Hansard: Consideration of appointment of Interim SABC Board & in respect of Chairperson & Deputy chairperson / Consideration of Report of Standing Committee on Appropriations on Appropriation Bill [B 5–2009] / Decision of Question on Votes and Schedule to App
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 06 Jul 2009
No summary available.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009 Take:
TUESDAY, 7 JULY 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 MOTIONS
Ms S V KALYAN: Speaker, I hereby give notice, that I intend moving the following motion:
That the House -
debates the sale and distribution of herbal remedies for the treatment of HIV, with particular reference to the claim made by Revivo as advertised on the ANC Youth League website, and the role of the Medicines Control Council in this regard.
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms S V KALYAN
Mr G R MORGAN: Speaker, I hereby move on behalf of the DA:
That the House:
(1) notes that in December this year the United Nations
Climate Change Conference will convene in Copenhagen;
(2) notes that participating countries will negotiate a
climate change framework that will replace the existing Kyoto Protocol;
(3) notes that South Africa has an important role to play in
these negotiations due to its status as a major emerging economy of the world; and
(4) debates the desired outcomes that the South African
delegation should seek at the Copenhagen negotiations.
Ms C DUDLEY
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms C DUDLEY: Chair, on behalf of ACDP, I give notice that I shall move at the next sitting of the House:
That the House -
(1) expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of the 31 young men who have tragically died in circumcision ceremonies this year;
(2) expresses deep regret that significant numbers of young men are hospitalised each year after losing parts or all of their genitalia;
(3) acknowledges that most of these deaths and mutilations are linked to illegal initiation schools, notes the department's efforts in this regard, calls for a debate on what must be done to ensure circumcision practices are safe; and
(4) calls for a public campaign to encourage dialogue at the level of family and community.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY
Ms C DUDLEY
IMPACT ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY: I move without notice:
That the House:
(1) notes that the organisers of the 24th Billabong Pro
surfing competition that starts on 9 July at Jeffreys Bay
have announced that this years competition would go green
in order to reduce the competition's impact on climate
(2) notes that the organisers have calculated the carbon footprint of the competition and have identified and implemented various initiatives to ensure a low-carbon, climate-friendly event;
(3) recognises the recent support pledged by the Springboks to the South African Breweries Greening the Boks project that aims to offset the carbon emission generated by the team's transport and accommodation during their tour;
(4) acknowledges that both these initiatives encourage all South Africans to adopt a greener lifestyle and also demonstrates to sports fans across the country that even the smallest changes made to their lifestyle can have a significant impact on the environment;
(5) congratulates both the organisers of the Billabong Pro surfing competition and the Springboks for making environmental conservation a top priority and for demonstrating that this can be achieved even in sport; and
(6) calls on all South Africans to commit themselves to reducing their carbon footprint so that our children can one day also enjoy the abundant natural resources our country is so richly blessed with.
Mr I VADI
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE OPPOSITION PARTY
CONSIDERATION OF RECOMMENDATION OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON COMMUNICATIONS ON APPOINTMENT OF INTERIM SABC BOARD AND IN RESPECT OF CHAIRPERSON AND DEPUTY CHAIRPERSON THEREOF
Mr I VADI: Speaker, I am pleased to table the committee's report, recommending the names of five persons for the interim board of the SABC. At the outset, I must state that in selecting the five candidates, we were entering uncharted waters. There are no clear-cut rules that could guide the process, and there is also no parliamentary precedent for this exercise.
Today, we are likely to hear from the DA, arguing that the process to select the members of the interim board of the SABC was rushed and that, as the Official Opposition, their candidate was ignored. We might even hear them saying that the ANC had finalised the names months ago, or that the ANC is to rename Auckland Park "Polokwane Park". [Interjections.]The SPEAKER: Order, order! Allow the speaker to be heard. You can continue. Mr I VADI: Nothing can be further from the truth. The DA members on the committee were wholly unprepared for this process. [Interjections.] They were divided amongst themselves, with the hon Van den Berg championing one name and the hon Mazibuko, another. In fact, it was the ANC that advised them to caucus among themselves so that they could come up with a unified list of candidates. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
The ANC was clear from the beginning: We did not want to politicise the process of selecting members for the interim board. We thought it inexpedient to make political appointments. [Interjections.] Instead, we looked for eminent personalities with a combination of sound corporate management, financial, legal and media skills.
The committee received proposals of very strong candidates for the interim board. It spent over four hours trying reach consensus on five candidates. I am pleased to report that initially all the political parties on the committee were able to agree on the names of four of the five candidates. These were Ms Irene Charnley, Ms Libby Lloyd, Adv Leslie Sedibe, and a former member of this House, Ms Suzanne Vos.
It is a real pity that we had to divide the committee on the names of Prof Phillip Mtimkulu and Prof Mampele Rampele, as both are highly regarded academics with impeccable credentials. In the end, the committee voted in favour of Prof Mtimkulu.An HON MEMBER: Of course, we were forced to.
Mr I VADI: Yesterday … [Interjections.] No, no, listen – yesterday the Minister of Science and Technology announced that Prof Rampele has been appointed as the chairperson of the Technology Innovation Agency board. I hope that it will now be clear to the opposition parties why the ANC thought it imprudent to appoint Prof Rampele to the interim board of the SABC. [Interjections.]
The Broadcasting Act requires the NA to recommend to the President the names of two persons who could serve as the chairperson and the deputy chairperson of the interim board. The committee is pleased to suggest that the names Ms Irene Charnley and Prof Mtimkulu to be considered for the positions of chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively. If these recommendations are supported by the House today, they will be appointed by the President for a period not exceeding six months.
The ANC today has noted Cosatu's concerns about the composition of the interim board. We agree with the view that the board must be broadly representative of society as a whole, including the wider labour movement. The ANC wishes to reassure Cosatu and other stakeholders in civil society that the processes for the selection and appointment of the permanent board will be transparent and inclusive.
We take this opportunity to announce that the invitation calling for nominations for the permanent board will be issued later this week. The closing date for such nominations will be 31 July, 2009. The committee calls upon all interested parties throughout the country to participate in the process.
We trust that the interim board, which we will recommend for appointment today, will help to stabilise the operations of the SABC and to restore a measure of proper corporate governance over the corporation. The task confronting this interim board is, to say the least, quite daunting, but we are certain that the five candidates being recommended will rise to the challenge.
In the end, we hope that the drastic step taken by this House to dissolve the SABC board and to replace it with an interim board will contribute towards enhancing public confidence in both Parliament, as an institution, and the SABC. The public must know that its elected representatives will act when things go wrong. Parliament will not fold its arms and look the other way. I recommend the names to the House. Thank you very much.
The SPEAKER: Before I invite the next speaker, I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Justice Akilano Akiwumo, chairperson of the Kenyan parliamentary tribunal, and his delegation. [Applause.]
MR N J VAN DEN BERG
MR I VADI
Mr N J VAN DEN BERG: Mr Speaker and hon members, Alexis de Tocqueville, that masterful observer of the developing American democracy, once said the following of the great moments in a nation's existence:
But epochs sometimes occur in the life of a nation when the old customs of a people are changed, public morality is destroyed, religious belief shaken, and the spell of tradition broken, while the diffusion of knowledge is yet imperfect and the civil rights of the community are ill secured or confined within narrow limits. The country then assumes a dim and dubious shape in the eyes of the citizens …
I think the ANC and its new-found ally, the IFP, have just squandered such an opportunity to correct the mistakes made by the same ANC by appointing a weak council and repeating the same mistakes again.
Moving from history to modern science, Albert Einstein also remarked that if we continue the patterns of thought that got us into trouble, to search for solutions, we are guaranteeing bigger trouble.
And on this point, I think what we have witnessed with the decision on the SABC board can best be described as the better we get at doing the wrong thing, the more wrong we become.
It also reminds me of an interview Max du Preez had with Breyten Breytenbach in the early nineties when he had the following to say about a comparison between the ANC and the National Party, NP:
… eintlik is die NP en die ANC, met hulle houtgeweers ten spyt, baie nader aan mekaar, want hulle is magshandelaars.
Yes, Mr Speaker, the ANC and their new, withering ally, the IFP, have just demonstrated to the rest of South Africa that they do not recognise the big moments in a nation's life where they can fundamentally alter course and change the direction in which our national broadcaster is moving. They also still using the same thinking that brought the previous board into so much trouble to reappoint this interim board.
By applying the same methods, they are guaranteeing us a failed outcome and despite all the rhetoric by President Zuma on international podiums and forums, the ANC only understands political power that is to their advantage. The fact that the winning party in an election received a mandate to serve the nation, to rule in the general interest, is lost to the ANC. Again they have applied their electoral mandate in the narrowest of applications, that is to be true to a power broker. Breyten Breytenbach had the insight to see this more than 15 years ago.
Die vryheid van spraak is van die fundamentele beginsels in ons Grondwet. Die ANC het ongelukkig een van die grootste oomblikke sedert ons demokrasie se wording opgemors. Van die hand na die mond val die pap op die grond.
The ANC is brilliant in their approach to solving problems. They, the ANC, don't have the ability to solve problems. All the ANC is doing, is to create more problems.
Mr Speaker and hon members, the ANC showed last week in the Portfolio Committee on Communications how stubborn and irrelevant they are. They are power hungry! The ANC doesn't know the meaning of the word democracy! The ANC, together with their new bedmate, the IFP, bulldozed the five people they decided on onto the interim board of the SABC.
It is astonishing that after 15 years in government the ANC cannot learn. They do not have the ability to recognise mistakes. The ANC, under the influence of power-drunkenness, must remember one thing: The people of South Africa are not stupid. [Interjections.]
The SPEAKER: Hon members, allow the speaker to be heard.
Mnr N J VAN DEN BERG: Die mense sien die ANC as 'n wolf in skaapklere. Wat het geword van die versoenende woorde van ons President?
Oh, my word! What empty words! The President said in this House that the ANC wants to work together with the opposition. Which opposition? All the DA can say, is, "Et tu Brute!". The reverend of the IFP is now Reverend Brutus - the man with blood on his dagger. I can see how the ANC is shivering.
Hulle bewe van vrees vir ware opposisie.
Speaker and hon members, what the ANC did in the Portfolio Committee on Communication was disgusting. All they did was to transform Niekie van den Berg and all my opposition colleagues into the fiercest political opponents. [Time expired.]
Ms J D KILIAN: Speaker, COPE can unfortunately not support the appointment of the interim SABC board today, since we reject the ANC's escalating politicisation of the public broadcaster with contempt.
We, however, do not question the integrity or the ability of the individuals who have been nominated. Our concern is that the board will lack expertise in financial management, which is a key performance area if the board wants to implement an urgent turnaround strategy for the corporation in the six months of their existence.
COPE's concern is furthermore the fatally flawed process which was followed. What promised to be an all-inclusive process initially, with proposals for nomination being tabled by all parties, unfortunately suddenly turned bad last Thursday when the ANC members of the Portfolio Committee dug in their heels and rejected excellent nominations made by opposition parties, simply because it was coming from those political parties. They steamrollered the process by co-opting the IFP – who played a double role in this process – essentially rejecting quality candidates who could have made a huge contribution to the interim board.
Speaker, this does not augur well for the independence of the public broadcaster in the future. Is this yet another attempt to control the SABC from Luthuli House or from the SACP headquarters in Braamfontein?
The SABC is facing its worst financial crisis in the history of the institution, with shocking prima facie evidence having been presented by the unions. If the arrogance of the ANC is anything to go by, we might soon face an attempt to cover up some of the scandalous financial irregularities, which might implicate the ANC further – over and above the t-shirt scandal. Only time will tell! [Applause.]
Mr K M ZONDI: Speaker, when the NA adopted the motion for the dissolution of the SABC board, it paved the way for the selection and appointment of an interim board to direct the affairs of the SABC until a new board has been selected.
The Portfolio Committee on Communications deliberated on possible candidates for appointment to the interim board, which are today presented before this House for consideration and approval. From the side of the IFP, we urge this House to endorse the names for appointment to the interim board of the SABC. [Applause.]
There is an urgent need to appoint this interim board, because the SABC cannot operate without the authority of a board when there's a need to take decisions that are beyond the scope and authority of the executive management of the corporation. The other urgent task that the interim board has to do is devise a turnaround strategy and stabilise the financial and managerial affairs of the corporation. We have no doubt that the individuals who have been selected are people of impeccable credentials who will be equal to the daunting task that lies ahead of them. They, however, will have no magic wand. They will need to operate as a team to save the SABC from certain disaster, in the interests of the whole nation.
It is true that we, from the opposition parties, strongly urged the ANC to nominate three out of the five names presented here, so that the opposition parties could nominate two names, in the interests of inclusivity. However, when this was not possible, we had to make do with one name for the sake of progress and the urgency of the situation. We urge the majority party to be more flexible and accommodating when the process of the selection of the permanent board is underway in the near future.
Finally, and very importantly, these people will need our support in order to succeed. We thank them for making themselves available for this unenviable task and we wish them well. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms P DE LILLE: Speaker, the ID just wants to put it on record that we have no problem with the nominated candidates; we do have a problem with the process that was followed of bulldozing through an ANC SABC interim board. I think the chairperson must also explain to this House why, when at one stage in the caucus the chairperson agreed that the opposition parties would put in two names, when we came back this was changed. It became very clear that this was a previous caucus position, so all the names that were nominated by the opposition parties were simply disregarded.
I really hope that, when we deal with the appointments of the permanent board, we will not have names that have already been agreed to, even before we start the process, because then it will be a waste of time to go and sit for days in interviews, make contributions and at the end there's already a list that has been agreed to outside the portfolio committee.
I really want to plead with the ANC comrades, because we worked well together over many days trying to sort out the problems of the SABC board, but right at the end, after four hours of debate, the old ANC came forward and said: "No, we will give four names, and we will select one from the opposition parties, the IFP candidate." I thank you. [Applause.]
Mnu B H HOLOMISA: Betha, betha, betha, amagwala.
Speaker, hon Deputy President and hon members, the interim board should, in conjunction with the Department of Communications, hold a conference of all stakeholders to once and for all find broad consensus on what sort of public broadcaster we require.
They must also ensure that, during their tenure, the inquiries into the allegations of corruption, fraud and mismanagement are not impeded or interfered with in any way by current SABC executives. In this regard, we would urge them specifically to look for cases of gross misconduct already identified in previous inquiries, and consider whether those implicated executives shouldn't rather be suspended, to prevent any attempt to derail the inquiry.
Lastly, they need to resolve the contentious issue that keeps undermining the public broadcaster. Already there is a dispute about the credentials of the interim board. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD: Speaker, the hon Vadi mentioned the word "consensus", now I want to say to the hon member: If you have five lions and a lamb in a meeting, it's not very difficult to get consensus on what they are going to have for lunch! [Laughter.]
Ek wil sê daar is darem so een ligpuntjie in die samestelling van die tussentydse raad in die naam van Suzanne Vos, die VF Plus glo dat dit darem so bietjie van 'n ligpuntjie is. Maar as 'n mens kyk na die proses wat gevolg is, as ons gaan kyk na die name wat genoem is, dan wil ek vandag vir u sê ons sien nou maar vir die tussentyd net die enkelsnit voor die langspeelplaat van "His Master's Voice" [Sy meester se stem.] wat kom. Die VF Plus sal dit nie ondersteun nie. Dankie.
