Hansard: Mnister' s Responses/ Member's Statements / Consideration of Shortlist of Candidates for Appointment to HSRC Board /Recommendation of Candidates for Appointment to Public Service Commission
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 19 Aug 2009
No summary available.
Thursday, 20 August 2009 Take: 199
THURSDAY, 20 AUGUST 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:02.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr K S MUBU: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move:
That the House debates the ongoing escalation in the numbers of spurious colleges and schools in South Africa and the lack of proper regulations, and to come up with solutions.
Mr M SWART
Mr K S MUBU
Mr M SWART: Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move the following motion:
That the House debates the current unsatisfactory situation where government officials are involving themselves in the adjudication of state tenders for their own benefit, and to formulate possible solutions.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Mr M SWART
UNTIMELY DEATH OF PANDELANI "SPARKS" RAMAGOMA
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
Mr M J ELLIS
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
CONGRATULATUIONS TO CASTER SEMENYA ON WINNING THE 800 METRE WORLD ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE FOR WOMEN IN BERLIN
Mr M J ELLIS: Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Mr M J ELLIS
CONDONATION OF SUBMISSIONS TIMEFRAMES AND Consideration of SUCH submissionS BY CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move the draft resolution printed in my name in the Order Paper as follows:
[Take in from Minutes.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Extension of deadline for NOMINATION of public protector
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, I move the draft resolution printed in my name in the Order Paper as follows:
[Take in from Minutes.]
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Time allocation for political partY RESPONSES
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move the draft resolution printed in my name in the Order Paper as follows:
[Take in from Minutes.]
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the IFP, I rise to object and request an opportunity to motivate the objection.
The SPEAKER: The objection of the IFP has been noted. [Interjections.] Go ahead with the motivation, but only for one minute.
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: May I motivate, Mr Speaker?
The SPEAKER: Go ahead, but only for one minute.
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We object on two grounds. Firstly, we object to the practice of replacing and amending a Rule of our National Assembly Rules for the entire term of Parliament without due process because in that way we can very well amend all the Rules.
Secondly, the Rules give equal time to each political party and this amendment moved is contrary to the prescription of the Constitution to protect minorities and give equitable time rather than proportional time to minorities. By reducing the three minutes, which each political has in terms of the Constitution, to one minute it really eliminates the opportunity of meaningful debate on significant aspects of these proceedings. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART: Thank you, Speaker. The ACDP also wishes to lodge its objection. May I also address you on this issue?
The SPEAKER: Also one minute, hon member.
Mr S N SWART: Speaker, I also want to join the sentiments expressed by my colleague from the IFP that it is ludicrous to participate in a discussion or comment on the statement made by a Minister in one minute. The Minister in this next instance will be given 20 minutes and we believe that it is also unconstitutional that parties should be given one minute to respond. Thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Speaker and Deputy President, I think it will be important that we don't fabricate a new concept of the due process and try to apply it to a House that already knows what due process is. In this House, we have a structure that is called "the Chief Whips Forum" and that is where, in terms of due process that is required, we process the issues.
There was a meeting of the Chief Whips Forum, where the parties were represented, including the IFP, which is introducing this new concept of due process, and we agreed on the time allocation that we have just proposed. So all we are now doing is making a formal proposal that was already adopted by all the parties that were represented.
I think, hon Ambrosini, as a lawyer you will very well know that if you are absent and we are quorate we are entitled to take decisions, and we took this decision that we are putting before this House. Thank you. [Applause.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, since there has been objections, I now put the question. Those in favour will say aye.
Agreed to (Inkatha Freedom Party and African Christian Democratic Party dissenting).
THE MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE FRAMEWORK FOR SOUTH AFRICA'S RESPONSE TO THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC CRISIS
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, and hon members, the international economic crisis and the local recession threatens to wipe out our economic gains. If the trends continue, we could soon find ourselves back to where we were five years ago.
Our gains are being seriously eroded but we will recover if we take the right steps. We need to use the crisis as an opportunity to mobilise the nation around a programme to defend the economy and to further strengthen it and to defend jobs.
I am addressing the House today to share with hon members the steps that government is taking to address what is the most serious economic challenge since the advent of democracy. The recession was triggered by the global economic crisis and South Africa lagged behind many other economies in the timing of the impact on our production, employment and economic performance. Initial signs were evident from late last year, but the economic data released this year has confirmed the scale of the impact on our economy.
We have recently experienced what has been described as the worst quarterly economic performance in 25 years with serious declines in both manufacturing and mining production. The latest manufacturing data, for June this year, shows that estimated monthly manufacturing production has shrunk by 17,1% and monthly sales have dropped by 19,6% compared to a year ago. Second quarter production shrunk by 18,7% and sales dropped by 20,2% compared to a year ago.
Manufacturing output has been declining since about mid last year. It has now reached levels last seen some five years ago. If these trends persist, it means that four years of modest manufacturing growth since January 2004 has been reversed by the dramatic decline in the physical volume of manufacturing production in the past 12 months. June statistics, the latest that we have, has indicated a 7,3% drop in mining compared to the same month a year ago.
Employment data have shown a large increase in unemployment. The Quarterly Employment Survey of Stats SA for the first three months of this year recorded 179 000 job losses.
The Labour Force Survey for the second three months of this year recorded 267 000 job losses and noted that 302 000 people have become too discouraged to seek employment. Retail sales have declined, with June 2009 figures showing a 6,6 % drop in sales compared to the same month a year ago. This is, therefore, taking us back to mid-2006 levels. As retrenchments and job losses increase, they impact on consumption, leading to lower demand, which could result in a renewed round of job losses.
The total output of the nation, as measured by GDP, declined by 3% for the second quarter of 2009. We have now had three successive quarters of a decline in output. Company capacity utilisation, which measures the extent to which we use the available productive capacity of the nation's workplaces, has declined as has the stock of capital in a number of manufacturing sectors. Capacity utilisation is at levels last seen in 2001 and we are deeply concerned at the prospect of a permanent decline in productive capacity as factories close rather than simply reduce output. Liquidations and insolvencies show a worrying trend as do increased claims from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, UIF.
In these trends, South Africa is facing the same pressures felt by many other countries with the most serious economic challenge since the Great Depression. What started as a financial crisis has rapidly become a crisis in the productive sector of the economy, and employment has been hit particularly hard.
With both developed and developing counties, monetary and fiscal policy has been concentrated on shoring up aggregate demand as the impact of the credit bubble collapse impacted on the real economy. Interest rates have been cut and some central banks have used quantitative easing to further respond to the crisis.
Public sector spending has been ramped up and countries now run large and growing budget deficits. The US and the UK, for example, are now running deficits of 13% and 14%, respectively. Global prospects are still uncertain, with evidence that the fragile signs of recovery are largely driven by the effects of the dramatic and co-ordinated government stimulus packages that have pumped liquidity into the global economy at levels not seen in our generation.
International experience has shown that financial crises leave large employment and social damage in their wake even when economies recover. Employment growth in particular lags economic recovery, sometimes by considerable periods of time. It is in this context that government has stepped up efforts to address the impact of the global crisis on our economy and our people.
Fiscal policy has remained expansionary in spite of falls in tax revenues and the Reserve Bank has cut interest rates repeatedly over the last six months. Earlier this year, government, organised labour, business and community organisations adopted the Framework for South Africa's Response to the International Economic Crisis. That document sets out our collective response to the international economic crisis, which is widely recognised as the deepest and most serious economic crisis in at least the last 80 years.
The framework, which provides the basis for a wide range of actions needed to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the country and our people, was founded on the following broad principles:
The risk of unfairly placing the burden of the economic downturn on the poor and the vulnerable must be avoided; activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of the economy to grow and create decent jobs in the future must be protected and supported as far as possible; planned high levels of investment in the public sector, particularly infrastructure must be maintained and the private sector must be encouraged to maintain and improve, wherever possible, their levels of fixed direct investment and continue with corporate social investment programmes; and interventions must be timely, tailored and targeted as is appropriate.
The Framework recognises the social partners' collective responsibility to work together to withstand the crisis and ensure that the poor and the most vulnerable are protected as far as possible from the impact of the crisis.
Noting the country's well-developed and advanced system of social dialogue, a strong institution in the form of Nedlac and a tradition of working together as constituents to address the social challenges, it seeks to draw on these strengths in developing and adjusting South Africa's response to the crisis and implementing its various commitments. In addition, the framework recognises the importance of ensuring that the economy is ready to take advantage of the next upturn and that the benefits of such growth are shared by all our people.
In today's statement, I would like to brief hon members on the progress we have made in implementing the framework thus far. In so doing, I would like to draw attention to the context within which this implementation has taken place and, in particular, to point out that following the appointment of a new Cabinet and the reorganisation of government functions, government has worked closely with social partners to speed up implementation.
President Zuma highlighted the centrality of this work in his state of the nation address on 3 June 2009, when he said, and I quote:
It is important now more than ever that we work in partnership on a common programme to respond to this crisis. We take as our starting point the Framework for South Africa's Response to the International Economic Crisis, concluded by government, labour and business in February this year. We must act now to minimise the impact of this downturn on those most vulnerable.
Following the state of the nation address, the task teams provided for in the framework were reactivated. In early July, we agreed to a set of priority areas and all parties rolled up their sleeves to produce action plans to respond to the crisis.
There was a new energy and focus to the response. In all, hon members may be interested in knowing that 19 meetings have been held since 1 July by the various committees responsible for forging a united position - this is some three meetings a week. More importantly, the energy produced solid results.
On 5 August, the leadership team met with and briefed President Zuma on the progress we had achieved by that point. That leadership team will be meeting again tomorrow.
To date, we have prioritised the following 12 areas of work: a training layoff scheme for workers at risk of retrenchment; combating customs fraud; support for distressed sectors; social assistance, including child support grants and old age pensions; stronger competition in the food supply chain; food relief; assistance by the Industrial Development Corporation and refocusing its mandate; availability and flow of credit; Expanded Public Works Programmes; leveraging jobs from public procurement; expanding public sector employment in areas of critical need; and public grant conditionalities to ensure that state support achieves the desired results.
In six of these areas, we concluded agreements that are now being implemented: Firstly, to meet the challenge of companies retrenching workers as a result of loss of orders due to the recession, we set up a National Jobs Fund to finance a training layoff scheme.
The scheme entails enrolling workers in training programmes for a period of up to three months. The principle behind the scheme is to use the period of industrial slack to train and reskill workers.
The scheme will be available to workers earning up to R180 000 a year and the key design elements of the scheme are that it is available to workers as an alternative to retrenchment. During the period of the scheme the employment relationship with the company is maintained, a training allowance of 50% of basic wages up to R6 239 per month will be paid to workers on the scheme, and participating employers will carry the cost of a basic social package to ensure that death, disability and funeral benefits are not suspended during this period.
Training is left to industries and companies to define, but we provided three guidelines: The training should be of value to the company concerned; it can address generic and adult literacy and numeracy needs; and it is an opportunity to roll out and disseminate information and communication technology skills on the shop floor.
The Minister of Labour's work in mobilising all the resources of his Department and reporting agencies, has been invaluable in making it possible to launch the scheme in September this year. An amount of R2,4 billion will be placed in the fund, drawn from resources in National Skills Fund and the UIF.
In order to ensure its successful implementation, it will rely on the collective efforts of a number of state entities: the NSF and the UIF; the Setas; the CCMA; some government departments such as the Department of Labour, responsible for co-ordinating and finalising the drafting of an implementation guide in collaboration with the CCMA and social partners; the Department of Trade and Industry, responsible for ensuring that our distressed sector support is co-ordinated with the training layoff scheme; and the Economic Development Department, responsible for assessing the economic and developmental impact of the training layoff scheme.
Most importantly, it requires partnerships between business and labour at workplace level.
The training layoff scheme is the first of its kind that government has launched and we have designed its implementation to be as simple as possible.
A key implementation agency will be the CCMA. The CCMA will help companies and unions to conclude their training layoff agreements. The CCMA has now trained about 250 staff members, mainly Commissioners, on the training layoff scheme and its implementation. It has a toll-free number and has published a guide to the training layoff scheme on its website.
The Setas have been asked to set aside resources for the financing of the training courses themselves and to identify appropriate, short, focused training courses. Special Board meetings of Setas are now being convened and a number of Setas have advised they will take part in the training layoff scheme.
I call on the Seta board members from business and labour to do everything in their power to ensure full and effective participation by Setas so that workers and companies can obtain the benefit of the training layoff scheme as soon as possible. Indeed, Speaker, here is an opportunity for Setas to show their value-add and to convinced even the sceptics that they are a vital part of the training delivery machinery and are flexible enough to respond to new and unusual circumstances.
Secondly, to address high levels of illegal imports and customs fraud that has led to many thousands of job losses, the capacity of SARS to address customs fraud has been strengthened. The Minister of Finance has facilitated a renewed focus by SARS on measures to improve its impact. SARS has now reported significant progress in respect of investigations and the confiscation of goods.
A number of companies are currently under investigation for smuggling, round-tripping, abuse of incentive arrangements, quota fraud, rebate item abuse and under-declaration of value.
