Hansard: First Reading debate: Appropriation Bill / First and Second Reading debate: Western Cape Inherited Debt Relief Bill
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 18 Feb 2009
No summary available.
Thursday, 19 February 2009 Take: 138
THURSDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2009
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 14:04.
The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
Thursday, 19 February 2009 Take: 138
START OF DAY
MOTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
CONSIDERATION TO BE GIVEN TO BOTH THE REPORT OF PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMENT BILL
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move without notice: That the House, noting that the Portfolio Committee on Finance has this morning reported on the Financial Management of Parliament Bill –B74B of 2008 - resolves to consider both the Report of the Portfolio Committee and the Bill today, after Order No 5 on the Order Paper.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
EXTENSION OF DEADLINE BY WHICH AD HOC JOINT COMMITTEE HAS TO REPORT ON NATIONAL YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY BOAD
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, I move that the House, noting the resolution it adopted on 5 February 2009, inter alia, setting the deadline for the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on the appointment of members to the National Youth Development Agency Board to report by 19 February 2009, and subject to the concurrence of the National Council of Provinces, resolves to extend the deadline by which the Ad Hoc Joint Committee has to report to 19 March 2009.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Finance thereon)
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Madam Speaker, I move that the Report be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report accordingly adopted.
Mr K A MOLOTO
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
(First Reading debate)
Mr K A MOLOTO: Madam Speaker, hon members, the global economy is in a serious recession, the most severe in the past 50 or 60 years in terms of depth and length. The scale of this recession is alarming and has far-reaching consequences. Developing countries are finding it difficult to raise funds in international capital markets as the cost of borrowing has just shot through the roof. South Africa is in a very fortunate position as it can still raise most of the required funds in the domestic markets, as our domestic capital markets are very sophisticated and deep.
The private capital flows to emerging markets is drying up as the stimulus package initiated by the developed countries is sucking all the available funds. The problem emerging markets have to deal with is the collapse in consumer demand in the United States and the European Union. The collapse in the housing market has meant that households could not use the equity in their home-loan finance consumption. This has an adverse effect on the exports from emerging markets and hence a drop in manufacturing output.
The fact of the matter is that US consumers are the most heavily indebted in the world, financing most of their consumption through credit. Access to that credit has ceased temporarily because banks' balance sheets have come under pressure as a result of subprime losses. The developed countries have to deal with two challenges, that of bailing out their banks and of stimulating the economy through massive infrastructure investments.
The Asian tigers are also experiencing serious problems. Their narrow focus and excessive dependence on exports have made them even more vulnerable, compared to their Western counterparts, as their export-led growth was tied up to the American consumer boom.
About 36% of South African-manufactured exports are sold to the G-7 industrialised countries. Only about 5% of such exports go to Brasilia, Russia, India and China. Currently, the economies of the G‑7 countries are experiencing serious contraction in economic growth.
Above all, we need to realise that the neoliberal agenda of lax regulation of financial markets has landed the global economy in this mess. Those who have been arguing about rolling back the role of the state in the economy must realise the folly of their ideology.
I want to go back to the statement made by one congressman to Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, I quote:
Wall Street had a party, got drunk and broke chairs. American citizens were not invited to the party, and now they are expected to pay for the damage caused by Wall Street.
Wall Street has landed the global economy in the mess it is in now. The neoliberal agenda of reckless financial deregulation, turning a blind eye to the regulation of all manner of derivatives, has proved dangerous to the health of the global economy. The world needs comprehensive regulation of financial markets.
These global economic developments have major implications for the South African economy. Lower commodity prices have a huge influence on mining output and ultimately translate into reduced revenue collection for South Africa.
These international economic developments also have far-reaching consequences for the budgets of the Southern African Customs Union - that is Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa. The customs and excise revenue for each member state is collected into a common revenue pool and distributed to member states according to an agreed-upon formula. The problem is that customs revenue is highly volatile and closely follows the business cycle.
Customs revenue represents over 50% of the budget revenue of Lesotho and Swaziland. In the case of Botswana and Namibia, customs revenue represents over 20% of their budget. The contribution of customs revenue to our total revenue is negligible and has never been considered as a major source of revenue.
I'm mentioning these facts because customs duties for 2008-09 are expected to be R7 billion less than expected. This will have a negative impact on the budgets of Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia. It might force these countries to reduce their expenditure.
The ANC election manifesto acknowledges the existence of these serious global economic challenges. This Budget should be seen in the context of the realisation of the objectives of the ANC manifesto.
This year's Budget is guided by the following five principles: One, to protect the poor; two, to build the capacity for long-term growth; three, to sustain employment growth; four, to maintain a sustainable debt level; and, five, to address sectoral barriers to growth and investment. These are the principles that will guide the ANC for the next five years.
Electricity failures in the past clearly indicate that South Africa's ageing infrastructure is a major impediment to economic growth. The R787 billion infrastructure investment plan will ensure that we build our capacity to create employment and grow the economy.
The building of rail networks, roads, school buildings, dams, port operations, housing and investment in power-generation will lay a solid foundation for long-term economic growth. Decent work opportunities will be created in the process of building this infrastructure.
We have to strengthen the role of agriculture in our economy. The sharp-rising food prices in the past clearly point to the need to focus on domestic agriculture as these prices have a negative impact on the poor. This is a labour-intensive sector and we need to pay sufficient attention to it. The manifesto mentions a number of interventions that will be made to strengthen the role of agriculture and food security.
We have to increase our export performance. Compared to other emerging markets, South Africa's export performance has not been impressive. We are still importing much more than we export. The 2009 Budget includes R17 billion for industrial support and tax incentives, which will assist in improving our export performance. It is important that the next Parliament should require an annual report on the effectiveness of these tax incentives and industrial support measures.
The ANC manifesto is calling for special-sector programmes to strengthen our industrial and trade capacity. The interventions contained in the national industrial framework will ensure that we build a competitive manufacturing industry and create jobs.
The ANC's plan is to step up an Expanded Public Works Programme linked to infrastructure and meeting social needs with home-based care, crèches, school cleaning and renovation, community gardens, the removal of alien vegetation, tree planting and school feeding.
The 2009 Budget introduces a new performance-based incentive to municipalities to increase the labour intensity of public works programmes. An additional R4,1 billion is allocated to the Public Works Programme.
We will manage our economy in a manner that ensures that it continues to grow, that our people benefit from that growth, and that we ensure that we create decent work for the unemployed, for workers, for young people, for women and the rural poor. We'll remain in touch with our people and listen to their needs. We have achieved much in the past 15 years, but we are committed to doing more. Working together, we can do more! I thank you. [ Applause.]
Mr S J F MARAIS / GM/MC / END OF TAKE
Mr K A MOLOTO
Mr S J F MARAIS: Chairperson, this Bill has major implications and potential consequences that should support the requirements for a sustainable gross domestic product, GDP. The Minister must be complimented on his bold and clear observations and advice he has given about the unacceptable performance by most departments. Unfortunately, it often seems he is a lone voice in a political wilderness where nobody else sees, hears or speaks sensible and prudent economics.
The global economy is now in a real turmoil, while uncertainty and also anxiety prevail amongst global investors, which emanate in a negative sentiment towards emerging markets that also affect profoundly our domestic economy. The political volatility and the expressed views by the ANC's leftist partners have certainly added to this. Our inflation and interest rates remain relatively high when compared to our main trading partners. It is expected that the rand will weaken further in response to the uncertain portfolio inflows, a volatile dollar and the perceived risk linked to the ever-increasing current account deficit.
The DA's election manifesto has the objective of offering a realistic alternative approach in an open-opportunity society in order to assure all taxpayers and investors that the DA can and will not only make realistic, meaningful and constructive contributions to ensure the highest probability of macroeconomic success, but that we can act as their credible and knowledgeable watchdog and as a realistic alternative government-in-waiting. We have an important role to play to comfort current and potential investors.
Die Minister moet gekomplimenteer word vir die volgende:
Die verdere toedeling aan Eskom, staatsondernemings, provinsies en munisipaliteite vir hulle kapitaaluitbreidingsprogramme, hoewel daar te min op die privaatsektor se rol gefokus word.
Die klem op die noodsaak vir die uitvoergerigtheid en die verdien van buitelandse valuta.
Die noodsaak vir die ontwikkeling van vaardighede om die verlangde ekonomiese groei te ondersteun.
Die toekenning om die maatskaplike sektore verder te bemagtig en die mees kwesbaaarste in ons gemeenskappe, kinders tot 15, die behoeftiges en veral gestremdes, verder te ondersteun.
Dit is noodsaaklik dat ons die ekonomiese koek groter moet maak, en dat die belastingbasis verbreed moet word sodat meer volhoubare werksgeleenthede geskep kan word. Dit sal die lewenstandaard en welvaart van alle burgers verbeter, en dit kan verseker dat die vraag-en die aanbodkante van ons ekonomie, optimal ontwikkel en benut kan word.
Die volgende bekommersnisse bestaan onder andere by ons:
Die vooruitskatting van die Bruto Binnelandse Produk, BBP, is 'n skrale 1,2% en verdere ekonomiese skokke kan ons in 'n resessie dompel, sonder genoegsame reserwes.
Hoewel ons begrip het dat die 3,8% begrotingstekort en die leningsopnames tans geregverdig kan word as 'n anti-sikliese meganisme, is ons tog bekommerd dat sulke tekorte en skuld nie volhoubaar is nie en as 'n las op toekomstige generasies gelaai kan word.
Die al groter wordende tekort op die betalingsbelans bly 'n groot bron van kommer. Die Minister het – soos ook verlede jaar– dit erken en die goed bedoelde erkennings, versoeke vir buitelandse kapitale investerings en die toekenning van fondse na die
Departement van Handel en Nywerheidvir uitvoerbevordering, is klaarblyklik nie meer genoegsaam nie.
Kommerwekkend is dat die nywerheidsontwikklingsbeleid steeds nie daarin slaag om uitvoere effektief te stimuleer en om vaste kapitaal investerings na Suid-Afrika te lok nie.
In meerdere gevalle het ons belemmerende wetgewings. Nie net moet huidige werkers beskerm word nie, maar behoort die toetrede van veral werkloses en eerste toetreders, aggressief ondersteun te word.
The Setas have demonstrated that they are a huge failure in support of a targeted GDP. The DA's view is that the business sector should rather be rewarded for providing the required skills. A whole restructuring of the employment, skills development and human resources programmes in the Department of Labour is needed to ensure an environment conducive to quality and responsive skills development.
It was a huge disappointment to the DA and business at large that the expectation of a wage subsidy created by the Minister in his 2008 Budget Speech seems to have vanished from his radar screen. This is a great open-opportunity mechanism to support especially the unemployed and first-time entrants to gain skills and experience. The DA will persist that this be brought back and that other job-creating initiatives and incentives be considered. Similarly, it seems that most of the National Treasury's commissioned Harvard report proposals have also been ignored to date. Much more needs to be done to support business in creating new jobs. The underperformance of most government departments and the apparent lack of real skills and accountability are still major barriers to development opportunities for all.
It is evident that the current requirement for foreign investment, well in excess of R3 billion per week, to fund the current account deficit is catching up with us. We urgently require an initiative to effectively address this question. Sustainable exports will not only support the much-needed employment drive, but will also release pressure on the current account deficit. The DA believes that export processing and job-creating zones need to be developed in support of these.
Everybody is shocked that the Minister has once again rescued S A Airways from bad management and financial decisions. The taxpayer cannot be expected to carry this liability much further. [Interjections.] SAA can be a strategic and competitive asset provided it is viable. As an increasing liability, unbundling and/or privatisation must become realistic options.
Verbruikersbesteding en kredietopname asook hulle spaarvermoë het die afgelope jaar skerper gedaal as verwag. Dit regverdig aggressiewe verdere rentekoersverlagings.
Die DA sal voortdurend krities wees om te verseker dat ons weer 'n kompetering-en voorkeur ontwikkelingsmark alternatief word, veral ten opsigte van direkte vaste kapitale investerings. Onder die huidige moeilike ekonomiese omstandighede, is ons egter gemaklik met die doelstelling van hierdie wetsontwerp. Ek dank u. [Applous.]
Mr N SINGH
Mr S J F MARAIS
Mr N SINGH: Madam Speaker, hon members, the world, and, in turn, the South African economy, is in distress. Much has been said over the past few months about this crisis, and many predictions, assumptions and possible remedies have been put forward. We all know that the current situation is very bad, and many are predicting that it will get even worse.
Ultimately, we don't know exactly how bad the situation will get and exactly how much damage it will cause. All we can do is speculate. In the interim, we must be proactive and implement innovative policies and plans to best deal with the current situation, as well as to ensure that we do not ignore our long-term growth and development needs. When we do emerge from this downturn, we must be in a position to continue on our growth path and reach our economic and social targets.
The economies of the developed world and our main trading partners are in a panic, with many of the traditional economic powers in recession and facing the prospect of an unprecedented number of job losses.
The hon Minister of Finance indicated to this House that 2,6 million US workers lost their jobs last year. This year, the state of California alone is to start notifying 20 000 state workers that they may lose their jobs. While these problems might seem a million miles away, they do have a direct effect on the developing world and our prosperity.
The World Bank has said that about 53 million people in developing countries will remain poor because of the world economic slowdown, and estimates that 40% of the world's 107 developing countries are highly exposed to the global crisis. This crisis will undermine efforts and gains that have been made in reducing poverty.
The effects of the economic stagnation are already being felt harshly right here in South Africa. According to a report by the Motor Industry Bargaining Council, 36 500 jobs were lost in the local motor industry between July and last month. This number is set to increase as more jobs in the industry are in jeopardy. This is terrifying when you consider that jobs will most likely also be lost in other sectors such as mining, manufacturing and textiles. The social ramifications of these retrenchments are enormous.
In his state of the nation address, our hon President stated that alternatives to layoffs would be explored, including longer holidays, extended training, short time and job sharing. The IFP hopes that some of these interventions will be implemented urgently and that assistance is given to ailing sectors.
Turning to job creation and growth, during periods of relative prosperity there were still not enough jobs being created to meet the needs of our growing population. We acknowledge that there are impediments preventing us from attaining a higher growth rate of at least 8%, which we believe will be needed if we are to create the amount of jobs that we want.
These impediments, such as rigid labour laws and ageing infrastructure, must be removed, and an environment that is conducive to growth, development and investment must be created. We must also make it easier for emerging businesses and SMMEs – small, medium and micro enterprises - to obtain finance and other support from our development finance institutions. These institutions must also be properly financed and staffed with professionals who are capable and able to provide a high standard of service. The promotion of SMMEs is especially important for the creation of employment during this difficult time.
In his Budget Speech, the hon Minister of Finance indicated that the Umsobomvu Youth Fund had been allocated R1 billion. This fund was created in 2001 to help youth development, but it has not been successful in this regard and has serious shortcomings that have left scores and scores of young people marginalised and excluded from its programmes ...
The SPEAKER: Order! Hon members, the noise level is unbearable. There is an hon member who just laughed as if she was at a stadium and Bafana Bafana had just scored. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] Yes, that is called patriotism. We expect the Minister to respond to all the people who are addressing us now. It is very difficult, even for me being so close to them, to follow what they are saying. We are pleading with you. I know it is the last day, and there are all sorts of meetings happening. We want to appreciate that those meetings should happen. There are so many venues in Parliament. Could you do that and not use the National Assembly, please. I am sure we have an undertaking that all of us want to follow the debate. This is very important for the country.
Hon Singh, I am so sorry to have interrupted you. Will you please continue.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I am sure I will receive injury time with that whistle being blown.
We trust that the hon Minster of Finance will investigate whether the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the new National Development Agency are successful in ensuring that that the youth benefit from these funds.
The promotion of SMMEs and the development of our youth are vital in our quest to create employment. The institutions tasked with assisting these groups should be used for their intended purposes and not to enrich a select few who are politically connected. All forms of corruption and inefficiency must be removed from these institutions.
The IFP believes that spending on infrastructure development and maintenance is paramount to our growth and the attainment of our economic and social targets. The recent energy crisis highlighted our shortcomings and the need for investment in infrastructure projects that address our long-term needs.
We are therefore pleased that infrastructure spending, hon Minister, is given priority in this Budget, especially during this time of economic hardship. We are also pleased that there are additional allocations to other departments including Education, and we trust that these monies will be well spent.
Further, the IFP believes that an industrial policy that promotes beneficiation and manufactured exports and also focuses on sectors with high job potential, such as agriculture and tourism, is needed to promote growth. Rural agriculture must also be resuscitated as increased investment in this area will go a long way towards providing our rural poor with food security and an improved quality of life.
Other speakers from my party will touch on SAA, social welfare and other issues.
I would like to conclude by congratulating the hon Minister on his Budget Speech, as he has given this House and us an honest appraisal in which he mentioned both the areas of success and failure. This was probably one of the most difficult Budgets he has had to deliver, considering the gloomy global economic outlook and the lack of certainty that it has created.
Even though we may not agree with everything there, we believe that it is a well-balanced Budget that addresses both our short and long-term goals. I would like to thank the staff of the Minister and all my colleagues in the Finance committee and the respective chairpersons for the wonderful co-operation we have had during our term of office. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Ms L L MABE / src keh checked / END OF TAKE
Mr N SINGH
Mme L L MABE: Ke a leboga Mmusakgotla, maloko a Ntlo e kgolo e, mo boemong jwa mokgatlho wa ANC ke rata go leboga Maaforika Borwa otlhe a a dirileng go tlala seatla gore demokerasi ya rona e tie, le gore naga ya rona e ntle, ya molalatladi, e gole, mo dingwageng di le sometlhano tse di fetileng.
E ne e se phoso gore bagaetsho ba re Freedom Charter ke se re tla tshelang le sona dingwagangwaga. Tota e fetogile nnete 100%, tota ke dira phoso, tla ke re 120% gore Freedom Charter e be e bua dilo tse di amang batho ba rona; tseo di kayang gore batho ba rona ba tshwanetse go nna le botshelo jo bo botoka, eseng metlholo e e dirilweng mo dingwageng di le makgolo a mararo tse di fetileng tsa gore batho ba bo rona ba sotliwe; se se dirwang ba sa gopolwe, ba gopolwa fela fa ba fiwa masaledi a a sa ba kgotsofatseng.
Gompieno ga ke tle go bua ka dipalopalo.
I am not going to talk about figures, but about what concerns our people. There are those who know that I like figures but today I am not in the mood. I just want to state forthrightly that beautiful and great ideas and plans cannot be fulfilled without financial resources.
The enthusiasm and the political will are what we need to ensure that every year, when the Minister of Finance presents the Budget, that it will be able to achieve the best for our people. I repeat: "political will" to ensure that wherever we are deployed in particular by this great movement, which is a congress of the people - the real congress of the people - we will do our best to ensure that our people have a better life. [Applause.]
There is a tendency in certain corners to isolate Comrade Trevor Manuel, the Minister of Finance, from the ANC, from ANC government. I don't know where this comes from. Comrade Trevor, the Minister of Finance ... [Interjections.]
An HON MEMBER: He's clever!
Ms L L MABE: That's true, he is clever.
He cannot be dissociated from the ANC. He can't be dissociated from the ANC government. [Interjections.] He is all ANC in blood. What he thinks about the Budget, what he thinks about for our people, is ANC in blood. [Interjections.] You are mistaken, my friends. [Applause.]
This is a fallacy. If you want to know what my comrade is doing, study the January 8 statement, study the conference resolutions -the recent ones are the Polokwane resolutions - study the Freedom Charter. You will know why, whatever he presents every February of every financial year, he says what he says. [Interjections.] You will understand it. [Applause.]
I want to remind you that when my comrade, Comrade Trevor - hon Minster, I forget you're my comrade - presented the Budget, he was riding high in the ANC manifesto. Those who said that the ANC had a wish list were mistaken. He proved 150% that the ANC knows where it is going. [Applause.] The ANC is definite and determined to ensure that for years to come our people will have a better life. [Interjections.] I want to remind you, my friends, my colleagues, that your critics are misleading you. People of this country know that the ANC is with them at all costs. [Interjections.] You are wrong.
I also want to remind you that when Comrade President Kgalema Motlanthe spoke to this House, he did not make a mistake. Many people thought that he did not have anything to say about government. They prophesised that he would not say anything because he had only been in office five months. But they were surprised when he reflected ... because this is baiting. This is baiting of one comrade after another. He rode high on the foundation former President Mbeki laid; on the foundation former President Mandela laid. Unfortunately, because people do not understand this elephant called the ANC, they were surprised when they heard what he said.
The SPEAKER: Order, hon member! I do understand the mood that you are in, but will you please come back to the Appropriation Bill? [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Ms L L MABE: Thank you, Madam Speaker.
Ke a go leboga Mmusakgotla, fela dilo tse ke di buang tse, ke ne ke gapeletsega go di bua.
The SPEAKER: Order, hon members! Please!
Mme L L MABE: E rile ka ngwaga wa 2004 ...
While travelling in a taxi going from Zeerust to Rustenburg the people were talking about the political parties before the elections. Amongst them was a man from Botswana, a mineworker. He reminded the people he was conversing with in the taxi that South Africans were very lucky to have a government like ours, a government that was determined to have a budget that could improve the lives of the poor. He said that many countries did not prioritise the poor to ensure that they could have a better life in the budgets they appropriated.
