Hansard: Minister's Responses / Member's Statements
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 26 Aug 2009
No summary available.
Thursday, 27 August 2009 Take: 255
THURSDAY, 27 AUGUST 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 16:23.
The Deputy Speaker took the chair.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! I am trying to see where the hon Buthelezi is. [Interjections.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Deputy Speaker, he had to catch a flight. I apologise for his absence because I know what you have in mind.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Oh! Thank you, hon member. I think we omitted celebrating his 81st birthday this morning. [Applause.] Can you convey our birthday wishes to him?
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: I will convey them, Madam Deputy Speaker. I will also add that he can come to your office to collect his present. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I hope that is a present which you will buy and bring to my office! Thank you very much, hon member.
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER
NOTICE OF MOTION
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD: Madam Deputy Speaker, I hereby give notice that on the next sitting day of the House I shall move the following motion on behalf of the DA:
That the House debates the benefits to citizens of the regular release of national crime statistics.
Mr M J ELLIS
Ms D KOHLER-BARNARD
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I did have an arrangement with the Whippery in the House generally to propose a motion without notice to Dr Buthelezi, wishing him a happy birthday. But you have superseded me. I now stand down and say you have done it already. Thank you very much indeed.
Dr W G JAMES
Mr M J ELLIS
TWO SOUTH AFRICAN OPERA SINGERS AWARDED FELLOWSHIP STUDIES IN EUROPE
Dr W G JAMES: Madam Deputy Speaker, I move without notice:
That the House -
notes that Pretty Yende and Given Nkosi, two of South Africa's most talented young opera singers, have recently been awarded fellowship studies in Europe;
further notes that Yende, who is a soprano, recently won all four awards at the Hans Gabor Belvedere competition in Vienna and that Nkosi, a tenor, proceeded to the finals;
recognises that these achievements are testimony to their talent and to the efforts of the University of Cape Town's opera school, its professor, Virginia Davids, and its founder, Angelo Gobbato; and
wishes both Yende and Nkosi well during their studies in Europe.
Thank you. [Applause.]
MEMBERS STATEMENTS – Ms B N DAMBUZA
Dr W G JAMES
EMERGING CONTRACTORSBUILDING SHODDY HOUSES
Ms B N DAMBUZA(ANC): Sekela-Somlomo, uMphathiswa woBonelelo loLuntu ngeeNdawo zokuHlala, uMnu Tokyo Sexwale, kwakunye nesekela lakhe, uMama uZou Kota-Fredericks, bebetyelele iphondo leMpuma Koloni kule veki iphelileyo. Kweli phondo bandwendwele iingingqi zaseSweet Waters, Riston neyaseDuncan Village. Iinjongo zolu tyelelo ibi kukujongana neemeko zezindlu ezakhiwe ngurhulumente kweli phondo kwakunye nokunxulumana kwanokuthethisana nabantu bezi ngingqi. UMphathiswa uthe, isebe lakhe liza kuchitha imali engumyinge ongamawaka amathathu ezigidi zeerandi ekuphuculeni umgangatho wezi zindlu esele zihlala abantu kweli phondo.
Unobangeli wesi sibhengezo sikaMphathiswa kukuba umgangatho wezi zindlu ukwimeko engaginyisi mathe. UMphathiswa uphinde wayicacisa into yokuba urhulumente uza kuthabathela amanyathelo amaqumrhu abucala angazange awugqibe umsebenzi wolwakhiwo lwezindlu kwezo ngingqi.
Urhulumente okhokelwa yi-ANC, ebambisene nabantu, uyazibophelela ekuphuculeni iimeko zabo apho bahlala khona. Ndiyabulela. Enkosi. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Mr I M OLLIS
Ms B N DAMBUZA
SHOCKING BEHAVIOUR DURING PUBLIC HEARINGS ON LABOUR BROKING
Mr I M OLLIS (DA): Deputy Speaker, while participating in the public hearings of the labour portfolio committee for the past two days, members of the labour committee and business representatives witnessed shocking behaviour by the chairperson and members of the public.
Members of the public insulted one another across the floor of the Old Assembly Chamber next door. This is extremely unparliamentary. Business leaders in the labour industry were depicted in insulting terms such as "slave traders" and as engaging in human trafficking. Methods of intimidation were also used by some trade unions against members of the portfolio committee.
It was alarming to note that the chairperson of the committee, the hon Yengeni, also used inflammatory and insulting language when speaking to business leaders who were present at the public hearings. After an outcry from representatives of the industry, the chairperson repeated these insulting terms again. The DA believes that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable from members of this Parliament, and that the rights of individual members of the public were infringed.
The chairperson should have been controlling such behaviour in the committee and protecting members of the public and members of the portfolio committee from such insulting language and behaviour. This is worse than just being unparliamentary. It is, in fact, undemocratic to allow people to be intimidated in public hearings of this nature. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr P B MNGUNI
Mr I M OLLIS
MEETINGS OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS
Mr P B MNGUNI (COPE): Deputy Speaker, on 4 September, it will be a full month since the Portfolio Committee on Public Works has met. This is because the portfolio committee does not have anything to talk or meet about. One questions the role of its oversight on the undertaking by the department to ensure that it creates 500 000 jobs before the end of the month. Will this happen? This raises questions as to whether this committee is serious or not. I thank you.
Ms M A RANTSOLASE
Mr P B MNGUNI
TRANSFORMATION IN THE WORKPLACE
Ms M A RANTSOLASE (ANC): Deputy Speaker and hon members, transformation in the workplace remains low and still has a long way to go before it reflects South Africa's demographics. This was indicated by the Minister of Labour, hon Membathisi Mdladlana, when speaking at the launch of the ninth annual report of the Commission for Employment Equity at the department's office. The report covering the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 was handed over to the Minister on 24 August 2009 by the commission's chairperson, Jimmy Manyi.
According to the report, whites, who represent 12,5% of the country's economically active population, occupy 72,8% of top management positions in the workforce profile as compared to Africans who occupy 13,6%; coloureds who occupy 4,7%; Indians who occupy 5,9%; and foreigners who occupy 3,1%, in the workforce profile respectively.
The report, for the first time, also looked at government compared to the private sector. According to the report, government has done well in the employment of African people in top management positions, coming in at 61,3% of the 74% employed African people as compared to the private sector, which only employed 12,5% of African people. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Mr N SINGH
Mrs M A RANTSOLASE
CONDEMNATION OF SA NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE STRIKE
Mr N SINGH: Deputy Speaker, the IFP in the strongest possible terms condemns the actions of the striking SANDF members, who embarked on an illegal strike and caused chaos at the Union Buildings yesterday as it constitutes a serious breach of national security. The IFP believes that the behaviour of the striking soldiers has no place within the democratic South Africa and bears resemblance to conduct one would find in a banana republic.