In the clothing and textiles sector, by way of iilustration, some immediate outcomes of the antifraud campaign are as follows in respect of: smuggling, four companies are being investigated and the intention is to initiate criminal proceedings; round-tripping, 15 companies are being investigated and the support of neighbouring customs is required to finalise these investigations; export incentive abuse, 14 companies are being investigated and some duties have already been recovered; counterfeits, during raids a number of goods have been seized; quota fraud, four companies are being investigated and will be criminally charged; rebate item abuse, three companies are under investigation to recover duties; and in respect of under-declaration, five companies are under investigation and will be criminally charged.
Thirdly, to address huge job losses in certain sectors of the economy, we have facilitated discussions at sector level between business and labour, and measures to address their immediate problems have been identified. These include support for distressed companies in the automotive sector; a rescue package for the clothing and textiles industry; increased incentives for the manufacture of capital equipment; transport equipment and fabricated metal products linked to South Africa's Infrastructure Development Programme; and payments by government to small, medium and micro enterprises and other businesses within 30 days.
In the auto sector, business and labour have formulated a commitment that provides that companies receiving crisis-related assistance must commit to a moratorium on retrenchments for the duration of the assistance period with a provision that variation to this commitment, in cases where it is necessary for a firm's survival, be accompanied by requirements for independent verification of financial and other relevant information. So our social partners have really been working hard.
Fourthly, to address the problems of access to credit and working capital, the IDC has made R6 billion available over the next two years to respond directly to the crisis. Some applications have already been received and approved.
The IDC has 49 funding applications in the pipeline, 23 of which are from existing IDC clients while the remaining 26 are from new or potential IDC clients.
From 1 April 2009 to date, eleven financing applications from distressed companies totalling R743 million have been approved. We will now work with the IDC to improve the employment impact of its funding.
Fifthly, to address food price pressures on consumers at a time of falling family incomes, the Competition Commission's investigations into and prosecution of firms in the food supply chain, alleged to have engaged in various forms of prohibited anticompetitive conduct, have been stepped up.
Seven parts of the food supply chain are now the subject of attention by the competition authorities: in respect of bread, the commission is prosecuting two separate cases that have now been consolidated into one case, and is investigating a new case; with the milling of maize, the commission is referring the case to the Competition Tribunal for prosecution; in the dairy sector, a case is before the tribunal; with poultry, one case is before the tribunal, with the wider conduct being investigated by the commission; in fertilizer, settlement has been reached with one company, with others being prosecuted; in fats and oils, there is an investigation by the commission; and with regard to supermarkets, the commission has commenced its investigation. These are firm and clear steps taken by the commission to address food price increases.
Finally, Speaker, to address the growing debt faced by many consumers and households, the National Debt Mediation Association, a business initiative to assist over-indebted consumers, has been established to provide rules, standards and processes to address debt restructuring.
These six measures, hon members, constitute a solid start to our joint endeavours and I wish to thank the leadership of the social partners and government departments for their hard work to have achieved this.
I wish to advise this august House, that we are now simultaneously working on two fronts: to properly implement the measures we have announced, and to identify new areas in the framework that can progress to a conclusion.
We recently briefed MECs of six provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State and Limpopo on the package and they have endorsed the approach in the framework. Provinces will now identify ways in which they can align their own responses to the recession with the six areas that have been identified so that these measures can have the biggest possible impact. The province of KwaZulu-Natal has taken the lead in convening an economic recovery and jobs summit.
The Ministerial Cluster on Economic Sectors and Employment was convened this week to receive a report on implementation and a number of areas were identified that needed to be addressed in the next phase. They include strengthening the use of co-operatives to address the crisis, fast-tracking work on green jobs, identifying measures to deal with persons in vulnerable situations, including women and rural and informal sector workers.
In particular, we want to find ways of drawing more South Africans, through their community and NGOs structures into the partnership to respond to the recession. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Dr D T GEORGE
The MINISTER OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Dr D T GEORGE: Speaker, a rescue plan in response to the international economic crisis implies the need for an immediate response to an immediate threat. Government did not respond immediately, niether was its response aimed at the immediate concerns arising from the economic downturn.
There is a fundamental difference between structural determinants and cyclical changes - a conceptual divide that government would do well to understand. Structural problems require long-term policy solutions, while cyclical issues require action in the short term. This difference should inform the approach that we need to take in determining the response to our crisis.
The global economic downturn is a cyclical phenomenon, where financial markets stopped functioning as they should, due to a shortage of liquidity. It was a monetary crisis requiring an immediate monetary solution. That is why governments intervened to act as the bank of last resort, and thereafter introduced stimulus packages in an attempt, in the short run, to smooth the worst of this severe downward phase of the economic cycle.
What is our government doing? The Minister mentions a very long list of activities that government plans to implement to address the impact of the crisis. In particular, these include strengthening the capacity of the economy to grow, public sector spending, corporate social interventions and cushioning the impact on the vulnerable.
He mentions training initiatives, addressing competition, expanding public sector employment, and training for retrenched workers – a very broad sweep of activities, required for the functioning of an economy. Clearly, our government is focusing on structural problems, which it should have tackled a long time ago, rather than addressing the immediate cyclical issues.
A year ago, the International Panel on Growth presented its findings on the structural problems in our economy. Its key findings were that very few South Africans were working, the less skilled need to be absorbed into the economy, and the binding constraints on the speed limit of our economy need to be relaxed.
These problems require our attention, but it is not the place of a temporary rescue plan to try and address deep-seated problems in the economy. These problems can be resolved through systemic structural changes, such as a liberalised labour market that will encourage job creation, scrapping the ineffective Seta system in favour of an effective apprenticeship system, and trade policy that accommodates small and large exporters.
If these structural problems are not addressed by adequate structural changes, then our economy will not be able to take full advantage of the next upward phase of the business cycle. Resolving these structural problems will take time even if government commits itself to action, but this will not resolve the cyclical problem that we have now.
South Africa is no exception; many businesses cannot draw credit to invest or pay their own suppliers, and are thus forced to close down and retrench workers. Keeping economic activity alive through this cycle will retain jobs and this is where government should focus its efforts. Business enterprises need access to appropriate credit facilities that they cannot obtain from conventional sources. If the government had responded quickly, South Africa would not have seen the number of job losses experienced thus far.
Across the world, unions and business are making agreements on how best to keep people in jobs. We need to have these conversations in South Africa, and government needs to make the environment easier to do this. Government needs to respond now by taking resolute action on the immediate threats to our economy and, in this way, demonstrating that it is willing and able to perform its role as facilitator, not controller, of economic activity. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L S NGONYAMA
Dr D T GEORGE
Mr L S NGONYAMA: Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon members, we thank the government for this initiative to help the South African people to grow and restore our economy.
In the light of the current domestic and international economic crisis, we need an extraordinary plan, commitment and discipline. However, we need to remain cautious and vigilant as far as the opportunity that lies before us is concerned, because a grant of this magnitude can create a marked difference for the people of South Africa.
It is within this context that we propose that the two most important areas we need to consider are the small to medium enterprises that employ the largest portion of the South African workforce and the shortage of skilled workers in specific industries and we therefore call for targeted training.
The questions we need to ask are the following: What type of intervention will yield the most important and effective results? What instruments do we need to use? Which of the industries in our economy have the greatest potential to anchor it? How can we best provide skills to satisfy the demand in these industries to ensure sustainability?
The issue, therefore, is sustainability. Training without guarantee of absorption can be very counterproductive. How then do we support SMMEs to weather the current economic climate and prevent further retrenchments?
What we need, at this point, is an activist state, a state that is disciplined, a state that is rooted in ensuring that we deliver on the needs of the people.
At the current stage, in our view, we need interventions in five areas. These are agriculture, infrastructure development, manufacturing, the service industry and knowledge-based industries. This implies truly targeted training.
We propose that a detailed study be undertaken to ensure that the allocations made are used to their fullest potential for the recovery and sustainable growth of our economy. We also propose that a panel of experts be established to determine the areas that represent the greatest need. This panel of experts should study the weaknesses that we have experienced in South Africa – the weaknesses of Setas that have failed our country.
It is also essential to engage our society at large. We want to submit that, while we agree with the participation process that the Minister has alluded to, a participatory mood within this context has not been created in the country. We have not seen full participation of the people. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI
Mr L S NGONYAMA
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: Mr Speaker, in my ridiculously short minute I can only note that the government's response, as outlined by the Minister, seems to be based on the notion of a temporary crisis, a period of bad weather, a cyclical period of downturn which will bring us back to where we were before it all started. It therefore reflects the notion: Let's try to freeze the present situation until the weather improves and we will be fine. I hope he gets it right.
I, however, beg to differ. I think that this crisis is a structural crisis. It needs to be addressed in the context of what can survive in a future environment characterised by massive manufacturing capacity having been moved around the world by the effects of the crisis itself.
A crisis is a time for opportunities. It is a time in which bold actions can be taken. It is a time to look at where South Africa is going to be after the crisis - whether we will develop the capacity to produce products for the global market.
In that sense, government should also take the opportunity to take bold measures to develop an industrial policy for the country - a new industrial basis for after the crisis. This might not seem to be the time to do so, but it is the time in which the need for survival may press us to take such bold action.
By the same token, let us liberalise the market, as Dr George was saying. Let's finally fulfil the promise of getting rid of exchange controls, which has been echoing in this Chamber for many years. Let's look at the skills within the market, the monopolies ...
The SPEAKER: Hon member, your time has expired.
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI: My one minute?
The SPEAKER: It's more than one minute, hon member.
Mr S N SWART
Mr M G ORIANI-AMBROSINI
Mr S N SWART: Speaker, the ACDP welcomes the briefing by the Minister.
We wish to point out that today's Financial Mail states:
It's a sign of how bad our economic condition has become when economist express relief that real GDP contracted by only 3%.
And we know we still have a long way to go, with the economy expected to contract by a full 2% this year.
"For South Africa to emerge from recession, manufacturing and retail must recover requiring a global recovery to raise demand for our manufactured exports and bring about a revival for the stressed South African consumer."
The former appears to be on track if you look at Japan, Germany and France, which are exiting recession, and the US, UK and Europe, which are showing promising signs – they are speaking of green shoots.
However, the recovery for the South African consumer will take much longer, as household debt levels are at record highs and job losses are ongoing.
We believe that the measures announced today by the Minister will go a long way. The challenge, however, will be in the implementation. They must be properly implemented; therein lies the challenge. I thank you.
Ms E M COLEMAN
Mr S N SWART
Ms E M COLEMAN: Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Deputy Speaker, members of the executive, hon colleagues, I greet you all. Let me start by appreciating the Minister's initiative of tabling this statement. I believe it will help to clarify issues around the framework response to the public and the people affected so that, in turn, those affected can begin to take the necessary steps to provide for their own wellbeing.
In the same breath, I would also like to take this opportunity to applaud government, under the leadership of the President, together with other stakeholders, our social partners, who participated in this agreement process on their sterling work. It takes people who have themselves experienced such difficulties to be able to adequately respond in the manner you have. In other words, to understand it, you should have lived it. Otherwise you will respond like other members here are responding. This is what we mean when we say: Working together, we can do more.
I also want to remind you that the social partners are also from the business sector, unions and civil society; it is not only government. Therefore it would be wrong to direct all issues to government, because this is the country's response and the country, through various social partners, has participated in this particular response plan.
The framework response, as reported today, is highly commended and it could not have come at a better time. We all know that the most severely affected in this regard are the previously disadvantaged individuals, those who come from the poorest of the poor communities and backgrounds. Hence, we will urge that the framework response, objectives and intentions are implemented without failure.
From our side, as legislators, we will be following the implementation process and we will help, through our oversight, to ensure that no worker is compromised by either government bureaucracy or the companies concerned, under the training layoff scheme.
We appreciate the fact that no additional money is going to be transferred to the training layoff scheme from the National Revenue Fund. This is due to government's appreciation for the fact that we are already in a recession and cannot continue to overburden the government fiscus and should rather use flexible means to achieve the intended goal. This is applauded and should be encouraged, especially due to the fact that amongst the participants were stakeholders from the civil society who ordinarily would have expected government to foot the bill without any compromise.
We also request the Minister and the task teams involved in the crafting of this response plan to ensure that the process after the companies' applications is not derailed or does not take longer than anticipated, and that Seta's courses must respond to our economy's needs.
We are excited by the fact that the implementation of the plan will start as early as September this year and that there are companies that have already applied for both the training layoff schemes and the IDC's stimulus fund for the distressed sectors.
We need, as the House, to support this initiative and this particular response plan, because our role is to ensure that that plan gets implemented. We should, therefore, strengthen our oversight role so that the timelines, as set by government and its social partners, are met without any failures. I want to conclude by commending the steps taken, especially against those who are defrauding customs. Halala, government! Continue with the good work. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr E N N NGCOBO
Mrs E M COLEMAN
SHORTLIST OF CANDIDATES FOR APPOINTMENT TO BOARD OF HUMAN SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL
(Consideration of Shortlist of Candidates and of Report of Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology)
Mr E N N NGCOBO: Speaker, hon Deputy President, hon Minister of Science and Technology, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers present here, hon members and the guests of Parliament present today, CEO of the HSRC, director-general and your delegation – if at all they are here – please allow me, on behalf of my Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology, to present to this honourable House a reconstituted shortlist of candidates for the board of HSRC that will govern this important research institution. This institution forms part of the Department of Science and Technology family of entities.