I am proud that yesterday the Portfolio Committee on Finance and the Joint Budget Committee finalised the Bill on amending the money Bills, the Bill that is going to ensure, as the Budget is presented to us, that as Parliament we will then have better oversight and more teeth to ensure that monies allocated to various departments, monies allocated to provincial and local governments, will be used to fulfil the will of our people.
I also want to state that I believe Comrade Baleka, the Deputy President, wherever she is, is proud that this Bill has finally been concluded and that we are now going to use our teeth to ensure that there is effective and efficient service delivery and spending.
Also, when it comes to money made available in the Budget, we must ensure as government departments, as Parliament, that those monies, as appropriated, are used effectively and efficiently. This is one of the weaknesses that exists – that monies are allocated, but come midyear the monies are not utilised when our people need services. So we must ensure that we monitor fully these budget allocations as outlined in the Appropriation Bill.
When Parliament does its work, does its function of budget oversight, it should not be misunderstood - seen as an enemy of the executive. It is within our right to ensure that on a frequent basis we look at the budget, for example: what a department has done, what a department has not achieved, what the reasons are for not implementing the budget. To cite an example, as the Budget committee we have, on several occasions, raised the problem of high vacancy rates. And the question is: How can we ensure that this budget is fully utilised if the vacancy rates are high in departments because there are no people who will ensure that service delivery reaches our people? We must ensure, as budgeted, that those vacancies are filled, that there are people who can use the money to ensure that our people can have a better life.
We are very happy as the ANC that when the Budget was presented, it talked about education, which is central to whatever development we want to make as a developmental state. This Budget must ensure that our people can get a better education. But it is also our responsibility as Members of Parliament to ensure that children, as the President said, go to school; to ensure that parents support their children; to ensure that teachers teach; to ensure that Tshwane University of Technology students go to class, go and learn, because they have been away from class for quite a long time and it is time they went back to class, went back to the university and studied because we will need their services in the future.
Therefore, the allocation that goes to that institution must be monitored to ensure that it definitely achieves what it is supposed to achieve.
We are also happy that the Budget addresses health services so that the poor can access health care, so that those who are infected with HIV/Aids not only get treatment, but better treatment. As the ANC we are very happy that the Budget addresses the issue of crime and that the criminal justice cluster will get sufficient resources to ensure that we can sleep peacefully in our houses and travel peacefully in the streets because criminals are dealt with. There are sufficient resources to deal with criminals.
Those of us who come from the rural areas are saying "halleluiah" because this Budget addresses the fact that people must farm.
Ba tsamaye ba ye go lema; batho ba rona ba tshwanetse go lema ka gonne bontsi jwa bone ba phutile diatla ga ba sa kgona go lema, ke ka moo ke reng re a itumela jaaka re le mokgatlho wa ANC ...
... that our people will be assisted to farm.
It is our responsibility as Parliament, when money is allocated for housing, that we monitor the houses being built to ensure that they are decent houses – and not the houses that we have seen, that collapse and are not safe for our people. The money is there, and when this money is made available, let us monitor it because it is our responsibility to ensure as Parliament, as the community, that this money will be spent in the best way.
It is important that efficiency, value for money and effectiveness in government spending is achieved. As I always say, the money is available but we can achieve more in the way we use the money. And I am prepared to state that it's the determination of the ANC that this money be used effectively and efficiently. I am positive that post the elections, the pace will be increased to ensure that services can reach the beneficiaries.
I want to close by thanking the National Treasury for having worked closely with us – that every time we call them they do appear before us and give us information as requested. I also want to thank various departments that have been working very hard with us, the departments that have been responding to our calls and have been responding to the queries that we raise with the.
Finally, I want to thank members of the Joint Budget Committee for having worked hard during this term of Parliament, and I want to thank all the portfolio committees that have been assisting us to ensure, as we deal with the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement, that they are with us, they enrich our deliberations and even enrich our recommendations to Parliament.
Lastly, if I happen not to come back, I want to say thank you to the ANC for having given me the opportunity to represent the people of this country and that I won't join any other party except the ANC. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr H P CHAUKE: Speaker, I have a point of order. A member of the public was harassed by Mike Waters yesterday for wearing an ANC T-shirt. Mike Waters was chased all over Parliament - to his office. Today, again, Mikes Waters says in this House that he would be a better Minister of Finance. I think these are very serious issues, what Mike Waters is doing in Parliament and we definitely have to deal with him.
The SPEAKER: Let me allow the Whips to deal with this matter outside, because we do not have some of the information that I am expected to rule on and it is not actually related to the debate, which makes it very difficult. Will the Whips please attend to that?
Mr L W GREYLING / LM /DKS/END OF TAKE
Mr H P CHAUKE
Mr L W GREYLING: Hon Speaker, the ID is extremely concerned about the global economic meltdown, which could bring about a worldwide depression as bad as the one in the 1930s. This meltdown is already having a negative impact on our economic indicators, with our economic growth rate retracting, government revenues falling, commodity prices falling and a spate of retrenchments being announced.
As the Minister says, the storm is now over us and we will have to take action to mitigate its worst effects. In this regard, the ID maintains that we have to ramp up government spending in order to stimulate demand in our economy and to create jobs and provide relief to the millions of South Africans who continue to live in poverty.
In doing this, however, there are a few principles that need to be observed. Firstly, we need to make investments that will address the structural failures in our economy that prevented us from fully capitalising on the past period of high capital growth.
We must invest in our failing infrastructure and bring down the cost of doing business through addressing factors such as our exorbitant telecommunications costs. This investment must also maximise job creation through ensuring that local industries and jobs are promoted in providing for our infrastructural needs.
One clear opportunity in this regard is for the government to ramp up its investment in renewable energy, which will not only position us as leaders in the fastest growing industry in the world, but will also stimulate local industries and create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the value chain: from research and development, to manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and sales and marketing.
This Budget, however, has only allocated a paltry R55 million to renewable energy, while it continues to pump billions of rand into the nonperforming Pebble Bed Modular Reactor that does not hold out any potential for job creation.
We must also avoid rewarding mismanaged enterprises with expensive government bailouts, such as the R1,6 billion given to SAA. How can you justify such a bailout and, in the same breath, question the affordability of extending the child support grant to 18 year olds?
Minister, the grant system is without a doubt the most effective poverty alleviation measure that we have, and numerous studies have already shown that extending the grant will reduce the high school dropout rate in this age category.
Overall though, Minister, the ID welcomes this Budget and its significant increase in government expenditure during this difficult period. We specifically support the increase in health expenditure and we agree that we have to find ways of reducing the massive inequalities between the public and private health sectors.
While expenditure has increased in the criminal justice sector, the bulk of this seems to be going towards the DNA database. The ID questions why this has to cost R6 billion and which entities, both local and foreign, will be involved in supplying the components for it.
Finally, on the social side, the ID believes that more emphasis should have been given to hiring thousands of more social workers and channelling more government resources to those NGOs and community-based organisations that are tirelessly providing services which the state is obliged to provide. Working together should not just be a slogan, but be matched with budgetary resources. I thank you.
Mr M R MOHLALOGA / NB/MC / END OF TAKE
Mr L W GREYLING
Mr M R MOHLALOGA: Madam Speaker, hon members, in January this year Oxfam reported that "the 2007 and 2008 food price increases affected more than 850 million people. Even before the 2008 food riots, about 60 000 children were dying every day from hunger-related causes. Today, about one in six of the world's population goes short of food." They further reported that although food prices fell in the final months of 2008, they remain above the long-term trend and are likely to do so for the foreseeable future.
In addition, Oxfam argues that there two growing threats to sustainable food security and that these are likely to exacerbate the problem of hunger. Firstly, climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of hazards such as floods, drought and tropical cyclones that destroy crops, livestock and livelihoods. Secondly, the global recession looks set to further increase the number of people going hungry because of its impact on employment, incomes and public spending.
In this regard, Oxfam concludes by making the recommendation that "Governments in developing countries must ensure the realisation of the right to food and social protection of people living in extreme poverty. This will require implementing comprehensive food, agricultural and social protection policies to meet immediate needs and shield vulnerable communities better against the shocks."
This is a call we must all heed and a challenge we must equal. This is not a matter for political point-scoring; it defines our struggle for basic necessities and is at the heart of human dignity. It defines the daily struggles of our people for which we have to have a plan to respond to swiftly and with the urgency required. This is so because ours is a caring nation, ours is a developmental state geared towards the needs of all South Africans. And ours is an ANC-led government that calls for food security, that ensures that no one goes to bed hungry.
As a result, the ANC is committed to creating an environment that ensures that there is an adequate amount of food available to all, that we grow our own food and protect the poor communities from the rising prices of food and eradicate hunger. As part of the measures that constitute our plan to respond swiftly and with the urgency required, the ANC will introduce a food-for-all programme to procure and distribute basic foods at affordable prices to poor households and communities. This is already part of our plan which is in the manifesto.
We will also expand access to food production schemes in rural and peri-urban areas to grow their food by providing implements, tractors, fertilizers and pesticides. Anther measure we will put in place includes supporting existing community schemes which utilise land for food production in schools, health facilities, churches and urban and traditional authorities.
In addition, through our election manifesto we emphasised that
land and agrarian reform, food security and rural development would occupy significant space in the economic transformation of our country.
When delivering the Budget Speech, the hon Minister of Finance aptly highlighted this fact by emphasising the important role that agriculture plays in rural development and called for the reactivation of agricultural activities on communal land in order to build sustainable rural livelihoods, and thus contributing towards poverty eradication. And we agree with the Minister on that.
Through the recent Budget, the ANC-led people-centred government has demonstrated its plan to respond swiftly and with the urgency required by allocating about R1,8 billion for rural development, mainly focused on supporting small-scale agriculture. This is a laudable intervention, Minister, and as Parliament we will put our eyes of oversight on it and ensure that the money is indeed spent and spent appropriately.
As the ANC, we remain resolute in ensuring that there is adequate food available for all our people. As the ANC, whilst we note the inroads we have made in advancing land and agrarian reform, we are still, however, concerned about the pace and quality of land reform. Access to land for production purposes is an essential requirement for the poor to enjoy the benefits of agricultural growth.
The slow pace of land delivery can be attributed to insufficient funding, escalating land prices and capacity issues to enable us to respond adequately to land reform challenges. In terms of funding, the Department of Land Affairs has indicated that it will need approximately R74 billion to deliver on the remaining 21 million hectares of land by 2014.
The consequences and implications of these are that the Department of Land Affairs might need to make adjustments going forward to enable it to effectively implement and sustain a land reform programme. And I'm quite confident that moving forward, this matter will be attended to.
It is precisely because of this reason that through our manifesto as the ANC, and as part of our plan for the next five years, we seek to intensify the land reform programme to ensure that more land is in the hands of the rural poor, and as a result seek to provide them with technical skills, financial resources to productively use the land to create sustainable livelihoods and decent work in rural areas.
In this regard, we call upon all the people of South Africa in the spirit of the Freedom Charter's clarion call that "the people shall govern" to work with us to achieve the goals of land reform. This, we say, because we know that working together we can do more.
Finally, as the ANC over the next five years and as part of our comprehensive plan for effective and efficient agrarian reform, we will create an overarching institution with resources and authority to drive and co-ordinate an integrated programme of rural development, land reform and agrarian change. This will enable us to revive rural economies, create jobs and fight poverty in rural areas. The ANC supports the Appropriation Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART
Mr M R NOHLALGA
Mr S N SWART: Madam Speaker, hon Minister, the ACDP supports this pragmatic and stimulatory Budget which is presented under extremely difficult economic conditions, both globally and domestically. The fiscal deficit of R95,6 billion is necessary under the present circumstances by expanding government's contribution to the economy. The fiscus is able to support economic activity at a time when global and domestic demand is faltering.
While the 3,8% budgeted deficit is higher that the preferred level, it can be supported if there is a clear and sustainable path to a return to balance budgeting. However, large budget deficits are not sustainable in the long run as they can result in government having to borrow money to pay interest on debts, should government saving and the budget balance remain in negative territory.
The ACDP welcomes the focus on the Budget particularly on increased expenditure on enhancing the quality of education, improving health care, fighting crime, delivering housing, water, electricity and sanitation, and addressing unemployment and poverty. It is also remarkable that in difficult times, hon Minister, you find space for substantial individual tax relief, for which we can all be thankful.
The other good news amongst the gloom is the projection of a lowering current account deficit. It is noteworthy that during January this year, international capital flows to South Africa were on the positive side for the first time since mid-2008. Added to this is the possible World Bank loan to Eskom amounting to US$5 billion.
Additional good news is that economic activity is expected to start recovering in the second half of the year in response to declining debt levels, lower interest rates and a more expansionary fiscal policy. The looming domestic recession, however, has necessitated steps to immediately stimulate economic growth. The huge public spending on infrastructure, roads, ports, railways, etc, will accelerate growth, create jobs and position the country to take advantage of the next positive economic cycle, and the ACDP supports these moves.
We are, however, concerned with the lack of service delivery and underperforming managers in various departments, with 11 government departments receiving qualified audits in the 2006-07 financial year. In this regard, we fully endorsed the Minister's call for a comprehensive expenditure review. There is very clearly a need to assess all government programmes to see how we can improve value for money and to identify errors where we can eliminate and reduce wastage. We agree that as we spend more, we must also spend better.
In conclusion, the ACDP commends the Minister on what must have been one of his toughest Budgets that he has had to present. He has stuck with the countercyclical strategy introduced two years ago. He has tried to stimulate economic growth against the effects of collapsing global demand and sharply lower prices for local resources. He will, undoubtedly, be remembered for the legacy he has built up of prudent fiscal policy, saving for a rainy day. That rainy day has now arrived and we, as the ACDP, welcome the loosening of Treasury's purse strings. I thank you.
Ms C B JOHNSON / nb / END OF TAKE
Mr S N SWART
Ms C B JOHNSON: Madam Speaker, in the ANC's 8 January statement, we said that crime is a national concern and that much more needs to be done to fight crime. One could very well argue that crime, along with poverty, inequality and HIV/Aids are possibly the biggest challenges facing our country at this moment. There has been a very real plea from our communities to be safe from crime, and our people are specifically looking to the ANC government for help. We have listened to them and we have heard their pleas.
Parliament recently embarked on extensive public hearings throughout the country on the review of the criminal justice system. Communities were given an opportunity to directly raise their concerns about crime and to voice the problems that they are experiencing on a daily basis with the criminal justice system.
The only way to ensure that criminals are caught, taken to court, prosecuted and sentenced is to have an effective, modernised and transformed criminal justice system. The ANC, in its election manifesto, envisages such a new and modernised criminal justice system. This will see the bringing together of all role-players, such as the judiciary, the magistracy, the police, prosecutors, Correctional Services, the Legal Aid Board and community policing forums. It is envisaged that the review will bring about significant progress in fighting crime and in reversing current crime trends.
We are pleased to see in the Budget that an amount of R3 billion has been allocated for restructuring the criminal justice service over the medium term. The importance of this allocation is that it reflects the political will of the ANC-led government to fight crime effectively. But these are, after all, public funds; it's R3 billion. We need to ask ourselves as parliamentarians what we are getting for our R3 billion and how this R3 billion allocation will help our people on a daily basis. These funds provide for the expanding of the criminal DNA database, accelerating the roll-out of national fingerprint and case-management systems and upgrading IT networks.
With regards to the criminal justice system, an intensive seven-point plan of interventions was drawn up. The review will entail adopting a single vision and mission for all the departments within the criminal justice cluster, which means that departments will not be working in isolation but will have a single set of objectives and priorities. Draft recommendations are also envisaged with regards to new or amended legislative measures that will include the functioning of the criminal justice service initially and very effectively. These recommendations include draft legislation to regulate minimum standards for the cash-in-transit industry, draft legislation for the continuation of a trial in certain circumstances in the absence of the accused, and also draft legislation to allow and regulate access to fingerprints to all law-enforcement agencies.
When we visited the various provinces, our people spoke to us about courts and the problems that they experience when dealing with our courts. Once again, the ANC has heard them. Existing court processes in criminal matters will be transformed so as to improve the performance of our courts. New processes will ensure that courts are focused on trials, rather than on administrative processes such as postponements, and will result in a significant reduction in backlogs and in case cycle times.
Other creative initiatives would be the establishment of a Legal Aid Board Court and a new screening mechanism that will ensure that only prima facie cases and cases that are actually ready to proceed to trial are indeed proceeded with. This is important, because our people have told us in the public hearings that very often they need to travel great distances to go to court, either as complainants or as witnesses, and that when they get to court the matter is simply postponed.
A further important aspect is that of improved capacity. The recommendation will result in a substantial increase in the number crime scene experts and forensic experts. In fact, an additional R750 million has been provided to the Department of Safety and Security so as to increase the number of police officials from 183 000 to 204 00 by 2011, with the emphasis being on increased detective and forensic capacity. The focus will be on accelerated detective training and increasing the number of detectives. It will also include measures to retain and attract skilled personnel by providing for an occupation-specific dispensation. In addition, senior detectives will be placed in designated courts to oversee the quality of investigations and dockets. This also includes the strengthening of our organised-crime-fighting capacity, criminal crime fighting and crime intelligence capacity.
We need to establish an integrated and seamless criminal justice information system and we need to modernise all systems and equipment. The modernisation of systems will also include the fast-tracking of existing modernisation projects, which include initiatives such as a digital recording system to be used in our courts, video postponement of court cases, with links between our prisons and our courts so that you initially minimise the risk of flight between your correctional centres and your courts, as well as an automated inmate tracking system. Other new initiatives include the electronic system of capturing of dockets. Many people will know that very often when you go to court, a case cannot be proceeded with because the docket has either gone missing or has been stolen, and, obviously, electronic capturing of dockets will rule out this problem.
The resolution of the 52nd national conference of the ANC re-emphasises community participation in the fight against crime. When we visited the various provinces we were once again reminded of this important fact. The ANC has heard what our communities have to say and therefore we are proposing very innovative amendments to our community policing forums. What we are proposing is that our community policing forums be given financial and administrative support and that they also have a wider role, for example in policing and in interacting with parole boards.
The fight against crime requires both government and our communities to work together. Communities must be vigilant when it comes to the reporting of criminal activity, but, at the same time, our law-enforcement agencies must respond to the needs of our people and be able to offer witnesses and complainants the necessary protection, particularly when they are afraid to report crimes or when they are afraid to be witnesses in court proceedings.
Our court processes should be aligned to make it easier for victims and must at all times minimise any secondary trauma experienced in the court process. In this regard, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has put together a very useful service charter for victims of crime, which is an important instrument to promote justice for all our people. What our people mentioned to us at the public hearings, was that they very often feel that victims of crime have fewer rights than the criminals. That is why the Victims' Charter is so important, because it very usefully explains the rights of victims and provides information on the various services that are available to victims and survivors of crime. This includes the right that a complainant has to be informed of the status of their case, whether or not an accused has been arrested; whether or not the person has been charged; whether or not bail has been granted; and if a matter is being postponed, what the reason is for the postponement. A complainant also has the right to protection and to be free from intimidation and harassment and, under certain circumstances, to be placed in a witness protection programme or for the matter to be held in camera. Other rights that victims have include the right to assistance, the right to compensation and, in certain cases, the right to restitution.
What we need to do is to really make victims of crime aware of their rights. If they are not aware of their rights, they simply cannot exercise them. We have to think of creative ways in bringing this Victims' Charter to the attention of our people, possibly putting it in our parliamentary constituency offices, giving it to our community development workers, giving it to Thusong Service Centres and the like, to really make it accessible to people.
With regards to the protection of our vulnerable groups, R150 million has been allocated for the implementation of the Child Justice Bill and the sexual offences legislation. With regard to other departments in our cluster, the hon Bloem will be very pleased to note that the Department of Correctional Services has received funding for four new correctional centres at Paarl, East London, Klerksdorp and Polokwane, which will be able to accommodate a further 12 000 inmates. [Interjections.] The Department of Defence has received an additional R80 million to expand its reserve force to supplement its landward defence capability. It is therefore with pride that the ANC supports the Appropriation Bill.
Finally, as many members may very well know, I have taken the decision to return to the legal profession while I can still remember how to be a lawyer. Therefore this is my very last speech in the House. I would really like to thank, in particular, the ANC and to my committee ...
An HON MEMBER: The DA.
Ms C B JOHNSON: I don't know about the DA - some of the members of the DA, but the ANC in particular. Also, I would particularly like to thank – I call them my committee, but they're not really my committee – the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development who really in my view, without fear of exaggeration, would be a group of people who are incredibly diligent and meticulous in what they do, not only in their legislative function, but also in their oversight role as they take it very seriously. They are really a group of people that have been an absolute honour for me to work with.
Then, particularly to all the female members of the House I would like to say the following. When one enters a profession such as the legal profession at a very young age, it's very difficult to have female role models, because very often you are the only female practising at a particular firm. So it was very inspiring and also refreshing to come to Parliament where there are so many empowered, dedicated and, quite frankly, really brilliant women. [Applause.] I really want to thank those on this side of the House and also those on that side of the House. It makes it easier for younger women who enter politics when there are people like Marie, Thelma, Bertha.
Thanks go to the staff of Parliament and the officials of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for putting up with me. I do realise that I can be a bit of a control freak at times, but thank you for putting up with me nonetheless. I also wish Parliament, as an institution, and the members individually all the best – those who are coming back, those who are not. I want to thank you all and wish you well.
Mr D A A OLIFANT: What about me?