The SANDF's unprofessional and unethical behaviour yesterday amounts to a violation of our Constitution. We therefore urge Minister Sisulu to take the strongest possible disciplinary action against these soldiers. While the IFP has sympathy with the plight of the soldiers, violence should never be an option to resolve any dispute.
Furthermore, the IFP calls on the SANDF to return to the negotiating table to resolve the wage dispute as a matter of urgency. We also call on Minister Sisulu to remove all ill-disciplined members from the SANDF so that we can restore the integrity and honour of the force. Thank you. [Applause.]
Dr C P MULDER (FF Plus)
Mr N SINGH
VALUE OF RELEASING CRIME STATISTICS
Dr C P MULDER (VF Plus): Adjunkspeaker, die Citizens Council for Public Security, CCSP, 'n nie-regeringsorganisasie in Mexiko, het gister bekend gemaak dat hulle navorsing bevind het dat Kaapstad die vyfde dodelikste stad in die wêreld is.
Syfers toon dat 62 mense per 100 000 inwoners in Kaapstad jaarliks vermoor word. Bagdad, die hoofstad van Irak, het 40 moorde per 100 000 inwoners. Dis 'n land met 'n oorlog, maar met minder moorde as Suid-Afrika, waar ons 'n stabiele demokrasie probeer vestig.
Navorsing deur die Suid-Afrikaanse misdaadkenner, mnr Anthony Altbeker, steun die bevinding van die CCSP. Sy navorsing toon dat Suid-Afrika onder die twee of drie toplande met die hoogste moordsyfer ter wêreld is.
In die afwesigheid van die bekendmaking van gereelde en betroubare statistiek deur die SAPS, word persepsies in die buiteland geskep wat die land baie skade aandoen. Die Minister van Polisie het sy besluit dat misdaad statistiek nie so gereeld beskikbaar gestel moet word nie, probeer regverdig en steur hom nie aan die internasionale gemeenskap se persepsie van geweld in Suid-Afrika nie. Hierdie persepsies word omgesit in die feit dat die internasionale gemeenskap al hoe minder in Suid-Afrika gaan belê.
Indien misdaadsyfers meer gereeld deur die SAP bekend gemaak word, kan hierdie verkeerde persepsies gekeer en reggestel word. Navorsing toon dus dat Suid-Afrika gevaarliker is as 'n land waar daar tans 'n oorlog is. Die regering slaag tans nie daarin om sy verantwoordelik teen die landsburgers na te kom en hulle veilig te hou nie. Ek dank u.
Ms F F MUSHWANA
Dr C P MULDER
SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME
Mrs F F MUSHWANA: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am going speak about the school nutrition programme. The ANC-led government continues to expand the outreach of existing programmes such as the child support grants and the school nutrition programmes to more children, in particular, public secondary schools.
Through the school feeding scheme funded by the government, children from disadvantaged areas are guaranteed at least one meal a day. For the overwhelming majority in certain schools, the programme is their lifeline. The programme is already yielding positive results.
Amongst other things, it has resulted in the following: As the programme reaches more schools, more and more children are now attending schools; and it increases the level of concentration and encourages them to return to school. The programme faces the challenges of underspending by the departments, while children, in particular from certain rural areas, continue to go hungry. The ANC reinforces that working together with our people, we will ensure that school feeding schemes are extended to all poor primary and high schools. A better life for all our people will become a reality. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D J MAYNIER
Ms F F MUSHWANA
UNDESIRABILITY OF AND PROBLEMS RELATED TO MILITARY UNIONS
Mr D J MAYNIER: Speaker, following on from the hon Singh, the DA believes that there is no place for military unions in the SANDF. The legitimate problems of serving members of the Defence Force must be resolved through its grievance system and within the chain of command of the SANDF.
Earlier this year, the president of the SA Security Forces Union, Bheki Mvovo, who is a serving officer in the Defence Force, called for the Chief of the SA Navy, Vice-Admiral Modimo, to be dismissed. Now we have members of the SAND Union trashing the Union Buildings.
The violent clash between the police and military unions turned the Union Buildings into what looked like a war zone. Therefore, we welcome Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu's commitments to take swift and effective disciplinary action against members of Sandu.
However, the DA calls on the Minister to go further and review relevant defence legislation and regulations with a view, so far as possible, to limit the scope of military unions and that of the protest action of its members within the provisions of the Constitution. [Applause]
Ms M N MATLADI
Mr D J MAYNIER
FIFA WORLD CUP WINNER'S TROPHY
Mrs M N MATLADI: Hon Deputy Speaker, Fifa's exclusive financial services partner has showcased the 2010 Fifa World Cup winner's trophy in Johannesburg, at an event to celebrate the official launch of Fifa's 2010 World Cup South African marketing campaign.
Inevitably, the star of the show was the most-recognised sports prize in the world, the gold-plated replica of the 2010 Fifa World Cup winner's trophy, which will be retained by the winning team on 11 July 2010 after the 18-carat gold original is returned to the home of Fifa in Zurich, Switzerland.
The trophy depicts two human figures holding up the world. The current trophy was designed by Silvio Cazzaniga and was first presented to Germany's captain, Franz Beckenbauer, in 1974. As soccer fever heightens in the build-up to the World Cup, and with the superb performance by the SA soccer team in the recent Fifa Confederation Cup, many South Africans are becoming increasingly hopeful that there is a chance that the Fifa World Cup trophy will remain in SA. I thank you.
Ms M L DUNJWA
Mrs M N MATLADI
WOMEN IN SCIENCE
Ms M L DUNJWA (ANC): Madam Deputy Speaker, the ANC is of the firm view that our freedom is meaningless without the full emancipation and participation of women in all aspects of our lives, including science.
Studies conducted recently on the performance of children in maths and science in schools discovered that boys do better than girls, because boys are encouraged to do better. We require that the strategic interventions that have been established, for example, those at Dinaledi schools, be strengthened to ensure that they assist girls in those schools to do science.
Women students in scarce skills faculties in schools need focus, support and monitoring. We need interventions to manage career flexibility for women in science. We need interventions in favour of developing women in research and technology. The ANC believes that interventions are needed to ensure that more women study to become scientists, and that they are able to progress through the systems. We thank you.
