Hansard: Replies by President Jacob Zuma to Questions for Oral Reply : National Assembly
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 07 Sep 2010
No summary available.
REPLIES BY PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA TO QUESTIONS FOR ORAL REPLY; NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
WEDNESDAY, 8 SEPTEMBER 2010
13. Ms B M Dambuza (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
(1) (a) What authority and impact does the President's Coordinating Council (PCC) have in ensuring integrated service delivery compliance and (b) how does it relate to the National Planning Commission in terms of realising the national objective of eradicating informal settlements;
(2) whether the Government has any plans to shift from the current allocation system of bulk infrastructure towards human settlements provision; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
(1) (a) The President's Coordinating Council is a crucial coordinating mechanism that brings together the President, Premiers, representatives of the South African Local Government Association and Ministers with concurrent functions.
(2) The PCC gives effect to the provisions of Chapter 3 of the Constitution and the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.
In our meetings we receive reports and share ideas on the implementation of government priorities at provincial and local government level. We also identify bottlenecks in our delivery machinery and put in place processes to unblock the challenges.
The last PCC held in May focused exclusively on matters relating to human settlements. A number of obstacles were identified in the areas of planning, financing, land availability among others. We have put in place processes to respond to each of these.
The outcome of the PCC meetings is sent to Cabinet for processing so that outputs become Cabinet decisions for implementation.
(1) (b) When we established the National Planning Commission (NPC) we stated that we want it to focus on long-term issues and to harmonise and integrate long-term planning within government.
The NPC was formally established at the end of April with the appointment of Commissioners.
We gave it 18 months to produce the national plan for consideration by Cabinet and Parliament.
Although the NPC has a mandate to address long-term planning, it must also make sure that the short to medium term plans of departments do not lock government into bad decisions that will make it difficult to achieve our long term vision.
It was precisely for this reason that we tasked the Minister responsible for the National Planning Commission to lead the process of unblocking logjams in our planning system that have a profound impact especially on the development of sustainable human settlements.
(2) In our bid to make government work better we have adopted the outcomes approach. Two outcomes are relevant to your question.
Outcome 6 is about an efficient, competitive and responsive infrastructure network and Outcome 8 is about sustainable human settlements and improved quality of households.
In doing background analyses of problems in both these areas, it became clear that we need better ways of coordinating infrastructure delivery. The delivery agreement for Human Settlements contains targets for the upgrading of informal settlements.
Relevant stakeholders will be brought together to play their part in ensuring a coordinated approach.
14. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether, with regard to his statement (details furnished) it is the Government's intention to establish a media tribunal; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
Government has not discussed the proposed investigation into the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunal and does not have a position on it.
The concept of a Tribunal is included in the resolutions of the 52nd national conference of the ruling party of the year 2007.
The resolution proposing the investigation states that the purpose is to promote the school of thought which articulates media freedom within the context of the human rights ethos of the South African Constitution.
It promotes the view that the right to freedom of expression should not be elevated above other equally important rights such as the right to privacy and more important rights and values such as human dignity.
The intention is that the Tribunal would strengthen, complement and support the current self-regulatory institutions such as the Press Ombudsman.
The investigation proposes that that such a Tribunal could be a statutory institution, established through an open, public and transparent process, and be made accountable to Parliament.
The Polokwane conference resolution adds that an investigation should consider the mandate of the Tribunal and its powers to adjudicate over matters or complaints expressed by citizens against the print media, in the same way as it happens in the case of broadcasting through the Complaints and Compliance Committee of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
The investigation should further consider remedial measures which would safeguard and promote the human rights of all South Africans.
The proposal is also that the Media and other stakeholders, including civil society, shall be consulted to ensure that the process is open, transparent and public.
Were the investigation to find that the Tribunal is necessary; Parliament would then be charged with this mandate to establish the Tribunal in order to guarantee the principles of independence, transparency, accountability and fairness.
It must be noted that this vibrant public debate has resulted in, or coincided with a decision by the Press Council to review its Constitution, with a view to strengthening its self-regulatory mechanisms.
We welcome the fact that this debate, which is raging in the public arena, has now also entered Parliament, thanks to this question from the Honourable Member.
