Hansard: Oral Replies to Questions by Deputy President: Kgalema Motlanthe in the NCOP
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 10 Mar 2010
No summary available.
TO : ALL MEDIA
DATE : 11 MARCH 2010
ORAL REPLIES TO QUESTIONS BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT KGALEMA MOTLANTHE IN THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES (NCOP), THURSDAY, 11 MARCH 2010
Ms. N D Ntwanambi (ANC-WC) to ask the Deputy President:
(1) Whether his Office had any discussions with the National Stakeholder Advisory Council on electricity and/or the National Electricity Emergency Response Team regarding contingency plans for high electricity demand during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup tournament; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) to what extent does such a plan affect electricity supply and managing demand from the townships and (b) what elements of the plan seek to assist poor households in case of electricity cuts;
(2) Whether he will make a statement on the matter?
Honourable Ntwanambi, my Office has not had any discussions with the National Stakeholder Advisory Council on Electricity (Advisory Council) and the National Electricity Response Team (NERT) regarding a contingency plan for high electricity demand during the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament. Certainly in the case of the Advisory Council, this matter has not arisen as the structure is mainly preoccupied with policy issues.
However, through NERT, government has put in place plans to promote energy efficiency and manage consumption demand. These include:
a. Replacing incandescent lighting with energy saving lights which has been completed in most host cities' high density areas. This has reduced demand by at least 700 Mega Watts.
b. Supplying solar water heaters to reduce the electricity load relating to water heating as part of a 1 million solar water heating programme.
c. An investment of R1.2 billion by government over the past three years in a programme to rehabilitate the host cities' electricity distribution infrastructure. Furthermore, Members should note that:
i. All stadiums will run on diesel generators. The electricity grid will serve as backup.
ii. Regulations to regulate or manage the price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas have been finalised. These aim to assist households to meet their thermal needs of space heating and cooking.
We are confident that these instruments, among others, will enable the country to manage electricity consumption demand during the peak winter period that coincides with the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. Eskom has also assured us that there will be no power interruptions during the World Cup. Coal stocks have been replenished and the summer maintenance programme is running smoothly.
Ms N D Ntwanambi (ANC-WC) to ask the Deputy President:
(1) Whether the Presidency has any engagement with the (a) Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, (b) Moral Regeneration Movement and (c) leaders of any (i) political party and (ii)(aa) religious and (bb) cultural groupings regarding measures that our country can put in place to promote cultural, religious and linguistic tolerance among our people; if so, to what extent do such measures plan to engage schools as a foundation phase for instilling new sets of values to our citizens;
(2) Whether he considers it necessary for our nation to engage in such an initiative if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details;
(3) To what extent does this link up with the proposed debate on our national shared moral values by the President and the mandates of the Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the Moral Regeneration Movement?
Honourable Ntwanambi, government has ongoing engagements with many institutions established to protect and promote culture, language and religious rights of all South Africans. Particular attention is given to aspects of culture, language and religious rights of population groups who previously could not exercise their rights due to oppressive laws.
Also, government continues to engage non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that operate in the same space. We find that, challenges notwithstanding, efforts of government are greatly enhanced by relentless contributions of public bodies established to promote equality and equity as well as those of non-state actors.
As the Honourable Member might be aware, the Moral Regeneration Movement (MRM) was established to lead social mobilisation at national and provincial levels in favour of promoting social values that enhance "healthy" families and cohesive communities. This section 21 entity is funded by the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and boast professionals, celebrities, religious leaders and community activists on its board. The highlight of their work is the adoption and implementation of the Charter of Positive Values that lays the basis for family, community and national conversations on what constitute positive social values. I wish to encourage all Members of this House to support the proliferation of this Charter of Positive Values. Your Constituencies will benefit greatly from such a document.
This Honourable Members is in addition to the "Schools Pledge" introduced by the then Education Minister, Ms. Naledi Pandor. The Schools Pledge encourages learners to embrace, appreciate and promote social values that protect the integrity of the state, public property etc.
All these measures, Honourable Chairperson, are meant to foster social cohesion, the basis of which begins at schools, families and communities where we live.
We do encourage Members of this House and all sectors of society to heed the call by our President, Jacob Zuma, for all South Africans to openly debate and mould values that characterise a united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. This is not meant to be a panacea for all social ills prevalent in our communities. It does however strengthen a foundation for a tree whose fruits will nourish our children and future generations.
Finally, the national dialogue that the President has called for is not meant to supplant other important initiatives of government, civil society and Constitutional bodies; rather, it is meant to complement and support them.
Mr R J Tau (ANC-NC) to ask the Deputy President:
(a) What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that the proposed subsidy to employers does not expand a renewed focus on casualisation of workers and perpetuate the disparity between temporary workers and those working full-time, (b) to what extent will the Government ensure that young people employed through this programme are not exploited for tax benefits and discarded without prospects for long-term employment and (c) how will this subsidy be implemented to ensure that it also benefits young people in the rural areas?
The design of the employment subsidy for unemployed young people has not yet been completed. Before the design is finalised it will be discussed with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that there are no undesirable and unintended consequences of the subsidy.
We will certainly seek to avoid casualisation, a dual labour market, or the cynical exploitation of youth in the implementation of the subsidy. We are all too aware of the concentration of unemployment in some of our very poor rural areas, and we will ensure that the subsidy addresses this issue as far as it is able to do so.
I wish to encourage all stakeholders, social partners, public representatives and young people in particular to constructively engage with this proposal so that we emerge with the most meaningful youth employment programme this country has ever experienced. We owe it to our young people to offer them opportunities to gain occupational competencies through skills development and work experience. This is what this wage subsidy proposal seeks to do.
Mr R A Lees (DA-KZN) to ask the Deputy President:
What is the Government's position on the statement made by the Zulu King in his address to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on 23 February 2010, that all men be circumcised as a means of combating HIV/Aids?