Mr G R MORGAN
Ms L DUNJWA
COASTAL EROSION IN SALDANHABAY
Mr G R MORGAN (DA): Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. A serious case of coastal erosion is currently playing itself out in Saldanha Bay. At Paradise Beach many homes are now only one or two metres away from collapsing into the sea. A sewage pump station that serves several hundred houses is facing a similar fate, threatening to severely contaminate the bay.
A north-westerly wind combined with the spring tide will put paid to these homes and the pump station overnight. Nevertheless, the ongoing coastal erosion will lead to the same results in the coming months.
Management of responses to coastal erosion falls very firmly in the competency of national government. For this reason, I call on the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs to act urgently and decisively to prevent the further erosion of this coastline.
The situation requires an immediate engineering response which will require authorisation from her department. This will buy time while a more considered long-term engineering response can be found.
Local ratepayers' associations have attempted to engage with the department on this matter in the last few weeks, but have met with bureaucracy and a lack of will on the part of the officials who have been asked to tackle the problem.
It must be noted that the erosion occurring is not as a result of natural processes. The tidal action was altered by the building of the breakwater several decades ago as well as recent expansions in the harbour. This makes it even more incumbent on the Minister to act on this erosion, which I hope she will do soon. Thank you.
Rev H M DANDALA
Mr G R MORGAN
CLASHES BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE SANDF AND SAPS
Rev H M DANDALA (COPE): Hon Deputy Speaker, in spite of the great moments in sport recently, the self-esteem of the South African people has taken a beating from the disorderly and often violent strikes and protests. Yesterday's violent altercation between the police and the disorderly SANDF members is indicative of the anarchic trends taking root in our country.
A situation where those who are appointed to serve and protect the safety of our people and the integrity of our national interest draw arms against each other is, indeed, a new low. The lack of respect, order and discipline that has become an endemic feature in the South African society should never be allowed in our security forces, a structure that is so central to the sovereignty of a nation.
Threats by Ministers to punish perpetrators with the full might of the law go unheeded and often have no impact. The Ministries concerned have got to apply disciplinary measures resolutely.
Images of clashes between security forces can do irreparable harm and risk our image as the leading constitutional democracy on the African continent.
The time has come to call the nation to do close introspection in order to find a national consensus towards a safe and prosperous society. Thank you.
Mr G W KOORNHOF
REV H M DANDALA
ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL CO-OPERATION WITH INDIA
Mr G W KOORNHOF (ANC): Deputy Speaker, the ANC-led government believes that economic and political co-operation with other countries can improve the lives of our own people, and it will continue to work towards a better life for all, a better Africa, and a better world without hunger, disease, conflict and underdevelopment.
The bilateral relations between South Africa and India have developed over time, and steps are being taken to consolidate and diversify the strategic and economic partnerships between the two countries.
The Indian government has committed itself to expanding and diversifying trade with South Africa. The need was identified by both Indian and South African delegations to contribute to efforts on job-creation and skills development for the local economy.
India will also share its experience in rural development strategies. A delegation led by the South African Minister of Rural Development will visit India in the near future to consolidate the agreement. This effort is part of the ANC government's resolution to work together with the countries of the South to promote relations and agitate for a fairer and more humane international trade and financial system, and to a just world order. Thank you.
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI
Mr G W KOORNHOF
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI (IFP): Deputy Speaker, thank you. The IFP wants this House to be made aware of the fact that our student wing, the South African Democratic Student Movement, Sadesmo, yesterday won the largest number of seats in the Free State's University of Qwaqwa's SRC elections, beating Sasco, the ANC-aligned student movement.
This is the first time Sadesmo has outperformed Sasco on this campus, and we believe it signals great things to come. I call upon this House to congratulate Sadesmo on this historic victory. I thank you.
Mr M H HOOSEN
Ms S P LEBENYA-NTANZI
Mr M H HOOSEN (ID): Deputy Speaker, the Independent Democrats, ID, would also like to add its voice to the condemnation of the appalling behaviour of some members of SANDF during yesterday's illegal march to the Union Buildings.
This kind of behaviour by some of our national service men is a real embarrassment to our country, to the extent that one national newspaper has now branded our defence force as a "national disgrace force". The ID congratulates the Defence Minister for her decisive action in suspending, without pay, those soldiers involved in the illegal march, and encourages the Minister to make sure that every one of them is brought to book for their atrocious conduct. I thank you.
MINISTERS' RESPONSES - The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
Mr M H HOOSEN
EMERGING CONTRACTORS BUILIDING SHODDY HOUSES IN THE EASTERN CAPE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS: Deputy Speaker, the Minister of Human Settlement visited the Eastern Cape and really saw the shoddy houses being built by contractors. We are promoting the emerging contractors, but sometimes the kind of work that they do is just a waste of government's money.
We are going to blacklist all companies that are doing completely low standard work. Though there are some good quality houses built by some emerging contractors.
We are going to have a database of all those companies that are not giving us the product that we need. We want to make sure that when we give houses to our people, we give them homes and not lower standard houses. The Minister has left and therefore he could not answer these questions. He has left because we have a women's build in Mpumalanga. We are going to make sure that in the month of women, we make them proud of the products we build in terms of human settlement. [Interjections.]
Ndiza kukubetha, mna! [I'm going to cane you!] [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HUMAN SETTLEMENTS
SCHOOL NUTRITION PROGRAMME
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Madam Deputy Speaker, I must say that we have noted the different questions which will be relayed to our colleagues. The one that I would like to respond to is the one which concerns the school nutrition programme. I will leave my colleague, Deputy Minister Surty, to speak about the maths and science. He is the one responsible for government's programme on maths and science. [Interjections.] No. Do you want them written?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, hon Minister, please don't respond.
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION: Madam Deputy Speaker, I think you are right. As far as the school nutrition programme is concerned, I would like to agree with the member that it is one of the most vital programmes that we have. If you have looked at yesterday's The Star newspaper, there was an unsolicited article which mentioned both problems and compliments around the programme. Indeed, wherever we have been able to investigate the programme, it worked very well and is helping us to sustain children at schools. In some instances, you will find that it is the only meal that children have. It helps with quite a number of activities.
We also sadly admit or note that in some instances, as the member has indicated, you find that there are unspent funds. As a department we have committed ourselves to making sure that indeed, we monitor and ensure that provinces spend funds. But what we also don't want to do is to have artificial spending. For instance, if Gauteng had fed all the kids, we don't want them to throw the rands in the air. It might be that it had over-budgeted. I don't think we should judge the success of the programme in terms of whether it has spent or not. Perhaps it could be mismanagement on the part of the department to over-budget for a programme.