Ms C B JOHNSON: Yes, and you as well, hon Olifant, of course!
In my last minute, before the curtain finally comes down, let me just highlight two things in my mind that really are the non-negotiables to all South Africans and South Africa as a country, and this has to start in this House because we have to take leadership. The first is that we must, at all times, vigorously uphold the values of our Constitution, in particular we must respect our constitutional institutions – our courts, our judiciary, our chapter 9 institutions and the rule of law.
Secondly, let us never lose sight of the fact that a significant number of South Africans still go to bed either cold or hungry or without access to basic services. If you don't have access to basic services, it affects your human dignity on a very personal level. So, for their sake, let us intensify our commitment to the realisation of socioeconomic rights for all our people. We promised them a better life and we must deliver on that promise. Thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon member. On behalf of the Office of the Speaker, I would also like to wish you, hon Johnson, lots of luck in your new endeavours and to thank you very much for your contribution. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D T GEORGE / np/END OF TAKE
Ms C B JOHNSON
Mr D T GEORGE: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The global economic meltdown has ignited a debate on which economic model is the most appropriate solution to the worst economic conditions in living memory.
Across the world governments in developed economies are intervening to stimulate their economies by increasing spending and cutting taxes. In their intervention, there is also the knowledge that once this crisis passes, the hand of government within the economy will be relaxed. They are performing the role expected of government by ensuring that their economies remain functional.
Despite hopes to the contrary, our own developing economy is not immune from the fallout, and we now face deteriorating economic prospects. Over the past few years, our economic prospects have been improving and there existed an expectation that this trend would continue.
Economic hardship is not good for democracy, especially if government seeks to create dependency from which individuals will struggle to emerge. The tightening hand of government in the economy can easily become a stranglehold that can choke the growth prospects of even the most vibrant economy. We need to be assured that the aim of policy is to stimulate the economy and not to drive it into an unworkable central plan.
We face the possibility of recession, although it currents looks like a slow down. We need to be prepared for what is actually coming our way. Before the global crisis began, our economy was already grappling with the fundamental problem, identified by the International Panel on Growth, that too few South Africans were working and that skills were in short supply. This problem has not gone away and the environment in which this problem exists has become a whole lot worse.
This Budget is clearly focused on the global economic realities likely to hit us hard this year. The 2009 tax revenues will fall short on the baseline budget, and this will be compensated for by a widening deficit and more borrowing. There is R130 billion more spending than budgeted over three years and a cumulative R115 billion tax shortfall over this period. The budget deficit will need to be funded and cannot be sustained at this level.
The Appropriation Bill sets out where government spending will be applied. This is crucial because the application of funds to particular part of our economic system influences the performance of the multipliers that drive economic growth. Government has already demonstrated that its mechanisms for delivery are inefficient at best, and that it is incapable of applying the people's money to optimal effect.
We simply cannot afford ongoing bail-outs to entities such as Eskom and SAA. We cannot afford to squander the taxpayers' hard-earned money on departments that fail to deliver and on fixing the gaping holes in public enterprise balance sheets. Underwriting Eskom's debt is a further noose around the neck of our economy.
An economic model that places the state at the centre of the economy as a controller of resources and as a dispenser of patronage denies the economic freedom that should follow from the long and painful struggle for political freedom. Command economies across the world did not work because they denied this human right.
What will work is the hand of government facilitating an environment within which the engine room of the economy, driven by business and entrepreneurs, is stimulated to the extent that it not only survives the prevailing harsh conditions but grows stronger and is thus able to sustain the necessary social spend.
Small steps have been taken to ease the process of doing business, but far bolder steps are required for any real economic impact. A reduction in the corporate tax rate would have been appropriate. An increase in the fuel levy is not. A delay in implementing mining royalties will not compensate for the damage done to the industry as a result of the Eskom fiasco.
The DA's approach to economic development remains rooted in an unwavering belief in the empowerment of the individual, with a focus on boosting the economic engine room. Millions of well-equipped economic agents acting in the economy will provide a far more powerful stimulus than a government that has already proved unable to implement its own policies. The process of retirement reform must bear in mind that optimal asset allocation and the maximisation of returns cannot be achieved through a central fund, managed by bureaucrats. Clarity is required on exactly how the proposed national health insurance will be funded and how it will fit into the overall reform programme.
The DA's focus remains on breaking the cycle of poverty. Our carefully designed and costed economic model presents the people of South Africa with a viable alternative to life without hope of ever participating in the economy. Our economic modelling shows that spending on appropriate points in the economy can lift all of our people out of the poverty trap. The aim should be to minimise dependency on social grants, rather than to boast about the rising number of grant recipients.
Since 1994, government has initiated several programmes with limited success. It has not succeeded in breaking the back of poverty. The poverty line index promised to be available weeks after last year's budget has not materialised. The very basic starting block of quality education has not been achieved despite the steady increase in annual spend. The process of getting appropriately skilled people into the workforce in sufficient numbers has stalled. A wage subsidy, opportunity vouchers, a simplified tax regime and less onerous business regulations could have been the catalysts to bring this process back to life.
Just as the economic crisis has presented an opportunity to question the market system, it also presents an opportunity to question the missing ingredient in the government's approach to poverty elimination, that ingredient is the individual wanting to soar beyond the confines of a life trapped within the boundaries set by the circumstances of birth. An environment that encourages individuals to be everything that they are capable of being is the missing ingredient. We need an open-opportunity society for all.
No system is perfect and our economic system is no exception. We have witnessed at first hand how thing can go horribly wrong and will feel the incredibly painful for process of correction. We do, however, need to remain focused on the long-term prospects for our economy, influenced by the real drivers of economic activities such as entrepreneurs and small to medium business enterprises. Sentiment influences the economy, and we must remain hopeful that we will not only survive the crisis but emerge stronger when it is over. To achieve this, we need to make the right choices. To make the right choices, we need to filter out the noise and focus on what actually works. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S L TSENOLI / /MPL/END OF TAKE
Dr D T GEORGE
Mr S L TSENOLI: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, this Budget speaks to the ongoing efforts to realise the goals and objectives the ANC arrives at through its deep relationship with the people of South Africa.
It is this deep relationship that led them to give us a resounding mandate during the last elections. We will return during the month of April to the fourth elections confident that the people will say: "Difficult as the journey has been to meet our needs, you've done your best under the circumstances. Here is more - go back and continue the good work."
One of the difficult areas on this journey has been the navigation of the transformation of local government. Part of this, to make a slight detour, is what people have been talking about: that the global crisis we are confronted with manifests itself in the local state as well. So, our responses at that level have meaning for the local state.
To cite three examples of this crisis, as seen by a commentator: firstly, this crisis manifests itself in the demise of unilateralism; secondly, in climate change and resource abuse and misuse; and, thirdly, the crisis ...
Let me come back to this; it's crucial. For example, the crisis of resources and the projected water shortage in our country has important significance in our cities and towns. The responses to this have crucial meanings.
The green profiling of the budget has serious implications for our environmental protection and regeneration initiatives, with important implications on the conduct of the local state. The crisis of unilateralism means that, even at a local level, the continued deep consultation and involvement of people in finding a solution is an important response as it is, equally, valid at the local level.
Let me use an interesting study conducted by Idasa. When I last checked it was not a subcommittee of the ANC. It's an independent institute. Its publication: What does the Local Governance Barometer tell us? is a study of local government. Idasa studied 16 municipalities around the country.
In their conclusions they make interesting observations: that municipalities are finding it difficult to juggle, firstly, pressure from citizens, from auditors who, rightfully, demand clean accounts and effective and efficient use of public money, from the Department of Provincial and Local Government and provinces and other sector departments who shift, or often offload, more and more tasks to the local level without providing additional financial resources and demanding fast results and evidence of success.
The study also talks about local politicians whose interests often conflict with long-term development targets defined in the integrated development plans. These are conclusions of this study. We have responses to these issues. I think researchers must research. But here is a more fascinating one, and I quote:
Despite the fact that local government in South Africa has improved its service delivery substantively over the past 10 years at an unprecedented pace and extent hardly seen anywhere else in the world, most of the municipal councils face a widening gap between demand and the supply of services.
In other words, it confirms the view that we are often victims of our own success on the one hand. On the other hand, it also says this gap between demand and supply of services has often been responsible for conflict in these areas. This is an important point that we have to be mindful of.
So, as a broad stroke of response to these issues of problems at a local level, fast pace of service delivery unmatched anywhere in the world has an underlying unfortunate result in that as people see progress around their areas, their impatience also grows. It creates the ability to respond to these issues with appropriate political skill.
Some of our initiatives and responses are crucial for that reason that the huge resources that have been growing and going into local government. For example, the R11,3 billion that is aimed at the 2010 infrastructure with key significance for those cities, the urban and rural dynamic that will benefit from these resources, the impact of migration in these areas and the EPWP, the input in capacity development, as well as access to resources - because you are dealing with cross–cutting issues - are all important responses to the problems that we have identified.
I also believe that these resources have to meet the identified problems, but must also add and increase the pace of delivery of services. Comrade Minister, the implications of these have partly been responded to.
Let me refer to the vision which is contained in the White Paper on Local Government which remains valid today, that local government must be developmental, with this being defined as meaning a government that works with local people to find sustainable solutions to their problems.
In fact, this vision is precisely the answer to what the ANC considers the appropriate response to our issues, that is, dealing with the problems of the local state of the communities where they live with their active involvement in a dynamic manner. That the study if Idasa identifies this area of involvement of people as a problem is precisely the reason the ANC has identified it as an area of intervention.
Our overall strategy for the next decade, as identified in our strategy and tactics that we must build a developmental state, is informed by this perspective and it's a direct rejection of the DA's kind of politics. We expect the state to have the capacity to intervene in the economy, in the interest of higher growth and sustainable development, effecting sustainable programmes that address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment with the requisite emphasis on vulnerable groups; and mobilising the people as a whole especially the poor to act as they own liberators through participatory and representative democracy.
This is the basis for why we believe the growing resource allocation to local government and to the state as a whole is an important part of evolving into a developmental state.
The expansionary nature of the Budget limited as it is perhaps this year, but growing in significance through the R3,8 deficit, is an investment in the strategic areas that will see what I call here both a defensive and an offensive strategy. In other words, it is investing in areas that will ensure the satisfaction of the services of the people while also ensuring that South Africa remains cushioned against the global economic crisis.
There is no doubt that what we consider to be the challenge of the next coming decade is not only the proper and effective management of the resources that we generate in this country, but also equally the effective involvement of local people to deal with their problems in a sustainable manner.
It is for this reason that the exemplary nature of the department of Treasury in styling itself as green, but also producing and giving resources for the rest of the country to become green, is an exemplary model of how to conduct ourselves. Parliament itself has that responsibility to conduct itself as a green institution, as have all departments. But this is also most important in our communities.
The poor are often the ones who suffer from environmental degradation and lack of protection. Therefore, going this route is not only for the benefit of posterity, but in the immediate time, for the protection of the poor and the vulnerable.
For that reason we have no hesitation that despite the current difficulties in local government, the progress that is even identified by outside independent observers is an important indication that going forward we have laid a sound foundation on which to build even more in the tradition of the ANC and inspired by the Freedom Charter. I thank you. [Applause.]
Dr G G WOODS
Mr S L TSENOLI
Dr G G WOODS: Madam Deputy Speaker, for some years now I have been teaching public finance at a local university and the vast majority of more than 400-odd students I have taught over this period have come from the public sector, various municipalities, all of the provincial governments, national government and even from National Treasury.
Now, public finance in the modern, public-sector world is a wide- ranging subject within which matters of financial and delivery performance are central. And having chaired the subcommittee back in 1999 that put together the Public Finance Management Act, I am very aware that such matters of performance-linked financial management are a distinct part of that Act's reform intentions for our national and provincial governments.
Now almost 10 years later, I believe it is true to say that while all our government institutions go through the PFMA motions, there are very few who really grasp and pursue the performance attitude and ethic we had hoped to achieve.
And this is quite apparent from the generally poor quality of performance measures used to be found in departments' strategic plans and budgets, as well as from the weak and often ambiguous reporting of their performance achieved in the annual reports.
But for me this absence of performance mindshift is also every evident from study assignments I had my public sector students carry out around the subject matter of performance. It's clear the necessary preoccupation with workplace performance is just not there as it should be.
So, Minister, let me agree and disagree with you when you regularly, as you indeed you did in your Budget Speech, implore parliamentary committees to raise the oversight standards in order to cause departments to raise their spending and delivery performance.
My analysis and observations would support your inferences of an adequate or an effectual oversight by committees. My personal experience, and through Scopa a number of years back, gives substance to your contention that committees can be quite influential and be something of a catalyst in having departments raise their performances. Of course, there are many other notably examples from other committees also.
But Minister, in this regard, I think you should point more publicly and more directly at the state institutions themselves and their political heads, who after all are constitutionally obligated to perform optimally and whose officials are, in fact, paid to do so.
While I share your general frustration and your concerns, I do not think that the management shortcomings in question can be altogether solved through stronger parliamentary oversight. Rather, I would have to see a shift in approach from National Treasury as to how in terms of its obligations in section 6(2) of the PFMA, it guides and advises the department and other entities in the application of the PFMA, the Treasury and the other relevant guidelines they produce.
As things presently stand, department officials tend to respond to these in exactly the same way as they responded to those vast sets of rules in the prereform era; and as such, they defensively follow the word rather than the spirit of the PFMA, and indeed, the MFMA, meaning that the opportunities to be real managers, who constantly challenge themselves to improve value-for-money performance, are not grasped.
Of course, there is one notable exception, that being Sars. There, the performance dynamic is very evident. Each year Sars sets and then beats a comprehensive range of raised performance targets which they set for themselves. Clearly, they are becoming performance driven in a way which produces that self-perpetuating type of performance improvement as they go forward. By my calculations over the past eight years, efficiency and other performance gains made and sustained in subsequent years by Sars have contributed at least an additional R70 billion to the fiscus, which in turn must have paid a big part in the much-acclaimed budgets the Minister has presented in recent years.
But returning to the issue, let's consider how much more these budgets could be enhanced by equivalent performance improvements across all the departments and other spending agencies. Surely there are expenditure efficiencies of at least a further R70 billion to be gained there.
However, while departments remain in a lethargic yesteryear paradigm and parliamentary oversight remains inadequate, this big opportunity for the Minister to allow for further expansion of government programmes and projects passes us by.
So, Mr Minister, I would respectfully suggest that you be the best- placed person to create and take forward an initiative that will properly investigate and then plan how to best imbue the urgently necessary performance mentality across all of government. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms C C SEPTEMBER / TN
Dr G G WOODS
Ms C C SEPTEMBER: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members and comrades, the current Budget has clearly argued that microeconomic and regulatory reforms are needed to ensure that a competitive and labour-absorbing economy emerges, especially under the circumstances of the current global economic crisis.
In this regard, the 2009 Budget has made a commitment that government will increase public investment spending, expand labour-intensive employment programmes, and work with business and organised labour to protect work opportunities and accelerate skills development.
To this end, the ANC welcomes the five principles underpinning the 2009 Budget, namely, protecting the poor, creating employment, investing in infrastructure, promoting competitiveness, and fiscal sustainability.
The ANC, in its 2009 election manifesto, recognises that despite significant progress in changing our economy to the benefit of our people, unemployment, poverty and inequality remain serious challenges. Thus, decent work should be the foundation of the fight against poverty and inequality.
Decent work embraces both the need for more jobs and for better- quality jobs. It is the protection within the discourse of labour rights. It speaks to the matters of provident funds and medical aids that promote sustainable livelihoods. It is about the promotion of the important role the mining and agriculture sector plays in the employment benefits of communities. This is effectively addressed through the current Budget as a political tool for socioeconomic development.
The principles that the Budget must respond to is that of the unemployed, of low-income workers and of vulnerable groups, all of whom stand to lose the most during the economic downturn, and who will face the greatest burden during this period. The potential of the economic downturn to destabilise the welfare of the vulnerable and increase inequality and poverty, is recognised and must be the greatest concern of the Budget.
All the activities indicated in the Budget must lead to strengthening the capacity of the domestic economy to grow and create decent jobs.
Increased public sector investment in economic infrastructure, increased resources for skills development and the introduction of effective industrial strategies, are indicators in this Budget of the areas that should be the focus over the next 3 to 5-year period.
There are fundamental aspects that emerge from the ANC's election manifesto and constitute the essence of the change and continuity theme that emerged from the 52nd national conference of the ANC. These aspects include ensuring that fisca1 and monetary policy mandates - including the active management of interest rates and exchange rates - promote the creation of decent employment, economic growth and broad-based industrialisation and reduce income inequality.
Die addisionele fondse vir Werk vir Water en Werk teen Vure, dra by tot groei en werksverskaffing en is 'n korrekte observasie van die regering se waardetoevoeging in agtergeblewe gemeenskappe.
So 'n voorbeeid is dié van Christalena de Kella van Uniondale. Sy het Standard 10 in 2003 voltooi en nooit gedink dat sy 'n brandweervrou sou word nie.
Oorspronklik wou sy 'n rekenmeesteres word, maar het nie die finansies gehad om universiteit toe te gaan nie. Sy het toe by Werk teen Vure begin werk in 2004.
Die Suid-Kaap se distriksbestuurder het in 2005 haar potensiaal raakgesien en haar toe gemotiveer om haar eie basis te bestuur in Plettenbergbaai. Sy is in 2006 genomineer om die eerste mediaskakelbeamptekursus by te woon in Kaapstad.
Die Plettenbergbaai span het in 2007 toegemaak, en sy het toe teruggekeer na Uniondale. Daar het sy die span ten alle tye gemotiveer en gehelp met opleiding en dissipline. Sy het egter, as gevolg van asma, aan die einde van 2007 van kursus verander.
In 2008, she was given the opportunity to try out for the stock controller position at the advocacy office in Cape Town. It was another challenge to be working as part of the management team in Working on Fire.
On 17 February 2009, she passed her driver's licence test.
Now after five years in the Working on Fire programme, she is looking to see how far she can go. She stated, and I quote:
I have managed to travel the country and meet so many people from all walks of life. Working on Fire is not just a stepping-stone for your future, but is also a good learnership programme that has managed to build a shy, immature girl into a grown-up woman who can stand up for what she wants in life
Today we have heard the DA explaining their economic model to us. I think our response as the ANC must be to point out that the market has a keen ear for private wants, but a deaf ear for public needs. We must also point out that you can make even a parrot a learned economist; all it has to learn, and repeat, are the words, "demand and supply".
The DA's manifesto builds on existing institutions and programmes. It does not offer new programmes; instead, it regurgitates current government policies and obviously bends these to suit a specific sector of our society. The document does not bring about a paradigm shift or add a new vision to the current policies.
The central argument of the DA's manifesto is a move away from the statecentric interventionist model where government is the main role-player in economic development. This is the main departure from the ANC's commitment to building the developmental state that will play a central and strategic role in building the economy. This includes major investment in the public sector and its personnel in order to build capacity for service delivery.
This departure is the foundation of the DA's job creation strategy for 2009. The current global crisis is a classic example of the results where markets are left to operate without any state intervention.
The ANC-led alliance resolution states that decent jobs are a central, long-term priority. Enabling policies should be fast-tracked, for example, an active industrial policy that will focus on employment creation.
Our response to the solutions on wage subsidies that we have been given by the DA is that South Africa already has a variety of measures to address poverty through social security systems and further skills development programmes to increase the uptake of inexperienced learners in leanerships.
The wage subsidy proposals of the DA creates a dual labour market and displaces existing workers, and is further open to abuse if the beneficiaries are exempted from the protection of labour legislation.
What we require is the promotion of the employability of school leavers in order to halt the expansion of long-term unemployment. What we need is the ANC's decision on ensuring a system of social protection that recognises the needs of the working poor, thus ensuring that more households can participate in the economy.
As the ANC, we are proud of our past; we are confident of our future.
Ms Margaret Pathane was an unemployed widow battling to make ends meet by selling vegetables outside her home in Thembisa. She was the sole provider for her two daughters and two grandchildren. She joined the Working for Wetlands programme after it was formally launched in 2000, working on the Rietvlei wetland rehabilitation project.
In later years she would laugh at herself for having turned up for work in her new job wearing high-heeled shoes, readily admitting that she had known nothing about wetlands.
Within the space of two years, Margaret had seized the opportunities presented by the programme to the point where she was able to set up a small business as a contractor to the project, employing a team of twelve people to stabilise erosion dongas that, if left unchecked, would eventuality drain and destroy the wetland.
She suffered from diabetes and died last year. Her legacy is that the opportunities provided by government, coupled with honest effort and determination, can change a life and can nurture that most precious of human states: dignity. Rest in peace, Margaret.
This story mirrors the ANC's tactics and strategy for the need to build a caring society and strengthen the motive force. It is here that the need for the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods becomes relevant to advance the national democratic revolution.
To this end, and out of their excitement and gratitude to the government for creating these kinds of programmes through the EPWP, the crews on the Working on Fire project made an effort to put together a poem. It was put together by crew leaders, Papi and Blondie from Butterworth, and I would like to read it -
Our hearts go with you whenever you go,
You gave us strength,
You lead us not into corruption and fraud,
You taught us to be committed to our work end to talk the truth,
You taught us how to be good leaders - not to be bosses,
You taught us discipline through drill, determination, perseverance and dedication,
You taught us to plan for tomorrow, for life and for the future,
You made us change our country through being fire fighters preventing veld fires,
We are who we are because of you,
We are fire fighters,
We are soldiers of fire,
We are as hot as fire,
We love fire,
Fire is our friend and, at the same time, it is also our enemy,
Long live Working on Fire!
