry is an extremely important strategic industry in this country, not just in its own right, but also because of the linkages upstream and downstream.
Notwithstanding some unfortunate press articles, you can rest assured that we are working expeditiously and with the industry stakeholders to build confidence in the Automotive Production and Development Programme as a basis for positive investment decisions by other original equipment manufacturers and component manufacturers alike. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias)
The MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Mrs T V Tobias): Deputy Speaker, I'm going to respond to the statement by Cope relating to the economic policy. A question that crossed my mind was whether the hon Madisha and hon Dexter agree with how the hon member in terms of how he perceives trade unionism. It's very interesting.
I want to help the member understand class contradictions - that there will always be a fundamental contradiction between the working class and the ruling class. It's a fundamental contradiction in any revolution. [Interjections.] Listen; I'm giving you free political education. What you need to understand is that the South African economy is a mixed economy because South Africa is a developmental state. Therefore, we will always address the interests of all classes in society.
At no point have we reverted to Gear – the Growth, Employment and Redistribution strategy - as you are suggesting. That is why I wanted to know whether Madisha and Dexter agree with your proposal to take us back to economic growth that does not create jobs. So, South Africa is a developmental state and its economy is mixed, and it will continue to address the interests of all classes in society. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mrs J D KILIAN: Madam Deputy Speaker, I just wanted to make sure that the hon member is aware that she cannot refer to members without using the term "hon". Will she please rise and apologise to the House? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN AFRICA
DRUGS IN WESTERN CAPE SCHOOLS
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Deputy Speaker, I want to support the statement from the UCDP on violence against women, and agree with the speaker that indeed, as South Africans, we should stand together and fight the violence against women as we prepare for 16 days of ...
Mrs J D KILIAN: Madam Deputy Speaker, I have not .... I rise on a point of order.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: There's a point of order. What is your point of order?
Mrs J D KILIAN: Madam Deputy Speaker, my point of order is that we have not heard your ruling on the matter that I brought to your attention. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I will make a ruling when I need to. Will you continue, hon Minister? [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. As I said, I rise to support the statement from the UCDP. As we prepare for the 16 days of activism, we should indeed stand up together to mobilise our nation against this evil phenomenon. We should educate men in particular that real men don't abuse women. We should also educate our citizens that indeed women's rights and children's rights are human rights and they need to be respected. We hope that all the parties will join us, as an activist organisation, to rise up against women and child abuse.
I also want to thank the member of the ANC for the statement on education and say to her that indeed, regarding the reply I gave the DA, there was neither an intention nor reason to mislead the hon member. I did not have any reason to mislead the hon member by saying that no drugs were found in the Western Cape, if they were found.
What happened is that the Western Cape had not provided us with a reply. We used the information that we had at our disposal which, according to our records, indicated that they had 168 problematic schools. But because we didn't know whether they had been searched or not, we said that we were not aware of what had been found in the bags.
We further indicated with an asterisk in the reply that the Western Cape had not provided us with a reply. So, I want to thank the hon member for that information. I repeat: if there was miscommunication, my apologies. But there was no reason to mislead because there was no basis to mislead.
I think that with time, my colleagues would agree with me that it is quite difficult sometimes to account for things you are not responsible for. We are not responsible for collecting information in provinces and we don't keep that information. We are given unreasonable deadlines and are expected to respond, and this is a matter that we would like to engage with your office on. I think it is becoming a problem, as can be seen from this reply. Again, if there was miscommunication, my apologies. There was no reason or no intention to mislead at all. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before hon Minister Peters gives her response, may I appeal to all members of this House that when we address Members of Parliament, we address them as "hon" members. Could we abide by that rule, please?
The MINISTER OF ENERGY / C.I/MC / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
ESKOM TARIFF INCREASE AND PUBLIC HEARINGS
The MINISTER OF ENERGY: Deputy Speaker, in relation to the questions or the statement regarding the National Energy Regulator of SA allowing for public hearings, I just want to indicate that Nersa will be holding public hearings to afford the public and different stakeholders an opportunity to make their inputs to the MYPD 2 application – the multiyear price determination.
Unlike the previous interim application, in which only three public hearings were held in Gauteng, we have, as a department, encouraged Nersa to make sure that the public hearings are held across the country to afford more people and more stakeholders the opportunity to make their inputs.
In relation to the integrated resource plan, the IRP, we are still going through the final stages of consultation. As and when Cabinet has concluded the process, the IRP will be brought to Parliament. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr I VADI / Nb/nvs / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF ENERGY
PRECEDENCE GIVEN TO SECOND ORDER
RECOMMENDATION OF CANDIDATES FOR APPOINTMENT TO SABC BOARD
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Communications)
Mr I VADI: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am pleased to table the committee report, recommending 12 persons for appointment as nonexecutive members to the board of the SABC. The persons being recommended to the President for appointment are: Cedric Gina, Desmond Golding, Philippa Green, Peter Harris, Barbara Masekela, Anthony Mello, Clifford Motsepe, Dr Ben Ngubane, David Niddrie, Clare Frances O'Neil, Felleng Sekha and Ms Suzanne Vos.
These persons were selected from a broadly representative and inclusive list of over 230 nominees, 30 of whom were eventually interviewed. In finally selecting the 12 candidates, the committee was mindful of the criteria set out in the Broadcasting Act. We needed to ensure that those who have been selected had suitable academic qualifications; experience and expertise in the fields of broadcasting policy and technology; broadcasting regulation; media law; business practice and finance; marketing; journalism; entertainment and education; and social and labour issues.
The committee believes that the nominees, viewed collectively, possess the requisite skills, expertise and competence to provide proper and effective leadership of the public broadcaster, whose corporate image has been severely damaged over the past two years. This report, it is hoped, bring closure to a sad chapter in the history of the SABC.
Hon members will remember that the SABC was gripped by a severe crisis, the symptoms of which were a loss over R1 billion in the last financial year; a breakdown in effective corporate governance; a lack of common purpose and cohesion among former members of the board and the executive management, which impaired their ability to carry out their statutory fiduciary duties; and serious lapses in sound operational management of the SABC by the executive management.
As a result, we, as the committee, decided after a public inquiry to dissolve the SABC board and to appoint an interim board for a period not exceeding six months. The committee is decidedly impressed by the performance of the interim board. Within a short period of time, it has stabilised corporate governance at the corporation, resolved the legal dispute with the former group chief executive officer, resulting in his exit from the company, taken short-term measures to deal with the financial crisis, reached a salary settlement with labour unions, and it has taken the necessary steps to fill vacancies at the executive management level.
I'm also duty-bound to report on the investigation of the Auditor-General into alleged misconduct and financial irregularities at the SABC. The Auditor-General found between September 2007 and June 2009, firstly, that the organisational culture that prevailed at the SABC showed a complete disregard for the prescripts of the corporation's procurement and tender policy and of National Treasury regulations. Secondly, there appeared to be numerous cases of conflict of interest by SABC staff members doing business with the corporation. Thirdly, there were selected examples of alleged gross abuse of benefits, such as petrol cards by senior executive managers. Finally, there was a gradual breakdown in the lines of accountability and proper financial reporting.
Underlying these specific problems, the committee observed that there are significant deficiencies in the supply-chain management; numerous incidents of fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure; and an ineffective human-resource management system. The committee has called upon the interim board to take proactive steps to institute disciplinary action, including criminal prosecution if necessary, of SABC employees who may have defrauded the corporation or were engaged in irregular conduct. I am reliably informed that, in the next few days, the interim board will be announcing what action it will be taking against staff members who are alleged to have breached company policy or the law.
All in all then – don't speak too soon – it does seem that the SABC is overcoming its worst nightmare. A foundation has been laid by the interim board for a turnaround strategy for the SABC. What we now need to do is to look to the future. The first thing is to ensure a smooth transition from the interim board to the new board that will be constituted by the President.
The SABC must also develop a new and sustainable financial model. The Ministry of Communications has also issued a discussion paper on the public broadcaster, which will be finalised in the near future. As a consequence, the Broadcasting Act will have to be reviewed and possibly amended.
I trust that the House will approve the nominations this afternoon. I am aware that some of the opposition parties are not fully supportive of all the nominees. That is understandable, but I do think as Parliament, it will be important to demonstrate full support for the new board.
An HON MEMBER: Why?
Mr I VADI: This will be ... [Interjections.] Madam Deputy Speaker, there is a monkey hackling me on the other side. [Laughter.] This will be necessary ...
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: On a point of order, Madam Speaker: Is it parliamentary for a member to call another member a monkey? [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Withdraw.
Mr I VADI: Madam Deputy Speaker, I humbly withdraw, as I don't want to insult the monkey in the Johannesburg zoo. [Laughter.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION: Madam Speaker, sorry, but that is not acceptable. Once again, he inferred that the member is a monkey.
Mr I VADI: Madam Speaker, I withdraw. [Interjections.] I trust that the House will approve the nominations this afternoon. I am aware that the opposition parties are not fully supportive of all the nominees. That is understandable, but I do think that as Parliament, it will be important to demonstrate full support for the new board. This will be necessary, if we hope to get further progress at the SABC. The committee recommends that the House approve the nomination of the 12 candidates for appointment to the SABC board. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr N J VAN DEN BERG /M.L.//Mia / END OF TAKE
Mr I VADI
Mr N J VAN DEN BERG: Deputy Speaker, I am going to deliver my speech in Afrikaans.
Geagte mevrou die Adjunkspeaker, hopelik sal dit in die toekoms beter gaan met die beleerde Suid-Afrikaanse Uitsaaikorporasie, SAUK. Die arme SAUK het as't ware 'n bespotting geword. Dit is tog bitter jammer dat die ANC-beheerde Portefeulje Komitee oor Kommunikasie nie al tydens die derde Parlement van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika opgetree het nie.
Die DA het gehoop dat die ANC waardevolle lesse geleer het tydens die aanwysing van die vorige SAUK-raad. Dit was 'n toonbeeld van wat gebeur, indien die aanwysing van so 'n belangrike raad, verpolitiseer word.
Die SAUK is 'n besonder belangrike staatsentiteit wat aan die mense van Suid-Afrika behoort. Nie een politieke party in die land, kan daarop aanspraak maak dat die SAUK aan daardie party behoort nie. Indien 'n megakommunikasie instansie verpolitiseer word, distort die boodskap wat na die mense van die land, via sy radionetwerke en TV-stasies uitgesaai word. Enige politieke inmenging deur 'n politieke party het 'n vernietigende invloed op vryheid van spraak en die onafhanklikheid van joernaliste. Dis nie 'n nuwe verskynsel nie. Jy kry nie 'n beter voorbeeld as die SAUK in die apartheidsjare nie.
Kom ons kyk na hoe die proses verloop het om die nuwe SAUK-raad aan te wys. Laat ek dit duidelik stel dat die DA diep teleurgesteld is deur die optrede van die ANC, tydens die hele proses. Dit was weer 'n baie duidelike voorbeeld dat die ANC nie vertrou kan word nie. Die ANC kan of wil nie sy beloftes gestand doen nie. Dit is baie duidelik dat die ANC 'n bang party geword het. Die ANC word duidelik deur sy alliansievennote gyselaar gehou.