What we also want to do around the programme is to make sure that it is not only a feeding scheme, but also a nutrition programme, and that through it we teach our kids healthy lifestyles and good nutrition programmes. But again, we appreciate the questions and the comments. I have taken notes. So, Baba, the note is what I have been writing down. It is what people have been saying and which I have to relate to my colleagues. That is what I have been writing, unless you want to see it. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM
The MINISTER OF BASIC EDUCATION
500 000 JOB OPPORTUNITIES PROMISED BY THE GOVERNMENT
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM: Hon Deputy Speaker, I would like to respond to the hon member from COPE who spoke about the 500 000 jobs to be created by the Department of Public Works. It is true that the President has given the assurance that 500 000 job opportunities will be created by the end of the year, and the month. I would also like to assure the hon member that it is not only the Department of Public Works that has been charged with this responsibility, but it is all of us.
In our rural development job-creation model, we have indicated in this House that it is based on households. We have started this programme and are now in Riemvasmaak. There are about 800 households there. In all the places that we will be going to, this is one area where will be making a lot of contributions.
The second matter is that of the Defence Force. I would like remind hon members of the House that the Minister for Defence and Military Veterans yesterday responded very swiftly, clearly and emphatically on this matter. We are a young democracy. All of these things are going to happen now and then. We will see them as we are busy creating our vibrant democracy, but we will settle because the government is firm on these issues.
Lastly, I want to respond to the hon member who spoke of the victory of Sadesmo over Sasco and other democratic and progressive student movements. I just want to say to the hon member that one swallow doesn't make a summer. I thank you. [Applause.] [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS
The MINISTER OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Hon Deputy Speaker, I don't know whether it is parliamentary to say: You are covered. But I have been very well covered by Ministers who spoke ...
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am not covered, are you saying I am covered?
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS: Deputy Speaker, no, I am talking about myself. [Laughter.] I would just like to emphasise the point that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans issued an unequivocal statement yesterday. We must thank hon members for their firm statements which we will convey to the Minister, but government is already taking very swift action on the matter and we are dealing with it quite seriously.
I would further like to say to the hon member from the IFP that the Sadesmo victory, indeed, could be a very well short-lived excitement which could turn out to be nothing but a pure mirage. They should celebrate it while it lasts. Thank you. [Applause.][[Laughter.]
SUBJECT FOR DISCUSSION – Ms A M DREYER
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF HOME AFFAIRS
THE REPORT OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL ON PERFORMANCE AUDIT OF ENTITIES THAT ARE CONNECTED WITH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND DOING BUSINESS WITH NATIONAL DEPARTMENTS.
(Subject for Discussion)
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members, I wish to draw the attention of members to the agreement at the Programme Committee this morning that the debate should focus on the general principles of the matter, not on the specifics which are currently before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. [Applause.]
Ms A M DREYER: Madam Deputy Speaker, as you have mentioned, the Auditor–General's Report on a performance audit of entities that are connected with government employees and doing business with national departments has certainly raised alarming issues. As a Parliament that takes its oversight roles seriously, it is proper that we debate the issues highlighted in this report and propose measures to enhance accountability in the Public Service.
Briefly, the report identified 49 employees, who were Directors or members of entities and doing business with national departments, but failed to declare their financial interests or did not have approval to perform remunerative work outside employment in government. Now, those are the findings.
The rules are quite clear; let's look at that. The code of conduct for the Public Service states: Employees are expected to place their undivided attention, time and skills at the disposal of the Public Service as employer; the nature and demands of the job in the public sector are such that the interests of both the Public Service and community may be prejudiced by a public servant undertaking remunerative work outside official duties and it is therefore mandatory to obtain prior approval to perfom remunerative work outside official hours.
Moreover, the Public Service Act of 1994 states very explicitly that:
No officer or employee shall perform or engage him or herself to perform remunerative work outside his or her employment in the Public Service without permission granted by the relevant executive authority or officer authorised by the said authority.
It is obvious that the conduct of the 49 identified officials is a clear-cut violation of the law. To exacerbate the matter, the report of the Public Service Commission called, "Overview of the Implementation of the Financial Framework for the Financial Year 2007-08", generally states that the compliance rate for Director-Generals and their deputies was low. Only 65% of senior officials submitted their disclosure forms after an extended deadline, and only 48% by the due date on 31 May 2008.
Certainly, it then makes sense that the Public Service Commission advises the relevant executive authorities, who are Ministers and MECs, to institute disciplinary action and to charge transgressing heads of departments with misconduct. The Auditor-General echoes these sentiments advocating disciplinary action against officials who violate the rules. Now, these are the findings and the recommendations of our independent constitutional bodies. The question is: What does the executive say? I only see Madam Minister Motshekga. I would like to hear her response on this, later on. The Minister of Public Service and Administration, Richard Baloyi - I don't see him here today - addressed the anticorruption learning network in Port Elizabeth last month. He said that this Report of the Auditor–General and I quote, ``… was the most disturbing news in a long time''.
Minister Baloyi further acknowledges that corruption appears to be an entrenched problem. The fact that between 2006 and 2007 reports of corruption to the Public Service Commission's National Anti-Corruption Hotline increased by 46%, supports the Minister's view of the extent of the problem. However, the Minister also said that government needed to fight on and improve its efforts to tackle this problem.
I firmly believe that most members would echo these sentiments. Therefore, the purpose of this debate today is to urge the Minister to fight on. The Public Service will only be able to deliver services effectively and efficiently to all when the executive displays zero tolerance towards corruption, and this was discussed in our Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration. According to my judgement from the discussions, this portfolio committee acknowledges the important oversight work done by other committees, especially Scopa, on this matter.
According to my judgement, the portfolio committee also notes that the Department of Public Service and Administration has already taken steps to enhance accountability of senior officials in national departments and urges the Minister of Public Service and Administration to ensure that disciplinary action is, in fact, taken against those officials who fail to declare their financial interests or did not have approval to perform remunerative work outside the employment in government.
As Minister Baloyi also said at the anticorruption congress in Port Elizabeth, we must raise a hand, raise a finger and do anything, but we must never allow corruption to undermine to our hard-won gains. Let us thus heed the call of the Minister and raise a hand, or raise our voices and stop corruption. The battle cry is:
Phansi ngenkohlakalo! Phansi! [Down with corruption!]
Hon MEMBERS: Phansi! [Down!]
Ms A M DREYER: Madam Deputy Speaker, by supporting these sentiments, Parliament is strengthening the fight against corruption and for an honest Public Service. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
Ms A M DREYER
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA: Thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. As we have already outlined, this report, which we are presenting today, is confined to specific terms we need to follow. We will definitely oblige, but there might be a lot of similarities from succeeding members because the confinement moves within particular lines.