Mr S N SWART: Speaker, the ACDP regrets that undertakings given by the ANC to seek consensus on the appointment of the interim SABC board were not upheld.
It is clear that, as in the past, the ANC used its majority to bulldoze its wishes through the Portfolio Committee on Communications. Regrettably, this means that the interim board will start off on the back foot, not enjoying broad political support. This could have been easily avoided had the united opposition choice of Professor Mamphela Ramphele been accepted.
Whist the interim board may have the necessary skills, and the ACDP has no problem with individual members, regrettably, it has been politically tainted from the very beginning. This it can ill afford, considering the huge financial, managerial and corporate governance issues that it must resolve. The ACDP will, therefore, not support this report. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr R B BHOOLA: Speaker, the MF requires the necessity for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, SABC, interim board, but we are concerned that multiparty wishes have not been taken into consideration.
Furthermore, we say South Africa is a rainbow nation and has a composite culture. Does the interim board reflect the composite cross-cultural nature of the South African society? It does not. This is why there is no sense telling the world, when the Prime Minister of India comes here, you praise the various communities and say that certain minority communities have made contributions, but you ignore them when you are considering the composition of the SABC interim board. For this reason, the MF will abstain. [Applause.]
Mr S E KHOLWANE: Speaker, Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Members of Parliament and our guests, I will start by saying, maybe lambs must learn not to play with lions so that they don't get eaten.
When one door closes, many more open. Last week when we debated the resolution on the dissolution of the board, many speakers said that it was a sad day for the country, but today we must all agree that it is a new beginning and a new hope.
As we enter this critical debate today, millions of our people, including the public broadcaster employees, are anxious. For the employees and those who believe in the SABC, the tsunami came so suddenly, destroying their hard-earned savings and putting their jobs at risk, and they do not trust what they hear, see or read. Worse, they do not see what will turn things around and many are close to losing hope.
It remains our resolve to ensure that the right of our people to receive information is not compromised as we are on record as the country that needs to create an information society. To this end, the public broadcaster plays an important role. Our people have a right to information which allows them to make their choices. And we should not fail them.
On 30 June 2009, the SABC presented its strategic plan and its budget. However, it remains important to see how fast they implement these plans. The country needs your leadership; I mean the interim board, as the SABC is in a war for survival beset by fears, uncertainty and doubts.
As on any battlefield, conditions demand a seriously different kind of leadership from that which is appropriate in peace time. Leaders must be prepared to make strategic, structural, financial and operational changes, many of them drastically, in a hurry, sometimes with incomplete information.
However, what I want to put on record is what really happened. As a committee we started the process of dealing with the nomination of the interim board on 25 June 2009, not as it has been reported. We dealt with that matter on 26 June 2009. We agreed that parties will make their submissions. When we met on 1 July 2009, COPE, ID and DA came with wish lists. Only the IFP and MF had proposed names. We were forced to deal with the names of DA and COPE only on 2 July 2009, in the meeting which started at 12:30, because they did not honour the decision of the committee to submit their names early in the morning for the parties to be able to deal with those names. [Interjections.] That is a fact, nothing else!
It is important to deal with this matter now so that the creation of this hullabaloo is put into proper perspective.
The appointment of the interim board bears testimony to the fact that during the engagement, all parties submitted their nominations. It is just that other people behave like children sometimes. When they are angry, they decide to withdraw everything. Unfortunately we cannot account for that. [Applause.]
I agree with Comrade Jessie Duarte when she said:
For this reason, the ANC would wish to see a board in place that is representative of our society in all its manifestations. The interests of the middle class and business can never be the only interests that find resonance in the type of people we need on a board such as the one the SABC must have.
In going forward, learning from the process which we are coming from and being directed by the legislation, the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999, which indicates that the board must be representative, we hope that we are going to be able to engage meaningfully, including with the opposition, to ensure that we get a board which is not going to be under dispute, we get a board which is going to be accepted by the society at large.
We followed the issue of T-shirts with great interest because it was raised in this House. We have received the response from the SABC clarifying the matter. The response from the SABC is here; it will be circulated to the parties in the committee. Indeed, we can confirm that the allegations were misplaced and not correct. [Interjections.]
I have indicated when I started my speech that lambs must not play with lions if they do not want to be eaten. That is the safe way to go. I don't understand what the opposition is raising. I met with COPE. We had a bilateral with them. COPE persuaded the ANC and said: "In your five names, there are two lawyers. Can you withdraw one so that you give us opposition a name?" We acceded that as the ANC.
I hope the hon member from COPE will be sincere when dealing with this matter. I did not hear anything honourable in her statement when she was on the podium. We engaged bilaterally. We agreed to withdraw a name to accommodate the opposition. Why can't people tell the truth? [Applause.]
Ms J D KILIAN: I want to know if the hon member will take a question?
Mr S E KHOLWANE: I always take questions in the committee and not here.
Let us afford the interim board a chance to perform its duties. We are calling upon the interim board to make sure that the Auditor-General's investigation continues unhindered so that we can uncover exactly what happened concerning allegations submitted by the unions.
We would like to appeal to civic society, the public broadcaster employees and all parties interested to give the board a chance to steer this troubled ship out of the troubled water until the new board is appointed. [Time expired.] Thank you. [Applause.]
Question put. Please take in from minutes.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Speaker, are you aware that at the back we have a number of members who do not have voting mechanisms on their desks and they will have to vote by raising their hands? I just wanted to draw that to your attention, sir. The Table staff is aware of it.
The SPEAKER: Thank you. Table staff!
The suggestion is that those members who do not have machines in front of them, will have to come to the table to record their votes. Do not raise your hands or stand up, please just come forward to record your votes.
The House divided.
AYES – 239: Please take in from minutes.
NOES – 96.: Please take in from minutes.
ABSTAIN – 2: Bhoola, R B; Holomisa, B H.
Question agreed to.
(Consideration of Report of Standing Committee on Appropriations thereon)
Mr E M SOGONI: Speaker, hon President, hon members of the executive, colleagues and the public, on behalf of the committee on appropriations we would like to welcome the proposed technical amendments by National Treasury and the Minister of Finance. These technical amendments have no financial implications, but help to give practical expression to the new, reconfigured departments, as announced by the President.
As members would be aware, working together with the government and our people, we have achieved a lot as Parliament in the past 15 years. I'm sure members would agree that the state of our nation and economy is better than the one inherited in 1994. Since then we have moved our economy from a period of instability, and we have seen healthy growth levels. Because of the realities that faced us then, we had to voluntarily apply our own structural adjustment programme so that we could achieve our developmental imperatives. Consequently, the reality that confronts us today is that this massive growth has not resulted in greater welfare, the eradication of poverty and greater equality.
However, there is no doubt that we have achieved the highest levels of growth ever, created a booming and stable economy and done more to create a better life for all our people. Today, with the expanded budget tabled in this Parliament, we stand better poised to accelerate the delivery of services to our people and to keep afloat in the recession as a result of prudent and sound macroeconomic planning.
We must, however, always be cautious not to remain stagnant and always seek to improve on these achievements as part of our trajectory towards liberating the majority of our people from their dire socioeconomic conditions.
Hon members, as you are aware, we find ourselves in the difficult time of a recession. This will seriously hamper the ability of our government and economy to alleviate the hardships or ravaging poverty and unemployment that our people live under. We have also learned from this recession that how we have always done things is not always foolproof in achieving our objectives.
It is with this in mind that our government must ensure that it does not falter in delivering on its mandate to serve our people. In this period of recession, our people will be more vulnerable to increasing levels of poverty and joblessness. They will have nowhere to look but to their government for interim relief and assurance that their plight is only temporary and that the government stands ready to deliver on its medium to long-term plans to significantly improve their livelihoods.
It is in this regard that I encourage the House to accept the proposed technical amendments tabled here today, as I believe they place the state at the centre of our developmental objectives as a developing state by, one, sharply improving its planning and co-ordinating capacity; two, placing decent work and sustainable livelihoods at the apex of state-led industrial and trade policy; three, fast-tracking massive public-sector investment in rural development and public infrastructure; four, reviewing development finance institutions; five, having a much larger National Youth Service and expanded Public Works; and, lastly, having a larger and reformed social security system.
We can only achieve these goals if we allow the state to have this institutional capacity for government-wide economic planning with the necessary resources and authority to prepare and implement long, short and medium-term economic and developmental planning. We envisage that this reconfigured state will continue to depend on our popular and participatory democracy, on building public-private partnerships and on a social compact amongst all sectors of our society aimed at a common developmental agenda. We therefore propose the passing of these technical amendments to the Appropriation Bill. I thank you, Speaker. [Applause.]
There was no debate.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker and hon Deputy President, I move that the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
(Decision of Question on Votes and Schedule)
The SPEAKER: Hon members, before we proceed to decide on the Votes and Schedules to the Appropriation Bill, I have to inform you that I have received proposed amendments to the Appropriation Bill from the Minister of Finance. The amendments are printed in the name of the Minister on today's Order Paper.
The amendments are meant to effect technical corrections to the Bill, in terms of section 14 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, Act 9 of 2009, by creating new Votes without appropriation for new departments and correcting departmental names. I now recognise the hon Minister of Finance. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Mr Speaker, Mr Acting President, our guests from Kenya and hon members, my predecessor Minister Trevor Manuel tabled the Appropriation Bill in this House on 11 February 2009, based on the government structure which prevailed at that time, which was prior to the elections.
On 10 May 2009, President Zuma announced the appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of sections 91(2) and 93(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. The portfolios of these Ministers required a reorganisation of departments, including the renaming of national departments and the establishment of new national departments to support the Ministers in executing their respective mandates.
The amendments being tabled today provide for the new Vote structure that gives effect to the new government structure. The 2009 Adjustments Appropriation Bill will provide a more detailed breakdown of the impact of the structural changes on the format of the Appropriation Bill. I hereby move the amendments as printed in my name on the Order Paper. Thank you. [Applause.]
AMENDMENT TO BILLS
(Decision of Question on Votes and Schedules.)
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Speaker, I move the amendment to the Bill in terms of section 14 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, as printed on the Order Paper, namely:
[PLEASE TAKE IN FROM THE MINUTES – Data please ask Wilna re pp 374-377 of the Minutes)
The SPEAKER: Order! We now proceed to decide on the Votes and Schedules on the Appropriation Bill, as amended. I wish to thank parties for advising their staff on which Votes they intend making declarations on in order to record their objections and over which Votes they intend dividing. This information will greatly assist the process this afternoon.
I will put each Vote and ask parties for declarations of vote, as they have indicated. Members may make declarations of vote from the floor microphones if they wish. After that I will put the Vote for decision. I have been advised that by agreement, declarations will be limited to two minutes. The bells will be rung for five minutes for the division on a vote, but only for one minute on subsequent divisions.
Vote No 1 - The Presidency - put.
Declarations of vote:
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): Chairperson, the violent protests and demonstrations taking place in our country on a weekly basis, the latest being in Diepsloot this past weekend, are of major concern to us. The Presidency should be reassuring all residents who say they have been waiting for 15 years for government to fulfil its promises.
The ACDP believes that ignoring and arresting protesters only is not the solution. Those who make promises, including the Presidency, should communicate with disgruntled members of the public and, where practically possible, give these members of the public new timeframes indicating when they can expect their concerns to be addressed.
The ACDP will support the budget of the Presidency as an indication to the Presidency that we want it to succeed in addressing the challenges facing our nation, particularly the challenge to provide clean running water, proper sanitation and decent houses for our people. I thank you.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC supports the Presidency Budget Vote. In our view, it provides concrete directives and practical meaning to the five national priorities identified as an axis around which service delivery must be driven to push back the frontiers of poverty.
We are assembled here determined to fulfil that most solemn undertaking to build a nonracial, nonsexist, democratic and prosperous society in which all people are free from the shackles of exploitation, fear, want and disease.
The Presidency Budget Vote is our commitment to our people and before the eyes of the world that without decent work, the security of people, quality and accessible education and health services, the recovery of the humanity of all our people will remain a pipedream.
The Presidency Budget Vote reflects the ruling party's commitment to serving the people of South Africa as a whole in line with the five priorities that the ANC put before the people of South Africa.
The establishment of the departments for planning, monitoring and evaluation will ensure that the government does not act in silos and that the Presidency exercise internal oversight of the executive branch of government. The commitment of the Presidency to subject itself and its administration to oversight by this Parliament augurs well for the entrenchment and deepening of democracy in South Africa.
The call for an activist Parliament and the endorsement thereof by this House will ensure that the resources made available by this House are utilised to provide quality and affordable services to all South Africans. Members of this House will hold the executive accountable, without fear or favour, for the delivery of quality, accessible and affordable services to all the people. Thank you very much. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 2 - Parliament – put and agreed to.
Vote No 3 - International Relations and Co-operation, formerly Foreign Affairs - put
Declarations of vote:
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): Chairperson, the ACDP will support this Budget Vote 3 on International Relations and Co-operation. We want to encourage government to continue rejecting attempts by the current chairman of the AU, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, to coerce African states into forming the United States of Africa. We believe that priority should be given to strengthening regional bodies like SADC.
We further want to appeal to government to resist Muammar Gaddafi's reported alleged attempts to persuade African countries, including South Africa, which have ratified the International Criminal Court Treaty, to limit co-operation with it. This is particularly because the African countries he has targeted concluded that the ICC was pursuing the same basic goals as the AU, and that the AU should engage more with the court. We appreciate South Africa's stance in saying we would not agree with Muammar Gaddafi. Thank you.
Mr T W NXESI (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC supports the Budget Vote for International Relations and Co-operation. It is our firm belief, as the ANC, that this Budget will advance the key strategic priorities in our engagement at the international level, which include the consolidation of our African agenda in terms of promoting peace, stability and human rights, the promotion of national interests in relation to the political and economic interest both in the south and in the north, and lastly, the promotion of multilateralism instead of unilateralism.
We believe very firmly that this budget goes a long way towards promoting that engagement with the progressive forces of the world, including issues of transforming the UN system. We support this budget, and want to make the ACDP comfortable in that, as part of that engagement in the African agenda, that is where we are engaging Gaddafi. Thank you.
Vote No 4 - Home Affairs - put.
Declarations of vote:
Ms J TERBLANCHE (DA): The DA will support the Home affairs Budget because we believe that Minister Dlamini-Zuma is serious about her undertaking to turn the department around, and that she has been open and honest about problems facing the department. She has also announced measures to deal with those problems in her Budget speech on 26 June 2009.
For the benefit of this House, I would like to reiterate the call to the Minister to address the following priorities: the filling of existing vacancies; the eradication of existing backlogs within three months; the intensification of efforts to root out corruption in the department, especially with regards to new information that corruption in this department has risen by 415% between 2006 and 2008; and to launch an investigation into the cost of the Who am I Online project. Thank you.
Ms A MDA (COPE): Hon Chair and the House, COPE welcomes the budget by the Ministry, and further acknowledges that the department has committed itself to working with all citizens to make this department one of which the government can be proud.
During the department's Budget Vote, COPE highlighted the fact that this is the most crucial department in the life of every citizen in this country. This department continues to represent the commitment of government to ensure that no one is deprived of his or her rights and benefits as a result of not having an identity document.
The current challenges, which continue to render the department ungovernable and conditions in it unbearable, remain a cause for concern for COPE. Some of these include, but are not limited to ID forgery and fraud, which has not yet been rooted out. I want to allude to the fact that, as a result of these loose and reckless Home Affairs systems, the United Kingdom, after they realised that our identity document and passport are easily forged, has had to enforce a decision that all South Africans visiting that country now have to have a visa.