The list of candidates who are being presented before this honourable House today is a culmination of a painstaking exercise by the Portfolio Committee on Science and Technology in a period of about a year to date. With this exercise we sought to update section 2 of the Human Sciences Research Council Act of 1968, Act No 23 of 1968, through the repealing of section 8 of the Human Sciences Research Council Act of 2008, Act No 17 of 2008.
The objective of this latter amendment has been to promote human sciences research of the highest quality in South Africa in order to improve the understanding of social conditions and the process of social change connected with the political transformation processes that have been happening in our country since the advent of democracy, as led by the ANC, in 1994.
The HSRC board will, in accordance with this amending Bill, consist of a chairperson designated by the Minister and no less than six but no more than nine members plus the CEO, who is a member by virtue of his or her office.
The Minister, after appointing a panel of experts to compile a shortlist of no more than 20 persons from the nominees, will then refer the shortlist to the portfolio committee for concurrence, in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
Indeed, the portfolio committee recommended that the list of candidates be revisited in order to reflect the few recommendations advanced by the portfolio committee on that day of the presentation.
The Department of Science and Technology indeed addressed those concerns and resubmitted a revised list to the portfolio committee. The portfolio committee then concurred with the revised list.
As an institution of research, the HSRC is tasked with a variety of responsibilities to promote research in the field of human sciences in order to improve the quality of life of all our people. These range from research analyses of housing delivery problems to children-led households resulting from the HIV and Aids pandemic challenges, poverty and unemployment challenges, analyses of economic and social gains arising from the 2010 Fifa soccer games, political and economic stability challenges for our African region, etc. There's a long list of what the HSRC does.
It is indeed an important research institution when it comes to research on the sociopolitical or economic challenges facing our nation and the world. It is therefore imperative that we establish a board of capable men and women that would be up to the challenge. We think that the shortlist presented to you today consists of people who are up to that challenge.
It is, therefore, my pleasure to appeal that this House ratify the shortlist of candidates for the board, as presented in the ATC of 9 July 2009, page 48, as it is only when we work together that we can do more. I thank you and especially my fellow portfolio committee members, who have worked so hard over the said period to conclude this task. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr E N N NGCOBO
Declarations of vote:
Ms S V KALYAN (DA): Speaker, the chairperson of the portfolio committee has outlined the role of the HSRC board, but the DA would like to use this opportunity to raise a few matters of concern.
First of all, the contracts of members serving on the board expired on October 2008 and owing to parliamentary delays, the matter was only referred to the Speaker for consideration on 15 April 2009, by which time the third Parliament had already risen.
Was it a case of passing the buck or a case of the failure of Parliament to do its oversight work efficiently? The x-criterion for representivity was initially not applied, and the department noted these concerns and came back with a more representative list.
Some of the qualifications of the shortlisted candidates do not comply in the strictest sense with the requirements as stipulated in the Act. Questions for the Minister to consider when making her final choice are: What value do persons who serve on a wide range of boards add? Does such a board member have time to do justice to the task at hand or might not a possible conflict of interest arise?
The DA also asks the Minister to consider it very carefully when appointing members who have served on other boards and whose performance has been questionable. Last, but not least, the Minister should guard against political appointments.
The portfolio committee has made specific recommendations both to Parliament in respect of its oversight, and to the Minister to review legislation regarding the processes leading to the appointment of members of the board. We sincerely hope that this matter will be properly addressed, and urgently.
In conclusion, the DA wants to place on record its appreciation to the current board for agreeing to stay on despite the end of its term, and wishes the new board well in its deliberations. [Applause.]
Mr P F SMITH
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr P F SMITH (IFP): Speaker, colleagues, just from the IFP's perspective, I would like to say that in the end, all the parties agreed to the names proposed. However, I must say that the processes leading up to that was less than ideal.
We were presented with a list of names through the internal processes of the department and the committee, which were frankly ridiculous. The Minister is entitled to making the choice herself. The function of the process before then is to provide her with a shortlist of sufficient names for her to be able to exercise her mind. And what, in fact, we received was something that would have almost compelled her to take all the names on the list, bar one or two, and that is completely unacceptable.
The list was not balanced in respect of the legal requirements of what had to be included in the list. It was not racially balanced; it didn't adequately deal with skilled incumbents who might have been kept on to do another term.
So we are happy with the outcome, but I do think that in future we should reflect upon the process that go astray. So we wish the Minister well in choosing from the list that she has.
I do think that she could have had a few more options, but what she has is a good, sound basis. Thank you.
Question put: TAKE IN FROM MINUTES
Question agreed to.
Shortlist of candidates accordingly approved.
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
Mr P F SMITH
RECOMMENDATION OF CANDIDATES FOR APPOINTMENT TO PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
(Consideration Candidates and of Report of Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration)
THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND ADMINISTRATION (Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA): Speaker, Deputy President and hon members, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration would like to present the report on the nomination of the National Public Service Commissioners.
Just as a reminder, hon members, we must put before us here that the Public Service Commission is an independent and impartial institution, established in terms of the Constitution of 1996, with its powers and function to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation, administration and personnel practices of the Public Service, amongst others. Its mandate entails the evaluation of the achievements and lack of the achievement in these programmes in government.
In terms of section 196 (7) of Chapter 10: Public Administration in the Constitution, it is clearly stated that –
(7) The commission has the following 14 commissioners appointed by
(a) Five commissioners approved by the National Assembly in accordance with subsection 8(a); and
(b) one commissioner for each province in accordance with subsection 8(b).
In other words, we have nine commissioners from the provinces and five national commissioners. In all, we have a total of 14 commissioners. A commissioner is appointed for a term of five years, which is renewable for one additional term only. So, in other words, they cannot go on to a third term in terms of the Constitution.
This year, in June, the term of office of two Public Service commissioners came to an end after being renewed. They were the serving chairperson of the commission, who will be familiar to most members, Prof S Sangweni.
The vacancies meant that the Public Service Commission remained with only three out of five commissioners. The Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration was tasked on behalf of Parliament to advertise, shortlist, interview and nominate the preferred commissioners. The portfolio committee then reports the outcomes to Parliament for adoption, with a view to recommend the candidates to the President for appointment.
Speaker, it is along these lines that a subcommittee was appointed by the portfolio committee to act as a panel in order to shortlist, interview and recommend to the National Assembly the successful candidates. The panel constituted the following members: The chairperson, (hon) J C Moloi-Moropa (ANC), hon E Sulliman (ANC), hon E Rasool (ANC), hon N E Gcwabaza (ANC), hon A M Dreyer (DA) and hon L Adams (Cope).
Consensus was reached on the 14 candidates who were shortlisted for interviews. All candidates were highly qualified and experienced in various ways. I must indicate to the House that the subcommittee was such a dedicated team, united around one goal: to get the best out of those who were interviewed. The subcommittee gave consideration to candidates' experience, qualifications, gender, age, knowledge of the Public Service and the Public Service Commission.
After consideration of the subcommittee's report, the portfolio committee recommends the following candidates for nomination as National Public Service commissioners: Ms M J J Matsomela and Mr B Mthembu.
In the event that these candidates are not available to serve on the National Public Service Commission, the committee recommends that the following candidates be considered for appointment in the order in which they appear below, the third person being Adv R K Sizani and the fourth, Mr G Aboobaker.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the panel, which was a subcommittee constituted by the committee, on the good work done in putting the interests of the country first, in order to achieve the best selection from amongst the nominated candidates. It will always be my wish to work with such a dedicated team, and I congratulate them on the good work done. Thank you. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
Question put: That the House approve the nominations of Ms M J J
Matsomela and Mr B Mthembu for appointment to the Public Service
Commission and of Adv R K Sizani and Mr G Aboobaker as supplementary nominations.
AYES - 233: Abram, S; Adams, L H; Adams, P E; Bam-Mugwanya, V;
Bhengu, P; Bikani, F C; Bonhomme, T J; Borman, G M; Boshigo, D F;
Botha, T; Burgess, C V; Cebekhulu, R N; Chikunga, L S; Chohan, F I;
Coetzee, T W; Coleman, E M; Cwele, S C; Dambuza, B N; Dandala, H M; De Freitas, M S F; De Lille, P; Dexter, P D; Diale, L N; Dikgacwi, M M; Ditshetelo, I C; Dlamini, B O; Dlulane, B N; Doman, W P; Dreyer, A M; Du Toit, N D; Dubazana, Z S; Dube, M C; Dudley, C; Duncan, P C; Dunjwa, M L; Ellis, M J; Figlan, A M; Fihla, N B; Fransman, M L; Frolick, C T; Gasebonwe, T M A; Gcwabaza, N E; Gelderblom, J P; George, D T; George, M E; Gina, N; Gololo, C L; Gona, M F; Goqwana, M B; Gumede, D M; Gungubele, M; Hoosen, M H; Huang, S-B; James, W G; Jeffery, J H; Joemat-Pettersson, T M; Johnson, M; Kalyan, S V; Kekane, C D; Kenye, T E; Kganare, D A; Khoarai, L P; Kholwane, S E; Khumalo, F E; Khunou, N P; Kilian, J D; Kloppers-Lourens, J C; Komphela, B M; Koornhof, N J J v R; Kopane, S P; Kotsi, C M; Kubayi, M T; Landers, L T; Lekgetho, G; Lishivha, T E; Lorimer, J R B; Lotriet, A; Luthuli, A N; Luyenge, Z; Maake, J J; Mabuza, M C; MacKenzie, G D; Madasa, Z L; Madlala, N M; Magagula, V V; Magau, K R; Magazi, M N; Magwanishe, G; Mahlangu-Nkabinde, G L; Makasi, X C; Makhuba, H N; Makhubela-Mashele, L S; Makhubele, Z S; Makwetla, S P; Malgas, H H; Maluleka, H P; Maluleke, J M; Manamela, K B; Mandela, Z M D; Manuel, T A; Martins, B A D; Mashigo, R J; Mashishi, A C; Masutha, T M; Mataboge, D K; Mathibela, N F; Matlanyane, H F; Matshoba, J M; Maunye, M M; Mavunda, D W; Maynier, D J; Mbili, M E; Mc Gluwa, J J; Mdaka, M N; Mdakane, M R; Mgabadeli, H C; Mjobo, L N; Mkhize, H B; Mkhize, L N; Mkhulusi, N N P; Mlambo,
E M; Mmusi, S G; Mnguni, P B; Mnisi, N A; Mnqasela, M; Mocumi,
P A; Molebatsi, M A; Molewa, B E E; Moloi-Moropa, J C; More, E;
Morgan, G R; Morutoa, M R; Moss, L N; Motimele, M S; Motlanthe,
K P; Motshekga, M A; Motshekga, M S; Mthethwa, E M; Mthethwa,
E N; Mtshali, E; Mufamadi, T A; Mushwana, F F; Nchabeleng, M E;
Ndabandaba, L B G; Ndabeni, S T; Ndlovu, V B; Ndude, H N; Nelson,
W J; Newhoudt-Druchen, W S; Ngcengwane, N D; Ngcobo, B T; Ngcobo, E N N; Ngele, N J; Ngonyama, L S; Ngwenya, W; Nhlengethwa, D G; Njikelana, S J; Nkwinti, G E; Ntuli, Z C; Nxumalo, M D; Nyalungu, R E; Nyama, M M A; Nyanda, M F; Nyekemba, E; Oliphant, G G; Oliphant, M N; Ollis, I M; Pandor, G N M; Phaahla, M J; Pillay, S M; Pilusa-Mosoane, M E; Pretorius, P J C; Pule, D D; Rabotapi, M W; Radebe, B A; Ramatlakane, L; Ramatlhodi, N A; Rantsolase, M A; Rasool, E; Robinson, D; Schafer, DA; Scheemann, G D; Selau, G J; Shiceka, S; Shilowa, M S; Shinn, M R; Sibhidla, N N; Singh, N; Sisulu, L N; Sisulu, M V; Skosana, J J; Skosana, M B; Smith, P F; Smith, V G;
Snell, G T; Sogoni, E M; Sosibo, J E; Sotyu, M M; Steele, M H; Suka, L; Sulliman, E M; Sunduza, T B; Swart, M; Swathe, M M; Thabethe, E;
Thobejane, S G; Thomson, B; Tinto, B; Tlake, M F; Tobias, T V; Tsebe, S R; Tseke, G K; Tsenoli, S L; Tshivhase, T J; Tshwete, P; Tsotetsi, D R; Turok, B; Twala, N M; Vadi, I; Van Der Berg, N J; Van der Linde, J J; Van der Merwe, S C; Van der Walt, D; Van der Westhuizen, A P; van Rooyen, D D; Van Schalkwyk, H C; van Wyk, A; Waters, M; Wenger, M; Williams, A J; Xasa, T; Xingwana, L M; Zulu, B Z.
Question agreed to.
Nominations accordingly agreed to in accordance with section 196 (8)(a) of the Constitution.
Ms N M TWALA
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
Ms N M TWALA (ANC): Thank you, Deputy Speaker. The ANC-led government is continuously implementing land reform and agricultural development programmes, which include a comprehensive support package for farmers, especially women farmers and rural entrepreneurs.
The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration has committed itself to introducing programmes that are aimed at animal production and forestry. The Vula Mathuba Programme, as it is known, is already supporting 76 students who are studying scarce skills at tertiary institutions. Amongst those skills are the following: veterinary science, crop production and agricultural economy.