Die ANC het nie woord gehou nie. Die mense van Suid-Afrika moet dit weet. Die ANC stel net belang in sy eie belange en stel dit voorop. Daarteenoor, is die DA 'n oop geleentheidsgedrewe politieke party wat gelyke geleenthede aan alle mense van Suid-Afrika bied. Die DA stel dit voorop dat die beste individu 'n geleentheid gebied word, op grond van vaardighede, kennis en uitnemendheid, nie soos die ANC kies, op grond van die politieke verbondenheid van die individu nie. Dis belangriker vir die ANC om sy alliansievennote, Cosatu, die Suid-Afrikaanse Kommuniste Party en die ANC-jeugliga, gelukkig en tevrede te hou.
Wat gebeur toe met die proses? Die ANC laat 'n geleentheid deur hulle vingers glip soos wat Bafana Bafana die kanse wat hulle kry, oor die doelhok skop.
Die SAUK sê in sy, en ek haal aan uit die jaarverslag van 2008:
Corporate goals create an SABC that enjoys the support and respect of its shareholders, viewers, listeners and other stakeholders.
Die ANC verkondig in die Portefeulje Komitee oor Kommunikasie hulle gunsteling frase tot vervelens toe:
The opposition must engage in the process.
Goedgelowig raak ons toe betrokke. Ons "engage" laat die biesies bewe.
Ek onthou agb de Lille het aan die begin van die proses gesê: "Moenie ons tyd mors nie." Die opposisie gaan nie net 'n rubberstempel wees vir 'n ANC-beplande anneksering van die SAUK nie.
Daar belowe die ANC so tussen die lyne 'n 8/4 bedeling. Wat
gebeur? Dit lees soos 'n mirakel. Die DA saam met die opposisiepartye, die Inkatha-Vryheidsparty uitgesluit, ondersteun sewe van die kandidate wat die ANC ook ondersteun. Omdat die DA glo aan 'n oop geleentheidsgedrewe samelewing, glo ons dat mense op meriete 'n kans moet kry. Wat doen die ANC? Hulle vat die volgende vyf op die lys ook vir hulle.
Die ANC is 'n bang party. Hulle is bang vir die alliansievennote en dit nadat een van die ANC-lede my die vorige dag gebel het om te sê dat Mnr Golding opgeoffer sal word vir Dr Danny Titus. Toe kom daar dadels van die storie. Na ses maande in die politiek wil ek vir die redelike mense sê dat hulle nie die ANC moet vertrou nie. Die ANC leef in 'n mirakelagtige droom dwaalwêreld van hul eie.
Die ANC is nie in staat nie. Die proses was van die begin af
soos 'n sprankelende bruid. Toe gaan beduiwel die ANC. Daarmee maak die DA 'n duidelike beswaar teenoor die proses waar die ANC onder druk van hulle alliansievennote, geswig het. As gevolg daarvan ...
... the DA will abstain.
Ten spyte van meneer Vadi se goeie pogings om die proses so oop
en regverdig te hou, moes hy, Mnr Vadi en die Hoofsweep van die
Portefeulje Komitee oor Kommunikasie, swig onder die druk van die alliansievennote en hulle huis opperbevelhebbers. Dit is uiteraard ook die Luthuli-Huis. Ek dink dis die opperbevelhebber, die veldmaarskalk, Luthuli-Huis. Ek dank u. [Applous.]
Mrs J D KILIAN
Mr N J VAN DEN BERG
Mrs J D KILIAN: Deputy Speaker, the SABC recently came into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. As Mr Vadi indicated, there were serious cash shortages, reckless expenditure on extravagant functions, unlimited petrol cards, transgressions of tender regulations, insider trading - in general, a plundering of public resources for personal gain.
In short, there was gross mismanagement through a lethal mix of reckless arrogance, incompetence and individual greed. As a result, the public broadcaster does not only find itself in dire financial straits, but, as indicated by the Minister of Arts and Culture last week, the resulting financial chaos also bankrupted 80% of local film producers who closed their doors owing to payment defaults by the SABC. This is a direct loss of job opportunities in an already depressed economy.
The recently published Auditor-General report vindicated the position of Cope and members of the previous board. It fingers senior management, some of whom have since left the organisation with a platinum handshake and others who are still there. South Africa is now anxiously waiting for the outcomes of criminal and civil proceedings, as well as disciplinary processes within the organisation. Cope will insist that the law takes its courseand that we have full transparency of the process.
The impact of the SABC saga will, however, remain for many years to come as an indictable heritage of brutal political power play in the governing alliance that chose to frustrate the previous board rather than to act on their early warnings of budget shortfalls and irregularities.
Instead, the post-Polokwane ANC went out of their way to collapse the now defunct board in order to replace it with a team that would dance to the tune of Umshini Wami. [Interjections.] Because the ANC fails to understand the difference between a party, a state and independent institutions such as the SABC, they decided to again micromanage the entire process - from nomination through to final appointment - with direct instructions from Luthuli House.
While opposition parties trusted South Africans to nominate candidates for the board, the SACP-led ruling party filibustered sincere attempts on our part to conduct an arms-length process which would have been fully inclusive. Their preferred cadres were nominated from Luthuli House, Tuynhuys, Cosatu House and SACP headquarters. And owing to the slumbering turf wars in the governing alliance, every faction had to be represented, presumably to watch over each other. Even Julius Malema had his personal hand puppet. [Interjections.]
Mr G S RADEBE: Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: I wonder if the hon Kilian would take a question.
Mrs J D KILIAN: With pleasure, but only at the end of the speech.
Cope will refrain from dissecting the personal merits or otherwise of individual candidates. There are indeed a number of excellent candidates who were selected on merit rather than on party loyalty. They will have a mammoth task to bring about balance and objectivity, ensuring that the SABC does not end up as another extension of the Luthuli House propaganda machine. We refuse to endorse a process that was not inclusive and in which opposition parties, which represent more than 30% of South Africans, were bulldozed. [Interjections.] We will therefore abstain from voting. Thank you, Deputy Speaker. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr K M ZONDI / src / keh checked / END OF TAKE
Mrs J D KILIAN
Mr K M ZONDI: Madam Deputy Speaker, on 1 July 2009 we called upon this National Assembly to dissolve what was left of the previous board of the SABC in order to pave the way for the nomination of an interim board to manage the affairs of the SABC. At the same time, we called for an inquiry into the financial affairs of the SABC so that the wrongdoers could be brought to book.
The Auditor-General has completed the necessary investigation and has reported to the portfolio committee. The interim board is seized with the necessary follow-up of ensuring that the wrongdoers account for their misdeeds. While those processes going on, the portfolio committee was hard at work interviewing candidates for the new board of the SABC. That process went very well and we selected the names of individuals that are today brought before this House for acceptance.
The IFP supports these people as they represent the best crop of highly qualified and experienced individuals ... [Applause.] ... drawn from various sectors, in compliance with the Broadcasting Act. We are convinced that these candidates will give the SABC a competent, effective, strong and balanced board. It is our hope that they will give the SABC strong leadership and the country confidence that our national broadcaster is now in good hands and that this will ensure that the SABC serves the interests of our people as a whole.
We want to take this opportunity to thank members of the interim board for the manner in which they accepted the daunting and challenging responsibility of going in to stabilise the SABC and stop it from complete self-destruction. They moved quickly in there and hit the road running. We hope the new board will emulate their good example and do the same. I thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]
Mr S R TSEBE
Mr K M ZONDI
Ms S R TSEBE: Madam Deputy Speaker, Members of Parliament, good afternoon. On 1 July 2009, the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Communications, the hon Vadi said: "Today is a sad day for our country."
I'm here today to say ...
... mosito o tswelela pele. Ke nako!
We are ready as the ANC. The ANC welcomes the debate on the reinstitution of the SABC board, particularly on the proposed 12 names. When one looks at the SABC situation, it is clear that all is not well. Clearly, a drastic change is needed. We need a turnaround strategy. It is going to take time for the situation ...
... maar, bietjie, bietjie maak meer. [Applous.]
We'll get there.
The SABC reported a financial loss of R839 million for the 2008-09 financial year, and even requested government to help with a R2 billion bailout. Our intervention as this House has been the appointment of an interim board, which had to stabilise the SABC to increase revenue and reduce costs.
The interim board has done a good job. In a very short period of time, among other things, it had to fork out a heavy bailout of the then Group Chief Executive Officer, Dali Mpofu. It was a costly but prudent decision. It had to be taken.
It also closed some of the international news bureaus to scale down operations and costs. These measures and others indicate the boldness and decisiveness of the interim board as a clean handover to the new permanent board.
The nomination of Suzanne Vos, Desmond Golding, Clifford Motsepe, Ms Barbara Masekela and David Niddrie indicates the principle of continuity, youth vibrancy and change, which should be carried to the new permanent board to promote a culture of ethics and operational effectiveness. I repeat for the DA hon members that Mr Niddrie is also part of the change as a South African. He deserves a chance.
Se se raya gore, letlhaku le leša le agelelwa mo go le legologolo; botlhale ba phala bo tswa phalaneng; mmangwana o tshwara thipa ka fa bogaleng.
The ANC, of which we are not shy, at its fifty-second national conference in Polokwane resolved that in accordance with the Broadcasting Act, Act 4 of 1999, the appointing body should ensure that the SABC board is representative of all sectors in our society. We therefore believe that the accountability and fairness of the public broadcaster are central to the objective of the gains we have made as a country in pursuit of a national democratic society.
In conclusion, once again, the ANC calls on all political parties to support the 12 names proposed collectively to ensure that we have an effective broadcaster. They reflect a broad South African demography and possess an array of skills necessary to transform the institution.
I'd like to say that I'm disappointed by the hon member from the DA as he was also part of the process. As a new member, I don't believe what he said is true because he was part of the process, we had agreed with them and we agreed on the process. [Interjections.] It is high time that the DA accept that the majority of South Africans spoke on 22 April 2009. That is the mandate we carry; that is the mandate we'll die for.
Mmogo re ka dira go le gontsi. Ke a leboga. [Legofi]
Mrs P DE LILLE
Ms S R TSEBE
Mrs P DE LILLE: Madam Deputy Speaker, the SABC as a public asset belongs to the nation and therefore needs to be protected. A lot has been said about the process by the DA and Cope and I agree with them. We were totally, totally misled, hon Minister, by the ANC. We trusted them. We didn't want to participate in the process because we said, "We are not going to rubber-stamp this process." They said, "It's fine; it will be inclusive" only for us to find that "inclusive" for the ANC meant including ANC, Cosatu and the SA Communist Party. [Interjections.] [Applause.] That is where the problem came from.
We really tried our best to make sure that we had an SABC board that the Minister could work with and that he could ... Could you sit down please, I'm still busy. [Interjections.]
Mr G S RADEBE: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order: Would the member take a question?