You have brought joy into our lives,
I have seen many provinces because of you,
We learned a lot to communicate in other languages and people.
I thank you, hon members. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY / nvs (Eng & Afr)/ END OF TAKE
Ms C C SEPTEMBER
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Deputy Speaker, it is during this time of the year that all departments and government as a whole await their budgets so that they can start their engines to meet targets of delivery and contribute towards the sustainable growth and development of our country.
Without a doubt, during great economic turmoil globally, our hon Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, has together with his team of professionals, outwitted the crisis and most certainly has devised a budget that has us steamrolling ahead with our endeavours.
The MF is most pleased about the attention paid to education and the acknowledgement that education is an investment. We are strongly in support of attaining equality of education and, more importantly, quality of education. This does mean qualified and dedicated teachers, earning good salaries and teaching in classrooms. We cannot afford to have teachers on strikes and most importantly cannot afford having our children not being taught.
We also need to bring some stability to disruptions in universities and tertiary institutions. We are certain that the hon Minister of Education and her department wall effectively institute the budget of this department to attain the efficient and effective administration, management and education of the country.
We recognise the accomplishments of the Department of Housing but would like to see a speedier delivery in terms of areas like Kwa-Zulu Natal, where people have been waiting for far too long. We are aware that constraints exist and we hope that the department will tackle these so that they may go forward in the construction of homes for the poorest of the poor.
With regard to energy, we are hoping that the department will look at alternate methods to attain funding for the loopholes in Eskom. Our people have already been burdened with a huge increase in the cost of electricity and the government has made a substantial loan for the matter too. I would hope that our citizens will not have to pay for our shortfalls when poverty already has them living from hand to mouth.
We would like to see the speeding-up of delivery in terms of land redistribution and retribution. We have people who have been waiting from 1996 for settlement. If we need to look at introducing a special unit to assist the process, then we need to certainly do so quickly.
Crime remains a central issue for all South Africans. We feel that while we may boast of the freedom our Constitution has awarded us, the same freedom is hijacked by the crime situation. The MF is eager to see our 2009 budget for safety and security filtered to attaining more resources for police stations, more police stations, more trained personnel and a faster rate of police appearing on the scene of crime. We need to embrace our communities in this regard and strengthen our ties between the communities and police through anticrime forums.
The health sector has also been awarded a favourable budget for 2009, and we are hoping that the system will continue expanding to become the largest antiretroviral programme for those living with HIV/Aids and that it will effectively eradicate cholera and malaria, from our midst.
The MF also expresses its concern over escalating medical costs and hopes that the costs can be carried out and imposed on private hospitals too.
The MF, however, does feel that we need to realise the importance of sports and recreation to the development of our youth and the growth of our country. We hope that deadlines for 2010 will be met and that the budget will be used to speed up this process.
We applaud the contribution made to Kwa-Zulu Natal and sincerely hope that the funds shall be used effectively to address the needs of our largely densely populated and poverty-stricken communities. The MF supports the Appropriation Bill. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI
Ms S RAJBALLY
Mr N T GODI: Madam Deputy Speaker, and hon members, the APC fully supports the five principles that guided the framing of this Budget, especially protecting the poor and the need to maintain a sustainable debt level so that our actions today do not constrain our development tomorrow.
The APC is happy that the instrument of a budget deficit is used sparingly and cautiously. However, the APC is concerned that the budget does not mark the anticipated radical departure from established spending patterns.
Government had an opportunity to radically intervene in rural economic development, but the APC views the expenditure of R1,8 billion on this item, over three years, as being very cautious taking into account the scale of the challenge.
The personal income tax relief for individuals is however nullified by an increase in consumer taxes. The APC is specifically concerned about the Road Accident Fund levy. The APC believes that other options could have been considered to bolster the fund's financial position rather than increasing the RAF levy. For example, government could have considered putting a cap on payable claims, ensuring that the fund benefits, first and foremost, South Africans and that claims by foreigners should be made in local currency.
This, we believe, could have avoided an increase or we could have had a lower increase. The Minister could also have given Parliament more details, that is, on the current standing of the fund and how much is hoped to be raised in order to sustain the RAF as a going concern.
Whilst the APC is not averse to the postponement of the implementation of the Mineral and Petroleum Royalty Act of 2008, hope that the approximate R 1,8 billion tax saving will lead to a constructive dialogue to save jobs should not have been the basis of decision-making.
Government should have asked for firm commitments first, otherwise we may see workers retrenched while the taxed savings go into the pockets of the greedy. It is the contention of the APC that in the struggle to save jobs, government is lacking in equal and enthusiastic partners from private capital.
The APC strongly feels that we need to look beyond the figures and ask what impact is there on the quality of life of our people; that in these difficult financial and economic times for our country and the world, those tasked with looking after and using public funds do so guided by the need to have value for money, fight wastage, embezzlement, fraud, theft and corruption, which are said to be on the increase according to a recent study by the Public Service Commission. It is incumbent on Parliament in discharging its oversight role to ensure that the money so allocated is used for what it is budgeted for.
Finally, the APC is of the view that the world economic crisis highlights one objective truism that business decisions should above all make social sense. We must raise our collective voice against the greed, corruption and cronyism of a few that is now wreaking havoc all over the world. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs L S CHIKUNGA /ARM / END OF TAKE
Mr N T GODI
Mrs L S CHIKUNGA: Deputy Madam Speaker, hon members, fellow South Africans, we have lodged our achievement in our health care system and working together we shall do more. I must also acknowledge that much more still need to be done in terms of quality health care to make health services available to all South Africans and to ensure better health outcomes.
Our health system continues to face numerous challenges.
South Africa has a burden of at least four types of diseases associated with epidemiological transition between poverty and lifestyle related diseases. First, the country still bears a heavy burden of poverty-related diseases such as infectious diseases, malnutrition and diarrhea. Second, South Africa displays a growing burden of noncommunicable diseases such as stroke, ischemic heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, etc.
The third burden relates to premature deaths due to violence, injuries and road accidents. The fourth greatest burden by far is HIV infection and Aids.
As a country we are struggling in as far as achieving the health- related Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6 are concerned. Lack of sustainable human resources to provide quality health care is also a challenge.
The private sector's unsustainable increases in expenditure also pose difficulties. Bed occupancy in the private sector remains low, while there is overcrowding in the public sector. In our country today, about 65% of the population is entirely dependent on the public sector health services, whilst 21% of the population uses some services in the private sector such as doctors in private practice and retail pharmacies and pay for these services on an out- of-pocket basis.
This group is, however, heavily dependent on the public sector for specialists and in-patient care. This means that while the public sector is responsible for about 86% of the population for health care services, the private sector is responsible for only 14% of the population who are members of medical schemes who largely use private-for-profit health services. This inequity surely places a heavy burden on the public-sector health care system with regard to budget, human, material and IT resources.
It is true also that sometimes our people are ridiculed, ill-treated and mismanaged in the public health institutions. I believe that these are areas that need policy review as well as commitment and determination to aggressive implementation with out any fear or favour.
As this government, which is led by the ANC - the greatest movement of all times, tried and tested - we have responded, and we will continue to respond, to all this heavy burdens and challenges affecting our health systems. Let me inform the house as to how we have responded to these challenges within a short space of time being in government.
Since 1994 the government has achieved several public policy successes, some of which are structural policy- or programme-oriented. Fourteen departments of health which were racially structured have been integrated into a single central national Ministry and nine provincial departments of health.
In 1994 we found a national health system which was based on a curative health care system and benefited the wealthy few. Not apologetic at all, we proudly introduced a primary health care system which emphasises prevention of diseases, the promotion and maintenance of health and benefits the majority. We reprioritised budgets and resources to focus on primary health care. We formulated an essential primary health care package which sets norms for the provision of comprehensive primary health care.
We increased access to clinics and hospitals by removing all fees for pregnant women and children under the age of six years. We expanded health services by building 1 345 new clinics, and 266 clinics have been upgraded. We also have extended our services outside of the health facilities to communities through a community- based programme.
Today, as we speak, about 95% of our people are able to reach a clinic within a 5km radius and that is extraordinary. Minister Hogan informed the house about this last week on Monday. The outcomes of these initiatives are that malnutrition-related diseases have declined; our clinics are increasingly being used; we have reduced malaria and measles. This has never happened before, those who accumulated wealth and privilege and never cared about the majority of the people do not see these as important achievements but our people do.
Furthermore, since the inception of the hospital revitalisation programme, we have seen a number of new hospitals being built and other facilities upgraded.
We have made efforts aimed at contributing towards human dignity by improving the quality of care. This entails introducing the patients' rights charter, establishment of provincial equality assurance units and quality assurance programmes which include a complaint system at all delivery sites.
Another major area of change is the improvement in human resources. We introduced several initiatives such as changing the gender, racial and professional profile in health administration as a means of insuring that the service providers represent the people they serve.
Due to major shortages in the number of health professionals, particularly in rural areas, government recruited Cuban doctors in the immediate post-1994 period. We introduced compulsory community service for recent graduates as well as scarce-skills and rurals allowances for health care professionals. We also developed a strategy for the retention of skilled workers through the occupation-specific dispensation for nurses, widely known as OSD.
To further augment the number of health workers, the government introduced the community health workers programme throughout the country. This is not a wish list, as the honourable leader of the DA, Ms Helen Zille says, but an existing concrete reality, which we implemented and funded.
We have made medicine affordable by introducing a comprehensive national drug policy. Our National HIV/Aids and STI Strategic Plan 2007-2011 is aimed at reducing the rate of new infections by 50% through an aggressive information and prevention campaign.
Since 2005, in particular, there have been increases in real per capita public health budgets. It is pleasing to note that even the 2009 budget has been increased and speaks to the resolutions taken in Polokwane in 2009, where we said we would prioritise health care services. For once, I heard the hon Pastor Meshoe telling the truth on TV about Minister Manuel. He said that the Minister has done sterling work, which is true.
He then continued by saying that if he, hon Meshoe, were the Minister of Finance, he would do exactly the same as the Minister. This, however, isn't true because the ACDP doesn't have prudent financial policies, if any at all.
The ANC is clear on the way forward in dealing with the challenges and strengthening the successes mentioned above. In our 2009 manifesto, the ANC identified 10 clear priorities for a major improvement in our health care system. Because of the time factor, I will only mention two: the implementation of national health insurance to provide universal access to health; and the improvement of the quality of health services through performance monitoring.
During the celebrations on 8 January, the president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, said, and I quote:
The ANC government will strengthen the formal partnership against Aids in our country in the form of the South African National Aids Council. This structure brings together government, business, labour, women, youth, religious leaders, the entertainment fraternity and many others.
He said this because as the ANC, we believe that working together we can do more.
In conclusion, the ship is indeed on course, as many of us will agree - our scorecard makes for interesting reading. The people of South Africa have every reason to want to associate themselves with the ANC. To the people of South Africa we say that our overarching priorities include accessible, affordable and quality health care for all. We are not saying that we will deliver all of this from above, but we are saying that with all of us working together we will transform our health care services. The ANC leads, the ANC lives!
Mr E W TRENT / END OF TAKE
Mrs L S CHIKUNGA
Mr E W TRENT: Madam Speaker, Al Gore made a documentary about global warming called An Inconvenient Truth. The arms deal in South Africa is its inconvenient truth. This has cost the country billions of rand needed to fight poverty. It has destroyed the political career of one president, and threatens the political career of an aspirant president.
The real problem lies in the cover-up. We now have explosive and compelling evidence that the reports of the Joint Investigating Team, JIT, into the arms deal were fundamentally flawed. Yet I have been denied an opportunity to present this evidence to Parliament through Scopa. This evidence, if presented, could quite conceivably have altered the course of the investigations from the beginning and saved billions of rand.
The various draft JIT reports obtained via court orders began ominously, as the editor of the report scribbles notes under the headings that include the names of former President Mbeki and the former Minister of Defence, Mr Lekota. Following this, handwritten alterations were made to almost every substantial finding in the draft report.
For example, the draft report pointed out fundamental flaws in the tendering contracts, while the final report says "no impropriety". Where the drafts pointed out the interference from Ministers, the final report said no senior members of government could be blamed.
One heading even said that the decisions of the Minister of Defence could have influenced the process. It was altered to read – listen to this – "… the visionary approach of the Minister of Defence". Remember, the drafters of the report and the members of the Cabinet have consistently denied that any substantive changes were made. The matter cannot be left to rest!
The former Chief Whip of this House was sent to jail for lying to Parliament and the President of the ANC faces that charge now. Yet Scopa received false testimony from the former Public Protector, from the former Auditor-General, and the former Head of Acquisitions, yet nothing has been done about this.
This Parliament owes it to South Africans to recommend to the next Parliament that this matter be pursuit. As the embers of my political career fade, one thing is absolutely certain: If I were to live my life over, the choices I made will be the same. Like hon Kraai, I arrived in Cape Town in 1981 - not here but in the old Cape Provincial Council. Since then I have made many friends and have seen many people who were our opponents become colleagues.
For example, the hon Judy Chalmer's sister, Molly Blackburn, was my benchmate in that council and next door sat Mr van Eck – you know who they are. To illustrate my point, when I came here, my erstwhile opponent, hon Ryno King, became my benchmate. That is the sign of a mature democracy when we can choose and do what we believe is correct.
To conclude, when I spoke from this podium for the last time before the Tricameral Parliament closed its doors, I told the former President de Klerk that he should acknowledge that the miracle of South Africa came about by divine intervention. I do believe that; I still believe that.
My wish and prayer today is that during the coming months and years, our faith in the miracle of South Africa's democracy will be renewed and restored with the strength and the help of our Heavenly Father.
Now, we choose different roads, but ultimately all those roads and routes lead to one highway and that highway leads to one destination; and that destination, surely, can only be a better life for every South African. I don't believe that there is a single member in this House who can dispute that.
The only difference is, as I said, it's the road that leads to the highway on which we differ. I know that we are mature enough to understand these things and I would like to say to the hon Minister because this is his budget - and I don't say this with my tongue in my cheek - I've sat through a lot of Ministers of Finance and he is good. I'm not going to say he is the best, but he is good.
I have no problem with this word "comrades" – I really don't. The reason why I don't is because when somebody calls me a comrade, I get a vision of these thousands of people lining up either in Pietermaritzburg or Durban for this long race, the Comrades Marathon. And as they go, some fall by the wayside and others pick them up; but everybody has a mission to get somewhere and to help everybody to get to the same place. I thank you. [Applause.]
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon members that was hon Trent's farewell speech. We want to wish hon Trent all the best for the future. [Applause.]
Ms J L FUBBS / MS / END OF TAKE
Mr E W TRENT
Ms J L FUBBS: Hon Deputy Speaker, hon colleagues, comrades, the people of South Africa, before I fully address the Budget as I wanted to, I think that certainly we would wish the hon Trent good fortune in his future endeavours. However, I do believe that I must try to correct a number of issues that were raised here.
Perhaps one of the first things, just something small, and I am sure the hon Minister would agree, it is certainly not his Budget. I think he wishes he had that amount of money in his personal account! This is, in fact, the country's budget, an ANC government's budget. [Interjections.]
Let me now address the issues that were raised directly by the hon Trent and let us get a few facts clear. Richard Young was a losing bidder who continued to pursue his interests but, yes, he was invited to appear before Scopa. He was invited to give written representations. He chose to make these verbally. Indeed he got court orders and I'll come to that immediately. He, in fact, in the end accepted an out-of-court settlement. Having had that out of court settlement in 2005, I find it strangely disturbing that on the eve of the 2009 election, he chooses to validate some of these questionable claims. Credibility in such matters, hon Trent, includes the actions of those who make them - and what on the face of it appears to be unreasonable claims, because certainly, Parliament has not had sight of this.
These are very unreasonable claims he makes as are the aspersions that are being cast on the hon Office of the Auditor General, which is an essential component of our oversight and monitoring. Up to now, this democratic Parliament institutionalised by our Constitution, in which all political parties had a hand, has never sought to submerge the truth. Not since its inception in 1994! [Interjections.]
If other role-players have done so ...
Mr E W TRENT: Madame Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: The hon member says that I cast aspersions on the Office of the Auditor General. That is untrue. I mentioned an individual and that is not the Office of the Auditor General.
I have the greatest respect for that institution, and I have been on public accounts committees of my political life. I think the member should withdraw that. It is deceiving the public out there.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you, hon member. I will look at the Hansard and make a ruling. Continue, hon member.
Ms J L FUBBS: If other role-players have done so, then surely Mr Young is obligated to reveal exactly who these people are in a transparent manner and not in the manner which jeopardises the integrity of our constitutional democracy.
I want to acknowledge certain things because the ANC introduced transparency into this country and into this democracy. [Interjections.] And may I say that, indeed, there have been certain complex arrangements Such as the National Industrial Participation Programme, which falls under the DTI, at a civilian level and under Armscor, at a Defence level. But perhaps there had been many challenges, I would agree in that regard, in the offset process, but these are being corrected.
In fact, several years ago this ANC government acknowledged that the procurement processes were faulty and has indeed taken active measures to correct them. [Interjections.] Understandably, hon Trent, in our nascent democracy, which had only been in place a few years at that particular time, we could expect problems to arise.
One thing this ANC government has done within three years, within five years and it never took 48 years – a few years, and be careful, Tony. Within a few years we corrected this. Furthermore, we should not forget that the Armscor acquisition policy was enacted pre-1994.
Now it has undergone a drastic review and led to the drafting of a new set of policies which were passed in 2004. Quite frankly, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom say to us: "You have accelerated the reform of your public service faster than we could ever have attempted." [Applause.] Now get that! [Interjections.]
If I may, I will just take a little water. [Laughter.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, please can get we get the lady more water?
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I don't know what that point is, but I can ask you please to keep your voices down. Continue, hon member.
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Deputy Speaker, could we ask the hon Fubbs to keep her voice down a bit too?
Ms J L FUBBS: This Budget is indeed a people's budget. It is a budget driven by accelerated infrastructure development. It is a budget that will create jobs and grow the economy. The industrial development strategies linked to infrastructure development will stimulate the economy and retain jobs and create jobs.
The ANC government, in partnership with the private sector, will accelerate development. Together we can do this. Together we can eradicate poverty. This path, though, requires not only that the state plays a regulatory role but also that it employs a strategic key role in the development of poor communities and sustainable service delivery.
The macroeconomic path which we heard of from our chairperson in the Finance Committee, Arthur Moloto, as charted, will harness this industrial policy and strategy. I want to underpin this - it calls for a partnership between the state and the market, but a market that behaves in an integrated manner. The current quality of service delivery can be and is weakened when market activities are fragmented rather than co-ordinated. We have heard how the state will use its power to drive development through fiscal redistribution, the utilisation of state-owned enterprises and effective regulatory measures.
This Budget reaffirms our commitment to a mixed economy with state co-operatives and other forms of social ownership and private capital that will enable our peopleand our country to steer our economy through the current turbulence, without straying from our vision of a national, democratic society or our objectives to create a better life for all our people.
Indeed, fiscal space, which was developed over the last 10 years, has enabled this expansionary Budget to allocate a significant R15,2 billion to the infrastructure development. But we should note that with this kind of shift, the shift we've made in this Budget - if we look at the examples internationally of the global greed that has characterised the current depressions and recessions - the same kind of greed within certain organs of our society, the economy and certain sectors there, could indeed limit the full effect of such a plan.
We have referred to Richard Young already, and I want to also address at this particular point a few other aspects of our strategy.
While the ANC government has correctly regulated the financial markets and thus been protected from the worst ravages that are seen in other countries, we cannot forget how interwoven our own economy is with the global economy. We have felt this very directly in, to some extent, what could be described as a shrinking manufacturing sector. Hence the measures that have been taken in this Budget to boost that sector yet again.
We should remember that unlike the bad examples which we have seen in North America and parts of Europe, where governments have responded, and as it turns out, unrealistically, by buying debt, we have chosen another route. The ANC government has rather, as those of us who are well-informed on our manifesto, know that we speak practically and therefore we have provided and rather developing an economic stimulus to specific vulnerable sectors.
Indeed, the ANC in this Budget 2009, through its government, a government that serves all of the people in our country, has continued its path of deepening the national democratic society. It is a revolution that will seek to build social cohesion and national identity.
We will through the economic components of the Budget continue restructuring the socioeconomic fabric of the state through the consolidation of public sector spending, infrastructure spending, expansion of the public sector employment and our Public Works programmes. We will also use instruments of the development finance institutions, DBSA, IDC and the Land Bank, to drive programmes.
Well, I couldn't agree more that there have been challenges at the Land Bank. However, we did not let this ride. Land and agriculture are principal priorities in an ANC-led agenda. Therefore, it is currently, as you are well aware, under the prudent custodianship of Treasury. These strategic initiatives are the response to the global crises.
We have also heard and will hear more on rural development. We have certainly heard about agrarian reform and the critical role it has played, and is playing, in food security. This Budget, as I have said earlier, reaffirms our commitment to a mixed economy.
I want to highlight some of the infrastructure expenditure, which we hope and we believe can generate jobs. As I have said earlier, there is R15,2 billion infrastructure programme; R13 billion which has been allocated to the rail sector to strengthen the capacity there.