Together with our people, the ANC tirelessly works to ensure that the agricultural policies we implement have a positive impact on households, food security, food prices and environmental sustainability. Thank you.
Dr W G JAMES
Ms N M TWALA
National Student Financial Aid Scheme
Dr W G JAMES (DA): Deputy Speaker, the Ministerial committee that is to review the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, chaired by Dr Marcus Balintulo, is obliged to report to the Minister of Higher Education and Training within six months, after the commencement of their work, which is likely only in December 2009, as its date of appointment was on 08 June 2009.
One of the tasks of this committee is to undertake a review of the Means Test and to provide guidelines to determine the criteria for eligible students. Many parents, some of whom have contacted me directly, already pressed, as we all are, by the current recessionary climate, are unable to access National Student Financial Aid Scheme funds and are ineligible for student bank loans.
If he, therefore, has not done so yet, and I am sorry he is not present, the Minister of Higher Education and Training must provisionally adjust the criteria and set aside adequate funds as a temporary measure to meet the needs of students who have been admitted to universities, but whose parents, regardless of their race, simply cannot afford the money. Thank you.
Mr D A KGANARE
Dr W G JAMES
STATE OF HOSPITALS IN FREE STATE
Mr D A KGANARE (COPE): Madam Speaker, I rise to express my shock at the level of health service at Free State hospitals. These hospitals are generally understaffed and consequently overcrowded. At the national hospital there is usually only one doctor on duty at night. It is normal for patients to wait for up to eight hours in an emergency waiting area without being attended to by a doctor.
Patients sleep on the floor for sometimes up to six days before they can be provided with a bed. The medical staff at this hospital is helpless, with a heavy load of patients to deal with. Nurses and matrons have stories of people dying in their chairs.
The issue of understaffing is also a normal thing at Pelonomi Hospital. The shortage of pharmacists demands that they be pulled from other regions, once a week, to help with sorting, packaging and sending medication to the different regions. When this happens, regions are left without pharmacists to attend to patients.
It is only an extraordinary person, with a social conscience, who will be able to live and experience the pain, agony and trauma experienced by our people, as they sit there for hours on end waiting for a nurse or doctor to ease their pain.
Those who only visit these areas accompanied by bodyguards with much ceremony and sirens blazing, will forever live in their world of self-delusion, premised ... [Time expired.]
Mr M GUNGUBELE
Mr D A KGANARE
BRANCH COURTS COMMENCE WITH OFFERING FULL SERVICE
Mr M GUNGUBELE (ANC): Hon Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, hon members, last Tuesday, 11 August 2009, the branch courts started to offer full services to communities in townships and rural areas who had no access to justice services offered by the main courts.
Fifteen branch courts across the country are now enjoying the status of being full service courts with improved access to the justice system following the extension of their services. The extension of services to the current branch courts will bring great relief to affected communities and enhance their access to justice consistent with the provision of our Constitution. The launch of these courts has taken us forward in terms of promoting justice in particular to the historically disadvantaged communities, even though they provide limited services to these communities.
Due to these efforts, people don't have to travel long distances in order to access services such as child maintenance, protection orders, deceased estates, adoption orders or legal remedies to any civil disputes.
This is consistent with government's effort to prioritise service delivery by bringing facilities and services to areas where people reside and establish a new, modernised, efficient and transformed criminal justice system so as to develop the capacity for fighting and reducing crime in real terms. Thank you.
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA
Mr M GUNGUBELE
BRUTAL MURDER OF PREGNANT WOMAN DURING WOMEN'S MONTH
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA (IFP): Deputy Speaker, Nompumelelo Ndlovu, who was believed to be seven months pregnant, was beaten to death in broad daylight on one of the busiest streets of Pietermaritzburg's central business district. It is alleged that Ms Ndlovu was attacked without provocation and hit repeatedly with an iron bar.
The IFP offers its condolences to the family and friends of Ms Ndlovu, and all the other women of South Africa who are senselessly murdered. We might have celebrated Women's Day recently and we continue to honour women during the month of August, but the abuse of women continues unabated.
While mainstreaming gender issues, passing the right legislation and highlighting the plight of women, these efforts are, however, not enough and will be undermined if we do not create a culture of respect for women. Young boys must learn from an early age that girls and women must be respected. This should be ingrained in our culture. For this to happen, South African men must play a more active role.
I, therefore, appeal to South African men, starting with all of you sitting in this House today, to be the role models that our youth need, and become active role-players in the promotion of women's rights . . . [Time expired.]
Ms P TSWETE
Mrs C N Z ZIKALALA
THE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS OF WOMEN
Ms P TSWETE (ANC): Deputy Speaker, the ANC-led government continues to raise awareness about the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and to strengthen the enforcement of these rights by ensuring that they are incorporated in the broader health programmes.
The ANC-led provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has launched a campaign called the Phila Ma Project. This initiative is aimed at raising awareness and educating women about cervical cancer.
The Department of Health chose officially to launch the campaign in the Amaoti community hall. This area is one of the poorest areas in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the high poverty rate shortens the lifespan of women. During the day, the women of Amaoti and the surrounding communities were given free cervical cancer screening. These services are to be rolled out throughout during August, as part of the Women's Month programme.
The ANC will accelerate the campaign of health promotion and disease prevention by changing values and norms through community action. Furthermore, communities will be encouraged to adopt healthy diets and exercise, and take part in the campaign against drug and substance abuse. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P PRETORIUS
Ms P TSWETE
CONFUSION CAUSED BY THE RENAMING AND REORGANISATION OF GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
Mr P PRETORIUS (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, thus far, the reorganisation and renaming of government departments has not been a smooth process. Some confusion still exists, most notably in the portfolios of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and water and environmental affairs.
The name of the department or portfolio named "Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries", clearly indicates that fisheries is a substantive component of that portfolio. There can be no other interpretation.
The reality, though, is that only a tiny part of fisheries, namely aquaculture – that is fish farming – falls under the portfolio. Aquaculture production represents a mere 0,4% of all fish production. This means that 99,6% of fishery-related matters, including marine and coastal management, permits, quotas, resource management, etc, therefore fall outside the brief of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The department responsible for this 99,6% of fisheries affairs is indeed the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. Nothing in the name or portfolio of that department suggests that fisheries are part of it. This is a confusing and unsatisfactory situation which should be corrected.
We call on the President and his advisers to take a fresh look at the names of these two departments and, or, to reorganise them. Thank you.
Dr C P MULDER
Mr P PRETORIUS
THE CRIPPLING EFFECTS OF STRIKES AND UNREASONABLE DEMANDS FOR HIGHER WAGES ON THE ECONOMY
Dr C P MULDER (VFPLUS): Adjunk-speaker, die veelvoudige stakings in verskeie sektore van die ekonomie is nie net besig om geweldige skade aan die internasionale beeld van Suid-Afrika as 'n stabiele demokrasie to berokken voor 2010 nie, maar is ook besig om die ekonomie te kniehalter.
Vakbonde, in veral die staatsdiens, het die leiding geneem met die eise op onrealistiese salarisverhogings en aanpassings. Munisipale amptenare se verhogings van 13,5% is en bly onrealisties, en dis die gewone man in die straat wat daardie rekening sal moet betaal.
In die huidige internasionale ekonomiese klimaat het die vakbonde en werkers eerder op eie gewin gekonsentreer as om aan die breër samelewing te dink.
Verhogings en salarisse hoër as die inflasiesyfer het 'n kettingreaksie effek op voedselpryse en die ekononomie in die geheel, en van President Zuma se beroep op werkers vir vreedsame onderhandelings oor salarisverhogings, het niks gekom nie.
In diesefde periode waar werkers gestaak, optogte gehou en medewerkers geïntimideer het, het miljoene ander Suid-Afrikaners hul werk verloor.
Die werkloosheidsyfer staan tans op meer as 23%, met duisende meer werkers wat aflêggings in die myn en verwante bedrywe in die gesig staar.
President Zuma het in sy openingsrede gesê dat die regering in die komende jaar ten minste 500 000 nuwe poste sal skep. Die regering kan nie hierdie beloftes nakom as hy nie daarin kan slaag om vakbonde en werkers sover te kry om vreedsaam oor salarisse en realistiese salarisverhogings te onderhandel nie.
Die ANC regering moet daarom sy vennote soos Cosatu in die bek ruk om Suid-Afrika se groter ekonomie te beskerm, eerder as om aan daardie politieke druk toe te gee. Dankie.
Mr L SUKA
Dr C P MULDER
BUILDING OF DECENT HOUSES FOR THE NELSON MANDELA BAY MUNICIPALITY BY THE ANC-LED GOVERNMENT
Mnu L SUKA (ANC): Umbutho weSizwe uKhongolose ukholelwa ekubeni ubonelelo lwezindlu lilungelo laye wonke ubani, ukuhlala phantsi kwemeko enesidima, uxolo, nesithozela lilungelo laye wonke ubani ongummi apha eMzantsi Afrika. Umasipala ombaxa wesixeko saseBhayi owaziwa ngokuba yiNelson Mandela Bay, okhokelwa ngumbutho kaKhongolose uphuma iphulo lokuqinisekisa ulwakhiwo lwezindlu ezisemgangathweni, ingakumbi kubantu abangabemi beli lizwe.
Olu lwakhiwo lwezindlu luya kugxininisa kubantu abahlala ingakumbi ematyotyombeni kunye nakwiindawo ekuye kuthi xa kunethayo imizi yabantu ikhukuliseke. Urhulumente okhokelwa nguKhongolese uya kuthi gqolo ekwakheni iindawo zokuhlala ezikufutshane neendawo zempangelo okanye zokuxelenga, amaziko ezemfundo kwakunye namaziko ezempilo. Ndiyabulela Sekela Somlomo. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS
Mr L SUKA
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION'S DECISION TO REDESIGN THE MATRIC CERTIFICATE
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS: Madam Deputy Speaker, the decision by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, to scrap hundreds of thousands of specially watermarked papers for matric certificates so that redesigned ones with a larger and more prominent South African coat of arms could be printed instead, shows that she is driven by arrogance and superficiality and that she has her priorities in completely the wrong order.
The DA fully supports the inclusion of the coat of arms on the matric certificate. It is an important mark of national pride. However, the coat of arms is already prominent on the certificate. If its size and position needs to be changed, the change could have waited until next year, when no additional expenses would have been incurred.
For security reasons, the certificates are printed on watermarked paper which is produced overseas. If the cost of the paper for each of these certificates were R10, the cost of the scrapping exercise would have been a staggering R6 million. It may well have been more, depending on the cost of the certificates.
If we add to this the inconvenience and cost for universities, who now have to pay the department for statements confirming results, as well as the strain being placed on learners, then it is impossible to justify this act. It appears that the Minister is focusing on everything except improving the dismal quality of education received by most South African children.
Mr P B MNGUNI
Dr J C KLOPPERS-LOURENS
DISMISSAL OF MUNICIPAL MAYORS
Mr P B MNGUNI (Cope): Deputy Speaker, this country is governed by the Constitution which makes provision for three interrelated, independent spheres of government.
Unfortunately, there was the intervention of Luthuli House in the past three months whereby the mayor of Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality was summarily dismissed without due process being followed.
It seems that the government does not understand the limits of theirpower neither does it have respect for the Constitution. Cope therefore urges the relevant Minister to ensure that corrupt, nonperforming or underperforming municipality mayors are dismissed or removed in terms of due process.
They should not be dismissed with unnecessary wastage of public funds or legal challenges to provincial and national interventions. I thank you.
Ms B T NGCOBO
Mr P B MNGUNI
SCHOOL MATHEMATICS COMPETITION
Ms B T NGCOBO (ANC): Somlomo ... [Inaudible.] Advances in science and technology depend on a solid foundation at school level. Without a thorough foundation in mathematics, careers in science, engineering and technology will be closed to young learners, the majority of whom are from the disadvantaged backgrounds.
The ANC congratulates the City of eTthekwini on hosting the 10th Invitational World Youth Mathematics Intercity Competition from 5July 2009 to 10 July 2009 at the Durban City Hall, in collaboration with the Association for Mathematics Education of SA.
Over 300 junior high-school students representing 19 countries from all over the world converged in Durban to participate in the competition. This presents an opportunity for young people not only to participate in a friendly way, but also to share experiences, cement international friendships and foster mutual understanding.
South Africa was represented by 141 schools from the eThekwini Municipality, with eight of those schools falling under the Department of Education's Dinaledi schools programme. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R N CEBEKHULU
Ms B T NGCOBO
STATE OF LAND BANK INVESTIGATIONS
Mr R N CEBEKHULU (IFP): Deputy Speaker, the troubles at the Land Bank have been covered extensively in the media and the work that this important institution is mandated to do effectively has been crippled by the corrupt behaviour of some of its officials.
We note the hon Minister of Finance's comments earlier this week that the Land Bank is on its way to recovery. This is a positive sign and also the first step towards the Land Bank operating efficiently and fulfilling its mandate. However, we must not forget that the dishonesty of officials and other people caused the Land Bank to be in this miserable state.
While we do understand that investigations are ongoing, there must be transparency in this process, and the people who were involved in corrupt dealings, both Land Bank officials and the beneficiaries of illegal loans, must be exposed and brought to book.