COPE calls on Home Affairs to fast-track the process of introducing the new passport with the new features, which will make it difficult to forge, or to use for any other act of corruption.
COPE pledges to assist the ministry, more especially after the commitment that the Minister has made, but while we acknowledge the co-operation and the commitment by the Ministry, we continue, as COPE, to believe that the state that the department is in currently really deserves urgent attention.
It is on the basis of the founding principles of COPE, and of our commitment to a clean, transparent, and people-focused government that COPE will find it hard to sign this blank cheque of supporting the Budget Vote against the backdrop of all these significant areas of concern that we have raised. We believe these areas of concern really deserve an immediate and prompt response.
We, however, pledge our support and co-operation to the Ministry in its attempts to change the state of affairs in the department. Thank you.
Ms H N MAKHUBA (IFP): Chairperson, while the IFP supports the Budget Vote for Home Affairs, there are certain concerns that we would like to raise.
The UK has imposed visa requirements on South African passport holders as a result of non-South Africans entering Britain with fraudulently obtained South African passports. The visa requirements were imposed after South African authorities had failed to adequately deal with the problem identified by the British authorities, despite being given an extra six months to do so. Corruption within this department is rife and must be eradicated if the worth of our passport is to be restored, and the department is to successfully fulfil its mandate.
We wish you well, hon Minister. Thank you.
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Chair, the ACDP would have thought that this department, more than any other, could have been divided and restructured. Migration, immigration and related issues for example, surely need a dedicated and more specific response.
South Africa's Home Affairs department has been crippled by corruption and inefficiency over many years. In 2005 a young man won the sympathy of many South Africans when he held a Home Affairs official hostage with a fake gun, demanding his identity document - which is vital in every aspect of daily life - after a two-year wait for it.
We do appreciate, however, that turning this department around is going to be a mammoth task, but we are concerned by the shocking number of documents and files being lost. It is now almost expected by document seekers that they will have to apply more than once, if not many times, which is a costly exercise in time and money. People are waiting up to three years for approval of citizenship and permanent residence only to be told that documents are lost.
We can only hope that this budget will address issues of poor administration and corruption highlighted in the recent report by the US state department regarding fraudulent passports; identity documents and work permits; border security challenges; and socio-cultural attitudes and document fraud, which negatively affect government's ability to pursue and intervene in counterterrorism initiatives.
The ACDP notes the additional allocation for the World Cup, and is pleased to see preparations for the free and speedy World Cup events visa, which include separate facilities for soccer fans at airports to avoid congestion.
We are however, concerned that, with the smoke screen of the World Cup to shelter trafficking and terrorist agendas, we need to increase our capacity in this regard. The ACDP has grave concerns, but we will be supporting this budget as the new Minister attempts to tackle these enormous challenges. Thank you.
Mr J J MC GLUWA (ID): Chairperson, the ID wants to say thank you to the hon Minister, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. During the Home Affairs Budget Vote speech, I raised a specific concern about the level of service at the offices in Barrack Street. This concern had been brought to my attention by an ordinary member of the public. Just two days later, on a Sunday afternoon, I was called by the office of the Minister regarding my query. This matter was solved amicably within a week. [Applause.] The Minister has thus far lived up to her promise to be candid about the massive challenges in the department and to deal with the officials who do not provide proper service to our people.
The ID has closely followed her progress for the last two months and is also impressed with her commitment to root out corruption.
We, as the ID, are very happy that we finally have a Minister that is not scared to roll up her sleeves and clean up the Department of Home Affairs. We will join her in singing together, "Awuleth iwashing mashini". The ID supports the budget. [Laughter.]
Dr C P MULDER (FF Plus): Chairperson, it is common cause that there are huge problems within this department. We have heard about some and experienced some of them. But it is also not true that everything is just wrong. There are many officials in that department who are doing their utmost to give a good service to the public.
I applied for a new passport on 8 May, 2009 at the Malmesbury branch of the Department of Home Affairs. I downloaded the forms beforehand and completed them. It took me only twenty-two minutes to be serviced from my arrival up until I left, and it is less than eight weeks now but I have already received my new passport. So thanks you very much for that. [Applause.]
I think it would be wrong for members today to vote against this Budget Vote because, even though we have lots of problems, let us give the Minister and the department a chance and see where we are, next year. We all support the budget. [Applause.]
Mr B A D MARTINS (ANC): Hon Chairperson, the issues raised by the opposition parties were dealt with frankly and honestly by the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs in the budget debate of the department. There is a turnaround strategy in place to deal with the issues which members have raised, and some of the successes have been attested to by the members themselves.
The portfolio committee will nevertheless continue to ensure that the department complies with legislation and governance matters. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Vote No 4 agreed to
Vote No 5 - Public Works – put and agreed to.
Vote No 6 - Government Communication and Information System –
put and agreed to.
Vote No 7 - National Treasury – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Chairperson, the ACDP shares the Minister's concerns that we are already R18 billion behind in our revenue projections and that it is estimated that the budget deficit may rise to 7% of GDP, or an additional R50 billion to R60 billion will have to be found. Whilst our level of debt is relatively low by international standards, if our debt service costs rise, it will mean that government would have less money to spend.
Once the recession bottoms out, government will need to bring the deficit down again by curbing spending. The ACDP supports the finance Minister in this regard, who stated that the fiscus base to maintain government spending by borrowing was not limitless and that a period of fiscal consolidation must follow once the country emerges from the recession. However, at this stage - and now there is an urgency for government to recognise and address the problem of wasteful and ineffective spending – we, as MPs, need to take up the challenge issued during the Budget speech that we should play a more active role in challenging accounting officers to plan their efficiency saving initiatives upfront and report regularly on progress. This is so particularly, since we, as MPs, will be able to amend the budget next year.
How sympathetic can we be, when accounting officers of departments do not play their part? The ACDP also agrees that we need a thorough assessment of all government's programmes to see how we can improve value for money and identify areas where we can eliminate or reduce wastage. We need to ensure that as we spend more, we spend better. The ACDP will support this Budget Vote. Thank you.
Mr N SINGH (IFP): Chairperson, the IFP will support this Budget Vote, and we would like to thank the hon Minister for the very frank and detailed responses he gave during the budget debate.
An area of concern is the support to municipalities. We find that the financial status of many municipalities around the country are disastrous, to say the least, and we think National Treasury has to make sure that the support to municipalities, whether it is administrative support or any other support is forthcoming, so they can have good audit reports.
The other area that we would like National Treasury to look into in detail, is the performance audit of entities that are connected with government employees and doing business with national departments. If one reads this report you will find that there are many employees in government doing business as members of close corporations or their spouses are doing business with their own departments or with other government departments. This has to stop because there is a conflict of interest and Treasury regulations are being violated.
Monitoring and evaluation are going to be very important and we are very pleased by the response of the hon Minister and the department to look into these things. We support the Vote. Thank you.
Mr T A MUFAMADI: Chairperson, hon Acting President and hon members, when we look at this Budget, as the ANC we are quite confident that the Budget addresses key priorities as stated in our manifesto. Also, despite the difficult situation we find ourselves in as a country, we are convinced that with the Budget, as outlined, and the objectives of Treasury and the relevant institutions such as Sars and Statistics South Africa, we can confidently say to our people out there that we are in no position to sacrifice their aspirations, particularly in areas of access to education, health, rural development and integration of the economies of these rural areas.
We also see in this Budget that it is quite instructive that the issue of skills maintenance and retention within the department gives us confidence that, moving into the future, we will be able to manage the resources of the country without any doubt. We also see in the Budget itself that the area of economic transformation is quite central to ensuring that our people don't remain passive recipients of social grants, but that they will in actual fact become active participants and real players in the economy. We support this Budget, Chairperson, without any hesitation. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 8: Public Administration Leadership and Management
Academy – put and agreed to.
Vote No 9: Public Service and Administration – put and agreed to.
Vote No 10: Public Service Commission – put.
Declarations of vote:
Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP): Chairperson, while the IFP supports this Vote, I record the following concern: The IFP is firmly opposed to a single Public Service reiterated in the Budget Vote. Firstly, this will create a bloated, cumbersome and unmanageable Public Service open to more rampant corruption. More time will be absorbed in responding to bureaucratic challenges, instead of accelerated service delivery.
Secondly, this runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Constitution which entrenches three distinctive interdependent and autonomous spheres of government. In actual fact, the IFP sees the collapse of provincial and local government structures as a centrist ploy by the department to amass all power in Pretoria, instead of taking government closer to the people, which is the hallmark of democracy. I thank you.
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA (ANC): Chairperson, the Public Service Commission has been engaged in doing quite a good task, which the commission for public service and administration is acknowledging. Most of the reports that we articulate to had been compiled by this commission and, as a matter of fact, we all believe that this commission is really working very well.
I must indicate that noncompliance, even including corruption, had been exposed by the Public Service Commission. As a matter of fact, I am sure all of us on the committee do agree – those who attend, with the exception of IFP, because they do not come to the committee meetings.
Even with the opposition we have been working with constructively in terms of constructive criticism and by mapping a positive way forward. We've got a good spirit of working together, and we believe that we will definitely make an impact in moving forward. We would encourage the IFP to participate, and they will understand how we are moving forward. Thank you. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 11 - Statistics South Africa – put and agreed to.
Vote No 12 - Arts and Culture – put.
Declaration of vote:
Ms A LOTRIET (DA): Chairperson, the DA supports this budget as the budget allocations are in line with the stated objectives of the different programmes. However, concern has to be raised regarding the qualified audit reports it has received in the past, specifically the findings of the qualified Auditor-General's report of 2007-08, namely the underspending of more than R21 million on Programme 2: Arts and Culture in Society and Programme 6: National Archives, Records, Libraries and Heraldic Services; insufficient evidence to substantiate the amount of more than R49 million relating to subsistence and travel expenditure; a possible irregular expenditure to the amount of more than R54 million; and noncompliance with the applicable legislation.
Although the Minister has replied to these matters in the Budget debate, we have to realise that these matters are extremely serious and can impede implementation.
Concern was also raised regarding the qualified audit finding received by some of the arts and culture institutions such as the National Library of SA, the Northern Flagship Institution and the SA State Theatre.
The DA will monitor the progress and implementation of the budget closely by requesting quarterly feedback to the portfolio committee.
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 13 - Education – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr W G JAMES (DA): Chairperson, the DA objects to the Education budget on the grounds that when it comes to schooling, it does not provide adequate financial support for training, recruitment, in-service development, performance management, retention and salary, that is, the full value chain, for teachers in Grades 1 to 12.
It does not adequately provide for the professionalisation of Grade R teachers. The DA appreciates the fact that the Occupation Specific Dispensation agreement for teachers was signed in April 2008, and that the general promise is for good teachers to be better paid.
Good teachers affect eternity by nurturing aspiring minds. The budget goes far, but it does not go far enough, to support them in the task that should charm, strengthen, steer and not dull the imagination of the young.
We have no difficulty with the budget for Higher Education but we have a little quarrel with the funds set aside for the SA Qualifications Authority, SAQA, the Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training, known as Umalusi, and the Council on Higher Education.
Funding set aside for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is adequate, but our education authorities must find a solution to the underspending of those funds at university level.
We finally encourage the Ministry of Higher Education and Training to start negotiating with, rather than issuing instructions, to the provinces over the structure for teacher training colleges. Thank you.
Ms A MDA (COPE): Chairperson, COPE supports the budget but wishes to place on record the following concerns: given the fact that Education gets the much bigger slice of the National Budget, we would expect the Ministers concerned to apply themselves to such critical success factors as improved conditions, especially in rural areas, for teachers and learners, so that teachers can teach and learners can learn. Also, government needs to conduct intensive teacher training on the many changes brought upon them, including the National Curriculum Statement.
Regarding Higher Education and Training, a number of learners who enter the education system somehow get lost in the process and never come out. We, therefore, need a tracker system to follow learner progress, or lack thereof, so that we can all influence the outcomes we wish to see. Thank you.
Mr A M MPONTSHANE (IFP): Chairperson, there is no doubt that our education system, despite budgetary allocations, which is the budget we support, remains seriously dysfunctional at all levels. Firstly, I want to express the IFP's concern with the implementation of policy by provinces, and the monitoring thereof by the Department of Education. Take, for example, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, which awarded Indiza a multimillion rand tender to deliver text books to schools across the province, which were never delivered. Hence, quality of education suffered.
Then, look at the feeding scheme in the Eastern Cape which has collapsed completely, and as we debate now, thousands and thousands of children in schools in the Northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, covering the entire Umkhanyakude District, are not being fed because the feeding schemes there too have collapsed.
The IFP calls on the Minister of Education immediately to investigate these matters.
It is clearly due to a lack of proper monitoring by the Department of Education that such glaring dysfunctionality within the education system is allowed to continue.
The Department of Education has on numerous occasions admitted that our system remains the weakest at district level. Yet for two consecutive budgetary years there has been no allocation to strengthen and improve education at district level, where we need more subject advisors, more adequately qualified teachers and more teaching aids.
Lastly, schools cannot remain "black boxes" where nobody knows, including the hon Minister, what is going on inside there. Open up schools across the country urgently for routine inspections. We cannot allow unions to continue protecting their turf. I thank you.
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Thank you, Chairperson. Education significance in reducing poverty and accelerating long-term economic growth demands that it continues to utilise the largest portion of the national budget. The ACDP supports Higher Education and Training plans to expand education opportunities for matriculants through an expanded college sector focusing on more teacher training sites, agriculture, nursing and the training of artisans.
We also note the expressed intention of the department to expand the School Nutrition Programme to high schools, reduce class sizes and increase the access of five-year-old Grade R learners. The ACDP believes that it is going to be important that the portfolio committee monitors progress in these crucial aspects.
One of the major problems with education today is that teachers are not allowed to be teachers. They are inundated with administration, lesson plans for every lesson, marking, assessments and never-ending forms to fill in. Our children are assessed and assessed again but they are not being taught. This rigid control dilutes the unique teaching ability of individual teachers, and our children have become statistics and not learners.
The capping of school fees is a highly contentious issue and should not be entered into lightly. Often interventions that appear to be obvious solutions have severe and damaging unintended consequences. Significant numbers of children between the ages of seven and 15 have either never attended school or have dropped out for various reasons. Bringing these children into schools will necessitate targeted interventions to deal with varied circumstances.
The plight of our out-of-school children with disabilities is also a concern. The ACDP has serious concerns, particularly with OBE and curriculum deficiencies, and will not be supporting this budget. Thank you.
Mr N M KGANYAGO (UDM): Chairperson, the Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, Ministers and Deputy Ministers of the Republic of South Africa, Members of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, basic education concerns itself with those matters, which once learned, enable the learner to grasp all other matters whether trivial or complex. Concerns about the quality of education have been raised for many years. Today our schools are in trouble. Youth is in rebellion.
There can be no argument that the abiding issue in primary schools today is that of helping all children achieve adequate levels of literacy. Strangely, in a country showered with adequate resources, South Africans still find themselves with the highest levels of reading disabilities in the world, at least amongst those countries whose national goals include universal literacy.
Compounding the nationwide problem is the endemic and exceedingly high incidence of reading disability among our youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, aggravated by the absence of libraries and computer centres in their communities.