Provision is made for supplementary funding to the taxi recap and the bus subsidies. We have heard a lot about the fact that there are bus subsidies, but how effectively are these managed and distributed? Funds are allocated to ensure the training and capacity of the management.
As for Gautrain, with which we are quite familiar, may I add that we have looked beyond Gautrain and are looking towards the upgrade of 165 km of road networks. Another priority, housing, is also getting a huge injection.
My time is up, hon Deputy Speaker. I want to just sound a note of caution here. This is a people's budget. It is an expansionary budget, which I believe, will generate jobs, will grow the economy. However, I have referred to a partnership between the state and the private sector. But economic history, certainly in our own country, has shown that the mere belief that the markets will respond positively to a stimulus package in the manner that the state envisages, it is not entirely realistic.
So we need to encourage investment. We need to ensure that we consider very seriously the investment and proscribed assets by the private sector as a means to the stimulation of the domestic economy. Clearly, our prudent path will guide our decisions in this regard to ensure that the reliable, robust and realistic financial framework that has so far underpinned the sound financial foundation is not undermined. And as we embark on this people's budget, we should be mindful that the greatest threat to the success here lies in our hands in our lack of commitment, not simply in this House but in South Africa generally, to support it.
The ANC supports this Budget wholeheartedly. [Applause.]
Mrs I MARS /END OF TAKE
Ms J L FUBBS
Mrs I MARS: Madam Deputy Speaker, the IFP welcomes the fact that there is a strong, propoor element to this Budget and that the largest adjustment to spending plans go to poverty reduction. An amount of R25 billion has also been added to the budget of provinces, mainly for education and health care, and R13 billions for social assistance grants and their administration.
The progress made thus far in reducing poverty has been far too slow. The impact of our initiatives to free the poor and destitute citizens of our country, who are confined to living in poverty, must be seriously questioned as there are still far too many people struggling with debilitating poverty.
A big part of the failure to provide relief to many people and to free them from the misery that comes with poverty is the inability of the authorities at lower levels of government to perform their duties. This is a concern that has been expressed by other speakers.
While the increase of funding aimed at poverty reduction is most welcome, they will not have the desired effect if they are not used properly. The IFP therefore believes that there needs to be a strengthening of the mechanism tasked with monitoring the spending and the performance of government, authorities and institutions. During the times of economic hardship we cannot afford frivolous spending, and the Minister of Finance has also alluded to this.
Mr Singh said something very important in one of his previous speeches. He said, "We must always ensure that we get value for money." It is very important that we keep this in mind at all times.
During these times of economic hardships we cannot afford this frivolous spending. The service delivery protests that have been witnessed across the country are a sure sign that something is drastically wrong and that the people have lost faith in those who are tasked with improving their lives.
In his Budget Speech Minister Manuel stated that it will be necessary to take stronger action in pursuit of efficiency and better targeted expenditure. He also stated that there is far too little control of such items in government as foreign travel, advertising, public relations activities and consultancy services.
The IFP agrees with the Minister that if we are to survive these tough times then economic prudence and efficiency is needed. This is clearly lacking currently in the provincial and municipal spheres. It is clearly lacking and this problem has to be addressed. We as the IFP pledge to do so.
The less affluent members of our society had a tough time over the past year. The sudden escalation in the price of food and the extremely high inflation rate has meant that they get much less for their rand than they did previously. Pensioners now get over R1 000 a month. When you consider the high cost of living in our country, this is not enough. The IFP believes that a sum in the region of R1 500 per month is required for pensioners if there is to be an improvement in the quality of their lives. [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Dr S E M PHEKO
Mrs I MARS
Dr S E M PHEKO: Madam Deputy Speaker, with my limited time let me simply remark that the language used by the Minister in his Budget Speech makes one feel as if one is licking ice cream. It is persuasive, but upon closer scrutiny the ice cream tastes bitter.
It is well and good for the Minister to come round to the PAC's long-held position that the market cannot be left unregulated. The Minister, however, needs to go further and be bold enough to offer an alternative.
In 1993 the poorest 10% of the population had 0,6% of the total income while the richest 10% accounted for 72,5% respectively. The Gini coefficient in official statistics remains high by international standards. Where are the jobs and opportunities for the poor? They fall far short of the target of halving joblessness by 2014. There is no indication that 500 000 jobs will be created per year during this period of economic crisis without state intervention.
The PAC welcomes the change of heart on the part of the Minister. For years he has held that governments do not create jobs. Now he recognises that government has a direct role to play in employment creation through public employment programmes. The plans are yet to be unveiled. However, the PAC proposes that when this is done they should focus on youth unemployment. There must be a radical alternative to Gear.
The PAC welcomes the National Treasury honouring its commitment to increase government expenditure as targeted by 9,1% between 2009 and 2012, even if this means going into a deficit. Does this approach constitute a long-term strategy to protect social spending over the next generation? What will happen if the Minister's growth projections are not met?
It is time that the emergence of rural development becomes a priority. This is where the poorest live and where there is an unacceptable pace of development. This has not happened in previous Budgets.
The Minister's 2009 Budget is a significant move. The agrarian reform must be the key strategy. The allocation of R1,8 billion is however peanuts. The rural areas urgently need to rebuild smallscale agriculture. This requires addressing the economic concentration of multinational companies to provide access to markets [Interjections.] [Time expired.]
Prof S M MAYATULA / GC / END OF TAKE
Dr S E M PHEKO
Prof S M MAYATULA: Chairperson, before I deliver my short speech, I would like to recommend this brochure to all the members of our House. It deals with the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign.
In this document the rules and commitments of different stakeholders - the departmental official, the teacher, the learner, the parent and the community - are spelt out. With our understanding that education is everybody's business, I would also like to give members a call centre number with which we can all communicate if we have any problem on the ground related to education. The number is: 0800202933.
The president of the ANC, Comrade J Z Zuma on the occasion of the 2009 ANC's manifesto launch indicated that "education is at the centre of all our efforts".
The 2008 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, report on the review of the South African national policies of education calls for the systematic removal of all the remaining barriers to universal access and school completion. In this regard, the ANC has committed itself to the following: firstly, to work towards a free and compulsory education for all children. As the immediate step, it will ensure that at least 60% of schools are no-fee schools. [Applause.] I am happy to respond that this is no longer a dream. Quintile 3 schools started being categorised as no-fees schools as of January this year.
The second commitment is to encourage students from working-class and poor communities to go to tertiary institutions by reviewing and improving the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS. We were told last week that it is about to be completed. In the Budget Speech by the hon Minister an additional R330 million was put aside for NSFAS.
Thirdly, school feeding schemes will be extended to all deserving high schools and the implementation of the feeding schemes in all deserving primary schools will be improved.
The Minister of Finance, hon Trevor Manuel, in his Budget Speech announced the commitment to meeting all these initiatives. It is indeed commendable that government's contribution to public entities remains its single largest investment and it reflects the fact that education is the key to reducing poverty and accelerated long-term economic growth.
At a consolidated government level, education spending has grown by 14% a year for the past three years and is projected to grow by 10% a year over the next three years. That is irrespective of the climate.
However, the African Bank and OECD suggests that although South Africa justifiably allocates the fees of its budgets to education, which is high at the international standard, the current system will struggle to address huge geographical and quality imbalances inherited from apartheid. In the Budget Speech the Minister did refer to money put aside for building more schools to reduce the teacher-classroom ratio.
With regard to the curriculum in teacher training, the 2009 Budget makes the provision for the attainment of educational imperatives in national programme identified by the ANC in its 2009 election manifesto. These, amongst other things, include the improvement of the quality of schooling particularly performance in mathematics, science, technology and language development; to promote the status of teachers and ensuring the employment of adequate numbers and; improving their remuneration and training as an important part of our drive to ensure that quality teaching becomes a norm rather than an exception. To this effect, we have already started to implement the occupation's specific dispensation in order to raise the salaries for those teachers who perform well.
On early childhood development, the ANC's 2009 election manifesto places emphasis on introducing a sustainable early childhood education system that spends both public and private sectors and give children a head start on numeracy and literacy. The ANC government will also train and employ 15 000 trainers per annum and strengthen support for crèches and pre-schools in rural villages and urban centres. This is in line with the OECD report identifying the need for all teachers of Grade R programmes to have access to the same professional development and support resources.
The expansion of the OECD programme is linked to the policy mandate of achieving universal Grade R access by 2010. It is very important for us also to take into consideration the National Mass Literacy Campaign that was started last year and I would like to request the members to bring even more people to this.
There has always been a contention that the examination is only at Grade 11. On Tuesday 17 February 2009, the day before yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised when the department reported that the standardised test took place as scheduled in November for all Grade 1 to Grade 6 learners, which means that as we speak we are having assessments in order to concretise that foundation for our education.
With regard to the supplementary materials and libraries, the OECD team learned that the Department of Education plans to provide extra resources including libraries to 5 000 schools that performed poorly and are allocated in the worst resourced districts. "Kids Up" is one of the programmes that are trying to address this.
Let me know turn to the importance of quality education. Despite the best efforts of South Africa's educational leadership and the large investment in resources as referred to above, the results and outcomes are disappointing. In its very informative background report, the Department of Education itself is critical of the systems' achievement so far.
It went on to say and I quote: "Learners' levels of achievement are very poor". Of 12 African countries participating in the 1999 MLA project, South Africa scored the lowest average in numeracy, the fifth lowest in literacy and the third lowest in life skills.
What is the turnaround strategy? I am happy to report that the last meeting that I am referring to, held on the day before yesterday and attended by all teacher unions and the ERC, the unions recommitted themselves to the non-negotiables: to be in school, on time, prepared and teaching.
In particular, the unions committed themselves to the support and the implementation of the legislation which regulates Friday as a normal school day. I want to stress this because it is very important for us so that we know that Friday is a normal school day. In this legislation it says that all South African schools are obliged to follow the school hours as determined in the two pieces of legislation.
I am going to take just one of these two. The National Education Policy Act says that every educator must be able to account for 1 800 actual working hours per annum. The most the important one is the second one. It says:
Work load for educators: All educators should be at school during the formal school which should not be less than seven hours per day.
The schools that are performing well are those who have classes on weekends and during holidays, but we are saying if they can only take the bare minimum. The unions have accepted these hours to push them along so that the quality can change. Thank you.
Mr S E OPPERMAN /ES/VM / END OF TAKE
Prof S M MAYATULA
Mnr S E OPPERMAN: Voorsitter -
Langs die Grootpad van die lewe
Met sy blydskap, lief en leed
Leef so baie hoog verhewe dat ons skoon die pyn vergeet
Van die lewensmoë mensies
Op die grootpad van die lewe
Jaag die "mercs" met fatcats voort
Loop die Grondpad langs die Grootpad
Om die eerste draaitjie dood.
Ek het hierdie gediggie baie jare gelede geskryf nadat ek aangegryp is deur 'n artikel van Max du Preez met die titel "Bonteheuwel op 'n Saterdagmiddag". so daar is 'n grootpad en daar's 'n grondpad.
Therefore my theme this afternoon is "Hands across the highway". The Minister of Finance referred in his Budget Speech to the agricultural support and rural development. The proposal of Lazarus Lamola wherein he encouraged partnerships to once again use the land for food production and sustenance is relevant.
Maar hoe maak die 24 kleinboere van Tembalethu naby George as die pompstasie wat die water tot bo by hul damme moet pomp stuk-stuk weggedra is; as die elektriese kabels wat die krag na die pompstasie moet lei by die skrootwerf beland het; as die water wat gepomp moet word so besoedel is dat dit 'n gesondheidsgevaar inhou? As hierdie 24 kleinboere op hulself aangewese moet bly, sal die aasvoëls bly sirkel, al sit hulle sedert die dae van Lampie Fick op van die waardevolste grond in die George-omgewing.
Here is an ideal opportunity, hon Minister of Finance, for what you have proposed, a comprehensive agricultural support programme and allocation to target rural infrastructure projects. We have worked on a business plan with strategic directives. We have organised mentoring, but without financial support it means nothing.
Hierdie projek op die plaas Sandkraal moet gekoppel word aan Hoogekraal om 'n kombinasie van landbou en erfenistoerisme, wat 'n geweldige ekonomiese potensiaal het, te laat realiseer. Pacaltsdorp was eers Hoogekraal en voor dit Curi Kama Kraal. Net so was Platteklipstroom in die Kaap eers Soete of Varsche Rivier, en voor dit Camissa, which means the water is sweet. [wat beteken die water is soet.]
So, ja, ek verwys na 'n spesifieke erfenis, 'n onderdrukte erfenis, 'n erfenis wat nou benut moet word. Daarom het ek ook aan die burgemeester van Kaapstad en die agb Komphela voorgestel dat die nuwe stadion in Kaapstad Kai Haa Mullai moet heet, oftewel "Great Flat Pastoral Lands," want so het die Otentottu die area genoem. Die Franse het Mullai na Mouille, oftewel "anchorage" gekorrupteer. Ek hoop nie hierdie voorstel van my vir regstellende optrede val op dowe ore nie.
Ek het self by geleentheid ook verwys na die artefakte van eens magtige koninkryke wat teen die mure van die Britse Museum in Londen hang. Enige individu of organisasie wat sy morele kompas verloor het, is op pad muur toe!
Dit was 'n wonderlike voorreg om die Suid-Afrikaanse gemeenskap as politieke verteenwoordiger te dien. Ek dank die Here vir 'n wonderlike seisoen. Ek sê dankie vir wonderlike vriendskappe. Ek sê dankie aan wonderlike kollegas. Ek sê dankie aan my wonderlike vrou, Agnes, en 'n wonderlike, ondersteunende familie. Groete aan u almal, en seënwense. Dankie. [Applous.]
Ms B N DAMBUZA
Mr S E OPPERMAN
Ms B N DAMBUZA: Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon members, guests and fellow South Africans ...
... ndibona kuyimfuneko ukuba ndiyibeke icace gca eyokuba i-ANC ilwamkela ngezandla ezingenamikhinkqi uHlalo lwabiwo-mali lowama-2009, oluthiwe thaca kule Ndlu ibekekileyo ngohloniphekileyo uMphathiswa uManuel kwiintsukwana nje ezidlulileyo.
The ANC-led government has always committed itself to a comprehensive support programme to ensure sustainable improvements in livelihoods for the rural poor, farm workers, farm dwellers, and rural farmers, especially women as well as the youth. In addition, the ANC policy framework clearly expresses the importance of the implementation of a socioeconomic programme focused on economic growth and development, the restructuring and development of our economy, reducing unemployment and poverty and sharing the wealth of our country in terms of national class and gender categories.
The current Budget demonstrates that kind of commitment, which is in line with the ANC's approach. This can be illustrated by the fact that through the election's manifesto for the 2009 elections the ANC has clearly articulated the vision for land agrarian reform, food security and rural development.
Furthermore, the ANC has also set out its vision for food security to include an emergency food relief programme on a massive scale in the food assistance project to the poorest households and communities, including true partnerships with all stakeholders.
Agriculture and the development of rural areas are much higher on the agenda of the ANC-led government. The provision of infrastructure and other facilities in rural areas is also receiving attention as part of the attempt to stem migration to urban areas.
The current Budget has spelt out the commitment to the protection of the poor through employment and training, investment on infrastructure and building a competitive economy and sustainable public finance, and further places emphasis on the democratic right of all citizens to participate in their economy.
In response to that, the ANC-led government has a national framework for local economic development as a guide to advance Local Economic Development and put forward a strategic implementation approach that all spheres of government, state-owned enterprises, as well as communities, can use to improve.
The prominent preoccupation of the ANC's 52 national conference resolution is to fundamentally alter skewed ownership partnership of the agricultural sectors in South Africa and also to focus the agribusiness paradigm towards agriculture for rural development and food security. To ensure that this resolution is implemented, a clearly targeted programme and measures to build smallholder farming with the agricultural sector geared towards self-sustenance and food security is taken care of in the Budget.
Central to the ANC outlook of agrarian transformation the Cabinet adopted a clear strategy in 2002 to implement the integrated food security plan. This will further ensure food security at all times, especially in times of vulnerability as a consequence of natural disasters and price hikes that directly impact on food prices for the poor, with a specific focus on women, the elderly, people with disabilities and children.
The national framework for Local Economic Development seeks to guide implementation on the Local Economic Development Programme's performance indicators of the five-year local government strategic agenda through suggested actions and further implementation of the policies and programmes, and is more integrated as a result of cluster approach to a better service.
The framework was launched in 2006 and subsequently presented to the President's Co-ordinating Council. The introductory chapter describes shaping current thinking and practice on LED. The purpose is not to make a policy statement on LED, but rather to understand the evolving approaches to LED and how this may interact with practice in South Africa.
The other areas of focus in the Budget are – as we have seen - the rural transport services and infrastructure grants to improve rural infrastructure, to upgrade rural access to roads, construction of pedestrian bridges and walkways, rural freight logistic facilities and intermodal facilities. Those grants were allocated, and I am not going to deal with figures today.
Then we deal with the integrated international electrification programme grant to sustain the current programmes, particularly for the poor households and also the backlog in water and sanitation services at schools and clinics.
Furthermore, the EPWP incentive is a new grant aimed at providing municipalities with incentives to increase the number of employment opportunities in infrastructure programmes to maximise job creation and skills development.
On the industrial development strategy we have seen that the focus has also shifted to small, medium and micro enterprises, which are often more sustainable under local conditions. The promotion and intensifying of entrepreneurship programmes to strengthen economic development is one of the commitments indicated in this Budget. Therefore, it is important for the people or communities to identify such opportunities and exploit them. Hence, entrepreneurship is the driving force of economic growth.
Increased human development is a priority, hence it is the single most important determinant of the pace of economic development. Human development issues also include health, nutrition, education, and shelter.
Oogxa bam sele bezicacise ngokubanzi zonke ezo meko.
The government strategy also includes reduction of the HIV and Aids epidemic as it slows population growth and imposes a great cost to the economy and society through a loss in productivity, skills and experience. Some of the rural development commitments include sport and recreation, tourism, social development, land distribution programmes and also arts and culture.
Yiloo nto sisithi uphuhliso lwamaphandle alunakukwazi ukwahlulwa ngoba luyinxalenye yamasebe karhulumente. Ngoko ke kunyanzelekile ukuba aqinisekise ukuba kwiinkqubo zawo abandakanya nophuhliso lwamaphandle.
It is worth noting that the greatest challenge facing our nation is to conquer poverty, joblessness, illiteracy and ignorance. Such commitments have been expressed. This challenge has no colour, it faces both black and white. Therefore, skills-based programmes should be broadened to improve productivity and make the country's goods more competitive in a world that is growing increasingly smaller.
We need to mobilise communities not to despair. It is the time for the rural society to construct and build their future.
Malungu abekekileyo, kuye kube kuhle xa simana sikhumbuzana imvelaphi yabantu beli lizwe kunye memibandela abathi bahlangabezane nayo ukuze sikwazi ukulungisa ikamva leli lizwe.
South Africa is a country where various cultures merge to form a unique nation that is proud of its heritage. The country's biggest asset is its people – a rainbow nation with rich and diverse cultures. Therefore, when we relate to our country's economic development we need to take that into cognisance.
Although South Africans come from many traditions they belong to one nation – a dynamic blend of ages, customs and modern ways of building a South African society to create better life for all. When one refers to rural communities it is important to properly understand exactly the context we are talking about.
We know that during the 1940s the apartheid system designed a policy termed "separate development", which divided the African population into artificial ethnic nations, each with its homeland and the prospect of independence supposedly in keeping with trends elsewhere on the continent.
Yiyo loo nto namhlanje urhulumente enoxanduva lokuba athathe inxaxheba ekuzameni ukuvuselela uluntu lwasemaphandleni. Kwaye akululanga njengokuba namhlanje, xa sithetha simi apha kweli qonga, sithetha ngathi urhulumente ufike yonke into ingumthebelele ekubeni eqale phantsi ehamba ebunzimeni.
This "divide and rule" strategy was designed to disguise the racial basis of official policy-making by the substitution of the language of ethnicity. This was further accompanied by technographic engineering as efforts were made to resurrect tribal structures; in the process government sought to create a significant collaborating class. The truth was that the rural reserves were by this time thoroughly degraded by overpopulation and soil erosion. This did not prevent four of the homelands structures being declared independent, a status which the vast majority of South Africans and also international communities declined to recognise.
Forceful removals from the white areas affected approximately
3,5 million people and vast rural fields were created in the homelands, which were used as dumping grounds. The pass laws and influx control were extended and harshly enforced and labour was set up to channel labour to where it was required.
Asisayibali ke into yokubanjwa nokutshutshiswa kwamawaka ngamawaka abantu ngenxa yale mithetho.
Industrial decentralisation to growth points on the borders of homelands was promoted as a means of keeping blacks out of the then white South Africa. In virtually every sphere from housing, education to health care, central government took control over black people's lives with a view to reinforcing their allotted roles as temporary sojourners in white South Africa.
Sihlalo, bendicela ukuba sibulele uQabane uMphathiswa ngoHlalo-lwabiwo-mali lwakhe oluquka wonke ubani, sisithi ... [Laphela ixesha.]
Ms N N SIBHIDLA / SlR (Afr)/ag(Eng)/MC(Xhs)
END OF TAKE
Ms B N DAMBUZA
Ms N N SIBHIDLA: Chairperson, hon members, we know as a matter of fact that before the 1994 democratic breakthrough, the system of colonialism and apartheid denied the majority of young South Africans, especially the African youth, opportunities to develop and realise their full potential.