Hon Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, comrades and compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, the report of the Auditor-General provides Parliament with a distinct prospect to locate and become the curator of the issues of high morality and societal values. On top of our national agenda is our quest to build a nation with the highest level of ethical conduct and integrity.
In pursuit of a culture of openness and our resolve to fight corruption, the ANC has, since 1994, created a number of checks and balances to disentangle the state from the pitfalls we had identified. The steps we have taken to ensure accountability and transparency include the establishment of a number of public institutions and systems. These include the Public Protector; Auditor-General, whose report is before the committee and which we are interrogating; the Inspector-General of Intelligence; the Directorate of Special Operations; the protection of whistle blowers; corruption tip-off lines that the President is very vocal about; the Promotion of Access to Information Act of 2000; and there are many more that deal with this.
This debate takes place on the occasion when portfolio committees, across the board in this Parliament, are hard at work studying and interrogating the Auditor-General's findings, for purposes of oversight.
In addition, the Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration is occupied with the report of the Public Service Commission, which presents an overview of the Implementation of the Financial Disclosure Framework for 2007-08 financial years.
The findings and the concerns of the commission reveal the enormity and lack of discipline in the application of proper procedures within the Public Service. Therefore, Parliament is called upon to assert its oversight authority in this regard.
The Ministry representing the executive authority and the Department of Public Service and Administration wrote letters requesting the implicated department to indicate attempts to address the weaknesses we are talking about. It is of great concern that most departments failed to meet the deadline of 30 June 2009. This means that some of them could not respond on time.
In this instance, we welcome the President's commitment to treat this matter with the urgency it deserves. Most members were in the House yesterday when the President was responding on this matter, and we've all realised that he takes this very serious.
As the Fourth Parliament, we are expected to robustly conduct oversight over these departments that have not played their part. We will leave no stone unturned in doing the duty we are mandated to perform. We are not going to be spectators whilst the legislative instruments put in place by Parliament are undermined by those meant to assist in the execution of their duties.
Failure to do so will mean we have contributed towards the condition of decay in moral values within government in particular, and within the state in general. Parliament should not fail in its quest to effectively hold the executive accountable to foster delivery of services to the citizens of this country.
Chapter 3, section H of the Public Service Regulation clearly stipulates that any designated official, who fails to disclose his or her financial interest, or wilfully provides incorrect, misleading details, is guilty of misconduct.
This means that the designated state officials who are alleged not to have declared their financial interests, have to prove that they did comply with this legal requirement in a formal disciplinary inquiry.
We view this report of the Auditor-General against the bedrock of our continuous call to those honoured to serve in public life to protect the integrity and the trust of citizens in public institutions and governance processes. The South African government has put in place these strong measures, through anticorruption legislation and related codes of ethics at different levels of Public Service, not to catch wrongdoers but rather to protect the state actors against the potential enticement of acting outside ethical norms and standards.
The legislative instruments have been put in place by this august Parliament. However, a parliamentary oversight on the implementation of these measures was found not to be good enough. To remedy the parliamentary oversight deficiency, Parliament must, through the portfolio committees concerned, make an insightful assessment to ascertain the extent of the impact these measures have or have not made.
The national executive, in conjunction with the provincial and local counterparts, should be held accountable by Parliament and provincial legislatures respectively, in the implementation of these existing anticorruption instruments.
Although the report of the Auditor-General does not pass judgement on the guilty or otherwise of the outcome of any disciplinary inquiries that may be instituted, transgression is alleged, and there might be those who have a case to answer.
We must desist from calling for action even before guilt has been established. In the process of correcting the deterioration in moral standing, we should not undermine the rights of those who deserve the right to substantive and procedural fairness.
The success of the South African state and the sustenance of our hard-earned democracy depend on the commitment to observe and respect the established rules and standards set to guide our behaviour and conduct, by all who chose to serve the interests of the nation in public office.
When we discuss the report of the Auditor-General today, it should serve as a broader developmental and unifying effort to cultivate a new culture for social cohesion in order to unify our commitment towards a transparent and accountable public life. We must do so for the poor who are the main motivating force in the broad national developmental front and, therefore, the main intended beneficiaries of the national Reconstruction and Development Programme.
In our attempt to unravel the state from this scourge, the state should institutionalise the requirements for accepting into its rank all who commit and abide by its anticorruption policies and objectives.
Screening and vetting of potential state employees, for security clearance and to assess their track record for high ranking positions, is a regular requirement in mature democracies. The NIA is an institution meant to conduct such processes.
The committee will, in future, call those departments that are not complying with the requirements to appear before, it in line with the existing parliamentary oversight mechanisms. The measures put in place by the Minister are most welcome and should also take into account the legislative gaps that have been identified by the Auditor-General. This is with an aim to restore the moral high ground that our people used to be known for.
The future debate on this matter should be located within the context of our broad national effort, as a nation united in our resolve to create a people-centred, democratic, nonracial, nonsexist society and prosperity while occupying the high moral ground. Thank you.
Mr L RAMATLAKANE
Ms J C MOLOI-MOROPA
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon Ramatlakane, this is your maiden speech, isn't it? [Interjections.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: I thought, Madam Deputy Speaker, you would make a ruling that during a maiden speech, in terms of tradition, there is no heckling. [Interjections.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: That's why, hon member, I am mentioning that they won't heckle you, but you must not provoke them.
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Madam Speaker, thank you very much. When the rot of fraud and the fermentation of corruption started to eat away the trust of the people in the state, COPE was regarded as a disgruntled lot.
When the call was made for the distinction between party and state in order for those party deployees to be mindful that they are in the service of the state and should not be rewarded, COPE was called a bunch of sore losers.
We are making this charge today because it is with a profound sense of vindication that even Cosatu, only now, has identified tenders as, I quote, "the biggest enemy of the revolution".
Tenders, as the largest enterprise in our economy, have become a source of the great depression and for the vulnerable youth of our country and a source of more despair for the poor and aspirant SMMEs. This sordid state of affairs is mechanised by some in the Public Service, especially in the SMS band, who are entrusted with the confidence of the people to transact, on their behalf, equitably and justifiably for the good of the greater society.
The government has failed to ensure compliance with the following provisions of law: the Public Service Act 1994 as amended; Public Service Regulations; Public Finance Management Act 1999; and the Treasury Regulations and the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 2004.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I must emphasise that as the chairperson of the committee has, in fact, indicated, the Minister was informed about this violation of the Act and has so far not acted, this has now placed a black cloud over the entire state when, in fact, it may not be necessary. These laws were ratified by this very House after laborious deliberations. However, enforcement is the noble duty of a government that is tasked by the electorate - and this government is.