This reading problem is not new. Its existence and its apparent severity in our society have received widespread notice for many years, dating back to the apartheid era. Nonetheless, it is rapidly escalating in our schools and catching the attention of the media, which report that vast numbers of our primary school learners cannot read. These are the ones who get lost in big cities and fall prey to thugs who roam the streets, day and night.
Our highest priority as a nation must be placed upon solving the problem of illiteracy. Grave reading and writing deficiencies are considered to be major stumbling blocks in gaining access to a successful and happy life. Government must do more! [Time expired.]
Mr M L FRANSMAN (ANC): Hon Chairperson, I hereby rise to support the Education Vote. Listening to the DA's objection, we, as the ANC, say that we have recognised the problem of education as one of the central issues to be tackled over the next five years. In fact, we will have to tell the voters that the DA has objected to the R140 billion spent in this budget.
We will make sure that Early Childhood Development, ECD, is being expanded, the School Nutrition Programme is being expanded, the outreach to matriculants is being expanded and a critical focus on scarce skills is being dealt with.
In the Budget debate, we have also highlighted the reality that a meg-focus be given to training and skills revolution. Between the ages of 15 and 24, we have, as a committee, identified that at least 40% of young people is unemployed, therefore, our interventions through this budget.
Today we have visited the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, and we have asked them to work in close partnership not only with schools, but also with higher education institutions. Therefore, as the ANC, we support this budget, but together we will be able to do more over the next five to 10 years. [Applause.]
The House divided.
PLEASE TAKE IN RESULTS FROM MINUTES
Vote accordingly agreed to.
Vote No 14 - Health – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr M WATERS (DA): Chairperson, the Minister of Health has inherited the poisoned chalice from his predecessor, Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. The fact that we have 12 000 vacancies for doctors and 42 000 for nurses did not happen on its own. It took careful and deliberate action or nonaction, as the case may be.
Due to the underfunding of health care, health professional salaries were eroded by inflation, and working conditions became unbearable. As people left, they were not replaced. This created an ever-increasing vicious circle. This year's budget is certainly no different as the underfunding continues.
The failure to make adequate provision for doctors' Occupation Specific Dispensation, OSD, increases - despite agreeing to this some two years ago - is of great concern to the DA. In order to pay doctors, you would have had to allocate R2,5 billion in the budget. Sadly, only R1 billion has been provided - a 60% shortfall in this regard.
The underfunding of the ARV programme to the tune of R7 million or 70% of the budget is also a great concern. This means that people who should be receiving these life-savings drugs will not be doing so, resulting in many people facing certain death.
The department has, in the past seven years, only received one unqualified audit report. Given the seriousness of the underfunding I have outlined, the Minister may consider cancelling, as a gesture, his Budget Vote dinner tonight in the Marks Building. I don't see the Minister though in the House at the moment.
Minister, the DA appreciates the fact that you are new in your position. We will support you when we believe you are correct. We are sceptical of what you will be able to achieve, given that many of your top officials are a hangover from the days of denial, garlic and beetroot. [Laughter.]
The fact that the department could not even deliver the strategic plan on time is an indication of this failure and inability. Unless a new and fresh set ofideals is put in place at the top of the department, we believe very little will change. I hope, Minister – I hope his colleagues will pass this message on to him - that next year the DA can stand here, in all honesty, and vote for the budget. Sadly, this year we cannot. Thank you.
Mr D A KGANARE (COPE): Mr Chairperson, I have to state from the onset that I like the hon Minister and his Deputy. They are my comrades. [Laughter.] But Cope is convinced that the Health Budget Vote for the 2009-10 financial year does not address the following.
There is no programme to ensure that hospitals and clinics are managed by qualified, skilled, efficient and effective managers. The hon Minister should conduct a skills audit to ensure that these institutions are properly managed. But it is clear that he has no intention to do so. Consequently, we must expect to still have long queues in hospitals. We must still expect dirty clinics and hospitals which are not properly staffed and without medicine. We will still hear more talk of infrastructure improvement without any implementation. We will hear more talk of the launch of some operation which sounds like a military operation without any implementation plan.
The manner in which the Minister handled and continues to handle the OSD issue is indicative of forthcoming disasters. He is putting the lives of our people, especially the poor, at risk. The hon Minister knows that the rich can easily buy the health service. Instead of implementing the agreement, he is attempting to reopen negotiations. He tells the nation that the doctors are on strike when he has locked them out. This backpedalling means that the Minister cannot be trusted to abide by the agreements he enters into.
Last month, the hon Minister informed this House that he will release a National Health Insurance, NHI, document within a few days time. Since then, nothing has happened. We are still waiting for "some few days time" to pass. These are some of the reasons why Cope does not support this Health budget. [Applause.]
Ms H S MSWELI (IFP): Chairperson, the health care system of our country is in a dismal state. It does not promote the health of the millions of South Africans through an accessible caring and high quality health care system as it is meant to. The Department of Health has failed many South Africans who rely on it to provide them with quality health care. Drastic changes are needed if there is to be a real improvement on our health care system and an improved service to the many people who are reliant on it.
Once again, we, the IFP, do understand that the new Minister has inherited this system. We do hope that he makes strides in correcting it, but the IFP cannot support this Budget Vote. I thank you.
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Chair, provincial spending intended to facilitate the roll-out of the Prevention of the Mother-to-Child Transmission Programme, as well as expanding access to antiretrovirals for people living with HIV, will have to be closely monitored. Reports that government will be short of R1 billion for HIV and Aids drugs in this financial year raise serious concerns. We cannot afford a repeat of the shortages experienced in the Free State earlier this year. South Africa has one-fifth of the world's HIV-infected people. Yet, there has been no proper costing. So, we do not really know what we require to meet the need for treatment - this must be done.
Maternal, child and women's health and nutrition is another concern for the ACDP. Each year, according to statistics, 1 600 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth; 20 000 babies die before they are a month old; 75 000 children die before the age of five; and 20 000 children are stillborn. Shockingly, some have concluded that the easy way out of this dilemma is for women not to carry their babies to full term. In addition to statistics, hundreds of thousands more babies have been destroyed in their mothers wombs in line with government policy.
Efforts to strengthen emergency medical services in line with the 2010 Fifa World Cup commitments are noted and welcomed. However, appalling conditions in hospitals with a drastic shortage of beds and staff do not appear to be a major consideration in this budget. The ACDP would like to give the new administration and the new Minister the benefit of the doubt. However, due to our grave concerns, including about the funding of abortion on demand, we cannot support this Vote. Thank you.
Mr M H HOOSEN (ID): Chairperson, although the ID will be supporting this budget, we have to express the concern that this department has been chronically underfunded over the last 10 years. Unless we can address the budgetary allocations and increases thereof, we do not believe that we will address the fight against HIV/Aids, the poorly serviced public health sector and the ridiculously low salaries that some of our public health care doctors are receiving. I thank you.
Mr M B GOQWANA (ANC): Chairperson, I just want you to take note of my observation. I have never seen some of the members who were speaking here in the portfolio committee meetings. These members were supposed to be part of the Portfolio Committee on Health. Yet, they come here and tell us that they don't know this and that. Some of these things could have been answered in the portfolio committee. That's why they probably don't know anything about them.
The second statement we need to make is that, without sounding silly, I think we need a workshop about primary health care for some people so that they can understand what it means and, as such, will ask questions properly when we come to this meeting. [Applause.]
One of the reasons why more than 11 million people went to vote for the ANC was purely because of our promises - what we promised them we were going to do. There is no doubt about it that we are going to do what we promised we were going to do. One of the things we made promises on was the issue of inequities in this country that make the whole country unhealthy. We promised that we were going to correct these inequities. I have given an example that even those who can afford health services because they are rich, must remember that if somebody is not well, this is still going to affect them even if they are rich. That is why I gave the example that if my heart is normal, I cannot rejoice and think that it is healthy if my kidneys are not healthy. This is because if my kidneys are not healthy ... [Interjections.] I am not talking about mine but about those of all of us.
If your kidneys are not healthy, they are going to cause you to have high blood pressure. This high blood pressure is going to put a strain on your heart. When you get a strain on your heart, you are going to have cardiac failure or your heart might actually stop. So, don't think that because you are well-to-do now, you are not going to be affected by what's happening. [Interjections.] [Time expired.] [Applause.]
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
Vote accordingly agreed to.
Vote No 15 – Labour – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Chairperson, firstly, it is important that the Department of Labour should deal with labour brokers because we have a problem with them. Secondly, the department should look at the Setas because there is a lot of money being spent on them and they seem not to be doing the function they are supposed to be doing. I am referring to the Setas that belong to the department. The Minister must not point at somebody else. I am talking to the Minister directly through you, Chair.
Lastly, the department must deal with stakeholders, trade unions and other people who deal with the Department of Labour. It must ensure that they adhere to the financial management of the department and know what the department wants. Directors and everybody must adhere to the Public Finance Management Act so that this matter can be dealt with once and for all. Thank you very much.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Before I call on the next party, I just want to make corrections on the Vote we did on Health. We have 226 for the ayes and not 266. The noes still remain the same – 107; and there are no abstentions. That is the correction I wanted to make because the information that came from the Table had 266 for the ayes. So we have just corrected that now on the records.
Mr A M MPONTSHANE: Chair, on a point of order: Can I just address you on one issue? The hon member there referred to the hon Ndlovu as "wena weNdlovu". That is a serious address reserved for the King. It's a serious matter. It should not be used like that. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! Hon member, you are correct. We didn't hear that. However, if it was expressed and shouted, you are right in terms of the correct form of address. I think the members will take note thereof. Thank you very much.
Mr K B MANAMELA: Chairperson, I just want to check if we are using the same system of counting that was used during the Idols, because the votes seem not to be tallying and we later get proper results. [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! We will look into that and come back to you. I know you want to put us on the spot now.
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: We actually agree with the hon member. We are convinced that the noes had far more votes than just 107 and therefore we agree with his point! [Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Order! After the IFP has expressed its declaration of vote on Labour, is there any other party wishing to make any declaration of vote? I don't see any.
Ms L E YENGENI (ANC): Mr Chairperson, the ANC manifesto talks of the creation of decent jobs for all. We believe that the strategic objectives of this budget will assist and contribute to the creation of those decent jobs.
The manifesto also talks about the prohibition of labour brokers. We believe that this budget will not only look at abolishing labour brokers, but will also assist in defining the employer, the employee and the workplace with the intention of rescuing millions of workers who are exploited by unknown employers.
The ANC supports this budget. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 16 - Social Development – put.
Declarations of vote:
Ms N P GCUME (COPE): Chair, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, in the budget debate, Cope raised some concerns. We are happy that the hon Minister did respond to most of them. Cope supports the budget.
We appeal to the hon Minister to consider our concerns during the implementation of programmes. We have the following concerns, amongst other things: information dissemination; monitoring and evaluation; national development agencies; project funding to benefit more projects; and staffing. Having highlighted the concerns, we emphasise the following: no nepotism, fraud and corruption; and bursaries for the needy, poor and vulnerable.
The investigation unit should continue with their task. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Chair, the fact that this substantially increased budget is positioned to improve social assistance and welfare services is encouraging for the ACDP. We also welcome the allocation for social work bursaries.
The ACDP is relieved that the child support grant for 15-year-olds will take effect this year and extend to 18-year-olds. The present lack of child support for 15- to 18-year-olds has resulted in children, in significant numbers, resorting to prostitution, which they see as their only hope of survival. This is tragic. The ACDP appeals to the Minister to urgently deliver on these extended grants.
While the increased budget for welfare services to improve protection for vulnerable groups looks promising, there are serious problems in provinces where budget allocation is totally inadequate for the implementation of the Children's Act, especially in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Not even 50% of what is required has been allocated. This will cost us dearly in the long run as we are failing children in the most disturbing circumstances.
The steep decline in the number of people who have applied to adopt children and to offer themselves as foster parents is a growing concern, especially as child abandonment and neglect has increased. The ACDP appeals to the department to prioritise more effective efforts to encourage a culture of adoption.
The ACDP recognises the enormous challenges. We will, however, support this Vote. To invest in our future, we must invest in our children. Thank you.
Ms Y R BOTHA (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC is satisfied that resources provided will ensure that the Department of Social Development and its entities will perform their service delivery mandate. Social assistance grants are government's biggest poverty alleviation programme. It is actually worrying that the hon Gcume from COPE is commenting on fraud because she has disclosed to us in the committee that she is receiving a child support grant. Therefore, the ANC calls on her to cancel this grant if she is receiving it for her children or for children living with her since she is a public representative. If she is receiving it for children who are not living with her, that's fine. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones! The ANC supports Vote 16. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 17 - Sport and Recreation South Africa – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr T D LEE (DA): Chairperson, Boxing SA is in a state of meltdown and has been for some time. The portfolio committee agrees with me that Boxing SA, its board and its general administration are a disgrace and have been for years. To understand the extent of the problem I invite all members to visit Boxing SA's website. It consists of nothing more than a banner which reads, and I quote: "Suspended due to nonpayment".
The Department of Sport and Recreation is not a model of excellence either. It also received a qualified Auditor-General report this year. It is for the abovementioned reasons that the DA will oppose the department's Budget Vote, and to pre-empt the hon Koos van der Merwe, we will also call for a division. Chairperson, I thank you.
DA DECLARATION OF VOTE (Vote 17)
Mr B W DHLAMINI (IFP): Thank you, hon Chairperson. While the IFP supports the Budget Vote on Sport and Recreation South Africa, I want to take this opportunity to ask the Minister in the Presidency: National Planning Commission and the Minister of Finance, in their presence, to ensure that in their planning they put aside money for Sport and Recreation and to take it away from the Mineworkers Investment Company. This is because for the last two years, when it was part of that, we were able to build more than 200 basic facilities. When it was made part of the MIC, we could not even account for one facility. I therefore take this opportunity to make sure that they put more money into Sport and Recreation to ensure that Sport and Recreation builds the basic facilities on its own. Thank you very much.
Mr B M KOMPHELA (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC said that the 2010 investment must be well looked after. We are talking about the department that has been given that mandate and the department that is executing the mandate, without doubt, very well. I say this in the presence of Donald Lee. [Interjections.]
It is not the DA, but the ANC that has put forward very profound suggestions to the department on how to deal with the issues of Boxing SA. It is not the DA because the DA cannot think strategically and put forward suggestions to the Minister. [Interjections.]
We are talking about a department that Mr Lee knows has had many inputs and that there were some issues that the Auditor-General raised. Today he can confirm that there are only a few of those, because together, with him, we have worked so that these disclaimers by the Auditor-General don't come back. We are saying to the DA: Please, the ANC supports this budget; join this department for the spectacular 2010 so that you can celebrate and see that it has delivered. Thank you. [Applause.]
The House divided.
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES.]
Vote accordingly agreed to.
Vote No 18 – Correctional Services – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr J SELFE: (DA): Madam Chairperson, the Department of Correctional Services has had a poor record over the past couple of years. The department has failed to deal with corruption in its ranks. It allowed high-profile inmates such as Ananias Mathe and Jean-Claude Lacote to escape from custody. It has had a series of qualified audits.
This year it renewed a catering contract with Bosasa, despite the fact that it was not the lowest bidder and while the previous contract is still being investigated by the Special Investigating Unit. It has not built the new-generation prisons first announced in 2002, and it gave medical parole to Shabir Shaik, when it was clear he did not qualify for it, and then refused to review the decision.