As Government we welcome debates in the spirit of promoting free exchanges of views and ideas, and to enable informed policy making processes.
15. Mr M Nonkonyana (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
What is the Government's policy with regard to restoring (a) kingship to those who were recognised as such by the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims and (b) unity amongst the affected traditional communities?
(a) The President accepted the recommendations of the Commission on Traditional Leadership Disputes and Claims and directed the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to take all steps necessary to ensure implementation.
The Ministry is still finalising the legal processes to continue with the implementation.
In an attempt to maintain unity amongst the affected communities, Government briefed the National House of Traditional Leaders prior to the release of the Commission's report.
Furthermore, the Premiers in the affected provinces met with the royal families of the affected kingships of queenships and informed them officially of the outcome and implications.
We also issued a message to all communities to accept the findings in the spirit of nation building and reconciliation, given the pain that the apartheid-imposed institutions had caused on affected families and communities.
This should be a period when they all work together to put the past behind them, and accept the historical reality that they have all known for all these decades.
Communities have always known who the rightful traditional leaders are. We appreciate the positive spirit in which this has been received, regardless of how difficult the recommendations are.
16. Mr M L Fransman (ANC) to ask the President of the Republic:
(a) To what extent has the national human resource development (HRD) strategy been incorporated into the respective Government departments and programmes that champion the five priority focus areas of the national development agenda (details furnished) and
(b) what (i) measures have been put in place to monitor the implementation and integration of the national HRD strategy in the Government, parastatals and the private sector and (ii) progress has been made in respect of human resource development in the past 16 years?
Our government, together with other stakeholders, is working to ensure that we improve our skills and human resource base.
Last year, we decided to split the education department into two stand-alone departments, to focus on basic education as well as higher education and training.
This was meant to enable government to ensure dedicated focus to each area, and to provide basic education more attention as a critical foundation phase.
Government is establishing a comprehensive Human Resource Development policy framework, which will be linked to the country's development and investment strategy, and the five development priorities.
The scope and importance of the HRD for South Africa's development agenda dictates that its success depends on the full contribution of all social partners.
While government has a significant role to play in terms of its mandate and the public resources it holds, it cannot perform this role optimally without substantive input and participation from other stakeholders.
Cabinet will soon consider the Human Resource Development Strategy South Africa 2009 document. Already, wide-ranging consultations have been held both inside and outside of government.
Honourable Fransman, all the five priorities that you refer to - namely Education, Health, Rural Development, Decent Work and the fight against Crime have been incorporated in the ten objectives of in the Medium Term Strategic Framework.
All government departments are working towards these objectives.
The ten objectives of the MTSF have been converted into 12 outcomes and the President has signed performance agreements with the respective Ministers on these.
Ministers are currently consulting with delivery partners from national and provincial departments, to finalise delivery agreements detailing the specifics of delivery.
Some of the 12 outcomes of government explicitly take forward the commitments of the Human Resources Development Strategy.
The achievement of all of our key outcomes will depend on a skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path.
It must be noted that the National Skills Development Strategy 3, currently being finalized by the Department of Higher Education and Training also incorporates the key objective of the HRDSA.
Measures have been put in place to monitor the implementation and integration of the HRDSA in Government, parastatals and the private sector.
Human resource development is to be monitored through a Council led by the Honourable Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
Monitoring mechanisms will include all role-players in the strategy.
There has been a significant expansion and growth in further and higher education and training over the past 16 years.
Research and development activity in the economy increased significantly, making the target of one per cent of GDP achievable in the near future.
The dramatic growth and expansion of the education system has enabled the country to achieve high enrolment rates at school level.
Despite the expansion and growth of schooling, participation rates at Further Education and Training colleges and other higher education institutions, levels are low. Quality remains a real challenge across the system.
The introduction of learnerships has also added to the programme by ensuring that new graduates are exposed to the job market for practical experience.
This has enabled young South Africans to be marketable. In the public sector, the PALAMA Institute has been able to offer job specific training to the Management and Leadership teams of the public sector.