Because of their unfortunate situation and their conviction to attain freedom in their lifetime, these oppressed and marginalised young women and men joined the South African struggle for freedom and liberation. Committed to fundamentally changing South African society for the better, these young compatriots continue making their contribution to the national efforts aimed at making South Africa a better place than before.
Given their role in the liberation struggle and in deepening and advancing constitutional democracy in our country, youth development must be central in the agenda of our developmental. This must be the case because that will generate enthusiasm among young people to participate in consolidating our democracy and shaping the direction of the country.
As the ANC we have always viewed young people as the most important strata in society and sought to ensure that young people are fully integrated into society as agents of change. We do this convinced that young people are critical elements of the motive forces of the South African revolution, whose democratic forces drive the process of fundamentally changing South Africa for the better.
The ANC remains committed to redressing the imbalances created by the system of colonialism and apartheid and to afford young people long overdue opportunities to participate meaningfully in all sectors of our society. [Interjections.]
We will continue to prioritise youth development within the broad framework of the reconstruction and development of our society. Because we take young people seriously, we continue to devise mechanisms which will advance the development of young people. [Interjections.] Yes, we do!
Among the interventions we have made currently is ensuring that government reviews institutions of youth development and creates a National Youth Development Agency, which will ensure seamless integration, sustainability and responsiveness to the demands and aspirations of our youth.
I am proud to report to the nation that in 2008 this House passed legislation to this effect and that processes have started to appoint members of the board that will govern the National Youth Development Agency. While we must remain committed to youth development, young people must know that they have a duty to the nation. They have to combat discrimination and racism wherever they are. They have to promote democratic values, a common national identity and play a meaningful role in the reconstruction and development of South Africa.
Since the establishment of the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission, South Africa has seen various progressive interventions which contributed to the realisation of a better life for all. In his 2007 state of the nation address, the former President of the Republic, comrade Thabo Mbeki, set 50 000 as a target for the National Youth Service Programme. As a government that delivers on its commitments, the ANC-led government delivered more than the target as more than 60 000 young people participate in this programme.
This is a programme that was launched and rolled out to have the excluded young people of South Africa brought into the social and economic mainstream and also to inculcate in the youth of South Africa a sense of volunteerism, patriotism and commitment. In fact this programme continues to help young people to develop the skills and abilities required and necessary to participate in the economy.
Through the Umsobomvu Youth Fund and the National Youth Commission, the ANC-led government has helped more than 20 000 young entrepreneurs through the Business Voucher Programme. In particular, hon Chairperson, this voucher programme has achieved an increase of more than 11% in 2008 as compared to 2007; more than 12 000 jobs were created through this programme.
Without any doubt education remains a key priority if we are to change society for the better, hence the ANC in Polokwane and in its manifesto reaffirms the importance of education in the transformation agenda.
Since 1994 our institutions of higher learning heeded a clarion call of the Freedom Charter that, "The doors of learning shall be open for all." Currently, we have thousands of learners who have been admitted to these institutions and many of them graduated and are now working and contributing to the reconstruction of this country.
Despite this, there are still challenges which have to be addressed when it comes to tertiary education. We cannot afford to have a system that marginalises the poor, especially the youth, at this time in our democracy.
It is also important for this House to acknowledge the good work done by some of the public institutions in providing exposure to the workplace through learnerships and internships. Many young people are also participating in a school-to-work programme supported by the Umsobomvu Youth Programme in which there are about 200 learners trained through the China Extended Public Works Programme and 100 through the India Artisan Project. More than 4 000 unemployed graduates have been trained in specific skills that will help them access employment and some of them have been placed in jobs already.
These are not just dreams. In this regard, let me quote Mr Malusi Kekane when he writes:
We have supported youth from all backgrounds, some of them are owners of great South African brands such as Stoned Cherry, Sun Goddess, MosewaMosa and K5 Aviation, to mention a few."
In conclusion, let me say that we know that a lot has been done and a lot has been achieved, more must still be done to reduce and even eradicate youth unemployment.
Mhlalingaphambili isabelo seR1 billion enikwe Umsobomvu Youth Fund siyakholwa ukuba iza kuhamba ibanga elide kuphuhliso lolutsha oluza kuqhubeka phantsi kwentlangano entsha iNational Youth Development Agency. Kwaye sinethemba elikhulu kurhulumente oza kungena ezintanjeni ka-African National Congress ukuba uza kuqhubekela phambili ngophuhliso lolutsha, abuye kananjalo aphose usizo oludingekayo ukuzalisekisa iinjongo zophuhliso lolutsha. Ndiyabulela. [Applause.]
Mr H J BEKKER
Ms N N SIBIDHLA
Mr H J BEKKER: Thank you, Mr Chairman. The appropriation for 2009-10 in general terms has received positive a reaction from economists and politicians alike. Of course, there are various items that one can criticise and some which we would have definitely done differently, but then one must remember that the Budget is a balancing act.
Each item of expenditure that we would like to increase must lead to a corresponding lowering of expenditure on other items, for instance, such as more police officers on the beat against lesser teachers in the classrooms; that is the choice that you basically have.
We fully concur with the Minister that you cannot solve problems by just throwing money at them. This is particularly applicable to education and specifically the Road Accident Fund.
The IFP is very concerned about the R1,6 billion bail-out for SAA, which is meant to support its turnaround strategy. Questions should be asked as to whether the South African taxpayers are now subsidising SAA and particularly the low-cost airline, Mango. When will the bail-outs to SAA stop and who's to say that they won't be back in a year or two asking for more money? This trend cannot continue.
Last year the Minister sneaked in the fossil energy levy, which in the end translated into an additional heavy load on the consumers of electricity and fuel. Now he has done the same with the fuel levy of 42 cents, which, together with the purported increase of 60 cents in the petrol price next month, would mean an increase of more than R1 in the price of petrol.
This may have serious effects on the inflation spiral and we all know that once you increase the price, the inflation goes up and if the price comes down, the inflation does not come down accordingly.
The hon Minister last year denied that South Africa is gradually working towards a global or basic income grant, which the IFP had requested, but if you look at the children's grant being extended to 18 and the lowering of the age requirement for male old-age pensioners, together with the increase in the EPWP and other social programmes, the tendency of gradually phasing in something like a BIG is confirmed.
The hon Minister of Finance has delivered a very good Budget and after many years this year was probably his most difficult task in view of the global financial meltdown and the effect that it is having on South Africa. With the substantial drop in income due to lower recovery from corporate taxes and VAT contributions, together with the demand for greater social expenditure, he nevertheless achieved a miracle by only increasing the budget deficit to 3,8%.
Now I want to be nice and pay tribute to this hon Minister, but before you think I am getting soft, let me assure you that this is not my farewell speech - hopefully not. But I don't know when the Minister may decide to go. I have walked a long road with this hon Minister Manuel, even before the new dispensation in 1994.
We served together in the Transitional Economic Council with the then Minister Derek Keyes, Dr Zach de Beer and Professor Tshabalala. The Transitional Economic Council took over the functions of the Departments of Finance, Trade and Industry and Public Enterprises. How well I remember the relatively young activist and unionist from the UDF, Trevor Manuel, as the ministerial representative of the ANC, uncertain and maybe a little bit unpolished but the fastest learner I have ever came across. That is a real compliment, Mr Minister. [Applause.]
Remember that after 1994, when as Minister of Trade and Industry he was promoted to replace Chris Liebenberg as Minister of Finance, the shock to the financial sector was great. The prospect that this unionist and possible Communist would take over the reigns of Finance and Treasury almost backfired and you could see it in the markets; the stock exchange, the value of the rand, everything collapsed for a little while.
How ironic that today it is exactly the opposite scenario in that the markets fear the day that Trevor Manuel departs from the South African financial scene. This is testament to the outstanding job this hon Minister has done during his time in office. [Applause.] Under his guidance, the National Treasury and institutions such as Sars, have improved drastically and served the people of South Africa with distinction.
We salute you for that Minister and we support the Budget. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr T M MASUTHA / //SM// checked / END OF TAKE
Mr H J BEKKER
Mr T M MASUTHA: Chairperson, colleagues and compatriots, proud of our past, confident of the future, together we can do more. This is the unequivocal, unwavering and most credible and dependable message of the ANC.
The ANC towers above all others during this critical time as we all go to the polls to decide on the future of our country because of these principles and commitments.
Yes, indeed, we inherited a country in deep trouble back in 1994 when the ANC-led government took over power under the baton of the one and only uTata Madiba. And like a sinking ship, we steered it back to safety, away from the turbulent waves and heavy storms of the rough seas.
The ANC pulled the country out of political and economic isolation and restored it to its rightful place in the galaxy of nations that are charting the way forward in finding new and innovative solutions to global, political, social and economic challenges of the day.
In his address on his release from prison on 11 February 1990 entitled, "We have waited too long for our freedom", President Nelson Mandela expressed his full confidence in the ANC when he said, and I quote:
I salute the African National Congress, it has fulfilled our ever expectations in its role as leader of the great march to freedom.
It was heartening to witness the same expression of confidence in the ANC under its current leadership this past weekend again by uTata Madiba as he affirmed his continued commitment and loyalty to the movement by sharing a podium with our President, Jacob Zuma. [Applause.]
Yes, the ANC has succeeded in transforming our society to ensure equal rights and dignity for all and the right for everyone to have a say through the ballot on who should govern them and to live where they choose, to work for a decent wage under decent working conditions, pursue their career of choice, participate in whatever lawful economic activity of their choice and even to marry whomsoever they fall in love with regardless of the colour of their skin.
But the ANC did not end there. Inspired by the Freedom Charter, the ANC has ensured the progressive realisation of the right to full social and economic inclusion for all by improving access to healthcare, education, housing, clean and drinkable water, sanitation, electricity, decent roads and affordable transport.
For the millions who cannot provide for themselves, a range of social grants catering for poor and vulnerable children, older persons and persons with disabilities are being provided, all because the ANC leads, the ANC cares.
Yes, the Secretary-General of the ANC, Comrade Gwede Mantashe, said we are learning as we go along. Our policies have not always been met with the requisite zeal and commitment when it comes to implementation.
Crime and corruption have undermined the pace at which we have been able to deliver on our promises and hence we have identified the need to strengthen our monitoring and evaluation mechanism, including the oversight role we have to play as parliamentarians.
This point has been especially emphasised by our President, Comrade Jacob Zuma. Some of these measures we have begun to be put in place or have already been implemented.
Indeed, life has changed or is changing for the better for many amongst our people. As I stated from the outset, the ANC acknowledges that together as the bona fide citizens of this country we can do more.
Children must go to school and learn. Parents must groom and nurture their children to become decent and productive citizens. Teachers and managers of our school system must ensure that our learners receive quality education.
As a caring nation, let's offer a helping hand by fostering and adopting abandoned, orphaned, abused and other vulnerable children in need of care and protection.
We should assist the state in ensuring that no children wander around during school time instead of being at school and learning. We should report instances of abuse and must call for help when children are found indulging in substance abuse or other unlawful social conduct.
Because unless we take it upon ourselves to build and rebuild this country, there will be nothing left for the very same children to inherit. The ANC-led government has introduced new comprehensive legislation for the care and protection of children in the form of the Children's Act 2005, as amended.
We introduced new legislation to promote the care and protection of the elderly, which will be coming into operation soon this year. There is also legislation to fight substance abuse, namely the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Bill passed by this Parliament in November last year.
We have improved the quality of service with the provision of the extended access to social grants. Today we take pride in the fact that our grant system caters for over 12 million children, older persons and disabled persons as compared to the 3 million that received these grants when we took over government in 1994. We have at the same time significantly improved the value of the grant.
The means test for accessing the grant has been raised following the implementation of the new regulations last year and we have gradually begun to reduce the age of qualification for the grant for men from 65 down to 60, to ensure equality between men and women. We are steadily raising the age limit of the child support grant from the current 14 years to 15 years this year and eventually to 18 years, as envisaged under our Constitution as the age at which a person ceases to be a child. We do so in order to honour a commitment the ANC made at its last national conference, in Polokwane in December 2007.
Perhaps at this juncture I should pause to reflect on the often- mentioned concern that the grant system creates a dependency syndrome. I wish to start by urging all of us, when reflecting on this important issue, to exercise some empathy, consideration and caution; for at some or other stage of our lives we have all been vulnerable and dependent on someone else for our very survival, protection and care - right from birth up to a stage in our lives when we could manage on our own.
Yes, we should keep a watchful eye to avoid perpetuating certain social practices and tendencies that could promote dependency instead of promoting a culture of work. As a disability rights movement, for example, we have always advocated for the right to equal opportunities to ensure that disabled people access education and training, health care and other social conditions necessary for them to participate optimally within society.
We have strived towards ensuring that disabled people obtain decent work and participate fully in the economic and social life of society, and that social security should not be used as an excuse for social exclusion and perpetuating dependency.
The fact of the matter is that, if we are truly a caring society, we cannot look away when those who are less fortunate than ourselves go hungry and are exposed, without shelter or appropriate clothing to keep them safe and warm, in the cold nights of winter or the heavy the rains of summer whilst we ourselves are tucked up in warm blankets in front of our huge television screens, secure in the comfort of our luxurious homes.
The ANC seeks to ensure that eventually all the basic necessities of life can be afforded or at least accessed by all, and not only by the more fortunate within our society.
It is for this reason that we, as the ANC, have committed ourselves to pushing back the frontiers of poverty. We intend to do so to bring development to the rural and urban poor alike, ensuring that the benefits of growth in our economy are shared by all and not only some, and that those who have not benefited from or accessed these new opportunities are assisted in various ways to gain access whilst their basic needs are met. Thank you very much. The ANC support this Budget. The ANC supports this budget. [Time expired.]
Mnr K J MINNIE
Mr T M MASUTHA
Mnr K J MINNIE: Agbare Voorsitter, dit is 'n ope geheim dat die staatsdiens in Suid-Afrika die afgelope 15 jaar onder die ANC se bewind dramaties agteruitgegaan het.
Weinig staatsdepartmente, Minister, kan vandag getuig dat hul vlak van dienslewering tans op die standaard is wat van 'n goeie staatsdepartment verwag word.
Die Minister vir die Staatsdiens en Administrasie en die portefeuljekomitee se verantwoordelikheid sal in die vierde Parlement se termyn wees om nuwe vlakke van dienslewering en administrasie te bereik, of hulle gaan die politieke prys betaal.
Die nuutgestigte Palama met sy nuwe gebou sal moet wys dat die SAMDI van die verlede begrawe is en dat ons klaar is daarmee.
Die Departement van die Staatsdiens en Administrasie sal moet erken dat sy vier jaar lange poging om die enkelstaatsdienswetgewing deur die Parlement te voer die land miljoene rande gekos het, met geen noemenswaardige vooruitgang nie.
Die DA het die enkelstaatsdienswetgewing in die afgelope vier jaar met hand en tand beveg en was verheug toe die nuwe Minister uiteindelik die lig gesien het en dit aan die einde van 2008 van die tafel verwyder het.
Die rol van die Staatsdienskommissie moet versterk word en die DA steun die onlangse besluit van die Parlement dat die portefeuljekomitees departemente tot orde sal roep ten opsigte van aanbevelings wat deur die Staatdienskommissie gedoen is.
Dit is ook baie duidelik en ons weet daarvan - en die Minister moet dringend daaraan aandag gee - dat Sita besig is om in chaos te verval.
Ek was bevoorreg om vanaf 1980 tot 1993 vir die voormalige administrateur van Transvaal, dr Willem Cruywagen, asook vir oudpresidente P W Botha en F W de Klerk te werk. Vanaf 1995 tot 2003 was ek 'n stadsraadslid en vanaf 2004 tot vandag was ek bevoorreg om as 'n lid van die DA onder die bekwame leiding van Tony Leon en later Helen Zille in hierdie Parlement te dien.
Min van u sal dit weet, maar 'n goue oomblik in my loopbaan was toe ek en 'n kollega vroegoggend op 2 Februarie 1990 die finale toespraak aan oudpresident F W De Klerk in Westbrooke oor 'n koppie koffie oorhandig het. Toe ek daardie oggend die president by die deur van die ampswoning afsien, het ek geweet Suid-Afrika sal nooit weer dieselfde wees nie. Dit is wonderlik om deel van hierdie nuwe Suid-Afrika te wees.
Ek huldig graag vandag diegene wat ek reeds genoem het vir die invloed wat hulle op my loopbaan en op my as mens gehad het en nog steeds het. Verder huldig ek graag die inwoners van my kiesafdeling, Centurion, wat ek vanaf 2005 dien, en bedank ek hulle vir hulle lojaliteit. My dank en waardering ook aan al die nuwe vriende wat ek in die Parlement gemaak het aan beide kante, en baie spesiaal, my kollegas in die DA. Aan my vrou, Annaleen, my kinders en kleinkinders en my moeder op Graskop, "Dankie vir julle ondersteuning en onderskraging". Ek groet u en wens u alle voorspoed toe. Mooi loop! [Applous.]
Mr B A MNGUNI / TN (Eng)/SlR (Afr)/END OF TAKE
Mr K J MINNIE
Mr B A MNGUNI: Chairperson, Ministers, hon members, colleagues, South Africa has escaped the wrath of the financial crisis, but it is set to suffer some setback in the real economy as a result. This is precisely so because we are not trading with ourselves but with the rest of the world. It is thus inconceivable that we can remain unscathed. To put on a brave face and tell the public that the damage to the real economy will be minimal is misleading. The cracks are beginning to show.
The domestic economic outlook since the crisis doesn't look rosy. The 2009 pre-budget analysis indicated that prior to the economic downturn expectations in GDP growth were expected to average around 4% per annum leading up to 2010. The 2008 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement revised these growth forecasts down to 3% for 2009, 4% for 2010 and 4% for 2011, while other market analysts were less optimistic expecting GDP growth to be as low as 0,7%.
The 2009 Budget Review indicates a 1,2% projection for growth this year, growing to 4% by 2011 against the backdrop of lower interest rates and declining debt levels. Some independent analysts have indicated that we my face a technical recession if the stimulus of developed economies is not as successful as anticipated.
The Finance Committee was informed during budget hearings that the 1,2% projected GDP growth was dependent on the Chinese construction industry. Should the industry slow down our GDP would slump to below 1%. We still have to see how close to the truth that is.
The IMF expected world growth to be 3,4% in 2008 and have revised it three times so far to 0,5% growth. The US, the Euro zone and export-orientated economies, such as China and India have shown sharp declines. This is likely to lead to low export demand while commodity prices have declined sharply. This will have severe impact on the mining and manufacturing sectors and is likely to lead to jobs loses domestically.
The deferred implementation of the mineral and petroleum royalty regime that will see the mining industry saving R1,8 billion in royalties is meant to minimise retrenchments in the industry. This is a welcomed move as it shows government's commitment to bring about a better life for all.
The National Union of Mine workers and Federation of Unions of South Africa have also endorsed this goodwill gesture from government. It is, however, not clear if such an approach is likely to stimulate the sector as the taxes were not in place before. Such a tax was likely to put political pressure on the sector to retain jobs but is unlikely to really stimulate production.
As a country's potential for economic growth is greatly influenced by its endowments of physical resources, namely, land, minerals and other raw materials and human resources, which is the number of people and most important, their level of skills, the R1,2 billion allocation for rural infrastructure and the R20,3 billion for the land reform programme indicates government's intention to intervene in the restructuring of the economy in empowering the rural poor and bring them into the mainstream of the economy.
The R787 billion infrastructure spending offers a valuable opportunity to black entrepreneurs, even during these tough economic times. As we are pursuing a developmental state route, government has decisively to intervene to ensure that it is not only the elite and big industries that benefit. Benefits that should be expected from this investment include employment creation and poverty reduction.
Public sector borrowing is expected to finance the revenue short-fall in the light of the global downturn. As part of a stimulus approach, corporate taxes have remained the same while there has been a postponement of the R1,8 billion revenue collections from mining royalties, as I said before.
Over the past year corporate tax cuts have been implemented in favour of attracting foreign investment. More consideration needs to be given to attaching conditionality to tax cuts because tax cuts seem to have not resulted in reinvestment or increased savings by the corporate sector. Instead we have seen companies and directors of companies increasing their bonuses to the detriment of the workers.
Further, individual still carry a large proportion of the tax burden. It would be prudent in the future to have further engagement with the private sector about the reinvestment of tax cuts in developing our economy.
Countries that are structurally similar to South Africa continue to attract investment while having high income tax rates. In the Pre-Budget Review we have indicated that South Africa is ranked lowest amongst the countries with the lowest tax rates, like the US at 39%, Canada, Tunisia and Brazil at 34%, India at 33%, and Tanzania at 30%.
The sound signal mechanisms and stability of institutions in these countries demonstrate that the policy and institutional perceptions of stability are as important in investment considerations. This suggests that lowering of corporate taxes is not the only mechanism for attracting investment.
South Africa is now ranked second in the world in terms of transparency, openness and oversight over the Budget, placing South African as a good destination for rational business expectations. We should start to rely more on this for attracting foreign investment.