Mrs P DE LILLE: No, I don't want to take a question. The only thing that I want to say is that Parliament must continue to monitor the SABC, we must continue to monitor the board and we must sure that we don't land the SABC in the mess that the ANC left the SABC in. [Interjections.]
No, it's the ANC. It is the infighting in the ANC that caused the SABC board to look the way it looks today. [Applause.] [Interjections.] We must give the new board a chance. But the ID will only support the seven names that we agree on. We will not support the other five names that we don't agree on. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! This is the hon Alberts' maiden speech. Could we afford him what we usually afford members delivering maiden speeches? [Applause.]
Mnr A D ALBERTS
Mrs P DE LILLE
Mnr A D ALBERTS: Mevrou die Adjunkspeaker, die proses van die aanstelling van die raadslede van die SABC-raad het die tekortkominge van die Grondwet as 'n instrument wat 'n komplekse samelewing moet reguleer, onderstreep.
Having regard to the process of selecting the SABC board members, the following facts have been confirmed. Once again, the Constitution allows the majority party to control the selection process and thus all appointments to be made in all levels of government. From this flows further consequences, for instance the appointment of whoever the majority party wishes, irrespective of skills, orientation and representation. The further consequence of the absence of a constitutional check on the powers of the majority party is the creation of a dispensation whereby opposition parties can only influence and make appointments by the grace of the ANC.
What we have here is an overshoot of power by one entity, namely the majority party, that disallows democratic space for Afrikaners and minorities within the current constitutional system owing to a constitutional vacuum. The pure weight of this power is unsustainable because it cannot be carried by our diverse societal environment.
The current entropy of the societal system, of which the SABC is an important part, is being hastened by the lack of service delivery ironically brought about by systemic discrimination against Afrikaners and other minorities that have the requisite skills and experience to solve the service delivery conundrum in the SABC and, more importantly, in the municipalities across the country as well as in the various provincial and national departments.
Die aanstelling van die SABC-raad is ook gedoen sonder om werklik 'n premie te plaas op die verteenwoordiging van al Suid-Afrika se gemeenskappe. So het die Afrikaanse gemeenskap geen werklike kampioen op die SABC-raad nie. Daar was weliswaar 'n vergunning van die ANC om 'n baie bevoegde Afrikaanse persoon aan te stel, te wete dr Danny Titus, vir wie ek baie respek het, maar van die ander opposisiepartye het die geleentheid tot sy aanstelling verbrou en sodoende is 'n vyfde posisie vir die opposisie op die lys verbeur.
Die punt is egter dat die Grondwet ironies toelaat dat die ANC sy kaders kan ontplooi, maar nie noodwendig dat alle gemeenskappe behoorlike verteenwoordiging kry nie. Dit is die ironie van die Suid-Afrikaanse situasie op die oomblik.
Die gevolgtrekking te make vanuit hierdie proses kan soos volg opgesom word: Suid-Afrika se grondwet is wesenlik defektief. Dit kan herlei word na die onderhandelinge van 1994, wat geboorte gegee het aan die huidige Grondwet. Die onderhandelinge self was wesenlik gebrekkig aangesien die onderhandelaars van die Nasionale Party effektief uitoorlê is deur die ANC se bewese onderhandelaars. Daarom is daar geboorte gegee aan 'n gebrekkige Grondwet wat al die magsoorheersing toelaat soos dit vandag gebeur.
Daarom is ons nou op soek na 'n waarlik beter bedeling waarin 'n ewewig heers tussen minderhede en die meerderheid, nie op grond van gunste nie, soos wat president Zuma tans doen nie, maar as 'n uitvloeisel van grondwetlike imperatief. Daarom, terwyl ek en my kollegas in die VF Plus gebruik sal maak van die instrumente in die huidige Grondwet, sal ons in voortdurende stryd met die ANC verkeer om die Grondwet te verbeter. Om bloot die huidige Grondwet te beskerm sonder 'n plan vir die toekoms, sonder om die gebreke daarin aan te vul is die domein van 'n uitsiglose opposisieparty waarvan sommige tans in die Parlement sit.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Alberts, your time is up. I even added an extra minute and 12 seconds.
Mr A D ALBERTS: I'll finish up - one last sentence. Thank you, Madam Speaker. In summary then, if we had a proper constitutionally enshrined cultural and minority safeguards, Dr Titus would have been on the SABC board today. We would have had a permanent government of national unity with executive positions reserved for minorities. We can still change this and fix this problem.
Maaar dit hang af van u vermoë tot insig in die toekoms en die beplanning daarvoor. Ek dank u.
Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Mr S E KHOLWANE / SlR (Afr)/ag (Eng&Tswana)/END OF TAKE
Mr A D ALBERTS
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Deputy Speaker, hon members and our guests, today, as we enter this debate as the ANC, our ideological clarity on the nature and character of the public broadcaster is unshaken and is clear.
It remains our resolve to ensure that the right of our people to receive information is not compromised, and we are on record on the development of an information society. Our people have the right to information, which allows them to make their choices in many respects. We are on course to make sure that this becomes a reality.
It was based on this understanding that the fifty-second national conference of the ANC re-emphasised the need to speed up the finalisation of the funding model of the public broadcaster. We applaud the Minister of Communications for making sure that the necessary steps were taken. This discussion is in the public domain, as we speak.
It is important to ensure the public that the ANC has never resolved to turn the public broadcaster into a state broadcaster. All we called for was to make sure that the Minister intervened, so that the SABC board complied with the necessary legislation, such as the Public Finance Management Act and other provisions. We gave an undertaking on 7 July 2009, when we said that we wished to see a board in place that was representative of our society in all its manifestations. The interests of the middle class and business class can never be the only interests that find resonance in the type of people we need on a board such as that of the SABC. In short, we cannot afford to have an elitist board.
We should ensure that the process to appoint the permanent board is inclusive, and we believe in that expectation. Firstly, we were requested as the committee to extend the deadline of the first closing date for nominations. We did so, acknowledging the importance of the role of civic society. This, therefore, calls on all of us to do things differently, as we cannot afford to have a board that doesn't enjoy the support of this House. However, in doing so, we cannot ignore the provisions of the relevant legislation.
Without any fear of contradiction, this was not an easy process. When the committee was called upon to make choices in terms of nominations, of course we had various differences with colleagues in other political parties. However, we must say that the recommended names before the House are based on skill and representivity as required by the legislation. Of course, it's a normal phenomenon, I suppose, in a democratic environment, that other parties and other individuals might brand the process as a political one. There is nothing much we can do about that. It's their individual right. In fact, Parliament consists of political parties.
I don't understand that when the ANC pushes in a certain direction, it becomes a political matter as we are all political parties here in Parliament. I think we need a redefinition for the other political parties, so that they can clarify who they are and what they are doing here. [Applause.]
We are also pleased, as the ANC, that in reports of the public media and from other platforms, there's been little outcry about this new board we are proposing. The majority of our people are happy, because they understand that they cannot afford to go through more pain, which is not necessary, which is not informed and which is ill advised by other parties. [Interjections.]
The lifespan of the interim board is six months, but the board has created a fertile ground for the incoming board to ensure that they continue working and ensuring that the public broadcaster complies with all the relevant policies and legislation. I must hasten to say that during the interviews, one of the issues we picked up on and that we need to follow up as a committee or as Parliament, is the issue of conflicts of interest amongst board members themselves and executive managers. Secondly, we must deal with the matter of editorial independence, because it has become an issue, which seems to confuse some of the decisions of the SABC. The last thing we said that we must deal with is to review and revise the policies, by the board itself, in order to make sure that in moving forward, we do away with this distortion, which we have picked up during these trying times.
The ANC would, therefore, like to thank these men and women, who constitute the interim board, for the sterling and wonderful work they have been doing in establishing a solid base for the incoming board. The difficult aspect was that when the interim board was recommended by this committee, all sorts of things were said against the ANC. You see, the problem is that people can't be - I nearly said, "man enough" - or they can't stand for the truth today and say that, indeed, we pointed fingers at the ANC, but they have done sterling work to give us this interim board, because their work is outstanding. No one can dispute the work that the interim board is doing. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
However, we must also say that our hearts go out to those men and women who sold their labour to the SABC as independent producers, and who now can't put food on the table. I therefore call on the committee to engage with the interim board so that relief measures can be found and this doesn't occur or go on.
Whilst, at the same time, we are recommending the appointment of these men and women with a wide range of experience and expertise, we must make sure that, as we have done, we are complying with the process that we need to follow.
I don't understand – maybe someone must assist us with the mathematics. This issue of adding and subtracting and so on, seems to be a challenge. If you need a board of 12 people, and you come here and say you agree about seven of them, but you still say the board is not inclusive, what does that mean? Seven, for me, is even above 50% of 12. What do you mean? Can you clarify? Everyone comes here and says that they agree with seven names and only differ about five of them. But they continue to say that this board is not representative, that we have not carried on board the interests of the opposition parties, but on seven names they agree. What does that mean? Maybe somebody needs to clarify that particular argument. [Applause.] I just don't understand. [Interjections.] I don't understand.
I don't understand when people point fingers at this board. For the first time in the history of the SABC board, five of the members serving on the board are white ... [Interjections.] ... because colour was not an issue. Colour was not an issue. The skill and expertise of these men and women was the issue at play. Why can't you give us credit for that? [Interjections.] [Applause.]
We deserve credit where credit is due. Of course, you cannot give it when it is not due. But, I am saying that for the first time ... [Interjections.] The hon Dene Smuts understands that - that for the first time the SABC board has five white people - on that particular board. [Interjections.] So, give credit when it's due. We continue to say ...
Ms M SMUTS: Madam Deputy Speaker, would the member take a question? [Interjections.]
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Our strength, as people, is not tested during the best of times.
Ms M SMUTS: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order ...
Mr S E KHOLWANE: No question. Sit down. No question. Thank you. Our strength, as people, is not tested during the best of times. As we said before, we shall never become despondent because the weather is bad, but, then, if the weather turns, become triumphant because the sun is shining. We cannot work like that. It cannot just be the responsibility of the ANC when things go bad with the board, and then when things go well everyone wants to claim the victory of that achievement. It can't be. It cannot work in that manner.
I must say those who complete their course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long. They do so because they believe that the road can be long, but they are going to achieve their goals. That is what we stand for, as the ANC, and what we will continue to stand for: that the road might be rough, but, where we are going, we are clear that we are going to achieve the ultimate goal we want to achieve. [Applause.]
We want to wish the incoming board well in its endeavours. I thank you, Ngiyathokoza. Ke ya Leboga. Ndo livhuwa. Ndiyabulela. Ndza khensa. Baie dankie. Ngiyabonga. [Applause.]
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr S E KHOLWANE
Mrs C DUDLEY: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP participated in the initial stages of this process and certain of the interviews, with our nominee being short-listed. Our nominee regrettably had to withdraw, due to business considerations.
During the initial stages of this process, the majority party showed a willingness to accommodate opposition candidates in the final board. However, we regret to learn that these initial undertakings were not adhered to when the final deliberations took place. We regret that the majority party insisted that certain of its political nominees be accommodated, such as a representative from their youth league.