South African taxpayers need to know that their interests are being looked after and that corruption is not tolerated. They need to know the names of people who abused their money and what action is being taken against them. I appeal to the Minister to provide this House with a detailed update on the investigations and to furnish us with a list of names of those who have been implicated in corruption at the bank as well as what action is being taken against them. The IFP also hopes that every effort is being made to recover the funds that were disbursed illegally. I thank you.
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr R N CEBEKHULU
WORLD'S LARGEST SINGLE OPTICAL TELESCOPE AND SA LARGE TELESCOPE
Ms S V KALYAN (DA): Speaker, Spain recently opened the world's largest single optical telescope. Called the "Gran Telescopio Canarias", it is a 10,4-metre-long mirror composed of 36 hexagonal segments. It is the latest edition to the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory perched about 2 400 metres above La Palma, one of the Spanish Canary Islands. Congratulations to Spain!
If we, in South Africa, succeed in attracting the Square Kilometre Array, we will join the ranks of being host to one of the world's largest telescopes - an exclusive club indeed.
Unlike that of Spain, ours will be a radio telescope, the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. We would then be able to join path-breaking research on the nature of the universe, such as the recent findings that the oldest and most luminous galaxies in the universe may be more compact than was once thought - prompting a re-evaluation of some of the assumptions relating to the evolution of galaxies.
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
Ms S V KALYAN
STATE OF HOSPITALS IN THE FREE STATE
BRUTAL ATTACK ON PREGNANT WOMAN DURING WOMEN'S MONTH
STATE OF LAND BANK INVESTIGATIONS
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION: Deputy Speaker, may we express appreciation for the statements made.
I would like to respond to the hon Kganare, although he has taken flight. The last sirens that visited hospitals were when the hon Kganare was an MEC in the Free State province. He raises quite an important issue. The sirens have stopped since then, Mbhazima. This is quite an important issue. If we want to see an improvement of services, this should not be a governing party issue. All of us as public representatives are equally responsible for oversight in those areas that are under our care.
I think we will find out many things in engaging with hospitals. One issue is that the country is not producing sufficient pharmacists. So the public sector battles to attract pharmacists, and even more so now because large chain stores have pharmacies. As a result, the public sector battles. Where we are able to attract these pharmacists, it is primarily in Gauteng and in the Western Cape. In fact, the cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town attract pharmacists, so other provinces are battling.
This is not for the lack of attention to detail. The country isn't producing sufficient people with Mathematics and Science who still choose pharmacology as a profession. This is a big issue, but it is not a party political issue.
The hon Zikalala raises the issue of attacks on women. I'm prepared to take up the challenge with other men and say that we must be role models. It's not a women's struggle, it's a people's struggle. I think we need to be active in our communities, and people must see what these issues are about. [Applause.]
I am sorry I didn't get the hon member's name, Deputy Speaker. I think the sentiments are correct at one level about corrupt officials or corrupt beneficiaries not being tolerated. But I think we aren't being fair on the new chief executive of the Land Bank to ask him to name these people. I think he has acted as we have required of him. The first thing he had to do was to ensure that there were forensic reports by professionals and that those were handed over to investigating authorities in the police. He has done so. As people are charged, their names will be a matter of public record. You shouldn't ask him to act as though he is a prosecutor and a judge in this matter.
The other mandate we gave him was to stabilise the institution, and he has done that with aplomb. Now that this has been attained, I think the Land Bank is in a better position to deal with newly settled farmers and to ensure that it can fulfil its developmental mandate. But it hasn't been possible to do so in an environment where the Land Bank's books were in a state. I'm sure we can look forward to a far more developmental role for the Land Bank, sound in administration and an institution that doesn't tolerate corruption. Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker.
THE DEPUTY MINISTER of TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Ms T V TOBIAS)
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION
STATE OF HOSPITALS IN THE FREE STATE
THE DEPUTY MINISTER of TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Ms T V TOBIAS): Deputy Speaker, I have partly been covered by the Minister in the Presidency. For those who don't know Pelonomi Hospital, it is a provincial hospital in the Free State which services all the regions in the province. It is one of the best trauma hospitals in the country. Therefore, you will understand why everybody will go to Pelonomi Hospital.
If there is a terrible accident that has taken place in the country and one can't be treated, one is then taken to Pelonomi Hospital. It is the best hospital FOR midwifery in the country. We have the best experienced midwives in the country, hence everybody wantS to have their babies at Pelonomi Hospital.
As part of my constituency work, I spoke with the MEC of Health, Ms Sisi Mabe, who assured me that medicine has been supplied not only to Pelonomi Hospital, but also to all hospitals in the Free State, including clinics. So it is very important for Mr Kganare to update his information because I am talking about work I've done in the last week when I was doing my constituency work in Motheo region.
Lastly, pharmacists have been employed at Pelonomi Hospital, hence it shares its resources with a private hospital that has been established right in the hospital. So an impression should not be created that government is not doing its work because we want to have cheap political point-scoring. Facts must be stated because some of us come from this province. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
THE DEPUTY MINISTER of TRADE AND INDUSTRY (Ms T V TOBIAS)
NATIONAL STUDENT FINANCIAL AID SCHEME
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Deputy Speaker, there is a question, which I will indeed refer to my colleague, around the reconsideration of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, and considering learners who are already in the system to make sure that they are not prejudiced because of their colour and that they are also assisted during the current economic environment.
The one issue I want to respond to, which I really think is a very unfortunate misinterpretation and a misleading of the House, is on the issue of certificates. The truth of the matter is that the current certificates were incorrectly done. I think everybody's philosophy is that if something is wrong, you correct it. You correct it now; you don't postpone the correction.
The certificates, as the member correctly alluded to, came out wrongly. Umalusi accepted that they had not done the certificates according to specifications. We agreed with Umalusi that matric certificates are papers of pride for our children. They must get them right for them forever. I think it is correct for our children to wait for the correct certificates until the end of August - this very August - during which they will get their certificates. The delay was because of the paper which is being imported. But I think we all agree that if something is wrong, we correct it; we correct it the first time around.
Umalusi requested that we give back this year's batch of wrong certificates and that they will correct them next year. I said they should correct them now for all our children. I am not sure what is wrong with correcting what is wrong at the time when it is wrong and giving our children the correct certificates, which they will have forever. I think I was quite correct, and I stand by that.
I think it is again unfortunate that a member would really assume that one has the lowest level of vanity so that they delay certificates for some personal glory. I think it is unfortunate and very sad for a member to reduce one's sense of self to that. This was a personal attack. I think it is unfortunate because this is not for me but for the benefit of the kids. [Interjections.]
Stop howling at me because I kept quiet when you were talking. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
SCHOOL MATHEMATICS COMPETITION
WORLD'S LARGEST SINGLE OPTICAL TELESCOPE AND SA LARGE TELESCOPE
NATIONAL STUDENTS FINANCIAL AID SCHEME
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. In response to Mr Pretorius' input on the reconfiguration of the national departments and the allocation of responsibilities, I would like to say that this is a matter government is working on. I do recall that the Minister in the Presidency had made a public statement indicating the timelines that government had given to itself in order to resolve all the issues of mandates and allocation, both of structures of government as well as areas of responsibility.
We are fully alert to the issues that you have raised, and we are working very hard to ensure that they are resolved as speedily as possible, in the interest of service delivery. It is an ongoing programme that government is engaged in, but we are very alert to the challenges and difficulties.
I welcome the statements by hon Ngcobo with respect to the Maths Olympiad. I am happy to know that there are many maths competitions and activities that are supporting the endeavour of the Education department as well as that of Science and Technology, to ensure that we have many more young people who are competent in these important areas.
We do congratulate eThekwini for the work that they are doing to support this particular aspect of our developmental goals.
With respect to the hon Ms Kalyan and the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope programme, I am pleased to report that we are making progress. The first dish is up. We will be unveiling it towards the end of this month. A good collaboration between scientists across the world and South African scientists has led to the very positive progress, which is an important bid by South Africa.
The six initial bidders have been reduced to two. The remaining are South Africa and Australia. And, if the Tri-Nations is the record to go with, we know where the bid will go. We are working hard to ensure that South Africa does well.
I will convey the views of the member of the DA concerning the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. I would suggest that members should also make submissions to the committee appointed by Minister Nzimande, so that the very good suggestions that are being made are taken account of by the review committee. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
The MINISTER OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
CALL FOR DISMISSAL OF INCOMPETENT AND CORRUPT MAYORS
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: Thank you, Deputy Speaker. I want to clarify to the hon Paul Mnguni of COPE about what he said concerning the Mayor of Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, Mr Gwabeni. He said that Mr Gwabeni's party has taken a decision about him – it has the right to do so and I think we all know that.
In January this year, there was a strike that lasted for three months in that district. I went there to intervene. I negotiated with the unions to resolve the strike. After the negotiations, the provincial government appointed an acting municipal manager because the municipal manager was dismissed. There was no leader, the sheep had no shepherd, but the Mayor didn't welcome that intervention.
After three months of the acting manager's stay in office – without being welcomed – he uncovered a lot of misdemeanours, wrongdoing, maladministration, corruption and nepotism.
On 1 July 2009, the provincial government acted in terms of section 139 of the Constitution, by taking away the administrative and financial powers of the municipality. Mr Gwabeni, without following any due process - Chapter 3 of the Constitution, to be precise, which requires that a person must engage with another sphere of government where there is a dispute - went to court. He didn't follow the clause. That means he was in violation of the Constitution. Despite that, he continued to engage in this process which was problematic in a way. [Time expired.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Minister, your time is up. I only allowed you a few extra minutes to continue because I was also interested in the conclusion of this story. Maybe you can conclude it outside for the hon member of COPE. [Laughter.]
Mr S L TSENOLI
THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
THE STATE OF MUNICIPAL GOVERNANCE AND THE NEED TO ADDRESS THE CHALLENGES ARISING THEREFROM URGENTLY
(Subject for Discussion)
Mr S L TSENOLI: Deputy Speaker, Deputy President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, members, this topic is inspired or prompted by the fact that last year, 2008, constituted the 10th anniversary of the White Paper on Local Government. We couldn't engage in that evaluation at that time because we went into an election period. Now that we are back, it is important to reflect on this issue.
But the other important reason, naturally, is that we have just come from a decisive conference and an election that gave us an important mandate to do things differently this time and, in fact, act to improve the quality of service to people in the country as a whole. This reflection, therefore, is an important one for us in Parliament, so what we are calling for is that this matter be seen to be particularly urgent.
It is made urgent especially because of the presentation we just had earlier on by the Minister on Economic Development on the global crisis and its impact on our society as a whole.
In fact, this represents one of the biggest challenges that municipalities face - that if a crisis is allowed to reverse the gains we've made it will perpetuate a crisis that the poor have been left with for a long time, which the ANC-led government and Parliament have taken significant steps to reverse. It is for that reason that in reflecting on the state of municipal governance, we identify factors that are crucial to doing that exercise, including a brief reflection on some of the instruments that we used to do so.
We also need to persuade the public out there that the message of the ANC that we need to work together is indeed correct and that the
government is demonstrating this in practice and in action, for example, by firing corrupt people and taking action against those who do not do their work properly. This process, which has been led by the President, is the correct path, and the announcement of the presidential co-ordinating committee that includes Premiers and mayors is an important vehicle that is going to be used to achieve this objective.
Also, it is useful to note that last year was also the first time that we received the annual report on municipal performance which we naturally we couldn't deal with in this Parliament because of the elections. When we looked at that report it was already inadequate in that many municipalities had not complied - they had not given their annual reports which they are meant to do according to the law so that the provincial and national departments can be able to do their report, and so on.
But also, we came to the conclusion that some of the reports that were presented were quite frankly works of fiction; they were not based on the actual performance of the municipalities as reflected by reality; and that correction was needed there. There were also catch-up reports that reported on previous years that were already outdated.
Therefore, they couldn't give us reliable assessment of things and where they are. This is why it is absolutely necessary that going forward we do things differently. We must ensure that each municipality undertakes to provide an accurate and reliable report according to the law so that the provinces themselves, as well as the national departments, present us with a report that we can rely on.
Just recently, but also consistent with the previous report of the Auditor-General - which is another state institution that provides observations and therefore assessments of municipalities – the report concluded that while there are skills shortages at a national and provincial level they are "thinnest", to quote the word he used, at a municipal level.
The challenge, therefore, for doing the work properly there requires urgent attention in the area of skills and skills development. But it also requires the political leadership requirements to create an environment which enables the skills that are there to be kept, to retain them there and to attract them as well - both of people who work for the municipalities as administrators and also of those who make themselves available to become councillors and those who make themselves available to partner with municipalities in their civil society organisations and as individuals to bring about a different system of work at municipal level.
The other important state mechanism that does this is the Demarcation Board. When they spoke to the committee, they indicated that many provinces were not, in fact, using the capacity assessments that they were obliged to do by government as an instrument in order for provinces to make interventions in those municipalities. These things were not used, and therefore, must be used this time around and it is crucial that they are used as a basis for dealing with these issues.
It is important that the topic speak about the state of the local governance, meaning that it is not just about what government does, but what it does with people on the ground. Historically, the democratic movement has worked with NGOs both in local and in rural local government to provide support to the work that was being done to bring about change in localities, and so on.