The role of the Development Finance Institutes cannot be over-emphasised. Under these bad economic conditions, it is imperative that they review their funding strategies and/or policies in order to minimise the impact of the crisis. I have previously pointed out from this podium that there is statistical evidence that they are not doing what they are supposed to do, and asked if the people that are leading these institutions have the same vision as the mandate of the political leadership in government.
Chairperson, as we brace ourselves for an increase in the fuel levy we should be looking forward to the more active involvement of the Competition Commission in the fight to alleviate poverty by making sure that the criminal behaviour of the likes of Sasol, Tiger Brand and other institutions are stopped at once.
Monopolies and uncompetitive behaviours are only adding to the woes of the population, particularly the poor. We would like to see price-fixing and collusion by mills and bakeries stopped so that the extra R50 added to the old age grant can put more food on the table. Together we can do more. Thank you. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF FINANCE ///tfm/// END OF TAKE
Mr B A MNGUNI
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Chairperson, hon members, thank you to all the speakers this afternoon and to all the parties for their support of the Budget tabled and their support in this First Reading debate. First Reading debates, in their tradition, are highly political events. The fact that we are now within the two-month zone of elections, meant the debate this afternoon was no exception.
But I think it's also important to recognise that there are certain features of the contributions made here this afternoon that we must be aware of. One of them is that this is a particularly emotive period in the history of this Parliament. The end of the third Parliament is a particularly emotive period.
A number of members who have been here since 1994 and some of those who have been here even before then have decided to call it quits. So part of what we heard in the Budget debate this afternoon is a very emotive sense of people who will take leave of something that has been all of their lives for a very long period. I think we want to recognise that and we also want to recognise the contributions of all across the divide of the House. We want to recognise that and the contributions of all because above all, we are here to serve our people. I think we must recognise that and pay tribute to Members of Parliament for their service. [Applause.]
I also think we need to recognise the contributions of the many who stood up here today to announce their departure and some of those who did so in the debate on the state of the nation address. I think there is also something else we together as colleagues in this House must recognise, namely the fact that a number of us in this House also have an uncertainty about our future because whilst some are privileged and can choose to depart, others don't know.
This is in the character of the political animal in all members, even those who have not declared their departure and may later wonder why they didn't actually have a farewell speech. It is important that we recognise the contribution of the members. I don't make this remark light-heartedly.
It is a big, big issue in all our lives. The need for certainty and the need for continuity in our lives and where we choose to be is a big, big issue. I want to pay tribute to all the members who worked with us in the portfolio committee and the Joint Budget Committee and also those with whom we have interacted as Members of Parliament over the past 15 years. [Applause.]
The debate this afternoon is less about numbers - a number of colleagues have referred to that. I think the debate is about the choices we make as a country in times that are outside of our immediate sphere of influence. This is what I think we need to understand.
To some extent Dr George prompted this debate to be advanced this afternoon. As for the key issue before us, I am one of those pessimists who don't think that this issue is going to be resolved within the next year or two. I think we are in for a pretty long haul as we try and get the global economy through the trough. I think it is going to be a long haul.
I think one of the first questions that confront us is: What do we know and where do we know it from? These issues are important because we need to understand the nature of the crisis. We also need a yardstick against which we can measure decisions taken by government here and also by governments elsewhere.
The key issue in respect of what we have now - and it is very different from the Great Depression - is that right now the world is very highly globalised.
Within this highly globalised world there are huge imbalances. So if indeed we observe what the remedies are - and I go back to what Dr George offered - with all due respect, Dr George, I think your remedies appear too close to those which were offered in the USA between 20 January 2001 and 20 January 2009. This is a period during which you had the complete attrition of the state, the unfettered control of markets and the excesses that the world has lived through.
Very important in understanding this period is the testimony of Dr Allen Greenspan to Congress on 23 October when he said: "There has been a fault in the approach that I've had." I think it is fundamentally important that we understand this and understand the turning point because in this period you now have a situation in the United States.
Forget about Wall Street and the Detroit Three; consider the fact that there are 43 million people in that country who don't have access to health care because they are uninsured. Consider the millions of people who are just disgorged, without much protection beyond a short period of unemployment insurance, because the labour markets are free and unregulated. Consider the vast differences between schools for the rich and schools for the poor. This is measured in the outcomes.
As we begin to understand this then, I think we can go back to the question: What do we know and where do we know it from? The proposals advanced by President Obama are already being lobbied against. The US$500 000 limit on bank executives is being lobbied against so extensively, as is the proposal that a bonus should not exceed one-third.
But if you go into the detail of the legislation that President Obama signed two days ago, there are features that are exceedingly worrying because they are highly protectionist, highly nationalist and take the country back as though it's not part of this global entity. We need to understand that and ask questions about what we know, and deal with this Budget so that as the debates continue over the next few years, we have tools with which to measure and gauge the effectiveness of the decisions of government.
Part of what we know is frequently masked by what we assume. One of the most abused assumptions is what Adam Smith said about the "hidden hand". I think he only used the phrase twice in the Wealth of Nations - if he used it more times it may be thrice. People sometimes forget that, in fact, his more important work is the Theory of Moral Sentiments; and the fact is that you must have ethics and governments have a role in respect of ethics.
This assumption that Adam Smith is all about markets to the exclusion of the state therefore has to be fundamentally wrong because it is not supported by reality.
Similarly, I suppose, there is this assumption that the strong left- wing view includes a view that one must have very high deficits. This is certainly not a view espoused by Karl Marx in Das Kapital, because he argues, and I quote:
The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation. As with the stroke of an enchanter's wand, it endows barren money with the power of breeding and thus turns it into capital, without the necessity of exposing itself to the troubles and risks inseparable from its employment in industry or even in usury.
To ask, "What do we know and where do we know it from?" becomes very important as we try and take decisions over this next period. In the same way Keynes' work in the Great Depression was fundamentally important. However, it was important for a time when countries were highly sovereign and had control over the instruments of the economy from monetary policy to trade policy. The issues of aggregate demand driven by Keynes clearly had a place in a large economy that was somewhat isolated from the rest. It doesn't yet deal with the problem that obtains here, which is global imbalances.
The problem we have in the world is in China. China now has savings equal to 54% of its GDP. The country has foreign exchange reserves of some US$1,8 trillion. It is the world's workshop - it manufactures everything for the rest of the world - and the US consumes what China produces and lives off the savings of China.
This in many ways defines these global imbalances. So when countries take these highly nationalistic decisions, what doesn't disappear is the extent of global imbalances. Unless we put heads together and unless we mandate government to sit in the G20 and in all the international forums to deal with this issue, all we have in the endeavour to deal with the crisis is palliatives. That is the problem between the present and the future. This is why the question of what we know and what we don't know becomes so fundamentally important. These issues, I believe, should continue to dominate; and hopefully the fourth Parliament in its early term will have a very intense debate about this because I think it is fundamentally important.
I would also like to turn to what the hon September said. It is very important that we recognise certain proposals to deal with vulnerable workers - low-skilled workers at risk. But in my view it is equally important that we also have proposals to deal with those who are not yet vulnerable workers because they remain unemployed. So the issues of school-to-work transition are important.
It is unfortunate that you categorise these proposals as coming from the DA because in fact, the hon Sibhidla also focused on school-to-work transition because that is fundamental. There are too many young people in society who have left school without the possibility of ever finding work. They sit on street corners and get up to mischief in our communities.
This is more than an economic problem; it is a social issue that produces social crime. We must deal with the school-to-work transition, and I think this moment of crisis presents us with the opportunity to deal with that as well.
Where is my comrade Eddy Trent? Oh, there he is. Comrade, I think what makes the truth inconvenient is that there are no easy done-and-dusted proposals about corruption. This is inconvenient because you so badly need to show how corrupt we are; it is inconvenient that you can't find it because, inconveniently, it is not there!
Let me respond to the hon Pheko – he is not here. Do you represent him, hon Godi? [Interjections.] No longer? [Laughter.] Let me repeat because he misses what I'm saying. The government cannot create sustainable employment except for public servants. Expanded Public Works Programmes are important, but they are of short-term duration. They are not permanent. We must continue to engage in this issue. But I think government is going to be a poor owner of barber shops, corner shops, local bakeries and stuff like that. We are not going to be very good at that.
A number of colleagues have raised the issue of SAA – I hope my time runs out! [Laughter.] The hon Bekker says he hopes that SAA will not be back in a year or two. I don't understand why they would wait so long. They were in Parliament yesterday asking for more. [Laughter.] I think there are key issues that will perhaps be taken up again.
When you have these entities, what is the point at which you might be considered to be throwing good money after bad; what is the point at which the absence of an intervention might actually sink something that otherwise could be brought to sustainability? This is especially the case in a competitive industry where we need to strengthen the balance sheet. Then we can say, "We have now taken off your training wheels; go and sort this out."
The problem, of course, is that when Members of Parliament discuss this they remember the food they had on the plane; the number of times the planes were late; and the number of times they were kicked off the plane even though they had boarding passes. [Interjections.] The whisky? That too! That is in fact not what the restructuring is about.
I think that with Eskom we need to exercise choices. The hon Greyling is very big on green energy, but green energy costs. Now what would electricity cost and how would we deal with these issues? These matters are not going to go away partly because Eskom has been in this position of privilege for more than a century when it didn't need fiscal transfers. Now it finds itself in a position that it can no longer do that. So what is the rational approach that government must take, and how does Parliament intervene in that process?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): Hon Minister, would you like me to come to your rescue? [Laughter.]
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Let me conclude, Chairperson. I should have saved this Eskom one!
Let me conclude. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all members and to all parties in this House. I have had a remarkable 13 years as the Minister of Finance. This is not a valedictory because I don't know where I will be. [Applause.] But I know that the discussions and the debates we have in this Parliament are great, and I hope this will continue.
I hope that as we prepare for transition from where we are to the fourth Parliament that the fair winds that have obtained here this afternoon, where parties across the House supported the Budget, will be carried forward in the First Reading debate, so that the fourth Parliament will have, by resolution, the continuity of this Budget and the detail of the policy discussion that must then inform the choices, line by line, that will get us through the Second Reading debate. But I want to say to all of you, "Thank you very, very much". It has been a great innings and a wonderful support. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M J ELLIS: Mr Chairman, may I address you, sir. The other day in this House, the hon Trevor Manuel, the Minister OF Finance, said the following words, "The DA will only rule in this country when hens grow teeth". I have something of a shook for the hon Mr Manuel today. I have photographic proof of the fact that hens have already grown teeth. [Laughter.] And would like to present this to Mr Manuel.
Whether he is leaving Parliament permanently or not, only he would know. But the important thing is that this would be something that he can hang in his office and remind himself on a daily basis that the DA will indeed be ruling very much sooner than he thinks. [Applause.] [Laughter.]
The MINISTER OF FINANCE: Chairperson, may I thank the hon Ellis for his kindness. [Applause.] I need to ask him if this the result of a facelift or just the injection of some botulist poison. [Laughter.] Thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr NEL): No, hon Minister. I hope it is not a case of false teeth must hide what false politics doth know. Hon members, that concludes the debate
Bill read a first time.
THIRD & FOURTH ORDERS: WESTERN CAPE INHERITED DEBT RELIEF BILL
Keh/END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF FINANCE
WESTERN CAPE INHERITED DEBT RELIEF BILL
(First Reading debate)
There was no debate.
Bill read a first time.
WESTERN CAPE INHERITED DEBT RELIEF BILL
(Second Reading debate)
There was no debate.
Bill read a second time.
FIFTH ORDER: The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
THIRD & FOURTH ORDERS
MONEY BILLS AMENDMENT PROCEDURE AND RELATED MATTERS BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Portfolio Committee on Finance on proposed amendments by National Council of Provinces)
There was no debate.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
NEW ORDER: The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT OF PARLIAMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Portfolio Committee thereon)
There was no debate.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Chairperson, I move that the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
END OF TAKE
SIXTH ORDER: Mr H P CHAUKE
FIFTH ORDER: The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
FILMS AND PUBLICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill and of Report of Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs thereon, and President's reservations on constitutionality of Bill as submitted to him)
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr A C Nel): Hon members, requests for declaration of votes have been received and I will allow three minutes to one member of each party wishing to make a declaration.
Declarations of vote:
Mr H P CHAUKE: Chairperson, it was never the intention of the portfolio committee to undermine the freedom of expression or the Constitution. Having dealt with this Bill as a portfolio committee and after coming back from the President, we have made few amendments to clause 29 and sections 4, 3 and 2. We believe that with the amendments that we have made, we will be able to comply with the constitutional requirements.
On that note, I want to take this opportunity to thank members of the portfolio committee from the ANC, the DA, IFP and ACDP for the contribution that they made in trying to address one of the most critical areas. We were emphasising the point that those who are found to be in possession of pornographic material must be punished. It was a very general approach that we took and on that note I think we have managed to resolve those issues. We therefore believe that when the Bill goes back to the President it will be in line with the Constitution. Amandla!
HON MEMBERS: Awethu!
Mr H P CHAUKE: Viva, ANC, viva!
Phansi nge-IFP, phansi! Phansi nge-DA, phansi! [Ubuwelewele.]
Ms H WEBER
Mr H P CHAUKE
Ms H WEBER: The President's observations have probably been addressed but do not go far enough. We remain, as we have been throughout, opposed to the unconstitutional concept of pre-publication censorship by an administrative body such as the Films and Publication Board. We therefore continue to oppose the Bill.
It has always been incomprehensible to the DA that free-speech issues like film and publications are in the hands of the Home Affairs committee. This arrangement is inherited from the old apartheid government where the Ministry of Home Affairs conducted censorship on behalf of the apartheid state. Now the ANC government has come full circle and is embarking on censorship as was practised by the old apartheid governments.
We urge the new incoming government to place the Film and Publication Board in the hands of the new Communications Minister and hence the Communications committee, where it rightfully belongs.
This is also my final speech, and I will not be politicking, but as I will be retiring, I would like to thank all my colleagues for the friendship and support during my parliamentary term. I would also like to thank my family for their support. It indeed has been very nice and very encouraging and I trust that this Parliament will in the future become truly democratic. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr S N SWART
Ms H WEBER
Mr S N SWART: The ACDP supports the amendments that have been added to ensure the constitutionality of the Films and Publications Amendment Bill. This is the end of a long road in which the ACDP's proposals to protect the freedom of the oppressed were accepted some time ago as was our proposals to accommodate concerns regarding pornography and, in particular, child pornography.
We wish to say that we are grateful for the manner in which this issue was approached and that the concerns regarding constitutionality have now been addressed. The ACDP will support this Bill. Thank you.
There was no debate.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Chairperson, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed with Democratic Alliance dissenting.
SEVENTH ORDER: PROTECTED AREAS AMENDMENT BILL / GG(Zul) /DKS(Eng) / END OF TAKE
SIXTH ORDER OF THE DAY: FILMS AND PUBLICATIONS AMENDMENT BILL
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: PROTECTED AREAS AMENDMENT BILL
(Consideration of Bill)
There was no debate.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Chairperson, I move:
That the Bill be passed.
Motion agreed to.
Bill accordingly passed.
EIGHTH, NINTH AND TENTH ORDERS
SEVENTH ORDER: PROTECTED AREAS AMENDMENT BILL
REQUEST OF MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM FOR RATIFICATION BY PARLIAMENT OF EXCLUSIONS FROM COASTAL PUBLIC PROPERTY, THE CONFINED PORT AREAS
(Consideration thereof in terms of section 27(4) of National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008)
There was no debate.
Request of Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism for Ratification by Parliament of Exclusions from Coastal Public Property, the confined Port Areas approved.
STUDY TOUR TO BRAZIL ON SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND SOCIAL SERVICES IN BRAZIL
(Consideration of Report of Portfolio Committee on Social Development thereon)
ANNUAL REPORT, FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORT 2007/08
(Consideration of Report on the Department of Social
There was no debate.
The Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority Party: Chairperson, I move:
That the Reports be adopted.
Motion agreed to.
Report on Study Tour to Brazil on Substance Abuse and Social Services in Brazil accordingly adopted.
Report on the Department of Social Development's Annual Report, Financial Statements and Auditor-General's report 2007/08 accordingly adopted.
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
EIGHTH, NINTH AND TENTH ORDERS
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY: Chairperson, hon members, the time has come for us to say goodbye to dear friends, fellow comrades and compatriots. We cried together; we sang together; we laughed; we fought, but today is a sad moment when we have to say, "Let's kiss and say goodbye".
Let me share with you the words of wisdom that were said to me this morning by hon Johannes Malahlela, who, by the way, is one of the members we are bidding farewell to, because this House has recommended that he be given another responsibility. He said, and I quote:
I shall pass through this world but once. Anything, therefore, that I do or any help that I can offer to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for it shall not come this way again.
Let's all of us take these words and live by them.
On behalf of the ANC, I would like to thank all members of this House for the good work done this term. I would like to thank the Deputy President, who is our Leader of Government Business, for her guidance and leadership.
I'd also like to thank the following people: the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker for their good leadership; the leaders of the opposition parties represented in this House for their co-operation; the Table staff and the Secretary to the NA for the excellent work done in this House; the chairpersons of committees for the good work done in this term; members of the executive for their co-operation, chairpersons and Whips, members of the Chief Whips' Forum and all members for the good work. You really went beyond the call of duty to assist in the smooth running of this House.
I thank all service officers and all staff, Members of Parliament and the staff from parties for their assistance. We'd like to thank members of the media for covering our proceedings and debates. We do not always agree with them, but we thank them for their work.
We have come to the end of this historic, democratic Parliament, which has been an exciting place in many respects. It has been exciting because despite our different views on how we should handle certain issues or how to respond to certain developments, we have always remained loyal to the Rules we have set up to govern our conduct in Parliament. More importantly, we have remained loyal to the Constitution of the Republic, the supreme law of the country. To us, as the ANC, this is very important.
In the midst of heated exchanges, we have always found time to share jokes, enjoy lighter moments and laugh - especially hon Mike Ellis and hon Koos van der Merwe – amongst ourselves as Members of Parliament; as representatives of our people.
Over the past five years of the life of this Parliament we have worked well in various areas of deployment, be it at portfolio committee meetings, Chief Whips' Forum meetings or various other committees that were set up according to the niche.
Working well does not necessarily mean that there were no differences; it means that we have come to understand that we will always differ and we will always need to persuade and convince each other of the correctness of our positions. However, there was one committee where all hon members sang from the same song sheet, namely, the task team on the Moseneke commission. [Laughter.]
Every member of that committee from every political party always agreed. I so wish that every committee in Parliament could function the way this task team did. There would be no need for late sittings!
Chairperson, I stand before you with a firm conviction that all of us seated here remain committed to one goal: to achieve a better life for all our people. In this Parliament we have embraced the unity of all South Africans, irrespective of their race, culture or religion. It is this unity that is a source of our strength.
Since 1994, our democratic elections have been about the aspirations and the collective desire for a better South Africa and a better life for all. It has been a journey to bring to an end the legacy of apartheid and to build a united, nonracial, nonsexist democratic and prosperous South Africa.
Much work still needs to be done to deepen our democracy and to deal with the scourge of poverty that afflicts our people. The coming Parliament will need to continue the work done by this Parliament and focus on the following: Continued democratisation of our society based on equality, nonracialism and nonsexism; national unity in diversity, which is a source of our strength; building on the achievements and experiences since 1994; an equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth path that brings decent work and sustainable livelihoods; education, health, safe and secure communities and rural development; targeted programmes for youth, women and workers, the rural masses and people living with disabilities; and working towards a better Africa and a better world.
We have entered our second decade of freedom, with the strengthening of democracy and the acceleration of the programme to improve the quality of life for all our people. This has been done through the processing of legislation, amongst other things.
In the past five years we have passed more than 230 pieces of legislation. This number might be seen as a drop in the ocean compared with the first and second democratic Parliaments. However, we must not forget that the third democratic Parliament focused more on oversight and the effect of the legislation that we have passed for our people.
The outgoing Parliament, as I have indicated, shifted its focus from passing legislation to issues of transformation of the institution itself, oversight and public participation, in line with the vision of Parliament to build an effective people's Parliament that is responsive to the needs of the people and that is driven by the ideal of realising a better quality of life for all the people of South Africa.
These achievements and many more were possible because all South Africans worked together to overcome the challenges facing our country. Together, we pressed forward to our shared vision of a united, nonracial, nonsexist democratic and prosperous South Africa.
It is our collective task to continue with the work started by this Parliament. We need to strengthen the oversight capacity of Parliament.
The third democratic Parliament has seen its stature grow internationally through its active involvement in international activities and in partnership with other parliaments. More and more parliaments throughout the world are joining hands in an effort to create a just world for humanity.
In Africa we are part of the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which consists of representatives of all parliaments in the region. This body, amongst other things, is involved in observing elections in countries of the region.
On the continental front, we are part of and hosting the Pan-African Parliament, which is involved in continental discussions that range from peace and security to human rights.
Let me take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the hon members who will not be returning to the fourth democratic Parliament and those who will be assuming new assignments in various areas of our government and civil society.
We want to thank them for their loyal and sincere dedication to this institution. We wish them well in their new assignments.
We also extend our sincere appreciation to those hon members who are retiring from public life, and again we wish them well in their endeavours. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr M J ELLIS / MC/END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY CHIEF WHIP OF THE MAJORITY PARTY
Mr M J ELLIS: Madam Speaker, Mr Van der Merwe, you are quite right I wasn't called. But I am so eager to make my speech that I cannot wait any longer.