As the COPE, we have been horrified by the fact that 434 officials in the Public Service have failed to declare their commercial interests and activities. The Auditor-General has reported on that. Of course, it is suggested that R540 million is in question and being verified. We are further repulsed that 30 of these officials who have acted agains these interests and activities in the very department where they, in fact, had influence and authority.
In line with the President Zuma's statement yesterday, when he was responding to the COPE leader Hon Dandala, he said that the government is committed to rooting out the corruption. In response, we are unsure whether this can be the truth, but we want to make a call on the Minister to investigate the allegation that a certain Mr Zondi, a Director of Acquisition in the SANDF, might have vested interests in a company called "Origin Exchange Consulting (Pty) Ltd". This company appears to have the same registered address, 2 Jessica Place, Kloof, KwaZulu-Natal, as Mr Zondi's company, Oak Trading 190 (Pty) Ltd.
Interestingly, the Origin Exchange which won the tender, BID B/G/894/08, during a moratorium period, did not meet the tender criteria of five years of ordnance removal experience, and invoiced the Department of Defence on 22 June 2009 when the tender was only awarded this year in August 2009!
These officials are fishing in the sink and dealing a double blow to the country by hiding some ill-gotten riches and not paying tax as they have keep the money away from prying eyes.
In this regard, we are talking about an amount of over half a billion rand that is in question in the fiscal year. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH
Mr L RAMATLAKANE
Mr N SINGH: Madam Deputy Speaker, firstly, I want to congratulate hon Ramatlakane on his maiden speech and I want to thank hon Dreyer for ensuring that this motion is placed on the Order Paper, notwithstanding the fact that the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Scopa, has not completed their report. But, as you said, hon Dreyer, Minister Baloyi on some occasion said that the more people lift their hands, the more people raise their voices and the more people create awareness against this scourge of corruption, the better. And I am glad that this matter is being discussed in this House, this afternoon.
The government departments and employees are funded by taxpayers and they should therefore have the best interests of the South African public at heart. I would go so far as to say that they should be examples in ethical business practices. The reality, however, could not be more different. Corruption and nepotism are words that are synonymous with the way that some of the national departments conduct their business practices, with dishonesty and fraudulent behaviour rife amongst some employees.
The sad fact of the matter is that not all government employees are corrupt, but because of the actions of some of their colleagues they are deemed to be corrupt by association.
This behaviour not only affects the performance of the national departments and their ability to fulfil their mandates, but it also contributes to the negativity surrounding national departments and government employees, and entrenches a culture of corruption within government.
Hon members and hon Speaker, these actions must be stopped and anybody found guilty of unethical business practices must be dealt with, regardless of who they know or who they are related to. Corrupt behaviour must not be tolerated and this culture of dishonesty which seems to be entrenched in some of our national departments must be weeded out.
The senior officials in national departments must lead by example and realise that they are dealing with our money. The starting point in ridding departments of corrupt behaviour is to make examples of senior officials found guilty of unethical behaviour and not let them get away. We cannot expect the employees to be models of honesty when their supervisors are corrupt.
To this end, we would like to propose a nam and shame approach because if any official is caught putting his hands in the cookie jar and fingers in the till, then he or she must be named. The reason we are saying this is that during our hearings we discovered that there were officials who were moving from department to the department, and some from the national department to provinces. They were accused of unethical behaviour in some departments, but they were employed by other departments down the line. So if there is a database of these employees, then everybody will be extra careful.
But, as I said yesterday, the responsibility lies with the executing authority, and that is the Ministers. The Ministers have to see to it that the director-generals ensure that senior managers adhere to simple things like disclosure of financial interests.
And also, Madam Speaker, to hon members of this House, it is the time of the year when annual reports are going to be tabled by all departments. Some questions must be asked as a matter of course when annual reports are being dealt with: Had all senior managers declared their financial interest; does any senior manager in your department have interests in any business and has that been declared?
Lastly, we would like to propose - and there has been news about this – a moratorium on all senior officials of government departments when they resign or leave the department to join the private sector and getting tenders from the departments in which they were working. We must put an end to this and maybe there should be a grace period of one year or so, where they can't involve themselves in the private sector so that they benefit from tenders. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr M H HOOSEN
Mr N SINGH
Mr M H HOOSEN: Deputy Speaker, this report by the Auditor-General presents some very worrying results. Whilst there are insufficient legal provisions in place to preclude public servants from doing business with the government, it can't be right that the government must provide employment for its citizens, who then use state coffers as a cash cow to further their own greed, especially in a country where millions of South Africans are living in abject poverty.
The ID is firmly of the view that public servants are employed to serve the people of our country and not to milk the state of its resources. Public servants must decide whether they want to serve our country or go into business with the government, but they must certainly not be allowed to do both.
The millions of rands earned by government employees through business deals with the government could have been better used to create opportunities for the many micro businesses in our country that are already struggling to survive.
The ID therefore calls for an urgent review of the Public Service Regulations and calls on the government to implement urgent corrective measures to prevent this abuse of our public resources. I thank you.
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Mr M H HOOSEN
Mr S Z NTAPANE: Deputy Speaker and hon members, one of the central pillars of ethical governance is that public servants should not have a conflict of interest between their daily duties and their private business interests. This principle is well-established throughout the world because of the obvious danger that such conflicts of interests will lead to collusion, tender fraud and other forms of corruption.
This form of corruption also has an inevitable further negative consequence, because in most such cases the service or product that is delivered to or on behalf of the Public Service is usually of inferior quality.
In our country we have seen widespread Public Service inefficiency and a growing resentment at ground level about this, which translate into violent community protests.
The UDM urges government to act swiftly to discipline, and where necessary, prosecute, those public servants who are fingered in the Auditor-General's report. We also urge the ruling party to live up to it's often-repeated . . . [Time expired.]
Mr S N SWART
Mr S Z NTAPANE
Mr S N SWART: Madam Deputy Speaker, the ACDP wishes to thank the hon Anchen Dreyer for raising this very important issue. We believe that public servants who have businesses should not transact at all with the state as there is clearly a potential for a conflict of interests. In our view it is not sufficient for such public servants to obtain approval or disclose their interests. The potential still remains for tender rigging, fraud and corruption. And that potential is too high.
Why do we say that? The Public Service Commission's director-general has advised Scopa during the hearing that in fact there is a regression in disclosure and monitoring of conflicts of interest. According to her words, in some cases noncompliance has become habitual with about 10% of senior managers actively refusing to disclose their financial interests.