Post 1994 they have played an important role in the reconstruction process. Some of them have come together to constitute the Good Governance Learning Network, GGLN. They have for the first time compiled a report and we would like to say from this podium that we appreciated its presence, because it represents the input of people who work with municipalities from outside and, therefore, it gives us valuable information that we can use.
We do not necessarily always agree on things, but some of the issues that they raised are critical, especially public participation which is one of the most important requirements that municipalities need to be on top of to perform their work properly.
In order words, the work, for example, the fact that the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is undertaking to lead an enquiry that would lead to a turnaround strategy is a crucial, and it must take on board some of this work that has been done in civil society. This must happen inside the government itself and I also want to mention our interaction with the Public Service Commission.
The work that they do is crucial and as the Constitution says, it needs to be replicated towards municipalities; the useful information that emerges from the reports that they produce is equally valid for use at a municipal level.
Therefore, the priorities that the new Parliament and government have now of principally dealing effectively with poverty and inequality in broad terms and specifically with issues of health, education, rural development and combating crime - to mention those four – make up a crucial area in which municipalities are going to play an important role. And they cannot do so if institutionally they are not well capacitated and are not in a position to undertake their job properly.
With regard to the protests that have taken place, the count that we received from both Salga and others, who are local government watchers, is 35 municipal areas. But this not taking place throughout the entire municipalities. It is in specific wards in those municipalities and in many of those instances there are understandable explanations. This means that there are reasons that can be traced that led to those protests, that the impatience of people often is justified in those areas. But in general, it is the requirements for our intervention both at a parliamentary and government level that will turn things around at that level.
So, these protests are an indicator, not an exaggeration, of the need for us to intervene. It is a requirement for the period in which we are in to reconfigure, not only municipalities but the state as a whole, to become developmental, that is, decisive and action-oriented to bring about the kind of programmes that people on the ground require. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr W P DOMAN
Mr S L TSENOLI
Mnr W P DOMAN: Voorsitter, elke ideologie en gepaardgaande beleid word deur die harde werklikheid van die praktyk getoets. Kommunisme en apartheid het nogal lank geneem om deur die praktyk ontbloot te word, maar die ideologie van die nasionale demokratiese revolusie van die ANC, waarvolgens kaders ontplooi word as burgemeesters en topamptenare, met die gepaardgaande luukshede en uitspattige vergoeding te midde van totale onbevoegdheid in baie gevalle, het minder as nege jaar geneem om deur die praktyk ontbloot te word as 'n stelsel wat nie diens lewer by munisipaliteite nie, en daarom het ons nou al hierdie opstande.
In die negentigerjare met die geleidelike transformasie van plaaslike regering is goeie munisipale diens gelewer, maar sedert 5 Desember 2000, na die eerste volle demokratiese verkiesing, is die nasionale demokratiese revolusie voluit toegepas en swak dienslewering het dit nou ten volle ontbloot as 'n stelsel wat nie kan werk nie.
Therefore, the DA fully agrees with the topic of this discussion. It is a governance problem, and it is brought about by an ideology that demonstrated that it cannot deliver and will lead to more protests. Therefore, we also agree with President Zuma's pronouncements last week that the ANC will no longer wait for the laws of the country to kick in, but will hold its mayors and councillors personally accountable and remove those who transgress or do not perform.
This view that it is the ANC, as a party, that must take responsibility, and the very fact that we, at long last, are allowed to have to this debate in Parliament, which the DA has been calling for since last year, bodes well for a possible turnaround strategy for municipalities. This is because we have honesty here, and we have openness. This is progress, and the hon Tsenoli also talked in this vein today, with openness, in addressing the serious issues that we have.
However, Chairman, we must start by acknowledging that it is a governance problem and do something about it. Therefore, the DA calls for the ANC to stop deployment and to let the local people decide on merit. Hold individuals responsible and do not allow them to hide behind the collective or else individuals will never perform, but they will rather only cement their own positions by appointing buddies and awarding contracts to well-connected friends. At the moment, at municipalities, it is more important what your position in the party is than what your obligations are to the public office you occupy.
This is when governance at municipalities goes all wrong. Let me give you a few examples: an executive mayor who doesn't act on the wrongdoing of an official because the official is high up in the ANC and right there you have the collapse of discipline and performance at that municipality. It can also be the other way around, where mayors and councillors meddle in the domain of officials and actually force them to do illegal things just because they believe that they are politically untouchable.
Another example is a MEC who doesn't act against the nonperformance or even corruption of an executive mayor or municipality out of fear of political retaliation. Then ANC politics is more important than what the laws of the country in terms, in this case, of co-operative governance demand of that public office of the MEC. Or you have the situation where the South African Municipal Workers' Union, Samwu, through their powerful local bosses at certain municipalities, actually run those municipalities, instead of the duly elected office bearers.
The governance shortcomings are further demonstrated in what is the priority at many ANC-run municipalities: an expensive mayoral car, overseas trips, large advertisements in papers, always with a picture of the mayor and other seniors, and excessive spending on nonsensical community projects that only benefit a few, instead of aiming to deliver the basic services that should be the core function of a municipality. So I want to reiterate that it is a governance problem that must be sorted out by the governing party within its own ranks or else poor service delivery will show up the shortcomings of this ideology more and more.
Apart from this governance problem, I want to state categorically that a municipality needs skilled and dedicated officials to deliver services. Even if councillors are failing dismally, but the municipality has competent and hardworking officials, a decent level of services will be delivered. It is common knowledge that the implementation of the national democratic revolution, whereby cadres must occupy all positions, has led to an exodus of skills and experience from local government.
To get service delivery back on track, as a short-term measure, interventions at a substantial number of municipalities will be necessary to allow for the appointment of competent administrators. Some service-delivery achievements have been registered with partnerships with the private sector, whereby professional and technical experts have been parachuted into municipalities to assist them. We need much more of this.
Baie munisipaliteite het so 'n slegte naam by professionele mense dat hulle weier om direk vir 'n munisipaliteit te werk en eerder verkies om, byvoorbeeld, deur die Ontwikkelingsbank van Suider-Afrika by 'n munisipaliteit geplaas te word. Op die langtermyn is volhoubare opleidingsprogramme ook nodig om kundigheid te verbeter, maar dit is baie belangrik dat die hele kultuur wat tans by munisipaliteite se werkerskorps aanwesig is, omgekeer sal moet word sodat dat daar groter toerekenbaarheid, hardwerkendheid, beloning vir uitnemendheid, en trots op skoon oudits en op hoë standaarde is.
You know, it will be one of the most shocking studies if someone were to list the municipal managers of the 283 municipalities since 2000 and what happened to each of them. The list of those who were prosecuted for corruption and maladministration is endless, not to mention those who simply ran away to avoid prosecution, and there is even a number of them who just continued with their bad habits in other municipal positions.
In this regard, the DA welcomes Minister Shiceka's strong stand on corrupt officials all over the country. We fully grant that South Africa has a skills shortage and especially municipalities in the rural areas are battling to attract professionals and technical people. If the prevailing culture at many municipalities is not turned around, service delivery will remain poor. The time is long overdue for municipalities to appoint on merit and provide for career development on performance, rather than misuse the substantial power it has in this regard.
The Municipal IQ foundation found that by mid-July this year 24 major protests had been recorded. This is close to the entire total, namely 27 for 2008 and 31 for 2007, and is likely to exceed the peak of 35 in 2005.
Minister, the DA supported the budget this year because it believes that under your leadership the budget and its programmes can make a difference for the better. Then we must address the real issues, of which I've only addressed two today, that are hampering service delivery. At the municipalities where the DA governs, it applies the ideology of an open-opportunity society. We appoint on merit, we prioritise service delivery and, therefore, those municipalities excel. I thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr T BOTHA
Mr W P DOMAN
Mr T BOTHA: Hon Chair, let me thank the ruling party for opening this debate on this crucial issue of service delivery. Hon Speaker, it is the state's responsibility to ensure that citizens of this country receive quality services. When the executive promises to deliver services to the citizenry, it first has to ensure that it has both the capacity and the resources to fulfil that constitutional mandate. The ruling party cannot justify its failures by blaming them on a third force or, even worse, on the previous administration, an administration it was part of.
It is public knowledge that approximately 90% of municipal water-treatment facilities in this country, which treat bulk-water supplies from dams and rivers, need replacement. The sewerage systems in Gauteng are said to be operating at 102% over their capacity, a situation that is untenable and a time bomb that, if not attended to, will collapse ablution in this busy city region.
In places such as Umtata, although the water and sewerage systems are within the city, the council has no control over the provision of these services. The sanitation services are rendered by the district authority of the O R Tambo District Municipality, while the King Sabata municipality oversees power and roads. This unwieldy situation was brought about by the ANC-controlled O R Tambo District, supported by the provincial government in 2003. [Interjections.] I was not there. [Laughter.] It was not motivated ... Listen to this; listen to this before you talk. It was not motivated by any desire to ensure efficiency of service delivery, but driven by the political desire to punish the UDM-controlled municipality.
This situation has, unsurprisingly, therefore resulted in the collapse of services in the town, with the city bursting at the seams, as there is no planning that has been put in place for the ever-growing population that has now more than doubled from 400 000 to over a million people – without services being upgraded. This conduct of placing party politics above the interests of citizens is at the heart of the crisis in local government. This behaviour results in the appointment of incompetent ANC deployees to run municipalities and the appointment of ANC-connected contractors to deliver services.
Hon Speaker, while Cope wishes to condemn the violent destruction of property by the protesters, we are equally convinced that these citizens have legitimate complaints and demands. They have been let down by successive ANC governments at local government level. They are equally shocked that the government's first reaction has not been to listen but to condemn and to duck responsibility by blaming the so-called previous administration.
We are of the view that the ruling party has created unrealistic expectations which are not matched by deliverables. Let us remind you, hon members, that it was the ANC conference in Stellenbosch that resolved to address the challenges of cross-border municipalities. [Interjections.] This was resisted by its allies, the SACP, who went on to mobilise the community of Khutsong until this decision was reversed.
Has government learnt anything from this fiasco? It seems not to me. Ironically, it is this lack of backbone that gives communities the impression that if you are unruly, you will get your way and, in fact, you will be rewarded by doing what you are doing. An example of this shocking value system is that of Jomo Mogale, a teacher who rendered the schooling system ungovernable in the same community of Khutsong. Today he is reinstated and branded a good teacher by the current government.
The government will not solve these problems by continuing to transfer functions to municipalities without the commensurate budget. The revenue bases of the municipalities are shrinking and their populations are growing. This situation, coupled with nonpayment for services, has reached crisis proportions and requires long-term solutions.
Cope calls for a national indaba in which all sectors of civil society come together to deliberate on the solutions to this crisis so that government can stop using stopgap measures to solve what is an endemic problem.
We therefore believe that three critical things must be addressed. There must be an audit of municipal management which must take place throughout the country. The multimillion-rand projects that have been awarded to incompetent companies owned by civil servants need to be reviewed and stopped in order for the resources to be directed or redirected to service delivery. Government must put in place an early-warning system to avoid the unnecessary takeovers of functions belonging to local authorities as a crisis management solution, because these takeovers do not solve the problem. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Thank you, hon member. I'm glad that when you referred to me as "Speaker", my parliamentary boss was not here otherwise you would have gotten me into trouble. [Laughter.]
Mr P F SMITH
Mr T BOTHA
Mr P F SMITH: Thank you, Chairperson. Colleagues, I think that if we were to be honest with each other in this House today, we would have to admit that the state of our municipalities is not what was expected a decade ago and that the hopes and expectations of millions of people have, in fact, been dashed.
It is also true, of course, that the state of local government in the country is uneven and the most serious situation pertains to the poor and largely rural municipalities, many of which are in a critical state and are, in fact, sometimes barely functional.
Now the starting point in looking at this very poor state of affairs is the Constitution, or rather the manner in which the provisions of the Constitution have been inadequately implemented. I just want to highlight two pertinent issues here. There are many which the other speakers have referred to.
Firstly, the drafters of the Constitution placed an injunction on the national government, which is given the power to raise national taxes, to share the income so raised between the three spheres, including the respective municipalities, and I quote:
… to ensure that they are able to provide services and perform the functions assigned to them.
Now, unfortunately, notwithstanding the significant increases in disbursements from the national government – and I acknowledge that local government financing has never been adequate - there is absolutely no way that the financing of poor rural municipalities, even at today's levels, has ever been sufficient to address historic backlogs or current needs or, in fact, to even fulfil the developmental role they have been given.
Secondly, the drafters of the Constitution placed another injunction on government, both national and provincial, to support municipalities. Now, it was understood by all that the enormous delivery tasks facing municipalities required that everybody work together and that municipalities would need lots of support to make this happen. But instead of doing this, too many municipalities were thrown to the wolves and left, effectively, to their own devices to fend for themselves as best they could.
In desperation we had Project Consolidate, which was meant to have been a short-term measure, but has now become quasipermanent. But at least it showed us what support means and what can be achieved. In our opinion, a lot more could have been done in the past in respect of years gone by, which would have made all the difference and this debate today would have been of a different tenor.
So where do we go from here? Well, I want to make just two points perhaps as a starting point. First, we have a Constitution: why don't we just implement it for a change? Second, if we really want to know what has gone wrong, I think we need to start by looking at the top rather than at the bottom. What's going wrong at the bottom is a consequence of what's gone wrong at the top.