It is, in fact, just over three months ago that we said farewell to each other at the end of the 2008 parliamentary year. However, this farewell today is certainly far more important and far more significant. Last year we were saying goodbye to each other, knowing that we would all be back again in January. On this occasion we are saying a permanent goodbye to many of our colleagues who have been with us for many years.
A number of members have chosen the end of this Parliament to retire and others have their party hierarchies and the voters deciding for them that it is time for them to move on. This is, of course, the point made earlier by the hon Minister of Finance. [Interjections.]
No, Mr Jeffery, I am afraid I will be back, sir.
It reminds me of the old adage that voters like to trot out at this time of a parliamentarian's life, "Make your MP work, don't re-elect him."
When those of us who are coming back do return after the election, Parliament will have many new faces. There will be, I am sure, far fewer parties than we have today. But in so saying, we also know that there will be one very important new addition. We wonder how the ANC will be able to cope with this! But time will tell. [Laughter.] Undoubtedly, the ANC ranks will be much reduced, and the opposition benches will be very much fuller. This will be all very exciting.
But this is for the future. Today we are saying farewell at the end of five years of working together. It has been five tumultuous years, both in and out of Parliament, especially for the ruling party. But quite frankly, this is not a time for point-scoring. So, let me concentrate on the task at hand.
The fact of the matter is that most of us have friends in this House across party lines. Most of us are, individually, pretty decent people who care about others regardless of the party they belong to. [Interjections.] You can tell the people who have been out of this House for some time this afternoon. I wonder where they have been. [Laughter.]
It is usually only collectively that we fight. This is of course the true nature of politics. Let me say that I can see some good in nearly all ANC members, even in people like the hon Dennis Bloem, Danny Oliphant and others at the back there. But at midnight on 21April 2009, many people who are presently members of this very exclusive club, known as Parliament, will be leaving this club and will lose those two letters behind their names.
They will do so to start new careers or to enter retirement. It is important that we wish all these people every success regardless of which party they belong to and that we do this very sincerely.
Obviously within the DA ranks we are saying farewell to a number of our colleagues, including the whole front bench. I want to take this opportunity to wish our retiring members well. I do hope that this House will not mind if I single out two individuals.
The first one is the hon Joe Seremane with whom I worked closely for more than 12 years now. He has taught me a great deal in terms of personal relationships, etc. But the truth is that Joe Seremane got married recently to a wonderful woman. [Applause.] I am sure he now has many more better things to do than simply warm the benches here in Parliament. He is a good man in every sense of the word, and I shall miss him.
I also want to pay a very special tribute to my friend, one-time leader and colleague, Tony Leon, who has been a massive inspiration to me since 1989 and especially since 1994. We have walked a long path together, hon Mr Leon - a very exciting one. It has been a great period in my life and in our party's life.
Thank you very much indeed. But I have no doubt that South Africans from across the whole range will hear a great deal more about the hon Mr Tony Leon over the decade to come. I want to say to him that he has played a major role in this country's political history. Certainly, sir, you can be proud of what you have achieved. [Applause.]
As this third democratic Parliament comes to an end, let me pay tribute to the Table staff in the NA. They have given this House an excellent service over the past five years first under the leadership of Kasper Hahndiek, and for the past few years under Kamal Mansura. The DA certainly appreciates your help and professionalism over the years and at all times.
Let me also pay tribute to other officials in Parliament, including sound and vision, protocol, IT, finance and various other departments. You have all played an important role in the lives of MPs, and we appreciate what you do. [Interjections.] Certainly catering! Thank you very much indeed, Mr Singh. [Interjections.]
Well, how can we forget the bar service. You are quite right. Thank you very much indeed. To all the bars and the people who work in the bars, a very special thanks - especially on behalf of those people at the back there! [Laughter.]
To you, Madam Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the House Chairs, past and present, the DA has been a very well-behaved model party in terms of decorum. I am sure you appreciate our general behaviour, Madam Speaker - the fact that we called for very few Divisions, made very few interjections and took hardly any points of order. [Laughter.] I'm sure you both appreciate this very much. But we do thank you sincerely on behalf of this institution for all you both do for this House and for Parliament in general. We don't always agree with what you do and what you say. But certainly that helps to make this institution much more exciting and to make it what it is.
To the Whips in the DA and to the Whips of all parties, we certainly enjoyed our interactions. I believe that our work in the Chief Whips' Forum has always been in the best interests of Parliament.
To everyone, farewell! Some of us, Mr Jeffery, will meet again after 22 April 2009. But the DA certainly does wish every member of this third democratic Parliament all the best for whatever their future holds. Thank you very much indeed. [Applause.]
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Mr M J ELLIS
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE: Madam Speaker, the previous speakers have expressed words of appreciation and thanks to the staff and all the other people, and we associate ourselves with that.
We had these farewell speeches at the end of every year. But I don't think they should be farewell speeches every year; they must be goodbye speeches because we normally come back. This time of course it's a special occasion. We now say farewell to a number of people because it is the end of this Parliament.
To those who are leaving I would like to say to you that no matter which party you represented, you served as an honourable member. You all did your best and served your country with loyalty and dedication. May you continue to be of service in retirement. You have acquired many outstanding skills during your stay in Parliament. You should use those skills when serving your communities.
We are now preparing for elections. In this regard, the eyes of the world, especially Africa, will be upon us to see how we are going to conduct ourselves in the forthcoming elections. We had three elections so far – in 1994, 1999 and 2004. What have we learned? I say we learned much about democracy and tolerance. We learned to respect the will of the people. We learned to behave ourselves properly in conducting elections. There are, of course, exceptions which one can expect, so let us therefore not treat the Julius Malemas as the norm but as the exception. South Africa has become a democratic model for other African states. Let us keep it that way in this election.
At the end of an era, we as colleagues must try for a moment to also reflect on our successes - and there were many during the five years. Together we have finally proved that our Parliament functions in accordance with international parliamentary standards. We have a Parliament to be proud of. Our presiding officers are executing their duties with great objectivity and dignity.
If you would permit me, I wish to add that the IFP is very proud of the exemplary and dignified manner in which our member, Mr Ben Skosana, is fulfilling his duties. Jy doen goed, Ben! [You are doing well, Ben!] [Applause.]
During the five years there were failures too. But today is not the time to dwell on those. It is safe to briefly say that we in the opposition are very unhappy about a few matters such as the recall of Mr Mbeki, the death of the Scorpions, the dismissal of Adv Pikoli and others. But now is the time to say farewell to some and goodbye to others. We in the IFP greet you.
Mr Chauke said "IFP, pansi!" I do not know where he sits. [Interjections.] He left. I want to say to him that we have a very special message for him and his colleagues in the ANC. We in the IFP will see you on 22 April, and we are going to beat the living daylights out of you. We are going to teach you a lot of lessons. So, we say to you in the ANC: "Ayihlale phansi ibamb'umthetho! Ayihlale phansi ibamb'umthetho! Sengihleli! Sengihleli!"
Mr G T MADIKIZA / Src/ GG(Zul) keh checked / END OF TAKE
Mr J H VAN DER MERWE
Mr G T MADIKIZA: Madam Speaker and hon members, we have reached the end of another session and perhaps this is the last time that this House meets prior to the end of this term. Looking back upon the past five years, we have engaged in important work and achieved a number of milestones. For such achievements that we have attained, we must pay tribute to the parliamentary and party staff members who played a pivotal role, behind the scenes, to ensure that we performed our constitutional duties.
We have had the best of times and the worst of times in this august House. It is worst still, now that we have to bid each other farewell, some of us for good. In bidding members of this House farewell, I wish all members all the best in their campaigning for the next Parliament. This is the fourth election series. Political parties, therefore, must have matured by now. Nonetheless, it is still necessary to advocate strongly for political tolerance and, better still, political acceptance for and amongst all parties.
Those who will not be coming back for one reason or the other, we wish them the best of luck and Godspeed in their future endeavours. I would like to believe the old adage, "Parting is such sweet sorrow." In the process, we have become friends, and it is not nice to part ways with friends, but it is at times necessary. Farewell to you, one and all. I thank you.
Mr S N SWART
Mr G T MADIKIZA
Mr S N SWART: Madam Speaker, today, at the end of a lengthy and eventful five-year term, we bid each other goodbye and in certain cases, farewell. We, from the ACDP, would like to share the sentiments of other speakers in thanking you, Madam Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, House Chairpersons, Mr Mansura and all the support, security and other staff.
Madam Speaker, a particular word of thanks to you for the gracious manner in which you have always treated us MPs. Thank you also for the wonderful dinner and gifts last night; it is highly appreciated. [Applause.]
Two of my favourite places are the bar, that is the coffee bar, and the library. We often forget about the library staff and their prompt and effective response to our queries. That is much appreciated. And I have returned my books!
Let us not forget the finance staff for ensuring that we are paid in time, sometimes with unexpected deductions as was the case last week. But we are a forgiving lot of MPs, aren't we?
The media has played a huge role in keeping the public informed about current events in Parliament. We need to thank them for their reporting on our work. I'm sure that the Deputy Minister of Finance, who was here, would join me in particularly thanking the SABC TV for replacing the chairs in their parliamentary studio.
As has been indicated, many members will be retiring from active public life, and it has been a pleasure and honour to work with you all. To those I've worked closely with in various committees, I've grown very fond of you and will sincerely miss you. I trust that those who wish to return will be back in Parliament, as I will be too.
I've also had the privilege of studying economics with a number of members. Thank you for your encouragement and your support. We have come a long way together, and let's make sure that we complete our B Com honours. Remember our motto: Pass one; pass all! [Laughter.]
To the governing party, thank you for treating us smaller and growing parties with respect, and allowing us the space to fulfil our role in Parliament. To the main opposition party, thanks for the many words of encouragement, both before and after we have spoken at this podium; it has meant a lot to me in particular.
As we go out to campaign, let us set the example, as true leaders, of tolerance and the maintenance of peace. Remember that whilst we can and may differ from one another politically, let us play the ball and not the man. Remember that we are called to love one another.
To conclude, we, from the ACDP, wish you well. I would like to bless you with the following:
May the Lord bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; and may the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
I thank you. Phambili ACDP, phambili! [Forward ACDP, forward!] ...
Dr C P MULDER
Mr S N SWART
Dr C P MULDER: Mev die Speaker, ons het gekom aan die einde van die leeftyd van die derde Parlement. Die vierde Parlement, wanneer ons terugkom, gaan anders wees as die derde Parlement, onder andere, omdat ons nie meer oorloopwetgewing sal hê wat dit moontlik sal maak, wat ons in die derde Parlement gehad het nie. Die verskynsel wat ons tans het met omtrent 15 partye in die Parlement moet u aanvaar gaan anders wees na die verkiesing. Ons gaan met minder partye terugkom en dit gaan so bly.
We also have a unique country in the sense that most likely, after the election, we will be electing our fourth President, unlike our neighbour Zimbabwe, who couldn't find the need for another President.
I would also like to extend a word of thanks to my colleagues in the third force. The third force has been playing a very important role in Parliament. For those who do not know who we are talking about, that is the number of members of Parliament, 37 of them, who are supposed to be members of the so-called smaller parties, who operate as a group together from time to time when things need to be done. And I would like to say thank you to them as they are doing their job.
We are now going into an interesting phase in our election period, where many of us have, so-called, run for nomination. Those of us who are successful will now stand for Parliament and those who will be elected will become sitting members, if everything goes according to plan.
Ek wil aansluit by my kollegas wat reeds 'n word van dank uitgespreek het teenoor die verskillende afdelings van die Parlement. Ons onderskryf dit. Ek dink een afdeling wat nog nie genoem is nie, is die sekuriteit- en veiligheidsdienste wat ons almal hier veilig hou en kyk dat die Parlement in orde is en dat dinge reggaan – 'n woord van dank aan hulle.
'n Woord van dank aan die media en die pers – waarsonder Suid-Afrika nie sal kennis neem van wat in die Parlement gebeur of wat tersake is hier nie – ons waardeer dit. Laastens, 'n woord van dank aan elke kollega wat die afgelope vyfjaar die pad saam met ons geloop het. Aan dié wat aftree, sterkte op die pad vorentoe. Aan dié wat terugkom, die VF Plus sal terugwees en ons sal saam met julle die pad vir Suid-Afrika verder loop. Ek sê baie dankie. [Applous.]
Dr G G WOODS
Dr C P MULDER
Dr G G Woods: Madam Speaker and colleagues, so we come to the end of another small chapter in our political history, the end of the third Parliament. For its part, Nadeco reflects back on the past three-and-a-half interesting years in which it has established itself as a functioning party and as a participant in the activities of this National Assembly, to the extent that our modest numbers allowed.
Nadeco, like all other opposition parties, intends entering the fourth Parliament with greater numbers and to build on its immediate past experience. [Interjections.] There is something in that equation, with all opposition parties intending to come back with an enlarged size. Somebody is going to have to pay for it, and I suspect that it might be the party on my right.
For now, however, Nadeco looks back with gratitude for our involvement in this third Parliament, an involvement which has included many warm friendships and much co-operation across the party spectrum. It indeed included the much-appreciated support from the Secretary of Parliament and the various administrative departments. We thank you all.
For myself, after 15 years, I will be turning my attentions to another career through which I hope to make a significant contribution to government and its effectiveness. But, as enthusiastic as I am about this venture, I do experience more than a measure of sadness in saying farewell to this Parliament and to all of you.
Let me end by saying that Nadeco wishes all of those who do not return after the elections every success in their new lives. To those who do return, Nadeco looks forward to working with you towards advancing our democracy and our service to the country and all its people. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms S RAJBALLY / np(Afr)// GM/MC(Eng) / END OF TAKE
Dr G G WOODS
Ms S RAJBALLY: Madam Speaker, this has indeed been a progressive and memorable five years in which we have had so much success. Despite our differences, we have been able to take South Africa forward. We need to remind our people of this success and intensify their confidence in the government, which had their best interest at heart and has delivered on that.
I'm praying that the election will be a peaceful and dignified process, and that people will be free to make their choice without being manipulated and taunted because of it.
I'm hoping that the faces I have seen over the past years in this House and in government will offer guidance to the people, so that this election may be peaceful.
I take this opportunity to thank the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and chairs of the NA and NCOP. I extend my gratitude to all committees, its chairs and administrators, and to all the people - staff, support staff and service providers - in Parliament. We thank and applaud you for making our task more endurable and possible. I cannot complete these thanks without honouring the NA table and its impeccable administrators, under the Secretary to Parliament and the Secretary to the NA. Thank you to all secretaries and officials.
I'm hoping that in the new term of Parliament, this House will be strong and more vibrant and committed to delivery. I know that there are a number of members retiring, and I take this opportunity to thank them and wish them the very best in their retirement.
Madam Speaker, may I at this point let the House know that I have made a proposal to my leader, Mr A Rajbansi, that I would like to retire at the end of this term to allow a younger person to take my seat. [Applause.] This still has to be confirmed. I do not know what the leader will decide. So, this may be my last speech in this House. I need to thank you all for your attention and applause each time I came to this podium. But I feel that I will be failing in my duty if I do not say thank you to all my friends and colleagues in this august House.
Madam Speaker, may I firstly thank the former Speaker, Deputy Speaker - who is now the Speaker of the House - the present Deputy Speaker and all the chairs of the political parties for the love and respect bestowed on me. All of you have treated me with the highest dignity, for which I am extremely grateful. You respected me as a colleague, a friend, a sister and most of all, you respected me as a mother.
I leave you all with love and blessings. If I retire, I'll be an overseer for the MF, so you will sometimes find me sitting in the gallery to say hello to all of you. Remember, I love you all very much.
A very special thank you goes to my leader, Mr A Rajbansi, for standing beside me all the way. It also goes to my two staff members, Tasleema Allie, my researcher, and Moenieba Cupido my secretary. I thank you. May the Lord bless you! My life with you has been based on a good experience, and I will leave with great memories. Finally, once again, I love you. [Applause.]
Mr N T GODI
Ms S RAJBALLY
Mr N T GODI: Madam Speaker, I do intend also to speak on behalf of my comrade and leader, Comrade Pheko, who is not here. I also, on behalf of the APC, join my colleagues who have come before me to express their gratitude and appreciation for the manner in which we have interacted, firstly as colleagues and, secondly, with the administration here, in reference to Parliament and the presiding officers.
The five years for me have been an occasion of excitement, growth and learning. It is only when one is in Parliament that one can appreciate the amount of hard work that MPs have to put up with and not the perception of people, that MPs have nothing to do and are earning fat salaries.
I think it would be amiss for me personally not to express my sincerest gratitude to the ANC for having afforded me the opportunity to chair one of the most important committees in Parliament. It has afforded me an opportunity for growth and to have perspective on issues that I might otherwise not have had, had I been an ordinary member.
In the same breath, I want to thank my colleagues in the committee, from all parties. We have been able to work as a unit. I think we also were a committee, Comrade Deputy Chief Whip, where you would not be able to tell whether one was from the ANC or from the UDM, or from any other party. I wish to thank them very much, including the staff of the committee, which has some of the hardest working people around.
I wish well those who are retiring, and those of us who are coming back; we will meet again after two months. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN
Mr N T GODI
Mr L M GREEN: Deputy Speaker, hon Ministers and members, we have come to the end of our parliamentary term of office. As we are all busy with election campaigns, the time ahead will not be one of rest, but of work; work to bring about a new Parliament with fresh faces and fresh ideas.
We have all worked hard over the past five years to make Parliament a place in which robust democracy thrives. We have also responded as best we can to representing our people with integrity and honest labour. We now go back to our people to ask them for their votes.
The FD, a member of the CDA, Christian Democratic Alliance, wishes all our colleagues in this House every success in the efforts to win votes and return to this august place to continue in building a winning society. We have made good friends over the past years; we have worked well with one another; we have also fought hard on matters where we differed; but we also did so in the spirit of democracy and in respect of our institutions of government.
We leave here today to go our separate ways. We pray for the peace of God over all of us as we work to bring about a society that will benefit all of our people. We express a special word of thanks to you, Madam Speaker and Madam Deputy Speaker, for a wonderful farewell dinner as well as the photo of the last Joint Sitting of the third Parliament.
A special word of thanks also goes to all the committee chairs, the Chief Whips and all staff members of Parliament, for their contribution to making the third Parliament a great success. A special word of thanks goes to Rhoda Southgate and Kevin Thompson, our researchers, for work well done.
We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. May God go with you throughout these elections; God bless you. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L M GREEN
The SPEAKER: Madam Deputy Speaker, this is one occasion on which it is very difficult to say farewell or goodbye, whatever we want to call it, because we have been a family. Someone said to me that it is like a play: People who can write would say that the world is a stage and that men and women are players or actors. There are times for entering and times for exiting; this is the time to exit the third Parliament.
What we need to do is to look back and ask ourselves questions: Did we do ... Let me take a sip. [Applause.] [Interjections.] I'm not going to sing a song, hon member, thank you. However, there are people you will always remember and there are those people you wish you could not remember anymore, and that is life. In this House we had a mix of all that. We had those people whom you always wanted to give you a shoulder to cry on, and this cuts across the parties.
If you remember, Nelson Mandela would say that there are good and bad people everywhere. There are people who touched my heart, such as the hon Sandra Botha. I had breakfast with her two days ago. If you see tears, they are tears of joy because we have done a very good job. We have made our people proud. There were times when things were very difficult, but nonetheless, umsebenzi ngumsebenzi [a job is a job.] [Applause.]
I am strengthened, as I stand here looking very weak, by some of the people who are no longer with us - people with whom we started this third Parliament. I think of the hon Haasbroek. If I could have a tissue, please. I usually get it from the DA. [Applause.] [Interjections.] Not necessarily! The tears might be from my own weakness. The hon Diko; the hon Kati; the hon Mabuyakhulu; the hon Sigcau; the hon Vezi; the hon Zulu; the hon Ziphora Nawa, whose son is here with us; the hon Gomomo; the hon Kondlo; the hon Cassim Saloojee and hon Johannes Schippers.
I was going through their speeches, just to ask myself that if they had they had an opportunity to address me now, what would they have said? They would they have said, "Yours was a good race, go home and take some strength and then come back to the podium."
There are a number of people whom I would like to thank. I have a very long speech which I am not going to read, because I think what I have said summarised how I feel about all of you. [Applause.] Hon Oliphant, when I say I am going to shorten my speech, it does not mean that you should go to the coffee bar! [Laughter.] I was told that you were a regular there. [Laughter.] The Secretary is here and we need to start looking at the budget for the coffee. We should maybe make sure that members did not spend so much time there.
But I really need to say that I would like to thank the Deputy Madam Speaker, the House Chairpersons, all the Whips and Chairpersons of Committees; the Secretary to Parliament, Mr Dingani, and his Deputy, Mr Coetzee; the ever-hardworking Mr Mansura, who is always available to help; and all the members of the table staff. I have mentioned Ms Sandra Botha because when I worked with her, I discovered that I was working with a leader. To all the members who would not be returning, I would like to wish you success in your new lives.
I am not going to sound as if I won't be coming back, because I think I will be. [Applause]. When we meet in May I will be addressing you again. Maybe at that time I will have the courage to complete my speech, which I won't be completing today.
Hon members, I would really like to thank you. We did a lot together and have put our Parliament where it should be. At times, we did so under difficult times and have made our country proud. We made sure that the South African flag flew higher and higher. At this stage, let me thank you. [Applause.]
The House adjourned at 18:58.
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