Another key development of the past 16 years is the introduction of legislation that compels the private sector to invest in skills development by introducing a skills levy and skills development plans.
All in all, we are on track to introduce a comprehensive human resource development programme.
We will rely on all stakeholders; especially Members of Parliament, to work with us in making it succeed for the sake of the country.
17. The Leader of the Opposition (DA) to ask the President of the Republic:
Whether, with reference to the Western Cape provincial government achieving a clean sweep of unqualified audit reports and his statement that there is a crisis of accountability (details furnished), he will ensure that steps are taken to hold accountable individuals who fail in their duty to manage provincial finances appropriately; if not, why not; if so, what steps? NO3005E
This matter is discussed constantly with Premiers as well in the President's Coordinating Council, and all nine Premiers share this determination. The targets for clean audits in provincial departments also form part of the delivery agreement and performance contract of the Minister for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
In these targets, the MECs for the various Departments are the delivery partners and therefore their own performance contracts will include the same targets for clean audits and it will be expected of them that they report and account on their specific performance.
18. Mr M G P Lekota (Cope) to ask the President of the Republic:
(a) Which (i) countries have been identified as high potential trading partners and (ii) of these countries have been visited by him accompanied by a delegation of Ministers and business people, (b) what was the selection criteria for the business delegations to each of these countries, (c) what benefits were derived in terms of job creation and poverty alleviation and (d) what was the total expenditure to the state for these official visits?
One of our main foreign policy goals is to ensure that our foreign relations contribute to the creation of an environment conducive for economic growth and development, especially in Africa and other developing countries.
The expansion of foreign trade is a means to an end, which is to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.
It must enable us to grow our economy and contribute to the creation of decent work, improved health care and education, rural development, safer communities, social security and other priorities of this government.
Business representatives are invited to State Visits to encourage and promote economic cooperation between South Africa and a particular country.
The Department of Trade and Industry constitutes the business delegation in consultation with representatives of organised business in South Africa, Business Unity South Africa.
The decision to participate in a visit lies with the businesses themselves depending on their interests. However, we also have to look at South Africa's national interests, in particular what would benefit her people and advance the government's domestic agenda.
Visits of this nature create investment opportunities which have a positive impact on the South African economy.
The SADC member States, most of whose economies are integrated with that of South Africa, are our country's major trading partners.
African countries in general, have a huge potential to become South Africa's major trading partners, given their endowment in natural and mineral resources.
The socio-political and economic reforms currently underway in Africa have created favourable conditions for South African investments in a wide range of sectors such as construction, financial services, information and communications technologies and agriculture.
To date, in Africa, we have undertaken outgoing State visits to Angola, Lesotho, Zambia and Uganda. Outside the continent we have undertaken State and official visits to the United Kingdom, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
On the visit to Angola, we were accompanied by eleven Ministers and a business delegation of more than one hundred and seventy people, identified by Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) working with our Department of Trade and Industry.
The sectors represented included mining, energy, electricity, construction, retail, communications, transport, and agribusiness.
A number of Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding between the two countries were signed, including Memoranda of Understanding on Trade and Industry Cooperation.
During the visit to Zambia in December last year, I was accompanied by seven Ministers, two Deputy Ministers and a business delegation.
In this successful visit, two Agreements and four Memoranda of Understanding were signed and we will continue to explore the great potential in economic relations.
Last month, I visited the Kingdom of Lesotho, accompanied by seven Ministers, one Deputy Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly as well as a business delegation.
Lesotho is an important neighbour of South Africa, as evidenced by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project which supplies seven hundred and eighty million cubic metres of water to the Gauteng Province every year.
The Honourable Member is aware that South Africa continues to face a challenge of water scarcity and as such, South Africa is currently finalising the modalities of Phase Two of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which is expected to increase the supply of water to South Africa.
I visited Uganda accompanied by seven Ministers and more than 50 businesspersons.
Amongst other agreements, a Ministerial Declaration on trade cooperation was also signed that would allow for deeper engagement and proper alignment of efforts to expand trade between the two countries.
A number of South African companies have a presence in Uganda and rely on South African expertise and products in growing their market, thus increasing employment opportunities in both South Africa and Uganda.