Unfortunately, I feel that government's response to the problems has been inappropriate. The single Public Service story is just going to nationalise poor governance and the notion of more intervention powers – which is now this constitutional amendment we'll be looking at – is completely unnecessary. Government has a whole armoury of intervention weaponry and it doesn't need more.
What we really expect is a mantra from the Minister and the Deputy Minister. Every day they should wake up and say: "More resources, more support, more resources, more support!" If you do those two things, we will see a difference. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
MR J J Mc GLUWA
Mr P F SMITH
Mr J J Mc GLUWA: Thank you, Chairperson. This debate on local government and service delivery is long overdue, and it is an extremely critical and important issue. Today we can see how serious the ANC takes this debate if you note all the absent MPs here today. Where are the MPs? They have all gone.
The ID supports the Minister in his attempts to address the challenges of poverty and poor service delivery. The role of Salga must be reviewed to ensure the implementation of national programmes.
Many municipalities are abusing the indigent grant given by national government to help the poor. In some cases, these grants are being used to pay salaries.
The performance bonuses paid to municipality managers must be linked to actual achievements in service delivery and should not be interpreted by municipal managers as an extra perk for them. We in the ID believe that payment of performance bonuses for municipal managers must be determined by the national Minister and not by the local municipality. Currently, the ID has a performance agreement with its councillors and we would like to advise that the ANC and all other parties do likewise. Thank you. [Time expired.]
Ms D G NHLENGETHWA
Mr J J Mc GLUWA
Ms D G NHLENGETHWA: Chairperson and hon members, the 2009 ANC Election Manifesto clearly states that we must be proud of our past and be confident of the future. For 97 years the ANC has led the struggle to bring about a South Africa that belongs to all people, black and white. We moved on to embrace the unity of all South Africans, irrespective of race, colour, culture and religion.
This unity is the source of our strength and inspired many who sacrificed their lives for us to attain our freedom; and helped us to manage to cope with and tolerate each other in the ANC. The 1994 and 2004 elections were about the aspirations and the collective desire for a better South Africa and a journey to bring an end to the legacy of apartheid.
Fifteen years into our democracy, together we have achieved much in building a new society, uniting all our people in reducing poverty. Much of the economic and social devastation of apartheid as well as its scars are still with us. However, in December 2007, the ANC met in Polokwane where delegates brought messages from the South Africans of different cities and towns; and from different rural areas. They brought these problems and we talked about those that we know; the challenges of unemployment, poverty, and challenges of poor service delivery.
We heard and shared experiences about many municipalities which are dysfunctional. During the door-to-door campaigns, we heard what people said. In our resolutions, as the ANC, we agreed to come up with a turnaround strategy which would be an intervention to overcome all these challenges.
With the changing conditions, environment, and political consciousness; we will turn around all the so-called instability in municipalities. We have 283 municipalities and 48 district municipalities in this country. According to our statistics, we had only 24 protests about service delivery protest. But, now, it seems, Mr Dorman, as if the whole country is ungovernable.
Yini ihaba kangaka?
We know that some of the communities have valid reasons for why they are protesting. We know that some communities demand proper consultation and some are complaining about poor service delivery and public participation in some structures and poor financial management and fraud and corruption in others. In those affected municipalities, the department has managed to use section 139 as an intervention strategy required by the Constitution. There is also a team from the national Ministry that is travelling around the country doing interventions, interviewing communities and holding meetings with stakeholders. The Sunday Times newspaper, dated 16 August 2009 also published the Mpumalanga report on this.
Sihlalo siyati futsi kutsi tonkhe letiphitsiphitsi naletibhelu lesitibonako nalokungavisisani kwetakhamuti. Lokunye kubangwa yimincele, sibonelo, sikubonile kwenteka eMatatiele nakumasipala waseMoutse.
Silikomiti, sivumelene naNgcongcoshe, babe Sicelo Shiceka, kutsi sitawucala kabusha luhlelo lwekuvakashela tonkhe letindzawo letitsintsekako kuva kutsi bantfu bona batsini; bafuna kuwela ngakuphi. Siyati singuleNdlu kutsi ludlame lwemincele alupheli kungakatsatfwa tinyatselo letisemtsetfweni.
Lokunye futsi lesikubonile lokubanga letibhelu lesitibonako kufudvuka kwebantfu basuka kulenye indzawo baye kulenye, lesikubita ngekutsi kutfutsa. Kwandza imikhukhu lengenamanti, lenganato tindlu tangasese. Ngesintfu sakitsi sitsi, "Leyomile iya emtfonjeni." Bafudvukela etindzaweni ngenhloso yekuyofuna imisebenti.
UMhlonishwa, babe Zuma ukhulumile ngelilanga lekubekwa kwakhe njengeMengameli walelive, watsi:
For as long as there are communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation; we shall not rest. And, we dare not falter in our drive to eradicate poverty.
Natsi-ke sisho njalo.
Chairperson, part of the turnaround strategy is that municipalities must have debt recovery plans that will address backlogs over the medium term and the long term and the capacity to generate revenue. In this regard, ultimatums of implementation are crucial to be able to achieve the target date for 2011.
In order to make sure that the disseminated information reaches the intended beneficiaries, ward counsellors must be revived and be supported with the necessary tools of their trade, such as offices to operate. That is when counsellors will be vibrant in calling report-back meetings and be accountable to the communities they serve.
The latest Markinor public opinion and perception surveys of May 2009, show that the majority of our people have very low levels of confidence in their municipalities. This negative perception of the state of local government is also common across all parties.
With the intervention that we have put in place, the ANC is very confident that we will bring back confidence and hope to our people by rooting out all the corruption and throwing out all the rotten apples which do not want to deliver.
We are now approaching the local government elections. By going back to the people and listening to their views, we will be able to get individuals that are influencing the people to protest against those who are in authority so that they can be elected to those positions.
Since we are nearing the end of the month of August, I would like to congratulate women in the provincial and local governments who successfully had their 7th Summit in Bloemfontein on 16 to 18 August 2009. We are hoping that their discussion will enable us to get 50% representation of women in the forthcoming local government elections.
To conclude, I would like to extend my sympathy to those families who have been affected by these protests, some of whom had their houses burned down. We all know that the victims of these incidents are women and children. We are urging those perpetrators to stop this. It is barbaric and inhuman. We know that they are doing this for political gains. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P J GROENWALD
Ms D G NHLENGETHWA
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Agbare Voorsitter, ek wil net vir die agb lid sê as sy sekere vrot appels gaan uitgooi, gaan sy 'n skok opdoen, want sy gaan agterkom by party plekke gaan sy die hele sakkie moet weggooi. [Gelag.]
Die onderwerp van hierdie debat is die noodsaaklikheid om die uitdagings van plaaslike regering aan te pak. Ons mislei onsself. Dit is nie uitdagings wat daar bespreek moet word nie, dis krisisse! Ek wil sover gaan om te sê die onderwerp behoort te wees "die noodsaaklikheid om die totale ineenstorting van plaaslike regering aan te pak".
Die agb Tsenoli het hier gekom en daarmee gespog dat korrupte amptenare aangespreek word en dat daar teen hulle opgetree word. Ek wil vir hom geluk sê, maar ek het reeds by verskeie geleenthede van hierdie einste podium gevra dat die agb Minister regulasies moet uitvaardig wat bepaal dat 'n bepaalde amptenaar wat onder dissiplinêre verhoor is by één munisipaliteit nie by 'n ander munisipaliteit aangestel kan word alvorens daardie dissiplinêre verhoor afgehandel is nie.
'n Tipiese voorbeeld is die munisipale bestuurder van Klerksdorp. Ek het dit al hóéveel hier genoem! Hy was aangekla van diefstal, bedrog en korrupsie, en vóór sy saak afgehandel is by Kroonstad, is hy aangestel.
Die HUISVOORSITTER (Mnr M B Skhosana): Agb lid, u tyd is verstreke.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Dan sal u begin optree! Dankie.
Mr S N SWART
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Mr S N SWART: Speaker, the ACDP shares the view that the state of service delivery in many of our municipalities is appalling. Minister Shiceka was very frank during his Budget Vote earlier this year when he said that -
It is a crying shame that after 15 years of democracy, parts of our country still reflect a legacy of apartheid and the unacceptable face of underdevelopment, poverty and marginalisation.
And in commenting on the deplorable state of certain municipalities, he stated further that -
The extent of the breakdown in trust is so great that it is placing our democratic state at risk.
We thank him for those frank words. We have also seen a number of areas being engulfed by service delivery protests. Twenty‑four is too many, hon member. Clearly, we, in Parliament, must exercise a far greater and more robust oversight function. We welcome the Minister's commitment to dealing quickly and effectively with corrupt officials. Citizens are crying out for better service delivery.
Should these issues not be urgently addressed, we will continue to see protests and demonstrations that can, indeed, place our democratic state at risk. I thank you.
Mr D W MAVUNDA
Mr S N SWART
Nkul D W Mavunda: Mutshami wa Xitulu, na Yindlu ya wena, ndzi yima laha mahlweni ka n'wina ndzi lava ku kombisa erivaleni vuxaka na ntirhisano exikarhi ka vurhangeri bya ndhavuko na vurhangeri kun'we na vuyimeri bya masipala kumbe mimfumo ya xikaya.
A swi kanakanisi Mutshami wa Xitulu leswaku eka tindhawu tin'wana ta tiko ra hina, ku suka hi lembe ra 2000 loko ku tumbuluxiwa mimfumo ya xikaya kumbe timasipala, ku kwetlembetana, ku pfumaleka ka ku twisisana na ku tsandzeka ku tirha swin'we exikarhi ka vukosi na vamasipala ku ve kona. Sweswo swi endle leswaku vukorhokeri eka vanhu byi nga vi kona.
In a true sense, there is no structure or leadership in all our rural communities that does not want development in their respective areas. Traditional leaders, church leaders, or democratically elected leaders always have concerns about their status and the status of their communities where they are living.
Secondly, the two components that I have mentioned, the local municipalities and the traditional leadership institutions, are both established by legislation, they are entrenched in the Constitution of our country and have the same common purpose, which is to serve the needs and the interests of the previously disadvantaged communities.
The unfortunate attitude between the two components has caused and perpetuated a severe nightmare for the underdeveloped rural areas and the rural communities. Surprisingly, Chairperson, this House has promulgated laws and Acts to distinguish the roles of the two institutions, their respective duties and functions, as well as their legislative mandate for operating and servicing the previously disadvantaged and underdeveloped rural communities.
For example, section 5(2) of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003 provides for the partnership between municipalities and traditional councils, where those partnerships must be based on the principles of co-operative governance.
However, the two parties chose not to abide by those Acts, instead, they fought for power to rule over the same previously disadvantaged communities. This has posed a very serious challenge to our municipalities as there is a lack of legislative compliance.
This was because the two parties did not have insight into the legislation or a proper interpretation of the Act – something that needs to be looked into. There is a no sign of a serious commitment to consultation between the two components.
Community development has since been paid lip service in most of our rural communities because, in reality, there are no clear policies or programmes to deal with this.
We, therefore, call for the publication and immediate implementation of the Communal Land Rights Act of 2004 which provides, amongst other things, for the establishment of the land administration committees by the local people themselves.
Their functions, amongst other things, is to ensure allocations of new‑order rights to all persons, including women, people living with disability, youth and all vulnerable community members.
The fast-tracking of the Land Management Bill which also provides for the working together with our people in the rural areas will ensure a comprehensive rural development strategy linked to land, agrarian reform and food security, as alluded to by the President of the country in his state of the nation address.
Consultation by councillors with community members on key strategic policies and decisions is of great necessity, for example, the revision of the Integrated Development Plan, IDP, tariffs, indigent programmes and so no.
Again, Section 81 of the Municipal Structures Act states categorically that the municipality that wants to bring any development to an area within the jurisdiction of a particular traditional leader must make proper consultation with the same traditional leader and other relevant stakeholders.
However, councillors in some other municipalities chose not to make such consultation, and such practices have led to confrontation and retarded the needed development in those communities. In order for proper and comprehensive rural and community development to take place in our rural communities, there must be peace and stability at the level of community leadership.
The fact that Chapter 6 of the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act 2003 made a provision for the establishment of a commission to deal with the dispute resolution concerning customary laws and customs in our communities and with traditional leaders, speaks for itself. It is something that should be very desirable.
Community development programmes and strategies can simply only be conducted and implemented in communities where there is peace, no infighting between the leaders of various stakeholders of that community and where co-operation and working together prevails.
We, therefore, call uopn the Ministry to speed up the process and pave the way for the Department of Community Development and Land Reform to operate with ease in the best interests of our communities.
We also call for the speedy establishment of the department of traditional affairs as already discussed and agreed upon. This will serve a better purpose in the smooth running of community development programmes and local economic development.
Ku dya ngopfu a hi ku hlula ndlala. Ndza khensa.
Mrs M WENGER
Mr D W MAVUNDA
Mrs M WENGER: Mr Chairperson, once again local government finds itself in crisis, and the latest violent demonstrations bear testimony to this. We find communities without water, sanitation or electricity, and without decent roads, schools and clinics. Fifteen years down the line they are no better off but are, in fact, worse off as the recent recession finds more and more people unemployed.