In view of the controversies that surrounded the previous board and, more particularly, allegations of political interference in the running of the public broadcaster, the ACDP is concerned that this new board will again be politically tainted. In view of the severe financial and management challenges facing the public broadcaster, as highlighted in the Auditor-General's report, it is regrettable that a new board will commence its duties already under a cloud. The ACDP will, therefore, have to abstain. Thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mr R B BHOOLA: Madam Deputy Speaker, the MF indeed recognises the necessity of an efficient and effective management team to be put in place for the SABC board. There may be some excellent candidates amongst the 12 nominations, and we have no doubt whatsoever about that, but there must be, and I repeat, there must be equal opportunities for all.
We say that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity, yet we fail to take into consideration the broad cross-cultural nature of South African society in the composition of the SABC board. For this reason, the MF will abstain.
Ms L D MAZIBUKO /Mia / END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
Ms L D MAZIBUKO: Madam Deputy Speaker, I think I need to clear something up, I think hon Kholwane has made a very crucial mistake if he thinks that the opposition, the DA in particular, has the same preoccupation with racial head counting that the ANC does; that's an ANC thing, it's not our thing. Please don't force it on us like it's our thing, it really isn't. We went for skills and ability, your racial obsession is yours, please don't force it onto the other side of the House. [Applause.]
The report of the Auditor-General on the results of his investigation into allegations of financial mismanagement at the SABC has unearthed overwhelming amounts of rot at the public broadcaster. The SABC is supposed to be the pride of our nation and the voice of our people, yet, in the absence of sure and decisive leadership and effective parliamentary oversight, it was allowed to dwindle into an embarrassment for South Africa. Not only is the reputation of the broadcaster in tatters, but because it was ordinary workers who initially came forward with these allegations which had to be investigated by the Auditor-General, it is now also clear that morale amongst staff at the SABC is at an all-time low.
The DA did not support the dissolution of the original board and its replacement with an interim structure, because we knew that this had nothing to do with entrenching good governance at the SABC, but was instead an exercise in political reshuffling. The fact that the interim board has performed well in its task of stabilising the SABC doesn't take away from the fact that had Parliament worked on dealing with the SABC's problems much earlier no such stabilisation measures would have been necessary in the first place.
With regards to the way forward for this board from today, there are a number of ways in which it can now address the current crises facing the SABC. The most important of which are establishing and adhering to the highest good governance principles at the SABC; projecting a strong and unified body with the muscle and political will to withstand external pressures of any kind, but particularly, political pressure from those who would seek to control and dictate news and current affairs policy at the SABC. The board must also move swiftly to address the crisis which is facing South Africa's independent producers, whom one interview candidate very aptly referred to as our nation's story tellers, and whom we know are dependent on the SABC for the bulk of their business; and it must also appoint or have significant input into the appointment of a new CEO and head of news, in order to prevent the historical frictions between the executive management and the nonexecutive board, which have arisen, as a result of previous boards inheriting managers that they did not appoint themselves. Most importantly of all, this Parliament must make sure that it takes its role as the SABC's oversight authority very seriously, and in this the DA will brook no compromises. The truth is that this Parliament failed miserably to provide effective oversight over the previous SABC board. It was, of course, much too preoccupied with conducting a political witch hunt aimed at purging a brand new board which it felt was aligned with then President Thabo Mbeki.
If the previous committee had been doing its job properly, it would have responded with the utmost urgency when the then chairperson of the board tried to report the financial irregularities at the SABC to Parliament in the first place in early 2008, but the board was instead subjected to a cynical political ambush by ANC MPs in the committee, setting South Africa down this long and arduous path that has led us to where we stand today.
The DA, for its part, will do its utmost to prevent us from having to go down this road at the SABC again. I thank you.
Mr J H DE LANGE
Ms L D MAZIBUKO
Mr J H DE LANGE: Chair, I rise on behalf of the ANC to respond to this debate in the portfolio committee, which I must say I found tremendously amusing. It was very funny to see people who are usually conservative and staid trying to be militant and fighting with the gallery. They just do not succeed in those things. I want to tell you, hon members Kilian, Van den Berg and so on that you should go to your other Cope members and get some lessons from them, because they are good with those things, they know how to be militant and how to speak to the gallery.
The procedure that we went through was in fact, if you actually watched it, a very enriching one. It took ages for us to go through everything; we found a list of candidates that we agreed upon, whom we wanted to interview, and many of them we agreed on as being very good candidates, and there are also some very good candidates who didn't make it, and obviously that is how the process works. But you see, the joke of all of this - and this is why I say it's a joke - none of them, except our chairperson, referred to the criteria for the appointment of the board, because not a single speaker here that speaks against anyone could show, individually or as a collective, why the people that we appointed are not correct. Not a single one of them. The only one who mentioned it is Prof Danny Titus, and he's been appointed to the SA Human Rights Commission, exactly because of the kind of respect we have for him, and because there wasn't space here. So, he's been given the space to do exactly those things.
On occasions like these, I think we should reflect, 15 years down the line, to see whether we are actually maturing as a democracy or not, because even in this process there are a lot of positive things to take out of it. I must tell you, however, that the opposition should actually start studying what it is to be an opposition. To be so immature - you're pretending to be the leader of such an immature group – and to handle this issue with such immaturity is really pathetic. Well, if we are obsessed with race, why is it that all the people that are not here, that you are fighting, are white? That's most of them, what you wanted were more whites here; don't tell me we're obsessed with race.
The fact of the matter is that we are in agreement, if you listen to the speeches, that we are facing a problem and a crisis with the SABC. It is a sick puppy at the moment: Firstly, we find, and I think we have agreement amongst probably most parties on this, that the model that exists at the moment, particularly in terms of the relation between the board and the Minister or the board and Parliament is clearly one that is not correct, and that there should be a review of the model that we've got; and secondly, it has become very clear, and these are just allegations at this stage, that there are huge financial problems at the SABC. [Interjections.]
No, it's not under our management; it's under the management of the board. [Interjections.] Oh please, try to be intelligent when you talk, don't shout rubbish! [Laughter.] If that's the level of debate of your members, I wouldn't actually go very deep into their intelligence, if I were you.
Now, one would've thought that, if there was maturity, particularly ...
An HON MEMBER: Johnnie Walker!
Mr J H DE LANGE: Well, I'm not Johnnie Walker, you guys are the ones who drink at lunchtime, not me. I don't drink. We all know where you and Mike Ellis are at lunchtime; you are in the pub. If you ask me, next time, I'll come and have a coke with you while you're drinking at lunchtime. That's why you're so rowdy after lunch, because you guys spend lunchtime in the pub. Your militancy comes from the alcohol, it doesn't come from intellect. In fact, we should actually give you the "dop" system and it'll work much better for you, because then we'll have some really lively debates after lunch, if we institute the "dop" system.
Back to the point I was making, you would've thought that, therefore, there would be maturity, because what is the vehicle through which we have to fix this sick puppy? The vehicle is the SABC board and, therefore, in the appointment of the board, like we did in the process, we should be vigorous, and we should have strong debates on the right candidates.
Ms A M DREYER: Chairman?
Mr J H DE LANGE: I don't want questions.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Yes, what is it?
Ms A M DREYER: I just want to ask if the speaker will be prepared to answer the question of why he's no longer a Minister?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): No, that is out of order, hon member, hon De Lange, continue.
Mr J H DE LANGE: If you want to come and have a drink with me at lunchtime, so you can be as brave as you are now, come. I'll tell you, Johnnie Walker, I'll buy you one and I'll explain to you exactly what you want to know.
Now, before I was interrupted, let me ... [Interjections.] ... oh this is very strong. One would've thought that maturity would reign, and once we've had the fights about the board and once we've been able to agree on a whole lot of people, that there would then be maturity to say, "ok, we now have to lend credibility and legitimacy to this board to fix up the problem", because you and I, in the committee, can come and be militant here, but the only way we're going to fix it is through that board.
The big joke is, and hon Lindiwe Mazibuko tried to dance around the issue, that the militancy we see now is exactly the militancy that was here with the interim board. We were told that we were politicising and it's terrible, we were told that we were putting all these hexes on it, and today, the biggest fans of the interim board are the opposition. In fact, some of these opposition parties nominated some of those people to try and get them on this board. The rest of us didn't do that. So, you have to be careful that, if you want to achieve a goal, and the goal we have to achieve is to fix this sick puppy, there's a vehicle through which we have to do it, and to try and come and be militant here and shoot down candidates, which no one can fault, individually or collectively, to do the job is the wrong thing.
Of course, we have the hon Alberts, a man of genius. I don't know where he read these things, but he comes and tells us, today, that what happens in a democracy is that the majority actually wins. When the majority vote, they actually win, and that's terrible, that's really terrible. By definition, what he and others are arguing is that, if we in the committee agreed to the opposition's members then that will be democracy. When we agree to our members that's not democracy. The same thing with politicisation, we asked them in the committee and they said that we are politicising the process, we said, "why do you say that?" And they said, "you're not agreeing to our candidates", we said, "but you're not agreeing to our candidates". Why is that not politicisation?
So, at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that the way it works in a democracy - let me just explain to Mr Alberts - you don't have to amend the Constitution. In fact, every democracy in the world works like that. I know you're surprised by the fact that we have got this unique democracy, where the majority actually reigns, but I must tell you that most democracies in the world ...
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, on a point of order: I just want to remind Mr De Lange that Mr Alberts made a maiden speech.
Mr J H DE LANGE: Well, if he made a maiden speech I don't know why he became controversial. [Laughter.] When you make a maiden speech, you're not controversial. You can't come to Parliament and say "the majority" when they're going to vote and "it's terrible when a democracy works like that", you can't do that. You must actually try and stick to ordinary things.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Hon Buthelezi, is it a point of order?
Mr M G BUTHELEZI: Chairperson, I just want to know from the hon De Lange, when one is new, how does he know what is controversial and what is not? [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Mr J H DE LANGE: I would've hoped his Whips would've explained it to him, chief.
The other thing I want to point out is that if this process is so flawed and not inclusive, I must then ask the question: Why is it that the IFP supported this process and voted for it? They are an opposition party; they are one of the most vigorous opposition parties we have, so why would they go along with the process? Must we assume that they've been duped as well? In any case, next time you vote for the majority you'll always win, that's the lucky thing about it. So, it's very important ...
Mr H P CHAUKE: Chairperson, on a point of order: Is it parliamentary for hon Mluleki George to say that hon Johnny is speaking Bangladeshi? [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Well, I didn't hear that issue, but I'm not sure. Did you say that hon member?
Mr J H DE LANGE: I'll also take him for Johnnie Walker, and I'll speak Bangladeshi to him.
A lot of this has been on a lighter note, but I really want to say that this process has been important and I want to say to the opposition that we have to be careful in the way that we treat this board. We cannot let the legitimacy of this board disappear; we cannot let the credibility of the board, whenever we disagree on this issue, be doubted. Let us loudly explain where we disagree on things, let everyone understand it, but let's try and get this board to fix this thing up, and let's try and get this board to operate properly, it is in everyone's interest that we do that.