We were prepared to give the Minister the benefit of the doubt, as most of these decisions and policy failures were those of her predecessor, but she said at a press conference, and I quote:
I am now Minister Ngconde. I own the decisions he has taken, and if it means taking responsibility for these matters, I will.
To make matters worse, her department took out a series of full-page, full-colour advertisements in the weekend papers at vast cost, completely unnecessarily, to publicise her budget speech. This was at the same time as the hon the Minister of Finance told governments departments to cut out wasteful expenditure and when we won't pay doctors a decent salary. For these reasons, we will not be supporting this Vote. [Applause.]
Ms B C BLAAI (COPE): Hon Speaker, Cope raised a number of issues that were of concern to us. We are happy that the Minister has responded to some of the issues and acknowledged the challenges raised by Cope.
We therefore would like to take this opportunity to express our support for the budget. We hope that the Minister will address the following: the lack of accountability by the department to the parliamentary portfolio committee; the noncompliance with rules and regulations relating to procurement procedures; the review of section 79 of the Correctional Services Act, Act 111 of 1998. The Minister will receive full support from COPE and we hope that the Minister will be able to turn the department around. Enkosi ka khulu. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Chairperson, the ACDP clearly understands that as there is an increased focus on fighting crime, with additional resources for police, detectives, prosecutors and courts, Correctional Services will be on the receiving end of this process as more offenders are arrested and prosecuted. Clearly, therefore, additional staff and resources must be given.
We have seen the result of underresourcing particularly when it comes to overcrowding. Prisons are 42% overcrowded. Overcrowding is the root cause of health problems and the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and Aids, besides contributing to gangster-related activities.
We, as the ACDP, are also very concerned about the high level of reoffending, estimated to be 94%. The department is clearly then not succeeding in its offender-rehabilitation programme. The ACDP was one of the first to recommend that prisoners be put to work to assist with rehabilitation by learning skills. This issue requires further attention.
Lastly, the ACDP supports a full review of the medical parole policy in view of the Shabir Shaik controversy. However, the ACDP will support this Budget Vote. Thank you.
Mr V G SMITH (ANC): Chairperson, we think it would be useful if political parties stood up here and told us what it is that they will do in the future, as opposed to highlighting the shortcomings of the past. [Interjections.]
The Auditor-General's report, as an example, has consistently improved over the years. Whilst there has been a disclaimer, there has been improvement and I think we should give credit where credit is due.
As the ANC, we have a responsibility to provide leadership to society and maybe others should also provide leadership. In that regard, this budget, we believe, assists in calling on communities and families to be more receptive to ex-offenders. [Interjections.]
We think that this budget assists in calling on business to afford more work opportunities to offenders. We think that this budget calls on all South Africans to stop the stigmatisation and marginalisation of those who have found themselves in conflict with the law. [Interjections.]
Maybe you should listen to us before you speak. You have no contributions to make in the committee; you have no contributions to make here other than to make jokes. This is a serious matter that we are dealing with here, and COPE has never been a serious party. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Our end objective as public representative, including COPE, must be to build a united, democratic, nonracial and prosperous nation. That must be our objective. It is within this context that the ANC supports Budget Vote No 18. Thank you. [Applause.]
Declarations of vote made on behalf of the Democratic Alliance, Congress of the People, African Christian Democratic Party and African National Congress.
Vote agreed to (Democratic Alliance dissenting).
Vote No 19 - Defence and Military Veterans, formerly Defence – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr D J MAYNIER (DA): Chairperson, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, made the welcome announcement during the Budget Vote debate last week that it was incumbent on all of us to work towards ensuring that we shift from an ideology of the past to a democratic ideology. That, we must all agree, is a step in the right direction. It is unfortunate that the Minister appears to have ignored her own advice and seems to be going in the wrong direction: from a democratic ideology to an ideology of the past.
Chairperson, the central question before us in deciding whether to support or oppose the Budget Vote was this: What effect will the R32 billion appropriated for Defence have on the combat readiness of the defence force? The short answer to that question is this: We don't know, because the Department of Defence and Military Veterans won't tell us or, perhaps more accurately, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans will tell us, but only on condition that we don't tell you.
We were told that the Department of Defence and Military Veterans would not provide a briefing on the state of combat readiness of the Defence Force, because the Minister had not been briefed. Then we were told that the Department of Defence and Military Veterans will not provide a full and open briefing, because it would compromise national security. Now it emerges that last year the media were briefed on the state of combat readiness of the SAAF and the SA Navy. Parliament cannot be briefed, but the press can be briefed.
Chairperson, we don't know all the details, but we know the Defence Force is in deep trouble. We have soldiers without vehicles; we have ships without sailors; we have planes without pilots; and we have military hospitals without doctors. The result is that we have soldiers in the barracks, not in the field; we have ships alongside, not at sea; and we have aircraft in hangars, not in the air. We have an army that is overstretched, a navy that is understretched, and an air force with nothing to stretch! [Laughter.]
What does this all mean, Chair? We are expected to support a R32 billion appropriation, but we are not allowed to know to what effect that money is spent, and we will not do so. [Time expired.]
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Chairperson, we, as the ACDP, share concerns relating to the lack of information on the combat readiness. However, we do want to point out that the department's budget has been significantly increased since last year. In the past, we always expressed our concerns about lack of resources, and we do support the fact that the budget has been significantly increased. Financial constraints remain, however, as the department seeks to fulfil its statutory obligations, particularly regarding peacekeeping functions.
We also support the Minister's announcement that the SANDF will be deployed to patrol our borders. It was clearly a mistake to give SAPS this task; their task is to fight crime, not secure our border. We also wish to pay tribute to all our men and women in uniform who are serving in peacekeeping operations on the continent. The ACDP will support the Budget Vote, notwithstanding the reservations we expressed. Thank you.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD (VF Plus): Voorsitter, ek het reeds in my toespraak gesê dat hierdie Parlement moet besluit: wil ons 'n weermag hê of wil ons nie 'n weermag hê nie?
Ek wil vandag vir u sê dat vir die afgelope drie jaar, as ons 'n voorlegging kry oor die gevegsgereedheid van die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag, sien ons dat daar ernstige probleme is, en die grootste oorsaak van daardie probleem is die gebrek aan fondse. Die VF Plus sal hierdie Begrotingspos vandag ondersteun, want ons het juis te min geld.
Voorsitter, in hierdie Parlement het al die politieke partye saamgestem dat ons die nuwe wapens aankoop. Meer as R40 miljard van die belastingbetaler is aangewend vir gesofistikeerde wapentuig. Ek dink die Parlement is dit verskuldig aan die belastingbetalers dat ons daardie wapentuig behoorlik aanwend. Ons het tans nie eens genoeg fondse om ons vlieëniers genoeg te laat vlieg nie. Dis hoekom hulle weggaan. Ons het nie eens behoorlike fondse om ons ander duikbote operasioneel te kry nie. Daar is basies nie een wat eens volledig operasioneel is nie.
Ons moet ook wegdoen met regstellende aksie. Ons moet ons beste mense vir die poste kry. Die Minister het uitdagings. Ek weet sy is bevoeg om dit te kan hanteer, maar ons sê gee vir die Weermag geld, want as ons sê ons wil hulle behou, moet ons hulle finansier. Dankie.
Mnu V B NDLOVU (IFP): Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, cha, ngifuna ukuveza izinto ezimbili ezimqoka.
Eyokuqala,izibhedlela lapho ekufuneka amasosha alashwe khona azizinhle neze. Okwesibili, izimoto abazisebenzisayo azivumelani nempilo yazo ukuthi zikwazi ukuqhubeka ngakho-ke izimpahla nezinto abazisebenzisayo njengamasosha alapha eNingizimu Afrika akufunakali zibukelwe phansi. Ngakho–ke kufuneka ngaso sonke isikhathi bahlonishwe emsebenzini abawenzayo.
Okokugcina, yilaba abafakwe emazweni angaphandle. Kufuneka ngaso sonke isikhathi sibabhekelele ezimalini abazikhokhelwayo nangedlela abaphila ngayo ngaphandle ngoba impilo yangaphandle ayifani neyasekhaya. Ngiyathokoza kakhulu.
Mr M S BOOI (ANC): Madam Chair, I think it is important that we continue to understand what it means to vote and come back and say that we have won the majority of the vote. If you don't understand democratic practices, it does show in the manner that you have interpreted what the Minister presented to you last week.
The Minister has been quite vocal and has allowed us and, as Parliament, we have allowed you to express your own point of view and have given you the opportunity to pinpoint where the weaknesses are. In general, all intellectuals will tell you that democracy is not a superb system, but there is a difficulty for you to understand that when she allows you to engage and get information.
You have today been part of a committee where I gave all Members of Parliament the opportunity to reflect on the matter, and the majority of our own members have voted against you and have clearly expressed to you that they can't allow the national security of the country to be compromised. [Interjections.] That is quite clear; that is the majority of members that have voted for the ANC. Now, what do you expect us to do? Do you expect us to subvert democracy and allow you, on your individual point, to be the only one to be allowed to express his point of view, and then we accept it?
The majority has said in the committee that unless you accept the fact that there is secrecy in the military, and if you understand what it means to have secrecy in the military, you will definitely be able to agree. Luckily, you are a veteran. You do come from one of the submarines. You understand the state of things and that there is secrecy in the military, and I thought I have told you in the portfolio committee that it doesn't say that the Minister is going back. It says that democracy has been practised.
We have given you an opportunity to express your own point of views, but the majority of our own members in the committee don't agree with you, because they are also concerned about the security of the country, not with your individual right. They have never undermined or compromised you; they have given you your constitutional right. [Interjections.] [Applause.]
Vote agreed to (Democratic Alliance dissenting).
VOTE 20 - Independent Complaints Directorate – put.
Declarations of vote:
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA): Chairperson, the ICD was established to investigate complaints of brutality, criminality, and misconduct against members of SAPS. Now SAPS has a very poor track record on anticorruption initiatives, managed from within. In addition, SAPS closed down the successful anticorruption unit in 2002, on the grounds of lack of accountability and transformation. Now this closure created a void that the ICD has not been able to fill due to deliberately maintained resource and staffing constraints.
Now that the ANC has shut down the Scorpions, the only unit left that could investigate police corruption would be the ICD. The provincial heads of the ICD have stated that every one of them is currently investigating reports of torture by members of SAPS as well deaths at the hands of the police and figures have shown a significant increase in these deaths for the second year in arrow.
Yet, when the ICD investigates, 42% of its recommendations are not acted upon by SAPS. In fact, SAPS has no legislative compulsion to act on ICD recommendations at all. According to a briefing by the ICD the number of complaints received against SAPS has increased to 6 119. Deaths in police custody, or as a result of police action, have also increased up to 912 in the last year. For the last three years prior to August 2008, R90 million has been spent on the salaries of suspended SAPS members. This, in turn, has implications for the public credibility of SAPS which should, at all times, be beyond reproach, and says much about the attitude of SAPS towards corruption and maladministration.
This House has a moral obligation to strengthen the ICD which has since its inception been deliberately kept underresourced. The Minister claimed on television recently that he was strengthening the unit, but the truth is that R3 million was then summarily subtracted from their already inadequate budget. They are told to expand but they have no money to do that. We have two separate Votes but nothing for the ICD. What is being done to this unit is a disgrace and we will not vote for this totally inadequate budget.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD (VF Plus): Agb Voorsitter, dit is eintlik ontstellend as 'n mens vandag in die media moet lees van hoeveel lede van die publiek verkeerdelik gehanteer word deur lede van die polisiediens. Die enigste plek werklik waarna die publiek kan gaan is die Onafhanklike Klagte Direktoraat, OKD, om 'n klag te gaan lê teen lede van die polisie.
Wat verder ontstellend is is dat as ons gaan kyk na die statistiek die afgelope vier jaar dan is daar 'n 72% toename van kriminele klagtes teen lede van die polisie. Dit behoort al die rooi ligte te laat aankom.
Die derde mees ontstellende aspek is dat die OKD reguit sê dat hulle nie die mannekrag of finansies het om hierdie sake behoorlik te ondersoek nie. As ons gaan kyk na die sake dan sien ons hulle ondersoek maar ongeveer 50% of 51%. Daar is elke keer 'n klomp sake van die vorige jaar wat oorgedra word; hulle kan net nie die stryd wen nie.
Die VF Plus sal hierdie begroting ondersteun vir die OKD, want hulle het die geld nodig, maar ons wil 'n beroep doen dat daar indringend gekyk word dat daar meer geld gegee word sodat die publiek ook 'n beter instrument het waar hulle hul klagtes teen polisielede kan gaan lê. Dankie.
Mnu V B NDLOVU (IFP):
Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, okokuqala ngifuna ukuthi kumhlonishwa, kusemqoka ukuthi sibheke umthetho ophethe i-ICD. I-ICD iwenza wonke umsebenzi wayo ...
... which is the core function ...
... yokuphenya amaphoyisa, ukuthi abantu bafa kanjani ezitokisini nalapho la bebheke khona. Kodwa okubi okusuke kwenzeke ukuthi bawenza wonke umsebenzi emva kwalokho bese benza i-referal kwelinye iphoyisa elisesikhundleni esithe xaxa kunalelo ekade liphenya. Bese kuthi ekugcineni lowo owenze kabi engabe esashushiswa. Yinto embi leyo ngoba izigebengu zibaleka nejoka zibe zingafanele ukubaleka nalo. Okwesibili ... [Kwaphela isikhathi.] Awu! [Uhleko.]
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN (ANC): Chairperson, the ANC has committed itself to intensifying the fight against crime and corruption. This applies equally to any member of the SAPS or municipal police service, who engages in any act of crime, corruption, or any other act which is contrary to the required police or municipal police behaviour or conduct.
As the ANC, we believe that the role of the ICD forms an integral part in the intensification of the fight against crime and corruption. While as the ANC we belive that this budget will assist in this, there are two particular areas which we would like to raise.
The first is that the required number of personnel need to be appointed which will enable the ICD to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Secondly, legislative amendments need to be considered which will ensure that the recommendations of the ICD are implemented by the South African police.
The ANC wil work with the Minister and support the Minister in the steps he takes to ensure that the ICD is provided with the necessary tools to carry out its mandate.
The DA has indicated that it will not support this budget vote. I think that the message that the DA is sending out very loudly and clearly to the citizens of South Africa, is that they actually don't care whether we have a police force where corruption and crime are rooted out. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Order, please!
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN (ANC): That is the message they are sending out. It is the message they send out time and time again. It is for this very reason...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M N Oliphant): Hon member, your time has expired.
Mr G D SCHNEEMANN (ANC): The ANC will support the Budget Vote. [Applause.]
The House divided.
PLEASE TAKE IN FROM MINUTES
Vote accordingly agreed to.
Vote No 21 – Justice and Constitutional Development - put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Chairperson, the ACDP welcomes the amount of R3 billion allocated for the restructuring of the criminal justice services over the medium term. These funds provide for, inter alia, the expanding of the criminal DNA database, accelerating the roll-out of national fingerprint and case management systems and upgrading IT systems.
We are just awaiting the consideration of the Forensics Bill, and we are pleased that that Bill will be revived later this afternoon. To ensure justice for vulnerable groups such as women and children is crucial. This can be done by implementing the Child Justice Act 75 of 2008, improving services such as maintenance, the Guardian's Fund and provision of the Domestic Violence Act and Sexual Offences Act, as well as providing assistance for victims of crime.