Government welcomes the statements of His Majesty King Zwelithini calling for the broadening of medical male circumcision as one of the measures to combat HIV infection.
We also welcome efforts by the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal – Dr. Zweli Mkhize – who, working with his provincial cabinet, has mobilised traditional leaders in the province to rally behind His Majesty's call that young men undergo medical male circumcision to complement the ABC message to prevent new infections.
But why this approach, Honourable Members will ask?
Strong evidence from clinical trials in South Africa (at Orange Farm in Gauteng), Kenya and Uganda have demonstrated that males who are circumcised have close to 60% less chance of acquiring HIV during sexual intercourse. This means that medical male circumcision is partially protective and should be promoted as part of a comprehensive package of preventive activities. Already, the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS are promoting this intervention based on scientific evidence.
Accordingly, government has decided to include medical male circumcision into the basket of HIV prevention interventions. Other measures include HIV counselling and testing (knowing one's status helps to influence behaviour change), sexual and reproductive health education, and advocacy for consistent condom use as well as the management of sexually transmitted infections. All these initiatives complement our message to young people in general: Abstaining, Be Faithful and Condomise!
Finally, I am pleased to inform this House that the South African National Aids Council (SANAC) is finalising clinical protocols and auditing health facilities to assess their readiness to provide medical male circumcisions as demand peaks, which is already the case in KwaZulu-Natal. Thanks to the support of non-governmental organisations and the Department of Health's integrated service delivery model, this demand is being managed.
Mr D A Worth (DA-FS) to ask the Deputy President:
(1) Whether, with reference to his statements that no political organisation will be allowed to disrupt school activities, any action has been taken to ensure that this does not occur; if not, why not; if so, what action;
(2) Whether any action has been taken against any organisation which have disrupted school activities subsequent to this statement; if not, why not; if so, (a) what action and (b) what are the further relevant details?
Yes, clause 9 of the Basic Law Amendment Bill that will be tabled this year seeks to amend the South African Schools Act, 1996 by prohibiting non- educational activities during school time.
The Bill further supplements the Regulations for Safety Measures at Public Schools (R1040 of 12 October 2001) that creates a framework for political office bearers and public representatives to have a right to visit public schools in the interest of public accountability. Although these regulations specify that such a visit may not disrupt the school, the proposed amendment makes matters tighter by stipulating that the teaching time of learners may only be used for educational activities. Political organisations whose members visit schools may therefore not disrupt teaching and learning during regulated hours.
I am not aware of any action that has been taken against any organisation as yet. The amendments to the law that I have spoken about will, once passed, empower authorities to take action against those robbing our youth of their valuable learning time.
Let me end by saying that this is not a matter of law, its violation or effectiveness. It is a matter of society in general and stakeholders in particular valuing and protecting the inalienable right of learners to access quality education without interruption. We owe this to our children and future generations. Let us not disappoint them!
Mr D B Feldman (COPE-Gauteng) to ask the Deputy President:
Whether the Government will ensure that a lifestyle audit of all (a) Cabinet members, (b) Deputy Ministers, (c) Directors-General and (d) Directors is undertaken in order to assuage the disquiet of the citizens regarding the unexplained wealth of persons high up in government; if not, why not; if so, how is the Government planning to drive this so that public confidence is restored?
Honourable Member, as you are aware Ministers and Deputy Ministers are required in terms of the Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament and the Executives Ethics Act and Code to disclose details of their financial interests, assets and gifts received. Senior public servants from the level of Director upwards are required to do the same in terms of the Public Service Regulations.
As I am sure that you aware, violations of the Parliamentary Code are handled by Parliament and have been dealt with effectively in the past. Complaints against violations of the Executive Ethics Code can also be dealt with by the Public Protector.
As I reported in the National Assembly last week, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) conducts investigations of people who appear to be living beyond their means. These investigations start on the basis of information obtained from various sources, including the SARS anti-corruption and fraud hotline, income tax returns a taxpayer submits to SARS and suspicious activity reports from members of the public.
A lifestyle questionnaire is one method of obtaining information from a taxpayer and – together with other information sources – assists SARS in matching the lifestyle trends, income streams and the asset base of a taxpayer to what has been declared in an income tax return. The accumulated wealth has to be explained by the taxpayer for tax purposes. Any unexplained wealth is taxed.
The Compliance and Risk Unit within SARS conducts the risk analysis of taxpayer information. If there is a mismatch between what the taxpayer has declared and what SARS has found, the case is referred for an audit.
If it is confirmed that the taxpayer has evaded tax, penalties are levied, interest is charged and additional tax of up to 200% of the evaded tax is charged. Depending on the circumstances, the case may then be handed to SARS criminal investigation who then engages the South African Police Service (SAPS) and a Specialised Tax Unit for criminal prosecution within the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
More than 10 000 such audits have been conducted by SARS over the past 2 years.
The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2003 also provides for an investigation into a person who appears to own property disproportionate to their income. This is in addition to stringent FICA requirements that compel individuals to disclose sources of income when they make large financial transactions.
In light of the above, Cabinet is not considering lifestyle audits for Ministers, Deputy Ministers and senior public servants as there are already appropriate measures in place.
Honourable Members of this august House, each and every one of us has a duty as public representatives to ensure that members of the public and our constituencies are aware of the regulatory framework designed to deter corruption. However, and more importantly, it is necessary that as public representatives we inform the public about all the means available to them as citizens to bring to the attention of the authorities any information that they might have that will bring to book anybody involved in corrupt activities of any kind. The more our people know about these measures and the more we exercise oversight as Parliament, the better we will be able to restore public confidence as mentioned by the Honourable Member.
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY ON 11 MARCH 2010
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