There are some things in this Bill that are terrible, and I never thought the hon Dene Smuts would ever let this go through. There is a clause on conflict of interest in here which says that when you appoint a board member it doesn't matter whether he's got a conflict of interest, whether he's got business interests that are directly affected by the SABC, as long as they declare it, as long as you declare it. So, you can make billions and millions of rand, which is happening at the moment, by the way, as long as you declare that interest, it doesn't matter that you've got interest in that institution, and we, in parliament actually passed that law to allow that. [Time expired.] Thank you for the entertainment. [Applause.]
Question put: That Mr C S Gina, Mr D K Golding, Ms P M Green, Mr P J Harris, Ms B J M Masekela, Mr M A Mello, Mr N C Motsepe, Dr B S Ngubane, Mr D C Niddrie, Ms C F O'Neil, Ms F L Sekha and Ms S C Vos be recommended for appointment as nonexecutive members to the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board.
Question agreed to (Democratic Alliance, Congress of the People, Freedom Front Plus, Minority Front and African Christian Democratic Party abstained).
Mr C S Gina, Mr D K Golding, Ms P M Green, Mr P J Harris, Ms B J M Masekela, Mr M A Mello, Mr N C Motsepe, Dr B S Ngubane, Mr D C Niddrie, Ms C F O'Neil, Ms F L Sekha and Ms S C Vos accordingly recommended for appointment as nonexecutive members to the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board.
The MINISTER FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
/UNH-NP(ed) / END OF TAKE
Mr J H DE LANGE
LOCAL GOVERNMENT: MUNICIPAL PROPERTY RATES AMENDMENT BILL
(Second Reading debate)
The MINISTER FOR CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: House Chairperson, colleagues, hon members of the House, at least during this discussion the temperature will go down a bit. It won't be the same as during the previous discussion that we had on the SABC board.
The ANC conference that took place in Polokwane in December 2007 reiterated, amongst other things, that we must place people at the centre of development. Key amongst those needs that must be taken up is the issue of service delivery that promotes sustainable livelihoods. Our view as a Ministry and a people's government is that in everything we do we need to ensure that local government becomes everybody's business.
This means that every piece of legislation we bring before this House and every policy intervention we make, we should be able to answer the following questions. How do we ensure that service delivery is enhanced when we do those things? The second question that we must be asking is: To what extent is what we are doing improving the capacity and the capability of municipalities to be able to deliver quality service to our people?
The Bill we are presenting today, the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Amendment Bill, is aimed at ensuring that we improve the capability of municipalities in collecting revenue, and ensure that they move forward in whatever they do. One of the major tasks that this Bill is dealing with is to extend the period within which municipalities must be able to get into the net of the valuation roll. Another task is to ensure that municipalities are able to raise revenue that belongs to them, using the old apartheid legislation, until 2011. This means we are extending the life of the apartheid legislation, to be used when we present this Bill here today.
If we don't pass this Bill, the implication is that municipalities will lose an amount of over R400 million. Two thirds of this amount is taken by only two secondary cities. The municipality in Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo, will lose R163 million; and the municipality of Matjhabeng in the Free State will lose R172 million, if we are unable to pass this law.
You will agree with me that property rates and taxes are the second most important revenue generator for municipalities. The first is electricity with surcharges. Therefore, in light of this economic meltdown, every rand and every cent counts towards service delivery. The issue of passing this Bill is at the heart of service delivery, because we are building the capacity of those municipalities so that they can be able to offer services to our people. Therefore it is in our interests, all of us here, to ensure that we pass this law in order to rescue these municipalities. Together we must make sure that these municipalities are able to live up to their challenges, are able to pass their laws, and are able to ensure that they are brought into the net by June 2011.
Parliament is an important instrument. It must make sure that these municipalities, provinces and the department are able to account for managing to get their voters' rolls in place. This will ensure that when July comes there is no other requirement for the extension to take place. As a department we are going to spare no effort. We are going to make sure that these municipalities are able to do what is right and are in the net in terms of the voters' roll.
In that spirit, we want to thank everyone who contributed to the Bill, particularly the chairperson of the committee who led this process diligently, the members of the committee who made contributions and various parties, because this Bill is a Bill on which everybody agrees. It has been agreed to unanimously. That tells us that when we work in this committee, this committee is a committee of consensus. It really implements co-operative governance. We see it in action. In that respect, we are saying, "Le ka moso." [Thank you very much]. Thank you very much, House Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mrs M WENGER
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mrs M WENGER: Hon Chair, the DA will be supporting the Bill. However, we are having to waste valuable resources and time in bringing this amendment to Parliament because 13 municipalities out of the 283 have failed to implement the Act, in spite of having five years to do so. The vital importance of implementing the new Act and valuation rolls has obviously not been on their priority list.
What is even more concerning is that no early-warning systems were in place so that the district municipalities and provincial governments could get involved in providing assistance and capacity. If there were early-warning systems, why did the information not filter through? Where were the reports about the noncompliance? Why were we not informed? Where were the MECs of local government to investigate, assist and inform?
These kinds of practices cannot be condoned. It is the property rates today; what will it be tomorrow? Municipalities have gotten away with it, so why not continue the trend? Where is the accountability? Have the municipal managers and mayors been taken to task? Have their budgets been approved? What role did National Treasury play? There are too many questions and not enough answers.
The Minister needs to take provincial governments to task about their lack of commitment and assistance in this regard. There are municipalities that are financially worse off but have still managed to comply. We commend those municipalities. However, we cannot say the same for the likes of Polokwane and Matjhabeng. Between the two of them, they will fall short of rates income in excess of R400 million should this Bill not go through.
There are, however, municipalities that have implemented very eagerly, like that of eThekwini. Their residential properties have been overvalued, and ratepayers especially retirees have been taxed out of their homes while businesses are not paying their correct dues owing to the low valuations. One would have thought that by appointing valuers at an exorbitant cost of R200 million that this would not have happened.
Many phasing-in problems were also encountered, particularly in farming communities where the new valuations made it especially difficult for emerging farmers to operate successfully. Furthermore, the 13 noncompliant municipalities are using valuation rolls that expired on 2 July 2009. This means that the rates that are currently being levied are in contravention of the Act, resulting in the Bill having to be implemented retrospectively.
Residents around the country are up in arms about service delivery. In the past few weeks we have experienced flare-ups in numerous townships, especially in Mpumalanga. The Minister needs to visit these hot-spot areas urgently. Inadequate infrastructure, especially in water and sanitation, is fast becoming a problem that will result in an ecological disaster. Vandalism is increasing; damage to council property is on the rise; and the police seem not to be in control of the riots all because of a lack of resources. But who will be footing the bill for the replacements and the repairs?
A referendum was held in Moutse and over 74% of the voters favoured Mpumalanga. Minister, what has happened to the referendum in Matatiele that was going to take place on 12 October? What has happened to the principle: "The people shall govern", when they are not being heard? And why should the national executive committee be taking such critical decisions without consultation? In the past months the Minister has only replied to two of my parliamentary written questions, and 25 are still outstanding, Minister. I hope and trust that the Minister will reply to them as a matter of urgency as it is important that we know how local government should be functioning. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr T BOTHA / GM / END OF TAKE
Mrs M WENGER
Mr T BOTHA: Hon Chair, it is the responsibility of government and organisations of civil society to educate the South African citizens that they have rights and obligations. The state has an obligation to deliver efficiently and effectively good quality services to its citizens. The legitimacy of any government is contingent upon its ability to demonstrate to the electorate that it is capable of walking the talk and leading by example.
In spite of the provisions of this Bill, there are large sections of our population that are either unable to pay for services or refuse to pay for them. Both the rich and the poor are of the view that government is unable to uniformly apply this Act across the length and breadth of our country. The poor take the view that properties are being given higher values in order to extract money to pay for inefficient councillors. On the other hand, the rich hold the view that they are being milked further to subsidise the poor without getting real value for money.
It is incumbent upon the government to demonstrate which position is correct in this regard. The majority of ratepayers have no problem contributing to the development and subsidisation of services for the poor, provided that the process of such contributions actually reaches the intended beneficiaries and does not slip through the cracks of mismanagement and corruption. The fact that we stand on the platform today to debate this issue is a demonstration of the very lack of capacity and inefficiency on the part of some of these municipalities to honour their national mandate. However, we support this Bill.
Prof C T MSIMANG
Mr T BOTHA
Prof C T MSIMANG: Hon Chair and hon members, this is a Bill that needs to be passed by the House. And in so far as its objects are concerned, there is no real controversy. The Bill simply extends the compliance period from four to six years for municipalities to implement the 2004 Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act. Now, to the extent that there are indeed municipalities that have failed to comply with the new market-based valuation system - and we were given a figure of approximately 13 municipalities which had not made the deadline - it is clearly necessary that they be given time to comply.
The problem, it should be noted, is not primarily one of tardiness on their behalf, but is generally centred on the shortage of qualified valuators to undertake the valuation of all rateable properties in the municipalities. However, of greater significance in motivating the Bill, is the fact that because the previous phasing-in period has come and gone, this terminated the legal basis of levying rates other than in terms of the new system.
The legal position, currently, is that these 13 municipalities are technically unable to levy rates, except via the 2004 Act which they have not complied with. Of course, they are continuing to levy rates in practice, but they are legally vulnerable since the levying of rates, other than in terms of the new Act, is expressly prohibited. It needs to be noted that although the objects of the Bill are uncontroversial, in principle the IFP is opposed to retrospective legislation, which we believe is generally, legally and politically undesirable. However, in this instance, we really have no choice and will therefore vote in favour of the Bill. Thank you, Chairman.
Mrs C DUDLEY
Prof C T MSIMANG
Mrs C DUDLEY: Chair, our take on this as the ACDP is that this Bill will allow municipalities to continue to use valuation rolls in their budgeting estimates which, in fact, are outdated in terms of the requirements of the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act, that is the legislature is extending a lifeline to the many municipalities which have not updated their rolls for property revaluations.
The ACDP congratulates the City of Cape Town in this regard as they have already begun a second valuation process. Stalling this process means that municipalities cannot get revenue they should be getting and cannot budget accordingly. This is critical as it delays new infrastructure and compromises service delivery.
Revaluing is both technically and administratively tricky, and a municipality has to meet a number of criteria. For obvious reasons, homeowners who do not intend selling are disgruntled over revaluations because they pay more property tax. So a municipality must do it correctly or face challenges from ratepayers' associations and the like.
Of course, just because one's house has increased in value doesn't mean one's income has increased to enable one to pay more. This becomes a problem, particularly in the wake of a property price boom, such as what South Africa experienced prior to two years ago. This Bill appears to be a straightforward amendment. Fortunately, for the ANC - I don't know if you would have a quorum if you were challenged - the ACDP will support the Bill as there are no serious contentions or concerns raised by stakeholders. Thank you.