We must also ensure the reduction in the number of sexual offences, particularly those committed against our children. The ACDP, therefore, welcomes the establishment of the National Register for Sex Offenders that comes into effect this month.
As far as the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, is concerned, we noted yesterday's announcement regarding the Hawks that will replace the Scorpions. Whilst the ACDP opposes the disbanding of the Scorpions, we are pleased that the majority of the Scorpions investigators accepted positions in the new directorate thus retaining much needed skills.
Whilst we wish the new unit every success in its fight against organised crime, it will lack the ingredient that led to the successful conviction rate of the Scorpions, namely prosecution-driven investigations. Nevertheless, the ACDP will support this Budget Vote. I thank you.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Chairperson, the IFP supports this Budget Vote but has many concerns. Today I will raise only two. Firstly, the hon former Deputy Minister of Justice had the courage, some months ago, to admit that the criminal justice system is dysfunctional. We are concerned that not enough is being done to repair the criminal justice system.
Secondly, we are, in particular, concerned about the image of the High Courts. We have a Judge President who is in litigation with the judges of the Constitutional Court. That is very very damaging to the image of the justice system in South Africa.
I have read in the newspaper this weekend - I do not know if it is true, but it is being speculated - that a particular Judge President has indicated that he will take R20 million and leave. I don't know if is true, but I think that the President of the country and the Minister should intervene to stop that problem. It is very damaging to the image of South Africa.
Finally, the hon Mr Surty was the Minister of Justice for a few months and he was very energetic and passionate, so much so that we gave him nickname "Kookwater", meaning boiling water. We wish him well in his new position and thank him for what he has done in a few months. Thank you.
Mr N A RAMATLHODI (ANC): Chairperson, the Freedom Charter proclaims that all shall be equal before the law. The ANC, therefore, supports this budget, pursuant to that clarion call as adopted by our forefathers in 1955. I want to emphasise that all of us working together, in particular those within the judiciary, should ensure that transformation, indeed, does take place so that all can be equal before the law.
We are particularly worried about gender-based decisions that allow criminals and rapists to be released back into society in order to perpetrate further crimes against women and children. There have been several decisions in recent days within our courts, which are cause for serious concern.
I am sure we would all agree that we need to pray for those who make decisions that allow rapists to continue to repeat their acts against victims. I'm sure we would also agree that we need to, again, working together, reclaim victims' rights so that those who have been abused and violated in our societies are given the necessary support. The ANC supports this budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 22 – Police, formerly Safety and Security - put.
Declarations of vote:
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD (DA): Chairperson, supported in this budget is a Ministry that produces crime statistics that are at best 18 months old and at worst fabricated. We do not know how many people are murdered each day, robbed each day and raped each day.
Despite this budget, civilians spend R40 billion a year on private security. Despite this budget, there were over 6 000 complaints against members of SAPS this past year. Out of this budget, a good portion of R90 million has been spent on suspended SAPS members and R2 million for Jackie Selebi.
There are police stations that are in a pitiful state of disrepair, and we know there are SAPS members with virtually no equipment at all. Poor training, poor equipment provision, poor police stations and the enormously expensive and totally discredited 10111 call centres are also provided for by this R46 billion budget. An amount of R6 million has been spent in Gauteng alone, and the Auditor-General says 79% of the calls are abandoned. It pays for a damning R7,5 million and 400-page report that revealed the truth about the dysfunctionality of the police's legal services division. This is the same division that wracked up R46 million in legal fees - twice the amount paid out in settlements.
The firearm legislation is an extremely expensive failure. The Police Ministry faces a Constitutional Court challenge while its own members lost 2 500 weapons last year. Despite this budget, there is only an 11% chance of conviction if a criminal murders someone. The forensic science laboratory has backlogs running into tens of thousands of samples.
We have SAPS members unable to write dockets correctly, 5 200 SAPS members without drivers licences and over 2 500 lost dockets. An extraordinary amount of the budget money was also paid out to civilians who were abused by the police. Our land borders are undercapacitated by 71%, and this budget cuts the border budget by 3,23%.
Finally comes the news that the second largest increase goes to protection services for the so-called VIPs. Under no circumstances will the DA support this budget.
Mr M E GEORGE (COPE): Madam Chairperson, Acting President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and members of Parliament, Cope raised the issue of the underfunding of the detective section and Crime Intelligence, and the state of the forensic science laboratory which is on the verge of chaos at the moment.
We must say that we are happy with the commitment made by the Minister during the debate. But Cope calls on the Minister to address these issues urgently. If we are to bring down the levels of crime in this country, Cope will then support the budget. I thank you.
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Chairperson, firstly, the victim facilities within police stations are not equipped to look after rape victims and women who come to report cases at police stations. Secondly, we are saying that the police have been shot at and they have also been shooting. Therefore, they have to look at section 49 of the criminal justice system. We are glad that the Minister has talked about it to ensure that the police are protected.
Lastly, it must be ensured that there is equipment in the police service so that they can do their job properly and functionally. The national commissioner must be appointed as soon as possible. Thank you.
Rev K R J MESHOE (ACDP): We in the ACDP had planned to support Budget Vote No 22 until we heard about the shocking reports of police corruption and the manipulation of statistics to make it look as if they were winning the war on crime. Of even greater concern are reports that about 50 rape cases at four police stations in the Western Cape were never investigated. This is very serious and should not be condoned by all those who are opposed to sexual violence and the abuse of women and children.
In Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the ICD - we are told - is investigating six police stations that, among other things, are accused of purposefully failing to fill in docketscorrectly and reducing serious crimes to lesser charges. This is corruption of the worst order. We expect the Minister to leave no stone unturned until all those who are perpetuating these heinous crimes are flushed from the system.
The ACDP will not be supporting this Vote until such shocking corruption in SAPS is eradicated. We need integrity in the police department so that they can win the trust and confidence of members of the public. Thank you.
Mr P J GROENEWALD (FF Plus): Chairperson, in the budgetspeech last year, I said that the biggest threat to the security of a country is when the Minister of Police is in a state of denial about this matter of crime. I must say to the hon Minister that his predecessor actually even told me that I must stop complaining about crime or I must leave the country. It is quite interesting - I told him that I would not leave the country - I am still in Parliament, but I don't see him in Parliament anymore. So, maybe there is a lesson to be learned from this. [Laughter.]
I must say that the present Minister is making the right noises and sounds as far as crime is concerned.
Ek wil sê dat dit is wat die mense wil hoor. Ons in die VF Plus wil vir die Agb Minister sê dat ons hom sal ondersteun in hierdie begrotingsdebat en hierdie begroting. Ons gaan kyk of hy dìt wat hy sê hy gaan doen, in die praktyk deurvoer. Dit was 'n fout om byvoorbeeld die Skerpioene te vervang met die Valke. Dit was 'n politieke besluit. Ek wil vandag vir u sê: As u sukses wil behaal, moet u nie politieke besluite neem nie, u moet meriete besluite neem. Dan gaan daar vordering wees om misdaad behoorlik in Suid-Afrika te bekamp. Dan sal u sukses hê en dan sal die lewe in Suid-Afrika vir almal beter word. Ek dank u.
Ms A DLODLO (ANC): Chairperson, Acting President, as the ANC, we support this Budget Vote. We believe that it talks to the priority issues as raised by the Department of Police'sstrategic plan, the 2009 ANC Manifesto and the President's state of the nation address. The fight against crime remains a key priority, hence the department receives the highest percentage budget increase within the Justice Crime Prevention and Security, JCPS, cluster. This clearly indicates the commitment of the ANC to fighting and combating crime.
The budget promotes the following: community participation in the fight against crime; the use of technological measures such asDNA collection at crime scenes; the revamping of the criminal justice system; capacitating the newly established Directorate for Priority Crime and Investigation units, whose focus is on combating organised crime and corruption; the strengthening of Crime Intelligence, whose budget is increased and indicates the proactive and preventative approach that the department is embarking on; and the strengthening of measures to fight crime against children and women. Above all, the department continues to receive a clean audit opinion, which is appreciated. The department is committed to improving matters raised by the Auditor-General.
Some amongst us here were socialised over a long period of time just to criticise the ANC, and we respect that. We, as the ANC, will focus on bringing a better life to all the people of South Africa. Together we will work towards achieving a crime-free South Africa. Once more, the ANC supports this Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
The house divided.
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES.]
Vote accordingly agreed to.
Vote No 23 - Agriculture - put
Declarations of vote:
Mr L L BOSMAN (DA): Madam Chair, hon members of the House, the DA will support this vote, but we would like to note the following issues. On the reshuffling of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, I would like to point out that the previous Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs was divided into two separate departments, and, with the addition of Forestry and Fisheries to the Department of Agriculture, a whole new dispensation was created with no clear indication of how resources and personnel would be allocated.
Noting that, the new Minister's attitude to taking charge of the challenges with regard to securing food self-sufficiency and rural development, needs time before it can be judged.
The DA believes that the department needs to develop and facilitate the implementation of appropriate policies and targeted programmes, aimed at promoting equitable access to the agricultural sector and to promote shared growth and commercial viability of emerging farmers.
Furthermore, government must have a clear regulatory framework based on the free market system to regulate and announce investment in the sector. We also note that the performance and delivery of the previous Minister was poor, and, if we had to judge her department's performance the DA would have seriously considered opposing the vote.
As a result of the previous Minister's confrontational stance to commercial agriculture, we have seen a huge disinvestment and decline in employment, as well as an exodus of producers from this important sector. The DA seriously urges government to improve its appraisal of the sector, giving attention to a more balanced focus on economic viability of the sector versus implementing its transformation strategy. Sufficient resources need to be allocated to this important sector to achieve its objectives, to improve food production, job creation and rural development. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Chair, agriculture plays a central role in rural development and, with increasing numbers of people benefitting from land redistribution, support initiatives are critical. Targets in supporting emerging farmers proved unrealistic in 2008-09, as just under half of the 80 000 targeted were actually supported. Despite the encouraging things you have said, hon Minister, with a 10% drop in the budget, allocations for post-settlement support will need more than ever to be used effectively and efficiently.
The drastically increased budget for consultancies and professional services raises some concerns. However, the ACDP acknowledges that farmers are going to need professional assistance to ensure sustainability.
With the present economic downturn the ACDP is particularly concerned that agricultural starter packs for household vegetable gardens are not cut back as rising food prices threaten food security.
Job creation - another national priority - underlines the importance of not undervaluing the role of agriculture in our economy. The number of jobs per unit of investment is higher in agriculture than in any other sector, and supports 8,5 million people.
Despite promises made in the Maputo Declaration in 2003, to increase the allocation of the national budget for agriculture to 10% within five years, agriculture comprises less than 1% of our national budget. Globally, there is a lack of disaster preparedness and experts say that South Africa is no more prepared than other nations.
The ACDP will support this budget, although it does appear inadequate to meet the huge demands on the Department of Agriculture. I thank you.
Mr M JOHNSON (ANC): Chairperson, on the first point, what has become very clear in talking to this budget is that the mid-term budget review will certainly address some of the concerns raised by the hon member, Mr Basson.
On the second point, he talks about a country that must allow a free-market economy, as if it has worked anywhere. South Africa continues to be that mixed economy.
At the Congress of the People in 1955 ... [Interjections.] ... the people declared that the land shall be shared by those who work it. That was at the Congress of the People.
In pursuance of this objective as adopted by the department, the ANC reiterates its support for this Budget Vote, for we believe that such a budget must be about food for all, and the doubling of the agricultural sector's 10% share of formal employment.
As a result, the ANC and its alliance partners will continue its campaign against the escalation of food prices, and shall hold those responsible for conniving, accountable. The comprehensive agricultural support programmes must be enhanced to deliver food and jobs as a result.
Finally, South Africa must deliver on its commitment in the Maputo Declaration of contributing 10% of its GDP towards research and development in agriculture. For those wishing to divide us, please be assured that we are united. I thank you. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 24 – Communications – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr N J VAN DEN BERG (DA): Chairperson, as I said in my first speech in Parliament, Budget Vote No 24 is a comedy of errors. The Department of Communication is wasting money. Nearly R100 million is wasted on policy development. They change the policies about six times a week. The department is supposed to give direction in the communication world and to the government on how to communicate with the people of South Africa. It cannot fulfil that basic requirement. It is also wasting nearly R100 million on consultants and cannot even manage to assist the beleaguered SABC.
In the internal audit committee there were problems with the internal audit plan. In 2005, the internal audit committee was described as ineffective by the Auditor-General. The internal audit report for 2008-09 will only be available towards the end of 2009, which raises questions about the effectiveness of this internal audit committee.
A further alarming factor is the possible delay in the switching from analogue over to Digital Terrestrial Television, DTT. The digital switch time frame is from November last year until November 2011. Now Icasa has already indicated that it would engage with the communication Minister with the view to extending this time frame. If the department allows this it would be putting a heavy financial burden on the TV stations because they will be forced to broadcast for a longer period in analogue and DTT.
This migration to DTT is extremely expensive for the broadcaster, but their revenues stay the same. When the SABC has nearly R900 million debt, what is the DoC going to do? Where will the money come from? Will the taxpayer once again be expected to foot the bill? Under these circumstances, the DA will find it impossible to support the Department of Communication's Budget Vote 24. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms J D KILIAN (COPE): Hon Speaker, COPE supports Vote 24 but is concerned that a number of serious deficiencies in the administration of the department were exposed during the budget process. Not least being that key positions were not and will still not in this financial year be filled. Some of these departmental shortcomings reflected in critical financial management deficiencies, also in key, state-owned entities that report to the department resulting in the squandering of public money.
Deficit budgets were tabled by the SABC and the Society and Network for Technology in Education through Collaboration, Santec; and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, Icasa, announced over the past weekend that they would not meet the deadline for digital migration.
The financial constraints mentioned by these entities will severely inhibit their ability to fulfil their mandate effectively unless the finance Minister bails them out.
COPE believes that the department has unfortunately allowed the ANC in the portfolio committee to dictate to the department how they should execute their legislative obligations. The management in the department and in the state-owned entities have fallen prey to the political infighting in the ruling alliance, which unfortunately had a negative impact on the public broadcaster and Icasa.
The time has come for the Minister to ensure that the serious financial irregularities and deficiencies at the SABC are properly investigated and that those found guilty are appropriately punished. Similarly, the Minister should assist Icasa to restore public trust in the board after their unacceptable political fling with Cosatu in an attempt to derail the Vodacom listing. COPE will insist on the implementation of the PFMA to keep management of the department and of state-owned entities accountable to Parliament. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr K M ZONDI (IFP): Speaker, the IFP will support this Vote, but would like to raise two issues which are of concern to us. Firstly, we want to raise our concern with regard to the relationship that this department has had with the SABC, and especially with the dissolved board. It emerged during the enquiry, which the portfolio committee held into the affairs of the SABC Board, that the relationship between the board and the corporation was somewhat strained and less than normal.
The board complained that it received less than full support from the department, which is the sole shareholder of the SABC. On the other hand, the department complained that the previous board failed to conform to their directives. We urge the department to correct this situation so that the interim board and the new permanent board will be able to operate with the maximum support possible from the department.
The second issue relates to what appears to have been the urban bias and focus of the department in the past. Our major gripe has to do with the failure to actively see to it that information and communication technology services are extended equitably to reach all citizens of this country, especially those who live in rural areas of our land. The people of the rural areas also deserve first class ICT services.