Over the past years several investigations by the Public Service Commission and the Auditor-General have identified the same problems with no noticeable improvement in the way the state conducts its business. On the contrary, large numbers of serious breaches continue to be identified, such as those being investigated by Scopa at present. Besides this being an issue of probity and conflict of interests it also goes to the heart of service delivery, with those having business interests undoubtedly spending time on their businesses at the cost of service delivery.
In view of this the question arises whether public servants should be allowed to run private companies at all.
During Scopa's hearings the view was strongly expressed that serious consideration should be given to completely outlawing outside remunerative activities by public servants, and particularly senior managers.
The ACDP agrees with this. Such a step would simplify public administration and reduce the ethical complexities and suspicion that continue to cloud our public sector.
In view of the huge challenges facing us in regard to service delivery, isn't it time for such a step? Public servants, particularly senior managers, should accept their often lucrative salaries and get on with doing the job taxpayers have paid them to do instead of moonlighting; perhaps then service delivery will improve. I thank you.
Ms S R TSEBE
Mr S N SWART
Ms S R TSEBE: Modulasetilo, motlatsa semmesegolo wa Kokoanotheo ya Bosetšhaba, bomme le borre ba Maloko a Palamente, ke a lo dumedisa.
Deputy Speaker, in 1995 our former President and icon, Nelson Mandela, during his opening speech at the Business Initiative Against Corruption and Crime in Kempton Park emphasised the following, and I quote:
We need a collective sense of mission to change mindsets and to steer the nation away from a dangerous course. We need to take decisive measures to strengthen the moral fibre of our nation.
Again the national executive committee of the ANC in its January statement of 2009 stated clearly that we need to defend the gains of the national democratic revolution. Therefore having said the above, as the ruling party, we will do everything in our power to protect the interests of this country. It is our mandate; it is our responsibility from Polokwane.
Again the President, who is also the president of the ANC, said yesterday, and I quote: "We won't tolerate or condone any wrongdoing; rules are rules". I really agree with him 100%.
Se ke bokao jo bo totobetseng jo bo bontshang gore puso e e eteletsewng pele ke mokgatlho wa ANC e tsaya tshenyego ka tshisibalo, e bile ke rona re tlileng ka ntlha ya tshenyego mo pusong. Ga go ope yo o tlileng go re etla pele mabapi le nyona. Re tla nna re e setse morago.
The hearings on 6 July 2009 before Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts have provided us with disturbing accounts of activities by senior public servants which need a coherent and united response as we begin the 4th democratic Parliament. This unethical conduct by some public officials - of course, it is not all of them - destroys the trust of citizens in public institutions and governance processes. It is beyond reproach and despicable. When dealing with this matter, both the corrupt and the corrupted must be dealt with accordingly.
It is from this premise that we condemn all the acts of greed by some senior officials for not declaring their interests when doing businesses with government, as well as giving business to their families, friends and relatives. Of course, the law allows them to perform remunerative work, but there must be an approval in this regard. And in this case that the Auditor-General referred to, there was no approval.
We also note that the critics say that several investigations by the Public Service Commission and Auditor-General over the past years have identified the same problems with no noticeable improvement. This clearly shows that somebody somewhere is not doing his or her job in terms of monitoring and implementation of decisions taken by this highest institution.
The fact of the matter is that as government and as South Africa we have good systems. Is the current framework tight enough and effective enough to deal with the challenges? If not, something needs to be done to add spice on this issue.
In conclusion, one recognises oneself as a member of the ANC and a member of this House. My duties, amongst other things, is to represent the people and ensure government by the people and, importantly for this debate today, to scrutinise and oversee executive action.
The Polokwane conference resolved that the ANC must provide leadership to society as a whole, including the opposition, in the fight against corruption. In my view, this will ensure that we steer the nation away from dangerous courses and we are charged with the spirit of faster and better change, hoping all shall join us in the change of mindset, including opposition parties.
Re rata go leboga kantoro ya Moruni Kakaretso wa Aforika Borwa mo tirong e ntle e a e dirileng go fitlha fa. Ke a leboga.
Mr M H STEELE
MS S R TSEBE
Mr M H STEELE: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, we need to be clear on what we are speaking about. Public officials, like MPs, own property, they have retirement funds, they have pensions, and they own shares through those pension funds. Those are legitimate private interests, and we are not talking about those. We are concerned with public servants who own and operate businesses which do business with government. That is the issue, and that is the concern when it comes to the conflict of interest.
Madam Deputy Speaker, perhaps in an ideal world the political business in government sectors would all exist in neat little compartments but, of course, they don't. Despite our official policy of cadre deployment, South Africa still has a form of government and a political culture which has more in common with the Commonwealth than with the American model.
We continue to believe in the ideal of a Public Service which is impartial and apolitical. Once appointed to a senior management position, we South Africans honestly believe that public servants will operate in the best interest of all citizens and will make decisions impartially and without fear or favour. It is a sign of our continued optimism that even when this manifestly is not the case, we can still be disappointed.
The Public Service Commission report reveals that many public servants have either deliberately or negligently avoided making full declaration of their personal and business interests. Some are even serial offenders who have repeatedly refrained from making such disclosure. The Public Service Commission report indicates that there are grey areas in our code of conduct for public servants, concerning the precise definition of what constitutes remunerative work.
The sheer size of some of the contracts awarded to companies linked to officials who have not disclosed their interests demands that current policy and procedures be thoroughly reviewed. At the very least, nondisclosure must in future have serious disciplinary consequences for the officials concerned.
I'd like to suggest some examples from elsewhere in the Commonwealth that we could consider, for example, the use of inside information or insider trading, to use the commercial parlance, which is now regulated in the Australian code of conduct. Both Australia and Canada have created positions for ethics or integrity commissioners, especially to enforce compliance with their codes of conduct. Canada makes blind trusts obligatory for public service holders, while the 2007 code of conduct for New Zealand public servants allows state departments to prohibit certain types of financial interests, as a condition of employment by that department.
We, in Parliament, need to do more to ensure that the national and provincial Ministers and MECs do what is required of them, which is simply to hold their senior officials accountable. We need to take seriously the problems uncovered by the Public Service Commission and the Auditor-General and move swiftly to improve the way the risks of conflicts of interests are managed, are reported on and are, above all, complied with by all public officials at all levels of government. Madam Deputy, thank you.
Ms M N MATLADI
Mr M H STEELE
Ms M N MATLADI: Deputy Speaker, the research that was conducted with government to check the number of employees who have companies and closed corporations that are in business with government departments, has revealed for the years 2005 to 2007 an amount of R615 million. Also, the research indicates 2 319 government officials who had interests in companies and did business with the government.