Mrs I C DITSHETELO
Mrs C DUDLEY
Mrs I C DITSHETELO: Chairperson, the move to approve the Bill allows rates from an old order to form of part of the 2009-10 and the 2010-11 municipal budgets. Also, the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act will have extended validity of valuation rolls for another two years.
The UCDP supports the Bill, more especially because it doesn't bear any financial implications for the state and provinces and because proper consultations have been made. We hope that proper implementation, monitoring and valuation will be done. The UCDP supports the Bill. Thank you.
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mrs I C DITSHETELO
Mr R B BHOOLA: Chairperson, the implementation of the principal Act has been challenged in various quarters, particularly in the eThekwini Municipality owing to the perceived lack of uniform valuation. The MF supports the Bill, but requests that the Minister realise that there are serious flaws in the valuation.
In KwaZulu-Natal there is a delay in the establishment of the appeals tribunal and there are even great discrepancies in the valuation. People must only accept the valuation once it is rectified. This is unconstitutional and unfair. Most municipalities have struggled or rather have failed to implement the Act.
All objectives must be considered thoroughly within the broad framework of a democratic and developmental state, recognising the challenges and disparities of the past. Whilst the Act provides guidelines for the classification of areas to ensure a uniform and fair valuation, some municipalities do not adhere to this. The MF is requests the Minister's intervention. We will support the Bill.
Mr S L TSENOLI / TM / END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mr S L TSENOLI: House Chairperson, we would like to thank the Minister and his department for responding positively in our interaction with them as the portfolio committee.
This is part of the work we do: to assess and check the implementation of legislation that we pass. And as soon as we pick up problems with the effective implementation of legislation, we raise them with the department and the Minister. As a result, we have this Bill to close the gap that was emerging because of incapacity of these municipalities, for a variety of reasons, to implement the legislation.
What is important, however, is that if the majority of municipalities have done so, we often call that a relative success. It is the majority. If only 13 or so, even less than 20 municipalities haven't complied, that's still relatively good - but, of course, we would prefer 100% implementation.
In extending this Bill, government and Parliament are not doing so with a blank cheque. We insist that work must be done to build capacity for their to be able to implement this Bill and, of course, other pieces of legislation. We concede that this is a manifestation of some of the problems in those areas and, in fact, we have been talking to the department about this, and part of the turnaround strategy will speak to those issues.
We have also agreed to amend this Bill this way, with the understanding that the totality of the legislation itself has raised a number of problems in its implementation. Residents and municipalities have raised issues with it, and so there is a case to be made for a later, more robust and vigorous interaction with the results of this issue. So, it will come back to Parliament for broader debate and discussion.
The issues that some of the members have raised are valid, especially the positive reasons given by the hon Dudley about why it is important to allow this amendment and what it is that municipalities must be able to continue to do in the interests of service delivery in the areas in which they have jurisdiction. That is a very useful point to make.
As to what the ANC expects, we have made it very clear that the purpose we are doing this is to build these municipalities' capacity to be able to carry out their functions, working with them in a collaborative manner, co-operatively, to produce the results that the residents themselves will see and appreciate.
With these words, I would like to say that the ANC fully supports this Bill and we are convinced that subsequent and further discussions will improve the capacity for the implementation of legislation across all municipalities in future. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr S L TSENOLI
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Thank you very much, House Chairperson. I want to thank colleagues for their good engagement and discussion on these matters. By way of free education I want to say that there are 257 municipalities in South Africa that have the right to rate property not 283. The reason is very simple: Some of them are district municipalities; therefore are not allowed to collect rates and taxes.
The other matter that I want to raise is that are areas that are undervalued and overvalued. One of the important things is that Parliament is the body that represents the interests and aspirations of South Africans. That being the case, parliamentarians cannot complain that they don't have the ability to make government account to them. My advice, which is free, is that members must go to those areas and make those municipalities account to them - because you are not helpless in the way you have tried to project yourselves in this debate. You have the right to ensure that any sphere of government accounts to you and that they do the right thing.
The other issue is about Matatiele and Moutse. I have clarified that matter. We have said that processes have been undertaken in Moutse, and we will be processing it in Matatiele, Mothibistad between Northern Cape and North West and also Balfour, which we will still go to.
You are the people who have to effect any changes that are required. We can't change the Constitution willy-nilly, or at the wink of an eye. We need to respect the Constitution. When we make changes, they must be changes that are required. That is why it cannot be done when it comes to each and every cross-boundary municipality or province. I think we must really look at the question: Do we really need to put issues of changing the Constitution in the Constitution or should they be in the law? This is so that we do not make these boundaries as hard as they are.
In conclusion, I want to thank the members again for their contributions. We have noted the points that they have raised. I concur with the chair of the committee, the hon Lechesa Tsenoli, in that next year we will call upon you to be part of the process, because we will be doing a comprehensive review of the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act, including of the people in rural areas who are raising issues. They will be touched upon as will farmers. I think uGatsheni will agree with me that even the areas of the IFP will be touched on when we deal with this issue.
Therefore, fasten your seatbelts. We will be there. We are about to take off. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Bill read a second time.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
REPEAL OF BLACK ADMINISTRATION ACT AND AMENDMENT OF CERTAIN LAWS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of legislative proposal submitted by Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development)
There was no debate.
The Chief Whip of the Majority Party moved: That the House, in terms of Rule 238(3), gives permission that the legislative proposal be proceeded with.
Motion agreed to.
Permission accordingly given to proceed with the legislative proposal.
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
CO-OPERATION AND SHARED RESPONSIBILITY IN THE GLOBAL FIGHT AGAINST ORGANISED CRIME, IN PARTICULAR DRUG TRAFFICKING, ILLEGAL ARMS SALES, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND CROSS-BORDER TERRORISM
(Debate on IPU topic)
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN: Chairperson, globalisation has had many positive impacts on the world. It has brought together various economies, trade regimes and different geographical regions. In addition, it has brought about technological development, communication networks and the creation of the global economic village. It also had a positive impact in the fight against organised crime through the use of technology and information systems and the working together of the international community.
On the downside, globalisation has led to an increase in organised crime, drug trafficking and cross-border terrorism. The many advances in technology and other areas meant to have a positive impact on the global village are used by organised crime to further their own causes which have many negative results.
With the advent of globalisation, organised crime cannot be dealt with on a single country basis. It requires both global and regional responses. It requires closer collaboration of law-enforcement agencies throughout the world and region.
Organised crime threatens the national security of countries and has no respect for national borders. It is transitional in nature. Organised crime includes areas such as illegal immigration and human trafficking, the trafficking of illegal firearms, cross-border smuggling, drug trafficking, and economic crimes, amongst other crimes.
Organised criminal elements often focus their attention on weaknesses in the public sector as it cannot sustain itself without collaboration from authorities. The South African government takes this seriously and is taking strong steps to root out corruption within society, the state and the private sector.
In its election manifesto, the ANC identified the fight against crime and corruption as one of its priorities for the coming five years. The establishment of the Hawks will play a major role in the fight against organised crime.
In the SADC region, the Southern African Development Community Police Chiefs Co-ordinating Organisation has started to play a more important role in the fight against crime. It recognises that there is an interrelationship between the different forms of organised crime. This body has become more integrated within the SADC processes.
Interpol plays an important role both within South Africa and the region. It has representation both within our country and in the rest of the region. Together with Interpol and the use of their databases and information systems, many breakthroughs have been made in the fight against crime. In fact, just this week, the National Police Commissioner, Bheki Cele, has been attending an Interpol meeting. This clearly indicates South Africa's commitment to global co-operation in the fight against crime.
South Africa has become an important area in terms of drug trafficking, both as an end user and a transport hub as a final destination to other countries. This is becoming increasingly evident as we see the arrest of South Africans abroad in possession of drugs either destined for South Africa or en route to other countries.
It is becoming more evident that there are links between drug trafficking and the elicit trade in motor vehicles, which requires a stronger focus on the links between drugs and other criminal activities. There are other countries within the region that are also regarded as important areas for drugs by those who are involved in drug trafficking.
Regional protocols are important in the fight against drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime, but so too are joint operations between the law-enforcement agencies of the region. There are challenges around the implementation of the various protocols which exist. In particular, there are varying levels of capacity, and this calls for greater co-operation across the region.
At an operational level there have been a number of successful operations. For example, there has been Operation Rachel which was a joint initiative between South Africa and Mozambique to recover weapons left behind after the war. There is recognition that each country within SADC needs to address the availability of illicit weapons in their countries and put in place processes to deal with this. A further joint operation between South Africa and Mozambique led to the closing down of methaqualone factories - this is the product that is used to produce Mandrax.
On the international front, a recent joint operation between South Africa and the United Kingdom led to the seizure of around R500 million worth of drugs as well as to the arrest of a number of suspects. These examples highlight the importance of working together in the fight against crime. They further stress the importance of regional and international co-operation by law-enforcement agencies.
There is also a strong need for co-operation in terms of training and the sharing of specialised knowledge on how to detect the movement drugs. Drug trafficking is also dependent on money laundering. This requires a comprehensive regional approach to curb money-laundering.
There is a body of information which links some drug trafficking to international terrorism. It suggests that it uses drugs to fund its activities.
Countries which are not affected by international terrorism can be susceptible to becoming havens for international terrorists. However, we must be careful that we do not allow this to throw countries into states of paranoia. It is important that these are treated on a case-by-case basis.
The nature of our borders is also a challenge. In addition, the porous nature of borders within the region poses a further challenge.
There must be a focus on securing borders both within our own country and the region as a whole. By this, one does not mean that we should retreat into a laager mentality. Our borders must allow for legitimate movement between countries. However, attention has to be paid to curbing the illicit movement of organised criminal elements through the borders of the region. The steps which are being taken by our government to redeploy the SA National Defence Force to patrol our borders and the setting up of a single border agency form part of this strategy.
There is a need for greater co-operation between government departments within our own country and those of other countries in the region to combat organised crime, transnational crime, human trafficking, illegal arms sales, terrorism, and money-laundering.
The use of technology in border areas can play a positive role in the fight against crime. This has been proved at O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg where the use of scanners and close-circuit television, CCTV, cameras has led to breakthroughs in curbing criminal activity.
There is also a need to roll out the use of such technology to our land border areas. The region also needs to look at how such technology can be used.
The use of intelligence by South Africa has been prioritised. Because of the nature of intelligence, it is a sensitive area for joint co-operation. This is an area which needs strengthening in the region as a whole.
There are a few challenges which do need to be addressed: There is no comprehensive definition of organised crime in the region; there are varying degrees of capacity in the countries of the region; co-operation needs to be strengthened to enhance operations in the SADC region; organised criminals are not limited in their activities by natural borders as are the police; there is a need to strengthen the sharing of information owing to the highly sophisticated networks and technology used in organised crime; there is a need to focus on tackling the priority crimes in the SADC region which may differ from those affecting countries elsewhere in the world; and the Palermo Convention and its protocols require universal ratification and implementation.