It is for this reason that we welcomed the Minister's undertaking during the Budget Vote to steer the department towards correcting this situation and we want say to the hon Minister that he has our full support in the endeavour to make the rural citizens of this country also first class citizens. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Hon Speaker, the ACDP believes that the regulatory debacle of the listing of Vodacom was stupid, to say the least. Whilst we accept the apologies of Chairman Mashile, Icasa conducted itself in an appalling manner totally unbecoming an independent regulator. Apologies and contrition are clearly not enough.
Had the urgent application to stop the R88 billion listing succeeded, it would have done incalculable damage to South Africa as a destination for investors. The repatriation of the R20,6 billion invested would also have had dire consequences for our volatile currency.
The ACDP encourages the portfolio committee to continue its investigation into who succumbed to political pressure at Icasa. Those responsible must be held accountable at the very least for the estimated R5 million fruitless and wasteful expenditures on legal costs. The ACDP will, however, support this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S E KHOLWANE (ANC): Hon Speaker, the ANC's commitment to freedom is well-known and entrenched. Our commitment to freedom of expression in society, including the media, is located within the context of the Constitution of the Republic. These rights need to be weighed against other constitutional rights, such as the right to human dignity and privacy.
We believe that communication plays a major role in deepening our democracy, promoting a culture of human rights and as a key pillar in the transformation of our country, the public broadcaster included.
Progress has been made in transforming the media and challenging the legacy of apartheid in the media discourse. But a lot still has to be done. However, we must continue to emphasise that in this industry, transformation is still lacking.
We acknowledge and support the efforts between the Department of Communication and the National Treasury on the ongoing discussion to recapitalise the SABC and also to fund Santec in terms of the digital migration. We further support the continuous engagement to make sure that the broadband wireless network, which is supposed to be rolled out in the countryside of the country, is being supported.
However, I thought that in the spirit of communication and so on, maybe COPE would share with us why their second Deputy President has resigned. But we however believe that this budget will go a long way in mitigating for these noble inputs. Thank you. [Applause.]
The House divided.
PLEASE TAKE IN FROM MINUTES
Vote accordingly agreed to.
VOTE 25 - Environmental Affairs and Tourism – put and agreed to.
VOTE 26 – Human Settlements, formerly Housing – put.
Declarations of vote:
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Due to rapid urbanisation and migration from rural areas, housing poses a great challenge, and while the ACDP recognises the significant number of subsidised houses that have been provided, government's initial drive to build a million houses in five years has tragically resulted in substandard workmanship and poor planning.
Waiting lists for people still to be housed are also a major concern and the ACDP is concerned that this budget does not appear to make provision for reviewing and establishing a comprehensive and transparent database, without which those who have waited many years are at risk of being overlooked.
The ACDP has championed rural development to redress the problems of migration to the cities, so we are interested in the recapitalisation of the rural housing loan fund. Communication with prospective residents will be vital for settlement success. From the Joe Slovo challenges of the Western Cape to agrivillages for farm workers, only through interaction can planners hope to accommodate the actual needs and concerns of people affected.
We applaud work taking place to improve living standards and conditions for impoverished suburban and rural communities. Hon Minister, has an allocation been made for the upgrading and restoration also of the inner city buildings? I'm thinking of examples such as the old warehouse that was turned into makeshift housing on Saratoga Avenue in a key 2010 focus area. Many buildings like this one are homes to hundreds of families. Like their suburban counterparts, they are also faced with erratic services that can lead to health and safety hazards.
The ACDP hopes that the new focus on human settlements will facilitate better responses to the many challenges. We will support this Budget Vote. Thank you.
Nksz B N DAMBUZA (ANC): UKhongolose uyaluxhasa uHlalho-Lwabiwo mali ngezandla ezingenamkhinkqi.
We strongly believe that the budget promotes comprehensive and sustainable human settlements as per the Breaking New Ground strategy requirements that have been adopted by this House, as well as the ANC manifesto and the conference resolutions.
There is no doubt that the budget is expansionary. A significant increase has been observed and the increase continues to support the ANC's objectives and priorities in an effort to improve the lives of the people of this country.
The ANC is committed to the acceleration of the housing delivery strategy, and that includes the restoration of human dignity of our people on which a strong emphasis has been illustrated in the MTEF. [Interjections.]
We are convinced that the resources allocated to Vote 26 will enable the delivery of houses as expected in line with the Constitution and the Freedom Charter. Issues of quality and corruption have been with us extensively in the committee. We are proud to indicate that progress has been made and the effort to root out corruption in housing is commendable.
However, the committee expresses its commitment to playing its vital role and monitoring the adherence to the policy and legislation. We are very confident about the issue of hostels, because the Minister has committed himself to look at the Community Residential Units, CRU, programme and if need be it will be reviewed. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr B W DHLAMINI (IFP): I am standing to thank the Minister for his response and his passion in dealing with one of the legacies of apartheid, the creation of single sex hostels, which were created by one of the ugliest laws - influx control.
I want to thank you, Minister, for your intervention and the department officials have been in touch with us, and we are very happy that you have taken this matter seriously. Thank you.
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 27 - Rural Development and Land Reform, formerly Land
Affairs – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr M M SWATHE (DA): Thank you very much, Speaker. The DA does not support the small and insufficient budget allocated to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. The DA views this department is a crucial vehicle to bring development to the rural areas. Millions of people in the rural areas have been neglected for many years. They do not have the infrastructure to provide basic services such as running water, electricity, roads or sanitation.
In Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, rural communities were attacked by the water-borne cholera disease because of drinking dirty water from rivers and streams. The President put rural development and land reform on a high priority list of development.
Millions of poor people from rural areas expect parliamentarians and public representatives to change the bad situation to better their lives. They believe their lives will be improved as promised by the President in his state of the nation address. Incapacity, shortage of staff and lack of financial support will hinder rural development and land reform.
About 4 891 rural claims under land restitution are still outstanding. To achieve the target of 30% by 2014, 20,5 million hectares of land still need to be redistributed. Lack of post-settlement support poses as serious threat to land reform programmes.
We cannot raise high expectations in rural communities and fail to implement development programmes due to inadequate funding. This budget will reduce this Ministry to a spectator, while poor and unemployed people suffer. The DA therefore opposes Budget Vote 27 due to an insufficient budget. Thank you. [Applause.]
Prof C T MSIMANG (IFP): Thank you, Mr Speaker. The IFP supports this Budget Vote, in particular its prioritisation of rural development. However, the following concern is recorded: The IFP completely rejects individual land ownership in rural areas. It demands clarity on the modus operandi of this process. If freehold titles are granted freely, then even the poor will be accommodated, but there will be more applicants than there are sites to go around and the land scramble will degenerate into chaos.
On the other hand, if properties are sold, the poor will remain landless while land titles go to the rich. I am told that even here in Cape Town the prime land is owned by overseas investors. Even the argument that freehold titles would enable black entrepreneurs to raise business loans, pales in significance when we consider that failure to repay those loans will result in further land dispossession, leaving blacks without any recourse since all land will then be owned by the banks.
Usually, when people's properties are repossessed in urban areas, they return to the communally-owned land where they are given sites by AmaKhosi. This is why AmaKhosi and their subjects fought bitter and sanguinary wars against the colonies. They were trying to prevent what is being planned by the government. They were trying to preserve some land for posterity. Thank you.
Ms C DUDLEY (ACDP): Thank you, Speaker. The ACDP supports government's determination to continue to prioritise poverty alleviation, and in view of the high levels of poverty which persist in rural areas, we applaud the new focus on rural development. These efforts we hope will help rural inhabitants and communities to prosper and help stem the flow of people to cities in search of work.
A lack of access to land, however, is still cited as a major contributor to rural poverty, making the remaining outstanding land claims a definite concern. In order to meet its 30% target, the department needs to redistribute at least 3,2 million hectares of white-owned agricultural land every year between now and 2014. This is clearly not possible on the budget before us.
The ACDP notes the additional budget for staff capacity and expects the department to proactively utilise this, not only to seek out suitably qualified personnel, but for departmental training to develop and achieve the required levels of skills. With funds allocated to land acquisition being persistently scaled back, questions are being raised as to government's intentions regarding purchasing of land.
Both land claimants and the agricultural community require a speedy conclusion to claims to restore confidence and regain peak production for food security. Regrettably, the ACDP sees this budget as inadequate to meet capacity requirements, to achieve targets in redistributing land and for making restitution. The ACDP will not support Budget Vote 27 as it stands. Thank you.
Mnr P J GROENEWALD (VF PLUS): Speaker, die doelwit wat die ANC-regering vir homself gestel het is om teen 2014 30% van landbougrond in swart boere se hande te hê. Die VF Plus sê dit is 'n onrealistiese teiken. Dit is onrealisties in die eerste plek omdat die departement nie die mannekrag het om die proses behoorlik te bestuur nie, en daar is ook nie geld om daardie doelwit te bereik nie. Dit is tog baie duidelik uitgespel in die Departement van Grondsake se strategiese plan vir 2008-2011. Hulle sê dit self.
Tweedens, as ons na grondhervorming in Suid-Afrika gaan kyk en jy sê jy stel vir jouself 'n doelwit, dan behoort jy minstens te weet hoeveel landbougrond daar in Suid-Afrika is, hoeveel wit boere daar is, hoeveel swart boere daar is, hoeveel kleurling of Indiër boere daar is. Daar is nie so 'n oudit nie, so hoe kan die ANC-regering 'n doelwit stel as hy nie weet watter syfers daar is nie? Alvorens daar nie 'n behoorlike grond-oudit gedoen is nie, sal die VF Plus nie hierdie Begrotingspos ondersteun nie. Dankie.
Mr P S SIZANI (ANC): Speaker, the ANC will always adhere to the dictates of the Freedom Charter by distributing land to the people of our country. In that vein, the ANC has tasked the Ministry of Rural Development and Land Reform to use the available resources within the institutional capacity of the commission to drive restitution, 10-year reform and land distribution - our heritage - from unwilling land holders to the landless masses of our patient and poor people, before they turn this country into a bigger Zimbabwe.
We, the deployees of the ANC in the Rural Development and Land Reform Portfolio Committee, are aware that this task will not be easy, but we refuse to tell lies and claim easy victories. We commit to work with farmer unions, worker unions, the landless people, labour tenants and traditional leaders to democratise ownership, access and use of land within the available law and resources, as there will be no democracy in our beloved South Africa unless the vast majority of our citizens and their children stand aside and look on while the rich, and usually absent, landlords are enjoying the privilege of holding land when the rest of the population wallow in poverty and squalor.
An HON MEMBER: That's what Mugabe said!
Mr P S SIZANI (ANC): We share the concern of the hon Msimang of the IFP. The budget of the department is inadequate and he knows the reason why the budget is inadequate. We also share the concern of the hon Groenewald of the FF Plus. He knows and understands the concerns. However, he does not share the willingness and commitment of the ANC to work with farmer unions who refuse to sell and part with their land so that the poor people can have access to land. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Vote agreed to (Democratic Alliance, African Christian Democratic
Party and Freedom Front Plus dissenting).
VOTE No 28 – Minerals and Energy – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr H C SCHMIDT (DA): Hon Speaker, the unprecedented levels of load shedding due to government's failed energy policy has caused the drop of more than 25% in mining's contribution to GDP, which has contributed to the negative effect on the country's economic growth rate.
Nersa's recent approval of a 3,3% increase on top of the 27,5% levied last year has caused many people, particularly in the townships, to be deeply in debt as they struggle to pay their electricity bills.
We, unbelievably, also await a further application for another increase by Eskom of up to 54% later this year. The review of the Mining Charter is currently being undertaken, and the perception that the goalpost was unilaterally shifted shortly after the elections by the department will have negative financial consequences. Talks of nationalising the mining industry and the revival of a state mining company are of extreme concern.
In addition, the suggestion of setting up a resources bank funded by royalties payable by the mines is just as damning, as the funding of such a bank with competitors' money remains questionable.
If a debate, as has recently been reported, on the future of the South African mining industries is indeed to take place, it should rather discuss ways of stimulating the mining industry in order to maintain and indeed grow the industry as well as job opportunities.
The debate should not be on whether to nationalise mines, which in turn will cause the flight of capital and ever-increasing job losses, as recently evidenced by the withdrawal last week Friday of Mitsubishi, a Canadian-registered mining company, from South African mining projects it wanted to invest in. The DA, therefore, opposes this budget. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L W GREYLING (ID): Speaker, for the last three years I have been rising to object to the Minerals and Energy Budget Vote, largely because of its lack of support for renewable energy technologies.
However, today I am happy to say that the ID will support the Vote, primarily because of the fact that Nersa has finally promulgated realistic feeding tariffs for renewable energy producers.
The ID hopes that this is the first step towards truly mainstreaming renewable energy in South Africa. However, having given our support, we must caution the department against any stalling tactics by Eskom, which for instance has held up an independent power producer in Newcastle for two years by failing to finalise a power purchase agreement.
Eskom simply cannot be allowed to hold the progressive objectives of the feed-in tariff to ransom by employing such stalling actions. We hope that the Minister will give this issue her urgent attention. I thank you.
Mr P D DEXTER (COPE): Hon Speaker, Cope is supporting this Budget Vote. However, we are concerned about the situation in terms of the supply and generation of electricity.
The Eskom debacle which continues to rumble on means that the limited resources put into this state-owned enterprise are being squandered.
The result for households and enterprises is an unacceptable situation - a continually interrupted supply of electricity, and now soo-to-be-imposed astronomical price hikes. There is no way we can improve the lives of our people with the current crisis being left unattended to. The government is failing to take adequate measures that will change this situation.
We are also concerned about the issue of illegal mining which continues to bedevil the industry. Cope wants to see stronger measures to curb the scourge which has negative effects, both socially, as well as for the industry. Thank you.
Mr E J LUCAS (IFP): Chairperson, the IFP supports this debate. However, we are very seriously concerned about the illegal mining. And we hope that the department does all in its power to find out who these people are who have a ready market for the illegal products coming out of the country, because unless you seek out those who are buying the products, you will not be able to stop the illegal mining.
The other issue is the health and safety. We think much more must be done, and we must have more training of inspectors, then we will have a better situation in our mines.
Mr M F GONA (ANC): Thank you, Speaker, the ANC supports the Budget Vote. We believe that this Budget Vote will enable us to create an environment for the rational exploration of our minerals and safe mining and that it will provide for the creation of jobs through the beneficiation strategy.
Also, we believe that this Budget Vote will enable us to provide access to electricity to all South Africans. As a result, I just want to quote to those who are confused about the debate that is emerging in the public arena around the issue of the nationalisation of mines.
I want to quote that in 1955, the people of this country, in Kliptown, converged on the real Congress of the People and proclaimed that, ''The people shall share in the country's wealth!''.
The question that we must be asking ourselves: In what best way possible could the people of this country share in the country's wealth if we don't begin debates that enable us to make sure that people will benefit from the natural resources that are God given in this country?
Again, the people in this Kliptown congress proclaimed that, ''The mineral wealth beneath the soil shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole''. [Applause.]
Today, we know that we have the Minerals & Petroleum Resources Development Act, transferred the mineral rights to the state. Therefore, those who are calling for nationalisation are perfectly correct to raise that debate, because it was the wish of the people of this country. [Time expired.][Applause.]
Vote agreed to (Democratic Alliance dissenting).