During July, the DA's parliamentary leader, the hon Athol Trollip, hon Doman and I visited hotspot areas around the country and found the situation disastrous. Promises were made and expectations created in order to win votes, but the same individuals that had made those promises are nowhere to be found post the election. The frustrations of these communities are ignored.
The placing of a few police vehicles outside the informal settlements, as we have observed, will not change the mood within the townships. Service delivery issues, as well as housing, need to be addressed as a matter of urgency and should dominate debates in this House.
The time is now. We must take action to help communities that are living in squalor and rat-infested townships. We must take steps to assist communities living in unacceptable living conditions where adults and children alike are exposed to infections and diseases as part of their daily lives.
Most of the people that we spoke to during our visits have been on the housing waiting list since 1996. What has happened to that list of 1996, Minister? Why have the people on those lists not yet received their houses? Who are the people who are receiving preferential treatment, and why?
We met with some that have now, out of sheer frustration, moved into RDP houses built in their own areas, but allocated to other people. We also saw first-hand the quality of these houses: The structures are falling apart, water connections as well as sewerage systems are not connected and there is no electricity. How could such a project be signed off and the unscrupulous contractor paid?
We need to ask these questions so that the problems can be addressed, and those involved must be held to account. The fact of the matter is that our citizens deserve better. Let us learn from good examples such as those set by Helen Zille, the best mayor in the world! [Interjections.]
Salga has, on behalf of the municipalities, without the correct mandate, negotiated a 13% increase which municipalities have not budgeted for. This, Minister, will put further strain on municipalities and will result in less services being delivered. Work ethics and productivity, strangely, were not addressed in these negotiations, thus making municipal labour very expensive. Vandalism of council-owned assets and private property should be billed to the unions.
Furthermore, the exorbitant membership fees to Salga which run into hundreds of millions of rands, should rather be used for service delivery instead of being wasted on a structure that does not really represent the true views of its members.
Finally, I would like to address the financial viability of municipalities. The rates and taxes accounting systems have been changed. But instead of improving the situation, billing has been plunged into disarray, and now accounts are not sent out on time. As a result, outstanding debt owed to municipalities is increasing, further crippling efforts to improve service delivery.
Credit control measures are not taken seriously, and debts keep on rising without action being taken. Shortfalls cannot be addressed simply by raising taxes simply to balance budgets. Our rates base is overloaded already, and we are facing a situation where residents can no longer afford it. Only when debt control measures have been addressed can we begin to provide free and proper services.
A few days ago we learnt of problems facing Tshwane. Not only did they exhaust the R500 million overdraft, but now they cannot pay Eskom or Rand Water. We also found that at the end of June 2009, debt owed to them amounted to R3,4 billion, and that a huge chunk of it is owed by government departments.
A leading jurist once said:
If government becomes a law-breaker, it breeds contempt for the law. It invites anarchy.
In order to prevent anarchy, we must ensure that our government and its representatives are held to account. Thank you. [Applause.]
THE MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mrs M WENGER
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS: House Chairperson, colleagues, members of this august House and members of the public, this debate is taking place in an important month, a month that is important in the struggle for women'S emancipation. It is also dealing with an important topic that touches the lives of all our people. Local government is the structure that touches everyone.
Ifana noNdabazabantu...osithinta kuzukela sizalwa ukufinyelela ethuneni [Which touches you from the cradle to the grave] uma ujabulile ukwazi ukuthola-ke isithifiketi somshado yindlela akuthinta ngayo uNdabazabantu, Umnyango Wezasekhaya.
After having listened to everyone who has been engaging on this critical subject matter, we have heard views from various parties. The ANC also raised critical issues and at the same time talked about the best practices that are prevailing. There are those who are cynical when raising their issues, as if there is nothing positive that has been done here.
We would like to commit ourselves here, in this House, that as a big family for local government, we are going to build a local government that is efficient, effective, responsive, and accountable. We are telling you that this is the task that we are going to do in the next coming five years. By the year 2014, we should all be able to experience the four things that I have spoken about.
We are also saying that it is important that all of us in this House should rise above petty political differences and also our ideological orientation, and ensure that we all contribute to building local government, not only for ourselves but for our children and the future generations. It is in our interest that we do so. As the department, we have unleashed a comprehensive assessment of each and every municipality in this country, because we would like to understand what is happening. We do not only have to understand that, but we should be able to come up with solutions that are tailor-made and are specific to the municipality.
We can't use a one-size-fits-all approach to deal with the issues of the local government, because where these challenges are experienced, they are not the same. This revolutionary process is driven at the provincial level by the MECs, and co-ordinated at the national level by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. At the same time, we believe that the consolidated reports that are coming from municipalities should be approved by provincial Cabinet, that is, the Provincial Executive Committees at that level.
They should be able to do so by the middle of September and ensure that there is an outline of the state of municipality in each and every province - a process that is driven at a political level, and that is going to enjoy a political oversight.
Those reports should be sent to my department at a national level, so that we can outline the state of municipalities in South Africa. We should be able to take the report to the summit. We would like to have a national indaba, as it has been raised by Cope. We agree with you on this one and the process will be undertaken. We would like to hold this national indaba at the end of October, where all of us would be able to engage on the state of municipalities and begin to draft a turnaround strategy for local government in this country.
Now we are saying to everybody who would like to express his views and his opinions to come forward to the conference. Governmental and nongovernmental organisations, including the universities and learning institutions, should be able to come and contribute in taking this process forward. From our side, we are saying that this turnaround strategy should be approved by Cabinet before the end of this year. Next year we should be able to implement the turnaround strategy that has been agreed upon by all South Africans.
Once we have come up with a turnaround strategy for each and every municipality, people should be able to engage and say how they would like to be governed in their own localities. At the end of the day, they would be able to monitor the implementation of a turnaround strategy. We don't want to allow anyone ...
... ovalelwa ngaphandle. Wonke umuntu makaze ngaphambili.
Together we should be able to turn this country around. That is why we are saying we should rise above petty political things because local government is a matter that concerns everyone. You can't afford to politicise it. We should be able to confront the issues and to engage from the side of the Ministry. We are also going to engage Cope, the DA and all other opposition parties so that we are able to find solutions for South Africa, because it is in our interest to do that.
We believe that there is a requirement from you. The requirement is that you should accept that the outcome might require us to amend the laws. One of the major weaknesses that you have in the local government legislation is that there is no oversight, and there is no separation of powers between the executive and the legislation component. That is within the Constitution. It might mean that for us to be able to deliver services to our people, we should be able to ensure that we amend the Constitution. At times we should be able to amend the laws so that we are sharper at the end of the spear in dealing with these issues.
We are calling you upon, so that when that time comes, you would be able to support us. You should be able to agree with us that that should be done in the interests of the country and its people, wherever they are. We are also saying that in dealing with the turnaround strategy, we should agree that all of us should make a contribution where we are living, because every public representative who is here, has his own municipality.
The question that we should be asking ourselves is, what is your contribution to your own municipality because you are not just an ordinary citizen, but you are a public representative, who is supposed to be playing an oversight role wherever you are, and wherever you stay, to ensure that local government is taken forward.
We are calling upon you to give us reports on whatever you've experienced in your own areas - good or bad, so that we are able to take the best practices forward and at the same time be able to deal with and undermine the negative tendencies that are prevailing in our municipalities. We are the first ones to admit that not all is
hunky-dory in municipalities. Together we can find solutions and ensure that we take these processes forward when dealing with them. Therefore, we believe that all of us, together with this Parliament as an institution and as individuals, should ensure that we make local government everyone's business.
We should be able to ensure that in the next five years, in local government, we don't speak in the same way, in all respects. I won't talk about the content of the state of the municipalities because a due process is unfolding and is taking place. Let's await that process to come forward. We will be able to report on the outcomes of the state of the municipalities in this House so that it engages itself with that process.
From our point of view we would like to agree with some members on the issues raised concerning corruption, that it does not have any place in this country. Together we should be able to combat corruption, uproot nepotism and state that it is not allowed. I would like to indicate that the issue of nepotism and appointing people from the same party is not only an ANC matter. Let's talk about the DA here. The DA has removed almost all Africans who were in leadership positions in the city of Cape Town. [Appaluse.] One of them was the most able person, Mr Nhlakanipho Nkontwana, who is now my special adviser. He was one of the best people who conducted his work very well. Last year, his achievement was amending the Constitution which was presented in this House, concerning the issues of Merafong and the law, within a period of three months. That has never been done anywhere in this country.
Therefore, the issue of removing people is not only the issue of the ANC. You have recently removed a woman, Ms Majiet, who was the Head of the Department of Local Government in this province. She is a disabled woman who was removed by the DA. Her sin was that she was not appointed by the DA.
Therefore, the issue of nepotism is not only an ANC matter. I think we must all agree that people should be appointed based on merit and not because of their political affiliation. That should be applicable to all of us here. [Applause.]
Here in the Western Cape almost 86% of the municipalities which are under the DA have not submitted their financial statements to the Auditor-General. Those are the facts and realities. If the information was not submitted to the Auditor-General, it means you would not be able to check whether monies were used judiciously, and for the right purpose.
Therefore, when we are debating here at the podium, let's not pretend to the gallery that we are holier than thou in areas where we are governing.
Let's work together in addressing our weaknesses. It should not be a party political matter. It should be a matter of governance because it is in the interests of this country. That is why I am saying there is no person who can throw stones when living in a glass house. Let's all address these issues as we go along.
I also agree with the view expressed by the FF Plus when it raised issues that there were challenges in some municipalities, for example, Klerksdorp. I would also like to say that it was not correct to mention that we should call a crisis debate as if the sky was falling. However, we agree that we should look at the regulations and the things that should be done.
We agree with some views expressed by the DA, Cope, FF Plus, ID and also the ACDP, and we are saying that we should see the good points in building local governments.
From our side, we are going to be engaging with the opposition because we believe that we have nothing to fear and nothing to hide. Let's work together to build these municipalities. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S L TSENOLI
The MINISTER OF CO-OPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS
Mr S L TSENOLI: Chairperson, it is quite unfortunate that during this month, Women's Month, the issue of Shanaaz Majiet has been raised. The Minister spoke about her. We talk about this issue today because it is Women's Month. Here is an interesting fact about her.
The Public Service Commission does interesting reports, as I mentioned earlier. One of those reports did a sample of national and provincial departments in terms of their performance in relation to the nine values.
The best performing departments were led by Shanaaz Majiet and Portia Molefe, who is from Public Enterprises. The best performing departments! [Applause.] But the next thing, amongst other things, she is shafted. [Interjections.] Because of that, you are supposed to be proponents of the rule of law. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skhosana): Order, order!
Mr S L TSENOLI: Those are allegations. What are you assuming - that she is guilty? You are being presumptuous. You must wait until you hear what happens there.
The point we are making is that you should stop being holier than thou. You act like a person with a hammer - everything is a nail. You completely do not see the valuable and good things that are happening in Johannesburg. In the centre of Joburg and outside the centre of Joburg, the place is upside down with construction and reconstruction, the rebuilding of infrastructure that was meant for a limited white population that must now take on a bigger, inclusive population. You don't talk about that. All you see is what you think is going wrong.
If you travel throughout the country you will see that there is construction, there are cranes but you don't speak about them, because, hey, you are carrying a hammer; you are looking for nails and this is not it. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
So whilst the Minister is correct that we must be objective, we must alert you to the fact that although we value your opinion, we value them as opinions. They are not the truth, ok. There is a distinction between the two. [Interjections.] So we must subject them to the reality that we deal with in our work.
It is important to note that we haven't sufficiently dealt with the impact on our country of migration and urbanisation. This is because some of the biggest challenges that municipalities are facing, especially the large ones, are the growing populations.
Unfortunately, owing to the system of financing and financial determination, the amount of money that goes to these municipalities from national and provincial coffers does not, unfortunately, meet the growing requirements of these municipalities.
Yet people must receive services and they must consume those services, so this is a global phenomenon. It is caused by a crisis of poverty that, as I said earlier, is not caused by us, but by a system that is unsustainable that we must deal with in the long term and so on.
So, in a sense, those issues are not just municipal problems. They are problems of a global system that is inequitable, that we must address and that we must root out so that we deal with the effect on our poor communities in our country. And this crisis is not spoken about often enough. What it requires of us is not only resources but an understanding of conditions that give rise to poor performance.
Surveys have been conducted that show that a lack of capacity is the sharpest in the poorest areas in our country. The reason is because the people in those areas, who have any capacity to write home about, gravitate towards where they think they can earn more money, have better resources and so on. And who gets left in those areas? So, some of these issues, as I have said, require, as the Minister has correctly said, "a national-coming-together" to identify these issues. [Laughter.] Absolutely necessary! It is correct.
So there is no truth in suggestions that municipalities were ever left to fend for themselves. That is not a reflection when you study the intergovernmental fiscal flow. Instead, you see a rapidly growing financial injection into provinces and municipalities. It's recorded, unless you do not read or, if you read, you don't comprehend the stuff that has been made available by Treasury and so on.
In fact, one of the biggest improvements in transparency is in the municipal local government review. That has more information that shows a systematic increase in resources that has been going on. We agree fully. It is completely inadequate. It should have been more than that, but that is because we are talking now not just about problem-solving but paradigm-shifting initiatives that must take place this term. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 17:10.
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