Greater emphasis needs to be placed on the effective use of declarations, conventions and protocols of regional governments and international organisations or institutions. South Africa is committed to the creation of a better country, a better region, a better Africa and a better world through co-operation and the sharing of responsibility in the global fight against organised crime, in particular drug trafficking, illegal arms sales, human trafficking and cross-border terrorism. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J SELFE / MS /END OF TAKE
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN
Mr J SELFE: Chairperson, one of the most celebrated heroes in English history is William Wilberforce. Largely through his efforts, the British Parliament enacted the Slave Trade Act in 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833, which cumulatively ended the slave trade in Britain and its colonies.
Despite William Wilberforce's deservedly heroic status in England, these Acts did not stop slavery or the slave trade. It persisted in the southern American states until the conclusion of the American Civil War. It flourished in the Middle East, Arabic Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America well into the twentieth century.
Slavery was only abolished in law in Nepal in 1924, in Northern Nigeria in 1936, and in Ethiopia in 1942. As recently as the mid-1950s, Saudi Arabia had an estimated slave population of 450 000, while slavery was only criminalised in Mauritania in 2007.
Even those countries that had formally outlawed slavery, reintroduced it during wars and dictatorships. Much of the military capacity of Nazi Germany was built on slave labour. The Soviet Gulags provided slave labour for mines and factories. During World War II, an estimated 200 000 women from Korea and China were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese.
In its traditional form, slavery involves the capture, usually through conquest, and the involuntary abduction and sale of human beings into involuntary and uncompensated labour. But there are other, and equally insidious forms, of modern slavery. Here I refer to human trafficking, and especially the trafficking of women and children.
With globalisation, and as international travel has become cheaper and less regulated, so the number of people who fall prey to trafficking increases. According to the US State department, between 600 000 and 820 000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year. It has been described as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
Approximately half of this number are children, and 70% are women or girls. The most common countries of origin of the trafficking of people are Thailand, China, Nigeria, Albania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Moldova and the Ukraine. The most common destination countries are Japan, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Turkey and the United States.
Women and children are particularly at risk of trafficking. Parents may sell off their children to pay off debts or to gain income, especially in areas ravaged by conflict or devastated by climate change. Other forms of trafficking include forced marriage or domestic servitude, but the most important cause of the trafficking of women and girls is commercial sexual exploitation - in other words, they are sold into prostitution.
Trafficking is also fuelled by the growing global demand for sex tourism, in which individuals combine a holiday or business trip to a foreign destination with commercial sex. This has obvious and very serious consequences for South Africa in relation to the Fifa World Cup next year, as women are frequently trafficked around the world to cater precisely for these sorts of events.
To counteract the menace of trafficking, the UN adopted the Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime, which entered into force in September 2003. This convention is supplemented by the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. South Africa is a signatory to, and has ratified, both the convention and the protocol.
The protocol obliges all signatory countries, at the very least, to criminalise all forms of trafficking, including both trafficking and attempted trafficking of persons. The protocol further calls on signatory states to recognise in their criminal law that trafficking is as serious an offence as the smuggling of drugs and weapons, and to provide for similar penalties. The Philippines and the Dominican Republic, for example, both provide for 20-year sentences for trafficking plus substantial fines.
But it is not enough simply to outlaw and criminalise human trafficking. Victims of trafficking are often traumatised, displaced, undereducated and vulnerable to further exploitation. They frequently don't speak the language of the country in which they find themselves. Many have sexually transmitted diseases and many are drug addicts. For this reason, each signatory state to the protocol undertakes to provide protection, care and repatriation of victims.
In addition, most trafficking is committed by sophisticated, well-resourced and ruthless criminal syndicates. Successful prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking requires states to provide effective witness protection programmes for all those that will testify in their trials.
This is what is contained in the protocol to which South Africa is a signatory. The question that needs to be asked is how well we are countering this crime and how we are dealing with its victims. In answering these questions, there is both good news and bad news.
There is still much to be done before South Africa can live up to its obligations under the protocol. The key to stopping human trafficking is effective border control and successful detection and prosecution of offenders. We all know that our borders are unacceptably porous, and that every day thousands of illegal immigrants enter our country in search of work, food and a better life. Most are desperate refugees fleeing oppression and starvation, but this influx makes it easier to conceal the trafficking of humans.
Last year, South Africa was placed on the Tier 2 Watch List by the United States State department for the fourth year in a row, for what the State department regards as the failure to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The State department cites difficulties with prosecutions, inadequate witness protection programmes and lack of improvement in prevention as reasons for this.
We must turn this around. We must, in the first instance, radically improve border security so as to ensure that those who enter the country are here legally. In South Africa, border control is a multidepartmental responsibility, and the main role-players are represented on the Border Control Co-ordinating Committee.
But in the eight years of its existence, the committee still has no overall strategic plan relating to borderline policing and operations. In addition, there is a huge shortage of staff allocated to borderline security - as many as 71% of the SAPS posts are vacant in this crucial area. Sea borderline operations have a 96% undercapacity rate, while air borderline operations have no permanent staff at all.
Moreover, Advodcate Amanda Letwaba, the Director of Investigations in the Department of Home Affairs, last year revealed that 90% of illegal border crossings into South Africa took place with the connivance of officials or police.
Because of our porous borders, South Africa has become a transit country for trafficked women and children, and a destination in its own right. We must reverse this situation, and reverse it rapidly.
There is a degree of good news. This Parliament has passed the Children's Act and the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act which specifically addresses the trafficking of women. But these are interim measures. The SA Law Reform Commission has proposed comprehensive legislation to address all aspects of the trafficking of persons. We must, as a matter of urgency, process the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill through Parliament.
Moreover, the International Office for Migration has established the Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme, which supports and develops the capacity of SADC governments to deal with the problem of trafficking. It also assists with victim support and awareness-raising and had, by 2006, established 12 shelters in South Africa for trafficked women and children. The Organised Crime Unit of the SAPS has established a trafficking desk, and the National Prosecuting Authority has established a specialised unit to deal with this crime.
So, we are making progress, but I can't help feeling that not enough is being done. Only a handful of trafficked persons are detected, and no prosecutions have taken place against traffickers. We need to raise awareness of the incidence of this crime, we need to put resources behind improving border control, and we must prosecute offenders ruthlessly. If we don't, we will be letting down the thousands of victims of modern slavery in our own country. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE ///tfm/// END OF TAKE
Mr J SELFE
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: House Chair, Cope welcomes the debate on this topic. Our view is that South Africans inside and outside Parliament must unite in action against drug trafficking, human trafficking, the proliferation of illegal guns and cross-border terrorism, as well as poaching in the Kruger National Park and abalone poaching in exchange for drugs.
Today, we have 238 days and nine hours left until the most important sporting event in the world, the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, takes place. This event will put a huge strain on our public resources and on our society. Our nation has a collective responsibility to ensure that organised crime syndicates are stopped before, during and after the games.
Let us remind ourselves of what nations in the world are faced with today. If the world, our continent and the frontline states fail to stop human trafficking, our future will be bleak.
We need a strong police force that maintains effective and professional co-operation with Interpol. We must establish regular vetting of police and justice employees working on this front.
If the world's nations, our continent's nations and the SADC frontline states and their people fail to co-operate in closing their borders and their ports of entry to druglords, then our collective future will perish. We will fail our future generations in that our countries will be semi-owned by the world's drug syndicates.
Let us briefly remind ourselves about what is happening around the world. There are three interrelated challenges that stand out in the drug problem: the cultivation of the production of drugs; the consumption of drugs; and the trafficking of drugs in which people become the slaves of and jailbirds for druglords.
It is in handling all of these challenges that we need the full co-operation of the nations of the world. In cultivation, the report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime suggests that, in 2006, cultivation increased by 33%, with the top three leading countries being Columbia, Afghanistan and Peru.
In consumption, about 200 million people of the global population between the ages of 15 and 64 years use drugs. With cannabis leading the consumption, close to 160 million people, or 3,8% of the population between the ages of 15 and 64, are involved.
In 2003, the money that exchanged hands amounted to US$321 billion in retail, US$94 billion in wholesale and US$12,8 billion in production. The regions leading the pack are North America, Europe, Oceania, Africa and South America.
In trafficking there is a huge problem and there are six special drugs that are high on the agenda. What we require is an intelligence-driven operation.
We must understand that drug cultivation thrives on instability, corruption and poor governance. There is thus need to strengthen the rule of law. Drug production thrives on demand. Drug control needs international commitment.
The concept of shared responsibility should be accepted universally and be implemented internationally between the producing and consuming states, regionally among neighbouring states and nationally among sectors of society.
For this to succeed, all of us will have to assume our share of that responsibility to improve the public health and public security across the world. I thank you.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Mr L RAMATLAKANE
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Chairperson, will you kindly allow me to say to the hon Selfe that I thought he made an excellent speech which showed that he did a lot of research. I want to thank him for that.
The theme of today's debate is indeed of crucial international importance. Most countries in the world suffer from the atrocities of murder, rape, robbery, drugs, human trafficking and others.
South Africa, in particular - and very sadly - ranks somewhere at the top of the list of countries affected by these evils. There can be no doubt that all countries in the world must unite in the war against this international cancer.
I have been fortunate to attend practically all IPU meetings for the past 15 years. I can assure you that all countries in the world are as concerned about organised crime as we are. Some of these issues have been debated at length on several occasions where I was present, in countries such as China, Cuba, Chile, Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere.
Not only was organised crime was openly debated, but it was specifically amongst members sitting in committees in restaurants and privately. The message is clear: The whole world is concerned about organised crime and that something constructive should be done to win that war in the shortest possible time.
The international crime cancer will, however, not be healed unless there is concrete co-operation and shared responsibility by all countries in the world in the global fight against organised crime. That does not mean a country can escape its own duties.
What is to be done is for the IPU, firstly, to formally resolve that co-operation and shared responsibility in the global fight against organised crime is an urgent and international priority.
Secondly, the IPU must, in co-operation with all its member states - and there are almost 150 of them - urgently devise specific strategies on how to deal with this international war against organised crime.
Once these IPU strategies are on the table, all countries in the world could join to execute them in order to win the international war against this cancer of organised crime. Thank you.
Mr T M MASUTHA /nb/nvs / END OF TAKE
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Adv T M MASUTHA: Chairperson, hon members and colleagues, I would like to join Mr Koos Van der Merwe in complimenting the hon Selfe. We are not selfish in the ANC, so when credit is due, we give it accordingly. Some of the matters that you addressed are indeed demonstrative in that at least the DA, once in a while, does acknowledge some of the positive work that is being done by this country in achieving its national priorities.
In his speech, addressing a meeting of the Speakers of the G8 Plus 5 and Egypt held in Rome, Italy, on 12 September to 13 September 2009, under the theme "The contribution of parliaments in the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime" the Speaker of our Parliament, the hon Sisulu, had, by way of introduction, the following to say:
One of the most worrisome issues that faces South Africa in the wake of a representative and democratically elected government has been the rise of organised crime. Countries such as the Eastern bloc countries that have had periods of political transition have also battled with the effects of organised crime and criminal activity. South Africa has undergone similar increases in levels of crime subsequent to democratic political change.