Vote No 29 – Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs,
formerly Provincial and Local Government – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr T BOTHA (COPE): Hon Speaker, Cope supports the budget of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, but wishes to draw the attention of the Minister to the following. Cope is extremely concerned about the growing number of demonstrations throughout the country which, we believe, are fuelled by the promises made to these people of rapid delivery of services without properly planned-for delivery mechanisms. The poor staffing of and weak institutions at local government level further exacerbate the situation.
We further wish to caution the Minister on the proposed amendments to schedule 4(b) and schedule 5(b) of the Constitution. Hon Minister, we believe that if this is not approached with caution, it could lead to interference at local government level. In fact, it could erode the powers and functions of local authorities. We, however, support your budget.
Mr P F SMITH (IFP): Speaker, the IFP will support this Budget Vote, but let me just say that if we were dealing today with the previous leadership of this department we would not be supporting it. I say this simply because, in fact, its performance has been very poor over the past few years.
Let me give you some examples. There has been a lot of strategic planning, but very little hands-on interventions that make a difference on the ground. There has been very little support for municipalities from this department here and especially in the provinces. There has been little interaction with the provinces themselves and with the problems that provinces have.
Also, the department sometimes allows crises to happen in a manner that is completely unacceptable. I refer you, for example, to the Local Government: Municipal Property Rights Act which is actually a very critical problem. It is quite inconceivable how this state of affairs could have come to be. I must say, in this connection, that even our current Minister cannot be absolved completely from this, because although he inherited the problem, it is only now that the interventions are being made.
What is different? Well, we have a new leadership of the department, which is committed, which seems capable. We certainly want to give them the benefit of the doubt. They have made promises to us. They have made promises that they are going to be practical. They have made promises that they are going to be hands-on, and they have made promises that they are going to deliver.
So, on that basis, we certainly intend to engage with them and give them our support. I must say that as the IFP it is not our function to harp on about failures; it is our function to become partners in solving problems. On that basis, we will support the Vote. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Speaker, the ACDP welcomes the Minister's frank admission of the department's shortcomings. We agree with the Minister that it is a crying shame that after 15 years of democracy, parts of our country - such as those he pointed out, one of which was the Oliver Tambo District - still reflect the legacy of apartheid and the unacceptable face of underdevelopment, poverty and marginalisation.
It is alarming that the Minister went so far as to say that the extent of the breakdown in trust between communities and government was so grave that it was placing our democratic state at risk. We are grateful for his frankness in making that concession.
We also trust that the shortcomings identified will be addressed by both the department and Parliament in a more robust oversight manner, particularly in view of the shocking state of many of our municipalities. It is no exaggeration to say that many of our municipalities, where service delivery is crucial, are on the verge of collapse.
Lastly, the ACDP is concerned about the sudden resignation of the director-general, reportedly owing to a poor working relationship with the new Minister. If the director-general was paid out, we need to know how much and under what circumstances, as well as whether there is any truth to the allegation that she wanted to lay criminal charges for irregularities in the department.
How government manages the relationship between new Ministers and permanent government officials is key to the success of the new administration. We cannot afford to lose experienced Public Service managers owing to tension or a breakdown in relations, or even to purges. The ACDP will support this Budget Vote. I thank you.
Mna C D KEKANA (ANC): Motsamaisi wa dipuisano, lebitsong la palamente ya batho ANC re tshehetsa Seabo sena sa ditjhelete ka botlalo ka ntle ho qeaqeyo. Lebitso la lefapha lena le letjha ke kgoeletso ho tswa mohoong wa rona ha re ne re ya dikgethong, wa hore tshebedisano mmoho ke yona e tla tswala katamelo bophelong bo botle.
Jwale, re thabetse ha bana ba bohanyetsi ba hlalefela tshebedisano mmoho ebile ba re ba tla re tshehetsa. Emong wa bona ebile mosebetsi ona oo a ntseng a o bala are o a etsahala ka tlasa makgotla a metse, ke mosebetsi wa matsoho a hae. Ha a ne a tshwanetse ho o lokisa o balehile. O ile mane moo a seng a le teng honajwale. [Ditsheho.]
Motsamaisi wa dipuisano, seabo sena sa ditjhelete se bohlokwa haholo hobane kgodumodumo e thefutse maemo a moruo a ditjhelete tseo re ka beng re se re e na le tsona, jwale di se di tla haella, empa hobane kgomo ha enye bolokwe kaofela; ke tla kgefutsa mona ka hore re e tshehetsa ka botlalo. [Mahofi.]
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 30 – Public Enterprises – put.
Declarations of vote:
Dr S M VAN DYK (DA): Speaker, die Demokratiese Alliansie het hom nog altyd daarvoor beywer om te voorkom dat openbare ondernemings in monopolieë ontaard wat mededinging en lae pryse voorkom, en daarom is die DA van mening dat, wanneer hierdie openbare ondernemings nie effektief bestuur word nie, die ANC sy beleid moet verander sodat private produsente kan meeding met daardie openbare ondernemings. Daarom verwelkom ons dit ook dat die Nywerheidsontwikkelingskorporasie onlangs aan agt verskillende private ondernemers subsidies beskikbaar gestel het om die elektrisiteitsbedryf te betree. Ons waardeer dit ook dat Transnet nou onlangs in die week aangekondig het dat hy 20 000km spoorlyn beskikbaar gaan stel vir private tender.
Ons kan ongelukkig nie hierdie begroting van openbare ondernemings goedkeur of ondersteun nie, want, ten spyte daarvan dat die agb minister Manuel verlede jaar tydens die aansuiweringsbegroting in die Parlement gesê het dat openbare ondernemings 'n risiko vir die belastingbetaler word, het hy in Februarie net so omgeswaai en vir die Korrelbed Modulêre Reaktor R1,7 miljard gegee en vir SAL R1,5 miljard.
Die Korrelbed Modulêre Reaktor het al reeds vir 10 jaar lank navorsing gedoen en moet vir nog vyf jaar lank navorsing doen om uiteindelik teen 'n prys van R18 miljard net 160MW krag te lewer – wat 'n druppel in die emmer is. Duitsland het reeds hierdie eksperiment van die tafel af gevee.
Agb minister Manuel het ook R1,5 miljard vir SAL gegee om sekere afleweringskostes van 15 Airbus vliegtuie te kanselleer wat vroegtydig afgelewer is maar nou nie meer benodig word nie. Dit is maar net weereens 'n teken van hoe die belastingbetaler se geld gemors word deur sekere openbare ondernemings en dat die staat oneffektief is om hierdie ondernemings effektief te bedryf, daarom kan die DA nie hierdie begroting steun nie. Dankie.
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE (IFP): Speaker, the policy of holding unnecessary assets is so imbedded in the department that, in spite of our full confidence in the new Minister, the IFP will oppose the budget.
We urge the department to embark on the privatisation of nonperforming state enterprises, as well as those that serve no compelling public function.
The current global depression is reducing our tax revenues, while at the same time increasing the need for social spending with an envisaged shortfall of R80 billion. It is envisaged that this shortfall will be made up with taxes forced onto our people with compounded interest in the form of increased public debt. We should make up this shortfall by considering selling some public enterprises.
There is no reason to continue to own, for instance, enterprises such as SAA and South African Express. In combination, they appear ripe to be sold, and should, preferably, not receive the requested R1,6 billion bailout. For ten years Denel has been a major liability to taxpayers. This year they are approaching the Treasury for an additional R1,7 billion bailout. Domestically and internationally its weapons are not being satisfactorily sold.
In conclusion, we call upon the Department of Public Enterprises to become the incubator of enterprises still ahead of the market, but critical to our industrious future, such as biotechnology and nanotechnology research and to break up Transnet, devolving port infrastructure to the provinces and municipalities concerned, as is done in the rest of the world. I thank you.
Mr L W GREYLING (ID): Speaker, the ID is forced to once again to vote against the Public Enterprises Budget Vote. This is in no way to besmirch the new Minister, but rather a protest vote against a continued squandering of valuable taxpayers' money on certain nonperforming state-owned enterprises, such as the PBMR. In this new era of constrained government spending, the ID would far rather see this money being directed to urgent priorities, such as the extension of the Child Support Grant and our failing public health care system.
The ID also maintains that the new built programme of Eskom must be put up for review, so as to ensure that we achieve maximum social benefit for the R1,3 trillion they intend to spend over the next 25 years. I thank you.
Ms M P MENTOR (ANC): Speaker, we, as the ANC, endorse the budget of the department, because the department continues to achieve everything that is set out for it to do. The performance of this department demonstrates the ability to manage the budget effectively.
The department has received unqualified audits over a period of time, and they have expanded their budget within National Treasury norms. The programmes that this budget will support are aligned with the National Programme of Action. Supporting this budget will ensure that the Department of Public Enterprises is well-positioned to deliver on its mandate of enhancing the performance of state-owned enterprises, as well as monitoring their performance in order to improve economic and social outcomes. These outcomes must impact on citizens, particularly, and will also impact on the economy in general.
Lastly, the infrastructure investment programmes, which are, amongst other things, for Transnet, Eskom and Infraco, will ensure that we acquire the necessary competence and capability for further economic growth, and will further ensure that we acquire a broader country skills base I thank you. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to (Inkatha Freedom Party, Democratic Alliance and Independent Democrats dissenting.)
Vote No 31 - Science and Technology – put and agreed to.
Vote No 32 – Trade and Industry – put.
Declaration of vote:
Mr V B NDLOVU (IFP): Chairperson, firstly, we want to record the promotion of the small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs, in this department; secondly, the negotiations with small and informal settlements. We are concerned about the high-handedness of the Ethekwini Municipality with regard to the informal settlement at Ethekwini; and thirdly, this is the department charged to create jobs for the people who are unemployed. Therefore, it has to look at the informal sectors and ensure that the small business is able to grow. That is why we are supporting this Budget. Thank you.
Vote agreed to.
Vote No 33 – Transport – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr S B FARROW (DA): Hon Speaker, the hon Minister of Transport and his Deputy have had to inherit from their predecessors an underfunded, underskilled and understaffed department. It has approximately 300 posts with unfunded mandates on its proposed organogram, and on the present orgonogram, a 9% vacancy rate, including a large number of senior posts where people are in acting capacities.
In real terms, more than 40% vacancies exist if the department realistically wants to affectively implement its progress. The department's budget has grown exponentially over the past five years and has moved from three administration branches to nine. If one breaks down the budget allocations of the department over the last five years, it is apparent that much of their budget is comprised of one of the injections of funding into projects like the Gautrain, R25 billion and still growing; the Road Accident Fund bailout, R6 billion and it will be growing again this year; and the 2010 World Cup initiatives for public transport, road and rail infrastructure, which amounts to over R20 billion.
Once these projects have been implemented post-2010, the department resorts to its routine allocations of which only tollroads, Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems, PTIS, and bus subsidies show any increases to be at the inflation rate.
The department requested a budget of R31 billion for 2008-09 and was only allocated R24,5 billion, yet for the last five years bus subsidy levels have not been sufficient. The Road Accident Fund annually runs out of money to pay its claimants. Road maintenance and construction costs increases in line with fuel prices and a current loan backlog of R126 billion exists nationally and provincially.
Road commuter services are severely undercapitalised, the sums for funding is inadequate, taxi recapitalisation at current funding roads will take over 10 years to finalise, while critical challenges exist in funding such programmes as the revitalisation of the transport . . . [Time expired.]
Mr P D POHO (COPE): Hon Speaker, COPE supports the Budget. We nevertheless wish that the following concerns will be underscored: that owing to the Auditor-General Report, the Minister should begin to deal firmly with corruption, particularly in road construction and Road Accident Fund; that the department begins to live up to its own challenge that it has just set for itself as it relates to the taxi recapitalisation annual targets.
It is disconcerting that a lot of money is put into subsidising Metrorail, yet there is no profound improvement of services and safety except for the renovation of coaches. I thank you. [Applause.]
Ms N P KHUNOU (ANC): Speaker, this is one of the Budget Votes that was supported by all political parties during the Budget debate. There were challenges in the department and the department has shown a great improvement, especially in the concerns that we had of high vacancy rate which has greatly improved.
There is also a significant improvement in all airports in all cities and because of that we are sure that the department will reach its target for 2010. One of the things that we were concerned about – we want to congratulate this department on this – was the successful launch of AARTO in Gauteng. Motorists are aware that if they don't comply with road regulations they might lose their licence. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Vote agreed to (Democratic Alliance dissenting).
Vote No 34 – Water Affairs and Forestry – put.
Declarations of vote:
Mr G R MORGAN (DA): Mr Speaker, the DA supports the provision of water and sanitation to more than a million households over the last five years. The work of increasing access to water will no doubt continue as it is dictated by the Constitution. There are, however, serious concerns in the water management sector, all of which are known to the Department of Water Affairs. The problem is that the Budget does not recognise the urgency of these problems.
While the water provision sector is made up of several role-players including municipalities, water boards and the national department itself, there is a lack of leadership from the national department in seeking solutions, particularly when it comes to water quality. Of the 145 water services authorities assessed, only 22 achieved blue drop status, the highest and most appropriate measurement for clean water.
The blue drop report says that with regard to many municipalities, urgent attention is required. This is unsurprising when one considers that the vast majority of municipalities only have one or no water engineer in their employ. Research by Dr Heidi Snyman in 2006, revealed that 30% of the country's sewerage treatment plants required urgent attention, while a further 66% of plants need intervention in the short- to medium-term.
With regard to dams, 160 of those owned by the state do not meet safety standards; regrettably this figure has not changed over the last three years. Furthermore, several water boards are, according to the Auditor-General's recent reports, not going concerns and need intervention from the department.
Lastly, the Budget does not address the rapidly growing problem of acid mine drainage that is polluting water sources in Gauteng and the increasing incidence of algae toxins that are polluting bulk water storage dams in the same province. The warning signs are evident, the potential for localised water crises are high. The DA will not support this Budget. Thank you.
Mr S N SWART (ACDP): Mr Speaker, the ACDP will support this Budget Vote. We believe that much waterworks will be shared today when the final results of today's declarations are given! It is interesting to note that the parties made the following declarations and of course, this is subject to internal audit in the ACDP. The UDM two, FF+ four, ID two, Cope 10, DA 15, ACDP 16, IFP 18 and the ANC is the winner with 24. When the ACDP asks for extra time, please give it more time.
Ms M M SOTYU (ANC): Chairperson, yes, we do agree that there are challenges faced by the department, but that does not warrant us not to support Budget Vote 34. The ANC believes that the realignment of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry to Water and Environmental affairs will make the oversight responsibility of the portfolio committee and the work of the department easier.
Indeed, working together with the DA, we will try our best to assist those ailing water boards. The President, in his state of the nation address, indicated that the ANC will never rest until every community has access to clean water, including the rural communities.
Indeed, we, the ANC will never rest as long as people in the Eastern Cape and other provinces travel for more than 10km to fetch water. The ANC will never rest as long as women and children in rural areas die from malaria because of no access to clean water; and the ANC will never rest as long as other sectors of society want to monopolise water. The ANC supports this Budget Vote.
Vote agreed to (Democratic Allaince dissenting).
PLEASE TAKE IN FROM MINUTES VOTE NO 35 TO VOTE NO 44
Schedule, as amended, put and agreed to.
(Second Reading Debate)
There was no debate.
Bill, as amended, read a second time.
The CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Hon Speaker, hon Deputy President, I move without notice:
That the house -
[TAKE IN FROM MINUTES]
The House adjourned at 18:36
END OF TAKE
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