The UCDP, therefore, having listened to the debates and facts presented by my colleagues and also members of Scopa, would like to support the suggestion that the disclosure of interest should be compulsory for employees; not only for them but also their related parties, including family members and close friends. Another suggestion is that the SBD 4 Declaration of Interest form be amended to include spouses, directorships, shareholding and memberships in companies that had transacted with the state in the previous 12 months of the financial year, and that an integration of the PSC system and Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office, Cipro, be considered.
We would like to say, let the law take its course with the offenders so that the taxpayers' funds can be recovered.
Letsogo la molao le letelele. A ba ba sentseng ba tlhagisiwe, madi a setšhaba a bolokesege. Re a leboga. [Legofi.]
Mr M E MBILI
Ms A M DREYER
Mr M E MBILI: Madam Speaker, hon members, comrades and friends, our area of deployment as members of Parliament and Scopa, in particular, is to make sure that the public purse is utilised for intended purposes, as appropriated for by this House. In doing so, we analyse the past performance and financial conduct in our public entities and departments in order to produce the future outcomes that deliver value to citizens whose hard-earned money we are enjoined by the Constitution to oversee.
That is why we interrogate the report of the Auditor‑General with keen interest. If the above supposition is correct, we then have to reflect and honestly answer the question: Are we, as Parliament, heeding the call to ensure that we perform clean audits of our departments and entities over which we are charged to perform oversight? It is morally defensible that 15 years down the line after our democracy, corruption in our governance structures remain something of a pandemic?
All of us here have no option but to root out corruption in all its manifestations, lest our dream for an equal society and a better life for all remains just that – a dream perpetually deferred. The time has come for this House to raise the bar on its oversight role without pondering on party political positions.
Firstly, we need to send a very clear message out there, to all accounting officers, that they must take the work of this Parliament and its committees very seriously. We shall no longer allow shoddy preparations when appearing before Scopa or any Parliamentary committee, and we will demand timeous and honest answers. Some of them simply just go there and lie. Scopa, being charged to lead, can never tolerate that anymore.
It is not our business, though, to name and shame people, but we expect administrators and managers to manage public funds and to work efficiently. In this regard, we would like to endorse the call by the President for a corruption‑free society.
We all agree, even with the worst of the opposition, for the first time, that this debate has matured. The report firstly came in August or September last year. Scopa raised the matter very sharply, and we see that everybody is talking about it and it is as well the subject of the media. When the member from the DA proposed this matter, we said: "Oh my God, this is opportunistic!" We were still seized with the matter and were dealing with it as effectively as possible.
There is a need for senior public officials to maintain high standards and professional ethics. We cannot compromise on that one. There is a need for regulations of financial disclosure which are aimed at preventing incidents of conflict of interest before they occur.
That's where we have a problem with the current regulations, because our job, as I have alluded to earlier, is a post-mortem issue. We come after the act has been commissioned. In this regard, we appeal to the implicated departments for an early‑warning sign.
The new regulations require that there must be quarterly reports. That is where we expect the departments to come on board so we can check these things, because our is really a post-mortem, but a very useful one in that by interrogating them – some of them understand what it means to appear before Scopa – we shape future occurrences.
The regulatory initiative did not occur in a vacuum. It is underpinned by political objectives and choices. We have documents in this regard, and they are ready to govern. In 1992, we said, on Professional Ethics in the Public Service, that public servants should be impartial in their functioning and should be accountable to both Parliament and to the broad community they serve.
The ANC further said in its National General Council in Pretoria in 2005, that we needed to investigate measures to deal with potential conflicts of interest. The ANC is equally serious about this. Like I said, if you have followed the interrogations and the public hearings we've had, you will realise that the ANC is as robust as any other party in those hearings, and we want to own it because it is in our interest; this is our government. We want to see the ANC winning its fight against poverty and corruption and to make sure that we realise our longstanding dream of making a better life for all.
That is why we are very serious about this. We said that we want to investigate measures to deal with potential conflicts of interest relating to access to work in the public sector.
Furthermore, in Polokwane, we resolved on ethics and the integration of the public service. Furthermore, the development on policy, post‑tenure, the coolin- off period – I know hon Singh has referred to it - is our policy. We are raising it as the ANC because we want to make sure that people are accountable; they don't use their positions to enrich themselves. We use every resource the country can amass to better the lives of the people. I thank you Madam Chair. [Applause.]
Ms A M DREYER
Mr M E MBILI
Ms A M DREYER (DA): Madam Deputy Speaker, today is indeed a historic day. Parliament has entered a new phase in its life. By allowing this debate, the Speaker has ensured that Parliament is taking its rightful place as an oversight body that holds the executive to account. Moreover, members of Parliament have shown this afternoon that it is possible to stand together on issues of national importance. [Applause.]
I will briefly highlight a few of the views expressed in the debate. Hon Moloi‑Moropa, chairperson of the portfolio committee, reiterated, once again, her and the party's support for accountability and transparency, and she spoke in favour of the sentiments expressed in this debate. Thank you very much, hon Moloi‑Moropa.
Her feelings were echoed by the last speaker, hon Mbili, who said that Parliament has matured, and that we should now look at raising the bar and setting even higher standards for our public servants. I think this idea has found general favour with some of the other speakers who also spoke here today.
Hon Singh of the IFP, thank you for the compliment, by the way. Is he gone? There he is. You expressed yourself unambiguously and strongly in favour of this issue, and you also strongly want us to strengthen the hand of the executive to enforce rules and regulations.
Hon Ramatlakane of COPE, in his usually quiet, considered and balanced style, was giving his maiden speech today. He was a bit nervous, but said something very important. He said that tenders have become the source of depression; and I agree with him because it is especially affecting the youth who are mostly unemployed. When there is corruption, it's the poor who suffer the most.
Hon Swart of the ACDP articulated his party's support very coherently and in a logical manner, like a true advocate. He also asked for a review of the Public Service Handbook. This was also echoed by other members in the UCDP and ID. I think it's an excellent idea.
In the end, what it boils down to is that all of us agree with Minister Baloyi when he said that government should improve its efforts to tackle corruption and to fight on for effective service delivery. Consequently, I want to urge the Minister for Public Service and Administration to ensure that disciplinary action is taken against those officials who failed to declare their financial interests or did not have approval to perform remunerative work outside their employment in government.
Parliament has expressed itself firmly against corruption and for an honest public service. Thank you for a lovely debate. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 17:48.
No related documents