This candid and open acknowledgement from the outset of his speech of the challenges facing our country today, especially from a member of the ruling party, was hailed by his peers as a reflection of the level of maturity of our democracy and a significant factor in the course of fighting one of the biggest enemies of democracy, namely violent and organised crime.
Another important aspect of our Speaker's speech, which attracted acknowledgement from his peers at the forum I have just referred - to as a unique contribution by South Africa to that discussion - is the introduction of the social context in which crime and substance abuse in particular have found room to expand and flourish, as well as their impact on the social fibre of our society.
In this regard, he alluded to the following:
It is also important to appraise the members about the social impact of drug abuse in South Africa. The abuse of drugs or substance abuse is a growing phenomenon in South Africa and has become a major concern both to the state, especially the law-enforcement agencies, and society in general.
This is particularly so because of the strong link between violent crime, organised crime, and abuse of drugs. The youth are especially vulnerable, owing to high levels of poverty and unemployment amongst them. They become a target, both as potential users and as an effective conduit for the distribution or peddling of drugs.
Some the key issues highlighted by the other speakers and heads of relevant United Nations bodies represented at this meeting, which was the G-8 Speakers' eighth session, but the first to include G5 parliaments and which was an exploratory session to include the G-5 in future meetings, were the following. The meeting indicated that it was critical that some emphasis be placed on border control and security because this matter was becoming much more challenging, therefore making it more difficult to pursue criminals if there wasn't enough collaboration between neighbours. In addition, the session also highlighted the need for countries to tighten legislation to ensure compliance and minimise any potential threats; the importance of promoting universal ratification of the Palermo Convention, its protocols and implementation thereof; the need to ensure that domestic legislation was in line with international standards in crime prevention and criminal justice; the role of parliaments in mandating governments to improve data collection and analysis of crime; the importance of building capacity to improve criminal justice and law enforcement; the imperative to strengthen government through the implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption; and the initiative to mobilise civil society to strengthen regional co-operation.
These were amongst the measures that were considered critical in the fight against crime, especially given the transnational character of organised crime in particular. South Africa was hailed for the progress we have already made in most of these areas, despite the enormous challenges that we continue to battle with.
Among the statutes passed by this Parliament since 1994 to fight drug trafficking and organised crime is the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act, Act 74 of 1996. The principal objective of this Act was to provide a mechanism through which allegations of serious corruption, maladministration or misappropriation of state funds and assets could be comprehensively and swiftly investigated, and remedial steps taken expeditiously and cost-effectively.
We passed the International Co-operation in Criminal Matters Act, Act 75 of 1996, which provides, amongst other things, for international co‑operation in criminal matters with foreign states in respect of the provision of evidence, the execution of sentences and compensatory orders, and the enforcement of confiscation and restraint orders.
We have also passed the Proceeds of Crime Act, Act 76 of 1996, which provides for the restraint and confiscation of the proceeds of crime, and established a number of money-laundering offences. This Act was subsequently repealed and substituted by the Prevention of Organised Crime Act. That Act, Act 121 of 1998, is now the principal Act through which syndicated criminal activity is prosecuted.
The Act, amongst other things, creates a new offence of participating in affairs of any criminal organisation. In defining the crime, we drew on the common elements of most other countries which had traversed this path and introduced such a crime to our Statute Book. The Act further creates an asset forfeiture regime which allows the state, through civil action, to seize assets that are the proceeds of crime used in the commission of an offence or used to commit or facilitate crime.
This provision was made to apply retrospectively. In other words, it applied to the confiscation of property used in crime that occurred before the existence of the Act, the idea being to hit organised crime syndicates where it hurts the most.
The law also criminalises certain activities of street gangs, such as the recruitment of members of a gang. The Prevention of Organised Crime Second Amendment Act, Act 38 of 1999, in particular, extended the application of the principal Act to proceeds of crime and property used in the commission of an offence where such crime or offence occurred before the commencement of the principal Act. The enactment of this legislation was required as a consequence of conflicting High Court judgments with regard to the retrospectivity of the application of the Act.
Let me conclude by stating that crime is a challenge that faces us all. As the ANC has said in its manifesto, together we can do more. It is a challenge that we must confront, irrespective of our political persuasions, and irrespective of our convictions or beliefs. The ANC supports the delegation in its envisaged trip to the IPI. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Rev K R J MESHOE
Adv T M MASUTHA
Rev K R J MESHOE: Chairperson, the topic we are debating this afternoon calls on all of us to co-operate and share responsibility in the global fight against human trafficking, among other things.
The United Nations definition of human trafficking basically equates with prostitution. Prostitution is harmful to the prostitutes themselves, their clients, and their families and society. In order to endure the multiple invasions of their bodies, prostitutes use alcohol and drugs to numb the assault on their consciences, dignity and bodily integrity.
They ACDP agrees with Doctors for Life who said that the decriminalisation of prostitution only allows criminals and members of organised crime rings to become legitimate businessmen and to work hand in hand with the state in marketing women's bodies.
Prostitution is ultimately sexual slavery. And, like all forms of slavery, the goal should be to eliminate it and not to make it legal. It is a fact that the legalisation of prostitution does not end abuse; it only makes abuse legal. It would be hypocritical for members of this House to talk about fighting against human trafficking while they support calls from individuals and advocacy groups for prostitution to be decriminalised.
We oppose the decriminalisation of prostitution and support the care and restoration of prostitutes to a safe, decent and dignified life. There is ample scientific evidence that prostitution is an inherently harmful practice, and that the vast majority of people who are involved in it would leave if they could find alternatives. The emotional trauma of prostitution is the same, whether high class or low class, legal or illegal, in a brothel or a massage parlour, in a street club or in the street.
For these reasons, the ACDP urges members of this Parliament to co-operate and share the responsibility to fight against organised crime and, in particular, human trafficking that includes prostitution.
Adv Z L MADASA / NB / END OF TAKE
Rev K R J MESHOE
Adv Z L MADASA: Chairperson, the context of this debate is that our Parliament is playing its role in debating subjects that are for discussion at international level as we speak. In our case, we are on the way to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, IPU, on your behalf, to debate matters of domestic concern, such as organised crime, to ensure a parliamentary dimension of response to this global challenge.
This debate is therefore an example of how we as a nation can link with others to solve global problems. In my case, I shall deal more with the need of our Parliament to respond to organised crime in the form of the proliferation of illegal arms, in particular small arms, and the inhumane problem of human trafficking which previous speakers have dealt with.
As the topic indicates, this is a global problem that needs a global response. We, in the ANC, have always believed and practised the principle of international human solidarity in our practice of international relations. An international response is paramount, because globalisation has not only integrated economies through technology, but it has also opened the door for the cross-border distribution of social ills like organised crime.
Therefore, the solution is a global response by all nations, in our case our parliaments. We can do this through the domestication of relevant international conventions and oversight over the implementation of both domestic laws and international agreements.
Our Parliament should also look into hosting, as an independent institution, meetings of parliamentarians from abroad on specific pertinent issues. In the ANC when we engage in debates about organised crime, we do so not only from the selfish perspective of the need to protect our property as important as it is, but also in pursuance of a global economic developmental agenda of all underdeveloped nations. The ANC has long recognised and stated that violence in all its forms, be it war or crime, is inimical to the developmental interests of society here and the world over.
This was the ANC rationale of agreeing to successive ANC-led governments in the past to send troops in peace-keeping missions on the continent. The ANC has an indefatigable desire to pursue shared economic growth and prosperity for all nations, especially in Africa.
The ANC also states in its strategy and tactics document that in its execution of the national democratic revolution, it proceeds from the understanding that it is the task of revolutionary democrats and humanists everywhere to recognise the dangers and opportunities in search of a just, human and equitable world order, a world with greater security, peace and dialogue among the nations of the world – rich and poor, big and small.
Therefore, organised crime is one such danger that must be taken seriously because this scourge has the potential to be obstacle to the advancement of the national democratic revolution. President Zuma, in his introduction to the manifesto of the ANC, said that the fight against crime would be a key priority to ensure safer and more secure communities.
As we stated in the ANC's current election manifesto, the ANC approach to crime is to deal with both crime and its causes. It is not a willy-nilly shoot-to-kill policy as some have distorted it. We must deal with both the kingpins and the foot soldiers in crime-fighting. We must deal with both the corruptor and the corruptee against crime. We must deal with both white-collar and public-sector crime.
As the strategy and thesis of the ANC document says, we must deal with both the big and the small guy in fighting crime. As we shoot to kill a dangerous armed criminal, we must also hunt and arrest the kingpin who hired the criminal.
The proliferation of illegal arms is a major inhibiting factor of the continent's development and prosperity. There is a saying that a problem well defined is a problem well solved. It is common cause that most illicit arms originate from the Easter European countries that have joined the European Union. The EU has a policy that when these countries join the EU and Nato, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, they are required to conform to the standardised criteria of the arms of the EU. In this process of compliance, these countries then illicitly sell their undesirable arms, small and big, to the developing countries of the South.
States that are characterised as failed states, that are weak in government institutions, like Somalia, Afghanistan, the Central African Republic and others, become the destination of such arms. Also, countries that are undemocratic, that breed rebels and those with weak immigration laws or borders, become the destination of illicit weapons.
This is why the ANC calls for an African solution to these African problems in the form of harmonised economic refugee regimes, regional uniform laws on peace and security, and an effective African standby force in each region. We also call for the implementation of existing relevant laws between us and our neighbouring nations.
Our Parliament needs to do an audit of all relevant international agreements with a view to ensuring implementation and strengthening of the same. In those states where there are conflicts, which have resulted in ongoing wars, we in the ANC, informed by our successful political settlement here at home, call for inclusive political negotiations and settlements. We call for political solutions instead of war to all political problems.
We in the ANC also believe that there can be no settlement of wars where some parties are closed out of political negotiations regardless of how radical they are. George Bush, the former President of the United States' strategy of unilateral solutions to global problems has manifestly failed - dismally.
Similarly, human trafficking emanates from social and economically deprived communities. It is simply the exploitation of the vulnerable who are turned into sexual commodities for the pleasure of the economically strong in society. Our government and country must move with speed to finalise the anti-human trafficking laws that will completely discourage the sale of people for cheap labour or sexual exploitation.
In conclusion, we in the ANC say that organised crime is repugnant to the struggle of the global economic development of nations of the South and those who are weak in the developed nations. We support the IPU in its deliberations on these subjects and call on our Parliament to play its part in the implementation of relevant laws. Working together here at home and abroad, we can do more to eradicate organised crime.
Lastly, in response to Mr Koos van der Merwe - who has since disappeared – who stated that South Africa was one of the leading nations in the levels of crime, I would like to say that I find it interesting and strange that we, as South Africans, find it necessary to always mention this self-lacerating fact that we have high rates of crime. I believe that we should leave this matter to those who are doing surveys and to academics, and promote what we know is good about our country. I thank you. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 17:12.
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