Uganda also has a promising oil and mining industry which is of interest to the South African industry.
European countries identified as key trading partners include Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, and the Russian Federation.
On the visit to Russia last month, I was accompanied by eleven Ministers and over one hundred and fifty business people.
The business delegation represented the sectors of banking; education; agriculture; health, energy; mineral resources; water and environment; science and technology.
Several benefits will result from this visit in the long term. The Department of Tourism had good engagements with Russia Tour Operators and Tourism Organisations to attract the growing and high spending Russian tourists to South Africa.
Extensive negotiations on the Draft Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Qualifications will facilitate education and skills development partnerships will contribute to address South Africa's skills and competitiveness challenges, particularly in the science and technology fields.
Scholarships have been offered in the areas of nanotechnology, biotechnology, high speed computing and space engineering.
Already over 60 young researchers have benefited from exchanges and research partnerships with Russia in the space research area.
A Memorandum of Understanding was concluded between the South African and Russian space agencies which allows for South African scientists and institutions to access Russian data on earth observation.
This contributes to sustainable agriculture and water management, soil and nature conservation, drought prediction and management and to the development agenda of Government on the whole.
A commercial contract for the supply of nuclear fuel was concluded between Eskom and the Russian Company Tenex. This will allow for the continued supply of nuclear fuel to South Africa by Russia and will enhance and improve the operational and power generating capacity of Eskom.
Information on the highly successful United Kingdom State Visit has been presented in this House previously.
We visited China last month, South Africa's largest trading partner and a substantial investor in the country. The two Presidents co-signed the Declaration on the Establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which we both view as the beginning of a new chapter in the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Amongst the benefits, China has committed to work towards more balanced trade and to encourage its enterprises to increase investment in South Africa's manufacturing industry.
The two countries will encourage companies from each side to explore cooperation opportunities in mineral beneficiation as well as infrastructure construction projects such as the green economy, roads, railways, ports, power generation, airports and housing.
Sixteen contracts were signed between South African and Chinese companies.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and all the countries of the Americas and Caribbean have been identified as high potential strategic trading partners.
In this region, we visited Brazil in October 2009, and the President of Brazil undertook a reciprocal visit in July this year.
For the State visit to Brazil, the criteria included those companies with a presence in Brazil, those in a trading relationship with Brazil and those with an interest to establish a presence in Brazil in future.
An MoU on Cooperation in the Promotion of Trade and Investment was signed by Ministers of Trade and Industry, which is assisting us to find concrete ways to eliminate barriers to trade. Subsequently South African exports to Brazil have been improving.
Secondly, the State Visit of October 2009 assisted to create further interest in cooperation and sharing of expertise in the fields of Social Security and Social Development and other priorities.
In addition, the interaction with Brazil is a further step to strengthen relations with IBSA, the India-Brazil-South Africa initiative.
The northern American countries of Canada and the United States are key and strategic trading partners of South Africa. However, I have not as yet undertaken a visit of this nature to that region. We have only undertaken visits of a multilateral nature thus far.
Japan is also a strong trade and investment partner. In three of the last five years it was South Africa's top export destination and South Africa enjoyed a 26 billion rand trade surplus with Japan in 2008.
Two way trade dropped in 2009 due to the global economic crisis and exports to Japan were overtaken by exports to China and the United States. However, South Africa still maintained a healthy trade surplus, although less than in 2008. In 2010, trade with Japan is recovering but has not yet reached 2008 levels.
We prefer to view the expenditure on these visits not as cost but as an investment in building relations that will help us meet our political, social and economic relations.
It is worth noting as well that for outgoing visits, some expenses become minimal as the host country usually extends courtesies to the visiting South African delegation, meeting the accommodation and ground transport cost of the President and a certain number of delegates, as per standard international practice amongst States.
We estimate the investment in the Angola State visit to having been in the region of more than three million rand, Zambia at more than two hundred thousand rand and Lesotho to more than half a million rand.
We invested more than a million rand on the Ugandan visit.
Information pertaining to the expenditure of the visits to China, Russia and India is not yet available.
Issued by The Presidency
No related documents